Institutionalization: An Unacknowledged Cause of Psychiatric Outpatients’ Deterioration


Reading Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic,1 as well as Irving Kirsch’s proof that antidepressants are placebos,2 emboldened me to finally come out with the anti biological psychiatry sentiments I had harbored for years. I agreed with each word in Whitaker’s book, until he proposed that patients mostly worsen due to chemical effects of their meds. I wondered: He showed that ‘mental illnesses’ aren’t chemically caused, so why suggest that their worsening when ‘treated’ is mainly chemically caused?

Why embrace and legitimize psychiatry’s medical model by joining its hunt for biological causes of human experiences? Since mental illnesses are actually reactions to psychosocial issues, why not instead focus on psychosocial causes of their worsening? Here’s my psychosocial explanation.

In seeking psychiatric treatment, clients transfer responsibility for dealing with life’s struggles to medical authorities. By relinquishing their right to choose how to cope, they become like inmates in asylums: As in asylums, free will is replaced by passive, helpless submission to doctors’ orders, the main one being to take pills to control their feelings, thoughts, and actions. As in asylums, they are assigned a humiliating, dehumanizing ‘mental illness’ identity — its acceptance also leads to their eternal withdrawal from the challenges of life in society and thus their removal/alienation from it.

They thus commit to and get locked into lifelong dependence on psychiatry. As years go by, their ability to use their free will and brains to adaptively cope with life and their feelings will get lost due to disuse. They’ll thus find it increasingly difficult to ever reclaim independence/functionality in the outside worldLabeled/treated kids aren’t even given a chance to learn how to use their free will and their adaptive brains; they thus fall increasingly behind their peers, and never become functional or independent.

So psychiatry didn’t really stop institutionalizing people; it just found new ways to do it.

Even if one day they stop suppressing their brains with ‘meds,’ they may not really break free of psychiatry’s spell; they may still believe that they’re brain disease victims. But now they’ll view their struggles (which will be harder due to having become institutionalized) as symptoms of drug-impaired rather than genetically-impaired brains. This will needlessly deter them from trying to break out of the asylum (use their brains to regain control of their lives), just as faith in having a mental illness had misled them to needlessly give up on their resourceful capabilities in the first place.

Increasing institutionalization explains clientsdownhill course over time. Drug impairment does not, since it’s usually steady, unless the dose is steadily raised due to addiction/withdrawals, or if there’s progressive brain atrophy. But even atrophy in sedated clients’ brains may be due to disuse (as occurs in other body parts not used for long periods) rather than direct chemical effect. In fact, studies suggest that cognitive3 and physical4 exercise (things zombified clients can’t do) prevent brain atrophy in seniors. So psych clients’ brain atrophy may be due to institutionalization instead of drug toxicity. Disuse of their brains and bodies may also slow their metabolic rate, while their inactivity can lead to using food to fill time and stuff down feelings. So weight gain might also be a result of asylum life rather than a direct drug effect.

Institutionalization also best explains why clients get even sicker after going off meds: Since their coping skills have been largely forgotten due to disuse, or never even developed, their only coping tool is using mind-numbing pills. Hence they’ll flounder without them. If drug effects were the main cause of their decline, then they would improve, not worsen, after coming off them.

And drug effects can’t explain why antidepressant users decline over time, since they’re placebos. Their mood-lifting isn’t from their chemical effect, so how could their mood-lowering be from it?

A more likely explanation is: Since people can make themselves extremely happy (manic), clients who trust that antidepressants work can also make themselves manic by the power of suggestion. After all, most people who are fooled into thinking they drank alcohol still act drunk.5 Since the crash from self-induced mania can be saddening, a crash from the high of thinking all one’s woes were solved by pills (once placebo effects fade) can also be saddening. Repeatedly and fruitlessly trying to cure one’s feelings, instead of patiently addressing and mastering the challenges that elicited them, will of course ultimately be demoralizing. How can seeking quick fixes to life’s struggles end well?

Billions of antidepressants were sold, so placebo effects, including extreme or fading ones, must be very strong. In support of this explanation, an extensive review of randomized controlled trials for all modern antidepressants in kids found “many adverse events reported in clinical trials for both active medications and placebos (such as mania, suicidality, and aggression)… Only a handful of these events occurred significantly more frequently in the treatment subjects versus the control subjects.”6 So there’s no need to medicalize antidepressant users’ worsening, just as there was no need to medicalize their emotions in the first place. Institutionalization is instead likely to blame.

Talk of drug-induced brain-chemical aberrations reminds me of the infamous Zoloft commercial, in which brain chemicals travel from one neuron to another while a voice says: “depression is due to a chemical imbalance.” It implanted the cancerous medical model into our culture. Why further nourish this harmful myth by teaching that worsening depression is due to a drug-induced chemical imbalance? Though comforting, since it lets people hold onto the victim role that psychiatry reinforced and trapped them into, it upholds the very premise that psychiatry’s based on — that our woes aren’t life struggles that we can capably, responsibly work on; they’re diseases beyond our control. It thereby continues and strengthens what psychiatry started, by further leading people down the path of learned helplessnessfurther negating their free will and resilience, and thus further institutionalizing them.

So maybe clients who deteriorate over time aren’t really hopelessly, permanently brain-disabled. Maybe there’s some hope of recoveryalbeit not a quick or easy one. Why not tell them that if they choose to, they can awaken from hibernation and re-learn the skills needed to effectively manage their lives? Instead of trying to invent new iatrogenic diseases to add to the DSM, why not discard it and its medical model approach altogether? Why not become truly anti biological psychiatry, by re-examining psychosocial explanations of human experience like those offered by great thinkers such as Freud, Laing, Skinner, Maslow, Erikson, and Goffman (who wrote of institutionalization’s harmful effects7)?

But don’t just take all this on my authority — think it out for yourself!

Show 7 footnotes

  1. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. Whitaker, R. 2010, Crown Publishers, New York.
  2. The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth. Kirsch, I. 2010, Basic Books, New York.
  3. Can Cognitive Exercise Prevent the Onset of Dementia? A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials with Longitudinal Follow-Up. Valenzuela, M, Sachdev, P, Am J Geriatric Psych, 2009 Mar 17(3)179-87.
  4. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Multicomponent Exercise in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Suzuki, T, et al, PLOS/One, April 2013, Vol 8(4)e61483.
  5. A New Device for Administering Alcohol Placebo. Mendelson, J, et al, Alcohol, 1984 Sep-Oct (5)417-19.
  6. Review of the Efficacy and Safety of Antidepressants in Youth Depression. Cheung, A, et al, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Jul 2005, 46(7)735-54.
  7. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates. Goffman, E, 1961, Anchor Books, NY.


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.


  1. I like your point. I gained 40 pounds after going on pills, but my dosage wasn’t so high, I gained probably due to ‘self-medicating’ the stress of asylum. There is statistical evidence that weight gain is present but not so big (less then 20 pounds in most people)

    However some drugs are extremely devastating like risperidone is really destroy your blood sugar. Pills also make you more complaint, drowsy, also make you sleep to much. If you sleep for 12 hours a day and have low energy, how much you can fight?

    What Whitaker cites is basically true for long term service users. Take a look for Monica Cassani case, this woman.

    So probably both factors – drugs and casted disability role are at play here.

  2. Lawrence, you make some excellent points in this article, and I can understand your criticism of “learned helplessness.” It’s good that you’ve discovered some truth that has lead you to the anti-biological psychiatry position. There’s much more to the story than that, as I’m sure you’re also aware.

    I can appreciate the attempt to think through Whitaker’s arguments, because even Whitaker, as great as he is, hasn’t quite grasped certain things that people like Szasz and Kraus grasped so long ago. In my estimation, it would be a grave mistake to underestimate the severe harm that is caused by neurotoxic drugs. It is possible to recover from psychiatric drugging, torture, abuse, shock, involuntary incarceration, and slavery. It is possible, but it’s not nearly as easy as you make it out to be. For the sake of analogy, imagine Frederick Douglass. It was possible for him to escape from slavery, and he did it. But millions of others were not able to escape. In other words, escape and recovery from psychiatric slavery is possible, but very difficult.

    Also, you are critical of biological psychiatry and the medical model. This is good. But why insist on preserving psychiatry at all? It isn’t just biological psychiatry that has caused such atrocious harm, it is psychiatry itself. Yes, people are resilient. Yes, people can and do recover. Yes, the human spirit has an amazing capacity to overcome adverse circumstances. Does this mean that we ought to perpetuate the ideologies and the institutions that impose these adverse circumstances on innocent people? Isn’t life difficult enough for all of us as it is already without the additional trouble of psychiatry?

    You claim that “mental illnesses” are “actually reactions to psychosocial issues.” As has been shown many times over, such reasoning ends up supporting psychiatry as a whole, including biological, medical model psychiatry. One of the major problems with your argument, although it may hold true for a fraction of the victims of psychiatry, is that there are many people who are dragged into the nefarious web of psychiatry without seeking out psychiatric “care.” In fact, I would venture to guess that most people get sucked into the psychiatric vortex without even realizing it. Even those who have woken up to the truth about psychiatry may have a very difficult time escaping the tentacles of this horrible monster, or the claws and the fangs of this dragon.

    I agree that human beings place too much trust in medicine, in doctors, and in psychiatrists. This is a problem. But the source of the problem is usually ignorance, not necessarily learned helplessness or passivity. This ignorance extends to almost every corner of the globe, and psychiatry has done a great job in perpetuating the kinds of myths that keep people ignorant. Even the myth that there is a good kind of psychiatry and a bad kind of psychiatry keeps people ignorant and facilitates the dominion of psychiatry.

    You ask an interesting question: “Why further nourish this harmful myth by teaching that worsening depression is due to a drug-induced chemical imbalance?” The myth, however, is not just the “chemical imbalance” hoax, whether it be the myth of the drug-induced “chemical imbalance” or otherwise. The harmful myth is the myth of mental illness itself, and it isn’t just biological psychiatry that fosters this myth. Neurotoxic drugs cause terrible harm. Psychiatry capitalizes on this harm by pretending to “treat” the problems that it causes. But all of this is only possible because the myth of mental illness reigns supreme. Psychiatry, not just biological psychiatry, sustains the myth of mental illness.

    Of course it’s all part of the psychiatric enterprise to add iatrogenic “diseases” to the DSM-V, and this needs to be stopped. Of course people can recover from psychiatric abuse, drugging, incarceration, torture, shock, and slavery… people are powerful. There are people who survived Nazi prison camps, the gulags, and chattel slavery. But does this mean that those who didn’t make it through such horrific experiences were just too weak-willed? I don’t think so.

    Lawrence, you come so close to the truth. You ask “Why not discard it (the DSM-V) and its medical model approach altogether?” Yes. Discard these things. But how? By discarding PSYCHIATRY altogether. What makes you wish to hold on to the very system that created these problems in the first place? You take a big step: “Why not become truly anti biological psychiatry?” But why not take the full step? Why not become truly anti-PSYCHIATRY?

    And just for the record Freud, Laing, Skinner, and Maslow were not great thinkers. Freud was a fraud, and very cunning and clever, but not a great thinker. Laing was a disaster, as Szasz has so clearly articulated. Skinner was radical behaviorist who believed that free will was an illusion, but he was not a great thinker. Maslow, the prophet of “self-actualization,” and Erikson, were not quite great thinkers either. Even though Maslow was critical of Freud, both he and Erikson were still under his spell. Goffman was also under Freud’s spell, but at least he cofounded of the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization. I wouldn’t even say that Szasz and Kraus were necessarily great thinkers, although they came much closer to being great thinkers than any of the people that you mentioned. In any case, most of these people (perhaps with the exception of Freud), whether almost great thinkers or not, had the advantage of using brains that had not been saturated in neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs.

    Those who are fortunate enough to have brains that are free from neurotoxins need to think more deeply and clearly about how we can really help those whose lives have been destroyed by psychiatry. On the other hand, those whose lives have been destroyed by psychiatry can take hope in the assurance that escape and full recovery from psychiatric slavery is possible.

  3. I’m picking on hypocritical thought process. He cuts those down and is very insensitive although claims he is standing up for us. Could be a nurse Ratchet. Same rhetoric.

    A highly trained interrogator or a Thomas Harris already knows this man’s real intentions.

  4. I agree institutionalisation plays a part in creating chronic patients.

    I have no convincing evidence to counter the arguments that Whittaker et al have proposed that psyche drugs are harmful and stop recovery in most people.

    I would welcome an article on learned helplessness and institutionalisation caused by psychiatry. I would not want to share this one because it conflates those ideas with an investigation into the effect of psychiatric drugs.

    I would welcome an article on the psychological damage of psyche drugs based on psychological theories and challenging biochemical ideas, eg the nocebo theory, but I would need more evidence for me to take it seriously and for it to be one I would share.

