In a Mad In America survey of people who had been patients in mental hospitals, nearly 500 respondents told of an experience that was often traumatic, and frequently characterized by a violation of their legal rights, forced treatment with drugs, and physical or sexual abuse. Only 17% said they were “satisfied” with the “quality of the psychiatric treatment” they received.

“If it is within my power, I will never ever allow myself to be coerced into going to one of those places ever again,” said one female respondent, who, most recently, had been in a California hospital in 2013. “My God, what horrific things go on in those places.”

To conduct the survey, MIA solicited responses from Facebook, Reddit, and Mad In America users, from October 20 to November 5. As the survey did not involve a random sampling of ex-patients, but rather relied on respondents who chose to answer the questionnaire, the survey findings should be understood to have come from a self-selected group of ex-patients. However, the experiences reported in this survey echo findings from other investigations of the treatment of patients in mental hospitals, including a 2009 Department of Justice report, a 2016 Buzzfeed investigation, and a 2016 declaration by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The most notable findings of the MIA survey include:

  • More than half of the respondents described their psychiatric ward experience as “traumatic.”
  • Thirty-seven percent said they were physically abused in some way (with forced treatment included as an example of physical abuse).
  • Seven percent said they were sexually abused.
  • Only 27% said they felt “safe and secure” while on the psych ward.
  • Only 17% said they were “satisfied with the quality of the psychiatric treatment” they received.

The survey, even with its evident limitations, serves as a reminder of an ever-present question: why does the history of psychiatric hospitals so regularly tell of “treatments” that many patients find objectionable, and why do so many patients experience psychiatric hospitalization as “traumatic?”

In addition to responding to the survey questions, respondents were asked if they wanted to comment generally about their experience. A sampling of their comments can be found after the presentation of the survey results.

Also, for purposes of full disclosure, while I work for Mad in America and conceived of this survey in collaboration with Mad in America’s editors, I have ex-patient experience on two psych wards. This was part of my motivation for wanting to survey other psych ward patients, and to hear their thoughts.

Survey Results

Upon admission

Two-thirds of the 486 respondents were women, and nearly 75% had been hospitalized within the previous eight years. Almost two-thirds had been involuntarily hospitalized at least once, and in contrast to the public perception that forced hospitalizations regularly involve people who are aggressive and violent, only three percent of this group said that “violence,” or a situation involving the police, had led to their forced hospitalization. Nearly half said it was because they had attempted suicide, or were suicidal, or had engaged in self harm.

Those forcibly hospitalized reported that doctors and hospital staff often failed to provide a clear reason for their hospitalization. Most told of not being given an opportunity to contact a patient advocate who could help them contest their involuntary commitment.

Treatment in Hospital

Once in the hospital, nearly everyone was given a diagnosis, with depression and bipolar the most common diagnoses, which is consistent with the fact that the majority of survey respondents had been hospitalized for mood-related difficulties. Nearly everyone was medicated, and polypharmacy was common. Forced treatment, physical abuse, and sexual abuse (attempted rape, groping, or sexual harassment) were reported with some frequency, and not surprisingly, nearly all of those who suffered such abuse considered their psych-ward experience “traumatic.” Only about a quarter of the patients said they felt “safe and secure” on the psych ward. Every question related to patient satisfaction produced a majority of respondents who had a negative attitude toward their hospitalization, and this was true also for the medications they were given.

(Note: There were a small number of respondents who reported being restrained or put in solitary confinement or forcibly medicated who didn’t consider these actions “unjustified.” The figures reported in this graphic are only for those who considered the restraints, confinement and forced drugging “unjustified.”)


Upon Reflection

Although the majority of respondents told of experiencing their hospitalization as a negative, or as traumatic, the majority still said that there were times, particularly in the case of an emergency, that they would recommend “psych ward treatment” to a “mentally unwell friend or loved one.” A third, upon reflection, said they believed that their own hospitalization had “saved” their life. These answers tell of a majority of respondents who, perhaps in spite of their own negative experiences, still believe that hospital care can be helpful, at least in times of severe crises.





Of the 486 survey respondents, 281 provided additional feedback in the form of written comments. In this group, four percent were positive toward their hospitalization experience, eight percent had mixed feelings, and eighty-eight percent had negative feelings. Many of the comments tell of their having been extremely traumatized by their hospitalization, and how difficult it has been to recover from that experience.

Here is a sampling of the comments:

I only learned that there’s no quick fixes and there is something worse than the depths of depression, which is being in a psych ward while severely depressed. No one seemed concerned about helping me, only getting me in and out to pass on the liability.

As a survivor of childhood and adolescent abuse and domestic violence, I cannot believe how abusive the hospitals are…Pyschiatric hospitalizations damaged me to the point of giving up, feeling so worthless that I believed I wasn’t worth the air I was breathing and needed to die.

I feel the need to explicitly emphasise how traumatic the experience was overall, but especially the repercussions which effectively destroyed my high school GPA and social life.

It completely angered me to see that the mental health system would fail me this much. I thought it was horrible before hospitalization. Now I know it is. I consider it to be the worst week of my life.

Like being in prison and abused, emotionally and mentally, treated like a nonhuman, worse than a dog.

Would quite literally do anything and everything to avoid being ever sent to a psych ward again, including taking my own life. Death is far preferable to that kind of false imprisonment, dehumanization, humiliation, cruelty, and trauma.

After 8 years of being a zombie, I was finally able to recover when I weaned myself off all psyche. meds. I have a full and serene life today after my escape from the mental health system.

It was the most disempowering, stigmatizing, terrifying experience of my life. I am terrified to reach out for help when I am distressed.

When I describe precisely some of the worst experience of mine as involuntary prisoner in “psychiatric hospital” folks have assumed I was speaking symbolically but no it was actually literally actually what happened.

The only help I received was from other patients and the feeling of satisfaction helping other patients.

Being institutionalized was a life changing experience for a girl on the spectrum. It was an exercise in power, and totally unjustified.

I lost my 20s to psych facilities, the terrible over-drugging treatment, resulting catatonic depression, and the damaging ECTs prescribed because of that catatonia.

I was in a reasonably funded ward attached to a normal hospital, not a city mental institution serving underserved populations, and it was appalling in there. I have nightmares about my experiences.

It pretty much ruined my life and I spent over 12 years not really trusting anyone who “cared about me” & wondering if someday my parents and the psychiatrist would turn out to be right (that i would prove to be “ill” and unable to work or live normally).

Even though it was 4 years ago, I’m still coming to terms with everything that happened.

Psych wards are psychological hell holes and it was pure torture to my humanity and sanity having to be treated for behavior that I literally never even exhibited.

I had all my power taken away in a time where I already felt entirely powerless.

I was taken against my will and never even got treated.

Involuntary Commitment is basically the same as kidnapping, only its legal and “for your own good”.

My experience with psychiatry is one that I never want to repeat – much of my life destroyed by ECT – much of my life lived as though it never happened due to over-drugging and ECT.

My overall functionality took a nose dive after my first hospitalization…I suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociation. I cannot even be in a room that is visually similar to the one I had at Rush without breaking down.

I was frightened due to the unchecked aggressive behavior of a particular patient, and also because of the sexual harassment I was experiencing from other patients, and the cavalier attitudes of the staff.

i would of had a better experience, and spent less money, if i instead booked a Caribbean vacation.

I was 18, (I’m now 69) I believed them, it took many years to shed the psychiatric label and accept myself and realize it was up to me to have a life.

I wish that I could’ve gotten the doctors and social workers who mistreated me in trouble, they hurt me in a way that destroyed my life when I tried desperately to come forward about abuse, and I havent recovered mentally to this day, my cptsd has driven me to near suicide constantly.

I don’t think they should be diagnosing in there. That was a major problem I had. I was given a “permanent” diagnosis for a temporary state. And you just can’t easily withdraw from mood stabilizers.

The system pretty much chewed me up and spit me out. When the way they wanted to help me didn’t work instead of communicating with me to figure out the best way to help for real most clinicians have just labeled me either treatment-resistant or ‘too difficult to work with.

Traumatic. Awful. Unprofessional staff. Obscenely medicated into oblivion.

The traumatic experience I felt was so overwhelming I can not begin to undertsand or make it relevant so anyone would or could understand it.

Still have nightmares, still have hypervigilance and various triggers when having to have medical procedures. The doctor should have been put in prison for hurting me and many others. This was all 50 years ago, but I still suffer greatly from what they did.

My experience was probably not typical (if there is such a thing) but I’m willing to talk about it if that can help anyone. It’s been almost 10 years of PTSD therapy and healing, but no meds. I’m not mentally ill but what this experience taught me about the abuse and lack of rights this population experiences is absolutely haunting. If there’s ever a way to use my story to undermine that system, I’m here for it.

Trauma issues were totally ignored in the hospital and I was told I had biologically-based mental illnesses that would follow me for life. I was heavily medicated and when I complained about the adverse effects I was either ignored or given additional medication. I found that as a patient my voice and preferences were ignored.

At one hospital one of the staff told the assembled patients that “mental illness is incurable.” How’s that for eliminating all hope? I raised my hand and said not only did I not believe that, but I didn’t think it was right to demoralize us like that.

The experiences we’re crushing to my body, mind and soul.

Treatment was weapon brandished to control our behavior. It’s made it difficult to connect to even the most respectful, well-meaning mental health practitioners ever since.

Too painful to reply.

They don’t listen to patients. It felt an awful lot like I imagine prison feels. Overall, I was treated like I didn’t exist or matter.

If it is within my power, I will never ever allow myself to be coerced into going to one of those places ever again. My God, what horrific things that go on in those places.

I can’t stress enough how horrible it was to be ripped of all control over my life and treated without any respect or dignity.

It’s tragic this is the best the United States has to offer.

Human beings should never be treated that way. I am still dealing with trauma. Currently living in denmark due to fear of ever going back to a mental hospital in the states.

I was in hospital twice, once after suicide attempt. It felt like a punishment. I am better now, but would rather die by suicide than go to the hospital ever again.

I was totally traumatized and I would never NEVER go back, even if I needed the help. I would do anything to keep out of that hospital. It was about the worst experience of my life, and it made my issues much worse, not better… Really the worst experience of my life.

Was just horrible. One of the most traumatic experiences in my life.

Not one person asked what was going on in my life while admitted, I knew once I was in I should not have been there, but had to follow protocall in order to be approved to leave. I felt I had no voice.

There was a sort of comfort in confinement, but it overall the experience was degrading, humiliating, inhumane and condescending.

Worst experience of my life. Death is preferable.

The human rights violations that routinely happen in the wealthiest country in the world are mind boggling.

My psych ward experience was horrific and has left me with trauma. I am now deeply afraid and distrustful of doctors and nurses, and still have nightmares about my time there.

They never listened to my concerns about the medication. Once I got out and stopped, my side effects stopped, including the psychosis.

The first psych ward I ever went to saved my life. The second psych ward I went to saved my life and my marriage. Neither experience was happy, because healing is never happy. Making the choice to see another day, knowing it and the ones that follow will indubitably be painful, is hard. But psych wards can save lives. It is the closest thing to dying temporarily – to cutting yourself off from the word without permanently severing ties. It can be a relief and often is.

I am one of the nicest people, I can’t understand how the abuse still goes on. As a person called “mentally ill” it’s been a nightmare I have no rights I get abuse time time again no one cares. I tell everyone my children if I am ever locked up again I rather die. I am not suicidal but I’d rather DIE.

All of the comments can be read here.

MIA will be conducting more surveys in the coming months. We welcome your feedback on this survey, and if you wish to send us private feedback, please do so.


  1. Thank you for creating and reporting on this survey. I am glad I participated. I went to the hospital in a more depressed state once and it really is the worst. At least when I was manic I could converse with fellow patients, and gain some benefit from a routine. There was nothing there for misery but more of it. I’m curious what people who attempt or were about to attempt would want from an experience….

    I’ve also had panic attacks in hospital-like places because of my experience. Luckily the nightmares have stopped for now. There were some doozies. The trauma is real.

    Love to all. It was nice to hear everyone’s voices.

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    • If anyone reading this was abused in a hospital use consumer complaint and review websites to tell the world what really goes on.

      Search the hospital name and post on every review site that comes up.

      They usually appear first page search results when people search the hospital name. Often when the first complaint is posted other victims find it and post their stories adding credibility.

      This is very damaging especially to private hospitals. Families read these complaints, they learn what really goes on and either avoid letting loved ones get admitted or work to get them out, costing these hell holes alot of money.

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      • Just an FYI, The_cat, yelp does sensor comments, if they get too many views. I did a yelp review on one of my former PCPs, that ended up getting over a hundred thousand views.

        At first yelp sent me a congratulatory email on all the views. Then yelp sent me an email saying they’d taken my valid review off the internet, because that doctor had committed her crimes against me, prior to working where she currently works. As if she’s changed her evil ways, yah right.

        I did get a kick out of thinking about the stink I likely caused that criminal doctor, however. But she created a hell out of my life first. Karma’s a bitch, huh?

        I do agree, it’s important for people to put the crimes their doctors have committed against them, on the internet.

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        • I almost posted up some reviews but I don’t think I can officially put my name behind them yet. I might have a conversation with someone in the addiction recovery circle on our area though. I may be able to make some difference locally that way for now.

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          • I do encourage considering safety issues, prior to posting online. Make sure you’ve changed doctors, insurance groups, and even moving to a different state prior to posting, might be wise.

            As I know I was dealing with now FBI convicted, criminal doctors – who were illegally and medically unnecessarily shipping patients long distances to themselves – in Illinois. So I did wait until I moved out of state, prior to doing reviews online. And all should be made aware of the fact that there is a “white wall of silence” (meaning doctors cover doctors asses), and doctors do break the HIPPA laws.

            Many of the doctor review websites do not require you include your name. But some do require an email, which of course comes attached to your name. I do encourage sharing the massive in scope harm doctors are doing, online. But absolutely, first consider your own safety. Thank you for mentioning that important point, MissPenelope.

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      • The_Cat. Thanks so much for listing the sites to list complaints. I was someone who filled out the survey and as a professional feel terribly traumatized by several of my forced hospital experiences. Is there any assurance that if I list experiences at the well known psych hospital in CT regarding various forms of abuse that they won’t try to retaliate against me in some way?

