Why Are So Many Americans Seeking Medication for Distress?


Here at MIA, we’ve shown how biological psychiatry is a harmful scam. But there’s a missing piece to the puzzle. Psychiatry understandably used to be a feared, avoided profession (the men in white coats who come and take you away, lock you up, tie you down, and lobotomize, shock, or drug you). But then it began to have voluntary clients. And since 1990, hordes of Americans have been knocking down psychiatry’s doors for its miracle pills, desperately wanting immediate relief from depression/anxiety. Isn’t it this huge rise in demand for medicine for distress that created and fed this giant monster?

If so, then to defeat it, we need to solve these mysteries:

How can anyone trust or submit to psychiatry after seeing its cruel, horrific “treatments” (which are still used today) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Why do people believe an idea as unverified and illogical as psychiatry’s chemical imbalance theory — that painful feelings are brain diseases rather than normal reactions to life issues? Why do people rush to try new pills despite all the side effects cited in their ads? Why was the news that antidepressants are placebos ignored? Why are obviously made-up diseases like Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (a synonym for childhood) taken seriously? Why do parents willingly drug their kids… with speed? Why did benzodiazepine use spike despite people knowing they’re addictive? Work injuries have steadily fallen,1 so what’s driving so many Americans to risk taking heroin in pill form (opioids)?

One possible explanation is that new, improved medications were developed. But Ritalin became available for ‘ADHD’ kids in the 1960s, yet didn’t catch on and become the gold standard until the 1990s. Similar stimulants were around since the 1930s and were popular in the ‘50s/60s, but faded when their addictiveness became known.

Vicodin, America’s most dispensed medication of any kind every year 2005-2014, was introduced in 1978, but also didn’t catch on until the 1990s. Other opiate pain medicines were available here since the 1800s, but were never widely sought since they were long known to be addictive/lethal.

Benzodiazepines, namely Valium, were available since the 1960s. Their close cousins, the barbiturates, were around since the ‘30s. Each faded in use in the ‘70s after their addictiveness became known. But in the ‘90s, Valium’s use jumped along with Xanax, which had come out in 1981. Since benzos/barbs act on the same brain receptors as alcohol, they’re actually in a drug class that goes back thousands of years.

Antidepressants as effective as Prozac were introduced in the ‘50s but never became popular. Yes, Prozac is the first serotonin reuptake inhibitor, but this is incidental; it has nothing to do with how it works — it’s a placebo.2 SSRIs do cause side effects via their serotonin action, however, drugs aren’t classified by how they cause side effects but by how they work. So all antidepressants belong in the same placebo class, as do antibiotics or vitamins when used on non-ill clients to appease “unjustified demands for medicine,” as most doctors admit doing.3 Placebos like snake oil also go back to the 1800s, when smooth-talking docs peddled miracle elixirs at traveling medicine shows, and paid actors to pretend to be cured by them. People attended for the free entertainment which was sponsored by the elixir’s maker/seller, just as drug ads sponsor today’s TV/online entertainments. These elixirs, like today’s, often contained alcohol, opium, or stimulants (cocaine) to hook clients.

So there aren’t really any new medicines, just the same old ones repackaged and given new names. They have been marketed more slickly and heavily; this is part of why they’re more sought after. But for marketing to work, there must be demand for a product. The high demand for mind-numbing chemicals since 1990 still must be explained, especially since it’s for illicit as well as licit ones.

Psychiatry’s inventing new diseases out of thin air also isn’t new. The DSM has been at this since 1952; it just took 40 years to catch on. Very similar versions of ADHD, depression, bipolar, anxiety, etc were included in it from its inception. Before the DSM, psychiatry created illnesses like neurasthenia to medicalize distress, but few bought it. And biological psychiatrists have been trying to sell the idea that “mental illnesses” are physical, and caused by chemical imbalances, since the ‘50s.

If it’s not due to newly discovered drugs or diseases, is it due to life here becoming more stressful and traumatic? Maybe it has in some ways, but not overall. People from all over the world are desperate to come to the US for our prosperity, orderliness, safety, and security. Crime, child abuse, and domestic violence have fallen. The draft ended, then the Cold War too. Income taxes were cut and credit loosened, enabling most Americans to buy cars and solid homes with water/heat/electricity.

A perennially strong dollar enables our government to borrow/print/spend lavishly on us without causing inflation. Its generous safety nets, used by a majority of us, include social security, food stamps, unemployment, and Medicare/Medicaid. Federal funds support the rising number of non-workers replaced by automation/outsourcing. Other nations make cheap products for us (washers/dryers, disposable diapers, digital assistants, etc) that make life easy here. Just a few clicks on a computer and it’s at our door. Immigrants clean and maintain many Americans’ properties for them. It’s a short trip to a cheap fast food restaurant, or to a supermarket always stocked with many foods like TV dinners you pop in a microwave. Our modern farms reliably and efficiently produce plenty of food. Never before was there a place where so many had so much. People elsewhere still struggle to survive from childhood on, toiling all day in factories, living in hovels, and fending for themselves with shortages, violence, and chaos.

Could this overall ease itself be the reason? When people struggle all day to stay alive, this is all they can afford to think about. There is no time/luxury to ponder their lives and what is wrong in them — their disappointments and failures, whether they feel fulfilled or regretful, dissatisfied with their relationships or their job, annoyed by their kids, or fearful about getting old and dying someday. They likely don’t have the time/luxury to evaluate their emotional state — to dwell on the fact that they experience painful emotional or physical sensations. More free time also means one can afford to try psych/pain ‘meds’ even if they impair functioning. All this explains Valium’s popularity with 1960s middle class housewives: as they became less busy due to modern conveniences, they found that “the pursuit of happiness is such a bore.”4 Maybe it’s human nature to take things for granted, to never be content, and always struggle with tensions, whether from risks to survival or from dissatisfaction with aspects of one’s life (if survival is secure).

But something else is going on in the last 30 years. Many people seem less tolerant of distress, and are demanding that doctors relieve it for them. Maybe our society (the aid/protection given by our government, our corporations’ life-easing inventions, and our advanced healthcare’s curing of real illness) took such good, quick care of all their needs and wants that they now unrealistically expect it to also take care of all their painful sensations. Maybe they became so used to depending on these authorities’ products and services that they’ve forgotten how to adaptively rely on themselves. Maybe they’ve successively handed over personal responsibility/volition in most life areas to the government, technology/automation, immigrant workers, and workers abroad, and are now handing over the last remaining area, by hiring MDs to manage their thoughts and feelings (and their children’s behavior) for them. By process of elimination, this is the best way to answer the riddles I earlier posed.

I don’t excuse MDs for fabricating diseases to justify being greedy drug dealers. But if the above is true, then aren’t they giving purely voluntary clients exactly what they went there for? A diagnosis of an involuntary illness and medicine for it, allowing them to relinquish responsibility for coping with their troubles, which is now their doctor’s job. They had to know they’d be given a label and a drug to go with it, since that’s what doctors do. I believe that ignoring this crucial puzzle piece is hindering our fight. Psychiatry feeds off people surrendering their free will and abdicating their personal responsibility; it’s time to starve it to death.

