The BBC, Harrow, and a Public Left in the Dark

Robert Whitaker
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On February 18, BBC World aired a 26-minute broadcast on “drug-free treatment” in Norway, and while it was encouraging to see that initiative get this attention, the broadcast, in the way it handled the story, was also a source of disappointment: couldn’t the media, I wondered, ever challenge the conventional wisdom regarding the merits of antipsychotics? Just once?

Then, two days later, I read the latest publication by Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe on their findings from their long-term study of psychotic patients, which once more powerfully told of the negative long-term impact of antipsychotics, and I thought, couldn’t the mainstream media, just once, report on their study? Was that too much to ask?

First, the BBC report.

The opening eight minutes of the broadcast explored the political origins of the Norwegian effort and told of the drug-free unit in Tromsø, led by Magnus Hald. The final five minutes told of basal exposure therapy, a practice at a hospital near Oslo that has proven successful in helping chronic patients reduce their use of psychiatric medications, or withdraw altogether. Those two parts of the broadcast were fine, and well done.

However, in between those two segments, the BBC devoted 13 minutes to critics of the drug-free initiative, and this is where the broadcast, in terms of serving the public, failed miserably. The BBC gave air time to critics in the spirit of “let’s give both sides equal time,” but in the process they let the critics reframe the initiative for listeners as one that was likely to harm patients, without pushing back on the critics’ assertions.

Here is what the listeners heard during this 13-minute interlude:

  1. You can’t treat psychotic patients without drugs, and Kingsley Hall is proof of that.

First, Norwegian psychiatrist Jan Ivar Rossberg said there was no record in the research literature of any non-drug therapy that had ever proven effective for psychotic patients. He pointed to the Kingsley Hall experiment led by R.D. Laing in the 1960s as an example of that failure. In that instance, the BBC explained, “antipsychotics were out, LSD was in. Patients were encouraged to regress to childhood. They called this methodology antipsychiatry.”

The BBC reporter then concluded that “other attempts to tackle psychosis using talking therapies alone similarly failed.” For Rossberg, the BBC added, this “movement for drug-free treatment is based on an ideology rather than on the evidence.”

2) Antipsychotics are a life-saver for many people.

After informing listeners that non-drug therapies for psychotic patients had always failed, the BBC then reminded viewers that antipsychotics were a life-saver for many. The broadcast then featured an interview with a patient who, after trying to stay well without the drugs, had gone back on antipsychotics and now she was living a much better life.

3) People diagnosed with a psychotic disorder who won’t take antipsychotics are often homeless.

Norwegian psychiatrist Tor Larsen then told of the horrors of “untreated psychosis.” Fifty percent of the homeless population living under bridges were said to be suffering in this way because they didn’t take their antipsychotic medication. The homeless “actually have no food and no treatment for infections,” and so sometimes died, Larsen said.

4) And those who don’t take antipsychotics often commit crimes, including homicide.

Larsen told the BBC that perhaps 30% of those with “untreated psychosis” commit crimes, and on rare occasions, this leads to homicide. The broadcast then discussed why this threat to public safety was a reason that some patients needed to be forcibly treated, and spent time detailing the story of a psychotic man who had gone off his medication and killed a man with an axe.

Such was the criticism of Norway’s drug-free initiative. Rossberg and Larsen told a story that psychiatry, as an institution, regularly repeats to the media. Antipsychotics are an effective treatment for psychotic disorders, and people so diagnosed who don’t take these medications fare poorly and are a threat to public safety. With that framework from the critics, the BBC broadcast in essence presented this initiative, as well-meaning as it might be, as one that lacked scientific support, was likely to fail (if the past was any guide), and could lead to “untreated” patients who would become homeless and commit crimes.

And here was the frustrating part for me: I had spoken to the BBC reporter months earlier, and urged her to tell of the science that supported this initiative.

The Missing Pushback 

The BBC journalist who narrated the broadcast, Lucy Proctor, had contacted me in November. She said that she had read the MIA Report that I had written on Norway’s drug-free initiative in 2017, and that BBC now was looking to do a story on it. We spoke via Skype, and in that call, among other things, I emphasized that the drug-free effort was an evidence-based initiative. I had made this same argument in the MIA Report that Proctor had read.

Although Rossberg may have told the BBC that there was no record of a therapeutic approach that had been successful in treating psychotic patients without the use of antipsychotics, the success of Open Dialogue, as it was practiced in Tornio, Finland for more than 20 years, provides such a record. As Jaakko Seikkula and colleagues have reported, newly diagnosed psychotic patients were not immediately put on antipsychotics in their Open Dialogue practice, and such medication was offered only if the patients failed to improve over the next few weeks. At the end of five years, 71% of their patients had never been exposed to the drugs, and only 20% used them regularly. And here were their outcomes: 82% of the patients were asymptomatic, and 86% were working or in school. Only 14% were on government disability. Their outcomes were far superior to the outcomes for first-episode patients treated conventionally with antipsychotics.

Second, as I told Proctor, there is the research by Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe to consider. They tracked the outcomes of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders for more than two decades, and found that recovery rates for those off medication were significantly higher. The “medication compliant” patients who stayed on the drugs were much more likely to remain psychotic and to remain functionally impaired. (See here for an in-depth review of their research.)

Basal Exposure Therapy provides a third reason to support antipsychotic tapering efforts, which is part of the Norwegian initiative. Published research tells of how it helped chronic patients taper from their medications, or to get off the drugs altogether, and how this led to dramatically improved lives for many.

Now—and this is what I tried to emphasize when I spoke to Lucy Proctor in November—when you consider this body of research, the Norwegian initiative should be described as a much broader effort to “rethink” the use of antipsychotics. There is evidence that minimizing initial exposure to antipsychotics and limiting their long-term use will increase the likelihood that psychotic patients will recover and do fairly well over the long-term.

My hope was that armed with this information, Proctor would push back on Rossberg and Larsen when she interviewed them. I had tangled with Rossberg in a debate in Oslo, and I knew what his criticisms would be.

Yet, and this is what I found disheartening, that pushback is missing from the broadcast. Rossberg and Larsen, who were presented as prominent psychiatrists in Norway, put forward the usual spiel about antipsychotics and the horrors of “untreated” psychosis, and in that way claimed the mantle of science for BBC listeners. As such, the BBC broadcast, even as it reported on this radical “experiment—and did so with thoughtful interviews of Magnus Hald and several leaders of user groups—ultimately served to reinforce conventional societal beliefs.

This is something you see over and over again when mainstream media report on alternative approaches to treating patients diagnosed with a “serious mental illness.” Nearly always there comes a moment when the publication takes care to reassure readers that the drugs are mostly “helpful,” and neglects to mention research that would point to a different conclusion.

Harrow’s Latest Paper

I probably wouldn’t have been moved to write this blog if it weren’t for the fact that two days after the BBC broadcast, I read the latest published paper by Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe. It was the juxtaposition of the two that so tells of media coverage that leaves the public misinformed and in the dark about the long-term effects of antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs.

The research by Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe is, I believe, the most important psychiatric research that has been conducted in the past 65 years. The reason is that it completely belies the conventional narrative that has animated psychiatric care since chlorpromazine, marketed as Thorazine, was introduced into asylum medicine in 1955. That drug, or so the narrative goes, made it possible to empty the asylums. Chlorpromazine is remembered as the first antipsychotic, a name that tells of how it was a specific antidote to psychosis, and it is said to have kicked off a “psychopharmacological revolution.” This is the very class of drugs that sits at the center of that narrative of progress.

Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe began their study, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, in the late 1970s. They enrolled 200 psychotic patients who had been treated conventionally in a mental hospital with antipsychotics and simply began periodically assessing how they were doing, and whether they were taking antipsychotic medication. In 2007, they reported that the long-term recovery rate for schizophrenia patients off antipsychotic medication was eight times higher than for those on the medication (40% versus 5%).

While this was a stunning finding, Harrow and Jobe offered an explanation for the divergence in outcomes that spared the drugs any blame. They wrote that it was those with a better initial prognosis who were more likely to stop taking their medication, and that could be the reason for the better outcomes for the off-med group.

However, since then, Harrow and Jobe have conducted further analyses of their data and regularly updated their findings, and as they have done so, that drug-saving excuse has gradually been put to rest. Specifically:

  • They reported that in every subgroup of patients, outcomes were much better for those off medication. Schizophrenia patients with a “good prognosis” at baseline who stopped taking antipsychotic medication fared better over the long term than those with a good prognosis who stayed on the drugs. The same was true for schizophrenia patients with a “bad prognosis” at baseline; those who got off medication fared better over the long-term. And it was true for patients diagnosed with milder psychotic disorders—the off-med group had markedly better outcomes.
  • The better outcomes for the off-med patients emerged after patients went off their antipsychotic medication. At the two-year follow-up, there was little difference between those who were medication compliant and those who had stopped taking the drugs. However, over the next 2.5 years their outcomes dramatically diverged. The off-med group notably improved over that period, while the medicated group failed to do so. It wasn’t that patients in the “unmedicated” group had gotten better on the drugs and then stayed well after coming off; it was that they didn’t improve until they stopped taking the medication.
  • The difference in outcomes that appeared at the 4.5-year follow-up remained throughout the study. At every subsequent follow-up, those using antipsychotic medication, on the whole, were more likely to be actively psychotic, anxious and functionally impaired.
  • Given these results, Harrow and Jobe began writing about why the drugs might worsen long-term outcomes. One possible reason, they wrote, was that antipsychotics could induce a dopamine supersensitivity that made patients more biologically vulnerable to psychosis than they otherwise would be in the natural course of the illness.

These findings, from the best long-term study of psychotic patients that has been conducted since the arrival of chlorpromazine in asylum medicine, set the conventional narrative on its head. Antipsychotics, rather than serve as an antidote to psychosis, may worsen those symptoms over the long term, and, more broadly, worsen the long-term course of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

In their recently published paper in Psychological Medicine, Harrow and Jobe did a careful analysis of any confounding factors that could account for the divergence in outcomes for the medicated and unmedicated patients. By doing so, they were focusing squarely on the usual excuse still given by defenders of psychiatry that those who went off their medication were less ill from the start. Here’s what they concluded:

“Our current study here shows that regardless of diagnosis (schizophrenia and affective psychosis), participants not prescribed antipsychotic medication are more likely to experience more episodes of recovery, increased GAF scores [which measure functioning], and are less likely to be rehospitalized. Further, participants not on antipsychotic medication were approximately six times more likely to recover than participants on medication, regardless of diagnosis status, prognostic index, race, sex, age, education, and other factors.”

In short, they isolated medication use as the variable that accounted for the poor long-term outcomes for those who stayed on the drugs. They also discussed six other studies published in the past decade that lend support to their findings. Here are the studies they cited and their description of the results:

  • Wunderink (2013): At the end of seven years, patients randomized to a dose reduction/discontinuation treatment plan, compared to antipsychotic treatment as usual, were “significantly better in terms of social functioning, vocational functioning, self-care, relationships with others, and over all community integration.”
  • Molainen (2013): In a 10-year follow-up of psychotic patients who were born in 1966, 63% of those who were not prescribed antipsychotic medication were in remission compared to 20% of those who were prescribed the drugs.
  • Morgan (2014): In the AESOP-10 study in the UK, remission rates remained higher in the last two years of the study for those off medication compared to those who stayed on the drugs.
  • Kotov (2017): in this large, “well-documented longitudinal study,” antipsychotic use was associated “with lower overall functioning as measured by a decrease in GAF scores, inexpressivity ratings, and apathy-asociality ratings overall.”
  • Wils (2017): The Danish Opus trial found that “a larger percentage of patients on antipsychotic medication were doing poorly compared to participants not on antipsychotics. Approximately 75% of the 120 participants off meds at the 10-year follower up were doing well and in remission.

This, of course, is information that the public would like to know. It should be part of any informed consent process for prescribing the drugs, and one might think that major newspapers and magazines would be eager to report results from a long-term study, one funded by the NIMH and the best of its kind ever done, that so completely belies the conventional narrative and hints of harm done on a grand scale.

Yet, if you search for “Martin Harrow” in the search function of the New York Times, here is what you will discover: In 1967, he “won first prize” in the New England Open chess tournament in Boston. Dig at little more into this aspect of his life, and you will find that he twice drew with Bobby Fischer in chess tournaments.

And here is what you won’t find: any mention of his and Thomas Jobe’s research.

Antipsychiatry

After I finished reading Harrow’s latest paper, I had this thought: if the public wants to know why there is an “antipsychiatry” movement, they could review the BBC broadcast and the findings in Harrow’s latest paper. Rossberg knew of Harrow’s research. He knew of the Opus trial. He knew of the superior outcomes in northern Finland with Open Dialogue practices that minimized use of psychiatric drugs. Yet he chose to tell the world via the BBC that there was no evidence that psychotic patients could be treated without drugs.

And then the public could turn to Harrow’s study and see what they weren’t being told. They would learn that, over the long-term, psychotic patients off antipsychotic medication were six times more likely to recover than those who were medication compliant, and that a number of other studies had produced similar results of better outcomes for unmedicated patients.

Six times more likely to recover.

Those were the words that would stick, and for many, they would be words that would break their hearts.

***

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.

73 COMMENTS

  1. The evidence continues to increase that psychosis is driven by brain inflammation. There is also an expanding literature on the anti-inflammatory impact of dopamine. So the mechanism for the negative impact of antipsychotics is becoming clearer. Citations can be found at my latest blog at littrellsneuroscienceofwellbeing.org

    AS always a great article. Thanks so much

      • Pretending psychosis isn’t a real phenomena does nothing to advance better care for those who experience extreme states and who aren’t being served well by the current paradigm of psychiatric drug “treatment”.

        You do not have experience with central nervous system infection. I mean this in the kindest way possible, you do not speak for me, Oldhead. I wouldn’t wish late stage Lyme disease on my worst enemy. The 2016 APA yearly conference included a presentation on neuropsychiatric Lyme disease – stating that there are no known treatments for Lyme once it infects the nervous system and asking for the establishment of psychotropic drug protocols to “treat” the symptoms of this very physical illness, which includes rage attacks, derealization, hallucinations, delusions, dissociation, paranoia, depression, anxiety.

        Please, if you want to be taken seriously, stop erasing the experiences of people you want to call allies. I have a systemic illness. It’s as real as the experiences of those with late stage syphillis. I, and the millions of people like me, deserve to have our illnesses taken seriously by the medical system and by medical researchers so that we can have some hope of a cure or actual treatment that addresses the illness instead of psychiatric treatment as usual.

