“Influential psychiatrists last week called on the NHS to make a faux schizophrenia test available to patients and their families. The condition has never been demonstrated to be genetic, but it’s proving inconvenient to claim otherwise.” — Mental Health Today, March 25, 2019
The stereotype of a used car salesman depicts a person trying to get a naïve person of little means to purchase a heap of garbage through manipulative, dishonest, aggressive, and brash tactics. Everyone knows they’re being taken advantage of, but it becomes an accepted means to an end in a culture built on values of greed and consumerism. Used car salesmen, hated and reviled as they are, get away with their behaviors because they hold enormous power and wear tacky suits that exude authority.
What if people in an ostensibly trusted position were to don the metaphoric used car salesman coat?
On March 22, 2019, Professors Kam Bhui, David Curtis, and trainee Katherine Adlington published an article in the British Journal of Psychiatry, one of the most well-respected authorities on mental health policy and research, advocating the use of theoretical methods and policies based on findings that might one day emerge in order to convince patients and families to comply and agree with their perceived theories and best practices. In other words, they are promoting practices that would amount to lying in order to manipulate people to buy into what they, as psychiatrists, have to sell.
What is most astounding about the actions of these particular psychiatrists is the utter and complete lack of pretense. “We are so certain of our power and righteousness that we are going to tell you to your face that we are lying, and yet, we will still get our way.” In the same vein as the archetypal used car salesman, they dare the public to challenge their powerful hold on people in a less privileged position by not even pretending to be honest.
This brings to mind the storied fable of teaching a man to fish:
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed a man for a lifetime.
Tell a man that he is genetically incapable of feeding himself fish, and you get a lifetime of dependency to help pay for your lake house on a lake full of fish.
History of lies
The entirety of psychiatry’s history is built upon manipulation of evidence, assertion of truths that are anything but, and efforts to claim and hold onto power and control. Probably the most familiar campaign of lies is that pertaining to the “chemical imbalance theory.”
The theory of chemical imbalances is based on claims that experiences such as depression, anxiety, and even psychosis are a result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Conveniently, this theory first developed in the rigorous research labs of the Pfizer marketing department.
The idea that “antidepressants” had a specific effect on the brain, leading to identifiable and predictable improvements in mood and behavior, was certainly convenient to pharmaceutical companies. It didn’t matter that no one’s brain chemicals ever got tested for their level of balance, and that no standard base for what a balanced brain is existed.
This marketing campaign also provided a steady stream of consumers, willing or not, for psychiatrists. It supported their theories that emotional problems were the result of dysfunction in the brain, and legitimized their profession as a whole.
The problem, of course, is that the chemical imbalance theory isn’t true. That hasn’t stopped professionals from perpetuating the idea anyways.
In an article written by Philip Hickey for MIA in 2014, several eminent psychiatrists are quoted promoting theories of chemical imbalances, brain disease, and the curative nature of psychiatric drugs as fact, despite the lack of evidence for such claims. These “little white lies” were justified by Ronald Pies, MD* as acceptable practices.
While this decades-long manipulation has been increasingly rebuked as the public becomes more informed, it certainly is not the first (and clearly not the last) example of psychiatry’s attempt at social control through dishonest and aggressive tactics.
Emil Kraepelin may be considered the father of the medical model of emotional distress. He popularized the term “dementia praecox” in the early 20th century, as a description of what was being experienced by the mostly poor, minority individuals he was seeing in hospital.
His theory was that these individuals were suffering from an incurable brain disease, aka early dementia, that was genetic and biological in nature. Although he acknowledged at the time that it was not possible to delineate those with this brain disorder from those suffering from “hysteria,” and that no physical pathology could be identified, he nonetheless insisted on the truth of his conceptualization.
This assumption has lived on through the category of “schizophrenia,” despite the known racial biases inherent in this diagnosis, the lack of any specific biomarkers, and the ongoing difficulties of delineating this category from trauma and mood disorders.
Of course, the diagnostic system itself is an example of a set of theoretical assumptions being promoted as facts despite their being anything but. This system is based on a medical concept of categorizing emotional distress, originally considered “reactions” and now called “disorders,” into distinct clusters of emotions and behaviors. They are descriptive labels that have morphed into explanatory models and suggest that concrete entities exist in the brain and might one day be found.
While promoted by most mental health professionals as identifiable entities, they are only loose descriptions of behaviors that lack predictive value, are based on subjectivity, cultural values, biased observations, and general guesswork, lack any clinical usefulness, and are not warranted by scientific research.
