What’s “Grand” About Electroshock and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?


I suppose we should expect nothing less than a medical school believing in their medical model of psychiatry. That was in full evidence at the December 4 “grand rounds” at the Oregon Health and Science University, with a presentation on what they call “Interventional Psychiatry”—an interesting euphemism for Electroshock, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and the comeback street drug, Ketamine.

First, what in the world are “grand rounds”? They were originally a method for teaching doctors in medical residency about specific patients, but evolved into presentations for a large group, where often an entire medical community is invited so they are not just limited to a particular hospital or medical school. Sometimes presentations are made about particular patients (with confidentiality strictly observed) but they are also often about issues of interest to a medical community. Grand rounds are frequently scheduled on a regular basis such as once a week or month.

Oregon Health and Science University is a major school of medicine in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. And a disclaimer of sorts: I still have faculty appointment in their Department of Psychiatry as Clinical Associate Professor although I have been inactive for several years.

For me, the tone of this grand round was frighteningly matter of fact. The two presenters appeared to truly believe in the beneficial effects of the brain damage caused by electroshock, and are apparently considering it and TMS with some individuals as young as adolescents. They declare no conflicts of interest, which is also scary—partly because they have come to accept implicitly the medical culture which justifies these “treatments.” There also seems to me an inherent conflict with one of their own cherished principles: First Do No Harm.

Did they show any evidence of recognition of these conflicts? None that was obvious to me. Did they show any awareness of the sordid history of abuse with these kinds of biological injuries inflicted on disempowered patients? Did they show any recognition of competent analysis and critique of research studies—i.e., who funded them, and was there any direct review of the actual data (a la Study 329)? Are they cognizant of the extremely loose and industry-infused standards for FDA approval, which only require two studies that purport to show “improvement” and only short-term at that? According to the presenters, the FDA approved Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation after reviewing only one short-term study. There was no information provided about who conducted or funded the study.

The presenters assured the audience (who listened with occasional laughter and applause) that they were screening for appropriateness of the treatments for each individual. They focused on patients with “refractory illnesses” which led to some very serious threats to life through self-starvation and catatonia. But more questions arose for me:

Do they screen for clearly ineffective psychiatric medications like antidepressants and neuroleptics? What about incompetent mental health clinicians who provide anything but well-conceived and delivered trauma-informed care or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Do they ask about whether peers who have ‘been there and done that’ have been involved in relating to the patients or sharing what they know about recovery?

Do they consider that their own beliefs in effectiveness may have as much to do with what I call the Provider Placebo Effect than anything else? What I mean by this can be seen in a story told to me by Dr. Dean Brooks, whose motto in his 27 years as Superintendent of Oregon State Hospital was: “It’s All About the Patients.” When I asked him about the introduction of Thorazine there, he told me they put a patient on it who everyone had said was a hopeless case, i.e. ‘refractory’ though he didn’t use this term. After six months, the staff came to Dean and told him that the drug had worked a miracle—they were now ready to talk about discharging the patient. Contrary to many current practices, Dean actually talked to patients privately in those days, and asked the patient about it—what did he think? And the patient, who knew he could talk openly and safely with someone who cared, looked at Dean and said, “I’ve been cheeking them the whole time.” After telling me this story, Dean asked, “So who in the hell are these medications for, the staff or the patients?” The answer is pretty obvious. So Provider Placebo Effect is a phenomenon that describes how a clinician’s own hopes and beliefs end up greatly affecting outcomes for their patients.

What isn’t obvious to the psychiatrists who administer these brain-damaging interventions is that they themselves may be suffering from PPE. And without appreciating that these dynamics could apply to them, they could be said to have a form of “anasognosia,” a term they so smugly apply to patients. Psychiatrists do find ways to protect themselves from all of these considerations—namely by not asking for critical feedback or allowing any kind of time for preparing counter-facts based on other considerations and research.

As a public policy analyst, I have other concerns, namely, that these treatments are expensive—Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation costs $20,000 per treatment. What is the cost breakdown, i.e. what does the inpatient or outpatient service cost? How much does the equipment cost? How much does the manufacturer make?

Another issue not to be taken for granted is how much the manufacturer might know about the brain damages caused. A recently settled lawsuit against the ECT equipment manufacturers showed exactly that—that the makers knew full well. While the settlement amount is not yet known, the manufacturers surely paid what for them was a paltry sum. I haven’t heard that any of them are going out of business because of it.

It is disturbing to learn that public funds in Oregon are paying for ECT for Medicaid-eligible people. Is this an appropriate use of state and federal funds when the damage to brains is clearly documented? Would public funds be allowed for adolescents to get shock treatment? Again, has anyone bothered to ask?

Wouldn’t it be a better use of public funds for a school of psychiatry to invest in improving trauma-informed care, high standards of mental health competence, and a careful review of the effectiveness of peer services and supports?

I doubt that many readers from medical schools will be reading this kind of questioning, so it will be up to those of us with lived experience to push these kinds of inquiries and issues. As I said, I suppose we shouldn’t expect much “grand” from grand rounds at a medical school.


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.


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  1. Medicare/Medicaid paid for eight right unilateral ultra brief pulse ECT sessions for me in April/May 2014. Sadly, it did not cure my underlying Lyme Disease. Neither did the neuroleptics, anticonvulsants, antianxiety, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, or opioids I was prescribed over the years. I’m not sorry for being a difficult patient. The system is corrupt from top to bottom.

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    • And FWIW, electroshock, TMS, and polydrugging also does literally sh*t all for victims of trauma.

      Depressed? Have an SSRI, because a little rapid cycling with hypomania will fix everything!


      Depressed? A little brain damage from this neuroleptic will make you forget all about it.


      Depressed? How about some controlled electrocution to make it better?!?

      Psychiatry is where you go to die, not get better.

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      • No, victims of trauma might be better served by other approaches but it is not correct IMHO that being a trauma victim makes you immune from other conditions. Sure, you will likely benefit from trauma informed care and a developmental approach (as opposed to strict medical reductionist bullshit) but you MAY developers a clear psychotic depression which MAY respond to ECT better than drugs CBT and other therapies.

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        • You seem to believe that psychiatric “diagnoses” are legitimate “other conditions” that can be properly diagnosed in some people. I would strongly disagree with that assessment. There is no objective means to distinguish any psychiatric “disorder” from other “disorders” or normalcy, as the DSM itself admits in its very own introduction. How could you possibly know if someone suffered from “psychotic depression?” If it is merely based on the person being depressed and having delusions or hallucinations, how would you know what the cause of this condition was, let alone what the best approach to intervening is?

          It is possible that passing electricity through one’s head may, for some people, create some kind of subjectively “positive” change in their life. It’s also a possibility that someone having a near-death experience after being hit by a truck could have positive changes in his/her life as a result. That doesn’t suggest pushing someone in front of a truck is a good “treatment” for “depression.”

          ECT causes a grand mal seizure. Know anyone who has a seizure disorder? Do their doctors recommend allowing or inducing seizures, or do they want seizures to be avoided at all costs if at all possible? Clearly, seizures do damage to brain tissue, sometimes leading to death, and are avoided for that reason. Why on God’s earth would anyone want to induce one?

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          • Many interesting points.
            I teach medical students to not be duped by psychiatric nosology and classification – a psychiatric diagnosis is not like say, a diagnosis, of staphylococcal pneumonia which is objective.

            You have a point about symptoms of depression (with psychotic features) but using the same rationale you could and I suspect (though I may be wrong then have a totally nihilistic absence of any theory of mind.

            NDE’s are often but not always transformative, it seems just silly to propose actually risking someone’s life for the possible benefits.

            In terms of how one could possible know if a person had a psychotic depression, I guess history, examination, consideration of alternative possibilities – the usual.

            Seizure control (of random seizures)is a little different to inducing one in a controlled context. Yes, status epilepticus can kill, but that I’m itself doesn’t mean one way or another that induced seizures are good or bad.

            I agree it seems a bit barbaric and mediaeval to use electro-shock, esp as we don’t have a comprehensive biochemical theory of depression, which as you rightly point out is a fuzzy “diagnosis” (I was very impressed by Johan Hari’s book on depression “Lost Connections” was

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          • Rejecting the DSM certainly does not imply a lack of or a nihilistic theory of the mind. In fact, I find the DSM rather nihilistic – it seems to suggest that people’s “symptoms” have no cause or meaning and are simply random fluctuations of brain chemistry that are to be controlled by external means. There are many theories of the mind that are far richer and more consistent with actual human evolution and behavior.

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        • So the solution to trauma is further trauma?

          Prolonged emotional stress has been proven to cause brain damage in kids. But that does not justify more brain damage performed by a “doctor”!

          Do you fix brittle bone disorder by smashing someone’s legs?

          And arguing the victim quit annoying you or complaining does not prove things are better. Removing the tongue or vocal cords could achieve that benefit!

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          • Yes, psychiatry is all about causing trauma. A psychiatrist doesn’t see the sudden “giddiness” or “numbness with less crying” as signs of brn dmg- they stupidly think this is “improvement”.
            “Controlled seizure” hey? Tell that to Elsie Tindle’s family. Poor, lonely Elsie died of status epilepticus after ECT. How many more such cases?

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    • Since when was ECT indicated for Lyme disease? Should your medical doctor – psychiatrists have had a wider differential diagnosis for the cause of your symptoms? If so that in itself doesn’t mean ECT is good or bad of the issue is misdiagnosis. I suspect Lyme disease and other parasitic conditions are often overlooked. Does t mean antibiotics, or ECT, or whatever wrong treatment are necessarily bad and so t have a place. Having said that, sure psychiatry fails a lot of people and hope you have found what helps you.

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      • ECT was never indicated for Lyme Disease. My late Lyme diagnosis was only discovered a week and a half ago. The symptoms can be traced to at least 1997, five years before my psychiatric crisis. Neuropsychiatric issues are a primary feature of untreated late Lyme but no one thought to test for it so I was treated for “bipolar” between 2002 and 2016, all the while becoming more and more unhinged until I began going off meds with my therapist (but not my psychiatrists approval in 2014). I’ve been off meds entirely for two years and going to doctor after doctor not for psych issues but for the cardiac and arthritic symptoms I was experiencing. It wasn’t until an astute urgent care doctor thought to test for Lyme two weeks ago that we found out what the underlying illness was. So no, I wasn’t given ECT for Lyme Disease.

        I’ve written extensively about my history of childhood and adulthood traumas, childhood illness, and experience with the psychiatric and medical system in comments if you’d like a better understanding of my story.

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  2. While I agree with much of the scepticism, caution and general dissatisfaction with the often appalling practices of the mental health industry expressed in the article, I have some reservations about completely dismissing ECT as a treatment.

    Corporate malfeasance is practically enshrined in our legal system with the best interests of companies often being totally at odds with the welfare of patients. I’m not surprised ECT companies have behaved badly as of course drug companies have time and time again.

    Despite practicing as a psychiatrist, I suspect the author may be more familiar with most of the literature on ECT than I.

    Having said that, I continue to believe that despite undoubted instances where ECT is misused or is I appropriate, there are also instances where the risk benefit equation favours its use. Psychotic Depression in the suicidal elderly is often (but not always) situation where it can be helpful.

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    • Psychotic depression – in a swing in someone with severe/psychotic mania, who goes all the way in the opposite direction….what is the option? Similarly, when one is taken off all neuroleptics in a hospital setting (because it is determined that the “previous guys” – psychiatrists – have gotten the “diagnosis” wrong – can result in catatonia. What to do then, if not ECT?

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        • Interesting comment.
          My lived experience as a practitioner is seeing suicidally depressed suicidal people recover amazingly quickly with ECT, as well as many for whom it was useless (and I suspected would be useless)
          Further my lived experience as a patient is being referred for dubious value ECT and TMS that was useless.
          My experience as an academic is noting that ECT appears to be of some value in a select population.
          We don’t know why it works when it does, but there are reliable indicators when it might.
          Unfortunately there is evidence that it can cause persistent memory deficit in 0.5% (I suspect the real number is higher and tell my patients this)

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          • Have you considered the benefits of beating a patient unconscious with a wooden mallet? The effects of random brain damage would be much the same. Destroying healthy brain tissue is what it’s all about.

            I can’t read your mind so I’ll assume you’re sincere and well meaning. But don’t you realize random acts of destruction are what you advocate?

            A surgeon at least would KNOW what he or she wanted to cut away, which is why folks with real brain disorders see neurologists, not psych doctors. Like slicing someone’s vein open because they MAY have bad blood though you can’t prove it. Cholera victims frequently died from blood-letting regardless of the sincerity of the “leech” who did it.

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          • Sorry, unless you have some objective means to know what is happening and why, intentionally inducing brain damage in patients should be malpractice in every case.

            BTW, there was a recent article on MIA showing that when depressed vets were given sham “treatments” of (I think) cranial magnetic stimulation, they got significantly better, even though they were classed as “treatment-resistant” (aka did badly on “antidepressants”) before the study. The real “treatment” they got was hope. Might be a much better starting point than electrocution and seizure induction.

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          • Dusan Kolar’s study shows a third of patients have permanent memory loss and can’t return to their careers. Service user surveys show about 52% with perm cog issues and memory loss.
            It is simply causing brain damage.
            It needs to be banned and ppl need to stop teaching lies about it.

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          • It is dangerous to frame ECT as either useless or helpful. Your choice of words precludes any real discussion of the risks. Are you not concerned that patients are recommended for “useless” treatments that are in fact quite dangerous?

            How long and how thorough was the follow up for those suicidal people?

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    • When you’re talking about giving electroshock to elderly patients, you are also talking about giving electroshock to people who have, or are at risk for, senile dementia and Alzheimer’s, this is why I have to wonder if “psychotic depression” really means “depression” or something else. I’d say that even damaging young brains is not the way to go.

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      • If you’re gonna proceed with treatment that has the possibility of “damaging young brains” or causing persistent memory impairment you’d better be sure that the risk-benefit equation truly favours this prospect IN THE JUDGEMWNT OF PATIENT AND OR FAMILY.

        It gets tricky where you (as a practitioner) are potentially liable for suicide for NOT giving it.

        Ideally it’s the patients (or their family/ advocates decision)

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        • Oh dear god, my family would be happy if I was given ECT daily for the rest of my life and left in a drooling heap so I’d never be a bother to anyone again. Families should be the first suspect when a patient is presented and they should never be given authority to induce brain damage in their “loved one”.

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          • kindredspirit,

            I’m sorry that is your experience, but it is NOT true of all families and SO’s. I get a lot of SO’s desperate for information how to help on my blog, but the system is stacked against us. Even my wife has ‘drunk the koolaid’ of chemical imbalance theory. Fortunately for her, I never did even before I found this website, and so I will NEVER let her get close to the mental health system no matter how much work it takes to help her thru things largely on my own.

            I hope someday this website will embrace those of us who are NOT in league with NAMI, but who honestly have no other support and little information out there on how best to help. My little blog shouldn’t be ‘unique’ in all the world, but I’ve been told it is by others looking for information outside the prevailing theory. Maybe some day MIA will start a subsection for SO’s like it has for parents.

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        • I have to insert here how incredibly grateful I am for my therapist. Not only does he not care if I pay, he is well aware of my regular suicidal thoughts. He doesn’t insist on seeing me regularly (so I go when I have reason to, not to pad his patient load). And rather than have me locked in the psych ward for telling him how I truly feel, he has simply said, “if you’re going to kill yourself, I cannot stop you. That will always be your decision.” I wish more of the commenting professionals here had a similar attitude. The liability argument falls on deaf ears. How can you expect to have a mutually trusting relationship with your clients if there is always the threat looming that you will cover your own ass at all costs? What utter shame. Find a new profession.

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          • Unlike some on the anti-psychiatry side I’m not opposed to therapy–or whatever you choose to call it. Szasz himself was a counselor of consenting adults. My one complaint about counselors is most work in “mental health” centers or refer people to psychiatrists routinely.

            And if someone is unhappy with a counselor they have the right to stop seeing them. I fired mine though everyone at the center was upset and told me I must have imagined her saying what she actually said. 😛 Gas lighting is found to be therapeutic I guess. Lol.

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          • Rachel, my therapist is amazing. He got kicked out of his practice for whistleblowing. They tried hard to blacklist him and refused to alllow his patients to have their records forwarded to his new private practice. Several had to sue, I paid through the nose to get my records. He sees people regardless of ability to pay and has never sent anyone to collection. And he wants to know how I really feel not a script to stay out of the hospital. It’s been really liberating. I’ve disappeared on him for long periods of time more than once and he doesn’t say I can’t come back or that he’s too busy to see me. And he helped me get my dog. Everyone should be so lucky. Of course, I’d prefer to have a real support system with close friends and family but trauma and living my adult life on disbability limited my social connections, and I’m grateful for him. But I also understand why others hate therapists. I’ve had reams of horrific experiences in therapy with controlling abusive “professionals” too busy covering their own ass to actually help. This is one of those YMMV situations.

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        • MedLawPsych, It seems to me you are flirting with logic but just not quite getting there. How can you hope to make a decent risk/benefit assessment when you don’t appreciate how many of the “benefits” are in fact placebo, whether on the part of the patient or the practitioner? How can you make an assessment when you can’t face the gravity of the risks? You can’t assess what you have not accurately measured.

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          • Recovered, thank you for your post. I suspect you may have made some implicit assumptions which were inherent in your post re others appreciation & assessment of the placebo effect. Also I’m not clear whether you were referring to medications or ECT. I’ll start with medications. In general, I don’t believe antidepressants really work. The fact that an individual or prescriber believes they do is of limited use. It’s easy to (mal) design a study showing a 10% benefit over placebo, esp in three short term. I write chapters each year on antidepressants, focussing mainly on adverse effects, but still requiring a close examination of the efficacy literature. I’ll let you in on a secret – in general, they don’t work that well, and any benefit is mostly placebo. I could conduct a study to show seaweed was an effective antidepressant and it would pass FDA approval. That would largely rely on the placebo effect (but also a lot of non-specific effects despite supposed blinding of the RCT.

            You comment re being unable to make an assessment if not appreciating the gravity of the risks is somewhat problematic in my respectful opinion. It is not always possible to be 100% sure of what is meant in a short post. If there is a risk of death with a treatment I suspect one could make an assessment regardless of whether death was viewed as grave or not. I think there may be a risk of conflating one’s opinion and judgment about a risk (eg memory loss in ECT), including the gravity of it, and the risk benefit analysis of whether or not to give it.
            I relation to your last sentence about assessing and accurate measurement I’m having trouble with the logic of this, like so many statements I suspect it’s a bit seductive in that it seems sensible but may be more complex. What is the parameter to which you are referring requires accurate measurement? Akathisia? Memory impairment in ECT.

            I would add in closing that I am not for a moment denying the lived experience and suffering associated with psychiatric treatment and inflicted by psychiatric treatment. Despite being a psychiatrist I don’t feel a blanket need to defend the profession again critics, many of whom have in my view (and I am circumspect about my own view) good reason.

            I am a persistent critic of psychiatry – for no personal reason, despite being subjected to involuntary treatment, referral for ECT, TMS and much poisoning. I bring a number of perspectives to my evaluation of psychiatry (as my handle suggests) including that of a patient.

            The most important question a clinician should routinely consider is – how would you be / feel in the patients position.

            Best wishes for your continued recovery.

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    • I can’t believe that you came here and supported the use of shock for the care of the elderly! This is not a treatment but a torture and the elderly often already have issues with their memories and things like that. And here you advocate using shock on them, with scrambles the brain.

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      • What good are the elderly? Who gives a rip about them?

        The reason shrinks get away with maiming and killing patients in the name of standard care is they have persuaded society that the test subjects are all useless eaters who should be thankful to be chemically lobotomized or shocked instead of killed.

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    • MedLawPsych – before you go praising ECT as a valid “treatment” consider these:


      Especially: http://www.ectresources.org/Shock_treatment_brochure_June_8.pdf

      ECT is widely used for social control. The poor, the elderly, the disabled, and women are the most common victims (and I don’t use that word lightly) of this “treatment.”

      ECT is traumatic brain injury. I came to this article because I know people who have also been damaged by TMS and this is one of the rare times that I’ve seen the two “treatments” put in the same basket.

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      • Thank you, I will have a look at them and also Peter Breggin’s work.

        You’re right that it has been used as an agent of control. I’ve also seen it used inappropriately for conditions (or perhaps more accurately situations) where it really wouldn’t be expected to do anything (and didn’t), such as eating disorders and “borderline personality”.

        However there have been occasions where I suspect it may have been life saving. True melancholic & psychotic depression.

        Whatever the case I’m personally committed to examine dissent and the evidence.

        A figure I carry is at least 1 in 200 have a permanent memory deficit plus the anaesthetic risk. That figure, which may be an underestimate is quite scary.

        Anyway thanks for your reply and I will have a look at what you kindly referred me to.

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  3. Thanks Robert. I remember a time when working at a university connected teaching Hospital was a actual learning experience for interns, residents, and staff. Critical thinking and analytical questioning were prized. It could be a conduit for a cracking open of the walls of the medical industrial governmental corporate industry.
    I brought my medical ethics prof to our Social Work rounds and he eventually was hired by a leading medical institution but his voice literally disappeared. Ethics should be involved in every aspect of medicine from school and beyond.
    One of the conditions in a ground round I attended was Pellegrea sp? Nutrition based emotional issue. My guess like Lyme Disease, Lupus, and other issues one is seeing only a fragment of the whole. The 12 blind men and the elephant meta metaphor comes to mind.
    They should have had in the best practice of academia comparison and contrast in research. They should have personal accounts from all perspectives, and their should have been an art/ media retrospective of treatment including survivor accounts both nonfiction and fictional.
    This is where Bonnie’s book needs to be in- all the bibliographies from medical, nursing, pt, ot, rd education and into alll the community college courses.
    The psych departments should also have tumor boards and all that goes with inpatient medical work at an academic teaching center.
    There was one patient and I have heard other accounts of both benign or malignant tumors causing supposed “ psych” symptoms.
    You could put your name in for a presentation next year. You have the status. And even if it’s for nursing assistants it is a seed or a weed which ever metaphor works for you.
    Cover it with a trendy title and then at least create a ground work for critical thinking.
    “ Splendor in the Grass” would be benign but give folks a what is wrong with now type of view. Doesn’t have to be big or flashy.
    I would love to see if you could pull this idea off.

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      • Psychiatry has not been captured by the medico-Pharma-industrial complex. It is enabled by it and utilised by the state to dehumanise and destroy people with toxic drugs.

        The history of psychiatry is one of mass murder. If anyone wishes to click on my name they can run through my comments and find the harrowing video evidence. One can only conclude from that evidence that it is a crime against humanity and needs to be abolished.

