Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 16: Is There Any Future for Psychiatry? (Part Six)

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Editor’s Note: Over the past several months, Mad in America has published a serialized version of Peter Gøtzsche’s book, Critical Psychiatry Textbook. In this last blog in the series, he presents his concluding thoughts and suggestions for the future of psychiatry. All chapters have been archived here.

Final words about a specialty in ruins and what to do about it

Among the authors of the five textbooks count some of the most prominent professors of psychiatry in Denmark. There is no reason to believe that the systematic betrayal of public trust would be any different in other countries. We see the same lies, denial and misleading information about psychiatry everywhere,7 as illustrated so convincingly in Whitaker’s review of Insel’s book.

A sign in the desert reads "ROAD CLOSED"Those who shape psychiatry are often deeply corrupt,7,533 and they often “forget” to declare their conflicts of interest against the rules.7 These people are highly effective drug pushers. Court documents revealed that, in 1999, two such US psychiatrists, Charles Nemeroff and Alan Schatzberg, published a psychiatry textbook that was ghostwritten by GlaxoSmithKline.335

In 2000, they co-authored a report of a depression pill trial in New England Journal of Medicine where the authors had so many ties to drug companies that there wasn’t room for them in the print journal (they took up 1067 words).693 This made the journal’s editor, Marcia Angell, publish an accompanying editorial: “Is academic medicine for sale?”694 She explained that it had been difficult to find a psychiatrist to write an editorial who was not conflicted. This showed that the whole specialty has been corrupted by industry money. Nemeroff and Schatzberg declared 17 industry ties each:

Dr. Nemeroff has been a consultant to or received honoraria from Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Forest Laboratories, Janssen, Eli Lilly, Merck, Mitsubishi, Neurocrine Biosciences, Organon, Otsuka, Pfizer, Pharmacia–Upjohn, Sanofi, SmithKline Beecham, Solvay, and Wyeth–Ayerst. He has received research support from Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Forest Laboratories, Janssen, Eli Lilly, Organon, Pfizer, Pharmacia–Upjohn, SmithKline Beecham, Solvay, and Wyeth–Ayerst.

Dr. Schatzberg has served as a consultant to or received honoraria from Abbott, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Corcept Therapeutics, Forest Laboratories, Janssen, Eli Lilly, Merck, Mitsubishi Pharmaceuticals, Organon, ParkeDavis, Pfizer, Pharmacia–Upjohn, Sanofi, Scirex, SmithKline Beecham, Solvay, and Wyeth–Ayerst. He has received research support from BristolMyers Squibb, Pfizer, and SmithKline Beecham. He has equity ownership in Corcept, Merck, Pfizer, and Scirex.

I wonder if such people have time for seeing patients, or for listening to those they see.

The many erroneous and misleading statements I found cannot be explained by the advent of new, important knowledge, as the publication dates for the textbooks were recent, from 2016 to 2021. Furthermore, even though I have sometimes used recent articles to demonstrate that the authors are wrong, the knowledge I convey has existed for many years prior to 2016.

In the protocol for my study, I noted that the textbooks should mention that the causes of psychiatric disorders are mainly environmental, and not genetic or related to a visible brain abnormality. The textbooks conveyed the opposite message, and strongly so, although there is no foundation for a biological model of psychiatric disorders. The psychiatrists have not even been able to explain what exactly they mean by this.9

I also noted in my protocol that there are no reliable trials that have shown that drugs are better than placebo for overall functioning, quality of life, return to work, sick leave, and social relationships. The textbooks were remarkably silent on this important issue, even though there is clear evidence, particularly from non-industry funded randomised trials and from good observational studies, that long-term drug treatment is harmful.1,5

It was disappointing that psychologists mostly said the same as the psychiatrists, and they were sometimes even more radical and uncritical than them, e.g. in their praise of the imaging studies and the drugs. I think there are two reasons for this. In a radicalised group, newcomers tend to be even more radical than their leaders to become accepted as their equals. Therefore, fringe groups tend to become more radical with time. The other reason is related to the first one. Some psychologists want to get permission to prescribe drugs and their scientific associations often support this idea. They will not succeed if they are seen as critics of mainstream psychiatry.

