Psychiatry Textbooks Are Filled with Errors and Propaganda

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Students of medicine, psychology and psychiatry, and allied health professions learn about psychiatry by reading psychiatric textbooks. They generally believe what they read and reproduce it at their exams. University textbooks are therefore a powerful tool for indoctrination–for arriving at the “right opinion” even when it is wrong.

When students have passed their exams, they will defend tooth and nail what they have learned. It is a curious trait of human psychology that once you have made up your mind, even when you were in serious doubt, you will vigorously defend your position when someone proves that the other option was the correct one.

It is therefore very important that the information conveyed in psychiatric textbooks is correct. And that is the problem. There is a huge divide between the official psychiatric narrative and what the science shows.

Close-up photo of two textbooks, open, one on top of the other

Much of what leading psychiatrists say and write about the reliability of psychiatric diagnoses; the causes of psychiatric disorders; if they can be seen in a brain scan or brain chemistry; and what the benefits and harms are of psychiatric drugs, electroshock, and forced treatment is incorrect. This has been extensively documented by critical psychiatrists and others.

The discrepancy between opinion and science is also prevalent in psychiatric textbooks. Coming generations of healthcare professionals will therefore learn a lot during their studies that is demonstrably incorrect to the detriment of their patients.

It is the patients and their relatives who got it right, not the psychiatrists. A survey of 2,031 Australians showed that people thought that depression pills, psychosis pills, electroshock, and admission to a psychiatric ward were more often harmful than beneficial. The social psychiatrists who had done the survey were dissatisfied with the answers and argued that people should be trained to arrive at the “right opinion.”

But the general public was not wrong. Their views and experiences are in accordance with the most reliable scientific information we have.

We have a situation where the “customers,” the patients and their relatives, do not agree with the “salespeople,” the psychiatrists. When this is the case, the providers are usually quick to change their products or services, but this doesn’t happen in psychiatry, which has a monopoly on treating patients with mental health issues, with family doctors as their complacent frontline sales staff that do not ask uncomfortable questions about what they are selling.

In Sweden, the National Board of Health recommends that all adults with mild to moderately severe depression are offered psychotherapy, but only 1% get it. This illustrates that psychiatry is a perverse trade. It doesn’t help the patients as they want to be helped but helps itself.

In 2021, I got the idea that if I read and assessed the most commonly used textbooks in Denmark and wrote my own textbook explaining what was wrong with the other ones, this could be an eye opener for students everywhere.

I have written a book about what I found, which all users of the Mad in America website can get for free by sending an email to pcg AT scientificfreedom.dk. It is a pdf.

Danish textbooks would not be expected to be any different to those in other countries because mainstream psychiatry is the same in all countries. I hope other researchers will analyse the textbooks used in their country like I have done.

When reading books, it can be difficult to find out what is not there but should have been mentioned. Before I started reading, I therefore described in a protocol what I believe should be mentioned in psychiatric textbooks.

The pivotal issues I chose are those of obvious importance for the patients and those considered controversial, e.g. whether psychiatric disorders can be seen in a brain scan. The subheadings in my protocol were causes of psychiatric disorders, diagnoses, drug benefits, drug harms, withdrawal of psychiatric drugs, stigmatisation, informed consent, psychotherapy and other psycho-social interventions, and electroshock. As there are hundreds of psychiatric diagnoses, I focused on psychosis, depression, bipolar, ADHD, anxiety disorders, and dementia.

I identified the five psychiatric textbooks in Denmark most commonly used by medical and psychology students and evaluated if the information presented about causes, diagnosis, and treatment was adequate, correct, and based on reliable evidence. The textbooks were in Danish, had a total of 2969 pages, and were published between 2016 and 2021.

The authors included some of the most prominent Danish professors of psychiatry, but the textbooks were far from being evidence-based. They often contradicted the most reliable evidence; various author groups sometimes provided contradictory messages even within the same book; and the way they used references was insufficient. It was my clear impression that the more implausible the claims, the less likely they were referenced.

Briefly, I uncovered a litany of misleading and erroneous statements about the causes of mental health disorders, if they are genetic, if they can be detected in a brain scan, if they are caused by a chemical imbalance, if psychiatric diagnoses are reliable, and what the benefits and harms are of psychiatric drugs and electroshocks.

Much of what is claimed amounts to scientific dishonesty. I also describe fraud and serious manipulations with the data in often cited research.

Sound and unprejudiced debate about essential issues in psychiatry is rare. When defenders of the status quo do not have valid counterarguments against criticism of their practices, they do not respond to the criticism but attack their opponent’s credibility instead.

