We here are all aware that the medical model of “mental illness,” aka biological psychiatry, continues to dominate our system of “treatment” for individuals in emotional distress and for persons whose behavior is perceived to be annoyingly aberrant by others. Despite massive amounts of evidence which, in a fair world, would and should undermine this status quo, the pharmaceutical/psychiatric complex has worked tenaciously to create, maintain, and extend the dominant system — which has led, as a consequence, to support from mainstream media, courts, the entertainment industry, the general public, and, it seems, every elected national official. This is despite the best efforts of many — including dissident mental health practitioners, academics, journalists, and individuals who have been consigned to, and have survived, the prevailing mental health system — to reform or eliminate the present system and replace it with one placing greater emphasis on ethical values, respectful treatment, and practices more likely to help clients have satisfactory lives and flourish. To date little progress has been made toward that end.
It is clear that the failed system of biological psychiatry and the harm it imposes upon its clientele will not be rectified until 1) It is perceived publicly to be of problematic concern upon the national stage, and 2) The factor, or factors, which have most successfully protected it from influential and persuasive assaults on its power and authority can be identified and neutralized.
Based on writings and talks by UCLA professor David Cohen, it appears that the primary factor which protects psychiatry’s unwarranted police power and authority, and trust in its unsupported “scientific” claims, is that it is perceived as performing the function, not so much of assisting emotionally upset and confused individuals, but of shielding society from folks who appear disturbing, irritating and are, especially, believed to be dangerous. In fact, our social culture appears more than willing to ignore the harm perpetrated by the medical model of emotional distress and behavior, and the damage created by its pharmaceutical “cures,” so long as it retains a belief in and continues to value the extra-legal power it grants psychiatry to shock, drug, and incarcerate otherwise innocent individuals as necessary activities to protect society.
It would seem, then, that one logical step toward reducing society’s trust in biological psychiatry’s power to protect the public would be to reveal what appears to be strong evidence of a significant correlation, and in some instances, an actual causal relationship, between the use of prescribed psychoactive drugs and the commission of violent acts against oneself or others. This begs the question of by what means might this relationship of drugs to violence be brought to public attention, given the trust granted biological psychiatry by society and so many of its principal institutions.
While interest in a relationship between prescribed drugs and violence is hardly on the public radar, the matter of mass violence committed in schools, churches, movie theaters and other public gathering places, and how to prevent it, has received serious public attention for many years now. Some notice has also been given to an increase in suicide rates among returning veterans and young people. However, little or no attention has been offered by major mainstream media to a possible connection between an ever-increasing use of prescribed psychoactive drugs and instances of mass violence and/or increasing suicide rates.
Once we are able to provoke major media to attend to either of those probable connections and begin to identify them as matters for public concern, we may then create a public outcry that something be done. Invariably, cries for action are cries for government and/or legislative action, and cries for government action will necessarily trigger opposition from the pharmaceutical-psychiatric complex which will see at once a serious threat to their financial interests. Given the vast difference between their power and influence and ours, a straight up-and-down battle on the question of whether there is a dangerous relationship between psych drugs and violence would be a loser for us. We require a subtler and more realistic tactic… one that will not only garner us major media attention, but will also call for an “ask” which will appear eminently reasonable.
As indicated above, it will be necessary to plan a tactic calculated to begin a process likely to push our concerns, beliefs and experiences onto the national stage and into public consciousness. Our plan is to entice a reporter for a major, respected, and influential newspaper into writing an article, or series of articles, which will focus on both our existence and our point of view.
Benedict Carey has been a science and medical reporter for the New York Times since 2004. For much of that time he has shown an interest in the mental health system and controversies within it. In early April, 2018, he and a colleague, Robert Gebeloff, wrote an article about difficulties related to withdrawing from antidepressants. They asked that readers write them and relate their experiences of attempting to withdraw from their drugs. Ten days later Carey reported that, to his surprise, he had received 8,800 responses, most of which described serious difficulties encountered as people attempted to abandon their prescribed drugs. Given this history, we suspect with some confidence that Carey might very well take an interest in what we, and allies with similar beliefs and experience, have to say.
Our plan is to inundate Carey with as many letters as possible (hundreds, we hope), from a variety of viewpoints, expressing concern about the probability that there is a close relationship between ingesting prescribed psychoactive drugs and violence against oneself and others, while advocating the need for a government financed investigation of the reality, nature, and consequences of such a relationship undertaken by persons of integrity who are independent of the pharmaceutical/psychiatric complex.
We will urge three distinct groupings to contact Carey by mail. Each group is meant to serve a separate and discrete function.
Our first group will consist of well credentialed and seriously credible practitioners, academics, attorneys and others with expertise related to the mental health system. They will present why, and upon what basis, they believe an investigation of the sort described is necessary at this time or as soon as possible.
Our second group will consist of grieving family members whose children took their own lives following the ingestion of psychoactive drugs prescribed for the relief of problems most frequently associated with the adolescent maturation process, such as cramming for finals and romantic breakups. They will tell their stories of promising lives senselessly lost to the interests of pharmaceutical profits and psychiatric guild reinforcement respectively. They will seek an investigation into the possible relationship between prescribed drugs and violence as a final tribute to their own deceased children, as an effort to preserve the lives of many others, and to save other families from grief that never ends. In addition, this group will include individuals who have a family member incarcerated for committing a violent act while under the influence of a prescribed psychotropic drug and persons who have survived their own suicide attempt. Finally, this group will include parents who took the lives of their own children while on psychiatric drugs and others who were plagued by thoughts of doing the same.
Persons labeled as mentally ill and placed on psychiatric drugs by force, or who were persuaded to take them based on incomplete and inadequate information, are only rarely asked their opinions of the drugs they were prescribed or how they felt on them. In fact, drugs are deemed “successful” when “diagnosed mental patients” are no longer considered a bother to others by others. When the people who have taken the drugs are asked, they frequently state that, while on drugs, they feel emotionally numb or detached, restless and lacking compassion for others. Others complain of agitation and feeling disinhibited, or “not themselves.” It may very well be under those conditions — lacking compassion and feeling agitated, detached and emotionally numb — that they may be less likely to consider the consequences of their acts and, given an upsetting “trigger,” become violent. They will ask for an investigation into the nature of any relationship between prescribed psychiatric drugs and violence so that other individuals, labeled and drugged, will not experience effects and side effects which very well might lead to violence.
When and if New York Times reporter Benedict Carey responds to our entreaties by writing and publishing an article related to our concerns, our next steps will be determined by the nature, slant, and public response to what he writes.
We have contacted quite a few people who fit the categories referred to above: dissident professionals with a relationship to the mental health system, persons whose family members harmed themselves or others while using prescribed psychiatric drugs, and users and survivors of the mental health system who were prescribed and used psychiatric drugs. Many have already written to Carey.
If you are interested in becoming involved with this plan by writing an email or letter to Benedict Carey of the New York Times, please call one of the steering committee members of our group, Prescripticide (below). Indicate your understanding of, and interest in, the plan, and they will provide you with a sample letter relevant to the category into which you fit as well as Mr. Carey’s direct contact information.
Thank you so much for your interest and desire to help.
Steve McCrea (503) 516-8428 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Al Galves (575) 571-3105 (Mountain Daylight Time)
Mickey Weinberg (626) 394-0916 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
Group three!? Taking a good long look at your proposed ‘pecking order’, I’m insulted already. If this is fighting fire with fire, it seems that the same people are somehow coming out on the losing end of the equation (i.e charred to a cinder). No wonder our voice has become more and more enfeebled with the passage of time. Madness (if madness be resisting the borg) and eating humble pie, in my book, don’t always go together.
I am puzzled, Frank. You make a serious charge, not against our proposal, but against me, so obliquely and by implication, (“Group three!? Taking a good, long look at your proposed ‘pecking order,’ I am insulted.”) from which you draw a conclusion so surreal and exaggerated, absent either concrete or circumstantial evidence [“…it seems the same people…are coming out on the losing end…(i.e. charred to cinder)], that I am left wondering just why you chose that tack when you might have more productively chosen to critique the Prescripticide proposal on its merits, or to have done the relatively hard work of suggesting a different proposal of your own with an alternative strategy and alternative step by step tactics. I welcome debate on differing workable, practical, and thought through strategies calculated to reduce the power and influence of biological psychiatry. I see no value attached to snide, personal attacks.
Well, when does group three become group one? Just to clarify, I wasn’t making a personal attack. I agree with the proposal. I just see that we have the least status of the bunch, and we’re doing this little song and dance. I know MIA caters to the “mental health” profession. I suppose saying so could be seen as a personal attack although it is definitely not meant as such. At the bottom of the totem pole, we are expected to call on those above us to assist in, as you say, reducing the power and influence of biological psychiatry. Alright, and what about the power of often hateful families and “mental health” professionals? I just don’t know how long caving into that power can or should be considered pragmatic? Should I leave a dummy to speak for myself, understand that doing so is not a personal attack on you, although perhaps it could be said to constitute a personal attack on myself.
Bottom of the pecking order? Least status of the bunch? Bottom of the totem pole? Those thoughts are in your head, Frank not in mine, not in ours. Clearly, some one, or some groups have truly got you down on yourself, but it wasn’t I who did it. You don’t know me, and you choose not to understand the proposal. Tell the grieving family members in person whose kids took their own lives after they were talked into getting those kids psychoactive drugs, that they are “hateful” people. On their prescripticide forum they tell their own stories, and don’t need you to judge them from a safe distance. And you know nothing about the work I’ve done, nor how I did it. When I organized in board and care homes ,the first thing I and my colleagues said at our first meetings, which the residents themselves requested to have, was, “Don’t trust us. Come to these meetings only so long as you believe it’s in your interest to do so.” My point is only be aware of that broad brush you paint with. Without exception, I’ll vouch for all the professionals and family members I know in Prescripticide. I don’t know you. You may be engaged to useful social activism as I write. You may have done so in the past. I am uncertain as to what role you feel you’re playing here.
Mickey, Your comment is a direct attack on Frank.
This discussion is getting overall less and less productive, and, I must say, it’s a turnoff.
No, that status, those placements, are in the world, not in my head. We’ve got a lot of prejudice to contend with, even within our own ranks. I’m happy to be outside of the system entirely so that I can avoid this kind of cut (i.e. outside of the “mental health” racket). I’m also happy not to know my place in the world. Look for me under that rock, and I’m not there, even if I’m there. All I can say in response is, “Gee, maybe there is something to this mad pride thing after all.”
I know one thing if I scroll a comment section here on MIA and see that Frank has posted a comment , makes me even more want to read the entire comment section many times even more then the blog. And if I get really lucky and Frank and oldhead are having a discussion why that’s a first class learning experience .More “pros” can at least get a free real education experience listening to those of us as opposed to an Operation Paperclip , Rockefeller Medicine , con job brainwashing , macademia illusion . In fact I’m prepared if invited and paid to be a guest speaker at all the ivy league colleges especially at Harvard the eye of the psychiatric juggernaut . All that and more with only officially a high school brainwashing ,yet have personally actually physically escaped 6 times from various “Mental Hospitals” against the combined will of all the “pro’s” there. That was many years ago and today things are way worse and the so called dissident ” pro’s ” still don’t have the courage to openly as a group in real physical life to do a real civil disobedience action anywhere meaning- ful even knowing their credentials will protect them from being drugged and or shocked . What are they afraid of if they are for real?
Instead they want to Lead us into a 4 or 5 dog corporate cartel defence . Sometimes Surprise and Timing are more important than planning carefully in earshot of possible enemies .
I support anti -psychiatry , Which within it includes abolishing coercive psychiatry , Anyways I’d fight by Franks side anyday I was able . I’m also for health freedom across the board . Yet psychiatry is not health . but Mental Death Torture INC. And Big Pharma very likely The birthplace of Nazism. Speaking in my own style devoid of “pro” doublespeak.
Alright, I have been afk for weeks due to having an old computer whose components don’t always cooperate, but I’ve been reading.
Ever heard that phrase “Last, but not least…?” It exists for a reason: everyone knows that lists are made in order of priority. That is not “in Frank’s head,” that is the English language!
Did you even take a moment, Mickey, to consider the validity of Frank’s point before you decided it was all in his head? Did you stop to consider that the way you enumerated these groups is an expression of your own values and prejudices, however unconscious? Because both the enumeration order, and (most importantly) the way you responded to Frank pointing this out to you, speaks volumes about whose voices, opinions, and viewpoints you value, and whose you don’t.
I was puzzled too. At first. Maybe that shows I’m used to the MI System where we got asked last of all. If we were even asked.
The order should be reversed. Due to spell binding, friends and family can notice odd or bad changes in psych drug users before they do.
The medical experts should come last of all. Despite their advanced degrees and superior knowledge of physiology/chemistry/etc. they tend to be timid. Upsetting the status quo is never a good career move for a guild related professional. The American Psychiatric Association is a guild.
The psychiatrist who prescribed the drug that wrecked my life was totally ignorant of the side effects. He refused to even peruse the pill manual where he could have found them. Not sure why people like him should have their input valued over those who have suffered tardive dyskinesia or watched loved ones grow rapidly worse under the influence of all those “safe and effective treatments.”
I don’t see Frank’s “Group Three?!!” remark as a personal attack on anyone. Where here does he attack an individual participant in this discussion? He is merely challenging the “Group 3” concept.
“Group three” tends to be less “credentialed” than “group one”, mostly due to the time that people in “group three” have spent being ‘provided’ for by people in “group one” (oh, no, no self-interest there, certainly not), and then people in “group three” tend to be less “socially acceptable” than people in “group two”, a group that often finds a need to have them removed from their presence, and installed in an institution. Enough said, and I’m content enough to transcend all three groupings.
Or, in some cases, Group One tells Group Three, “Your childhood sucked. We’re better than your own Mommy and Daddy. We’re the new and better parents!” They say this to anyone in Group Three, twisting around any type of childhood narrative, good and bad, to fit Group One’s version. This leaves Group Two wondering what they did wrong. Due to Group One’s blameful attitude, and high level of authority and esteem in society, Group Two may then begin to wonder about every little nit-picky thing and wonder if THAT was the one thing that caused their loved one’s supposed “mental illness.” Group One blames Groups Two and Three for all of Group One’s subsequent errors, mainly because Group One refuses to admit fault and refuses to apologize. Group One continues to do great harm, and then, calls that harm “mental illness,” attributing it to either the moral shortcomings and character defects of Group Three themselves, or the past failings of Group Two that nurtured, raised, and cared for their loved ones.
Okay, is this a “generalization”? Or a retelling of a familiar tale?
Steve as moderator: you said “in some cases,” which means you’re allowing that it’s not all cases, so I would not see that as a derogatory generalization. I’d be interested if others would see it differently.
I would have said that, or, “Or,”…… Either one of these would have worked. Still, I’d hate to have my comment taken down because I neglected to use a quantifying preface to my sentence. Had I left it out, Dear Steve the Sheriff, would it be implied? Say, if I said, “Group One tells Group Three….” Actually I wouldn’t have said that anyway. It is not universally true.
There are some that insist you have great parents and can’t understand why you run away, haven’t spoken for a month, or act out in school. Must be a disorder, couldn’t be his/her home life…..
Can I generalize by saying that psychiatry is rarely on the mark? Even if we think they are at the time, or, are totally convinced that they are right, ten or 20 years down the line…if we aren’t dead, we very well may not only have changed our minds, but regret that we believed them, and regret the consequences.
I would submit, at the risk of generalization, that psychiatry is almost never “right”, at least in the scientific sense, because it starts from invalid assumptions. Assumptions such as the mind=the brain, chemicals are causal agents in the brain rather than messengers influenced by the environment and the decisions of whoever or whatever it is that runs the body, that “negative” emotions are problems because they are inconvenient, that “delusions” or “hallucinations” have no meaning but are just random events… So while I would not say all PSYCHIATRISTS are always wrong, I’d say that anyone who adheres to the DSM/brain chemistry model is going to come up with wrong answers nearly 100% of the time.
In over 30 years that I was a patient they did in fact get it right occasionally. But that was only due to random luck! The rest of the time, well…that was too much time to waste.
NUI Galway Awarded International Grant For Schizophrenia Study
“…..A NARSAD Grant is one of the highest distinctions in the field of mental health research.
The Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation is the top non-governmental funder of mental health research grants, which awarded a total of $3.9 million to 40 mid-career scientists from 36 institutions in 10 countries. The funding will support basic research, new technologies, early intervention/diagnostic tools, and next-generation therapies for schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder…..”