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          • That is correct Rachel777 Hitler used the killing methods of the psychiatrists. It wasn’t the other way round of psychiatrists under the boot of the Nazi’s. The possibly even more disturbing thing is that from – what I’ve heard – the court cases against these criminals went on untill 1972 and they judged it was the correct thing to do so they went free.

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          • Interesting comment, wonder what the evidence is.
            Certainly the medical profession generally and psychiatrists in particular did support the regime.
            But eugenics was not discredited as it has been since, Churchill and many elements of the US were sympathetic to those sort of views.
            However tempting it may be for some to ascribe all evil, including Hitler’s to Psychiatry, I doubt it’s a view that really stands scrutiny.

            That’s not to say of course that Psychiatry has a shameful history but I suspect one should careful not to confuse a hatred of psychiatry with all evils.

            We used to use leeches and believe in the 4 humours

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          • I think the problem with this argument is that the basis of eugenics is an assumption that certain human lives are worth less than others. While the specific arguments for eugenics (eliminating “bad genes” from the gene pool) have been discredited scientifically, psychiatry, besides a few mavericks, continues to perpetuate the belief that there are certain people who have genetic defects, which make them less valuable as human beings. The ongoing denial of the impact of traumatic events and stress, which began in Freud’s day or before, continues to be central to the DSM model and the label-and-drug approach used by today’s “modern” psychiatrists. It’s all about “blaming the brain.”

            We have progressed from leeches based on scientific analysis of what causes physiological diseases and the substitution of rational approaches developed from increased understanding of what is really going on. Psychiatry has not made any similar progress, and in fact, seems to have deteriorated in effectiveness and respect for research data as the years have moved onward. It is not valid to compare psychiatry’s failures with primitive medicine, as in psychiatry’s case, the data is there but is denied due to conflicts of interest.

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          • You’re right Steve. Racism aside, eugenics was based on the idea that not only attributes like physical beauty, strength and intelligence were hereditary but what we call moral behaviors as well. They were obsessed with weeding out the “criminal classes”–often dark skinned people. But not always. They disliked “degenerate” white families too.

            In most cases sterilizing the “mentally ill” without consent is not allowed. Though Pete Earley advocates for forced sterilization and abortions performed on “severely mentally ill” women I hear. Forcing them to take drugs that will likely deform the baby or cause a miscarriage is the only option he sees after all.

            People here have advocated for physician assisted suicide. My response? Be careful what you wish for. They love to force “treatment” on their subjects “in their best interest.” No consent needed. Right now pills and shocks are too lucrative. Methinks that’s why Dr. Pies and others oppose a subject’s “right to die.” You don’t need a doctor for suicide. Ending a life is much easier than preserving it.

            While killing patients makes them look less than humane and drugs/other brain trauma generates more $$$$$$, shrinks get away with all the deaths and disabilities happening to the test subjects on the grounds they tell the public the subjects are a bunch of depraved monsters libel to go on killing frenzies without “treatment.” Thanks to their PR campaign to demonize those they wish to help, nobody cares how many “SMI” folks die under psychiatry.

            That slimy Pharma shill, Jaffe appeared on John Stossel telling him they needed to drug more people to prevent random crime sprees. Stigma–in moderation–is a great publicity tool for psychiatry. Though it can bite them in the butt since people become afraid to get “help.” 😛 Wonder why!

            (Many of Jaffe’s killers were actually on drugs during these episodes–including the kind from your friendly neighborhood drug dealing shrink. 1 in 1,000 get this bad. But about 20% of the adult population is taking SSRIs at any given time. You do the math.)

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          • Psychiatry still adheres to the concept of hereditary “criminal types.” Hence the justification for AOT since the “born criminals” will probably murder unless they cripple them first.

            In ancient China they punished certain people by forcing them to wear a yoke around the neck which prevented free use of the arms and head. Humiliated and crippled, the person wandered about living off hand outs from those who didn’t spit in his face, waiting to die.

            This is an analogy for what psychiatry does, only it pretends to be helping those it punishes for being genetically criminal types. (According to the arbitrary standards they vote into existence.)

            The officials in ancient China never pretended to be helping those they afflicted. Modern psychiatrists show more chutzpah and less insight than they did.

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          • I was just watching a documentary that talked about this…I had never realized there was such a strong connection between psychiatry, eugenics and the Holocaust.
            When I was considering my new psychiatrist proposal of ECT (I’ve been referred to him after six years with the psychiatrist who basically prescribed and slept during sessions and kept no records,… Referred to the second psychiatrist for a second opinion),I told the ECT psychiatrist that I’d heard a lot about short-term memory problems for people who underwent the treatment. This psychiatrist, who used ECT more than anybody else at the large teaching hospital where he did the treatments, told me that he never had a patient of his have any short-term memory problems after undergoing ECT.

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          • However tempting it may be for some to ascribe all evil, including Hitler’s to Psychiatry, I doubt it’s a view that really stands scrutiny.

            Sorry to have to point this out on Christmas, but you really need to learn your history before accusing people of making specious claims. The American Journal of Psychiatry once advocated the killing (“euthanasia”) of recalcitrant “mental patients,” and a keynote speaker at the APA supported the same. It was stated at the Nuremberg trials that without the complicity of psychiatry the Holocaust may have never occurred.

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        • I’m sorry you have had such a difficult path & would like to understand better how supportive measures may have been a batter approach. I think there is not enough feedback from those with your lives experience. It behooves the profession to understand as best it can what you mention.

          It’s terrible that your experience of psychiatry has been of barbarism – it would seem an indictment of the attention you recieved.

          Unfortunately there is not enough listening and too much prescribing.

          If there isn’t an appropriate and helpful trusting relationship not much can happen.

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      • You forget abusive family members too. I’m lucky mine loved me enough to help me escape and give me a place to recover from years of traumatic brain injury.

        Gas lighting occurs. Psychiatrists, as a whole, tend to side with abusers since they know how to smile and put on a great front. And they often foot the bill.

        The same family members who have the legal right to shock the subject I might add.

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  4. What’s not harmful quackery about Electroshock and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation!? The fact that these maltreatments are being used primarily to target women and the elderly is only more cause for concern. Brain trauma is not the best way to treat human beings, and other living creatures.

    Great blog post here. Thank you for it, and I hope you get somewhere with it.

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      • Yes. As Peter Breggin says, the reason shrinks get away with all the damage they do is they inflict it on those viewed as society’s ogres. Fortunately for them (the shrinks) only they have the magical power to spot ogres from Real People.

        Society’s expendable members often include the disabled, foster kids, the elderly, and those already suffering TBI. Like a pack of ravenous wolves picking off the stragglers and weakest members of the flock. So moves the APA.

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        • Not entirely Rose Kennedy was given an Icepick lobotomy. I’ve given ECT to a Captain if Industry and doctors and politicians. I’ve also argued strenuously against its use.
          I’m not sure what US practice is, other than knowing your medical system is appalling, expensive and and broken. Friends of mine travel to the use to provide (non-psychiatric) medical care to the poor

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          • I agree. I was speaking in generalities.

            There are a few rich people like Brittany Spears, Patty Duke, and Hemingway. MANY (not all) of these were forced into “treatment” by embarrassed relatives.

            I sought it out myself. I was “deep”, sensitive and high strung. Not popular character traits in this era.

            Being bullied throughout high school and the social pressure of being a preacher’s daughter who kept getting nagged for my “weird” behaviors, I strove to normalize myself with psychiatry. Unfortunately I got weirder than ever.

            I have decided as long as it’s moral and legal I don’t care how eccentrically I behave. My family seems happier too.

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    • Can’t agree completely but yes there is much quackery. When you’ve got an actively suicidal elderly man who feels his guts are rotting, the devil is after him and hears the voices of demons, what would YOU do? Bearing in mind if he does from suicide next week and you haven’t given him ECT for his psychotic depression you WILL be easy meat for the families lawyers who will have a preponderance of medical experts lining up to call you negligent?

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      • “When you’ve got an actively suicidal elderly man who feels his guts are rotting, the devil is after him and hears the voices of demons, what would YOU do?”

        Well first I would ascertain if the drugs were causing the problems (toxic psychosis/akathisia) by doing a Cytochrome P450 test. I would not label him with ‘psychotic depression’. The labels have to be removed… they very much harm us.

        There are a number of other – physical/biology – things that can cause his problems.. they need looking into. And then I would look at what has happened in his life.

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          • Thankyou Steve…it wasn’t done in my case and I almost died three times. ‘psychotic depression’ usually = Akathisia/toxic psychosis. The very last thing any psychiatrist will do is bring people off the drugs.And if they do, it is always too fast AND the withdrawal symptoms always seen as another ‘illness’ ofcourse another drug enforced and the nightmare goes on.

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          • People can become toxic on Nytol or another natural sleeping aid containing valerian and parcetamol and there are plenty of common food stuffs herbs and spices that inhibit /block CYP Even black tea inhibits all of CYP450 –

            “Plenty of research suggests that drinking tea is healthful, but research also shows that black tea can have powerful inhibitory effects on the P450 drug-metabolizing system. In a laboratory study performed by Canadian researchers, black tea was found to be a more powerful inhibitor of the enzymes than single-ingredient herbal teas such as St. John’s wort, goldenseal, feverfew, or cat’s claw.5 Herbal tea blends were second only to black tea in their inhibitory effects. While the researchers said it is difficult to extrapolate the findings and precisely apply them to humans, they do believe the study accurately identified products for low or high levels of drug interactions.”


            My view – irrespective of no drugs a CYP450 test should be done.

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        • The last paragraphs basic and elementary – axiomatic even, naturally done. I’d be interested in your views on classification and communication – particularly a coherent means of communicating to others what you’re detailing with. So you’ve got a depressed man with delusions and hallucinations – what’s the plan?

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          • The old plan with a new twist would be start with his feelings. Acknowledge fears. Do some Beryl Rothschild techniques with sensory motor aspects of calming and coming into the present.
            Then tak a what Fritz Redl would call a time life space interview and try to find the source of the anxiety and or trauma and or trauma trigger. This could take hours so maybe s walk outside some coffee and some food. Another choice could be calling on your friends Peer Irganization Liasin to do this Sometimes degrees literally mean nothing.
            If a cause or conditions can be identified if the fear and tangled trauma thinking is lessened and oh yes
            Tangled trauma thinking in this state NO HUMAN can function on a totally logical or rational basis.
            Then the choice could be the friendly 24 hour trauma center for community and more support and or the friendly respite house. And really WHAT DOES HE WANT OR SEE as needs.
            Putin a limb 24 something to help but last last resort.
            Of course this is not insurance or NAMI family friendly though if one could ever change their thinking –
            And your professional administration and the MBA hospital set could be up in arms not to mention the staff around you that are APPALLED simply APALLED that you are not probating here and now.
            The resources and knowledge base is present but the systems and ALL or many of the folks are resistant to change.
            I walked away when it got to unbearable.

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          • “So you’ve got a depressed man with delusions and hallucinations – what’s the plan?” Since depression is a naturally painful expression of depressing life circumstances, I would ask if there was anything that I could do to help. I would promote more justice if possible, but since I would probably have little ability to promote more justice, I would generally offer empathy. I would also reference a therapy program that understands emotional suffering as natural consistent with Unified Alternative Therapies (free online at UnifiedAlternatives.org), Open Dialogue and e-CPR.

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          • A “hearing voices” group could also be helpful, but I would only make such a suggestion after a good, long chat about what the “patient” thinks is going on. There could be lots of other ways to go, but I’d never know until I actually connected with the person having these experiences.

            As an example, a friend of mine’s husband (in his 80s) was losing his hearing and was increasingly in despair about his life. He took lots of drugs that didn’t work, then was “offered” “ECT.” I tried to discourage her from considering it, but they were desperate and she still trusted psychiatrists. So they did it and it had no discernible effect. Soon after, they spent 6 months in Palm Springs and other places in southern California. His depressed state lifted and he required no further ‘treatment.’

            Every person is different, and the idea that “depression” is the problem is almost always incorrect. It’s an indicator of a problem the person feels unable to figure out, whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, and the key is finding out what the problem is, not making the “depression” go away.

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          • “So you’ve got a depressed man with delusions and hallucinations – what’s the plan?”

            First, why do you “have” him? Has he harmed someone? What about the guy running down the street naked in the rain, I hear a lot about him too. These stereotypical examples have no answers because in reality you are talking about actual individuals, not caricatures.

            I’m with Steve up to the point of promoting ANY “therapy” with a brand name. The possible value of any such process depends entirely on the individual practicing it, not the particular “school.” In fact anyone engaged in counseling who describes it as “therapy” is suspect in my book.

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          • Hi MedLawPsych,

            First, I want to state that I appreciate your attempts to be thoughtful.

            When you asked ‘what to do with a person who is delusional and hallucinating’, this is my take. First I think you are making HUGE assumptions by using the toxic words ‘delusions’ and ‘hallucinations’. They prejudge the person’s experience.

            My wife has d.i.d. I ALWAYS assume that the various ‘alters’ (gag, ack, hate that term) are describing their reality correctly, and it’s up to me to enter into their reality instead of judging theirs by my own. Once I learned to do that, their worlds made sense.

            It’s kind of like entering the Matrix. It is VERY MUCH a real world to the people who are in it. And me declaring by fiat that they are delusional and hallucinating carries NO weight to someone inside the Matrix. I’ve found it much better to enter the world my wife’s ‘alters’ live in. Yes, it was a world created in trauma and it was frozen in the past, but my presence in that world gives them a stability they NEVER had before. And as I interact with them, love them unconditionally and give them the safety they never knew, then little by little they have started to examine their world with the current one they have with me…and all of them are moving to the world they share with me and our son. But I never do it by coercion. I make it clear that I love each of them no matter what they choose or believe.

            So back to your question. I believe it’s the wrong question. I believe everything the girls tell me has a basis in truth and in their experience and when I walk with them in it, then it frees each to move forward and into the present.

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      • I wouldn’t give him ECT. ECT used to be used primarily as a control mechanism. Today it is used in the “treatment” of depression. A “man who feels his guts are rotting, the devil is after him and hears the voices of demons” sounds like a man who is terrified. He is also a person who shouldn’t be subjected to ECT merely because of his fears. If it weren’t for the sedatives given before ECT, ECT, as in the old days, would be a terrifying experience in itself. These sedatives don’t make ECT a safer experience, they just knock the patient out so he doesn’t know how traumatic the experience he just went through was. Any other available treatment alternative is preferable. The remedial effects of ECT are identical with the effects of serious trauma to the brain. There are many questions to begin with about the long term effectiveness of ECT, and head trauma is not likely to clear this man’s thinking up, long term or short term.

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      • So, it sounds like you’re thinking more about yourself than the true and real welfare of the older gentleman you described. So, you would give shock to save your behind at all costs? Maybe it would be better to get out of psychiatry period and do something else.

        So why don’t you just take a baseball bat and hit the man in the head with it? You’ll get the same kind of results as you would from giving him shock and I guess you’d save your butt at the same time.

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          • Well sure you would say that, as a bunch of other shrinks declare. Simple to say, bc unlikely to happen.
            So, you use ECT/TBI on patients and argue against its use. How does that work?
            I had ECT. It destroyed my mind, my life, my career, and made me suicidal. People kill themselves after decades of their lives are destroyed.
            This is a quack procedure. I would have been better to have been smashed in the head with a baseball bat.
            “Doctors” administering shock belong in prison, being shocked and given neuroleptic so they can really be educated about what they are doing to distressed, vulnerable people.

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          • I wouldn’t want somebody to give it to me if I was in his shoes because I have, in a sense, been in those shoes. As a prisoner in a psychiatric institution, one tremendous fear has always been of the authorities inflicting damage upon me with the claim that doing so would quicken my return to society through the use of such a device as electroshock. Ditto, the no longer popular practice of radical brain surgery (i.e. lobotomy). (Cuckoo’s Nest, remember.) I would not have ingested neuroleptics if I had had my way about it. I think doctors should have better things to do with their medical skills than proclaiming a damaging procedure beneficial. If the suspicion is, for example, that one thinks too much, the answer, in psychiatric terms, is to lessen one’s capacity to do so. I could not see damaging this poor man without his consent, and in his case, it would probably be somebody else’s consent that you would use to get him, as you see it, returned to “sanity”.

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        • Not quite. Simply pointing out a possible consequence of not doing it in a clear situation. You have actually twisted my words somewhat. It’s not at all matter of shock to save ones behind, it’s a matter of defending the position of not giving it when it is indicated and a patient suiciding as their depression was unrelieved. With my medical litigation hat, I know how that would be dealt with.

          Doesn’t mean that possibility affects every decision.

          As for baseball bats, that’s a bit of a straw man argument. Although far too many barbaric “treatments” have admittedly been used in psychiatry which doesn’t have a glorious history!

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          • it’s a matter of defending the position of not giving it when it is indicated and a patient suiciding as their depression was unrelieved

            Again OMG. There’s really no way to respond to something like this.

            Just remember what Hemingway said prior to his ECT-induced suicide: “It was a brilliant cure doc but you lost the patient.”

            Maybe the most logical answer for this guy that you’ve “got” for whatever reason is to keep him in a medically induced coma; he would be technically alive but would stay safe and out of trouble. It would be fairly convenient, all told.

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      • I have experienced psychotic depression. I have experienced ECT. My (now) husband has described to me the horrors he experienced caring for me during and after my ECT treatment. I cannot remember this time but when he speaks of it I can palpably feel the deep grief he feels for having encouraged me to go through with such a barbaric treatment and the effect of how my behavior changed (rapid and violent switching of affect especially) in the weeks and months following my treatments. We would have gotten through the depression far better with supportive measures. He is deeply scarred by that experience and I am aware of a profound personality change before and after. I lost my treating psychiatrist of 12 years due to behaviors (after ECT) I cannot remember. I have lost all but one steadfast friend. I have spent the last four years trying to put my life back together. I am grateful to have finally figured out that Psychiatry is inherently barbaric, but I would not advocate giving a patient brain damage in order to (temporarily) relieve their depressed state. This method of treatment is torture, plain and simple. It’s practitioners should be jailed. The devices should be banned.

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        • I’m sorry you have had such a difficult path & would like to understand better how supportive measures may have been a batter approach. I think there is not enough feedback from those with your lives experience. It behooves the profession to understand as best it can what you mention.

          It’s terrible that your experience of psychiatry has been of barbarism – it would seem an indictment of the attention you recieved.

          Unfortunately there is not enough listening and too much prescribing.

          If there isn’t an appropriate and helpful trusting relationship not much can happen.

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          • There is all kinds of feedback given from people that have been brutalized by shock, but psychiatry won’t listen! I’ve listened to “patients” pleading with their psychiatrist not to send them for the next shock “treatment” and the psychiatrist just sat there with a blank face and told the staff to send the young man on his way for “treatment”. It was awful and disgusting and I agree that psychiatrists who insist on doing this to people need to be sent to jail…….or they need to get a nice dose of their own “medicine” by receiving a few shock “treatments” themselves.

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  5. My question to Robert .. normally the end of a grand round there is question time did you or anyone else query or question or did you all just sit there like planks nodding ?? that is the place this is won or lost most grand rounds also serve a great lunch hopefully everyone had a good feed off the misery of others less fortunate than them.

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    • Your angry, and I don’t doubt you have good reason to be. I certainly have from both sides of the desk. There is much to be cynical about in heath care delivery, including who it really serves. Doctors don’t start out to screw patients over, but little by little they get socialised and moved towards big corporate agendas and profit, almost imperceptibly.

      Go to your work and tell your boss he’s an unprincipled money grabbing selfish idiot. See how long you last.

      Having said that, the dominant paradigm must be questioned and undone.

      It’s tough and forums like these are where it starts.

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        • Thank you. Most of the time I’m deprescribing and reducing and ceasing meds. I started in Psychiatry in 1989 and have seen the false start of the “decade of the brain” and the profession move closer and closer to the drug companies and a ridiculous 10% of people take antidepressants which even BigPharma grudgingly acknowledge increase the risk of suicide.

          I’m terms of my own (or any practitioner’s responsibility) I see that as making strenuous efforts to get the best possible information (and that generally means not ghost written papers funded by BigPharma or sponsored by their (IMHO) poodles like Charles Nemeroff or Henry Nasrallah – Dollars for Docs is a good site)

          For me, despite the understable vitriol of those who have suffered as patients at the hands of psychiatrists (as have I), having visited this site I’m prompted to have a close look at some of the references provided by others on the alleged damage caused by ECT.

          Anyways, thank you for your response

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          • “Alleged damage”?? Seriously.
            Somatics, maker of this torture device added “permanent brain damage” as a risk on its website after DK lawfirm’s lawsuit settlements for 2 victims of shock.
            As in, it happens. And this has been known for 80 years, just hidden, lied about, and misrepresented.

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          • I’m not sure one can call it “alleged” damage. As I’ve said, we know that seizures cause neurological damage. That’s why people get treatment for seizure disorders. There is nothing else going on with “ECT” than the induction of a seizure, and we know the effect of “ECT” is to cause a closed head injury. The fact that not everyone suffers permanent damage doesn’t take away from the fact that there is damage to the brain, and that this is, in fact, the entire effect of the “treatment.”

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          • I wouldn’t call the damage done to my grandmother in the late 50’s as “alleged”. Shock turned a vibrant woman who was an artist, gardener, and Wise Woman among her Native American people into an empty husk of a woman. After the shock all she did was sit at the kitchen table staring at the floor and drinking coffee and chain smoking cigarettes. She didn’t even recognize me as her grandson. No more art, no more gardening, no more anything. This was a woman who could go out into her yard and call hummingbirds down to sit in the upturned palms of her hands, before the shock. Please don’t tell me that this was “alleged” damage.

            I’m interested in the fact that you became a psychiatrist when you are a person with lived experience. There are other psychiatrists out there with lived experience but the ones I’m thinking about don’t take part in the drugging or the shocking of people. Why are you a psychiatrist?

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    • I “attended” this ground rounds event by remote internet connection–so I was not able to participate in any discussion–though it would have been good thing to do. However, even if I had been there in person, I wouldn’t have been able to get any comments in. There was very little (if any, I just don’t recall) time for discussion. It’s a good point you’re making and one of these days, I’m going to try to get up there for one. I am having a meeting next week with one of the faculty members, someone I’ve known for quite a long time, and you can be sure I will be trying to get in my 2 cents worth (maybe even a Nikkel’s worth).

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  6. Great article! Great to ask who is paying for the electroshock.
    “It is disturbing to learn that public funds in Oregon are paying for ECT for Medicaid-eligible people.”

    great story “the staff came to Dean and told him that the drug had worked a miracle”+ “I’ve been cheeking them the whole time.”

