The Story of a Professional Delusion: Do Psychiatrists Believe Their Own Words?

Niall McLaren
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On February 24th of this year, a conference was held in Sydney, Australia which featured a number of prestigious local and overseas speakers as well as former psychiatric patients. Titled Mental Health in Crisis, it was intended to provide a forum for well-researched alternative views on the state of modern psychiatry. The next week, most of the speakers went to New Zealand for further seminars in five cities. During that week, a newspaper published an article quoting Prof. Peter Gotzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, whose research showed that antidepressants are a dangerous and relatively ineffective class of drugs, and who recommended they should be severely restricted. In his view, general practitioners should not be authorised to initiate them, and they should not be given to children or adolescents. On March 9th, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) issued a press statement strongly criticising the article. In particular, it stated:

The prescription of antidepressant or antipsychotic medications is something that a psychiatrist only ever does in partnership with the patient and after due consideration of the risks and benefits (emphasis added).

As described on MIA, I lodged a lengthy complaint with the RANZCP, alleging that, as the responsible officials, the president and board had breached their own code of ethics at a number of points; in particular, the claim about prescribing habits was patently false. This has gone back and forth and, predictably, my complaints have been dismissed. On June 29th, the incoming president of the college wrote to me:

The (original press) statement also acknowledges… the careful consideration given when prescribing medications.

That is, he essentially repeats the false claim that drugs are “only ever” prescribed after a friendly discussion between the caring doc and the grateful patient. Some months ago, I published the results of a pilot study on my 176 active files, which showed that psychiatrists hardly ever give information to patients regarding the risks of their drugs (I would have thought that any psychiatrist who was still breathing would know this: patients are routinely thrown to the ground and jabbed despite their furious objections or tearful pleading. Part of his defence was that psychiatrists have good intentions).

This reminds me of another rather fractious interchange I had with the well-known psychiatrist Ronald Pies. Readers may recall that some years ago, in his role as editor of the online publication Psychiatric Times, Dr Pies penned a fulmination against the “narrative” of the “chemical imbalance” hypothesis of mental disorder:

I am not one who easily loses his temper, but I confess to experiencing markedly increased limbic activity whenever I hear someone proclaim, “Psychiatrists think all mental disorders are due to a chemical imbalance!” In the past 30 years, I don’t believe I have ever heard a knowledgeable, well-trained psychiatrist make such a preposterous claim, except perhaps to mock it. On the other hand, the “chemical imbalance” trope has been tossed around a great deal by opponents of psychiatry, who mendaciously attribute the phrase to psychiatrists themselves… In truth, the “chemical imbalance” notion was always a kind of urban legend- – never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.

In a comment (since deleted), I suggested that perhaps Dr Pies had spent the last thirty years holed up in a cave in Patagonia because patients tell me that all the time: “The other psychiatrists said I have a chemical imbalance of the brain and I have to take drugs all my life.” I don’t believe patients make that up and I don’t believe the trope originated with them: it came straight from psychiatrists in their latter-day role as purveyors of chemical bliss.

To continue, earlier this year, I published an article1 which showed that all claims made on behalf of ECT by the RANZCP have no basis in fact. A newspaper article based on the same figures scored me a complaint, which was rather difficult to understand because all I did was collect figures from different advocates of ECT to show their claims are self-contradictory.

Similarly, in July 2017, the Australian Human Rights Commission held an enquiry into the Convention on Torture, whose full name is Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to which Australia is a signatory. I submitted a paper (mine is No. 3) which showed firstly, that detained psychiatric patients met the Convention’s definition of detained persons; second, what was done to them amounted to “treatment” and third, the patients themselves often said their treatment felt like torture.

Needless to say, this provoked yet another complaint that I was dragging the noble name of psychiatry in the mud, that psychiatrists are terribly nice people with good intentions who would never dream of torturing people. That may be convincing to somebody who doesn’t know psychiatry’s ghastly history,2 but anyway, the Medical Board dismissed the complaint in under 24 hours (I must say I never take complaints personally because I know it’s not me that they dislike, just what I’m saying).

Finally, an intensely personal essay3 in the influential Lancet Psychiatry extolled the virtues of psychiatry’s biopsychosocial model, originally developed by the psychiatrist George Engel. Linda Gask, a psychiatrist who does not conceal her own mental problems, concluded:

…the biopsychosocial model is, and remains, a model for the whole of medicine — not just psychiatry.

This is a little alarming. First, George Engel was not a psychiatrist, he was a gastroenterologist. Granted, he had a dual appointment with the department of psychiatry and had undergone psychoanalysis, but that’s not the same. Second, he did not write for psychiatry but for general medicine. All his case examples are medical. Finally, and damningly, in 1998 I showed that his ‘biopsychosocial model’ wasn’t a theory, nor a model, nor anything, because Engel never actually wrote it.4 Indeed, in 2004, I went so far as to say that any psychiatrist who claimed there is a biopsychosocial model is committing scientific fraud,5 but Dr Gask and all Engel’s fervent disciples manage to brush that off.

Let’s pause to look at these facts:

  1. Very senior psychiatrists repeatedly insist that psychiatric drugs are “only ever” prescribed after a friendly chat involving “due consideration of the risks and benefits…” However, everybody knows that every day in every town in the world, mentally troubled people are wrestled to the ground and injected, but if they complain, they will get more, not less, drugs.
  2. A very influential psychiatrist bursts his boiler over the calumny that a “knowledgeable, well-trained… well-informed psychiatrist” would ever use the expression “chemical imbalance of the brain.” Tens of thousands of psychiatrists actually do use it, as do drug companies, family doctors and just about everybody else. A Google search yields 1,180,000 citations in 0.48secs.
  3. Certain psychiatrists in Queensland take vigorous exception to the public being told that Australia uses ECT 600% more than New Zealand, even though on every conceivable demographic factor, the populations are the same. The only difference between the two countries is that the surge in ECT in Australia is almost entirely in private practice, and New Zealand has no private psychiatic industry. Even though the RANZCP code of ethics explicitly forbids exploiting patients, private hospitals charge what they like (the only figure I have is $620 per shock, which would be a shock in its own right). Queensland uses ECT 1000% more than the British National Health Service, and it is all but banned in Italy, where it was invented, but apparently none of that counts as evidence of exploitation.
  4. Psychiatrists object bitterly to the idea that anything they do could count as torture because their intentions are honorable. A considerable proportion of psychiatric patients don’t actually like being locked up, trussed up and/or stripped naked and injected with powerful, psychoactive chemicals which induce a wide range of exceedingly unpleasant, long-term and/or dangerous side effects, and/or shocked, and liken their experience to torture, which brings them under the purview of the Convention on Torture because, very foolishly, the Convention defines torture as what the recipient feels about it, not what the perpetrator intends by it.
  5. Large numbers of psychiatrists around the world think that a model that was never written licenses both their immense and essentially unaccountable power over people who have broken no laws, and their outrageous fees.

Okaaay. Houston, we have a problem.

On the one hand, we have a bunch of ideas that Blind Freddy can see are either idiotic or completely false, and on the other, we have a very large group of highly educated, mostly intelligent, mostly sober and well-behaved people who swear by them.

Is there a tablet for cognitive dissonance? Thanks, I’ll take two.

Talking of cognitive functions, let’s try a little exercise in epistemology, the philosophy of knowledge. The goal is to assign each of the above statements to an epistemological category. We’ll go through them in reverse order, starting with No. 5. This one interests me greatly. How can anybody read Engel’s work and come away with an idea that matches the power and scope of, say, the modern synthetic theory of evolution? Or the standard model of physics? Or plate tectonics? Immunology? It’s ludicrous because it simply isn’t there, but I think the answer is that psychiatrists are too scared to look at the truth, which is that they don’t have a model of mental disorder.6 Instead, they clutch Engel’s pseudo-model to their chests like a security blanket. Standing in a group chanting “We believe, oh Engel, we believe,” is much less scary than asking: “Do I really know what I’m doing?” That is, it’s just another example of believing a comforting lie rather than confront a scary truth, which is terribly human. Human, but hardly edifying.