“….Research Investigator, Dr Derek Morris from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, said: “Schizophrenia is desperately in need of new drug treatments as current anti-psychotic drugs, discovered serendipitously more than 50 years ago, are only partially effective and do not treat the cognitive deficits in patients that most affect their quality of life.” …”
They already know how to cure “Schizophrenia”, and how to Improve the quality of life.
NEAR FATAL MODECATE EXPERIENCE
Near Fatal Modecate Experience Pg 1
Near Fatal Modecate Experience Pg 2
DR ALLEN FRANCES 1983
ON PRESENTATION AT GALWAY IN NOV 1980 ACCORDING TO DR FADEL https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0zhbh8V4MBANjBTZEtkbjBhMkU/view?usp=drivesdk
INITIAL BATTERING NOV 1980.
The “medications” I was given Every Day for two months were: 100 mg Haloperidol per day; 1000 mg of Largactil per day; 50 mg of modecate per month; and ECT and Lithium towards the end of my stay:-
Daily Drugs Chart example 1
Daily Drugs Chart example 2
Dr Richard Bentall went MAD on a lot less.
Dr Richard Bentall
PROGNOSIS AT JAN 1981
Prognosis was Guarded.
DISABLED + SUICIDAL 1981 – 1984
Between 1981 and 1984 I experienced 2 Suicide Attempts and a series of Suicidal Hospitalizations + Years of Extrapyramidal Disability.
By 1983 I was Diagnosed as Chronically Schizophrenic.
PROGNOSIS APRIL 1984
By 1984 I was Diagnosed as Schizoaffective and “Prognosed” as completely Hopeless.
I made Full Recovery in 1984 as a Result of carefully tapering from the Modecate Depot Injection with the help of Practical Psychotherapy – and I handed back my Disability cheque (permanently).
1985/86 My Psychiatrist PA Carney Registers as a Non Specialist Doctor Registers in Ontario
Adverse Drug Reaction Warning Request Letter sent to Galway Nov. 8 1986
ADR Request ltr Pg 1
ADR Request ltr Pg 2
ADR Request Ltr Pg 3
MALPRACTICE. Irish Record Summary Sent To UK In Response:- but WITHOUT Requested ADR WARNING
Irish Record Summary Pg 1
Irish Record Summary Pg 2
Dr Donlon Kenny False Reasurrance Letter 1986
“Depot Antipsychotic Revisited Research Paper 1998” From Galway Psychiatrist Dr PA Carney. https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/ps.49.10.1361-b. 4 out of 10 of the people on these drugs attempt Suicide.
€ 9.6 million from Bristol Myers Squibb http://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/partners/
SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS REGISTER
In October of 2012 I discovered my name on a Severe Mental Illness Register at My GP Surgery at London W2 5LT.
I made an appointment with my GP, and discussed my years of wellness in the UK plus my Historical MH Experience with my him. I showed him the 1986 Adverse Drug Reaction Warning Request Letter and Demonstrated to him, the complete absence of any Adverse Drug Reaction Warning on the 1986 Irish Record Summary, the historical Malpractice from Ireland. By the end of the interview my GP s shirt was sticking to his body – he was terrified.
My GP then Guaranteed me the Removal of Schizophrenia from my Records 3 times in writing, and the Removal of my name from the SMI Register.
A month later by chance I discovered “Schizophrenia” still on the GP information system. So I complained to my GP about this. My GP in Response presented me with a signed letter on practice paper, completely contradicting his previous 3 written guarantees; and placing Full Confidence in my Historical Irish Psychiatrist (below).
THE GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL.
I then complained to the General Medical Council as I considered my GP s behaviour to be unacceptable. But in May of 2013 the GMC politely refused to proceed with my complaint. They stated that in their opinion that the doctors behaviour would not affect his ability to work safely.
My GP was involved in a Patient Homicide in July 2013:-
I believe my GP was at this time suffering from Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that this should have been obvious to the General Medical Council.
*If the UK General Medical Council (Ref NS/-AX34X6, Samantha Mills) are prepared to allow a UK Doctor to LIE (as above) about the Removal of Diagnosis of Schizophrenia – this does not say much for the Legitimacy of any UK Mental Health Diagnosis.
Prescripticide:- This was where I was heading before I quit Psychiatry.
The Lowest Quarter:
“…This leaves the final 25% for whom the outlook is not so good. Of these, 15% will lead a chronic course with little or no improvement and involving repeated hospital stays over a prolonged part of their adult life, whilst the final 10% will die usually by their own hand.3…”
“…whilst the final 10% will die usually by their own hand…”3
Fiachra, that is really thorough. And sad, too. The fight continues for our rights, eh? I admire you for what you have done.
Thanks a lot Julie,
I’m fortunate that the documentary evidence is available in my own case, to back up what I say.
The Mental Health Systems in both the UK and Ireland are Criminally Corrupt.
Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba: GMC boss told position is ‘untenable’ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-45328100
“…Medics have called for the head of the General Medical Council (GMC) to stand down over his handling of the case…”
“.. believed to be dangerous..” As far as I know the originator of the phrase “Schizophrenia” (Bleular) didn’t think much of “Dementia” as a problem and viewed it as something that lessened over time!
He considered the main problem to be “Association, Autism (as in single minded thinking) Ambivalence and Affect” i.e. nonconforming, to be the “schizophrenic” problem. As a problem this should not exist in western Europe where “basic survival” is guaranteed. But the emphasis today tends to be “.. be dangerousness..”
It seens to me that a lot of todays “dangerousness” as regards “schizophrenia” is medication (and ignorance).
Bleular “lived” with “schizophrenics” before “medication”, when Germany was becoming industrialised. Bleulars time overlapped Bismarks who set up the first social welfare system, with a view towards keeping the workers healthy. The problem with the “Schizophrenics” was that they were non conforming and non industrial.
Most “Psychotic” people are not even “Schizophrenic”; they are people going through a crisis – which will resolve itself.
“Psychosis” is very common. It’s “medication” that causes the longterm problem.
With Prescripticide, the increase in Homicide is coming from the increase in the “Normal Population” taking MH drugs, not the “Schizophrenics” who privately commit Suicide.
This can be seen on examination of individual Suicide/Homicide cases in Ireland since the large increase of MH drug taking in the “Normal Population” (in the past 10 – 20 years).
It’s always been widely known in Psychiatry that Psychiatric drugs can cause Suicide and Homicide.
Fools violate implicit rules, while outlaws violate explicit rules.
Prison represses those who violate the explicit rules, while psychiatry represses those who violate the implicit rules.
If fools suffer and are destroyed by psychiatry, that’s normal, that’s the goal.
Families of psychotic are often very happy to see their loved ones suffer and be destroyed, because they are pathological families in which everyone is hurt each other.
Searles rightly points out that psychic killing, by making the other person crazy or by sending him into psychiatry, can be just as effective as physical murder, with the advantage of not risking anything legally.
Psychiatry is a present extension of the social sado-masochism, filled with pretense, hypocrisy and violence: it is normal for psychiatry to be pseudo-scientific and barbaric.
Fools break rules, outlaws break laws. “Mental health” law is that loophole in the rule of law that allows for the locking up of rule breakers who have not necessarily broken any law. Close the loophole, and rule of law once again applies, more or less, universally. Don’t close the loophole, and technically, you have a law that breaks the law. This law is the exception to rule of law, a law that allows for the locking up of certain people under medical pretenses who are innocent of crime. Punishing bad behavior is one thing, “healing” it another. This exception to the rule of law, as an example of intolerance, is rank folly as well. Calling psychiatry sadomasochism is an insult to sadomasochists. Freud and other high priests of the “mental health” cult strove to make sadomasochism a “sickness”. Curiously, the labeling of fools, as an example of intolerance in action, makes fools of those doing the labeling (or, rather, what it doesn’t make them is wise).
They use the law, with its exception built in especially for us inferior MP’s who do not deserve rights, called HIPAA. HIPAA can be broken while we are still alive and “dangerous,” but as soon as we die from the treatment, HIPAA effectively protects the treatment team by sealing our records, c/o the law. Those slimes even evade court investigations.
I appreciate your efforts to combat injustice, but feel your media approach is misguided.
This issue is highly polarized, and neither side will be won over merely by facts.
It would be wise if you and your organizers considered this article on journalistic approaches to bridge these types of polarized conflicts: https://thewholestory.solutionsjournalism.org/complicating-the-narratives-b91ea06ddf63?token=xUmMVek721EU-3v5 This article mentions several non-profits skilled in bringing together disparate groups, on highly polarized issues such as gun control.
I’d like to also bring to your attention an important article by Akiko Hart on polarization within this movement: Pursuing choice, not truth: debates around diagnosis in mental health.
And finally, open you up to approaches that are a lot more fun and effective: http://yeslab.org/
To reiterate–I appreciate your efforts, but feel they are shortsighted. I’ve offered corrections and alternatives that I hope you will embrace.
This society is divided into classes, it is normal that it be polarized. Those who want to prevent polarization are in reality oppressors: they want to subject the oppressed to their views. The establishment is not moderate, on the contrary, it fanatically defends the status quo, it is the extremism of the center. Who launches wars abroad? Who run the prisons, the psychiatric hospitals? The “moderates”. Who spreads the most lies, fake news and propaganda in the press? The “moderates”. It is in the name of “moderation” that Facebook and Google censor anti-war and leftist criticism. It is in the name of “moderation” that people are forcibly drugged for life.
In order for society to no longer be “polarized”, why should we submit to the points of view that are, by chance, those of the ruling class? If the ruling class believes it is “moderate” to torture people in secret CIA prisons, to launch wars abroad, to forcibly drug people, if the social inequality is “moderate”, if border closures and concentration camps for foreigners are “moderate”, I could just as easily say that the war against the ruling class is moderate, that the ban on psychiatry and secret prisons is moderate, that the Border opening and concentration camps closure are moderate, and society generally would be “less polarized” if everyone agrees with this view.
Oh yeah. You’re on a roll here.
I think it makes sense to be looking for some media coverage, however, I wouldn’t be looking for any saviors in the media (nor in the mental health field for that matter). As an action campaign it makes sense if one doesn’t expect too much from it. The story is an old one full of scandal and coverup. You’d think the press would be licking that up. The media (witness ‘direct to consumer advertising’ on television) has it’s own corruption issues. It’s another version of, well, we report the “truth” as we see it so long as it doesn’t conflict with the interests of our sponsors, you know, those people who put bread and bacon on our tables.
Hi, Don — The Prescripticide plan, as I approach it, is neither a “media approach,” nor does it depend on debate with an antagonistic other side. Its long term goal is to take steps over time to reduce the public’s (including courts, media, the entertainment industry etc.) trust in biological psychiatry (but certainly not in all individuals and groups which actually help) until it becomes largely, or entirely, irrelevant. The current proposal is not a “media” plan, although it seeks to involve one influential segment of the media. It involves a call for a serious, independent, and public investigation of the reality, nature, and consequences of the probable relationship between prescribed psychoactive drugs and violence. Perhaps, one might refer to our immediate tactic as “provocative reason,” or “subtle persuasion,” or a tactic calculated to have a chance to work.
You’re not dealing with biological psychiatry, but with pharmacological psychiatry. The earliest guys to promote a biological approach to psychiatry, Hoffer and Osmond, knew about the existence of chlorpromazine and primitive antidepressants, the MAOI drugs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors, which make our SSRI’s look almost benevolent by contrast), but continued their work with B3/C therapy anyway. It was Osmond who reformed procedures at the old Weyburn Hospital, one of the worst in the world in those days, turning the old “seclusion rooms” into refuges by adding furniture and proper lighting, among other things. Both of them were also interested in psychedelic therapy for alcoholics, which our DEA has spent years of great effort to delegitimize.
“Medical model” and “biological psychiatry” are NOT synonyms. The Myth of Mental Illness deconstructed the medical model long before the so-called advent of “biological” psychiatry, which is not a distinct development but more of an intensification of the sort of chemical warfare which has been used by psychiatry since people were dosed with alcohol on the ships of fools. Richard Lewis has described “biological psychiatry” as psychiatry on steroids; nonetheless it’s the same old psychiatry, based on the same falsehoods and distortions of language.
the primary factor which protects psychiatry’s unwarranted police power and authority, and trust in its unsupported “scientific” claims, is that it is perceived as performing the function, not so much of assisting emotionally upset and confused individuals, but of shielding society from folks who appear disturbing, irritating and are, especially, believed to be dangerous.
True but somewhat tautological; psychiatry IS such a police force, and its purpose IS to keep people suppressed if it first fails at turning them into automatons. So there’s no mystery here; police agencies and the military ALWAYS get full support from the system before any social concerns are tended to.
As with any idea to publicize the issues with psychiatric drugs, the only real assessment can be made in retrospect. In general though it is a losing strategy to kiss up to the media. If someone with system credentials wants to “scoop” this story, well there it is, just waiting for you. It shouldn’t require strategizing to convince them, and if it does can we really trust them anyway? This seems more like the kind of banging one’s head against the wall that Sera D. has found futile with the Boston Globe.
I do encourage people to approach all sorts of media people, right and left, to take this up; sooner or later we’ll find one. I personally think there’s a better chance of finding such a person among the “talk radio” crowd rather than from so-called leftists, and the current sold-out state of progressive politics is heavily tied into the psychiatric narrative. The main thing to remember is that the corporate media is NOT our friend; they are there to distort and confuse. As I’ve said before, once we’re organized enough to matter, they won’t need to be solicited, but will be waiting at our events for us to arrive, prepared to mangle any message we may present.
Even so, it would be a mistake to believe that “breaking the story” would lead to meaningful change in quick succession; there would be a backlash/coverup effort which then would need to be countered. But that would also be part of making progress.
Some people mean by biopsychiatry neo-Kraepelinian approaches to ‘people in crisis’ let us say. In that sense, biopsychiatry and medical model are pretty much synonyms.
Most people mean some kind acceleration of pharmaceutical administration and the junk science rationales that go along with it. and act like the 50’s & 60’s and Thorazine never happened. The implication to me is always that there’s some other, “better” kind of psychiatry than the “biological” kind.
I agree. Psychiatry’s legitimacy is based on its acceptance as a biological (medical) science by medical schools; “biological psychiatry” is a redundant attempt to disavow wacky Freudian psychiatry and commit to biological pseudoscience.
As if Freudian psychoanalic cynicism were any less pseudo-science than neo-Kraepelinian biologically-based cynicism. Freud opened the floodgates with his neurosis labels, and now 20 % + of the population is said to have a “mental illness”. That’s expansion of the “mental health” system big time, baby, and if anything, it makes his methods more pseudo-scientific than theirs.
Mickey this is a very interesting idea from a community organizing standpoint. Very Saul Alinsky. For those who don’t know or have heard negative accounts – Saul really was brilliant especially with tactical planning. He wold only take on paid work if he felt there was more than a 75% chance of winning. He did not come from a victim and or survivor view. It was all about power dynamics from the setting to the furniture.
Things have changed so much in the world now. We really as a movement are quite restrained. Many of Saul’s tactics would be quickly quashed now. And many would be failures.
I just read somewhere that many docs sign NDA for big medical corporations. The system as. someone once said is rigged. Many private corporations or family run businesses have huge huge amounts of money to spend. Huge.
So there is a phrase we must all deeply consider here. Politics make strange bedfellows.
We have to sit with unaligned folks because they have better seating placement and more money and access.
This rankles and hurts and in many ways is totally unfair. But there it is.
We need however uncomfortable to become we. And then We are Many They are Few can create change and hopefully not cosemetic but true change. Abolition? Complete Dextuction?
To be determined and who knows? Who really knows?
As much as I am angry and righteously so -I know no social action can be totally based on anger. Anger in and of itself fizzles, can become boring, can become a problem in and of itself.
I would say let’s try it. What more do we have to lose?
Unless all sorts of people intermingle and talk/ the walls stay up and bridges are never ever built. And yes sometimes you want to burn those bridges. And I have done my share of burning from all the stuff I lived through/ but what the hey?
It is action and we have done nothing on a national basis-everyone else has.
Sometimes as Harriet did one has to wade in the water and find out what happens after the water is troubled.Shevould never gaurantee safe oasssge. She had a history and knowledge but everyone just had to jump in.