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          • Old head I misspoke. At 66 I still have a PhD in Biopsychology and worked in that field teaching medical school for 10 years and then worked for pharmaceutical companies as a medical writer for 13 years. I realize now that most of what I taught or did was incorrect/false. I was deemed psychiatrically disabled 10 years ago and no longer work. I was the person whose comment in the survey was “Too painful to discuss”

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          • Old Head. I am doing the best I can to make it day to day since I am also dealing with Poly psych drug withdrawal that I was on for 30 yrs as well as the polypharmacy from the hospitalizations. However I will do the best I can to stick around and publicize the survey (I agree with you that not much has changed) however I find the majority of the comments from the survey totally shocking. I would like to also somehow? get the word out about the importance of trauma and ethics in the workplace which I experienced and being very very careful about trusting what pharmaceutical companies say including about medical devices as well as their data by so called “experts”. Only in the US and New Zealand is there direct to consumer marketing of all types of drugs on the TV by non other than pharmaceutical companies!! Take care

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      • Helpstillneeded,

        I can’t comment ‘officially’ but from my perspective, I’ve watched commenters get attacked mercilessly on this website if they aren’t exactly in line with some of the survivors’ opinions. I do understand that they are probably just triggered by their personal traumatic-experiences, but it’s kind of sad because I’ve watched some people who could have been good allies in this cause be run off just because they didn’t 100% subscribe to some of the things that some of the survivors feel is a must.

        Beyond that this website also has a definite tilt toward the Left which puts another unnecessary hurdle in front of commenters. I’m kind of a moderate politically, socially and religiously and open to most ideas, but the constant Leftist tilt that is simply assumed by many of the authors and commenters is another hurdle.

        I still read many of the blogs, but I find myself more often than not refraining from commenting anymore because, as an SO of a woman with d.i.d., I know I’m a second-class participant here.

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        • Sad but true. I’m not a pure survivor, as a psychologist, I stood my grounds and didn’t get as maltreated as many on here. But I am also left sided (with a slight, as thin as it is, right wing inclination). I have also noticed how harsh some comments are. But you know what ? Don’t event bother about the sharp teeth comments. They are not destined to hurt you. They are only very deep pain coming out as words, only words. And, as Albert Ellis once told one of his very young patients ” sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me “. Easier to say than to do, but still true. So stick in with us, please, and things can, and will change. Time is a big healer …

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          • Thanks, JClaude,

            but you and I both know that words break the spirit in a way that sticks and stones can never do. It is what it is, and though I fully support Bob Whittaker’s philosophy, I understand I will never, truly be welcomed on this website. So I will continue the fight on my own, and maybe when my wife is ready to ‘out’ herself, she’ll join me so we can show the world how mental health issues ought to be handled: within the love and safety of an attachment relationship..

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          • I very much appreciate the comments of both JClaude and samruck2. Just this week, I felt a little of the “maltreatment” mentioned. I also was gifted by a very compassionate response; the responses always seem to swing both ways. The most important point is, I think, that the mental health system can only change if we all stick together. (It could be nice if kindness could be the glue)

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          • Posting as moderator:

            After long thought, I have left this comment up, but I find it problematic. MIA makes editorial decisions all the time about which blogs do and do not get posted, often based on the content, quality of writing, number of other blogs to be posted, and other factors. It appears you may have had some difficulty finding out why, but it seems the appropriate approach would be to communicate further with the editors, or with Robert Whitaker. The post seems to have criticizing MIA’s editorial policies as its main objective, and while there is no ban on criticizing MIA by any stretch of the imagination, it would seem to me to be more responsible to find out what the actual policy is before publicizing such a critique.

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          • Further consultation has led me to reverse this decision. Direct, gratuitous criticism of MIA’s editors will in the future fall under the rubric of disrespectful/shaming comments and be moderated. It is OK to critique a particular decision, but implied disrespect for those having to make the decisions is crossing the line.

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          • Samruck2

            I’m so sorry that MIA doesn’t seem to be interested in listening to you. You have helped me. I thought MIA was about change? The things you say seem to be in keeping with many ideas expressed by Open Dialogue? As both someone extremely traumatized by the US mental health system including abusive hospitalizations (I filled out the survey) and poly pharmacy, I also try to do my best truely accepting and trying to relate to someone like your spouse. I am a 66 yo male PhD Biopsychologist with over 30 years of experience who no longer can work. I would like to give someone from MIA a chance to comment on your insights and about your take on their interactions with you like the moderator of the MIA comments (Steve McCrea) or especially Bob Whitaker the head of MIA. And ask them what they are doing to try to get the information from the hospitalization survey out to the general public via a respected and non-biased form of media?

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          • HelpStillNeeded,

            Sadly I’m a huge trigger issue for too many of the patients, victims, etc here on MIA. I’m seen as speaking ‘for’ my wife, rather than speaking ‘to’ other SO’s and sharing all the things I’ve learned from my wife and from our journey together. That’s the entire point of my blog: to empower other SO’s to take the lead in their loved one’s healing. I’m not anti-therapist, but I learned very quickly that NO therapist can be in the trenches 24/7 like we SO’s are, and so it’s not even appropriate to expect them to do what i had to learn to do to keep my wife OUT of the hospitals and OFF the drugs. But I have no interest in causing dissension. MIA isn’t my website, and the staff are at liberty to pick and choose whom they will give a voice. At least they haven’t run me off like so many of the other websites who espouse the biomedical model. Philosophically, I am naturally aligned with MIA.

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          • I have stayed out of this because I don’t want this to come across as a personal attack. However…

            Having been a “DID” patient (for a decade!) who was being manipulated by my SO, I can certainly understand the skepticism towards you by those of us who have been harmed by our significant others. It turned out I did not have DID at all and all of the alters were created by my SO while I was so drugged I could barely think at all. My ex also dated several other “DID” patients who lost their diagnoses upon breaking up with him or shortly after. So color me skeptical of the label to start with.

            You rarely talk about any specifics things you do to help your wife, instead using undefined nebulous terms like “attachment”. And encouraging her “alters” to interact with you (and your child!) does not encourage them to integrate within her, if they exist at all. So I would expect there are probably others who have read your comments about your family structure with concern for the kid being raised in this chaos, who is not getting the opportunity to form a cohesive attachment to his mom because he doesn’t have a “mom” to attach to, just a body with who knows which personality will be at the surface at any one time. You rarely speak about what you do to protect your child from being exposed to this. On the contrary, the kid is quite involved in this three ring circus apparently.

            My skepticism also arises from having known quite a few supposedly “DID” patients, all of whom successfully “integrated” when the label no longer worked for them. Just like all the other DSM labels, it’s a description of behavior.

            What you describe sounds to me like enmeshment. It’s a commonly known feature of codependency. I feel a sense of sadness every time I see you here speaking in vague terms, always praising yourself and your efforts, and I’m concerned about the mental health of the child being raised in this situation.

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          • KindredSpirit,
            Again, I’m a trigger to you: you aren’t reacting to me, but to your experience with your SO and then transferring that experience onto everything that I post.

            I’ve got an entire blog of specifics if you care, but I try not to use this website as a platform to pull others over there: I really have kind of let that blog die as the world doesn’t seem interested in anything other than their magic pills. It’s hard work to do what I do to help my wife heal. And our 27-year old son is doing just fine: he has his parents and the ‘alters’ have always deferred to the ‘mother’ figure anytime he wanted her, but in the end they ALL are part of his mother and my wife.

            As for their integration it goes on every single day as I live and interact with each of them, as I help them rewrite their ‘inner working model’ so that internally they view themselves as interconnected. They are more integrated than the pseudo integration that ISSTD fosters, where it FORCES the issue. My wife’s ‘alters’ are being drawn together despite themselves, because as I help them release the pain and trauma of the past, I believe her mind is reaching to be whole and united.

            As far as enmeshment…well I think that charge comes from a culture that is toxically independent and hyper-individualized. I am securely attached to each girl, and that’s all. In a few weeks she’ll fly out to Boston to be with our son for a week as she does a few times a year, and she has her own women’s things that all the girls enjoy going to, and last summer she was gone a couple of weeks. I missed her, of course, but we made it just fine.

            Yes, I’m aware that there is a group of people that hate me on this website and think I only come on here to praise myself, which is why I go back and forth between interacting and withdrawing. Maybe it’s time to withdraw again, I get tired of there being no place on the entire internet for us SO’s who haven’t drunk the biomedical model koolaid, and this is the closest I have found, but enough of the survivors have made it clear they distain me and so I try to keep my distance until my loneliness overwhelms my care about being repeatedly attacked…and then I try again…only for it to happen again.

            I am truly sorry for your experience, but your experience is NOT ours.

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          • Steve,
            I have tried, but I’m not going to beg or scream if I don’t get a response. And I also clarified that I understand the staff’s right to do whatever it pleases, even if I do believe we SO’s hold a crucial key in this fight against the predominant way of doing things…how to empower those people who are in the best position to help someone who is in mental distress…In the end I’ve been told this site is for therapists and survivors: me wishing to be part of the solution isn’t going to change that.

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          • Sam, I like you. Can’t speak for everyone but others on MIA like or at least don’t hate you.

            The reason many here dislike SO’s is they abused them, then used psychiatry to cover their butts.

            While covering for abusers is not NAMI’s official position, it’s “Nobody’s fault except the ‘defectives’ for being born” attitude makes it attractive for those who wish to abuse spouses, adult children, and elderly parents with impunity. Not all SO’s at NAMI are that way of course!

            Glad you and other SO’s here want to help. Sometimes people will listen to you because you’re “normal.” Often shrinks will dismiss even you or threaten you since you lack proper deference to these gods of the madhouse.

            My mom wanted to help long ago. But the “treatments” only made things worse. So she decided I was hopeless long ago.

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          • Thanks, Rachel,
            I do understand the dynamics going on and how many SO’s are abusive and destructive. I had a ton of change to do myself before I really became helpful and healing for my wife.

            And as sad as it is, I do think you are right that since I’m seen as ‘normal’ maybe some people will listen to me who wouldn’t listen to my wife. And yet, the enmeshment and co-dependent charges come up enough against me, that I realize most figure if I don’t see something ‘wrong’ with my wife, then there MUST be something wrong with me, sigh. Even my wife will say there’s something wrong with me since I don’t see her like the rest of the culture does. 🙁

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        • Significant Others have always been a pain in the a… in the mental field. Maybe not always, but for a long time and still now in psychiatric “care”. I have been in the addiction field for over 34 years and it took me way over 10 years to see them as allies and not ennemies. SO where, for a long time the cause of the disorder (i.e. : starting with Freud, then the codependency movement, unwillingly) and then, the addiction field under-stood. Psychiatry is very retarded in this matter. Maybe you are still perceived as the good scapegoat. The one that asks for psychiatric “care” and who thus gets nuts in the nit houses ? I “do-now’, just thinking out loud here …

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          • Allies OR enemies? Who says people can’t be both?

            It’s the people we like the most
            Who can make us feel saddest.
            It’s the people we care for the most–most likely–
            Who manage to make us feel baddest.

            ~Fred Rogers

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          • JClaude,
            I don’t think I’m a scapegoat: I’m a trigger. Helping my wife I learned we all get triggered. There are good triggers and bad triggers. Good ones, like a certain smell or song, can trigger happy memories, but bad triggers throw a person back into a traumatic one. And sadly too many family members are the cause of the trauma in our lives, and so I understand that I’m lumped in with the bad family members for too many people.

            Heck, even in the d.i.d. world there aren’t many of us SO’s who welcome the ‘alters’ into the marriage and family with open arms like I have. Too many reject the ‘alters’ like United States of Tara showcased. It was sad that show was made under the supervision of one of the best known d.i.d. therapists in the world, and yet almost everything they did on that show, in my opinion, was the exact opposite of how they should have done things. So I do understand how much skepticism I’m met with…it’s just sad because I really do like the philosophy of MIA and think we SO’s are a key piece of the puzzle to fight this scourge of forced hospitalizations.

            A case in point, is a new commenter (Robert) over on Sera Davidow’s old blog about NAMI. He didn’t know where else to turn living out in Iowa, and NAMI was there. My little blog is about empowering SO’s and parents to realized they can do things to help and stabilize their loved one that NO one else in the world can do, not even the drugs. I walked my wife thru her self harm issues, her panic attacks, her flash backs, when she went comatose on me…I figured out how to help her using attachments concepts to such a degree that she has completely healed and those things haven’t been a part of our journey for years now.

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          • I have to point out here that sometimes, SOs are very much the cause of great distress for the “identified patient.” Every situation is different, and the client is ultimately the one who has to decide if they are helpful or not helpful. The real problem is when the psychiatrist or mental health professional thinks they can decide for the client whether or not the parent/SO or other involved person is an ally or not.

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          • When I wrote “SO where the cause”, I was sarcastic. I much prefer the terme “trigger”. I f we are not here to blame and divide people into two classes, the mean and the victim. But it’s a fact that when SO’s turn to psychiatry for help, the end result is often prescriptions, forced hospitalizations and disability of the identified patient. If, as someone previously noted, psychiatrists where less versed in bio-pharm and more in family systems, interpersonal dynamics, personality development and trauma, things would be very different. I have a fantasy of a family session where the psychiatrist would inform all involved of the likely evolution of different treatment plans. I bet medication would go down very abruptly. It would most probably be the last option as nowadays, it is the first line of intervention. Occulted, unexplained and destined to be a quick fix only to band aid a crisis.

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          • Steve,
            you are coming at things from a very different perspective than I. I understand you and others here have seen a LOT of coercion, and so you default there, and insist on the patient’s rights and autonomy. But I come at it from a couple’s perspective, an attachment perspective, where my wife and I are ‘in this together.’ Sure, ultimately, she decides whether the things I do are helpful or not, but after watching her for 30 years and more so these last 11, interacting with her, carrying her thru many things (at times even literally), I’ve learned that I can set the environment of our relationship to be healing in ways she doesn’t always understand, but she benefits from them anyway. We’re in this together. We walk side by side. Sometimes I do, indeed, lead. Other times she leads. But neither of us are our own little island of autonomy. That’s back to the toxic individualism that others were talking about on another thread recently.

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          • I think you’re missing my point. First, I’m not defaulting to the idea that SOs are automatically unhelpful. I don’t know how you get that from my comment, but I suggest you re-read it. What I said is that in SOME cases, SOs can be incredibly destructive. I would think that should be kind of an obvious point. It is not fair to assume that someone’s SO or parent or other relative is going to be helpful – it’s something the client has to be able to decide. I’ll happily acknowledge that this kind of decision is a lot more complex in a situation involving multiple identities.