    Regarding “push these kinds of inquiries”
    A quote from the movie the Matrix
    “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”

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      • Me Too, having had it, go “click click click” over my head felt very silly. I haven’t read the voluminous literature on it, but my sense is (for what that’s worth) it’s not particularly effective. Other’s would disagree. However, I suspect if it was truly effective, it would be used a whole lot more than it is.

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          • I half agree. Exercise is vastly more effective than any pill but is rarely sufficiently recommended. I wonder though self interest at least would tend to result in TMS being pushed much harder if it were truly effective. Part of the problem is that Psychiatry is not awash with effective treatments (at least ones that are quick, simple and easy). People dont seem to want to spend the time, as time is not as well remunerated and many don’t have the confidence to provide effective talk based assistance.

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          • Would you deny that one of the primary motivations for proposing and supporting the “chemical imbalance” theory and the DSM worldview is simple greed, the drive for money and power? There are documents from the mid to late 1970s where psychiatric leaders acknowledge that this is their aim. “It is difficult to make someone understand something when their salary depends on their not understanding it.”

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          • I think most “mental health” folks use the procedures with these 3 directives in mind.

            1. Making money.
            2. Making the subject quiet, docile, and easy to control.
            3. Making the subject feel less suicidal–as long as it doesn’t violate either of the first two directives.

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          • My pills work as a placebo for my parents. I pop supplements from time to time and they think I’m compliant since they believe if I quit taking my “meds” I’d wind up at MacDonalds in my underwear in the wee hours of the morning.

            (We knew a “bipolar” man this happened too, but he went cold turkey. Dad–his clergy–talked to the shrink who told him that was D’s “illness” and all would be fine if D weren’t a crazy fool who refused to take his “meds.” That frightened me so much I was the Perfect Patient for over 20 years.)

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        • My bro-in-law had TMS and hasn’t said what good it did (at least he wasn’t harmed, and he was at a prestigious Melbourne brain institute) – he did several months/years? of neurofeedback with good results, but there was only so much they could “fix.”

          There are many cowboys in the TMS field, who just set up shop and do not study fMRI or anything. So – who you get has a lot to do with how effective it is. So for example, here in Australia – I would consider (if desperate, which I am not) the Melbourne clinic ONLY. They at least have the ethics to stop if the treatment isn’t doing anything – or – if it’s doing unwelcome things.

          Click click!

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          • I wasn’t aware (or remembered) that RW in his excellent book spoke of a deliberate conflation of antipschiatry with CCHR. It would make sense as a strategy as it enables one to use a “straw man” approach – e.g. “oh, you don’t like Psychiatry, but you believe in Xenu, aliens and Hawaiian volcanoes etc etc” – ridiculing the opponent while not really engaging on the crucial issue.

            I don’t think there’s a central group that plots psychiatry’s rise and retention of power, per se, but suspect that something works systemically, to effectively maintain incomes, and generate (obscene) profits.

            The chemical imbalance lie is merely a convenient sham where psychiatry attempts to achieve a conventional medical legitimacy, which, in many instances, it is not entitled to. Treating “depression” is not like managing blood sugar or PKU.

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  7. Just wish to say it’s been a very provoking situation on this post and I’m still left wondering why we bother so much and seem to get no where. The practices going on today in psychiatry are barbaric with ‘autistic’ children locked away in padded cells and subject to neurotoxic polypharmacy. People on CTO’s and sectioned in hellish ‘hospitals’ forced to endure injections of neuotoxic drugs causing the very horrific problems. It has most certainly got to stop and the so called authorities have to realise that the so called ‘experts’ are the perpetrators of a crime. And all to often… their excuses…well what would you do….

    For god sake stop these people.

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      • Gosh, people shouldn’t be “allowed” to see or not see anything. What you or I believe is not, fundamentally, up to anyone else.

        That’s really scary speech.

        If people in general saw it as a failed branch, I believe we’d be off what you call a Hamster wheel.

        Psychiatry in the main, is not generally seen as a failed branch of medicine at all, but an indispensible aspect of medical care. The evidence for this is its funding, remuneration and place in medical school curricula.

        I think though there are far far greater means of repression than psychiatry, such as the law & our politics and the use of war and conflict as a tool of power.

        That statement will doubtless result in howls of anger and all sorts, which is perhaps understandable, but still questionable.

        Because, making the observation, is of course not the same as my being completely happy with the practice of psychiatry.

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    • The authorities, or those with the legal power to intervene, will not, except in the most egregious cases, find the so called experts guilty of anything, because to do so would implicate them.

      I frequently see drug induced psychosis morph into so called schizophrenia with CTOs and depot injections used. It’s heartbreaking.

      The current laws are clear regarding clearly explaining side effects and documenting them. Using these laws would be a good place to start.

      Within the profession, unless you are a Breggin, you run the risk of being instantly labelled and not listened to if you go about it the wrong way. The ultimate goal has to be moving the profession towards a more rational, less drug based approach.

      I think one reason why psychiatrists prescribe too much is that they are uncomfortable with their skills – they have perhaps been de skilled in favour of biological “treatments” which pay much better. Who but the rich can afford $10,000 a year for talking therapy?

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      • And the pharmaceutical companies make billions off of the label-and-drug model, while talking therapy leaves them broke. So it must all be about brain chemistry, because that’s what pulls in the big bucks. Plus, if you start actually CURING people, you’ll have to find new clients, and that’s SO much work…

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      • No, we don’t need to “move the profession towards a more rational, less drug based approach”. What we need to do is remove psychiatry as a branch of medicine, period. What else are psychiatrists good for, with the exception of Breggin and Dan Fisher and a few more, other than forcing drugs on people? In all the dealings that I’ve had with psychiatrists, both as a “patient” and as a fellow staff member, only one even came close to knowing how to do any real talk therapy! If their lives depended on being able to do therapy they’d all be dead. They don’t even teach psychiatrists how to do therapy in med school and none of them are required to undergo any kind of psychotherapy to discover their own issues that drive them without their knowledge. They are some of the least self-aware people that I’ve ever had to deal with. Many of the “patients” that I deal with on a daily basis have much more insight into themselves and the world around them than the people forcing them into “treatment”.

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        • I agree. There is no way anyone should be allowed around a “helping profession” with power over vulnerable people without making certain they have their own childhood issues under control. Unfortunately, that means most of those doing those jobs would be out.

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  8. You – we must bother. Both from inside and out.
    Bipolar diagnoses are going through the roof, as are Autism Spectrum Disorder, and 10% on Antidepressants. Don’t get me started on the Opiate of the Masses. It all seems to involve the medicalisation of human distress and that distress created by increasing injustice and income inequality. Medicine and Psychiatrists are not the answer to these problems. Antidepressants can be useful, but usually aren’t. I don’t believe Antipsychotics are protective of the brain (!??). Brains aren’t made to have foreign chemicals put in them (forgive the logical and philosophical assumptions in such a remark). Enough Meth will give most people a psychosis, which will likely lessen with Antipsychotics, but that doesn’t mean such a person should be wrongly branded schizophrenic and put on CTO’s. Anyways, one has to bother. In the spirit of Voltaire, I may not like the antipsychiatry movement or the CCCH that much, but they are essential. There has to be checks and balances on power (and psychiatry has fearsome power sometime), especially when profit and social control is involved. Not all checks work for the common good, eg 2nd amendment rights don’t seem to reduce suffering (but even there I’m not sure – perhaps gun ownership saves hundreds of lives a day that we don’t hear of). In my experience a good way to stop a practice is with rigorous fearless science. That’s difficult and expensive, it needs public funding.

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    • Yes. Have you read Anatomy of an Epidemic? Whitaker sums it up nicely.

      Like others, I started out depressed and anxious. The SSRI Anafranil triggered a psychotic manic episode when I was 20.

      I spent the next quarter century paying for it. Unlike some with “bipolar” diagnoses, the mood swings ceased (along with suicidal depression) once I got off my cocktail. My physical health has taken a beating though. Often I feel like a woman of 70 instead of 45.

      Still, many are worse off than I am. I have much to be grateful for. I’m still alive and able to think again! I can’t describe the joy of thinking my own thoughts and feeling my own emotions even on days I can’t leave the house. 🙂

      About income inequality. It stinks to live on $770 a month because you can’t work and haven’t been gainfully employed since your teens. I never wanted to be a career mental patient/consumer/whatever. Pretty tragic.

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      • hey Rachel, have you ever thought about starting your own business? Maybe selling stuff you create? Can’t work or be employed doesn’t necessarily have to mean not having a self-generated income. You are very witty, have a great attitude, and I know you can write well. I have no idea what other creative pluses you might possess, but I’d bet you have what it takes to entrepreneur yourself an income. Money you generate that way is also much more gratifying than landing even a dream job, imho.
        Regardless, you ain’t gonna stay stuck. You’re going places. Your story does not have a tragic ending, I predict. (and, yes, as a matter of fact I am psychic.) 😉

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      • R777 thank you. I hear been a hard road. I too came from a family that was very unlike the mainstream which made the loss of someone close to me hit me hard and derailed me with the result of ending up in SSRI’s for 10 years – dreadful and promoted akathisia and others have blamed it for my substance use which took some years to finally beat. Naturally along the way, referred for ECT (declined – lucky to have the option), TMS (had it but useless) but was given a bunch of wrong diagnoses – (akathisia and suicidal thoughts and behaviour being misdiagnosed as depression and bipolar – psychiatry not being very imaginative or understanding at times.

        Income inequality, the fact that all the productivity gains of the last 25 years have gone to the 1%, rampant obesity (made worse by psych drugs and BigFood), the medicalisation of the resultant human distress, it being a profit making opportunity for drug companies all have a lot to answer for.

        You’ve clearly won though some life threatening times and I applaud and celebrate your survival and success (in all seriousness in spite of psychiatry, not because of it) Well dome you.

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        • Thank you MLP. The fair ends in the summer, so fair has nothing to do with life. Lol.

          I had a rough time in my teens due to my negative attitude. Can’t blame that on psychiatry. Though if I hadn’t sought out psychiatric help, as I was counseled to do, I probably could have straightened out my messed up thinking a lot faster.

          I don’t envy rich people. My problem with Big Pharma CEO’s, marketing specialists, and sales reps is not the money they make, but the deceitful means they use…with no regard for human lives. If they earned big bucks by helping people or even entertaining a lot of people I’d congratulate them on their good fortune.

          I would be happy on $1,500 a month myself. Especially since I could go off disability. I never wanted to live off well-fare. But the drugs, label, and busy work invented by the centers to keep us in line have kept me from employment.

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      • Hey Rachel, your experience sounds so familiar. When people ask me what it’s like to be off meds, the first thing I say is how wonderful it is to be able to think again. What a wonderful gift to again be able to construct a timeline or follow a conversation and respond appropriately. If someone had ever said I had a choice between chronic depression and bipolar, I would have taken the depression. Nobody ever allowed for the possibility that I wasn’t permanently bipolar.

        FWIW, my heart arrhythmia is a side effect of Lyme, though until my Lyme diagnosis I assumed it was due to the meds (YMMV).

        I also thought I had a systemic candida infection and it turns out to be a mycoplasma overgrowth. So, if you’ve tried candida treatments without success, consider the possibility of mycoplasma, which behaves similarly (in the mouth and elsewhere) to candida.

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          • Lyme is a bacteria, iirc – a spirochete, which can burrow into any organ or system and wreak havoc.

            The similarities between Lyme, autoimmune disorders, and those weird ones that docs don’t like (CFS/ME, Fibromyalgia) and withdrawal symptoms – are so shockingly aligned that I can’t help but to wonder how much of these “disorders” are drug induced.

            For example, I have a neighbor. Horrible CFS. But she takes Cymbalta. Which came first? The drug or the CFS?

            Psych drug withdrawal does this autonomic dysregulation thing that can affect all systems.

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    • Bipolar diagnoses are going through the roof, as are Autism Spectrum Disorder, and 10% on Antidepressants. Don’t get me started on the Opiate of the Masses. It all seems to involve the medicalisation of human distress and that distress created by increasing injustice and income inequality. Medicine and Psychiatrists are not the answer to these problems

      I would laud your insight if it were the basis for you to reexamine everything you’re doing, but as it is you seem to view this as simply an “interesting point” to ponder as you attach the electrodes.

      The “opiate of the masses” these days is psychiatry, not oxycontin. It has largely replaced religion as well.

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      • One of the things I try to do not to conflate opinion with fact. Another is to be patient with hostility and rudeness, and to try to listen to the point behind what people are saying. Because, people matter and should be respected, not just the “nice” ones. Whether or not they’ve examined everything they talk about or not (most don’t and just mouth off on the basis of their prejudices, including doctors at times).

        You may regard psychiatry as a greater evil than all other issues, but I wonder I they’re related.

        Sure, I’ve attached electrodes, taught others to do the same, and/but very frequently argued vehemently against ECT. Whether you (or/I) laud a person’s insight or disagree is irrelevant and of no consequence, what matters, is what works and what doesn’t work, the risk benefit analysis. It seems for you and some others ECT is wrong under all circumstances, a view I don’t share but am very interested in)

        Icepick lobotomies I suspect are wrong under all circumstances, I’m not so sure about some surgery for the worst intractable cases chronic OCD, I haven’t reviewed the evidence.

        It’s gotta come back to evidence the end.

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          • Fair point perhaps, it’s a style of speaking, some would say gentle, or avoidant. But yes, ice pick lobotomies, despite their Nobel Prize affiliation, were horrific barbarism. It seems inconceivable they were used at all, just like, to me at least, unmodified ECT. 10% of the population taking “antidepressants”, the rise in rates of Bipolar and ADHD diagnoses all seem horrendous to me.
            ECT remains a live debate in our societies and I believe blogs like this one are crucial in that debate. I haven’t come to the absolute position that ECT is always and forever wrong although I believe it is overused esp. in some contexts.

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          • Lobotomies are making a comeback, believe it or not. “Treatment” for “OCD.” Despite there being behavior modification ways of dealing with these obsessions just like phobias.

            They use fancy machines to destroy the sections of the brain that light up when you think of what you obsess over. Ice picks aren’t used anymore for the same reason EC machines are used instead of wooden baseball bats.

            A couple thoughts:
            1. More profit in expensive machines than pills now. Hence the comeback of shocking people.
            2. Using pricey medical-seeming machines looks more professional than ice picks or wooden bats.

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      • Your 10% number only tells part of the story. The last statistics released said 1 in 6 people take some kind of psychiatric drug. When you break it down into groups, over 20% of women take at least one psychiatric drug. Over 25% of middle aged women take at least one psych drug. Starting to sound a little sexist to shut those uppity women up? The ones struggling to get by in an age where everyone has to have a job in order to pay taxes to support the war machine and yet we get so little in return from our government except being told to be good consumers and go into massive debt each year to prop up the economy (and buy a bunch of useless shit whose manufacture and distribution are destroying the earth.) Sound familiar yet? And how can anyone wonder why so many people are so damn miserable. It doesn’t even take a high ACE score for a thinking person to realize this shit ain’t right.

        Additionally, the only reason the opioid epidemic even matters is because it’s happening to white people. The federal government and states didn’t give two shits about drug overdoses until it effected the white community so hard, and only because it’s a quick death compared to the slow death of prescription drugs.

        If the drugs were the wonderful cures and treatments they’re claimed to be, the drug companies wouldn’t need to advertise to consumers to get as many hooked as possible. Who has an interest in getting the masses hooked on prescriptions drugs of all types? Firstly, anyone who owns stock in a drug company. Secondly, anyone who is employed anywhere in the drug-funded industry from research to development to sales.

        I can’t even stomach the topic of ECT and TMS anymore. These are such horrifically harmful brain damage inducing treatments that it’s hard to conceive of anyone recommending them anymore. I used to think TMS was relatively harmless even if it did nothing, but I’ve read enough stories now to know better. I think it’s a shame that a provider who would turn down ECT for himself doesn’t have the same forethought and compassion for his patients.

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        • I wish no one took those drugs. But blaming it on the “Patriarchy Conspiracy” isn’t accurate since women are more apt to see shrinks voluntarily and urge others to do so.

          I have come across forums where women were urging wives of abusive husbands not to be afraid to seek out “treatment” since “Depression is a real brain disease. I seed it on TV!” Ugh.

          Of course the regulars at MIA know what happens when battered wives seek out “help” from a shrink. They need to figure out an escape plan. Not pop pills.

          Unhappiness and nervousness over abuse is a healthy reaction to an unhealthy situation.

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          • Isn’t your first paragraph sort of contradicted by the rest of your post? Also, aren’t many of the women “voluntarily” seeing shrinks being pushed in that direction by others?

            Patriarchy isn’t so much a “conspiracy” as a fact of existence in this era (and throughout much of “his story”), though I would not deny that there are always de facto conspiracies afoot to divide women and lessen their political power.

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          • Not arguing with your example, but I do want to point out that a large percentage of women are partly or fully supportive of patriarchy. Remember Anita Bryant? Internalized oppression is very real and necessary for the elite to maintain their authority and control. I think there’s plenty of good evidence that psychiatry has been biased against women from way back, starting with Freud first believing and then recanting his belief that women were, in fact, being sexually abused in large numbers. (I’m sure it really started long before that, but “modern” psychiatry started off with the invalidation of women’s experiences by the wealthy white men who ran the show. I don’t think things have changed that much in terms of the attitude of the psychiatric professionals toward women, even if their rhetoric has gotten more subtle.

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          • The women urging the battered wives to see shrinks denounced the Patriarchy themselves. Totally clueless how a psychiatric diagnosis can effect a divorce case–especially if custody is an issue.

            If you’re fearful of the husband you’re forced to live with why do you need “Major Depression Disorder” to explain your misery for crying out loud? I encouraged one woman to quit her SSRI’s–warning her they could cause mania and get her the hard label of “bipolar 2” as well as interfering with her ability to think and plan the necessary escape instead of popping pills. She followed my advice and quit seeing the quack–putting her fight-or-flight response into escaping her cruel husband. 🙂

            Leaving one abuser for a network of abusers is a bad idea. But they were naive and thought “doctors” are all good guys and saviors.

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        • The federal government and states didn’t give two shits about drug overdoses until it effected the white community so hard, and only because it’s a quick death compared to the slow death of prescription drugs.

          Good point. Anyone with a sense of history knows that darker-skinned neighborhoods have been periodically flooded with heroin, crack, etc. by the CIA and its ilk. These are gradually being replaced by antidepressants, I would surmise.

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        • Hello Kindredspirit, in my own defence, I find myself frequently arguing against the use of ECT and disparaging its use in the majority of cases where I’m involved. For example, in a young woman (often women’s) with a history of CSA, anorexia and deliberate self harm – there’s little chance ECT will help and a high likelihood it will cause persistent problems. I don’t take an absolute position on it, but in terms of the spectrum of views are about as far to the “nay” as is possible to be without being a genuine expert on the subject. I wouldn’t want it because I fear the 1% memory impairment figure is a dimensional rather than categorical figure, in other words 1% have a clearly identifiable sever and persistent deficit, but many more have problems that don’t achieve definition. I would view the risk benefit calculation as akin to amputation. You don’t want to lose the arm but may have to. I suspect many will dislike that metaphor, but I would emphasise it involves and explicit recognition of actual harm – which many (most?) would not accept at all, seeing it instead as a rare and uncommon side effect (a view I don’t share)

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          • What if a doctor thinks I should get my arm amputated for a sprained wrist? I object to his brilliant solution and he locks me up and amputates it against my will on the grounds that I must have agosognosia?

            For the record I have never been through shock treatments. But those who have had their brains mutilated for no clear purpose–such as removing a cancerous tumor through neurosurgery–deserve to be heard.

            They have to suffer the long term trauma of brain damage as opposed to the shrinks or ECT machine vendors whose only concerns after these procedures are finding luxury tax loopholes on their new yachts. Most likely the shrink who shocked Mrs. Smith won’t have to listen to her as she struggles to remember her grandchildren’s names, can no longer perform basic organizational tasks, play the piano or–in some cases–read.

            The benefits of ECT are pretty one-sided.

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    • I agree that rigorous science is the path to sane practices. Unfortunately, there seems to be such a commitment at this time to perpetuating the model regardless of or in direct contravention to science, that doing research alone doesn’t appear to be sufficient. Consider that Wunderlink and Harrow and others have shown consistently that long-term use of antipsychotics does not generally lead to recovery, but instead increases the likelihood that recovery will never occur. This is known, proven, consistent with observation. And yet it has barely made a bump in the road for psychiatry’s continuing drive down the ‘let’s drug ’em early to head off psychosis’ roadway.

      Science is wonderful when practiced well, but it appears that politics and economics have to be addressed before this mess is ever going to change.

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      • Oldhead said “psychiatry needs to admit it’s not medicine” (paraphrased).

        Steve says Science is wonderful when practiced well.

        It is my experience that Medicine is no longer Science. I have been harmed as much by unnecessary surgeries and GP drugs, as I have psych drugs. Hysterectomy, Thyroidectomy, “bowel repair” that has only made things worse (they want to “fix” the bowel surgery with a mesh – read up on the lawsuits about that one). Statins anyone? PPI’s anyone? Anyone here been FLOXED? (I haven’t but I just read a heart rending post from someone who was – and at one month out thinks she is a “survivor” not understanding the long term consequences…)

        So I don’t know where to fit my “antipsychiatry” with my “anti-corporate medicine.”
        For me, they feel like the same basket, with the psychiatry apples being the worst of the bunch. I do know that psychiatry brought my attention to the fact that medicine was harming me, too.

        So – MLP – as you go looking for “evidence” be sure and follow the money as well. Read Dr. Goetzsche’s excellent “Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime” before you believe any published study ever again.

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        • That said – the hysterectomy and thyroidectomy and bowel surgery could have been avoided if I’d not been on psych drugs – but – the doctors, they never look at the psych drugs, they just look for “treatments” and “interventions” and drugs.

          When I find a doctor who will look at my brain damaged sister (30 years on neuroleptics) and say – you know – your arthritis pain, your cognitive problems – it could be the drugs…

          When I find that doctor I will cheer and find hope that there is at least one. But my sister – in the system – cannot afford to shop for “functional medicine” or even an osteopath because it’s not in her Medicare/Medicaid based system.

          When a “system” doc says these things – I will begin to have hope for medicine. Until then, they are all just as suspicious to me as psychiatrists.

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          • I have similar feelings toward medical doctors. They seem to have a real unwillingness to look at obvious connections. At one point I was on three or four psych meds, all of the weight-gain variety, and my internist was hyper focused on my metabolic syndrome (I’ve had high blood pressure ever since a short trial of parnate made my blood pressure skyrocket), but didn’t want to talk about the psych meds and the effect they might be having.
            I’m 52 now and I’ve read a lot about childhood trauma causing physical problems in middle age, like early aging. I would love to find a new primary care doctor who would be willing to have a conversation with me about that. Not even to suggest solutions. Just to have the conversation. That would feel validating or something to me. But I have Medicare, so I don’t think that will happen.

