No matter how clearly the scientific case is made that psychiatry is a pseudoscientific institution meriting no scientific authority, do you have that sinking feeling that psychiatry will continue to retain power and even grow in influence?
It doesn’t seem to matter that psychiatry’s “chemical imbalance theory of mental illness”—the major reason why people in mass began using psychiatric drugs—has long been discarded by science and is now being fled from even by members of the psychiatry establishment, notably Ronald Pies, editor-in-chief emeritus of the Psychiatric Times. Pies stated in 2011, “In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance’ notion was always a kind of urban legend—never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists”; and in 2019, Pies called the “chemical imbalance theory” a “myth.”
It doesn’t seem to matter that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2013 finally tossed the DSM—psychiatry’s diagnostic system—into the waste basket. Former NIMH director Thomas Insel stated that the DSM’s diagnostic categories lack validity, and he announced that “NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.”
It hasn’t mattered that numerous studies have found that so-called “antipsychotics”—especially in the long-term—are essentially pro-psychotics; and that so-called “antidepressants”—especially in the long-term—are essentially pro-depressants (see most recent study example of “Risk of Depressive Relapse Three Times Higher After Previous Antidepressant Use”).
So, why is the truth of psychiatry’s consistent record of getting it wrong and doing damage not setting society free to toss psychiatry on the garbage heap of history? There are obvious reasons having to do with the power of money and propaganda (Reasons 1 through 5); but there are darker reasons having to do with psychiatry’s political and societal role (Reasons 6 through 8); and perhaps the darkest reasons of all have to do with how psychiatry provides license to violate taboos and to exploit human desperations and vulnerabilities (Reasons 9 and 10).
1. Big Pharma Financial Power
This falls into the category of “Everybody Knows” in the sense of singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. Damn near everybody knows that Big Pharma makes big money from psychiatric drugs, and that Big Pharma keeps this gravy train flowing by throwing cash at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), “thought-leader” psychiatrists, university psychiatry departments, psychiatry continuing education, psychiatry journals, and the mass media. This truth has been mainstream since 2004, following The Truth About the Drug Companies, published by Random House and authored by former editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine Marcia Angell, who includes chapters with titles such as “The Hard Sell . . . Lures, Bribes, and Kickbacks” and “Marketing Masquerading as Education.” As the song goes, “Everybody knows, that’s how it goes.”
2. Psychiatry Guild Influence
Everybody should know that institutions are going to fight for their survival and growth, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the guild of psychiatry, is no different than most other major institutions. Psychiatrists pay their dues to APA to promote the authority of psychiatry and its theories so psychiatrists can make money. Long after science had disproven the “chemical imbalance theory of mental illness,” APA presidents continued to publicly declare it as truth (e.g., in 2001, APA president Richard Harding, writing for the general public in Family Circle, stated: “We now know that mental illnesses—such as depression or schizophrenia—are not ‘moral weaknesses’ or ‘imagined’ but real diseases caused by abnormalities of brain structure and imbalances of chemicals in the brain”). While it is not surprising that a guild institution would act in the manner that the APA does, what enables its effectiveness is that (1) it is backed by Big Pharma money, and (2) its pseudoscientific proclamations are uncritically reported by the mainstream media.
3. Mainstream Media Failure
Most of the general public does not know that the “chemical imbalance theory” is untrue—or as Pies put it, “urban legend”/”myth”—because, with rare exceptions (such as a 2012 restrained NPR story), they don’t hear about this from the mainstream media, which also rarely reports on long-term studies that have found psychiatric drugs increase the risk of chronic impairment. In my 2019 Truthout interview of Robert Whitaker, “Why the Mainstream Media Has Failed to Tell Truths About Psychiatry,” he notes this obvious reason for the mainstream media’s failure: Big Pharma money for media advertising inhibits critical coverage of psychiatry and psychiatric drugs; but he also points out that this is not the only reason for the media’s failure.
Whitaker notes: “In the early 1980s, the APA launched an effort to sell its DSM III ‘disease model’ to the public, and that meant telling its story through the media. It held media days, and gave out awards to reporters who best echoed the story that the APA wanted told, and so soon the public was learning that psychiatric researchers were making great advances in identifying the biological causes of major mental disorders.” Whitaker also points out that psychiatry/Big Pharma effectively convinced the media that the only critic of psychiatry is Scientology and, as Whitaker notes, “From the media’s perspective, you had academic psychiatrists on one side and cultists on the other, and who was the media going to believe? And going forward, this was a strategy that was bound to intimidate reporters, for their careers could be at risk if they were seen as lending credence to Scientologists. The Scientology card was psychiatry’s ace in the hole; it helped still media criticism for decades.” Another reason for the media’s failure is that the huge expansion of psychiatric drug use touched the media on a personal level and subverted their objectivity; Whitaker notes, “At any newspaper or magazine or publishing house of any size, there would be editors or reporters who were taking a psychiatric drug, or members of their family who were. That regularly made them personally invested in psychiatry’s narrative of progress, and resistant to criticisms of the drugs.”
4. Power of the Big Lie
Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany, infamously stated: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Big lies told by government leaders provide rationales for wars; and falsehoods told by institutions meet their needs for growth and profits. If these lies are heard often enough, they are believed, even after being disproven and retracted. In 2003, the Bush administration told Americans that the United States must invade Iraq because of proof that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction”; such WMDs were never found, but since this initial claim was so loudly trumpeted and retractions so quietly whispered, many Americans continue to falsely believe that WMDS were discovered in Iraq; a 2015 poll reported that 42 percent of all Americans (51 percent of Republicans) continue to believe in the WMD rationale for invading Iraq. Similarly, a 2006 survey revealed that 80 percent of Americans believed that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance (87 percent believed so for schizophrenia). Despite the “chemical imbalance theory of mental illness” having been scientifically rejected by the 1990s—and now discarded even by the psychiatry establishment—because this theory was so loudly trumpeted and retractions so quietly whispered, not only do much of the general public continue to believe it, so too do many doctors.
5. Attachment to the “Bamboozle”
Astronomer Carl Sagan, a fierce advocate of scientific skeptical inquiry, noted: “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: if we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” When one combines this pain (of acknowledging that one has been bamboozled) with the mainstream media’s failure to report scientific truths, and add to this the power of placebos making anything at times appear to be effective, it makes it difficult for those captured to self-liberate; and thus, it is actually remarkable that so many Americans still don’t trust psychiatry or psychiatrists. A 2012 Gallup Poll on standards of honesty and ethics in various professions reported that only 41 percent of Americans felt that psychiatrists had “high” or “very high” standards of honesty and ethics (as compared to “high” or “very high” opinions of 52 percent for clergy, 70 percent for other medical doctors, and 85 percent for nurses). Given the onslaught of pro-psychiatry propaganda, the fact that the majority of Americans have a low opinion of psychiatrists stems perhaps from their personal experience with psychiatrists—their own, their family, or their friends’ direct experience with them.
6. Meeting the Needs of the Ruling Power Structure
Psychiatry has historically been supported by the ruling power structure in return for meeting the power structure’s need to maintain the societal hierarchy and political status quo. Most recently, many political leaders have sought to blame “mental illness” for mass shootings and have pushed for “mental illness screenings” and “treatments” rather than dealing with underlying societal causes. Psychiatry maintains the societal status quo by its attributions that emotional suffering is caused by defects in individual biochemistry and genetics rather than by trauma and societal defects created by the ruling elite. Psychiatry covers up the reality that the root of much of what is commonly labeled as “mental illness” is a dehumanizing society—one orchestrated to meet only the needs of the wealthy and powerful and not designed to meet the needs of everybody else for autonomy, meaningfulness, and genuine community.
This can be seen in psychiatry’s (and other mental health professionals’) explanations for high rates of suicide among indigenous peoples, detailed by psychologist Roland Chrisjohn and Shaunessy McKay in Dying to Please You: “Existing explanations blame the victim, finding that they suffer from personal adjustment problems or emotional deficiencies like ‘low self-esteem’ and ‘depression.’ None of the existing explanations alleviate the situation by acting or suggesting action against the forces of oppression; they don’t even recognize them.” As I detail in Commonsense Rebellion, there are many examples of leading psychiatrists attempting to curry favor with the ruling power structure, including the infamous MKUltra, the CIA program of experiments on human subjects in which leading psychiatrists used drugs and torturous procedures to assist the CIA’s efforts at mind control.
7. Psychiatric Diagnoses as Weaponry to Marginalize Dissent
As attorney and journalist Glenn Greenwald observed: “For guardians of the status quo, there is nothing genuinely or fundamentally wrong with the prevailing order and its dominant institutions, which are viewed as just. Therefore, anyone claiming otherwise—especially someone sufficiently motivated by that belief to take radical action—must, by definition, be emotionally unstable and psychologically disabled. Put another way, there are, broadly speaking, two choices: obedience to institutional authority or radical dissent from it. . . . Radical dissent is evidence, even proof, of a severe personality disorder.” The use of psychiatric diagnoses to discredit, dismiss, and marginalize those challenging and resisting societal authorities is common, utilized by many societies in recent history. Such marginalization routinely occurs in families, and it is also used by the media to marginalize well-known dissenters.