If you ask questions to your teachers based on my book, or other books or scientific articles I have written, you might be fobbed off with replies like, “Gøtzsche? Never heard about him” (even though they know who I am), “Don’t waste your time on him,” “Is professor Gøtzsche a psychiatrist? Has he ever managed psychiatric patients? How can he judge what we do?” Or they will say that “Gøtzsche is an antipsychiatrist,” which is the ultimate pseudo-argument psychiatrists use.

You should not accept such replies but always ask for the evidence.

The authors of the five textbooks count some of the most prominent professors of psychiatry in Denmark. There is no reason to believe that the systematic betrayal of public trust would be any different in other countries. We see the same lies, denial, omissions of research that was embarrassing for psychiatry’s self-image and official narrative, and misleading information about psychiatry everywhere. Robert Whitaker illustrated this convincingly in his review of Thomas Insel’s new book.

Insel, called “America’s psychiatrist,” was director of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for 13 years, till 2015. In 2022, he published the book, Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health. The book makes an unintended case for abolishing psychiatry even though Insel tries to support it.

Being a former NIMH director, Insel should have told his readers about the poor long-term outcomes of treatment with psychiatric drugs, as documented in expensive and prestigious research funded by the NIMH.

He didn’t. Insel turned sand into gold by making a horrific diversion. He claimed that current treatments are necessary but not sufficient to cure complex brain disorders. This has absolutely no bearing on the case. He quoted his predecessor Steven Hyman who said we need to know much more about the biology of mental illness before we “can illuminate a path across very difficult scientific terrain” and develop medications that are as effective as insulin or antibiotics.

The pompous mumbo jumbo in Insel’s book covered up for the fact that biological psychiatry is a total failure, which history has so clearly shown. Furthermore, Insel’s ill-founded fantasies about a better future do not remove the immense harm his specialty currently inflicts on hundreds of millions of people.

In Insel’s adventure land, clinicians are more effective today than they were 25 years ago. Indeed. They are harming their patients more than ever, as psychiatric drug usage goes up all the time while the number of people on disability pension because of mental health issues also increases.

I conclude that biological psychiatry has not led to anything of use, and that psychiatry as a medical specialty is so harmful that it should be disbanded. People should not get drugs, apart from some acute situations, but psychotherapy and other psychosocial interventions.

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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.

43 COMMENTS

      • They are pretty good with their propaganda, aren’t they? What studies have you seen that found more patients feeling helped than those feeling harmed?
        Do realize, that both help and harm, when it comes to the psyche, are subjective.

        The objective harm is on top of that.

        “In 2014, 10,574 people died of heroin overdose while 15,778 died from an overdose of psychiatric medications, nearly 50% more.”

        And that’s just one example of objective harm.

          • I’ll answer the question if you will.
            You asked about people who were subjectively helped by psychiatry. Where are they? Do they still feel that way a year later? Ten years later?

            In other words, I’m not sure your premise is true.

          • They are in Quora threads. They are in forms for drugs and medicine. Obviously you can’t find them all via a google search because they all use different terms to describe themselves, but once you find them, you find quite a bit. A lot of them write their posts as “I’ve been on them for (insert years) and I like them” so yes, my premise is true.

          • OK. Here’s what I think about people who think they were subjectively helped: The drug “helped” them.

            Well, that’s nice for them, but it’s also a very superficial look. There are lots of people who feel “helped” by having a drink every day, or by their morning coffee and donut. But we can as members of a society step back and ask ourselves how we are doing overall and if we are fooling ourselves about this “help” or really doing the best we can.

            We have a whole system that uses propaganda and coercion to encourage and discourage a variety of behaviors. Some people don’t mind that much being pushed around or even harmed by this system while others totally object to it. The question seems to be a problem of minority rights in the face of an apparent “majority” that don’t mind being sheep.

            As people in a minority position in this society, we have several challenges. They include operating in a way that avoids excessive levels of suppression against us, and finding better ways to help and getting them into use.

            We may be fooling ourselves if we think the situation will ever change. But knowing what we know, we are not going to stop trying just because “the majority feels helped.” We know what is really going on, and are confident that if we were in control, there would be less coercion and less deception in society.

            I realize there is an inherent tension in the situation due to the fact that the majority of people are not involved in running this society and probably don’t want to be. Thus “majority rule” is in some ways a sham and can be seen from history to often result in some very poor outcomes. We could even be accused of being hypocritical for advocating for better care when most people think their current care is good enough. But I think we correctly see that as a propaganda tactic of those who wish to keep us suppressed.