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          • KateL I couldn’t agree more.

            When I complained of numbness going down my legs, and muscle weakness, they didn’t even consider the statins.

            When my sister got diagnosed with brain damage (YES, BRAIN DAMAGE, DIAGNOSED!) they didn’t think to look at the 30 years she’s been on neuroleptics, instead blaming the brain damage on a car accident 30 years ago….

            The early aging is often not from the trauma – it’s from the drugs they give you to treat the trauma. Drugged psych patients die, on average, 30 years younger than undrugged people, of complications that might be blamed on diabetes, heart problems, etc. etc.

            But they never look at the drugs.

            I know it seems wrong, but honestly, paying out-of-pocket for a DO or other compassionate provider, is worth every penny.

            To taper your drugs, go to http://www.survivingantidepressants.org where there are protocols and forum support.

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          • I know my brain is damaged. It’s scary but I have almost no executive function skills now. Seriously.

            If I get my own place far enough away from my folks I plan on being minimalist. The only way I can keep a clean, orderly home is to keep as few items to organize as possible.

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        • Jan Carol

          It is my experience that Medicine is no longer Science.

          That’s another level, but I largely agree. The difference is that what you call “medicine” is actually bad medicine, but psychiatry is fake medicine. Does that make any sense?

          Also, to tweak your paraphrase, psychiatry will never concede that is not medicine; what we need is for people to understand that it is not medicine.

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          • Thank you Oldhead – yes. Psychiatry is not science, it’s not medicine. But medicine is more and more corrupt at the core, I’m beginning to think it’s got elements of fake, too (especially on the pharma side of things). The doctors really believe in it – lord save us from those who want to help us! – even though it is created by corporations for profit, and possibly for social control. (if everyone is on statins, there will be no revolution!) How many hysterectomies are truly necessary? Why is there fluoride in the water. Cavities? REALLY?

            and MedLawPsych – you neglect medical manufacturers – I’ve seen tons of lawsuits for bad implants, meshes, devices, “treatments” (including the ECT and TMS of this blog)…unnecessary surgeries. After my experience, I question the cancer care industry which puts people through expensive, horrible regimens of chemo and radiation to add 2-3 (poor quality) months to someone’s beleaguered life.

            For all of my surgeries I went in (with flat lithium-induced affect, so I wasn’t the brightest bulb – but also – I TRUSTED) and the surgeons said, “we do this and this.” Nothing was said about how necessary this was, nothing was said of risks of damage (I have damaged vocal cords from thyroidectomy – never to sing again!), nothing was said about the cost on my adrenals, or the induction of chronic illness. Nothing was said about, “if we DON’T do this, these could be the consequences.” The surgeries were performed by top notch doctors, with exquisite skill, precision and care.

            Example – in 1990 I had an arthroscopy performed on my knee. It was amazing, and the pain went away and I could run and play again. But – now, 30 years later – there is no cartilage where they trimmed it away and I have severe knee pain. Was the intervention good (it was certainly skilful) or harmful? I’m not sure, and I’m unsure of the alternative (living with 30 years of pain).

            But they wrecked my body. So yes – big pharma is bad – but the “science” of all of this shit is corporate. Profit driven. And the doctors really believe they are helping with their interventions and statin drugs and blood pressure pills and treatments and surgeries.

            Upton Sinclair, I believe, is the author of the quote you mention.

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        • JanCarol, thanks for your comments and observations. Also for your recommendation – Peter C. Gøtzsche is, in my opinion, a wonderful example of how the rest of the profession should approach the evidence. The money trail is key, as is burying negative studies, buying Key Opinion Leaders and the whole range of dreadful manipulations that occur. Doctors are supposed to smart people but as a profession we’ve swallowed BigPharma’s lies again and again. Happily, for me, I’m not in the US Health system. I forget who said “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”..

          I can appreciate your saying “psychiatry apples . . . the worst of the bunch” as I understand it’s relationships with BigPharma have been amongst the most venal.

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        • JanCarol, you bring up very good points. My hysterectomy was due to uterine prolapse which occurred due to massive intrabdominal pressure while spending years of my life at an over 40 BMI because of Seroquel. I then had two follow up surgeries to correct the first one. Now I simply live with chronic genital pain rather than let them play Frankenstein on me any more. PPI’s? Yep! Floxed? Yep! Had my appendix removed when they should have waited and watched. Had foot surgery to fix shooting pains in my large toe (that I now know are the lightning pains of Lyme). They wanted to do the other foot, but the first foot never got better and the shooting pains didn’t go away after their mutilative surgery. I could go on but there’s a real reason so many of us here don’t trust any part of the medical system, not just the head quacks.

          Medicine is so full of its own grandiosity and hubris it has no idea how to help patients without harming them anymore.

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          • kindred – you might enjoy (or be angry about) a book I am reading about the misdiagnosis of women called “Doing Harm” by Maya Dusenbery.

            I’m only on the first 100 pages, wherein she’s gone through a history of “hysteria,” “psychogenic illness” and she’s starting to get into the fact that once ONE doctor has said, “It’s all in her head,” then no other doctors look any further.

            As a result 12 million Americans experience diagnostic errors, and conservatively, 40-80,000 people die annually due to these diagnostic errors. That on average, people with mystery illness have to go through 10 doctors and 4-8 years of misdiagnosis to find out wtf is wrong.

            Anyhow, you might be interested in her book.

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          • Dusenberry talks about how when Freud turned “hysteria” from a physical “wandering womb” (and all the awful treatments for that) into a psychogenic thing – “it’s their emotions, and women can’t handle emotions, so it manifests as physical symptoms” – that was when diagnosing women got worse.

            This book is opening my eyes to the tragedy of what is being done to women in the name of medicine – and shuffling women off into “psych diagnosis” is one of these things. Once the psych diagnosis is there – any other complaints are put in that effing cubbyhole.

            Psychiatrists have corrupted more than medicine. As evidenced by what you have witnessed – all of the women saying “oh, you must get treatment, it’s a ‘brain disease’ – I seed it on TeeVee” have been corrupted by media, and the capitalistic venture that also drove them to seek out “my little pony” as little girls, or Maybelline as adults…

            It’s no accident that it’s the women, the black, the poor who are thrown into the lion’s den of psychiatry.

            (I guess maybe I’m about ready to dive into some Naomi Wolf after this.)

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          • Just above: Maya Dusenbery, “Doing Harm.”

            I just finished Anatomy for the 3rd time too. It’s good every time. I got it on audiobook by accident (twice, sent the first one back, and got another, thinking it was the book this time – because I give the book away every chance I get) – and while it’s a little hard and fast with the statistics – it’s a stunning way to experience the book too.

            Also reading “Blaming the Brain” by Eliot Valenstein.

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          • I would offer a perspective on your observation. When I got into Psychiatry 29 years ago it was the Cinderella of Medicine. Then came SSRI’s and “The Decade of the Brain” – Psychiatry went from being a backwater to more mainstream. Industry got so huge and powerful that even several hundred billion dollar fines, for their misdeeds, didn’t stop them. I suspect they refined their understanding of decision making processes in doctors especially using psychiatry. Those same approaches are used across medicine. The average practitioner doesn’t have the time to review available evidence in detail. It has to be in detail otherwise you don’t tweak to the myriad tricks and issues used to promote a drug. I have absolutely no doubt I could conduct a RCT to show, oh I don’t know, anything, certainly any pill, was 10% “better” than placebo.
            Anyway, I suspect what’s happened in Psychiatry has influence the rest of medicine, and probably not in a good way. I don’t think it’s that psychiatry in the black hat has corrupted the rest of medicine in the (previously) white hats – but it seems more indirect (to me at least).

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          • Our society can’t handle negative emotions. Everything is Awesome!!! Happy Happy Joy Joy!!!

            Remember the Pixar flick Inside Out where the anthropomorphic emotion Joy wants to suppress all the negative emotions–especially Sadness? Her efforts to make the girl HAPPY 100% of the time almost ruin her life.

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      • Excellent point, why are schizophrenia outcomes apparently better in the developing world with fewer resources and vastly fewer drugs. I think they were WHO studies. I haven’t looked at them for a while, but they are a very interesting finding. There is too much pressure to prescribe and BigPharma is always gonna generate “research” to do so and buy a few mouthpieces. Dollars for Docs is a good site.

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      • Here’s an idea to minimize medical corruption. Doctors can only bill patients if they fix the complaint. This was the tradition in many Asian cultures and may be that way today.

        All doctors would work “on spec” like freelance journalists. Since shrinks’ owe nearly all success to the placebo effect and have a lot of dissatisfied customers who go crazy only after taking their damned “safe and effective treatments” the specialty would go bankrupt. Doctors are supposed to make people better. Not cripple and kill them for the crimes of unhappiness or being bullied.

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        • Agreed. This is probably the least answerable profession. Unless you include, I don’t know, psychics. But psychics do less damage.
          I know this for a fact – that they are not answerable – because every time I tried to raise my voice against what I knew was unjust treatment, my words were pathologized and I was silenced. I recently initiated a formal complaint regarding the treatment I received at Yale in both the psych ward and their IOP. I was met with a wall of silence higher then any wall even Trump could imagine. That was after writing statements about four of the most egregious abuses I endured there. Actually, I had to stop writing after the third because I was getting too suicidal. I did my absolute best to relate these experiences in a calm and modulated tone. I sent the statements to the appropriate people in the patient relations department. I got no response.

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          • Hi Kate, I had to do a search for the word, “Silence” to find your post. Sadly, the silent treatment you are getting from Yale is typical. We do not get the apologies and compensation we justly deserve. We almost always cannot get legal representation, although I am hoping that this changes.

            What remains? An ugly, rotten, hole of emptiness. A vast cauldron of nothing where once we had doctors and other people we truly trust. They’re gone now and that trust we held for them, and for humanity is general, will not return. Instead, what will replace it? Actually, the truth replaces it! Enlightenment that we were deprived of before! We are now bearers of this truth, and we have a responsibility, should we choose to take that responsibility, to pass the word on to others that THIS IS WRONG. What a blessing it is to be the bearers of this truth. Who else can tell this amazing story? Who else has witnessed it? Who else has seen such injustice first-hand? It is like having the Ring that the Hobbits had or having the responsibility of the Ruby Slippers…or The Force….choose whatever metaphor you’d like that suits you….But we must take this responsibility seriously. It is a mission, a new mission, a brilliant and joyful one when you think about it. It will become a passion, a driving force in your life. a reason to go on living.

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  9. Peter Breggin annoyed some anti psychiatry purists by saying the problem behind psych abuse is a lack of love. It’s not just found in the “mentally ill” though they may feel the social lack more than the majority. Honestly the folks in the system are no nastier–generally–than the folks outside.

    I guess this makes me sound like an air head. I don’t care. Psychiatry is a denial of our humanity. Not just our reason but our ability to love and be loved. Love is the answer to a system of coldness and calculation. Love will vanquish psychiatry.

    The foolish and the weak….

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    • Arguably the problem with our society is a lack of love, although I would probably prefer compassion as a term. It would be nice to see more compassion in medicine generally and psychiatry specifically. I suspect that requires a respect for, and capacity to really, see, the other person. Doing that, or at least trying to, would result in a very different approach in many cases. (I suspect I have the same general feeling about Republicans and Conservative politicians as most here have about psychiatry)

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      • I’m being very bad here, by pulling in other topics.

        However your post reminds me of the Tibetan Buddhist Monks, grossly tortured by the Chinese, who strove earnestly to retain compassion for their tormentors.

        I believe oppression sometimes has to be confronted. The trick of the clever oppressor is to gain power while concealing it. It calls for an ongoing careful response.

        Which is why, I’m not a fan of much of the CCHR but still feel they’re essential

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          • They get lumped together by idiots like Tom Cruise who declare psychiatry is bad while jumping up and down on a couch on national television. I wonder why anyone would then equate the antipsychiatry cause with nutcases and extremists? Hmmmm.

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          • “I wonder why anyone would then equate the antipsychiatry cause with nutcases and extremists?” Surely you don’t have to blame the antipsychiatry movement being equated with nutcases on Scientology and the CCHR. As for extremists, I don’t know many things more extreme than psychiatry in it’s efforts to exploit, quarantine, and contain nutcases. I would like to think that we could work with the CCHR where it served us rather than falling into some kind of bitter and divisive, enemy serving, as in divide and conquer, infighting, alienating potential allies in the process. I like to think of myself as not so much antiscientology as I am antipsychiatry, and antipsychology to boot. (If we’re talking two fruit here, give me meat rather than salad.) However, and, of course, in the final analysis, your position is going to be your own.

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          • CCHR has some supporters who aren’t Scientologists. Szazs for example wrote articles for them. He was an atheist. Not a worshipper of UFOs.

            They have confronted human rights violations. Not advocating joining Scientology. Sadly no one else is willing to do this. All mainstream orthodox religions are drinking the kool aid since they’re awed by “medical science.” And they watch TV instead of reading books.

            Weird how pro psych people are fine with Moonies, JWs, Mormons, and other cults. They never bad mouth them. Next time some pro psych person asks “Are you a Scientologist?” say, “No. Are you a Moonie?” and see what happens. 😀

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          • Bob goes into this in his book, how Scientology was specifically and intentionally targeted by psychiatry to make it into a go-to criticism of anyone who opposed their activities. The attacks, including a heinous hit piece by Time magazine in the early 90s, did not intend Scientology, but antipsychiatry, as their main target. Not even just antipsychiatry, but any critique of the psychiatric drug pipeline or anything that affected it. Hence, nobody cares if someone is a Moonie, as its not useful as a tool for psychiatry to undercut their enemies. This is not a critique or defense of Scientology, simply an observation that the choice of Scientology as a whipping boy was intentional and utterly disingenuous, and it continues to be used in that way to this day, which is why I think it’s so important to call it out any time someone tries using this kind of ad hominem attack to distract from the facts on the table.

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          • The CCHR (& Scientology by extension) has the money and means to change things that most of us, as isolated individuals, lack. This is one of the advantages in organizing, evangelically or otherwise. ‘Power in numbers’ is the way I guess you might put it. If the CCHR is for choice and human rights, and against ECT, psychiatric drugs, psychiatric imprisonment, and other means of harming and destroying people, I don’t think I can, in my right mind, oppose the CCHR. I don’t think I should shoot myself in the foot either. It would be counterproductive for me to do so. I’m certainly not opposed to the CCHR’s opposition to human rights violations and psychiatric tortures. If the CCHR is out to assume the role of watchdog and whistle-blower, well, way to go! We need more of those who are willing to expose injustice and corruption, and defend our rights and liberties, not fewer.

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          • Frank, every time I have mentioned antipsychiatry to people I know, Scientology is brought up. I can still remember where I was when I saw that Tom Cruise interview. It made a huge impression on the American psyche, it was in the news for months after he did that, with the implication being that he was forcing poor Katie Holmes to forgo psychiatric care. Their divorce hinged largely on her psych issues and her (and the public’s) insistence that she needed treatment for her mental illness. What she needed was to get out of a coercive relationship with a controlling man but it was portrayed in the media relentlessly as him denying her necessary mental health treatment. So yes, many many people were effected by that interview and he did real damage to the movement with his antics by acting like a stereotypical lunatic.

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          • I like to think of myself as not so much antiscientology as I am antipsychiatry, and antipsychology to boot.

            When people or organizations attack psychiatry because they are in competition for its victims I don’t really consider that anti-psychiatry so much as a recruiting ploy. You don’t have to oppose CCHR per se but it’s important to understand their motivation.

            I have had experience with CCHR trying to piggyback onto our projects during the days of the mental patients’ liberation movement, and steal the media limelight. When asked about the huge amounts of money Scientology soaked its members for, one of them once “explained” that compared to the cost of seminary school it wasn’t unreasonable.

            (While CCHR has always maintained an arguably plausible separation from Scientology, someone mentioned here recently that a new video they put out openly touts Scientology as being behind it. Is this the next phase of some sort of long term plan?)

            Working with them directly, even in coalitions, is where I would personally draw the line, and I think that, if they understood the proclivity of the media and others to seize on their presence as proof that we and Scientology are the same, they wouldn’t insist on being officially involved, if only as a tactical consideration. Aside from that I don’t care if Glen Beck outs out information, as with Justina Pelletier (?), if people end up with info they wouldn’t have otherwise.

            As for all that money, if they offer you some of it for AP activities with no strings attached (and no publicity for them) get back to us.

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          • But if Tom’s control had taken the form of him forcing psychiatry down Katie’s throat against her will he would have been lauded as a loving, long suffering husband who lived to help his sick crazy wife. 😛

            Double standard.

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          • A certain amount of pragmatism is to be expected, OldHead, present company excluded.

            I don’t care if people don’t get that we’re not Scientology. It only takes a few minutes of explanation, and the confusion is usually coming from ulterior motives, such as, an affinity for intolerance towards eccentricities and unconventional behavior.

            Awhile back, and with apologies if any are needed, Al Galves, speaking about Scientology and the CCHR, put it this way. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I see the CCHR less as a charitable institution than as an organization with which we as antipsychiatry activists share goals and mission. As such, I think it makes more sense to stand beside them than against them. I think we’ve got enough on our plate in opposing psychiatry itself, and we don’t have to make anything more difficult for us than it already is. I’m not turning my back on support just because it is coming from the CCHR. Any and all support is welcome.

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          • “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

            A very dangerous thing to take as an absolute.

            I’m not arguing with your general principles regarding working with others, but I’m not buying the idea that Scientology does indeed “share our goals” other than as a means to achieve theirs.

            Not that it’s been offered (at least openly) but I would view any such “support” with unrelenting suspicion. It reminds me of when NIMH started “supporting” the MPLM. So the nature of these “shared goals” needs to be more closely examined.

            Rachel might know this — Don’t many fundamentalist Christians “support” Israel because in order to fulfill the prophecies Israel must exist so that it can ultimately be destroyed in the “final days”? Is this a goal they “share” with Israel?

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          • Who said anything about taking it as an absolute? I’m pretty much a relativist all the round myself.

            Don’t let your suspicions turn into paranoia. No need to cross that line, OH.

            There is a saying. It goes way back. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

            If you’re not going to do a dang thing, OH, I guess that entitles you to say anything and everything.

            The NIMH is a government agency, and that is problematic from beginning to end. You want government control? I don’t. Any “support” there is likely to be directed towards co-optation.

            I’m an atheist, OH. What fundamentalist Christians think, as far as I’m concerned, is N/A.

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          • OH, the Pre-Trib Rapture, Premillinneal eschatological view–which I do not share–is that by supporting the nation of Israel they will hasten Christ’s Second Coming.

            Israel will be attacked by all the other nations in the world, but they’ll all be miraculously destroyed like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Israel will be the last man standing. Tim LaHaye wrote 12 books about the End Times–each about as thick as a Bible.

            This is really off topic. If it gets censored I’ll know why.

            As a born pessimist, I’m Post-Tribulation.

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          • Yeah, but doesn’t it all get leveled before he returns or something? I also remember something in Revelations concerning “those who claim to be Jews but are not,” which I always thought could be interpreted as a prophetic reference to the Zionist movement and the seizure of Palestine/Israel being justified in the name of Judaism.

            Just to go off on an even further tangent, I never saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. But I did enjoy “Inglorious Basterds.”

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          • CCHR is a recruiting arm for the cult that is Scientology.

            If you forgo psychiatry, then you are ripe for Scientology.

            While the goals of “antipsychiatry” or “critical psychiatry” or whatever the heck whoever we are – may be parallel to CCHR, as long as one stays away from the final door (“would you like to take a personality test?”) I think that we can use each other.

            I use CCHR and Scientology videos to explain to folks how the drugs don’t work. I tell folks “sorry about the hype – but the information is good.” Then, when they are ready, I give them a copy of Anatomy. (many folks who are drugged aren’t ready to read, and so the videos are a good start).

            Both psychiatry and Scientology are scams. Is one more harmful than the other? By the numbers, I think psychiatry comes out as most harmful – but by cult recovery information, Scientology is pretty evil. Mind control always is.

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          • Anyone or thing purporting to advocate antipsychiatry activities or education, not including them. I tell you, OldHead, you certainly haven’t cleared up the matter here. So “we” are, etc., except for them.

            There is, of course, a divide between “critical psychiatry” and “antipsychiatry”, however just where the line is drawn is not as clear as it might be. You have this idea of a psychiatric survivor or ex-patient led antipsychiatry movement that might not sit so well with some professionals. The mental patients’ movement, where it is not a mental patients’ liberation movement, however has different ideas on the matter. I question whether there are enough antipsychiatry ex-patients to be making the rules concerning antipsychiatry.

            I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in Dianetics, however I am grateful that the CCHR is there, and that it has taken an antipsychiatric stance. Now whether this makes them us, or us them, I don’t think has been entirely cleared up yet.

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  10. Weird how pro psych people are fine with Moonies, JWs, Mormons, and other cults. They never bad mouth them. Next time some pro psych person asks “Are you a Scientologist?” say, “No. Are you a Moonie?” and see what happens.

    I think Mormons have sufficient membership to avoid the “cult” designation. They don’t nominate cult members to run for president. The line between cults and religions is always pretty subjective. Generally if someone asked a question like that in the middle of an AP debate I still think the most appropriate response would be “No, why are you trying to change the subject?”

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  11. This is worth a new thread, for sure:

    Scientology was specifically and intentionally targeted by psychiatry to make it into a go-to criticism of anyone who opposed their activities.

    Thanks Steve, very interesting. Which book, and would RW consider reprinting that section as an MIA piece?

    Now that this has come to light it’s a question of how to best use that information. Keep in mind that this is primarily a ploy by psychiatry, not COS. But it’s a telling insight, though exactly what it tells is uncertain to me at this point. Feedback would be helpful.

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    • If, as Robert Whitaker says, Scientology has been specifically chosen by psychiatry to be conflated and confused with anti-psychiatry, this demonstrates not only the APA’s inability to prevail via honest debate, but the toxic nature of any “official” association with them (or an appearance of such).* This would include their giving any of us money, and anyone who accepted it should be considered tainted unless and until proven otherwise. If there is to be a survivor-led anti-psychiatry movement we need to locate our own funding sources, and artists; it’s not that hard to make a video, and ultimately there’s no reason to be forever dependent on others’ propaganda. As Jan mentions above, Psychiatry and Scientology are comparable operations competing for the same turf.

