Envisioning Psychiatric Drug Freedom

Chaya Grossberg
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One of the primary reasons people aren’t content to stay on psychiatric medications forever, even if they appreciate some of the effects, is the loss of freedom. The adverse effects cause many people to feel less free in their lives whether they are obvious physical health symptoms, less creativity, or less energy. For some, the loss of freedom is immediate and for others it happens gradually over a long time of being on psychiatric pharmaceuticals.

Psychiatric drugs are generally tested (on young, healthy white males) for a short term. They are designed to make people feel better quickly. But, like many things that “work” quickly, there is a backlash over time if dependence occurs.

Some people don’t experience a lot of noticeable adverse effects from psych drugs, but still want the freedom of not having to take a pill everyday, or not having to worry about the long term health problems that may eventually occur. We are living in ominous times, and no one knows for sure that they will have healthcare forever, so many people want the freedom of not being dependent on pharmaceuticals that have withdrawal symptoms.

Living under a political system that feels less and less trustworthy, stable and reliable to many people, these concerns are likely to increase in the days to come.

Then of course, there are the many people I have been getting regular emails from for over a decade, who experience the adverse effects of psychiatric meds overtly and undeniably. These folks are desperate for freedom and have often tried many times to come off, but the withdrawal effects have been too severe, and they have not had enough support or resources to complete the process.

We all want freedom from anything that holds us back, but when we look closer at that freedom, what do we see there? Who are we when we don’t have our roadblocks? What is our potential? Can we paint a picture of it more clearly to see it better?

These are questions I think about, remembering when I was going through psychiatric drug withdrawal myself. Something in me knew that I would eventually be free but I had no idea what that would look like. I could barely get out of bed to shower, let alone imagine what my life might look like if I felt healthy, happy and free.

I had not only the inner blocks of my health and mind being hijacked by psychiatric drugs, but a bunch of other internal blocks that resulted from this.

After a while, I started to accept the identity of being “chronically mentally ill,” even though all of the symptoms that led me to that conclusion were caused by the meds themselves. This itself was an internal block.

No one asked me what I envisioned my life to be like without the meds, though people around me did have advice about what I should be doing. Not having any capacity to see what my life could be, other than what it was, was another blockage I faced.

I became so isolated and stuck in a small world of care providers and meds that it was a self-fulfilling prophesy. I couldn’t imagine any other way of life, let alone take steps to get there.

Besides the ones I mentioned that I experienced, the internal blocks I’m referring to are mostly the huge difficulty of believing that one can be free from psychiatry, and the challenge of connecting the dots from the present moment to a future moment of freedom. It is the same, in some ways, with any big goal. Often, with a very challenging goal, mapping out the steps on paper can help to see what the internal blocks might be at each stage.

For example, as I look at each step in a process, I might become more aware of what my fears are, and what is actually under those fears. One possible fear is the fear of going against family values, or in any way separating from a family, group or culture that one has become comfortable in, or even dependent on.

As cliché as it is, fear of success is real. Any long term difficulty, as hard as it may be, can become comfortable, or familiar, such that becoming free of it is scary. Added to that, owning one’s power and even separating from those who have been abusive can be terrifying.

Creating or finding a different identity after being in the role of the identified patient is a process, and one that requires a lot of self reflection, as well as strategic action. Being the identified patient in a family or social system becomes not only an internal block within the person who is identified that way, but a block in the whole system. When that rug is pulled out, those who relied on one person’s experience being minimized or discounted due to their “mental illness” can become destabilized and sick themselves.

Psychiatric meds can shut down the emotions and consciousness enough to make it possible to tolerate some dynamics that would inspire rage or huge surges of empowered activity without the meds. This is where it can be helpful to look closely at these blocks and start to create a map to freedom, understanding that it is a complex process that involves not only the physiology of the body of the individual taking the meds, but the architecture of the entire social system around that person.

This of course isn’t to imply that the reason withdrawal was near impossible for me and for so many people is “internal blocks” alone, or that these blocks are what cause the epidemic of psychiatric drug harm. Yet, sometimes when on psychiatric drugs and in withdrawal, the powers of the imagination and intention and even the soul are the best tools for seeking and achieving freedom.

This is because lots of people who are on psych drugs have had so much power stripped away. When I had my health ruined by them, I often said prayers and affirmations, in part because it was all I could think of to do. It was one of the only powers I felt I had left and it didn’t take that much effort. I didn’t have to believe them, and most of the time didn’t believe the affirmations I was saying at all, such as “I am healthy and happy.” Yeah right.

When I refer to the powers of the soul, it helps to ask: What process got interrupted? How can the gifts that were intercepted, squashed or erased by psychiatric drug harm be recovered? It’s different for everyone.

I believe there is a certain journey or life mission that we each have. Sometimes it can be hard to even put into words. It can be a complicated mission. If there is any way to access or remember what that soul mission is, and articulate it in some form, even if it is not in words, it can help get some perspective on psychiatric drug withdrawal.

Having a witness to the soul path can also be hugely beneficial, especially in breaking out of the identified patient role. Even if someone is chronically ill for life, that is not the only expression of their soul. To be seen and witnessed for other parts of the soul path or mission can help a lot. This is where having resonant “soul friends”/“soul family” and mentors can help with breaking out of psychiatric servitude, and the fixed identities that often come with it.

I had one such mentor, who recognized my soul and my intelligence, even when I wasn’t expressing it so much while severely mentally disabled by seven pharmaceuticals, mostly psych drugs.

It can help to remember these things (the vision, the internal blocks, and the different parts of the soul mission) and write them down, in a focused way.

I recently made a Workbook for Psychiatric Drug Freedom with an audio meditation (which you can read more about here) because, for me and many of my comrades, it was in part my soul strength that got me through the hardest times in life, especially breaking free from psychiatry. It was something other than tapering protocols and supplement plans that was at the core of my ability to break free, though all pieces of the picture were and are important.

When referring to soul strength here, I partly mean the will of my soul, which I liken to destiny, and something I don’t actually have control over. I also mean all of the things that are connected to that, such as a soul purpose, and soul connections. Despite the obvious physical and practical roadblocks to psychiatric drug freedom, I believe that the closer we can come to knowing and being recognized for our soul purpose, the better our chances at success.

This process will look different for everyone. It is about self/soul intimacy overall, which is supported by soul recognition from others (either a few others, or for those who have a more public soul mission, many others).

How can we support people re-envisioning life free from psychiatric meds without implying that the drug harm is their fault? No one who falls prey to psychiatry is responsible for the harm it causes, yet people can become empowered to recreate their lives and regain hope for freedom, which so many lose when in psych med withdrawal. This power can start in the mind, soul or imagination (while also being supported by all of the physical things like good nutrition, careful tapering etc).

198 COMMENTS

  1. Your story is of vital importance, but psychiatric survivors seem to still be ignored or ridiculed by psychiatry. That makes your work all the more important.
    I spent years in VA and State of Connecticut “hospitals” until I understood I was at great risk, not from some mythical “illness” but from the shrinks themselves. I got away, found a safe place to exist as I “de-prescripted”, and went on with my life. Sure, I live a greatly reduced life, but since mental illness is about trauma and learned dysfunction, every moment I let them prattle over me about their non-existent cure for a non-existent illness, meant I was just that more lost and in despair.
    I found help in a lot of interesting places. Several times I was asked to describe part of the journey to local college classes, and found that healing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iScTrOUIQxc

    Your speaking out may be the only thing that helps give a struggling psychiatric survivor hope to engage in the struggle to reclaim their minds and hope. Good job.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  2. I would like to see more open dialogue about the intentional scapegoating that occurs by targeting people in the community who have “offended” or upset the social order through bad behavior.

    This happened to me, 36 years ago; and only recently have I begun to understand what is happening.
    I now realize that my family and my “friends” from high school have been setting me up as a scapegoat.

    I never had due process or any formal hearing to inform me that I was being punished. I have reached out to MIA and others to advocate for restorative justice.

    I have apologized to the people I have offended and I will continue to do so.

    My home is being invaded every night and I am being tortured every night. I have talked to the police but they only laugh at me. I have been to the Lindner Center of Hope, the local Taj Mahal of psychiatric “care”.
    No one is being honest with me; and I do not accept the bogus labels or the torturous “treatment.”

    Again, I was a juvenile when this occurred in 1981. I believe that restorative justice could have worked then; but I also think that it still can work today. I will do everything in my power to make it work.

    I will admit that the so called treatment in 2012 was a wake up call for me. It alerted me to the fact the “diagnosis” was bogus and the that “treatment” that followed was torture. I started to question everything, and eventually I realized that I have been the target of a conspiracy since 1981.

    So, I finally did wake up; but now I want restorative justice, because torture and home invasion is Not justice.

    I should add that the person who was instrumental in taking to the Lindner Center in 2012 for my bogus diagnosis was my mom, Treon Christine

    Treon was negligent in my 1966 brain-injury when I was run over in the driveway by her friend, Mrs. Moore. Treon told me later that the accident was my fault and she even made sure I wrote that in my fifth grade autobiography. This was big lie #1.

    Big lie #2: Treon also lied to me about being ambidextrous. She said I was ambidextrous when I asked her why I wrote with my left hand but throw a ball with my right. The truth is that I was brain injured; and that she was negligent in that accident in 1966.

    I want to differentiate between the torture of the meds and the home invasion torture. These are two different things but I do consider them both to be torture.

  3. In the summer of 1966, I was eighteen months old when I was run over by Mrs. Moore’s car as she was backing out of our driveway at 8550 Keller Road; Cincinnati, OH 45243.

    You cannot blame a toddler for getting run over by a car in the driveway…but my mom did that to me when I was writing my autobiography in fifth grade…and I wrote it down, because I wanted to finish my assignment…but also because I was very naive and gullible… Why was I so gullible? I argue that it had a lot to do with being brain-injured.

    • I think we are all gullible to our parents’ need to protect themselves. Because we need our parents to protect us. Unfortunately, much of what is called “mental health” issues stems from this very tendency, at least in my observation. Alice Miller writes eloquently about this – we protect our parents in order to make sure we’re protected, but we also know better on some level and end up resentful and confused. The smart ones eventually come to see this is what’s happening, but seeing it isn’t the same as working through it. It totally sucks that this happened to you, and I wish you continued success in sorting out what it means to you going forward.