Is there something new here that I’m missing? Because sucking up to the media is hardly strategic. There seems to be this idea that psychiatry has such a hold because someone doesn’t understand something, but this is based on the illusion that the purpose of psychiatry is to “help people,” which has no basis in reality. Capitalism does not hold sway because someone lost an argument somewhere back in history, but because of the guns constantly pointed at our heads. And the purpose of psychiatry in a capitalist system is to uphold capitalist rule, no more, no less.
Educating the public is important, and the media can help us to do that. If we have any sympathizers in the media, why not use them to our advantage.
I don’t see anything I said here which would contradict that. Though as you mention I don’t think there’s any reason to focus on one particular person as our “savior.” But I’m not strongly opposed either, as long as those involved don’t start representing themselves as “the movement.”
What would absolutely get the sort of media attention needed is a substantial group of mental health professionals committing civil disobedience in protest of psychiatric drugging.
We agree on this one, Frank. And you miss the point of the plan, Oldhead, if you think we’re “sucking up” to anyone or looking for a “savior.”
“Savior” was Frank’s term, to which I was referring.
The question is why do these corporate media types need to be lobbied to cover psychiatric assault — they’re supposed to be able to sniff out stories on their own and recognize one when they see it, especially once someone has given them a “scoop.”
Quite so. Carey has run stories critical to psychiatry before, but he’s in very sparse company. Of course, major media outlets get a lot of advertising money from Big Pharma, so this should be no surprise.
Good catch, CatNight. I received training from Warren Haggstrom, a colleague of Alinsky when they were both in Syracuse, New York. Saul was always cognizant of power differentials, and calculated his strategies and tactics around time, place, clients, context, circumstances, and more. Were he alive today, and interested in issues and concerns of MIA readers and writers, he never would employ the methods he used to combat 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s neighborhood poverty and powerlessness, to combat the ignorance of, and the harm caused by the present day pharmaceutical/ biological psychiatry complex.
Sorry about the misunderstanding, Oldhead. Regarding the “corporate media type” in question here: We’re attempting to give him a stronger scent to sniff. Are you willing to help?
I can’t really respond to any of the comments above as they’re too cerebral, are hard to follow, and are above my head. But I’m reminded of a very recent post I saw by Susan Rogers. Susan, as many of you know was, until recently, the head of the National Mental Health Consumer Self-Help Clearinghouse, in Philadelphia. She replied to a letter circulated by someone connected with the International Society for Ethical Psychiatry and Psychology, which urged stakeholders to collectively press for a similar kind of investigation into effects of psychoactive drugs, with the aim of exposing them as being determinants of violent behavior. I thought Susan made an extremely important point in her rebuttal of this plan. She talked about how advocates have struggled for decades to break the associations between having mental problems and being violent in the public’s mind. If stakeholders are now going to embark on a journey to convince the public that mental patients ARE dangerous afterall, this makes previous years of long, hard work look like a colossal waste of time and effort. Do we really want to get started on that slippery slope?
On the other hand, for a long time, I’ve been of the belief that those efforts made by advocates have been nothing more than an obfuscation of what I believe to be the truth regarding stigma. On numerous occasions, these milque toast endeavors have seemed naive at best, and covert evasions of the truth at their worst. These seemingly never ending efforts have never done anything to address the larger fact of psychiatric oppression. Maybe it IS time to try a new approach in our efforts to break the silence.
Just a bit of a discourse here, some fat to chew. Whatever we do, let’s go slowly with it.
This was/is not an anti-psychiatry organization, and did much to compromise the original movement. It was instrumental in promoting compromised language, such as renaming psychiatric inmates “consumers of mental health services,” and in the development of the “peer” industry.
OK, oldhead, I understand perfectly what you’re talking about with that. But don’t you think I simply provided two opposing views of the same issue? I stated in the very last sentence; this was merely a, “discourse.” I purposely drew no conclusions, one way or the other.
Discourse with whom?
A discourse amongst all the people who read the article.
I can strongly substantiate the connection between psychiatric drugs and violence with evidence from my own psychiatric diagnosis psychiatric experience and longterm recovery (- to the point of professional criminality).
I have done this in a comment above – with plenty of evidence included – which is under moderation at the moment. In my own case my violence was Suicidal (but only when I consumed drugs suitable for SMI, never before and never after).
Most people consuming Fluphenazine Decoanate long acting Injection, the drug I consumed, Prolixin (in US) Modecate (in UK), would be doing so against their will.
( My Suicidal Tendency is strongly avoided on my records – It is associated with:- 1. Starting 2. Changing 3.Stopping a Psychiatric drug).
I’ve re read your comment and I understand the point, but (I think) unfortunately the idea of MH dangerousness has not reduced because (I believe), a lot more people are consuming drugs that can trigger extreme behavior. I think there’s no getting away from “Akathisia”.
Psychiatric Drugs are not just associated with Prescripticide and Metabolic Syndrome but with longterm disability as well – and a careful cessation or a big reduction of these drugs can result in full longterm recovery.
Now In Europe possibly due to exposure:-
Nondrug Recovery from “Schizophrenia” is being recognised.
Protracted SSRI Withdrawal Syndrome is being recognised.
Neuroleptic Drug Withdrawal/Rebound Syndrome is being recognised.
Neuroleptic Drug Super Sensitivity Syndrome is being recognised.
Drug Induced Increases in MH Disability Rates are being recognised.
Drug Induced Metabolic Syndrome is being recognised.
The overall ineffectiveness of large classes of psychiatric drugs are being recognised.
We would appreciate your telling your story by mail (preferred) or email to Benedict Carey of the NY Times, Kumininexile. Call one of the numbers at the end of my post for his contact information.
Gotcha, Mickey, I’ll do it. By the way, I met you at the Alternatives conference in Salt Lake City in 1988. I still have your calling card. It says something about the Kentucky Network on it? I see you live in California, however.
What about a Group#4… those given psychotropic medications ‘off label?’ This group could be particularly instrumental in proving your points. This off label group are given psych medications out of the realm of psychiatry; they were never anxious, depressed, suicidal or homicidal until they took the medication as prescribed. In the majority of cases with psych patients, doctors can easily gaslight and use the excuse when patients become suicidal, it is their ‘depression’ worsening — so the drugs are never blamed. But in cases where patients were never depressed to begin with — but given these dangerous drugs off label to treat insomnia, grief, acne, shingles, whatever the case may be… and they develop suicidal / homicidal ideation, it is more obvious that it was indeed drug-induced! Add in the fact these patients were never given ‘informed consent’ and you have a case that is less easily disputed.
Have a look below
DR RICHARD BENTALL GOES MAD
INITIAL BATTERING NOV 1980.
The “medications” I was given Every Day for two months were: 100 mg Haloperidol per day; 1000 mg of Largactil per day; 50 mg of modecate per month; and ECT and Lithium towards the end of my stay:-
Daily Drugs Chart example 1
Daily Drugs Chart example 2
Dr Richard Bentall went MAD on a lot less.
Dr Richard Bentall
I know of one person where this is true. Zoloft for migraines, and she started having random suicidal thoughts, which she found bizarre, because she was never suicidal. She also took months and months to get off, due to withdrawal effects of some severity. I think this is a good idea.
Steve -actually it is common practice to use antidepressants for pain management and benzodiazepines as well. Also I have seen psychotropics used purely for behavior management for both the old and young.
Show me a patient with a complicated surgical procedure and I will show a potential addict.
The other issue is offspring of folks who are given these meds and viola the old wine in the cabinet filled by teens with water becomes the pills swiped from the medicine cabinet.
Now it’s both etoh and psychotropics.
The drive had lasted for so long / it has literally been consumed into a mindset. I even get pushed and then ought into it.
Remember PSA’s Yul Brynner and his face seeing him say when you see this I will be dead?
None of that now only add upon add upon add upon add.
And don’t tell me Big Pharma folks were not aware of what a poor economy and employment situation can do for sales.
So twisted and tangled and no end in sight that’s why why not do something rather than not even if the doing has issues?
I have worked both with the elderly in nursing homes and with foster youth, and have seen massive use of these drugs for behavior control alone. It is disgusting!
What about Group#5 Psychiatry exposed as hidden killer of U.S. veterans .
We would have a Group #6 of people in nursing “homes” robbed of life savings , over psych. drugged at the slightest inconvenience to “staff” . Then tubes shoved down their throat in teaching hospitals to shut them up forever . I saw what they did to my Dad. Then on to “hospice care” where morphine is given whether needed or not . I slept a couple nights there in my dad’s room .The door of everybody’s room stays open so the screams of agony are heard by the one night nurse rushing around giving out the morphine. The screams are heard by everyone that is not totally deaf. Eventually they kill you with the morphine and you don’t get any water to drink . They don’t want you to drown in your own fluids .
Probably most of the people in nursing homes would be afraid to complain too much because of justified fear of retaliation .
“…Significant symptoms of akathisia occur in:
around 20% of people on an antidepressant.
at least 50% of people on an antipsychotic. On higher doses, this rises to 80% or more..”
“..Around half of people on antipsychotics develop the condition…”
“…..Neuro-psychologist Dennis Staker had drug-induced akathisia for two days. His description of his experience was this:
“..It was the worst feeling I have ever had in my entire life. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy…” ”
Drug induced Akathisia is medically acknowledged to cause suicide.
I agree completely. It’s always puzzling that the data supports a conclusion that is inconvenient, and then it’s explained away or buried. Obviously, we’re not talking about science here. We’re talking about marketing, and in marketing, “bad data” is hidden and the good is overblown as much as possible, if not frankly invented.
I think it’s self evident but NYT is not going to bite the hand that feeds them. The last article had a very powerful commenting section and it was all the professionals coming out in droves. The article caused a stir for maybe 15 minutes and many have tried to extend that time, to much dismay. We are talking about a 330 billion dollar in 2016 business that has expand to a 450 billion dollar business in 2018. And how many jobs are created from that. It would put us in the worst depression the world has ever seen if money were to be pulled out and I would assume psychotropics are a huge amount of the “bigger” pie.
Take antidepressants, 23 Billion in 2014 to 18 Billion in 2018 with a -1.25 CAGR. It’s still a huge market. And this is a market that has reached maturity. Just Ambilify is 7 Billion in revenue alone. I applaud your efforts but the wheels of capitalism will crush you. This reminds me of tobacco and how many years did it take to get rid of that market after we learned it caused “deaths” and complete havoc with people’s lives. I can still remember the ads where doctors recommended certain brands.
Please don’t get me wrong but I would love to see this work.
As regards Prescripticide these Akathisia figures from Rxisk + Wikipedia more or less wrap things up.
What Dr Peter Gotzsche said was that these drugs were just too dangerous for use.
I have been accidentally put on the “provider” mailing list for this and it’s annoying. Whereas I did attend a training for life coaching last January, I made the decision not to pursue it as a career for various reasons that came quite clear to me as there is too much corruption in the profession. I don’t see how a person can become an MH professional, even one that isn’t called that but really IS that (let’s be realistic here and call it what it is!), and still maintain a clear conscience. You really have to walk a fine line. My own classmates, fellow grads of the program I was in, were already talking about how to charge clients as much as possible as soon as class ended.
I was in a meeting in Denver with the ISEPP group where this project, or a similar one, was discussed. The discussion went nowhere and at the end of the meeting I had no clue whether the plan was on or not. I hated the rude eye-rolling on the part of some of the participants.
TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THE Denver meeting: IF you invite so-called survivors to your meetings, then at least do so because you value our input as equal to yours, not because you feel obligated to include us.
Darius, Your comment caught my eye. The idea of categorizing the responses into these distinct groups turns me off as the effect of psychiatry and it’s little sister that also can cause great harm by its harmful use of categories, psychotherapy, are not only on the individual victim/patient, but will affect the patient’s family, neighborhood, workplace, school, and historically, for years or decades to come. The categories are limiting.
In brief, psychiatry makes us all sick.
What is said in the article (here I am paraphrasing) that psych is something used to control people whose behavior is somehow objectionable is too narrow a statement, and perhaps extreme as well. Many, if not most of us were okay, by that I do not mean perfect, but just fine the way we were prior to our initiation. Afterward, we were so much worse off that we were branded as MP’s for life, still in the System or marginalized in the role of outcasts. This might cause our family to become an Outcast Family, branded as sick, wrong, deranged by psych, especially if our families don’t kick us out quickly enough.
We can have category #5, #6, #7, too. I knew a janitor who cleaned a psych unit. The janitor tried to blow the whistle and then was incarcerated along with the rest of us, effectively silenced, forcibly unemployed at that point, life ruined.
When will it stop?
that psych is something used to control people whose behavior is somehow objectionable is too narrow a statement, and perhaps extreme as well.
Julie — Don’t know what article you’re quoting from, but I’m confused — is the article you refer to calling this position “narrow and extreme” or are you? Because control of objectionable behavior is probably the essence of psychiatry and its raison d-etre. So I’ll assume this is the article speaking, not you, right?
Psych is not always summoned for that reason. Some of us went to therapists for other reasons, not “Objectionable behavior.” Some, say, had depression they had never told anyone about, that hasn’t manifested itself in outward behavior. My own reasons are included here. I did have an ED, but no one had noticed the weight loss because I hid it well, and my school work, though it faltered momentarily, on the whole remained outstanding. When I revealed to others that I had gone to shrinks, and had even resorted to a psychiatrist, people I knew such as faculty and classmates were shocked.
I wasn’t sent to therapy by anyone but me. My choice. Only I didn’t realize the rabbit hole I was getting myself into. Within months I was converted, even prior to taking any pills at all. I was talking their symptom/disease language, knew the slogans, and had given up my music career. It happened in a flash to observers.
Looking back, I should have seen a nutritionist, hopefully an alternative one. These were not available in 1981, and none of the therapists knew anything about ED. This is sadly a very common experience in my generation.
So I was not “sent” to a shrink and nothing about my behavior prior to entering the system was bothersome to anyone.
I may have communicated an unnecessarily cynical tone about the activity in question, so should maybe clarify: I don’t want to discourage anyone who may be drawn to this proposal from participating, as in the end it will be a plethora of actions needed to complete the mosaic. I can’t see how it could possibly hurt, unless it served as a springboard for reformist elements to opportunistically misrepresent or usurp the anti-psychiatry movement. (It would, after all, be easy to claim that after all this matter of the drugs is smoothed over we can transition into a “kinder, gentler” psychiatry.)
When and if New York Times reporter Benedict Carey responds to our entreaties by writing and publishing an article related to our concerns, our next steps will be determined by the nature, slant, and public response to what he writes.
We pretty much know that already. It will involve the “growing concerns” over drugs that save millions of lives but have issues themselves; that it’s a fine balance between the value of the drugs and their dangers, and that everyone should ask their doctors if they have any questions about the matters being discussed. All this will be woven around some anecdotal mental patient horror stories.
Then there will be a wave of shrinks, pharmacrats and other mh people demanding equal time to “clarify” and correct the slanderous misrepresentations being made.
Public response? That’s the best my crystal ball will do at the moment, but I think it’s working fine.
Totally agree with this and well put. Glad to see you are commenting again. Welcome back, Oddhead!
“I may have communicated an unnecessarily cynical tone”
It could turn out that your predictions will prove correct, Oldhead. And yet, we have made a conscious calculation to not attack biological psychiatry frontally. We have asked dissident academics and practitioners to offer to Ben Carey the available evidence on the probability that there is a meaningful and significant relationship between the ingestion of prescribed psych drugs and violence. We ask families of children who took their own lives while they were on psych drugs, or parents who, while they were on psych drugs, killed their own children or others, to describe the tragedies and emotional cost, and we ask survivors to describe how they felt when they were users of psych drugs. We have asked all these individuals to emphasize, in some manner, the real possibility that there is an important relationship between prescribed psychoactive drugs and violence against self or others. The violence itself is already in the public eye and is a serious public concern. One goal is to raise doubt with all the calls for more psychiatric interventions as a solution when there is reason to believe that they are a cause. We are asking all letter writers to call for an independent investigation of a probable relationship between the use of psych drugs and violence, its reality, prevalence, and consequences. To do damage Carey will have to distort completely the nature of what is written to him and, should he write about calls for an investigation, the cry will have to fall on deaf ears. We do not offer a guarantee of success. We offer only a well considered effort and a good faith plan. Whether MIA’s readers respond as requested is up to them.
we have made a conscious calculation to not attack biological psychiatry frontally
I don’t know what “biological psychiatry” is, but such a “calculation” could be either tactical or opportunistic depending on the conscious goal. If the implicit message is that with more judicious administration of neurotoxins psychiatry could better accomplish its goal of helping people, I would not want to help validate that.
