The difference between public image and first-hand inside knowledge applies to all areas of life. Nobody can have a personal experience with each and every social institution; for most of them, we rely on what we hear, read, and watch.
For example, I have never encountered police brutality, but I read about it in the media; media coverage, in turn, helps me contextualize stories that I hear from my non-white friends. Just by glancing at headlines, I immediately become aware that there is a wide range of positions on the current state of the American police.
In all major media outlets, I can see op-eds, letters, and comments written by activists of all stripes; by victims of police brutality; by victims of crime who praise police or decry its inefficiency; by police employees who defend their profession, or agree that there are systemic problems with it. At the very least, every American not living under a rock knows that many people claim that police have treated them unjustly.
The readers of this forum would surely agree that the American mental health care has systemic problems that are similar in nature to those described by anti-police-brutality activists: a lack of accountability, transparency, and external oversight; a culture of silence and cover-ups, professional training privileging coercion over dialogue and de-escalation—and all these on top of the problems specific to psychiatry, such as perverse material incentives. The closest institutional parallel is probably the private prison industry.
So, remember any headlines on psychiatric brutality? Anything in the general media written from the perspective of a psychiatric survivor or a critical-minded psychiatrist? No, all the victims and activists stay in their closed Facebook groups or on forums like this one, where they preach to the choir.
Conscientious professionals, such as David Healy or Joanna Moncrieff, publish their brilliant, scientifically impeccable critique of the prevailing psychiatric practices as papers in peer-reviewed journals or books published with academic presses and Samizdat Heath—that is, venues invisible to the general public.
I consider myself a member of the educated general public. I regularly read the news media, as well as The Chronicle of Higher Education, and I have a general awareness of the current major scientific, medical, and political controversies. And yet nothing that I ever read or heard prepared me for an encounter with the psychiatric system when my daughter had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. I was able to liberate her before she suffered lasting damage, and she is fine and thriving now, but I am still recovering from shock.
Before this ordeal, I, like most people, never read medical journals or books about mental health—why would I? Therefore, I never came across a single critical voice and believed that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was something from a distant past. Like other deceived citizens, I believed that modern psychiatry was a medical science that knew the nature and the causes of mental illness and had safe, efficient, and disease-specific medications.
I did not have the slightest premonition that, if anything changed since the days of the Cuckoo’s Nest, it was a change for the worse. I would never imagine that psychiatrists have unlimited legal power and the de-facto license to lie in court.
No other institution, existing in a society that has freedom of the press, is shielded from public scrutiny to the same degree as psychiatry, which, in this respect, may only be compared to the secret intelligence services. Unlike the CIA, psychiatry is considered a branch of science and a field of medicine—but its position in society is unlike that of any other scientific or medical field. For one, in no other area of science is the most funding allocated to pursuing a hypothesis after it has been repeatedly disproved.
Consider cold fusion, a hypothetical nuclear reaction that would occur at near room temperature. Evidence for such a reaction was reported in 1989, but after many failed replication attempts and many publications pointing to the methodological flaws of the cold fusion studies, the hypothesis was rejected by most scientists. The mainstream scientific conferences do hold sessions on cold fusion, since “with the world facing an energy crisis, it is worth exploring all possibilities,” but funding goes elsewhere, the National Cold Fusion Institute was closed in 1991, and the remaining supporters publish mostly in their own non-peer-reviewed journals.
Scientifically, the only difference between cold fusion and the biological explanation for non-organic mental disorders is the length of time devoted to failed attempts at proving them: a couple of years for cold fusion, many decades for research seeking a biochemical, neurological, or genetic cause of psychosis, depression, and other conditions for which no biomarkers have been identified.
If physics and chemistry were like psychiatry, billions of dollars would have still been spent on cold fusion, with all other areas of energy science marginalized, and the news media would have constantly reported the scientific breakthroughs that put us on the verge of creating boundless possibilities for safe and cheap energy. When another such “breakthrough” failed, there would have been no reports in venues other than specialized journals inaccessible to the general public. Researchers caught at falsifying their statistics and misrepresenting their findings would have been awarded and promoted.
If other areas of medicine were like psychiatry, we would have still been diagnosed with “melancholia” and “dropsy” and treated with leeches and blood-letting. How would the medical profession come to see problems with imprecise, unscientific diagnoses and with unproven treatments, if anyone questioning the notion of “melancholia” as an illness caused by the excess of “black bile” had been labeled a “menace to society”? “You see, patients may read irresponsible claims about the lack of evidence for such a thing as ‘excessive black bile.’ This will undermine their trust in science and medicine and discourage them from seeking the leech treatment, resulting in unnecessary suffering and deaths.”
In other medical fields, public discussion is a routine, accepted practice, just as it is generally accepted in Western society that any area of knowledge advances through open debate. That is, any area except psychiatry, where a voice questioning the utility of a particular diagnostic classification or the efficacy of a particular treatment is immediately drowned by the loud accusations of being “irresponsible” and causing untold harm to those who are suffering. The only way not to be a “menace to society” is to accept that the current psychiatric practices represent the final, irrefutable truth and that the only small thing still left to do is to prove this truth scientifically.
A small, but delicious, sample from the Mental Illness Policy website that promises “unbiased information for policymakers + media” and trashes Mad in America: “The serotonin theory … may not have withstood the test of additional research, but the neural connective pathways that serotonin effects [sic] are still thought to be involved in depression, as are genetics. We simply don’t know enough yet.”