      • The DSM pathologizes the problem with “Attachment Reactive Disorder” but I do not believe a word of it.

        I believe that we initially learn to understand the world through our parents; during formative years, we learn about happiness and how to achieve it and learn about distress and how to avoid it. If parents struggle to achieve emotional well-being, their children will often perceive of the world as cruel and unjust. This is traumatic for children (an Aversive Childhood Experience) and promotes sympathy for their parents’ plight and an attachment to the family. However, Aversive Childhood Experiences are often caused by abusive parental behaviors that make the relationship problematic. It might be preferable for children to believe that their parents are just plain crazy for targeting them unjustly for abuse (in contrast to the rest of the world) so it is easier to detach from the dysfunction and start anew.

      • Please allow me to explain more.
        1. I was brain-injured in 1966. My mom was negligent and she lied to me, blaming me for getting run over in the driveway. She even lied about my being ambidextrous to pretend to explain why I write with my left hand but use my right for sports.

        2. I did bad behavior in 1981 that my parents and my ex-friends in high school chose to interpret a hate crime (which I view, instead, as teen angst–and not a hate crime at all). However, it was never talked about directly, so I did not know until much later what the whispering was about. Instead, jokes were made about it my last two years of high school, and there were many jokes made about it in my yearbook.

        3. My family and ex-friends gas-lighted me into doing more stupid behavior. This was the journey into forensic psychiatry. It began with stealing beer and throwing water balloons with David Weymouth. He made it seem like this was normal teenage behavior and I was too foolish to question him. One of the last things in high school I did was to “help” my friend Joe pick up an “abandoned” fire hydrant to take home to put in his house. Most people would realize that this was stealing public property. It took me years to realize that this was not at all legal, and that Joe Alexander was tricking me into a crime.

        The pattern here is that my “friends” and family were happy to let me make a fool of myself and incriminate myself. I had become the joke of the school, and no one was going to clue me in on how to redeem myself. That has been the same pattern for the last 37 years. It is forensic psychiatry that does not take into account the effects of being lied to by your parents. It does not take into account the brain-injury and the way the parents were careful not to get an official diagnosis.

        In fact, forensic psychiatry seems very adept at not looking at the whole story. It is
        much more focussed on scapegoating the individual, when there is more information to be discovered if they are willing to even talk to the juvenile offender. Yes, I was way too gullible and naive in trusting my “friends”. However, they were tricking me in a very vindictive way, that I feel was far too vindictive, considering my brain-injury in 1966.

  4. @johnchristine

    The case you make for restorative justice is an interesting one. I agree with you too that forced treatment can meet the threshold of torture, and I have also had the misfortune of that experience.

    What source are you referring to in regards the car accident? Naturally you wouldn’t be able to have a direct memory of the incident. I was just wondering how you constructed a counternarrative?

    I’m ambivalent about the torture. I can’t get worked up about it. It was wrong. Of course it was wrong. And I can’t abide the thought of it happening to other people. Even still I remain ambivalent about it. Perhaps the torture damaged my brain’s emotional range. Or maybe I’ve been lucky to adjust, in a fashion.

    • I began to seriously question my mom about the 1966 car accident after she drove me to the Lindner Center in 2012 to get my bogus “diagnosis” and my phony “treatment”. I knew that the diagnosis made no sense at all to me; and the “treatment” only felt like a kind of punishment.

      So then I really wanted to know more about why she took me there. While she was handing me her NAMI literature, I really, really started to question why is she doing this? Eventually, I started asking about the accident. She was evasive, but she did say that it was her fault; and she offered a very weak apology that did not feel genuine at all. In fact, I felt like I had to pry that apology out of her–she didn’t want to give it to me.

      Why not? For the same reason that I never got an official diagnosis of brain injury. I never got that because it would have made my mom, Treon Christine, officially negligent…which she was. She should have been holding me when Mrs. Moore was backing her car out of the driveway.

      • The ability to confirm brain damage is limited when it occurs in very young children, is my understanding. At all ages the damage has to be pretty significant to be identified. Knowledge of the brain’s functions are at a very nascent stage. At 18 months old there are so many milestones not yet reached, not least that your personality and sense of self would be very rudimentarily progressed. What you can say sensibly is that there is a probable strong correlation between the accident and the subsequent problems. But no-one can be 100% about it. In the USA heading of the ball in youth soccer games has been removed from the sport. Despite absolute evidence the potential risks are enough to take precautionary action.

        There are lots of mothers (and fathers and so on) that carry burdensome secrets and lies. Every parent makes mistakes. Dreadful accidents happen. You’re right I think in interpreting the motivations to hush-up your accident. If they hadn’t you’d maybe have ended up in care or with foster parents.

        A friend of mine took severe burns when he was a toddler. Right down one side of his face and all over his chest. His mother had turned her back from the stove for mere seconds, and he’d reached up with his hand to the pot handle. When he first took off his shirt I was very shocked at the disfigurement. After a while it doesn’t matter.

        All families have secrets and lies. It is important for those lies to be confronted. It’s all in the open now for you and your mom. But like my friend’s mother, she’ll never get over the guilt. So really, if you can forgive her, you’ll stop torturing her conscience any more than it already is, I expect.

        • My mom is definitely aware that I am experiencing home invasion and torture every night. This is not a coincidence.

          I would be willing to forgive her for the accident if the home invasion and torture were to stop. It hasn’t stopped for one day once it began in January, 2012.

          This is a very organized and large scapegoating campaign against me. Unfortunately, my mom is not the only person in this effort to defame me and make me suffer. It is character assassination and framing and entrapment that has been going on for 37 years for political reasons. I have never had any chance to defend myself.

          Obviously, I regret the stupid behavior in 1981; but it was never a hate crime–it was not intended to offend anyone. I was a confused teenager who had a very late puberty, and I had a lot of teenage angst.
          (Delayed puberty often occurs with children who have been brain-injured).

  5. Thanks for a great article, thought-inspiring as always.
    You write:
    “How can we support people re-envisioning life free from psychiatric meds without implying that the drug harm is their fault? No one who falls prey to psychiatry is responsible for the harm it causes…”
    I agree with you that people are not responsible for much of the harm caused by psych drugs (as almost nobody is informed of the probable “side” effects). However, what people (unless forcibly administered drugs) often are responsible for, when they go to a doctor for relief from emotional distress, is making the choice to take a pill to deal with deep-seated issues, and choosing a quick fix over the long haul.
    Yes, many people have bought the idea of “chemical imbalance” and really believe that their feelings should be corrected with medication. But for those who want easy relief, there is a place for accepting the responsibility of the choice to take an easier ride, just as people who use alcohol or illicit drugs make a choice to numb their feelings rather than deal with them.
    Please note that I’m not writing “people who choose an easier route only have themselves to blame.” It’s not about blaming or finding fault, and blaming psychiatrists is unlikely to be productive for the future of the individual in question, even though a general anti-psychiatry crusade could be a worthwhile endeavor in a general sense. In many cases, maybe most or all, people don’t have the support systems they need to go the long route. But they still have to recognize that the choice to take a pill instead of dealing with the issues has consequences, many of which they can’t envision at the outset. Even choosing to trust a doctor is a choice that has to be recognized.
    Otherwise, we end up with the phenomenon of “I’m just a poor victim” mindset which is possibly an even bigger obstacle to creating a fulfilling life than any of the physical problems caused by medication withdrawal.

    • It is difficult to balance empowerment, which depends on assigning agency to the person making decisions and reminding them they have options, and recognizing oppression, which often makes people feel or believe that they don’t have choices that they actually do have. Striking that balance is key to being able to be helpful. Responsibility (literally, the ability to respond) is not the same as blame, but the term “responsibility” is very frequently used in a blameful manner. I find the use of these terms to be very delicate! But I do get what you are saying – it can be vitally important to help folks remember their power to make decisions, as long as its done in such a way as to make sure not to blame a person for being deceived and victimized by the lies and manipulation and force of organized psychiatry.

  6. Thank you for your story, Chaya.
    How indeed.

    How can communities provide support and reparative experiences, particularly to young people experiencing profound distress when that distress is so often a response to abuse and/or not enough of the caring and support they needed within their families (for whatever reason)? That is a very large gap in caring left wide open and needing to be filled

    I was one of those teenagers. I got out of the system and stayed out for many years. I was lucky. But leaving left me with a leagacy of trying to deal with the original reasons for my pain, hugely compounded by the experiences of being abused for being in such pain. It is easier for me to deal with the problems that led me into the system than with my feelings about ‘nice,’ ‘respectable’ people treating their fellow human beings that way, especially teenagers, still just children. With their being paid for it and going home at the end of their shifts, feeling good about themselves.

    The emphasis here at MIA and in peer communities is on drugging and that’s understandable, but the system’s harm goes a long way beyond the drugs. What worries me about the focus on drug harms, as real and severe as those are, is that it can not only obfuscate the part those drugs played in a bigger picture of abuse and destruction, but it can create an illusion that getting rid of the drugs and shocks is almost synonymous with solving the problem.

  7. It is hard to imagine the immense suffering caused by the effects of psychotropic medications the world over. The situation is especially bad in our country, India. Sociocultural conditions are vastly different here and a lot of the populace put their trust in ‘western’ medicine despite the fact that there are several oriental approaches that the western world is now adopting. We have seen the tremendous benefits of modalities like buddhist counseling and acupuncture not only in reducing psychiatric morbidity but also in alleviating iatrogenic harm. Mental health sadly is not a ‘movement’ in India like in the USA. However more and more individuals and organizations are attempting to highlight the benefits of modern integrative psychiatry where the need for medications is a lot less than conventional practice. In a field as fluid and dynamic as mental health, mere touch can seem to engender wonders and practices like buddhist meditation and somatic approaches like acupuncture can be of immense benefit. We are therapyspace, http://www.therapyspace.in and support mad in america in their endeavors. Please see if you can help us raise awareness that there are a few who want to start a holistic psychiatry free of the travails of excessive medication here in India. Thanks!

    • I must say I agree . The idea that these drugs were designed is not in any way in accordance with the evidence, read Joanna Moncrieff.

      I’m afraid its all codswallop, or as jock mcclaren would say , bullshit. The drugs don’t make anything better (see the effect sizes, smd, or NNT) and your brain isn’t broken.

      Not sure who said it, but my belief is that “Non compliance is where recovery starts”

      I find it difficult to credit these drugs with anything, I just can’t find it in the studies.

