This year has been an especially nightmarish one for psychiatry defenders.

Receiving widespread attention in the mainstream media was the July 2022 article “The Serotonin Theory of Depression: A Systematic Umbrella Review of the Evidence,” published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. In it, Joanna Moncrieff, co-chairperson of the Critical Psychiatry Network, and her co-researchers examined hundreds of different types of studies that attempted to detect a relationship between depression and serotonin, and concluded that there is no evidence of a link between low levels of serotonin and depression, stating: “We suggest it is time to acknowledge that the serotonin theory of depression is not empirically substantiated.”

Psychiatry apologists tried to convince the general public that Moncrieff’s findings were not newsworthy, as psychiatrist David Hellerstein, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and director of Columbia’s Depression Evaluation Service, attempted to belittle Moncrieff in this manner: “Wow, next she’ll tackle the discrediting of the black bile theory of depression.” However, given the reality that the vast majority of society had heard nothing from psychiatry about the discarding of this serotonin theory of depression, what followed has been public mockery of psychiatry and its Big Pharma partners for their duplicity.

Then, in August of 2022, receiving less attention was an even more devastating blow to psychiatry, so damaging and so indefensible that psychiatry’s only response was to ignore it. Published in the journal Neuron, Raymond Dolan—considered one of the most influential neuroscientists in the world—co-authored “Functional Neuroimaging in Psychiatry and the Case for Failing Better,” concluding, “Despite three decades of intense neuroimaging research, we still lack a neurobiological account for any psychiatric condition.”

Reflecting on the more than 16,000 neuroimaging articles published during the last 30 years, Dolan and his co-authors concluded: “It remains difficult to refute a critique that psychiatry’s most fundamental characteristic is its ignorance. . . . Casting a cold eye on the psychiatric neuroimaging literature invites a conclusion that despite 30 years of intense research and considerable technological advances, this enterprise has not delivered a neurobiological account (i.e., a mechanistic explanation) for any psychiatric disorder, nor has it provided a credible imaging-based biomarker of clinical utility.”

So in 2022, research reviews published in prestigious journals have made it clear that there is no neurobiological evidence—no chemical imbalance, no brain structure evidence—for any psychiatric condition.

But that’s not the end of psychiatry’s 2022 nightmare.

From one of the most prominent establishment psychiatrists in the world, we heard in 2022 that the DSM (psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association) lacks validity. Thomas Insel, when National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director in 2013, had quietly stated in his NIMH blog that the DSMs diagnostic categories lack validity, and he announced that “NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories”; then, in 2022, he informed the general public about DSM invalidity in his book Healing, which has received mainstream media attention. In this book, Insel states: “The DSM had created a common language, but much of that language had not been validated by science.” In plain language, Insel is calling the DSM, in a scientific sense, bullshit.

In 2022, increasing numbers of Americans also heard about psychiatry’s abysmal treatment outcome record. Insel, as NIMH director in 2011, had quietly acknowledged: “Whatever we’ve been doing for five de­cades, it ain’t working. And when I look at the numbers—the number of sui­cides, number of disabilities, mortality data—it’s abysmal, and it’s not getting any better.” In 2021, the New York Times concluded that psychiatry had done “little to improve the lives of the millions of people living with persistent mental distress. Almost every measure of our collective mental health—rates of suicide, anxiety, depression, addiction deaths, psychiatric prescription use—went the wrong direc­tion, even as access to services expanded greatly.” And in 2022, in Healing, Insel repeated to the general public what he had previously acknowledged about psychiatry’s history of abysmal outcomes, noting: “While we studied the risk factors for suicide, the death rate had climbed 33 percent” despite increased treatment, reporting that, “Since 2001, prescriptions for psychiatric medications have more than doubled, with one in six American adults on a psychiatric drug.”

Psychiatry’s Defense: “Don’t Throw Out the Baby with the Psychiatric Bathwater”

Earlier in 2022, responding to Robert Whitaker in a Mad in America dialogue, psychiatrist Jim Phelps, in his article “The Baby in the Psychiatric Bathwater,” stated the following: “Don’t throw out the baby with the psychiatric bathwater. Mr. Whitaker, I fear you’re doing harm while trying to do good.”

The idiom “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater” is an admonition against discarding something valuable along with something not wanted. However, the question for any critical thinker is—especially given what has been made public about psychiatry in 2022—what exactly is valuable about psychiatry?

A rational critical analysis of an institution—in contrast to a theological defense of it— would evaluate whether that institution is in fact valuable and can be reformed to be better. Such an analysis of a professed medical institution would evaluate whether (1) its fundamental paradigm and core tenets have scientific merit, and whether with reform in its practices, it can be improved, or (2) its fundamental paradigm and tenets are scientifically invalid, and thus, no matter how many of its practices are reformed, it will continue to do more harm than good.

Critical freethinkers—in contrast to theologians attached to their institution—would be open to all possible conclusions of this analysis, including (1) not discarding an entire institution because it is fundamentally sound and valuable, and needs only to improve its practices, or (2) discarding an entire institution because it is fundamentally invalid and unsound, as its core principles are unscientific and unjust.

In any given time in U.S. history, there have been institutions that have had a central role in U.S. society that were eventually—with great struggle—discarded, and which today most Americans are embarrassed ever existed. Thus, any critical freethinker who has knowledge of American history will not be intimidated to consider the possibility that any current institution may need to be completely discarded. That is part of the essence of being a critical freethinker.

Perhaps the most obvious example in U.S. history of a dominant institution that was ultimately discarded—and which today most Americans are embarrassed by its past existence—is the institution of slavery.

I bring up the institution of slavery not to hyperbolically equate psychiatry with slavery—though there are certainly many Mad in America readers who have been involuntarily forced into ruinous psychiatric treatment, and who would not view such a reference as hyperbolic. However, for the majority of psychiatric patients, it is hyperbolic to equate psychiatry with slavery in terms of cruelty. I bring up slavery as a reminder of the historic reality of (1) the longtime existence in the United States of a shameful institution, and (2) that when it was being attacked by slavery abolitionists, slavery’s supporters used several defenses of it, including the “don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater” defense.

The various defenses of slavery included: how the abolition of slavery would destroy the Southern economy; how slavery has existed throughout history and thus is quite normal; that slavery is not viewed as immoral in the Bible; and that slavery is legal. Another major defense of slavery was that it was beneficial for slaves, and that it would be bad for slaves to throw out the baby with bathwater. Specifically, this argument went like this: If slaves were freed, there would be widespread unemployment and chaos, and that in comparison to workers in the Northern states, slaves were better cared for, especially when sick or aged. In 1837, as senator from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun (formerly a vice president of the United States) stated: “Never before has the black race of central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually.”

Again, I review this history not to equate psychiatry with slavery in terms of cruelty but to remind readers that in U.S. history, (1) there have been institutions that have had a central role in society that were eventually—with great struggle—discarded, and which today are a source of embarrassment for most Americans; and that (2) among the many defenses of such now discarded shameful institutions, one defense was not to throw out the baby with bathwater.

Slavery is not the only such shameful institution in U.S. history. Another more recent example is the House Committee on Un-American Activities (dubbed the House Un-American Activities Committee or HUAC), which was an investigative committee of the U.S. House of Representatives created in 1938 to investigate the disloyalty and subversive activities of American citizens and institutions. After HUAC destroyed the careers of many Americans who had broken no laws but were targeted for their political beliefs, HUAC eventually came to be denounced even by former President Harry Truman in the late 1950s as the “most un-American thing in the country today.” HUAC changed its name to the House Committee on Internal Security, which itself was abolished in 1975.

Slavery and HUAC are by no means the only examples of powerful institutions in U.S. history that we are now ashamed to have allowed to exist. What slavery and HUAC have in common is that they were based on invalid paradigms. Slavery was based on the invalid paradigm of racial inferiority of African Americans, and HUAC was based on the invalid paradigm of what it meant to be “un-American.” If an institution’s essential paradigm is scientifically invalid and unjust, then all attempts at reform will be pointless. To put it idiomatically, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.”

Is Psychiatry’s Self-Defense Hysterical?

While most of establishment psychiatry simply ignores critical freethinking about psychiatry, there are a handful of psychiatrists who respond to psychiatry critics, and I can only speculate as to why. Perhaps their role is to make psychiatry appear to be open to criticism while in reality imposing limits as to what is allowable criticism; or perhaps their role is to co-opt truly critically freethinking publications such as Mad in America. In any case, along with psychiatrist Jim Phelps, I would include in this group psychiatrists Ronald Pies, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the Psychiatric Times, and Awais Aftab, who has an interview series in the Psychiatric Times.

In 2020, Pies told Aftab that he distinguishes between two quite different groups of critics. There are, he tells us, “sincere and well-intentioned critics of psychiatry—many of whom are psychiatrists—whose aim is to improve the profession’s concepts, methods, ethics, and treatments.” However, Pies then goes on to say that there are also critics whose “hostile and vituperative rhetoric is clearly aimed at discrediting psychiatry as a medical discipline.” For Pies, it is simply unallowable to question the legitimacy of the institution of psychiatry, and to do so is inexcusable.