        There is ample evidence that what is called “mental illness” is the psychological manifestation of impaired physical condition, whether that’s a temporary effect of drugs and alcohol, as appeared to be your case, or the long term effects of trauma, stress, malnutrition, infection, etc as it is for so many others. Being antipsychiatry is reasonable considering psychiatry doesn’t even attempt to do anything other than manipulate the brain. It is fatally reductionistic. But repeating over and over that nothing is wrong just because there was nothing wrong with you, does harm to those of us who desperately want to feel better and for whom the absence of psychotropic drug “treatment” is only the first step to recovery.

        • There is ample evidence that what is called “mental illness” is the psychological manifestation of impaired physical condition

          If one’s state of mind is the result of brain disease or injury it is not “mental” illness, it is physical illness. Since “mental illness” is used to describe anything and everything deemed problematic, physical illness is certainly ONE thing it is used to describe. Among a myriad of other circumstances that have NOTHING to do with brain damage. “Psychosis” is considered a form of “mental illness,” hence just as meaningless as a way of describing “extreme states.”

          But repeating over and over that nothing is wrong just because there was nothing wrong with you, does harm to those of us who desperately want to feel better

          When have I EVER told anyone “nothing is wrong”? Or that anti-psychiatry is based on such an assumption?

    • @Jill while brain inflammation can be caused by a number of factors – toxic use of herbicides, pesticides and industrial waste, poor (SAD) diet, sedentary practices, poor sleep hygiene, and recreational drug use –

      Your bio bio bio explanation completely overlooks the trauma that I have seen consistently in every “delusional” person I’ve known.

      Why hasn’t this “brain inflammation” showed up in the multitude of MRI studies that psychiatrists have run in order to “prove” the bio basis of “schizophrenia”?

      Inflammation – systemic and specific – is a cause of a multitude of problems. Heart disease, even cancers, and the many degnerative and autoimmune disorders. The more I learn about carbs and carb restriction, a lot of the inflammation can be reduced via diet and exercise, and even prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimers, and even MS. (Ref: Dr. Nadir Ali).

      But this overlooks the role of trauma on the mind, and how it causes adaptive and maladaptive states and behaviours which make it a challenge for these people in emergency to cope in modern society. And a bio bio bio explanation just tells them they are broken. When someone is in a state of emergency, it is difficult to tell them to “cut carbs” or go on an autoimmune or GAPS diet to reduce inflammation. (so much easier to get out the prescription pad, which just aggravates inflammation, if that is indeed a factor.)

      At this time, they need to be kept safe and listened to, and trusted, and believed, in order to build a bridge between the inner state and the outer one.

  2. Thank you, Bob, as always for your measured and thoughtful response to the issues. It is truly mind-boggling how MSM continues to pound away at the medication-is-the answer, despite mountains of evidence in the opposite direction. I will read the Harrow and Jobe study with interest. I have a few family members who carry a “schizophrenia” diagnosis and two of them are nearly completely disabled; the other cousin died a couple of years ago in a very debilitated state. The Irish have a saying that a thin veil separates this world and the next, and I think of that with the mainstream mantra of “drugs are the answer” in opposition to all of the books and research I’ve read. It’s a thin veil…..and how do we break through? I keep hoping, and I know MIA is part of that work. Keep up your wonderful writing and advocacy. Onward!

  3. couldn’t the media, I wondered, ever challenge the conventional wisdom regarding the merits of antipsychotics? Just once?

    Why one would hope for this is the actual question.

    It is not “extremist” to understand that the purpose of the media is NOT to “inform,” any more than the purpose of psychiatry is to “help people.” One who clings to these illusions will constantly be disappointed and “appalled.” This is reminiscent of the (inaccurate) trope that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results.”

    As long as we judge our own credibility and plan our actions based on the approval of the corporate media (or the sub-corporate media) we will be throwing wrenches into our own works. This constant expectation that some miracle reporter will magically “break the story” about psychiatry if we just “approach” him or her the “right” way is one of the most self-defeating fantasies anti-psychiatry people could possibly harbor.

    We must accumulate grassroots power — enough to threaten the system — before the system’s media will pay any attention at all, and then it will be for the purpose of spreading disinformation about us.

    The purpose of psychiatry is to control thought and behavior which threatens the smooth functioning of the system. The corporate neoliberal media is charged with the same. Why would anyone expect them to operate at cross-purposes?

    • This is something that keeps puzzling me.

      I think it is a way for some ‘critics’ (not citing any names) to criticize the system on a sofa.
      Either by weakness or self interest, its a way to gain both the moral comfort AND the institutional comfort, by both pointing at the flaws of a system but still acting as if it was a respectable capable agent.
      Nice verbal flourishes about the wound, but shying away from the blood and the chaos of any upheaval.

      I have a special scorn for the tepid sofa ‘critic’ (not citing any name, RW not included of course).

      • Exit: Please forgive me, but, I doubt if there are very few “sofa critics” here. Those who do criticize the “psychiatric industry” while “sitting on a sofa” have probably been gravely harmed by these psych drugs and associated therapizing. As many have already experienced intense upheaval in their lives due to their experiences with the “psych industry” and other experiences, I, sincerely, doubt they are “shying away from the blood.” Most have already had blood drawn on behalf of this psychiatric evil. There may be disagreements amongst survivors about specific labels, etc. or handle the immense, every growing danger. And, since each day, it becomes more and more “a clear and present danger” to America and all the free world, it definitely behooves us to hear each person out and respect each person for what they need to say. We need the voice of each and every person’s experience of horror within this evil psychiatric system that seems without remorse to upend lives daily. Thank you.

        • I was not thinking about survivors. I was thinking about critics in the systems.
          A lot of ‘clerical’ critics, like psychiatrists for example, for all their theoretical repudiation of the ogre, seem unable to relinquish some parts of it.
          I find people walking the light path in the shadows of self-interests deeply irritating.

          I am a survivor and my life has been severerely impaired by psychiatry. I am one of the destroyed children.
          So, be sure, that belittling survivors NEVER crossed my mind. I was not refering to them.

          • Exit: I apologize if I misunderstood your reference. I guess to me it just seemed to appear as another haughty know it all comment; but now, I see the comment is actually about alleged professionals in the field. When, I reread your first comment, I picture someone who might be a psychiatrist or etc. sitting on a couch, complaining how bad psychiatry, the system, the drugs, etc. are but calling in a prescription to the local drug store for his or her client/patient—knowing full well how the drug is damaging the person more than the alleged false illness ever could. Did I get it right this time? The psychiatrists, etc. never valued my imagination except as fodder for diagnosis and drug, etc. treatments. Thank you.

        • Yeah Rebel, I think you misinterpreted Exit’s comments, though they might have been stated in a slightly confusing manner.

          What Exit is speaking of is what is often called “critical psychiatry” — primarily espoused by people who aspire to careers within the “mental health”/social services industry yet are aware of many of the contradictions inherent in such. Rather than acknowledge that the entire psychiatric narrative has been terminally flawed since day one — which is the position of the anti-psychiatry movement — “critical psychiatry” adherents dance around this obvious and inconvenient conclusion. There aren’t many anti-psychiatry jobs available, after all.