    • Chaya,

      I agree when you say that it is difficult or even terrifying to separate from people who have mistreated you.

      This is especially confusing when the person who has gas-lighted you is a parent.

      You want recognition from your parent; and yet, you are still being gas-lighted by them. The game is not over until the people in power decide it is over.

      In this case, it is my mom and the lawyers, the doctors, the police, and the community policing actors who are still playing a public relations game against me. I have no recourse but to resist as best I can.

      When I do defend myself, I am ignored. And even when I stop defending myself, I continue to have my home invaded and continued to be tortured every night.

      I have reached out repeatedly to my high school ex-friends and even my ex-friends from middle school.
      No one will talk to me in any serious way; and yet I can tell when I do talk with them, that they know exactly what I am talking about. It is a very organized and unified conspiracy; but it is not fair because I really don’t think my old classmates know about the brain-injury or the gas-lighting that I endured.

      John

    • I guess my problem with this article is that it seems to skate around the fact that there is such thing as politics in psychiatric diagnosis.

      People are scapegoated with the labels and they are scapegoated by the drugs.

      It is a conspiracy that the criminal justice system uses with the “medical” profession; and it is wrong.

      Juveniles who do stupid behavior may find themselves in a political situation that they never imagined.
      That certainly happened to me. I am talking about naive, gullible people who were run over (and brain-injured) as toddlers and were gas-lighted by their parents.

      These unsuspecting people do something dumb that is magnified by the powers that be in order to teach
      someone a lesson. The lesson that I have learned is that this situation is totally unfair.

      The powers that be are control freaks who are not willing to have a conversation with a confused teenager. Why? Because the powers that be have a political agenda and open dialogue and restorative justice doesn’t fit into that agenda.

  8. I also feel that the resistance to psychiatry is always working backwards.

    I mean that we are usually fighting against the “treatment” because that is what we are left with after we get slammed with the diagnosis/ treatment double whammy.

    If somehow we could attack the diagnosis first, that seems like the best strategy; before we all get disabled by the drugs and can’t do anything.

    We need to attack the DSM; because it is not scientific. It is the book of insults, as someone I admire has said.

      • I think someone should tell the truth about what is happening. While I admire Will Hall and Chaya for helping people to stop taking dangerous drugs, they are indirectly making money from the fraudulent diagnoses.

        Yes, the drugs are bad. But the diagnoses are worse, because they are not based on science. Psychiatry has been taking over religion and pills have become punishment.
        Doctors are making moral judgements–not medical decisions.

        Everyone is pretending that the doctors know what they are doing. But the truth is slowly getting out: the drug companies are running the whole show, including a large part of the criminal justice system.

        Stop the fraudulent diagnoses! That must be the best strategy to prevent the pill for every ill fraud. There must be a PR campaign to get this message out, because too many people are suffering.

        • Somehow we need to get the word out before people get trapped by the diagnoses and the drugs.

          We need to skip the step where people become addicted to their meds.

          Finally, we need to skip the next step where people need replacement gurus to take the baton from the priests of psychiatry.

      • This is a reply to Steve Spiegel and his idea that medical schools give psychiatry a false credibility.

        Yes, I agree with this; but there is more going on here. In my situation, it has to do with family friendships and taboo behavior. When a child (me) broke an unwritten rule, he was met with a conspiracy in order to shame him. This was allowed to grow into a high school conspiracy against the brain-injured person (me). Over time the conspiracy was allowed to grow across state lines and eventually over country borders.

        This is the wrong way to teach children; and it is especially wrong to teach brain-injured children this way.

        Again, I have to get back to my mom and her negligence in 1966. That is a subject no one wants to talk about because it is the truth. And the truth does not fit well into this false idea that my behavior in 1981 was some sort of hate crime. It was not.

        My mom called me names as I was growing up: Bonzert, Cakey, and Poosey. These were all condescending names. She called my brother Wicks Wilson which is a play on his real name Chadwick Wilson Christine. That was not condescending. Why the different treatment? I believe that she was conflicted and felt guilty because she was negligent in 1966.

          • Steve, I wonder what you think about this. I had a very reasoned discussion with my other half who said the diagnoses are helpful because we can define a group of people with a similar problem and provide help. I used to believe that, but have come to the conclusion that you cannot diagnose a biological condition without an identifiable mechanism, I think you call it pathology. Mental problems aren’t disorders because we don’t know if there is anything wrong. I just wonder if we are lacking a word for “we’ve a hunch it’s something we’ve seen in other people and we’ve got a few interventions that seem to help”.

          • I think it’s OK for people to gather together and identify themselves by something they feel they have in common. “Voice hearers,” for instance, is a group of people who get together to talk about their experience hearing voices. No pathology is assumed, no power differential gives some more authority, no one is the “diagnoser” and no one is the “diagnosee.” I think it’s really different when a doctor or counselor diagnoses YOU with something and tells YOU what it means or what to think about it. I know some folks have grabbed onto psych diagnoses as a means of identifying themselves and others who have similar issues, and it’s great if that helps them find a community. But it’s a slippery slope when we start taking what are supposedly medical “diagnoses” and instead using them as cultural constructs and use the fact that they may be useful in the second role to justify their use in the first role. No one asks a person how they feel about their “broken leg” diagnosis – a leg is broken because an x-ray says it’s broken, and we can not only tell what we need to do about it but also continue to monitor it objectively until it heals. Until and unless psych diagnoses can be objectively determined and monitored in this way, they remain very dangerous, because they mislead folks into thinking that the doctor understands what’s going on when in fact they are simply categorizing things based on outward appearance, kind of like diagnosing someone with “pain.” I agree, we’re lacking a word for it, but it lives more in the realm of “distress” than it does in the realm “disease.”

        • A child should never be the target of abuse; I am sorry that society failed you.

          Evidently, forty years ago you behaved in a manner that was labeled a “hate crime”; these types of behaviors are hopefully unwanted in our society. Evidently, you consider this an unjust label for your behavior that continues to give you grief as an unfair reflection of who you are. You seem to have a problem distancing yourself from people who want to unfairly label you. Consistently, you seem illogically frustrated about an inability to enlighten others about their unjust attitude towards you while describing how their attitudes serve a valuable purpose for them.

          I do not know you, and even if I did know you, any advice I offer could be completely wrong (so I hope others will chime in with criticism of my advice or offer better suggestions). Nevertheless, may I suggest you first try to understand whether you feel guilt about the 1981 incident, anger about misplaced blame for the incident, or both. If you feel guilt about the incident, I suggest that you spend time “clearing your conscience”; counter the guilt with behaviors that make you deserving of forgiveness. Thus if the incident targeted a specific race, gender, religion, etc., spend time supporting an organization that defends the rights of the targeted group. On the other hand, if you feel anger about being the “fall guy” for problems in different social circles, I suggest that you spend time countering the anger about misplaced blame. Specifically, I suggest that you support organizations that defend children against child abuse; it seems like you would be a passionate advocate for disenfranchised children. If you feel both guilt and anger about the 1981 incident, then I suggest that you spend time addressing both issues.

          Best wishes, Steve

          • I will do what you suggest if you can stop the home invasion and torture. But I need help getting started.

            This is coercion. No apologies acknowledged or accepted. No restorative justice so far. No meaningful dialogue one on one or in a group. Torture every night since 2012.

          • I am sorry that I am struggling with my own issues and have no ability to assist you more than offering a few suggestions. Perhaps there are some counselors or “peer specialists” in your area that could assist in getting you started with volunteer work and addressing unfair invasions into your world.

            “Restorative justice” is rare and difficult to achieve in this world; people want to move past their mistakes (learn from them rather than pay restitution for them). That is why my suggestions center on seeking personal justice through seeking justice for others in similar circumstances.

          • People don’t understand the extraordinary gas-lighting, entrapment, and framing that is involved in forensic psychiatry. It is draconian in its goal of alienating and targeting specific individuals who are to serve as scapegoats.

      • Steve McCrea,

        What would be helpful would be for MIA to be honest. Do you know that my home is being invaded every night and I am being tortured every night? I believe with certainty that you do know.

        I believe that MIA is not fighting hard enough for restorative justice or even due process for juveniles.

        I believe that you are playing a game here and it has to do with not admitting the truth. The truth is found in David Cohen’s article, “It’s the Coercion, Stupid” found under coercion on MIA.

        • I agree that “MIA is not fighting hard enough for restorative justice or even due process for juveniles”, but whose fault is it. MIA is comprised of individuals with a multitude of different complaints about the harm caused by the current “mental health system.” MIA is not a homogeneous entity; it fights only as hard as the sum of our collective voices including yours.

          I agree that coercion causes the harm and that if we could stop the coercion we would stop the harm, but it is the legitimacy of psychiatry that legitimizes (causes) the coercion. Psychiatry advocates that some people are “mentally ill”- not of “sound mind.” Our society compassionately seeks medical assistance (psychiatry) for people when they are “mentally ill” and “not responsible” for their “antisocial” behaviors. Thus the coercion is widely considered “compassionate care” rather than terrifying “human rights abuses”; this is based on the legitimacy of psychiatry. Psychiatry legitimizes coercive “treatments”; you cannot stop the coercion while psychiatry retains legitimacy.

        • John, I seriously only know about you exactly what you’ve shared and nothing more. I don’t doubt your perception of the situation, as you’re the only one there to tell us about it. I don’t really believe there is much we can do here except to talk about it, as we don’t know where you are or what it is you’re up against. Which is why I don’t really see what we can do to help you, other than hearing, empathizing, and providing some ideas of what you can do yourself. I wish we could do more!

  9. I would like to envision political freedom from psychiatry. Not just freedom from the drugs, but freedom from the system of oppression.

    I want freedom from home invasion and torture. I want to be allowed to go out in public without being harassed.

    I want the kind of freedom that could be possible if we allowed for open dialogue and restorative justice.

  10. Thanks for this article, and the discussion it is sparking!
    I can relate to many of the processes you describe, however as an atheist I can’t help but feel alienated by concepts such as the ‘soul’. It would help to be more inclusive of people of diverse beliefs.

  11. “I believe there is a certain journey or life mission that we each have. Sometimes it can be hard to even put into words. It can be a complicated mission. If there is any way to access or remember what that soul mission is, and articulate it in some form, even if it is not in words, it can help get some perspective on psychiatric drug withdrawal.”