Aftab, like Pies, makes clear that he believes there are critiques of psychiatry that are responsible and useful versus critiques that are irresponsible and dangerous. In August, Aftab tweeted, “Holy shit. . . Whitaker at Mad in America is calling for a class-action lawsuit against the American Psychiatric Association & scientific advisory boards of orgs such as NAMI, alleging that the infamous serotonin hypothesis paper reveals these entities engaged in ‘medical fraud.’” Earlier, in his July 2022 tweets, Aftab admonished, “Anyone not attuned to the emerging intersection of psychiatric critique & far-right politics is not paying attention. We’ve already seen previews of this relationship when it comes to gender critical ideology & anti-vaccine sentiment; it’s going to become more explicit with time”; and then offered this warning: “Those engaged in a Faustian bargain will realize too late, if they realize at all, what ugly forces they have unleashed.”

Phelps, Pies, and Aftab are open to criticism of psychiatry as long as it stops short of acknowledging the increasingly well-documented reality that psychiatry lacks any scientific merit, which logically results in the questioning of the legitimacy of psychiatry.

To be a critical freethinker, one need not conclude that psychiatry should be abolished. One need only be open to questioning psychiatry’s legitimacy, as a critical freethinker would be open to questioning the legitimacy of any institution.

A critical freethinker may even conclude that while there is no scientific merit to psychiatry, given the nature of modern society and psychiatry’s role in it, psychiatry’s abolition might result in an even more problematic institution taking psychiatry’s societal role of controlling inconvenient people and providing fictional explanations for unhappiness.

While being a critical freethinker does not necessarily mean coming to the conclusion that it would be a good idea for psychiatry to be abolished, it does mean being open to any and all facts, and being open to any and all logical conclusions from such facts. In their lack of openness, Phelps, Pies, and Aftab make clear that they are not critical freethinkers.

Webster’s Dictionary offers both a formal and informal definition of hysterical. The formal definition of hysterical is “feeling or showing extreme and unrestrained emotion.” The informal definition is “very funny.”

Maybe it’s just me, but with respect to both the formal and informal definition of hysterical, I find Hellerstein’s equating Moncrieff’s recent review to “the discrediting of the black bile theory,” Phelps’s “don’t throw out the baby with the psychiatric bathwater” defense, Pies’s good-and-evil categorization of psychiatry critics, and Aftab’s apocalyptic fear mongering of what will be unleashed by freethinking critics of psychiatry all to be… hysterical.

85 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. Thank you, Dr. Levine. Every day, I go through the same energy-draining cycle that begins with, “they were all right. There’s something seriously wrong with me. I’m a borderline, non compliant, untreatable, bad ex patient who lacks insight into my own illness/badness”. Eventually I work my way back to, “they lied about everything, dehumanized me in the name of help, blamed me for things that were not my fault/I had no control over, and practically killed me with drugs, ECT and all manner of iatrogenic harm.”. It’s hard to find any peace.
    The way you explain what’s going on, it’s very validating and helps me feel a little bit sane. Psychiatry really is digging its heels in, and being backed up by the general pro-psychiatry public. The hysteria is very evident in the comments section of this NY Times column.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/04/magazine/parental-care-ethics.html#commentsContainer&permid=120766656:120782377

    Many of these comments truly terrify me. There are calls to bring back the asylums, take away the rights of inconvenient people (a daughter complained about her mother who is living alone in a house and, according to the daughter, hoarding, refusing to go to the doctor, and walking 2 miles to the supermarket instead of driving) and many of the comments strongly advise the daughter to call adult protective services, the police etc. There are many comments complaining about a “borderline” relative and other comments saying that certain people should be put down.
    The New York Times engages in hypocrisy. They will publish one article about a teenager who was put on over 10 different psych drugs for fairly standard adolescent issues, and then they will forget all of this, forget that they ever questioned psychiatry, and make statements to the effect that there are evidence-based treatments (psych drugs) for mental illness and it’s only a matter of getting the mentally ill to comply.
    It’s getting scarier. There is so much hate speech against “the mentally ill”. People who survived psychiatry shouldn’t have to live in fear, but I know that many of us do, and with cause.

  2. There have been bigger “nightmare” years before; nothing ever changes, and judging by the discourse in many popular publications (NPR, for example, had a guest on to say in vague terms, essentially, “pay no mind, nothing to see here”), this year’s developments have been brushed aside successfully.

    It’s not even like there’s been anything new. While someone who isn’t superficial or disingenuous will take Moncrief and team’s review, or the other commentary, as more concerning to the bigger picture, institutionalists – the hysterical and paranoid defenders – will continue to assure all is well and everything that says otherwise is the product of the evilbad. Aftab’s attempt to paint legitimate psychiatrists and recipients etc. as right wing is as amusing as it is ironic, but I’m sure it’s effective, especially now. There is rightfully outrage over anti-vaxxers and and a backlash against anything that can be asserted to be “alt” or anti-establishment or whatever. I’ve noticed that subtle shift in the dynamic. But even that isn’t new – the term “anti-psychiatry” wasn’t one claimed, but one imposed (on legitimate psychiatrists…) in order to appeal to authority and fear. It’s why, for example, no one but “defenders” like Pies and Torrey constantly screech and misdirect about Scientology, because establishing association is useful to deflect and discredit. Institutional psychiatry and its relatives – from phrenology to lobotomy to the present – has always been hyperconservative and superficial and hysterical and speculative and grandiose. Sounds like Trump, probably because peddling bullshit often works the same basic way.

    I think there needs to be more proactive, assertive setting-things straight, real talk about all this. Institutional rhetorical actors might not have much insight into the domain, but they absolutely know what they’re doing on their blogs and phone calls. Wild hysterics – especially stuff that goes uncorrected – is effective. Torrey has been very effective in getting legislation passed and funding secured. Even SAMSHA has commented in reviews about his opportunistic tactics (see Kevin’s law, for example). “mentalillnesspolicy.org” is a well-SEOed result that gets copy-pasted – obviously without even basic vetting – into articles and even laws and facility policy and care standards. We need to stop pretending like these clowns will ever act in good faith.

    I think we also need to start culling some of the nonsense that gets thrown around though, that can get used as ammunition. The same goes for attitude. For any observer – or for professionals for that matter – seeing yet another “everything mainstream is bs” posting somewhere isn’t going to elicit anything other than a yawn. There is such a thing as legitimate psychiatry and institutional defenders are anti-science, dishonest and backwards and dangerous. I’m tired of this weird combination of tepid and outraged shouting into the wind, as if whining for hoping for enough people in positions of power to just figure it out and act differently. Maybe that will happen, but I don’t think it’s realistic. I want to see more straight talk and demands for accountability and showing what the parameters of legitimate psychiatric practice look like and how to provide social justice.

  3. To be fair, Jim Phelps is among the more open-minded wing of psychiatry. Pleading not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, which has been a defense of psychiatry for at least 20 years, might be viewed as a request for moderation.

    Pies, on the other hand…. And Aftab never did explain what he meant by critical psychiatry having “a Faustian bargain”, presumably with far-right ideologues, which certainly begs more than a few questions.

    You might say that the conservative wing of psychiatry has retreated to a near-religious belief in its “medical model” and its employment of invasive treatment, primarily drugs. As this is irrational, they’ll say anything in psychiatry’s defense. Meanwhile, more street drugs are being repackaged as therapeutic psychiatric drugs, moving the field closer and closer to simply being purveyors of psychotropic highs for whatever ails you.

    • Pies and Aftab are trying to discredit their perceived opponents by manufacturing associations with “anti” or conspiracy groups and to scare and mislead the parts of the political spectrum that more generally are concerned with social and science issues. It’s in one long, incoherent diatribe – those Qanon antivaxx Trump maga scientologist flat earther evilbads! Pay no heed! They just need their meds. It’s a just a slurry of words and names.

      The irony that they are themselves anti-science, paranoid, hyper-conservative, Trumpian psychos will be lost on them and much of their audience.

      It’s similar to how it’s been with “anti-psychiatry”. What even is that? Szasz himself, the biggest evilbad of them all in Pies mind, was a psychiatrist (ahem, excuse me, he was, according to these psychos, a “self-hating” psychiatrist), whatever significance that holds, and never claimed the “anti” label defensive institutionalists applied to him and others they saw as just out to get them. So is Moncrief, and her team, and a rigorous researcher at that, not just a superficial clinician or paper pusher.

      This garbage needs to be assertively called out, the whole history and dynamic. It’s deliberate undermining of discourse and indefensible, but it’s also obviously very effective. That’s part of the problem I have with pieces like this. It doesn’t really do anything to combat false narratives to observers and can even play into them a little bit by seeming to just complain about the system. Science and details and history are lost on most people who just see the odd bit of sophistry from one source or another, and sees a tv ad for drugs to restore chemical imbalances in the mentally ill and a NAMI pamphlet in the mail. For them, they see purported authority structures telling them to pay no heed to the “antis” in a world filled with nonsense, and so they’re dismissive. Until they learn the hard way, anyway. It also has to be said there are some confused people who latch into these issues and may provide ammunition to deflect discourse. But people like Moncrief are real psychiatrists – or what legitimate clinicians should look like – and that has to be made clear. Being perceived to be shouting at the street corner hasn’t worked.