One recent example is Edward Snowden who, in 2013, leaked to the press information that revealed mass warrantless surveillance on U.S. citizens. To discredit and marginalize Snowden, Greenwald describes how the mass media psychopathologized Snowden: CBS News host Bob Schieffer called Snowden a “narcissistic young man”; The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin also diagnosed Snowden as “a grandiose narcissist,” and the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen joined the choir, asserting that Snowden “is merely narcissistic.”
Another example is detailed by Jonathan Metzl in The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease (2010), which describes the systemic racism that labels “threats to authority as mental illness,” and how this process increases the likelihood that black men will get diagnosed with schizophrenia. In Resisting Illegitimate Authority, I offer several other examples of how psychiatric diagnoses are used to marginalize dissent of the famous and non-famous.
8. Extra-Legal Police Function
Psychiatry meets the control needs of not only the ruling power structure, schools, and other institutions but also the control needs of families. A major reason that pseudoscientific psychiatry continues is that it can be legally used to control people who have done nothing illegal but who create tension for authorities (e.g., children not paying attention to boring teachers; teenagers mocking their hypocritical parents; adults so alienated from society that they stop participating in it).
David Cohen, professor of social welfare, wrote: “This coercive function is what society and most people actually appreciate most about psychiatry.” In his 2014 article, “It’s the Coercion, Stupid!” Cohen explains how the societal need for psychiatry’s “extra-legal police function” compels society to be blind to psychiatry’s complete lack of scientific validity: “Because of psychiatric coercion, society gives psychiatric theories a free pass. These theories never need to pass any rigorously devised tests (as we expect other important scientific theories to pass), they only need to be asserted.”
9. License for Punishment, Revenge, and Assault
Even for those who continue to buy into their psychiatric diagnoses, psychiatric treatment can feel like punishment. This is apparent in the series “Living Well with Schizophrenia” in which Lauren, an attractive young woman who self-identifies as having “schizoaffective disorder,” compares her psychiatric hospitalization to what she imagines “jail might be like.” In in her video “What a Psychiatric Hospital is Like,” Lauren reports that after being placed in isolation, “I was stripped naked of all my clothes and I was pinned to the ground by six hospital staff.” She notes how this and other such dehumanizations “fed my opinion of always wanting to get out as early as I could.”
Beyond psychiatric “treatment” being so miserable that it can serve as a deterrent, it can also be used for revenge. One of the darker aspects of human nature is the capacity for a perverse pleasure through revenge; this includes getting back at people who have created unpleasant tensions by their altered states or suicidality. Of course, it is taboo to admit this desire for revenge; and it is even more taboo to admit that such revenge can be tinged with perverse pleasure and sadism; and it is shameful to admit that society allows for legalized assault. But if you doubt all this can occur, I’d suggest you watch Lauren telling how “I was stripped naked of all my clothes and I was pinned to the ground by six hospital staff.”
Tellingly, even though Lauren has embraced her schizoaffective diagnosis, YouTube has recently demonetized her videos which have been flagged for not being “advertiser friendly.” This penalty is likely due to Lauren’s lack of sufficient enthusiasm for her own psychiatric hospitalization, electroshock (ECT), and psychiatric drugs, which likely flags her videos as “controversial”—even though she repeatedly states that other people have positive experiences with these procedures. Thus, even though Lauren embraces her schizoaffective diagnosis and does not condemn any psychiatric treatment, because she is not totally compliant with psychiatry’s dogma, she is being punished via her videos being demonetized. In contrast, not being flagged for being “controversial” and not being demonetized by YouTube are videos that promote the biochemical brain imbalance theory of mental illness (YouTube is a subsidiary of Google, part of the ruling power structure).
10. The Empty Promise of Compassion and Love
Human beings want compassion and love, which is often difficult to find in a contemporary Western society which prioritizes efficiency and productivity. And people who are extremely depressed, anxious, alienated, and dissociating often find it even more difficult to receive genuine compassion and love because they behave in tension-producing manners, throwing “monkey wrenches” in family/school/workplace assembly lines. And so, tragically, this group who needs compassion and love the most because it is crucial to healing, receives the least. This results in such people being highly vulnerable to empty promises of how they may get compassion and love.
The false promise of psychiatry and its apologists is that if one accepts one’s psychiatric illness and the idea of biochemical causality, one can gain compassion and love from “enlightened members of society.” The false promise is that compassion and love will be gained with “medicalization parity”; e.g., if society is compelled to say, “People with delusions and hallucinations have the biochemical-genetic illness of schizophrenia, and they deserve the same compassion as anyone with a medical illness.” However, in reality this biochemical/medical parity stigmatizes even more.
The Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF), in “Myth: Reframing Mental Illness as a ‘Brain Disease’ Reduces Stigma,” reported in 2012: “Evidence actually shows that anti-stigma campaigns emphasizing the biological nature of mental illness have not been effective, and have often made the problem worse.” One example is a 2010 study in Psychiatry Research that reported that for the general public, the acceptance of the “biogenetic model of mental illness” was associated with a desire for a greater social distance from the mentally ill. The CHSRF review states: “The evidence shows us that while the public may assign less blame to individuals for their biologically-determined mental illness, the very idea that their actions may be beyond their conscious control can create fear of their unpredictability and thus the perception that those with mental illnesses are dangerous. . . . leading to avoidance.”
Attempting to exact compassion and love through compelling the belief in “mental illness as biochemical medical illnesses” has not only failed but has created more stigmatization. Furthermore, coerced compassion from “enlightened members of society” routinely results in fake compassion, and such incongruent reactions can be “crazy making” for those experiencing it. Yet, people are so desperate for compassion and love, they cling to empty promises.
Because of the above 10 reasons, no matter how clearly the scientific case is made that psychiatry is a pseudoscientific institution meriting no scientific authority, psychiatry will continue to retain power. When we recognize that scientific truths alone are not setting society free, we begin to shift our energy to strategies that take into consideration the above reasons.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
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PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS CAUSE MENTAL ILLNESS AND I CAN SUBSTANTIATE THIS FROM MY OWN RECORDS:-
I think EVERYBODY knows somebody who was more or less okay, until they started taking psychiatric drugs (usually antidepressants), and went from there to being diagnosed more seriously; eventually becoming long term disabled and pathetically Psychiatric.
I “declined” “medication” on my introduction to Psychiatry in 1980. But when I was given permission to come off ALL “medication” in 1983, I quickly ended up in hospital and back on “medication”again.
In early 1984 I was back in hospital again following a suicide attempt.
Later on in 1984 I was suicidal and back in hospital again following an introduction of an alternative “medication”. The Prognosis on the Discharge Summary of this Hospitalisation stated that I would be back in hospital again before long. But I wasn’t.
THE PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS WERE THE PROBLEM
After 1984 I went on weaker oral “medication” and successfully tapered. Coming off strong “medication” meant that I became fit for work, and I returned to gainful employment.
I did develop a problematic HIGH ANXIETY condition as a result of coming off strong neuroleptics. But I was able to recognise the “CATASTROPHISATION” attached to the condition, and to build effective protection around this.
Many years later I wrote to the Registrar who had typed up the Discharge Summary to my last Hospitalization, and he wrote back: that they had been wrong, that I had been misdiagnosed, and that I could have been ‘condemned to disaster’.
The Diagnosis had been SCHIZOPHRENIA ; CHRONIC SCHIZOPHRENIA; ‘SCHIZOAFFECTIVE DISORDER’
“But if you don’t take the psychiatric drugs you will be-come mentally ill ” they say.The Paradox power of psychiatry , my icon of one hand drawing the other (M.C. Escher). The only person who can leave the equation is the “patient”. The physical drug addiction AND society belief in magical psychiatric drugs makes it extremely difficult.
Its extremely difficult to come off them!
I like it Bruce, a very helpful list.
I must say I prefer Concrete Blondes version of Everybody Knows but …..
Speaking of the Scientologists I can not thank them enough for the work they did in my State where the new Mental Health Bill tried to give some powers to psychiatrist that seemed to me (and others) to be open to abuse. Children consenting to ECT and forced sterilization without parental consent.
Good that much of it had to be put on the backburner or find loopholes. Very little said regarding the possible abuses came from the human rights lawyers who are basically reliant on State government funding and will throw their clients under a bus if requested by the Minister. But it does create the appearance of fairness and equity.
It seemed a little obvious which section of our community was going to be targeted, and it resulted in a mass walk out of psychiatrists from our public system. This reminds me of another song…… You keep a knockin but you can’t come in. Though i’m sure it won’t be long before they are back tomorrow night to try it again.
I do hope that someone with an interest in the abuses of psychiatry and indigenous politics keeps a finger on the pulse of what our government is doing here in Australia. Because going by our history, our indigenous population must be feeling a little nervous.
Concrete Blonde’s version… yeah!
Wow! That is so totally comprehensive and far-reaching that I say, as solution, we need to meet people where they are at. When dealing with people who have swallowed psychiatry’s Kool Aid, we need to be kind, not aggressive and not pushy. When I began in activism I was too pushy and this did not fare well because it had the opposite effect of what my aim was.