            Each person who decides to be part of an activity like this has to decide if it makes sense to them or not. It won’t make sense to everyone, maybe not even a majority, But that doesn’t mean that things would not be better for everyone if we could succeed in lessening the amount of suppression occurring on this planet. If you aren’t convinced that’s true, you should probably walk away from this.

      • Many people who claim to have been helped by psych drugs, who claim that an SSRI “saved their life,” etc come across as pretty unhinged to me. Why do they get so angry when confronted with the evidence that psych drugs were marketed and prescribed based on lies? Why do they get so angry when psychiatric survivors call for things like informed consent and an end to human rights abuses?

        I just came across the below on Buzzfeed. Under an article listing some things that people do now that in the future will be looked back on as unhealthy, someone made an innocent remark about “medicines for mental health”.

        Someone named Ayla agreed.

        Then they were both met with a string of hateful remarks implying that they are stupid and bad for even suggesting that there is anything the least bit unhealthy about psychiatric drugs.

        One typically rageful reply came from someone named shmooface. This person claims to have been subjectively helped by psych drugs, but they come across very angry and reactive.

        Here’s a copy and paste:

        Lifeasanomad10
        5 days ago
        I think current medicines for mental health will be shocking to later generations. Also prevalence of painkillers, like oxy, and injecting botulism into faces
        23people love this comment

        aylamakesitbeautiful
        5 days ago
        Yes as someone who got off SSRIs I fear the long term affects a serious drug had on me. Normalize healthy lifestyles and less medication. If we had a better healthcare system maybe we won’t rely on prescriptions to have the answer. Oh and add Prescription Medicine commercials to this list. I hope one day those are a thing of the past!

        Shmooface
        4 days ago
        Yo, I’m glad you got off SSRI’s and shit, but modern medications for mental health have saved my life. Literally wouldn’t be alive today without them. So maybe let’s calm the f*ck down. There’s no amount of “healthy living” that will change my goddamned bipolar depression, so maybe let’s step back a little, “Ayla”. I’m glad that doing yoga at sunrise means you could stop taking medication, but that doesn’t mean everyone is in the same boat.

        • KateL:

          I come across horrible comments online when it comes to people who speak out against aspects of Psychiatry and their supporters (and you know what they are). In this specific case, shmooface is fearful that opinions like that of “lifeasanomad” and “ayla” will take away what he/she finds helpful.

          This is not a comment calling someone a Scientologist or “you can’t accept your diagnosis” or gaslighting you (and I don’t know if it has gotten to that point even later in the comment thread). As far as nasty internet comments go, it is just a difference of opinion. He/she is just saying that “healthy living” didn’t work for him but SSRIs did. He/she also accepted that an alternate lifestyle helped ayla and that, that’s fine with him and he’s expressing (a bit angrily) that it does not work for him.

          But yes, there indeed are other comments and commenters who go to the extent of pure condescension and mockery. I feel that this comment (in isolation) isn’t one of them. It isn’t like some of those horrible Quora threads. I haven’t seen the rest of the thread. But yes, I understand your fear too.

          If anything, the issue I have is, these “I was helped by X drug” comments are taken to the point of completely invalidating us talking about the harms of psychiatric categorisations, drugs and treatment.

          You must remember, a subset of these same individuals who have strongly held opinions of how great psychiatry is, once they face problems, will sing a different tune and end up on places like Mad In America.

  1. Could it be because they are books?

    By definition textbooks have to be orderly, neat, linear, structured, logical, clarifying. When an emotional person reads such a book they are confronted with lengthy assaults to their emotional senses. The dry text, the respectable font, the use of undecipherable hyperbole, the pursuit of rock solid human certainty, or it won’t make a well completed finished book, all of these pose a restriction to the emotional searcher. I see it in social media comments when someone has lost six months of their life to digesting such worthy tomes, they pen a scholarly comment. I look at it and scowel at how I will ever absorb such intellectual industry. I stare like a deer in darkness suddenly lit up in front of headlights, what am I supposed to make of such competetive weaving? The pursuit of certainty has to be competetive or it will lose its position and fall icarus quick and melty into unthinkable doubt.
    Emotions are not so certain most of the time.

    Some unfortunate persons may need to use a device in their throat to help them speak. I see books can run the risk of being a communication device in the absence of the ability to speak emotionally. People hold up their books as if sheilds against the unruly emotions of others bombarding them. Books may be used to push emotion away at the flick turn of a fresh page. Maybe in communities that are not so bookish they rely more on nature’s actual pages, leaves and branches to guide their knowing.

    I could say more, Peter, but I am sleepy from being woken up by a street fight last night so I am not at my erudite best, so this poor excuse for a response will have to do.