    There are non psychiatric drugs that cause psychological harm. I was prescribed one for asthma and having read the potential side effects I decided not to take it. I have a friend who was prescribed another drug that is an antibiotic that affected her state of mind badly, it is a known effect of this drug. Therefore you argument that psychiatric drugs do not cause mental distress seems unlikely and unproved.

    • I agree. It is very possible that both have an effect on deterioration, given that suicides INCREASE after hospitalization. However, the evidence Whitaker presents shows a DIRECT relationship between increasing use of drugs and dramatic increases in disability. He also presents a clear mechanism by which this occurs. It is not possible to dismiss his hypothesis without refuting the data, and the author fails to do so.

      I would also add that the REMOVAL of genuine supportive services over time contributes to the deterioration of clients over time, but that still does not invalidate the data showing strong correlation with the use of psychiatric drugs and the vast increase in disability.

  5. Lawrence

    You are rather quickly undoing all of the “good will” and support you accumulated with some of your past blogs critical of psychiatry.

    You are clearly DENYING the growing body of evidence that psychiatric drugs perturb, alter, and disable the serotonergic, norepinephrinergic, and dopaminergic neuro-chemical processes in the brain (and in other parts of the body, especially with serotonin being in the gut system). There is clear evidence that SSRI’s reduce the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, and neuroleptics (anti-psychotics) add to the number of D2 dopamine receptors (and cause harmful metabolic changes in the body). The latter (increased D2 dopamine receptors) is the basis for the supersensitivity theory (leading to psychosis) when people too quickly taper off of anti-psychotic drugs. And benzos do serious harm to the gaba receptors in the brain, that can last for long periods of time. Some people may have permanent damage – the jury is still out on the very long term effects.

    You said “In seeking psychiatric treatment, clients transfer responsibility for dealing with life’s struggles to medical authorities….They thus commit to and get locked into lifelong dependence on psychiatry.”

    Who is primarily to blame for this dependence and what are its major components? You have presented a very strong current of “blame the victim” in the way you have characterized people’s disablement due to psychiatric mistreatment. Of course, “learned helplessness” is a factor in some of the cases of those harmed by today’s “mental health” practitioners, but this is only one small piece of the problem.

    In past discussions you have tried to say you were apolitical and you avoided addressing larger political questions. But it sounds like you might be presenting arguments here that back up Right Wing (blame the victim) views of those people stuck in poverty etc. You can’t have it both ways, that is, openly avoiding larger political discussions yet seemingly trumpeting a “conservative” analysis of why people are stuck in the underclasses.

    And finally, you said: “And drug effects can’t explain why antidepressant users decline over time, since they’re placebos.”

    You have this ALL wrong – antidepressants are ACTIVE placebos. They have a placebo effect, both because they are prescribed by a doctor and advertised as successful, AND because they are chemical agents that intrinsically make people feel different and actually alter neuro-chemical processes. This is one reason why double blind studies are corrupted because almost everyone (including the patient) knows who is actually getting the tested drug.

    Lawrence, usually I would say “you can do better than this”, but now I am not so sure where you are coming from with this type of analysis.


  6. I agree with the criticism of this ‘blame the victim’ tone. There is truth here but the lens is distorting it. First- Richard Lewis here makes good points- biology matters. And biology cannot be separated from the greater environmental context that puts neurotoxins in the meds and in the food and water in the form of pesticide or lead contamination. Social matters too – we are after all social creatures. There is a challenge here because it’s not just meds that have negative impacts. PTSD and other impairments also cause cognitive problems- I don’t think we’ll ever have the data we need to parse it all with any strong authority. We can all probably agree though that patients in crisis have different needs than when they are functioning fully and we need more good ways to get from one to the other. Patients need help de-institutionalizing no matter whether it is inside or outside of a building. They will never totally be free of the need for some structure, order and connection whether this comes from friends and family and community or from healthcare providers. How does a person go from being told what to do and when to do it to making good choices on their own? From what I’ve seen, it occurs when a person feels safe and secure (#1) with no threats of being cut off from the roof over their heads, the meds that get them to sleep at night, or the resources that keep them from begging for food); once that’s settled, they need daily contact with people who really care about them- they need walks in the park, phone calls, grocery trips, trips to the movies- and everything that passes as normal life. They need opportunities to exercise their decision making legs- and they need a safety net that allows them to be imperfect and not be punished for it. The fact that our culture has succeeded in isolating, compartmentalizing, and separating so many from their community is one of the biggest problems. Until we acknowledge that we are all in this together, pushing people into the ‘other’ category will continue to harm us all.

  7. I think this article was meant tongue and cheek? But I agree with many others here that it really dismisses or even outright denies the true harm the psychiatric drugs can do, which isn’t really funny. Antidepressants are not placebos. A placebo is “a harmless pill,” by definition. It is well know the antidepressants can create “mania,” increase suicides, violence, and they can also create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning. So stating “antidepressants are placebos” is factually incorrect.

    The antipsychotics are a horrendous class of neurotoxins. They, too, can create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. And as a person who was poisoned with these drugs, who did manage to maintain my one hour a day of biking or rowing, I will tell you these drugs do cause weight gain. I managed to not gain a tremendous amount of weight, due to my continued exercise. But I will tell you I lost a fair amount of weight after I was weaned off the antipsychotics. Weight gain is a problem with this drug class, due to the chemical imbalances that the drugs create. The common sense reality that no “chemical imbalances” exist prior to one being given psychiatric drugs, does not mean drugs filled with chemicals can’t create “chemical imbalances.”

    You go on to question, “I agreed with each word in Whitaker’s book, until he proposed that patients mostly worsen due to chemical effects of their meds. I wondered: He showed that ‘mental illnesses’ aren’t chemically caused, so why suggest that their worsening when ‘treated’ is mainly chemically caused?” Because the psychiatric drugs are neurotoxins that do cause tremendous harm to those who are forced to take them. Your seeming ignorance of the harm psychiatric drugs can do shows the staggering level of ignorance by psychiatrists, regarding the adverse effects of the drugs your industry prescribes, which is rather shameful.

    I found your “institutionalization” rant a bit absurd, and actually highly insulting to those of us defrauded, defamed, and iatrogenically harmed by pedophilia covering up psychiatrists. Personally, I think one reason many do worse after being given the psychiatric drugs is because the drugs have not just short run, but very long run, withdrawal effects – which are of course similar to the DSM disorder symptoms, how convenient for psychiatry. I see your “institutionalization” rant as more psychiatric denial and psychobabble to obfuscate the adverse and withdrawal effects of the drugs your industry is forcing down people’s throats. And I do agree with those who see you as a “blame the patient” type. No, it’s the neurotoxins that are a problem.

    You do come to a correct conclusion, the DSM needs to go. The mass psychiatric drugging of the population needs to end as well. But I must confess, the child abuse covering up theologies of the psychologists really are no more morally acceptable than the silencing of the child abuse victims done by the psychiatrists with their neurotoxins. I’d like to see both industries end their paternalistic, but staggeringly profitable, systemic cover ups of the rape of women and children. And that’s basically all either of those industries seems to end up doing, according to your own medical literature. We’d be better off as a society getting rid of both the psychiatric and psychological industries, and starting to arrest the pedophiles and rapists instead.

  8. In the end, Lawrence Kelmenson is right: institutional disempowerment is more serious than psychiatric drug addiction.

    @Richard D. Lewis

    The “victims” do not exist: there are only social conflicts and the notion of “victim” and “persecutor” is a view of the mind. Besides, the roles can change.

    We must stop thinking of people as victims, and ourselves as saviors! Of course, we can help people, but not beyond certain limits; on the other hand, we can not help someone who does not want to help himself. I’m really tired of these psychotics who, using the pretext of a trauma (which is real), make fools to be hospitalized and then be saved by a good Saint-Maritain!

    Psychotics are responsible for their actions, whether they like it or not, and we must not encourage them to indulge in irresponsibility.

    “Poor little thing, he’s sick, he’s weaning, he’s intoxicated!” No! We can help them, but not beyond a certain limit. Their actions have their consequences: enough mothering!

    • If “psychotics” are peaceful weirdos talking to little purple men in the walls let them. But I know people who use their labels of “bipolar” or “schizophrenia” as an excuse to act like jerks–even abusers.

      On the other hand once you have such a label you are certain to be ostracized and emotionally abused (or worse) yourself.

      We need to judge people on the content of their character–not psychiatric labels!

  9. Sigh, all the trouble these psychiatric doctors take to deny the harmfullness of their pills. These substances are proven toxics, see for example Zyprexa (olanzapine) – .

    So if these are toxic substances and submitting them to a patient or writing prescriptions for them is a crime to do, why is there still debate on whether is would heal people or prevent relapse or whatever ?? It’s is torture to use them, and those who use them are criminals that should be prosecuted.

    It is not about the harmfullness, not about the effectiveness, it’s is about that it is criminal to admister a toxic to a patient.

  10. I knew this mental hospital employee who was charged with the task of running groups for patients who didn’t want to leave the hospital despite anything and everything that occurred within the place. I don’t think mental hospitals ever were, in any literal sense, asylums. There is something to the claim that there is a lot wrong with institutionalization.

    The drugs are harmful, but within the context of the hospital, a patient hasn’t the liberty to reject them, at least, not in the hospitals where I was confined. The thing is, there are people on the same drugs that have never been confined to a hospital ward, and they stay on them. People take these drugs, in some instances, because they fear for their sanity if they didn’t. Of course, there are others, such as myself, who would fear for our sanity if we did.

    I have been relatively lucky. Despite multiple hospitalizations, I never got stuck for a year or more in the hospital. I dread to think of what might have transpired if I had. I have seen people devastated by such an experience to the extent that they were unable to recover their composure. I’d like to think I had more strength than that, but knowing the strength of psych drugs, I’m not sure my own would hold up so well.

  11. I think that institutionalization and drug dependency are both problems. They also exist to different degrees in different people. For example, I’m familiar with people who have rejected the institution, yet are still left struggling with chemical dependency or residual withdrawal effects.

    Moreover, your placebo argument didn’t make sense. Even if a drug doesn’t have antidepressant effects for a person it is still capable of changing their brain. I’ll use a vivid example to make it clear to you how a ineffective drug can still do bad things with or without psychiatry: Imagine that your life is painful so you begin drinking to drown your sorrows. The alcohol ends up not helping your mood in the long run because alcohol is actually ‘depressogenic’. However after using it everyday for 10 years, you now try to quit. What a surprise, you end up with awful withdrawal without ever stepping into the system!

    Denying the existance of this part of people’s journey to freedom is mean. I agree with your point though about the harm of helplessness. Perhaps we just need to make it clear to everyone that withdrawal isn’t permanent, because people can move on, and because hope is so important.

  12. The only way to prove your hypothesis would be to take psychotropics off the market and then monitor the long term effects. And see how much “learned helplessness” adds to the equation.

    But unfortunately another factor would have to be taken out. The brain damage already caused by the toxins or drugs prescribed. You’d literally have to wait till everyone died who took psychotropics since 1 out of 5 have taken something in their lifetime.

    This theory of yours would be extremely hard to quantify.

  13. The first compliance ritual ,the forced vaccinations at birth , monkey’s blood, formaldehyde, plus heavy metal compounds straight into the bloodstream -then more of the same on going until as many as 72 or so “vitally necessary” peutrafications are forced into the bloodstream. Then we have heavy metal mercury dentistry installing the second deadliest substance on the periodic table as amalgams in close proximity to the brain . Then there’s a good chance of getting beat up or raped by a family member or a “friendly stranger”. In a weakened state ,here comes psychiatry to take full advantage of their perceived opportunity to turn you into a lifetime compliant slave to pharmaceutical poisons and/or electrical hell and/or psychological brainwashing taking away from you every ally you might have left or any you may find in the future . We may know more than we want to. Certainly we know by now, there are guilds whose members can impose pseudo scientific procedures any way they choose on anyone they pick out , all sanctioned by a corrupt government they are part of. Don’t trust these mainstream guild member’s ,they are brainwashed themselves, outsmart them , your future does not include them , learn what you have to, elsewhere , you can overcome. I’m just one person that is living proof it can be done.