For those of us who are survivors, we need to lead the way by living well. We need to show the world we are not the needy, helpless, lazy…oh, find me more adjectives, please….that they claimed we were. We are not useless. We are not societal waste. We are people who ran into bad luck. We were misheard or we were young and made bad decisions such as the decision to actually believe them. It is not our fault. We need to realize and convey: This was just ill-fortune.
The whole idea of Bad Luck is unacceptable in our society because people think there has to be some scientific reasons why things happen. While of course there are scientific reasons, for instance, why cancer strikes. Yet it’s not true that the person had bad morals, bad karma, a bad attitude, bad self-care, or “did it to himself.”
Now the same with ending up in a shrink’s office, which has no relation to inner suffering per se. This is not a moral failing. For me, it was youthful bad choice, one that was not well thought-out and did not take into effect the possible consequences of psychiatry due to my own ignorance and inexperience in life. For others, it was forced on them by misguided people, people who are ignorant and believe psychiatry’s myths.
Recently I found myself broke due to bad luck. Now all that is over, but during those two months I was under the worst pressure even though I am working two jobs. I am dying to write about the experience and relate it to the survivor experience. I sure have a lot to say about Bad Luck and why society hates to hear this side of things.
I’d be interested in hearing that story, Julie.
I live near Chinatown, and I can tell you that Luck is a big deal. Everywhere you look, businesses with “Lucky” in the name.
I told the story in my book. I was scammed recently. I have even had to hire a lawyer. The story of how it happened and how it all panned out inspired me to write a chapter on it in my upcoming book, Life After Lithium. I am seeing the lawyer tomorrow but I believe the situation has or will soon resolve in my favor. I don’t want to be a spoiler here.
Right on, Julie! We need to stop pill shaming. We need to respect people’s decisions on how they lead their lives, especially when fully informed. Basically, we need to learn how to converse on this highly polarized topic without polarizing.
I am open to suggestions on how to do this, please, Julie
We’re already doing it. I hold two jobs, working weekdays and Sundays. My weekday job is one I do outside my home. I have to put on a good impression no matter what, even if I have a bug I picked up at work. They call that “professionalism.” I don’t think “professionalism” has to be robotic, either. I have already filed a mandated report because I knew that was the right thing. Imagine if all ex-patients acted respectfully instead of the childish manners taught in the nuthouses. Imagine if all ex-patients inspired other people by example. Imagine if we all stood up for what we believe in. We would be leaders. Soon, there would be no more patients, no more suckers, no one would fall for it. Psych would crumble.
I dislike the term “pill shaming.” This is a favorite buzz phrase of psychiatrists more interested in covering their own butts than helping those coming to them for help. (Voluntarily or otherwise.)
How about “shaming people who choose to take pills”?
How about we just oppose “people shaming?”
Capsules and tablets feel no shame.
The phrase is as nonsensical as “mental illness” which is allegedly a brain disease but different (somehow) from physical illnesses according to NAMI and similar groups.
I’ve been neutered.
I’ve been iatrogenically damaged and as the years go on it appears to be permanent.
Thanks for all the support and compassion, psychiatry!/s My abuser ‘won’ just as he set out to do.
Thanks, Bruce. Another good essay for the files.
Oh, I should add something else. For those out there who may be a so-called mental health professionals, you can help out by ENDING the assumption that having a mental health degree means you’re an expert on life. You are NOT. You might, though be an expert on the inner corruption of your profession. This is what you should be talking about. You should not use your credentials to claim expertise on the human condition. Quit acting like gods.
I have heard this from SOME mental health professionals, even some here, all too much. I have heard such idiocy as, “I know what causes eating disorders! Perfectionism!” Me: Oh, so it’s a character defect, is it? How about, instead, saying, “The way they treat people diagnosed with ED is horrible! The use of force and threats in the ED professions is shocking and a human rights violation.”
“Quit acting like gods.” Our “omni-potent moral busy body” mental health workers certainly do have god complexes, don’t they? I had to shake one off me recently, who had delusions of grandeur I’d sign a BS “art manager” contract, that would have allowed that psychologist to steal all profits from my artwork, and all my “too truthful” work eventually. And he had delusions of grandeur I would want him to take total control of my life’s story, my accountants, lawyers, and all my family’s money.
What a sick, twisted, god complexed, criminal, delusions of grandeur filled, nut case! I eventually had to remind him that I had chosen to paint for God long ago, and he was NOT God, so I didn’t want him to “manage” or steal the profits from my artwork. Plus I had to remind him that the clinical psychological industry, as well as the psychiatric industry, and his religion, are a bunch of satanic child abuse and rape covering up and profiteering criminals.
Dark, darker, and darkest, yes today’s “mental health” industries truly are disgustingly dark and criminal. Their systemic crimes against humanity are staggering in scope. Thanks for pointing this out, Bruce.
Two more reasons psychiatry lives on.
11. It offers fast and easy solutions for shutting up people you don’t like. Either literally–through 72 hour holds–or large doses of neuroleptics. Hey, Willy finally shut his pie hole. So we can assume he feels better. Go drool in the corner and leave us alone Willy. Aren’t we humane?
12. Everybody loves a scapegoat to hate. “Symptoms” of “mental illnesses” are extreme behaviors of what everybody does. By branding others innately depraved and beyond redemption they deny they–or their “normal” people can do anything really bad. And it does wonders for the self esteem. If you’re undiagnosed.
NO 5. BAMBOOZLING
Thank you for this one Dr Levine. Dr Peter Breggin also has a description for this.
It’s very easy to get fooled by the Diagnosis, the Staff, and the System; but most of all by the Drugs. When I tried to come off these drugs I started to go MAD. So I reasonably came to believe in the Severe Diagnosis.
But I was happy to cut the drugs right down. They were changed along the way, and eventually I noticed that if I didn’t take them I slept less but I felt no worse.
When I checked the drugs out I found they had no ‘psychiatric’ effect at the level I was taking them. I knew then that the Problem had been the very convincing medically created drug dependency.
A doctor friend of mine told me he had a patient diagnosed with Bipolar and that this person wanted to stop taking their medication and that their family supported them in this.
My doctor friend told me that the person started a drug taper but it wasn’t successful and the person became unstable, and even their family wanted them back on the Drugs. I told him that a successful Neuroleptic Drug taper can be a rocky ride and take time.
Dr. Bruce Levine – WOW! you knocked it out of the park with this masterpiece! SO much truth, SO much sound knowledge and common sense, and SO much that totally resonates with my experience. I was going to repeat a few of the points that really stood out but soon realized I would be repeating nearly everything! 🙂
This is a piece I will definitely get my spouse to sit down and read and will be emailing the link to organizations or professionals I have email addresses for. For those I don’t have an email address this is so worthy of printing off copies and sending by snail mail. Everyone needs to read this piece!
Also thanks for the many informative and interesting links, I will definitely have to look at Lauren’s videos. Very well done Dr. Levine!! Thank you! and let’s all keep up the good fight for truth, compassion and humanity!
Reason Number 11 that Psychiatry Lives On:
Most people believe in Psychotherapy and the Recovery Movement, as well as Evangelical Religion, and as well as in Autism-Aspergers-Neurodiverstiy.
These are based on mostly the same premises as Psychiatry, and in some quarters they have merged with it. They support Neo-Liberal Capitalism and the Middle-Class Family, just like Psychiatry does.
So if you support these, you are still supporting Psychiatry, Diagnostic Labels, and Forced Treatment, though probably just for the more recalcitrant cases.
Eckhart Tolle the author of “The Power of Now” has stated (I believe) that a person can find “what he found” – purely from the information in his book. The book itself is cheap but the information in his book can be found also, for free (If necessary) on the internet. I’ve studied his book and what’s in it works.
You might check back on an old movement called Radical Psychiatry. Their catch-phrase was: “Therapy is change not adjustment.”
My guess is the inner circle of NAMI is well aware of CHRSF. But ensuring “meds compliance” is more important than ending “stigma.”
what is CHRSF?
Canadian Health Research Science Foundation.
Cited by Bruce near the end of the article.
Ah! Thank you.
I’ve been wondering lately… that when our institutions finally immolate (for reasons not so dissimilar to psychiatry’s predicament) will that be the end of psychiatry, or the best of all possible worlds for them? My money’s on the latter.
I like it plebtocracy. I’ve been wondering the same thing myself. After reading Viktor Frankls Mans search for Meaning it must have seemed to him that it would never end, and then all of a sudden …….
Strange that we need a Police State to protect us from an Islamic State. Fighting fire with fire gets everybody burned. Oh well, not like they weren’t warned. A planet without people is a planet without mental illness. Job done.
I honestly sometimes wonder if psychiatry is straight up evil. I seem to recall reading that Dr.Breggin came to the conclusion that it may very well be evil, so its not just me. deal is…
I’m a Christian, right? Right. I don’t vote GOP or hate people, so a lot of people don’t think I’m a Christian. But…deal is…a part of traditional Christianity (you know, before the shrinks infiltrated) is a belief that there is also an evil one, and he has lots of underlings. I don’t get too into all that, because I’m focused on forgiveness and love, but…
psychiatry strikes me as evil, or at least…wicked, filled with people who lie, lie, lie all the time…they lie. The whole industry is based on lies and destruction of anyone and anything they come into contact with, and that’s been the case since -day 1- . the affluent could pay for their ne’er do wells to be kept at Bedlam, for instance. Remember “drapetomania,” the “disease” that made slaves desire freedom? It isn’t just the US and it isn’t even just capitalist societies, either…psychiatry in China is wicked and cruel, psychiatry in the USSR was notoriously sinister…
wicked. wicked, sometimes evil, almost always mediocre, at best…that, I think, describes most of the worker bees in mental health, inc. the industry itself is downright diabolical.