The logic here is exactly the same as in Hitler’s Mein Kampf: “It will be the task of a future culture and world history to make researches” and prove that all human culture is created by the “Aryans.” Just like the “unbiased scientists” from the Mental Illness Policy are sure that their unfounded “thoughts” about mental illness will be validated by some future, not-yet-existing knowledge about neural pathways and genes, so is Hitler sure that his unfounded racial theories will be validated by “future researches.”
Here lies the crux of the matter. The current biopharmacological model of psychiatry is “scientific” only in the same sense in which historians talk about the “scientific racism” of the nineteenth-early twentieth century: it’s an ideology created by powerful interest groups masquerading as science. As such, it will not go away after being scientifically refuted, nor will cruel practices and policies based on this ideology be stopped by arguing with the perpetrators, or even by bringing lawsuits against them. And yet it seems that the most brilliant and outspoken critics of the biopharmacological model devote disproportional amount of their time and energy to this hopeless task.
At this point, with all the scientific evidence available to anyone who would bother to open the PubMed database of biomedical literature and enter search terms for, say, “antidepressants suicidality” or “olanzapine risperidone side effects maintenance therapy” (as I did while trying to figure out what the hell they were doing to my daughter)—with all this evidence, all the psychiatrists acting in good faith are already convinced. Those who continue business as usual will never be convinced by any rational arguments, for the same reason as Atlantic slave-traders would not be convinced by your rational arguments about race.
To hope that another book with a university press or Samizdat Health, another paper in a peer-reviewed journal, another piece in the Psychiatric Times will make a difference is like hoping to end slavery by preaching to slave traders about its inhumanity and celebrating John Newton not as a rare, extraordinary case, but as an indication that a systemic change is about to come—see, one of them already repented, more and more will follow, and as soon as they realize that they inflict suffering on their fellow humans, they will surely stop the abomination that they are perpetrating out of sheer ignorance.
While some hope to convert metaphorical slave-traders, others entertain an even more unrealistic hope that their talking to like-minded people on an Internet platform will have any effect on society.
Mad in America is doing a great service by providing high-quality information resources and a safe space for psychiatric victims, and it also has a great potential for launching a campaign for reform.
I beg everyone reading this: please do what you can to help realize this potential.
I am afraid that what I say next may hurt some people’s feelings, but I want to be frank about predictions of the MIA commenters that “the sun will shine” and “our voices will be safely heard” while psychiatry will “slide into the morass of self-inflicted irrelevancy.” As a historian—that is, someone studying social change for a living—I know that this is wishful thinking. Never in human history did a powerful institution, no matter how harmful and corrupt, slide into self-inflicted irrelevancy. Institutions like the current psychiatric system can only be toppled by a powerful social movement.
Without such a movement, the website making an impact is not Mad in America, but rather the Mental Illness Policy. No matter that its authors do not offer any evidence to support their wild claims and rely on the charlatans’ favorite phrase “studies show that …” without citing any studies. No matter that they confuse “effect” and “affect.” What does matter is that they address the right audience—not the psychiatrists, not the patients or patients’ advocates, but “policymakers + media.” They are busy lobbying, not arguing. And the likes of them keep winning.
We’ve been there many times. Remember the lawsuits against the Prozac manufacturer, alleging that it caused violence and suicide? Remember how two kinds of publications about Prozac appeared simultaneously: the ones about its many problems in medical journals, and those extolling “a new wonder drug” in the news media? Now, three decades later, we know who won this battle between scientists who published their research in the American Journal of Psychiatry and the New England Journal of Medicine and salesmen who successfully pitched their product to the Newsweek and the New York Times.
I make a desperate plea to the scientists and mental health practitioners critical of the current psychiatric system: if you want to make a change, forget about the Psychiatric Times and concentrate on the New York Times.
I am getting desperate, because I see a unique historic opportunity being missed.
A movement for psychiatric reform will never succeed on its own. There will never be a truly mass movement for the rights of mental patients, because it will never attract a sufficient number of the right kind of supporters. We need to find allies and to become part of a larger movement. The circumstances have never been more favorable than right now, when the race to the Covid vaccine created an unprecedented public interest in clinical trials, regulatory processes, and the workings of the pharmaceutical industry. The media have been never more willing to give voice to medical professionals.
Just think of the Great Barrington Declaration signed by epidemiologists critical of the lockdown policies. The declaration is, actually, rather shallow. The authors propose “to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally … while better protecting those who are at highest risk,” but do not explain how do achieve this in practice. They just say that a “list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented,” without describing either these measures, or the ways to implement them. Nonetheless, the declaration was widely discussed in all the major media outlets.
These same media outlets are currently writing something about the “mental health crisis” on every other page. A declaration of mental health professionals is guaranteed to attract widespread attention. For that matter, there are a lot of declarations by highly credentialed scientists critical of the current psychiatric system, but they are buried in the places, such as the Open Excellence Foundation or ISPS websites, where they will be seen only by those who already agree with them.
Right now, the problems with biopharmacological psychiatry can be presented in the context of the pandemic, the mental health crisis associated with it, and the failure of the major pharmaceutical companies—which is now already being forgotten, with all the talk about the “Pfizer” vaccine that in reality was, of course, invented by a small family-owned German company.
This is what I mean by missing a unique opportunity: seeing how public anger at the Big Pharma is already subsiding, as descriptions have switched from “BioNTech vaccine” to “BioNTech—Pfizer vaccine” to “Pfizer—BioNTech vaccine” to the now most widely used “Pfizer vaccine.” One window of opportunity to capitalize on the public backlash against the Big Pharma is already closing.