  4. Psychiatry’s real headache is that the real medical practice of psychiatry comes from the orthomolecular guys, who have been pilloried by big-time psychiatry and big-time shrinks for decades, despite evidence that these crazies can successfully treat the big-time guys’ failures- or probably because this evidence exists at all.

  5. Come to where the flavor is…. Come to Marlboro Country.

    I’ll be long dead by the time anything is done about these frauds that deliberately ‘fucking destroyed’ my life.

    The cigarette companies and government have managed to extract larger profits for less product under the guise of stopping people from harming themselves, and shuffled their money sideways. I can only begin to imagine how ‘psychiatry’ will deal with the people “breathing threats of litigation” (the words I quote from the doctor who signed off on my torture to the inquiry from the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist about my detention and ‘treatment’)

    Though I do understand there is a difference between our legal and political systems, with Australia preferring to “edit” legal narratives to suit purposes, and ‘fucking destroy’ anyone who dares speak truth to power.

    Our Euthanasia Laws now showing the cracks I spoke about here more than two years ago. A doctor refusing to sign off on a man who had been put into a body bag before he was dead…….. the ‘after the fact due process’ “edited” version preferred by the State. So much for the “more than a hundred protections” huh?

    Nurses left to ‘clear’ beds, and asking doctors to sign the documents post hoc? I have a problem when the legal narrative can be “edited” before an independent ‘advocate’ can examine said documentation (though they too have families that can be ‘fucking destroyed’ by the State for complaining or being a little over zealous). Though our Minister tells me that even asking about such “editing” matters is justification for you to be ‘treated’. “They wouldn’t do that” and “It never happened” the Party line lest the Jack Boots be sent to arbitrarily detain and force treat you for your illness which can be made up on the spot by a Community Nurse.

    Serious concerns given the issue of homelessness, and the call to ‘treat’ people for their inability to access a home due to the costs.

    But a good article Mr Levine.

    On the issue of the baby though. What would we use to ‘measure’ the harm done to people if not the ‘measures’ we would get rid of with the psychiatric ‘bible’? Going from Imperial to Metric is simply a conversion, and a whole lot of problems in change over. But a brick is still a brick.

    • Bonnie Burstow once said;

      “Someone who takes the position off the top of their head that there is something to be said for both anti-psychiatry and psychiatry is not coming at the issue with an open mind. They already have a pre-established storyline, which is not the same as seeing where the evidence points. There were two sides too to the abolition of slavery in the US, but that does not mean that the truth of what was right lay somewhere in between.”

      So what is “the truth of what is right” with regards ‘mental health treatments and services’? The ability to make anyone the State would like into an “Outpatient” post hoc fits quite well with the “pre-established storyline” spoken about by Ms Burstow. If you don’t like the truth, treat it, and “edit” the legal narrative to conceal your human rights abuses.

      Any wonder nurses are approaching doctors to back date death certificates?

      Where there’s a will……. there’s relatives.

      The FOI Office will ensure that the preferred narrative is the one provided to the Coroner……. interesting little ‘con’ the way they were to achieve that via the Law Centre. A bit like Amway…. ask me how lol

      I suppose if God wanted the truth to be known, he wouldn’t have created an FOI Office to ‘filter’ the legal narratives before distribution. (‘have him sign this and he will then be a ‘patient’ and the conspiring to pervert the course of justice becomes ‘medical care”)

      This really brought a whole new meaning to the “Voluntary Assisted Dying” legislation for me. After the fact due process? A denial of access to documentation by legal representatives to conceal the substantive breaches of process? Legal representatives actively participating in the forging of letters from authorities to cover up arbitrary detentions and torture? And if you complain? ….. seriously, you don’t want to know…….

      As Dr Aftab once said;

      It “risks feeding into distrust of the medical system and available treatment options completely, Aftab said, and leading people to be wary of seeking help at all.”

  6. It’s clear as all heck to me that slavery is an abomination and so is psychiatry. Thank you, Dr. Levine, for such a clearly written piece and pointing out that just because institutions exist doesn’t mean they need to continue to exist. Your voice is much needed, as are the voices of Robert Whittaker and many others trying to get through the morass of entrenched subterfuge, ignorance, and greed.

  7. This is a fantastic article thanks ever so much Dr. Levine, it will prove useful to many of us. I have been pointing out the bit about the lack of proof for “mental illnesses” as brain diseases from the neuroimaging standpoint for a long time now. I wonder, has anyone ever documented the timeline of actual discoveries of the physical mechanisms for definitive brain diseases (which are usually the province of neurology)?

  8. This is great, Bruce. Years ago I told my psychiatrist that I did not believe that psychiatry was a legitimate branch of medicine. At that time I had a paucity of evidence to back that up. You and others have since filled out that evidence. I applaud you (and others) for your critical freethinking. And, yes, it is hysterical, “very funny,” but maybe in a dark way.

  9. I will say that psychiatric treatment is the only thing that actually addresses my depression. I went through numerous clinical psychologists, attending weekly hour and a half sessions for years. It wasn’t until I decided that medication may be in my best interest that my depression improved, and have achieved remission for a long while. It enabled me to actually engage with therapy and implement the changes necessary (for me) to successfully manage the illness. I still remember coming out if that years-long “episode” and my wife, along with friends and family members, noticing the huge change in me – in other words, they could recognize that I was back to myself. What had become a severed and cumbersome marriage was able to be repaired and is, thankfully, stronger than before. I cannot say what the trajectory of my life would have been sans pharmaceutical intervention, but based on those many years of experience, depression would have utterly destroyed my life. I do understand that I’m somewhat lucky in that I responded so well to medication, and the first one (an SSRI) that I tried to boot. Not everyone does – only something like 60% achieve remission with medication, and the others experiencing little to no relief. Even so, I do believe that psychiatry can and does save lives. There are valid criticisms, just as with any medical institution. I’m not quite ready to denounce psychiatry as a whole and label it a sham – not when it has done wonders for my life. If you want to, that’s fine, just don’t think that you’re any more correct because you’re a “free thinker.”

    • I believe the latest research says about 15% have significant improvements with antidepressants. And I’m very glad you managed to be in that group!

      I think you might be missing the point a bit, though. The drugs are drugs, and they work for some people and they don’t for others. That’s not the sham. The sham is the PRETENSE that there is some way to “diagnose” people with the highly subjective DSM, and that these drugs “rebalance chemicals” in the brain that are associated with these subjective “diagnoses,” and that all ‘mental illness’ so defined is caused by faulty brain chemistry.

      There is nothing wrong with finding that a particular substance works for you to enhance your life. But there’s no new “science” of the brain involved here. People have been experimenting with substances since the beginning of human history, from alcohol and inhalants to herbal medicine, not to mention any number of spiritual interventions from many different cultures. I object to none of these, as long as they don’t damage more than they help. What I do object to is people pretending to know things they don’t know, and using that pretend knowledge to sell things, despite data that belies their own assumptions. That’s the sham, not the drugs. It’s what they TELL you about the drugs and diagnoses that is fraudulent.

    • To Mr Japplegate63…I feel that everybody on the globe is fighting depression because everybody is intoxicated on Zooba juice and Zooba juice causes fighting.

      I’m too tired to go into it right now but do click on my name Diaphanous Weeping, Mr Japplegate63, to read my recent comments on it.

      And when the Hoover Dam explodes marvel at how I knew in advance.

        • If you click on my name you arrive at all my previous comments. The Zooba Juice ones are there.

          A bioweapon can be released like a gaseous smoke that can flop a whole village flat out onto the streets, or it can be like a foggy tear gas that has people stumbling about in a daze.

          Zooba Juice is my name for an ether or smoke or juice that is “Spiritual” in that it affects the spirit of a person without their being aware of it. Depression can be contageous and anxiety too. Zooba Juice causes fear of all kinds of things, fear or poverty, fear of cancer, fear of climate change, fear of being controlled, fear of the world not being safe or saved. All these fears cause “what if what if what if what if” as a shriek in the mind and this begets more fears. Fighting is caused by anger. Anger is caused by overwhelming fear of loss. And so this is contageous, this spirit of fighting. Until soon everyone is fighting just because everyone is fighting. A person does not even have awareness that they are fighting, they just make like a muttering cussing zombie. Everyone on this smoke or juice, Zooba Juice, is fighting without much care or thought as to why. There is just a visceral need to kick or ridicule or spark up a squabble. It is coming from mass global stress. It is as if everyone is drunk. Drunk on Zooba Juice. Even little ol me.

          Zooba Juice is a stimulant to zoo animals. Humans are animals in a globe sized zoo. The stimulant to fight potential in one sip of Zooba Juice gets addictive. Why?

          Because it covers over less magnificent responses such as boredom, despair, distress, unease. But healing is found in having contact with unease, enough to realise the zoo is not natural for the human animal. Too much fighting descends into catastrophe.

          Which is why I now drink Orange Juice.

          • Here is another reason why people are fighting so much.

            Theatre is a big dressing up box. It is a cabaret for make believe and play. Each life needs theatre in it. Each life needs play. But in theatre the audience get more enjoyment out of the roles on stage if they suspend disbelief and take them seriously, as if the play is real. So although play is fantastical it works by being taken quite seriously.