On the other hand, if the calculation comes from a perspective of psychiatry being a mechanism of repression, and drugging one of its tools (but not the only one), then a project focusing on exposing drugging and violence connections makes all the sense in the world, and has my support — as long as no one makes any statements dismissing or distancing themselves from anti-psychiatry in an attempt to “appear reasonable.”
Still we shouldn’t have to cajole reporters into doing their jobs; the fact that this should even be considered necessary says a lot.
Please read the entire reply carefully, Oldhead. Our goal is to move toward making contemporary psychiatry irrelevant. Now read my blog carefully. If our proposal and its objectives remain unclear, please feel free to call me and I’ll make every effort to clarify whatever you wish. I swear by whatever you believe in that I am not an undercover agent of the psychiatric/pharmaceutical complex. If we are to significantly reduce, or entirely eliminate the power and authority of psychiatry as well as the trust and respect it has garnered we must deal with all the facts and obstacles on the ground as we find them. Wishing that they not be there is hardly helpful. Once again, give me a call if you wish.
I don’t know what you want me to say; I think you’ve made your project and its goals pretty clear. I’m not opposing them; I support them conditionally (though not passionately), and I don’t think there’s anything much more to add. If anyone thinks they’re picking up vibes from me that they shouldn’t take part, this is not my intent, and no one should be taking cues from me as to what to do here anyway.
(Btw I do see a clear difference in analysis if you think psychiatry can be “made irrelevant,” but that’s too long a discussion for here.)
The idea is to discredit the widely held belief that psychiatrists are able to prevent or mitigate violence with their “treatments,” and in fact most likely INCREASE violence, which is contrary to what many subconsciously see as their mission. If a commission of independent scientists concluded that many murders and suicides would not have happened in the absence of psychiatric drugging, or that psychiatric drugging increased the rate of homicide and suicide, it would be a massive blow to psychiatric credibility, as they will be shown to have failed in their unspoken role as protectors of the populace from the purported dangers of the “mentally ill.” Of course, this would have to be combined with other efforts to show that “the mentally ill” aren’t even a definable category, that their “diagnoses” are a pile of crap, and that the odds of recovering from so-called “mental illness” appear to be greater the further away from psychiatric “treatment” one is able to remain. I’m sure you can see the potential impact on AOT orders if the “danger to self and others” was recognized NOT to be mitigated by the drugs, but in fact, made more likely.
Of course, this is just one action, and it may or may not have the desire effect. But that’s the concept, as I understand it today, and I think it makes a lot of sense. There are “fatality review” committees all over the country (I used to serve on one) and it would not take a lot of effort for these committees to simply add collection and analysis of legal drugs to their reviews. I am confident that the results would show what we know to be true. I am also confident that the psychiatric profession knows this and would fight such efforts tooth and nail. But perhaps in doing so, they will reveal too much of their hidden agenda.
Well said, Steve. It could not have been better expressed. I have no more to say on this matter, though I would be interested in learning what others think ought to be done in concrete and doable terms and what they are actually willing to do beyond mere analysis on behalf of their own concrete proposals.
I think we’re going in circles. I sense this is directed to me, and get the sense that I’m being cast as criticizing this particular activity, when I’m more addressing some of the assumptions surrounding the whole issue and how it is approached.
There is an illusion that the psychiatric/pharmaceutical cartel is unaware of the damage it is doing to human lives, and that it would change what it was doing if it were. This is the same perspective which sees psychiatry as a flawed branch of medicine which needs to see the light so that it can better “help” people. But as has been alluded to, the real function of psychiatry is repression of political and cultural dissidence. Eventually the truth about neurotoxins will leak out; still without an organized resistance they will be used with impunity, or another repressive “treatment” substituted.
Hey, I don’t disagree with you at all! I certainly don’t expect the psychiatric profession to ever admit to its own failings and venality – Venality is the basis on which it’s built, and the failings we recognize aren’t failings to them – they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, because they’re making money and everyone believes their bullcrap.
Not going to attack biological psychiatry frontally? Okay, we won’t lobotomize it. Lol.
Sorry Mickey. Couldn’t resist cracking a funny.
“Biological psychiatry” is a redundant term since all psychiatry offers now are drugs and shocks which are nothing but biological. There are a few mavericks (who write for this site.) But the APA does not like them. A more accurate term would be mainstream psychiatry.
This is a DIRECT reply to the comment from Mickey Weinberg, on 08/19, 5:21pm.
Although I clicked on the “log in to leave a comment” button *directly* under his comment, the screwed up MiA webpage is putting my comment out-of-context, *down* *here*….
My reply to Mr. Weinberg is the same as what I’ve said in the past, by email, to Mr. Ruby. I have no interest in “ISEPP”. I see it as a bogus waste of time. First, it conflates psychology and psychiatry. Most people don’t know the difference, and don’t really know what *either* “profession” is. The fact that BOTH professional organizations are the “A.P.A.” also just causes confusion and misunderstanding. I think psychology should have long ago differentiated itself from psychiatry. Psychology has *some* validity, but psychiatry has NONE. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology, with potent neuro-toxins. Psychiatry has done, and continues to do, far more harm than good. So while Mr. Ruby & Co. might be the exceptions which prove the rule, that’s little comfort. And the ISEPP name itself is misleading and fraudulent. It’s as if there could be some sort of “ethical psychiatry”. There isn’t, because there can’t be. Psychiatry is an inherently UNETHICAL DRUG RACKET. Br. Breggin is yet another “exception who proves the rule.” So, while I can support the efforts of ISEPP, UP TO A POINT, I really don’t want to waste my time on something that is so fatally flawed, conceptually, from the get-go.
Yes, while I was on Zoloft, I found myself having vague thoughts around the general subject of suicide. I was not at all suicidal, but it was just a waste of time to think about suicide. I believe that the drug caused the “suicidal thoughts” I was having. They stopped when I went off the DRUG.
Psychiatry is inherently unethical. Why can’t you people see that?
This is what I don’t like about discussions. Would we be discussing the end of our lives if people had guns to our faces? This is going on. The children bare the most of this deceit and opportunity to make a difference. We need to free them from the group homes, and the parents that enslave them, often into their 20’s and 30’s, and eventually into death. I narrowly avoided it. I want more people like me to buck the system. We’d be good at it. Kids that are forced to take psychiatric drugs, especially neuroleptic drugs, especially after they’ve begun developing permanent movement disorders/dystonia, in forced settings as usual, some of which die — all of which will die prematurely — are going to be looked back at in the future (if the truth gets known) as being this generations victims of human atrocity, like Jews in the holocaust.
For the record, Oldhead, we in Prescripticide are under no such illusions.
What does your crystal ball say about the shape shifting Borg’s , “exciting and rapidly growing field that promotes an improved understanding of the brain/mind relationship”. https://cmeregistration.hms.harvard.edu/734663-1901
I think I’ll simply refer you back to Orwell on that one.
Well referred .
Hoping to hear from you soon.
Who is up for a PROTEST there? Right there outside that conference at Brigham and Women’s in Boston? Ready? I will be the first to sign up! I know one of those docs! He falsely dxed me with temporal lobe epilepsy! I do not have it and never did. I suspected as such, and stopped seeing him with no ill consequences. Later I found out that he is an overdiagnoser. In my opinion, he was also a misogynist.
He tried to convince me that the devastating cognitive effects I had from ECT were from my periods. Oh please. I would like to surprise him and tell him I am still alive, (sorry dude).
Such arrogance! They have no idea what the mind actually even is or means, and yet they are trying to find a relationship between this vague, undefined entity and the brain?
I would say that the only people that genuinely Recover from “Severe Mental Illness” are those that reject the Medical Approach.
Yes Fiachra I can verify with my own life experience that rejection of the Medical Approach is the only way to go if you genuinely want to Recover from “Severe Mental Illness”. I just don’t know how to get my full citizen rights back ,or how to get reparations for repeated and various forced tortures and forced experimentation on me and the denying me of earning a living wage and for turning family members against me by labeling me as various types of inferior being and more. It could not be measured how much I hate the Pharma/Psyche industrial complex for what it did to me and continues to do to growing numbers of the planets population . I’m ready to join any genuine efforts to abolish this abomination into the dustbin of history. I do enjoy being alive again , I only wish the people could understand, unite and bring to bear sufficient power to roll back the oligarchs whose actions threaten the people and other life forms of planet earth. The real powerful truly corrupt oligarchs have unfortunately become experts at pitting the people against each other and rewarding some of the people to put misery and premature death on others while themselves living above the laws they write for the rest of us as they torture and kill and rob more and more innocent people by every technological means at their disposal. Wildly unequal power balance of one person over another may be the cause of so much oppression suffered by humanity . Seems I come often to the place where I have no workable solutions that I can be positive won’t cause more misery than they are worth. Anyways I’m going to join Mickey’s efforts .
The Mental Health System is a Psychopaths playground.
Thanks, Fred. If you need Benedict Carey’s contact information, give me or Al Galves, or Steve McCrea a call at any of the numbers at the end of my blog. Any of us should be able to answer questions you might have. We’d all be glad to hear from you.
In 1941 Adolph Hitler halted the existing policy of State Supported Mental Health killings which had begun in the late 1930s claiming the lives of more than a hundred thousand vulnerable people – selected by doctors and killed through chemical procedure. This was known as the Mental Health Holocaust.
According to Dr Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Institute the present day misuse of the Psychiatric drug Olanzapine, has in itself killed several hundred thousand vulnerable elderly people.
Of course it wasn’t OKAY for Doctors in the 1930s under Hitlers direction to “Mercy Kill” the “Mentally Ill”. And it’s Still Not OKAY for Doctors today in the UK to give themselves permission to Kill the “Mentally Ill”*
*For Evidence of “Legitimised Killing” please follow these LINKS –
*(This drug is now being – discontinued in the UK).
If you have a small percentage of “professionals” that want to “reform” psychiatry, that do or don’t understand that at the very least any form of forced psychiatry must be abolished, and that
the overwhelming number of pharma /psyche, corporate government,police, military,courts , and mainstream media , are at the same time doubling down on even more repressive psychiatric techniques , technology, and doublespeak ,to capture higher numbers of people of all ages- that this small percentage of some well meaning but not at the point of the spear professionals – they are in effect identical to the good cop whether they are willing or not , awake to it or not ,they functionally become the good cop , in the classic good cop- bad cop scenario . Or like the lead cow that calmly leads a long line of cattle to the slaughter and “helps” them remain calm on their march. In light of the tragic ongoing oppression , I believe that civil disobedience by groups of professionals both large and small , carrying out well thought out civil disobedience actions is part of what is needed in order to inform the general population of the actual full truth of the ongoing “mental health” industrial complex accelerating holocaust .
I meant to use quotation marks around wherever the word professionals occurs in my most recent comment .
like this “professionals”.
Glad this resonates with someone about the “professionals.” I want to be clear that, in general, I consider the best way for the movement to gather its forces and proceed at the moment would be to develop a unified grouping, or groupings, of anti-psychiatry survivors which would collectively articulate our interests as we see them, and which in some instances could work in alliance with “professionals” and others who support our goals AS WE DEFINE THEM.
There is an old movement adage “the liberation of mental patients is the job of the patients themselves” (this was before the term shifted to “psychiatric inmates”). Anyway, this idea of having professionals being the ones to take such a confrontational step is tactical, and not based on a belief, conscious or otherwise, that so-called professionals are more competent than survivors as spokespeople, or at anything else. It would be a way of professionals “checking their privilege,” if you go for that sort of language, or like the Viet Vets who chucked their medals back at the Pentagon. Disgruntled crazies with signs are sometimes the best fodder for the media, but in this case I believe the most impact could be attained by psychiatrists and mh pros creating a stir directly — not in the name of “better treatment” but of basic human rights. (And emphasizing SSRI’s and school shootings must always be at the top of people’s public talking points.)
Why would such an organization have to be composed ONLY of survivors?
Why in this stage of political movements in this country can’t we move beyond a form of “Identity Politics” which implies that only survivors can fully understand psychiatric oppression and be able to strongly unite together with a clear anti-psychiatry basis of unity.
Such a “united” organization of ALL people opposed to psychiatry, psychiatric oppression, and the Medical Model, would clearly be led by survivors in both numbers and promotion of leadership. This would especially be true if this was made an important organizing principle right from the start of such an organization.
Yes, we must be aware of the past contradictions with “professionals” (related to power differential and credentials etc.) that occurred in past organizing efforts. And yes, we should address these potential problems right from the beginning.
BUT why make such a principle out of these differences (by organizing around “identity”) that it prevents us from uniting on higher levels of unity and strength through both numbers and connections to the “mental health” system?
Where is the evidence today that separating people off as “survivor,” “professional,” and others , including leaving out FAMILY MEMBERS harmed by the Medical Model, is somehow necessary for political organizing in this historical period?
Obviously, from my questions you can assume that I believe this would represent a step backwards today to approach anti-psychiatry organizing from this type of “separation” principle.
Since I made my above comment to Oldhead regarding major questions of strategy, I do want to comment on the above blog as well.
As to “Prescripticide: A Proposal for Action and a Request for Your Help”:
This effort can and must be supported as a potential blow against psychiatry and the Medical Model.
It is not a perfect strategy nor necessarily where I would want to focus my major energy, but I will support it wholeheartedly.
I agree with the essential content of Sylvain’s above comment.
And to further add to his/her class analysis, I now believe that psychiatry and their Medical Model has become a necessary and essential means of social control defending and propping up modern day capitalism, AND that the fate of BOTH have become inseparably linked.
So, adding to my above point to Oldhead, any advanced political organization against psychiatry must have (if it wants to have an important political role in the world) a clearly LEFT political stance and program. Which means it should contain some language linking the oppressive nature of psychiatry and the Medical Model to capitalism, and see the importance of opposing both because they are an impediment to ending ALL forms of human oppression in the world.
I agree with this wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, I have had endless frustration in talking to most people coming from a social justice perspective about these issues. I get the impression that the “proper” social justice response has been defined for most people as avoiding “pills shaming” and supporting more funding for “mental health.” Has anyone had any kind of success in communicating past this kind of barrier?
Just don’t understand why the “pro’s” don’t understand as oldhead stated earlier in the comment section “What would absolutely get the sort of media attention needed is a substantial group of mental health “professionals” committing civil disobedience in protest of psychiatric drugging .”
In my own way I tried to show the urgency of the necessity of this idea in a comment I made in Steve’s recent new sheriff blog. And even proposed a hail mary action I felt only the credentialed might pull off successfully although it could of backfired . Maybe the idea just needs tweaking. Are you all aware that Peter R. Breggin, MD in his book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal explains that various psych drugs themselves cause violence . It’s probably not so widely read cause it costs around 50 bucks a pop.I bought one copy. Now if a group of the credentialed with their endorsements and signatures could in person as a group hand to carefully chosen people in power positions , Breggins book along with Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic ( Maybe inside a new paper jacket titled Anatomy of a Building Holocaust) and also the Bonnie Burstow book Psychiatry and the Business of Madness . maybe this is just a jumping off point idea . Or maybe we are living in a kakistocracy no matter who or what party is in power ?
Is it too risky for the credentialed with lawyers with them to do some real civil disobedient action that can save the (First they came for the “Mentally Ill”). Or are you all afraid you’ll wind up like the White Rose that opposed Hitler. Or like so many of the Jehovah Witness people who opposed Hitler . I’d like to know the answer why so far we’ve seen no group civil disobedience action on our behalf by the credentialed in light of what is really going on ? Are you too scared to act even with lawyers . Tell us the truth please many of us I’m sure would like to know . The Jehovah Witness people believe the Jesuits under the Black Pope killed the Kennedy’s,killed Abraham Lincoln,and sunk the Titanic . Probably they did 9/11. The CIA are their soldiers. Do you all know something we don’t .
Anyways if we did civil disobedience ourselves we risk being electric shocked again , or drugged , confined without even meager support system’s etc.
Richard maybe there are just actually only 2 types on planet earth psychopathic scum that rise to the top that are in power most everywhere and human beings .
Like oldhead explained it’s just tactical.
Thanks for your support, Richard. Please write your letter to Carey, if you have not done so already. It will be a big help.
A couple of years ago, while involved in a political campaign, a fellow activist said he believed that anti-depressants were a political issue. He felt they were a tool of oppression.
I was curious about why he believed this, but he was opposed by others who felt he was attacking people who chose to take them or who “needed” them, and it turned into an argument which brought more heat than light. I didn’t know then of a wider movement of people questioning the purported benefits of ADs. If I had I might have offered an opinion.