            Second, it is certainly your right to decide what YOU think is helpful, based on your own observations. However, it is NOT your right to decide what your wife or anyone else thinks is helpful for them. Obviously, caring people try to do the best thing for the person they are trying to help, and sometimes we have to proceed on our best estimation of what is likely to be helpful. However, and this is critical, we MUST OBSERVE HONESTLY from the behavior and reactions of the person we are trying to help whether or not our plan is helpful FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE. This is where psychiatry fails utterly as a profession and an industry. They don’t do what they hope might help and observe if it is helpful. If they did this, they’d have recognized long ago that their labels and their drugs are making people worse on the average, both from direct personal observation and from looking at the research. They’d be talking about taking individualized approaches with each client, about the high correlations between adult “mental illness” and childhood abuse and neglect, about the long-term damage to the brain done by the drugs they so happily prescribe.

            It’s not about assuming all SOs are destructive or dangerous. It’s about not assuming the opposite. I’ve seen way too many situations where family members increased their power over their partners or children, with the assistance of the medical/social services system. Clients need first to be protected. SOs can be extremely helpful, but I would by no means make that assumption about any SO without looking carefully into the situation first.

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  2. “Ex-patients Tell of Force, Trauma and Sexual Abuse in America’s Mental Hospitals,” thanks for telling it how is actually is. Although people should know it’s not just in the “mental hospitals” that doctors and psychiatrists are abusing their power. It is also in the private, religious, non-profit, mainstream hospitals, that psychiatrists and other doctors are abusing their power to medically unnecessarily force treat well insured patients for profit. My former force treating mainstream doctor was eventually arrested for Medicaid/Medicare fraud, because he was criminally, and medically unnecessarily, harming lots and lots of patients for profit.

    His Advocate Good Samaritan, “snowing,” psychiatric partner in crime has still not been arrested, however. Humaira Saiyed still needs to be arrested and convicted, likely for medically unnecessary crimes against many, many patients.

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  3. Certain groups, such as those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and homeless people, are almost certainly underrepresented in this survey. Imagine how much worse the picture would be if those groups were adequately included.

    Psychiatric wards and institutions are a special kind of hell.

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  4. Decent article but nothing we haven’t known for decades. It is flawed by using medical terminology and identifying psychiatric prisons as “hospitals,” which perpetuates the illusion that we are dealing with issues of bad medicine and not of social repression. This is a self-defeating analysis if one truly wants to defeat psychiatry and not just endlessly expose and denounce it, and misinterprets the motivation for and purpose of the repressive functions psychiatry serves. Again, I don’t see anything here that wouldn’t have been true in 1972.

    We need Miranda rights extended to psychiatric captives who are subjected to “interviews,” the contents of which can and will be used against us in courts of “law.” Think about it. It would be a good demand that could unite vast swaths of the inmate/survivor/anti-psychiatry population.

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    • I must agree that psychiatry is about “social repression,” outside the rule of law, as opposed to being a valid medical specialty. To the extent that I do not think our society will be able to return to the rule of law, without getting rid of the scientific fraud based “mental health system.”

      Historically, and still today, psychiatry has always functioned as an, outside the law, murderous arm, of the globalist socialist/communist bankers, to cover up the fraud and fiscal irresponsibility of their Ponzi scheme of a banking system. The psychiatrists killed millions in Bolshevik led Russia and Nazi Germany, historically, and they’re repeating the worst of history within all of Western civilization today.

      And what is the primary actual function of the psychiatric system today, and historically? Covering up abuse and rape of women and especially children, according to their own medical literature.

      And the DSM was intentionally set up as a child abuse covering up system, since helping child abuse survivors is NOT an insurance billable DSM disorder. So no “mental health professional” may ever bill any insurance company for ever helping any child abuse survivor ever, unless they first misdiagnose the child abuse survivors with one of the billable DSM disorders.

      And one must ask, are these globalist bankers, who have set up our society’s “systems,” decent folk, or child abusers? Our founding fathers spoke out against their criminal ways, and their debt based banking system is un-Constitution for good reason.

      And the globalist bankers’ own employees are now pointing out their child abuse, actual child murdering, hobbies.

      Our society should not actually want to have these fiscally irresponsible, bailout needing, war mongering and profiteering, evil, globalist bankers in charge of all of humanity. None of us, including the “mental health professionals” and religious leaders that own the hospitals, that have been profiteering off of today’s multibillion dollar, primarily child abuse covering up, iatrogenic illness creating “mental health system.”

      It’s not in the best interest of any of us to maintain these globalist bankers’ satanic systems. Because maintaining their satanic, child rape profiteering systems, will destroy humanity. We all should be working to protect our society’s children instead.

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    • Well said, oldhead. I can’t imagine the possibility of a real political change. But I can – we can – refuse to perpetuate the discursive gymnastics that make prisons become “hospitals,” violators become “carers,” violation become “treatment,” arbitrary arrest become “help,” and social control become “health care.”

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    • I really believe this is important for the short term. It may even be realistic to accomplish with a good court case. Probably have to go to the Supreme Court, but I think it’s a very winnable proposition, and I hope some hotshot attorney who is not too worried about money will take it on.

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      • You just gave me an idea, which i can’t share right now. But i’m glad you think this is a good demand, I have for a while. I was surprised that Tina M didn’t seem to agree when it was raised once on MIA, but this may have been a tactical reservation of some sort, maybe I’ll raise it again sometime.

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          • Um, when the police seize you and transport you to a locked facility you are under arrest, try refusing and see what happens (and if they decline to charge you with “resisting arrest”).

            Legally speaking residents of psych institutions are considered “inmates,” so I think this can be won, it’s primarily a question of motivation, and setting priorities. It would require a larger coalition that just survivors however, though perhaps that’s how it would be initiated, as you need a test case (or many, if a class action is involved). I’ll check this out with a lawyer & see what he says.

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          • I think that’s kind of the point. Psychiatric patients need to be informed that they are not simply being admitted to a hospital, they are potentially having their legal rights taken away, completely analogous to being arrested. They need to understand that they are not talking to a therapist with an interest in helping them out. They are talking to a legal agent who has a great deal of arbitrary power to take away control of their life for an indeterminate period of time.

            I believe they should be informed that what they say can be used to hold them against their will, that they don’t HAVE to stay anything at all, and they should be afforded the right to speak with an attorney to go over their rights and assist them in deciding what they should or should not say. In this way, the patient/potential inmate can be maximally empowered to make their best decisions with a full understanding of the potential consequences of their decisions.

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          • The concept of legal recourse to seizure for assessment – yes. The ability to call for a mental health check has no conditions or regulations and no downside for the person calling. It has a huge downside for the one called on. Thanks so much treatment advocacy center!
            The Stanley Family is a source of funding for the center.
            There are so many many ways to handle folks either in cris or assumed to be in crisis. Police intervention can not only lead to trauma but death. And my thoughts are the police are not willing participants. They would prefer not to be involved and do actual safety protection. Plus they have their own trauma issues. Suicide rates for police, med students, vets are rising.
            This is just one tip of a largely hidden iceberg.
            The problem is it is so hard to fight. If one gathers for a food fast one and all are both liable for forced legal and medical intervention.

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          • So I did just contact a prominent mh lawyer about the issue. He said that Miranda applies only to criminal cases, and that involuntary commitment is considered “civil.” So that’s what we’re dealing with. My initial question — is there any other “civil” law which allows for involuntary detention? Certainly no other medical condition is considered as justification for such except maybe for incapacitating neurological damage where the person would wander into traffic and the like. In other words, ACTUAL “anosognosia.”

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          • Precisely. It is obviously a very different process than, say, suing someone for demolishing your car. The removal of someone’s rights is, or should be, a very, very big deal, very much on the same plane as being imprisoned (since that is effectively what it is). So why not require a fair warning as to the consequences of one’s actions? If prisoners and murderers deserve that kind of protection, why not innocent people who just happen to run afoul of societal expectations in some way?

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          • Psychiatric drugs have been forced upon people in the criminal justice system. The idea that they might be “considered cruel and unusual punishments” for “sane” “criminals”, though, is something to think about, as if they would not be “cruel and unusual punishments” for “insane” criminals

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    • I don’t think telling people what they should know already, that is, that everything they say or do will be used against them, and in these cases, generally, skirting courts of law, is going to stop the abuse of power that facilitates it. I think you need to do something about that power rather than transform more and more civilians into prisoners of the state. I have a great deal more trepidation about making prisoners of innocent people than I do about liberating those prisoners from the prisons they currently inhabit. Reading people their Miranda rights, in my view, in non-criminal situations, would only work towards maintaining that prison system and the relationships that sustain it among non-criminals. It certainly doesn’t represent much of a right in any real way, however, without it you should be able to use the constitution against such violations of rights as occur, for example, false imprisonment, and the breach of confidentiality involved as well as the lack of due process.

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      • I will nonetheless bring this idea in Quebec, Canada, that a coerced hospitalization is very much like being arrested (or worst) and fight for the people to realize it’s consequences and their right to be clearly informed. And call a lawyer, very quick. Most, if not 99 % of committed mental health patients lose all their rights without due something.

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      • don’t think telling people what they should know already, that is, that everything they say or do will be used against them…is going to stop the abuse of power that facilitates it.

        No, but it’s part of chipping away. The main thing it would do is give people the right to refuse to answer their psychiatrists’ questions.

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        • Do people not already have the right to respond to a psychiatrist’s questions with “That’s none of your business” or “I refuse to engage with you at all?” They can’t misconstrue and pathologize your statements if you don’t make any, but because you have responded they cannot claim you are catatonic, either.

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          • Sorry to say but a non responder is not necessarily catatonic but “un collaborative”, which is pretty much the same. Especially if written with ” I attempted this and that, I cajoled, tried to be his, or her best friend, nothing to do,..”. The main difference with being arrested is just that. Arrested, you have the right to silence. In the psychiatrists office, no way Hosay … One is mean, the other supposedly sick.

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        • And in my experience, most people being “evaluated” do NOT know that they can remain silent, nor that what they say can be used to hold them against their will. You think it’s obvious, but most people assume a psychiatrist or mental health professional is there to help them.

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          • Most people and, of course, courts. I’m afraid the comparison between involuntary commitment and arrest would not hold because the logic, or rational behind each is very different, The rights guarantied to offenders aim in part so as to not convict an innocent, witch necessarily causes harm. The logic behind hospitalization is that the hospital is a friendly place, a “good thing” in every aspect. Juste the word “hospital” sounds like “hospitality”, what it should be in fact. Getting back to the survey, we now have reason to believe it is anything but hospitable for many. In that cense, the survey alerts us, and more importantly, public authorities, that involuntary admission in a psychiatric ward can have negative, and even very negative, consequences that need to be considered in the futur.

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          • That is exactly why this seems important to me. On the path to getting rid of enforced “treatment” to go away, the first step is a public acknowledgement that enforced “treatment” is potentially extremely damaging, and that denying a person’s right to free movement and free association and informed consent to medical “treatment” of any sort is something one has the right to resist as an offense against one’s basic rights as a citizen.

            People’s opinions are amazingly weak and changeable in general. There are always hard core believers at either end of the spectrum, but many people’s opinions are formed and altered by what they hear in the media. (For instance, it was nearly impossible to find anyone who would admit to voting for GW Bush in 2008 after the Iraq mess and the economic collapse, even though obviously a lot of people voted for him not once, but twice.) So influencing public opinion is very, very important, and a legal fight to ensure the right to real legal protection against involuntary commitment would make very, very good press, IMHO.

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        • Generally, people are read their Miranda rights to remind them of their first amendment rights, namely, that one has the right not to incriminate oneself. If one is not a criminal, I’d suggest that they are better served by constitutional protections than they are by resignation to confinement. Non-criminals need not, or should not have to worry, about incriminating themselves. Given the medical pretenses behind forced hospitalization, what good do ones first amendment rights serve there. You haven’t got a “criminal”, you have got a “patient”. “Incriminating” a “non-criminal”? Our rights are supposed to protect us from that anyway. If our rights are going to serve us, in such a situation, it is not so-called Miranda rights that are going to do so. People are locked up in psychiatric facilities, not for breaking the law, but for the suspicion or prediction that they will break the law in the future. Save people from future “incrimination”? Why bother? We’ve got their Miranda rights to take care of that after the law has actually been broken.

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          • More than 100 years ago moral management was presenting itself as the great liberator of patients from restraints. More than 100 years later, and there are still people being physically restrained, and there are still campaigns against it. That’s reform for you. Do you seriously want to lobby congress for Miranda rights for pre-criminals? (This is with insanity legally defined as dangerousness, or pre-criminality.) You could be making the same argument 100 years from now. That’s reform for you. If I’m going to lobby congress for anything, let it be for the end of forced treatment. I don’t think any compromise, let alone a Miranda rights compromise, is possible with what all non-consensual psychiatry actually represents, and that is undue force. You can lobby for police officers, or “mental health” coppers, whatever, reading you your Miranda rights as much as you please. I would prefer to lobby against forced treatment, all forced treatment, instead. I wouldn’t want to see another 100 years go down the tubes, but suit yourself if you think you can spare them. That’s reform for you.

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        • More importantly it would reveal psychiatry as a penal system of punishing law abiding citizens for painful emotions, sustained abuse, and behaviors judged “odd.” Not a branch of medicine.

          Not about helping the subjects at all. It’s true role–only alluded to by people like Torrey–is protecting society by crippling and imprisoning everyone these self appointed prophets deem threats to it.

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        • It would provide no protection. Tell people to shut up. Common sense can do that. The courts have free access to all the files in the hospital anyway if they want them, so much for confidentiality. The problem is not incrimination, the problem is the suggestion of that one doesn’t have the self control of a gnat. Silence isn’t going to save anybody from “expert opinion”. It’s this power that has been granted to so called “experts” that we have to do something about. Read people their Miranda rights, and the analogy between being arrested and being committed would no longer be analogy. Not having due process in the first place, diagnostic labels amounting to a civil offense rather than a criminal one, that’s no improvement. If you are facing civil commitment proceedings, Miranda rights aren’t going protect you from that one iota. Say absolutely nothing, and you must be “catatonic” or something, uh, in the public mind, that is. Not saying anything might prevent a person from being convicted of a crime, a matter that requires EVIDENCE, but it is not going to prevent that person from being hospitalized, especially when the hospitalization is only figurative, and the confinement is real.