            Reality often demands being taken seriously also. If you are in a dim lit alley and you hear a noise that alarms you, your senses scan reality in order to protect you. You need play in life. You need reality in life. Both can be comforting. Both can be rivals. Both are needed within each individual unique human. But in a state of balance. The balance between these, play and reality, is often out of alignment.

            Humans in this era are finding life complicated because the media is smushing together “play”, and the way it needs to be taken seriously to work, and “reality”, and the way it too needs taken seriously in order to work. As free people we need our theatrical playful fantasy of who we feel we are taken seriously by others or we feel ridiculed. But this then asks people to cease listening to their sense of “reality”, a sense that is needed by them to protect them when out in the enviornment and which they are using to continuously keep scanning the dim lit alley.

            In short we need playfull, theatrical “make believe” to be taken seriously or such theatre won’t work…but we also need to renounce “make believe” in a dicey situation when striding through town at midnight.

            Many people groups are saying “please take my dream of me seriously”. But many other people groups are saying “please take my reality seriously since I need it sometimes more than I need play”.

            PLAY. REALITY. Both of these are causing many various groups to be warring with eachother. Yet both of these are necessary to each person to function. Play and reality are usually held in a healthy tension or balance. Play softens the edges of reality. Reality stops play from becoming so dreamy that it fails to make any sense at all.

            At present everyone is warring because they think there has to be a settled “consensus opinion” on what gets to be taken MORE SERIOUSLY. Play or reality. And so it is a global fight. Everyone who likes more play in their lives feels threatened by those who demand more reality in their lives, and visa versa.

            Fear on both sides gives a false idea that something needs controlled in people. Gone is the old adage of live and let live. But really there are ONLY three things that DO need controlled and banned and these are sexual abuse, bullying, and cruelty.

            If the person before you is not behaving in any of those three despicable ways then they are harmless. They are harmless whether they are in the theatrical group or the realist group. Thought policing of either group is not needed but the fear stoked up due to the inharmonious imbalance between play and reality, in each human, causes rising stress to seek an outlet. Othering is the unfortunate fruit.

    • I don’t think that 60% do well with medications. I think that you need to look further into the true information regarding that, but Steve has stated a more scientific and unbiased statistic of 15%. And you can find that in numerous articulate unbiased evaluations. I think with reinterpretation the statistics with quite a few questionable angles might achieve 60%, but that would only be within the first few years, and then the statistics actually point out that everything gets worse: more relapsing, more side effect, more possible withdrawal symptoms, loss of life, more added on diagnosis, more disability; and you can logically add on more paranoia against what statistically is more likely to get better without medications. So in reality, given the spike in mental illness, including “depression,” if after the implement of medications, and given a few years of a person being on them, you start having a certain times more incidences of the “disease” the actual effect of the medications is to increase the amount of disease or diseases; added to the effect of more people being treated with a method that causes less recovery, if it increases the disease rather than recovery is the statistics properly put in the negative? Because there are THAT MANY people who have a disease that without “medications” would have gone away is what the studies and statistics show. If for the recovery of said amount of people, you have more than that said amount who have the disease that would have otherwise healed by itself, I think the statistics come out in the negative regarding who has recovery and who doesn’t.

      And your final statement “I’m not quite ready to denounce psychiatry as a whole and label it a sham – not when it has done wonders for my life. If you want to, that’s fine, just don’t think that you’re any more correct because you’re a “free thinker.” That belies a lot. When someone, or anyone puts forth concrete information why psychiatry should be put on the line about what the RESULTS are of its methods, that they actually put forth concrete grounded information that can be backed up with science, statistics and recovery results, this isn’t saying one is correct because they are a “free thinker,” that’s simply honoring the truth. This article also is a comment on psychiatry’s respond to criticism, it isn’t about denouncing it as a whole. That you like anti-depressants doesn’t not change the real statistics, nor does that make people pointing this out to be falsely labeling themselves free thinkers, they are pointing out the truth. There are numerous things that might make a person feel they are helpful, and objectively come out as working for them, but that doesn’t change the statistics regarding how that affects others, and that DOESN’T excuse hiding the truth, or lying, regarding what’s sham and what isn’t. You also don’t know what else would be available if what statistically correlates with causing more of the problem wasn’t blocking or suppressing so many other healing methods from being readily available, methods that statistically don’t correlate with a spike or an epidemic.

      There are also NUMEROUS things going on with anti-depressants from the beginning. The way that they were approved is highly questionable. When in numerous studies a more than considerable amount of the people in the control group had to leave the control group because of side effects, and this is NOT tallied up in the results; when in the non control group anyone getting better within the first couple of weeks is taken out of the tallying of results; when they also had to put people in the control group on another medications to deal with side effects and on top of that had to get people in the control group who already were on psychiatric medications which also points out that if they [those who already had been on psychiatric medications] were also in the non control group and thus were taken off of their medications that they would have withdrawal symptoms listed as psychiatric symptoms; when they had to do multiple studies and dismiss an incredible amount that didn’t have the results they were looking for;;; when they didn’t report properly withdrawal symptoms of those in the control group after the initial period….. All of that having to be going on to get the results they wanted starts to add up to something not being right. And it’s NOT a symptom of someone labeling themselves fraudulently as a “freethinker,” when they can see all of that and AREN’T going to ignore it.

      And then they were approved, and they still didn’t report the side effect or withdrawal symptoms, those often being siphoned into being interpreted as psychiatric symptoms rather than drug effects, the occurrence of psychiatric diseases spiked, worse than that there already were people that committed suicide in the trials, but that wasn’t reported, and that CONTINUED to not be reported, or acknowledged when reported….

      And then because this was considered confidential medical information, the collusion with psychiatric drugs in incidents of homicidal and suicidal behavior and mass shootings wasn’t properly reported, nor to this day is. Although this was known from the beginning…..

      And instead of all of that being acknowledged, people are mislead into believing that what statistically caused more of the problem is how to respond to it.

      Enough free thought for you!?

    • japplegate63:

      It’s great that antidepressants worked for you. Whatever helps in a positive way. But people’s paths through the psychiatric system are very different. Depression is something all human beings can understand. It isn’t nearly as stigmatised, nor as weaponisable as other types of suffering and their associated categorisations. What if you were categorised with a “personality disorder”? What if it was “schizophrenia”? Oppositional Defiant Disorder? Conduct Disorder? Intermittent Explosive Disorder? What if it was many of them at the same time as “comorbidities”? Your experiences would have been quite different.

      “Demonise all of psychiatry” is a pretty meaningless phrase people use over and over again. Your appreciation for psychiatry is pretty typical. A drug brought you out of a prolonged phase of suffering where nothing else worked for years, hence you don’t want to “demonise all of psychiatry”. I’m assuming your help was also voluntary (something that makes a huge difference). The same can be said for other commenters here who get agitated seeing a site like MIA because a neuroleptic stopped their torturous hallucinations or because a stimulant suddenly made them be able to concentrate. Heck, you could never have entered psychiatry, gone to a country doctor in a small down, popped that SSRI, not known there is any such thing as psychiatry and still come out with the same positive result.

      Calling Psychiatry a “medical institution”, I feel, is a bit of a misnomer and a dangerous one at that (it’s only part medicine). They use the “it’s medical” excuse to give doctors power over things that have nothing conventionally to do with medicine. Control people’s opinions, moral judgements, cultural values etc. Heck, if you’re doing that, just don’t use the “it’s medical” excuse. We all have opinions on how we and also others should conduct themselves. We don’t throw it under the guise of medicine.

      Medicine, in general, deals with the body. Not character, conduct, personality (except in the sense that chronic pain or a brain injury may change a person’s personality from a lively individual to a sullen one), family squabbles etc. No one looks at a root canal or a kidney stone through the prism of sanism. Your heart does not have a personality flaw, and your liver does not have unlawful conduct.

      You can appreciate and understand your path of healing whilst keeping in mind others’ paths of destruction in the same bin of psychiatry. They exist side-by-side.

  10. At the beginning of covid I was saying to people “I never thought I’d see the day when I’d rather tell people I had syphilis than sneeze in a shopping centre”

    I got to thinking about this and wondered about the similarities and differences between being diagnosed with syphilis and a mental illness.

    The drugs for syphilis actually work, and your don’t end up contracting gonorrhea and herpes as a result of taking them.

    You can stop taking the drugs once they have done the job, and don’t have to add other drugs.

    People will actually start to interact with you in normal ways once you have been cured.

    And whilst there are times when the issue of public health may require the use of force and incarceration (people who have deliberately infected others for example), such cases are extremely rare.

    Looking back, the unlawful release of my confidential medical records from a Private Clinic which does legal medico reports for the Courts has me wondering if I might have been better of had I been infected with V.D. and had my medical records posted on a hospital bulletin board, as opposed to these ‘whisperers’ of the slander of ‘mental illness’. Their ‘confidential informant’ concealing the origin of the “Provisional Diagnosis” by having the State call her at her day job rather than the Private Clinic whose relationship with the Courts may have been affected by such unlawful release of a citizens personal medical records, ie breaching the Federal Privacy Act.

    And, after all, it was decided I didn’t even have an ‘illness’ anyway. All that trouble to conceal the arbitrary detention, torture and unlawful release of confidential medical records from the Clinic to find out there was nothing wrong with me? I wonder if that would have been the process had I been suspected of having the Pox?