  14. I have always been a strong-headed and strong-willed person with my very own and very unique perspective on life. I was convinced, that nothing but myself could influence how I thought and what I felt. But after having been drugged up with antipsychotics, to my dismay and utter amazement, I found out that I was no longer in control over my innermost being. Yes, the institutionalization did also have a crashing effect, but I was in hospital for about five weeks only. And I could have coped with that experience, even with the blatant lies about my ‘brain disease’, the humiliation, the paternalistically treatment, etc., and go on with my life. But the drugs brought me down on my knees because to my horror I experienced myself as internally crippled and paralysed. It is hard to describe to anybody who has not experienced the effect of these drugs themselves for a longer period. Its not only about being tired and sedated. They take away your innermost self and kick you out of your center. Its an assault on your soul. And the tragical thing is that it is incredibly difficult to find your way back to that core being of yourself even long after stopping the drugs. This description may seem exaggerated but for me it is the truth about what it felt to me. And I only ever took antipsychotics for four/five months. Never would I have thought possible that a pill could so easily wipe out the sense of what it means to be ‘me’… Although I never quite believed the biological explanation of my psychosis (which happened after a specific traumatic event) I struggled hard to escape psychiatry and its way of thinking. The drugs make you weak, incredible defenseless and vulnerable. You can no longer repulse things that others force on you. Your internal being lies open and is cracked. Therefore, allthough I understand your train of thought and feel that you mean well and possibly want to strengthen the patient side, I feel the need to tell you, that with this kind of drugs being strong willed and centered is not enough. They are desigend to overwhelm you and make you compliant. I have practised meditation since quite some time, I knew before psychosis and now know again, how to clear my mind and balance my emotiinal state. But it didn’t help me nor did it prepare me for the encounter with antipsychotics…

  15. I think people really believe that our nature as human beings has changed as our mode of living has changed. People have become more separated from family, more mobile, we have lost a little with each new generation, of the things which really we evolved or were designed into as our natural habitat. We need to be in our clan, tribe, community, and have a sense of common identity. Now, people get evaluated, classified, sorted, and treated like objects. We are taught to compete in just about everything. If we put an animal out of its normal habitat, it’s considered cruel. But we allow ourselves to be put out of our natural habitat, and we call it progress.

  16. The powerful deleterious effects of psychotropic drugs have been documented in pharmaceutical company supported clinical trials (though many of these trials have undoubtedly underestimated the harms). And adverse effects can linger long after an individual discontinues a drug. It’s simply not true that stopping a medicine will necessarily stop the harm it causes. People who have been harmed by drugs are indeed victims. Because a drug causes a chemical effect on the brain and body does not mean the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness is correct. That is a logical fallacy. A drug could have no biological benefits and still have biological adverse effects, as ALL drugs do. You minimize this problem by claiming people can overcome the harms caused by medication by changing their attitude. The institutional effects you mention may be real, but that is a separate issue.

  17. I am wondering if the writer is trying to dispute the harmful effects that are clearly stated in a package insert for any psychotropic drug. These drugs are made to and meant to target and effect the brain. That is the actual theorized purpose of them. There is plenty of research about the harmful effects. A good starting point would be to look at clinical trials and then maybe the FDA database of harmful effects reported. Also, keep in mind that many people do not actually report the effects of the drugs. Actual research and statistics about that can be found just as Robert Whitaker has done.

    Perhaps you might want to look at the evidence because it sounds like your thoughts about those harmed by psychiatry are speaking out unnecessarily. I, personally, would like to see more of us conveying our stories so that attitudes like yours and from people with no lived-experience as being a psychiatric treatment receiver would see the real picture.

    I will bluntly tell you that in my opinion your theory is incorrect. We do NOT “ institutionalize” ourselves. And I will inform you that many people are greatly harmed by psychotropic drugs. That is an actual fact and not theory.

    Also, I wonder if the writer could point out the studies that will back the thought about the term “genetically-impaired brains”. Has new scientific information been found that validates any kind of genetic link? Please correct me if I am wrong but I am certain that is an unproven theory. My opinion is that trying to find (unsuccessfully) some kind of genetic link to what psychiatry calls “mental illness” is being done to provide some kind of validation for the practice of psychiatry. There is no scientific way to validate it. And the acts committed by psychiatry are, in my thoughts, nothing less than criminal.

    I can speak directly about being “zombified” by the drugs forced on me and I will point out that I did not ask for it. I was involuntarily drugged and I was greatly harmed by the drugs.

    I am very capable of following a logical thought process and therefore I was unable to follow your conclusions hence, these comments are given by “my authority” on the topic.

    The fact that the DSM is called a medical model approach does not actually make that statement true. If it is a medical model as stated please tell me where the actual science of medicine is contained in that book. I would like the APA or anyone that agrees to explain and scientifically support the claim that “mental Illness” (not my term) is the same as having diabetes.

    Perhaps the DSM could include statistics about actual death rates about FDA approved psychiatric drugs. Maybe not, it seems that there is no focus on the fact that real people have been killed by these drugs yet they are still allowed to be marketed. The profit from the drugs seems more important than actual real lives that have been lost to them. One or two lives don’t matter in the whole scheme of things? That seems to be the general attitude if even thought about by anyone.

    Where do I cast MY vote to discard the DSM? I would like to see that done because there is no biological basis for it in the first place. There is no actual proof to the theory that exists and because of the DSM much harm is done to people. That statement is a fact and not theory.

    I apologize for saying this but because of trying to follow your theory about “institutionalization” I have determined that you might want to consider trying to strengthen the left hemisphere in your brain before making any further suppositions. Maybe a drug cocktail could help with that. The possibilities of combinations of the drugs in it are infinite. If you can think after being on the cocktail of drugs for a time then write about your perspective about that experience.

    I wonder who and how it has been determined that you have any kind of authority about this topic or why anything should be considered “your authority”. You actually have no authority whatsoever so please do not think that you do. People with lived experience of being psychiatrically drugged are the ones that have the authority on this subject matter and are more qualified to speak about the problems that exist and to talk about our own unique circumstances and are apt to accurately present things. Please do not continue to define us with any further cookie- cutter descriptions or opinions.

  18. Too much writing here. Maybe I’m missing something because I admit skimming but I would say that both drugs AND institutionally-bred dependency can have extremely deleterious effects. Is the main argument about which of these is worse, or whether it’s one and not the other?

    • Kind of a waste of time. IF I beat a guy senseless with a baseball bat AND cause his body temp to rise above 105 degrees for 24 hours, then let him go, it’s a safe bet he will be brain damaged.

      Which hurt him more, multiple blows to his cranium or elevated body temp? Who cares!

  19. Thanks, Lawrence, for article and those who responded. “Learned helplessness” is certainly a valid phenomenon. I saw it in the adult units in the state hospital as well as in group homes for those with “severe and persistent mental illness”. This occurs because of the philosophy of these places. I saw the cause as paternalism and a sense that these individuals had permanent disabilities and no chance of being functional human beings. When you have low expectations and that is what you get. Being a “good patient” also meant doing what the staff wanted, i.e. go to groups, take medication and do not cause any disruption to make the staffs’ jobs more difficult.

    I would say that this article puts too much blame on the victims. MDs are in a position of power and trust in this society. Many seem to enjoy their status and power position and love the dependency that others transfer on them. Psychiatry truly has taken advantage of those most vulnerable in society: the poor and traumatized. They have lost any trust society placed on them.

    Freud certainly was a great intellectual of his day, and I enjoyed reading some of his work, “Civilization and Its Discontent” was my favorite which I remember reading first in theology class in college. Psychoanalysts are always interesting but psychoanalysis is more for the white upper classes and misses race and socioeconomic issues. Freud was obviously wrong about sexual abuse and women. It is 2018 and women fortunately have gotten more social, economic and political power than in Freud’s day. We no longer have to have “penis envy”.

  20. CW: self-injury

    We (ΝΥΞ) try to take value-laden language like “bad”, “ill” “sick” and “diseased” out of our understanding of our own experiences.

    We are not our brain.
    We /have/ a brain.

    It’s the only brain we have and the only one we’ll ever have. Because it is the way it is, our brain is very sensitive to psycho-social stimuli and (most often) reacts in ways we do not always enjoy and can make the life we wish to live difficult to attain.

    We’re plural because this is the way our brain developed as a child, and we, ourselves, developed as a plural sisterhood as a response to the trauma of having a brain such as ours.

    Even with all of our safeguards and defense mechanisms, we are still not able to fully control how our brain reacts to things beyond those reactions we deem desirable.

    There are tools available that can help us in more effectively controlling for the ways in which our brain responds to psycho-social stimuli.

    These tools work with our brain at a biological level; a level that we are not well-equipped to address in purely psycho-social ways.
    These tools help stabilize the neuro-electric flux in our brain that keep us from reaching our full potential as individuals and as a plural sisterhood.

    These tools happen to come in pill-form and we deem the risks associated with them as worth taking.
    These pills are not safe, but then again nothing truly is.
    The only thing that has proven to be just as, if not more, effective at keeping us in our Reality is self-injury.

    We see the available psycho-active medicines as a preferable alternative to SI.

    Brain drugs will not solve the psycho-social stressors which we face. They will only work in reducing the neurologically-based challenges we face when attempting to resolve said stressors.
    To us, these drugs are a means to an end.
    Do we wish we did not have to use them?
    But because we have the brain we have, they help us get by and live the lives we wish to live.

    -Liberty, Serenity & Mercy

    In other words: we’re the only people we know who use brain drugs in order to hear voices (our own and each other’s), not silence them.

    We’ve taken issue with the author in the past for being too black-and-white, all-or-nothing in his characterization of his critics.
    We don’t kowtow to psychiatry or it’s practitioners.
    We don’t see ourselves as helpless victims.
    And we certainly don’t use medication as if it were some kind of “cure” for what we experience as neurodivergent people.
    Is there nothing to be said for self-/selves-determination?


    • More with the “neurodivergence,” a term with no clear definition. Anyway,

      There are tools available that can help us in more effectively controlling for the ways in which our brain responds to psycho-social stimuli.

      Psych drugs, you mean? What do these have with self-determination, other than being one of the many harmful practices one has a right to engage in if he/she chooses? Perhaps sedation has legitimate medical functions in a truly medical situation such as organic brain dysfunction, but this is not a psychiatric matter.

  21. I think our movement…if we have one…has started to examine the drugs very closely and turn its focus on drugs more than it did before. Of course this needs to happen, but there are consequences. Was it okay to take us out of the workforce? Okay to lock us up in the name of treatment, or okay to put us in housing where we never interacted with anyone but other mental patients? Was it okay to put us in a new fake world where we learned that some people were “staff” and others were “patients” and never the two shall mix, a black-and-white scenario that taught us to think like that, black and white, now a new mental illness for which we shall be soon blamed forever?

    That was institutionalization. We learned that “staff” were the authorities. We learned that they knew everything. We learned to go crying to them whenever we had the tiniest problem. We learned that we were patients who couldn’t do a darned thing for ourselves. But the handy staff did it all for us. They drove us to appointments, found “providers” for us, called us to remind us of appointments when we really could remember anyway, brought us our drugs and reminded us to take them when we were perfectly capable of remembering, and even read aloud to us stuff we could read ourselves. We got “help” playing children’s games. We were handed stuffed animals and told to role-play, encouraged to carry stuffed animals around in public and encouraged to talk baby-talk. We were encouraged to bawl like little kids and then, told we needed “therapy” because we had cried.

    Therapeutic groups were charged to Medicare by the head, sometimes over 50 dollars a head. Sometimes this consisted of watching a filmstrip or video and then, several minutes of discussion afterward. One staff would be in the room, a “staff” who often did not even have a college education. It wasn’t necessary. Staff were called “smart” by default, because they were staff and because they had rights and because they had keys to the unit. We patients usually had far more college education than the staff running the group, but we were too polite or too drugged to say so.

    I rarely got through a hospitalization without enduring a game of Bingo. We had to be supervised for these Bingo games because we were considered dangerous. The Bingo board was generally oversized, which baffled me because very few of us, if any, were vision-impaired. The instructions for playing were over-simplified, told to us as if we could not understand or as if the game was so complex that our defective brains couldn’t possibly comprehend it.

    Some of the groups were worksheet-type groups. This of course made it easy for the junior staff that had no clue how to run a group. All these staff had to do was read the worksheet as a group, alternating, and then, have the patients fill it out. I personally found reading the worksheet aloud insulting since most of us did not need a read-aloud. I knew that the read-aloud time was only filler for the staff, who didn’t know what else to do with the group time. They needed to claim all this was therapy, after all.

    There came times during my patienthood that I became insulted by the selection of groups available to me. So I complained in various ways. “The groups are insulting.” “The groups are beneath my educational and maturity level.” “The groups have no relevance to real life outside the institution.”

    What happened? I was told, “You clearly cannot handle the groups and therefore, need to stay longer.” “You cannot cope with the groups. They make you too anxious.” “The groups are too challenging for you.” “You are paranoid.”

    My favorite remark was the following: “You are incapable of sitting in a room full of people.” This was told to me by John Gunderson. This one cracks me up and I wish I had tape-recorded it, because I believe this remark alone reflects the entirely of psychiatry’s incompetence.

    These days, I compete in public speaking contests, have no stage fright, and plan to compete more in the coming months and years. I get a lot of compliments, too. I love to speak in front of an audience and I do so whenever I get a chance.

    I’ve been talking about institutionalization for ages in my blog: if anyone wants to come over and have a look.

    • Your experience with groups in the “hospital” is almost exactly like mine. I was assigned to groups, with no participation from me as to which groups I thought might be beneficial to me. No consultation, I was just assigned because the staff and the psychiatrist knew more about me and my own life than I obviously did! So, I told the psychiatrist that I’d go to each group one time to see what each was like. If, at the end of that one time I believed that I could do a better job leading the group than the person leading the group then I would not attend said group again. I didn’t get to leave the unit because you had to attend 80% of your assigned groups to be able to go to “treatment mall”. Groups were even worse in the private “hospital” where I was held before being sent to the state “hospital”. Staff group leaders didn’t know much of anything and they didn’t really care that they didn’t know anything. After all, they were staff.