    Truth! Soul growth, soul mission, soul family–the entire purpose of going through the dark night of the soul, to have our deepest, most creative and fulfilling experience of life. Quite the journey, and not for the faint of heart. This all speaks to me unequivocally. You’ve articulated it beautifully, Chaya, as usual.

    “Having a witness to the soul path can also be hugely beneficial, especially in breaking out of the identified patient role”

    Fwiw, I love following your journey, and this article in particular moved me to tears. Brilliant work, inspiring all the way. Perfect way to start my day, thank you.

    Keep shining your healing light of truth, Chaya. I see it and feel it, truly. What a gift to the world you are, and I mean that most sincerely. You are bringing such healing to the planet. I have a feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg. Really awesome!

    • Some people need to be restrained. Toxic abusers, for instance. People that believe that because they had a painful childhood they have a right to destroy other peoples’ equanimity. Including that of children.

      There are some very toxic, abusive and out-and-out antisocial people that become psychiatric patients. Often, drugging these people into submission is the best and most humane approach. Because, left to their own devices and without any formalised social response to their “sickness”, they will go on to manufacture toxicity and bring more dysfunctional people like themselves into the world.b

      You can idealise all you like, but how long would you put up with a toxic abuser in your life? How long until the talk of compassion fails, and you demand that something is done? Or you are showing them the door?

      Psychiatry welcomes them. It offers them a life in which they can limit or remove their toxic abuse of other people. In some cases, this includes robbing them of their sexual function. Again, some people are best off being robbed of their sexual function. For instance, paedophiles.

      Reading here you can get the impression that abuse and abusers only ever occurs in one direction. That the good guys and the bad guys are clealy separated. It’s just plain silly talk.

      If toxic abusers were not an ongoing problem, there would be a much-reduced psychiatric system, and the DSM would never have devoted so much space to delineating the various forms of toxic characterological traits.

      For some people a victim-role can be very attractive. This is especially so for toxic abusers. It’s a great way to bury their misdeeds and their toxicity and project all their nefariousness onto psychiatry.

      Naturally I understand how in the text box anyone can portray themselves as a misunderstood angel. But it doesn’t take too much effort to read between the lines and work out what’s what.

      • Rasselus,
        I do agree with you that some people need to be temporarily restrained because they are a danger to others. There are people in the world who are a menace to innocents. This is where psychiatry has some value to society. The problem is that they are overmedicating and over treating, which is an abuse of power that posters on MIA have experienced personally and professionally. I think doctors have abused their influence and have strongly bought into psych drugs as an answer to human distress. They have also believed that hospitalizing people is helpful, which is usually not the case; in fact, most people find it to be further traumatizing and dehumanizing. Doctors probably mean well but the end result of their actions is too often harm rather than good. Furthermore, they promote the idea that mental illness is a scientifically validated, which clearly isn’t the case. Survivors from psychiatry have real reasons to be angry, including the horrid “side effects” from “treatment.” As a side note, people who are true psychopaths rarely seek out “help”, because they don’t see their motives, actions, or desires to be a problem. As a therapist I’ve rarely interacted with such people unless they are referred by the legal system.

        • I think some confusion enters in as soon as we conflate protecting people from danger with “treatment.” It is NOT and can NEVER be “treatment” if the person is forcibly engaged in the process, no matter how well-intended the person exerting the force. Treatment is an agreement reached between a physician and his/her patient. In cases of unconsciousness or inability to communicate, the patient’s interests may have to be represented by someone else, but in this case, we’re already on shaky ground as far as “informed consent” is concerned. But if there is no “informed consent,” the concept of “treatment” is out the window. We are now managing social problems, not “treating” anything. Again, a police function exists in essentially all societies, but it should never be confused with a helping agreement between client and professional.

          • Thanks for the theoretical considerations, Steve, but back down here on terra firma things do not easily fit into these venn diagrams. There are people in this world whose moral conscience is so impaired it wouldn’t be amiss to describe it as comatose. Should a person with a comatosed moral conscience be afforded equal standing to everyone else?

            If these people are then treated — and it is treatment, even if you don’t like it, treatment is what it is — against their will, then, you have to have the courage to look at it all head on, and then be honest. Because some of these people will have been engaged in rather vile and demeaning behaviours against other people for quite some time. And there will be many victims they’ll have left in their wake.

            And you’re either going to be making excuses for them, and playing at being compassionate, or you are going to be mindful of what compassion really is, or should be, and it isn’t about or shouldn’t be about mollycoddling or “being with” someone whose only true motivation will be to get from you what they can and then toss you into the trash with all the other do-gooders.

            There are exceptions to the rule. And selective memory will favour them. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

            Why do you have a problem with managing social problems? Do you think that serial toxic abusers, who just skim under the threshold of the law, should be protected?

            “Again, a police function exists in essentially all societies, but it should never be confused with a helping agreement between client and professional.”

            I’m talking about people that are not just in denial, and not seeking help. When the shit’s hit the fan (again) they seek help, with renewed vigour. But it only very rarely comes to anything. In fact, with people that have the most pressing needs, benzos and antipsychotics and so on function as the best treatments this society has so far mustered. If this wasn’t the case we’d see the emergence of amazing, transformative treatments. And not just for a tiny showcased few, it’d be hundreds of thousands of toxic ne-er-do-wells flocking to their baptism of awakened conscience.

          • I make no excuses for such behavior. All I am saying is that being incarcerated for presenting a danger to the community isn’t a form of treatment. It’s a form of protecting the community from danger. And yes, there are some very practical considerations that come into play. First off, a person incarcerated for presenting danger in a police setting is afforded and informed of the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. Second, the incarcerated prisoner requires a higher level of evidence to convict them – “beyond a reasonable doubt” rather than “preponderance of evidence.” Third, and perhaps most important, there is no assumption that those who arrest and guard and control the prisoner are there to “help” the prisoner become a “better person,” nor is their any assumption that the prisoner has something internally “wrong” with them other than that they made decisions that were illegal and/or dangerous.

            Finally, the prisoner is assigned a term of punishment according to the crime they commit. Whereas a “mental patient” can be afforded a life sentence of enforced “treatment” that could very well kill them decades before their time, and they have NO right of protest.

            So I’m not talking about some pie-in-the-sky impractical reality here. I’m talking about providing protection from having one’s civil rights violated with impunity. I believe at an absolute minimum all involuntary “evaluations” should start off with Miranda rights, and that a client should be able to ask for an attorney before being questioned by authorities. I would certainly want some legal advice before being put in the hands of someone who can lock me up or force me to take “meds” for the rest of my life. And the very fact that such large legal issues as incarceration and enforced drugs are involved means this is NOT and never will be a “treatment” situation.

          • Steve,
            If we are managing social problems like violence, then we clearly are “treating” a socially unacceptable behavior. This is the point of Therapeutic Communities, for instance, to help retrain people to behave in a prosocial fashion.

          • I can’t agree with you. This is simply expropriating medical terminology for a non-medical cause. There is nothing medical about preventing people from doing harm – it is entirely behavior-based and comes from a moral viewpoint that some behavior is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ or ‘unacceptable.’ You can’t “treat” a social/moral problem in the same way you treat a broken arm or high blood pressure.

            The key point is that from the point of view of the person being “treated,” s/he may not see any need for “treatment” and object to the entire enterprise. In the world of real medicine, a person who protests treatment has the right to say “no.” Take that right away, and we’re talking law enforcement, not medicine. Law enforcement is needed in society, but it is not a form of medical treatment. It’s law enforcement. And the sooner we divorce law enforcement functions from “treatment,” the sooner many of the arrogant and presumptuous attitudes we’re up against in the psychiatric industry will be forced to soften or at least be held up to some level of accountability.

          • Steve,

            “I would certainly want some legal advice before being put in the hands of someone who can lock me up or force me to take “meds” for the rest of my life.” I’ve never met anyone who has been forced to take pills for their entire lives. Most “mental health patients” can stop taking meds at will and often do.

          • I’ve known plenty who have been essentially forced to take psych drugs for decades. First off, there are “AOT” orders that continue for a year at a time, and those who fail to take their drugs religiously are re-hospitalized without really any evaluation beyond whether or not they are complying with “treatment.” Then there are the psychiatrists (and sometimes family members) who threaten calling the police if a person is not “compliant” with “treatment.” Then there are the care facilities who only allow the client to live there as long as they are “in treatment” which means taking drugs.

            It is true that the majority of “mental health” clients are able to stop taking drugs if they choose to, which is why the average length of “compliance” with these drug regimes is something like a year or so. But once enforced “treatment” comes into play, there is literally no legal limit to how long they can continue to force you to comply, except for getting the AOT order renewed annually. There is no “maximum sentence.”

          • It is NOT and can NEVER be “treatment” if the person is forcibly engaged in the process, no matter how well-intended the person exerting the force. Treatment is an agreement reached between a physician and his/her patient.

            It cannot be “treatment” even if it IS “voluntary” — there is still no disease to treat.

            Also someone should correct the claim that people never stay drugged up for life.

          • Well, that’s a whole different point. You can’t really “treat” made up “diseases” anyway. Which makes calling forced “hospitalization” a form of “treatment” all the more ridiculous.

          • “If we are managing social problems like violence, then we clearly are “treating” a socially unacceptable behavior. ”
            Ouch. I’ve been trying to think of a group of people who medicalised social problems and then treated them and ….. oh wait the National socialists in Germany 1940s. Theres a quote in the comments of one of Bonnie Burstows articles about the Jew being like an infected appendix.
            I even heard Obama backing away from his “treatment” comment regarding the issue of race relations in the US.
            Treatment? More like heresy. A quote from my medical records regarding violence. “Potential for violence but no actual history”. This prejudice and paranoid delusion on the part of the doctor means that I am to be “chemically restrained”?
            More than a slippery slope this one. An abject failure to learn from history.
            There are many forms of violence, the silent violence being done to those labelled patients being one. Fight fire with fire? Maybe.
            Continue to ‘treat’ people as something less than human and expect them to behave to the highest standands of humans? Saul Alinksky would be proud to see his tactics being used in this manner.

          • Boans,
            No, I am talking about people who are literally violent or threatening violence towards innocents.

            Your personal example is one where the doctor had an unfounded opinion of you. That isn’t justified. What I am saying, however, is that when we have evidence that someone IS violent or imminently treating violence, that intervention is justified, such as being held against one’s will. I have no qualms with this.