    • I think you’re confusing the greater “we” and “our” with Bob Whitaker who isn’t a part of “us” when it comes to survivors actions or rights. I read his wish in the spirit of a journalist protesting against “his” beloved, yet clearly corrupt, mainstream media. “We” as survivors have different interests and goals by necessity. But as long as “we” pretend “It” doesn’t exist, “we” are going to continue to argue amongst ourselves and make little traction in either eradicating psychiatric “treatment” or in improving the medical care of those who need and deserve it. A grassroots response must be able to acknowledge all forms of suffering in order to respond appropriately to each case. Some are medical, some are psychosocial, some small amount are unfortunately due to genetic causes. The real tragedy here is the inability to acknowledge the diversity of experiences and causes of suffering. The DSM labels are as harmful as claiming there is nothing wrong with anyone. There aren’t going to be easy answers. “We” need more than catchy sound bites and anger.

      • I think Bob W. is sincerely interested in exposing psychiatry, though not necessarily with the intent of abolishing it, something he publicly disavows.

        So before this is once again misinterpreted as some sort of attack on RW — while RW’s plaintive wishing for the corporate media to “get things right” opened the door for my comment, this is a CONSTANT error that the movement has been making for DECADES. The corporate media will NEVER expose psychiatry for what it is, and those who insist on hoping for such are free to bash their heads against the wall.

        However, RW is approaching this the RIGHT way — by starting his own media, i.e. MIA. Which is what the AP movement needs to do, and is beginning to do. (Inquire within.)

        • oldhead, I agree with you in that Robert Whittaker is sincerely interested in exposing psychiatry. This is definitely evidenced by the books he has written, “Mad in America” and “Anatomy of an Epidemic.” He has also written and posted some excellent articles that I have found quite helpful, most recently, an article on T.D. Brain Damage. His Book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic” that I discovered in a local library, along with another book, made me reconsider why I was taking all these little pills. Of course, this was two years after my actual breakdown from taking all these little pills for, maybe twenty years or more. By the time, I did read his book, my body and brain was on its last rejection of all these little pills and at the time, I deliberately walked away from these evil psych world. To me, Robert Whittaker and his books and another book, too are almost like messengers from Heaven that saved my life. Thank you.

          • Many people feel this way. Now that the original Madness Network News archives are available online, some might see how RW could be seen as representing the “new generation” of psych drug debunkers — check the similarities between RW’s work and the MNN drug articles by “Dr. Caligari,” who was a Bay Area psychiatrist. (Maybe still is.)

  4. Thank You Bob,

    Drink, Drugs, People and Violence

    At least 50% of all Violent Crime is conducted by People while under the influence of Alcohol or Drugs.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol-related_crime

    Most people that successfully overcome serious drink and drug problems do so through Independent Selfsupporting Fellowships.

    These (Non Medical) Fellowships (for those who attend regularly) – have a near enough 100% success rate.

    (I believe Open Dialogue might have taken its original guidance from these groups).

  5. Very good reporting! Though my understanding of what governs the broadcast and the mainstream when the work MAD is realizing is more akin to the fresh, spring waters where the pro out weighs the anti-. From a marketing perspective, to be anti- anything is difficult when what I am and have been asking for is justice. Too, while you cite the studies, where are the studies, that we as patients have exercised, been willing and unwillilng subjects to the requirements of the systems of care only to emerge from this nightmare that is referred to as treatment? Just because we have not published in scholarly journals or realized the careers along the mainstream, does not devalue our struggle; rather we are being called to rise up! To create our groove. To add to the music! The comments along with the insightful articles are strenghtning my heart and hopefully the beat, not to mention that the Heart as artificact was crafted at the Artkansas Arts Center between completing the graduate degree and the committment to the Arkansas State Hospital under the Governor, Bill Clinton.

  6. “Chlorpromazine is remembered as the first antipsychotic, a name that tells of how it was a specific antidote to psychosis.” But the reality is that every doctor is taught in med school that both the antidepressants and the antipsychotics can CREATE “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

    A medically known way to poison a person, that is inexplicably missing from the psychiatrists’ DSM “bible.”

    But this, in part, explains why “those using antipsychotic medication, on the whole, were more likely to be actively psychotic, anxious and functionally impaired.”

    “Antipsychotics, rather than serve as an antidote to psychosis, may worsen those symptoms over the long term, and, more broadly, worsen the long-term course of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.”

    Indeed, they can CREATE “psychosis” in the short term, via anticholinergic toxidrome; and CREATE “psychosis,” in the long term, or during a drug withdrawal induced, “super sensitivity manic psychosis,” as well.

    “Six times more likely to recover.

    “Those were the words that would stick, and for many, they would be words that would break their hearts.” Heartbreaking, indeed.

    Especially, when people learn that we are currently living through – by far – the largest psychiatric holocaust in recorded history. Given the fact, that “8 million” innocent people (mostly child abuse survivors, NOT “dangerous” criminals, as the psychiatric industry routinely defames their clients) are being killed – EVERY year – with the “invalid” DSM disorders, and the neurotoxic psychiatric drugs.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2015/mortality-and-mental-disorders.shtml
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    Thank you, as always, Mr. Whitaker, for your truth telling.

  7. I think we have this fantasy idea that the mainstream press/media will suddenly open up and like a chasm in the earth from a meteor will deliver us the truth and all will be well. Perhaps, this goes back to the “Watergate Days.” But, as oldhead said, it’s time to give up this fantasy once and for all. Much of mainstream media/press is bought and paid for by “Big Pharma,” I think, including the BBC. The real truth almost always comes from those who have lived it. Of course, even so, others may not believe it. As for me, I never had anything near psychosis until being introduced to anti-psychotic drugs. How ironically and tragically both logical and illogical that very probably the main cause of “psychosis” may well be what they say is supposed to inhibit “psychosis” the “anti-psychotic” drugs. Could it be…? Thank you.

    • Except the word “psychosis” should be completely eschewed as it falsely imbues the subject with a scientific quality. Though putting it in quotes is second best I guess. All sorts of things are called “psychosis,” it’s a way of connoting an understanding that doesn’t in fact exist.

  8. I know it’s false to claim that only drugs are effective for psychosis, having personally known two people who had psychotic breakdowns , never took drugs and are now doing fine (employed, married, children, friends). One for 20 years, the other for about 8 years. So why does the press ignore studies that show this can happen? Because the press generally reports mainstream points of view, not only in the field of psychiatry but in other health fields as well. Reporters are often not experts in the areas they cover. They’re frequently weak in statistics and interpretation of clinical. trials. They’re also afraid to counter mainstream thinking and established “experts,” fearing they might do harm. I don’t see this changing any time soon.

  9. Thanks Robert.
    I am not surprised at all. But I think it’s enough to make at least some of the public say “hey wait a minute. If psychiatry is so great, why are there these options?” And “why was Norway basically ordered to have a choice?”
    You went out of your way to try and make sure that the reasons for, would be honest and fairly imparted to the public, but that would take 20 seasons of weekly programs and not run by “psychiatrists”.

  10. After two draws in chess with Bobby Fischer, Martin Harrow encountered his most formidable opponent: The Pharmaceutical Industry.

    Harrow and Thomas Jobe MD have prevailed.