No. 4, torture. Oh dear, do any humans ever believe they are doing bad things? A few, but most of humanity’s more egregious crimes against itself have been committed in the pursuit of noble ideals. Hitler’s plan in his war for Lebensraum was to wipe out 30 million Slavs in the first year but that was noble because his Aryan races ranked higher in the cosmic order than mere Slavs. And in his final testament, his notorious Table Talk, he fully expected that the world would be grateful for his sideline in getting rid of the Jews. Ernst Rüdin, psychiatrist and architect of the T4 Program, which sterilised and murdered hundreds of thousands of mental patients, and prototype of the Final Solution, did not believe he was doing anything wrong: he explicitly ordered that their deaths should be easy. Even Stalin thought he was doing the proletariat a favor — well, those that survived. As Kenneth Clarke said in another context:

They suffered from that most terrible of delusions, they believed themselves to be virtuous.

Psychiatrists firmly believe that leaving a mental disorder untreated is a very much worse sin than locking a person up and pumping him full of drugs that they know will shorten his life. Why do they believe this? You’d have to ask them, but I expect they would say something like, “Have you no humanity? Think of the poor schizophrenic huddled in a doorway in winter.” Indeed, but there are plenty of poor people huddled in doorways and nobody bothers much about them. I think we could class this as an example of psychiatrists not taking the effort to sort out what’s good for them (lots of busy hospitals stuffed full of patients, lots of conferences in nice resorts, research grants and so on) and what’s good for the man on the receiving end of the needle. But who cares about him anyway, we all know he’s nuts.

As an aside, Rüdin’s very successful efforts to sterilise and murder pre-war Germany’s population of people diagnosed with schizophrenia had no effect on the post-war incidence of the condition, which is a problem if you want to believe it’s all genetic.

No. 3, about ECT, is easy:

It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. (Upton Sinclair)

If you can earn up to $250 for about two minutes of “work” by believing ECT is the greatest, only a fool or a churl wouldn’t believe it. That is, psychiatry’s fascination with ECT is a simple case of Skinnerian positive reinforcement (if you’re rewarded for doing something, you’re more likely to do it again). It means that if we stopped paying people for giving ECT, it would soon die out.

No. 2. Ah, the good Dr Pies. I detect a touch of professional jealousy here. He doesn’t like the naive reductionist biological approach favored by the likes of Thomas Insel7 8 as he believes he’s more sophisticated than that, but even he can see that when the NIMH disburses its $1.5 billion a year, the lion’s share goes to basic biological research and his side hardly gets a look it. So he stamps around the place, banging lecterns with his shoe and growling to whoever will listen, but guess who keeps his newspaper afloat? That’s right: drug companies.

And so we arrive at Number 1: Why would a sensible person thrice deny the empirically-established fact that psychiatrists hardly ever give any information about their drugs, and the little they do give is sugar-coated and highly misleading?

Option No. 1A: They’re idiots.

Let’s assume they don’t have the brains to analyse a complex question and arrive at the right answer. They’d get lost crossing the street. No, we can dismiss this because they passed medical school. How, we don’t need to know.

Option No. 1B: They’re sheep.

If in order to get your ticket in psychiatry, and get a job, and keep it, and be able to go to conventions and have people talk to you, and have people sit through your lectures without walking out, and get your papers published, you have to believe that black is white, what do you do? That’s right, you go with the flow. Listen to the words of the esteemed Brother Chomsky:

Still, in the universities or in any other institution, you can often find some dissidents hanging around in the woodwork—and they can survive in one fashion or another, particularly if they get community support. But if they become too disruptive or too obstreperous—or, you know, too effective—they’re likely to be kicked out. The standard thing, though, is that they won’t make it within the institutions in the first place, particularly if they were that way when they were young—they’ll simply be weeded out somewhere along the line. So in most cases, the people who make it through the institutions and are able to remain in them have already internalized the right kinds of beliefs: it’s not a problem for them to be obedient, they already are obedient, that’s how they got there. And that’s pretty much how the ideological control system perpetuates itself in the schools.9

I’d say it’s a case of the echo chamber effect, where a group of people sit in a circle and a man says to the woman on his right: “The woman on my left just said that everybody she’s spoken to agrees the emperor is wearing wonderful new clothes, so I’ll agree. Pass it on.” Nobody has the courage to stand up and state the obvious.

Option No. 1C: They’re deluded.

A delusion is a fixed, false belief, out of context with the healthy subject’s cultural, social, educational and intellectual background.

Alert readers will be aware that this immediately leads to the conclusion that reality is simply a shared delusion; conversely, it’s not a delusion if enough powerful people say it isn’t. Enough powerful people are saying that psychiatrists only ever prescribe drugs after due blah blah, so it’s true and it isn’t a delusion and anyway, who’s objecting? You are, young woman? Listen to me, girly, you’d better think carefully before you say too much more, just think about your career and your kids ending up on the street. So what’s the truth about the emperor’s new clothes? That’s better. Don’t forget it.

That’s not really a delusion, more like a cult where a few charismatic people dominate a much larger number and control their thinking and everybody’s too insecure to challenge them. Psychiatry as a cult? I think somebody has already suggested that.

Option No. 1D: They’re talking shit.

Tucked between truth and falsity there is a further epistemological category, defined as bullshit. The person who talks shit has no regard for truth; it is an instrument for him, to be wielded and abandoned as the moment suits him. His utterances are neither true nor false but are designed to sway the audience on an emotional level. Mr Donald Trump is a master bullshitter. He says any bit of shit that comes into his head. If the crowd roars, he laughs and repeats it but if they don’t react, he immediately forgets it and moves to something else. He remembers the bits that got a cheer and the rest didn’t exist; if you say it did, that’s fake news (lies).

I have argued that psychiatry is stuffed full of bullshit10 and, at first glance, the “only ever” statement appears to qualify. However, the essence of a bullshit statement is that it is neither true nor false, it is a non-propositional form to which those logical categories don’t apply: “Make America Great Again.” “My country, right or wrong.” “Would I be here if I didn’t love you?” “Our wonderful sportsmen.” It doesn’t actually say anything that can be pinned down, which is the entire point. But this statement, that psychiatrists only ever prescribe blah blah most certainly can be pinned down. It’s been pinned down, and it’s been proven false. It may have started as bullshit but it ended up as crap.

Option 1E: They’re lying.

Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a specific point in a set or system of beliefs, in order to avoid the consequences of having that point occupied by the truth.11

I believe this is what happened. The people responsible for this travesty looked at the truth (that psychiatrists hardly ever tell the truth about their drugs) and realised they didn’t like what would flow from that fact getting loose. So they removed it and substituted a falsehood (only ever) whose consequences they could live with. On July 6th, I sent a letter to the newly-installed president of the RANZCP, reiterating my allegation that the claim was false, and that everybody involved knew it was false:

For myself, I am forced to conclude that senior officials of the college lied, lied again, and are now trying to conceal their lies. I believe that the broader membership of the RANZCP would agree with me, as would any reasonable member of the general public. I believe that any person found guilty of such behaviour would not be a fit person to hold office in the RANZCP, and I am sure most members would agree with me.

In view of the repeated failure of officials of the RANZCP to follow its approved procedures, I see no cause to believe that they have acted in good faith in this matter, nor that they have any intention of doing so. Accordingly, I shall refer the matter to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, under which the RANZCP is registered.

By the time you read this, that complaint will have been lodged. Meantime, let’s go back to the question posed in the title: Do psychiatrists believe their own words? I think they do because, crammed in their little intellectual echo chamber, the overwhelming majority don’t have the courage to question anything in case it brings the wrath of the profession down on their heads — or in case it affects their incomes. For a mainstream psychiatrist, there’s only one thing worse than realising you’ve been in an echo chamber all your career, and that’s being kicked out of it.