Not forgiving and cherishing hatred for your fellow human beings has long been understood as a way to give the devil a foothold in your life. It’s all related.
Ever read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom? A great story of overcoming evil when all seems lost.
i don’t actually hate psychiatry or individual psychiatrists. forgiveness is something i’m working on. i just think its crazy, that such pseudoscientific junk is allowed to run rampant in modern society, leaving so much damage in its wake.
In order to forgive someone you have to admit they wronged you.
It’s impossible to forgive those who can do no wrong. So acknowledging the evils of psychiatry as a practice is necessary before we can offer forgiveness.
And unless they can own up to the harm done they cannot receive our forgiveness however willing we are to offer it. But that’s their choice.
Even if the simplistic “chemical imbalance” theory of mental illness is refuted, it doesn’t mean that neurochemical and neurophysiological dysfunction is not a cause of certain psychiatric conditions. The anti-psychiatry pundits on this website, “Mad in America,” clearly have an axe to grind. So they make blanket statements like “psychiatry is a pseudoscientific institution meriting no scientific authority” based on the idea that the chemical imbalance theory is no longer as popular as it once was.
Although I’m often intrigued by their critical analyses of psychiatry, I’ve learned to expect only negative views from Mad in America. When you see that someone paints an entirely negative picture of an industry or profession, and does not acknowledge a single redeeming value, it’s biased. Too bad, because they do make a lot of good points, such as noting the role of Big Pharma and perpetuation of the ruling power structure as elements that promote psychiatry’s continuation. But the chronic negativity is a drag when you know their primary motivation is always to bash the profession and its practices.
Scientific theories are not based on “popularity,” or should not be. The general exception to psychiatry is not that one of its theories got shot down, but that the entire edifice is based on false scientific premises, namely that one can group behaviors together and define “illnesses” based on checklists of behavioral characteristics, all of which might exist in people who might have little to nothing in common except for certain aspects of their external presentation. There are actually diagnoses where people could literally have NO criteria in common and still both have the same “diagnosis.” Additionally, psychiatrists have been chronically resistant to actual data that contradicts their theories. The “chemical imbalance” theory was essentially disproven in the late 80s, and yet continues to be perpetuated to this day by many claiming “scientific basis” for these DSM “disorders.”
I would not have an objection to an honest science of the brain, as long as it adhered to basic scientific processes and assumptions and admitted to error when conflicting data shot down a theory. Oh, but there already is such a science – it’s called neurology!
Excellent retort, Steve.
It’s sickening how the ‘chemical imbalance theory’ is still so prevalent in the “culture”.
The meds make you sick, just as Fiachra states. The whole ‘mental illness’ business will make you crazy.
I am not so sure one can “disprove” a scientific theory. One can cite evidence that is faulty, or find no evidence to support a theory, but to disprove?
I am open to enlightenment on this one, Steve.
Certainly I understand the medical model to be by definition a pseudoscience, because there is no current evidence for it, but not because it has been “disproven.”
The burden of proof is always on the person supporting the hypothesis. So one can say a hypothesis can’t ever be proven absolutely, because there is always the possibility of new data having to be incorporated into a system. Even Newtonian Mechanics, the ultimate in a set of certain laws of the universe, had to be modified eventually due to relativity and quantum mechanics.
But science is actually very capable of disproving things. All that’s needed is for the theory to predict something that doesn’t appear to be true in reality. For instance, if there is a claim that “low serotonin causes depression,” it would follow at a minimum that all people who are seriously depressed will have low levels of serotonin compared to normal. That isn’t sufficient to prove it, because of course low serotonin could be an effect rather than a cause, or simply a co-occuring phenomenon that has no relationship to depression. But if depressed people DON’T have lower serotonin on the average than non-depressed people, the theory is shown to be false, because the results conflict with the hypothesis. And in fact, this is the case. People who are depressed don’t always have low levels of serotonin, and people with low levels of serotonin aren’t always depressed. Moreover, increasing serotonin levels doesn’t consistently improve depression, and many “antidepressants” don’t even attack the serotonin system.
So yes, the theory of low serotonin causing depression has been convincingly disproven. We know it is not true. It isn’t just a lack of data – the data show that that hypothesis does not predict realty, and is therefore false. Similar arguments can be shown for the high dopamine theory of psychosis, and the low dopamine theory of ADHD. The idea that “mental illnesses” are caused by “chemical imbalances” can’t entirely be disproven, but in every case where a concrete hypothesis has been put forward, it has been disproven.
I am not sure you are really aware of what this site and the activity you see here is all about. While I agree that sometimes, people might vent on here about their experiences or opinion, there’s no place else we can safely do this. Many of us had traumatic reactions to our psych experience very specifically because when we got out we had nowhere to take our stories. Psych abuse is rarely recognized as a trauma. Where do we go? The therapist? Really. Try it! My therapist told me the unit I was on didn’t exist! My psychiatrist told me I was manic and told me she would drug me till I couldn’t write anymore. Your profession is responsible for countless deaths and billions in disability money and Medicare payments to hospitals that held us against our will. Of course we are angry. It is about time someone was!
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Rosemary Kennedy had a legitimate brain disorder. Psychiatry certainly “fixed” her.
If a child is born without legs that does not justify amputating arms.
Show the brain disorder first! Till then it’s just random acts of destruction.
I would submit that lobotomy would be evil no matter what “disorder” has been legitimately identified.
WHAT ABOUT: 11. LICENCE TO KILL
The person consumes potentially lethal medication leaves the Psychiatric Unit and ends up DEAD – medically everyone knows the medication is potentially lethal BUT nothing more is said.
The Circumstances and Details are completely confused, BUT that’s OK.
In Civilian Life if a DEAD Body is Discovered It’s NORMAL To Investigate!
(Lethal in Psychiatry can = Intoxicating)
Doctor in an Emergency Dept is doing a few killings for organised crims. He does this with confidence that his colleagues will recognise that it is not in the public interest to take action against him. Police will do nothing more than turn anyone complaining away, politicians will refer them to organisations set up to run people in circles, and lawyers will gaslight and feign incompetence to frustrate cause of action and pervert the course of justice.
Obviously one needs to be a little careful and provide a crumb trail for the Coroner and anyone else who might take a peek. But basically it’s a foregone conclusion that no one will be held accountable. The use of the provisions of the Mental Health Act to procure police assistance, and with the ability to slander victims as ‘mentally ill’ and render any assistance they might obtain worthless. I’m sure anyone who has been ‘treated’ by these folk know what i’m talking about.
But what about the situation where word gets around that Doc is doing a few extra curriculars? Well, fortunately the system is designed to ensure that the public are not made aware of what is occurring in our hospitals, lest they loose faith in the negligent authorities.
Chief Psychiatrist has a look (so investigations are done) and finds there have been a number of ‘unintentionaal negative outcomes’ occuring in the EDs. But this can not be made public as there would be calls for someone to be held accountable and we can not have this, not in the public interest to know that authorities are not only allowing organised crims to operate in our hospitals, but are actually doing much of the dirty work for them. Police providing kidnapping and torture services exploiting the loophole in the Convention (article 1.1) and Doctor exploiting the lack of motive for the crime of murder. Means and opportunity, but minus a confession there is no motive.
How embarrassing to later find out one was acting in good faith but unwittingly doing the dirty work of criminals. Altruistic evil. Cover ups are so common their is a script written for them. I can point you to an Operations Manager who can explain further should anyone require a copy. Negligence with plausible deniability, fraudulent documents, threatening and intimidation of victims family/friends, and slander anyone who makes a complaint via backstabbing and gossip/rumours. Our current Minister for Health likes to use the ‘dog whistle’ method of slandering suggesting that any complainants who don’t ‘get with the program’ might need some medical intervention rather than examining the evidence objectively. Guess he has a copy of the book of cover ups.
Good business model when you think about it.
In the tragic case below I notice the biomedical details are vague:-
BBC News – Ceara Thacker death: Mental health services ‘failed student’
BBC News – Student told University about Suicidal Thoughts
I agree with your very comprehensive well explained article and yet, disagree with its conclusion. Give yourself some credit.
Your arguments are solid and I predict that psychiatry will lose ground (I think it already has.) Everytime we exercise our individual freedoms (but it what they may…not taking antidepressants, contesting forced therapies, having a conversation with someone needing help), we win.
These articles and comments are not lost on simply survivors, they move on in the collective consciousness. Things will get better because for a lot of us, things are better.
The rants by popular high ranking psychiatrists show how threatened they feel.
The articles published in those journals few read are obvious attempts at legal cushioning. The inner circle knows the jig is up.
We have reason to be hopeful. No lie lasts forever.