Show 4 footnotes

  1. News Release: Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Nov 8, 2018.
  2. Kirsch, I. The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, Basic Books, NY 2010.
  3. Kermen, R, et al. “Family Physicians Believe the Placebo Effect is Therapeutic but Often Use Real Drugs as Placebos,” Family Medicine, 2010,42(9)636-42.
  4. Jagger, M, Richards, K. “Mother’s Little Helper” Rolling Stones, Aftermath, 1966.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


  1. How did this even get published? It’s starting to look like Fox News around here again – fairly unbalanced.

    Please check your privilege at the door before you judge America. Most American’s lives do not resemble the caricature you’ve painted. I don’t know anyone with a housekeeper and I’m economically privileged!

    • I was “economically privileged,” and well insured, when I was medically unnecessarily attacked with “safe … meds,” actual dangerous mind altering psych drugs, by greedy doctors. Who wanted to cover up their malpractice, not to mention medical evidence of the abuse of my young child, for a satanic clergy member.

      I agree, how did this even get published, it reads as insanity to me. And it is insanity, given the reality that attacking innocent humans, to cover up child abuse is now, and historically has always been, the primary actual function of our “omnipotent moral busy body,” way too intrusive, satanic psychiatrists and psychologists.


      And those doctors who attack well insured, innocent humans, to cover up their own incompetence and medical evidence of the abuse of one’s child, can’t ever bill any insurance company for ever helping any child abuse survivor, or their parent, ever.


      I’m very disappointed in you, Lawrence. You used to write pieces that spoke common sense. This is nothing but a blame the patients piece, the “above” is NOT true. The real problem is, and has always apparently been, with the medical system and the psychiatric and psychological systems in general.

      The psychological and psychiatric systems are paternalistic, to the point of being satanic, child rape covering up systems, by design. The systems are the problem, not the clients. “Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t, warn you.”

      • I’d just like to point out one more thing, the “mental health professionals” have infiltrated our schools in search of more potential clients.


        It’s not the people in search of psychiatrists or your neurotoxic drugs, it’s the “mental health professionals” actively looking for potential prey, even in our schools. And when a “mental health” industry is actively working on attacking our children, in their schools, that’s a run amok and appalling “mental health” industry.

        • Yes Someone Else, “It’s not the people in search of psychiatrists or your neurotoxic drugs, it’s the “mental health professionals” actively looking for potential prey, even in our schools”.

          I hope Dr. Kelmenson reads that blog. I also heard another ‘goal’ is to have every person who receives a cancer diagnosis then be sent for a psychiatric assessment. People are being preyed on left and right and it is terrifying this is happening to school children. I wish this information could get carried on mainstream media.

          • Has anyone seen the Queen Latifah Cigna commercial? It’s titled “Body and Mind.” Talk to your doctor about how you “feel, physically and emotionally”

            Additionally, a new medication commercial about Tardive Dyskinesia . . . The actress even says she’s bipolar and DON’T STOP taking your BP meds. . . even though, the serious side-effect, TD, is present.

            What is left unsaid, TD is a Central Nervous System condition, that’s pharmaceutically induced. So take another pill.

          • Dr K, I have to agree with everything you just wrote about this belief spreading like a virus throughout our society. And I’m equally out of ideas for how to stop it.

            I used to be part of what was, at least at the time, the largest bipolar group on Facebook. Around the time I started tapering off meds, I asked in the group who else was med free. I was looking for support going off meds and had not yet heard of places like survivingantidepressants.com. Merely asking if there were other med-free patients in the group (and sharing some of the dangers I’d learned about the meds from RWs book) got me banned from the group.

            I believe that you have pointed out all of the players involved but the next step is to break down each group and figure out why that group is promoting this idea. Is it for personal financial gain, like on the part of pharma and psychiatrists? Is it the SJW perspective parroting what they have been told to think about what oppressed people need or deserve? Is it a politician pretending to care about a special interest group to get your vote and using an emotional argument to elicit your concern and elect this dogooder? Is it a parent – abusive or not – struggling to care for a child that is mismatched to the environment it is living in? (I suspect there are fewer hyperactive kids diagnosed in families that get more physical activity than average.) Is it a misguided child protection advocate who wants to see more mental health care in schools because they believe in the myth of “early intervention”? Is it the law enforcement agency who is overburdened with calls relating to domestic disputes and people in extreme states? Is it the teacher who is overwhelmed with 58 third graders and who can’t handle one more student’s distraction from teaching material the kids are going to be tested on and which her job and her school’s funding depend on higher results than the last year? Is it the media who gets a significant amount of revenue from drug company advertising being unwilling to bite the hand that feeds it with accurate coverage? Is it the Wall Street executive averaging 12% per year returns for his clients whose retirement accounts include shares in pharmaceutical manufacturers? How about the revolving door between government regulators and the industries they are charged with regulating. The FDA has had no shortage of complaints about being too cozy with the pharmaceutical and device manufacturing industries. Was it the deregulation of pharmaceutical advertising during the Reagan years that resulted in the American public becoming saturated in advertising about illnesses they didn’t know they had and a suggestion that they ask their doctor for specific medications to treat it? Or is it the websites of an investigative journalist who wrote an expose of the crimes of the pharmapsychiatry conglomerate and insist on continuing to rethink the problem instead of staying the course on behalf of the current and ex patients they once revealed had been so deeply harmed?

            And that’s just what I can think of right off the top of my head. A deep dive into this issue I’m sure would produce many more books on what’s wrong and how it got that way. But it’s hard to really judge how many people are listening or how bad it will have to get in terms of how many people are harmed before there will be significant pushback.

            Most people I know are unhappy – that includes rich and poor, disabled, working class, and professionals. Most are worried, overworked, in some degree of ill health. But we’re still poorly connected to one another because the tools we are largely using to connect like social media are thinly veiled arms of the state and purposely keeping us compliant and pacified.

            I’m rapidly coming to the point of thinking that if you don’t sound like a conspiracy theorist, you don’t truly understand how deep these problems really go.

          • KS – as usual, you are spot on. Especially in reference to this quote,

            “I’m rapidly coming to the point of thinking that if you don’t sound like a conspiracy theorist, you don’t truly understand how deep these problems really go.”

            I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do follow historical facts. When called a tin-foiled hat wearer, you know you are on the right track. This is the method of those in power to detract and MARGINALIZE the messenger, the message.

            We can look back at history, more specifically the Fluoridation of the water supply. Yes, it did increase the quality of dental health, but at what long-term costs? Micro-doses of Fluoride, a neuro-toxin, over the span of decades, along with longer life expectancies, introduced Alzheimer’s/Dementia on a scale never before seen. The genetic vulnerability was passed along to the next generations . . . and when in the 80’s, there was a major study going on about this topic, it disappeared. One of the main reasons it disappeared? No data taken relevant to the hypothesis. . . especially over the long-term.

            The MD I often refer to, had collected the data as he had patients that spanned 4 generations within families. He was well aware of the causal link. This predates HIPAA and he collected his data for me at the time to correlate for a college project. This was the era previous to genetic disposition as a contributory factor, but denying that, skewed the data and its results.

            I used this personal project to cover all that I had learned in my 21 credit hours that semester. Defining methodology, using statistics, variability, along with a number of sound methods. Each was able to be applied to my coursework. So much so, that two of my professors submitted for review and publication in very different fields. I was later notified by both of them it was published, but they could not tell me by who or in what publication.