The last word goes to the inestimable Richard Feynman, in his 1974 lecture Cargo Cult Science:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool… I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist… I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is more than just not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you may be wrong, an integrity that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists… (emphasis added)

Show 11 footnotes

  1. McLaren N. (2018) Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Critical Perspective. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 19: 91-104
  2. Whitaker R. (2002) Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill. New York: Perseus Books.
  3. Gask L. (2018) Essay: In defence of the biopsychosocial model. Lancet Psychiatry 5: 548-49
  4. McLaren N. (1998) A critical review of the biopsychosocial model. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry: 32; 86-92.
  5. McLaren N. (2010) A life of its own: the strange case of the biopsychosocial model. Chapter 7 in Humanizing Psychiatrists: Toward a Humane Psychiatry. Ann Arbor, Mi.: Future Psychiatry Press.
  6. McLaren N. (2013) Psychiatry as Ideology. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 15: 7-18.
  7. McLaren N. (2010) The DSM-V Project: Bad science produces bad psychiatry. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 12: 189-199.
  8. McLaren N. (2011) Cells, circuits and syndromes. A critique of the NIMH Research Domain Criteria project. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 13: 229-236
  9. Chomsky N. (2002 ) The Fate of an Honest Intellectual. Understanding Power: The Indispensible Chomsky. The New Press pp. 244-248
  10. McLaren N. (2016) Psychiatry as Bullshit. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 18: 48-57.
  11. Frankfurt H. (1986). On Bullshit. Raritan Quarterly Review 6, No. 2 (Fall 1986).

119 COMMENTS

    • I have always considered that there is no “cause” of any particular set of “psychiatric symptoms.” I have always believed (due to decades of personal observation) that every single case is different, or as Milton Erickson put it, therapy needs to be reinvented for each different client. Some people may have biological problems (sleep, nutrition, illness, chronic pain, etc.), some may have been traumatized, some are experiencing social stress (racism, sexism, etc.), some may be in bad environments (oppressive schools, psychiatric hospitals, domestic abuse relationships, etc.), and so on. The problem is that the psychiatric profession wants to group these varied circumstances together and act as if there is one “cause” for a particular set of reactions, instead of honestly and humbly looking at each case as its own special set of needs and circumstances.

        • Right! They have to keep those fifteen minute drug maintenance checks rolling through their office so that they can make that good money at the end of the day. Psychiatrists can do four med checks in one hour as opposed to one hour of talk therapy. They know what side of the bread the butter is on.

          Even psychiatrists who didn’t want to do drug maintenance as a profession when psychiatry changed ended up doing it anyway because they realized that they were not going to make any money doing talk therapy. I suspect that this is one reason that talk therapy is so expensive if you can even find a psychiatrist who knows how to do any actual therapy. They’ve got to charge you an arm and a leg in order to pay the bills.

          And then you have to talk about the psychiatrists who are too lazy to actually do any real work at all.

          • A big issue for me in private practice as a LICSW that I see as malpractice and certainly bad care is that I can barely ever get a psychiatrist or another prescriber (NP, GP) to talk to me about one of their patients over the phone who is on their prescribed drugs. When I do for the five minutes usually I question why this “medication”, why this dose? Do you know what is going on in their life? Sometimes crisis is over and I want them to start tapering off. I can tell the psychiatrist has very little to no knowledge of what is going on in the client’s life and get very perturbed with me for asking these questions. Scares me to no end. I have never once in my over 20 year career ever had a psychiatrist initiate a call to me about their patient though I send letters telling the MD that I am seeing their patient and would like to collaborate. By the way, psychiatrists charge $350 for 45 min session if want both psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.

    • Hi littleturtle, I completely agree with having an “open mind” and “bio-psycho-social” model (I would add “spiritual” and “cultural” with that as well). The issue is the heavy medicalization and “bio” side of psychiatry and their overuse and misuse of psychiatric drugs which is their bread and butter. I am glad you like your psychiatrist and individually he may be doing right by you which I hope he/she is. However, psychiatry as an institution right now is in a corner they cannot get out of. If mental illnesses as they have claimed are not due to “brain diseases” and “chemically imbalances” then why would insurance companies and Medicare and Medicaid reimburse? And if their treatment of choice, psychiatric drugs, do harm, why would anyone go to a psychiatrist? If they go back to talk therapy they compete with lesser reimbursed therapists.

      The sad thing is that we do need more primary care physicians but of course specialization pays more so no new MDs want to go into primary care. We need the medical expertise of MDs.

    • “what is the problem with the model bio/psy/soc…”

      Fundamentally, it is not a model in any scientific sense. It’s a buzz-word that people such as yourself scatter around believing that to do so is some kind of act of seeding a new psychiatry into the world; whereas, despite the buzz-words, psychiatry is now more biological than any other time in its history.

      Of course, if you know something about the biopsychosocial model that actually makes it a scientific model, then please share your knowledge.

      Otherwise, if you genuinely wish to think deeper into why the biopsychosocial model is not a model you might make a start with reading here

      https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/rise-and-fall-of-the-biopsychosocial-model/A31DAA3BED6569F6080A1DF2C1D15A64/core-reader

      or here

      https://www.academia.edu/8524492/A_Critical_Review_of_the_Biopsychosocial_Model

    • Firstly, I suggest that what something is used FOR – or the purpose that it is serving, is what determines what it actually is.
      Psycho-emotional conflict within ourself as between each other CAN be dumped or hidden in the body – in fact the very idea of the body as the ’cause’ of life is the reversal of the natural order and a world in which Everything is BACKWARDS; (everything is upside down! Doctors destroy health, Lawyers destroy justice, Universities destroy knowledge, Governments destroy freedom, Major media destroys information, And religions destroy spirituality”. ~ Michael Ellner).

      That physical situations can and do effect our consciousness has to also bear in mind that consciousness – at a deeper level – is the mapping of the model of the world we presume to be ‘in’ and that the ‘pre-conscious’ learning or conditioning includes much that is fearful, hateful and defensive to a conflicted mind in a conflicted world. I see that this operates as negative synchronicity rather than cause and effect in time.

      Fear of truth MUST substitute for it – and defend such substitution as its ‘self’ protection. Thus we have a ‘world’ or society that denies or rules out truth in order to ‘survive in mask’ and this is our personality investment or ‘face’ supported by narrative continuity and control.

      Human denial – used to protect error rather than denying error the power to ‘be true’ is the way our minds work until there is a fundamental awakening to the nature of the thinking we took to be true or necessary to survive lies we could not escape or wanted to be true, THEN.

      That the physical body-mind is one functional vehicle and not a brain controller, over its body parts, is a rich uncovering to the state and quality of intracellular communications that Nature/Biology/Cosmos IS – that our ‘control mentality’ seeks to purpose (marketise or weaponise) to support its ‘DOES’.
      Guilt is the result of ‘wrong doing’ that mistakenly presumes ‘wrong being’ and attacks itself – as the basis of its relations with others. In this you can notice the hateful AND the subjection or loss of power to tyrannous thinking.

      True power is a creative alignment in what truly moves us. Fear of letting such movement embody is synchronous to the filters of its own miscreative definitions. Hence the urge to wholeness in love, peace or power is our natural inherence – but pursued in external terms of possessing, controlling or denying others – is un sane. Sanity is inner peace by which a wholeness of being extends TO others – which is a sense of life moving through us rather than being possessed and controlled by a part of us given power over a part of us made powerless.

      Models of reality or self image are symbolic significance to those who make them. But the identifying in any thought, image or symbol structure AS REALITY is the en-trance-ment to self-illusion once protected AGAINST the true of being for private or personal sense of creation.

      Because self-inflation is gratifying or engaging to the act of indulging it, the separation is more associated with the breakdown of the bubble – and then with the demonising of scapegoats of negative association with their own inner ‘chaos’ – as if wholeness lies in vengeance or eradication of ‘symptoms’ assigned as causal. Or of diversion from exposure in lack of substance in all kinds of psuedo crusades that simply restate the original sense of lack (fear) in a fantasy framework of ‘war against whatever’.

      Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
      Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
      All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
      Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

      Wholeness never was a matter of forcing fragments of a separated sense of lack into any kind of ‘model’ world order – but is the already true waiting welcome beneath all the diversionary divisions of a fundamental Self-evasion.

      I write in true-with-ness – because I give what I know I need to have. But its true is only shared in a like willingness – and in the context or purpose of healing or the reintegrative movement of our being, holds for a communioned communication in place of the cognitive dissonance of ‘The world as I say – not as I do’.

      The determination to heal is the bringing of willingness forwards while ‘resting’ the control mentality – without demonising it. Fear can then become the true need uncovered and aligned in, rather than the re-triggering of our various ‘separation trauma’ entanglements.

    • I have difficulty seeing how we can dispense with something like the biopsychosocial model when thinking about the human condition. It is probably right to criticize the BPS-model for not being a model per se, but I have difficulty believing that even dr. McLaren does not, in his work with patients, use some kind of categorization of the particulars of the patients life experiences, situation and complaints that resembles the categories of the BPS. And where Engel proposed his ‘model’ as a way to save psychiatry from its bio-tendencies (by providing a holistic framework for thinking) it is still not entirely clear how the BPS-framework can be enhanced in order be used as basis for research. I can recommend the psychologist/sociologist David Pilgrims talk on the BPS-model found here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDmNxbSgDWk

  1. I think at some stage Psychiatry in Unison “decided” that it was okay to KILL.

    I asked Dr Simon Gordon at London W2 5LT to write me up a brief Mental Health Summary so that I could see my own “Specialist”:-

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Y-kyqkOO8rZDqdvVyQPLo4-om9hRXXWk/view?usp=drivesdk

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/11fKYg33D7aHuSz0iOPVmbt1jUuzskgzR/view?usp=drivesdk

    This is what I would say about my records, my experience and my delusions:-

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2018/05/antidepressant-withdrawal-can-trap-people/#comment-131809

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2018/05/antidepressant-withdrawal-can-trap-people/#comment-131871

    (The “prescription” was 25mg Seroquel per day, which is not prescriptive for any mental health condition).

  2. Question: do psychiatrists believe their own words? Answer: sorta.

    Psychiatrists believe that mental distress is a medical problem. Psychiatrists understand that there are problems with their theories but assume that they are on the right track and that science will catch up to them (“fake it till you make it”). Psychiatry is secular religion; scientific logic is unsettling for some “high priests” but their faith is heavily vested.

  3. On my first visit to the psychiatrist he told me my depression was like a diabetic needing insulin. My confusion and deterioration from the toxic drug effects were seen as worsening mental illness by the psychiatrist who added more drugs and more psychiatric labels.

    Thank you for a wonderful article! Was my psychiatrist a nice man? I thought so at the time. I am one of the few people whose had her psychiatrist admit he wrongly diagnosed and drugged her. That will never undo my psychiatric label in my medical charts for any physician to see and the years lost on psychiatric polypharmacy.

      • When I confronted my psychiatrist in his office about the psychiatric drugs toxic effects he broke down sobbing apologizing to me. That’s when I became a liability to him but he did change my diagnosis to major depression. With medical electronic records the other diagnosis will never go away no matter what. When this happened I’d recently been in the ICU with Seroquel Induced Acute Pancreatitis and several things came together for me to realize psychiatry and psychiatric drugs were killing me. Unfortunately the years being on major psych drugs caused my body to break down and I developed a multiple sclerosis variant disease (it has been linked to Seroquel). If you want to read more it’s on Surviving antidepressants.org Success Stories “Aria’s Journey”.

      • My psychiatrist did change my diagnosis to major depression. I think he only did this because he was afraid of malpractice. So many things came together at this point that I realized he was an idiot and had no idea what the hell he had been doing. My years on neuroleptics destroyed my immune system and left me with a variant of multiple sclerosis that has been linked to Seroquel usage.

      • Rachel my kidneys are damaged, too. I was told I didn’t have much time left years ago. It turned out to be false…I don’t know what your GFR is but mine is undoubtedly very close to 15, and has been for a while. I manage it totally on my own. I went our running yesterday and am not in “pain.” Please contact me if you are interested in learning how to manage it. The medical establishment already knows this, and has published studies proving kidney disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence, that dialysis isn’t even necessary and can be harmful, but they claim you have to or you will die. It’s a lie! Nephrologists continue to make doomsday assessments of patients and spread the cult of hopelessness. Not only that, from what I recall, mine never made any helpful recommendations to me. I figured out how to manage kidney disease on my own, in spite of the medicos.

        • Thanks Julie. I will do so.

          Have been putting off seeing a nephrologist. Don’t know what my GFR is. Nervous about the dialysis since they keep “mental health” weirdos nearby to monitor you for depression so they can cram pills down your throat on a moment’s notice.

          Leave me alone! Unhappiness is not a disease you quacks. 😛

    • Hi Streetphotobeing

      I am not a native english speaker, therefore its a little difficult for me to understand what is going on in the videoes.

      I would be glad if you can descibe what is going on in your 1. video?

      And can you give a resumé of what is going on in the next two videoes?

      Adding a few of your own words as to what is going on might make the documentation more easy to understand for people like me 🙂

      Thanks in advance. And thank you for your upload.

      • In the first video, an Asian man is trying to record his own sectioning led by a mental health social worker. She makes him stop recording/documenting his sectioning. And he is clearly being affected (cowered/abused) by her assertions backed up by all the others and police officers in his home .

        You can see for yourself that he is not a threat to himself or anyone else. He is the one under threat. An experience that nodoubt deeply affected him and has far reaching consequences as it would for anyone.

        The next day in the hospital, he is interviewed along with his sister and allowed to record, she asserts:

        “The way they done that it was appauling, that was horrendous. To come into a property with that many police officers at half two and the impact it had on other family memebers, I’m disgusted, I really am. That was horrifically done”

        My understanding is that the psychiatrist who sectioned him said he thought he was part of a reality TV show . When what had actually happened – he says that he had (paid money) entered into a reality TV show, which never actually happened (in his written information) the inference being that he was being ripped off. He complained to the council, they did nothing and he was persistent. All that lead to him being sectioned.

          • Thank you streetphotobeing.

            It seems like something straight from a horror movie. It must really be devestating to be treated like that.

          • And by the way the hospital he was/is being treated at is a teaching hospital. This is what the patients think of their teaching:

            https://www.nhs.uk/Services/hospitals/ReviewsAndRatings/DefaultView.aspx?id=2455

            It is actually far far worse . I’m aware of views of carers – stories of how their relatives were treated there, but the NHS do not allow serious complaints to be published. And what you find is when you take such a complaint to the GMC or PHSO it goes no where. They bury the vile drug/physical abuse. It is only when a court case or real independent investigation goes behind the scenes looks at the records, that what is probably nearer to the truth is seen, as has been the case with ‘Dr’Jane Barton but don’t hold your breath that even she will be prosecuted. We are living in a totally corrupt health system because there is no real accountability for a system of harm and death. The patients are just fodder. Here is one of the comments:

            “My mother was sent to Hallam Hospital due to shortage of beds in hospitals closer to home.

            I was told id be called to join the review and hopefully to help find suitable help for my mother when she was discharged.

            She was discharged without my knowledge and with nowhere suitable to live.

            When i called the doctor for an explanation she told me she doesn’t deal with Birmingham so my mother was not really her concern and then laughed on the phone when i expressed my concerns.

            I am extremely unimpressed with the service and also concerned about my mothers well being”

        • The first video is shocking. A posse of “Mental Health professionals” and police officers turn up at this guy’s door in the dead of night with a “warrant to engage in a mental health act assessment”. He lives alone. They demand entry to his home, and he has little choice but to let them in and “engage”. It has to be seen to be believed.

  4. Here’s an idea. Dr. Pies is highly indignant about the nonsense going around about the chemical imbalance in the brain “metaphor.” He and other well-informed professionals find this view personally insulting.

    The solution? Have Dr. Ronald Pies come out with a PSA to educate the public. This way he can save the credibility of the Psychiatric establishment and establish his own legacy as a “mental health” expert.