    Thank you Robert Whitaker.

    My half-sister who received a B.A. in painting, and bicycled across the U.S. in the 1970’s while living independently, was put on anti psychotics over 30 years ago. For decades she has had severe tardive dyskinesia, resides in a half-way house, and is perceived as a crazy person. Imagine that trauma. That’s what the antipsychotics did to her.

    Checkmate.

  11. As always Robert the investigations and reporting you do to educate the public and save lives is extraordinary. It is very concerning how mainstream media is even more narrow minded and biased these days. Psychiatry and their ties with big pharma have a stranglehold on the media making it a real uphill battle to find the truth and try to get truth out to the public.
    Thanks for all your meticulous work and efforts.

  12. Superb article! It reminds me of the time a writer for the local paper interviewed me for an article she was writing about the Riese court decision, which affirmed the right of short-term psychiatric inmates in California to give informed consent or refusal to psychiatric drugs. In the course of our conversation, i gave her the names of three psychiatrists and one neurologist, all of whom happened to live in Berkeley (where the article was appearing), and all of whom were very critical of the harmful effects of psychiatric drugs. When her article was published, it said there was universal support among psychiatric professionals regarding the benefits of psychiatric medication. Luckily the paper was willing to print my long rebuttal to all the false statements in the article, but, sadly, my rebuttal appeared on the same day that Eleanor Riese died, apparently from the effects of prior longterm forced medication with psychiatric drugs. (Her brave fight for the right of psychiatric inmates to make their own drug decisions was made into a major motion picture called “55 Steps.” I believe it can still be viewed on Amazon and other online sites.)

    What is so bizarre about all these news stories that claim that if people who are psychiatrically-labelled don’t take their medication they will commit acts of violence, is that it’s actually the people who are taking psychiatric drugs are much more likely to commit acts of violence. I believe Dr. Peter Breggin has written about this. In virtually every incident of mass shooting in the U.S., it was later found that the shooter was taking psychiatric drugs, some of which carry specific warnings about increased risk of suicide and homicide.

    This is the first time i’ve heard the claim that R.D. Laing’s Kingsley Hall was a failure. The reporter seems to feel that just by mentioning the word LSD that fact is a foregone conclusion. I always thought it was a wonderful success story, as did my friend Terri Masson, who visited Kingsley Hall when she was covering Laing’s work for Canadian television. Maybe something happened later that made people think it had failed? I’d be interested in knowing the rest of that story.

    • Hard to say whether Laing’s work was a “failure” without defining what a “success” would be.

      Laing was a good writer and ok poet, however he never denounced psychiatry or turned in his badge. And the ACTUAL anti-psychiatry movement is constantly upended by the misunderstanding that we have something to do with Laing.

      To be clear — what Laing, Cooper et al. called “antipsychiatry” was NEVER intended to eradicate psychiatry as a “profession”; it was a school of psychiatry.

  13. As usual, excellent piece.

    My personal experience with these diabolical drugs and the nightmare of coming off them, followed by gradual recovery (but enduring damage), echoes the experience of many others both on this site and in the studies cited.

    I think of the battle for truth re these drugs as akin to that surrounding big tobacco, but infinitely more dangerous. The drug companies know full well the dangers, but actively cover them up, as do their financial and ideological allies, the prescribing doctors, because they will lose the bulk of their highly profitable businesses, and the latter would also lose their POWER over people and society should the truth be known.

    This is the most dangerous part of the equation that sets it apart from big tobacco – the collusion of those bastions of respectability and trust – the medical establishment – in their pursuit of power.

    The power and influence doctors and the medical establishment have in society and the media is unparalleled. They are seen as being beyond reproach, guardians of safety and sanity, and even a hint of a report that could have people question their medications causes massive outrage and dire warnings that the sky will fall.

    Here in Australia our public broadcaster did make a science program presenting the facts on anti-depressants, but the medical establishment got wind of it and it never went to air. The highly-regarded science reporter was absolutely hung out to dry and the broadcaster was widely criticised for its irresponsibility for even thinking such a program might be warranted, especially given people might come off their meds and unleash a wave of suicide, murder and crime on society. Forget that the science that says otherwise.

    It was disgusting.

    These drugs give doctors ultimate power over individuals and society, and doctors are firmly addicted to that power. It is power that lies largely outside the law. Who else can lock up and drug people almost indefinitely with no evidence and no trial?

    And therein lies the problem. It is a problem of medical establishments’ and doctors’ addiction to power, and it is underpinned by the psychiatric “medications” that doctors falsely claim keep society safe.

    Question the drugs, and you are threatening the very heart of the doctors’ and the medical establishments’ power base….and they react just like meth addicts, only intellectually, and using the full force of their power addiction.

    • Yah, Marianne Demasi got canned for her Statin presentation. She was very critical of Pharma, and excoriated for it. It was like “strike three” they had warned her after they pulled the Antidepressant story. I thought I had links to vid copies of these pulled stories, but cannot put my hands on them at the mo. Demasi tweets regularly – mostly about statins.

      There is a growing “anti-drug” movement in doctors, as “bro-science” is starting to filter back up to mainstream, and keto, low carb, paleo, bio-hacking style solutions are making it clear that most of the drugs do more harm than good.

      (Nice to meet you Mik, I’m a Yank, now Australian in Brissy)

  14. Hi Bob, in my MIA article- “Remembering a medication-free madness sanctuary” I share about I ward, the 20 med medication free first episode extreme states/psychosis program that served hundreds of people for 8 years! I worked there as therapist for several years. It replicated the same hugely successful results of the NIMH Agnews Project, the gold standard randomly assigned, double blind first episode research, where at 3 year follow up the large cohort of people who got placebo vs those who got Thorazine had a 70 percent lower re-hospitalization rate. Iward was opened as a public sector system diversion program based on the powerful Agnews med-free efficacy results. At the same time, Diabasis House, Jungian John Weir Perry’s San Francisco based program was opened too, based on the Agnew’s results. I did my doctoral follow-up research on Diabasis. Soteria house was also open here in the SF Bay Area then. Loren Mosher’s work there also proved that a non-medication, non pathologizing approach to extreme states works!
    So, as you know I’ve long shared your frustration that mainstream psychiatry has always rejected the facts before their very eyes, that non-medication, humanistic oriented alternative services for people in extreme states can and has been proven to be effective as the Harrow research also proves.
    The big disease model lie that human emotional suffering is caused by a bio-genetic broken brain is what props up psychiatry- and as my latest MIA article shows, that lie is unshakable from within the psychiatric echo-chamber. My article is- “Eyewitness to Psychiatry functioning as a conspiracy theory based cult.”

  15. Another excellent article, which I wish everyone everywhere would read – despite my discomfort with the fact that Open Dialogue uses psychiatric professionals and psychiatric drugs at all; and despite my objection to the use of the word “schizophrenia” without quotation marks; and despite my agreement with those who have said, here and elsewhere, that we should not be surprised by media cover-ups of the truth about psychiatry. Fundamentally, it’s still important to expose, expose, expose, and that’s what Robert is doing here.