            Jump forward a decade. I ran into one of those professors with his adult children at a Starbucks. He recognized me right away to his children’s amazement. He had started down the road of Alzheimer’s some years before. His long-term memory reminded him of the only undergrad student of his to be published. When I asked him the publication (I was never notified), he responded, the Journal of the Coverup.

    • I was reading the latest, and poked my head in this blog entry and nearly hurked up a lung. Yes Kindredspirit!! This! And this is proof yet again, that expertise in one area absolutely does not automatically confer expertise in any other area, as evidenced by a shoddy stereotype-filled and self-serving analysis of the last 40 years. I wish I had a dollar for every doc out there who thinks he has a handle on “human nature” based on which subset of patients he chooses to focus on. A single doctor’s anecdotal use of the word “some” or even “many” does not constitute data. Actual numbers or it never happened.

      The myopic view that fuels this RANT could only come from wearing old-privileged-white-guy glasses and steeped in cultural/religious tropes like “suffering is good for the soul” and that the belief that humans are at the core, depraved. Choosing to focus on “some” patients and extrapolate to all humans is both short-sighted and hypocritical. Psychiatry is often slagged on MIA as being notoriously context-averse. We see it here, in spades. You have to be pretty wrapped up in your own little world to not be able to connect a few dots in the 40 years from Reagan to now. Overall ease? Did the good Dr miss the Great Recession? The concentration of wealth that’s been going on? The decrease in actual buying power of salaries since the 70s? The skyrocketing costs of higher education? The breakdown of public education overall? He clearly thinks a significant subset of his patients are trying to game the system while not looking too hard at his own group, which expects – and receives – money-for-nothing with its rent-seeking investment portfolios.

      People aren’t less tolerant of stress “these days”, they’re just more vocal and less willing to suffer quietly like in the “good old days” when women and other minorities knew their place, enabling white men to not have to deal with the really uncomfortable fact of old-white-guy-induced pain for everyone who isn’t an old white guy. I particularly liked how the use of Valium by housewives in the 60s is trivialized to women just being bored and too lazy to find things to do, since being a housewife became so easy once they didn’t have to beat the rugs and kill the chickens anymore. That whole little “analysis” is sadly, what I’ve come to expect as the unselfconscious and unapologetic misogyny that the current regime has made acceptable again in public. And writing nostalgically of a time when life was so physically hardscrabble that people didn’t have time to think past the next food crisis, let alone dare ask for anything from their betters? Really?? Reading this was like reading something straight from another century. Except that we have obviously never gotten past that crap and it just keeps bubbling up from from the collective midden.

      The vibe of everyone is suspect, dishonest, and trying to pull a fast one, obvious disdain for humans overall, and for patients and their “complaints” (a word more often applied to women and one that is just loaded with all sorts of unspoken crap) is not at all unique to psychiatry, and is precisely why I have pretty much replaced every male doctor I can possibly replace with a female one. And I’m talking about all specialties, and having cancer and MS, plus the usual types, that’s a few. I realize women doctors are educated in male-created systems and so fed a diet of male biases too, but on the whole, I feel I have a better chance of avoiding the most egregiously antiquated attitudes by avoiding male docs altogether.

      • Well I’m glad you found good women docs.
        I encountered a few and was so happy to be around a female until the experience was not paternal and condescending, but nasty and mean, almost like a passive aggressive anger.
        I then researched and a few articles said women docs are now found to be harsher or as harsh as male.
        I just overall dislike it when people in service are pissed of about their jobs and chronic illness and take it out on patients.
        Now I go to me vet.

  2. The intolerance of emotional pain cuts both ways Dr. K. In the old days people would support grieving widows and provide companionship for the unhappy.

    Now they tell you to see a psychiatrist and take some “meds.” It sounds nicer than “bug off.”

    Something you neglected to mention was the ubiquitous psych drug commercials. Despite what I have told family members they find it hard to believe the pills aren’t helpful (except for quieting folks to stuff in institutions.) Cause the dancing pill commercials are so cute! And Dr. Phil says….

  3. Hi Lawrence. Why do you use the term “medications”?

    Also it is disappointing to see you glom onto the “biological psychiatry” meme. ALL psychiatry is “biological” if there are drugs involved, and this implies that there is a “better” form of psychiatry that is NON-“biological.”

  4. “Here at MIA, we’ve shown how biological psychiatry is a harmful scam.”

    Lawrence is on the right track, but this introduction is not quite entirely accurate. First of all, psychiatry itself is, and always has been, as Thomas Szasz so eloquently wrote, the science of lies. As oldhead also points out, the attempt to divide psychiatry into good, non-biological psychiatry and bad, biological psychiatry is an exercise in futility. Second, although Whitaker has done excellent work in exposing the lies inherent in psychiatry, the harmful scam of psychiatry was exposed long before any of us were alive. (see e.g. Karl Kraus)

    “Psychiatry understandably used to be a feared, avoided profession…”

    This is an interesting way to frame the problem, and there is some truth to Lawrence’s thesis. However, psychiatry is still feared and avoided, and it is not, nor ever has been a “profession,” unless by “profession” we mean other fraudulent activities such as organized crime or prostitution.

    “But then it began to have voluntary clients…”

    This is where Lawrence’s argument becomes a bit fuzzier and more misleading. There are certainly many people who choose to label themselves, drug themselves, and even incarcerate themselves. But the vast majority of these people do so on the basis of the fraudulent information that has been so cunningly disseminated by psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, even those who “voluntarily” choose to submit themselves to psychiatric torture most often do so without understanding the true nature of psychiatry. Most people would not even chose to touch psychiatry with a ten foot pole if the truth about psychiatry were readily available to them.

    “Isn’t it this huge rise in demand for medicine for distress that created and fed this giant monster?”

    Not quite. This is part of the problem perhaps, but in reality, psychiatry has cleverly created the demand. Psychiatric propaganda is so entrenched in our society that many, if not most people sincerely believe that psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with “mental illness.” As long as the myth of mental illness continues to pervade the collective consciousness, there will be “voluntary” psychiatric “patients” (which is simply a euphemism for victims of abuse)

    Of course Lawrence is right about psychiatry’s invention of fake diseases. He is also right about the problem of ease and prosperity that makes people weak and complacent. He is even right that many people foolishly relinquish their liberties. But all of this takes for granted the nature of the therapeutic state. Lawrence is right that soft despotism or tyranny must be resisted as much as more blatant forms of despotism, but there is more to the history of psychiatry than he lets on.

    Is it foolish for people to trust in the authority of “medicine” and “doctors” and especially psychiatrists? Of course. Is psychiatry innocent of promoting and enlarging this foolishness? No.

    “Psychiatry feeds off people surrendering their free will and abdicating their personal responsibility; it’s time to starve it to death.”

    This is a partial truth. Psychiatry robs people of their liberty and responsibility in any way it can. The dragon of psychiatry may sometimes feed off of the sloth and ignorance of the masses, but it has no compunction against flying out in open, fiery fury against any victim that it can clutch in its loathsome claws.

    • Still hitting those nails squarely I see, DS. Looks like you have more time on your hands recently. Anyway, yeah, people are responsible for their decisions, nonetheless they can’t all be expected to be experts on the history and lies of psychiatry, hence in a position to make informed choices, especially when the “experts” are all pushing them in the same direction.