    “It has come to my attention that many believe the myth promoted by the Pharmaceutical company ads on television. There is actually no chemical imbalance known to cause ‘schizophrenia’ or any other ‘mental illnesses.’ We don’t know what causes them to be honest. But we know what we’re doing helps ‘mental ilness’ since we have more folks with disabling ‘mental illnesses’ than ever…

    “The truth is the ‘chemical imbalance in your brain’ was a harmless practical joke we cooked up during one of our annual conventions. We thought it would make a great gag to tell this story to a few ad executives. Unfortunately those low brows high jacked this amusing metaphor and misinformed the public. Tsk tsk. Very uneducated of them.”

    Hey, Dr. Pies! We’re waiting!

  5. I was completely unsurprised when I found out my psychiatrist was receiving a stipend from the very drugs he prescribed me.

    When I went into full bedridden withdrawal with the worst unimaginable symptoms, he refused to answer my calls and had his secretary tell me to take a Benedryl.

    When I was anxious, he spoke to me for about 15 minutes before eagerly picking up his pen. It was simple and no reason why I shouldn’t be on antidepressants. Then when I really needed his support, he completely disappeared and refused to acknowledge my situation.

    How do we get psychiatrists to acknowledge the risks and to not bury their heads in the sand when their patients show signs of severe adverse effects!?

    Every other doctor I saw said my withdrawal was a clear sign I needed to be medicated. They made me feel insane! I am 4 years drug free and I’m finally reaching the tail end of my withdrawal. I’m so glad I’ve held out and am now proving them all wrong.

  6. maybe we just should have everyone take what drugs they want..
    everyone can be a doctor…we like pills…doctors like to give pills..
    and the drug companies like making pills..and the lawyers like to sue
    over damage from pills….everything over the counter…lets just not
    have anyone in charge but the good policeperson…

  7. Maybe Pies was just playing with words:

    “Psychiatrists think all mental disorders are due to a chemical imbalance!” … [in] 30 years, I don’t believe I have ever heard a knowledgeable, well-trained psychiatrist make such a preposterous claim

    The supposed qualifier here might be the word “all”; how many of those well-qualified shrinks might hold that only “some” so-called mental disorders are caused by chemical imbalances?

    • Speaking of Pies’ words, here are the words that stood out to me:

      I am not one who easily loses his temper, but I confess to experiencing markedly increased limbic activity whenever I hear…

      I read this, and thought “Goddess! The man can’t even cop to feeling an emotion!” Instead of having emotions like a freaking human being, he has to relate to himself with this strange and twisted biological reductionism.

        • Did you think he was being humorous, oldhead? I didn’t read it that way. Maybe it’s there but I’m missing it? I think Rachel’s hitting closer to the nail- this is pompous language. But I honestly think he really is that divorced from his own feelings. Mr. Pies doesn’t get angry like the rest of us. No, he has “increased limbic activity.”

      • B-b-but…it makes him sound so much smarter than us. Like a real, freakin’, honest-to-gosh, sciencey Ex-Spurt.

        He knows what the Limbic system is. He knows the parts of your brain.

        He can’t fix it. But he can really change it. Not like the SMI need the thing anyhow!

        Any change is an improvement. At least you’ll have sacrificed your brains to the Worthy Cause of SCIENCE.

      • The illusion of the scientist (or would be psychiatrist/psychologist) is in presuming to study, understand and intervene in the minds of others.
        Most of us are quicker to see, judge and ‘correct’ the wrongs in others rather than understand our own need and truly address it where it IS. (Now).
        The dissociation from feeling being is a fear of and judgement over (denial of) emotional expression.

        I prefer to see the Human un-sanity as a collective entanglement in guilted fears and hates rather than presume to judge and ‘correct’ others. The temporary acceptance of an unsanity as the call to immediately address it, rather than act from it.

        I cannot live another’s choices, nor their life experience. But I can become more aware of my own – and less easily phished by reaction. I find this means feeling MORE of what I do not like – but in a purpose or context that undoes it by withdrawing allegiance from it – BY living it without recoil into what I now see does not work and cannot work – except to persist the state i say I don’t want.

        The Feynman quote illuminates the truer willingness to be wrong.

    • sure is Fiachra- didn’t realise how much until i saw how much of the DSMs been altered- from the last edition to the latest- how they’ve taken away anything, they could see, they can/or might, be incriminated with or by, or tied down to, or have been, hence the changes- making out, its about better service and understanding- when its clearly about making more patients- victims- and dollars- and changing anything in the wording that could harm them, incriminate them, or not benefit them, along the way. very very shifty.

  8. As a Christian, I believe in good and I believe in evil. Truth, moral absolutes, all that jazz. Psychiatry as an -industry- is Evil. Psychiatrists as -individuals- are mostly wicked, though there are some rather evil characters in Mental Health, Inc. Some of their wickedness, I think, is rooted in mediocrity. Affluent family, not good enough for real medicine…psychiatry! This, to me, explains why the -male psychiatrists- , in particular, are so dangerous and vicious…they don’t ‘measure up’ to the men in -real medicine-. The female shrinks…well, whatever. From what little I’ve seen, they tend to marry -real doctors-, anyway.

    Also, as a Christian…I think Jesus saves. Antipsychiatry…may or may not be useful, it depends on the individual, her circumstances, his outlook, etc. Since psychiatry is, in fact, a (false…dangerous…) religion, it stands to reason that (genuine) Christianity would provide a solution. Honestly, I’m old school in that I think Jesus is Truth and I believe that Jesus is -the- way to God, but…

    from a practical standpoint, I think the vast majority of religions out there could be helpful. At the very least, most of them are far less deadly and dangerous than psychiatry.

    • Most religions serve to constrain spirituality rather than embrace it. Psychiatry is a religion for atheists and others who need to have their spiritual needs addressed “scientifically”; this is probably a big part of the competition between psychiatry and Scientology.

      • Oldhead

        Don’t disparage us atheists. Most psychiatrists are God fearing believers who believe they are doing God’s work here on earth.

        And the Bible’s “original sin” dogma combined with psychiatry’s “genetic theories of original sin,” together have done enormous damage to the human race.

        Richard

          • Oldhead

            Rachel’s link above says only 17% of the surveyed psychiatrist listed no religion when questioned.

            “Original sin” permeates the Bible and most religions.

            Why do you equate atheism with “sophistication” instead of merely the ability to think rationally and scientifically about how the world works and how harmful various forms of superstition can be to the human race.

            Richard

          • I don’t equate religion with spirituality actually. But thinking scientifically and thinking rationally aren’t necessarily the same either. Science as most understand it is a pretty linear enterprise. However quantum physics stands a bunch of traditional materialist “truths” on their heads, something I have yet to see marxist theoreticians address.

          • In my view, there is no direct correlation between belief in religion and rationality. Lots of irrational people don’t believe in any religion, and lots of rational people do. I personally find lots of good, rational statements in almost any religion I’ve approached, especially Buddhism and Quakerism, and I’m about as rational a person as I think I know. Following a given “religion” (of any sort, including pseudo-rationalistic religions) blindly, or in other words, AUTHORITARIANISM, is the real enemy of rationality.

    • Funny how many Christians prefer the idea of brain disease to sin. Gone totally materialist and bio determinist without even knowing.

      I have a crabby uncle. His brain injury has taken his original nastiness and multiplied it by ten! I talked to a Christian friend. She said he must need “meds.”

      I said, “Janice, what he’s doing is a sin. He acts that way by choice.”

      Yet she insisted it was not sin, but a brain problem “meds” would easily fix. Sigh.

      Throw out the communion wafers and wine. Bring on the soma and Dixie cups of water. Brave New World, here we come. 😛

    • On the word of Christianity i came to think about a quote from danish philosopher K.E.Løgstrups ‘The ethical demand’.

      In the initiation he quotes a german theologian, Friedrich Gogarten, for his characteristic of Jesu preaching.