      * By an “appearance of such” I’m talking about a plausible appearance; this doesn’t mean anyone should ever hold back on confronting psychiatric oppression out of fear of being called a “Scientologist.”

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    • As I recall, there is a section it Anatomy of an Epidemic where he goes over some of this history. I looked around for an unbiased source on this, but it was all either totally for or totally against the article from what might be biased sources. However, the article, entitled “Scientology: a Cult of Greed,” seems to suggest a certain lack of objectivity, to say the least. I’ll see if I can get Bob to let us know what he knows.

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        • Scientology has long waged war on psychiatry, that psychiatry would deliberately be using that aggression to serve its own ends only makes sense.

          L. Ron Hubbard wanted to replace psychiatry and psychology with Dianetics. I’m not too keen on the idea myself though. Uh, that is, I’m not too keen on Dianetics. I’m perfectly alright with the idea of getting rid of psychiatry and psychology.

          The good news is that Scientologists are against lobotomy, ECT, psychiatric drugs, and other forms of abuse masquerading as medical treatment. In so far as they take such a position, I have to stand with them. They get their followers to agree not to take neurotoxins, and that’s not such a bad idea at all.

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          • In a world as corrupt as ours is, any corruption of Scientology has got to be a relative matter.

            If antipsychiatry is defined as ‘opposition to psychiatry’, Scientology qualifies as antipsychiatry.

            Conflating antipsychiatry with Scientology is psychiatry’s way, as exampled here, of ‘killing two birds with one stone’.

            I prefer to think of antipsychiatry as that set of people opposing psychiatry that overlaps with many other groups, subsets thereof, such as Scientologists, skeptics, freedom fighters, civil libertarians, non-conformists, fitness freaks, pathologists, constitutionally minded lawyers, psychiatric survivors, Mad Pride celebrants, disenchanted family members, and dissident mh professionals.

            I’ve got absolutely no reservations about associating myself with antipsychiatry. In fact, I do it all the time.

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  12. I wanted to try to comment on several threads.
    One is women pushing women to take drugs or “ get help.”
    Yes, I have experienced that- specifically the wife of a doctor sending my mother named of shrinks. I don’t think she had any knowledge of my social work career. At that time, my only sister was terminally ill with metatastic cancer and had three small children and my father had a severe disability. I will always have a hard time with forgiveness with her “ only trying to help” moment.
    And yes unknown to her and friends I had already gotten scheduled for support.
    They did an a surprise intervention and it was the last straw on the camel’s back and to this day there is the time before andnthe time after.
    Not what I would ever ever done as a professional or to my worst enemy.
    There is also the artist / musician access to drugs connection that OH brought up.
    So many many folks died young and or so impaired from their best selves.
    The story of Paul Robeson comes to mind because he was given forced ECT. And he once had been absolutely brilliant.
    John Howard Griffts in his closing of “ Black like Me,” mentions the pervasive fear. Nowhere I know it came partly from lynchings. He could have been easily lynched. And what else?
    Alice Miller – I just discovered she was a refugee from WWII. I knew from Germany but not the fact she lived in a ghetto.
    So much that was done and is being done.

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  13. Hello, I couldn’t help but giggle over this article. I went to med school, too. Went to Harvard Medical School, “residency” at McLean. I’d love to say that, now that I’m not even in the MH system anymore, with a bit of a smirk on my face knowing I was smart enough for med school all along so that statement might actually be taken literally.

    I was an experimentee, used at McLean Grand Rounds several times, right after ECT, learned on, and no, they don’t give a hoot about confidentiality, HIPAA or not. I remember afterward they’d leave those meetings with smug looks on their faces like they’d finally solved the puzzle, only to tell me one more concocted lie after another. “Of course there’s nothing wrong with your brain and it’s all in your head!” Was it going to be more ECT to “cure” the increasing confusion I felt from the shock? What now, doc?

    Finally, they’d messed with me tooooo badly, and they needed to get rid of me, embarrassed or maybe they’d possibly damaged me beyond all hope, certainly beyond recognition. “State hospital is just the thing for you!” they said. Lies, lies, lies.

    I didn’t think of it as lies. I never did. I always assumed they had best of intentions. Cover up damages from shock? That, of course, was the last thing on my mind. I only wanted to know why I couldn’t think straight. Why, doc? Why?

    Just as they were about to shuttle me off to State I told them to go screw. Told them I would kill myself rather than go to State.

    That did it. That prompted my instant GRADUATION from McLean. With honors, of course. Oh, and a scholarship to a community hospital and another 15 years of coerced (but paid for by taxpayers) mental health care until I got myself out.

    When I read “Grand Rounds” wow that brought back memories………What bullshit. What do they do with lab rats after they kill them, anyway?

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    • The best of intentions. I keep being told I should consider that treatment providers had good or the best of intentions. Did they really? Was shaming me for being treatment resistant their best intention? Doesn’t sound like a very helpful system of treatment or good intentions at all to me. It didn’t feel good at the time, being a compliant patient, swallowing the koolaid, spending 40 hours a week in a day hospital to be told I wasn’t taking my treatment seriously. Really? Did they think I took medication and hung out with other marginally functioning people for shits and giggles? For attention? For entertainment?

      No, I’m sorry, I don’t think they had the best of intentions. Not any more.

      Julie, I tend to doubt you think much of their intentions either.

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      • People often confuse conscious decisions with intent. Intent is very frequently not conscious, so saying someone is “trying to do the right thing” when there are obvious and undeniable destructive results doesn’t really cut any ice with me. The real intent is reflected in one’s response to results. Does the person continue doing destructive things despite bad results? Do they stop or prevent things that seem to be working? Are they unwilling to accept any data that might undermine their own theory or beliefs regarding what is “best,” no matter how well-founded the data? Do the observations, preferences and beliefs of the person they are “helping” seem to have no impact on their calculations of “what is best?” If these things are true, they have ill intent, even if they claim and/or personally, genuinely believe they are acting in your “best interests.” Which is why “best interests” is an extremely fraught and dangerous legal standard to apply!

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  14. While being forced into a “mental institution” entirely against my will and having a series of 15 high voltage electro-shock “treatments” forced on me entirely against my will , (This of course means had I physically resisted, beyond my knees weakening , the sinking in my guts , being paralyzed on multi levels by fear and terrorized like at no other time in my life up to that point , they would have dragged me anyways , with as many psychiatric employees as necessary to my “prescribed treatments”. From all this I could see no way to escape.
    I was 17 years old almost 18 , and so I found myself in a bed like a crib with rails on both sides scared to death with only memory of waiting for them to call my name, the ” psychiatric employee ” , telling me ,” You already had your “treatment.” And then an internal sigh of relief as I slowly realized no more electric shock today and tomorrow a day off.
    I wondered what they were doing to me as I became more confused within the trap they held me in . To find out what was going on , I decided next time they told me to count backwards out loud from 20 while they injected sodium pentathol ,I would stop counting out loud while I was still wide awake so I could understand exactly what they were doing to me (What the hell are they doing to me?). Not the wisest of things I could have done for myself (to say the least) but actually most fortunate for those doing honest research on “ect” who are struggling to decide whether or not it is a terrorist torture procedure or not .I Would Say It Is And Certainly Should Be Abolished Along With Psychiatry Altogether.
    Ladies and Gentlemen it is a repeatable experiment . When they hit the switch while you are awake the explosion from the center of your brain expands outward beyond your skull . There is a visual of the explosion .On a scale of 1 to 10 the pain level is about a 30 ( beyond belief for what feels like 4 seconds )
    There you have it . If you tell them as I have for over 50 years they won’t believe it . But they’ll keep shocking people until enough people stand together to stop them . Quickness , sharpness of mind , and memory never again reached the level I took for granted before I encountered psychiatry, it’s electricity ,it’s poison chemicals and it’s Terror and Torture .An inquisition and a frame up dealt out by it’s arrogant , ignorant ,charlatan ,indoctrinated ,and even some well meaning employees.
    2 quotes come to mind, 19th century robber baron Jay Gould said something like : ” I can hire half the working class to kill the other half .” Chief Joseph said: “The Earth And Myself Are Of One Mind .”
    It took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to write and post this comment.

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  15. ECT cannot be taken seriously until there is something approaching a placebo controlled trial with an adequate length of follow up.

    Justifications that avoid this like “what I have observed” and “have to do something” are not valid.

    Why no proper trial?

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      • I don’t know that it’s really known how ECT leads to the range of effects it is associated with, including those that result in it being judged as “working” or providing “relief”.

        I would be relatively confident that the ways in which it diminishes capacity are underexplored.

        I don’t know whether the “relief” involves the same mechanisms as the reduction in capacity (esp memory)

        The “diagnostic label by committee” depression, appears to be very different to the “psychotic depression” for which ECT is commonly used.

        It undoubtedly requires further study, preferably without animal experimentation.

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        • Closed head injuries frequently result in a temporary euphoric state. This is well established. It is also a possibility that memory loss can sometimes be viewed as a “positive,” if they are negative memories. As for “psychosis,” I suppose destroying some of the dopamine system would result in less ability to creatively imagine anything, which would reduce “psychotic” symptoms. So it’s all easily explainable as brain damage, and you acknowledge there is no other known reason why it “works.” Per the concept of scientific parsimony (Occam’s Razor), the simplest explanation is the most likely. Since we know seizures damage the brain, and brain damage easily explains the “benefits” as well as the long-term damage, I’d say it would be up to psychiatry to prove that it’s NOT brain damage causing the “benefits.”

          Psychiatry is also notorious for not defining its endpoints, so they can claim “benefits” based on “observer ratings” or “clinician assessment” while the client him/herself is incapacitated or feels their life is ruined.

          The fact that you would eschew doing animal experimentation suggests that you yourself see it as having a high potential for pain and suffering for animals who might be subjected to the “procedure.” Why would that concern not apply to humans?

          Electrocuting people to induce seizures can’t be a “treatment” and doesn’t deserve the dignity of being “studied.”

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      • Yeah, my thought, too. Human experimentation is no great improvement over animal experimentation.

        As for any “diminished capacity”, no shock doc is going to go there. As long as the very real effects of shock are not explored, it’s business as usual because it’s a lot easier to sell electroshock as “safe and effective” than it is to sell it as brain damage.

        I think you have to keep hitting them with with the truth because when it comes to determining the facts through research the industry is not going to go there. They can’t sell shock treatment and tell the truth, too. and as long as research into its potential for damage doesn’t take place, they don’t have to do so.

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        • I think they believe destroying skills, obliterating memories of loved ones, destroying independence so someone like my great aunt lived out her life as a hollow shell of a human being is no big deal. Cause the “mentally ill” are all just dangerous mass murderers lacking empathy, conscience, or life skills anyhow.

          Famous shrinks go on national TV to tell the public how their patients are a bunch of dangerous monsters. No other medical specialty publicly maligns the character of its patients. (That’s why there are anti-psychiatry people, “Doc” Torrey!)

          They’d wind up in institutions and probably murder strangers for a hobby without being helpfully crippled by shrinks. Not like they’re maiming real people or destroying lives that count after all.

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  16. Hi Samruck2,
    Thank you for your post and sharing your experience of being with a person with dissociative identity disorder, or DID.
    You describe, in my view, a respectful and compassionate, way of being, and responding to a person in great distress, who sounds like they are becoming less coherent, “together” at times, overwhelmed, I suspect, by traumatic thoughts, memories & feelings commensurate with those experiences.

    In providing a compassionate, containing approach one enables over time a great deal of healing.

    While you mention a personal, rather than clinical approach, I believe/suspect there are a great many similarities between how you are obviously responding and a therapist skilled in a modern psychodynamic approach.

    It would be rare for an individual with DID to escape a great deal of psychopharmacology – just as people with “Bordeline Personality Disorder” often end up on an “antidepressant”, “antipsychotic” and a “mood stabiliser”. Interestingly, medications have been shown, in general, not to help that condition.

    I wonder the phenomenology of the “voices”, “delusions” etc, in DID are likely different to the classic mood congruent symptoms of what is often called psychotic depression.

    Even so, your approach sounds like an inherently supportive and compassionate on that emphasises “being with” a suffering person. I believe there needs to be more of that in the day to day interactions with those who suffer (i.e. patients)

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    • Hi MedLawPsych,

      I’m pretty systematic though definitely not ‘clinical’ as I help my wife heal: she/they let me know anytime I cross that line, lol. Attachment theory has provided most of the key guidelines that I needed to help her. We’re 10 years into this now, and most of the girls are interconnected internally as well as externally, to various degrees. She’s definitely more ‘together’ than she’s ever been in her life, and though I use that as a d.i.d. pun, let me be clear that I NEVER saw her as crazy, delusional or psychotic: just traumatized, and I was her fox hole buddy who helped her thru that trauma.

      I was fortunate to keep my wife completely out of ‘the system’, though my wife has an alternative counselor who was invaluable in the beginning until I dealt with my own issues and learned the ropes how to help her best (she was my teacher).

      I can’t speak for psychotic depression, but the ‘voices’ in d.i.d. seem to be the different parts of the brain that have been dissociated from each other and to the one in ‘front’ (host or alter) who hears them in the beginning, they seem like something outside her experience/being. But with healing and tearing down the dissociative walls, those ‘voices’ just become part of one’s ability to communicate internally.

      I could talk forever on this subject, but that’s what my blog is for. I’m pretty proud of how far she/they have healed and interconnected, and I’ll leave it at that.


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      • I was quite taken by what you said Sam. I agree, you have to see the mindset of the sufferer and not judge it. I think it can be an existential crisis, you know , what are we here for, and, frankly, there are no glib answers because life is a bit pointless. Just hang around, engage with people, things and places, and see if that gives you the reason to go forward and discover fun. Psychosis is a symptom, a living dream, it’s not crazy, but a manifestation of distress or just vivid imagining. The psychiatrist’s view of this is skin deep and reductionist -trying to boil it down to a single chemical, what cobblers. The first step is that the person is not mad, and that you love and believe in them.

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          • To me it’s very similar to saying, “Well, we have to study whether or not hitting people on the head with a 2×4 is effective in a certain subset of the population.” No, sorry, I don’t care how many people feel better after a blow to the head, it’s not an experiment we’re allowed to do. It’s just plain wrong.

            As I’ve pointed out before, a near-death experience is often life-changing for a person who survives. Does that make killing a person and bringing them back to life a “treatment?”

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          • So you agree – it is very difficult to carry out a proper placebo study, and therefore ECT should not be approved for use at all. ECT is therefore unjustified and unjustifiable.

            Baseline studies are not acceptable, so it should be withdrawn.

            I think there has never been a placebo/sham study with proper follow up, certainly not for over 30 years.

            With regard to the perfectly good point about running tests about hitting people on the head, I think you have to remember drugs can be just as bad, so you couldn’t do trials on a psychiatric drug either by that logic. To be honest, I agree. I think that if you haven’t got a credible mechanism for any treatment that can cause damage, you cannot ethically do a trial.

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          • How do you compare ECT with placebo? Knock people out with sedatives and strap them to contraptions that relay no electricity? As is, you’ve got placebo trials for drugs being used, and it is understandable that placebos are used in drug tests. I would think you just compare shock to the drug that has already gone through it’s own trial by placebo.

            I don’t see a placebo trial making a world of difference. I think you really need to be ascertaining, and determining, the extent of damage done by shock. As is, in theory, no damage is done, but we all know better than that. My problem with the trial by placebo is that they are doing that all the time with psych drugs. It’s a matter of getting the drug approved by the FDA. A placebo trial would just be another way of avoiding the issue of harm.

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          • Frank, you do sham ECT, or just the anaesthetic. What the old sham ECT studies seem to show is a possible short lived improvement but nothing sustainable beyond a few days or weeks. Hence the idea of maintenance ECT. I’m not sure if there exists a maintenance ECT versus maintenance sham ECT trial. So it looks once again like a long term treatment has been derived from a short term one with no evidence whatsoever. So, no successful placebo trial, therefore should not be approved.

            With the drugs, Rachel, I’m sure you realise that the approval has been obtained by getting 2 very slightly successful studies out of many failed ones and scraping through the approval process with minimal efficacy. And as time goes on this efficacy appears to get smaller, so Cipriani found citalopram and Fluoxetine had really tiny effect sizes. What then happens is weird – a bunch of professors from London colleges go round saying they “work” whatever that means, and people believe them. So no meaningful clinical efficacy, should not be approved.

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          • By “work” perhaps the ex-spurts mean, “help us maintain our prestige as a legitimate medical specialty/protectors of the public/saviors of the suffering mad.” Or maybe, “Help us earn a comfortable living where we rake in more per day than the test subjects we crippled get to live on per month.”

            Yep. They certainly Work in both respects.

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          • Rachel, the thing I don’t understand about the ex-spurts is this: how do you do the same thing over and over for decades expecting different results? Isn’t that literally the definition of stupidity?

            I have been looking back through old medical records trying to find clues about how my Lyme went misdiagnosed for so long. The things doctors write in charts and how they interpret what the patient tells them is very revealing. For example, the same doctor whom I complained to in 2001 of fatigue so severe that I could barely go from the bed to the couch in the morning wrote in my chart just a few months later that “Patient admits to drinking three pots of coffee a day. Bipolar?” Well I had a job to go to and a two year old to take care of and I was experiencing extreme fatigue from Lyme disease. Of course I was drinking a boat load of coffee to get myself going. But when their training teaches them that any behavior outside the norm is pathological and psychological in nature, they miss giant clues about the patient’s underlying health conditions.

            But the fact that I found almost no benefit from nearly any of the drugs they gave me other than the boost in energy from SSRIs that pushed me from lethargic to hypomanic, shouldn’t that also be a giant clue that the underlying problem isn’t psychological? No, and more than one treatment provider has gaslighted me about not wanting to get better and not taking my treatment seriously.

            Meanwhile, I’m so sick at this point that I’m seriously considering buying a wheelchair because I can barely manage a trip to the grocery store without feeling like I’m going to pass out. This is the result of malpractice, gaslighting, and an industry that is motivated more by profits and control than by healing.

            I don’t hate all doctors, and I think an awful lot of doctors and nurses (and medical researchers) go into the field with the best of intentions (there are those damn intentions again, which seem to be so far removed from actual results). But the sheer level of medical mistakes is astounding and the lack of willingness of ex-spurts to admit when they are wrong and try something different hurts and/or kills a lot of people unnecessarily. It shouldn’t take a case as egregious as mine for them to figure this out. Nor do I have any hope that anything will change quickly. I do hope that a few of those well intentioned providers might be reading these comments and learning from those who have been harmed.

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          • Some would sneer that they don’t want to help anyone but themselves and Big Pharma and Washington cronies. But I find that hard to believe of ALL everyday shrinks. (Not talking about the APA bigwigs who lie as a rule and have no conscience.)

            Many actually think they’re helping people even as they slowly poison them or fry their brains. How can this be? It takes some intelligence to make it through medical school. Are they idiots or monsters? Or just plain crazy themselves?

            I believe in craziness. Not the “mental illness but it’s really a physical brain illness” nonsense. But if we people are stressed out, lonely, or troubled by guilty consciences we can persuade ourselves into believing all sorts of nonsense. If the lies we believe correspond to mainstream society we aren’t certifiable.

            In order to live with themselves, psychiatrists MUST cling to the belief they are helping. Not hurting people. Amazing the mental contortions they can perform to maintain their riches, prestige, and legal authority.

            Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life….

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          • Concerned Carer. There was a time before anesthesia, a time when people knew the actualized terror that could be invoked with shock treatments. Shock treatments that often resulted in fractured bones. Now that people being shocked are anesthetized, sedated, you don’t get that terror so much. Put people under, and people can pretend they didn’t go through a traumatizing, grueling, and damaging, ordeal that their bodies (think, sleeping minds) went through.

            A sham drug doesn’t really compare with a real device. That’s the great divide, and people who were complaining before they got a sham pill are more likely to continue complaining with continued sham pill use. A damaging device, on the other hand, might manage to quell so called depression and sorrow at the expense of gray matter, but who do you know wants to have less gray matter to rely on? And, if you’ve got people suffering from “brain trauma”, their ability to complain is likely be affected as well.

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          • Just to clear, oldhead , and I’m sure you will be. You think that studying the long term changes of people already in ect programmes against sham ECT is pointless. That’s a simple yes or no.

            Secondly, you think that any study comparing ect and placebo is pointless on theoretical reasons because of what Frank said about placebos not proving anything, although I couldn’t quite grasp his reasoning. Maybe it was about the invalidity of short term apparent results , which I would agree with.

            Therefore, is it your contention that the case against ect is based on damage (evidenced) and lack of mechanism of action ( evidenced). Because as much as I want your side of the argument to prevail, I’m not sure that that alone will do it.

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          • Yeah, it’s weird, huh? Why would we have to CONVINCE anyone that inducing a seizure by electrocution is a bad idea? Should the onus of proof not lie on the person claiming it is helpful? Or is not the very act so obviously damaging that any argument to the contrary should be dismissed out of hand?

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  17. JanCarol – You are right about CCHR and Scientology. Though CCHR has a full-time lobbyist in Washington, it’s not a good idea to get one’s agenda conflated with theirs. Though the industry’s first response to what one says is “Oh, well, then, you’re a scientologist” (I got this from BigPharma types, psychiatrists, and their paid flacks and defenders, numerous times). Even CCHR people themselves, if they perceive you speak well and have a good story (that is “anti-psychiatry, anti-psych. drugs”) try to recruit you, with all sorts of blandishments, including free trips to their conferences. Friends of mine who lost two sons – one killed in the war, the other – home from the war with PTSD – killed by Seroquel – asked me if they should take the CCHR money, so as to be able to get transportation paid to some event. I advised that it depended on their goals. They were aligned with no group – just being advocates based on their pain and agony – took the money and spoke at the event. So, while it doesn’t really matter to them, they are forever “tainted” as being “part of ” Scientology and CCHR. It was important to me never to cross such a line…both for my own sense of self as well as for those I spoke for/represented.

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    • Thanks for the anecdote, I’m sure there are others.

      The only part of this I would add a “however” to is that if we were talking about a genuinely progressive or leftist foundation (of which I’m sure few exist), or even a “conservative” or libertarian one, we should not shun them simply on the basis of “mainstream” people despising them. This is different though. It’s also very speculative, as I haven’t seen anyone dangling money in our faces.

      Maybe your friends could write some sort of retrospective “distancing” statement if they feel used or exploited, I think the idea of being “tainted for life” is ridiculous, especially because of a miscalculation.

      We don’t need to go out of our way to attack CCHR either, mainly this is about our being perceived as directly associated.

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      • At the time, I was on the board of AHRP, and it was a policy there that board members have nothing to do with CCHR, and it probably still is the policy. One colleague who had been on the board resigned, as he wanted to work with CCHR.