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          • Without due process, the situation in most civil commitment proceedings, there is no reason to invoke Miranda rights because they aren’t going to do you any good anyway. Had we due process, that is, a guaranteed jury trial, the case might be different. It’s like our legal representation, such as it is, it’s not up to that people get in criminal court, usually, the commitment hearing is a kangaroo court anyway, and no mere pretense of rights protection is going to change that.

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    • We don’t need Miranda rights, we need the abolition of forced treatment. So long as you’ve got forced treatment, psychiatric institutions will be prisons pretending to be hospitals. Offer Miranda rights, and you may have gotten rid of the pretense, but not by liberating the prisoner, by making the prisoner less of a patient. Miranda rights come with acceptance of force, not its abolition. I couldn’t say one was making things better by making commitment proceedings more like criminal arrest anymore than I could say that one was making things better by making hospitals more like prisons. Make them less like prisons, and that would be a matter of making progress. Make them more totalitarian than they are? Not me! If this is your idea of “mental health” reform, OldHead, I’d perish the thought.

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  5. Bravo. Brilliant survey even within it’ limits. I almost didn’t read it, considering its methodological flaws but I don’t regret it at all. Of course, victims here will say “nothing new under the sun”, but myself, as an almost victim of forced institutional involuntary admission gain in-sight. By the way, I have recently lost my position as a psychologist in an outpatient psychiatric service. After 3 1/2 months. I suspect a personal vendetta by a colleague, a psychiatrist who didn’t like the fact that I just talked about medication with our mutual patients. I wasn’t advocating so much as just doing my job as usual, and accepting to talk about any subject that came up. It was still too much for that psychiatrist, especially when, as a dummy, I’d bring them up with her. So, anyhow, I think she arranged my expulsion. Not sad in the end. Yes, I lost a lucrative revenue and a very passionate way to earn my living. But, I got pushed out of a sort of hell. I don’t want to work with the Devil no more. Even if my financial situation suffers. To get back to the above article, it echoes so many horror stories, many You here can imagine. It comforts me to have an audience who understands the multiple vicarious traumas I have undergone with my years of practice. OK now. I’m ready for Oldheads comments. He and me don’t have many good vibes, even if I still feel I’m on his side. Not on his “sides”.

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    • No idea what you mean by the “vibes” comment, I have no memories of any antagonism.

      Anyway what I was about to ask was whether your superiors have tried to portray you as needing “help” of your own, which is sometimes the case. It happened with Michael Rock; maybe you two should share notes. (There are others who have been in the same situation who slip my mind at the moment.) In Michael’s case it began with his fascination with “Anatomy of An Epidemic”:

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      • Forget the antagonism, it was a long time ago and you must of had responded too at least 200 others since. Just for the record, I had, at the time, shared my sensibility from one of you’re remarks, and you sorta dismissed me as a sissy. No hard feelings (anymore …). But yes, You had a good hunch. My bosses did seem very concerned, worried and superficially did everything they had in their power to “help out”. I was in shock and it took me many months to figure out their duplicity and hypocrisy. At the time, I was a kind of “black sheep” as we say here in French-Canadian. I eventually came to the conclusion that their way of seeming so “concerned” towards me was the best way they could get me out of there. Dispensed and neutralized, I was in fact. They where self-concerned, much more than “for” me.

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  6. Thanks for this. And aucontrare OH. In many ways the inpatient system has involved to actually be more nefarious and henious than in the 1970’s and other times. I am writing this having read the writings of those forced into insulin shock treatments and knowing and having to have dealt with a person who was a rape baby from their mother’s instiutilization and should they connect or not?
    My own experience post 9/11 was as awful as documented here. Any treatment a joke, severe restriction on movement, incarceration rather than treatment. There are no Day rooms anymore. The for profit industry has spread their tentacles all over the system from hedge funds who own city ambulance services to the most minimalist type of staffing where employees are required to be ignorant of any past best practices.
    In the roller coaster projection of treatment throughout time we are almost and in the juvenile justice system and criminal institution back to shackles on the wall. Dungeons and dragons are now real.

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  7. I’d also like to thank you for creating the survey. I did participate but chose not to be contacted about my experiences as I don’t think I have much more to add that I haven’t shared in comments before.

    I did read the submitted comments and wanted to speak up about the comments referencing Lyme disease being misdiagnosed as mental illness. I’ve just received (one week ago) a late stage Lyme Disease diagnosis. Based on symptoms, I’ve been experiencing late stage symptoms for at least twenty years – since 1997 precisely when the headaches began so severe I was taken to the hospital from work in an ambulance. I’ve had severe late stage (cardiac, arthritis) symptoms for several years but kept being dismissed as fibromyalgia and anxiety. I now have a service dog to assist me with everyday tasks because I’ve become so completely disabled by this disease. After twenty+ years of being targeted as crazy, it’s both a blessing and a curse to find the actual cause of my physical and mental distress (beyond trauma issues).

    However, what most people diagnosed with late stage Lyme will tell you is that it’s virtually no different from psychiatric treatment. The fighting between the IDSA and ILADS about what constitutes appropriate treatment for Lyme disease (and the horrific experiences I’ve read of patients still experiencing debilitating symptoms “post treatment”) have led me to give up on the medical system entirely. I have dropped out of treatment and am now waiting to die because I don’t want to experience from another medical specialty the same horrific abuses and dismissals I have experienced throughout my time as a psychiatric patient.

    The medical system is corrupt. It isn’t just Psychiatry – it’s just that it’s most apparent in this field. Everything I read in the Lyme forums and on is very eerily similar to my and others experiences with psychiatry.

    I’ve learned a new term “eminence-based medicine” and it is wholly applicable to the DSM working groups and psychiatric diagnosis and treatment generally. I think the antipsychiatry camp and the Lyme Disease advocates could learn a lot from each other’s experiences.

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    • Yeah I’ve also discovered medicine as a whole echoes my experience as a psych patient. My fiance was on a blood pressure medication that did literally nothing for him, but rather than try other things they just gave him more and more of it. If I had listened to some advice for cancer I think I could’ve become a regular psych patient again. I know many people made money from me being sick.

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        • Kindredspirit,
          I have said this elsewhere, as well. Our entire medical system is corrupted by money. I’ve been mutilated and disabled by orthopedic surgeons who are completely in the pockets of the prosthetic device industry. I’ve had 7 failed hip replacement surgeries. I have had toxic levels of cobalt and chromium in my blood for many years and didn’t even know it until someone bothered to check in 2014. My hips dislocate with the slightest provocation and I’ve been told there’s something wrong with “my physiology”. Right. There certainly is something wrong with my physiology NOW, but it’s a result of years of cobalt poisoning.

          My heart and lungs have been damaged, all my other joints have been damaged by toxic cobalt levels. The information is in the medical literature! But even when I bring copies of medical journal articles demonstrating the toxicity of cobalt, my surgeons have refused to read them! Because–wait for it–I’m just a nutcase!

          Anyone contemplating joint replacement surgery had better think twice about it and do a lot of research. Good luck finding an orthopedic surgeon who isn’t being paid as a “consultant” by the prosthetic device industry.

          I will not stop saying this: targeting psychiatry for destruction is a waste of time. even targeting the entire “healthcare system” for destruction is a waste of time. All of this is a symptom of our capitalist economic system. We are all “profit centers” for someone else.

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    • I have dropped out of treatment and am now waiting to die because I don’t want to experience from another medical specialty the same horrific abuses and dismissals I have experienced throughout my time as a psychiatric patient.

      Isn’t that cutting off your nose to spite your face, like, big time? I have nothing very positive to say about the medical field, though they ARE good at first aid and (sometimes) diagnosis, though obviously not in your case. Still it seems that there must be solutions to be found through others’ experiences, and by applying what resonates with you, either in combination with or even instead of medical recommendations. I don’t know what “the treatment” might consist of other than antibiotics, but maybe you could take the required course then find a personal “treatment plan” not subject to constant medical supervision?

      Grabbing at straws here, but I try remain of the “no problems, only solutions” mindset when it is at all practicable.

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      • I am on a thirty day course of doxycycline which the IDSA claims is curative of Lyme at all stages. (And which late stage Lyme patients know is BS). My mother has been chasing medical treatments for chronic (I sufficiently treated) Lyme for over a decade, with slowly worsening symptoms and is so sick she is moving in with my brother. My ex boyfriend died three weeks ago due to sudden cardiac failure after battling Lyme for a little over twenty years. Most insurance doesn’t pay for antibiotic infusion because the IDSA says chronic Lyme doesn’t exist. I’ve already got the wide eyed “I’m dealing with a hypochondriac” look from my cardiologist even though I frequently have blue lips, have evidence of pericarditis and heart failure and have years of documented irregular EKGs (I have heart block in other words.) the infectious diseases doctors I have called (because I was told to see one) have refused to see me with the explanation “we don’t Lyme patients”. It isn’t cutting off my nose despite my face, it’s saving what dignity I have left because I haven’t got the energy left to fight the system. I’m am too sick right now. Even the ceftriaxone infusions don’t have a great reputation for curing late Lyme.

        But my greater point was not to be specific about my own case but to point out that medicine in general mocks and dismisses that which it doesn’t understand, and the two groups of people have extremely similar stories about mistreatment from the medical system. And while the outlook on those with Lyme is slightly brighter than for those with psychiatric labels (because more research is being done and the advocacy community is slowly winning), my main point is that the two groups would benefit from working together or at least learning from each other’s successes and failures in advancing their causes. Most Lyme patients are initially misdiagnosed, many with “mental illnesses” (primarily depression, bipolar and psychotic disorders), and so it’s a group of people who may well be uniquely suited toward the goals of antipsychiatry and even the reform camp. Since Lyme Disease has become a pandemic and a major public health issue and so many are drugged with psychiatric drugs, I believe there are a huge number of people who are going to be sympathetic to those who have been psychiatrically labeled. Because Lyme is a spirochete it behaves neuropsychitricqlly extremely similarly to siphilis in the late stages. A huge number of Lyme patients die by suicide as well and I believe this is contributing to the current numbers of suicides.

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        • The difference between the causes is that unlike “mental illness,” Lyme disease is real, so the issue there would indeed be bad medicine whereas with psychiatry the issue is a police force fraudulently posing as a branch of medicine, period. The “intersection” (learning to hate that word) is as you described however, where both your literal disease symptoms and your reaction to having a mysterious ailment were all thrown into the category of “mental illness symptomology.”

          What befuddles me is that your symptoms couldn’t have been so unique as to not fit some sort of pattern that could have been easily recognized as highly correlated with Lyme disease, way before this. Isn’t that why medical offices have all those computers?

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          • There’s nothing befuddling about it. Lyme Disease, like Syphilis, is called “The Great Imitator”. Misdiagnoses of fibromyalgia, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, MS, CFS, and ALS are extremely common. Associated bacterial and viral infections effect many more people who don’t have Lyme or have coinfections in addition to Lyme. Only about 10% of Lyme cases are caught because the CDC in collusion with the IDSA mandates a testing method that is extremely unreliable, especially in early and late stage illness. This is why the CDC reports 30,000 cases per year but estimates the numbers are more than ten times that amount. This is an epidemic and needs to be taken seriously by those who are fighting back against Psychiatry.

            By all means, continue to attack the lion’s head of capitalism and the illegitimate medical field of Psychiatry, but understand that with 300,000 plus new cases per year in the US, with lyme’s number one cause of death being suicide, Lyme (and associated diseases) patients are very often psychiatric patients. There’s no reason to divide people up into those with and without (known) legitimate physical illnesses when so often the patients actually do have a physical illness that is misdiagnosed as mental.

            It’s known to be a driver of both teen and veteran suicide and this is one area of suicide prevention I can really get behind. But with the medical community in near lock step treating LAD patients as “Lyme Loonies”, little progress is being made. (With many sick people experiencing the abuses of Psychiatry instead of receiving actual medical care!) Remember that the medical community, ruled by Pharma, doesn’t want cures, it wants treatments. Funneling sick people into mental health treatment is extremely profitable.

            Here’s what a veteran has to say about mental health treatment in lieu of medical care – having taken 34 years to get a diagnosis:


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          • Simple. Shrinks are incompetent morons who chose psychiatry because they couldn’t pass the exams for legitimate branches of medicine. 😀

            Take that Sir Giles Wellesley! 😛 Yes, I’m “bashing” psychiatry and laughing at clowns like you!

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    • kindredspirit and MissPenelope,

      You are correct about your concerns that our entire mainstream medical community has being totally corrupted. Perhaps they were, at least in part, by the DSM deluded, but the problem is not just the psychiatrists. When “It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US.” It is clear the entire medical system is problematic.

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  8. Ohhhh, Kinedredspirit (and others) You have just opened a Pandore box. For centuries, we have divided the mental and the physical or organic, and that was a very big booboo. Mental or psychic phenomenas are linked. I, as a psychologist like to explain bad feelings, behaviors and such to family issues psychological developmental stuff but we are also, very often, like blind men working our hands around an elephant, wondering what the f… is tha !. So much I despise psychiatry’s dumb popular bio explanations, so much I don’t deny something very biological is often happening. My wife has MS since at least 1984. So glad it is very slow one, but that’s beside my point. Fact is, when I met her, I was graduating as a psychologist. So, when she lost 85 % of her eyesight in only on eye for a few months, I came to the logical conclusion, at that time, that I had fallen in love with a histrionic woman with a typical case on conversion. But I was in love (and still am), so I didn’t make a fuss and married her. Turned out, she was diagnosed with MS. I am still tackling with her mood swings, often hopping it is “her problem” and not mine, but after 34 years, I’m still stuck with the same old question. Am I causing her mood swings or is it her biology going nuts. Before MS was recognized as a legitimate disease, she most likely would have been diverted to a psychiatric ward. No ? I honestly believe, yes so ! At the time, we had a host of elegant hypothesis about “pseudo-neurological disorders. Luckily, when a neurologist made the diagnosis, just by looking into her eyes with a lamp, around 1990, she said without hesitation ” Oh my gosh, I can see very clearly scares in the back” and then she asked, without knowing the past history : “have you ever lost sight in that eye ?”. Just to say “the bio-psycho, mutually exclusive division is scrap. We, health and mental health pros hat to go back to our homework’ and come up with way better explanations.