Another context for publicizing psychiatric drug woes is provided by the opioid epidemic, with clear parallels between the marketing strategies for Oxycontin and psychotropics. What if the leading journalists and policy-makers are approached by concerned scientists, who will remind them of all the “pain awareness” campaigns and promises of a safe and non-addictive “wonder drug”? What if they make an argument that a similar epidemic is currently in the making, with reports of street “abuse of antipsychotics, particularly second-generation antipsychotics” being largely ignored?
Yet another opportunity is provided by the Black Lives Matter movement. Anti-police-brutality protests exposed the cases when people in mental crisis were killed or abused by police. What if non-white psychiatric victims reach out to BLM and share their perspective on why giving more rights and resources to mental health services, without reforming them first, would not be a good solution?
The ample evidence that poor, uninsured, non-white—and Black in particular—patients are disproportionately targeted by all forms of psychiatric violence is available on this website, in the Psychrights materials and, again, in specialized publications, but nowhere else.
And what about student activism? What if we contact human-rights organizations at the home universities of psychiatrists who conducted unethical human experiments on their patients? What if we join forces with students protesting the undue influence of the wealthy donors on their schools?
For now, activists concentrate mostly on the likes of the Koch brothers who use their “philanthropic” donations to meddle with economics and climate science disciplines, but they seem to be natural allies in a fight against the pharma companies reigning over the medical and psychiatric departments.
A whole different field of opportunities is provided by movements such as Open Science and concerns about the replication crisis. This, and other trends within the academic community with great potential to advance the fight against the “pharmacological-psychiatric complex,” should be discussed separately, probably in a different blog post. What most concerns me now is that I see another great biopharmacological wave coming with the growth of the medicinal marijuana business, and possibly other herbal remedies.
For now, they are just cutting their teeth, but there is already one “psychedelic-medicine center,” “which develops hallucinogens to treat mental illness.” Imagine the market opportunities! In a couple of years, another “discovery” of the brain chemical imbalance causing mental illness and corrected by marijuana, or by whatever other drug turns out to be most profitable, will be on all the front pages, and it will be next to impossible to raise a voice of reason. It is still possible now. But to do this, it is imperative to move out of the cozy and obscure corners of the Internet into the wide world.
Therefore, I would like to conclude this post by addressing the readers who think that it may be worthwhile to give a try to the ideas for outreach sketched above, or who have their own ideas for campaigning and raising awareness of problems with psychiatry in society at large. Let’s get connected and start brainstorming and planning concrete actions. If you are interested, please feel free to email me at [email protected], or if you have a better idea for how to get connected, please post it in the comment section. I can’t wait to hear from you!
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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Yulia, I want to thank you for your article. You briefly mentioned your daughter, so I am assuming that you, like myself, are mothers/family members who have witnessed the abuse of power by psychiatry, the court system and pharmaceutical companies. I have been frustrated by the same issue; the failure to organize a coalition for monumental change to the psychiatric system. Each group, of which I follow many, has their own platform with most of the same followers. “Preaching to the choir” is not pulling us together to create change that is so desperately needed.
The biggest hurdles are funding, Pharma-backed media, changing the commitment and forced medication legal system, the sham courts, and the power of psychiatrists, to name just a few. It would be an uphill battle. These systems tend to make us feel powerless because I have learned that we can’t fight them alone. However, I believe we have plenty of professionals, psychiatric survivors, individuals still caught in the system, and family members, who could help if we unite. I will be emailing you.
Thank you for nice words about my blog and for formulating all the problems so precisely. Let’ try an least to raise awareness among the people without the first-hand experience. I sending the second group email tomorrow or the day after tomorrow at the latest.
Your outline of possible strategies for dealing with this crisis seems quite similar to the approaches CCHR (the organization I am affiliated with) is taking in its work. We must appreciate that a dedicated effort to dislodge these criminals from the social position they currently enjoy requires people, money and organizing.
Yet Mad In America, or at least many of its followers, is unhappy with CCHR and the group that funds it. And who do you think is stoking the fires of that conflict? The criminals, of course!
What you find if you look behind CCHR, probably the best funded and most effective anti-psychiatry organization on the planet currently, are actual technologies that inform and enable their work. We don’t make a big deal of all that; we want to appeal to a wide audience. But anyone who is serious about the details of the replace psychiatry process should get informed about this.
The police-psychiatry connection is quite valid. If you are a CCHR “insider” you know why! For one thing, both groups DO NOT have an effective technology for handling the problems they are tasked with handling (criminality and mental health) and so have gone into apathy about these problems. That makes it easy for criminals to take over and introduce positively destructive “solutions.” And that is what they have done. For crime, the “solution” of punishment has been the one of choice for hundreds of years. It doesn’t work! That same “solution” came to the field of mental health more recently (on this planet, anyway). The old sanitariums were moderately successful. But their failures eventually wore them down, and now psych hospitals and prisons look quite similar inside.
What CCHR has up its sleeve is better technologies. The group itself does not tout these; that’s not its purpose. But they ARE there! That’s one reason we are so determined to keep fighting, even as the power of the psych-pharma machine seems to be growing. What I would consider a real breakthrough for a site like this (it could be considered the intellectual arm of the movement) would be to open up to those suppressed technologies and begin to discuss them as the real possibilities that they are.