One of the textbooks, Clinical Neuropsychology, which has three psychologists as editors, exemplifies this issue.20 It has three full pages describing imaging studies in depression, with many references.20:432 It conveys the impression to the students that we know a lot about the brain based on reliable studies, which is totally false. Students believe what they read in their university books of psychiatry, even though it can best be characterised as brainwashing, and they may spread their false ideas even more forcefully when confronted with irrefutable evidence to the contrary.14

Many psychologists do not realise that they have a great advantage over psychiatrists, which is that they are educated with the aim of understanding the patients where they are and helping them with psychotherapy and other forms of support. It is very sad when psychologists buy into the false narrative the psychiatrists and the drug industry have created about their drugs instead of criticising it. If we lose the leading psychologists, there is little hope for the patients who would then need to consult therapists with lesser educations. Some of them are very good, but they do not have an academic background for understanding the science.

When I announced in the Critical Psychiatry Network that I was writing a critical textbook of psychiatry that would explain what was wrong with the current textbooks, a general practitioner reported what she experienced when she went to a regional meeting about adult ADHD three years earlier to learn something. Here is what she learned:

The psychiatrist that lectured was in the pay of three drug companies. He presented no peer reviewed research and said he didn’t like rules; he just knew what worked. The audience wasn’t allowed to ask him direct questions. We were put in groups to discuss how we should implement what we had heard. Members of my group were stunned when I was chastised for asking two questions, one about how conflicts of interests might interfere with good prescribing and the other about the lack of long-term studies. I was told I was a dinosaur and too old to be flexible and innovative and go with modern medicine developments. I’ve never experienced anything like this before! I confronted the bully face to face when the group work was finished and left him with a stern reminder to keep his mind open.

Whether drugs are legal or illegal, it is unhealthy to perturb brain functions with them. Brain-active substances can lead to violence, including murder. An analysis of adverse drug events submitted to the FDA between 2004 and 2009 identified 1,937 cases of violence, 387 of which were homicide.401

The violence was particularly often reported for psychotropic drugs—depression pills, sedatives/hypnotics like benzodiazepines, ADHD drugs and a smoking cessation drug that also affects brain functions. Depression pills are being suspected of having a causal role in mass shootings, but when one of the teenage shooters in the Columbine High School massacre was found to have taken a depression pill, the American Psychiatric Association denounced the notion that there could be a causal relation and added that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness exacts a heavy toll on those who suffer from these disorders as well as those around them.695

This is sickening. It is marketing speak and standard industry tactic to blame the disease and not the drug, but this is what psychiatrists do all the time. The other murderer had taken both sertraline and paroxetine.

Drugs and guns are a dangerous cocktail, but America abounds in both, including easy access to opioids on prescription, which makes this country the most backward in the Western world.

There are many other high-profile cases where the mass murderers were on depression pills,696 but in many cases, information about the shooters’ prescription drug use and other medical history has been kept from public records. Drugs causing homicide is taboo.

The hypocrisy is all over the place. As an example, universities are happy to accept enormous gifts from industry at the same time as they implement stringent conflict of interest policies for their faculty and their relationship with commercial sponsors.697

One of the chapters in my book about organised crime in the drug industry was “Psychiatry, the Drug Industry’s Paradise”.6 Psychiatry is second to none in exploiting people with harmful drugs and in killing, incapacitating or maiming hundreds of millions of people. In 1990-92, 12% of the US population aged 18–54 years received treatment for emotional problems, which went up to 20% in 2001–2003.698 Although there are hundreds of diagnoses in DSM-IV, and even more in DSM-5, only half of people who were in treatment met diagnostic criteria for a disorder. In 2012, the US Centers for Disease Control reported that 25% of Americans have a mental illness.699

We must put an end to this insanity in a profession that is supposed to take care of the insane. We have a chance of influencing those who study psychiatry before it is too late and they have accepted the false narrative. This was my motivation for writing this book.

As child and adolescent psychiatrist Sami Timimi explains, psychiatry ignores much of the genuine science there is and instead goes on supporting and perpetuating concepts and treatments that have little scientific support.10:20 He calls this “scientism”. It means that psychiatry likes to talk in the language of science and treats this as more important than the actual science.