      ‘Friedrich Gogarten characterizes the proclamation of Jesus concisely but with precision when he says that according to this proclamation the individual’s relation to God is determined wholly at the point of his relation to the neighbor.’

      he continues, ‘This characterization sets the proclamation of Jesus in illuminating contrast with all other religions. In contrast to the general and vague conceptation of religion – and of Christianity as a religion – this characterization of the proclamation of Jesus sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Without pursuing this matter further, I would simply make use of Gogarten’s characterization for posing the question at issue in our present context: What must my relation to the neighbor be if that relation is the one and only place at which my relation to God is determined? What must the man-to-man relationship involve if it is so closely tied in with the relation to God?’

    • The nastiest shrink I ever endured was a female. Total sadist. I don’t use the term lightly. None of the others I knew would qualify.

      I only saw her laughing after she had reduced a patient to tears. She seemed to derive a quasi-erotic pleasure from inflicting pain on her “patients.” Back in the 90s she told everyone how wonderful shocking people was–though she preferred to do it on unwilling people.

      Even a judge was so shocked at Dr. McSadist’s cruelty he ordered her to stop shocking a family friend. Poor Jean finally went home.

  9. The second part to this article is “THE PEOPLE THAT WORK FOR PSYCHIATRY, DO THEY THINK IT IS MEDICINE? OR ARE THEY JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS?”

    Hitler only had power because he had people behind him. Bad Psychiatrists have the support staff behind them.

    After the second world war many of the people working for Nazi’s said the excuse “I was just following orders”. “They would shoot me next had I not complied”

    But no one questions those workers that follow and enforce bad psychiatry.

    Most notable psychiatry TORTURE since the second world war as Project MKUltra.

    “Victims of alleged LSD brainwashing experiments in Montreal plan to file lawsuit”
    Dr. Ewan Cameron, a former psychiatrist at McGill University’s Alan Memorial Institute, conducted CIA-funded experiments in the 1950s and 1960s involving sleeping drugs, electroshock therapy and the powerful hallucinogenic LSD to see if the brain could be reprogrammed.
    https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/victims-of-alleged-lsd-brainwashing-experiments-in-montreal-plan-to-file-lawsuit-1.3938614

    I wonder about all the nurses and hospital workers that went along with following doctors orders.

    • Not really. Despite all the hoopla about how great the economy is and about how many jobs are out there for people to apply for, it’s all just a bunch of bunk. Most of those jobs are part-time positions and not anything that you can actually live on. The Trump group won’t admit this but just keep touting the numbers.

      Anyway, working at a state hospital is not going to make you rich, nor will you make your first million. People are holding onto and guarding their jobs. This is not to say that what we do doesn’t contribute to the misery of those who’ve been labeled as the “mentally ill”. This is something that constantly bothers me.

      However, I genuinely believe that most of the staff are true believers and will always drink the Kool-Aid. Those of us who know the truth are far and few between and are always in jeopardy. I also know that these are the people who truly minister to the people on the units. These, for the most part, are the staff who deal with people respectfully and honor people’s dignity. They are the ones who make a difference. And sometimes we gather in twos or threes and discuss the situation in the hospital. We’re stuck between looking like we support the status quo and trying to make a real difference in the system. I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re not going to make a dent in the system because we don’t have the numbers like those who run the system and those who keep it running in supporting roles.

  10. Aaah magnificent article , I nearly collapsed over my ice cream when it came to option 1D!

    Just a couple of quotes from 2 different nhs adolescent psychiatrists in the last 6 months:
    “It’s a chemical imbalance that the drugs normalize”
    “The cause is 100% organic I’m afraid , a biochemical imbalance that is treatable (ed: with Quetiapine lol), as uncontroversial as Darwin” (ed: wtf?)

    I think we have to keep alive the notion that they are idiots. Ours didn’t know that sertraline is not licensed for depression in under 18s, but he prescribes it at maximum dose, with no, repeat no, warnings of side effects.

  11. In a recent Medscape article that Jeffrey Lieberman wrote on antidepressants he stated in the comments section “I have and do not receive any financial remuneration from Pharma or biotech. it’s a matter a public record”.

    I wrote a comment pointing out that at the beginning of his article, under disclosures, it states: Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships: Served as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant, or trustee for: Clintara; Intracellular Therapies
    Received research grant from: Alkermes; Biomarin; EnVivo/Forum; Genentech; Novartis/Novation; Sunovion
    Patent: Repligen

    I questioned why there was this contradiction and he replied: “I consult to them as I believe it is important to guide Pharma’s development of drugs, but I received no payment.” He then quoted his “full disclosure,” in which it was obvious he does receive compensation, as stated in the disclosure statement put in by the Medscape editors. I won’t call Dr. Lieberman a liar. But then what is he? This exchange indicates to me that at least some psychiatrists are not fooling themselves; they’re actively trying to mislead.

    • I, too, vote for deliberate deception. Maybe not all of them (?), but…actually, yes; all of them. Every day, psychiatrists lie to families, lie to people/”patients,” lie in court, lie to insurance companies, lie to the disability people. Its…what they do, basically. Lie, spin pseudoscientific stories, lie some more. Pays fairly well, too.

  12. Szasz’s works are still light years ahead of most articles and commentary on the topic of psychiatry. Reading helps us understand that it takes a lot of hard work, and deep study, to have an original thought. Here’s a morsel to chew on from Szasz’s “The Theology of Medicine”:

    “In the Age of Faith, men and women had to, and wanted to, call their spiritual problems sins and their spiritual authorities fathers, who, in turn, called them children. In the Age of Medicine, men and women have to, and want to, call their spiritual problems sicknesses and their spiritual authorities doctors, who, in turn, call them patients.” (p. 143)

    Here’s another:

    “To be sure, people do suffer. And that fact — according to doctors and patients, lawyers and laymen — is now enough to justify calling and considering them patients. As in an earlier age through the universality of sin, so now through the universality of suffering, men, women, and children become — whether they like it or not, whether they want to or not — the patient-penitents of their physician-priests. And over both patient and doctor now stands the Church of Medicine, its theology defining their roles and the rules of the games they must play, and its canon laws, now called public health and mental health laws, enforcing conformity to the dominant medical ethic.” (p. xxii)

    • honestly, I don’t think there’s much to add to Szasz, unless one chooses to approach psychiatry from a sociological angle. The sociologists are better at putting psychiatry and the rest of mental health into a broader context, and some of them even provide data to back up their ideas. Oh, and the economic angle. Szasz was capitalist to the core, but I do find Marxist analysis of mental health intriguing. Of course, then one could just go back to Firestone, which overlaps with Kate Millet, etc., so…”nothing new under the sun,” etc.

      • The contradictions of psychiatry have been definitively exposed by Szasz. If this could be combined with a better understanding of the effects of alienation under capitalism the full context would be better appreciated, and we might start to glimpse some light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Szasz describes mental distress as a spiritual problem while I consider it a social welfare (natural) problem. Seeking emotional well-being is accepted natural science motivation; cruel and/or otherwise unjust experiences (and physiological deficits) naturally cause painful emotional suffering (emotional distress).

        • Regardless of whether we consider it a natural science problem or a spiritual problem, it is not a medical problem and Szasz failed to articulate that fact. Szasz failed to make a strong medical argument against psychiatry: 1) medical science (health science) is based on biology, 2) biology is based on understanding physical body mechanisms, and 3) since psychiatry addresses philosophy (the philosophy of “mind”), it is biological, medical pseudoscience by definition.

          • it is not a medical problem and Szasz failed to articulate that fact

            Are you serious? This is the ESSENCE of Szasz’s analysis. (Except that there is no “it” in the first place.)

          • Excuse me; it was late and I misspoke. I intended to say that it is not a medical problem and Szasz failed to articulate that fact “with a simple, medical (biological) criticism.” I could be wrong since I have not read all of Szasz, but I believe that a simple biological (medical) criticism of psychiatry (as I outline above) is important and I have not read this from Szasz.

            However, I did not mean to reference Szasz without more reverence; he was the first and remains the most articulate critic of the calamity of psychiatry’s pseudoscience.