          • Mmmm, I dunno. Given that this doctor (not my doctor) was using the threat of violence to my person to enable him to insert objects into my mouth or anus when I had expressly denied my consent, his thoughts that I might respond with violence might be justified.
            Usually he could claim “implied consent” but my express denial over rode this.
            Lucky for him he can cover his criminal conduct with an injection of enough anti psychotics to lay en elephant out for a week. That being lawful given the potential.
            See, it all starts when you dont want to speak to a mental health ‘professional’ (a right). This reqquires the person to be drugged with benzos and a knife planted when they collapse. The ‘professional’ then lies to police and says they are a ‘patient’ and they require assistance with them. The cops then rough em up and now they are more than willing to speak to the ‘professional’. ‘Verbal’ them up on Forms and effect the kidnapping using police. Now drugged without their knowledge and locked in a cage you have every reason to think they might ‘resist’.

          • Again, a police function exists in essentially all societies, but it should never be confused with a helping agreement between client and professional.

            Once it is simply acknowledged that psychiatry is a branch of law enforcement, not medicine, these questions become less complex. If the regular police are not allowed to use chemical restraints neither should psychiatrists.

          • https://youtu.be/rUOoRiI8HVU

            This guy was actually a patient. A good example of ‘verballing’ though. Just write down what you want to be true, and by magic it is.
            What if the doctor (or MH professional) had lied to police though? A citizen who does not wish to speak to ‘a’ doctor? And how would a citizen ‘present’ after being ‘treated’ in such a manner?

          • Steve,
            While the diseases the DSM describes cannot be verified scientifically, the distressing symptoms people experience can certainly be treated. That is what we actually treat, not some arbitrary diagnostic category.

            Regarding Mirandizing, I think people should be fully informed that what they say can be used against them. If someone is expressing imminent SI or HI, they should be informed beforehand that clinicians cannot legally ignore this information. Most people would be better off with involuntary situations to either remain quiet or to tell the hospital staff what they want to hear. Most of my savvy clients know exactly what to say to appease hospitals so they can get out.

          • Steve,

            “But once enforced “treatment” comes into play, there is literally no legal limit to how long they can continue to force you to comply, except for getting the AOT order renewed annually. There is no “maximum sentence.”

            Well, clients have the legal right to challenge a cert. I was on a jury where a guy challenged his cert and he won. Also, it is very rare for anyone to be held on a cert for longer than 6 months. This only happens if someone is deemed to be imminently dangerous to self or others, or gravely disabled. If someone is in the position of being on a cert, they would be wise to deny any SI or HI. If they can’t take care of themselves, well that is a different matter altogether.

        • Doctors may have bought into the idea of drugs as a valid response to distress, but the concept is hardly new. For as long as we know, humans have been using drugs of all sorts to “deal with” emotions. And although the side effects of alcohol, cocaine, opium etc. may be seen by some as preferable to those of risperdal, prozac etc., others strongly disagree – and included in those others are people who use these psychiatric drugs in order to function in their daily lives. Yes, there is a problem of informed consent, but that’s a separate issue. It’s not like doctors came along and developed a whole new concept of how to deal with life. They just added something to a mix that already existed. They would never have succeeded if people hadn’t been receptive – and for sure they were and continue to be.

          • True, Vanilla. Humans have always used substances to change how the feel. I do think informed consent is something that is problematic because people implicitly trust doctors to do no harm to them. People have been conditioned to believe in doctors because they are a medical authority. What people fail to realize is that doctors are clearly fallible, and they have no real way of knowing what is going to help or hurt their patients. Many people accept that they are guinea pigs being experimented upon, and I think they should have that choice to try psych drugs if they think it is what they need. I think all providers, however, need to do a better job of informing clients of what the potential risks are.

          • It’s a market. You have providers and consumers, putting aside the issue of incarceration and forced drugging which is a minority of cases, unless someone would like to prove otherwise. The existence of advertising and the huge sums invested in it strongly suggest that the drug-taking depends on people being willing users, not people being forced to use.

            We already have a FDA which supposedly vets the drugs. Probably you think that it’s worse than useless (and I would tend to agree). What would you suggest instead?

            The thing is, you have hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people convinced that the drugs are an option worth considering. Let’s say they’re all wrong, brainwashed, bamboozled, deceived, whatever. So, that invites many questions:
            1 – why are they open to taking drugs to solve non-medical issues?
            2 – what affordable alternative can be provided to them?
            3 – where does the obligation to provide information on the drugs stop, and the responsibility of the consumer to investigate begin?
            And more.

            So, in terms of the market, anything goes if the law allows it, yes. That’s the social contract that we’re part of, like it or not. The social contract might include things like forcing people who are violently paranoid to take pills, and you won’t find many people objecting to that, which is why no amount of complaining on MIA is going to help.

            Your only option personally is to run away to somewhere where the government is less capable of intervening in people’s lives, like Africa, for instance, but of course there are trade-offs you might not like. Or, you can start a revolution and create a new type of society. (This, of course, usually involves a small number of people deciding for a greater number of others what is best for them – it’s always worked like that in the past, at any rate.)

            However, reiterating the same old tired points on MIA (and I’m not referring to anyone particular) is unlikely to be helpful.

            It would be wonderful if someone from the “higher-ups” on MIA could try to change the focus even just a little bit from “let’s all complain” to “what can we do about it?”

          • Vanilla,

            “The thing is, you have hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people convinced that the drugs are an option worth considering.” The US is one of the prime consumers of drugs because we have direct to consumer marketing and insurance companies willingly cover pills. This is a farce and should be outlawed (marketing) but big pharma is buddy buddy with Congress and the FDA. Also, taking a pill is easier than doing other kinds of work to make ourselves feel better.

            “3 – where does the obligation to provide information on the drugs stop, and the responsibility of the consumer to investigate begin?” Good questions. It is our responsibility as consumers to educate ourselves as much as possible. Unfortunately, people trust others in positions of authority, so they believe what they are being sold without asking enough questions. We all should learn to be more skeptical. The last housing/mortgage crisis wouldn’t have happened if people A). did not buy a house they couldn’t afford, B) refused ARM loans, C) did their own number crunching to see if they really could handle the increase in payments, D) if lenders weren’t willing to give money to anyone with a pulse, E) if lenders did not receive bonuses for providing bogus loans, etc. The whole point of this is that if there weren’t people demanding home loans and if lenders were more judicious with handing out loans, there would have been no crisis. There is a similar phenomenon happening with MH care in the US. People want to feel better and find the quickest solution to meet this goal. And some find it in the form of pills.

          • The problem with the “anything goes its a market” is that it permits voodoo, homeopathy and….drugs from shonky drug trials that have feeble efficacy.
            Medicines agencies and guideline bodies have allowed commercial interests to influence clinical recommendations. The public needs to know this.
            Your questions:
            1. Direct To Consumer advertising reassures people that the answer is always a pill. You absolutely don’t need it.
            2. The affordable alternatives are psycho social initiatives, community and sports projects, and a psychological approach that starts with “you are not broken”. These exist in parts of the UK, and work by giving people a reason to live and flourish. You have to see it to believe it.
            3. If the psychiatrist makes a strong recommendation to take a drug, and they are quite pushy about it generally, he should provide evidence of efficacy and harms, dosage, duration and prognosis. Evidence, not platitudes or myths or plain falsehoods which should be accountable in law. For example, I do not know where to take my complaint that our psychiatrist was unaware of the license limitations for an antidepressant and failed to get required written consent and failed to mention any potential harms.

            So, if you are looking for what we need to do, it starts with making psychiatrists and institutions accountable for laws that they are probably already breaking.

          • The problem with having a problem about a free market is that the alternative is censorship of beliefs, rights, and choices.
            Another problem is that BigPharma has the money, but people don’t have to believe what the ads say, of course.

            The affordable alternatives you mention in the UK (which I suspect are fast disappearing in the current austerity climate and won’t be brought back by Labour despite whatever promises they make because the money isn’t there) depend on government being willing to provide and also able to do so, but most governments have long ago run out of money and these things are far from priority. I lived for many years in the UK and didn’t see these things and I suspect that the large numbers of people on psych meds there don’t see them either. Nor are they likely to in their lifetimes.

            Are there laws requiring doctors (and most prescribers of psych drugs are GPs, not psychiatrists) to list all the things you think they should inform their patients of? If so, then for sure, legal action is the logical next step. But just as a person, when hiring a lawyer, does his research first before putting his fate into someone else’s hands, so too should people do their research before trusting doctors blindly.

            Just as a personal anecdote: I’ve found GPs to be worse about informed consent than psychiatrists. But that’s no proof of anything.

          • shaun f, why should marketing be outlawed? Who gets to decide what marketing is allowed, and what is beyond the pale?

            Yes, taking pills is vastly easier than options that could potentially lead to genuine recovery. But it’s not always a question of ease. Many people are trapped on a treadmill that doesn’t give them the option of stepping off for a while.

            I used to feel very judgmental about people who “choose to pop a pill instead of doing hard work,” until I started to absorb stories like one about a mother who chooses to take antidepressants because she genuinely feels that they enable her to function as a mother and housekeeper while trapped in an abusive marriage. She knows the drugs dull her feelings – that’s actually the effect she’s looking for, because she doesn’t see a way out of her situation. So (and I’m not saying you’re guilty of this – just pointing out a potential pitfall) we have to be careful about not judging people for seemingly taking an easy way out.

          • Vanilla,
            You make some good points. The problem with direct marketing is that it vastly increases the changes that pills will be prescribed. In other parts of the world which don’t have this direct marketing in place, people aren’t clamoring to see their doctors for the next new exciting drug to try. Americans take drugs in huge numbers and I believe most of this has to do with big pharma influence, including this marketing. Marketing works. They show healthy looking and attractive people doing fun things! Who doesn’t want that for themselves?

            Your latter point is an important one. I think that many people take pills for the reason you state. It is a way to help us get by in life. The reality is that no pill will take away someone’s trauma, which I think is as the heart of why people feel clinically depressed, anxious, and the like. If we don’t deal with the root cause, the symptoms will persist. Once drugs are stopped, the symptoms are often more worse than before treatment began. Also, we have to be real that “med adherence” is a real problem, so even getting people to take pills daily is very difficult. These pills help some people and harm many others because, in part, it teaches them to be passive. While this is a survival strategy it has poor outcomes in the long run.