This was not a left-wing group in which I felt safe to talk about my experience of either psychiatry or of anti-depressants. I suspect if his opinion was even partly based on personal experience, neither did he.
At that time i didn’t know of anyone else whose experience of antidepressants was negative, and saw my feelings as personal and not a political matter. As far as I knew, most who used them found them helpful and harmless.
Good point, Richard. MLK didn’t deny space to white folks when he marched. Cesar Chavez didn’t reject the support of Bobby Kennedy. My own wife and I marched for gay pride and worked to organize a gay/straight alliance in a Unitarian church to which we once belonged, and were welcomed with no reluctance.
“MLK didn’t deny space to white folks when he marched.”
No, he did not. But he wouldn’t have been pleased if they had taken over the show. Speaking over Dr. King and others who dealt with racism daily and silencing dissenters.
I’m not accusing Richard or others of this motive. They probably want to help. But this has happened numerous times in the past. NAMI only values the voices of “consumers” treated like trained animal mascots. SAMSAH, and DBSA likewise.
Good old Tim Murphy, Pete Earley, and Dr. Torrey have given heart rending speeches about “helping the severely mentally ill” even while defaming the objects of this dubious compassion. If any speak in their own defense they are silenced. We do not need more of this.
@Richard and other professionals: Survivors form a quasi class within the “official” class structure and as such must analyze and define their circumstances and priorities separately from the ways that “allied” professionals may see them. The fact that you would question this indicates that you conflate self-determination with what you call “identity politics,” which you have yet to clearly define; I think we may vary drastically in our definitions. Class conscious sectors of the populace from the Panthers, women, gays, and on down the line have raised their collective consciousness within what would be called “separatist” structures and organizations, while still valuing solidarity with victims of other sorts of class oppression. Survivors are also entitled to this process of self-definition. We don’t need professional “approval”; nor would we be likely to reject offers of genuine solidarity from anyone. But it is our choice.
I will add that survivors should not be expected to explain or defend their right to converse and organize without professional “oversight” in a “critical psychiatry” forum such as MIA.
I deleted the second half of my comment because I couldn’t be bothered getting into an argument about ‘identity politics. But you have expressed it better here, Oldhead.
This is the problem with trying to silence or homogenise groups with different experiences of oppression. It doesn’t create solidarity, it fosters silencing, division and discrimination, imo.
Oldhead, Fred, Out and others
I have much to respond to your above and below comments, but unfortunately I am away at this time. As soon as I can I will respond to the major rebuttal points raised here.
@oldhead — The statement you made “@Richard and other professionals:”…… ” on Aug .19, 2018 at 11:36pm
It is such an important statement and as a Survivor I’m in agreement with it and I couldn’t of said it any better . Exemplary !
Why in this stage of political movements in this country can’t we move beyond a form of “Identity Politics” which implies that only survivors can fully understand psychiatric oppression
Because only survivors can fully understand psychiatric oppression — as demonstrated constantly by statements made by professionals. Just like only women can fully understand sexism, Blacks people can only fully understand racism, etc.
I never said we couldn’t work in coalitions with the other groups you mention, but we must define our own allies. No idea why that threatens you, or anyone else.
I think a big problem is that
1. People are Not Aware that it’s possible to Fully Recover from “Diagnoses” like “Schizophrenia” and “Bi Polar” through rejecting Psychiatric Treatment (and with the help of other people).
2. People are Not Fully Aware that Psychiatric Drugs disable – and that this disability is very expensive to the community.
3. People are Not Fully Aware that Psychiatric drugs are causing most of the MH Violence we see on television; and that a lot of this violence is from people not genuinely “Mentally Ill” to begin with.
4. People are Not Aware that most of the Suicides among the “Mentally Ill” are caused by the Psychiatric Drugs given to them by their Doctors.
To Fred, Oldhead and countless others I’ve encountered in the nearly 50 years I’ve worked to diminish the the influence and authority of biological psychiatry and enhance the confidence and power of psychiatric survivors, it’s become clear that stating what “ought” or “must” be done is easy, as is deploring what others refuse to do. What is both difficult and necessary is to have a well thought out step by step plan, and the time, patience, and persuasive ability to engage others and make it happen. Satisfaction with one’s own analysis is barely a first step along the path toward social justice. In the ancient Greek drama, Lysistrata, the women of Greece had a great plan for peace…refuse to have sex with their men. Probably would work today. Anyone up for organizing a strategy and tactics to make it happen? A Nobel Peace Prize awaits. I do hope that those who support the Prescripticide proposal have written their letters to Ben Carey, or plan to as soon as possible.
What is both difficult and necessary is to have a well thought out step by step plan
Not to mention a coherent analysis, a solid strategy and agreed-upon goals. (And what’s with the “biological psychiatry”?) Anyway, good luck!
For what it’s worth, I emailed Ben Carey in 2015 shortly after the special issue of the Behavior Therapist (http://www.abct.org/docs/PastIssue/38n7.pdf) criticising the biomedical model was published. This was kind of a big deal in that it included articles from a host of prominent and credible authors that basically ripped the biomedical model to shreds. I’m posting the email below; Carey’s reply was “I will take a look at the issue, thanks for sending. I am long familiar with all these issues, good to see more discourse on them. I look forward to reading the latest.” That was all the reply I received in response to what could/should have been a bombshell story.
I also note that in 2015, Carey accepted the “Distinguished friend to ABCT” award from the Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies. This award was bestowed on him by ABCT for penning stories friendly to the organisation’s ideological positions. I was disappointed in my organisation for what I saw as compromising a journalist’s objectivity by essentially rewarding/bribing him for his friendly work, and I was surprised he accepted an award so obviously and awkwardly associated with journalistic bias.
Long story short, my experience suggests Ben Carey isn’t likely to champion this issue, though I could be wrong.
Email to Ben Carey sent Oct 14, 2014:
Dear Mr. Carey:
I’m writing to inform you about an important scientific development that may be of interest to you for an article. My name is Brett Deacon, and I am an associate professor of psychology at the University of Wollongong (Australia; I recently moved from the US) and member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). I am also editor of the ABCT journal, the Behavior Therapist.
This month’s edition of the journal is a special issue devoted to critical analysis of the biomedical model (it’s available here, select the October 2015 issue: http://www.abct.org/Journals/?m=mJournal&fa=TBT). In this issue, numerous highly respected authors take aim at the biomedical model of psychological problems. This model posits that psychological problems are brain diseases caused by biogenetic abnormalities and emphasizes biological research and treatment. This approach has dominated mental health research and practice in the US since 1980 and has been embraced as the status quo in psychiatry. The biomedical model is the declared position of the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is also becoming increasingly apparent that the biomedical approach has been a failure, and in some respects has made matters worse. Until recently, academic leaders who do not support the biomedical model have largely avoided acknowledging their concerns in public. However, given its societal implications, this uncomfortable topic is too important to ignore. Our special issue was published to contribute to a growing critical analysis of the biomedical approach.
This special issue features 11 articles that present critical analyses of different aspects of the biomedical model. Collectively, the authors contend that the biomedical approach is based on flawed assumptions and that the available scientific evidence does not support its validity and utility. For example, authors offer compelling defenses of the following claims: (a) the chemical imbalance theory of depression is not scientifically credible, and never has been, (b) industry-funded drug trials are better regarded as marketing than science, (c) psychiatric medications appear to worsen the long-term course of the problems they are used to treat, and (d) the directors of the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse are misrepresenting scientific knowledge to market biomedical ideology.
Contributors to this special issue include award-winning scientists and journalists, three ABCT presidents, the president-elect of the British Psychological Society, and individuals from clinical psychology, counseling psychology, journalism, neuroscience, psychiatry, and social work. This is an all-star cast of highly credentialed authors that cannot be dismissed as “anti-psychiatry” conspiracy theorists. The issues raised in this special issue cut to the very core of the American mental health system and argue that we have been heading in the wrong direction for too long and now require a course correction.
I am writing to you in the hope of drawing national attention to the special issue because of its societal importance. Our special issue is also an unprecedented development in the American scientific community and I wish to encourage further discourse on this topic among professionals and the public. If you are interested in further discussing this matter, I would be most eager to speak to you. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Brett Deacon, Ph.D.
I don’t think that the reluctance of some of those in the press, or in psychiatric ‘governing bodies’ to let go of the lingering aspects of the ‘biomedical’ model has anything to do with not being aware of the issues surrounding it.
Similarly for the way that some label ‘anti-psychiatry’ etc as being – whatever slurs get applied in that direction.
I think understanding those sorts of things is probably fairly similar to understanding what they label “abnormal behaviour”.
I’ve seen dozens of published psychiatry papers that openly state a belief that the “survival” of psychiatry as a profession depends upon a belief in “abnormal” behaviours and “mental disorders”.
It was, after all a fear for the “survival” of the profession that promoted the widespread move to the ‘biomedical model’, with the DSM III.
The medical profession, in general has standards (at least in some countries) that requires all doctors to be aware of and provide awareness of all the options of ‘treatment’ available to people – including ‘complementary medicine’ etc. Psychiatrists have always been desperate to be seen as ‘real doctors’. If we can find a way to let them be that – as ‘healers’ who practice ‘genuinely healing’ things – that doesn’t have to have a ‘model’ which mimics ‘physical medicine’. There are plenty of ‘real doctors’ that don’t treat injuries with pills. Or don’t require ‘abnormality’ as the basis of their role as ‘healers’. And all ‘real doctors’ don’t treat people involuntarily – without a court order and only in very extreme and controversial circumstances.
As for the public, I think those who don’t understand something
of suffering themselves (and remember just how widespread is ‘depression’? or ‘anxiety?’) just want someone they can call when people are being a ‘nuisance’. And would rather see people – that is humans – not get to the point where they get violent. If there are really people out there who are brewing towards columbine, and really other people out there who might be able to help them feel less completely powerless and leaning towards annihilation, no mater what “study pathway’ they followed. Well that’s not a bad thing, and if it heals and feels safe there’s never any need to make it ‘involuntary’. Psychiatrists need skills and dignity just like everybody else. They don’t have them – so they fake it. Give it to them and they won’t have to.
Addressing historical abuses is always easier once it’s a thing of the past. It’s not a zero-sum game. The big money is in pharma anyway – and there have already been several successful multi-million dollar lawsuits, if people need redress for lost lives it’s always wisest to seek it from the richest (who also profited the most from the abuse). I’m not saying ‘let psychiatry get off scot free’. Just that genuine change that benefits everyone is better than winning a war. I for one have made hideous mistakes in my lifetime and am grateful to those who’ve forgiven me.
Only a relatively small number of psychiatrists receive any kind of direct kick-backs from pharma. Pharma has even stopped looking for ‘novel’ drugs to treat ‘mental illness’. They’ve already been sued several times. As the patents run out on their existing drugs. Big
Pharma has increasingly less interest in the issue. (As lamented by some in the psychiatric literature, all of whom I’ve seen so far disclose associations with pharma).
As more ‘evidenced based’ – or effective options and models that genuinely help and respect people become increasingly available and studies on these increasingly published, training in these increasingly made available (to psychiatrists as well as others), models worked out and implemented. Things can gradually change. A monkey doesn’t let go of one branch until it’s got a hand on another one.
As tempting as it might be to try and ‘destroy’ psychiatry off the face of the world altogether, it might be worth looking back over history and seeing that the most successful attempt to do that to date is exactly what brought the ubiquity of the ‘biomedical model’ into being…
Psychiatrists are humans. Humans that didn’t, or at least didn’t all go into psychiatry purely to make money. There are other, easier ways to do that alone. But if you threaten a human’s survival (which can include their livelihood) and give them no option to change their behaviour other than ‘join the dole queue’, they will fight.
Give them other options that actually help and respect people and encourage and invite change.
Hatred only goes so far and there are a lot of people who haven’t been harmed yet who might never be harmed if we can help form a ‘respectful’ and ‘helpful’ version of psychiatry. They need to be “occupied” with a meaningful contribution to society. Just like everyone else does. At the end of the day, they are just people who, for the most part, really thought they were going to go out and ‘help people with mental illness’. That’s what they were told, that’s what most of them believed. I’ve seen some of them fall to bits in meetings where they started to see some of the harm that had been done – they never intended it and didn’t see it coming.
No – not all are like that and some of the ones who aren’t are very vocal. But for the most part, that’s what it seems to be.
Psychiatrists are humans. Humans that didn’t, or at least didn’t all go into psychiatry purely to make money. There are other, easier ways to do that alone. But if you threaten a human’s survival (which can include their livelihood) and give them no option to change their behaviour other than ‘join the dole queue’, they will fight.
This diverts the issue in several ways. For one the issue is not whether individual psychiatrists are “good people” or not, it’s the harm they do to others. The end of psychiatry may well threaten the financial status of many psychiatrists, and they will be (and are) attempting to fight back. Are you suggesting we accommodate their vested interest in a “successful career” in a quest for good vibes?
Do you think the Gestapo might have been transformed if only they were offered the option of selling chocolate chip cookies door to door?
This is an all-star cast of highly credentialed authors that cannot be dismissed as “anti-psychiatry” conspiracy theorists.
This is the sort of dismissive comment which reveals the contemptuous attitudes towards anti-psychiatry activists many professionals take behind our backs, and when conversing with one another. What is supposed to be our motivation to engage in coalitions with professionals with attitudes like this?
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Oldhead: This is the sort of dismissive comment which reveals the contemptuous attitudes towards anti-psychiatry activists many professionals take behind our backs, and when conversing with one another.
Yes, but I don’t think professionals like Brett realise that guild Psychiatry has successfully weaponized the word “anti-psychiatry” to use against them. Vocal senior psychiatrists such as Lieberman, Wessely and Pies have very powerful platforms via blogs, social media and mainstream media to make sure everyone understands that anti-psychiatry = anti-science, flaky, bizarre, deviant. Then they can (and do) target anyone they perceive as a threat with the dreaded “anti-psychiatry” slur, and they have an army of dutiful medics, academics and journalists to assist.
I could use those words to describe psychiatry, especially certain aspects of it.
…anti-science, flaky, bizarre, deviant….
A lot of the ones I remember were flaky and irresponsible.
Julie – Too right! All we have to do is turn the tables…
I am not sure what we’re supposed to object to in our letters to Carey. I have yet to jump on the bandwagon. I can’t, in all fairness and accuracy even mention “biological psychiatry” since there’s nothing “biological” about psychiatry. Where is the biology behind their Bible, the DSM? No biology there. No x-rays, no blood chemistry either. Psych is a hate movement, it is eugenics-based, it takes away people’s rights. It splits up couples and families, even encourages families to “disengage for their own good.” What biology is used in the courtroom when they take away your kids or take away your freedom? Psych causes death by suicide, homicide, incarcerates millions of people who have not committed crimes. What is biological about that? Where’s the biology in restraints? Seclusion? Forced unemployment? Zapping people’s brains with voltage till they can’t think anymore? Wouldn’t that be classified as torture, not medicine? I see no biology here.
We agree completely, Julie. All that you state in your post and object to is what we also object to. As you know, some of us also refer to biological psychiatry as “the medical model of mental (your preferred term here)” What we ask in the proposal is for each group to emphasize what we guess would be most persuasive to Benedict Carey in our effort to get him to write about and move the relationship between prescribed psychoactive drugs and violence onto the public stage and into public consciousness. That is, we ask academics and other professionals to write Carey about studies and persuasive opinions of which they are aware, family members to describe the grief and anger they feel following violence by their loved ones against themselves or others which was related to the ingestion of psych drugs, and survivors to describe how it felt to be on these drugs and how that emotion might lead to violence, i.e., blunted emotions, not feeling like oneself, lacking compassion, agitated, having akathisia and the like. Please note, our purpose is to persuade Carey to take an interest in the issue. Listing these sorts of emotional effects caused by the drugs is not a description of our feelings toward, or beliefs about psych survivors. We are not saying that psychiatrically labeled persons are more violent than others. W are saying that psych drugs do not prevent violence, but there is evidence that they very well might cause violence given certain triggers, so it is foolish to demand more psychiatric interventions following mass shootings, or an increase of suicides. Therefore, we ask for an independent investigation of the probability that there is a close relationship between the use of psychoactive drugs and violence. If you have further questions, please feel free to phone Steve, Al, or me.
“Biological psychiatry” is a term you could lose if you want to gain some support from the anti-psychiatry camp, as it is essentially meaningless while still implying that there is a “better” kind of psychiatry. This tends to toss the anti-psychiatry baby out with the psychiatric dishwater (to invert a cliche).