    • https://youtu.be/N8cQFdFezXc

      T’was a general happy philosophical exploration and not a snip at book writers. I have a love of all books. So I was not being glib. I merely observe this…

      We are all attractive yet nobody loves us and so we all do books books books.

      Life is short. Barely enough time to chew strawberries, learn a favourite song and cuddle a book writer. You are born. You die. There are more books now in human history than there has ever been and so I am curious on an anthropological level as to what we would be doing with each other if we never did books.

      The DSM is only one such book among trillions.

      Time spent researching loses our hours. Each book is a missed face we could kiss.

      Humans are animals….but with a heck of a lot of books. Nobody thinks that this is strange behaviour of the human animal. Probably because all the books describe human behaviour.

      Describing is seldom really living…in the lashing wind and rain. We are estranged from the nature that would whip us open and undone and dishevelled in her riot of elements. We write books in our lonely turrets when we yearn to become them.

    • I took another look at your lovely article and I greatly appreciate all that you do, Peter. Articles are like delicacies served up in a restaurant. We diners and guzzlers and wolfers demolish the lot with satisfaction and then quibble the need for a sprig of rosemary. I leave a trail of dithering breadcrumbs to airy pinacles whilst I diminish who I am when I do that picky nervous undermining tic.

  2. I think what Peter Gotzshe states here is probably not just concerned with psychiatry textbooks. However, this is a website to basically finding and exposing truth in the subject of psychiatry and related fields. Still, I am afraid that what we are seeing in psychiatry is just the tip of the iceberg and is spreading to fields typically unrelated to psychiatry. On the other hand, “Propaganda and errors” have been common throughout history because those who write the textbooks, which can be considered the history of the people, even when the subject is allegedly “objective” like science or a so-called science related subject are written by the conquerors. I guess you could say that at present, Big Pharma and other such industries have conquered psychiatry. However, there is one thing in this article that really does concern me and I am fearful that this attitude may be a contagion amongst many disciplines and other places is that the Australian social psychologists say that people must be trained to give the “right opinion.” What is the “right opinion” on any subject and how can anyone be trained as such? Each brain is unique and I know those social psychologists would like to accomplish that and they can try; but they will fail. As I said previously, the natural uniqueness of each brain precludes that as a complete impossibility and that is why we are made as individual human beings with individual brains and not as a collective brain. There can be said to be a universal consciousness, but that is basically the consiousness of good. And it acts as a stop valve so despite it all, all humans will not be able to have the “right opinion” although we are still, each one of us, vulnerable and gullible. Thank you.

    • “However, there is one thing in this article that really does concern me and I am fearful that this attitude may be a contagion amongst many disciplines and other places is that the Australian social psychologists say that people must be trained to give the “right opinion.” What is the “right opinion” on any subject and how can anyone be trained as such?”

      I too find myself fearful of this ‘contagion’ rebel. Is it just an attitude? Or something deeper?

      I suppose in one sense that people who have such training, AND who are engaged in a process of using a “noble lie” or “necessary illusions” would think of themselves as doing so for the right reasons. But surely in a ‘democracy’ the use of force to ‘bring people around’ to other ways of thinking would be seen as counterproductive?

      It’s worth thinking about the use of the ‘noble lie’, which can and has resulted in some fairly disastrous historic situations. And when the intent is to deliberately harm, one would be hard pushed to make the claim that the actions resulting from the lie were noble. Though some have tried….. the National Socialists’ in Germany claiming that the lies they told were for the good of the Nation.

      And is this not a pattern we see being repeated with, for example, the neo conservatives in politics? The creation of ‘enemies’ to use the fear narrative to control the public? I’d ask my Russian/Chinese COVID carrying drug dealing mental patient neighbor, but I don’t really trust him anymore.

      “What is the “right opinion” on any subject and how can anyone be trained as such?”

      The right opinion is anything that the people at mental health believe is the right opinion. Which can change with the shifts. Like the ‘editor’ of a newspaper doing the bidding of the owner (Kerry Packer never needed to tell anyone what he wanted published, nor Murdoch), they just instinctively KNOW what they want published. The prison guards at Auschwitz not needing to ask their superiors how they should conduct ‘business’.

      In my State the model being used is one where the ‘elected Party’ (which has not discussed the matters during election campaign) has the newspapers publish what they want to be true (87% of people want Euthanasia Laws. See the work of Solomon Asch on social conformity), they then hire ‘media personalities’ to manage the media output, silence their critic with threats of laws making it illegal to make comparisons to the laws passed by the National Socialists, make the laws sound like the are a benefit to the community (knowing that they are a benefit to a few), and present their newly passed laws as having ‘legal protections’ galore (more than a 100 legal protections in our Euthanasia laws, which can be simply bypassed with the “editing” of the documents released from the hospital to ‘legal representatives’ who then utter with what would be called fraud in other countries, but will not be pursued by Police due to it not being in the public interest. “Might be best I don’t know about that” they tell me when their ‘referral’ for ‘treatment’ fails and they are presented with proof of human rights abuses).