      The two groups I did attend I was not assigned to. One was a Peer Recovery group and one was Anger Management. I attended the Recovery group because the person leading it was a former “patient” and had some interesting insights on everything. She also let us function as a real group. I went to the Anger Management group because the woman leading it was wonderful. She was perhaps the best group leader I’ve ever experienced and her group often had twenty to twenty-five people in it, most of who were not assigned. People attended because she was wonderful and affirmed our humanity and dignity. I went to observe how she worked with people.

      • Stephen – In the 1970s, everything was groups, groups, groups. I was the `therapist’ for these groups, thrown in at the deep end, often with little knowledge of the members of the group, why they were there or what they thought about the whole process. As a rookie, I’d read a lot of the theory, but because of other experiences I would use the groups to basically `meet and greet’. I had a slightly different orientation from my fellow `therapists’, I didn’t see any real difference between my `patients’ and myself, and they knew that. I don’t know if I ever did any good, but I hope I didn’t do too much harm. THEN
        30 years later, I found myself a member of groups. The experience was extraordinary. Almost without exception the `therapist’, usually a psychologist, ran these as if they were following a list of instructions from a manual. They had little control, frequently allowed people to become very distressed, and didn’t have a clue how to disarm situations and keep the group members safe, a cardinal rule. At first, disgusted by their incompetence, I abdicated and didn’t go, but since there was nothing else to do in these places, I started going again. I often took over if things got stressful, and felt I was rescuing the `therapist’ more often that the `patients’.
        I know it’s fatal to state the old person’s mantra, “It was better in the olden days” as one looks through misty lens at the past, but really, it sometimes seems to me that the old `loony bins’ were, in many ways, better places to be than the modern psychiatric facilities.

        • Dee, my experience likewise. I think due to budgetary concerns the “groups” got considerably worse after the early 80’s. The therapists were not very well trained, if at all, after that. They started those “worksheet”-style groups that pretty much anyone who had as much as a junior high school education could lead. The worksheets were ready-made groups and I recall seeing the group leaders shuffling through the worksheets and saying, “Which one this time?” “Did they do this one last time?” “Shall I do this worksheet, or that one?” “Will they know if I do this one again?” “Shall I just play music and have them do ‘relaxation’? They like that, right?”

          I always knew when these programs got paid by the head, because we either had to sign a paper saying we’d attended, and we were pushed into going (so they’d get paid more), or, someone would stand outside and write down who had shown up. Medicare paid for each of us. I cannot believe playing music for us was a group.

          Not only that, well-meaning friends of mine would call me, back when I did, in fact, have friends that called, and they’d say, “Oh, how are the therapy groups, are they helping you get better?” I didn’t know what to say to that. I tried to explain, but so often the staff were near the phones. Once I recall I tried to explain to a friend, tried to say, “It’s not really therapy and all they do is–” and I tried to hold back tears, but the staff member stopped me, interrupted my phone call and insisted I get off the phone immediately. They never wanted anyone revealing what a shithole the place was.

      • My group experiences were also insulting and degrading. I began having nightmares that I was forced to attend 2nd grade as a woman in her 30’s or 40’s. I would ask the teacher when I would be allowed to graduate; she would tell me I was too dumb to ever get out.

        Before I kissed the Crazy Making System good bye I started having dreams of escaping this dystopian 2nd grade setting.

        I was too unruly, hyper-sensitive, and weird as a kid. So I had to attend an SBD school for developmentally delayed kids. BAD IDEA! I first got depressed in the second grade–hated that school! I got yelled at for reading too much and talking about things the others couldn’t understand.

        My IQ is above average, btw. Even on drugs it was. Being forced to watch Despicable Me, The Smurfs, and play Ring Around the Rosie in public (traffic passed by so everyone could see us acting like morons) sounds funny. But it was very humiliating. I think that’s what Day Treatment is about. Breaking spirits and public degradation.

  22. So maybe clients who deteriorate over time aren’t really hopelessly, permanently brain-disabled.

    This is what seems to upset some people — i.e. the belief that all is not lost as a result of previous drug use. Dr. K is apparently being pummeled for encouraging hope and suggesting that the body/brain is capable of healing in time.

    Drugging is one aspect of institutionalization, but even without drugs it is a destructive force. The two certainly work together to make matters even worse. Kelmenson may understate the true destructiveness of psych drugs. But I still don’t get the anger over his suggestion that people can overcome their circumstances.

        • Exasperation is what I was going for there. I reject your framing of the situation as people being angry about Kelmenson’s suggestion that drug damage isn’t always permanent and that there is reason for hope.

          Kelmenson may understate the true destructiveness of psych drugs.

          No. He *is* understating the true destructiveness of psych drugs.

    • I think there certainly is a sensitivity that is very understandable about being “blamed” for getting “institutionalized” by psychiatry when I see the responsibility in the hands of the medical professionals for propagating dependence and profiting off it. I think Lawrence is an ethical person and I think it is unfair for him to hold the whole bag for psychiatry’s sins. He has written extensively about how wrong psychiatry has gone. People certainly can and do overcome their circumstances which should give hope that one has inner strength and their own innate ability instead of reliance on psychiatry and drugs that we know now are harmful. Reduce demand and psychiatry will go away.

    • I didn’t hear anyone denying this. I heard people objecting to being told they supported the “medical model” by insisting that brain damage from psych drug use is very real, above and beyond the institutionalization that Dr. K rightly identifies. He appears to be saying that damage from drug use is NOT a key factor and anyone that says it is would be supporting the “chemical imbalance theory.” This assertion is just plain wrong and needs to be challenged. It’s too bad, because the bulk of his essay makes a whole lot of sense. Breeding dependency is psychiatry’s stock in trade.

  23. I just wish we could, at the very least, get a refund for all the money many of us poured down the drain for years and years while thinking we were getting some kind of health or support “service,” only to discover later, experientially, that this is all a crock–and a dangerous, harmful, and individually and communally damaging one at that. The expense of it all is staggering.

    Healing from psych drugs damage is rugged, complex, and takes some time, but it’s doable, in my experience and things can come back into their natural balance with appropriate attention and focus. And healing from the traumatic stressors of institutionalized social abuse (the blatant stigma, oppression, and a compromising of human rights and dignity that comes from systemic marginalization) is also incredibly hard personal growth and healing work, but I do believe it is possible to individuate from an abusive society, layer by layer; and again from my experience, that is a good healing journey to take, bringing clarity, relief, and ultimately, personal freedom.

    However, healing from the financial strife of being vampired by a sorely misguided and even corrupt institution such as psychiatry sure seems to be, with terrible–horrifying!–results all over the place to prove it, is also a challenge that so many survivors face on a daily basis, while others are growing richer and richer in that very same power dynamic, and this is clearly the case, which is called “exploitation.” When justice is finally served, the economic poles should flip.

  24. I think people are misreading this blog. I don’t see victim-blaming here. I see psychiatry-blaming and honestly, despite my differences with MIA editors I highly doubt they’d publish something that was damning of patients. Such writing won’t float here. Read it again. I believe Lawrence is right on the mark. Institutionalization causes dependency. Very basic. Very obvious. Very overlooked because it’s so obvious. He is not saying that psych takes advantage of people who are weak to begin with. He says PRECISELY what I say in my own personal blog outside of here (because MIA won’t touch my stuff) and I’ve been saying for years. Psych, particularly at the inpatient and “day treatment” level, consists of heavy-duty brainwashing that causes dependency, causes long-term reliance on “staff,” causes a person to defer to whatever the doctor says, causes a person to default to “patient mode,” and causes a person to assume without question that he/she is unable to work, incapable, and disabled for life. Is this the victim’s fault? NO! This is caused by the horror story called psychiatry. This should be a wake-up call, and not a reason to sit here and bash yet one more great article coming from MIA.

    • I haven’t misread a damned thing. I don’t think anybody here is saying that psychiatric brainwashing isn’t a problem. We can acknowledge that it is a problem without throwing all the people who have been damaged by psych drugs under the bus.

    • i mean don’t you guys get it? DON’T LOCK PEOPLE UP! That’s what this blog says. Locking people up harms them. That and nothing more. It’s the elephant in the room all-too often ignored by activists who insist on adding too many spices to the soup, too many arguments and complex statistical data no one can understand but the issue is in fact very basic. Why should people who have only asked for help be locked up? Put behind locked doors? Incarceration defies logic, yet taxpayers pay for these so-called “hospitals” and actually want more built.

      • Well, that is the most basic thing. I think what people got upset about was being accused of being biological determinists simply because they believe that drugs can alter one’s mood and behavior in negative ways. Other than that, I think it’s a fine blog, but I think that sentiment has been properly taken as an insult.

        That being said, I believe the #1 issue we should pursue is the elimination of the psychiatric hold. Arresting people and locking them up is not “treatment” and should not be allowed to be called that. If people need to be arrested for threatening or harming people or otherwise violating their rights, it should be called arrest and jail, not “treatment.” If we can accomplish that, antipsychiatry will be so far ahead of the game as to almost have won.

        • To Steve, Oldhead, Julie and All Others Minimizing the “blame the victim” theme in this blog:

          Reread the following quote from the blog:

          “In seeking psychiatric treatment, clients transfer responsibility for dealing with life’s struggles to medical authorities….They thus commit to and get locked into lifelong dependence on psychiatry.”


          This is a straight up “blame the victim” bullshit. There is no such thing as genuine or real “CONSENT TO TREATMENT” when people are sucked into, through false advertising and billion dollar PR campaigns, and/or coerced into psychiatry’s web of lies and oppressive forms of so-called “treatment.”

          Of course, if I had a ONE TO ONE counseling relationship and/or friendship, with someone caught up in the system, yes, I would be challenging them to take control of their life and find ways to not get caught up in any forms of “learned helplessness.

          But I would NEVER EVER make ANY broad blanket like public statements that put ANY AMOUNT of blame on the millions of victims of these oppressive institutions, like psychiatry, which both cause and perpetuate poverty and disability.

          I can’t believe some of you can’t see the serious problems with this blog, in addition to its denial of specific forms of harm done by psychiatric drugging.


          • I think psychiatry itself is well aware of the harms it does. It is well aware of the harms of institutionalization, and well aware of the harms of the drugs it and pharma have created (even before the drugs are released, or they are certain suspect) but as soon as they do cause harm and anyone points out the obvious (such as patient death) they shift the responsibility of their crimes onto those they harmed. It works every time. It works even if the patient is alive. It’s called Mental Illness. They lock people up for that.

          • Lawrence

            You said: “So by your insisting that people don’t have any of these capabilities when in reality they do have some, you are being pro-psychiatry…”

            Stop putting your words in my mouth and/or creating “straw man” arguments to cover up a wrong position. Where have I EVER said people do not have the capabilities of “choice” and “responsibility?”

            What the whole argument centers around here is: where do we place BLAME for these problems? You are making a strong case that the blame should be SHARED by the victims. Bullshit!

            So I guess women who are raped should have known better than to have worn provocative cloths and/or drank too much alcohol, and/or been alone with the rapist. According to you, they must SHARE the blame – bullshit!

            So I guess the millions of Jews should have refused to “willingly” get on the trains. They should have known better; they should have known better that the Nazis were up to no good. They should have put up more resistance, and therefore they must SHARE the blame for their ultimate demise – bullshit!

            And Black people should know better than to show attitude towards cops, show up in high risk places, and/or display any behavior that might be suspicious in any way, and therefore they must SHARE the blame for being gunned down by the cops – bullshit!

            People stuck in poverty could have made different choices in their life, and/or “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and therefore they must SHARE the blame for remaining in the bottom rungs of society – bullshit!

            You sound like Bill Cosby (we know where he ended up) when he used to moralistically preach to other Black people about SHARING blame for their remaining stuck in poverty, on welfare, and having children without two parents etc., etc. – bullshit!

            Again, in ONE TO ONE conversations with individuals in any of these particular situations we would most definitely help someone carefully sum up their choices and options in life, so they might do their best to avoid risky situations, danger, defeatist type mentalities etc.

            But on a societal level, we are talking about institutional and systemic forms of violence. In these conversations and public positions we NEVER EVER place ANY blame on the oppressed. This only serves to reinforce the ideology and programs of the oppressor.

            Lawrence, you are NOT being anti-psychiatry when you “blame the victims” of psychiatry by saying they must SHARE responsibility for their position as victims. This is bullshit!

            I usually don’t use this strong form of language in my comments. But you have refused to be self-critical of your comments, and have doubled down on your arguments while deploying specious methods of debating such important issues.