What is CCHR? Are these “technologies” you are talking about related to the church of scientology/ LRH?
Look it up! You better believe they are!
There are religiously based institutions in my country (and others) which do all kinds of work. For example, Christian missionary schools which provide education at low costs to students, Christian missionary hospitals that provide health services to people at low costs, Hindu organisations that do social work etc.
There are also Christian missionary hospitals for Psychiatry.
Scientology is a religion. Christianity is a religion. Social work from the former is frowned upon, but from the latter is praised (or at least people have a neutral perception). This is a double standard.
Unfortunately, the Scientology association with antipsychiatry has been so badly contorted and twisted by psychiatrists and psychiatric supporters, that even taking their help in the form of resources, though a person does not believe in their religion whatsoever, simply makes psychiatry stronger.
Unfortunately at this point, any association with such a group has become dangerous, only inciting defamation. But members of the public have to know about this double standard. They should be able to differentiate between actually believing in Scientology and simply using their resources without any belief in their religion (like Szasz).
Right now, any piece that is critical of psychiatry in mainstream publications simply garners comments like “This sounds like an article from Scientology” or “Scientologists are back at it again”, even if the authors of the articles (or whomever it is about) have no belief in Scientology whatsoever.
If organisations of other religions can provide funding for social work, so should Scientology be able to, no matter how ridiculous aspects of the religion itself are (which applies to other religions as well).
Psychiatry itself is a belief system, no wonder they would criticize other beliefs.
Although like many belief systems, psychiatry suffers from constantly having to defend it’s practices that stem from the beliefs. After a while, it’s not even belief….like many belief systems, it’s a matter of time until there are too many pointers to falsities and them comes adherence to it in a cult like fashion, or a few other options.
To many it seems rational to explain it with science and yet here we are, not even in infancy. I read that we are in “toddler stage of science”, which I find “cute”, since to know what stage of knowing we are at, we would have to know where the end is. And of course we don’t know the end LOL.
The sad thing is that “science” has been the biggest diverter of very real issues we deal with daily. And it’s making the issues so much worse.
And psychiatry sees this, knows this, yet dammit, they went to religion school for 8 years and are not about to lose their job and worth because after all, life is about being born, school, work, and retire until you die. To hell with what many ways they could truly make a difference.
There are some that say screw it, I’m sick of being part of the problem and try their utmost to be helpful.
Imagine if psychiatry said, we refuse to drug kids and we demand that governments help us out by creating school systems that deliver education in enjoyable ways.
It won’t sell. And it’s too huge of a project. It’s change in a fucked system. Easier
to keep it fucked up and add more fuckedness to the mess. And it’s always easy
to find fuckers willing to become part of the problem.
The whole dam mess comes about through seeing a problem as existing in the one flailing their arms.
The “toddler stage of science?” Is that where when someone contradicts your views, you hold your breath until you turn blue?
You gotta realize, though, that psychiatry reacts the way it does to Hubbard’s work because it poses a real threat to them. It demystifies the mind and mental phenomena for the masses and promises to teach anyone who wants to learn how to be a counselor. No more medical school or college degrees needed to help your fellow man! What he did could destroy all their plans.
Sorry, what is CCHR?
It is an organisation co-founded by Thomas Szasz (who wasn’t a Scientologist, but needed their financial resources) in conjunction with the Church of Scientology.
It is something that many here avoid any association with and we keep making it clear that we are not Scientologists (except one commenter here). Any association with the group can lead to instant defamation and bolster psychiatry.
Of course, I think this is a regrettable and incorrect viewpoint. For better or worse, I have no idea what the problem is, other than the fact that organized psychiatry doesn’t like my church and the feeling being mutual. For me, if you stand against my church you stand for psychiatry. To me, that logic makes more sense.
It is a group that works to stop psychiatric abuses that is supported by the Church of Scientology. CCHR = Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
Thanks for the well written article Yulia.
I do think that what looks like preaching to the choir is not just the choir.
I believe people research more and at least they see warnings.
I saw the comments by Jaffe, but Jaffe was annoying to shrinks too because
a lot of these yacky shrinks make really dumb statements and psychiatrists want
to remain quiet since most of their yacking is easily dismantled, except
in courts where judges and lawyers just want to get the annoying shrinks out of there.
The courts could care less if the shrinks are wrong. They are
not interested in trying to get between government and shrinks. Kids are easy pickins for
personality starved shrinks.
I’ll send my email to you.
There isn’t much of an ability to “not preach to the choir” because mental health forums and other media censor people who post anything that does not agree with psychiatry. One psych forum has a separate but equal section. Even posting links to studies showing bad results for the drugs must be done in the anti-psych section. That is one of the least censored forums.
True, I know of the forum you’re talking about (the one with an anti-psych section), though most of it is still typical psychiatry. I also know of another other psychiatric forum where people on psych-drugs congregate, neatly writing down their “diagnoses” in their signatures, and they have various sub-sections based on various labels. They are online mental hospitals.
I remember a sad thread from a guy on the anti-psych forum who tried to go onto some Richard Dawkins forum and criticised psychiatry, only to get drowned out and be “reminded”, “psychiatry is a science…blah..blah”.
The worst part is going against psychiatry, particularly if they have already labelled you, simply leads to name-calling, label throwing and gaslighting. You get treated like a misbehaving toddler who is to be put in check. Those labels are their weapons against you.