And you’ll notice that they get threatened by even the slightest challenge to their superstructure, not just attacks on their basic premises. They are what Mao (I believe) called “paper tigers.”
Thanks for the comments, including those expanding on these reasons and additional reasons.
Regarding the criticism: “So they make blanket statements like ‘psychiatry is a pseudoscientific institution meriting no scientific authority. . . . When you see that someone paints an entirely negative picture of an industry or profession, and does not acknowledge a single redeeming value, it’s biased.’ ”
First, while I mentioned some key areas of proven pseudoscience (such as the chemical imbalance theory and the DSM), I’d like to hear about ANY proclamation that establishment psychiatry has made that have scientific value. They cannot because their entire model of “mental illness” is a pseudoscientific one. Just as many people claim their religion has helped them, many people claim they have been helped by psychiatry, but psychiatry misleads people by claiming that it is a science when it is just another organized religion.
Second regarding the criticism, “When you see that someone paints an entirely negative picture of an industry or profession, and does not acknowledge a single redeeming value, it’s biased. ” It’s always been difficult for Americans to wrap their hands around the idea that any major American institution could be not simply imperfect but completely WRONG and BAD. But if you look at American history, that happens. Major examples of this include slavery, government policy toward Native Americans, and Japanese internment camps during WWII; and there are many less known instances of US institutions being totally wrong/bad (such as the CIA’s MKULTRA program). The critic is simply wrong here: There are some things that deserve being painted with an entirely negative picture.
Regarding the criticism of my conclusions as being too pessimistic. Of course we should continue to get the truths of psychiatry’s pseudoscience and failures out there, as this has certainly helped some individuals including MIA readers. However, on a societal basis, the reality is that psychiatry has gained, not lost influence — more people than ever are buying into their diagnoses and treatments, including more young people. My point is that a strategy of just getting truths out there is not enough, as there are underlying reasons why truths alone do not set people free; and strategically, these reason need to be addressed. Concretely this means, for example, confronting the mainstream media’s failure, which is what Bob Whitaker and I did in that Truthout interview referred to in the article. Concretely this means taking into account why people cling medicalization and its false promises of compassion.
Thanks again for the comments — Bruce
Excellent rejoinder to both “criticisms.”
Why, given your understanding of capitalism, do you think that the corporate/capitalist (“mainstream”) media could ever be the venue to spread the truth about psychiatry, when its purpose and function is to obfuscate and confuse? They will only cover the anti-psychiatry movement once we gain enough power and influence on our own to threaten the system they serve. And then they will promptly distort our message and portray us as a threat. So we need our own media (this doesn’t just apply to the anti-psych movement).
Still as Frederick Douglas said “Power cedes nothing without a demand.” Letters to the Times or your congressperson won’t cut it by themselves, and simply knowing what’s fucked up won’t change anything unless we summon the collective motivation and courage to DO SOMETHING about it.
Good article, thanks.
If I can add something from a Canadian perspective, in the last couple of weeks, one of our Canada Supreme Court Justices retired. In Canada that is our highest court. Well, this justice retired, at 59, I beleive, stating that he had been suffering from depression and anxiety for the last twenty years. Don’t quote me on this. But to me, that is a sign that “things” are getting better when a member of the highest courts can relate to all his personal struggles. Of course, it’s not anti-psychiatry, but it’s a start. The message it sends out, in my perspective, is loud and clear.
Then, earlier this year, over 700 doctors for children, in Quebec, protested against the over prescribing of medications for children (neuroleptics, depressants, etc…) Quebec over prescribes and even the doctors are claiming that.
When I read MIA, I think “alright”…20 000 readers, that’s a mighty big village.
So forgive my optimism.
The problem is not only that Psychiatry cannot be reformed, it is also that the things being presented as alternatives are also no good.
Psychiatry cannot and should not be replaced, because the original intent is wrong. Anything else which attempts the same things, is also wrong.
This is perhaps the most important, and the very best blog article you have ever had published at MIA
This is the perfect blog response to be read following Robert Whitaker’s provocative blog titled “Is Remaking Psychiatric Care Possible.”
This is a highly insightful and penetrating analysis of just how deeply entrenched and essential psychiatry (and their entire Medical Model) is for the future survival of modern capitalist society.
Neither psychiatry NOR capitalism can exist in the future WITHOUT the other. Both are major impediments to the future of human progress, and any hopes for reform of either one are both undesirable AND impossible.
Another hypothetical reason that may be important to take into account is the modern transformation that has happened in “universalizing the logics of biomedicine to the whole social sphere” (Tröhler, 2015, p. 757). By this the modern organization of society, through what is known as New Public Management, as well as the empirical turn into a broader focus on evidence-based research even in the social science, has been powered by a biomedical logic:
“Efficiency of a system implemented by management based on large-scale data from evidence-based research was the dominant paradigm that served as a cultural model for the modern medicalized world. “Monitoring”– a term originally used in hospital intensive care units – was to guarantee ongoing probation by regular “objective” data collection. [..] Medicalization had reached not only a large number of everyday practices but also the whole culture and, with that, the unwritten guidelines defining what “good” research is” (Tröhler, 2015, p.757-758).
Tröhler, D. (2015). The medicalization of current educational research and its effects on education policy and school reforms. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 36(5), 749-764. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2014.942957
I am struck by the similarity of the “anti-semetic” charges against anyone criticizing Israel with anyone who critiques psychiatry is called a ‘scientlologist’. Surely this process can be named and counteracted?
I call it the Ad Homenem Attack, based on ancient Greek definitions of rhetorical techniques. The Greeks recognized that attacking the character of the person involved through generalization or implication is a tactic relied on when someone is lacking a logical argument. Ad Hominem means an attack “on the person” rather than on the subject or the argument or the data.
My usual retort to such an effort is, “Why are you talking about religion/philosophy/(whatever they’re using to distract) when I was talking about scientific facts? Is it possible that you don’t really have a counter argument and are resorting instead to trying to attack my character due to the weakness of your argument?” This immediately shifts the discussion back to the topic at hand and identifies the tactic to the listener. If the person continues the attack, it’s easy to say, “Well, I guess we know who has data to back up their argument and who doesn’t. Come back when you have some actual science to share with the audience.”
The biggest mistake people make is trying to prove they are NOT “antipsychiatry” or “a Scientologist” or whatever. As soon as you take that bait, they have won, because now the topic is your credibility instead of the data you’ve presented.
That’s my take on it, anyway. I know not everyone agrees with this.
Ask, “What religion do you practice?”
Most would go, “Huh? What’s my religion got to do with it?”
Say, “Nothing. But you’re the one who brought it up.”
I like it! Definitely makes the point and takes the focus off of you and puts it back on the attacker’s distracting strategy. Plus it’s kinda funny!
The biggest mistake people make is trying to prove they are NOT “antipsychiatry” or “a Scientologist” or whatever.
Please pass that on to RW. But WHY would one want to prove they aren’t anti-psychiatry (unless they define it as a negative term)?
It comes from a fear of how others who don’t understand may characterize you. Depending what position one is in, it might make sense not to advertise it. But I don’t think it’s something one needs to defend or explain. It’s the psychiatrists who need to do the explaining. But they are way too often let off the hook by people buying into these rhetorical tactics.
If one is operating as a “plant” within an institution or the like there are of course reasons for staying mum, as with any clandestine operation. Otherwise, even if one doesn’t regularly use the term, it is a matter of intellectual honesty to not shy away from it, especially in response to a direct question. AP doesn’t need “defending” in any case; it often does need explaining.
Perhaps I should have said, “Does not need to be JUSTIFIED.” You are quite right, it often needs and benefits from thorough and rational explanation.
When IS get their hands on you they put you to the test to see if you are Sunni or Shia. Lots of Shia try to pretend they are Sunni but are identified fairly quickly and given ‘treatment’ for their illness.
I think there are a lot of similarities between what IS is trying to achieve, and what those in power in our society are trying to achieve, hence the overlap in the methods being employed.
Once the mental health lynch mob gets a sniff of a Scientologist, there’s gunna be a showdown
Posted this before when one of the Authors here was being attacked for her tenuous ‘links’ to Scientology. Monty Python once again hits the nail on the head.
Oh, I thought you were going with, “We’re not the Judean People’s Front! We’re the People’s Front of Judea! Our greatest enemies are the Judean People’s Front.” “Well, except for the Romans…”
Might be that I just got a copy of Arthur Millers’ The Crucible to read.
A strange twist to my story. The Catholic priest who was also a doctor (pretending to be a psychiatrist) and who gave me three mental illnesses based on me living with my wife and having a degree, and wanted me injected with traquillizers, wrote a book. Apparently in that book he tells his tale of being kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen and held against his will. So I guess he has an understanding of what it is like to be subjected to his sort of treatment, and has quite possibly come to the decision that he is going to pay back every Muslim in town for the way he was treated. This guy wants em on their knees to him. Worship the god you stand before? Good move on the part of the Community Nurse who slanders Muslims as wife beaters though. Lets just up the ante eh? Hands his fraudulent verbal onto this guy to ‘upgrade’ the fraud.
Good on ya doc, ya stinking fraud and slanderer.