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      • Convincing someone they’re going insane can really terrify them. No wonder “insight” is considered important by shrinks.

        Dr. Rush practiced blood letting. Maybe they’ll invent some fancy machine to suck large amounts of blood out of the “mentally ill’s” jugulars. Then we’ll hear the APA touting the benefits of bleeding. “But not like the old days!” 😀

        Uh huh. Nice lipstick, but it’s still a pig.

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        • Drapetomania was a legitimate diagnosis back then. Meaning mainstream psychiatry accepted it as a “thing.” A black person who longed to be free MUST be insane. The treatment modality was beating the runaway unconscious.

          And remember Weir Mitchell’s cure? “The Yellow Wall-Paper” is valuable not just for feminists but psychiatric survivors. The crap the POV character suffers in this story is similar to how “Mental Health Centers” help people today.

          1. Enforced idleness.
          2. Keep reminding them how crazy they are. To focus on NOT going insane.
          3. Infantalizing.. Call them “kids” and belittle them like Ricky Ricardo on steroids. Laughingly tell them what helpless little geese that they are.
          4. Remind them how hopeless their “brain diseases” are.
          5. Instill proper gratitude in them by telling them how they could never make it without “help” from the System.
          6. Cut them off from loved ones. The drugs are a big help with this. If any family members dare to ask why the patient is worse since starting Drug X tell them it just means the loved one is hopelessly insane. They should leave them alone so experts like you can save them. They’re hopeless (dangerous and toxic too) so abandon them to a life in the Madhouse Without Walls.

          In a matter of months it won’t matter how emotionally stable they were to start with. They’ll be battier than the old church belfry.

          Congratulations! They never would have made it without your care. 😀

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    • Thanks Auntie, its worth a listen to some this – in a way. An hour of explaining “I haven’t got a clue”!

      Which is fine, but no need to subject your audience to such ramblings! The most ludicrous comment from the short section I watched was “Quetiapine is a victim of its own success because its benefits are diffused in a larger group”. Gobbledegook. Its a sedating antihistamine – everything else is blind faith.

      He said of Cipriani “antidepressants do work and, for most people, the side-effects are worth it.” You could only say this, if, say 5 out of 10 received meaningfull benefit – as we all know they actually only make a difference compared for placebo for 1 in 10.

      And what is the point of that eerie joke about ECT? Beats me!

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    • Seroquel, Zyprexa, Clozaril, Abilify – all hit the H1 Histamine receptor. See this chart: http://cdn.neiglobal.com/content/practiceres/posters/50188_nei_009_bindings.pdf that purple column on the right is all of the neuroleptics that hit on Histamine receptors.

      As explained by “The Last Psychiatrist” – it works like a champagne fountain. Example Seroquel, the first glass at the top is Histamine. Once that glass is full (25-75 mg, depending on individual metabolism) it will start spilling over into the D2 (Dopamine) receptors as well as the 5HT ones. This is why Seroquel is sedating at lower doses (the first champagne glass) until the D2 action kicks in.

      Tricyclic antidepressants hit those H1 receptors, too. Chlor-trimeton, a common antihistamine hits on 5HT receptors, as well.

      Additionally ALL of these drugs destabilise the entire neurotransmitter system. SO – haywire? Yeah, it’s normal. It’s my understanding that people withdrawing from Effexor have a lot of Itchy & Scratchy show, so there’s something going on there.

      But yah, histamine haywire = normal.

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      • Not just a habit or tic. I itch like crazy sometimes. Really dry skin and eyes too.

        During my Effexor taper till I had been off 6 months I kept having horrible nose and throat infections. Couldn’t quit coughing between infections either.

        Glad to be told it’s normal. I HATED it when shrinks told me seizures/uncontrollable eye rolling/gaining 60 pounds in 3 months on a restrictive diet shouldn’t happen. Really?

        Turned out these problems are common when on Haldol and Risperdol. But shrinks lie–all the time!

        Don’t pill shame. They never do that. Must be YOUR fault. 😛

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    • I would say that SSRI’s are NOT antihistamines, because they mostly don’t hit the H receptors. Its the H1 receptor in particular which is associated with allergies. So Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Venlafaxine, Duloxetine and Citalopram I would say are NOT, although I read somewhere that Citalopram might be a mild antihistamine. Mirtazapine on the other hand is rather like the “antipsychotic” quetiapine, and along with olanzapine, these are amongst strongest antihistamines ever developed.

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  18. Hello, I am brand new to this website, although I did read the book when it came out and it very much resonated with my experience. I have a question that may be a little off topic, although I did at different points have both ECT treatments and then TMS treatments for unremmitting depression… I failed at both! Yes, I’ve been a bad patient. A very, very, bad, bad patient. Anyway, my question is: Do those of you who have written about your experience with the mental health system on this website find it to be a generally useful and possibly healing experience? I ask because I, too, feel that my problems stem from childhood trauma and were exacerbated by traumas I experienced as a mental health patient. At age 52, after an adult lifetime spent as a patient, I am no longer interested in being a patient of the mental health system or our medical system at all, to the extent that I can help it. I do feel that I need to process some of the traumas experienced as a patient somehow if I am to have a chance at any kind of a life. Friends who have not had the same experiences can’t really understand what it’s been like for me and when anyone sees I’m depressed, which I would be the first to admit that I am, they quickly recommend some form of treatment. Have others found that writing about these experiences and hopefully connecting with others who have similar histories helps to “clear” some of the trauma to some extent? Thank you.

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    • Hi Kate,
      I have not written a blog post here, but I will say that I have definitely found writing about my experiences helpful, in terms of connecting dots and gaining a deeper understanding of the whys and hows of what I have been through, and what I still experience.

      I also find these comment sections very helpful, both in terms of finding validation and a feeling of comradeship with some of the survivors here, and also some of the professionals who write here (those who have done sufficient self-reflection to understand the impact “the system” has had; many have not). Then there are those professionals whose comments serve as a solid reminder as to how dangerous it is to turn to anyone who does not stand fully opposed to forced or coerced “treatment.”

      So, welcome, and please stick around- you will get quite an education! Expect to encounter a lot of strong feelings in the voices of the survivors who frequent here. Your reactions will teach you a lot about yourself, too.

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      • Thank you so much for your response, Lavender Sage. So far I’ve only read a couple of the blog posts, including this one, plus a lot of the comments in this thread. I have to say I feel like I found my people 🙂
        I really “get” the strong feelings in the voices of survivors. I’ve started to do a bit of writing about my experience, and I find it hard to modulate my anger. It’s like I’m reliving the experience as I’m writing about it. When things like this (treatment induced harm) happen to anyone who is in the act of seeking help, it’s hard not to take it personally. For me, anyway. The best I can do is throw in some black humor.
        Thanks again.

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        • You’re welcome, Kate! Yes, reliving the experience is one of the downsides of writing about it. I encounter that too. I believe that the purpose of anger is to provoke change. We get angry because things are not right, because we have been wronged, because of the injustice. Anger is a very powerful energy, and if allowed to stagnate it can be harmful (i.e. hypertension) but if it is channeled into action, it is the fuel of change.
          One of my favorite regular MIA contributors is Sera Davidow. She is a survivor and a professional, trying to change the system from within. There are a few of those folks here. But I have come to the conclusion that the entire notion of having a system where people in crisis have to turn to professionals for support needs re-thinking.

          Oh, and speaking of re-thinking, please re-think this statement:
          “I did at different points have both ECT treatments and then TMS treatments for unremmitting depression… I failed at both!”
          I assert that it is the other way around- those “treatments” failed YOU. You called yourself a very, very bad patient. To that I say “congratulations!” When you see Rachel777 or Julie Greene (regular commenters) on here, ask them what being a “very good patient” got them!

          Welcome again, Kate- you may indeed have found your tribe! 🙂

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          • Thanks again, Lavender Sage. I understand what you’re saying about anger. I went through dialectical behavior therapy, which was somewhat helpful,but looking back I feel like a lot of it was about stuffing anger about things that I had every right to be furious about.
            I was being a little sarcastic about failing at the ECT and then the TMS. Because now, many years later, I realize that it wasn’t my failure. How can you fail at something where you just lie there while they attach things to your head? But they had me convinced at the time, both doctors, that I had indeed failed the treatments. The first doctor, the one who did the ECT, said afterward, “you have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”. Then about eight years after that people in my life were pushing me into trying another treatment, TMS, one that I had no confidence in, but I let myself be talked into it. After those treatments didn’t work, I met with the dr. who oversaw the treatments in his office and he told me, “at some point you’re just going to need an entire personality makeover.”. This doctor barely knew me. He had no idea what was going on in my life at the time of the treatments. And I had told him that I had a borderline diagnosis in our initial consultation. He told me that wouldn’t be a problem and he bragged about his huge success rate, 80 something percent, with the TMS. So yes they both had me convinced that I had failed but now, looking back, it’s like, no, don’t put that on me, Doctor.

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          • HIS “treatment” failed because YOU have the wrong “diagnosis?” Even for a “real” doctor with a meaningful diagnosis, this would be an idiotic statement! If he knew you “had Borderline Personality Disorder,” and that “ECT” didn’t work on “BPD” clients, why would he have offered you this “treatment?” Or was he saying he “discovered” that you “had BPD” simply BECAUSE the “ECT” didn’t “work?” Sounds like pure justification to me!

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      • Then there are those professionals whose comments serve as a solid reminder as to how dangerous it is to turn to anyone who does not stand fully opposed to forced or coerced “treatment.”

        Do you really make a distinction? Hope you’re not getting liberal on us LS. 🙂

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        • yeah, I make a distinction. I think somebody who is actively suicidal could tell Sera about it and not get themselves “wellness-checked” whereas somebody like shaunf, for instance, has no issue sending the cops out to drag you off for “treatment.” Big distinction.

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          • I would agree. It is incorrect to generalize that all counselors/therapists/treatment providers are dangerous or misguided. It’s not incorrect to assume that they are until proven otherwise, however. I’ve certainly known a significant number of professional people who actually care about those they are trying to help, and some who have helped me significantly, particularly my therapist in my 20s. However, such people are in the minority in my experience, so assuming that a person cares BECAUSE they are a MHP is, in fact, very dangerous. The other thing that’s VERY important is to remember that there are plenty of people who are NOT “MHPs” who care and are skilled in connecting and helping others. The key is not to seek out or avoid people with a particular title, it’s to understand that what is needed is not a professional so much as someone who cares and is willing to listen and be real and help you sort things out rather than acting to enforce his/her views in the name of “help.”

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          • I’m talking about the alleged distinction between “voluntary” and “coercive.”

            On 2nd glance however I see that Lavender doesn’t actually advocate “treatment” of any sort, but refers to whether someone whose counsel is sought advocates physically forcible measures. Still, all “treatment” has a coercive component, and we need to get away from the idea of “experts,” be they Sera or Torrey.

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          • Just a note that the above is not a personally directed comment regarding Sera, just responding to your particular example. (Torrey can fuck himself.) But I doubt that even Sera would want all the suicide-contemplating people in the world (something about the term “suicidal” rubs against my grain) desperately descending upon her for reasons not to kill themselves.

            We need to delegitimize not only psychiatry itself, but the idea that frightening and painful emotions are something exceptional needing “expert” attention, which is a mystification of the fact that a toxic culture based in corporate greed is the culprit, and trying to “adjust” oneself to the filth should at best be contemplated only as an immediate survival tactic, not the end goal or “success.”

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          • I’m in complete agreement with you, oldhead. And since the Greek suffix -cide simply means “to kill,” and not “to murder,” I don’t have the same reaction to the word ‘suicide’ as you expressed. But I take great offense at the term “commit suicide” because it connotes criminality.

            Sera just happens to be my favorite regular MIA author here, not because I agree with everything she asserts, but I really dig the way she gets her point across. Unlike many other authors here, she doesn’t use convoluted language; her writing is very accessible. But yeah, I don’t want the masses banging down her door!

            This paragraph
            We need to delegitimize not only psychiatry itself, but the idea that frightening and painful emotions are something exceptional needing “expert” attention, which is a mystification of the fact that a toxic culture based in corporate greed is the culprit, and trying to “adjust” oneself to the filth should at best be contemplated only as an immediate survival tactic, not the end goal or “success.”
            captures the gist of MLK’s creative maladjustment idea. A few years ago there was something on here about suggestions for celebrating Creative Maladjustment Week (mid-July, I think?) but then I haven’t seen anything about it since. I think we need to revive that.

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        • My issue with the word is the “-al” part, which makes it sound like part of someone’s identity rather than something they think about sometimes, or maybe attempt once or twice.

          I’m glad you agree with my above statement, but I’m afraid there’s too much liberal racism at MIA to make an adaptation of MLK’s quote anything but embarrassing. MLK was a revolutionary. I’m really tired of hearing people at MIA (NOT talking about you) making paeans to MLK and Mandela and never even paying lip service to Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is still alive and needs to be released NOW, or mentioning any of his books, accomplishments and his heroism. It’s safer of course to praise dead revolutionaries. (And expect silence following this post as well).

          Plus, we don’t just need maladjustment, we need complete transformation. So this whole “creative maladjustment” thing to me carries a lot of neoliberal overtones. (LS, if you want we can continue this conversation by email or other means; check yours).

          Btw, speaking of email, many know this is my “signature” quote:

          “Many claim that it is insane to resist the system; but actually, it is insane not to.” — Mumia Abu-Jamal

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    • “Have others found that writing about these experiences”

      Too much anger or too much sadness-depression might get you back into the hands of psychiatry, so I have to watch my levels of anger and sadness, or any other feeling, to make sure it is not in excess. Writing in public or in private can help purge the excess of emotion. The excesses may be justified or not, maybe a result of previous psychiatric treatment ( too many dopamine receptors).
      The bottom line is how functional am I today? I have my self defined standards that I try to follow every day and it has worked for me for several years.

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      • Thank you, that’s very helpful. It is, for me, a trap that’s easy to fall into… Winding up back in an ER if I don’t prioritize keeping myself “together” over anything else. I also wonder sometimes if my dozens of trips to the crisis intervention unit or whatever they call it are some kind of a compulsion to repeat the trauma, but that’s a thought for another day. I’m glad to hear that you have found a way that works for you. That gives me hope.

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        • Going back to the scene of the crime committed against you maybe?

          If it weren’t so horrific I’d have to ironically admire the way the system so expertly convinced you that your totally natural reactions to their tortures constituted a failure on your part, rather than a confirmation of your instinctual resistance to their attempts to “normalize” you. You should savor the anger, not hide from it — just be intelligent about it and don’t fall into their traps by “going off” in situations where you are vulnerable to their ability to snatch you up. This is a good place to explore and learn to articulate your anger in a way that can ultimately be used to expose and defeat this system for good. Glad you seem to be warming to the idea.

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          • Thank you. Yeah they did a number on me. After I got the borderline diagnosis I was so afraid of the scary person they convinced me I was that I spent a lot of time trying very hard not to be scary. Trying to be compliant and agreeable and friendly and pleasant and not to go off the rails when say, somebody shocked my brain for no good reason (he didn’t look into my history at all really before he suggested the ECT. The referring psychiatrist, who I’d seen for six years, had not kept any records. If the ECT doc had looked into my history he would have seen suicide attempts, anger, all of the things that point to borderline. I do have issues with this diagnosis but I do also believe that there are a set of symptoms that tend to hang together that make up what they call the borderline diagnosis. All of these symptoms had been present for two decades prior to him recommending ECT.) This idea I had…that I had to try very hard not to be scary…put me in a very vulnerable situation. I wound up in a DBT program where I had a clinician who I believe did care about me but he is part of the system. He used to talk to me over and over again about this skill called benefit of the doubt. If you’re not sure of somebody, like for example an outside therapist, it’s best to give them the benefit of the doubt. Looking back, I can see that in almost every situation where I granted the benefit of the doubt to a psychiatrist or a treatment provider, I gave them the opportunity to hurt me more than if I had cut and run when my instincts told me to do so. I also see, looking back, that as the patient, I almost never was granted the benefit of the doubt by any treatment provider. Just one example off the top of my head, when I went into a hypertensive crisis a few days after starting a parnate trial, the hypertension… which was severe, I could have had a stroke… was attributed to the fact that I had not followed the restricted diet. Absolute BS. So, so many instances just like that one. And then all the doctors stuck together in telling me that the parnate had nothing to do with the hypertensive crisis, which went on for months after I was taken off the parnate. I was in my very early forties then, in great shape… I ate well and exercised daily. I finally saw a cardiologist who gave me the usual series of tests, including a stress test which I passed with flying colors. He said, “welcome to your forties you have hypertension”, and ushured me out the door. When I finally confronted the Doctor who had prescribed that parnate trial with the fact that parnate is contraindicated for anyone with any history of hypertension, and I asked him whether he did not first check to make sure I had no history of hypertension, or whether he did check and saw that I did not have any history of hypertension. His response, “I don’t know Kate, maybe you just really get to people.” They wanted me to believe that I had aged so much in the week or so that I was on parnate that my BP had gone from normal to 170 / 140.
            There’s a part of me that wants to beat myself up for having let myself be gaslighted by this industry. There’s another part of me where I’m more understanding of myself because as a child I was always made to believe that there was something wrong with me and things were my fault. So I started out vulnerable.
            I’m glad that I found my way to this website.

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          • Next you need to un-learn the whole concept of “diagnosis,” as there is no disease to diagnose, and no state of mind which can be so categorized; every individual is unique. What to an outsider “presents” as rage has its own unique cause in each individual who expresses it; this applies to any disturbing emotion or behavior.

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          • My case worker diagnosed me with BPD. (She actually fits the “type” better than I do.)

            “What?!” you say. “Case workers can’t ‘diagnose’ you.”
            Guess again! 😛

            Shrinks get mad at kids on Tumblr “diagnosing” themselves. They also fly into an impotent rage at people using “bipolar” or “schizo” as persona insults to folks you disagree with or don’t like. They also get mad at people they haven’t officially labeled for joking about “having a bipolar day.” Meaning moody/irritable/silly.

            As the head bully on the playground only THEY get to dish out the insults. Bwahahaha!

            “Only I get to call him a stupid poo poo pee pee head.”

            So far there is no diagnosis of “Stupid poo poo pee pee head” in the DSM. (i think that would be a personality disorder.) Maybe the DSM 6 will have it.

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          • I think armchair diagnosis reminds them that there is no technical skill or know-how involved, and that, in fact, the entire process is simply a matter of judging others’ behavior that we find uncomfortable or inconvenient. They have to protect the image that only a “professional” can “diagnose” someone with a “mental disorder.” Though a 5-minute perusal of any “diagnosis” would quickly result in the conclusion that it’s about as complicated a process as making chocolate chip cookies from scratch. But the results aren’t nearly as tasty!

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          • Hey Steve, Remembering the doc who shocked me and the McLean docs who covered up the damages, that is, Dr. Michael Henry, shock doc, and the all the others, all of whom I name in my documentation to the FDA, I bet hardly any of them could make chocolate chip cookies from scratch! They don’t teach that in medical school. Too complicated for their simplistic mentality. Are you kidding? They buy one of those boxed mixes from the supermarket. I bet you anything. Or buy them from Whole Foods, snob bakery section.

            Because of their drugs I can’t eat salt now. Last night I enjoyed salt-free pizza. From scratch, my own recipe. I’m getting good at making it. Okay, from now on, it’ll be called Screw Psychiatry Pizza. Or some such thing.

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          • Steve, as someone who makes mean chocolate chip cookies from scratch I’d say “diagnosing” is way easier. If my cookies taste like crap people can spit them out and refuse to eat them. No such luck with what the quacks cook up so they have no standards at all.

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    • Hi KateL,

      I write here (in comments) because I like to think that someone reading might gain something useful from me sharing my experiences. Whether that is someone experiencing something similar feeling less alone or a family member or friend wanting to understand the ex/service user perspective, or a treatment provider trying to understand treatment resistant or belligerent/authority resistant patients.

      I have had many people tell me over the decades that I should write a book but I find writing about my experiences to be traumatic. So I’d caution anyone writing about personal experience to be careful about unpacking things when you’re upset. I’ve learned that angry responses rarely result in communication. I’ve also learned to take breaks from this sort of thing. Give your body and brain a break. I think I hear you saying this sort of thing about your Google reviews of your treatment providers – that anger and resentment influencing your writing. I can sympathize with the desire to draw and quarter someone in the public square, so to speak. But I think a calmly written factual review is more effective and is less likely to draw unwanted attention from people questioning your mental state.

      Hope that helps answer your questions.

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  19. Apologies if this is too off topic… but in the last few months I have undertaken a “project” that entails writing Google Maps reviews of multiple former providers, detailing the negative experiences I had with them. The doctor who did the ECT. The doctor who did the TMS. Some of the reviews are very rage-filled and I don’t know if this is paranoia, but I do worry that one of these people is going to take legal action against me or try to have me locked up. I don’t know if what I’m doing is productive. It is cathartic at times, to call people out publicly… people who, as a group, are not accustomed to ever being called out. My goal is that if someone reads the reviews in their entirety it tells a kind of cautionary tale of what can happen when a person allows their life to be hijacked by the mental health system. Sometimes I worry that people will read my reviews, and think, “now there’s a dyed-in-the-wool borderline.” But most people thought that about me anyway. Also, it’s hard to maintain a neutral tone when detailing experiences that made my life so much worse than it already was.
    Jan Carrol, thank you for your comments and the link to the website. Luckily I am not on any psych meds at the moment. I went off cymbalta cold turkey about a month ago. The psychiatrist who I’d been seeing for about a year-and-a-half who had been prescribing it… shall I say, disappointed me, in a big way. That was one of the final straws for me.

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    • You probably need to take a deep breath. Don’t know about legalities, there are certainly powerful and vindictive people in the psych world but, more than that, this is not a problem of individual “malpractice” but more institutional/systemic. Certainly you should report prosecutable crimes, but the problem is that most psychiatric assault is not legally considered malpractice, but accepted practice. As to your specific questions, it might be better to ask a lawyer if you plan to keep doing it.

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    • Hey Kate – your Cold Turkey (CT) of Cymbalta is exactly why I gave you the link to Surviving Antidepressants.

      I have seen a lot of CT’s, and very few of them go well, especially for someone with a long history of psychiatric abuse. Cymbalta in particular is nasty for the CT because it hits on so many neurotransmitters. Here is one example of a CT of Cymbalta: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/

      One month is a still “the honeymoon,” you probably feel great – but there is a delayed reaction in withdrawal (don’t believe your docs who say 2-3 weeks out and you’re “fine” because they want to diagnose it as “relapse” of your “original condition”). It takes 3 weeks for a single neurotransmitter adjustment. A CT asks your body to make several of those systemic adjustments at the same time.