      It’s absolutely amazing what can be achieved when you isolate people from one another, and then start telling them ‘noble lies’. I think the response to such a model has even shocked our politicians.

      I think it is well worth considering the ‘necessary illusions’ being told by psychiatrists (and their cohorts). I think the results of not being checked in their ‘noble lies’ is resulting in them leading each other astray. Hence what Gotzsche observes in the text books. The people profiting from the ‘regulatory capture’ (something which is easily done when you know someone is lying about something) simply don’t care about the truth, there’s no money to be made from it….. and in fact, in some instances money to be lost when people ‘stop taking their medications’ due to someone publishing books containing facts (they might even get called ‘public enemies’ for their truth speaking. Exposing the noble lie obviously not a good look for the liars).

      Got to say thanks for your comment, because it really does make me realise the model adopted by Australia. The ‘masses’ not the critical thinkers that are found in places that are working towards democracy, and not in the other direction. It seems that the opinion of our ‘leaders’ is that the masses are suffering from anosognosia (jahilliyah) and therefore leading them with a ‘necessary illusion’ (these are ‘illnesses’, these ‘medications’ work) is justified.

      Strangely enough, this was the same ‘illusion’ put forward by Ayman al Zawahiri in his book Knights under the Banner of the Prophet I believe. Only the ‘vanguard’ knows what is a true Muslim (the rest suffering from anosognosia), and should be killed, by any means necessary. Which is interesting in regards the comments about ‘cultural differences’ put forward by D Hume below. Same basic political battle, (good versus evil. Psychiatrists against the evil ‘illnesses’ [gun violence caused by untreated mental illnesses] justifying the means, Islamic Jihad against the corrupted Muslims……)

      P.S. I have written to your President and suggested that to have the Chinese cancel the rather large debt, he may consider giving them Australia? There would be very little objection to such a ‘trade’, given that the population here will pretty much go along with anything the government says. Unlike Taiwan where the petrol bomb throwing protesters are having their human rights violated by being arbitrarily detained for their actions. This being a mental illness requiring ‘treatment’ in Australia, keeping it all under the guise of “inherent in or incidental to lawful sanction”. The fear of the Police boot to the head, and then the administration of the ‘chemical kosh’ a means to have them “trained in the right opinions” lol.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ9UQKBUrsg&t=2s

      “I got ma head right Bawss” Cool Hand Luke.

      The “induced coma” ensuring that the exercise of human rights not an option, while they “edit” the documentation and threaten witnesses.

  3. This can be seen as a biased article. Although I can agree that the system is completely malfunctioning because money and greed is currently more sought after than ethical treatment of clients. Not every psychiatrist is ethically evil, obsessed with fortune, or only concerned with themselves. The environment that America creates with health insurance determines how the psychiatrist can help the client, it devises the time that could be spent with the client, and it creates the options in treatments available. And then there are of course, some pretty terrible doctors out there… The reason why textbooks happen to fail students and future doctors is because they are books and like theories they can be inherently wrong at times. Same with quantum physics, but can we make the same opinionated statement that Einstein was a moron because he was wrong about something and it was in a textbook? No, he was not and textbooks have the tendency to be disproven like theories.

    Also, if you ask mental health patients how their treatment has been in an inpatient facility or partial program, much of the time an involuntary admission would reflect the negative. Yes the clients are “customers” but they are there for treatment and often for treatment of their mind/brain, which in turn can create conflict and resistance to treatment. If you write an article like this and ignore the concept/aspect of treatment resistance in mental health then you are either stirring the pot, or have not worked in the actual field of working with mental health clients and took a more academic approach. I think the two worlds of applied psychiatry and academia need to start working together again…

    • “Treatment”, “mind/brain”. Well, these words are often used without actually talking about what they actually entail. What are the actual problems and what are the actual activities you are engaged in, in trying to solve them?

      1.) Situation 1: Person comes from a situation with no external problems but is delusional about the fact that he is being controlled by aliens who have implanted a chip in him. He’s injuring himself by trying to dig it out with a knife. What you might do is seclude him and give him a neuroleptic. He might resist this. But say it works and he gets better. What cost does this come at? At permanently getting stamped as a “schizophrenic” and being tied by a leash to psychiatry for medication and ‘counselling’ for a great many years? How many more categorisations will follow?