No psychiatrist will ever tell a potential client “Listen, I know you’re suffering, but if you take my help, I will label you with labels which could sentence you to a lifetime of gaslighting and unwarranted stigma”. Nope. I’ve seen some simply shamelessly defend their methods and roll their eyes at critics. In some cases they ask “Why go to psychiatry if you don’t like it?”. But unfortunately, by the time a person has started experiencing problems, there’s no way out.
“There isn’t much of an ability to ‘not preach to the choir’ because mental health forums and other media censor people who post anything that does not agree with psychiatry.”
Yes, Google and YouTube also totally take away the freedom of speech rights of those who have actually researched into the scientific fraud of the psychiatric industry, and try to share the truth about psychiatry’s pseudo scientific fraud.
But, then again, as of October 15, 2020, Google and YouTube seemingly took away the freedom of speech rights of anyone who attempts to speak the truth about almost any subject. Especially if they are US patriots, or Trump supporters. Instead of people who buy into the globalist NWO theology, and their communist Pharmakia agenda.
And the entire planet is now being threatened with the possibility of forced drugging, in the form of COVID-19 forced vaccines. So there are a lot of American truth seekers and speakers, who are now being awakened to the ethical improprieties of force drugging people, as the NWO proponents apparently seek to do, to the entire planet. You know, those same NWO proponents who want everyone muzzled with masks.
Gosh, and I was drugged up 19 years ago, for legitimate distress caused by 9/11/2001. And for knowing at that time, that the wrong financiers had taken over this planet.
But God, who told me that was the case back then, was seemingly correct. Murder all the God believers, is apparently the goal of the NWO proponents. Since the NWO proponents want all to worship themselves, rather than the real Creator of the universe.
Sorry, but I am not with you about the Covid vaccine. The trial results were published and critically examined by independent scientists, unlike trials for psychotropic drugs. Also, I don’t see how Twitter or, say, Fox News censor Trump and his supporters. We all have our political, religious, and other, views and beliefs, and we have agendas and interests other than mental health. However, I think that, if we want to achieve results in exposing problems with psychiatry, it would be more productive to concentrate on just this one area. If we start discussing all the world problems at once, I am afraid that it will be a lot of talk, but not much else.
This is very true. That’s why I suggest either a letter campaign or a collective letter with a lot of signatures (hopefully), or both, protesting this censorship. I think, such letters should be sent to the general, mainstream media after every publications related to mental health. At some point, after enough people do this, they will feel the pressure to start a more open conversation. Also, I would challenge the “biological-harmacalogical” forums to start a dialogue. They don’t care, but journalists may. What if MIA sends an invitation to, say, the Mental Illness Policy website to publish their views and to criticize the MIA posts on the MIA website in exchange for the MIA authors doing the same on the MIP website? Like some local newspapers still have a liberal and a conservative publishing their political comments on the same op-ed page. They probably will not agree, because they don’t have any real arguments. But what if MIA still sends such an invitation and CCs all the leading national media and all the leading health and science journalists? At least some journalists may get interested, and the MIP will have to explain why they reject the invitation. Or if they accept it, it will be a lot of fun to have a direct discussion with them.
Excellent points you bring up.
I have always felt that it should be much more public. And you are right, the reason this is not happening is because they have no solid case.
In private, they shame people and tell them they have anosognosia, or at least write it in their charts to leave something fancy and BAD sounding. All these charts are for, is to allow further abuse and dehumanizing by whoever the person comes into contact with.
Yet I doubt very much a round table with critics that was in debate with them would EVER be accused of “having” a “disorder” of “anosognosia.
They would not even be called “anti” or “radical”. Not if it was a real debate. Pointing out false claims and abuse is HARDLY radical lol.
Dialogues have been had with them. It needs to be in mainstream media and cannot be a comfortable dialogue.
Thank you for your text, Yulia. Raising awareness about the psychiatric abuse may put us in a very delicate situation, since most people still believe on psychiatric bias and discussions about the matter may bring gaslighting and difficult emotions to the surface.
Yes, this is very true. For me, it’s bringing difficult emotions back all the time, and I was not even a patient, just a family member. This is why we need allies – many psychiatric survivors are too traumatized to be efficient activists, and those who are nor traumatized often want to just move on with their lives and to forget the whole nightmare, which is very understandable.
(Institutional) Betrayal Blindness
We instinctually move to protect ourselves by blocking it out, rationalizing it away, or in some way keeping it from landing where we have to fully deal with it.
Kristen, this is so true, And this is at the root of so many social problems.
Removed for moderation.
Excellent blog Yulia.
Yes, we hear of many other forms of discrimination and abuse covered by mainstream media but the powers that be maintain a code of silence around the harm involving psychiatry. The public does not know or realize that what goes in psychiatry is a public health and safety threat and leads to serious situations of health inequality, suffering and early death.
I applaud you Yulia for speaking out and trying see what additional steps are possible to further expose the havoc wreaked by psychiatry. I will get in touch with you shortly by email.
Thank you, Rosalee. I am emailing back very soon.
Wonderful article, Yulia. A much-needed call for action.
Thank you, Enric.
Yulia: You sure are right about one thing. We can never wish away the Psychiatric System; it’s been around for a couple hundred years. You talk about the pro-psychiatric side being so successful in getting their message out. That’s because they have endless billions of dollars on their side and they spend a lot of it on propaganda in the Main Stream Media; which they own. Meanwhile the People in their anti-psychiatry groups, ( what few still exist ) have next to nothing for funds. And we have to fight drug company Trolls every step of the way just to get our message out.