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As soon as you take that bait, they have won, because now the topic is your credibility
Especially when anti-psychiatry people allow “anti-psychiatry” to be equated with Scientology without vigorous rebuttal, or give into ignorance and avoid using the term anti-psychiatry.
Actually, even allowing the discussion of whether antipsychiatry and Scientology are the same or not still gives in to the tactic. When we were at the APA protest in Philadelphia, a psychiatrist said she’d talk with us, but wanted to know if we were Scientologists. We shouted her down, saying, “Oh, no, you’re not pulling that crap! We’re here to talk about psychiatry, not religion!” And various statements of that order. The topic of Scientology vs. antipsychiatry was never breached, because she understood we were not willing to play that game with her.
I was there. But this was not an anti-psychiatry demonstration, in fact it was eye-opening in a disappointing way to see how compliant and complacent the former movement had become.
Did anyone simply say “no we’re not Scientologists” and move on, or did the shrink insist on talking about Scientology?
As to the “argument” itself, it’s pretty simple math: B and C (APA demonstrators and Scientologists) are part of A (anti-psychiatry); B does not equal C.
Though it could be credibly argued that opposing psychiatry based on a desire to replace it or compete with it is not a genuinely anti-psychiatry viewpoint.
In general I agree, the best response to Scientology “questions” is “why are you changing the subject?”
The shrink was shouted down and ended up leaving embarrassed and silenced.
This is NOT the best way to handle the Scientology issue.
For many people (including myself) they want to know if Scientology is involved in an organization because they know it is a DANGEROUS CULT and NOT A RELIGION, and they do not want to have ANY connection to it at all.
Because Scientology is a dangerous cult, it has a specific agenda that is in major competition with psychiatry to recruit very vulnerable people in psychological distress. Based on this reactionary agenda, Scientology will ultimately destroy any anti-psychiatry organizing from within, in addition to discrediting our movement to the general pubic.
Yes, some people (including psychiatry) use this as a foil to discredit anti-psychiatry and the struggle against the Medical Model. And this has been historically very successful, because past anti-psychiatry type activists have made the MISTAKE of working WITH Scientology.
So the answer to all this is SIMPLE.
1) Do not ever knowingly work with Scientology
2) When asked or accused of being a Scientologist simply say the following:
“No, Scientology is a dangerous cult, so why are you accusing me of this instead of dealing with …………………..”
Well, that could work just fine, but it still leaves you potentially vulnerable to someone changing the topic to how bad Scientologists are or how “most” opponents “are Scientologists” even if you are not. It is an attempt at distraction, whether they are accusing you of being a Scientologist or a Zoroastrianist or a Communist or a Nazi. I think the best approach is not to take the bait. But I know we will respectfully disagree on this point.
BTW, do you really think that most of the psychiatric profession is asking protesters about Scientology because they are concerned it is a “dangerous cult” and don’t want to interact with it? Or do you think they
are using a preexisting social reality/fear to manipulate people into thinking that anyone who opposes psychiatry is only acting out of the dogmatic insistence of Scientology’s leadership? I personally doubt very much that any psychiatrist actually has such a concern or would be in the slightest degree reassured if you told them you were not. It seems to me that the goal is to tarnish all resistance with the brush of irrationality, and my preferred response is not to allow that goal to be put forward unchallenged. Because people are easily manipulated by innuendo.
I agree, Oldhead. I consider myself antipsych, but I am not a Scientologist. Some survivors and likely all scientologists are antipsych, as are other people (some ex-providers, many family members) Simple logic. These are just plain separate issues.
I’m thinking though, that since the Sci clan shows up at these protests, some clarity might be needed, as some people likely have no clue there’s an antipsych movement aside from Sci
I do think that is an excellent point.
“Cult” is a subjective term. But psychiatrists seem fine with controlling religious groups that encourage “meds compliance.”
Precisely. They are only threatened by those who question their basic premises, because they know that “the emperor has no clothes” but they don’t want anyone else to notice it. If there were a mindless and dangerous cult that promoted their product, they’d be four square behind it. Oh, wait… there already is one…
So do we have a problem working with Muslims?
One of our previous Prime Ministers described Islam as a “Death Cult”.
I’ve got no issue with Scientologists. If they’ve got a brick of logic to throw through the fraudulent and slandeous window of psychiatry, i’m gunna use it. Call me names while your sweeping up the shattered glass.
Someone once told me coffee would taste better if I put the milk in before hot water, but I can’t use the idea because their a Scientologist and I wouldn’t want people thinking I was becoming one too.
I wouldn’t be getting too worried about gossips and back biters. They are easily identified and tend to deal with themselves.
You said: “…but it still leaves you potentially vulnerable to someone changing the topic to how bad Scientologists are or how “most” opponents “are Scientologists” even if you are not.”
No, just the opposite. People can keep the discussion (or argument) focused on Scientology as long as we refuse to answer the question.
So again, the best way to handle this is SIMPLE. We simply tell the truth by saying:
” I already told you, we are not Scientologists. We think they are a dangerous cult, so why do you keep bringing this up to avoid dealing with……”
Steve, you said: ” do you really think that most of the psychiatric profession is asking protesters about Scientology because they are concerned it is a “dangerous cult” and don’t want to interact with it?”
Again, it doesn’t matter why they are asking the question. It could be a legitimate question by honest people or an illegitimate question by psychiatry lovers trying to deflect the discussion. To eliminate this issue from the discussion or debate, just tell the truth (“No, we are not Scientologists.”) and move on.
In fact, in some discussions by honest people making the inquiry about Scientology, we could provide some of the history of our movement. We could let people know that some past activists made the MISTAKE of working with Scientology, and then show how that gave psychiatry and the Medical Model an opening to attack those people critical of psychiatry. And also, how this has now become a strategy by lovers of the Medical Model to discredit its critics.
Scientology is a powerful and well organized cult with deep pockets. It does great harm to those people (especially vulnerable people going through psychological distress) ensnared by its sophisticated anti-psychiatry cover and purported solutions to people’s problems in a difficult world.
Just like any organization that preys upon and recruits disaffected youth, we should be prepared to both understand Scientology’s reactionary role in society and speak out against them when the opportunity presents itself.
It seems this is where we disagree. If I want to challenge someone regarding psychiatry, it’s not the time pr place to speak out against Scientology, because I see it playing into the hands of the person trying to avoid the question.
Now if a person GENUINELY thinks that all antpsychiatry activity is started or supported by Scientologists, that’s an opportunity for education. Very different in my mind from a blatant effort to intentionally deflect attention away from a critique of psychiatry by implying that anyone taking such a stance must be irrational and unscientific.
Anyway, as I said, we can respectfully disagree on this point. I don’t see much point in continuing the discussion, as we’ve both made our positions and arguments clear. People can consider either one and do what works for them.
Another clever approach was suggested by another poster: “Actually, I’m a Buddhist. What about you? Now that we’re done with talking about religion, let’s get back to talking about psychiatry.”
Actually I’m a Muslim and there are reasons we do not
(A) want intoxicating stupefying drugs forced down our throats just as much as we don’t want pork or alcohol.
(B) committing acts of fraud and slander in Islam are serious offences to God.
So go and beat up on the Buddists because they’re passifists and you will find that we have a tendency to defend ourselves from those who would assault us, despite the efforts at concealing their methods of assault. Spiking is poisoning. Concealing the facts does not make the poisoned person paranoid (though it does make one concerned about who to trust when it s being authorised by a Cabinet Minister/Chief Psychiatrist), it makes them a victim of organised criminals, liars and frauds.
Even our current Minister for Health insists on calling kidnapping and torture ‘referral’ and ‘detention’ and then dog whistles a persons sanity for questioning his misrepresentation of crimes as ‘medicine’. How much of this perverting the course of justice you doing Minister? Because unless you have been totally incompetent in your ‘investigation’ you would be aware of the human rights abuses I have been subjected to. Bit busy with lunch at the mo are we? Nothing wrong with spiking citizens and then subjecting them to interrogations? Its okay, we just threaten their legal representatives if they complain.
These rights they speak of are a crock.Let me tell you this, that if the government here wants to subject citizens to torture and kidnapping all they need to do is to use the powers of the Mental Health Act and this flushes your human rights down the toilet. So how can we do that I hear you ask? Well, have police hand you over to a ‘doctor’ for an ‘assessment’ and now you are subject to “lawful sanction” and can be tortured to death if they wish. Of course as I have so often heard when I have explained this to people that these are good people and “they wouldn’t do that”. And after examining the documents I have they tend to agree that they would do that but best I keep my mouth shut or they will “fuking destroy” me and my family too. I mean how else do you keep your good reputation except by killing anyone who complains about your “service”.
To all those who looked and ran away, I give you the finger. And when (not if) your human rights are being abused there will be one less person capable of understanding and helping you. Where o where do we get these public officers who cause al this trouble and leave the cover ups to incompetents? Letting the victim away with the documents? You idiot. Make sure before you send the fraudulent ones to lawyers that you have the originals, lest someone turn up in a politicians office with both sets. And don’t let anyone else in on the killing in the ED, that means we are going to be watched and used by others in future.
Give me a job in the Government, I can lecture police and mental health workers on the use of torture methods and how to do these cover ups properly.