      2.) Situation 2: A child who is categorised with a mood disorder comes from an abusive family. Family claims she is lashing out because she is mentally ill whilst at the same time, behind the scenes, the family is involved in gaslighting her to the point of near insanity, which is what is making her behave this way towards them. This lands the child in a psych. ward. Would she not be justified in resisting “treatment” which might simply involve more psych categorisations, seclusion and drugs, but no justice at all (thereby simply, even if inadvertently, reabusing her, while the perpetrators are free)?

      3.) Situation 3: A woman is categorised with 5 categorisations, say Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, ADHD, Panic Disorder and Schizophrenia. In shame, she does not even go to hospitals anymore for ordinary somatic medical problems because of how doctors might view her when they see those terms on her file. She becomes reclusive from everyone for fear of being outed. What will your “treatment” be? Will you tell her there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that those terms are just like saying someone has HIV or the flu and that there are millions of people like her in the world?

    • If you ask non psychiatric patients about there treatment they will moan about how few staff are employed but mainly they sing the praises of the doctors and nurses caring for them.

      “Treatment resistant” is a euphemism for, “will not do what I say,” and should be a banned phrase. Try reading up on Open Dialogue which is usually effective and doesn’t really have any “Treatment resistance.”

  4. “because mainstream psychiatry is the same in all countries” – that seems like a very broad and biased claim to have. You’d have to have some objective measure for what counted as a standard of medicine in each country; then also compare those measures to every single country with psychiatric treatments…. which I doubt the author here has done.

    • He actually writes they can be ‘expected’ to be the same. And he does suggest replication in other countries. If he had specified ‘western countries’ it would probably have been a bit stronger. Still, it is a reasonable assumption. Psychiatric science is published in international journals, the diagnostic systems are used internationally, american research output is immense and influence psychiatry in all western countries. Paradigms for research and dissemination works across national borders. In a sense national textbooks can reasonably be expected to be local expressions of some transnational lore.

      • Is it reasonable to assume that different physicians, therapists and doctors have different opinions within their respective fields? Yes indeed. That’s a simple reality we can’t deny here.

        I don’t think that is a reasonable assumption to claim that “mainstream psychiatry is the same in all countries”; especially considering how many people, cultures, differences in practice style and different schools of psychiatric practice exist even within the United States. It’s very arrogant and extremely ignorant to pretend that they would be the same. I’d hope someone who claimed to have a background in science would actually be able to see how irrational such biased claims are. Alas, I don’t get the sense that he’s approaching his evaluation of others in good faith.

        Would you feel happy if someone thought you were the same as someone else from a completely different culture, merely because you shared the same profession?

        • Do you think ‘mainstream physics’ is pretty much the same in all countries, or ‘mainstream biology’ [Q] [sorry my question mark isn’t working] If psychiatry is a scientific endeavor, as it claims, it is fair to assume that variance from country to country would be cultural, not in the mechanics or philosophy of psychiatry itself. Psychiatry portrays itself as the ‘scientific’ approach to ‘mental health’ and promotes very much the same messages around the world. How that is applied, of course, varies by country and community and even by facility to facility. But it is most definitely fair to say that ‘mainstream psychiatry’ is pretty much the same in all countries, as to its objectives and fundamental beliefs. Or all ‘developed’ countries anyway. It is interesting to note that recovery rates for schizophrenia in ‘less developed’ countries are far better than those getting the ‘full benefit’ of ‘mainstream’ psychiatry. When it comes to psychiatry, it seems that the dictum ‘less is more’ is supported by the data.

  5. Thank you for this. I was hospitalized once and all I could think of was, if you’re treating people like children, ignoring their social history, etc. how do you possibly expect improvement?

    The psych ward treats you like you are missing a leg and need prosthetics. Your leg will never grow back. Whereas situations of the psyche are the polar opposite. It is the very definition of malleable, complicated, elastic.

    I had a wonderful time getting to know the individual society has given up on. There are certainly some people that aren’t coming back. But it seemed like most could improve dramatically with some compassion and understanding.

    There was one man with a nervous rock that spoke in very short stunted clips. I started rocking along with him. And talked with him like an adult would. He improved almost instantly. He was understood and listened to.

    I know it’s exhausting and the resources are scarce but the current model is a disgrace.