Where this loses steam for me — and again, I’m not saying this as a way of discouraging people from writing — is with the proposed “investigation.” It’s also a cliche that Congress (for example) typically gets around dealing with serious crises by calling for “investigations,” which are then ignored. So there would be a lot of details for the devil to inhabit in moving from a news story to some sort of true public awareness. Maybe such as organizing that civil disobedience carried out by mh workers I mentioned earlier. 🙂
Btw I don’t understand the necessity for phone calls; couldn’t the reporter’s contact info simply be listed here? — it’s public info for those who choose to look, but many won’t.
Dear All, I think we should just do it. If fear is involved one can use a made up name or relative or friend who is supportive of the cause.
I wear many hats. Survivor, like seclusion, like forced meddling, like police taking me away from bank, like.Parkinsonism .
Various relatives have used are using these drugs. I have had many experiences with suicide of peers and others.
I also was a professional for over twenty years before being pushed into the system.
I think that it’s better to work as we rather than them. It just makes sense. There are really really awful professionals but my sense is these who post and interact aren’t the ones we need to focus our outrage on.
And to the profs. This action is scary. Taking a step when police have been called several times scars one. And it was bad real bad. Never expect Kumbaya from us.
But this a good idea and worth a shot.
Miracle on 34th Street? To see a flood of paper and o email would be so worth it!
Two things: One, nothing really to argue about here, those who want to write should write, and probably soon.
Two: We cannot all work as a “we” when the material reality here includes both a well-defined “we” and a well-defined “them.” However, it would be a mistake to blur the lines between the conflict erupting here between professionals and survivors (which will continue until the two categories no longer exist), and the specific project being proposed, support for which does not break down into a “professional/survivor” dichotomy.
Oldhead – I’m aware of many folks who went back to school and emerged as a “professional” because they had some bad experiences and wanted to get in there on the “other side” to help shift the power balance. I’m interested in your defined parameters of who is “we” and who is “them”….
In the end, we’re all really part of this amazing human family. Some of us just have a few more warts than others.
CatNight – I’m over here in your cheering section! Please write! Save some lives 🙂
This is my attempt to redirect the discussion away from personal concerns and back to the subject at hand. Next?
Please do remove my comment if you wish.
You made a spot on comment and showed us a spot on video . Most definitely that video and your spot on analysis has got to stay.
Here’s another video Exposing Psychiatry’s Secret Agenda by Dr. Group
Actually to spell it out, I was using the kind of sarcasm we Brits use to point out a futility. It’s fucking well obvious that something extremely gone wrong, harmful to the death of thousands has happened. So let’s concentrate on the serious stuff, not going round in circles with petty stuff.
When I was a professional I had an idea but not total comprehension of those supposedly I was helping.
I think this dialogue needs to happen here- a joint survivor /prof ongoing conversation.
This project is worth all try but the issues raised here are very legitimate.
There are several aspects
Power and Control – Systemic in a variety of areas
How one reclaims a voice when it has literally and metaphorically been quashed
How to reconcile- past, present, and future.
Just more thoughts for other pieces.
I believe it can and SHOULD be done.
My mother was a Social Wirker and worked with pregnant women and had them climb stairs. She told me after she herself became pregnant she realized the 7 story flight was awful for them and never did that again.
I feel that way too. In some ways, I had no idea.
So how to change perspective when the system has walls high walls around change?
John Steinbeck’sThe Grapes of Wrath and Rose of Sharon’s lasting life giving image at the end.
We all have to change. Some from what was done to us others for what we did to them.
Another run of columns two person please!
Catnight, That is a beautiful and thoughtful statement. Please consider writing for the anthology, Forced Psychiatry. If you have any questions about how to submit, or want encouragement, contact me.
Catnight — Why would you consider it to be in our (survivors’) interest to “dialogue” with professionals, unless they want to help us defeat psychiatry? To what end? We first need to take their coercive power away, only then does “Truth & Reconciliation” come into play.
I like your line of thinking, CatNight. I recently picked up a book – “Negotiating with Giants, Get What You Want Against the Odds”. Haven’t had time to read it yet; hope there’s something worthwhile in the pages. I’ll let you know if there is.
Commenting as moderator here:
Well, I guess I should not have gone to sleep yesterday without checking the comments!
I appreciate the reporting of several comments on this thread, and it does appear to have gotten well out of hand. I have removed a number of posts, and may need to remove some more. This is the kind of disrespectful exchange I was talking about in my blog. I’m not laying the blame on anyone at all, but asking everyone who posted to take a look at their own approach here. Some did a great job of returning to the topic, or making observations of what was going on without attacking back. Some chose to throw more fuel on the fire.
I would seriously ask those in the latter category to do some self-policing here. I’m not sitting by my computer day and night, checking each comment as it comes in! It seems unfair, at the least, to be judging publicly how the rules are being applied when I haven’t even had time to look at the comments. As I said in the blog, the most helpful thing to do is to report the comment and not reply. If a reply seems called for, stating how you are feeling about it or observing what you see going on is much more helpful than attacking back. Again, my thanks to several posters for doing just that – that’s the kind of response that keeps a community like this functioning effectively.
I’d ask those who find this kind of exchange challenging to recall that each of us is here as part of his/her own larger objective(s) and that not everyone’s objectives or strategies will line up. Bob wants this site to be a place where all of those who are concerned about or resisting the system of labeling and drugging are able to communicate safely with each other. We have enough antagonists outside of this community without being antagonistic to each other. At least that’s my humble opinion.
Let’s get back on topic!
not everyone’s objectives or strategies will line up
The master of the understatement you are. The above is especially true when people’s “objectives and strategies” are objectively opposed.
Thanks at least for not deleting my initial comment (which apparently “triggered” the silliness) as somehow inappropriate. I knew you must be somewhere else and would surely have a shit fit when you got to your computer. On the other hand it gave people a chance to vent after walking on eggshells for so long. The whole issue of professionals is relevant to the theme of the blog, but needs to be discussed in a more mature way with less defensiveness. On the other hand I don’t consider the legitimacy or desirability of survivor organizing to be fare for “mixed” MIA discussions.
Maybe we need a blog on the topic of how survivors and dissident professionals can communicate effectively despite varying intentions?
And I agree, defensiveness and immaturity does not lead to anything productive.
A little history from an ex-patient who is not technically a survivor, because I had a good experience with psychiatry, based NOT on the fake biological model but on the psychoanalytic model, psychoanalysis being a fancy word for a sophisticated interpersonal model, supplemented by an excellent reading list, particularly books by Karen Horney. If i had the same serious problem now i had then, I do not doubt that psychiatric drugs and the mindset that goes with them would have destroyed me.
From 1993 on, about 4 yrs after my initiation into the field (which came about when I found that a former classmate fell into the psych system about the same time I did but had never emerged, and finally died prematurely in 1995), I found myself asking the question again and again, “Why Doesn’t It Make Any difference?” This was in response to several meetings and lectures I attended in which the harm and atrocities described as the result of psychiatric brutality and toxic drugs gave me knots in my stomach (not that I’m complaining about that – what i heard needed to be heard), but which I soon came to realize led to … NOTHING, no tangible political results of any kind.
The several organizations of which I became a Board member over some 15 years (including the ACLU) or a Trustee (Bazelon Center), and other orgs I was part of, weren’t accomplishing anything beyond the (admittedly useful) function of providing a place where ex-patients and dissident professionals could find their activist identities and meet with like-minded others. This was no small thing, but hardly the ultimate result sought.
Over time I formed my opinion of WHY these people were so impressive as individuals, but so unsuccessful as advocates, as were the organizations they belonged to.
Except for one area, I won’t go into all my conclusions here. That one area involves ideas that continue to intrigue me, but that i have never seen adopted as a political strategy by any organization.
One I discussed with some colleagues recently. I thought ex-pats and dps (dissident professionals) should have opposed Insurance Parity in the 1990’s unless it was limited to VOLUNTARY psychiatric coverage. This seemingly obvious argument was never made, but I’d still like to suggest to insurance companies that they drop coverage for involuntary care – that whoever wants the involuntary care should pay for it.
Second I’ve mentioned calling for the POWER of prescribing psych drugs to be limited to psychiatrists
and taken away from real doctors. The purpose is to focus accountability.
Third, I suggest that the subject of calling for Psychiatry to be dropped from the American Medical Association be at least raised and discussed if not stridently demanded, on the grounds that their subject matter is NOT shown to be grounded in biology, even if it “looks” or “feels” the way to many. And even if large numbers of people, for complex psychological reasons, welcome, demand, and are reassured by
a “diagnosis” which explains their distress, but does not place the primary or ultimate burden on them to deal with it.
Related to this, I would at least call into questions all campaigns against ‘stigma’, and stop giving these efforts a free ride as benign in purpose, when they are usually a cover for persuading people to accept lifelong drugging, or even a cover for advocacy of more involuntary treatment. (Last Sunday morning, CBS’s otherwise excellent weekly program had a long piece on more ‘respect’ for mental patients, including a probably drugged sister of actress Glen Close, who seemed to be slurring her words while embracing her diagnosis, and the appalling psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison, who applauds being personally force-treated if her bi-polar condition gets out of hand in the view of others).
Fourth, I would like to see a model Law drafted and then advocated for in various State legislatures and Congress, that gives abused and outraged ex-patients at least the chance to prove in court what was abusively or wrongly done to them, and the possibility of legal compensation.
None of the above four ideas, let alone all of them, have ever been part of the Mission Statement of any organization I know of.
[I’m glad to submit a pic if i know how]
Ron, just wondering, how can a person want involuntary treatment? Agreeably, no lockup joint is voluntary even if you asked to go there, since you can’t voluntarily leave. So anyone who claims they are voluntary in a lockup joint is fooling themselves.
Secondly, that I know of, a court order cannot be legally done to person who has been willingly going to treatment. If walk in there and you do not resist, then the court order can’t be done to hold you there. They can only commit if they perceive you as an escape risk or they think you are resisting. There’s a fine line here.
For example, I was unconscious (and in fact, my heart wasn’t beating) when they claim they put a Sec 12 on me back in Massachusetts. Now I don’t know if my records are accurately written, since I am positive that they couldn’t have legally obtained a Sec 12 on me while I was in kidney failure. Not that such illegal shit can’t be pulled on an MP. After all, who cares about us? We’re worthless scum to them.
Psychoanalysis is not a branch of psychiatry, so we should be clear about that from the start.
However I agree with some of your proposals, such as campaigning to have psychiatry de-legitimized as a branch of medicine, which seems to be slowly gaining support.
Julie, Just to answer your first sentence/question, I can only speculate:
it’s a way of not facing responsibility for one’s past actions or feelings. Or she (KRJ) really believes she has an uncontrollable biological problem.
I do know she drew (perhaps still does) large, curious, and admiring audiences to hear her talk – a lot of attention.
ARe you kidding? Profit. Fame. Attention. Money. It’s her identity, her “brand.” Miss Bipolar. Without it, who would she be? She doesn’t even know who she is.
They used to tell us that about eating disorders, in the ED nuthouses. That part was very true. ED did become an identity for many people, me too, and you start to wonder who you would be without it. You get scared to let it go, even though you know you can, since without it you fear you are nothing. I am wondering, though, if telling us this, just rubs it in and magnifies the problem. Because they’d say it almost like a self-fulfilling prophesy. Just like they told so many of us, the day we left, “You’ll be back.”
Not disagreeing with anything said.
Buf for some people without any money, attention or fame, it can still be a case of ‘without it, who would I be’.
‘Schizophrenia’ and ‘Bipolar’ are ‘I am’ disorders – as are personality disorders and the like. Although it’s getting more common to say ‘I once suffered from mild depression’. Other things are still ‘identity forming’.
I never wanted to see myself as a ‘disorder’ but eventually the pressure was too much of a strain and I gave them all in turn ‘a good go’. Even going into that ideology/identity reluctantly, coming out was (and still is in some ways) a huge shock of ‘who am I???!’.
Things that everyday people get from identifying with “disorder” can include ‘finally having an answer!’ and finding some compromise on ‘being accepted’, ‘feeling helped’ etc. What to do or how to be when that bubble bursts can be terrifying.
I don’t know. I don’t think survivors really can reconcile with “treatment providers.” I thought…for a season…that I’d found a good (whatever kind of treatment provider), and then it dawned on me…
same monster, different face. Its like…Janus, only extra-frightening. There is no real help or hope or even truth in Mental Health, Inc.
Mental Health, Inc. needs to set the captives free, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Truth? ha! What -is- truth, anyway? The state sponsored religion will -probably- continue shredding individuals, families, whole segments of the population…
with ever increasing mendacity and ferocity. Some may walk away, some may find miraculous healing…
They will be the exceptions that prove the rule: psychiatry–much like satan himself–roams society, seeking whom it may devour.
yeah_I_survived — Back in 2007 I was introduced to an introductory segment (on DVD), of a program that had been developed by an internal medical doctor out in Oklahoma that I found to be intriguing. I was too busy with other things at that time in my life to look into it further, but the impression of just that 1/2 hour video stayed with me for a long time until I finally found the time to look into it further. The program is called the “Nedley Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program”. I traveled out to Oklahoma and attended a training conducted by Neil Nedley, MD and then began to teach this program to my community. The program is offered in 3 formats: 1) a 10-day “residential treatment” program 2) as an educational program that takes place over eight weeks (one day or evening each week over a 2 hour period for eight weeks), and 3) as an online, self-help course.
While all three program formats are beneficial for anyone struggling, the 10 day program is by far the most beneficial (but also the most expensive). By far the largest criticism I’ve heard from anyone is that the program is based on Christian principles, so it won’t help anyone who isn’t Christian. Well, I’ve taught the ‘educational’ version of the program in a community setting to people of all faiths and those of no faith at all – and, the results have been astounding! You might want to look into it.
I would write this letter but as a survivor the effect of these drugs on me in terms of making me violent was minimal. In 2012 I experienced a really bad “effect” from Imipramine, though. It lasted long after the drug was stopped but I am fine now. A lot of people called me “dangerous” but that was hogwash and just passed on from doc to doc that was unsupported by historical facts.
My writing endangers psychiatry, so in that sense, I hope to be lethal in other writings that I do. Dangerous, scary, a menace of course.
I know people, fellow pts, who were made manic by drugs, but I don’t know if I could make a strong enough statement as witness alone.
Mickey – I’d like to tell my story. I’m furious with how much abuse I’ve suffered as a consumer. I can write well too. Please give me this privledge.
Joshua, this information isn’t accessible in the comments section, but is included at the bottom of Mickey’s “Proposal and Call to Action”. You need to contact one of these guys directly to get the contact information for Ben Carey so you can send your letter to him. Leave a message on their phone if they don’t answer, and they’ll get back to you!
Steve McCrea (503) 516-8428 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Al Galves (575) 571-3105 (Mountain Daylight Time)
Mickey Weinberg (626) 394-0916 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Well, I’ve written my letter to Benedict Carey, and I’m quite pleased with what I came up with. Then again, though, I’m always pleased with anything I write! Cheers!
kumininexile — glad you wrote! Please let us know if you hear anything back!
I would be very pleasantly surprised if I heard anything in response to my letter; if I do, I’ll let everybody know. My letter was nowhere near as in-depth as yours is.
Maybe the “professionals” believe that certainly in the USA we have a Fascist State (the merging of the corporation and the government ).That is evolving into a Neo Feudalist State and that maintaining their personal relatively lucrative respected positions (as opposed to the oppressed positions of those who have ever been captured , labeled , terrorized, and tortured / by the psychiatry/pharma/government complex) depends upon their demonstrating their skill in managing the “crazies” ,”the ex crazies”, “the once crazies and always will be crazies” and “the crazies to be” to the upper echelon guild watchdogs . So they feel as “professionals” grouping together and doing civil disobedience actions on behalf of loosening or removing the bootheel from the “necks of crazies” would affect their personal positions in a negative way without alleviating the level of oppression delivered onto the multitudes. In any case they all refuse to be first , to try civil disobedience , knowing that their refusal more secures their personal status within the complex , even though in the long run they know damage that will be suffered by the complex’s human victims due to lack of significant opposition to forcefully created and applied pseudoscience both by proclamation and propaganda will extremely negatively affect countless of millions and eventually billions of people . Is this The Anatomy of a Gathering Holocaust or what ? Appeal to a newspaper that has never made a significant opposition to any corporate assault on the poorest 50,000,000 people in the United States ?