Yet, the public continues to be inundated by the lie that “mental illness is an illness like any other” and that these “diseases” can be scientifically diagnosed and predictably treated by trained professionals. The public is being sold a rusted-out jalopy missing a transmission.
Instead of lying, why not look at the actual evidence?
Psychiatrists such as Bhui and Curtis justify their lies and manipulative tactics because they sincerely believe that they are right, and that it’s only a matter of time before they are proven so. This is the same reasoning behind terrorism, religious warfare, and the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
In this, they actively continue to ignore a much greater reality. To continue to rigidly insist that their perception is truth in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is itself delusion at its finest.
Around the same time Kraepelin was promulgating his theories of dementia-raddled brains, Sigmund Freud was developing his theories of psychoanalysis. Originally, Freud observed and wrote about how so many of his patients were suffering the results of childhood trauma and abuse. He recognized how people developed defenses to cope with overwhelming and confusing experiences, and how these defenses were at the root of many of the problems with which people were presenting.
Sadly, this wasn’t so popular among the elite and powerful. Freud shifted his focus to more acceptable ideas, like accusing women of making up sexual assault or, worse, wanting it. This was perhaps best exemplified in Freud’s story of Dora, a 14-year-old girl who saw him and complained of sexual advances from an adult family friend. Rather than validate this girl’s trauma, he instead proclaimed her accusations to be projections of her own sexual fantasies and symptoms of hysteria. His reaction to her vehement disagreement was to further blame her for being disagreeable, declaring her “incurable.”
Nothing has changed.
Despite the ever-increasing evidence that childhood trauma, sexual abuse, racism, poverty, and other adversities are nearly universal in “serious mental illness,” individuals continue to be blamed, ignored, gaslit, and proclaimed sick and incurable.
For instance, 80-90% of individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder report overt childhood trauma. Developmental trauma is a major risk factor for diagnoses of ADHD and bipolar disorders. PTSD and psychotic disorders highly overlap, with numbing and avoidance factors being closely associated with psychotic experience. Psychosis is commonly diagnosed in economically deprived areas, minorities and immigrants, and those who’ve experienced childhood abuse and bullying, with an apparent dose-response, causal relationship.
Meanwhile, all the public hears about is faulty genes, glitchy brains, and the need for drugs, more drugs, and even more drugs.
Those who dare to question the heap of trash being fed to them get dismissed through accusations of “anosognosia” — a fancy term that basically means “you don’t agree with me, so I think you’re crazy” — or of being “antipsychiatry,” a term that gets equated with the likes of flat-earthers.
The ways in which adversity and other environmental harms get ignored in favor of the mental gymnastics necessary to promote theories of genetic inferiority are no more pronounced than in the category of schizophrenia. It was only three years ago that researchers were flooding the media with claims that the “black box” of schizophrenia and its biological origins had been discovered.
It boggles the mind that three years ago the genetic basis for schizophrenia had finally been found, and yet in 2019 psychiatrists are outwardly suggesting the need to create public policy built on overt lies because they lack evidence to actually back up their claims.
You might want to check beneath the hood of that absurdly cheap BMW being sold to you at cost. It just may be that beneath the surface, it’s actually a 1979 Pinto with an Oldsmobile diesel engine. And, if you dare to drive it, you might find it leads you right off a cliff.
Never hesitate to question authority.
* Editor’s note: Dr. Pies has requested clarification regarding his take on the “chemical imbalance theory” and his use of the term “little white lie.” Dr. Pies offered a link to an article published in The Behavior Therapist, which he states provides a full discussion of the issue at hand. As the statement in question was referencing an article written by Philip Hickey for MIA in 2014, readers may be interested in reading Hickey’s response to Pies’ concern here.
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.
A psychiatric diagnosis can be compared to a caterpillar-shaped inflorescence of a tree.
There are really sick people, but they are very few (like real caterpillars that eat leaves).
There are insects that pollinate a tree, these are psychiatric workers.
And there is a bird that can eat a caterpillar – it’s an ambulance team and death in hospital.
And if you continue this analogy then there is a mystery – how psychiatry knows real and accurate symptoms of diseases.
Very well put!
You would have to explain what a “caterpillar-shaped inflorescence of a tree” means.
I believe it’s a caterpillar shaped hole.
Inflorescence that looks like caterpillar
Sorry for my English
Okay. I looked up the word “infloresence.” It means the entire head of a flower. A flower shaped like a caterpillar.
Ok. In my experience, psychiatrists aren’t too concerned about “mis-diagnosing”.
No they are not.