        • Steve – unfortunately, I was one of those defensive degreed idiots. When I finally questioned the authenticity of their conclusions with my and my loved one’s personal experiences with biomedical model, it was too late.

          What I have learned from those at MIA and others, only survivors, a select few professionals and even fewer loved ones, question what they don’t understand and what SOCIETY says is acceptable.

          The reason why this system is going to be hard to crack. . . too many with too much to lose. There are so many $$$/power interests in this field, breaking one part of the SYSTEM does little to break the others. Remember, every state and most countries have forced commitment laws. This laws have developed over centuries. The lawyers won’t let the SYSTEM break as they are fed by it, also.

  5. Well, pharmaceutical companies are spending billions trying to convince you that you needed to be medicated for something, that deep, deep down you’re seeking that Big Buzz that will make everything fine- or that you won’t care if nothing’s fine if you do cop that Big Buzz with their drugs.

  6. Another issue affecting the mental health of Americans is probably their bad gut health, which could be caused by poor diet and overuse of antibiotics. There is a lot of research being done right now on the gut microbiome which seems to indicate that gut health is very closely linked to brain and mental health. There is an article on this subject on this site under “Research News.”

    • A friend of mine in her 70’s had stomach pain, couldn’t eat and became so weak she couldn’t get out of bed.

      In the hospital a doctor she trusts told her she had a chemical imbalance in her brain and “antidepressants” would fix everything. She’s pretty frail but got out of bed. (Placebo effect? Being fed in the hospital?)

      It’s a safe bet she has gut issues, but her lazy, lying MD chose to put her on psych drugs instead. Creep!

      June believed him because she’s scrupulously honest and would never endanger someone for bucks.

      Why are most MDs monsters nowadays? They know the chemical imbalance is a myth so that makes them filthy liars when they spread it as gospel truth.

        • I agree.

          It’s interesting that doctors in general are seen as being well-educated and aware and up to date. I don’t think that a lot of them keep up with what’s going on. Perhaps this is because they accept too many patients so that they can make lots of money and people end up being herded through their offices like cattle. Many of my doctors and surgeons get put out with me because I ask questions about what they want to do to me and act as if I’m the one in the wrong. Their attitude is that you’re just supposed to comply with their wishes and you’re not supposed to raise a fuss of any kind. They’re not necessarily kind to people who do strive to take care of their own selves.

          Doctors don’t deserve the pedestal that society gives them and they’re not necessarily smart just because they’re doctors.

          • Very true Stephen! 100% agree with your last sentence. Some doctors have a “God-syndrome disorder” and will get very angry if you even ask a question. Just because they have a medical degree does not mean they have any ethics.

          • Knowledge puffs up. Love builds up.

            Doctors are no more loving than the rest of us.

            And the fact that they’re smarter and know more than the average person makes them that much more dangerous when they turn evil.

          • Doctors don’t know more than the average person. In fact, many doctors, if not most, know a great deal less than the average person because all of their time has been consumed by imbibing the propaganda of medical school and the pharmaceutical industry.

        • Steve, I believed in the chemical imbalance because I was taught that in “medication education” groups I was forced to attend in both inpatient and partial outpatient hospitalization programs. I was taught which of my medications were for which diagnoses, and that they “worked” by keeping my neurotransmitters in balance. I was also exposed to ridiculous fearmongering about the dire consequences that would happen if I went off my meds that treat my brain disease. It wasn’t just one doctor urging me to take my meds, it was literally codified into the treatment I was given with classes taught by social workers, all with little pharma branded gifts like brain shaped squeeze balls and pill boxes labeled with the names of brand name psychiatric medications.

          My experience has been that I have had to do all of the leg work to get my physical health needs met. It took me six years to get my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea. Instead of spending three years on ambien, I spent nine. I was first referred to for sleep testing in 2005, and was found to have moderate apnea. I then failed the titration test because they only had one kind of mask in the sleep center available to patients for titration studies. So despite being diagnosed with moderate apnea, with startling drops in oxygen levels during apneic episodes, I was woken in the middle of the night by the sleep center staff, told to go home because they couldn’t help me (I was taking the mask off in my sleep. To this day, I can’t use a full face mask, it feels like something is eating my face!)

          It took a lot of persistence ( two years worth) to get another referral to a different sleep clinic at another hospital, but that sleep study found my apnea was mild and Medicare wouldn’t cover treatment for it.

          Eventually, my psychotherapist, who has sleep apnea himself, sent me to a specific doctor at yet a third hospital’s sleep clinic. I got my sleep study, passed the titration study (they had a plethora of masks to choose from) and I haven’t taken an Ambien, well, in a couple of weeks it will be eight years of compliant nightly use, and eight years off ambien.

          Funny thing, I was still morbidly obese from the drugs when I first started cpap therapy, but after losing all the weight and still having apnea, my doctor admitted that I will always have apnea because I have a child sized throat and mouth as a result of a congenital defect shared by at least one of my sisters that we inherited from my father who also had sleep apnea and used a machine.

          People have this idea that sleep apnea is an issue that only effects overweight people which is why I was not referred for a sleep study until I met the accepted risk factors for apnea which include obesity. I was not obese (not even seriously overweight) before I was subjected to psychiatric medications.

          My point overall though is that at every step of the way, I have had to do the necessary work to get my physical ailments treated properly because doctors are so ready to dismiss patient complaints as psychosomatic and prescribe drugs that are both harmful and inappropriate treatment for the patients actual medical issues. For example, ambien is contraindicated in sleep apnea patients because it suppressed the CNS, which you really really need to be functioning properly if you stop breathing in your sleep!!

  7. Lawerence or Larry? My reaction is different because I lived in the edges of white suburban privilege. This is the population that fits your writing – other folks a whole and completely different story but INTERSECTIONALITY the threads are there sometimes hidden by life sometimes deliberately hidden with harm to ALL.
    Females- mother’s are targeted by Pharma the ads 60% female patients and oh so suburban. Literature – advertising from big and small medical clinics.
    When I had my non professional intervention in was two white suburban mothers. A friend had earlier said she had started taking so called medicine so the hole in the dike.
    Also females were beginning to see issues – you really can’t have it all and if you do there is a huge price despite what it looks like from the outside. Trauma and pill popping – Valium was called mother’s little helper.
    If you talk to old 12 steppers no drugs but they had so many using them and being given them from docs and rehab centers most just gave up and went on biting their tongue.
    Some locals have a plethora of12 step groups of all kinds and there were others groups for awhile but funding for groups took a big hit and trauma and its subsequent issues and again – the magic of chemistry- Little did we know it was all a con.
    There there is the pain issue and sports and sex abuse. I could go on.
    Meanwhile in the urban areas hard times even more so. Not one job but three. No work time always on call. More guns, more anger, more police doing really harmful stuff.
    And the politicians going on their merry way because well – good health right No on call surprises, job networking, book deals. A cafeteria and gym – Congress – not sure about state capitols.
    This is a mosaic of an octupos so I am thinking in some ways better not get angry at the person carrying ONE PIECE of this multi- dimensional Greek tragedy.
    And I know triggers. I know too well.
    Ah decorum. How your mother if she wasn’t too traumatized by life would want her adult child to act and if you didn’t have one a godmother or any elderly person one could respect.
    And yes too the holder of the mosaic piece needs to have that same since only more so. The acknowledgement that folks have been harmed and the ability to if not actually hold hands to do it verbal soul to soul – we instead of me sitting in the high elevation of slsohbet soup.
    Sorry sometimes I just can’t stay silent.