Fred Abbe — who is it that once said, “the pen is mighter than the sword”? This proposal for action is a way for dissident professionals to protest. It would be great if those defined as “them” and “us” could gather together as one body and protest on the steps of legislative & parliamentary buildings across the nation and the world, but the logistics of that happening says it won’t. And maybe the NYT won’t do anything with these written protests, either…. but then again, maybe it might.
I wrote to Ben Carey too, and thought I’d share a copy of what I wrote to him, in the hope that it will encourage others to join this campaign, which I see as an effort worth the hour or so of your time to write a letter. All this effort might not net any result, but how do you know unless you give it a shot?
It seems like a lifetime ago since I first communicated with you. It was January 2004, when Vera Sharav suggested you contact me.  You were working on a story for the LA Times about SSRIs and suicide to coincide with the upcoming FDA hearings on this class of drugs. 
Back then when you interviewed me, I was using my former name – Dawn Rider. A few months after the FDA hearing, I remarried and assumed an entirely new name.
You may recall that my twelve year old son, Kevin Rider, was diagnosed with depression by our family doctor and was prescribed Prozac. He died at the age of fourteen, the result of a bullet to his head. His death certificate says he died from a “self-inflicted gunshot wound”.
Suicide is a hard thing to deal with. It leaves in its wake so much heartache and so many unanswered questions… Why didn’t he talk to me? What did I miss? Why didn’t I know?
I eventually came to learn that some drugs can induce significant adverse events, including suicidal and homicidal ideation – and that some people are not good candidates for certain drugs. 
When I learned about the shady past of Prozac’s development and eventual presentation to the public as a miracle pill, my grief and guilt transitioned to rage, and I filed a lawsuit against the drug’s manufacturer.  
In the course of that lawsuit, a young attorney asked for copies of my son’s autopsy report, and it was the attorney – not the coroner, who suggested my son did not kill himself; that in fact, his death presented more as a homicide. The attorney advised me to contact the Utah Attorney General’s office. It’s a long story, and though a team of investigators acknowledged the blatant discrepancies between the original police report and the medical examiner’s report – the reopened investigation into how my son actually died was never completed.
On my own, I was able to secure statements from three experts in the field of police investigative reporting, homicide and forensics. Below are excerpts from the statements written by these three experts:
1. Andrew E.D. Whittle
Detective Senior Inspector of Police having served for 11 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and three years in the Nottinghamshire Constabulary in the UK.
“This incident should have been treated a suspicious death leaning towards a homicide”.
2. L.J. Dragovic, MD
Chief Medical Examiner – Oakland County, Michigan
“These findings militate against self-infliction, and, ipso facto, undermine the accuracy of the manner of death listed as suicide”.
3. Richard I. Mack
Former Sheriff – Graham County, Arizona
“In performing a law enforcement review and brief investigation of Kevin’s death, it became somewhat difficult to do so, due to the poor investigation originally conducted by the Police”.
Did my son die due to a suicide pact that went wrong? Did he kill himself? Did his friend who was with him on the day of his death pull the trigger? I honestly don’t know… I’ve come to believe that his friend shot him, but I still blame his death on Prozac, and I am on a personal mission to help others learn how and why Prozac and similar drugs can be killers.
Odd, isn’t it? That the available forensic evidence would lead one to believe my son was murdered, and yet I still lay blame on Prozac?
I will refer to my son’s friend as “TJ” It wasn’t until after my son died, that I learned from TJ’s mother how TJ had been prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric drugs, beginning at the age of eight. TJ was having difficulty at school. His teacher told his mother that children like TJ often benefitted from Ritalin. But Ritalin did not prove to be a good drug for him, so his doctor tried something else that seemed to work for a while, and when it stopped working, TJ was prescribed something new.
TJ was still taking prescribed psychiatric drugs seven years later when he came to stay with us during that summer so long ago… the summer that my son died.
Peter Breggin refers to psychiatric drugs as ‘neurotoxins’. 
Street drugs like LSD, cocaine, heroin and PCP are also neurotoxins, and most of us know well enough to stay away from them, but we don’t think critically about the similarities between prescribed neurotoxic drugs and illegal street drugs.
I’ve come to view my son’s death as the outcome of the effect of neurotoxic drugs on the still developing brains of two adolescent boys – by consent of two mothers who knew nothing about these drugs, whose fault was in trusting that their family doctors were more educated than themselves- which made them worthy of their trust.
I am not anti-psychiatry or anti-drug; but I am against being sold a false bill of goods. I am against the big lie of the chemical imbalance theory of depression and other problems of life that are viewed as “mental disorders”. I am enraged to know that the medical profession, which the public trusts, has been granted power to forcibly restrain and even forcibly inject neurotoxic drugs into someone, or shock them with ECT without that person’s consent. I oppose the prescribing of psychiatric neurotoxins by primary care doctors and pediatricians who have only very limited knowledge of their effects or the problems experienced by those who wish to withdraw from them. I am against direct to consumer marketing by pharmaceutical firms, and I believe that when pharmaceutical firms are found guilty of callous and aggressive marketing tactics, hiding facts and other such shenanigans, their executives should be “forced” right into prison. Time has proven that a financial penalty doesn’t stop those who profit at the cost of human dignity and human lives. 
I think another truth also needs to be laid bare to the public – the answer to that question we all ask – why do some people claim that drug X literally saved their life, but another person screams the same drug killed their child?
At one time the answer was a mystery to me, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
Honey is a forbidden treat for all infants, but most of them can enjoy it when they’re older. Some kids can’t eat peanuts. Some people can smoke until they’re 92 and not die of lung cancer. Some people try Prozac and claim it had no effect on them whatsoever; others claim Prozac brought sunshine and happiness into their life, and yet others blame Prozac for inducing terrible nightmares and urges to kill themselves or someone else.
The simple truth is that we all respond differently to things we put into our bodies. There is no lack of scientific research to back this up. What we don’t know, but what we should know is whether a particular drug will have its intended effect on us. The science in the field of pharmacogenomics may not yet be perfect, but it is available, and it could help save the life of someone who is not a good candidate for a specific drug. 
I believe mental healthcare is both valid and necessary, but the emphasis must be on effective methods that improve and strengthen us – those that help restore self-confidence, competence, stability and spiritual well-being.
 See attachment
Thank you for taking time to read this.
Cassandra, that’s an amazing letter. I am glad you wrote.
That said, I don’t think I will be sending a letter. I don’t have anything constructive to add. First of all, SSRI drugs had no obvious effect on me, neither positive or negative. The SNRI (or whatever) drug Effexor caused insomnia and binge eating. I did have a very negative “effect” from Imipramine, and also a positive “effect.” Imipramine stopped binge eating for me, but unfortunately it put me into a suicidal rage.
There’s a huge difference between feeling rageful and actually taking action by doing something violent or destructive. I didn’t act on the feelings. I came close but did not make an attempt. I have no physical evidence that I went through all that, no obvious damages except lost relationships.
I was prescribed Imipramine from Nov 2011 until Feb 2012. I was suffering after I was taken off because the idiot who took me off tapered in three days. I experienced no relief from the rage and very bad binge eating that went on for another year. The rage subsided gradually but it took a long time. My way of expressing myself was mistaken for a mental disorder, which caused further harm, but that’s all over now.
Julie – You’ve said an awful lot in your post above, and I perceive that you’ve left an awful lot out…. and, you don’t think your experience should be heard? !!
People need to know these things from real people who have “been there”. Otherwise, all they hear is what their doctor tells them. Often they don’t learn that the feelings they’re experiencing are direct effects from the drugs they’re taking, or how awful withdrawal from a drug can be until it’s too late, and they’re going through that hell themselves…
You may be thinking that all of this has been said and discussed before, and people will believe what they want to believe. While that is true to a point, you and I travel in circles that a huge part of the world is unaware of… I only found these circles of support when it was far too late for my intelligent, imaginative, beautiful, beautiful boy….
Your words may save someone’s life, Julie….
Cassie, I will jump at any opportunity to tell my story, but in this case it’s not exactly relevant and clutters up the muck of stories that Carey will receive. Imipramine isn’t an SSRI and is rarely used anymore. I didn’t do anything violent or horrible. I only had thoughts and feelings and mostly I kept them to myself. To add to all that, I had been abused by my therapist. It wasn’t the drug alone that produced the rage. I know in my heart that her abuse made it all ten times worse. Think : narcissism and you will get the idea. It was very hard to get over it.
We humans love to find easy answers but the truth is it wasn’t just the drug. It was her. But who will believe me?
What I really want to do is to write a piece about what it is like to be abused by your therapist. I hope it truly offends all the therapists out there, any of them who assume all therapists are great and wonderful. She had a lot of credentials and a must have a lengthy and involved resume. Funny how that means nothing and doesn’t tell you a thing about what happened inside that office. I can still picture it, with the cushiony couches, that horrible potpourri smell, the fucking stuffed animals I hated, those scarves we were supposed to play with like they were children’s toys, the waiting room, everything.
Sometimes on my way out of Walmart these days I see a vending machine full of stuffed animals and I feel sick seeing it. It’s so sad when I see mental patients buying them there, putting dollar after dollar of their disability check into the machine.
Julie, for what it’s worth, I believe you. Just as there are good teachers out there and bad ones; good mechanics and bad ones; good doctors and bad ones – there are also good therapists and those who should have chosen a different career. And, that goes for different types of therapy. Dr Nedley, who is a doctor of internal medicine, stated that some therapeutic models are far more harmful than helpful, but cited CBT as a model he felt could be especially helpful.
I hope you write a book. I’d buy a copy and read it!
Oh, and just wanted to clarify my understanding of the proposal for action that Mickey posted here — it’s not just about SSRI drugs. I’ve read about military vets flipping out on fluoroquinolones, and benzos can make you feel like you’re losing your mind…. but I understand if you don’t feel this is the best outlet for your experiences. You’ll find the right avenue to express what’s in your heart.
You are, of course, under no obligation, Julie, to write a letter to Ben Carey, certainly not if you believe that your letter would be ineffective or counterproductive. I would, however, like to be clear. We are not soliciting letters only from users or survivors of prescribed drugs who have committed actual, concrete acts of violence. We are also requesting letters from persons who, while on drugs, experienced emotions such as numbness, agitation, disinhibition, or loss of compassion for others. That is, emotions which, when triggered by provocations likely to lead to violence, would impede consideration of consequences of violent behavior toward self or others. Should that resonate, please consider communicating with Carey. You write well.
You might believe me, Cassie, but most people don’t, they woul+d rather call me disease-names then ever admit the therapist might have been wrong.
As for “good therapist, bad therapist…” This is a pitfall that many fall into. They think that there are good doctors and bad ones, and sadly they are totally missing the point. You can’t divide them up that way because doing so makes it look like therapy and western medicine are really okay, and the bad apples are people we should just dismiss as deviant. Even the best therapy is based on keeping people sick, needy, and teaching them dependency. Even my very best of therapist prolonged my mental patient status. Being nice means the patient keeps coming back. Being cruel might send them away traumatized but which is really worse? If you have a bad one it might help you realize the System is not a very good place to go if you are suffering. Not unless you want to get more disabled.
Anyone can submit to Forced Psychiatry, which is anthology I am producing and here is the website: http://forcedpsychiatry.com. Submissions are open now. Please go take a look and spread the word. This will be a published book available on Amazon and pseudonyms are allowed. Anyone affected by force, coercion, lockup, etc, can contribute, including families affected. (Yes, I will be contributing.)
It just occurred to me that I really should give credit and extend my gratitude to the good people in my life who helped me in so many ways in my struggle to understand my son’s death. Fred Baughman, MD, put me in touch with Dr. Dragovic. Barry Turner in the United Kingdom, put me in touch with Detective Andrew Whittle. Ann Blake-Tracy introduced me to Sheriff Richard Mack. These three people, and so many others (too many to mention here), have helped me in so many ways — and I am constantly reminded that we are not alone in this battle to expose the corruption and lies and deceit that result in the suffering and death of so many….
I’m afraid I can’t see this ‘initiative’ as a good one. The most glaringly obvious point is that your presumption that a majority of distressed people ‘self harm or harm other’ is completely false. There are no statistics, only what media tell us. You can find anything on the net, most of it nonsense. We are now in a situation where, even the people who’re trying to help have their facts wrong. Your heart is in the right place but your premiss is skewed. Distressed people are NOT more likely to hurt themselves or others. In the case of hurting oneself, it’s extremely common, and becoming more so. Would it not be better to say the majority of young people, which is a truer fact? In the second instance, distressed people are NOT more likely to hurt someone else. This is complete fiction & you may have been listening to the TV or radio news, which is never accurate. We’re in a political storm at the moment and distressed people are at the bottom of the pile. Please do your research.
de facto, very good points. Mental health professionals are highly likely to harm their patients since THEIR premise is false, their ideas about us false, their stereotyping, their profiling of us, their tendency to classify us into whatever’s convenient, their claims that imprisonment is “treatment,” their repeated lies that the drugs are not addictive, that therapy couldn’t possibly also be addictive, that MH care seriously traumatizes people. The very fact that they call it “care” or “help” is a big joke.
Julie, I agree with most of what you’ve said, but I don’t believe that everyone working in the mental health field are ogres. Sometimes people just need some help in trying to sort out the problems of life… I’ve known people who have been harmed, some people who weren’t harmed or helped, and some who have greatly benefitted from a caring and wise mental health professional. It’s not all black and white..
I’ve also responded to De Facto. He’s right that the majority of distressed people are not more likely to harm someone — but it’s not fiction that some distressed people will experience distorted thoughts as a direct negative effect of psychiatric drugs and will act on them.
Cassie, Where did you get “ogre” from? I would never say that. I don’t say that MH professionals are bad people. I believe that the MH profession is corrupt. That says nothing of the character of those who practice it. Have you ever worked for an unethical company? I did, a few times. For example, I was stuck in a job selling a product that was a ripoff. Now selling a ripoff product is unethical, and yet, to keep my job, I had to keep on selling it. It was a temp position and I could hardly wait for it to end. Since I worked in a position where I was coerced into doing something unethical, does that make me an “ogre”?
There are no ogres out there. I never use that word to describe human beings. It is a label, a cruel word, and I just do not say it.
I have known MH professionals who were “wise” and “caring.” They still harmed me! They labeled me, caused dependency, and the therapy was addicting. Continuing going to the “nice” ones kept me out of the job market for a good many years. Oh, not only that, they claimed the “treatment” was life-sustaining.
If someone is going to be “caring” or “wise” in your life, I would hope it would be a spouse, parent, or close friend, or perhaps a caring teacher or mentor. “Wise” and “caring” are not traits limited to the MH professional world. They don’t have a patent on wisdom.
Okay, Julie – I can agree with you on that — (it’s the “system” that’s corrupt), and not everyone who works in the field (though there are plenty of corrupt practitioners, too). I get daily reports from the OIG’s office on all the ways people in the mental health field are trying to fleece the system… I’ve always hated the way it’s structured, but I think the insurance conglomerates are every bit as much at fault.
And, I’m totally in agreement with you on the second point too. The problem is that some people don’t have strong family ties, or even if they do, they still don’t feel comfortable talking to someone in their family because of whatever family dynamics are at play… and they may have close friends, but don’t want to burden them, and sometimes their friends don’t know how to best help them anyway…
I’ve got a nephew who has really been struggling. He’s a very private person, and even though everyone in our family has been concerned about him, and we’ve reached out to him, he just wouldn’t open up to us… He sought counseling, and I forwarded the name of a particular therapist. I liked what I read about her reason for not using insurance to pay for her service:
I don’t know if my nephew ended up seeing her or someone else — but from all outward appearances, he is showing signs of improvement. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’ll continue to feel more hopeful about himself and his future, and from what I’m personally observing, whatever counseling he’s been getting is what is helping him. I’m going to repeat here what I’ve personally come to believe:
” No one denies that we all struggle and face difficult challenges from time to time.
Depression can seep into our lives; we may feel uneasy or stressed; and at times our mental state can become confused or temporarily unstable.
Mental healthcare is therefore both valid and necessary.
However, the emphasis must be on EFFECTIVE methods that improve and strengthen us – those that help restore self-confidence, competence, stability and spiritual well-being.