But I have to disagree with one statement of yours. :
The circumstances have never been more favorable than right now, when the race to the Covid vaccine created an unprecedented public interest in clinical trials, regulatory processes, and the workings of the pharmaceutical industry. The media have been never more willing to give voice to medical professionals.
The Covid Plandemic is setting us back more than ever because lockdowns and masks keep us more divided than ever. And the coming vaccines are a vicious depopulation tool, ( if you have ever read United Nations Agenda 21 ). If the World had only listened to Dr. Paul Ehrlich ( author ” The Population Bomb ” ) 52 years ago; we wouldn’t even be in this mess right now. Instead, America chose to throw it all away.
The reason Psychiatry is so powerful is because all of healthcare was taken over by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1913 with the Flexner Report. He bought up all medical colleges and had doctors trained to push only Rockefeller drugs in their practice. This was all to make money for the Rockefellers. But the Supreme question to ask is ” Where the Hell was our government for the past 107 years ? ” The government of the USA : local, state, and federal was derelict of duty this whole time !!! How in the heck does this happen. I still don’t know the answer.
Another reason people are so ineffective in the fight against Psychiatry is that according to a cchr video I saw; there are 100 million victims of Psychiatry, World wide. After checking another source; I believe the closer estimate is more like one half billion people, worldwide, are psychiatric victims. Too many people are too damaged to fight. Psychiatry is the greatest crime in world history.
Yes, I’m certain COVID-19, and the fraud of the Federal Reserve system, which was initiated in 1913 by the globalist bankers, including the Rockefellers, are inextricably intertwined.
“Where the Hell was our government for the past 107 years? The government of the USA: local, state, and federal was derelict of duty this whole time!!! How in the heck does this happen?”
Too many of our government officials are apparently worshippers of the globalist bankers’ fraud based fiat monetary system. And those of us local government officials who weren’t, and actually worked to stand up for our local communities, we were defamed and drugged up by psychiatry long ago.
“Psychiatry is the greatest crime in world history.” Yes, psychiatrists were behind the Nazi holocaust, and the psychiatrists have been killing approximately “8 million” people every year, for decades.
That would amount to psychiatric murders of approximately 400,000,000 people over the past 50 years, which is close to your unnamed source of “one half billion people, worldwide, are psychiatric victims.”
Psychiatry, and all who – for greed and other nefarious, or ignorance or propaganda inspired reasons – believe in their DSM “bible” BS, truly are the “enemies within” our own countries. Who are actively working to destroy our countries, from within, for the globalist bankers.
I share your dislike of globalist elites and big bankers, but, as a historian, I don’t think that globalist bankers existed in 1913, when it was still the age of nationalism. I also strongly oppose single-cause explanations of historical processes – for example, when Marxists explain everything through class struggle, Foucault followers through power relations, postmodernists through “discourse” etc. Life is more complex than that.
The current psychiatric system is terrible, and this is a result of many convergent developments, and yes, corporate greed was and is a big factor. However, I don’t believe in “globalist bankers” as an explanation for everything that is wrong in the world.
Also, what you write about Covid pains me personally. This year was terrible for me. My father died from Covid, which he caught from his caretaker, a healthy, athletic woman in her early 50s. She almost died, and she still has 25% of her lungs affected. My sister caught it as well, and she was very sick. She recovered, but this was scary. They all live in Russia, and I don’t see what American reserve system has to do with them.
Pandemics happened throughout human history, regardless of financial systems.
I’m so sorry about the loss of your dad.
I think what many of us see is a future “pandemic” of even bigger “mental illness”, ALL due to covid. And yes it is happening already.
And it will affect the kids, the teens, who are falling victim to fear, to uncertainty, to the ads about “mental health”.
So we will all get our vacs and kids will get more labels and drugs=more disability, more jobs for disability keepers.
Also there is reason to be suspicious of pharma.
But this is not about covid. It is about psychiatry and I think it’s a good time to try to get the word out. We really need to get education to the younger population, especially in this time of missed jobs, interactions.
As i mentioned in a comment above, I suggest to concentrate just on one, limited and realistic, goal and not to get sucked into a discussion of all political, economic, and other problems. I do not necessarily agree with you on many accounts. I am puzzled by your claim, “Psychiatry is so powerful is because all of healthcare was taken over by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1913 with the Flexner Report.” What about other countries then? Soviet psychiatry was terrible, but surely Rockefeller had no influence in the Soviet Union. I do think that the Covid vaccine developments was rather transparent, with the media covering failed attempts, side effects etc. I do think that the whole story exposed the uselessness of big pharma companies that spend all their money on marketing and lobbying, nor research. That said, I don’t see why we cannot be allies in a struggle for holding psychiatrists accountable and at the same time agree to disagree on other issues.
It is of utmost importance to concentrate on one.
“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”― Lyndon B. Johnson
If you(the psychiatrist) can convince the lowest man he’s better than the best schizo/bipolar/whatever, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.
Looking down on the mental patient is enjoyed by all “normal” people, maybe the last prejudice.
Szasz video https://youtu.be/5xstBU83rbI?t=41
Removed for Moderation.