          • I must say, I didn’t really notice that section of the blog. I agree 100% that psychiatric practitioners take advantage of social power to deceive and manipulate people into believing they are able to help, and that blaming their “patients” is blaming the victim. I agree also with your later comments that assigning responsibility is different than assigning blame. It is true that the vast majority of those engaged with psychiatry do so “willingly” and have the agency to make another choice, but the combination of our deification of doctors as “scientists” that near godhead, as well as the intentional misinformation provided by doctors, drug companies, and the psychiatric profession as a whole makes such agency extremely difficult to exercise. Not only are trusted doctors providing bad information and pressuring their patients to “take their meds,” our entire society has embraced this “solution” and there is now mounting social pressure from friends and family and even acquaintances to get with the program. We have seen the lengths to which psychiatry and the drug companies go do attack reputable physicians and clinicians and to deny people with personal experience who critique the psychiatric model with hard data from psychiatry’s own research arm. It is difficult to get one’s head around the full pressure that is put on untrained individuals without our level of knowledge and advocacy skills to simply knuckle under and accept the doctors’ advice uncritically, or the attacks they receive if they decide not to take such advice.

            So you are absolutely right, Richard, and I apologize for not supporting you fully. Clients can NEVER be responsible for the decisions of the profession to manipulate and pressure them into complying with their misguided or downright nefarious “advice.” Thanks for clarifying the issue for us all!

          • Steve

            Thanks so much for that comment. I appreciate all of your critical thinking skills when deconstructing the Medical Model. I also appreciate your willingness to be self-critical when you miss a point or misinterpret someone’s comment.

            When will Lawrence be self-critical and admit that he was promoting a theme of “blame the victim” in part of his blog?


          • He’s having a hard enough time admitting that psychiatric drugs actually can damage the brain. I doubt the victim blaming piece will be resolvable. But we’ll see.

  25. I did, for a long time, feel like kicking myself for believing the lies. I felt like a fool. I felt embarrassed that I had been duped. I felt jealous of the younger survivors who got out so much sooner than I did. I felt like a fool for letting them walk all over me.

    Now, though, I know that each of us was in different circumstances, that some are more easily able to walk out than others. I no longer ask myself why I stayed in. I know why. I know I stayed in year after year hoping that “the right one” would show up who could cure my eating disorder (which they apparently did not know I had!). “Next year, they’ll figure it out…” I said that to myself, over and over. “This admission will be the one.” “This doctor knows, not like the others.” “This will be the pill that stops the binge eating.” Little did I know, they weren’t trying to cure my ED, they were trying to cure nonexistent bipolar and schiz I never had.

    Somewhere in Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye keeps saying, “On the other hand…” and gives in to changing cultural demands, part of the plot. But one day, he blows his top and says, “There is no other hand!”

    There was no other hand for me. Probably water deprivation was the last straw. I think people walk out when it gets to the point of there being no other hand left, and that point is not the same for everyone, just like we grow taller at different rates. While I sure wish it was sooner for me rather than 34 years down the line, I’m glad it happened and glad I’m still alive.

    I don’t blame myself anymore. I ask how I can help others get out sooner, or not go in at all.

  26. WTF. MIA just glitched on me and erased my whole post I was working on. So I’ll never finish this tonight, as this isn’t sound-bite material. Here’s a recap of what I had begun to say regarding some of the problematic issues here, as “coldly objective” as possible:

    [Whitaker] showed that ‘mental illnesses’ aren’t chemically caused, so why suggest that their worsening when ‘treated’ is mainly chemically caused?

    First of all there aren’t any “mental illnesses,” with or without quotes, only people’s unique experience. That said, it’s not a big leap to grasp that adding neurotoxicity to any problematic situation is going to make matters worse. So while one’s existing emotional suffering may indeed worsen, the addition of brain damage to the mix represents a new, different, and more serious problem, not just a more severe version of the original.

    Why embrace and legitimize psychiatry’s medical model by joining its hunt for biological causes of human experiences?

    Searching for biological causes to sociological/politically based problems is the province of psychiatry, and absurd for sure. However organic drug-induced neurological damage is biological, and would be properly the province of medicine (and a medical model) were there a real medical solution at hand.

    Since mental illnesses are actually reactions to psychosocial issues, why not instead focus on psychosocial causes of their worsening?

    I thought you didn’t accept the notion of “mental illnesses,” Lawrence. This back & forth stuff gets confusing. At any rate, why not focus on both the neurotoxic effects of psych drugs AND on the effects of institutionalization? One doesn’t negate the other; it’s not a competition.

    BTW have “asylums”/”mental institutions” been eliminated while I wasn’t looking? One might think so from the talk of submitting to psychiatric care being “like” becoming an inmate in an “asylum.” For myself and many others no analogy is required. Plus the way this is phrased seems to ignore the element of coercion.

    Anyway that’s all the energy I have for now, probably there will be a Part 2 & maybe Part 3, as it is a separate issue as to whether or not it is oppressive to suggest that all is not lost following neurotoxicity.

  27. I apologize that I have not kept up with all the great comments here and have in fact only been able to read some of them. So I have missed a lot.

    Right now my focus and main work has been on the gross fraud of coerced disability and coerced unemployment since 10+ years of being put out of the workforce, or even a few years, depending on which field of work you’re in, inevitably means you are unemployable even though you are capable of working.

    After I was called schiz, I had to go buy a book on schiz (I bought the Torrey book) to see how a “good” schiz should act. I wondered why I couldn’t hear voices. I kept listening and listening, twisting my head different ways, and still, I couldn’t hear them like a proper schiz. I even turned down the radio. Maybe that would do it. But no. Nothing. I wasn’t good enough, I figured. Why couldn’t I hear them? What should I answer when the doc asked me what the voices said? Fake it?

    Institutionalization robs us of the ordinary skills that people gain from being immersed in the workforce. Working people may hardly be aware of this. The simple gesture of the handshake is absent in the institution. After 30+ years of intermittent lockup, I had to teach myself to shake hands with people! No one taught me this gesture! You don’t go up to your boss in the workplace and ask for a frozen orange. You don’t excuse yourself because you need to put a paper bag over your head. You don’t cry and share because sharing is “letting it out.” You don’t bring a stuffed animal to work and role-play with it. You don’t go ask your supervisor for a “PRN,” because if you do, your super will ask you what the heck that is. Thankfully, I knew enough not to do these things. I laugh at how useless the “skills” were that we were taught. These were not skills, they were a way to stay mental patients.

    If you ever make it as far as a real job interview you’ll have to invent decades of work history and you’ll need to be creative about it just to get your foot into the door of this thing called “work.” Good luck.

    • Absolutely, Julie. When I was called bipolar, I spent most of the time during that first consultation with a psychiatrist who, I later found out, diagnosed everyone with it, raking through my life to try to come up with episodes that might have resembled what I knew, from being a psychiatric professional, might support it. I found one period of 3 weeks in which I was deeply in lust, trotted it out as, query, a manic episode. `Aha!’ the psychiatrist almost shouted in delight. He was so thrilled that I, in my ECT fog, was so happy for him that I dug around even further and found a `depressive episode’ as well. A bad reaction to severe workplace bullying that ended as suddenly as it began when the source was removed. This man almost thanked me for making him feel warm and right, while I went on to carry a false and stigmatising diagnosis for the rest of my life.
      For 13 years I was treated for what I increasingly knew and often queried, was simply not true. After I quit psychiatry, with not a single symptom of bipolar, I got myself some help for the severe stress problems I had accumulated – I had 24 of the 34 listed symptoms of that and my psychiatrist, who called herself a `PTSD’ specialist, never once followed up on my suggestion that that was what I was suffering from. The reason as I see it was because the issue had been created by psychiatry, an iatrogenic PTSD, and the anxiety created by her cognitive dissonance could not allow her to acknowledge that.
      That is not entirely her fault. We, as a society, have put doctors on a pedestal, as the miracle workers and healers they are not. In an increasingly secular society we need heroes. The discovery of the miracle drug, penicillin, gave doctors that role. They have stayed up there by promising basically to save us from death – the cure for cancer is just around the corner, they will eradicate heart disease and heal our broken bodies with science. Of course this is not true, we will all die no matter what they do but too often the doctor believes he/she is miraculous.
      I found this small article though I didn’t record the author..
      `Do we want to believe in a “magical” treatment for our worst times? Is the generalized loss of “God” being displaced onto the “doctor” to cure us all with pills, or worse? This then places a huge burden on the doctor because he/she is not God and therefore cannot make us better, but must try. After all he/she belongs to the same beliefs as everybody else in our society. As a “healer” the doctor places a huge expectation on him/herself therefore forever pushing more and more extremes of treatments. Needless to say the more ephemeral “illnesses” will attract the “furore therapeuticus” making it possible for even the most benign and gentle ”healers” to do terrible things in order to “help”. From there the path is not going to be very good for the “sick” person. Nonetheless, aren’t we all complicit.’
      Psychiatry, as a belief system, a pseudoscience, without empathy, humility or insight, cashes in on this.

      • Dee, after I was called schiz, my parents went to the doc and complained that I didn’t seem schiz to them. So the doc, Dr Merrifield, met with my parents and me (my two brothers were not present at the time) in a family meeting and he stated, with much to-do, that I was BIPOLAR. Well that got my poor mom cheering, actually, cheering with some relief that I was not schiz! From then on, though, I was doomed to be bipolar, for the next five years or so. I studied bipolar and acted bipolar. I was never manic but when I was happy they called it mania. I was mildly depressed because they didn’t recognize that I had an eating disorder all that time, and were incompetent at treating it, so there were times that I was in an ED-type fog, that likely resembled depression to anyone that saw me.

        Then they did ECT in 1995 and 1996 because my insurance was running out. Now I was dxed with schizoaffective and the added BPD to explain away the effects of ECT. They claimed I was “faking ED for attention” at the time. I lived with the schizoaffective, of which I had no symptoms whatsoever, until I left psychiatry altogether (escaped the country) in 2014.

        I think it is sad that the whole time, they were totally convinced I had a psychotic disorder and they were flat out wrong. Oddly, outside of the institution, such as at school or in situations where I did not reveal my dx, people didn’t seem to see me as nutso. This was what got me the idea of relocating, and got me realizing that relocating was going to work. It got me realizing that if you do not act like a nut, you are not a nut. If you are not seen as a nut, you are not a nut. And furthermore, if you do not talk like one, that is, if you do not describe yourself with THEIR language, you aren’t a nut. This involves inventing (or leaving out) a history for some of us if we are approached by a medical professional. And if you refrain from using substances that risk your sanity, such as booze or mind-bending drugs that could cause you to do or say something you might later regret (as in driving drunk) you are not a nut. It is not worth the risk. Are these things that complicated? This is how to stay out of a nuthouse.

  28. As far as relearning life skills is concerned, I don’t think that it’s necessarily as simple as this sounds. Most of the people who I deal with on a daily basis at a state “hospital” never were allowed to learn the basic skills of living and taking care of oneself because they were dragged into the system as children. Many of these people get a check of some sort but are not their own payee, someone else administrates their money and gives them monthly allowances here and there from their own money. They do not know how to go out and find an apartment, how to get the utilities turned on, how to pay the bills to make sure the utilities stay on, and the list goes on and on. Many times, the system sets them up in an apartment and provides “sitters” for them but much of the time they know nothing about paying bills and cooking supper. And even with all this they end up back in the state “hospital” where they started out from in the beginning.

    Certainly the system teaches learned helplessness without a doubt. But, I also believe that the drugs have chemical effects on people’s bodies and brains that also affect their ability to make life decisions. I’ve seen people put on fifty pounds due to the effects of Seroquel.

    • Stephen, it was only very recent that “patient” learned how to use the internet due to the proliferation of the “smartphone.” Before that, “patients” were not getting online. This meant the online world was “safe” from patient infiltration. It also meant that most patients did not have access to the wealth of information accessible via the web, information about the drugs that had been kept from us for decades. Of course, we could have guessed, but the Web verified that they KNEW all along, they knew the drugs caused organ damage such as kidney failure, they knew about heart damage, they knew about QT damage, they knew about diabetes and TD, but they failed to inform us, or told us it was a “trade-off.” The web also allowed us to connect with each other despite physical distance between us, connect and communicate despite being financially unable to meet in person, even some who are locked up can get online and “talk” to others. This strengthens us and scares psychiatry, and challenges them in a way they were never challenged before.

      • Yes, the internet has been a great thing for us. Unfortunately, where I work “patients” are still not allowed to access the internet. However, I think this will change because we are instituting a committee made up of program staff and people elected from the units to talk about and plan making things like this available to people. It’s taken almost eight years to get to this point but you don’t turn an ocean liner all of a sudden, but must plan for the turn long before the need to do so.

        I’ve gotten a few psychiatrists to admit that the drugs do harm to people but none of them will speak up and take a stand about this.

  29. I do not like the anti-psychiatry thing…
    it will cause more harm than good…
    szasz talked about anti-coercive psychiatry..
    I like that …
    I have been helped by a very good psychiatrist..
    and to eliminate psychiatry you are eliminating
    biology which is not a good move..