  8. The bad stuff that happens to people in the first few years of life doesn’t necessarily show up right away in how they behave or how they feel. They are able to go on as if nothing bad happened to them because that’s what society expects, or what their parents expect. It’s probably a survival trait, to give them time to survive on their own. Later on, as I know from my own experience, all that stuff comes up to be dealt with. It’s almost a complete surprise. My point is that the current increase in people trying to find anything which will help them cope with how they feel may not be entirely due to current circumstances, it may also be from past history.

  9. Hi Lawerence, I like your article because it gives food for thought but there are more reasons than you outline. Gut health: the influx of processed food has certainly increased incidents of depression, and pharma’s direct advertising telling us of their wonderful solutions has increased people seeking medication as mentioned in previous comments. But I also want to add that in our modern world we are exposed to advertising all the time and advertisers use sex and fear to sell their products. Also most governments around the world use fear as a means to rule and looking from the outside (as a New Zealander) it would appear that America is the world leader on this. As soon as the cold war was over global warming took its place. To build a wall to keep migrants out installs more fear, fear of those different from oneself.
    Humans have always compared themselves to others but in the past that was limited to the village or town we lived in. Now we can compare ourselves with anyone in the world. Also advertising plays on this too.
    I think Johann Hari’s book Lost connections outlines so well why modern society has an ever increasing rate of depression and anxiety. Here’s the link to his website https://thelostconnections.com/

      • But I also think that many of the people being exploited by the cancer industry believe that death must be averted at all costs so that they can go on existing indefinitely. There is a great fear of death, it’s probably the biggest fear that most people have. They can’t imagine not existing, even though they know that it’s unrealistic to expect to do so. There was a famous book written about this in the 70’s, the name of which I cannot recall at the moment. Ah…I got it….The Denial of Death. So the cancer industry knows this and plays up to peoples’ fears. And people go along with it. It’s a very complicated thing where both parties play at the game. As a Buddhist I struggle with this very thing at the moment. Just how far do you go to believe what they tell you about what they want to do to you? Where do you draw the line and say no more.

        This is not to deny that the cancer industry is everything that you expressed about it.

        • Mainly what I’ve been connecting up is how they focus on the tumor as the problem rather than dealing with whatever toxicity is causing the tumor. Not that it’s easy differentiating between the tens of thousands of possibilities, but maybe that’s where the science should be focused, rather than on attacking the immune system to eliminate the tumor, which is likely an immune response meant to protect the organism. It’s just that same “medical” pattern of attacking a symptom rather than the underlying problem.

          • Yes, Oldhead, in my case my immune system had done its job well and the tiny tumor had been encapsulated and halted for almost a year after I found it. It did not spread to lymph nodes or anywhere else and had not grown or changed at all in almost a year. But then wham, I’m told I need chemo, radiation, the whole nine yards – and it was all for nothing. There was never any threat to my life as my immune system had worked. But now my immune system has been destroyed by the very toxic and totally unnecessary treatments. This happened to others and I hope to get my story out as a warning to others not to be bullied and intimidated by the pressure tactics and fear-mongering.

  10. I don’t know how religion is doing where you live, but the churches that were full in the 1940’s are now empty. People used to pray to God before the holy molecules of science started working , like molecules of penicillin.

    Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic. Thomas Szasz
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/thomas_szasz_106710

    • The church I attend advocates for psychiatry. Tells us how “science has discovered that mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.” Have gone on record saying it’s cruel to tell people to trust Jesus when Prozac is needed to save them.

      It should be obvious even to non-religious types that it’s all a sell out. Helps the other members pass the buck and ignore the suffering. “Don’t talk to me. I’m not a licensed professional and might make you crazier.” Having the poor/awkward/unmarried get SMI labels makes a great excuse to give them the cootie treatment too.

      No more annoying people to spoil our country club atmosphere. Not enough green stuff to plunk in the offering plate. 😛

      Churches selling out to psychiatry are basically saying “Souls don’t exist. Or at least the mentally ill don’t have any. Jesus can’t save you if you’re mentally ill. You’re unredeemable or a nuisance (no real difference) so please stay at the county home where you belong and quit bothering us.”

      My dad used to bring a van load of people from a county home where people too brain damaged from shocks/drugs to care for themselves lived. People went to great lengths to stop him from bringing them. Did I mention the church was really pro-psychiatry? Compassion and psychiatry aren’t synonymous. But the latter makes a cheap and easy substitute for the former!

      I believe this passing the buck to psychiatry will kill a lot of churches. Why bother with attending when you can bypass the church and go straight to the MH Center for salvation? Can’t even mourn it since the church was already dead. A corpse with a lot of riger mortis. (Saddle Back.)

  11. Since Reagan, American society has moved towards the right and also towards utter and complete denial of society. I don’t think -all- of us here in America are so brainwashed, and the rise of New Deal Democrats posing as “Socialists” makes one hope that maybe, just maybe, things will tilt left or towards something less reactionary and vicious, but the point remains…

    in a society in which -all- problems are “personal problems,” and even family dynamics are willfully ignored by overapid “professionals,” -of course psychiatry will flourish- . I think it is also worth noting that while your clients/patients/distressed people who end up in your office may suffer from varying degrees of affluenza, 1 in 5 (roughly) Americans deal with –food insecurity– . Add to this…

    upward mobility is dead in America, the middle-middle class has been decimated, the working class has gone from being free spirited, anti-authoritarian, and a consistent source of muckraking and high quality intellectuals (pre-WWII) to being…

    punitive, authoritarian, over-worked, underpaid, and -angry-. False consciousness reigns supreme in The United States, and the psych “professions” are working overtime, doping up all strata of society and filling their heads with pseudoscientific, self-serving jibber jabber…

    much to the delight of…well, just about everyone. Doping up the distressed, the awkward, the under-performing, “uppity women,” and just about anybody else who so much as drives by the office or clinic…

    helps put a big, over-priced Band Aid on a broken society.

    I do think one should also take note of the crazy insane levels of anomie in modern US society. Lack of meaningful social interaction, guidance, community bonds, and family breakdown can all lead to a state of a normless self-focus that leads to despair. “Despair,” of course, is for losers, so many opt instead for “Depression” or perhaps “Bipolar II.”

  12. I’ve known people who wouldn’t touch a drop of alcohol, nor take a single toke from a reefer, but if the doctor gives them a drug prescription they gobble up pills like they were candy. We know we’re dealing with the same thing here. Doctors, supposedly people with people’s health in mind, encouraging what will inevitably lead to ill health. The news, too. It’s so full BS it’s not funny. Johnny’s alright so long as he takes his “meds”. Shame to hear about Elvis, Anna Nichol, Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, etc.

  13. While this blog has some good exposure of psychiatry and the omnipotent growth of the Medical Model, it suffers from the following mistaken themes:

    1) It tends to glorify the myth of the American Dream, by minimizing the amount of trauma and violence that exists in America. And yes, poverty is a form of violence. It is written from the perspective of a privileged white American who fails to grasp the class and racial oppression faced by minorities and poor working class people over the past several hundred years.