    “spiked’ with date rape drugs and unlawfully detained under the Mental Health Act (called an “Outpatient” to use Police to force me into ‘care’) while they administered the cure? The lack of insight into my condition (which I didn’t actually have) justifying the method of forced treatment? The legal narrative “edited” post hoc to conceal the need to check the allegation via human rights abuses?

    See what happens when you don’t have a valid blood test for the ‘illness’? The paranoids have taken over the asylum……. “potential for violence, but no actual history or clear intent”…… best we administer a ‘chemical restraint’ and then use the effects as symptoms of the illness we want him to have, to then administer more of the drugs that cause the symptoms?

    And these guys are the smart ones? If they were roofing carpenters it would be like putting a pile of wood on the top of the bricks, and then throwing a pack of nails at it and expecting praise for the quality of the work. It’s not their fault the roof tiler is having trouble with his part of the job…… he simply doesn’t understand the complexity of roof carpentry.

    I think that the comparison to the medical field of sexually transmitted diseases is much more valid than any other area (eg cardiology, dermatology etc) because there is a level of stigma associated with STDs. It also highlights the use of real medicine as compared to these made up illnesses and ‘treatments’.

  11. Don’t know why you’re apologising for comparing to slavery. The great himself, amongst many others, Franco Basaglia, came to the same conclusion. He cited Sartre’s book written in Paris in 1944 about the persecution of the Jews, where Sartre identifies what drives the bigot; a problem in their own character structure that they refuse to sort out because they find it too obscene to look at. So they project onto a perceived class of people. In the case of Sartre it was his friend who was an actor, “a bad actor” as Sartre put it. His friend could not get work in the French acting profession in the 40’s. Rather than go away and take some more acting classes he blamed it on the Jews. “The French acting profession is Jew ridden” as he put it. This analysis of the bigot also applies to racists and those who discriminate against those with distress.

      • Yes, I think there are a lot of possible reasons for support of psychiatry or lack thereof. Even in your other comments you’ve mentioned “what about people who say were helped by psychiatry?”. It all depends on path the psychiatric system has put the person in.

        Case 1: Guy has general stresses about life. Some degree of social anxiety and work pressure. He’s feeling a little blue.

        Psychiatrist categorises him with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and prescribes some Zoloft. In his case, he takes it, has minimal side effects and feels better. He will praise psychiatry and think MIA and everyone on it are a bunch of fools and anti-vax scientology cranks.

        Case 2: Woman comes from an abusive family. This makes her volatile and not easy to be around. She gets categorised with “Borderline Personality Disorder”. A categorisation that simply becomes a weapon to gaslight and control her. She becomes traumatised and ends up behaving in a way that simply reinforces that categorisation in a vicious cycle.

        This person obviously would not appreciate Psychiatry one bit.

        There are a lot of factors that go into this. Family situation, what categorisations have been put on the person (not all “psychiatric diagnoses” are seen the same. Some are less stigmatising, some are more), what effects the drugs have had, how long they have gone through psychiatry, what social or legal consequences they have had to face as a result of “treatment”, whether they have faced unwanted or unwarranted coercion, whether they have endured gaslighting, what effect it has had on their employment, healthcare and day-to-day functionality.

        While some of us can acknowledge the positive impact that some of what psychiatrists do can have on people, I am yet to meet a single psychiatrist in real life who will admit to the damages caused by any facets of their profession. I have just experienced hand-waving, “there’s criticism of every field, look at other areas of healthcare” (healthcare in general does not deal with character, conduct, sanity, personality etc. No one can say “she lies because she has a kidney stone”. They can say “she lies because of her borderline personality disorder” [there are ample examples of how psychiatric categorisations are weaponised on social media]), “MRIs/fMRIs show this and that” (when it is practically useless in everyday life).

        I think some of the “helped by psychiatry” crowd does not know how nasty psychiatry can get. Once they DO get to know, that same “helped by psychiatry” population group will turn into the “big bad antipsychiatry, the same as anti-vaxx” crowd and there will be a fresh new batch that can be the “let’s focus on those we can help” crowd. Because suffering people will always exist.

        There are some renegade mental health workers who will talk about this stuff on places like MIA, but they’re a miniscule minority.

        • Alright, I do see how bad psychiatry at it’s worst is. And I do think it should try to work towards a less harmful worst. People with Borderline personality disorder should be better protected. And I don’t think hospitalization should exist (or at least, the very scary needles and abusive workers shouldn’t exist and the hospitals should be better regulated). At least, those are my thoughts, and your free to have yours.

          • The starting point is not “people with borderline personality disorder should be protected.” The starting point is, borderline personality disorder isn’t real nor is any other diagnosis in the DSM. There is no scientific validity to the diagnosis. None.

            People with *diagnoses of* borderline personality disorder wouldn’t need to be protected. If the diagnosis hadn’t been made up by psychiatrists who wanted more license to more freely abuse patients. I mean, in the world we live in who do “borderlines” need protection from? From psychiatry. The abusers. They may have abusive relationships outside of treatment, yes, but being kneecapped by psychiatry makes in 10 times harder to get out of those relationships.

          • See, that’s the thing. I would usually never even say “people with borderline personality disorder”, just like I would never say computers with “dysfunctional computer RAM disorder”, or homes with “broken pipes disorder” (though I can understand that pipes can break and that RAM can malfunction). This verbiage is problematic. Simply relabelling of a set behaviours (that doesn’t mean the behaviours are meaningless), but then giving those labels agency.

            This is not a small distinction of semantics (though it may seem very nitpicky). It is a major distinction with significant consequences. Though these terms are not explanations of any behaviour (and it’s circular reasoning to use them as such), they are practically used everyday as such (in courts of law, in family life, in professional mental health settings etc.). It may be a convenient shorthand for many but it also becomes a convenient way of gaslighting.

            “She lies due to her borderline personality disorder”, “he’s delusional because he’s schizophrenic”, “he’s depressed because he’s bipolar”, rather than simply “she lies” or “he’s delusional” or “he’s depressed”.

            And sure, people need to be better protected. How do you aim to do that? How do you aim to protect a single person variously categorised with Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Panic Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (there are [or at least were] forums online with people writing all their “diagnoses” neatly in their signatures).

            I am pretty well aware that there are a lot of people who support psychiatry and that they don’t tour here for obvious reasons.

            The moment at which a person would be most grateful to psychiatry would probably be when a conversation with a psychiatrist or a prescription drug alleviates some severe suffering that has gone on for a prolonged period (several years in many cases) and also he sought help voluntarily. But as has already been pointed out, how does he/she feel after 10 years? Has anything changed?

            I have been on Quora and I have posted Quora threads here before. Some of what is written there horrifies me (pretty sure some of what’s written here horrifies psychiatrists and their supporters as well, but I’m not complaining because of how much nastiness is going on in real life when it comes to psychiatry). I have been on drug reviews for various medications. I am not against people voluntarily using drugs or ECT or TMS as long as it’s in a safe manner and isn’t an unwarranted nuisance to others around.

            I understand that people suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, delusions, hallucinations, inattention, mania, family abuse, sexual abuse and there are truly people with intolerable personalities, and in desperate moments people want solutions to their problems and they turn to (or are forcibly turned to or forcibly turn others to) psychiatry, out of a lack of options (many don’t even know what they are getting themselves into until it’s too late). But the issues at hand are a lot more complicated than that.

          • Just to add. It’s not that “people with Borderline Personality Disorder” need to be better protected. It’s that people need to be protected FROM some of the consequences of categorisations like “Borderline Personality Disorder”, or “Bipolar Disorder”, whatever other categorisations there are.

      • “Because slavery wasn’t supported by enslaved people. Some people with psychiatric disorders support psychiatry.”

        You obviously have never been ‘treated’ involuntarily. (nor have I but I was unlawfully detained using the Mental Health Act to enable me to be tortured which has given me insight into what is being wrongly called ‘medicine’ by certain people)

        If it wasn’t supported by the slave, he/she was considered to have drapetomania (the old equivalent of todays elutheromania), and they received treatment for that ‘illness’.

        Given that situation I think you will find that there were many slaves who supported the institution of slavery (with rewards for those who would provide information to the master etc about escape plots).

        Better the Devil you know?

        “Those who would sacrifice their liberty for a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”? Forget who said that….. maybe the Marquis de Sade?

        • I see your point (your situation was terrible and shouldn’t happen again), but there are people who have on the internet and would support my point (just like the people on the internet that support yours) My people don’t tour this place often with accounts and comments, but they do exist.

          • Your people are the majority. I used to be on Reddit and Quora and all of those other places and was made well aware that most people think I’m delusional, that I just can’t accept my diagnosis, that I should have listened to my treatment providers, that I’m playing the victim, that I’m anti-science/ a Scientologist, that I need to get back on my meds, that I’m an abusive, evil, worthless person (as many people believe all “borderlines” are). I was ganged up on and verbally abused so many times on Reddit and other sites, even on their antipsychiatry page, that I no longer participate in any of that. It is because I am very well aware of what is said about “borderlines” on other websites that I stopped participating there.

            Most psychiatric survivors are well aware that psychiatry is largely accepted as legitimate by most people. As Bruce Levine pointed out, that was also the case for slavery for a very long time.