    • How is eliminating psychiatry eliminating biology? That’s not logical. Psychiatry doesn’t address “biology.” Psychiatry, or, rather, its “care,” diagnoses people with mental defects according to arbitrary standards that have nothing to do with biology, then, uses these non-biological standards set by rich white guys to designate who will lose their rights. For life. Who will be declared disabled. For life. Who will be out of the workforce even though they are likely plenty capable. For life. Who will never earn an income. For life. Who will be separated from society, shunned, called “dangerous,” or predicted as “dangerous’ based on nothing biologically sound, nothing scientifically reasonable, only guesswork…for life. This, decided in a few minutes…decades ago. This, decided by a signature. This, decided because someone got paid, because someone needed an excuse, because someone decided to do it for convenience and nothing more. Because someone wasn’t willing to open their mouth and explain the whole nasty truth of the matter. Or listen. Or care. And for that reason, lives are wasted, people die, and no one ever knows.

      • Speaking of psychiatric `science’, an oxymoron in fact I’m reminded of a comment by one of the researchers into ECT back in 1980, the so-called best of the ECT placebo studies where they found that the `sham’ ECT, the placebo, had worked just as well for patients with `endogenous’ depression, a `biological’ depression that was not expected to respond to placebos. The reason they proposed was the “extra CARE the subjects experienced during the trial.’
        No one saw anything significant in that statement. It echoes what I was taught about Insulin Coma treatment, gone by the time I was trained, where any good results were assumed to be because of “all the extra attention the patients got during treatment”.
        Nobody then or now hears what they are actually saying – that CARING is what is actually HELPING in SPITE of the treatment.
        Psychiatry’s own words tell us what they can’t hear.

      • I agree, Julie. It’s easy to attack people who don’t support psychiatry as being “anti-science” or “not believing in biological causes.” These are handy ways to discredit people, but that argument assumes that psychiatry is scientific and deals in biological causes. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is not one psychiatric diagnosis that any psychiatrist could tell you the cause of in even a small percentage of cases. And the psychiatric profession ignores the actual science that should inform its practice. There are plenty of real biological conditions that can cause hallucinations, agitation, anxiety, or depressed feelings (including, of course, reactions to the drugs they give you to “treat” such feelings), and we’d be a lot better off if we tried to actually look at real biological causes and peel off those cases of “major depression” or “psychosis” that really DID have a biological cause, and admit that the rest are not “treatable” in the medical sense. The big mistake psychiatry makes is creating a set of labels for conditions they don’t understand, and then assuming biological causation for everyone who fits their subjective criteria. Any real scientist would never put up with that kind of shabby pretense.

        • Steve Mc, that, is precisely what I was saying in my Eating Disorders piece (which Dr. K says he does not agree with but I think he and a few others just did not understand!). If you starve, I mean very very seriously starve, you will then get “stuck” into a very bad dieting cycle that is hard to get out of and can last a long time. This was proven in the Minnesota Starvation experiment. Starvation causes a diet cycle. This, of course, is why people are stuck on yo-yo diets for decades. They can’t stop, can’t lose weight, can’t seem to control themselves, and this isn’t gluttony nor perfectionism nor a mental disorder, it is a dieting disorder. It happened due to a diet, due to starvation, which kicked off a bad cycle. Unfortunately, you will appear to have a mental disorder if it gets really bad. You might act depressed or even racy or hyper, or lethargic. In elders, anorexia will be misinterpreted as Alzheimer’s and this happens frequently I imagine. You cannot think straight if you are eating 300 calories a day, nor can you tell a doctor really what is going on, and next thing you know, you’re in a nursing home called incompetent and unable to care for yourself.

          This IS biological, misunderstood as mentally caused, but it is caused by a diet, by poor nutrition, erratic nutrition, gross nutritional imbalance, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, no nutrition at all, diabetes, organ failure, or being massively overweight or so underweight you can’t think straight anymore. When I almost died and wasn’t eating I was unable to dress myself and unable to braid my hair anymore. I let it hang loose and I could barely stand up. Then my kidneys failed and they called THAT a mental disorder. I had no potassium left in my body. They were very stupid.

    • Unfortunately, it is logical to believe that psychiatry is a valuable, biological (medical) perspective of mental distress since it is an accredited medical (biological) science. Medical schools will pay a high price for legitimizing the pseudoscience of psychiatry and the calamity of pathologizing natural emotional suffering (natural, painful reactions to distressful experiences).

    • my psychiatrist does not use dsm5 diagnosis….
      my psychiatrist is paid cash only…
      because my psychiatrist thinks that
      the psychiatry specialty has a sickness..
      the present model is bio/bio/bio and $$$…

      and I have a mental illness… I say that
      because I do not know the cause of my
      depression suffering and neither does he…
      we are working on it…

      • Just a suggestion…have you looked at the `Life Traps’ (Schema Therapy) concept? A very good psychotherapist, in fact, one of the ONLY good psychotherapists I’ve met pointed me at that simple questionnaire and it opened a whole new set of possibilities for me.
        Also, another suggested that all mental illness is really grief, unrecognised and unvalidated –
        If you haven’t already looked at these, it might be an option.
        Sadly, today’s psychiatrists have very limited training in psychotherapy, whilst clinical psychologists have several years of specialising in it – mind you, most have now embraced the DSM, to the detriment of their profession.
        Truly good psychotherapy is dependent on the insight, empathy, compassion and humility of the therapist themselves. The value, no matter what is done, comes from the trusting relationship between the two people involved.
        I hope you find peace of mind in the future.

      • Are you surrounded by friends and loved ones? Can you look back at your life with satisfaction? Can you look forward with hope?

        By calling yourself “mentally ill” you are treating yourself in an insensitive manner. I bet you have very good reasons to grieve. I do.

        Just because our lives stink does not make us sick, crazy or subhuman.

  30. I have thought about this issue myself, some time ago.

    My conclusion runs thusly:

    Some people have a vested interest in denying brain damage/impairment/disablement induced by psychiatric drugs which, for some unfortunate souls, is altogether permanent and insurmountable.

    My observations of this tendency to denialism, is that the closer someone has been to this damaging process (ie. prescribing the actual drugs to human beings of their own volition) the greater the likelihood is that they will hold a determinedly denialist position with regards brain damage.

    For some ex-/prescibers, denial of brain damage is a common defence mechanism. To let go of this defence mechanism they would have to come to terms with the fullness of their own involvement in human cruelty. Generally a denialist will refer to things like “brain plasticity” and the ability of people to will themselves better. In other words, no matter how damaged someone is by being prescribed psychiatric drugs, the prescriber gets off the hook.

    This article is an appeal from, I assume, an ex-prescriber, addressing all those people out there with drug-induced brain (and body) damage and impairment, to shift the focus of blame away from the prescriber and focus it entirely on themselves.

    It stands as an egregious example of the kind of arrogance psychiatry fosters as a profession, which mustn’t be so easy to entirely grow and develop from, and realise one’s true potential as an ethical human being.

    • Good point. I believe that most prescribers don’t really know what they have done, just like most victims of drugging hardly realize what has happened to them. The best thing for a former prescriber to do is to recognize the harm that he or she has caused, whether unwittingly or not, and to renounce psychiatry. In fact, a penitent former drugger and jailer may become a great ally to his former victims as well as to many future survivors of psychiatric abuse.

      • I agree with you, other than the bit where an enlightened ex-/prescriber must renounce psychiatry. Personally, I think it would be sufficient to renounce antipsychotics and antidepressants as inhumane responses to madness and misery, and then take it from there. Otherwise, they will easily be written off as cranks with an axe to grind.

        Akathisia is an effective form of torture which can break the will of even the most resilient individual. Akathisia is not a side-effect in many cases, or an unfortunate effect. It’s a known torture device that can be utilised to bring about behaviour change, in a classic behavioral sense. It is a weapon to enforce a sadomasochistic relationship.

        Tardive Akathisia rarely gets a mention. It’s just too easy to put it down to a character flaw, a misguided will, or an attitude problem, or a symptom of delusion or psychosis. The disablement is real, though. How prevalent it is is anyone’s guess. Try and find a health professional willing to diagnose it…

        Magical thinking cannot overcome these drug-induced disablements. They cannot be overcome through willpower or positive thinking. One cannot overcome tardive akathisia (or dystonia or dyskinesia) with that universal prayer of (false-) Hope. To even suggest to someone stricken with these disablements that they should have hope that they can be magicked away by thinking is another form of sadism, another human cruelty to stack on top of the cruelty that led to the permanent impairment in the first place.

    • Exactly. The brain damage I have is the result of drugging and 2 rounds of ECT I was given. Will I “recover”. No. I lived a great life for 54 years, had a 30 year career, but fell into the evil clutches of psychiatry after a drug reaction. In 12 months they poisoned and electrocuted me. I lost 27 IQ points and 20 years of memory. I was in the hospital/lunatic asylum for 4 weeks on 2 occasions for drug induced iatrogenic illness.
      “Institutionalization” had fuck all to do with the brain damage- but it certainly caused severe trauma.
      What a pathetic article.

  31. It is far beyond anger , it is fury , if not justice then at least dreams of payback , much like in the movie Inglorious Bastards . There is a war going on and only one side is firing weapons and the other side remains targets, manufactured now from the youngest of ages to the very last breath into convenient , exploitable, stripped of any protections , useable and disposable at will , humans stripped of all their human rights , checkmated , laughed at and even subjected to specially choreographed kangaroo courts . A modern day Inquisition. Is it the Jesuits again behind this so they can continue molesting children and torturing everyone else even remotely suspected of non-compliance?
    Recently in a department grocery store I ran into the social worker that had power over me for some 20 years . Now retired and 84 years old , looking like he could keel over any second , still an embodiment of that arrogant soft spoken superior aire of one who routinely determines the fate of others with a stroke of a pen. I asked him how many in his over 30 year “career” had he seen like me who escaped psychiatry ? He said there were only 2 counting me .He was still suspicious , judgemental , analyzing , and threatening . I guess it came from decades of knowing psychiatry , big pharma , and the government , had his back.
    Lots a people experience a unique perfect storm of circumstances that make them visible to the butterfly net carriers of the Inquisition. Once captured probably the majority, in the millions , in the USA anyways have an income of less than $750 a month plus food stamps and run out of funds before the end of the month, all while subjected to debilitating pseudo scientific coerced physical and psychological “treatment”.
    Is this enough funds to explore the escape hatches a relatively few more financially fortunate victims have been able to explore ? Come on you employees, you soldiers , you designers of the Inquisition , you assholes , give the reparations you owe and stop the continued perpetration of this modern day eugenic nitemare holocaust.

  32. Doctor, thank you for making a logical medical (biological) analysis about the correlation between reduced brain volume and mental distress: it is the normal physiology of atrophy. Neuroleptic drugs have a sedative effect that reduces brain functioning; like all body tissues, nervous tissue will atrophy from reduced usage.

    • That doesn’t make sense, Steve S. What does in fact make sense is if you sit and do nothing for decades, or do only very passive activity, what they call sitting on a couch (instead of reading, writing, playing chess, playing football, exercising, riding a bike, playing an interactive game, listening to music, doing art, knitting, praying, working a job, fixing computers, shooting baskets, raising kids, etc) then maybe your brain won’t work as well.

      Brains work better if they are used, and the parts of your brain that you do use will get better as you continue to use them. I have not used the math part in many ways that I used to have, and I suspect it has not stayed developed due to years of disuse.

      Should I give up reading and start to use a “screen reader,” what will happen? I suspect the part of my brain that reads text will shrink after a few years. Even though I truly struggle to see text, because my eyes do not work well, I don’t want to lose the reading/writing part of my brain! So I don’t resort to “screen reader.” I keep it very strong. Or try.

      I feel sorry for patients who are coerced into believing they are disabled. I feel sorry for those that believe they have brain diseases or fall into a place where they become unmotivated. I feel bad when they do nothing but watch TV and smoke. I did that a few years because I believed I was schizophrenic and good for nothing else. I smoked and waited for my “shows” to come on. Wow I could never live like that now.

      I smoked and waited for the doctor to call. I remember sometimes waiting all day. He didn’t call. There were days I was afraid to leave the house because I was afraid i would miss his call. I would wait five or six hours.

      Then, the moment would come. I remember hearing the phone, putting down my cigarette and rushing to pick it up. It was him.

      “Why don’t you just take a Thorazine,” he said. Then, he hung up.

      So that was it. After hours of waiting.

      That was my life when I was 27.

    • LittleTurtle, i can’t find the comment of yours that ended up in my email, but I agree that there is a biological component. We cannot deny our biology. I can’t deny that I am short in stature and this of course led to my being teased a lot in elementary school. Wearing glasses at a young age also led to further teasing. Having dark skin causes many people to be discriminated against, and has for ages. If you have Middle Eastern appearance you might worry about flying because you could be suspected as a terrorist by TSA. All of these social reactions to people’s appearance alone shapes how we interact and view the world. If a person has had a stroke, injury, or heart attack, that, too, is biology, and cannot be ignored, either. I don’t think the Movement ignores these biological realities. In fact, we know psychiatry fails to recognize when a person’s biology caused discrimination, exclusion, or alienation, but gets called a mental disorder by mistake.