          • OK that’s why it sounded crazy, no biggie. 🙂

            You are correct, it should be a matter of integrity and self-respect for physicians to expose the fraudulent semantics used to construct the artifice of “mental health.”

            You don’t think $$ would have anything to do with it, do you?

          • Yes, money is a large factor especially after “practicing” for a while and finding the field frustrating from outside criticism and little career “success” with “clients.” But a larger factor that drives the “industry” (and promotes recruiting) is the substantial (albeit diminishing) public admiration for psychiatrists as “high priests” of our culture. Psychiatrists are the “high priests” of our secular religion of “scientism” (“science” addressing philosophy) that pathologizes the sadness of the disenfranchised as a tool of social control (thank you Szasz).

          • I was trying to say that I believe that psychiatrists believe their BS but you are correct that the larger issue is about money and defending the socioeconomic system by pathologizing dissent.

  13. Thank you for this blistering article and all the work you are doing on behalf of the truth, and patients’ rights.

    My recent experience: Three months ago: Taking my teenaged son to get a GP mental health plan because he wanted to see a therapist (not my idea! but he felt strongly that he needed help outside the family). Within 5 minutes of doing a checklist depression inventory (the K10), the GP announced that he had a chemical imbalance and he needed to go on antidepressants. My son relayed this information, knowing that I would never agree, and anxiously asked if the doctor could “make” him take the drugs. I changed GP’s so he wouldn’t have to go through this again when the mental health plan needed to be ‘renewed’ a couple of months later.

    The second GP said “Your K10 scores are no better! You are really unwell! You are going to have to go on antidepressants to sort this out! This is unacceptable!” It took me an hour to calm my son down (he was by now quite convinced that he was fundamentally broken), and (again) go through the research with him, discussing that the chemical imbalance theory is an unproven hypothesis, and that these drugs have a withdrawal syndrome, and side effects, and they were only trialled for 6-8 weeks, and not on paediatric populations blah blah blah, and that both his parents have metabolising issues (I am a poor metaboliser, and he will have half of my genes), which means there is a higher likelihood of him having metabolising issues.

    Then he was in the horrible situation of having to navigate two different sets of beliefs (his collective doctors’ the ‘experts’), over mine, (I am a psychiatric mental health worker with lived experience of the negative impact of carelessly prescribed psych drugs in family members and clients). (Note, I did not force my beliefs on him, but he knows I will not pay for antidepressants so he can get over school bullying and the impact of his father leaving the family).

    All this to say that I agree with Niall that GPs should not be prescribing antidepressants. And as for my experience (as a patient advocate) with psychiatrists… man, they are (often- not always) plumb crazy… (shakes head in wonder)… I mean Donald Trump crazy…

    • GP DELUSION: DOES MY GP BELIEVE HIS OWN WORDS.

      At my last Appointment on July 20 2016, at London W2 5LT, my GP Dr George Simons handed me a sheet of paper ‘from’ his ‘Legal Adviser’ which (among other things) stated me to have a Medical Diagnosis of “Schizophrenia”; that this Diagnosis had NOT been disputed; and that it should not be removed.

      BURKE + O’HARE
      When I originally presented Dr Simons in 2012, with the November 8 1986 Adverse Drug Reaction Warning Request Letter and with the ABSENCE of any Warning on the November 24 1986 Irish Record Summary he was terrified, his shirt had become completely saturated and was sticking to his body.

      HIS OWN WORDS
      In October /November 2012 Dr Simons Guaranteed me in writing with explanation 3 times the Removal Of Schizophrenia from my Records.

      DOES HE BELIEVE THEM
      In December of 2012 I found Schizophrenia still on the Records so I made a written complaint. Dr Simons responded to this in writing, with an explanation that seemed to completely contradict what he had previously guaranteed in writing.

      FACTUALLY
      Severe Mental Illness is supposed to be more disabling than being blind or in a wheel chair. In 32 years in the UK I have never been in this position (and I can easily substantiate this).

      DIAGNOSIS
      ..the Diagnosis was NOT “Schizophrenia”.

    • Sheesh! Did they even bother to ask him what he was depressed about? My son had just been assaulted by a roommate and was coming off of a run of several drugs over a few months, but all they wanted to do was tell him how “depression is a disease just like diabetes” and never bothered to even ask him why he’d been thinking about suicide. He was totally pissed and insulted by the insensitive approach and never wanted to see that doctor again.

    • 2C922C1932D64,

      Are the GPs getting paid more than usual for looking after depressed people, or are they getting paid more again for looking after Severely Depressed or Severely Mentally Ill people. This is what it looks like to me.

      I notice as well that Depression in the UK Seems to have changed from Depression into Severe Depression.

      • GPs prescribing antidepressants pulls a far bigger group of people into the psychiatric drug mishap responsibility net.

        My own GP Surgery is at the moment successfully blocking me from including my own personal drug experience visibly on my Records.

        I believe the majority of GPs know very little about Severe Drug Reactions like Akathisia.

      • Fiachra, that is an interesting idea; and the only one that makes sense of their attitude… somehow I still struggle with believing that they are *that* stupid and insensitive … I guess Niall covers this in his article… I suppose then, what we are looking at, is the banality of evil (as Hannah Arendt said)…

        • 2C922C1932D64,

          Yes, but one way or the other are GPs getting more money for creating more “mental illness”.

          My own GP at London W2 5LT was genuinely terrified when I demonstrated Adverse Drug Reaction “Suppression” at Ireland. But he remains obedient!

  14. I dont care what anyone has if their ok having it- im pretty sure were all a bit that way- ya gotta be real about it- we all want a drug that makes us feel good- and im sure we want all people to feel good- or maybe we dont- but wed be one of a few- the reality is that all drugs can /will, either help you, or harm you- ipso facto- doesnt matter whos selling them- who the dealer is- ya just gotta be real about that- and keep it real- who am i to say when its not me effected, its them- when everyones effected differently, by different drugs,- you have to take their report about them for them- when only they can really know- and they do- usually- which is why they prefer or choose certain drugs- but 90% who go to bins- are effected by drugs- that arent the right drugs for them- bad choice- which has very little to do with mental illnesses- but everything to do with drugs that werent right- or the right drugs for them- thats all- they just need them eliminated from their bodies and minds- when all psychiatries doing is swapping those drugs, for their own,- whilst those drugs eliminate themselves- they just replace them with theirs- and a new way more horrible drugged feeling- then add tags to their victims- and then send them out to be addicted to these debilitating drugs in the community- “forcefully”- an addiction – No one can escape, without going fully mad from the withdrawl- pretty good set up hey- call em mad- drug em mad- render them defenseless to prove their sanity- addict them, so they cant escape- all when all they needed was sleep, and for the drugs temporarily effecting them, to eliminate themselves from their bodies and minds– whilst they sleep them off, and recover- that 90/100 do and will if they treat them ethically- that they don’t do- they say funding prevents them doing it- when i say its the seventy percent of the budget they waste, addicting people,unethically- who have to try to escape- not all, just a bit “over half”- mainly- but even the happy ones, believers- keep having to escape too=- so all the moneys spent- wasted- 70% of the budget- on topping them all up, like junkies- to try to stop a drug madness, no ones supposed to get, or be addicted to- and drugged with/by- so theres no money for decency- ethical treatment- whcih might i add was told to me by a top female psychiatrist with a real concious- so not, when any drug dealer- shouldn’t ever, be able to force their drugs into anyone- but then i guess it depends on how you view these drug dealers- you either see them as all the same-like me- or you see some drug dealers differently- i dont- to me the most evil, of drug dealers- are the doctor drug dealers- out of all the drug dealers- a drug dealer who forces their drugs down throats of already troubled drug effected people has to be the lowest– i mean how low is that drug dealer- what drug dealer does that- maybe a murdering drug dealer- mudering someone with their drugs- but thats about it- so in effect a doctor drug dealer, who force drugs people- is really one of those drug dealers- a murdering type drug dealer, murdering people and peoples lives,-forcefully- murdering their sanity- hope- recovery- killing them off literally- all, to deal their drugs, act important- pretend they know something, no one slse does- that only they can see apperently- ultimately- like your standard drug dealer- with priveleges- Government priveleges-i could never imagine anyone, so arrogant, and evil, to force mind bending drugs, into anyone- not especially, when theyre supposed to be helping them get away, from, what hurts them-is hurting them- “their adding it into the mix”- when their supposed to be, assuring them, their not mad, but drug effected, and who cares- pretend sane first- talk sane- act sane- be sane-as you would hope, and act, before you’d do anything- anyway- like imagine shit for insatance— instead- their “telling them their real mad, its real- when their at their most vulnerable”- which is akin to putting the boots in, whilst their down- when its just so disgusting and bent to do- and not helping them up-like decent ethical people would do- as an example 15 years ago when mine was drugged, when that was the last thing to do- never mad, except for a firts try at speed- and the effect of that-