  6. I observed numerous absurdities in the psychobabble professions even long before it made national news, around the late eighties I believe, that Freud (who I refer to as Freud the fraud) had falsified his findings to justify his theories . I had occasion to bring that to the attention of a jury when the powers that be tried and failed miserably to destroy me as a federal whistleblower. A tangent…while waiting in a judge’s chambers during this attempted railroading, the judge and attorneys were chatting and the judge mentioned that it cost the state $70,000 per year to keep someone in the state psycho wards…to which I commented “enough to buy each one a nice home”…stunned silence from all the professionals in that chamber . Technically I’m just a high school graduate, but in my 71 years on earth I’ve read and taught myself numerous things and subjects and have been a news buff since age 16 thanks to my world history making us subscribe to Time magazine and selecting our own topic to report on each mth from the contents. While I was eventually destroyed for being a federal whistleblower, it wasn’t due to any success of the psychobabble quacks involved. Thank you Dr Gotzsche for your work, and I will be reading a couple of your books mentioned…God Bless You

    • You may find it entertaining that the orthomolecular guys are about the only ones who actually practice medically based psychiatry and the only ones who draw outrage from all our psychiatric “schools” at the very mention of the word “orthomolecular”.

  7. I was caught by the idea of what gets missed in psych textbooks.

    Though the most obvious missing data would most likely be critical data, less likely but more important would be rival ideas and therapies, particularly those developed and practiced outside of academia.

    Though I would not expect a thorough coverage of that subject, I think more students in academia need to recognize that the intellectual world extends beyond the walls of colleges and research institutions.

    I want those students to be at least dimly aware that several theories and practices have been developed outside of academia. Perhaps that would help them to realize that there is a level of exclusivity practiced in academia that may extend beyond the obvious desire to keep academia sane and rational.

    Academia, particularly of late, has been known for its willingness to exclude perfectly sane and rational thinkers and researchers simply based on some idea that they “don’t fit.” Besides in the subjects of psychology, political science, history and economics, we also see this in research biology, where advocates of intelligent design find little support in academic institutions, even though they have credentials and are obviously sincere people.

    • “Academia, particularly of late, has been known for its willingness to exclude perfectly sane and rational thinkers and researchers simply based on some idea that they “don’t fit.””

      This one goes back to 1865, and how ironic that he died after a beating in a mental institution.

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

      I note that the ABC in Australia has an item on the Four Corners show tonight showing how a UN agency worker, who was going to raise the issue of the Uighurs in China with an ‘ambassador'(?) found herself being dragged away by police to a mental institution, despite her protests and attempt to assert her human rights. Thus missing the online meeting. Timing was perfect.

      Mind you, it looks like she was in Canada, because in Australia, she would have likely been drugged without her knowledge with date rape drugs, run over and had her head stomped by police, and then injected with a ‘chemical restraint’ ensuring that she didn’t get the opportunity to complain….. or if she did, the documents relating to her ‘assessment’ would have been “edited”. I guess they learn it when they complain about those African countries, and ensure that there is no avenue for complaint in places like Australia, despite this being a breach of the Conventions they have ratified..

      Show them UN workers how many human rights they really have huh? Looks like it might be interesting when the UN is using psychiatry to ensure that human rights abuses don’t get raised with the alleged abuser, and the person who does try ends up dribbling in a cell …. or worse, ‘unintentionally negatively outcomed’ in an Emergency Dept.

      It seems from what I have seen that the claim is that she had threatened suicide (so the police claimed) and that they were not qualified to ‘assess’ her. In my State the law used to contain the Criteria of “the person MUST have a mental illness” (and by defualt in the Definitions part of the Act, this was set out as being a person receiving psychiatric treatment from a psychiatrist. If….. and it’s a big IF, she had no psychiatrist and was not being treated (say with anti depressants) then such an arbitrary detention would have been unlawful in my State. of course tell that to the people holding a pistol to your head.

      And I assume Canada doesn’t authorise the ‘spiking’ of anyone without their knowledge and then write fraudulent prescriptions for the ‘spikings’ with date rape drugs after police and others have interrogated the victim?

      Who’d have though a police constable has the medical knowledge to authorise such druggings. And well, with the power to conceal and threaten and intimidate witnesses, who is going to find out anyway?

        • “The story of man’s inhumanity to man seems never-ending.”

          Too true, as we are about to find out it would seem as our Government is militarily preparing for what they call “success” (seems that they prefer this term to preparing for war. Though a bit like the story about the “effers”, we knew what he really meant lol)

          The 4 Corners program interesting regarding the UN. Seems their rather ‘soft’ use of psychiatry to deal with whistleblowers (who are being sexually assaulted by the Senior Management, and the Secretary General looks the other way despite his “zero tolerance” public stance) is worthy of a whole 45 minutes of televison, but the use of it to torture, kidnap and well….. you know what I mean when I say ‘outcome’ people for complaining about public sector misconduct isn’t worth a mention.