  16. Thank you Bob for your excellent summary of the evidence that “antipsychotic” medications can often be harmful. However, I
    am a practicing psychiatrist, who has people contact me in all states, who have been through the worst experiences of the system. In fact, I have found that sometimes for these people, low doses of antipsychotics for limited periods, combined with Dialogical Practices, can be helpful. Even the practitioners of Open Dialogue in Tornio use antipsychotics for 30% of there individuals. I do believe though that if from the very start (before they see me) these young people were given hope and a holistic approach I would perhaps never need to prescribe a medication. Though a critique of over reliance on medication is critical, I would also suggest that we examine the host of other ways that conventional psychiatry interferes with recovery. For instance the pronouncements to persons in severe distress that they have life long diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are intolerable and should be considered malpractice. This prophesy of doom, as Pat Deegan calls it, is still intoned in the most prestigious psychiatric hospitals. One day I hope that enough of us persons with lived experience can band together and create an AA type mutual support system practiced on a voluntary basis, with no payments or liability. We could use many of the approaches our movement has developed such as WRAP, Intentional Peer Support and Emotional CPR. We are starting to develop enough experience with eCPR Communities of Practice that I can see such a day coming.

      • I agree with you, sam plover and Daniel Fischer concerning the “pronouncements.” But, please remember why many make these “pronouncements” — to keep the “patient” drugged, therapized, in treatment and otherwise “under their thumb” for as long a time as possible. I feel the “hair on the back of my neck” rise at your mention of “WRAP”, “Intentional Peer Support” and “emotional CPR.” My Instincts tell me, that, although, these types of “treatments” are not “drug-based” or even “traditional therapy-based”, they still have a tendency to needlessly place the “patient” as not part of society, as not a “real person,” as someone with “nothing to contribute to society.” Actually, what do most people really need, to be valued as unique human beings with skills, talents, values, likes and dislikes, etc. so they can contribute these to make the world a better place. The things listed in this post, although done with good intentions, do have a tendency to keep mislabeled people “in their place.” Thank you.

        • Rebel,I share your caution about a variety of therapies as you are right, many of them can be dehumanizing too. I had a negative experience with psychoanalysis in my 20’s. However, Emotional CPR is not a clinical technique but is based on a form of natural support. It is an approach based on the understanding that we all carry the capacity to heal within us, but at times we get stuck in old reactions of flight and fight to traumas. When we are stuck, another human being, being human can open us up to new perspectives and new hope. In the process, the person initially assisting often themselves further grow.

          • Thank you for this description. I was skeptical when you first mentioned eCPR but I looked it up and it looks very promising. I’m going to look into attending a training.

          • Oldhead, say what you will, I’m looking forward to the training so I can judge for myself whether the material is of any use. It purports to be developed by people with lived experience and the point seems to be to avoid further entanglement with “mental health” services.

            Since I’m privileged enough to afford the course, I’d think you’d be interested in hearing my thoughts on it.

            Of course useful help shouldn’t have a price tag on it but we live in a capitalist society, slavery has been abolished and people have to eat so we compensate them for their effort. Trust that if I could, I’d wave my magic wand and transport you straight into the socialist utopia you so desire.

    • Well said Dr. Fisher. Everything about psychiatry is harmful and it all starts with the denigrating labels psychiatry dreamt up to dehumanize someone’s suffering. It is perverse and should be considered malpractice that psychiatry exploits and capitalizes on human suffering.

      • Oldhead, no nothing wrong with that logic but it’s doubtful that would ever happen. So the next best thing is the psychiatrists with a conscience speaking out about the harm. If they are against the labelling, drugging, ECT and forced treatment I assume they do not follow that harmful protocol. At least they are taking a step in the right direction when compared to some of the defensive, arrogant and hostile psychiatrists out there.

        • Strategically I can never accept the premise that since people are going to exploit you anyway you should gravitate to those who exploit you the least. I’d say the “next best thing” is letting them work out their contradictions among themselves — we’re the last people who need it explained why psychiatry is bs. As in “since one of us is going to fuck you over anyway, I’m going to do it the least.”

          Ever hear the Phil Ochs song “Love Me I’m A Liberal”?

  17. No wonder that neuroleptics (antipsychotics) do harm in the long run, since they cause atrophy and damage in the frontal lobe and basal ganglia. A person with a damaged brain obviously becomes less able. Someone may say that he had this brain damaged before, since he was “mentally ill”. Even so, causing further damage can of course only reduce performance.

  18. Very interesting article Bob
    It fits in with a pattern described by Edward s. Herman and Noam Chomsky, their propaganda model, and it’s bias towards a corporate agenda.

    I also came across a recent network channel article on the increase use of ADHD drugs to help children concentrate while remote learning.

    Then an “influencer” article on how the “author” was helped with ADHD drugs after having suffered a concussion.

    So it boils down to the corporate agenda and the media.

    Any story that promoted less consumption, less productivity, and less stress would not be popular.

    Best regards,
    Bruce

    • Please pay attention to the vast amount of psychic destruction wreaked upon children by the lockdowns and how this will lead to a bonanza for the purveyors of neurotoxic chemicals and “mental health” hustles of all sorts. Even CNN is allowing this to be discussed now so it’s no longer “conspiracy theory”:
      https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/02/opinions/childrens-mental-health-during-the-pandemic-beers/index.html

      The only problem with the “corporate agenda” terminology is that it’s a little ambiguous; what other agenda could there be in a capitalist state? This is what the former left doesn’t seem interested in highlighting or grappling with. Instead they pursue often ridiculous “reforms” doomed to failure by virtue of being grounded in contradictory assumptions, further muddled by unrecognized class conflicts which are themselves obscured by individualism and preoccupation with personal “identity.”

      (Sorry about the run on sentence.)

  19. Kindred Spirit: I wish you luck on your eCPR class. I hope it works out for you. I am very skeptical and don’t trust this class like I also don’t trust WRAP or Intentional Peer Support. Sometimes, even those with “lived experience” can get re-brain-washed. Although, many of us did “say no” to the evil psychiatric despots, we can still be very vulnerable. Sometimes, it really is like being an alcoholic and each one of must always be vigilant not to “fall off the wagon.” We need each other, but we really need ourselves to need each other. Each one of us must always be strong and wear that sort of armor that really does protect us from these evil psychiatric despots, etc. Thank you.

    • Rebel, I truly wish that this kind of thing wasn’t necessary, that people would know how to respond in meaningful ways when another person is in distress. My own recent experiences of severe emotional distress and the response of those witnessing it informs me that this isn’t the case and that wishing it was different doesn’t change anything.

      There is nothing about IPS or eCPR that is inherently psychiatric in nature. Even WRAP has some usefulness despite it’s use by the psychiatric community to push compliance with psychiatric care. It is up to the individual receiving the information to choose which parts to incorporate into their own care and use in their responses toward others. The underlying tenets of WRAP, which basically involves radical self-care and self-love, is a strategy many psychiatric survivors have spoken about using in their own lives to maintain their emotional well-being.

      I truly hope that if you find yourself in emotional distress in a public setting that you will also find yourself magically surrounded by empathetic and compassionate psychiatric survivors who are emotionally well enough themselves to both guide you through it and protect you from those who would pathologize your behavior such as police and doctors. But it seems this condition exists largely in mythology and in some people’s desires rather than in the reality that most of us inhabit. That reality sees distressed people shot or otherwise killed by police and/or committed to psychiatric facilities “for their own good”. So I will take the training, use the bits that seem reasonable, discard what doesn’t, and hope that I can be the person there who is offering a useful response when you or someone like us is struggling.