In Timimi’s debates with fellow psychiatrists about the evidence, three defences are common. The first is the use of anecdote—such and such a patient got better with such and such a treatment, therefore, this treatment works. The second is an appeal about taking a “balanced” perspective. But each person’s idea of what a balanced position is depends on where they are sitting. We get our ideas on what is balanced from what is culturally dominant, not from what the science tells us. The third is that when molecular genetics has consistently failed to produce anything about diagnoses being related to specific genes, we are told that the area is “complex.”10:63 This is bullshit.

When I published my 10 myths about psychiatry, which are harmful for people, in a major newspaper in January 2014, I ended my article this way:189

Psychotropic drugs can be useful sometimes for some patients, particularly in short-term use, in acute situations. But after my studies in this area, I have arrived at a very uncomfortable conclusion: Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability causes more harm than good. The doctors cannot handle the paradox that drugs that can be useful in short-term treatment are very harmful when used for years and create those diseases they were meant to alleviate and even worse diseases. In the coming years, psychiatry should therefore do every-thing it can to treat as little as possible, in as short time as possible, or not at all, with psychotropic drugs.

My article caused an outcry that lasted for a couple of months, spearheaded by the drug industry and their paid allies among doctors and journalist friends. I got the whole Danish establishment on my back, and the Minister of Health threatened that I could get fired.7:278 The only thing I had done was to tell people the truth. But this cannot be tolerated when the subject is psychiatry.

Outside the power circles, my paper was much appreciated.700 Numerous articles followed, some written by psychiatrists who agreed with me. For more than a month, there wasn’t a single day without discussion of these issues on radio, TV or in newspapers, and there were also debates at psychiatric departments. People in Norway and Sweden thanked me for having started a discussion that was impossible to have in their country, and I received hundreds of emails from patients who confirmed with their own stories that what I had written was true.

Nothing changed, however. Perhaps a little here and there, but nothing material. On the other hand, it matters for some people that we protest. Many patients and relatives have told me that my books have saved lives, as they gave the patients the courage to withdraw from their drugs against their doctor’s advice.8:167 These emails documented a high level of ignorance and arrogance among psychiatrists and here is a typical example:

Her psychiatrist told her she had an incurable genetic disease and needed psychosis pills for the rest of her life. When she complained that she could no longer concentrate, slept a lot and believed the drugs affected her memory, making it hard to study, the reply was that the problem wasn’t the drugs but that she lost neurons due to the psychosis and that her brain wasn’t the same anymore. So, she needed to take psychosis pills indefinitely to protect her brain from losing more neurons; otherwise she would become demented. When she had withdrawn the drugs despite this advice, she was told she would have a new psychotic episode. When she said she didn’t want to take the drugs for the rest of her life, her psychiatrist replied that she would then not see her anymore because she only worked with patients who wanted to be treated.