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    • Jclaude, thank you for sharing this personal experience with your wife. I have long believed and stated that western medicine is in its infancy, for all it pretends to be state of the art and all-knowing. It routinely dismisses that which it doesn’t understand.

      Mental healthcare is an extremely nuanced issue but one thing for certain is that, regardless of the etiology of their symptoms, be it trauma, the effects of runaway lazzei faires capitalism, a physical illness, or just odd behaviors that bother others (but not the patient), mental health patients routinely have the reasons for their distress dismissed and are overdrugged, shamed and blamed, many times for circumstances that are completely out of their control. Something has to change and it has to begin with ending the fiction that defective genes are the main driver fueling mental distress.

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    • You have just opened a Pandore box. For centuries, we have divided the mental and the physical or organic, and that was a very big booboo. Mental or psychic phenomenas are linked.

      No Pandora’s box, not even anything new about understanding that mid/body are correlated. However taking this obvious truth then twisting and distorting it into a belief that a “mind” is subject to literal diseases is a common deception employed by those whose sustenance relies on exploiting language.

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      • I have to admit, your provocative tone is enlightening at times. After the flower, the pot. You also have a keen sense of twisting things around. Recognizing that bio and psycho, as well as spirituo, socio, etc facets are all “one and the same” doesn’t lead to the distorsions of language you speak about. The distorsions are, in my idea, different ways to rationalize or come up with “pseudo explanations” so as to justify exploitation of the human race. Yes, language can be very tricky and, in the wrong hands, be utilized to deceive, lie, invent, scare,.. I don’t believe the mind is always disturbed by diseases, but it can. My comparison of Lime disease and MS with past psychiatric disorders might seem irrelevant to you, OK, fine But I still think biology is everywhere and in every always part of human experiences. But, we are very far from understanding all the nuances, ore shades and I hate it when psychiatry, or event my own profession, psychology “knows it all”, has found the ultimate cure. I just have to remember past “mother blaming” to instantly become modest.

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        • Do we have any evidence that “mental disorders” are biological? No. Do we have evidence that MS is biological? Yes. I think you have to make that kind of distinction. In the “mental health” realm it’s mostly a case of the treatment being worse than the “disease”, or, to be blunt, most of the disabling damage found there is iatrogenic in origin and nature.

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  9. “Too painful to reply.”

    This was one of the best comments.

    Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as medicine. This stuff is not new, although most of the human race has yet to discover the truth about psychiatry. Psychiatry is, as Szasz so eloquently articulated long ago, the science of lies. It is founded on coercion, deception, and torture, but it hides behind the facade of “treatment” and “compassion.”

    Psychiatry is not something that can be reformed or criticized. Like slavery, it must be abolished.

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  10. I don’t see this “survey” as being particularly conducive to “abolition”. Wish it was. I see it as conducive to selling psych tortures.

    Let me make a few points as to why. 66 %, a full 2/3s, claimed to be satisfied with their medication. Okay, that wasn’t my percentile group, feeling at home with the chemically tortured. 62 % didn’t think they experienced “unjustifiable” abuse in an institution. 46 % would recommend emergency hospitalization (sic) for an “unwell” friend. I don’t see how you can recommend it without approving of it. Add to that the 16 % without reservations, and psychiatric imprisonment is here to stay. 32 %, almost 1/3, thought hospital (sic) admission saved their lives. 46 % spent only from a week to a month in the hospitally loony bin thing. Add that to that the 38 % who spent under a week on the wards, and you’ve got well over 2/3s covered.

    Sure. We need to get rid of this sort of thing, but it’s not going to happen with a survey. The survey just sweeps up too many of the recently psychiatrized (newly medicalized) in its wake. Enough with the yes men (and yes women). We need a larger and louder crowd of “no” votes. Down with psychiatric tortures. You can dump the lot of them into the trash bin. Most of us know they should be redundant by now, after so many hundreds of years, and I can hear Captain Picard in the background saying, “Make it so.”

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    • Damnit, now I want to know what justifiable abuse is. Sounds like Guantanamo. Ohh wait, wasn’t that program actually designed by psych professionals? I can just see the advertisement now: “Justifiable abuse – great for terrorists and also your neighborhood looney!”

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    • Another interesting stat, 69 % of the people who took the survey said they were on the psych ward for depression. Maybe they should not be taking things out on themselves, but should be turning their anger outwards towards the government. A government that, while claiming to represent the people, only represents a small elite segment of the population, and certainly not that large and growing number of sad people who find themselves confined to an institution. If people are sad, perhaps it is due to bad governance rather than bad *cough* genes.

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      • Perhaps the depression partly stems from living in a society where speaking up and taking the risk of saying “This shit ain’t right!” is immediately tamped down and targeted as difficult, strange, odd or antisocial?

        I remember thinking when I was young that many of the things women are pressured to do (shave, wear makeup, etc) would eventually fall out of fashion because they’d gain the same social rights as men. Imagine my dismay to learn from my daughters that a great deal of young men now are shaving their whole bodies, developing eating disorders, etc. instead of liberating women, capitalism enslaved the young men as well.

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        • There was once a time that depression, as anxiety, was seen as anger turned inward. I still think it is a valid view. But, at my expense, I also learned that when I spoke up, I eventually got “judged” and qualified alternatively as Narcissistic, paranoid and bipolar. I didn’t suffer half the ordeal of many here on MIA, but it was a very cruel way to screw up my 30 years of teaching assertion skills, communication and problem solving. At least, I gained a bit of modesty, or humility, in the process of a terrible humiliation and defeat. And I also learned tu shut myself up. So no, speaking out is not THE solution. I’m still tackling with the “how to” without fearing retaliation. I hope I can find out before I die.

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      • Maybe they should not be taking things out on themselves, but should be turning their anger outwards towards the government.

        That’s the general idea. Depression is one way of avoiding confronting one’s oppressor, by “safely” turning the rage inward until it results in “madness” and physical problems. So of course they’d rather have people blame themselves rather than the system, just like putting on their own handcuffs.

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    • 62 % didn’t think they experienced “unjustifiable” abuse in an institution. 46 % would recommend emergency hospitalization (sic) for an “unwell” friend.

      Damn, you’re right; I didn’t make it that far. Does that mean people consider their experiences abusive, but justified?

      The data from this poll could also be interpreted in terms of the current levels of programming and mind control among psychiatric inmates, and of identifying with one’s captors.

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      • I conducted this survey and wrote the article. To clarify about the “unjustified abuse” confusion, we asked respondents two questions about punishment in the hospital:

        1. Did you receive any of the following punishments in the psych ward?

        2. IF you received any of the punishments listed above, was your punishment justified/fair?

        43% of respondents indicated they received punishment in the psych wards. Of that 43%, 88% indicated the punishment they received in the psych ward was unjustified. A small portion indicated the punishment they received wasn’t physical.

        In addition, we asked respondents if they were physically or sexually abused – and 21% indicated they were. We integrated that figure into the chart where respondents indicated if they were “unjustifiably” physically abused or punished.

        Thus, by writing that 37% of patients experienced “unjustified” physical or sexual abuse or punishment, it does not mean that 63% of respondents experienced “justified” abuse or punishment. Rather, it means that a small portion of respondents experienced punishment they deemed “justified”.

        I realize that’s a confusing explanation – happy to clarify further. You can contact me direct too – [email protected].

        I’d also like to help with any efforts at helping psych ward patients get more legal rights. A “Miranda rights” for psychiatric and psych ward patients sounds like a great idea. When I started working on this survey, I wasn’t sure how widespread the issue of psych ward mistreatment was (despite my own poor experiences). Now I am certain it’s a major issue – and I’d like to help resolve it.

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        • I still think we should be ending ALL forced treatment instead of even considering the idea of instituting any kind of Miranda rights for innocent people. Miranda rights, or wrongs, are still “reforms”, and sometimes it has got to be better to end a bad thing than to continue the farce. Rather than “reforming” the “unreformable”, scrap it, and hospitals can go back to being hospitals, ditto prisons. No Miranda rights without, what they serve anyway, and that is due process. Seriously, I don’t think you’ve got due process when you try people for pre-crimes. Should we return to rule of law, and get out of the rule of thumb business, so much the better. It makes sense that a criminal case can be dismissed because a person was not read their Miranda rights, however, should a person be kept in a ‘hospital’ simply because they were read their Miranda rights? I just see that as one more instance where the US constitution would not be coming to one’s aid when it should.

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        • Glad you support the Miranda concept as applied to psychiatric imprisonment. I still want to know of any other “civil” situation that includes involuntary deprivation of liberty — the Constitution should prevail over such a situation it seems to me.

          Miranda rights are not psychiatric reforms, which are pretty much impossible. They would be legal protections that put psychiatric inmates on an equal footing legally with other prisoners, who know they don’t have to talk. And if they can’t make us talk it throws a wrench in the works of the “diagnosis”/incarceration assembly line, especially if it is stipulated that exercising this right may not be used as an element of “diagnosis” — which fits my personal criteria for what qualifies as a strategic anti-psychiatry demand, just as does the end of all legally coerced “treatment” (the latter which would spell the death knell for the entire industry).

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          • It would not put them on an equal footing so long as no crime has been committed, and due process doesn’t apply in civil commitment hearings. I take it you are not talking about so-called forensic cases where an actual crime has been committed. If that is the case, it would be even crazier to detain people on the basis of having read them so-called rights than if they were actually guilty of breaking a law. Having read people so-called rights, in my opinion, is not a good reason to hold innocent people prisoner despite the fact that you want to give some goon the power to do so.

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    • Perfect! You don’t like the survey results. Never mind that those are people’s opinions. You think they’re wrong. “We need more NO people” etc.
      What “we” (whoever “we” is) are up against… and statements like that just illustrates why people like samruck are so right, unfortunately.
      Most people taking psych drugs got them from their GP because they wanted them.
      Many people who were on psych wards approve of the general concept of psych wards.
      What “you” are up against is reality. You seem to think people are sheeple who need to be reeducated in your mold. That’s a very degrading way to view them. I think you should reconsider your approach which often comes across as elitist and contemptuous.

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  11. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?


    Usually we’re talking about people OUTSIDE OF A COURT OF LAW.

    Sometimes the public defender doesn’t do much vigorous defending the suspected precriminal. There is nothing in these Miranda rights compelling him to do so. He can manage by doing pinky exercises, and SO LONG AS WE ARE OUTSIDE OF A COURT OF LAW, get away with it.

    Do you understand the rights I have just read you?

    SO LONG AS WE ARE NOT GOING TO COURT those rights mean nothing. I’ve experienced commitment hearings in hospitals (sic) where it was just me, the magistrate, a public defender, and a ‘mental health” professional. If you are saying that if some cop read me the above it would put me on an equal footing with people who have jury trials, in which burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt means something, I will have to tell you to your face that you are full of crap.

    Anybody else want to use the constitution as toilet paper. If so, great, because that’s all you’re getting here.

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    • It’s important as well for it to be recognized that psychiatric imprisonment is imprisonment, and that psychiatric captives are in effect being charged with breaking cultural laws, many unwritten, with those charges being referred to as “diagnoses” and “symptoms,” which are elicited largely as the result of psychiatric “interviews” without a lawyer present, participation in which can result in deprivation of liberty. In brief, that this is not a medical but a judicial/”law enforcement” process.

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      • Unfair enough, OldHead. You lobby for tighter processing procedures for hospital (sic) detainees, and let me lobby for complete and total liberation instead.

        I just don’t see what you, in your infinite wisdom, must see, that is, how treating people more like prisoners gets them released from prison.

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          • No. Only mental hospitals are prisons. On most wards of the hospital, people are free to come and go as they please. Only the psych-wards have locked doors.

            Patients can opt for death except where so called “mental health” is involved. Mental patients are prisoners. They are not prisoners because they are hospitalized. They are prisoners because they are imprisoned.

            This is where we get back to discussing the difference between urns and chamber pots. They are not, as any dictionary will explain, the same thing.

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    • Obviously, it would be modified to the situation. The most important parts are “What you say may be used by the evaluator to hold you in the hospital against your will and force you to accept drugs which you may not wish to take” and “you have a right to an attorney, who may be present during your examination by the evaluator.” I think both statements would put both the evaluator and the potential victim in a much clearer relationship to each other. I used to do these evaluations (briefly – worst job I EVER had!) and no one ever said, “I’d rather not talk to you because it might result in my being held here against my will.” I really think most people in the situation don’t understand what is at stake until it’s too late.

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      • The most important part would be “You have the right to remain silent.” I believe you have that right even with an attorney present; in fact the attorney will in many cases INSTRUCT the client to remain silent. I believe an accused person can remain silent throughout his/her arrest and trial. What else are they gonna do, beat answers out of you? (Don’t answer that, anyone.)

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          • Okay, you have the right not to be stupid.

            Basically, if you were in a situation where you would be incriminating yourself it would matter. Here, as we don’t have criminals confessing to their crimes, it’s a little different.

            I still see the matter as reformist though. If one is talking incremental change rather than complete abolition, this is just one more little increment among many, and another excuse to hold off on abolition.

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      • It’s not enough to just remove force. The majority of mental patients go into the system willingly. Medicine needs to come up with better methods for treatment than adjusting brain chemicals based on outdated long disproven theories about chemical imbalances. It also has to stop blaming and shaming those who don’t get better. It needs more community based supports for episodic malfunctioning like soteria house. And it has to stop labeling everything that it doesn’t understand (complex cases) as mental illness. Western medicine currently lacks insight into the amount of harm it is inflicting on many patients across a wide swath of disciplines, not just psychiatry and that’s important to keep in mind when reducing the issue to use of force.

        And too many of those who know better are doing too little to protect those who get caught up in the mental “health” system which could as easily be called the mental injury system because the treatments are still rather barbaric and are the most scientifically unsound of any branch of medicine.

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        • I agree 100%. We start with removing direct force, but we have to also remove false advertising, manipulation, lying, and use of authority to intimidate or pressure one into submission. What we really need is a change in the basic mythology that underpins our understanding of people’s emotional needs, starting with ditching the idea that it’s all individual and all genetic, and expanding to include the fact that much of what passes for “mental illness” is a result of our decaying communities and ruthless economic system.

          But I’d be happy if we could start with removing force.