If you don’t believe that John D. Rockefeller took over the whole healthcare system in 1913; just look at Part 3 of this report. ( You can skip over the first 2 parts because they are only about the oil industry takeover. )
The fact is that the Rockefeller drug companies today are so powerful that they literally own the whole main stream media, the presidents, the Congress, the FDA, the USDA, our regulatory agencies, and you name it. I got out of the state mental hospital system for the first time in 1965 and even then no lawyer I went to was willing to sue them. The first lawyer told me that the State of Connecticut has to give permission for a victim to sue a State Mental Hospital which I did find and still find totally absurd. The Mental Health Professional Psychiatric Dope Pushers were shielded from all lawsuits then, 55 years ago and still are today; just like the vaccine pushers.
As far as Soviet Psychiatry goes; I remember a front page article in the San Francisco Chronicle where a Soviet dissident described ” The Horror of the Madhouse ” in 1977 at the time of the Helsinki Accords. Our ridiculous Cold War media said Leonid Plyusch was put on ” Soviet torture drugs ” : Triftazine and Haldol. When I learned that Triftazine was the Soviet word for Stelazine. I got a kick out of that. Haldol is manufactured right here in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania and Stelazine in Philadelphia, Penn.. So our Main Stream media was calling them torture drugs when used on Soviets; but calling them ” theraputic medications when used on United States Citizens. THE VERY SAME DRUGS !!! This is the kind of crap we are up against with our corrupt media in the USA. But getting to your question; Rockefeller Pharmaceutical drugs, including Psychiatric Drugs were exported all over the World; even if Rockefeller had no direct influence on the Soviet Union.
I know my 2 posts to you probably sound depressing but you ask us in the year 2020 to start a powerful movement as the only way to take down Psychiatry. I have been an activist with writings and speeches for 55 years against Psychiatry and I believe our anti-psychiatry movement has barely made a dent in the Psychiatric Empire. It’s been a long hard battle to make any progress in the war against Psychiatry.
I also remember this part of your post :
PubMed database of biomedical literature and enter search terms for, say, “antidepressants suicidality” or “olanzapine risperidone side effects maintenance therapy” (as I did while trying to figure out what the hell they were doing to my daughter)
The 2 drugs you mentioned are new generation major tranquilizers. All psychiatric drugs cause permanent brain damage. These 2 are a major cause of diabetes and olanzapine ( Zyprexa ) was the drug that led to a 1.4 billion dollar lawsuit against Eli Lilly drug company. For the best description of Eli Lilly; see the video made by John Rengen Virapen in Germany around 10 years ago.
Dear Someone Else:
Thank you for responding to my first post. I would like to say that even though the Federal Reserve Bank System was created in in 1913; from that year till the end of the 20th century the USA had the richest most powerful economy on Earth and our economy only took a nose dive in the 21st century. The existence of the Federal Reserve doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the John D. Rockefeller Jr. takeover of the whole medical establishment in 1913. Not only was the whole psychiatric mental health system a total fraud to this day but over 90% of all pharmaceutical drugs are worthless junk. I do believe a small percentage of pharma drugs are needed for vital hospital operations; but the Rockefeller system is pretty bad over all.
In reference to this statement of yours:
That would amount to psychiatric murders of approximately 400,000,000 people over the past 50 years, which is close to your unnamed source of “one half billion people, worldwide, are psychiatric victims.”
The unnamed source is me but I arrived at my estimate because an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in the mid seventies said that phenothiazines were used on over 250 million people in the first 20 years of use. Since we are 66 years downline from the beginning of phenothiazines and the number of drugs has jumped from 44 in 1966 to 174 in 2004; I think my estimate of 1/2 billion people might be an underestimate.
Dear Yulia, if I can be brutally honest (you’re Russian, you’re probably used to it) there’s one thing you ignore in your otherwise great article, something which will stifle any attempts to bring about change in psychiatry until it is confronted explicitly.
Let’s say tomorrow the whole world accepts the evidence that ‘mental illness’ is not a ‘chemical imbalance’, and that genetics or epigenetics play no substantial part in it, what next? If it is not a chemical imbalance, then what is it? Because although ‘mental illness’ may be a very questionable construct, there is something real there: the psychological distress is real. So we start doing some honest research and we soon start finding out that ‘mental illness’ is the result of ‘trauma’, in a wide sense of the word. And where there is trauma there must be an agent of trauma. And that is the real problem. It is fine if we can shift the blame on abstractions like ‘poverty’, ‘inequality’, ‘discrimination’, ‘racism’, etc. but that just won’t do – we need to get more specific to actually help people. And when we get specific we find out that the agents of trauma are for the most part the families and immediate communities (schools, etc.) of the ‘mentally ill’. And that family may turn out to be you – and nobody likes to find out we may be at least partially responsible for the distress of the ones we love.
And so psychiatry gets away with it because they fulfill an important social role: they tidy away the evidence of our own crimes, so we don’t have to face our own guilt. They sweep things under the carpet so we don’t have to be disturbed by the consequences of our own misdeeds. That’s why critics of psychiatry never get very far, because at some point the people following the argument with a degree of sympathy will start realizing, even if only intuitively, that the argument ends up pointing the finger at them, and that’s where the sympathy ends. If my son is mentally ill because he was born that way, I get the sympathy of the world; if my son is mentally ill because I made him that way through my own failings, well, that’s a very different story. Better for him to be locked up and silenced with drugs than for him to expose my own guilt to an unforgiving world.
We can’t make any progress until we look this in the face, and interventions that are genuinely effective like Open Dialogue address the fact that we are not dealing with mentally ill individuals, but with mentally ill families and communities and -ultimately- mentally ill societies.