If the world serves you lemons, make lemonade I say. So what is the potential for a business in torture tourism. People come here to pat the koalas and find themselves referred to our mental health services for treatment. Once we have the required information we can send them home with a prescription for some serious brain damaging chemicals. Hey, North Korea is doing it and well, nobody seems to be doing much about that either?
And to the criminals that tried to knock me in the ED. Almost like someone was watching wasn’t it? God? Nah, look a little lower down the ladder people. It wasn’t really magic, and I ain’t Lazarus. It wasn’t me in the bag so to speak lol. Best they pass this “Assisted Dying Bill” because from what I’ve seen its a bit too easy to slip a few past the Coroner. Might be best were at least seen to be doing something. Though how it will work with a Chief Psychiatrist and Minister who don’t recognise a “burden of proof” i will never know.
Let me contribute to world peace by saying that I substantially agree with RL. The woman shouldn’t have been shouted down if a simple “no” to her question would have sufficed. If she had continued down the Scientology line of questioning that’s when shouting might have become an option; absent that “shouting her down” would seem more defensive or intolerant than anything.
But I also agree with Steve in the sense that attacking Scientology as a matter of policy, rather than simply distancing ourselves, is sort of diversionary and off-point.
As to whether Scientologists should be allowed at demonstrations that would depend on the nature of the demonstration and/or the coalition sponsoring it.
Look at you, being Switzerland! You go, Oldhead!
OH has a good point.
Say “No” quickly and then call them out on the Red Herring.
Furies, I just want to welcome you to MIA (though it’s not “my” site). Your perspectives are important and your analysis is bound to develop even further. Always good to hook up with another anti-psychiatry survivor.
You missed the most significant reason that psychiatry may die a slower death than reason would seem to dictate — the fact that people still don’t understand that MENTAL ILLNESS DOES NOT EXIST AND CANNOT EXIST. As long as people who consider themselves “progressive” think what matters is whether this or that psychiatric drug or technique “works” to disguise people’s misery they are complicit in allowing psychiatric oppression to continue unimpeded, along with the socio-political causes of people’s unhappiness.
You correctly understand that psychiatry is a police force, but you seem to think that it’s something else as well, perhaps a rogue branch of medicine. These are illusions which need to be discarded. People need to be reading Szasz in more depth, even if they do not otherwise accept his libertarian-conservative perspectives on society. Too many people think they “get” Szasz but they really don’t.
Oh, and of course, psychiatry IS “a pseudoscientific institution meriting no scientific authority”; but that’s not ALL it is, it’s a tool of political repression. If it were more scientific it would be even more dangerous.
^^^^^ and on this forum, the horrors of psychiatry are being used to justify the existence of psychotherapy and recovery.
Its the intent in psychiatry which is wrong, besides just the methods. So anything justified by psychiatry is also just as wrong.
I guess I am confused about where does the writer see himself. Is he separate and apart from psychiatry or is he complicit? I know that I have reached out to him repeatedly but he refused to call me back. From that perspective, he is complicit with all of the misleading misinformation and torture.
Remember Big Tobacco? Sold as the Marlboro Man and the liberated woman (I forget her name)? They killed millions of people. What do I tell my young children today? Don’t smoke. I don’t tell them about the crazy crazy business that smoking was. Now, in 2019, although it’s legal, we’re saying “Don’t toke.” And I’m trying to figure out how to convey “don’t poke”…if it’s not opiods, it’s carfentanyl….I mean…these are dangers. Psychiatry is a danger in the same way. Big Tobacco ended prematurely the lives of millions. But fighting psychiatry has to be doable otherwise we’re back in the ages of witchcraft and demons. The psychiatrists I’ve met in my lifetime were pathetic controlling idiots, probably on drugs,….a far cry from insiduous evil beings. They ate spaghetti just like we do.
I refuse to see these human beings as demons. Give me a fair fight.
Tobacco model is a good one to follow, for winning the kinds of law suits which can put huge numbers of psychotherapists out of business.
The author seems to delight in confounding people who have fallen into the trap. He won’t respond to any calls for dialogue; and he doesn’t admit that No Dialogue is a huge part of the problem.
If brain-injured, gas-lighted individuals were allowed to have restorative justice, then all of the torture and lying would be unnecessary. The same people who were negligent in the brain injuries and gas-lighting are the ones who insist on no dialogue. Why? Because they were negligent in the first place (and they are still negligent). They simply will not admit that they were at fault.
“If brain-injured, gas-lighted individuals were allowed to have restorative justice, then all of the torture and lying would be unnecessary. The same people who were negligent in the brain injuries and gas-lighting are the ones who insist on no dialogue. Why? Because they were negligent in the first place (and they are still negligent). They simply will not admit that they were at fault.”
That is the clearest truth I’ve heard yet, and to the point–the crazy-making paradox and dissonance of it all. Thank you, johnchristine, for your perfectly spoken truth. THE heart and spirit of the matter. The ones whom you identify as “negligent” are the stressors, in the first place. That is where I would shine the light, too.
It is extremely frustrating when you know that dialogue can work; but that no one will meet with you.
Please open dialogue.
It is very confusing that Bruce Levine can criticize psychiatry forever and ever; and yet at the end of the day, he still supports it.
how do you figure that???
And you base that on…?
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Wonderful article. As I see it ultimately the solution is to take the approach that broke the chokehold of the Church over European society: sever its nexus to state power. We must treat corporations and professional organizations the way the founding fathers treated the Church: erect a high wall of separation between them subject to the rule of law.
I think that one way for things to change would be for people like you to respond to people who are in crises.
When I say “people like you”, I am thinking of my mom, who was a social worker. It was and is ironic to me that she was more than willing to let me suffer alone after bad behavior in 1981. It is disappointing that social workers and others do not try to heal social wounds–but instead, make them worse in order to punish a scapegoat.
Why was it so easy for her to do that? Because she was negligent in the driveway accident in 1966; and to make me a scapegoat in the 1980s might turn the attention away from her own negligence in 1966.
I believe also that I was a scapegoat for my mom throughout my childhood. She could not accept the guilt and blame for her own negligence and so she punished me instead. She called me demeaning names: Bonzert, Cakey, Poosey. These were her tools to separate herself from her own negligence and guilt.
So what is really dark, and darkest is the mother offering her teenage son to society as a scapegoat.
It is an act of self-preservation. It is a political act that hides her own faults.
Much of it does come from a parent who sees the child as an embarrassment. For ~mental health~ and for ~autism~ ~aspergers~ and ~neurodiversity~.
The parent may see the child as an embarrassment — that may be true–but only because the parent was negligent in a totally avoidable TBI accident in 1966.
The parent should be embarrassed, because the parent failed to do their job–protect the child from the car in the driveway at 8550 Keller Road; Cincinnati, OH 45243.
The brain-injured, surviving child is a constant reminder to the negligent parent (Treon McGuire Christine) that the parent made a bad mistake.
Truth matters. I am being tortured. I am being slandered. This is a very organized and vicious negative PR
campaign. It is also a very organized home invasion/ torture campaign.
MIA readers should know that slander is often used to change the narrative. Negligent parents can pretend that they were never negligent when their brain-injured children get an SMI label. (And By the Way: notice who is the eager person driving the future SMI label victim to the shiny new looney bin get his phony diagnosis: the negligent parent). This is Public relations–not medicine.
This happened to me in January, 2012. And the shiny bin is the Lindner Center of Hope, which is a misnomer to me.
Psychiatry and Psychotherapy both run on the same bogus model of cognition. They want you to believe that life is hard because of past abuses as represented in your memories. And of course you see that that opens the door to feel good teachings.
But in fact, the effects of childhood exploitation and abuses is simply lost social opportunities, lost educational and career building opportunities, lost opportunities at building intimate relationships.
Your film of events memory is important to understanding these loses, but it in and of itself is not the issue. Psychotherapy and Psychiatry propagate falsehood to further their own interests.
If you are abused in ways which our society is in denial about, as it is still with most all familial child abuse, then you no longer have a biography, you no longer have a public identity, you become an object for scorn, ridicule, and pity.
But you do not even see this unless you try and take back the public honor which the abusers have denied you. When you try and take it back, by vanquishing foes, then you will see it, you will know what you have lost, when you find out how hard it is to take it back.
We need to shed this denial system and start putting some psychotherapists out of business!
If someone is seeing a psychotherapist, disclosing personal stuff, and they get handed an urgent looking piece of paper which has the name and picture of the therapist, and directs them to a web site, they will take it.
And then if they find an affidavit of a former client, and legal complaints, and descriptions of their therapy sessions, where the client claims that they were being duped, then it is unlikely that a present client will continue with therapy.
Some will want to sue. So once we get the first complainant, most therapists could be run out of business. And the more the news spreads, the more the complaints and the more the new lawsuits.
That denial system which is psychotherapy will be discredited. And few will put any stock into it, or into its way of interpreting people’s pasts. As it is now, people are being duped into accepting this honor free fantasy utopia, one which has never existed and never could exist. But it lets abusers off the hook and it propagates the kinds of Self-Reliance Ethic based abuses which are at the core of Capitalism / Middle-Class Family.
Dr. Bruce Levine is one of my favorites. I love his articles and videos. This article enormously helps those of us in the movement fighting mainstream psychiatry by carefully outlining what we are up against.