          • “You can’t accept your diagnosis” is a great one. As if accepting one’s suffering and accepting their categorisations is the same thing. Just pure gaslighting and mockery combined to invalidate anything a person has to say (easy to do especially now that they have a “diagnosis”).

            On the same site, Quora (and I can’t find the thread now to link it), a registered nurse wrote something along the lines of, “The problem with mental patients is that they can’t accept their diagnosis. Instead of working to get another diagnosis, they complain about the diagnosis they got”.

            Maybe she was frustrated by some patient, but even then. They think people are some hamsters on a hamster wheel for them. “Work to get another diagnosis”. Yeah right. The problem with such mental registered nurses is that they don’t bother to think how horrible their diagnoses make the lives of other people, sometimes not even leaving them in a position to work at all. Just keep working and accrue more “diagnoses”. That’ll do you a lot of good. ADHD today, Bipolar Disorder tomorrow, Panic Disorder day after, and a Personality Disorder to top it off. Write them all down in a permanent medical record and then have the patient run around like a headless chicken trying to explain his actual situation every time he/she needs medical treatment even for non-psychiatric issues (like those doctors have that much time). Bring the patient to a point where he just ends up shelling up in isolation, away from the world, from his family, from seeking ordinary medical help for problems and then blame him/her for all that.

            The worst part is, just like this situation, they inadvertently end up pitting one suffering person (person A) who might have some form of depression/anxiety and a milder, less stigmatising categorisation and who benefitted from a conversation with a psychiatrist or a psychiatric drug, against another person (person B) who has a more stigmatising categorisation like a “personality disorder” or maybe 5 categorisations.

            Person A will just tell person B, “How dare you speak against Psychiatry, you Scientology whackjob?!” as if you’re invalidating all his pain.

            I remember there was a Psychologist here on MIA (once again, very old article, don’t remember which) who ended up getting categorised with (I think) “Bipolar Disorder” by his colleagues and it started causing him problems. When I called him out on the topic of psychiatric categorisations, he was petrified and said something along the lines of him not having a hand in how people got treated due to his diagnoses.

            Until it happens to these people themselves, they just don’t understand someone else’ pain. By then, it’s too late for them both.

        • “Those who would sacrifice their liberty for a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”

          I’m pretty certain that was a Benjamin Franklin quote, but wow, that quote – and slice of wisdom – now seems to have been eliminated from the internet.

          Oh, simplifying it to a search for quotes that include merely the words liberty and safety, does still find you the original Ben Franklin quote:

          https://www.quotemaster.org/safety and liberty

      • “Because slavery wasn’t supported by enslaved people. Some people with psychiatric disorders support psychiatry.”

        Who asked about the thoughts of enslaved people? Like ‘mental patients’, their Masters spoke for them.

        “None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depths of their minds by Masters who rule them with lies. They feed them on falsehoods till wrong looks like right in their eyes” Goethe.

        ‘You have a chemical imbalance in your brain, and this drug works like insulin for diabetes’

  12. Dr. Levine’s byline always gets me excited for ‘numbers-don’t-lie’ + humanity-centric, quality pushback.
    Let me add my gratitude to yet another concise, powerful, & accurate smackdown of psychiatry’s apologists, lobbyists, and parasites.

    I read PsychTimes to stay informed regarding their constant, mewling, petulant, ultimately dangerous pushback against de-legitimazation…by science & damaged customers. I am familiar with the 2 writers & their difficulty hitting just-the-right-tone in their pushback to J. Moncrieff and her associates.

    As Levine states, sometimes these guys act as if they ‘accept’ tiny admonishments (to illustrate their ‘open mind’), often they flail hysterically at critics.

    Ironically, as a female, I am profoundly familiar with THEIR definition of ‘hysteria’.

    Once again Dr. Levine nails the landing.
    Thx…again.

  13. Bruce could have included, in my opinion, Psychiatry’s doubling down on its ADD protocols when they green lighted “medicating” toddlers (3 and above), as reported by Robert Whitaker in February of this year. As Mr. Whitaker meticulously demonstrated in his article, the science behind ADD as a neurological, physiological, or biological “disorder”, simply doesn’t exist (whatever behavioral affectations, etc. might or otherwise do exist). In this “scientific” light, therefore, this should have been the point where psychiatry deployed a 180 and implemented red-light constraints, and not obverse green. For me, the fact that psychiatry found it necessary to take this action and move in that respective direction (whereby no action was the minimal scientific responsible action!), is every bit as damming as the rest of psychiatry’s “nightmarish 2022 revelations”. To respectfully amend Raymond Dolan, “It remains difficult to refute a critique that psychiatry’s most fundamental characteristic is its ignorance”. . . . “willful ignorance’ is, I think, the more accurate and essential modifier.

    I believe this ADD development is an important distinction. For all of psychiatry’s epistemic transgressions detailed in Bruce’s excellent article, they did not, as far as I understand, result in a change of treatment protocols that “doubled down” on false science. I find the ADD development to have been shameless and professionally gratuitous, and lays bare the irreconcilable “character” of psychiatry.

    For the past several years institutional elites (I use the word respectfully and pro-constructivist, and NOT as a pejorative) have taken to the airways and books decrying the the (rampant) populous disregard for “expertise”. Tom Nichols, and his book, “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters”, is an excellent example. Nowhere in Nichols book, or his multiple NPR appearances, etc., does he mention word one of where or how “established knowledge” has failed societies writ small and large. I mention Nichols because of the parallels between his critiques of expertise to that of the particular use and attributions of the “established knowledge” informing and constraining psychiatry. Nowhere has Nichols broached the discussion between functional episteme and critical episteme, or couple of dozen other critical and theoretical frameworks that (would) more adequately demonstrate the “more substantive” nature of the crisis of “expertise” he so rightly calls out.

    Lastly, environmental scientist tell us that a 100 foot swell in sea level is already baked in (so long Miami, Manhattan, etc.). No matter what steps we take (and they are, to date, abysmally inadequate) we can not avert this 100ft sea-swell outcome. I mention this because I think its a good example of the “baked-in and exponential nature of the crisis facing psychiatry and (all) societies mental health in general. What’s already baked in to our mental health, its systems, and in every area of public life, comes from, in significant part, decades of misuse, misrepresentation, and exploitation of “established knowledge” by psychiatry. Like Nichols, I’d like to see a return to “the expertise of established knowledge”, nowhere more so than in psychiatry and the mental health professions.

  14. Hi Bruce – your assertion that there is no neurobiological evidence for any psychiatric disorder is not quite accurate. Trigant Burrow published evidence in Nature, in 1938, by way of EEG studies (then called kymographic), that showed a disorder, which he claimed was widespread and was in fact a phylogenetic disorder, in attention. He named this disorder “ditention” – divided attention – most people in the western world were going through life constantly looking in the rear view mirror. He contrasted this with “cotention” – where a person is giving their full attention to what they are doing (and not trying to watch themselves as they performed). Although a founding father of the American Psychoanalytic Society, he had earlier been kicked out for disagreeing with Freud – for Burrow, mother was not the love object (as she was with Freud) but the love subject; we retain a primary identity with “mother” and objectify ourselves.

    I suspect we may also find a biological marker for autism.

    • As far as I recall, “ditention” is not a current DSM diagnosis. And I’d need to see how this “ditention” is objectively distinguished from “normalcy” in a consistent way.

      That being said, if we have one example of a “biological cause” (though it sounds more like a correlation in any case), that’s not a very good advertisement for the idea that “mental illnesses” are biological “diseases.”

      • Yes ditention is not a DSM diagnosis – I never said it was, just as Bruce didn’t limit his article to DSM diagnoses. Some would say that is the point – Burrow took a very different direction from mainstream psychiatry. I’m suggesting there is another avenue to explore here. Ditention isn’t distinguished from “normalcy” in Western culture – that is why Burrow labelled it as phylogenetic disorder. Some non-western people are not so ditentive, just as small children are not so ditentive. As you can measure it by EEG, you have a way of distinguishing it objectively, unlike DSM diagnoses. I suggest some reading is in order…..

        • It remains a legitimate question as to whether this difference is a “disorder” or “medical condition,” which is a philosophical problem of great magnitude that psychiatry has always dodged. Difference is not disease. And there is still no clear line of demarcation as to who “has” or “doesn’t have” ditention or what causes the condition or situation.

          Thanks for the interesting information. I’d also suggest that if the DSM were organized around things that could actually be distinguished from each other and from so-called “normal,” there might be SOME outside chance of finding a small subgroup of people who actually DO have something wrong with them. But this would require psychiatry to give up on their fictional DSM “bible” and start being a hell of a lot more humble about what they do and do not know. I’m not going to hold my breath.

          • It is a pity that I could not persuade you to do some reading on this. Clifford Geertz, the anthropologist, noted that the idea of a ‘self’ as the centre of one’s being, “…however incorrigible it may seem to us, [is] a rather peculiar idea within the context of world cultures”. Similarly Joseph Henrich has written a book entitled “The weirdest people in the world: How the west became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous”. Did you understood what a phylogenetic disorder is? It is more of a cultural disorder. Yes we know causes ditention. I think Burrow would have been pleased with Foucault’s panopticism as the generator. Foucault described a prison designed by the 18th century architect and politician Jeremy Betham, where the guards could see into the cells but the prisoners could not tell when they were looking and when not. The prisoners develop an attitude of being under constant surveillance. Bentham then encouraged this as a metaphor for politics – and we have entered a world of constant surveillance. Rather than have a small subgroup of people who actually do have something wrong with them, Burrow identified a very large group who have a measurable something wrong with them. I could say more, but I hope I’ve led some of you to read more on this.