      This is a tricky period. You might escape. But the thing is – once the symptoms start it is much more difficult to control. Once Humpty falls off the wall, it’s hard to put him back together again. At SA, we would recommend a small reinstatement to stabilise and then taper, to prevent a big crash.

      But it’s hard to get someone to reinstate a nasty drug when they are feeling fine. We suggest this not because we like the drugs or doctors, but because we want you to succeed. Reduction of Harm.

      There are people here at MIA who escaped with a CT, but it is a more dangerous path. (Conversely there are people here on MIA who have not been able to escape via taper, as well – this is about finding the path which is easiest on your body)

      Please see: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9451-delayed-onset-of-withdrawal-symptoms/

      You can choose to reinstate by bullying a GP doctor into prescribing, and you would not reinstate at full dose. (“Hi Doc, I quit this Cold Turkey a month ago, I’m not feeling right, can you please prescribe?” avoids seeing the nasty psychiatrists….the GP will reach for his pad faster than you can say “lickety split!”) Since Cymbalta tapers count beads, you can ask for a full script and open the capsules to get the smaller dose – and have doses to spare to ride through your taper. (yes, you will probably need a few refills, as the 4-6 weeks to taper that doctors & pharma recommends is wayyyyyyy too fast)

      If you choose not to reinstate at this time – pay close attention to your body. Nausea, “weird brain feelings,” IBS, pain, fatigue, emotional extremes, spikes of adrenaline – all of these are symptoms that you may be headed for falling off the wall (there are many many more – too many to list, but if I say, “anything weird” do you know what I mean?). If it were me, I would reinstate now; if it were my stubborn husband, I would wait for the first strange symptom and then say: “Now!”

      Sorry guys for the SA protocols here – but I believe very strongly that these are dangerous drugs and that a CT can be mediated.

      And Kate – WELCOME to MIA – it’s good to see you here!

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      • Interesting. How many people do CT relatively unscathed? I know it’s not the same, but I stopped my semi-regular Ambien use fairly abruptly without an inordinate amount of misery (though I now use a small bit of valerian pretty regularly, which uses the same receptor I think).

        Instinctively I’m probably more like your stubborn husband, and would wait until the symptoms became unbearable even with some medical weed, which is becoming more of an option for many. But I’m pretty much blowing smoke here, and don’t want anyone to assume I know what I’m talking about.

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        • There are many factors for CT success, like: how old were you when you went on psych drugs? What drug are you trying to escape from? How much personal work have you done regarding what sent you to the drugs in the first place? How long have you been on them? How many times have you switched drugs? How many different drugs have you been on? How much are you willing to help yourself and not rely on others to “fix” you?

          https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/17909-are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take/ (the author of this article has experienced 30+ people taking their own lives from withdrawal during the course of his own taper)

          IF someone had been on only Cymbalta for 5 years, went on it as an adult (teenage neurotransmitters are more pliable, and thus harder to disentangle from the drug), had no other complications like complex cocktails, earlier drug use, etc., I would (personal opinion, not the opinion of SA, who never hazard guesses on this stuff) give someone a 20-30% chance of escape with a cold turkey and a few months of tolerable symptoms. (I shoulda been an actuary.) As the 5 years goes on towards 10, that % sinks lower and lower. At 10, it’s more like 15-20%. This is just from my personal experience helping people off their drugs on SA, and reading a ton of their case studies.

          If that were Prozac, for example, I might extend that to 30-45%, but Effexor and Paxil have different problems, but similar odds. Neuroleptics might be even harder, because they damage the brain that is required to escape.

          The problem with waiting for the symptoms to become unbearable (instead of reinstating at the earliest symptom as I suggested) is that you run the risk of intractable PAWS. When multiple systems get shaken at the same time, it is extremely challenging to balance them all. I am in contact with someone who CT’d Cymbalta nearly 10 years ago now, and while she’s never going back on the drug – she’s still suffering.

          Like I said before, once Humpty falls off the wall, it becomes harder (if not impossible – for all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t do it.) to put Humpty back together again.

          It makes my job harder – to convince people to reinstate and taper during the “I’m fine, I’ve got this.” stage of withdrawal, before the “Oh MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?” part….

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      • Thank you so much, JanCarol. I will read up about it on the website. Thanks for the link. Going off cold turkey was kind of an act of rebellion for me. It was sort of my symbolic, that’s it! But I realized it might not work out well for me because I know this is one of the trickier drugs to get off of. Emotionally I’m not right, at the moment. I don’t feel like myself at all.I don’t know how much is the cymbalta withdrawal, though because there are so many other things in the mix. The recent split I had with the mental health system, with being a patient, was kind of a big deal for me, particularly since there is one clinician that had helped me at times in the past. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been in a cult. When MIA first came out, I read that, and I think Peter Breggin’s book also. There were a few that all came out around the same time, as I remember, all saying basically the same thing. The people I spoke to about it then, many of them friends who also had experience as psych patients, were very opposed to the arguments put forth in these books, that psychiatry is mostly made up. Since that time I’ve spent more time as a patient, more time taking different meds that I didn’t respond well to, and this is like my second awakening. I also take a couple of other things, like Kratom and phenibut, so it’s hard to isolate what’s what. anyway I will look at the protocol for cymbalta taper. I have some of the med left, so I might be able to do it without seeing a doctor. Thanks again.

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        • Keep in mind that once you’ve thrown off the yoke of psychiatric drug dependency, while satisfying, all it gets you in the end is back to square one. Just something to look forward to. 🙂 (Hopefully this time with enough added perspective and encouragement to make navigating your original contradictions — whatever they may be — less daunting.)

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        • Hey Kate, that eases my mind a lot. Please, when you do reinstate, start small. Maybe a few beads will help. If you sign up on SA, you can list your dosage, how long you’ve been on (all the variables I mention above) and a mod may be able to suggest a sensible reinstatement amount.

          You are likely to still need a doctor. This is for the long term. I know you’re in your 50’s (me too) and want to be free right away – but it’s better to be alive and healthy than upset and dysregulated. Depending on what works for you, it may be over a year before you’re totally free.

          Other products like Kratom (I’m not sure what neurotransmitters it hits) might complicate things.

          Phenibut hits the GABA receptors, which is like a benzo. A soft benzo. I am currently tapering my phenibut, as Australia recently made it illegal (some kids got ahold of some at a muscle shop, took the whole bottle, and wondered why they got dizzy and sick), and while it was helpful for my cardiac problems, it is too challenging to try and keep it up with black market supply.

          So – in reading at SA you will begin to notice what soothes your nervous system and what revs it up, and you’ll hack it! The simpler it is (changing one variable at a time) the better.

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          • Oh, and doctors have done her so much good?

            Failure to reinstate may mean that she is likely to suffer worse and longer. I have a friend who CT’d Cymbalta and now, 10 years later, is still suffering. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

            Reinstate is about harm reduction. We don’t do it because we love the drugs and the doctors, but because her body and brain are crying out for the thing she has been withdrawn from. It is a kindness, possibly an essential one.

            Apparently, markps2 you haven’t witnessed what “full blown acute and chronic” withdawal looks like. It’s ugly, and dangerous.

            Start with akathisia: https://youtu.be/x86aCDtvbT0 and http://missd.co/

            Akathisia is the most common (and dangerous) symptom from these drugs.

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          • I consider harm reduction legitimate and very important. We can’t abandon those who are currently suffering while we work on stopping psychiatry altogether. People need support, and they aren’t getting it. That’s how psychiatry continues to justify itself.

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          • Drugs should be a choice, not something a doctor imposes on a person via a prescription or via force. In an ideal world, drugs would be available for purchase freely, without the magic gateway called a doctor. Doctors have far too much power! As soon as you have a prescription, the doc controls the amount, the supply, and also, you have to go back and go back to that particular doctor for refills, so now you are stuck married to that doctor, hooked on the appointments just so you can get your fix.

            In some countries, doctors do not prescribe and people just go to farmacias to purchase whatever they CHOOSE to take. Interestingly, in these countries, the doc-patient relationship is different because the prescription isn’t part of the equation. Doctors have more patient contact and play a different role, interestingly, obviously because they don’t have the instant ties to the drug companies. They are also paid less, that I know of.

            As for reinstating, I made the CHOICE to reinstate. I did this without a doctor’s blessing and without having to go and get diagnosed by any sort of doctor. I knew after five years that I was not sleeping due to damage from drugs, and I was nonfunctional due to insomnia. I thought my life was over because I was so tired, but finally I figured out that I was going to have to reinstate.

            It was common sense. If I wanted to sleep and be functional again, I was going to have to reinstate and then taper at a slower rate than I had previously done. I knew I had to do this without seeing a doctor. Had I seen a doctor I would have been put through a sleep lab test, more misdiagnoses, a shrink, ended up psych diagnosed all over again, and….the diagnoses would have defeated the purpose of leaving the MH system.

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        • That feeling of rebellion is a good one to drive you forward. Unfortunately, the urge to rebel by itself doesn’t necessarily lead to the right path. It provides good energy but needs you to provide direction. At least that’s my experience. Keep rebelling!

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          • Hi Steve, I’m still trying to figure out how these comments work so I’m not sure if your comment was toward me, but yes I’m aware that just my rebelling against the mental health system is not going to solve anything for me. To be honest I don’t see a solution. I have no family, no friends, my health is poor, and I just survive. Finally realizing that in seeking help from the system I was only going to continuously get abused… That just led me to speak out. That’s all I can do at this point. My family and then the system took everything from me but I still have a voice and I’ll use it until I don’t have that anymore either.

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        • Agree Steve! But any GP can help with a single drug. Then you don’t have to mess around with the psychiatrists.

          In a perfect world, I would invite someone to the Healer’s Hut, to stay as long as needed, to thrash and scream and have someone there to keep them safe while they go through the horrors of withdrawal. But I don’t have a Healer’s Hut, and I don’t know where they can be found. I hear Mandala Project in SF, CA is something like this. Or Soteria.

          In a perfect world, someone’s family would be there for them. But in this world, it can be the family who caused the crisis to begin with, as RD Laing so astutely observed when he sent folks home from his Healer’s Hut.

          It’s a tough question. What to do with human distress, in an increasingly distressing world?

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          • JanCarol,
            Exactly. I love the idea of a healer’s hut. I know that during the phase when I was in and out of the psych ward over and over again a lot of it just had to do with feeling scared to be alone. I needed to not be alone… I didn’t need to be imprisoned and drugged but that came with the territory.
            I have come off, with no help guidance or support from doctors, so many different prescribed meds. I don’t remember one instance where I was getting a new prescription and I actually received anything like informed consent. Benzos, amphetamines, antidepressants. The doctors it seems do.not even have a protocol for coming off the drug. In some cases they didn’t want me to come off the drug but in other cases they did. I was first prescribed adderal by a psychiatrist who prescribed it for my depression – not ADD. In the ten years following, as my mental health declined, I saw doctors who were in favor of the adderal and would prescribe varying amounts of it or doctors who were opposed to it and would not prescribe it. The last psychiatrist I had who prescribed adderal decided he wanted me to stop taking it. I said to him, I agree with you, I also want to stop taking it, but I’m terrified of the withdrawal. I was having a hard time anyway at that point – my son was having a psychotic break – and I feared I would go into a suicidal depression when I stopped the adderal. The doctor replied that there is no withdrawal from adderal. He said, “you might just feel tired for a few days, but that’s it.”. Maybe there’s no physical withdrawal from adderal, but there’s a huge psychological withdrawal.
            The existence of websites like SA is yet another indictment of psychiatry. There’s a part of me that thinks I can “woman up” and do a cold turkey withdrawal from the cymbalta, but that hasn’t been going well. I feel a little better since I reinstated at a much lower dose the past couple of days. Now I just feel very weak, but not as agitated.
            Thank you for pointing me to the SA website, JanCarol. I’m going to try to do the drug signature tomorrow.

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    • People will think what they think. And if they invite reviews, I don’t think you can get in trouble for giving them feedback. I think the Court’s view would be, “Well, if you don’t want to hear feedback, don’t accept reviews.” I do think how you write it might have an impact on whether people take it seriously. I think the best reviews are mainly factual, with a brief introduction and conclusion to add a little emotional context. Simply, “Dr. X insisted I had Y disease and recommended treatment Z. When I asked what the side effects were, he said there were none. I looked it up and found a long list of adverse effect about which he failed to inform me. I quickly decided he could not be trusted.”

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  20. Oldhead, yes, I have come to understand that, finally. Of course now I have all this grief that I lost so much time and my physical and mental well-being to being a mental health patient. One thing I won’t do is go and speak to a mental health treatment provider about the grief. A couple of months ago I visited Brazil with a friend who is from there. It was only my second time out of the United States, excluding a trip to Canada. It was so beautiful there and I just kept thinking, wow, I could have been doing things like this, I could, have been traveling, learning about other cultures, could have been doing so many things instead of being in treatment and in and out of the hospital most of my life.

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  21. Hi Everyone, I have not been able to keep up with the comments because I have had work obligations and I have also been working hard on my book manuscript. I assume everyone has heard about the new FDA ruling that took effect yesterday. Peter Breggin announced it yesterday during his broadcast and discussed it. I announced it in my own blog as soon as I heard about it, which I believe was the day before Christmas when the FDA quietly announced it. I notice they announced it when they KNEW people were likely to be absorbed in the holiday rush and unlikely to check their email or keep up with the news. Did they think those of us activists wouldn’t notice? We did, however…..They have downgraded (or upgraded, whatever…) the ECT machine for certain diagnoses, claiming it’s “safe and effective” for severe BPD, treatment-resistant depression, and a few other diagnoses involving catatonia.

    Watch for increased diagnosis of severe BPD and depression, and widening of the umbrella of what is considered “treatment-resistant.” Schiz is a little harder to demonstrate but could be done with a few drugs inside the system or if the patient has dementia. This is going to prove quite profitable for elderly. More and more elders are going to be declared depressed because it’s easy to get the ECT paid for with the insurance they have, courtesy of taxpayers, Medicare. Better yet, get them on Medicaid also and milk it fast….ECT is great for that.

    It’s easy to get an elder depressed! Put the elder on blood pressure (or other) drugs, separate the elder from family in a “hospital,” (five or six days is enough to “prove” the elder is depressed, right?), do unnecessary surgery courtesy of Medicare since it’s “covered,” or tell the elder he/she has a terminal and hopeless medical condition. Poof! Instant dependency on doctors, multiple unnecessary and harmful appointments (they’re retired, so it’s justified, right?), resulting depression, reason to medicate and subsequent ECT.

    What else are they going to do with elders? Elders are a drain on the system, a waste of societal resources…….right? Just like those “mentally ill,” a blight on society!

    Except there’s one problem. We all get old…….But never mind that……..Folks in their 20s and, to an extent, 30s, can’t see too far into the future…and psychiatry takes full advantage of this little tendency when they prescribe their pills, of course…….

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    • Julie thank you for posting this.

      All I can post is *****MAJOR SAD FACE*****

      It ceases to surprise me anymore. I watch freedom of thought, speech and deed restricted at nearly every turn, in the US, and in all of the countries of the world that “want to be like the US” (Australia is one.)

      1984 and Brave New World were but inklings, twinkles in the eye of the powers that be – what they can do with chemicals and digitals has surpassed Orwell’s wildest dreams. And the people walk right into it.

      *****MAJOR SAD FACE***** (but don’t try to diagnose or drug it!)

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    • This is terrifying. It’s so much worse than I thought it was, and I thought it was bad. The greed. The abuse.
      As a 52 year old woman without family or friends who is only just freeing herself from the system after 35 years, I fear the future. All it would take would be a broken hip or similar type of injury and I’d become a nursing home ward. I got a little taste of this when I fractured and dislocated my ankle in May. I made the huge error of admitting to suicidal thoughts when I was in the orthopedic ward post-surgery (was in a lot of pain and on a lot of opiates and already very traumatized). I unleashed pure hell on myself.

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    • They always release stuff like this on a weekend, a holiday, or both. They took advantage of the July 4th and Thanksgiving holidays a couple years ago to ram “Murphy” through the House and Senate.

      The fact that the FDA felt enough pressure to try to hide their collusion with the psych industry does say something, though obviously not nearly enough.
      These sorts of machinations highlight the need for people to understand the urgency of anti-psychiatry organizing, and of deconstructing the convoluted propaganda used to keep the public confused and brainwashed. People who are particularly passionate about ECT, in the wake of this blatant slap in the face by the FDA, might consider the time ripe for an anti-psychiatry version of ACT UP.

      The only strategic danger when confronting ECT is that unless such actions are coordinated with an anti-psychiatry perspective it turns into an argument over bad “treatments” vs. good “treatments,” which does nothing to challenge the essence of psychiatric ideology.

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  22. Meanwhile, there’s an article in the New York Times (written by a psychiatrist – a Dr. Friedman) that tries to cast doubt on CBD/THC efficacy (naturally – it might put a dent in the business model of BigPharm/BigPsych.) The hopeful part about it is reading the comments in the comment section….most everyone there is reporting anecdotal positive outcomes for pain/mood/seizures – you name it. And a number of them are bashing the author of the piece.

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    • Hi ebl, I haven’t seen this article yet, but it doesn’t surprise me. Big pharma and the FDA have also been going after kratom, a natural supplement that many people have used successfully to get off opiates and to manage pain. I use it myself and have benefited from it. The FDA has been trying to schedule it in the same category as heroin, for years. It’s all about money. I’ve heard some reports that big pharma is trying to isolate the active ingredients in kratom so that they can come up with a chemical version. Once the FDA has made sure that real kratom is illegal, then the pharmaceutical companies can step in and make their money. So they have an answer to the opiate epidemic that they, in large part, created.

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  23. Hi Rachel, sorry I wasn’t sure how to directly reply to your comment…but yes, how is this any different from name-calling? It had a terrible effect on me. I just took it on, the BPD label -it must be true because the name was given to me by a highly-regarded doctor at Yale. I still remember the way the med students used to follow this psychiatrist around the halls of the psych ward like he was God. For years I believed that I could not have any type of romantic relationship or I would turn into Glenn close in fatal Attraction. Even though, prior to the diagnosis, I’d never done anything like that.

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    • Got mine because I thought I had found “The One” but he dropped me for no given reason. Mom had been telling me since I was labelled SMI at age 20 no man could ever love a crazy woman. When David dropped me like that I blamed myself and made plans to kill myself since I was an unlovable monster unfit to live.

      It wasn’t David’s rejection behind my overwhelming desire to end my life but humanity’s rejection. Now I live alone, shunning humanity. I wish I weren’t a misanthrope but I hate people. My guess is this is typical for psych survivors who have had the trauma of seeing humanity at its ugliest. 🙁

      Men no longer reject me. The secret is…never date.

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      • I’m so sorry, Rachel. I have a lot of parallels to the things you’ve talked about, in my own life. It’s very unjust. The only thing I can think of to explain this level of cruelty is that people need a scapegoat. We both made the “mistake” of being vulnerable human beings.

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      • Hi Rachel,
        it makes me cringe to hear you use the ‘monster’ word. My wife once used the same word about herself despite the fact that neither I nor our son ever treated her that way. I hate this culture that stigmatizes because of its ignorance.

        I wish you well and I hope some day you are pleasantly surprised that there is a man out there who neither sees you as crazy nor a monster because that’s true of how I see my wife…and honestly all of you who struggle with the fallout from trauma.

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        • Thanks Sam. 45 now. The odds are small.

          Didn’t help that I ballooned up to 350 pounds from 170 on my cocktail over the years. Everyone blamed me of course.

          Now my family and acquaintances are mystified at my mysterious weight loss when most women gain. Hee hee.

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      • Men no longer reject me. The secret is…never date.

        Men are overrated. The whole “dating game” is overrated, and celibacy has it’s strong points. Once you detach from the game it’s like beating an addiction. Then you’re free to focus on your own priorities, the “American Dream” being just one of many options.

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        • Oldhead,

          It’s not about men or even about sex per se, but it’s about attaching and becoming stronger supporting each other and helping each other. Sure you can get that some in platonic relationships, but they can never be what a lifetime commitment to one person can be. Humans are wired for attachment. It may seem like an addiction, but it’s really a need.

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          • To both Sam and OH, a lot of folks on sites I follow accuse singles of selfishness. My dad once said that selfishness causes the higher levels of singleness. Then he looked at me and sadly said, “Except in cases like yours.”

            Single/selfish are not synonyms. Gold diggers are selfish. So are men who marry women they treat like pets because they make great arm candy. Being a wife and mother doesn’t kill all possibility for selfishness, but drives it underground. Like the “NAMI mommies” condemned here–and they can cause more damage than selfish childless singles would.

            Mother Theresa was not perfect. But she wasn’t single for selfish reasons. She deeply loved like many other spinsters.

            So lumping all marrieds into the mature/loving/sacrificing good guys and singles into immature/cold/selfish bad is a gross generalization. Like other arbitrary categorizations we psych survivors have endured. 😉

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          • I would suggest that even defining oneself in terms of “single” vs. “couple” points out the inherent cultural bias towards the latter. We’re all single, no matter who we live or sleep with, and we all die alone. This should only be disturbing to those who need to imagine otherwise.

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          • “We’re all single, no matter who we live or sleep with, and we all die alone. ”

            I’m sorry that’s the world you live in. People who are securely attached are never alone. It really has nothing to do with being single or married because it OUGHT to be done during childhood, but I understand that so many parents are effed up that many people aren’t securely attached when they get to adulthood. And so once that opportunity is missed in childhood, typically, an SO is the only other ‘primary attachment figure’ that any of us will have, and they are really the only ones with the ability to address those issues later in life like I learned to do for my wife…but who gets taught this stuff? Certainly I didn’t: it was a big learning curve so that I could do what my wife needed done to help her heal.

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          • Samruck, people who are single by choice are NOT deficient and are not lacking and are not limited and are not people who should be somehow pitied. Personally, I pity a lot of married people and can’t fathom being tied down. The thought of it is repulsive to me, although I did enjoy a relationship very much a long time ago. I am a different person now. I am older and my priorities are not the same.

            We cannot judge others according to our standards of what is normal and according to what WE think “happy” or “secure” means. I am very happy the way I am and feel secure just as I am. I’m not lacking, I’m not deficient, and I don’t feel the need to go out on the prowl for yet one more “partner.”

            It is a very narrow view indeed to assume that everyone needs, or doesn’t need, a partner. As soon as we say “everyone,” we are in for a lot of trouble!

            We are social creatures, true, but we humans have a vast variety of ways to be social. Having a single partner is only one way, there are many, many ways. I agree that some people are lonely and some desire more social contact than what they have. Still others would like to have more alone time than they currently have, and more privacy.

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          • I’m sorry that’s the world you live in.