    (( when i got “14 national rehabs” in Australia- who were saying at the time, that a speed psychosis is just that- not real- and that, thats how it should be viewed- ragardless- and that, thats what they should be told- thats how we should all act- and if we do- it will eliminate and resolve iteslef, within from two, to ten days sleep- and that is/ was their way of ethicallty treating people, suffering amphetamine induced psychosis- the drug experts- not imaginary mind people, natural thinking people- who naturally, waylay their drug induced thinking, encourage them, feed them well– provide a peaceful loving caring environment- vitamins-etc- who bring them back- to us- and not sell them out or push them down a drain- like Government MH/Psychiatry is doing))–

    yet was drugged with a drug, or drugs, within 24 to 48 hrs-tied down four point in a straight jacket- with love- that over fiteen years, has only ever caused them to be mad, only ever- when trying to escape these horrible mind “person destroying drugs”, the only time- which has made me realise- maybe all these patient victim people who i think are on their team, as well as maybe mad- arent really mad at all- in fact, whos mad- really- when none of them can escape whats forced into them-, without going mad,- and so,- which mad are we looking at- the drug withdrawal mad- or the real person, real mad, theyve been called, and drugged with forcefully?- im not sure anyone can even say anymore- not once a persons addicted– not possible really.not when this is how these doctors act and operate- when they dont treat people ethically, with the full ten days sleep for street drug effected- first episode- temporarily drug psychosed people- those people should be seen as sane people, clearly effected by drugs, who need those drugs eliminated- for at least the first ten days=- to give the drugs in them, the time to eliminate themselves- properly- from their bodies- whilst, the people effected by them, are encouraged- have their drugged thinking waylayed- etc . etc; Psychiatry and mental health do the exact opposite-instead of helping them by bringing them into the light- out of the drugged dark their in- they tap in- turn the lights off and pull the blinds down- tell them “its real”- and then poison that real- they choose to imagine- think, believe- whatever- right into them.

  15. Dr David Healy and Dr Joanna Moncreif believe that for chronically ill patients the sedatory affect of neuroleptics have a place. My nurse Tony used to work many years ago connected with R D Laing. He worked in a psychiatric hospital. Did not agree with treatment. Left then went back to it. He felt that the psychiatric drugs did in fact have a place. Now after 33 years he is retiring next month.

    The medications had a place with my husband and kept him from getting manic for 17 years until he eventually stopped taking them suddenly. He was a chronic case..

    • Bippyone, you make a great point about the drugs having a place. I sometimes (ok, very occasionally) find clients who do much better with drugs than without them, and I like to be reminded of this, lest I get too one-sided.

      If advocacy can get the public and the medical profession educated to the point that it is widely understood that the drugs can have significant side effects and a possible nasty withdrawal syndrome (& potentially the need for compounded medicine), then drugs may take their rightful place as a possible treatment, and not a mainstay…

  16. Neil. Thanks for your piece. I agree it’s a pity this debate gets so polarised. I agree there’s not enough joint decision making in treatment, and that the myth of chemical imbalance is still promoted. I tend to use the term ill-treatment rather than torture but I agree some coercive interventions can be abusive and amount to torture. I’m more in favour of Engel’s biopsychosocial model than you but that’s because I think Linda does not completely understand it. I just think we have to accept that the wish to find a physical basis of mental illness will never go away. But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be critical debate and your contribution is very much to be welcomed.

    Best wishes

    Duncan

  17. Thank you, Dr. McLaren, for this witty article! I loved reading it and chuckle over it remembering the decades I spent drinking the Kool Aid as a patient. I think there’s one more reason psychiatry continues to believe the lies in spite of the overwhelming evidence of their invalidity.

    Admitting you are wrong means you grieve. You grieve for the years you spent devoted to the lie. You grieve for your misguided career. You grieve for the money, time, and energy you put forth upholding that lie.

    Psychs are like anyone else. Humans avoid painful feelings on the whole. I think they, and their subservient patients, refuse to admit the truth because the idea of such grave loss terrifies them.

    To say, “I was wrong,” is virtuous indeed, but few do. We are trained by our society to refuse to apologize. Apology often means you admit you were wrong or made an error.

    When I had my antipsych turnaround, the first change i noticed was that I began to willingly and joyfully apologize. I noticed, though, how often others fail to do so. I did this because I was already down the grieving path. Most stay where it is safe and cozy, and never take that leap.

    I was in that safe and cozy place of believing the lies until finally about six years ago I was pushed into the grieving state by extreme torture on a psych ward (water deprivation). After that, the road was rocky indeed, a major struggle to regain the person I really am. I consider myself lucky…but lucky in spite of psychiatry. Because of their abuse, I left them behind and started a new life.

    For psychiatrists, individual ones, to break away, it means starting life over. Are they prepared to do this? Some make the leap to freedom. Most, sadly, do not.

    • Very well put… plus, if their patients’ grief has to be labeled illness, then what willingness does any given psychiatrist have to admit their own grief? Perhaps they need to dip into their own supply, God knows it would be quite the learning experience!

      I’m deeply sorry for the experiences you’ve had with the system. There is no excuse for that kind of torture.

  18. Irving Janis in “Victims of Groupthink” discussed and illustrated how elite individuals do stupid things under group influence, the many factors involved in belonging to a group.
    George Bernard Shaw had pointed out much earlier that all professions are a conspiracy against the laity.

    • Core patterns of personal identity operate the personal identity.
      The forms they take are different under different settings but they all share a common root.
      The nature of identity does not come up in such terms but more in terms of defined self-interest – or better – self interest operating through the filtering self-definitions of self and world.

      If our capacity to maintain our identity is threatened and our usual set of defences no longer work, then we might go mad even from the fear of being mad – and for that sense of chaos, the limiting nature of diagnosis and possible meds offers respite from such a raw skinless exposure to a sense of losing control or of believing we have control without the agreement or support of others.

      Everyone behaves ‘stupidly’ under a group identity. Identities set against exposure – ie a masking identity, seeks external reinforcement of mutually agreed self-protections.

      The key as I see it is that our true identity is what we give or extend to others – and know in the giving. In giving and receiving contradictory messages we have conflicted experience, lose trust communication and connection to fears that may manifest as any kind of withdrawal and withholding of love – or in practical terms the genuine honouring and appreciation of others as ourself.

      Of course groups can serve us in all kinds of ways too. It really is all about the active purpose and not about presumed wishful intentions.

      One of the thing that happens around anyone seen as powerful is the ‘yes man or pleaser, because we generally survive and thrive by not upsetting or drawing the critical attention of power. A good leader doesn’t want a bubble for their vanity but genuine feedback. But the inclination to believe your own spin when echoed back as reinforcement becomes addictive as the covering over of fear unfaced.

  19. I often revisit this article, to keep myself sane… after over a decade on drugs I did not want to take, I have fought very hard to understand how the abuse happened, and there are far too many people who insist that I change my mind. I feel much less like a “clinically insane” person after I can review what I’ve learned about the nature of psychiatry, conveniently summarized in this article with ample evidence to boot. Thank you Niall.