You can’t start pulling the thread of psychiatry’s lies without a lot of other lies unravelling. It’s easy to get people to protest real or perceived police brutality because most people are not policemen. You may get people to protest against Big Pharma because most people do not work for Big Pharma (although probably more than you imagine do, directly or indirectly), but can you get people to protest against agents of psychological trauma when most of us are in fact agents of psychological trauma? We would be protesting against ourselves. Wasn’t Tolstoy who said that it is far easier to try to change the world than to try to change ourselves, or words to that effect?
This is not to say that I don’t think the work of people trying to expose the corruption of Big Pharma or fighting bad science with good science isn’t important. I think it is extremely important and often heroic. But it will not be enough if we don’t start looking at our own personal culpabilities. Ultimately, true change will not come about through science or politics, but through something that it is best expressed in the language of religion, through repentance and conversion.
“John Doe,” these are valuable insights! What study, may I ask, has led you to these conclusions?
As I acknowledge the existence of Spirit, I can point to “trauma” as a key factor in mental-emotional distress without blaming all the people around me for the rough situations that they have contributed to. We can always look into past lives and find trauma considerably more abusive – and more hidden – than most trauma we see inflicted on others today. And while the same mechanism you detail in your comment also results in the impulse to deny Spirit, it puts everyone on Earth on a more even footing, as the experiences that trouble most of us happened very long ago, and we could in no way point to anyone living today and pronounce, “that’s the guy who made me crazy!” This gives us a path forward, and that path is being followed. I just wish more were aware of it and willing to explore it with more sincerity and less suspicion!
The concept of “mental illness” was the most obvious and simplistic and completely false. The reason it flourished is a no brainer. Many a shrink would eventually have to come to that conclusion.
Thank you I e cox. I don’t think I can point you to any specific study; I was making a prediction, so to speak, of what studies would find if they started looking in the right direction. I can point you however to a few things that have shaped my own thinking:
– The writings of Olga Runciman in this site and the book ‘Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery’. That was my first ‘wait a minute here…’ moment.
– The Open Dialogue approach, on which see here: http://developingopendialogue.com/resources/
– Reading a bit about PTSD: the fact that you can make ‘healthy’ adult people (or rats) psychotic by subjecting them to extreme stress and trauma could be telling us something about the aetiology of psychosis? But I’m not a scientist, so I’m not educated enough to understand why this is a stupid idea.
– My own anecdotal evidence gathered while dealing with screwed-up people, including myself; not everybody is able to recall or speak of what may be their most formative (or I should say, deformative) traumas, but listening to people talking about their lives is still a good starting point. Apparently this is another stupid idea that can be dispelled with the correct training.
– The writings of Gregory Bateson, including but not limited to his ‘double bind’ theory. This theory (completely debunked by psychiatry, of course) is incomplete, but Bateson himself admitted that and never tried to pass it for what it was not. Still, it points in the right direction, I think.
– And finally, The General System Theory of Ludwig von Bertalanffy – this may seem a bit far out (although if you are a Scientologist nothing should be too far out for you) but it is an important part of the puzzle; it helps us understand that just as our mind is a system born out of the relationships between our neurons, the relationship between different minds (i.e. a group of interacting people, like a family) is also a system, and that in actual factual these two systems are one and the same system. In other words, the mind is not just an individual phenomenon and cannot be understood -or healed- in isolation from the wider systems it is part of. In practical terms this basically points to the Open Dialogue approach.
I would not want my last post to read like I’m advocating some kind of witch-hunt in which we try to find the abuser behind every mentally-ill person. That’s not it at all. We are all to some degree both victims and agents of trauma. The degree to which we may be ‘guilty’ is a religious question – it is for God, if He exists, to decide. But we can try to understand to what extent we may be responsible for someone else’s suffering, because if we are responsible for it, then we are also capable of undoing that harm. To find ourselves responsible for having harmed someone we love should be a joyous experience because with that awareness comes the power to contribute to that person’s healing.
It does trouble me however that new generations seem to be moving away from ideas of forgiveness and redemption towards an extremely hard view of a world divided between the ‘good people’, often defined for their having been victimized, and the ‘bad people’, to whom no form of forgiveness can be extended. Anyway, I’m off to catch some sun and look at some flowers and listen to the birds – it’s not good to think about the state of the world for too long.
Wow. I see you put considerable effort into working out an understanding of all this that made sense to you. I am not familiar with most of your sources, but there are obviously many well-intentioned thinkers out there who actually want to help people, and are arriving at ideas that are a lot more workable than traditional psychiatry or psychology.
I am personally very convinced that allowing Spirit into the discussion is extremely important. But in my experience many people have a cognitive block or unwillingness on this subject. Others like me introduce the subject indirectly using more pedestrian topics (like assisting someone to recover from an injury, or organize their business better) but I have decided to aim directly at the actual target of the subject, which many of us still call “mental illness.”
Yes, there’s a lot of good stuff out there. Which is one of the reasons I’m convinced the errors of psychiatry are not an honest mistake. Mental health is of course a complex subject, but it becomes a lot easier if you are not too busy trying to manipulate people into giving you as much of their money as possible.
I also think that the concept of spirit is fundamental to understand these issues (i.e. ourselves), but although most cultures grasp the idea of spirit intuitively it is hard to define it strictly in a way that fits with a scientific description of the world, so I think it is hard to introduce it in conversations when different people mean very different things by it. I think concepts derived from the General System Theory are the bridge between concepts like spirit and empirical concepts like indeterminacy or entropy, but it is a tricky area.