    2) It ignores the fact that over the last 4 decades Big Pharma (colluding with psychiatry) engineered, by far, the single largest public relations hoax the world has ever seen. Quite literally, hundreds of billions of dollars has been spent on a very clever and effective PR campaign that continues as we speak – prescriptions for all these mind altering drugs continues to go up every year.

    3) The pharmaceutical industry has become a major cog in the U.S. capitalist economy bringing in some of the highest rates of profit of any known industry. Psychiatric drugs have been a major part of this growth, especially over the last 3 decades.

    4) Psychiatry and the Medical Model has now evolved into a major and necessary form of social control, especially for the more volatile sections of society that could pose a future rebellious risk for the U.S. empire.

    5) SSRI antidepressants are NOT placebos. Yes, they have a placebo effect on some people, but they are also mind numbing drugs that cause many other physical and psychological problems because THEY ACTUALLY PERTURB THE SERTONERGIC SYSTEM IN THE BRAIN AND BODY. This can cause numerous physical and psychological dysfunction and stressors, including major withdrawal syndromes.

    6) Most people DO NOT know that benzodiazepine drugs are addictive. They have been indoctrinated by Big Pharma and psychiatry and then misled by doctors who prescribe them inappropriately.

    7) Dr. Kelmenson continues his theme of “blame the victim” when he makes statements like “Psychiatry feeds off people surrendering their free will and abdicating their personal responsibility…” Again, this statement ignores the overall effects of the world’s largest public relations hoax in human history, and the desperate nature of people who have experienced trauma and other forms of alienation in a commodity relations (and class based) dominated world.


    • While I agree with your critique, in the main, Richard, I also agree with most of the points Lawrence was making in his piece. Thumbs up on your points 2 thru 6, however, with point 1, given neo-liberal corporate capitalism, the American dream has receded further from the grasp of the average person than ever before in history. I’m not against what is referred to as the American dream. I am against the current process of making it unattainable for the vast majority of citizens. On point 7, I think Lawrence has the right idea. All parties should be held accountable, even those parties that have been victimized. “Chronicity” is often a matter of not abandoning, or attachment to, the “victim” role. If playing the “victim” is one survival strategy, getting over victimization, and getting on with one’s life, is another. “Victims” who don’t take responsibility for their own lives, ultimately collude with their oppressors. Surviving here is a matter of fighting back.

  14. Simple generic answer to the question you pose . . .TIME. Not enough hours in the day. No way to get it back once it’s gone, there just went 10 more seconds.

    Modern Society has forced us to cope with intended/planned societal selfishness. Those that don’t really take part, find themselves picking up the slack for those that do. Others are just caught in between. . . stress builds and NO TIME TO DECOMPRESS. So they turn to the pharmacy . . . or the liquor cabinet.

  15. Several authors have developed the concept that a species is adapted to a certain degree of destruction, scarcity and mortality. In periods of excessive abundance, the species enters the phase of self-destruction because it is not adapted to such a level of abundance.

    The most convincing experiment on this subject is the “Death Squared” of John B. Calhoun (1973), in which scientists offer all the necessary comfort to mice, in a small space. The mice multiply to the point of being too numerous to maintain their social structure: the juveniles are no longer raised correctly and the sexual behaviors eventually disappear, to the point of bringing the colony to extinction.

    The authors emphasize that the mouse experience is not directly transposable to humans: there are third world cities in which the human density is much higher than in the cities of the developed countries, and yet the social relations are pretty good. There is no direct link between population density and social breakdown. The central idea of ​​Calhoun is that an excess of resources leads to a destructuration of the relations of the species with its environment and with itself, that is to say an ecological and social imbalance, which can lead to death of the species. For Calhoun, a prolonged excess of resources is just as dangerous as a prolonged shortage.

    Some authors who developed this concept, each in their own way:

    Karl Marx: the development of the productive forces contradicts the relations of production, which leads either to a revolutionary transformation of the whole society, or to the destruction of the classes in struggle. Karl Marx observes that man can change his social structure, and therefore that there are several cycles of accumulation of the surplus. The communist society is supposed to rationalize production and thus to prevent the overproduction that leads to self-destruction and death.

    Thorstein Veblen: concept of sabotage and conspicuous consumption. Overproduction is such that social classes sabotage each other, by strikes and lockouts. Monopolies are formed for the conservation of privileges and the status quo in the most unefficient way: unions, universities, corporations, diplomas, agreements between the state and big business for profit maximization. More and more useless and harmful commodities and services are producted for the conspicuous consumption. The state is itself a vector of waste and monumental destruction.

    Sigmund Freud poses the concept of “death drive”.

    Georges Bataille: the ruling class, which can not prevent the development of the productive forces, spend them in sumptuary constructions (pyramids, catedrals) or destroye them in blood baths (World War II).

    The self-consumption of psychiatric drugs falls into the category of voluntary self-destruction of a relatively privileged population, which no longer has the means to develop its humanity as society is saturated with production and consumption. These people no longer find their place in society: like Calhoun’s mice, all the useful, useless and even harmful social functions are already occupied, so that the only solution left is self-destruction and self-limitation.

    Calhoun, J. B. (1973). Death squared: the explosive growth and demise of a mouse population.


    • Americans genuinely don’t know how risky going to a doctor or hospital or taking a medication can be. A Johns Hopkins Hospital study showed in 2016 that if medical error were accounted for on death certificates, that it would become the third leading cause of death, and that medical error accounts for a whopping 10% of all deaths in the US.


      Because we are propagandized from birth to obey authority first and think critically second, the vast majority of us do what our doctors tell us to until we learn not to. The following 2014 article from The Atlantic breaks down the problem with modern western medicine, for anyone interested:


      • Well, I am Russian and live in Russia. Our attitude to psychiatry are generally worse in comparison to usa, but young people are often readily accept “illness like any another” narrative. And behind this narrative is clearly a medical authority. When i tried to persuade someone of the myth of chemical imbalance, they simply told me: “My doctor told me about serotonin, that is evidence-based medicine. You are not a doctor, you are crank like AIDS denialist “.

      • Actually, it wasn’t “medical errors,” though it has been spun that way by the propaganda machine. It was actually MEDICAL CARE that measured out as the third leading cause of death in the USA. And the most common cause of death by medicine was not an “error,” but side effects of properly prescribed and properly administered “medication.” I think the attempt to spin this as “medical error” is an intentional PR effort to make it seem like “bad doctors” are the problem, rather than bad drugs and bad medical training.

        • I’m not sure I agree, Steve and I wonder if you have evidence beyond opinion to back this up. I have read a number of articles pushing back against the death due to medical error paper and found all of them based on opinion and lacking objective evidence.

          The first funeral I ever attended was for a dear friend of the family whom I’d known since I was born who was in the hospital with an illness he should have recovered from but due to a nurse’s unfortunate error he was given the wrong drug and died almost immediately.

          Another friend went to the hospital for knee surgery. She was told beforehand not to worry about marking the correct knee and that she shouldn’t write on her skin. Being in the medical field herself, she said screw that, wrote “wrong knee” on one leg and “right knee” on the one that was supposed to be operated on. She learned after the she woke up that she caused quite a ruckus in the O.R. because they were about to operate on the wrong knee and had to go double and triple check before they decided which knee was the correct knee to replace.