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        • Here’s where we start to slip back into that area where the actual function of psychiatry as a parallel police force is conflated with the issue of how to help people feel better, implicitly accepting the psychiatric narrative that such is its purpose. This leads to people feeling vulnerable to the charge that we have no right opposing psychiatry unless we make all the people happy who are presently beholden to the belief that psychiatry is “all they have” — again ignoring that its purpose is not to help them but to control them. In the relatively rare cases where people are helped in some way this is either in spite of psychiatry itself, or because keeping them happy is deemed the most efficacious way to control them, i.e. a useful tactic. The first goal is to get people “functioning” as profitable cogs in the machine; the fallback plan is to keep them out of the way of production, so as to ensure as few wrenches in the works as possible.

          Anyway, the Miranda issue applies specifically to those literally under the gun, as captives of the state facing incarceration. I can’t imagine a situation where it would be compatible with so-called voluntary situations. (“You have the right to be lied to, prescribed drugs and tricked into taking them via deceptive propaganda”?)

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        • You have the right to be stupid.

          I guess I’m not in the majority.

          The concept of “mental illness” is a cardinal belief of the “mental health treatment” religion, and people who subscribe to it are protected from persecution by the US Constitution.

          Potentially, the US Constitution can protect people who aren’t converts to the “mental health treatment” religion from persecution (false imprisonment, torture, neurotoxin poisoning, slavery, etc.) by that religious sect as well.

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  12. wow, this really triggered a lot of awful stuff in me. It’s always there, anyway, every single day.
    I was going to suggest maybe publishing this in a medical journal instead of on a website where most/all of the readers already know these things. But, no, it’s not a good way to spend your time. (1) it would never get published, (2) even if it were published, it wouldn’t change anyone’s mind, because doctors don’t believe anything that “mentally ill” people say. It’s a perfect self-perpetuating system!

    “Human beings should never be treated that way. I am still dealing with trauma. Currently living in denmark due to fear of ever going back to a mental hospital in the states.”

    Yup, I’m counting the days till I leave. The fear consumes me some days.

    I pretend a lot that it’s not there. I try to even fool myself. Doesn’t work too well. But I pretend that I’m fooling myself haha. Multiple layers of foolishness…

    Maybe someone has mentioned this already (I’m too tired to read all the comments above): As long as there is money to be made by harming people in this fashion, the system will not change. The voracious monster of capitalism consumes everything in its path, even the individuals who think they’re running the show. The prison system, “mental health care” system, and now there’s a private system profiting from imprisoning helpless immigrant children. No doubt psych drugs and sexual abuse are part of that system, too. This monster will even consume itself when there’s nothing else left. What happens when it eats everything up to its mouth?? Interesting image…

    Good luck going through the legal system to try to stop this from happening. the legal system is clearly in the service of promoting abuse for profit. It suits their bottom line.

    So what’s the answer? Evolution, maybe?? Having made it through another “Christmas” (ie., the biggest unconscious capitalist extravaganza of the year), I’m staggered again by the huge percent of the population that so easily slides into unconscious knee-jerk mode when the appropriate triggers are applied. I’m pretty pessimistic about any big changes coming down as long as Homo sapiens ver 1.0 is still running the show.

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    • I think you hit the nail when you talked about profiting from harming people. We, the people, theoretically own the government, and if we get the right people making decisions without their own views being polluted by corruption, we can remove the incentives for hurting people. That IS possible, even if it seems very difficult, and to my mind, humans being what we are, changing incentives is the key to changing how people act. If you pay people to hurt other people, you’ll find people willing to do it.

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      • And Steve

        With all due respect Steve , your above comment misses by a wide mark the essence of what Maradel was getting at in her comments.

        You said; “and if we get the right people making decisions without their own views being polluted by corruption, we can remove the incentives for hurting people.”

        No, No, No, it’s not most FUNDAMENTALLY about the PEOPLE in power. You could have the very BEST and most compassionate people in power, but if they are CONTAINED within a profit based capitalist system, they will either be overwhelmed or destroyed by the profit system.

        You said: “… humans being what we are, changing incentives is the key to changing how people act. If you pay people to hurt other people, you’ll find people willing to do it.”

        Yes, this is true. But we need a socialist Revolution for this to even begin to happen.

        Steve, your above comment promotes the illusion that somehow significant change can occur short of a major political/economic Revolution getting rid of a profit based system.

        We ALL need to stop promoting illusions that ‘reform” under capitalism will lead us to the “promised land.”

        In fact, I will say that when we do engaged in specific political struggles for change (and I DO think this is important), our main goal long term goal is NOT the specific immediate victory (which will most likely be temporary and in danger of being reversed). Our main goal in these particular struggles is to “prepare minds and organize forces” for ultimate showdown to completely dismantle the profit based capitalist system.

        Anything SHORT of a NEW state power, AND a fundamental transformation of the economic base, is ALL an ILLUSION.

        Happy New Year!


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        • Well, I don’t really disagree with you, Richard. However, I think change of power has to start somewhere, and I choose to start with making people aware that they do have some kind of power. The kind of revolution we’re talking about isn’t going to happen in the next few months. People have to wake up, and it starts by reassuming responsibility for the government we DO have. At least, that’s how I look at it. Abandoning electoral politics or the use of media to distribute information doesn’t lead toward resolving the situation. Sure, using FB does pay off the enemy, but it’s a great organizing tool. I don’t see any magical path forward, especially with the huge majority of people being convinced daily that their efforts to assert their power are doomed to failure. Help me with a better practical way to get that started beyond getting saner people elected, and I’m happy to listen.

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          • Mostly agreeing with Richard. I’m afraid I consider your comments about FB to be basically insane, for one, so I am compelled to post this once again:


            Abandoning electoral politics or the use of media to distribute information doesn’t lead toward resolving the situation.

            I don’t think I’ll be voting anymore, there are no real choices. Significant decisions are not made by politicians, but by their corporate handlers. As for media, we need our own. The capitalist media are there to confuse and distract; no reason to jump through hoops just to get your name or organization in the paper on on TV.

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          • Steve,
            ” I don’t see any magical path forward, especially with the huge majority of people being convinced daily that their efforts to assert their power are doomed to failure.”

            I think it’s more that there’s not enough shared pain in this country yet. When serious pain starts to hit the major consumer base, we will hear more talk of real change. Middle class Americans are too comfortable in their delusions. Their comfort is being bought at a very high price–so many people are mortgaged and in debt up to their eyeballs because affordable housing has all but disappeared in many parts of this country and jobs are not paying enough for young people to maintain the lifestyle that they think they deserve. Many Millennials work two or three part time jobs with no benefits to try to create the illusion of middle class-ness. So many people have no savings, and the current administration is blatantly trying to destroy the social safety net while it destabilizes the dollar around the world. There are so many parts of our society that are teetering on the brink of disaster that the pain will be massive.

            There is really very little that groups like us will be able to do to hasten this disaster. The system is imploding by its own design. They’re sticking chewing gum in the holes of the dike and they’re running out of chewing gum. And they know they built the dike with rotten cement.

            That is why I am practically pleading with people to stop this constant ragging on psychiatry. It’s a waste of time. It serves no useful purpose other than to maybe assuage personal pain temporarily. We need ideas and creativity and constructive talk of how to rebuild or we will be left in the dust and someone else will decide what the next version of society will look like.

            This is going to take many people with many different backgrounds and education who are willing to come together and discuss their ideas and develop a plan. It cannot just be an intellectual exercise. I’d like to think that there is time to experiment in small ways, but I don’t know. My crystal ball is on vacation…

            One other thing, FB is a tool that is in place and accepted by many people, but it is very flawed. It’s useful for some things, but I don’t trust it. I really wish we could recreate somehow the “Salons” that were responsible for major social changes in the 1700s and 1800s. We have so tied ourselves to internet-based everything and so few are willing to have real social interactions anymore. I don’t know how to buck that trend. It is absurd to think that anonymous internet message boards can replace real face to face conversations. Social interactions have evolved over hundreds of millions of years. We are FAR more dependent on nonverbal communication than we would like to believe. How can we think that we can just toss that out in the space of 10-20 years?? That is true H. sapiens hubris! And yet, here we are having a discussion! 🙂

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          • That is why I am practically pleading with people to stop this constant ragging on psychiatry.

            I was right with you till this, which is a complete and total non sequitur. Unless you’re talking about “ragging” without organizing and educating against psychiatry. You’re “pleading” for us to let people be defrauded without comment? Psychiatry is a stopgap measure to save capitalism, so treating it as irrelevant is irresponsible if you are interested in capitalism’s demise.

            Abbie Hoffman once said “The system will collapse under it’s own weight, our job is to give it a few kicks and stay high.” Which I still appreciate. However, we have to make sure it doesn’t fall ON US, and help guide its trajectory as it falls.

            One other thing, FB is a tool that is in place and accepted by many people, but it is very flawed.

            Not “flawed” (they say that about psychiatry too) but a tool of the surveillance state that only a masochist would take part in i.m.o. Talking about anyone on FB should be considered an offense, and a cause for that person to end the “friendship.” Check the link I just posted if you doubt this.

            When serious pain starts to hit the major consumer base, we will hear more talk of real change.

            But that’s ALL we’ll hear unless there’s plan in place and a clear direction. Currently, except for relatively small groupings with little representation or support from the masses no one is taking this seriously. And the ruling class can wait forever.

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          • Oldhead,
            “But that’s ALL we’ll hear unless there’s plan in place and a clear direction”
            That’s pretty much what I said above.
            “Unless you’re talking about “ragging” without organizing and educating against psychiatry. ”
            That’s precisely what I’m talking about. This website serves a critical function of educating people about corruption in the mental health industry, and in the medical industry as a whole. The articles stimulate discussions about what needs to change and about how to implement change. But I have been in many discussions here in which comments just degenerate into variations of “I hate psychiatry/psychiatrists”. The productive ideas get hijacked and the discussion gets cut off.

            I don’t agree that psychiatry is a “stopgap measure to save capitalism”. It’s one of capitalism’s tool, like the prison system, like the tax code, like the school system, the military, etc. There’s a lot of unconsciousness motivating this whole system. I can’t speak very knowledgeably about that process, but it’s pretty clear to me that psychiatrists represent a cross section of humanity: dumb, lazy, corrupt, criminal, kind, caring, hard working, brilliant, etc. You also have to understand that doctors go through an indoctrination process similar to that which young military recruits go through. It starts before medical school, with the intense academic work and competition. Then you are admitted to this elite society on a provisional basis. For four years you are immersed in this system. Your entire existence has to do with Medicine. Then internships and residencies. Sleep deprivation, no time to be a normal human being. At the end of all that, you cannot help but be IN the system.

            I went through veterinary school (actually I did my vet degree and PhD at the same time, so 2x as intense). The indoctrination is the same, the work, the struggle, the identity formation are all the same, maybe with a little less ego at the end. I’m not justifying the system; the system is broken. The way we grow our doctors is wrong. But that is how doctors are produced. It can take many years for a thinking person to peel off the shackles of that indoctrination. It’s a painful awakening.

            Indoctrination is not a justification for harming others, but all you have to do is look around and see how much unconscious violence goes on in every part of society. It’s not just physicians. The medical societies absolve doctors of their violence against patients in the same way that religious societies absolve priests and pastors who are pedophiles. It’s all part of the same broken process. These inventions of human beings represent an aspect of the psyche of H. sapiens that is very dark. These patterns have been repeated throughout the history of hominids. If we don’t recognize that, we will only continue repeating that pattern, no matter how good our intentions are.

            There are layers of complexity that need to be recognized and understood in order to make effective changes that last. Casting everything as either black or white, good or evil won’t allow us to make effective changes.

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          • That is a very good description of what happens. For most psychiatrists (or physicians or police officers or teachers or whatever), their behavior is governed by how they are trained and by what their peers believe, as well as what their supervisors will reward, tolerate, or punish. Real independent thinkers are rare in any profession, and tend to be seen as threatening. And with psychiatry’s complete lack of objective statistics and decision-making tools, they are particularly vulnerable to this group-think kind of “logic.” The issue isn’t whether the individuals in the system care or don’t care (well, that IS a big issue, but not the main one), it’s what the system expects and incentivizes that determines most people’s behavior. Which gets into power dynamics and oppression, which is probably too much for a response to your well-written comment.

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          • But I have been in many discussions here in which comments just degenerate into variations of “I hate psychiatry/psychiatrists”.

            That’s not degeneration, that’s part of developing anti-psychiatry consciousness. Of course the sentiment needs to be taken beyond pure emotion and developed into effective strategy.

            There’s nothing “unconscious” going on btw, even if individuals within the system may be unconscious of the actual roles they serve.

            Some things are black and white. Concentration camps, slavery and psychiatry for three.

            It would help to know whether you are a “mental patient,” a shrink, or something “in between.”

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    • Maradel

      You made some very insightful points in your two comments here. The most important thing is that you linked ALL these various forms of oppression to a profit based capitalist system. Literally every aspect of this system turns people into commodities which leads to alienation and exploitation in one form or another.

      You stated pessimistically that perhaps “evolution” is our only hope. I would challenge the word “evolution.” Slow gradual change has NEVER, nor can it EVER, lead to significant System change without a political and economic REVOLUTION!

      Any partial political victories SHORT of a Revolution will ALWAYS be in danger of being reversed by an omnipotent status quo that puts profit before anything else.


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  13. I’ll add another comment here and get myself in even bigger trouble, again.
    This is all part of a growing push towards authoritarianism. I don’t claim to be an learned historian, but this waxing and waning of authoritarianism is a pattern throughout history. We’re definitely on the waxing side of that pendulum swing. Authoritarianism depends on a powerful “us vs them” mentality to survive. “Conformers vs Non-conformers” is another way to put it. People with “mental illness” diagnoses are non-conformers. Punishing non-conformers makes the conformers feel safer. The seeming exponential growth in DSM diagnostic categories is a sign of the growing fear of conformers, who need ever larger numbers of people to punish in order to tame their fears.

    In a capitalist/consumerist society the fear is defined as “not having enough”. It’s realistic because the population of H. sapiens is 2-3 times the ideal carrying capacity of the earth, and it’s projected to continue to grow in this out of control way. You’d have to be asleep at the wheel to not have noticed how this is playing out like a Greek tragedy in our government today: the extreme push to consolidate wealth by those in power, the extreme need by those in power to generate many populations of enemies.

    Of course the “conformers” are constantly worried that they will be found out! That they are actually “non-conformers”! So they try extra hard to prove that they are conformers. How? By zealously punishing “non-conformers”! And in their zealous behavior, they begin to look more and more like “non-conformers”. It’s the image of the monster consuming itself. Stable genius, anyone??