          • Vanilla: Sorry this seems like 2 vs 1, but you are making some decent points about the difficulty in bringing psychiatric malpractise to account.

            You are wrong about the UK though.
            http://apopendialogue.org/

            And they are desperately spending to try and stem the mysterious rise in chronic patients.

            On the cost, I have direct experience of that. An hour with the psychiatrist every week to bully you onto medication or voluntary hospitalisation, until you crumble under the combined pressure of the mental issue you are facing and the bewildering claims about your broken brain, not to mention your supposedly broken family. Alot of cost there.

            And the psycho social project? I have to be vague because I genuinely live in fear from psychiatric services. But its 3 or 4 mental health workers to 25-30 participants.

          • shaun f, if direct marketing is effective, then that’s a problem with consumer gullibility, and hard to blame the producer of a product for trying to sell it the best way he knows how. (If the ads lie, then for sure there is room for legal action, and I’m assuming they don’t actually deceive.) I’m not so well up on this issue, so I don’t know how other countries justify not allowing direct marketing. I’d be interested to find out what the legal basis for that is.

            Yes, taking pills and learning to be passive is a survival strategy, and though people are often aware that it’s a bad option, it might still be the least bad of their options available.

            concerned carer, I don’t know what you’re referring to with 2 vs 1. I couldn’t open the link you posted as my filter blocks it. I’ll take your word for it as I haven’t lived in the UK for many years now. Good for them that they are taking the problem seriously. But how is it that you don’t get a psychiatrist on the NHS? And who forces anyone to go to one in the first place?
            The ratio of mental health workers to patients doesn’t sound so impressive but maybe it’s good enough for some people. Certainly not for others. Without knowing the details of what they provide, it’s impossible to know if it’s a viable option for a huge population of MH consumers.

          • Vanilla,
            In America we value capitalism at any cost. And the cost is high. Most people are ill informed about the real risks associated with psych and medical drugs. It’s not like consumers can easily find all the studies done on these drugs. There is so much superficial information available on the internet it is hard to actually find good information for the average person who doesn’t have hours to devote to such an endeavor. Doctors, not patients, should be who big pharma is “educating” on new drug therapies. I also think there needs to be a body who monitors this so that doctors get all the relevant information to them, not just the info that will make the pill look like a good option. Consumers usually have no clue about how all of this works, so why should we be marketed to? We are because it sells more pills, plain and simple. Big pharma wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t profitable.

            https://www.theguardian.com/media/2002/oct/23/advertising.marketingandpr

          • But what about the inserts in the pill packets themselves? That should be enough of a warning for someone to check things out and at least be aware that it’s not all a bed of roses.
            You’re right about the problems of capitalism – and that by extension, this is all a problem of capitalist society and not of psychiatry per se. Hard to see what can be done about it.

          • There’s a lot that can be done about the profit motive when it comes to healthcare. The problem is that big business buys off politicians who could (and should) change the system. We could stop allowing people who worked for big pharma to also work for the FDA. Also, physicians could be taught or retaught to only prescribe when it is a severe case. We have people being overdiagnosed and over medicated which is costly not only to human lives but to the entire system. Doctors have a responsibility to not give what their patients demand but to prescribe what is clinically appropriate. One issue now is that patient satisfaction scores are tied to employment for doctors, so doctors are much more likely to make the person happy with a script rather than do the right thing and stop prescribing so much. Medical schools and patient advocacy groups could stop taking big pharma money as well, but that would require finding a spine and standing up to the man. The question is who has the courage to stand up to the status quo?

          • Vanilla, we were not given the patient leaflet for an off-label antidepressant until I kicked up a stink about maximising the dose. Just some pills in a plain white box. Then, 3 months too late, it popped up in a little envelope. This is what is happening.

            The patient leaflet is actually rather vague and evidence-light – it won’t say for example that over 50% get sexual dysfunction. Have a read of one, it doesn’t really put the risks in perspective – and its in tiny print!

          • I always look at the doctor’s handout rather than the patient handout. The patient handouts, in my experience, are often sanitized so that the patients won’t be as alarmed by the possible adverse effects.

          • where do you find the prescriber’s handout, Steve? It’s not as if what’s in them is truth but I’m sure you are right that the patient version is spun so as not to alarm.

          • I look it up at Drugs.com or Medscape. They don’t hand it out to you at the pharmacy generally speaking, though I think they should offer it up to those who are interested. It has a LOT more data about adverse effects, as well as what the drug is supposed to be doing, what drug-drug interactions may occur, and situations for which it is “contraindicated,” AKA should never be used.

        • I am struggling to think of a power that is never abused. I don’t mean to say that the struggle against abuse of power is a pointless one. It isn’t. It’s essential. Yet neverending.

          I know what it means too to be at the receiving end of the abuse of power. In the heat of it come overwhelming fantasies of revenge. In other words, the victim of abuse of power dreams of turning the tables and abusing their power against the emasculated tormentor.

          It’s important to ride that wave and reach calmer waters. Is my take on things.

          The vast majority of people do not frame their psychiatric experiences as abuse of power, once the calm waters have been reached. I know that some do. And I know that many of those frequent here.

          Why they are unable to organise themselves I began to understand and appreciate after closely reading Judi Chamberlin.

      • I agree with you on this area of psychiatry rasselas. Seen it with my own eyes.
        Only problem I have with it is the combining of the roles of judge, jury and executioner.
        I often wonder about the recent exposure of the abuse of children by members of the clergy. Have they avoided the confessional knowing that to do so may result in punishment? Have they forgiven themselves and simply remained silent? Certainly not in some cases. These criminal acts were viewed as “character flaws” to be corrected. And then we find hundreds of victims and a system that failed to adequately deal with these character flaws. Forgiveness is not unlimited, and it should be a standard that all people are held to account on for some sins.
        Still there are mechanisms in place to test the integrity of those with power, and should they fail those tests I feel pity for them. No good calling out to a God they dont believe in when the shark sinks his teeth into them lol
        “Such is Life” Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly on the day they hung him in Pentridge Prison.

        • Apologies for not replying sooner. I didn’t see this until now.

          “I often wonder about the recent exposure of the abuse of children by members of the clergy. Have they avoided the confessional knowing that to do so may result in punishment? Have they forgiven themselves and simply remained silent? Certainly not in some cases. These criminal acts were viewed as “character flaws” to be corrected. And then we find hundreds of victims and a system that failed to adequately deal with these character flaws. Forgiveness is not unlimited, and it should be a standard that all people are held to account on for some sins.”

          Priests are as obligated as any other Catholic to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation aka confession. Any mortal sin is considered reason enough, so yes, I expect lots of priests anonymously confessed to other priests, and that confession would be kept secret, as all others must be. And I expect some also didn’t confess and so kept it secret themselves. Probably others semi-confessed, not revealing that their sexual contact had been with a child. Point being that the Sacranent of Reconciliation is a confession to God, with the priest as witness, and then, also, acting as a spiritual guide, to advise and guide. I expect on many occasions a paedophile priest would unknowingly confess in the presence of another paedophile priest. The one giving the other spiritual guidance before God.

          But no-one avoids the confessional on fear of punishment. As it is protected, similar to how information shared with a doctor or lawyer is protected. Only moreso, in that the confession is anonymous and must not be shared with anyone.

          If you look at the history of the Catholic Church, which is entangled with the history of the aristocracy and upper classes, you’ll come to understand that for a long, long time, many, many centuries, children were abused routinely, they were chattel. In fact, one of the most disturbinbg books ever to be written, in the 18th C., by the Marquis de Sade, 120 Days of Sodom, the debauchery of the Catholic clergy and the aristocracy is made clear. It’s unnerving how things get put aside. In that book a lot of the sexual sadism, torture and then slaughter is against children. It was always a book that was well-known in literary circles. They even made a film version of it in the 1970s. Although in that they play down the paedophilia and play-up the coprophila. Even still, it’s not as if the rumours haven’t abounded for hundreds of years.

          So, really, there are 10s if not 100s of 1000s of victims over many centuries. And only in the past decade has the Catholic church seen fit to clean itself of this ingrained dirt.

      • I have a problem when people write comments such as “I think doctors have abused their influence…”
        I think it would be a better idea (apart from being closer to the truth) to write, “I think some doctors have…” rather than strongly implying that all doctors are abusers.
        If anyone wants to believe that all psychiatrists went through x years of med school and training, simply because they want to drug others and exert their power over them, feel free to do so. But to me, this proposition sounds rather unrealistic.

        Yes, there are power-hungry people in the world – you find them everywhere, in all kinds of professions, in homes, in schools, in courts, in politics… So let’s abolish society, right? Because society is all about people in charge, and making rules, and enforcing them. That’s terrible! Let’s try socialism, where “the people” rule. (People are so happy and fulfilled in Venezuela…) Let’s try anarchy… (well, maybe not). Let’s try…
        So, Rousseau had some lovely ideas, but he was a philosopher, so he could get away with it. Guess what? Even hunter-gatherer societies have a hierarchy.
        Instead of griping about “people abusing power” perhaps we need to find effective ways of dealing with this phenomenon, since it seems pretty impossible to avoid it? Sure, we can clamp down hard on abusers – who’s going to do that? Other people in power! So who decides what’s abuse and what isn’t? People in power!

        • vanilla wrote: “Instead of griping about “people abusing power” perhaps we need to find effective ways of dealing with this phenomenon, since it seems pretty impossible to avoid it? Sure, we can clamp down hard on abusers – who’s going to do that? Other people in power! So who decides what’s abuse and what isn’t? People in power!”

          That’s about the sum of it.

          “The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The Convention’s far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem.”

          from here: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/

          Applying those insights and initiatives to mental healthcare practice is going to be problematic. As this discussion has established, it’s only a minority of people that consider their interactions with psychiatry and/or the mental health system to be corrupt. And of those people, an even smaller number end up self-identifying as anti-psychiatry.

          But it might be a good place to start for people seeking some kind of metric.

          • I used to think that the Convention against the use of Tortue was an effective instrument. Till I complained about being tortured that is.
            Police assist in retrieving the evidence and my family, lawyers and a psychologist all subjected to intimidation and threats in contravention of Article 13 (I believe).
            So after the investigation when I was told by the Operations Manager of the hospital concerned that “We’ll fuking destroy you” they meant it.
            They just sign these agreements to obtain trust which is later exploited.