          Another acquaintance’s daughter was incorrectly dispensed a chemotherapy drug by a pharmacy when she was supposed to get Ritalin. My husband had tagged along with our friend and caught the mistake when he saw the name of the drug on the bottle and asked “since when has ‘A’ got cancer?”

          I have been given the wrong drug more than once. Pharmacies are run by techs while pharmacists, like other doctors, are bogged down with administrative tasks like payroll, time sheets, and maintaining electronic records.

          I do know what you mean saying that medical care in and of itself can be the issue even when the “appropriate” care is administered according to accepted guidelines. But I think it would be an error to not point out that medical mistakes are a major cause of death and injury. And it seems to me that the more complexity is introduced into the medical arena, the worse off patient outcomes seem to be.

          • I am NOT trying to minimize medical errors as a cause of death! I’m trying not to allow a reframing of this issue as one of “errors” in medical care when a huge proportion of the deaths come from “standard care.”

            “Estimates dating back nearly two decades put the number at 100,000 or more deaths annually, which includes a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 that projected 106,000 deaths. A more recent analysis estimates 128,000 Americans die each year as a result of taking medications as prescribed – or nearly five times the number of people killed by overdosing on prescription painkillers and heroin.”


            While medical errors in and of themselves are a HUGE problem, looking like something over 200,000 annually, I don’t want to minimize 128,000 deaths as “errors” when the doctors were simply following the standard protocols and dosages. Even a “good doctor” could kill you!

        • Two of my friends (at least) were killed by psychiatry. Not suicide because of the misery it created. Not malpractice. “Side effects” from standard care.

          Karen was 29 and died from a grand mal seizure caused by a neuroleptic her shrink refused to take her off. Donna was 49; doctors weren’t sure what to put on her death certificate. She was on half a dozen drugs; a bunch of her organs shut down at once.

          • Rachel777 – these “side-effects” from standard care have a legal definition. . . it’s called “involuntary intoxication.” Take medication(s) as prescribed and suffer the side-effects of those meds. All the psychiatric pharmaceuticals cause this state. Prolonged usage many times permanently alters bodily functions of the liver (body detoxifier) and the Central Nervous System.

            Much the way the FDA does not recognize withdrawal symptoms of psychiatric medications, they also do not readily recognize the side-effects when they pronounce.

  16. Another thing Dr. K doesn’t mention is the bizarre mindset in America that not being happy ALL THE TIME is shameful if not wicked. As if people need a medical excuse for not grinning like the Joker in Batman 24/7.

    Why is this? It’s very stupid.

    One example is Bella Depaulo’s impassioned argument that singles were every bit as happy as married people. A question we should ask both Dr. Depaulo and the folks conducting the survey she refuted is: who cares?


    Maybe we need to assert our right to unhappiness. 😉

  17. “Psychiatry feeds off people surrendering their free will and abdicating their personal responsibility”

    I believe it feeds off of people who are anxiously trying to resolve a social dysfunction which they have unwittingly and unkowningly internalized and psychiatry keeps them in that same loop from its own dysfunction, without resolving anything, until it snowballs out of control–one abuse repetition after another–keeping the client dependent for life. That’s the biz. Covert abusers will not allow resolution to happen, to keep people hooked. That is the essence of toxic co-dependence. Psychiatry, itself, is a textbook example of this.

    Had I known at age 21 what I now know about who I am, where I come from, and how that affected me mind/body/spirit, I am absolutely certain that I would have been able to resolve my issues within a relatively short period of time (maybe a year or so, to get it all straight and clear, a natural awakening, and make appropriate changes), instead of going through 20 years of neurotoxins. But who knows themselves that well at that age? Certainly I did not, and I was hoping with help this way, some insight from an objective person.

    The support could have come from anyone savvy enough to see the big picture, which I would have paid someone to do, gladly. I went to on campus counseling, then a therapist, then a psychiatrist. NO ONE COULD. Instead, I was seduced into the world of Dx and Rx, through the glass darkly. No reason for it, turns out in the end, other than to learn what I learned about the field, sadly. I hope we can learn from our mistakes, for the sake of future generations.

  18. Dr. Kelmenson, I do very much appreciate what you have presented with this blog because it has led to an important truth wanting to reveal itself around what actually is authentic and true vs. what is projection and stigma. If we can get into agreement with this piece of it, then perhaps we can have a go at working toward resolving these individual and social ills which we agree that psychiatry creates and propogates, however that path were to unfold.

    Have our voices made an impact on how you are perceiving this? Or are we just spitting into the wind. I believe this is always a question in these dialogues. The reason I rejected psychiatry and all of the mh industry is exactly because these institutions are tone deaf and out of touch with those whom they are supposed to be “serving.” Can we at least begin to remedy this perception here and now?

    • Great comment Alex, …..”important truth wanting to reveal itself around what actually is authentic and true vs. what is projection and stigma”.
      Exactly! Written like a scholar!
      “Projection and stigma” – that is what Dr. K’s message came off sounding like and had me wondering why Dr. K would post such a blog on MIA that only serves to make people feel more stigmatized.

      I’m glad to see Dr. K is open to discussion and listening to those who have been harmed while they were trying to be responsible and make improvements in their life – but got blindsided instead.

      • Thanks, Rosalee. Yes, I appreciate LK’s flexibility in thinking here, and I at least feel heard. This was productive, I think! It would be a big step forward if psychiatrists would own their projections, then they’d be able to see people more clearly, for who they are. Not sure the field can withstand that, though, it’s kind of a mind-bender, given how intertwined stigma and psychiatry are.

        I very much appreciate your voice and your support, we seem to be exactly on the same page with this.

  19. Lawrence,
    as I read this, I thought your message really resonated with me, of course, I already believe it and have put it into practice for the most part. Then as I read the majority of comments, it was a reminder to me of another, valid perspective. Perhaps the best I could suggest is: right message, wrong audience.

    • Sam, what message specifically are you resonating with here, that puts you in disagreement with the majority in the comment section? I’m so curious about this.

      And I’m not implying the marjority is always “right,” nothing of the kind, I don’t even believe that myself. Good for you for going against the grain, that takes courage and I respect it as your perspective. But still, I am sincerely curious about what message, specifically, you are referring to. Right message, wrong audience has a lot of implications, too, so clarity would be appreciated here. Thanks.

    • Actually, I’ll just come right out and challenge this, because I do disagree with it, and it’s got a charge to it that I would like to address.

      When you say, “right message, wrong audience,” I actually think that’s part of the issue here which gives a message of divisiveness. Are their two distinct audiences? And each one is comprised of whom?

      From my perspective, the audience is the world and all of humanity. How about a consistent message for all audiences. How would TRUTH ever only translate to a *select* audience? It’s acutally hard to wrap my mind around a right message being delivered to a “wrong audience.” You mean because we are in disagreement? Isn’t this about dialogue and learning from each other? Otherwise it is about divisive truths competing with each other. How will that ever create unity?

      Come to think of it, this can all be applied to the entire mh industrial complex culture. I remember this from grad school, divisive truths competing with each other. Those professors competed constantly and vehemently (“my modality is best; no *my* modality is best, no MY modality is THE ONLY ONE!!!”). No one would concede about ANYTHING! Idk, it’s interesting I think. No harmony there, though, that’s my point. How deep does this go?