I agree essentially with all you’ve said, Cassie. I’d only be cautions about using the term “mental healthcare,” because that term has largely been coopted by the forces advocating for the medicalization of all forms of distress, in service of the ideas that a) social conditions have nothing to do with why we are distressed – it’s all a malfunction in our own bodies or processes, and b) doctors and medical professionals are the ones who are knowledgeable about this area (after all, aren’t doctors in charge of “health?”) I prefer to use the terms “emotional support” or “processing” or “external perspectives.” I absolutely believe that therapy can be a wonderful experience – I had a great therapist in my 20s who helped me very much to get where I am today. But therapy is very different than medical care, in my book.
Anyway, it is a sad reality of our society that many people don’t have good support networks, and that our “always productive” model says that it’s NOT OK to break down or to need to be unproductive for a while as you process your experience. Heck, the DSM 5 now thinks we should be productive and fully functioning again TWO WEEKS after the loss of a loved one! It is no surprise that people appreciate having an anonymous person to hear their struggles when there is so much shame attached to not being able to “roll with the punches.”
And you’re totally right about insurance – it is at the very core of how this whole mess came into being.
Sorry, Cassie, there is no way I am going to write, publicly or off the record, that “mental health care is valid and necessary.” Not to Ben Carey or anyone else. No way, and I will not say it publicly, either.
Not after MH “care” coerced me onto disability which I never needed nor qualified for. It took me years to find a job after forced unemployment. Being supposedly dis-abled stole 35 years of my life, which is over half of it. Now I am 60 and feel like I have to rush to catch up and do everything I can do before lithium-induced kidney disease does me in.
Not after I learned, at last, that the only way to cure my ED for good was to ditch the MH professionals. And I am not the only one!
De Facto – the proposal does not suggest that the “majority” of people who use psych drugs become violent or act out on violent or psychotic thoughts, but some people do. The research is there. Maybe you haven’t read it? When you consider how many people are now prescribed psych drugs, if only 7-10% experienced these intrusive thoughts and acted out on them, you can begin to imagine the possible outcome… In some ethnic groups, the percentage of people who might experience the “rare” side effects of psych drugs is even greater.
The fact is that some people do develop thoughts of harming themselves or others on certain drugs, and some people have acted out on those thoughts. When you start looking into the lives of many of the school shooters, and a good percentage of others involved in mass shootings, you see the same patterns. I associate with a group of people who all wrote letters to Ben Carey because they either lost someone to suicide who were getting “mental health treatment” in the form of psychiatric drugs, or they actually harmed or killed someone else while using the drugs. A few of them were lucky enough to have good defense teams who presented the argument that “if not for the drug(s), the tragedy would not have happened”. Others have family members sitting in prison who were eventually able to come off the drugs, and they have no evidence of “mental illness” now. Try telling those people that psychiatric drugs don’t have those effects! And, it’s not just younger people who experience the worst of the side effects… the problem is that certain people — no matter their age, are simply not able to metabolize certain drugs, and there is no shortage of research on that, either. I’ve been looking at this issue and collecting the research on it for over a decade. The problem with certain people not being able to metabolize these drugs, and thus being more susceptible to the negative effects of psych drugs has been known about since the turn of the century. An excellent book on the subject is called “Cross Cultural Psychiatry”, edited by John M. Herrera, William B. Lawson & John J. Sramek — copyright 1999 and funded by none other than Eli Lilly….
Yolanda Lucire, a forensic psychiatrist from Australia has also presented evidence on this, as have forensic scientists, Selma and Richard Eikelenboom.
And if you’ve ever taken time to look at ssristories.org, you’ll find psychiatric drugs to be the common denominator in all those tragic stories. If you would like me to send some of that research to you let me know.
Whether or not Carey will write more about this is anyone’s guess, but those involved with public health certainly ought to have a serious look at this, because it is a matter of public health concern.
I agree with everything Cassie wrote, De Facto. I would only add that I don’t understand how you missed a critical point of our proposal, i.e., that we are calling for an independent investigation. It puzzles me how, or why, you happened to miss that important point, as well as how you happened to miss Cassie’s point that we do not believe that persons affixed with psychiatric labels are more violent than persons not so labeled absent, in some instances, the use of prescribed psychoactive drugs. It is also puzzling to me why Julie agreed with your reading of our proposal.
Succinctly put, Julie. Couldn’t have put it better myself, frightening as it is.
Julie, I wanted to respond to your last message yesterday, but ran out of time… but anyway, you wrote: “Sorry, Cassie, there is no way I am going to write, publicly or off the record, that “mental health care is valid and necessary.”
I can understand your anger and distrust. No one should ever be subjected to forced psychiatric “treatment” of any kind. It’s a blatant assault on human rights and human dignity.
I value a person’s right to choose what is best for themselves.
People can only choose what is best for themselves if and when they have all the facts as per legal informed consent. If the “MH” cartel told the truth vrs peddling in lies and propaganda, people MIGHT be able to make informed choices for themselves. As it currently stands, choice is an illusion. Nice to value it for self and others, too bad its just NOT the reality.
Judi, I completely agree with you! But I also have to admit that many of us don’t recognize the truth of what you’re saying until after we wake up to the fact that we all need to take more responsibility to learn what’s true and what isn’t.
I’m speaking from personal experience. Years ago, I was all too willing to place my trust in our family doctor who told me my son’s depression was caused by a chemical imbalance, and that amazing new advances had been developed to treat those chemical imbalances. What did I know? Nothing….
I just figured he knew a whole lot more than I did. He was the professional.
It took the death of my son to shake me out of my own stupidity.
This is exactly why I think Mickey’s proposal is worth supporting. The plan is to drain psychiatry of its power and authority – with the first step being to expose the lies & propaganda its gotten away with for far too long – which will begin that process of seriously weakening it and causing it to become socially irrelevant in its present form. We must convince the public, media, courts, etc. that psychiatry does not protect society — but in fact, its tools and treatments often create more problems for individuals and for society.
The public will then be required to choose…. which story is right? Is psychiatry protective, or is it harmful? But, they cannot choose if the only story they hear is what they’ve always heard.
Steve McCrea — your comments helped me to see how my statement could be misinterpreted. So, I replaced “mental healthcare” with your suggestions to see whether it resonated with me — and it works very well — thank you very much! So here you have it, as I’ve re-framed my personal view on the matter:
No one denies that we all struggle and face difficult challenges from time to time.
Depression can seep into our lives; we may feel uneasy or stressed; and at times our mental state can become confused or temporarily unstable.
Provision of a compassionate environment where individuals can receive emotional support in processing their experiences, is therefore both valid and necessary.
However, the emphasis must be on EFFECTIVE methods that improve and strengthen us – those that help restore self-confidence, competence, stability and spiritual well-being.
Indeed, the emphasis being on EFFECTIVE! And the person being helped has to be the one to decide what “effective” means for them!
Is this still happening? Hope so. Also, please join me for peer support and virtual hugs in the Compassion Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/campaignforjoy/
Many of us who are followers of Mad In America.com recently participated in a coordinated letter writing campaign to persuade Benedict Carey at the New York Times, to write a column for us. This effort was made up of patients, professionals, and family members, and was spearheaded by social worker, Mickey Weinberg. Two days ago, Mr. Carey actually did publish an article in the Science Times which very loosely resembles what we requested of him, though in my opinion, it is far more watered down and milque toast than what we wanted.
Assuming this article was the magic bullet we were hoping to get, I’m disturbed to see the absolute snail’s pace at which we’re moving towards the day when the cover is blown on psychiatric oppression. I agree with every single statement which Mr. Carey alludes to/makes, and I’m almost unspeakably grateful for his backing of us. The only problem with it is that the critical revelation of underlying scandal is so obscure that it looks as if it’s going to take the next millenium for the real truth to come out.
Thanks for the heads-up — could you provide us with a link? (Though I would hold back on the “unspeakable gratitude” any time someone throws us a crumb. 🙂 )
When Will We Solve Mental Illness?
Biology was supposed to cure what ails psychiatry. Decades later, millions of people with mental disorders are still waiting.
By Benedict Carey
Nov. 19, 2018
Nothing humbles history’s great thinkers more quickly than reading their declarations on the causes of madness. Over the centuries, mental illness has been attributed to everything from a “badness of spirit” (Aristotle) and a “humoral imbalance” (Galen) to autoerotic fixation (Freud) and the weakness of the hierarchical state of the ego (Jung).
The arrival of biological psychiatry, in the past few decades, was expected to clarify matters, by detailing how abnormalities in the brain gave rise to all variety of mental distress. But that goal hasn’t been achieved — nor is it likely to be, in this lifetime.
Still, the futility of the effort promises to inspire a change in the culture of behavioral science in the coming decades. The way forward will require a closer collaboration between scientists and the individuals they’re trying to understand, a mutual endeavor based on a shared appreciation of where the science stands, and why it hasn’t progressed further.
“There has to be far more give and take between researchers and the people suffering with these disorders,” said Dr. Steven Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard. “The research cannot happen without them, and they need to be convinced it’s promising.”
The course of Science Times coincides almost exactly with the tear-down and rebuilding of psychiatry. Over the past 40 years, the field remade itself from the inside out, radically altering how researchers and the public talked about the root causes of persistent mental distress.
The blueprint for reassembly was the revision in 1980 of psychiatry’s field guide, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which effectively excluded psychological explanations. Gone was the rich Freudian language about hidden conflicts, along with the empty theories about incorrect or insufficient “mothering.” Depression became a cluster of symptoms and behaviors; so did obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism and the rest.
This modernized edifice struck many therapists as a behavioral McMansion: an eyesore, crude and grandiose. But there was no denying that the plumbing worked, the lighting was better, and the occupants had a clear, agreed-upon language.
Researchers now had tidier labels to work with; more sophisticated tools, including M.R.I.s, animal models, and genetic analysis, to guide their investigations of the brain; and a better understanding of why the available drugs and forms of psychotherapy relieved symptoms for many patients. Science journalists, and their readers, also had an easier time understanding the new vocabulary. In time, mental problems became mental disorders, then brain disorders, perhaps caused by faulty wiring, a “chemical imbalance” or genes.
But the actual science didn’t back up those interpretations. Despite billions of dollars in research funding, and thousands of journal articles, biological psychiatry has given doctors and patients little of practical value, never mind a cause or a cure.
Nonetheless, that failure offers two valuable guideposts for the next 40 years of research. One is that psychiatry’s now-standard diagnostic system — the well-lighted structure, with all its labels — does not map well onto any shared biology. Depression is not one ailment but many, expressing different faces in different people. Likewise for persistent anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and personality issues such as borderline personality disorder.
As a result, the best place for biological scientists to find traction is with individuals who have highly heritable, narrowly defined problems. This research area has run into many blind alleys, but there are promising leads.
In 2016, researchers at the Broad Institute found strong evidence that the development of schizophrenia is tied to genes that regulate synaptic pruning, a natural process of brain reorganization that ramps up during adolescence and young adulthood. “We are now following up hard on that finding,” said Dr. Hyman. “We owe it those who are suffering with this diagnosis.”
Scientists also foresee a breakthrough in understanding the genetics of autism. Dr. Matthew State, chief of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, said that in a subset of people on the autism spectrum, “the top 10 associated genes have huge effects, so a clinical trial using gene therapies is in plausible reach.”
The second guidepost concerns the impact of biology. Although there are several important exceptions, measurable differences in brain biology appear to contribute only a fraction of added risk for developing persistent mental problems. Genetic inheritance surely plays a role, but it falls well short of a stand-alone “cause” in most people who receive a diagnosis.
The remainder of the risk is supplied by experience: the messy combination of trauma, substance use, loss and identity crises that make up an individual’s intimate, personal history. Biology has nothing to say about those factors, but people do. Millions of individuals who develop a disabling mental illness either recover entirely or learn to manage their distress in ways that give them back a full life. Together, they constitute a deep reservoir of scientific data that until recently has not been tapped.
Gail Hornstein, a professor of psychology at Mount Holyoke College, is now running a study of people who attend meetings of the Hearing Voices Network, a grass-roots, Alcoholics Anonymous-like group where people can talk with one another about their mental health struggles.
Many participants are veterans of the psychiatric system, people who have received multiple diagnoses and decided to leave medical care behind. The study will analyze their experiences, their personal techniques to manage distress, and the distinctive characteristics of the Hearing Voices groups that account for their effectiveness.
“When people have an opportunity to engage in ongoing, in-depth conversation with others with similar experiences, their lives are transformed,” said Dr. Hornstein, who has chronicled the network and its growth in the United States. “We start with a person’s own framework of understanding and move from there.”
She added: “We have underestimated the power of social interactions. We see people who’ve been in the system for years, on every med there is. How is it possible that such people have recovered, through the process of talking with others? How has that occurred? That is the question we need to answer.”
To push beyond the futility of the last 40 years, scientists will need to work not only from the bottom up, with genetics, but also from the top down, guided by individuals who have struggled with mental illness and come out the other side.
Their expertise is fraught with the pain of having been misunderstood and, often, mistreated. But it’s also the kind of expertise that researchers will need if they hope to build a science that even remotely describes, much less predicts, the fullness of human mental suffering.
Benedict Carey has been a science reporter for The Times since 2004. He has also written three books, “How We Learn” about the cognitive science of learning; “Poison Most Vial” and “Island of the Unknowns,” science mysteries for middle schoolers.
A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 20, 2018, on Page D4 of the New York edition with the headline: 2. When Will We Solve Mental Illness?. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper |
“She added: “We have underestimated the power of social interactions. We see people who’ve been in the system for years, on every med there is. How is it possible that such people have recovered, through the process of talking with others? How has that occurred? That is the question we need to answer.””
Psychiatry hasn’t “underestimated the power of social interactions,” it has almost entirely dismissed it. The reason people have recovered from interaction and not from drugs is because drugging the brain is not a solution, whereas often, communicating with someone who understands you is, or is at least the beginning of a solution. This very statement should make that point obvious, and yet the psychiatrist in question appears to find the result incomprehensible. Could the simple answer be that your model is wrong?
Thanks for alerting us to this article, kumininexile. Here’s the link for the article:
I’m not sure if this is Ben’s response to the letter writing campaign or not… If so, I’m disappointed. In any event, I think it would be good to find out if this is indeed his response to the scandal.
I don’t think this is his response. After all, weren’t the letters about drugs? This is not an article about drugs.
Let’s hope it isn’t. However given his unapologetic and somewhat enraptured embrace of gene theories and validation of terms such as “schizophrenia” I wouldn’t expect much if and when he does. Maybe Mickey could give an update.
Steve, for the record, Gail Hornstein isn’t a shrink, she’s a psychologist. She teaches at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. I’ve never met her, but did email with her last year. It is said she’s patient-friendly.
I also wanted to reiterate that I don’t have any idea whether the above article is Benedict Carey’s response to our request, or not.
So the expectation is that progress will come from us working collaboratively with chemists to co-design our own poisons?
Hey, Oldhead. It’s been done. It’s called street drugs. Been around a looooonnnnng time and they ain’t going away just yet. I hope not because shouldn’t people have the right to choose? Choice via prescribed drugs can’t possibly be choice at all. The prescription adds authority and illusion of safety to the pills that shouldn’t even be there. I’m all for free choice. You wanna take drugs? Take drugs. Leave the MD and his power and institutions and diagnoses out of the equation so that way you really choose it.
Hopefully you did catch my irony.
“Street drugs” is a catch-all term that would include everything from psychedelics and beneficial herbs to speed and heroin; what makes it “street” is more based on who and where you get it from than the substance itself.
Though sometimes another characteristic would be that people like them (or once liked them and are now addicted) — I wouldn’t guess there’s much of a black market for Paxil.
Exactly, Oldhead. People have a right to put anything they want into their bodies. It might be downright poison such as gasoline, but they still have the right to do it, in my opinion. How many people choose street drugs? Some. How many are coerced via the prescription pad and assume that means “safe and effective”? Prescribed pills include opiates, blood that is transfused, antibiotics, many drugs for things like blood pressure, birth control pills, and all kinds of stuff that’s downright dangerous. Do people choose to exercise, have a healthy lifestyle, eat right and avoid mental health care? If you do you might feel a ton better.
People unrestricted will learn what’s good and bad for them eventually, though it’s too bad that now there are a zillion artificial poisons to learn to stay away from as well, some of them with advertising campaigns behind them. Learning about “safe drugs” is comparable to learning about “safe sex.” Though of course it’s all relative.
I have had very serious behavioral problems trying to come off neuroleptics in 2011 and 2007. This led to two crimes which were and are completley out of character. Please send me the form which you wish that l send to the reporter of the NYT. I live in France.
Yours is a good idea. I would’ve phoned but my operator doesn’t handle calls to the USA. My number is 0033659803751.