      It’s kind of silly to think that just because someone has survived psychiatry that they will automatically know how to respond to someone else in distress. So, I am happy to learn from others with lived experience because I don’t actually have all the answers myself. Be the change, Rebel.

      • Kindred Spirit, I apologize if you feel that I am insensitive to your distress. I am not, however, IPR, eCPR, and WRAP, unfortunately do cause me as some say, “cause the hair on the back on my head to erupt.” And, I write this I know why. I have been involved in WRAP. We were in a dark, dingy little room and met a couple times a week. As usual, I was quite dutiful in my attendance. But, it was another one of those things that appeared good on the outside, but caused great pain on the inside. I am not as familiar with the other two, but due to my involvement with WRAP, I am naturally skeptical of the other two. As far as being in distress in public, as I was first coming off the drugs (my first withdrawal) I was in a store and they almost called the police on me. I left and was not allowed to take home my basket of purchases which were things I really needed. At the time, I was hot, sick, and getting unnerved. I left because I did not want to be involved with the police. Some of the details of the incident are still somewhat lost in my brain. I, personally, am very much afraid of the other two, for fear they could easily suck me back into the evil world of psychiatry, which would nothing less than probably be my death. But, that is me personally. I come to this site because I learn from others and I can tell my story. I hope others learn from me, but that is my natural naivete. If I have hurt your feelings, by what I have written, I am sorry. I mean to hurt no one, but, one of the ways I survive is in some ways being naturally opinionated. I can’t stop being who I am. That is what psychiatry, etc. tried to do to me and I, honestly, don’t want that to happen to me again or to anyone else. Because of my psychiatry, etc. experience, I really do look twice “before crossing the street” and I guess I feel it is my duty to warn others to do the same. I will say this one thing and please forgive me for saying this, I can not be the change, I can only be me. I have only wanted the world to just accept me as I am, but, I know that is not always possible. Therefore, I will continue to discover and learn how to just accept me as I am. And, as, I learn to accept myself as I am, I will work to learn to accept others as they are. Thank you.

        • Well I can see why you weren’t impressed with WRAP under those circumstances. And I agree that WRAP was too pro-psychiatry, too “take your meds”, and too “call my psychiatrist if my meds aren’t working” for my liking. Like other truly AP folks, I think psychiatry is an illegitimate and unscientific branch of western colonial medicine that should be abolished. So I wasn’t entirely enthralled with WRAP because of that. But I’m glad to have been exposed to some of the concepts in any case.

          But I think maybe you missed my point. I live in fear of being forcibly treated just as much as any psychiatric survivor. I am entirely opposed to the necessity of such practices (coping skills, self care, etc) in the greater cultural context of capitalist exploitation but the concepts of self-care and self-awareness amount to basic survival skills these days.

          It is because of that that I want to have more tools under my belt to help others. The Village has gone missing and when people truly need help to survive, they often get cops and psychiatry. I want to be part of the change I’d like to see in the world. I don’t just envision psychiatry gone but I envision a culture where community and mutual aid is the norm.

          But no judgment, Rebel. You do you. And if we are misunderstanding each other, I am sorry. Perhaps we are not on the same wavelength on this one and that’s ok too.

          • KS, I think it’s great that you have interest to grab bits and pieces from others that might be helpful in your work. We need this.
            As with anything, it is the mindset of the person taking the “training” that is most important in how and what will be beneficial.
            Like Lucy Johnstone, well we only have one. Yes she can train others but her ideas in the hands of “therapists” might not be helpful to many. It really depends wholly on the individual and their innermost passions and awareness. Because that energy is what people feel and it’s powerful. And I think you are full of that helpful kind of energy and aware enough to pick through the bits and pieces.
            I remember long ago I saw something about WRAP online and when I looked deeper, I started feeling an aversion.
            Now of course, there might be a few people within these “programs” that are aware and not just “trained”….Able to connect with others.
            Any help is not better than no help.
            But I think you are one of those people who can be helpful on the ground and aware enough not to identify with your training but rather pick the helpful bits out of it, to support those who need that conscious energy.
            And even if it’s not helpful at this time, it might be at some time. The worst “treatment” people receive is someone wanting them change to what they perceive as the way to be.
            Wanting people to be stoics, or only emitting positive energy related to production is the dream of psychiatry and it’s idealism. An idealism that has created us moving backwards, not forwards.

            So yes, people like you are needed to help people not feel as if they are fucked just because they did not meet someone’s ideal.

          • To follow up on this thread after taking the training, there was absolutely NOTHING in the training itself that in any way conflicted with the goals of survivors in abolishing psychiatry. In fact, I would say that that goal would be reached much more quickly the more the general public had access to these kinds of trainings. I do not view eCPR as an “alternative” to psychiatry but simply a way of life. I am incredibly grateful to those who developed the course as well as those teaching it and those taking the training who will then go on to model the concepts to the people in their lives.

  20. I think we all need to focus on the systemic nature of psychiatric repression, and what that means. There are infinite means of helping calm and center oneself, from transcendental meditation to pot to E.S.T. to dozens of modern day “techniques.” These are all fine and dandy on an individual level, again quoting John Lennon “Whatever gets you through the night is alright.”

    When we talk about systemic and institutional issues we are taking the discussion beyond the individual or personal level, and often beyond the immediate or pragmatic level, and these different conversations should not be conflated or pitted against one another.

    • Part of the “success” of many techniques is the “transference” effect common to psychoanalysis, where the client transfers onto the practitioner the sort of belief and trust one might imbue to a parental figure, allowing that projected authority to exercise a “parental” type influence over the client — however this is the client’s own projected knowledge from which he/she is benefiting. So who pays?

  21. Bob, I think you should see this as a huge achievement.
    I saw this on the BBC website when they first published it and was surprised that they would allow so much honest reportage to slip through. The BBC of today is not what it once was (or what we think it once was); it is not an independent news organization in any real sense. They are completely beholden to Big Pharma and their science reporting is as trustworthy as RT’s coverage of Putin’s finances.
    As we move towards a more totalitarian world in which those who control the economy are tightening their control over political and cultural life as well, I think it is good to remember that although you cannot force a totalitarian system to speak the truth, you can force them to lie by speaking the truth yourself. And what eventually brings down totalitarian systems is the weight of their own lies.

  22. This is so sad … also, this is another proof that the only way to break through the wall of silence is a mass campaign against the corruption of medical science and pharmaceutical industry by monetary interests. They are too powerful to be affected by critical psychiatry movement alone, and we need a broad coalition beyond those concerned with psychiatry

    • I completely agree. In this Covid 19 pandemic Big Pharma has seized the opportunity to massively extend the kind of tactics they have been using in the field of psychiatry for decades. The same stifling of debate, controlling of the media, bribing of researchers and universities through funding – it is the same but much, much bigger. You can see it everywhere now: Ivermectin, vitamin D, vaccine adverse effects, reliability of PCR testing, efficacy of lockdowns, the origin of SARS-CoV-2…
      But I think Big Pharma has overreached itself – a lot of people who two years ago would have thought the idea that the entire field of psychiatry was corrupted to the core was a crazy conspiracy theory, are beginning to wonder what the hell is going on. It is still a minority of people, but a much larger minority, and coming from more diverse fields.
      So I think there’s a real opportunity for the kind of broad coalition you speak of. And psychiatry will always be the achilles heel of Big Pharma – the area where the way they have corrupted science is most evident. But don’t be naive about the kind of pushback you can expect, specially now that their influence on governments is greater than ever. It is going to be the work of dissidents against a quasi-totalitarian system – time to start reading Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov!