          • Well, a “cultural disorder” is by definition not medical. So I actually agree with you there. The question is why we want doctors “treating” social disorders with drugs, when the obvious answer is to alter social conditions that are causing the “disorders.” Schools are a fantastic example. “ADHD” is actually DEFINED to a large extent by behaviors in school that teachers find inconvenient or annoying. The same kids who are “diagnosed” with “ADHD,” when served in an open classroom environment, where they have more choices about how to spend their time and when to switch activities, are literally indistinguishable from “normal” children by trained professionals, per controlled scientific studies! So why give them drugs, when transporting them to an open classroom alleviates most of the “symptoms” without any of the risks of drug “treatment?”

            One could even build on your comments and suggest that the actual purpose of psychiatry is to deflect any attention from the social causes of these “disorders” and instead blame people’s biochemistry so that no changes will happen to the social status quo.

            What are you recommending I read that I have not responded to? I don’t remember that. I’m almost always willing to look at anything that provides new perspectives. I’m not willing to spend much time rehashing psychiatry’s spurious arguments about “mental disorders” being caused by biological problems in all cases (even their own DSM says otherwise), but if you’ve got something refreshing to share, I’m all ears!

          • Clifford Geertz Deep Play; Notes on the Balinese Cock Fight. It’s all very ‘loose’ to he honest.

            Nietzsche said “Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs, it is the rule”

          • What makes you say that a “cultural disorder” is by definition not medical? I suspect this belief is limiting your thinking. We are alike in agreeing that psychiatry is bankrupt and its diagnostic categories, such as ADHD, are meaningless. I think, like me, you are looking for new way of thinking about the problem of social “illness”. Ditention was once likened by Burrow as being like the mexican walking fish (axoltle) which has an arm, every now and then takes on a quite independent, reflex action departing from the holistic action of the total organism. This partial action remains quite discrete and brief, and so long as it doesn’t get organised, does not from a union, as it were, it doesn’t threaten the natural capital of the central salamander. But this part function has taken over in (Western) humans, resulting in a loss of grace of movement. It results in a measurable (by eeg) chronic tension; experienced as being in the head. McGilchrist has described this as “the master and his emissary” (book title), without mentioning Burrow – but as Burrow was first to describe the condition, I think he should get credit. Burrow was communicating with DH Lawrence and John Dewey and influencing them. One of Burrow’s arguments was that malaria was not seen as a disease by some countries and shrugged off as cultural disorder by the locals – it took some educative efforts by the world health professionals to convince them otherwise. I make the bold claim that I think you will find as you read the literature on the ameliorative course of treatment for ditention you will have a way of dissolving most “mental health” problems.

          • DISEASE: a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms : SICKNESS, MALADY

            https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disease

            Clearly, the boundaries between medical disease and social “disorder” have become very fuzzy. But to me, a social disorder is something CAUSED by social conditions. As you can see, the definition of “disease” above reflects something wrong with the BODY, and because medicine (at least in the Western countries) consists primarily of prescribing drugs and surgery, as well as lifestyle recommendations (which are not considered “treatments”), the idea of “treating” a “social disorder” by medical means seems stupid, kind of like drinking alcohol to deal with having a dead-end job and an unsatisfying relationship.

            Here’s a decent description of a “social disorder:”

            “When disorder and immoral events occur in society, it is called social disorder. From the beginning of the world’s existence, there has been chaos, heartache, catastrophe, and disorganization all of which can mostly be attributed to corrupt human behavior. Societies, countries, cities, communities, and families all experience this disorder in different ways, depending on their environment, population, and circumstances. This lesson will review some of the immoral dilemmas and misconduct that influences social disorder.”

            As you can see, this definition involves issues of morality, order, corruption, environmental circumstances, social expectations, and even geography. Why would medical “treatment” be appropriate to deal with immorality? Or geographic trends (did you know that schizophrenia rates are MUCH higher in urban environments?) Or environmental problems? Medicine addresses the body. The major error that psychiatry makes is assuming that physical “treatments” can be used to address social/emotional problems. That assumption is 100% wrong. The only thing medicine can do for “mental illness” or “social disorders” is to “medicate” away the emotions involved with feeling oppressed or alienated or angry about the social conditions that prevail. Unless you are more going down the line of eugenics, and want to use “medical” interventions to reduce the ability of rebels to take action, or in fact incarcerate or sterilize or even kill them, as psychiatry has done in Nazi Germany and in the USSR, among other places.

            Social disorders are social problems and need social solutions. I’m not opposed to thinking differently about that, but I am having a very hard time seeing what doctors are able and willing to do about a social problem like boring classrooms or domestic abuse in the home.

            Using your example, how is “ditention” caused socially, and what medical intervention would stop it from happening? Or are you just talking about ameliorating the consequences and allowing the cause to go “untreated?” Which I think puts us back in the Jack Daniels category of “treatment.”

          • “the idea of “treating” a “social disorder” by medical means seems stupid, kind of like drinking alcohol to deal with having a dead-end job and an unsatisfying relationship.”

            We are currently having the ‘debate’ (not that it is ever really a debate in our media, which is told by the elite what the opinions of the public are and they then tell them what they think) about the beating and public flogging of children.

            It used to be that this was thought to be the best method of bringing them into line……. then some bright spark started looking at the effect of the ban on these public floggings at schools in Finland and we then stopped that being enabled in the late 1970s.

            We have since moved to a ‘medical model’ to deal with ‘disruptive kids’ in classrooms as a means to beat the little darlings who cause teacher problems.

            This isn’t working out so good either, though there are still many who ‘see’ the ‘treatments’ as being ‘like insulin for diabetes’…… so there’s still money to be made by those who prescribe and the suppliers (one doctor prescribing ADHD drugs to more than 2000 ‘patients’ in a calendar year, so the government got rid of the ability of the public to examine the data relating to prescribing patterns)

            Personally the more I look at the way the role of the Mufti has gone in Islamic societies (mainly due to increased literacy and education), by the issuing of fatwas (diagnoses given weight by the courts?) in support of the courts, to being the modern day equivalent of ‘social workers’….. the more I can see this being the future of psychiatrists. Take away the use of State sanctioned violence and force and their role would likely change within a year.

            Courts deal with facts, fatwas are opinions. And when doctor becomes judge, jury and executioner based on opinion alone (and the magistrates became afraid? Acts 16;38….. they treat us as “Outpatients” [to enable arbitrary detentions and torture] but we are “citizens”)?

            But who takes over the morality Policing?

        • I am no thing if I am not singular.
          But how do I know I am a thing unless I step back from that thing enough to see that its totality is bound up with being a singular thing?
          Yet if I retreat from it is it still completely a singular thing, or now a less than singular thing…a singular thing with a chunk missing?
          Or has it become a twosome? Often in life, or consciousness, there is this singular thing becoming a duo and then singular again.

          Dear Nick Drury, I am always scribbling. I jotted that above here “note to self”, on a scrap of paper, two months ago. Perhaps it speaks of your notion of “ditention”.

          I have written stacks and screeds but I do so from my own wonderment. I steer well away from other peoples books. And so it was a pleasant surprise for me last week to discover for the first time Mr MacGilchrist and his two brain or bifurcated brain ideas. I think he has resonance with my idea of the difference between emotional being and rational being. I will not buy his book since I prefer my own ponderous seedlings to germinate without cross pollenation. I am greedy to be regarded as original.

  15. I was involuntarily detained for a week and diagnosed as bipolar by an emergency room doctor who never met me, who never evaluated me, who did not supervise the first year intern who spoke to me briefly, at a Catholic hospital in the Midwest. The young female first year intern very quickly and very strongly disbelieved the very real short story I told her, that I was set up by my EEOC documented psychologically abusive employer–suicide swatted the term was later coined. My story remains well documented, though unusual.

    My medical records from the emergency room and psych ward are a mess, and similar to the game Telephone, crossed with criminal cover up. Especially when the three distinct set of records released are compared. Long story.

    But my medical records don’t compare well with the DSM, as nutty as the DSM is. My medical records are filled with tests of my urine and other tests that don’t reveal bipolar. They are filled with notes of part time support staff using terms from the DSM like “flight of ideas” and other fabricated assignations regarding my life, including my previous eating and sleeping habits, which no one asked me about. During the week I was held to bilk my teachers Cadillac insurance, there was only a criminal semblance of talk therapy by a doctor and a hospital who admitted the doctor played hooky.

    In my discharge papers directions to patient, the Catholic hospital reduced the protracted psycho babble definition of bipolar in the DMS to traits they don’t like in critics, especially female critics: aggression, talking and creativity.

    Misinformation has spread like bible stories.

  16. The way psychiatry’s famous proponents castigate non-believers reminds me of how some religious leaders regard non-believers. In other words, psychiatry’s believers tend to get angry, insulting, condescending and dismissive towards non-believers, especially when asked for biological proof to back up their claims. It’s a lot like a religious debate on the existence of God.