          • At this point in time I feel little if any animosity towards those who claim to support human rights but will throw anyone who has been subjected to abuses under a bus at the first sign of trouble. Its theirs to deal with.
            Maybe someday I will be afforded the promises made in that Convention and be allowed to see my grand children, 7 years is such a long time.
            A note to those who feel that their families and ‘support’ have left them for dead, they may be being subjected to intimidation and threats to coerce them into acting this way towards you. Consider this carefully.

  12. Steve McCrea wrote: “Finally, the prisoner is assigned a term of punishment according to the crime they commit. Whereas a “mental patient” can be afforded a life sentence of enforced “treatment” that could very well kill them decades before their time, and they have NO right of protest.”

    I was with you until you wrote this. Because you make the assumption that if people were dealt with judiciously, they’d get a deeper justice.

    “As of last year, according to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 3,200 people were serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes. A close examination of these cases by the ACLU reveals just how petty some of these offenses are. People got life for, among other things…

    Possessing a crack pipe
    Possessing a bottle cap containing a trace amount of heroin (too minute to be weighed)
    Having traces of cocaine in clothes pockets that were invisible to the naked eye but detected in lab tests
    Having a single crack rock at home
    Possessing 32 grams of marijuana (worth about $380 in California) with intent to distribute
    Passing out several grams of LSD at a Grateful Dead show
    Acting as a go-between in the sale of $10 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop
    Selling a single crack rock
    Verbally negotiating another man’s sale of two small pieces of fake crack to an undercover cop
    Having a stash of over-the-counter decongestant pills that could be used to make methamphetamine
    Attempting to cash a stolen check
    Possessing stolen scrap metal (the offender was a junk dealer)—10 valves and one elbow pipe
    Possessing stolen wrenches
    Siphoning gasoline from a truck
    Stealing tools from a shed and a welding machine from a front yard
    Shoplifting three belts from a department store
    Shoplifting several digital cameras
    Shoplifting two jerseys from an athletic store
    Taking a television, circular saw, and power converter from a vacant house
    Breaking into a closed liquor store in the middle of the night
    Making a drunken threat to a police officer while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car
    Being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm
    Taking an abusive stepfather’s gun from their shared home
    These are not typically first offenses, but nor are they isolated cases. The vast majority (83 percent) of life sentences examined by the ACLU were mandatory, meaning that the presiding judge had no choice but to sentence the defendant to a life behind bars. Mandatory sentences often result from repeat offender laws and draconian sentencing rules such as these federal standards for drug convictions:”

    The rest here: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/11/23-petty-crimes-prison-life-without-parole/

    I think it is naive to think that the mad would get a better deal in society if psychiatry stood aside (or was abolished)… because something will fill the gap. And the most likely outcome would be that madness would become increasingly criminalised, and the mad person subjected to equally bad if not worse “treatments”.

    To some degree this has been happening in the UK. Increasingly, mad people are being subjected to all manner of acceptable behaviour contracts that basically seek to curtail their odd or eccentric behaviours, which would not usually be considered criminal, but which can be escalated to a crime.

    One example is a young man with aspergers in the Norfolk area who has an obsession with following and filming the police with his camera. They dragged him through the courts and banned his behaviour and banned him going to all manner of places near his home. In case he took his camera out and filmed the police. Eventually he did a short stint in prison. He was helped to appeal. And all the behaviour orders were dropped. But of course, at great personal cost.

    • I by no means meant to imply that the justice system is just. All I am saying is that if you have a term of three years, and you serve three years, they have to let you go. Whereas the sentence for being labeled “schizophrenic” or “bipolar” can be a life term without possibility of parole.

  13. Shaun, I’d be interested in your take on “Mirandizing” anyone subjected to an involuntary detention evaluation.

    Meaning the warning that anything you say can be used against you. This is one of those very reasonable demands that would utterly throw a wrench in the works, as people refusing to participate in psychiatric interviews would deprive shrinks of the fodder for their “diagnoses”; I don’t understand why this isn’t raised more often.

    • I mean that, and also the right to have an attorney there during the process. It seems like an obvious need, but apparently those charged with crimes actually have more rights than those who act in ways deemed “mental illnesses.”

      Maybe this is a real area where advocacy could lead to a change in the system as it is.

          • Well, technically people have these rights. I agree that accessing them is a challenge at times. No doubt people get traumatized by these interactions, but at this point I don’t see any viable alternatives that currently exist in society when someone is a danger to themselves or others. Obviously when hospitals are denying these rights, they should be held accountable.

          • Yes, this happens to some people no doubt. My question is how often is it happening to ALL people being placed on a MH hold? The implication you make is that it happens more often than not, but how do you know that?

          • You are so missing the point.

            Go read any survivor’s account of rights violations. Seriously, there are So Many- take your pick.
            Now, think about all the other people who witnessed that “patient’s” rights being violated. How many are thinking “holy shit! I better keep my mouth shut and not even dare to mention that I have rights, or else they will do to me what they just did to him/her!”

            Can you honestly try to assert that it was only that one “patient” the staff retaliated against whose rights were abridged? Really? The fact that they get away with it is, in and of itself, a threat to everyone at their mercy- everyone who witnessed it firsthand or heard about it afterwards, and you know it.

        • Yes, but that is AFTER you are already on a hold. I’m talking about when they are evaluating you, just like if the police interview someone to consider charges against them. If you’re “arrested” (aka awaiting an evaluation), you should get your rights, including the right to have an attorney present during the evaluation.

          • But Steve then loaded questions would not be answered. For example, my response to the question “Could you use a knife to defend yourself?” becomes “Has a knife to defend himself”. A lawyer present would slow or even stop the corrupt practice of ‘verballing’ and make the job of snatching people from their homes so much more difficult.
            Oh, and I wonder if the community nurse asking these loaded questions still beats his wife lol. Because the only reason he raised the issue of the knife was because he had been told it had been planted. The police didnt even find it when they searched me so woops, played his Ace a little early
            Bang, bang, bang, put down the knife becomes put down the knife, bang bang bang.
            Yes, my mother and father in law live next door, becomes “concerned about being observed by neighbours” hahahaha this guy is a comedian. Ancd one with some serious concerns about police now they know he is using their services to torture and kidnap citizens lol

  14. Oldhead, the vast majority of people seeking help from psychiatry are there willingly. They are telling docs, therapists, and social workers that they are suffering. If they didn’t endorse the various DSM symptoms, then they would not receive any DSM diagnoses.

    There is very strict criteria that anyone can be held against their will. The law is clear about grave disability or imminent threat to self or others. That is it. Most people in the system have a choice to stay or leave, and guess what, most of them stay because they see some benefit to it for themselves.

    • If so, I think it must be a coup for salesmanship. I personally don’t think all these people would be in the system if the state had not started locking innocent physically healthy people up a few centuries back in the first place.

      Some people, after all, don’t seek treatment, they have it thrust upon them.

      I disagree on the strict criteria basis as well. The only criteria is “danger to self and others”, and it can be even lower than that. I know in Virginia a few years back they started loosening up the criteria so that they could detain more people rather than less. Perceived public safety was the issue.

      This goes back to what OldHead was saying about “treatment” not being legit. In fact, I don’t think they should call it “treatment” at all. I’d call it trickment as I think that is a more apt way of putting it.

      • Strict criteria in Australia? The only criteria is “tomato”. If the MH professional thinks thats reason, then it is. This as a result of the removal of the protections of a “reasonable person standard” from our law. I think they might have been feeding me bs but, there ya go the Chief Psychiatrist and Minister write that there is no “reasonable person standard” and thus what they say is reasonable is.
        Bit of a worry for anyone with an anti psychiatry view of the world but ….. I like the US system with the burden of proof and stuff, not all this we do what we want and sort the paperwork out later.
        Mind you, the lawyers were told not to read these letters, and just hand them on to me. Maybe if they looked they might have noticed that the Minister and Chief Psychiatrist wouldnt pass a first year law course. Like a poison pen letter designed to gaslight someone really. Now, heres a set of documents you can slander your client with should anyone call you and ask about these events.

          • shaun,
            After receiving the response from the Chief Psychiatrist regarding his misrepresentation of the law (the removal of reasonable person standard) I was informed by the Minister that our new Act had “added protections” (public not informed that these were all about protecting doctors however). My response was to point out that it wouldnt matter how many protection were written into the law if the person responsible for enforcing them didnt know what they were. The Shadow Minister found it funny and eventually accused her of “dereliction of duty” outside parliamentary privilege. Got the boot not long after.
            The point being though that through acts of negligence, fraud and slander the laws designed to protect consumers carers and the community are virtually worthless. In such a police state they simply keep upping the anti until you find yourself being unintendedly negatively outcomed in an Emergency Department.
            Even one of our own Ministers (Treasurer) had to leave the State to be treated for a bi polar disorder. Dont think he had a lot of faith in the treatment he might have received for it here given that he had upset a few people including the Minister for MH. What, we dont have anyone who can treat bi polar here? Was he a little paranoid perhaps? Or did he know something the general public did not?
            After I had identified 26 ‘mistakes’ which had be made and admitted which all had the same result of ensuring may complaint was invalid, I started to wonder about the probability of this. 26X25X24X23….. its a big number. Neglecting your duty to conceal crimes is an offence. Lucky the police here are under recourced and dont have copies of the criminal code at police stations. Funny though providing proof of torture and kidnapping will get you referred to mental health for ‘treatment’ and when that doesnt work they can arrest you for unspecified crimes (having documented proof of crimes) Bizarre really, and the defense is “they wouldn’t do that”
            All sounds terrible and it was, but God put it right. If you could see there faces as they are thrown into the blaze, you would never doubt that you are being watched 🙂

          • The complaint from my lawyers to the Chief Psychiatrist contained three letters relating to the non provision of documents despite a directive stating that lawyers can have access to protect human rights. These three letters were headed with “Applicaton for documents under S 63 (?) of the MHA” bolded and capitals. Now after sighting these documents the Chief Psychiatrist writes ‘I am of the impression that the application for documents was made under the FOI Act and therefore could be provided in “edited” form.’ Blind Freddy, glad he isnt checking my ‘medication’ chart. Fraud and editing are two seperate matters.
            Of course this was a letter the lawyers did not read, and was designed to do psychological harm to the recipient. My response, “How exquisitly poisonous Eh Doc?”
            End of the day our ‘system’ is basically go out and get em, torture, kidnap and any complaints we’ll fuk em over. Carte blanche and zero accountability.
            You will bow down to the gods you stand before.