It falls prey to my pet peeve–journalists with brilliant and penetrating analysis but without any solutions to what they so cleverly point out.
In the very last sentence of this article he says, “When we recognize that scientific truths alone are not setting society free, we begin to shift our energy to strategies that take into consideration the above reasons.”
Bruce, please enlighten us as to what those strategies might be!
On another note, he leaves out the most successful way Big Pharma promotes itself–via non-profits it funds, like NAMI.
Yes, my mom used NAMI to confuse me. They want to demonize the scapegoat child of negligent parents.
NAMI was formed for the convenience of negligent parents.
Meanwhile, real home invasion and real torture continues every night here.
If Dr. Levine is not going to tell the strategies for setting us free, then I will suggest open dialogue and restorative justice. This seems like the only solution–since “because we say so” authoritarianism that is at the bottom of psychiatry is not working. The problem with psychiatry is the problem with tyranny. It only works for the few people in charge.
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Lets start shutting some psychotherapists down.
1. Angry and credible client, kept a journal would help
2. People who can get to court house and do sidewalk picketing and leafleting at the guy’s office.
3. If we have to just pick someone to target, look for someone who has already been sued.
4. Otherwise look for some of the followers of Richard Schwartz to go after.
If this is not bullshit, then I don’t know what is:
This Schwartz certifies his own people? So I ask people, then do they also have state issued therapy licenses?
How about the European Psychoanalysis Schools, also need US state licenses?
The reality check should be for psychiatry, which is legalized tyranny that justifies cruel and unusual punishment. It is tyranny that does not recognize that it is targeting survivors of childhood trauma, including TBIs. It does not recognize that it targets survivors of gas-lighting by negligent parents.
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I have been protesting outside my mom’s fort/apartment complex in Montgomery, Ohio. Today my favorite sign has been, “Scapegoats For Justice.”
The sirens were blaring as the fire department and ambulances tried to make me as uncomfortable as possible; but I was prepared as I shielded myself with my Hong Kong freedom umbrella.
I find solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters because they are also fighting against tyranny. They want political, social, and economic freedom. They want the government to stop harassing them. I understand that completely. I want the government to stop home invasion and torture.
Out-of-control government torture is what is truly dark and darkest. The reality check should be that psychiatry and the government are linked at the hip. The reality check needs to be the realization that we have out-of-control punishment for 1981 juvenile behavior that never should have become politicized.
The reality check is that we have to have open dialogue and restorative justice; or else
the issues will never be resolved.
This is not something that I want to be doing (protesting at my last surviving parent’s place); but I feel like I have no choice.
My mom clearly knows that I am being tortured in my house every night since January, 2012. She is fine with that. Also, she very deliberately made sure that I got a DSM label (also in January, 2012) that would make her negligence in the 1966 driveway accident become overshadowed.
I am protesting because I believe that I deserve restorative justice.
Shutting down psychiatry would appear to have to be an all or nothing project. There is not the public will for this at this time.
But shutting down psychotherapists can be a one by one project. So long as we have clients who want to pursue it, should be quite doable. And this will change how the public thinks.
TBI survivors and gas-lighting survivors are an overlooked subgroup that deserve restorative justice.
What this is about is power. This is not about a fair trial or any kind of medicine. I am a political scapegoat; and the powers that be will not speak to me in any meaningful way. That is unfair; because of all of the reasons I have already discussed.
~Mental Health~ and ~Autism Spectrum~ work on people who have already been marginalized, or who are still children. It is all about the scapegoats of the middle-class family, and about the ~self-reliance ethic.
It is all about POWER. And restorative justice starts when survivors decide to stop complying and enabling, but instead to stand up for themselves and others.
One place to start is by reforming the US inheritance laws. In most other industrialized countries you cannot disinherit a child. If you try, or if a will is challenged, it will be equal share inheritance. Of course this is late in the game, but it will change how people look at family scapegoating. In the end, the child wins and the senile-suicidal testators get postmortem humiliation.
Most evangelical churches revolve around people having at least one scapegoat child. This was one of the reasons why I got involved and helped get a Pentecostal molester a conviction and long prison term.
This is also why I think we have to start with Foucault, not someone like Thomas Szasz.
My favorite protest sign on Thursday was “STOP POLICE BRUTALITY/ STOP POLICE TORTURE”.
It is still unbelievable (but now obvious) that the police have always known that my house was invaded and I have been tortured nightly since January, 2012.
There must be restorative justice. There must be a pathway for individuals who have been run over in the driveway and gas-lighted about the 1966 accident.
What is dark and darkest is that psychiatry continues to follow the script that targets victims. TBI survivors are often victims of parental negligence.
Psychiatry is more than willing to create a political narrative that is fiction–and yet, that narrative can never be questioned. Why not? Because the double victim (first from TBI, second from the insults of the DSM) has fallen down the psychiatry rabbit hole, in which he loses all of his civil rights.
The victim also finds himself surrounded by people who find it in their economic, politcal and social interest to maintain that false political narrative. Even when the victim reaches out to people that he thinks should be his allies, he is disappointed to find out that the conspiracy against him is everywhere.
Victims of parental negligence and psychiatric slander must make a space for truth and restorative justice.
John you have my deepest sympathies.
I read your comments–and many others’ like them–and feel sad, as well as frustrated, that I can’t offer any help or advice.
Others here feel likewise. We need a way to help more people escape the mental system.
STOP HOME INVASION. STOP TORTURE. STOP SLANDER.
If people just become more aware that the labels are just one part of a dehumanizing process, then they may realize that this is about SLANDER. It is a systematic Negative PR Campaign; and it has been proven to work, unfortunately. The powers that be are following a script to discredit and torture individuals that they find to be
irritating. In other words, people who are speaking TRUTH TO POWER.
RESIST SLANDER. REMEMBER WHO YOU WERE BEFORE YOU BECAME A POLITICAL SCAPEGOAT.
Another of my favorite signs that I have been holding up in protest is:
BE TRUE TO YOUR TRAUMA VICTIMS.
I know it sounds like be true to your school. That is on purpose; and I do believe in loyalty to your school.
However, I believe that my story is much more complicated.
I was run over by a car in my driveway in 1966; and my mom was negligent in that accident. I was her trauma victim. Furthermore, she gaslighted me by calling me demeaning names throughout my childhood: Bonzert, Cakey, and Poosey. She also told me that I was ambidextrous (Big lie #1) when I asked her why I throw right handed but write left handed (I asked when I was about ten or eleven years old, around 1975 or 1976).
Also, she made me write in my fifth grade autobiography that the 1966 accident had been my own fault (Big lie #2). I dutifully (and foolishly) wrote down what she told me–even though I knew it didn’t sound right. I was too astonished to question her like I should have. She was gas-lighting me, and I was dumbfounded.
So I think about all of this when I hold up the sign.
I also think about the fact that my parents used my school to gang up on me and to humiliate me. It is still happening today, although now it is just the whole community–not just one school. In other words, it is worse than ever today.
So my objective in carrying that sign is to say, Hey wait a minute. I am a victim of TBI first. I am also a victim of gas-lighting.
Thirdly, I am a victim of a very unfair political conspiracy that my parents have used to clear themselves of REAL Negligence. In other words they have changed the subject.
I think there has to be some awareness, also, that political scapegoats are trapped. They can be physically tortured in their own homes. They can be psychologically tortured by constant surveillance. There is no exit, and there is no justice.
I am not waking up at 1:30 in the morning because I want to. I am being woken up because I am being tortured. This is outrageous; and it has been going on since January, 2012.
Furthermore, I have reason to believe that the people who are out to punish me are also punishing my son.
It is not obvious punishment; but indirect punishment. He is in a fraternity at Ohio state and his so-called “brothers” have been encouraging him to do dangerous behavior.
This includes vaping, which is very dangerous, especially since my son Eric had very bad asthma as a boy. He is 21 now; but all of his terrible wheezing symptoms have returned as a result of e cigarette vaping.
Needless to say, the lack of media attention to the vaping crises has been abysmal; and far too many people are suffering as a result. People are going to the emergency room and dying as a result of very little media warning about the dangers of vaping.
The other dangerous behavior at the fraternity is the roller coaster of too much coffee, too much beer, and not getting enough rest. When he does visit home, he is always exhausted.
I want to take care of myself and my family. I want restorative justice. I want open dialogue. Please do not punish my son in order to punish me.
Generational Trauma must be recognized and it must end. Stop perpetuating punishment. Restore justice.
I forgot to mention that my son Eric was tricked into taking a dangerous acne medicine, Acutane for years. I
believe that this drug damaged his critical thinking as well as his immune system and digestive system.
He is being targeted just as I am being targeted. Stop this inhumane, draconian punishment. Stop using
“medicine” to punish innocent people. I have no more words to describe how wrong this is.
all this is actually super simple.
dsm diagnosis requires a person to be dysfunctional. This means they don’t fit in to society. A personality disorder just means ‘doesnt play well with others’
a psychs job is to force a square peg into a round hole. They don’t inquire into the ‘mental health’ of the society/culture. why would they? their livelihoods are based on the legitimacy of the system. if it was all bs, which it is, a phd would mean nothing.