    • “It’s a lot like a religious debate on the existence of God.”

      Except that one doesn’t get to debate the existence of God with God. Imagine how He would feel with someone gaslighting Him about His very existence?

      Some really harsh language in this clip, but i think it gets the message across very well.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn1DXyHSWsg&t=186s

      “the c&*^ Nietzche was wide eh the mark when he said I was deed……… I’m not deed, I just denne give a f*&^” lol

      And the ending is about the same as questioning a ‘mental health professional’ about their omnipotence? That is, they exercise their Godly powers and laugh.

  17. Boans,
    Thank you for the clip.

    You’re right. It is scarily similar to going up against a “mental health professional”, whose omnipotence/licensure grants them powers to assault people’s character with labels, or worse, condemn them to confinement, with little to no access to adequate recourse and redress. It’s a grievous violation of basic human rights. And they do it with impunity. They’re utterly disgusting.

    And yes, the ending is about the same as questioning a “mental health professional”. But the difference, I think, is that God knows what He’s doing, (which doesn’t make it better), whereas most psychiatrists and therapists, I think, are totally unaware of their cruelty and stupidity, because their egos have gotten so big it’s blinded them to their true motivations and character. And they enjoy playing God, walking all over people’s basic rights, turning patients into flies, so to speak, or lying about the validity of their “diagnoses”, or efficacy and safety of their “medications”, which they feel their “education” entitles them to do. But most stomach turning of all are a psychiatrist’s or therapist’s justifications, skillfully executed with award-winningly seductive prowess. It’s truly a sight to behold.

    But in the end, it’s just like God, because it’s all about having and wielding power, however they please.

    • Hi Birdsong,

      I get the feeling the author (Irving Welsh of Trainspotting fame) may have written this after coming into contact with ‘mental health services’. I’m glad they didn’t manage to crush his creativity, because his books are very entertaining.

      And your right about a difference between God and ‘these’ people. I think of it in terms of Eric Bernes Games People Play…… they use their position to manipulate the roles from Adult to Adult and make it God to ‘insignificant insect’ (to quote Nietzsche). Those who resist walking into the ‘trap’ may require the use of force provided by the State.

      I know there are a lot of people who think they have found a loophole to the Commandments “Thou shalt not kill” …… (except where the provisions of the ‘Voluntary’ Assisted Dying Act have been met….. and if they haven’t “edit” the documents so they have post hoc). And is it not the case that the State has also provided the Mental Health Act a a means of a loophole of the Commandment of “Thou shalt have no gods before me”…. except where the Mental Health Act provide the powers of a god….. and the documentation can be “edited” after the fact?

      I watch from my position of pain and suffering caused by the negligence of those with a duty to act, and strangely I have not the slightest bit of envy for the money and power they wallow in. The recent PhD analysis of the large amounts of money being effectively stolen from the taxpayer via Medicare (a figure of $8 billion suggested, and a quick look at the property portfolios of those allegedly ‘on the take’ seems to suggest this is an underestimate, lest the author be subjected to forced ‘treatments’ for that illness of speaking the truth)….. but why would you be concerned about being held to account when there is no mechanism to do so other than the corrupted court system?

      The snouts are well and truly in the Medicare trough, and who would dare try and do anything about it? It would be political suicide (as well as being justification for a mental health referral by police)

      I know I have one thing these people don’t seem to have……… enough. Being prepared to commit acts of fraud and deliberately harm people for money might be frowned upon by those who ‘don’t have the stomach for it’. But they aren’t doing a lot about those who do when they come across them in the middle of ‘volunteering’ someone for ‘assistance’ with a non existent ‘medical condition’ …… other than “editing” the documents and denying access to effective legal representation (even Moses had his brother Arun to speak for him).

      I find myself wondering about the push by social workers and psychologists to obtain more powers (the increasing number of deaths never considered to be being caused by their industries)…….do they simply want to be alongside psychiatrists in their god like positions? Or are they humbly seeking to provide ‘help’ to those who they deem as desperately needing it….. and who at present they need to find ways of torturing and arbitrarily detaining to provide that assistance? With a Chief Psychiatrist who needs to neglect his duty to enable? It must be terrible to have such ‘healing hands’ holding a baseball bat to ‘chemically kosh’ those you wish to ‘help’.

      Boans wanders off considering the apostles as being the ‘restraining team’ for Jesus who forced his treatments on to the community? “Alms for a ex leper” Life of Brian style lol. I don’t know that was how it went down.

    • What’s another word for psychiatry’s “seductive prowess”?

      MIND FUCK.

      Here’s my favorite definition for “mind fuck”, courtesy Urban Dictionary: “The process of raping someone’s intelligence and/or beliefs with lies and manipulation. The only defense is instinct and intuition; otherwise known as the TRUTH.

  18. The idiom throwing the baby out with the bathwater comes from the fact that water used to be less of the convenience it is today. So when there was a bath with water a whole list of people would take a bath, and the baby would be last. By that time the water could have become so muddy that one wouldn’t see the baby anymore, and throw it out. So, maybe one should question WHO exactly has muddied the waters to such an extent that…..

    “We’ve been lying to you for years so you don’t know what’s going on, but……”

  19. Aftab admonished, “Anyone not attuned to the emerging intersection of psychiatric critique & far-right politics is not paying attention. We’ve already seen previews of this relationship when it comes to gender critical ideology & anti-vaccine sentiment;

    As long time leftist Russeell Brand mockingly said last year after joining the anti-forced VAXX forces: “Hey look I’m ‘right wing’ now.”

    Any leftist who has stood still politically over the past few years is now called “right wing” for attacking Big Pharm and forced drugging, or for defending feminism from misogynist attacks by “transgender” activists. And we will be called “right wing” for attacking psychiatric slavery.

    Orwell would have a lot to say about this.

    • It is fascinating how psychiatric apologists are allowed to distract from the topic with irrelevant associations of religion or politics. Science is science, and when there is no science behind your position, it doesn’t matter the political or religious affiliations of the person pointing that out, any more than the race or sex or country of origin has anything to do with it.

      • Dr David Curtis, Honorary Professor at the University College London Genetics Institute, who told the Science Media Centre:

        “This paper does not present any new findings but just reports results which have been published elsewhere and it is certainly not news that depression is not caused by ‘low serotonin levels’. The notion of depression being due to a ‘chemical imbalance’ is outmoded, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists wrote that this was an over-simplification in a position statement published in 2019.

        “Nor is it the case that SSRI antidepressants increase serotonin levels. Their immediate action is to alter the balance between serotonin concentrations inside and outside neurons but their antidepressant effect is likely due to more complex changes in neuronal functioning which occur later as a consequence of this.”

        And here’s another one from Vidita Vaidya, a neurobiologist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, who has worked extensively on the role of serotonin and SSRIs in the neurobiology of emotion:

        She pointed to one hypothesis that purports to explain, for example, the antidepressant effect of SSRIs….

        “Serotonin is a regulator of plasticity in the brain,” Vaidya explained – suggesting that SSRIs could lead to changes in neuroplasticity, which in turn alleviates depressive symptoms in ways that are not clearly understood. This is the neuroplasticity hypothesis.

        This neuroplasticity hypothesis is important to note. It’s another well-known and accepted hypothesis in the psychiatric community of how antidepressants might work other than the low serotonin hypothesis.

        Wait, one last one to really drive home the point here:

        David Hellerstein, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and director of Columbia’s Depression Evaluation Service, explains that the serotonin hypothesis — i.e., the idea that depression is caused by low serotonin levels — is a “quaint and oversimplified shorthand that has been superseded by other explanations in clinical practice for a decade or more.”

        He says that the review was largely met with yawns from the psychiatric community. “In reading it, I was kinda thinking, ‘Wow, next she’ll tackle the discrediting of the black bile theory of depression,” he tells Rolling Stone.

        Several U.K. researchers and psychiatrists, as well as a spokesperson for the Royal College of Psychiatry, criticized the paper, questioning why an umbrella review of outdated studies was even needed. That prompted Moncrieff and her co-author to issue a rebuttal.

        • Lovely hypotheses. No actual facts presented. Who cares who yawns, seriously?

          These presentations are 100% relying on emotional arguments. It is factual that people have been told for decades and still are told by some practitioners that they have a “chemical imbalance” that is “corrected” by psychiatric drugs. What you share is a bunch of professionals using plausible deniability to say, “Oh, we never really SAID that. Or at least none of us actually BELIEVED that, even if we did say it. So who cares if everyone still believes it’s true?”

          The “black bile” comment is particularly egregious. No one has every told anyone in recent times that their depression was caused by “black bile.” While fully 80% of Americans in a semi-recent survey said they believed that depression was caused by a “chemical imbalance.” The latter circumstance did not occur in a vacuum. Whether they themselves believed it or not, psychiatrists sold this idea of “chemical imbalances” hard, along with the pharmaceutical companies, because it was good for business. They only backed away from it when forced to by hard scientific research, and many still promote it in their literature or their practices. These after-the-fact disclaimers are in no way convincing. If they thought this such a silly, simplistic theory, why have they not spoken to discredit it publicly until Moncrieff’s study finally shone some public attention on the subject?

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