  15. One problem is the vast numbers of people in distress and at the end of their rope.

    As long as we have one system which is reaping virtually all the public and private funding for almost all distress we have a cartel and any cartel will behave as cartel’s do.

    Most people at the end of their rope effectively have no choice, and their numbers increase as capitalism becomes more vicious, and its ill-effects spread wider and cut deeper, catalysing every social and psychological distress and problem known to humanity.

    Just as people clamour to their doctors for antibiotics for onditions that aren’t bacterial, swear they were helped, and go back for more (and that’s just one example), psychiatry’s monopoly means it need not be beneficial (and I’m not suggesting no part of it is ever beneficial), it just needs to shut distresses people up and ensure the lion’s share of available resources are funneled to it.

    • Out,
      People do have alternatives. Online and in person support groups (Lifering, AA, ACA, HVN, Smart Recovery, Grief groups with numerous orgs, etc), churches, meet up groups, and so forth. The reality is that many systems have bought into a certain model of treatment and the DSM. Nearly every public resource–housing, income, food stamps, etc–requires a disability dx to be eligible. Poor people are trapped more so than the rest of us who are wealthier because we don’t require a certain DSM label to get our basic needs met. Clearly the system needs reformed, and I would say that if someone wants help and support, there are many ways to attain it. Psychiatry doesn’t really have a monopoly. Most people get their psych meds from GPs and not psychiatrists. People want relief which is why they (usually) go to doctors in the first place. It doesn’t mean that doctors are necessarily the best equipped to help, but that is what society has deemed appropriate for the time being.

  16. oldhead wrote: “Once it is simply acknowledged that psychiatry is a branch of law enforcement, not medicine, these questions become less complex. If the regular police are not allowed to use chemical restraints neither should psychiatrists.”

    Yes, how much better it would be if psychiatrists were equipped with Tazers and guns…

    • oh but they ARE equipped with tasers and guns, by way of the police, who are required to go do those “wellness checks” whenever a “mental health” pro tells them to. The jobs go hand-in-hand. As soon as they pick up the phone to make that call, they are accessing those guns and tasers, and they don’t even have to get their hands (or consciences… not that there’s evidence they possess a conscience) dirty.

      • Why do you think doctors, social workers, and therapists ask for welfare checks? It is because they have good reason to be concerned for the person’s safety. My brother emailed his PCP that he was suicidal, and so the doc reasonably followed up and the police came to our home. It was quite an ordeal. By the time the cops finally talked to my brother, he was feeling better, but they were so concerned about the content of the email that they brought him to the hospital to be evaluated (he was released later that night). If people don’t want to have welfare checks done on them, they probably shouldn’t say and do things which they know professionals will be concerned about. As a professional I’ve very rarely asked the police to do these checks, and when I have it is because the person has made threats to harm themselves, others, or I have good reason to believe that they aren’t in the state to take care of themselves at that moment (like not showering for a month or not eating).

          • I think my example points to why welfare checks happen. People should not send or say things that they don’t want used against them later. My brother made a choice to send that email, and he faced the natural consequences of that choice based on the current standards of the society he lives in. He’s no dummy. He knew his doctor had a legal and most would argue an ethical obligation to act on this information.

          • By the way, my brother has not been hospitalized or made any similar comments in years. I think he realized that he probably needed to take care of himself differently. So while it was unnecessary to take him to the hospital, he learned from this experience and is taking better care of himself.

          • I’m glad your brother made it through the ordeal alive.

            Vanessa Marquez didn’t. Go read up on it- the call was placed not by a doctor, not by a therapist, but by her Landlord. According to the news stories, the landlord expressed concern that she was having seizures.

            The cops don’t verify the veracity of the account the caller gives them before they leap into action (ever heard of “SWATting?”) and once they are told by a caller that the subject of the call is “mentally ill” there is absolutely nothing that person can say or do to change their course of action: come hell or high water (or tazer or bullets) the subject of the “wellness check” is going to be dragged off to a hospital.

            And what if the report is bogus? a prank? an act of retaliation? What if the caller is a vindictive ex and not the concerned neighbor, friend or landlord they profess to be? Having committed no crime, the subject will be (legally!) assaulted and kidnapped, humiliated and likely assaulted some more, with no way at all to challenge this violation or prevent being traumatized.

            I cannot join you in singing the praises of the “wellness check.”

  17. Doctors, social workers, therapists and bus drivers. Hi, ive had a disagreement with my husband and I’d like a ‘welfare check’, Ive spiked him with benzos and he has collapsed in bed so I’ve planted an knife for police to find. That should get you a referral. Quick hurry before he wakes up. Im concerned he might leave and take his share of the property. I mean he can have his clothes, theey dont fit my new man but …. oh thank you community nurse. He calls the cops and say he needs help with a patient and hey presto.
    Form 1, “not sleeping/eating”. Not exactly what he was told, I had been busy packing my stuff, and had been snacking but ‘verballing’ the strict criteria for detention was his only hope. Bearing false witness but its all in a good cause, we are going to help you
    The slandering of me as a wife beater by the community nurse was a classic. My wife denying the she said it (and I believe her as it would have been a lie), distortions make it easier to deceive) and everyone then treating me as if it were true. Not looking a lot like ‘health care’ from where I was standing.
    The documents reveal one narrative disappearing and another more suitable one emerging. We can make anything the truth using this method of ‘noble corruption’.

    • What is the viable alternative in dealing with people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others? I guess we should jail those who are making threats towards others (even though they haven’t committed a crime yet) and just let suicidal people kill themselves?

      • Psychiatric drugs especially neuroleptics and benzodiazepines (on withdrawal) cause violence and suicide by drug toxicity akathisia, they help nothing, other than for a few days. The viable alternative is to understand the biology of the major neurotransmitters and implement what evolution has put there to keep humans level, no matter what their life experience and then address their life experience. If they are homeless, help them in a meaningful way to them, if they had a loved one die, engage them in a meaningful way to them.. etc etc

        ——

        Suspect in the UK, the plan will be to subject non MH ‘diagnosed’ to the chemical cosh, they will use psychology first as an ostensible and acceptable way into it. Telling the public we want to keep people out of prison and help people with alcohol and drug addiction, but it is really about pushing towards making it acceptable to put repeat non ‘MH’ offenders on olanzapine and on a CTO type situation but in 24/7 monitored housing (a MH hospital in all but name). Ofcourse most on here know that these drugs actually cause aggression and violence in a way that only those who have suffered can know.

        • I guess that’s been your experience with the neuroleptics but it isn’t the experience of the majority of people on them, that they cause violence and only work for a few days; the number of people thus affected is significant, but still much smaller than the rest.
          “Understanding the biology of neurotransmitters” doesn’t sound like a very viable alternative to me, because all attempts so far to understand how the brain works have failed dismally (and led to the development of the drugs you decry).
          Before the drugs, remind yourself of what there existed instead. People were in closed wards for their lifetimes, in “loony bins,” outcasts from society, drunkards, homeless, suicides… and yes, others recovered. I don’t know of any study (and doubt that one exists) that shows that people did better in the “good old days before drugs.” There are of course studies that show that people in Open Dialogue, for instance, do better, but that’s never been practised on a nation-wide scale, and could it even be?

          I find it instructive (but not surprising) that Rasselas’ question: What should be done instead, has been ignored by almost everyone here.

  18. I gotta say its tough when we have different systems (US and Australia). The UN stated that our Mental Health Laws were a violation of human rights and that the treatments may constitute torture. They didnt say this about the US. Our respective governments took this opportunity to invalidate this statement by introducing even worse laws. (Even psychiatrists fled our public system with insight as to what was to be done) They even attempted to introduce the forced sterilization of children without parental consent. Thankyou to those in the international community who highlighted and opposed this clause, because there was little chance of anyone here putting up any opposition. The Community Treatment Orders did however pass.
    The country I once loved is no more, and I need to recognise this fact, cut my losses and leave em to it.
    I feel almost jealous listening to people debating the extent of their human rights, something I think I share with my indigenous brothers and sisters who were only recently made human (1968), but still wait for their rights. It’s a young Nation and mistakes will be made and lives lost as a result. Commonwealth no more.

  19. This was in response to streetphotos comment above.

    Benzodiazepines are one of four stupefying/intoxicating drugs according to our law (ketamine, rhohypnol and GHB) Somehow when prescribed by a doctor they become medicine. What about the doctor who uses them to intoxicate?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-09/indecent-assault-sentencing-of-sydney-oncologist-john-kearsley/9030582

    I don’t know much about these drugs but wonder why the neuroleptics are not included in this list. Certainly they are used as “chemical restraints”. Might this change the way the are viewed by consumers?

    • “I don’t know much about these drugs but wonder why the neuroleptics are not included in this list.”

      People can an do commit the most terrible crimes on these drugs because they remove our ability to care about anything.. it is just not there any more. When you hear about a pilot flying a jet full of passengers into the side of a mountain it can be very difficult to grasp how this came to be. It isn’t if you have been subject to these drugs and on polypharmacy. This is the crime being kept from the public whilst the accepted assumption of gone wrong mental health being the reason put forward. The drugs are appauling and on many levels.

      • Just bonkers to me. But I’m not a psychiatrist and not subject to the delusional belief that despite their claims everybody want to be like me.

        There was a good article some time back that said the term neuroleptic derived from ‘seize the brain’ . And thats good for it? Except when its bad for it maybe.

        • When I was an undergraduate in Pharmacology in the late 1980s, the word “neuroleptic” was defined in the text book as “nerve seizing”. The alternative term for this class of drugs was “major tranquillizer”. The word “antipsychotic” was not used – it is a recent invention. I wish I’d kept my text books from that time because they illustrate the evolution, but I got rid of them years ago.

          Interestingly, when I Google the word “neuroleptic”, the very first listing is Wikipedia, but the word is automatically switched to “antipsychotic”. I would expect Wikipedia to have a standalone page for the word “neuroleptic”, but it doesn’t.

          • Hope someone remembers the article im talking about because it covered that change from tranquillizer, to neuroleptic to anti psychotic.
            Why does this make me think boot polish to hair cream to haemorroid treatment lol. Bound to be doing something I guess, and the guys selling it arent using it.