Most shrinks realize “bipolar 2” cases brought on by SSRI/SNRI reactions would go away if they just let you go off the poison and recover. But that would be pill shaming.
So they exact revenge on you for daring to have a reaction to the “meds” which can do no wrong and they have gone on record calling “safer than aspirin.”
My sister is allergic to penicillin but no doctor spread nasty rumors about her and forced her to take a “cocktail” of benadryl, advil, and double the original amount of penicillin till she died. Yet that’s exactly how psychiatry works.
Praise the pills by blaming the vic–uh–patient. 😛
The answer to the mystery?
They can’t know. So…to be safe..they assume all visitors are diseased, the drugs help (though they say they don’t know WHY) and the physical disease actually exists in the brain. Since–they assume–minds do not.
“Schizophrenia” can be created through the consumption of Psychiatric drugs; and the only people that I’ve ever heard of recovering from “Schizophrenia”, are those that have recovered as a result of rejecting the Psychiatric drug approach.
Those who can recover from the treatment of the sick culture must have a basic self respect in them that the culture couldn’t remove. This is something we should study.
Absolutely correct, Fiachra. From a more medical perspective, the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia” can be created via antipsychotic / “neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.” And the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia” can be created via antipsychotic / neuroleptic, not to mention antidepressant, induced “anticholinergic toxidrome.” Meaning “schizophrenia” is largely an iatrogenic illness, created with the so called “gold standard schizophrenia treatments,” not a “genetic” illness.
Just like “bipolar” is an iatrogenic illness created with the antidepressants and/or ADHD drugs, as Robert Whitaker so poignantly pointed out.
But since neither of the above mentioned, medically known psychiatric drug induced syndrome/toxidrome are listed in the DSM. Well, out of sight, out of the minds of all our billing code “bible,” DSM obsessed “mental health” workers.
As to “Nothing has changed.” I agree, Noel, and thanks for your blog. Both sides of our “mental health” industry, the psychologists and psychiatrists, are primarily child rape cover uppers and profiteers. Our “mental health” industries have been primarily child rape covering up industries for over a century.
Part of why this is the case today is because NO “mental health” worker may EVER bill ANY insurance company for EVER helping ANY child abuse survivor EVER. Without first misdiagnosing ALL child abuse survivors with one of the scientifically “invalid” DSM disorders.
An ethical pastor confessed this to me to be “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” way back in 2011. But I did have to do the research to find this to be the truth of this systemic betrayal of our society by our “mental health professionals.”
A systemic betrayal of our society, which has unfortunately, but not understandably, resulted in the pedophiles and child sex traffickers controlling all of western civilization, according to our current world leaders.
And I’ll say as the mother of a child who was abuse outside my home, according to medical evidence that was eventually handed over. Who was proactively and unjustly defamed with one of the theorized “you have bad genetics” DSM disorders, who was not given any “genetic” testing, which is available today.
And as one with both a father and an abused child who largely healed (because I kept my child away from our insane “mental health professionals”), who both graduated university Phi Beta Kappa (which puts those individuals in the top 1% in intellect in this country, theoretically). And as one who personally got in the top 99.95% on my math SATs, and who also only missed one on the last IQ test I was given by an employer, even after the anticholinergic poisonings. And as a person with multiple Olympic athletes in my family.
I’m quite certain it’s highly inappropriate for our “mental health” workers to be defaming people with their make believe “life long incurable, genetic mental illnesses” when there is less than zero proof any of the DSM disorders even exists. And us independent psychopharmacology researchers have already medically proven that the psychiatric drugs create the symptoms of the “most serious DSM disorders.”
Change the staggering fraud within your industry, Noel. But, unfortunately, there will be no business for the fraud based “mental health professionals,” if your industries get out of the child rape covering up business, given the current medical literature.
But that doesn’t mean our, primarily child rape covering up, “mental health” industries shouldn’t be taken down. We need the police to start arresting the child abusers, because if they don’t, the pedophiles will destroy humanity. Think about it, as the intelligent mother of an abused child, I know they will. A society cannot survive, if it attacks it’s own children, which is what the pedophiles and their child rape covering up “mental health” workers are doing.
“….Black patients are up to 17 times more likely to receive a diagnosis (of “Schizophrenia”) than white patients…” and once the misdiagnosed enter the system they become “Schizophrenic”.
I’ve said all the above before (about racial misdiagnosing) – but it’s agreed with in this article.
I was chemically trapped in “schizophrenia”, and I can substantiate (with evidence) that I recovered as a result of stopping treatment (and “compensating” psychotherapy).