  33. Is it more productive to say “antipsychiatry movement” or “psychiatric survivor movement”? Both get bashed by pro-psych groups but there’s a difference.

    I am confused over what is “neurodiversity” because some of them talk about “I’m bipolar so please don’t stigmatize me.” I cannot align with this line of thinking, but I feel obliged to respect it because right alongside it is “I’m an artist so please bug off.” or, “I’m a little different and that is okay.” Which I do agree with. Or, “I hear voices, let me do this.” Which is fine by me. I don’t align with “bipolar” since that is a disease proclamation, unless of course the word is intended otherwise. But then, of course, we are getting very confusing here.

    Plus I am starting to get involved with other groups, too. Such as anti-bullying groups.

    • Is it more productive to say “antipsychiatry movement” or “psychiatric survivor movement”?

      Two different things. I don’t know what a “survivors'” movement would be moving toward, though, if they were not anti-psychiatry survivors (by whom the AP movement must be led).

      I agree about neurodiversity, and am yet to see a truly coherent definition.

      • Two different things (AP & PS) is right.

        What we used to call the ‘mental patients’ liberation movement’ we now tend to call the ‘psychiatric survivor movement’. I basically see those two movements as one and the same movement. In answer to what would the ‘psychiatric survivor movement’ be moving towards, as far as I’m concerned, it’s still ‘mental patients’ liberation’. The ‘psychiatric survivor’- ‘mental patients’ liberation movement’ can converge at this juncture with the ‘antipsychiatry movement’ in that you don’t promote psychiatry by liberating people from it. You liberate yourself and others from the ‘mental patient’ role by rejecting psychiatry, and the entire ‘mental health treatment’ racket that goes along with it. In that direction resides physical health, the only health that matters.

        • Well, then, I, for one, do not endorse therapy. I cannot agree with those who claim therapy is great when I do not see therapy doing great things simply because therapy might not use drugs.

          I see therapy causing dependency, addiction to therapy, abuse, outright unethical practices, complete ineffectiveness (this is hard to prove, in fact), loss of life functioning, unemployment, disability due to chronic unemployment, encouragement to use drugs, coerced diagnosis, forced diagnosis, forced higher level of care, very bad habits including self-disclosure, threats, bribery, accusations, gaslighting, sexual abuse and seduction, and more.

          MIA rarely takes a stance on this due to the proliferation of therapists on this site…therapists provide an income…they more often publish a therapist than take a stance.

          I say NO MORE. Therapy addiction is harmful, causes disability, is literally killing people, and needs to stop.

          • Uprising, that’s fine, but a few people get help from the pills, too, and they don’t experience negative “effects.” They might argue the same, or they might say…

            I had bad pills but I also had some that helped.

            Does this mean we should ignore that the drugs wreck some people’s lives? They don’t wreck everyone’s life, only some people’s. Therapy ruins more lives than is reported, and therapy abuse goes unreported and abusive therapists keep on practicing. Just because there might be a few good ones, should we discredit the massive numbers of patients that were harmed and call them nuts?

          • If someone says, “I’ve had bad pills but I’ve also had some that helped,” then my response is, “Good for you!” Psych drugs have wrecked my life, but I don’t personally care what other people ingest as long as they are getting informed consent and they are not promoting the chemical imbalance myth.

            Do you see me discrediting anyone who has been damaged by therapy? Nope. I think that the inherent power imbalance in therapy is dangerous, but that doesn’t make therapy completely worthless. I think that the anti-therapy position is misguided and myopic, and I wonder why you would want me to not get therapy when I am telling you that I find it helpful at times.

    • I sometimes thing “neurodiversity” cedes way too much to the psychiatric model, and in doing so makes things more complex than they need to be. If we keep it as “The human species is made up of a wide range of different people, all of whom are potential contributors to our survival,” it gets a lot simpler. I don’t think we need to give extra credence to the idea that we are how we are because of our “wiring”. Some difference is sure to be due to genetics, and some due to education/programming, but who cares? People survive as best they can with the tools they’ve been given. Why not just focus on finding the gifts that each of us brings to the table and helping each other expand on what we have to offer? No “neuro” explanations are required!

      • Good way of putting it. The “neuro” screams “brain” so what are we talking about? It almost sounds like a “PC” term for brain damage or deficiency (whether or not this is the case), sort of like “differently abled,” in a slippery way associating brain dysfunction with “mental illness” on one hand but on another level alluding to identity politics and “diverse lifestyles.” All this can easily have the reverse effect of creating “stigma” where there need not be any. So I agree, it’s quite possibly an unnecessary term.

  34. I can’t find the comment about brain damage by dragon slayer. It is hard to prove brain damage on a living person, easier on a cadaver. Either way, psych drugs damage the heart, damage the thyroid, damage the kidneys and pituitary, cause diabetes mellitus, cause massive weight gain, and more. Oh and can cause seizures, double vision, other eye disorders, possibly blindness, hormone disorders, bone thinning, sexual dysfunctions of all sorts, reproductive harm, poison breast milk, harm during pregnancy and during nursing, and outright kill an elderly person or very young person. I personally have damaged kidneys, damaged thyroid, diabetes insipidus, permanently poor quality blood that is always anemic, scary low GFR (and I plan to refuse dialysis), and according to my naturopath, the reason I can’t sleep is due to damage to my pituitary. As far as I know, the massive amount of “antipsychotics” I was given that I dutifully took for years caused permanent rebound insomnia and there has been no improvement in that for 7 years. Apparently I am not the only one! This runs rampant!

    Just last night a very kind and sympathetic “professional” with whom I spoke over the phone suggested I try to obtain medical marijuana, which I have not yet tried, and since this person is local I very well may enlist this person’s assistance in finding a physician who will prescribe a strain that will sedate but will not cause me to restart binge eating. This is the first time someone has listened to me, believed me, was concerned, and suggested a workable, reasonable and soon-to-be legal solution to this, considering my age and circumstances.

  35. Lawrence I am laughing because you said during medical training you snuck into the “meds” drawer and took one of the pills! Ha ha! And then, slept a few days. Really, you should have rented a bed in the nuthouse. I don’t think they charge much per night if you stay there. You could have billed taxpayers, no one would have noticed. They must have had room service and a nonsmoking room for you, no? Or were you …ahem…SMOKING back then? Smoking what? You know they restrain you for that, do you not?

    Either way, if it made you sleep a few days, imagine taking several of those per day, building up a “tolerance,” then, having to take a higher dose since you were “tolerating” the drug, or, because the drug made you pace. They needed to “medicate” the pacing, after all. They do that. Then what? Suppose then, you “tolerated” those drugs. Then, they’d add another drug, then, you’d spend a few weeks in a nuthouse “stabilizing.” By then, I think your medical career would have been long gone out the window.

    Then, some three decades later, this is what will happen. You’ll notice that no matter what, you can never, ever sleep. Never. Pills or none, you can’t. Your body cannot initiate nor sustain sleep no matter how tired you are, because your body completely forgot how, in all the years those drugs did it for you.

    You are now 65 years old. You are constantly exhausted. Your marriage is hardly worth it since you lose your temper all the time. You have alienated your neighbors and friends. You and your wife decide to separate. You can’t get a thing done during the day. You keep nodding off, and yet, you can never ever sleep.

    You have decision to make. Is life really worth it, living in constant exhaustion, constant nether-world? You are alone now. You suddenly realize that taking all those drugs, all those years, somehow did this to you. You feel deeply enraged, that you were cheated, duped, and that you were robbed of everything decent any person could ever have.

  36. my psychiatrist believes this anti-psychiatry movement
    is going to have an overall negative effect…
    psychiatry needs drastic changes but a frontal attack
    usually causes more problems than it helps…
    we patients have the possibility of pushing the TRUTH not lies..
    that is where the strength is….my psychiatrist wants big changes
    which might include him being out of work…
    but he wants to go where the TRUTH is….bio/psy/soc
    not bio/bio/bio………

    • I’d be very interested in hearing where your psychiatrist is coming from. What big changes does he foresee or recommend?

      Unfortunately, most psychiatrists I have known and/or heard about are not interested in “big changes” and are unable to even accept hard scientific data from their own researchers. It is hard for me to imagine any kind of reform when the majority of practitioners appear allergic to any kind of factual analysis and are instead religiously committed to their “bio-bio-bio” views.

    • Which or what antipsychiatry movement is that, pray tell?

      Antipsychiatry was first coined by psychiatrist as a pejorative term for anybody with the audacity to question psychiatric authority early in the twentieth century. It has since that time evolved into high comedy.

      This biological cause is only invoked to bolster the medical status of the psychiatry profession. There is a great deal of “mental disturbance”, for lack of a better term, that is completely socio-psychological in nature, while the biological often tends to be solely iatrogenic, physician caused, and a matter of injury sustained through the ingestion of neurotoxins.

      As for any antipsychiatry movement that exists, yeah, sure. If psychiatry is, as illustrated, basically a destructive force, hopefully it can have a very negative effect upon it indeed. Doing so would be a very positive thing.

  37. I distrust most psychotherapies (that is, “talk” therapy) having been badly harmed by an abusive one, actually several that were abusive or just outright incompetent. Therapy promotes dependency, if not on anything else, the therapist. Therapy is extremely addictive. You get addicted to self-disclosure, which is a horrible bad habit, a habit you need to button up in many social situation and find, suddenly, you can’t due to years of that terrible habit. Talk therapy induces helplessness, sometimes far worse than psychiatry does. My psychiatrist only met with me once a month, while the therapist insisted on twice a week and insisted on forced weigh-ins, threatened me constantly, and coerced me to play with children’s toys, claiming it was “role-playing.” She made me change chairs, and talk to the stuffed animals in baby-talk. If she could get me to cry, that, she claimed, was “healing.” No it wasn’t, it was satisfying her intense and very sick desire to control her vulnerable patients. I suspect she had a controlling mother and was just transferring the abuse. This she did with no drugs whatsoever, just with threats and manipulation. It was pretty bad narcissism, but I do not use such labels, it was a behavior. I refuse to excuse her unethical and illegal behavior by claiming she had a disease that caused it. I cannot submit myself to therapy again.


    Just checked out the link Fred Abbe unceremoniously posted, Some interesting info.

    Neurotoxicity is the poisonous effects of harmful substances on nervous system function, and a cause of brain damage. Common symptoms can include problems with memory, concentration, learning, mental processing speed, sleep, thinking, language, as well as anxiety, depression, confusion, personality changes, fatigue, and numbness of the hands and feet.

    The substances they have tested included “Prozac, psychiatric drugs (anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, tranquilizers, sleep drugs)” and the neurotoxic conditions listed include “psychiatric-drug induced disorders (agitation, mania, psychosis, executive dysfunction, suicide, violent behavior).” Also, “The rare doctor who does have training in toxicology often does not have adequate training in diagnosing and identifying the symptoms of neurotoxicity, and may simply brush off the symptoms as being caused by a pre-existing mental disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or hypochondriasis.”

  39. my psychiatrist thinks that anti-psychiatry is the wrong way to go…
    he believes there is good and bad in psychiatry…
    he wants to take down the bad stuff…
    you take down the bad stuff with evidence and facts..
    and you keep pushing the evidence in every way possible…
    but you are wrong in taking down the good…

  40. Technically, I would understand it the way that its not related to total nerve damage/destruction but the way Lawrence describes it, there is disruption to the original functionality, communication error and misfiring and probably too much traffic on other pathways to cope with the dirsupted ones, leading to overload, triggering other functionalities to misfunction. That too means damage, I think Lawrence is not really arguing about all the detrimental effects of neuroleptica. In my view he rather tries to discuss the idea, that malfunction resulting from an outbalanced, disrupted system can be restored, even if it means much work and in severe cases much creativity. This is very different from real permanent destruction because of dead brain cells.

    See, if somebody takes the computer that hosts my webserver and takes a hammer to destroy its harddisk, there is no way I could repair it. But if he or she only introduces a virus or deletes some files or overwrites some connections, there still is a way to get the system working again. The decisive aspect of this issue is how much work, knowledge, ressources, and effort it takes to acchieve this. Thus, as I interpret his blog post by now, he tried to make us understand, that if we insist on permanent damage done, this is similar to the bio-psychiatrist’s approach of explaining the original “malfunctioning” by a given brain illness caused by malformed genes – a sort of construction error. Thats like jumping out of the frying pan into fire. Before you were deemed having a broken brain from birth and afterwards you are told that your brain was fine but unfortunately now its not anymore. Instead we should focus on repairing the disrupted system by finding the causes for original malfunctioning, that could very well be (partly) physiological (hormones, gut bacteria, what have you…) or due to social causes (that influence the physiological system). Then, we need to find out, how the psychiatric treatment further caused damage, but it is very important to understand what kind of damage we are talking about. Irreversible damage like destruction is a tough subject, like the completely destroyed hard disk, where there is nothing you can do anymore but buy a new one and try to rewrite everything that was on that hard disk. But if its ‘only’ wiring and “overwritten or outdated files” and connection pathways, hope still exists. You can retrieve much data even from a very corrupted hard disk, repair the disk and make it work again, as long as it is not torn into peaces completely. And then you can reestablish the original system, allthough it might be much effort and not always possible due to missing resources or expert knowledge.