  23. You would think that the media might learn its lesson after awhile.

    This reminds me of the coverage about climate change, where they insisted on giving a voice to “both sides”. This delayed action for decades. Or with the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, where they refused to listen to victims and took the word of those in authority who insisted that “nothing was wrong”.

    Society accepts that a politician can lie, or that a police officer can lie, or that even a priest can lie. Why not a doctor? Do they have some sort of moral super-power? Society seems to think so. The doctors also believe this about each other.

    Eventually of course it will change. There are too many patients who have been harmed. But the longer this goes on the more people will suffer and die. It requires courage to persist and not to give up in despair, Robert. Some at least can be saved. Your courage and the courage of others who were willing to speak up saved my life, and for that I will always be grateful.

    • Society cannot accept that a doctor lies because they are the new priests. Abuse in the Catholic Church was exposed by people who no longer believed in priests. But who does not believe in doctors? If you find a lump in your body where there shouldn’t be one, who do you run to? A doctor, of course. If you don’t trust doctors who is going to hold your hand and tell you ‘don’t worry, everything is going to be all right’?

      • Actually, modern doctors will hold your hand and tell you that if you want to live you must suffer pain and agony or you will die, but, then after suffering pain and agony, you could still die anyway. Oh yes, and you and your family will suffer even greater pain and agony will you get my bill; that no matter what happens must be paid. Modern day medicine versus the Hippocratic Oath— No relationship at all. Thank you.

  24. On second thought, Yulia, having read your own article (I wrote my thoughts on a comment to it that I hope was not too blunt): while I do think psychiatry is the achilles heel of Big Pharma from a rational, scientific perspective, however because of the ’emotional’ aspects I mention in my comment to your article perhaps there’s a better strategy than attacking psychiatry directly.
    Perhaps in these very unusual times of the Covid pandemic the best thing would be to lay off psychiatry and concentrate on areas connected with the pandemic which expose the corruption of the entire scientific establishment, like the issue of the origins of SARS-CoV-2 on which there is definitely a change in the air, see this very mainstream article published yesterday:
    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/03/08/josh-rogin-chaos-under-heaven-wuhan-lab-book-excerpt-474322
    I think we can expect to hear a lot more about the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the coming weeks, and when that happens, someone needs to keep up the pressure to call to account the scientists like Kristian G Andersen who have been part of a very successful disinformation campaign since the pandemic started.
    Once people begin to accept the fact that, yes, it is possible for entire disciplines of science to be corrupted by money and self-interest – virologists in the case of SARS-CoV-2 – it may be easier for them to face the corruption of psychiatry.
    Maybe you have to soften people up by making them see the problem in a ‘safe’ area before you expose the same problem in an area that is likely to threaten their own emotional security.
    It’s the kind of strategy the KGB followed in the 60s and 70s to turn assets and influence countries. In fact, if you are serious about this, the best thing you could do is try to find an old retired KGB colonel and get him to give you a crash course in subversion techniques, because in the end that is what you are going to need if you want to no only expose psychiatry but actually make it change. Otherwise you can expose as much as you like, but nothing will change. Is there anyone left who really thinks antidepressants and anything more than placebos? See this article in a NIH run website no less:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172306/
    Exposure? 100% Change? 0%

  25. On maximum doses of antipsychotics for almost a decade. Feeling (dont want to use the triggering word here) “drastic” every day of those years. And I do mean EVERY DAY.

    Been off antipsychotics and all meds for three years. In all those three years I have NEVER EVER EVER felt “drastic”. Indeed, I feel happy every day. Where is my glossy advertisment? Where is my shiny clinic success poster? Where is my BBC interview?

    My kind doctors reflexively and sadly treat me like an embarrassing fluke for doing well off antipsychotics. An anomally. Now they disbelieve me when I say I did actually feel “drastic” every day for almost a decade, or they disbelieve me when I say I feel great now. Sometimes its both in the same consultation. I have a number of friends stuck on antipsychotics. Every time I phone them they are saying they begged their doctor to increase their dose. It is like watching alcoholics begging for more drink. I know my friends are doing so because the terrible effects of the antipsychotics bring them to a point of immobilization at being able to stave off mental torments. As a schizophrenic I feel that when you take away the stiff chemical mummification on antipsychotics you have better freedom of movement to divert your attention onto pleasant preoccuptions. One friend is very smart and I have often tried to nudge her to reduce her dose, but the horror she imagines about doing so, which I suspect is her horror at possible doubling of the antipsychotic effects she experiences and not so much her mental condition, sends her deeply defensive about what I am suggesting she reads up on and researches and explores. And so she also tends to want to “not believe me”, my fellow schizophrenic friend. And so I have to listen to her endlessly go on about feeling “drastic” every day and detail her latest brain frazzling increase in antipsychotics and I can do nothing. And doing nothing is a dreadful feeling. And so I give up talking to her about maybe reducing her upscale in meds. I just go “yeah yeah yeah” in phone calls because I am helpless to do anything for her. And the guilt and distress of being able to do NOTHING for her feels, I imagine, a bit like how a psychiatrist may feel when the penny does indeed drop and they eventually do believe that some of their patients seem happier off antipsychotics. My friend is a leaper. Knowing that antipsychotic withdrawal syndrome is a discrete madness all of its own, a study in months of agony, with no help and no hand holding team of well wishers, I might as well push my friend off the Intenational Space Station. I feel utterly CARE LESS in suggesting she might take a peek at coming off. It might kill her to come off..It might kill her to keep increasing her doses. I think many psychiatrists are in a similar double bind.

    Which is why I feel disinclined to demonize psychiatrists, and not just because I dont demonize anyone, but because I think psychiatrists have waltzed into a mess not always of their making but through institutional trickery and scientific deceit and they dont know how to help the people they pushed desperately questionable drugs on. My friend feels uplifted when she embarks on a new batch of pills, merely in the placebo weeks, and this is enough to keep her on this side of life. And maybe its enough visible improvement for her psychiatrist to turn away from the nightmare prospect that he is not really helping her “live” that life in any way but “drastically”. It would take huge innovation and planning to actually tease my friend down from the tall building of her dizzying doses. As with trying to encourage alcoholics to reduce or come off their poison, most people are too crushed by their own problems to devote months of round the clock care to help the antipsychotically ill wean off. And so it is down to survivors to reach out to our friends. And it is down to psychiatrists to take the first bold step of actually “believing” the wellness of people who have come off antipsychotic bioterrorism and no longer feel “drastic”. But I guess blinkers help a person sleep better at night.

  26. Kindred Spirit I am glad you found Emotional CPR useful. In eCPR, we are learning that hospitality can take the place of hospitalization. The Greeks knew the value of hospitality 3000 years ago as described in the Odessey by Homer. The Greeks tried to sit with a stranger and share a meal and wine with them as a form of diplomacy. This gave them a chance to be together without immediately labeling and treating them as an outsider needing to comply to their culture.

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