    Does anyone really think our government, our society, will happily remove a handy dandy population of “enemies”, “non-conformers,” that they can punish to tame their fears and quiet their anxieties (and fatten their bank accounts)??

    Yes, it’s pessimistic! But I think it’s too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture here, because most of us are in intolerable pain as a result of being victimized by this system. If change is possible, it will NOT come from within the system and it will NOT happen without recognition of the larger forces at work. Leave the system intact. None of us can topple this system. The government, the legal system, consumer organizations, whatever, no one will help topple this system, because whether they are conscious of it or not, THEY DON’T WANT TO!

    Go outside the system and start something new. If it’s effective, it will drain resources from the old system, which will, eventually, shrivel up and die. Just don’t expect them to not fight back when they start feeling the pinch.

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    • Interesting how this discussion started off on the smaller notion of “informed consent” and slides to larger, more fundamental issues such as psychiatry being the right arm, or the moral arm of oppression. The image is discomforting but makes sense. After all, criminals are non-conformists. They defy the laws for community living (safety, abuse, violence, economic deviancy, etc.), as psychiatry would be society’s line of defense for its moral, ideological and cultural conservativeness. In contrast, while the criminal and police system admits it is in the service of the community, psychiatric “care” defines itself as in the service of patients. And again, one part of the criminal institution tries to make place for rehabilitation and social reinsertion to a larger extent than the psychiatric institution. Makes me wonder a lot about our authoritarian mode of being, almost everywhere on the planet. Conform, or dye, seem to be the end result.

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      • JClaude, unlike some here, I’m a discouraged conformist. An outside the box thinker–too sensitive and imaginative–i have struggled to fit the box to end my loneliness. By fitting in I might have found love and acceptance.

        Psychiatry did NOT make me normal. It turned me into a freak. A hideous monster. It told those around me their treatment of me didn’t matter since all my tears and suffering were manipulative symptoms of my brain disease and proved my inferiority. My seizures, contortions, and eye rolling proved I wasn’t taking my “meds” as prescribed they claimed. My mom took to verbal and emotional abuse till I wanted to kill myself.

        What crime against humanity had I committed? Seeing a psychiatrist and having a bad reaction to the drug Anafranil he gave.

        My sister is allergic to penicillin but was never punished for it.

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  14. The need to have everyone conform is primitive, a feature of the limbic system, and by no means limited to H. sapiens. A non-conforming individual in any community, any species, is to be feared because they are unpredictable, and therefore dangerous. We humans like to think that because of a very, very thin layer of cells in our brain (prefrontal cortex), we are somehow not subject to the same unconscious drives that other species are. That is a false assumption. Our development of language has allowed us to create all kinds of complex systems to obfuscate the fact that primitive unconscious drives are behind everything we do. Religion, government, economic systems, psychiatry, and more, all serve that function.

    Also, don’t get caught in the trap of believing the words that the institution of psychiatry puts out there. They market themselves as being in the service of patients, but of course they are NOT! This survey makes that abundantly clear. Psychiatric medications are not designed to “help” patients. They are designed to make patients easier to control, more predictable, less “dangerous”. They benefit the families of the patients, the community they live in, society in general, the medical community, and certainly the drug companies. Many patients who take those drugs–probably the majority–believe that they are being helped, but that’s because they want to be conformists. The vast majority of the population wants to conform because of the fear of what will happen to them if they don’t. The damaged non-conformists are all around, reminding them of what will happen if they don’t conform!

    The whole motivation for this website (I think) was to remind people of the history of psychiatry. From the very beginning, psychiatry was co-opted by governments to do the dirty work of eliminating people who are different from some arbitrary “norm”, as defined by whoever is currently in power, and to do it in a way that appeared palatable enough to society in general. Brilliant strategy, really, unless you’re one of the targeted individuals!

    This is why I keep saying here (and keep getting stomped into the ground!) that it is useless to keep calling for the destruction of Psychiatry, or the entire “Mental Healthcare” structure. It’s like calling for the destruction of the military, because they too commit terrible atrocities. We have to keep in mind the big picture, including understanding the unconscious biological basis that drives so much of human behavior. If we ignore that, we’re just farting in the wind. It’s easier to call for the destruction of something than to engage in the process of inventing something new.

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    • Thinking people can and do buck the trends. Sometimes thinking people create the trends. This notion that we are all automatons acting instinctually really does a disservice to most thinking people. It’s also the same attitude that encourages war by othering the enemy and promotes the slavery of and consumption of animals – this notion that animals are just instinctually acting creatures that don’t think, love, and mourn because they don’t have verbal language. Too simplistic for me.

      If you think it’s useless to try to take down the pseudoscientific medical branch of psychiatry, get out of the way while others do it. I do believe that the fields of psychoneuroimmunology and psychogastroenterology and just plain social progress are going to make ordinary psychiatry with its behavior based “illnesses” obsolete anyway.

      If you read the literature, you will see that research on brain-behavior based illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, FTL dementia, are moving in the direction of infectious etiology – oral spirochetes, Lyme borrelliosis, etc.

      We’ll probably all be dead within ten years due to runaway climate change, but in the offchance that doesn’t happen, progress is being made. And the people currently standing up to the abuses, the gaslighting and shaming of trauma victims, of people sick with physical illnesses with neuropsychiatric effects, of those who find themselves at the bottom of the trash heap of the capitalist nightmare we live in, those people, all of them, deserve an award for bravery because it’s a David and Goliath situation. One wrong move and you’re in custody being “treated” against your will.

      So if you don’t have any more to offer than were all wasting our time, ok thanks for sharing. Good luck with that approach.

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      • Don’t misinterpret what I said, which was to keep the bigger picture in mind. You certainly inserted so much more than what I actually said. I’m sitting here with 3 little dogs who are my sole motivation for staying alive. The idea that they are unconscious automatons never crosses my mind. They are far wiser than I am because they don’t bother themselves with the trappings of “consciousness”. Sorry you’re uncomfortable with my point of view, which is, in reality, that we should be spending our time inventing something new, not calling for the destruction of something that we do not have the power to destroy.

        Yes, I do read the literature, since I’m a neuroscientist with 40+ years of research experience. By the way, it is just as important to keep the “scientific method” at arm’s length and to scrutinize carefully every new finding that’s publicized in the scientific literature. I do know how that game works. I also know that our biological explanations for psychic phenomena will always fall short of the mark.

        I love how people tell me to go away because they are uncomfortable with what I say! I can’t even conform within a community of non-conformists!

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        • Marandel

          As a 66 year old PhD Biopsychologist who was a participant in the survey and because of my traumatic hospitalizations no longer work I agree with all you say. At least you have at least 1 supporter on this site. I realize that we are trying to fight a highly medically educated hierarchy who believe they have the answers. Have we not learned anything from the long ago story of Semmelweis who tried to confront his medical community with clear proof yet was an MD and was ostracized and placed in a psychiatric hospital by threatened MDs where he died.

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          • Helpstillneeded, thank you. I’ve grown body armor, but it still covers up a lot of pain. I drop in here every once in a while to get beat up 🙂

            It is heartbreaking to hear of your experience. I’m so sorry. I can say without a doubt that the trauma of my own multiple psychiatric hospitalizations was far worse that the trauma of years of being raped, which is what sent me into the nightmare of psychiatry. The trauma is so deep that I’ve never felt able to talk much about it even with my therapist, who is the only person I trust. The trust only goes so far, I guess.

            Here’s a sentence from Wikipedia in their description of Semmelweiz that I find so interesting:

            The rejection of Semmelweis’s empirical observations is often traced to belief perseverance, the psychological tendency of clinging to discredited beliefs. Also, some historians of science[15] argue that resistance to path-breaking contributions of obscure scientists is common and “constitutes the single most formidable block to scientific advances.”

            Yeah, no kidding! As in all things, those who point their fingers the most are only projecting their own internal bullshit. The “mental disease” that psychiatrists see in others is really their own.

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          • “Belief perseverance?” I think they mean arrogance and pride and need for power. Semmelweiz wasn’t chastised because they didn’t believe he was right. It was because he insulted the powerful men of society by suggesting they had “dirty hands.” The question of whether or not he was right was never even raised. “Belief perseverance” makes it sound like some benign and inherent human trait, but it is, in fact, quite a pernicious and often violent effort to protect the status quo power brokers from accountability for their actions.

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    • “From the very beginning, psychiatry was co-opted by governments to do the dirty work of eliminating people who are different from some arbitrary “norm.”
      Not true: from the very beginning, religion was co-opted by governments to do the dirty work of eliminating people who are different from some arbitrary “norm” through accusations of “demonic possession.”

      “It’s easier to call for the destruction of something than to engage in the process of inventing something new.”
      I call for the destruction of “arbitrary ‘norms'” (both secular and non-secular); I do not want to “engage in the process of inventing something new” that can define “arbitrary norms.” Psychiatry pathologizes natural emotional suffering (and coping methods deemed disabling- non-conforming, non-productive and/or disruptive) consistent with “exorcist” priests who advocate against “demonic possession.” Actually, destroying psychiatry by exposing the hoax will “invent something new”: an understanding of our humanity (the expression of extreme emotional suffering from extremely distressful experiences).

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      • Actually, what I meant was “from the beginning of the field of psychiatry, it was co-opted by governments…” You’re correct, of course, and I think psychiatry is an offshoot of religion, or extension of religion.

        All norms are arbitrary. I’m suggesting that those who have experienced what doesn’t work might have some better ideas about what might work. I’m not talking about “curing” or “eliminating” psychic suffering. That is a feature of humanity and it serves an important purpose, that of emotional and psychic growth. Psychic suffering is not an illness. A humane society would provide support, care, and understanding to those who are suffering, not punishment. The need to eliminate suffering or hide its presence comes from the fear that everyone eventually ends up immersed in this cauldron of suffering, like it or not. As I intimated above, those who have the audacity to suffer in public are punished and marginalized so everyone else can feel better, or tell themselves that they feel better (safer).

        As difficult as my pain is and has been, even I see the value. It’s presented new and different choices to me for how to structure my life, choices that never would have appeared otherwise. It has not been easy and I sometimes wish I could melt into the comfortable sameness of society around me. But that’s not for me. Never has been.

        I’ll check out your website

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    • As I keep trying to point out, “mental health law” represents a loophole in “rule of law” by which people can be deprived of their freedom for reasons that are ostensibly “medical” in theory. Close that loophole, and, once again, you’ve got laws against abduction, false imprisonment, torture, and poisoning, even if those crimes are committed by the federal government. Laws that “mental health law” allows law enforcement, the “mental health” authorities, and the court system to circumvent. Get rid of “mental health law”, and these atrocities no longer occur on a regular basis.

      I wish the whole motivation of this website were to remind people of the history of “mental health treatment”, but, as the site is primarily used by “mental health professionals” and their victims, I don’t think that can be the case. Ice-pick lobotomies, all sorts of shock, sterilization, and even mass extermination, all of these things were developed and happened in the twentieth century, a new low in the treatment of those folks called “the insane”. You go to the turn of that century, and you’ve got the social Darwinism that eventually created this matter. WWII may have exposed and helped to end the eugenic era in which all of these practices originated, but since the 1950s, post (in the main) eugenics, you’ve had the development of psychiatric drugs, a development that looks to be equally sinister as those drugs are maiming and killing so many people managed by them.

      “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”…”Liberté, égalité, fraternité”…Should we return to the values of our founding fathers, we’d be getting somewhere. So long as paternalism prevails instead, you’ve got a muddy rut. “We know what’s best for you better than you do yourself. It is whatever insures our life, liberty, and happiness at the expense of yours. You got out of line, and now we have to rehabilitate you. We have to put you back in your place. Those slogans above, forget them. They don’t apply to you. They apply only to the privileged elites. The elites who have to do something about those people who don’t know where they stand in the pecking order.”

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  15. Trying to get back to a recent comment from maradel I just can’t find. In her thoughtful extension of the above discussion, she elaborates on evolutionary aspects and the likely collapse of the larger society. A short excerpt follows :
    “people in favor of capitalism demonize socialism and communism as failed disasters in order to prop up the capitalist economic system. This is a huge hurdle to overcome. We need to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them.”

    I suspect we follow similar readings and socio-political interests but it is a good thing to enlarge our vision of the decay of psychiatry so as to embrace the wider picture. I also believe that many institutions are headed for collapse and/or any kind of revolution. Hopefully for the better but nothing could be more unsure. Two more comments on my behalf.

    1. There are many examples of alternatives to mainstream psychiatry both in time and within different countries across the world. I don’t have them at hand this very moment but over the years I have read and encountered numerous experiments, trials, big and small that just don’t seem to survive and attract public attention such as you hope for. On this aspect, I’m sorry to say you might be a bit too optimistic. Or is it me, being too pessimistic ?

    2. I do agree that if psychiatry is looked at as just one part of a bigger socio-political climate and the rise of autoritarism in the face of a crisis (economical, environmental, social etc.), there is place for hope not by attacking directly and exclusively this particular institution but our civilization in a wider sense. I personally correspond plenty with a group who work hard to promote “citizens constitutions” (or charters of rights) in an orderly and organized manner (with no political ties, nor prior ideology, citizen comities chosen from the general population randomly with guidance and limited mandates,..) that resembles slightly the present French “yellow jacket” movement (is that the right way to translate “les gilets jaunes” ?) but in a less spontaneous fashion. This fosters promise of a better world in my mind. It, at the very least, helps me to not slip into despair and simple desolation or “rage against the machine”.

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    • JClaude, Yes, there are many, many small revolutions taking place around the world. I recently read “Adults in the Room” by Yanis Varoufakis, the former economic minister of Greece. He describes the destruction of Greece by the EU and powerful European bankers. It is a frightening and heartbreaking story, but the outcome is a growing movement opposed to the terrorism of capitalism in the EU. Italy has also recently pushed back against the EU economic oppression. Hundreds of thousands of British people living in the EU have been virtually abandoned by Theresa May and pro-Brexiters in England, and there will be payback from that, too. There are many disturbing things going on all over the world with a rise of authoritarianism, which will lead to many people getting hurt. The pendulum will swing back eventually. How many swings of the pendulum H. sapiens can survive, I don’t know.