    Of course, as a concerned person who has been harmed by the psychiatric system, it is not easy to listen to this concept because there is so much anger – or as someone framed it above, even fury and rage like in Inglorious Bastards, a feeling I know – about what has been done to us. So much shaming and degrading and taken away what comes so naturally to brainwise “healthy” people. As Julie tells in her many posts, it is just so unfair what a person labeled as mentally ill has to go through in terms of humiliation and difficulties regarding things that are perfectly normal and a given to others. We get treated like we are stupid and incapable just related to just about everything. We are not allowed to have mood swings or just be grumpy or high on a good feeling. We are watched with suspicion on just about every thing that we do. And the worst thing is, that we ourselves adapt this attitude which makes it hard to relax and let yourself be the way you are. This gives way to an awefull lot of frustration and I think Lawrence got his share of that frustration as a reaction to the perceived insensitivity of his idea. As far as I can see, it just hurts that he spotted that by passively remaining in the victim-role nobody of us “mental patients” will ever get back to being healthy and capable of thriving (in comparison to merely functioning or getting by while still grieving what happened to us and complaining of how hard it is for us). As I said in another comment above, what happened to us is incredibly unfair but most of the world doesn’t care and never will. And even if they did, it wouldn’t completely help us. Because it cannot make undone what humilation and damaging treatment we had to endure and it will defenitely not be a solution for the original problems that caused our “mad” reaction. Yes, we needed help and were further burdened and even made disfunctional, intensifying and prolonging our suffering. The ideal treatment would most probably be a secure and relaxed atmosphere that would allow for “getting back on our feet and getting back to normal” by providing a safe but not a restricting environment as long as it takes to make the symptoms of mental illness subside. A pause, to become strong again, and afterwards help and support in coping with whatever situation we failed to get by in a constructive manner before the symptoms showed up.

    Often when I read comments from other survivors of psychiatry on this board I can hear and feel the pain they carry. Its a pain about having been rejected for whatever struggle they had. I know about this pain, there is nothing worse than be deemed a second class human because there is something not quite ok with your brain. This humiliation goes so unbelievable deep and it may well be the primary reason for deterioration. In my opinion, there will never be a true “mad pride”, because becoming mad is nothing to be proud of. It is a severe reaction to traumatic events, things that hurt you so much, that you were not able to function anymore. It is also not something to be ashamed about or that can be attributed to individual fault. Very often the trauma is within a social construct and its just a combination of various factors that lets one individual of that social construct break down. The one who is the most vulnerable at that moment or the one who happens to be on that part of that social construct that experiences the most pressure… It is something that needs to be seen and treated. It is pointless for me, to celebrate my breakdown, rather I am celebrating overcoming it. We don’t need mad pride, we need a well-thought-out way to recovery. Is there a “cancer-pride” movement? No. We need the shame in experiencing a mental illness to stop, but it is still an illness. It doesn’t help to identify oneself with being mad, even if we try to describe it as “special” or “having my own mind” or “being different, more sensitive”, whatever. This in my opinion is just a reaction of having been rejected by society. The pain makes us react with a sort of “ok, you don’t like me, so I pretend to be happy without you!”. I like exotic people, but it should come from the heart and the core of your being rather than stem from having been hurt and discriminated.

    And with all that I think Lawrence wanted to show that it is very important to leave the victim position and focus on total recovery instead. Although I am feeling the same rage and want to voice the unfair treatment I received to just about anyone to get the much needed human attention and warmth (which is the opposite to beeing stigmatised and shunned by society), this again would mean to rely on the reaction and perspective of other people. If I would always stress the unfair treatment I received in the last 7 years, the hardship, the difficulties, the setbacks, I would stay a very lonely and isolated person that has no chance to truly be accepted back as a fully capable person. I would stay the victim. And thats not beccause people out there are all bad. Complaining and lamenting doesn’t help in everyday life, as hard as it is, especially when it was so much unfair treatment that one received. I identify as a psychiatric survivor and I could see a “psychiatric survivor pride”-movement. Therefore, I think we should get financial compensation for the medical error that lead to so much suffering (social stigma, social decline related to job chances and lost years of “unconsciousness” including all kinds of physiological problems from side-effects of heavy drugging). But we need to stop the bitter tone. Subconscious guilt of psychiatrist might be a factor in their behavour of denial, but nobody will ever listen if we come full of anger presenting as a victim. We are heard when we present ourselves as balanced, clearheaded, calm and coherent. Not forgiving but also without bitter judgement. I am sorry, if I offended anyone with my opinion. My intention is to find a way of strength. I am done with feeling belittled and humiliated. And I very much want the world to know about the medical errors of psychiatry. And I don’t want them – the psychiatric personnel, the police officers that dragged me away, the family members and friends that tried to get me to comply with standard treatment, etc. – to be humiliated or tortured themselves, no, I simply want them to pay. By law. Its none of my business, what opinion they individually have and if they believe in a broken brain or not. If the treatment that is given today is legally accepted as a severe medical error and if I would get compensation for the lost years and immense suffering I had to endure, I would just shrug my shoulders and go on and catch up with life. It would be official that I was treated wrong and nobody would ever try to do it to me again. So I would be freed from the constant fear to be locked up again.

    • In real time reality what is Lawrence Kelmenson, MD offering us that we don’t already have enough of. Therapy ?
      So how much has changed for the better since World War 1? We have for the great most part the increasing epidemic of psychiatry and we have compliance monitored by social workers with the real threat of being referred back to more drastic measures by the psychiatrist if compliance to the present psychiatric orders are not followed , as determined by the social worker. Now with the looming/actual added threat of unwanted home visits and the added threat of being forced into local Guantanamo like camera and voice recorder 24/7 monitored behavioral control facilities if not compliant in “regular” local mental institutions. While at the same time the Pharma Cartel is developing even more deadly neurotoxins and electrical devices to apply to our brains . Considering all the additional neurotoxins (those identified and not) “contributed” by industry. It must be that the human being has more potential resilience and drive to freedom than psychiatry wishes. Myself having been captured by psychiatry , forced in and even escaped out of institutions 6 times among numerous other forced stays and forced “treatments” including one series of 15 ESTorture in one institution and in another country’s institution out of the USA, forced injections till breath is stopped in retaliation after being recaptured after unauthorized escape, having evidently reached the status as available subject it was ok to do life threatening experiments on for the benefit of the state , satisfying their need to develop more effective interrogation techniques for their own and the US military. What about those electric shock devices used in Canton , Mass. on 80 out of 240 disabled people including children as described in detail in MIA’s blog on March 9, 2018 Massachusetts -Torture .
      During 39 years between the ages 16 and 55 psychiatry still had some kind of a hold on me . Now that I’m 71 I realize psychiatry itself is a growing holocaust.
      How many people is Lawrence weaning off neurotoxins? Does he even know how to do it ? On what basis does he disagree with Breggin ? You telling me he doesn’t even realize psychiatric neurotoxins and their prescribers and suppliers need to take responsibility for their part in mass school shootings , suicides , murders ,and violence ? Why aren’t psychiatrists that say they are different and kinder and gentler and care about us even more and say they are more knowledgeable than the mainstream psychiatrists , not demonstrating together on our behalf… using activist techniques like Code Pink used for the women’s rights cause in the white house , congress ,at APA meetings,universities, and elsewhere ? Then maybe we could begin to believe that dissident psychiatrists are for real and not primarily and secondarily interested in their own financial security and in their own power place in the pecking order.
      Toward psychiatry there must be defiance ! Just even the words Anti-Psychiatry bothers them . Just think if it was properly activated by an educated population !

      Who needs free access to organically grown foods , water distillers , green plant powder supplements ,top quality vitamins and minerals , nutriceuticals, advanced heavy mental free dental work , ,psychiatry free zones,natural healers ,traditional naturopaths, chiropractors, traditional chinese medicine, energy healers , acupuncturists, etc. ,that which first does no harm, more than those who have been tortured by psychiatry , big pharma , and the government. Show us the money !

  41. Lawrence — Why ultimately does the exact mechanism of neurotoxic brain dysfunction matter? It’s like focusing on fission vs. fusion as they pertain to nuclear weaponry. The bottom line is that PSYCH DRUGS FUCK PEOPLE UP, regardless of whether it is possible to recover, something which seems to vary. There is no evidence to prove that those who don’t are simply the victims of their own negative projections (not that this never happens).

    What’s more immediate to me is finding a way to lift the media blackout on the homicidal effects of psych drugs. One or two well-placed signs in a “March For Our Lives” could have an immense effect. Meanwhile be sure to check out the Dr. Oz show on April 10!

  42. Dr. K this article seems to pose a false and unnecessary dichotomy.

    Do drugs damage brains or does segregation and enforced idleness?

    Hmm. How about both?

    You see this as unduly pessimistic; I do not.

    Recovery from brain injury happens all the time. Why else do stroke victims go through therapy?

    Full recovery after 20-30 years is unlikely. But every bit counts.

  43. another cause of outpatient deterioration….
    my psychiatrist believes that he and the person have total confidentiality..
    just like the lawyer has…why not the psychiatrist…

    my psychiatrist also believes that psychiatry should be talking about
    biology———healthy eating and healthy exercise and healthy
    relationships…see dr lustig book the Hacking of the American Mind..

      • Thanks, Rachel, for your comment. I do agree that poor relationships especially abusive and toxic relationships can cause and contribute to severe mental symptoms of depression and anxiety and even psychosis. Alcoholism and addiction to drugs are often from attachment issues.

        How does one learn how to have healthy relationships? Therapy certainly can be helpful in understanding relationship patterns, childhood family dynamics and with healing trauma, as well as learning what healthy relationships are. I think everyone can relate to relationship issues at certain times, whether with spouse, parent, one’s child, supervisor, etc. Life can be very difficult at times. Understanding, acceptance, love is needed but all of us.

        How one relates to relationships with institutions of society such as school, work, church and one’s community are vital as well. Those can become unhealthy as well. Bibliotherapy and support groups can be very helpful. Having a meaningful role on society, i.e. caregiver, worker, student, volunteer, parent, can bring purpose.

        Oftentimes I know in my own life I have had to take a hard look at myself and reassess my values, my career goals, my health and nutrition, finances, and my relationships and find ways to continue to grow and change. I continually want to be a better partner, friend, sister, daughter, worker, community member, etc. Healing and growth takes courage and self reflection but also resources. I wish more funds for “mental health” went to supporting and building more caring and supportive communities. Disconnection is harmful.

        • Being labeled “severely mentally ill” is a great way to ruin relationships.

          The drugs make you loonier than Minnesota in the spring. Your loving family sees it and calls the “doctor” in distress.

          “The meds have been proven 100% safe and effective,” he parrots. “X must be skipping doses on the sly or there would be no problems.”

          They accuse you of skipping the “meds” since that’s the only possible explanation you’re worse than ever. With tears in your eyes, you protest. You take these pills religiously. But to no avail.

          Then you contemplate suicide. Must be your “mental illness” to blame since multiple mini-seizures, having your nearest and dearest turn on you, an inability to read or enjoy anything, and profound social isolation could never lead to despair. 😛

          • Well said, Rachel777! I am impressed with your humor and intelligence. How crazy making, disempowering and demeaning to label someone with a diagnosis that is not evidenced-based, is really a short-term problem in most cases, a temporary reaction to an environmental stressor, and then the treatment is a medication that causes side effects that are disabling and makes you even sicker, feel worse about yourself causing more isolation. I am so sorry for the hurt and pain you endured. I see it all too often. Peace and loving kindness to you.

    • Your psychiatrist and I agree, it would appear. Unfortunately, it appears to me that he is a rare bird in the forest of psychiatry. The majority believe in labels and drugs, as their leadership directs them to do. You are very fortunate to have found someone with a different perspective.

      • In the UK to claim mental health benefit a person needs to have themselves categorized as suffering from longterm severe and disabling mental illness symptoms. So their medical records are not going to reflect their true “mental health” condition – as they will need to exaggerate to survive.

        But a person consuming neuroleptics is unlikely to be physically capable of occupational functioning anyway; and most UK “mental health consumers” buy into the “mental health” “illness” system.

        My own experience is that I was only capable of functioning when I came off strong neuroleptic “medication”.

        • I believe I am suffering from Crohn’s disease or something at least as nasty. Thank God I’m off my brain drugs and not wasting valuable energy at “day treatment” now. Ironically coming off my SSRI was all it took to end a 10+ year bout with depression. 😀