      Plus one more thing here:

      Sam, when I read what you wrote, it brought to mind what I said above, and I want to point this out to Lawrence, because it has the potential to be a good example of what I said here:

      “I feel mainstream society would be more than happy to grab onto as a way to continue to stigmatize and marginalize people with diagnoses and who receive SSDI, plays right into it, and which serves to sabotage certain people because it is a demeaning and dehumanizing misreprentation of them.”

      I’m not at all saying that this was your intention, but when you imply that there is a “right audience” for this message, that is EXACTLY who I am talking about, that select audience that I fear and imagine would use this information negatively, when it is not accurate at all. But it’s good ammo for haters, I do know this. This is what I try to catch, so that we don’t feed prejudice in society at large, because that is what statements like this have a strong potential to do, and more than likely that is just what will happen.

      Wrong message to wrong audience can be very damaging to society, history has many examples of this, NAZI Germany comes to mind immediately.

      Still, I’d want to know what you meant, because it might clarify things from your perspective. But this is how your ambiguous yet powerful statement struck me, I have to say. I’m certainly open to rebuttal.

      • Alex,
        When Lawrence wrote this article it spoke to me as a coach might speak to his football players while giving them a pep talk before a big game. It spoke to that part of me that seeks an easy way out, that wants to find a short cut and reminds me that there is no gain without a willingness to endure some pain.

        I never suffered severe childhood trauma, and I never have had any of my rights taken away as an adult. And I’ve always been fortunate to have been in the middle class of America even if it’s not to the level in which I was raised. And so to me, Lawrence isn’t accusing me of anything: he’s sounding the alarm that we are suffering ‘first world’ issues because we’ve forgotten all the sacrifices that those who came before us made so we could live how we do in the 21st century.

        I really and truly do think I understand why the majority of the comments are the way they have been. I found your and KS’s comments especially powerful and moving, and it reminds me that there are others who have been thru even worse hell, in some ways, than my wife and I have been. I understand as much as I can, why you would see Lawrence’s words to be harmful and maybe even arrogant and definitely victim blaming and continuing harmful stereotypes.

        And so to address your second comment: whose truth is right? Whose life experiences get to dictate how Lawrence’s blog is received’? My son once wrote a paper to argue that there are ‘levels’ of truths, and not ALL truths necessarily apply across all peoples, times and situations. I think that might be applicable in this situation. I think, maybe, Lawrence could have addressed this blog to people who comfortably live in middle and upper class situations and try to wake them up from their desires to live ‘distress free.’ But when he addresses it to a website in which the majority of commenters are survivors of extreme trauma and/or the mental health system, his comments sound accusatory and victim blaming.

        Most of the time I don’t even look at Lawrence’s blogs. They usually don’t speak to me even though I know he’s fairly popular on this website. But this one spoke to me and MY life experiences, and yet I can accept why the majority on here found it otherwise.


        • Sam, that is an awesome reply, and thank you for spelling out your thoughts and feelings re this blog/comments. I feel I understand you better now, and I see where you are coming from here. I especially appreciated reading this–

          “I really and truly do think I understand why the majority of the comments are the way they have been.”

          From what you go on to say, I totally believe that, and to me that is what counts, that we understand each other, not that we have to agree, or that our perspectives have to be the same. Indeed, we have each had unique life experiences, and are unique individuals with unique circumstances. I am most happy that you understand from where I and others are coming, and why that would be. To me, that signifies that you can live by your truth, while having compassionate understanding for those with other experiences. That’s cool! Your son sounds wise, and I hear your wisdom here, too.

          Ok, so now I get what you meant by right message/wrong audience, and perhaps the words “right” and “wrong” are what misled me here. Perhaps the words “appropriate audience” would be more neutral.

          Still, I am glad this all came to light for discussion as it did. It has expanded my awareness a great deal, and in large part thanks to your sharing here. I appreciate that very much. Cheers!

      • No, Rachel, neither of us have taken an medications for any distress or anything else. I don’t know…maybe it was the way we were both raised, but I don’t think either of us have ever really considered doing so. At least I haven’t. Can’t really speak for my wife on that issue, though sometimes I do know she wishes she had sleeping meds…

  20. Just think about the logic of this argument for a moment: US has these problems, but Norway and Japan with a higher standard of living, do not? So many arguments are flawed. For example: After looking at only one source of “ease”, he declares “By process of elimination, this is the best way to answer the riddles I earlier posed.” Process of elimination involves looking at all other possible sources, so his conclusion would be the only possible one. But he doesn’t begin to look at all possible alternatives — only one or two. It has the trappings of logic, but the actual logical processes behind the words are absent. This happens with many of the arguments. I think if he’s going to make a stab at the logical argument route, he could be a little more careful making arguments logical. This logic wouldn’t stand up in a first-year college writing course. The problem is serious because things presented with logical trappings are often taken to be logical. Whether his argument is valid or not, it has not be proven by this article.

  21. People do not want to or cannot suffer their pain and lack the means and techniques to release that pain. They cannot cope. They take these pain suppressants sold as so called antidepressants. I am trying to slowly taper off one of these drugs. There is a collective effect when so many choose this option of drugging themselves. This can’t be proven but someone somewhere must take the burden of our denied pain and that may be in the form of violence and war, poverty or famine. People in those countries cannot afford the luxury of our painkillers. There is a solution http://www.caeayaron.com

  22. In case anyone might be interested…. a couple links on combating anxiety, depression and dementia WITHOUT Drugs.
    One is an e-book and the other a link to sign up for an upcoming free series of videos starting March 11, 2019 using dietary, nutrition and specific natural non-toxic protocols. (The term “disorder” for anxiety or depression has been used in places but if one gets past that there may be helpful information)



  23. Dr kelmenson,
    I think your question is philosophical.

    I think we are pretty young really, as a nation, many of those nations and countries are young.
    We are a bi-product of pioneering, there was much despair.
    People felt displaced.
    They bore children and left a legacy.
    People used to go to priests but most often they still felt grief.
    Psychiatry cashed in on legacy despair.
    I don’t believe people get rid of this legacy by “free will”. Why else do we have a brain except to learn signals? We learn them from all around ourselves.
    We go to doctors because they exist. Let’s not blame people for making the choice, but EVEN if we lay the blame on the consumer, what excuse does the system have for making poisons and call them drugs? Why did the system start advertising MI?
    They went for help, not harm. Tentatively most often.
    If then, on a first appointment a shrink said, I am going to give you a label that will hurt you everywhere you go, and drugs that poison you (along with some videos that show reactions)….do you think patients would keep going? If he said, I have nothing except a shoulder to cry on, I bet they would go.
    Perhaps if we told some people all the different ways of aiming for a better life, gave them resources and hands on help, and taught them how to try and tolerate distress?
    I think we have to face the fact that there IS distress, and due to various factors, family, societal legacies.
    And psychiatry is quite willing to invade every niche.
    It encourages the idea. In fact, it is first off the clients distress and the feeling something is wrong, but If a guy at a desk says, yes there is something wrong with you, that belief sinks much deeper.
    Akin to clergy telling you that you are a sinner.