Yes, I know about the mass drugging of the black people. I see it too, I volunteer with a church which is working to help underprivileged children. I’ve been recommending Whitaker’s books and even sending youtube videos with black psychologists speaking out against this mass psychiatric drugging of the blacks to the leaders of the group with whom I volunteer.
It breaks my heart to see all the blacks who are suffering from severe dyskinesia when I go to their church. And I know the psychiatrists are not honestly confessing to their iatrogenic harm of these individuals. There was even one lady from that church who was so insanely over drugged that all she could do was scribble in a notepad, I don’t think she could even speak. It just breaks my heart.
A social worker I spoke with just yesterday even said she goes to black neighborhoods, and entire neighborhoods of black children are drugged. She said she thought she might go talk to her alma mater about this problem. I said please do!
What this Article claims is that the original “problems” are transitory.
SOMEONE ELSE – Keep sharing!
“the theorized “you have bad genetics” DSM disorders, who was not given any “genetic” testing, which is available today”
– Be very careful when mentioning the easily accessible/inexpensive genetic testing available today. What you are referring to are the “General Medical Conditions” that are supposed to be RULED OUT before making a Psychiatric “diagnosis.”
Many of those genetically verifiable medical conditions were co-opted under new names in the DSV V. This was to allow them to change the GMC Rule Out Protocol.
Nonetheless, those medical conditions, in addition to Trauma-Experienced/Caused Anxiety and say, the medical condition(s) of sleep deprivation, can result in psychosis, mania and paranoia. Then you could add the “Substance Use” (psychiatric pharma) and “general medical conditions” which were to be RULED OUT before “Substantiating” a Psychiatric “Diagnosis”. . .
I have never seen the RULE OUT Protocol practiced in my loved one’s “SUBSTANTIATED PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS.” Quite to the contrary, there has only been a “PERPETUATED PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS.”
Dr. Hunter – Thank you for your book! After I purchased it and read it, I have been sharing with those “in the field.” Those “professionals” have started to question what they have been taught all these years and taken a different approach to their patients’ care. Too much sense was made in your book for it not to be taken seriously.
Great title Noel! Almost makes the article superfluous. (Just kidding.) 🙂
I don’t think we know very much
about mental suffering….and how
to help people…we talk a lot…
Mainstream psychiatrists claim to have the answers though.
But all the tools in their tool box end up being hammers so they flail away.
No #hammershaming please.
As for Freud I read his books as a child and I had the feeling that i was reading something that isn’t true. It feels that they was written in a state of cocaine intoxication.
The same goes for Kraepelin, rejection of the single psychosis theory was a big mistake, and people still pay a big price for this.
I also wanted to draw attention to the picture of Emil Kraepelin which he did in 1986. He portrayed himself as an angel on fire and signed “European psychiatrists – protect your sacred diagnosis!” This is weird.. Its kinda funny, what is strange in this story is that people in psychosis usually represent themselves as an angels on fire, but they don’t make any drawings, it would be too arrogant. So it can be assumed that this drawing was ironic, or he heard similar stories from his patients and decided to take over the initiative. This could mean that he was afraid and did not understand the nature of the psychosis, but as a cunning schoolboy decided to steal the idea, since the best defence is offence.
In this Article Dr David Healy suggests “Schizophrenia” is “disappearing”, but “problems” still continue, and recovery is available with careful treatment.
I know I wouldn’t have “recovered” without suitable “Psychotherapy” (/”mindfulness”).
In my country, psychotherapy is when a nurse offers to do physical exercises. As for the treatment – doctors are afraid to really make a person take antipsychotics, if he doesn’t want to, even in the hospital (unless it is an acute psychosis), because if they do so, they can be injured.
Do you have intimate knowledge of what “cocaine intoxication” feels like? And you came to that conclusion already as a child?
No, as a child i didn’t find sense
Freud was known for abusing cocaine.
MH is a place where an expert can say anything!
Does anyone actually read MH?
I bet if it reached a general audience the shrinks would censor articles like the one Noel cites.
Excellent summary Dr. Hunter, and thanks for continuing to address with such candor and integrity the ongoing insanity and dishonesty of psychiatry.
“To continue to rigidly insist that their perception is truth in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is itself delusion at its finest”.
Omg! So true!
I have ear-marked so very many of your profound points in your excellent book Trauma and Madness in Mental Health Services. Please keep writing!
“YOU ARE A USED CAR SALESMAN”…..Shouts Demi Moore at Tom Cruise in the film,A FEW GOOD MEN.