          The sad thing is that had they been ‘sectioned’ in Australia, then the program we watched would never have been made. Their dismissal for speaking truth would have resulted in them receiving the ‘treatments’ for their ‘illness’ rather than being released. That’s liberty for you. The fortunate must not be restrained in their exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.

          Mind you, I do think that there is a move in this country to deliberately discredit the UN. Human rights are great in principle, but not a lot of good when you need to get some information from people unwilling to speak. Hence the regression to fascist tactics which, after all, do actually work. Not a problem getting people to comply with draconian laws during (and now after) COVID.

          Our now Attorney General wearing a t shirt at a rally to release the video of the torture of an aboriginal man in police custody (2011) saying “They that can give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” Ben Franklin. Might explain the lack of respect for a public that forfeited their liberties for a little temporary safety during the early days of covid. Seems a path that the fascists have used before once they realise the public are afraid of their government….. because of their use of the Mental Health Act (and now our Euthanasia Act) for purposes other than what it was designed for.

  8. Peter should focus his attention to the so-called Psychiatric textbooks used in the USA.
    Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications 5th Edition by Stephen M. Stahl
    Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications and many other Stephen M. Stahl productions which are widely required in schools today. Stephen M. Stahl MD takes money from the Pharma companies and promotes this non-sense with childish stick figure pictures.

    Psychiatry is predicated on how the psychiatrist “feels” about the patient and not how the patient really feels. It is called OPINION BASED “Medicine”. Please don’t hurt my ego and feelings if you contradict me!

  9. I think what Peter Gotzshe states here is probably not just concerned with psychiatry textbooks. However, this is a website to basically finding and exposing truth in the subject of psychiatry and related fields. Still, I am afraid that what we are seeing in psychiatry is just the tip of the iceberg and is spreading to fields typically unrelated to psychiatry. On the other hand, “Propaganda and errors” have been common throughout history because those who write the textbooks, which can be considered the history of the people, even when the subject is allegedly “objective” like science or a so-called science related subject are written by the conquerors. I guess you could say that at present, Big Pharma and other such industries have conquered psychiatry.
    .
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    . However, there is one thing in this article that really does concern me and I am fearful that this attitude may be a contagion amongst many disciplines and other places is that the Australian social psychologists say that people must be trained to give the “right opinion.” What is the “right opinion” on any subject and how can anyone be trained as such? Each brain is unique and I know those social psychologists would like to accomplish that and they can try; but they will fail.

    • john kulu

      “Australian social psychologists say that people must be trained to give the “right opinion.” What is the “right opinion” on any subject and how can anyone be trained as such? Each brain is unique and I know those social psychologists would like to accomplish that and they can try; but they will fail.”

      Not necessarily. Certainly in Australia the recent use of ‘coercive methods’ to have the population vaccinated (the use of force available via the Public Health Act, though not the preferred method) has demonstrated to our ‘leaders’ (I say that in quote marks given the release of text messages between a Media Mogul and our Premier recently showing whose really the ‘Boss’) that they can pretty much do anything they like. It’s simply a matter of escalating the use of force rapidly.

      And I have no doubt that the use of torture seems to be highly effective, though as you suggest there are some who do hold out to the very end (hence the failure to ‘save’ someone not of the ‘right opinion’). So making the use of medicine a means to subject people to ‘enhanced coercive methods’ (mainly because they are “inherent in or incidental to lawful sanction” ie make citizens an “Outpatient” and torture away, and there is no avenue for complaint) will quite possible answer if you are correct about failure or success.

      Sure the National Socialist’s failed, and the French in Algeria (Fanon suggests that there was virtually no one that couldn’t be made of the “Right Opinion” as did General Fouad Allam Interior Ministry in Egypt 1958- 1987. basically saying that even the most ‘resistant’ thinkers were quite prepared to change their minds about remaining silent), but as is the way of humans, just because others failed is not proof their they will fail.

      I think Orwell described this way of thinking in 1984. What we need is a ‘leader’ who has the stomach to do to us what needs to be done because they love us (and not for their personal gain). Which brings me back to the use of force in ‘treatments’……. and Dr Selwyn Leeks.

      And it’s strange the way we think we are secure, and should we be snatched from our beds and subjected to acts of torture, that somehow, our family and friends will come to our aide. Not the case, they’re too worried about their own ‘mental health’ to be concerned about what is being done ‘over the razorwire’. It becomes and every man for themselves type of situation, with the jackboots being used to ensure that compliance is forthcoming from a pacified public

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ9UQKBUrsg

      Got a complaint? You’ll need to take it up with police yourself is probably what your lawyer will tell you. Which in this mans situation will be difficult from an ‘induced coma’ (or ‘chemical restraint’ with no National Standard)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-EN_QplYYU

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