      “There are many examples of alternatives to mainstream psychiatry both in time and within different countries across the world.”
      Yes, and I hope to learn more about what is happening in Europe after I leave the US. I haven’t had time to do much reading recently, but I did read that because of a shortage of psychologists in Germany, and also the cost of accessing services, there are more underground alternatives springing up.

      People who are experiencing emotional/psychic pain need support, understanding and help. We cannot simply reject all notions of help just because of some connection with the “Mental Health Industry”. What’s difficult is that people who are suffering are very vulnerable, and there is no dearth of criminals ready to take advantage of that vulnerability. Because of that, there still needs to be a structure with oversight to protect people from being hurt the way we have been. Is that even possible to do without recreating the same toxic patriarchal system we have now? I have no idea.

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          • Because they’re programmed to.

            But yeah, that’s my point sort of, they’ve fraudulently established themselves as the standard everything real is measured against, rather than humanity being the standard against which psychiatry is judged (and getting a failing grade).

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          • I don’t agree with everything Szazs says either. Nor does OH. OH disagrees with Szazs’s libertarianism. I disagree with Szazs’s anti-religious stance.

            I’m glad you have read some of his writings and can form your own opinions Maradel.

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          • I’m not aware of any anti-religious sentiment on Szasz’s part, maybe you could elaborate. I don’t so much “disagree” with Szasz’s politics as I consider them irrelevant. His essential contribution, which transcends normal politics, is the deconstruction of the fraudulent concept of “mental illness” and all that comes with it.

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          • A non-practicing Jew, and an atheist, I wouldn’t call that pro-religion, although I wouldn’t call it militant atheism either.

            Exposing “mental illness” as a fabrication is a political statement of sorts. How moral reform becomes an issue that reflects upon so-called “mental health” is one thing to consider. The moral bone connecting to the….fantasy bone, and that kind of thing.

            Szasz was an opponent of what he called the therapeutic state. He supported the separation of powers when it came to medicine, and the state, certainly an interesting and political position to take. Today this is somewhat problematic, yes, now the state has medicine to try to control us with, but also medicine itself, often real legit medicine, is being priced out of the range of most people’s ability to pay for it without federal assistance, voila more and more public (as opposed to private, the thing Szasz supported) health programs.

            Ultimately what does the privacy matter leave us with? Scrooge McDoctor gloating over his or her ill gotten gains.

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        • PS (@ Marabel) I see that you have indeed experienced psychiatry from the victim standpoint. I will keep this in mind in my future responses, which I will gear towards that perspective. But you need to get out of this “personal attack” mode, as I don’t know you from Jack. My responses are to your statements and your reasoning. And if you check you’ll see that your own post is full of unfounded and un-knowable assumptions about what I believe, unless you ask.

          If you’re interested in specifics however you might start by trying to articulate what you see as “mythological” thinking on my part.

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      • Am I to assume we are not all “adult” here? This idea of healing people of their “psychic” pain is, frankly, a little hokey.

        If I were to accept your claim that, “We cannot simply reject all notions of help just because of some connection with the “Mental Health Industry”.” I have to qualify it with a, “but I can.”

        As long as we cannot reject it, without having it imposed upon us, I think “help” is the wrong word to be using. “Help” that is offered against my will and wishes, to put it mildly, is not “help”.

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      • “People who are experiencing emotional pain/psychic pain need understanding, support and help.”

        I agree Maradel. But the best way to block yourself from understanding, support and help is to seek out a psychiatrist. I did that. In return they damaged my brain, CNS and reputation.

        Bio-reductionism is not understanding.
        Segregation is not support.
        Destructive mind-altering drugs are not help.

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  16. Hi all, the article’s author here again. Thank you for the continued debate about the survey – it shows that it struck a nerve. If you want to share your psych ward experiences, I’ve created a Reddit community for former patients.

    You can find the community here:

    My goal is to make it easier for patients who have been mistreated or abused in psychiatric wards or hospitals to share their unfiltered stories – since Reddit provides anonymity.

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  17. Thank you Michael for doing this survey. Yes for me it is not a surprise and the many comments and awful experiences are not new but unfortunately something that goes on every single day in every country where Western psychiatry is found. Our voices have been silenced for years but with the arrival of the internet our voices are becoming increasingly powerful and MiA is a very powerful contributor to that collective voice. I am glad you published the survey here it will reach far more people, the people who matter and that is the general public. The potential new patients who think this is the place I will get help, the new families who turn to psychiatry thinking this is where my loved one will be saved.

    For too long we have spent (wasted) our time trying to change a system that has no interest in changing. I too fell into that trap and genuinely believed that it was due to lack of knowledge and information that caused professionals in psychiatry to harm and hurt in the name of ‘cure’. Indeed when I worked there I was cushioned from the voices of the patients but that was before the internet. Today our voices are becoming louder and louder but that should not just be against the system it should be to help potential new ‘customers’ involuntary as well as voluntary. It has to be directed to opening up other spaces outside of psychiatry. And of course ultimately politically as well which right now in the western world is detrimental to ‘non conformists’.

    So though this survey is not new to me it is for an awful lot of people. Patients and expatients who are thinking they are all alone and are therefore somehow must be responsible for the force and degradation they are experiencing as a patient. Those who are giving up because they don’t know there is a vaste community out there who have tried what they are experiencing. Families and friends who thought they were doing the best thing when they involved psychiatry and who are now devastated at what has happened to their loved one. It is these people and of course those who are the potential new generation of patients who need to know about psychiatric abuse.

    But also potential new staff who think they are going to be helping but end up in a system which is equally powerful in forcing them into a position of being a potential abuser of patients. Here in Denmark where I live, the young student doctors are not wanting to become psychiatrists. Why? Because of our voices and the fact that we continue to point out that psychiatry is a pseudo-science and in more ways akin to a religion than a science.

    So Michael thank you for this important survey and I am looking forward to more!

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  18. To All

    I just wanted to say that probably all of us (including me who filled out the survey) and the nearly 500 people who took the survey, want to see the survey results widely distributed beyond MIA.

    I spoke with Michael Simeonson who did an excellent job creating, administering, summarizing the data and presenting the survey results about getting the survey results, especially the respondent comments, to the media.

    He told me he tried with the support of Robert Whitaker (The creator of MIA) to get the media interested in the survey results.

    He said he contacted 300 media sources but heard back from none.

    What is the media afraid of??

    Zel Dolinsky, PhD in Biopsychology

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  19. Main medias have agendas and feed on often futile matters. They don’t have the guts it takes to lift delicate subjects that, for some reason are not enough fashion. They write partly for their advertisers and with many interests in mind. Sorry to say, but the mental illness field does not attract many readers, nor much interest. A bit like in the old days, addicts didn’t attract compassion or the like. It is only when public health and many others proved to the world that prohibition laws where not only inefficient but also costly and Not in publics interest did they catch the peoples attention. Money talks. Our crusade will have to copy that strategy I guess. Compassion is not on the medias agenda I fear.

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    • They don’t have the guts it takes to lift delicate subjects that, for some reason are not enough fashion.

      Nothing to do with guts, there’s not even the desire, that’s not he media’s job. It is to keep people mystified and confused.

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      • Dear oldhead,
        I can’t endorse your degree of cynicism. But believe it or not, I’ma at least half in agreement. The role of mystifying and confusing the public (I prefer the terme obscurantism) is, in my mind, not so much the absence of desire but, on the contrary, a desire to certain ends. Ends that fit well with the interests of owners of the different media. I’m not familiar with American media but I guess it is not very different with “up” here in Canada or in Europe. Big enterprises, big business tend to buy out newsrooms and do a lot of propaganda that self-serves i”s private (financial and economic) interests. In other words, we have to get out the message that present psychiatry is a nuisance to society, that it is not only wrong on the health side, but also for our families, our children, economy, for large fringes of the population and not only a few sparse victims … We have to be convincing not only on moral grounds abut also on scientific proof, socio-economic arguments. Social media, a new player in the news park is also, in my mind, a good vector of public education and one way to force traditional media to discuss our matters.

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      • No, the media’s “job” is to entertain. It’s not to bring news. It’s not to inform. It doesn’t have to be truthful. It aims for ratings, which equal dollars. There are no ratings incentives to bring stories about psychiatric harm because the public have bought hook, line and sinker the notion that psychiatry is a necessary evil at worst and the savior to all those disturbed people at best. Coupled with a widespread belief that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people, thus the system flourishes by encouraging society to eat its own – social Darwinism.

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        • Entertainment causes people to turn on the set. No two way TV’s yet, so they have to lure folks in. Once people are set up for hours of passive, mindless entertainment they’re ready to be mystified and confused.

          I don’t think it’s all a conscious effort to make people stupid, but it has that effect sadly. Every time I have been in a psych ward there is a set blaring for 12-14 hours a day. Despite the proven fact excessive TV causes depression. My guess is the staff does it to stupify everyone further (in case the drugs left a few brain cells alive.) You see this in day cares and nursing homes too.

          The idea that “bad things only happen to bad people” has been around since ancient times. Harold Kushner talks about this in Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. He speculates people like this idea since it gives them a sense of control and safety. “If I’m really good I won’t go bankrupt, my spouse won’t leave, and I won’t get cancer.” Of course this backfires if tragedy strikes despite how “good” the person was.

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          • Actually, I would go so far as to say the entire entertainment industry serves to keep people pacified and stupefied. People work hard for very little and in return they “deserve” to be able to “relax” and “unwind” with any myriad forms of entertainment, whether it be watching gladiators (live or on TV), or dramatic performance (theatre in all its forms), or artistic display (live or curated), or thrilling fun (theme parks), or majestic adventure (nature settings), we have a variety of “approved” ways to “spend” down time, emphasis being on spending – both our time and money. We consume our “free” time in pursuit of our right to escape the horrors we have to ignore on a daily basis in order to participate in the modern world.

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  20. Michael Simonson, Old head, Steve, Jclaude

    I don’t mean to be critical of your comments about the media or your extensive efforts to contact them. I am just confused by assertions of their lack of interest in the survey as being due to “advertisers”, “lack of compassion”, “their agendas”, etc.

    It seems odd or at 66 years old perhaps I am just naive?

    The media sources I am familiar with including: MSNBC, CNN, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, various local newspapers, various local televised news, etc seem to report on all types of topics including:
    1. Priests abusing young boys
    2. Unfair and abusive conditions of workers at Amazon
    3. Continuing sexual abuse and harassment of girls and women by celebrities, high power people, and Trump
    4. Abuse and mistreatment of dogs
    5. Documentary about FDA abhorrent approval process for medical devices
    6. The opiate crises especially overdoses
    7. The serious issue of climate change

    Unfortunately there are many others.

    The words of respondents to Michael’s survey ring in my ears. “I was treated worse than a dog”, and other unbelievable comments.

    I am forced to conclude once you receive a psychiatric diagnosis, which have no scientific basis, and how I was treated, you are probably considered less than human and not worth reporting about.

    Michael went with a respondent of the survey to a meeting with a political representative in CT and videotaped this meeting which was heartbreaking. He and she made suggestions about changes they would like to see. I asked if he thought any of their suggestions to the reprentative would illicit action and he said he didn’t think so.

    Zel Dolinsky, PhD in Biopsychology

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  21. I’m afraid I don’t understand your point, Helpstillneeded. In fact, seems to me your demonstration proves what some of us believe about the lack of attention, or at the very least, of covering the subject in the media. I don’t claim to fully know why and hope it is only a question of time. Maybe they are in shock and have to digest that awful news before the report it out to the public. Maybe they are waiting to have a better alternative, as in fairy tails so as to have a nice ending. Maybe they are afraid to attack the establishment. Drs and Pharma are very powerful and would certainly retaliate. Honestly, I don’t know.To make another analogy, the glyphosate scandal took many years before it became public. Mote than 10 years ago, there where credible and very frightening testimonies ans it is only now coming up on the front pages. Cans we stay optimist and hope for the best, with patience ? I would like to think so even if I would prefer immediate attention from the public. My conclusion : let’s keep on trying, Efforts often lead to change. I try to disseminate as much as I can on social media and think it is worth it, on the long run.

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  22. Jclaude

    I’m sorry. From what I have seen and experienced and continue to see in my 66 years I don’t believe it is a question of time before the media gets involved in this. That is why I cited a few of the things the media is involved in. Perhaps you are younger and more optimistic than I? No real need to respond. I don’t really want to go back and forth with our points of view. However, I do respect your thinking. Thanks.


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  23. I tried to follow your hint and not respond, but curiosity and sorrow about the state of things commands at the very least a short comment. Fist, you are right about our age difference – I’m a proud and recent 61 yr old – , and most likely, our experience of living (I only got a little entangled with psychiatry as a patient and mostly worked in the system as a “chologist”).
    I may not live ti see a change but certainly hope so. But I dont feel very much more optimiste than You. Culture, politics, society as a whole changes at a very slow pace, generally event thought every now and then revolutions spur here and there. A psychiatric diagnosis, in the present state of affairs dismisses the sick more than it helps. Strict common sense, or a minimum of compassion dictates the opposite.
    How long, I ignore, but I maintain time will permit the maltreated to come out of the wardrobe (is my translation adequate ? sounds funny …). The same as women won the right to vote, slaves and “blacks” gained their liberty and a minimum of dignity. I can’t imagine otherwise. Darn it : LGBT etc are gaining a stand in public attention. Why not us looneys ? Ans especially the victims of organized forced drugging, forced hospitalization, used and abused who are not too destroyed to be able to go public. My turn to end with ‘ don’t have to respond”, but I don’t feel we are either arguing or in any way disagreeing, or disagreeable. I appreciate your honesty and authentic wisdom.

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    • A major problem JClaude is people think psychiatry=help. Many “looneys” go around saying it saved their lives and souls. I have known people with lives obviously ruined by drugs and labels. Poverty, shunned by family, horribly sick, barely able to function outside institutions…yet they swear psychiatry is their savior.

      I think this is due to spell-binding, being fed constant propaganda till it outweighs your real experience–like a cult, and the sunken cost fallacy.

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  24. Rachel777 : I gather you are referring to what I call poor lost souls as well as sheep. Pharma representatives seek them out eagerly and put them up front as a way to advertise their venom. As live testimony and, of course, the spell-binding is not written all over their forehead. My use on looneys is reserved to the survivors and has an affectionate meeting. The poor souls, I have affection for them also, but much more pity and compassion. We too have to cherry pick vocal, articulate and “an other voice” that represent another perspective. We have to send them mainstream. And, may I add, MIA has many very suitable candidates.

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