            We live in the same world. So that’s just silly I’m afraid, must be something there you find threatening. I didn’t say “die lonely,” btw, I said “die alone.” And by “die” I mean a shifting of consciousness. I don’t expect to perish. If I do, the jokes on all of us I guess.

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          • Oldhead, I cannot agree more. In those last moments, it doesn’t matter who is sitting next to you. Someone sitting there may be a comfort, but they cannot experience what you are experiencing – alone.

            I’m partnered, but the moment of death (or transformation, as you state), will be mine alone. That’s the moment when all attachments fall away, and you meet what is next. Alone.

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        • I have no desire to date. None. I’m not asexual. I just have other, more pressing priorities. Activism is more important. Writing is more important. Career is more important.

          I dated a guy last summer and really did not like it. He insisted on taking me out to eat which meant unhealthy eating all the time. It was hard to find anything healthy on these menus that my body could tolerate. To him, eating well meant “You eat out all the time.” I couldn’t get it through his head that I really wanted to cook my own sensible food, save money and didn’t want all the extravagance and unnecessary flattery. I couldn’t imagine spending much more time going out to eat in expensive restaurants several nights a week like that. Did he have any paycheck left to pay the utility bills? Well, he must have sensed my discomfort and broke up with me, telling me the usual “other woman” lie because he didn’t want to hurt me by telling me the truth. I knew, though. He was uncomfortable around me.

          I’m just too independent to date anyone. I value my freedom. I have Puzzle. That’s enough for me. I don’t need some human hanging around….clinginess? Ick. I have friends but a sig other, naw, not for me.

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          • I can relate to what Julie says. My eternal conflict (at least for a long time) was that whenever I got into an intense relationship it would detract from my involvement in more productive things, and would evoke reptilian anxieties such as jealousy, which sucked at my positive and creative (and communal) energy.

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          • Ever read Single at Heart by Bella Depaulo Julie?

            My singleness was not totally a choice. But better alone than trapped in an abusive marriage like my aunt or many other people.

            I enjoy my space to be honest. If I were to marry this late it would be tough to adapt.

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  24. Hi Rachel,

    it’s not about ‘lumping’ people into arbitrary categorizations. I agree that being married doesn’t make a person mature/loving/sacrificing nor does being single make a person the opposite. Attachment theory, (and it is one of the most deeply verified theories out there AND one of the easiest to see in action for the doubters of anything by the ‘experts’), is about how humans (and many other of the higher animals) are wired to support each other. Yes, that support can be done in a group or community to an extent. That used to be more true of our own culture until modernity fractured our families and communities. But a communal life still can’t fulfill the deepest needs of our attachment ‘wiring’ for lack of a better word.

    I’m sorry that your father would say such an ugly, simplistic and untrue thing to you. For myself, I didn’t really understand a lot of this until my wife’s d.i.d. crashed unto us 11 years ago, and I was forced to grow up and get educated or we would NOT have survived because she simply was NOT in a place for about 5 years to be much of a spouse for me, and even now the ‘littles’ have limited most of our adult connection (not just sex) for nearly the entire time. But using attachment principles, I learned to weave our lives together to hold BOTH of us together thru the needs her past trauma has forced onto our relationship.


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    • Dad did give folks like me an exception clause. My sister never married. unlike me she seems to prefer this. He attributes it to her unusual genetic syndrome with bad joint problems and really small stature. (Most adults are 60″ or less.) So we’re both off the hook.

      It’s hard trying to find a guy in your late teens or early twenties who won’t get scared if you’re too smart and literate. In our subculture you have to find a man to marry before graduating from college. Or consign yourself to spinsterhood. Lol.

      Sick of playing “The Game” anyhow. Mom frequently cried and had a breakdown during my childhood trying to be the Perfect Susie Homemaker and impress the other Stepford Wives. I was an abysmal failure as a Perfect Child reflecting her Perfect Mothering skills.

      A lot of my friends had eating disorders striving to please our moms with our Perfect Bodies. Slim and chaste. No ugly fat or naughty curves.

      Stinks to be the outcast but knowing you’ll never measure up provides closure.

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  25. I know I’ll be alone forever, as I have been. Humans are wired for lots of things. I agree that humans are wired for attachment. Humans are also wired to not respond well to being drugged and brain shocked and labelled by people they’ve gone to for help and guidance. Things just don’t work out sometimes.

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  26. I guess I’m not going to worry about it. I didn’t write anything that isn’t true. If I had taken my car to a mechanic and they made the problem worse, and still charged me, the review I would write would be true and angry in that case also. They’ve already taken everything from me that they could. In the example you cite, the end of the review would be: he said he never had a patient who had memory loss from ECT and because he was a highly regarded Yale psychiatrist, I put my trust in him. He shocked my brain eight or nine times and then told me it didn’t work because I have borderline personality. He didn’t explain what borderline personality was, he just told me that I had it and that that was why the ECT didn’t work. I think it probably comes under free speech. Most people I would guess would not do something like this because they wouldn’t want such personal experiences to be made public, but as I’ve said I have nothing left to protect.

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  27. I’m still pissed that the authorities interrupted my near-fatal suicide attempt when I was 19. Why stop me? I had the answer. Would have saved everyone a lot of trouble if they had just left me alone. But they had to spend 33 years drugging me labeling me shocking my brain locking me up for what?
    I hate this world so much.

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    • Oh dear, I can truly sympathize, Kate. I’ve thought for years that everyone would be better off if I had died during my first attempt at 23. I’m glad I didn’t. Most of the time.

      I’ve experienced all that you talk about. I’ve got a horrific story. But if you don’t keep fighting, they win. That’s what it boils down to. All of the people who abandoned you as hopelessly crazy. All of the treatment providers who give up on treatment resistant patients, fire them, shame them. They win. It’s when you’re at your lowest that you have to be strongest.

      I write this with tears in my eyes. Those of us still fighting this corrupt and harmful system need you. We need you to fight back with us. Tell your story, no matter how much it hurts.

      Every damn day is a struggle. Some days it’s literally a struggle to breathe and stand upright right now, and I don’t mean metaphorically. My physical symptoms were dismissed as psychosomatic for so long that I’m seriously ill right now. But I won’t let the system win.

      Please understand how valuable you are, Kate. No one should have to suffer the way many suffer in mental health treatment. And every voice speaking back against psychiatric abuse is a voice that is necessary and valuable and needed.

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      • Thank you, all of you, for the supportive comments. I’ll keep trying. It just feels very dark right now with the holidays and everything. and I was stupid enough to think that the one clinician I had had at Yale who was helpful to me at times and I thought cared about me… I thought I would be able to file the complaints about what happened there and still maintain some kind of contact with him. But he’s written me off. It’s like that movie, the pod people or something, where I talk to somebody and explain it and I think they get it and I think they can see it through my eyes and then they say something or do something that lets me know they absolutely can’t see it through my eyes and they’re judging me and blaming me.

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  28. My house is disgusting and disorderly. I’m about to surrender my cat back to the shelter since I can’t take care of him anymore. I don’t know if it was all the trauma, the ECT, the TMS, the drugs, the commitments that included isolation and restraints, the abandonment by everyone in my life, or the current withdrawal from cymbalta, but I didn’t used to be like this. I used to keep a very clean home.

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    • Ah Kate.

      Keep your cat. He might save your arse.

      If the only thing you do is ask him what he needs, and strive for that, you will start getting better too.

      You can get better.

      I’m not negating your trauma – it sounds horrific. And there is help for the Cymbalta withdrawals. This is still early days, that’s when it is easiest to help.

      I just know that I’ve seen people come back from the wildest far-within places, the deepest of drug cocktails, and they now feel human again. This can happen to you too. Even the ECT damage can re-route – have you read Norman Doidge (I know, psychiatrist, believes in drugging – but ) about Neuroplasticity? We heal.

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    • You’re right about Kodi (the cat). If I can comfort him and reassure him it will help me. He’s having his “blankie fort” nap right now (he goes under the covers) and I just did a little reiki on him through the blanket. 🙂

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    • Please if at all possible keep the cat, who undoubtedly loves you more than you realize. We don’t need more unnecessary trauma in the world. Or find someone who will give him/her a home. Shelters suck, just like psychiatry. You’ll find a way.

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  29. Pulling for you, Kate. Please keep in mind that you are “under the influence” so to speak, of the CT from the drug. This current state does not reflect the real you, underneath. I know that one of the things I do with anger when I cannot use the energy to address the real cause is use the energy to clean (usually scrubbing- bathtub, oven, kitchen floor). Putting on upbeat music helps. You will get through this. The AA folks use the “one day/hour/moment at a time” thing to ride it out.

    and Kate, unless you are actually neglecting your cat, please don’t deprive yourself of the stability, comfort, unconditional love, etc. that an animal companion provides. It can be one of the most important relationships in your life. In fact, one of the first things I read on MIA was a survivor’s tale of how nursing an abandoned turtle back to health saved her life.

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  30. Thank you, Lavender Sage. I’m doing a little bit of cleaning now. I was thinking of taking my cat to the vet for boarding for a few days while I figured out what to do but I haven’t yet. I just feel awful about the effect that this is having on him. He’s so sensitive to me and there is no one else for him to go to. I put a bird video on for him. I still haven’t looked on the website you sent me the link for. My mind is so scattered right now I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to figure out a protocol regarding the cymbalta. I’ll try to at least go to the website after I have some coffee. There were some useful things about DBT, although at this point I find it on the whole overly simplistic, invalidating and demeaning. There is a “turning the mind” skill. I’m going to keep turning my mind back to what’s right in front of me, what’s real. Like my cat. Thank you so much for the support. It means so much to me.

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    • I did cat rescue out of my home for ten years. Those cats were all that kept me going some years. Cats are the best when you’re depressed. I had a cat that always came running to me if I cried. I’d give anything for another day with her.

      I understand the guilt you feel when you’re too dynsfunctional or depressed to offer your loved ones (cats and dogs are loved ones) the level of care that you think they deserve. But giving him away would be way more traumatic for him than being with his person in his home in the environment he’s used to. Cats are people too. Let him love you right now. I think you’d be pretty lost without him and I think he’ll survive whatever perceived neglect you believe he’s enduring right now.

      The one thing I know about the dark is that the light always comes back. You’ve just got to ride this until the darkness lifts. Be gentle with yourself and love that kitty.

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      • Thank you, Kindred Spirit. I think I’ve been trying to shut down emotionally because the pain is too much, but then the cat senses that, I can’t be there for him if I’m shut down, he gets scared and sometimes he attacks me. I don’t fault him for it. I would want to bite me too if I was him. It’s just hard. I just got a call back from the vet who I called this morning about boarding him and they said that if I decided to surrender him I can just bring him there to surrender him at any point and they will find a home for him. I know they’re interested in his welfare but it’s so easy for me to get paranoid and think, they think I shouldn’t have him. They think he’d be safer elsewhere. I have no idea if that’s what they’re thinking, it’s just hard right now.

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        • I think many of us here (both those running the show and those of us in the peanut gallery) can sympathize with what you’re feeling.

          I also think JanCarol has some very good advice about potentially restarting some amount of the cymbalta you were taking to take the edge off the withdrawal. I think a lot of the emotional upheaval you’re feeling is directly related to being in withdrawal.

          In addition to the support over at the Surviving Antidepressants site, you also might check out The Withdrawal Project over at Inner Compass Initiative.


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          • Thank you. I do feel “nuts” – just not in a mentally ill way, more of a human person responding to situations way. Although I’m sure most people I’ve been in contact with lately would say it’s the first way. I’m trying to tell myself that even though I’m not okay right now, this is a moment in time.
            Is it okay to just talk randomly about different topics in these threads? Probably a little late to ask since I’ve been doing it for a while. :/
            Rachel, Abby sounds awesome. Kodi is the most high maintenance cat I’ve ever had, but he’s also the most rewarding in some ways. He’s very intelligent, a Russian blue. I adopted him from the shelter where I was working at the time when he was six. He’s eight now. he was with the same family the first six years of his life, … it must have been quite a rupture to him to wind up at the shelter. So I think his needs are more than those of other cats I’ve had, but I also feel like we understand each other because we’ve both been through a lot.

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          • Kate, it depends on the author. Some authors prefer to keep comments on topic. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

            As for feeling “nuts”, well, of course you do. It’s a nutty, upside down unfair world with more and more people finding themselves at the bottom of the heap. A big of part of recovering from psychiatric abuse is processing everything you’ve been through when you finally realize what a sham it all is. And added to the physical effects of withdrawal, I’m sure it does feel pretty “crazy”. It’s good that you can see that this is a totally normal human response. We spend so much time humanizing and empathizing with others. It’s important to humanize ourselves and remember we are experiencing normal human emotions and strong emotions are ok.

            Check out the ICI and also Laura Delano’s personal website – I found her writing to be very helpful in my early days of withdrawal. She speaks so eloquently about how wonderful it is to allow ourselves to fully embrace and FEEL our feelings without judging them. http://www.recoveringfrompsychiatry.com

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          • I believe that both the Inner Compass and Laura Delano base their information on Surviving Antidepressants protocols, but okay, whatever you find helpful. Since Surviving Antidepressants is free, open source and evolving, it stands to reason that people would lift a lot of stuff from there.

            Laura Delano is trying to make a living out of it, which is a bit of a sticking point to the founder of SA.

            When you go to SA you will find that a lot of people are keen on Baylissa Fredericks (also called Bliss Johns, she focuses on benzos – but her self-soothing techniques are beautiful) and Claire Weekes (for surfing and surviving anxiety) – both can be found on YouTube.

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        • Kitties are low maintenance. Great for the chronically ill. I had to find a home for my pet cockatiel after more than a decade. My ears have become hypersensitive since going off drugs. (The drugs dulled my senses more than normal.) Poor Pearly’s shrieks became unbearable. He needs someone who is okay with them.

          My folks found a kitty but there’s no room for her in their single wide. The other 3 cats don’t like her. So Abby is living with me now. She doesn’t need walks like a dog and is much quieter than a song bird but warm-blooded and affectionate–unlike a fish. Great pet.

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          • Yeah, cats really are ideal for people who are dealing with any kind of mental or physical difficulties because they are so self contained. As long as they use the litter box and aren’t too destructive, you’re golden.

            Dogs are harder. I can’t walk my service dog right now. Both too exhausted and I can’t trust I won’t pass out and be injured in freezing weather. I’ve had too many bad falls lately. I’m scared I’m going to break something. Thankfully my husband can do it but really the answer is going to likely be a wheelchair fairly soon.

            A service cat would be the best of both worlds but that will never happen because cats know they are the center of the universe and they train us, not the other way around.

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        • Don’t worry about what anyone thinks, it’s secondary at best. Just tell them you’ve changed your mind for now.

          Not exactly the same, but I remember the plaint of a vet who was bemoaning being instructed to “do everything” to save a hopelessly sick cat who would have by far preferred, rather than dying anyway in an impersonal clinical setting, to be back in his box behind to wood stove. The same principle applies I think.

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          • Oldhead – that’s ME!

            Don’t intervene and put your tubes and drugs in me to try and give me another 24-48 hours of life! Let me curl up in my box by the stove, and meet my Maker in my own way!!!

            My own cat – yes, we did take her to the vet for a transfusion of fluids (kidney failure) but then brought her home where she experienced and I witnessed her last breath, in the comfort of bed.

            Vets are a little better than doctors – but they still have a vested interest in intervening.

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  31. 🙂 I tried to make Kodi a service cat at one point. I brought him to ShopRite with me, in his carrier, because we needed cat food. I figured as long as I had to go out on his account, he should come with me and keep me company. He did not like ShopRite.
    Although I’ve found he does love staying in hotels. He is a purebred.

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      • :). I think you got to get them while they’re young to teach them that trick. :). They don’t know yet that they’re the boss. I bought a cat stroller from Amazon for Kodi. It had these huge air tires to absorb the shock. I set it up outside on the deck, I was so excited. But when he saw it he was terrified. So I wound up returning it. I think it was the big tires that scared him.

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        • I have a knapsack for taking Puzzle on the bus. She’s a dog, not a cat. She loves the bus! She is 12 now and snores when she sleeps. When I am working at home I hear her snoring loudly while I am on the phone talking to my customers. When I have a training at work (we do these on video calls) I sometimes use my computer speakers instead of a headset which freaks her out so she comes and stands right by me. I am surprised she can hear it because she is mostly deaf. Maybe she wants to be “trained” in her old age. Hey, Puzzle, want some Salesforce, or some chicken liver?

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          • Cats make horrible passengers. Helped Mom move 3 of the cats from one end of Indiana to another. A 5 hour trip.

            The big one lay in the bottom of her carrier looking sick the whole time. Occasionally she would howl like only a distressed cat can.

            The other two “sang a duet” the whole trip. “Meow!” said Lilly. “Mow!” said Foxy. Normally they hate each other.

            When we got them to the new home they calmed down and were able to enjoy exploring. But all three were hoarse for a while.

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  32. I just took down most of my Google reviews (including the ones for the ECT doctor and the TMS doctor) mostly because I couldn’t deal with the negative energy having them up was bringing up for me. That’s the last thing I need is to create more negative energy. This is scary. I wonder if this is what leaving a cult feels like. Except that in my case, the cult doesn’t want me either. They’re like, “bad cult member! Off with you!” I also finally split with whatever family members I was still in contact with because that wasn’t doing me any favors.
    I saw some pet knapsacks on Amazon with the little space bubble window in the back. So cute. I think kodi’s too big though. He’s like 13 pounds.

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    • My cat (she’s smaller than Kodi) uses a sling bag like this one:


      She loves it because she cuddles next to me. There’s also a tether that I can attach to her harness (she loves her harness, because she wore one ever since she was a kitten) so that she cannot jump out.

      She also likes it because she can hunker down and hide from stuff (like traffic or people or anything loud or scary to her) or she can pop her head out and check stuff out.

      We no longer use the other cat carriers, this is her preferred conveyance.

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      • Oh, that’s so awesome, JanCarol. I need to find a way to take Kodi places with me. He doesn’t like the car and he won’t wear a harness but he does love adventure. I’ve taken him to hotels on two separate occasions and both times he loved it. We would go and explore the hallways at night. He probably also likes it because I get stressed out a lot in my apartment because of things that have happened here, with my neighbors. I think he sees that I’m calmer and happier and then he feels better. He did like the more expensive hotel better. He’s got good taste.

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  33. Thank you, JanCarol and KS for the information about the other websites. I’m still trying to figure out how these comments work…It seems like sometimes there’s a reply button under a comment and sometimes there’s not? Is there a way to take a conversation off the thread or a different part of the MIA website where people can chat and share information?
    Anyway, yes I am going to look at the web sites you listed. I’m realizing that there is a part of me, maybe a big part of me, that wants somebody else to fix it for me. Maybe that’s what kept me a patient of psychiatry for so long. I’m definitely doing a lot of self validating, though, which is good, I think… I need that, otherwise I would feel so ashamed about being so very angry and about some of the comments I made to former treatment providers. I emailed the one clinician I had at Yale who had been helpful to me. I’ve been sending him a bunch of email rants and for some reason he hasn’t blocked my email yet. I said to him, “I realize that I’ve been very disrespectful towards you & I’m sorry for that, however/and, there’s nothing I could say to you or anyone else in an email that would match how disrespected I feel as a person about the treatment I’ve received from the mental health system.”
    Maybe he’ll get it or maybe he won’t. I need to focus on what I need to do to pull myself out of this.
    I think someone had suggested a naturopath? That’s something I might look into. I realized that I don’t have the skills that would be required to access help through the normal medical system that is available with Medicare. I start to fall apart as soon as I walk into the doctor’s office. Traditional medicine seems to be designed for body parts and not actual people. I did see a chiropractor/naturopath for a consultation appointment about eight months or so ago. She used supplements from a company called Standard Process and what I found online about this company made me doubtful, so I didn’t go back to see her again.
    Thanks again to everyone for your support. My emotions have been so intense and painful the past couple of days. It helps to know that I’m not completely overreacting to this situation and that I’m not imagining how bad the system can really be for a lot of people. It’s so weird when I think about when the MIA book came out. I devoured it. Also Peter Breggin’s book. Nobody but nobody wanted to talk to me about it. I think they looked at it as just one of my symptoms, that I was so angry at and suspicious of the treatment I had received and was receiving. I think they just heard it as a crazy rant… F psychiatry, F the pharmaceutical companies, F the FDA, it’s all about money, it’s all a scam. They were like, “sure, Kate, did you take your meds today?”

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    • Kate – if you join SA – you will have a platform to talk about this all you want – and an audience that understands the harms of drugging (as they are all suffering from their own overdrugging experiences).

      Please, come and chat – there’s a huge community there which will welcome you with open arms.

      I know – it sounds like I’m thumping on, but I really do think you would benefit, or I wouldn’t keep saying it.

      There – you can talk about your cat, your DBT experience, NONE of it is off topic. You’ll have your own thread where you can chat with people – and you can go to their threads and chat about their experiences and compare it to your own – and find that your story is not so strange after all.

      You are not alone!

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        • Let me tell you about my Guardian Angel, Squeak.

          I got her at a beef farm, a litter of barn kittens (she was blue, all my cats have been blue – I’m about ready to graduate to a tabby, but still have a blue cat).

          She was with me through 2 marriages, 3x as many boyfriends. She saw me on drugs, she lived through my extreme states. She met all of my friends.

          She was a cantankerous cat. Guests always thought she looked “mean,” but she was just being protective. She was the kind of cat that when she heard something scary – she would run TOWARDS it growling like a dog.

          So – nobody loved that cat but me. When things got extreme, and I contemplated ending my life, she would look at me and tell me – that nobody else would take her, nobody else would love her like I did – and SHE would love nobody else. Killing myself would kill her too.

          She kept me alive for all of her 19 years. She’s gone now, but I’m stable. I owe my life to that cat.

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          • Oh…I love Squeak. Love her. ☺️ They’re all so different aren’t they? They have their own personalities just like people. Except more so because I they don’t try to conform to a standard. They’re just who there are. The cat I had before Kodi… George, but she was a girl… Was very dear to me also. She kept me going through a lot. I always imagine how well she and Kodi would get along. I think they’d really complement each other. Maybe that’s a weird thought, I don’t know. I did register with the surviving antidepressants website. I submitted my topic and am waiting for it to be approved.

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  34. I think if any of the psychiatrists or medical law practitioners or others who zealously guard their intellectual faculties would climb up on a table for 20 ECT sessions, I might listen to them next time they swear to me “no harm will come of this.” Thirty years after the fact, I am still damaged goods. My career at UT Southwestern Medical Center was cut short, I had to go on disablity pay, and am now entering my twilight years still coping with hellish consequences of ECT.

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