What should be do about this? I have these suggestions:8:172

  1. Leave mental health issues to psychologists and other caring professions. They are not medical diseases. Consider involving recovery mentors who have lived experience.
  2. Psychiatry as a medical specialty should be disbanded. In evidence-based healthcare, we do not use interventions that do more harm than good, which psychiatry does. Let psychologists who are against using psychiatric drugs be heads of psychiatric departments and give them the responsibility for the patients.
  3. Psychiatrists should be re-educated so that they can function as psychologists. Those who are not willing to do this should find themselves another job.
  4. The focus should be on getting patients off psychiatric drugs, and to avoid starting them. Never start a drug without having a tapering plan.
  5. Establish a 24-hour national helpline and associated website to provide advice and support for those adversely affected by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.
  6. Provide tapering strips and other aids at no cost to help patients withdraw from their drugs. This would lead to huge savings for society.
  7. Apologize. It means a lot for victims of abuse to get an apology.
  8. Change psychiatry’s misleading narrative, which starts with the semantics. Speak about depression pills, psychosis pills, speed on prescription, etc. Stop using words such as psychiatry, psychiatrist, psychiatric disorder, psychiatric treatments, and psychiatric drugs, as they are stigmatising and as patients and the general public associate them with bad outcomes. Talk about mental health instead.
  9. Discard the psychiatric diagnosis systems entirely and focus on the patients’ problems.
  10. Drop the rating scales, both in research and practice, and focus on recovery, i.e. a return to a normal productive life.
  11. Make forced treatment unlawful.
  12. Make psychiatric drugs available only for use under strictly controlled circumstances:
  13. a) while patients are tapering off them; or
    b) in rare cases where it is impossible to taper off them because they have caused permanent brain damage; or
    c) in patients with alcoholic delirium, as sedatives under operations and other invasive procedures, e.g. colonoscopy, and in other circumstances to be defined.
  14. Make it unlawful to use drugs that are registered for nonpsychiatric uses, e.g. anti-epileptics, for mental health issues.
  15. Avoid financial conflicts of interest with manufacturers of psychoactive drugs or other treatments, e.g. equipment for electroshock.
  16. Forbid all rules about demanding a psychiatric diagnosis to get social benefits, or extra economic support to schools.
  17. Make it illegal for general practitioners to prescribe psychiatric drugs, which they cannot handle. In relation to depression, the chairman for the Danish Association for General Practitioners said in 2014 that they didn’t have “oceans of time” and couldn’t set aside a whole hour for one patient, as they also needed to think of their economy.701 They therefore hand out depression pills liberally. A US study showed that over half of the physicians wrote prescriptions after discussing depression with patients for three minutes or less.172
  18. Tell the patients that it is rarely a good idea to see a family doctor or a psychiatrist if they have a mental health issue. There is a huge risk that they will be harmed.

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To see the list of all references cited, click here.

 

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Dr. Gotzsche for throwing light on how and why psychiatry’s disinformation tactics remain so effective. And I like your suggestions very much.

    “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, 1897

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  2. THANK YOU Dr. Gotzsche!! I am almost smiling!! I am so impressed with your courage!! That alone makes your book phenomenal!! And you’re awesome yourself!! Bravo!!
    I love every one of you 18 suggestions! I concur! Brilliant!!
    My only criticism—
    WHY are there no more than one of you?

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    • I strongly disagree that mental illness is more environmental than genetic. We have had suicides in our family for generations. And look at the Ernest Hemingway family. When I came down with suicidal depression I was happily married to a saint, had a beautiful home and two sweet preschoolers we had adopted. I guess we instinctly knew that my reproducing was just a bad idea – anyway glad we never did. If we need to dismantle false info we must be sure it is replaced with correct info. In this case it was not

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  3. Thank you so much for your tremendous work that helps those of us on the front lines as psychotherapists explain to our patients why drugs are not the answer to their emotional problems. Far too many people in the US completely believe the lies put forth by Big Pharma and psychiatry, then blindly listen to their doctors without understanding that their emotional problems are due to environmental issues, such as trauma and unhealthy parenting practices in their childhoods. Again, thank you.

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  4. Having worked in psychiatry for the past 24 years, I can see this doctor is biased and quite inaccurate and misleading. For example he dismisses the current studies that are a mix of drug company studies and peer reviewed third party clinical data that supports psychotropic as effective for most with actual chemical imbalance, yet he alludes to hos own studies with no details.
    In my experience I have seen remarkable turn arounds with medications, both in my clients and family members. I have personally benefitted. Is this an exact science? No. It is a trial and error with general established guiding data. Are antidepressants over prescribed? Yes. However most psychiatrists and mental health professionals, like me, use them as and adjunct to mental disciplines from counseling, environment, exercise, social connectivity and the like.
    Do we tend to treat downstream? Yes. The science of a growing understanding of the incredible influence of chromosomal functioning suggests this is often driving it. Then there is the biofeedback back science of environment driving the chemistry, more with anxiety and depression than psychosis.
    The medications, done responsibly, are a way to get some traction for other healthy treatments, and the benefits can often outweigh the side effects. There is no evidence for example that dopamine modification damages dopamine pathways, it just temporarily slows dopamine.
    Ghen this about killers on antidepressants. He has it skewed. The depression they had was a part of the pathology, not the cause of their choices, and the antidepressants did not cause the behavior. It was a person with cluster B personality profile, huge rage, depression, and the “empty vessel” dynamic.

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    • Noah,
      ME (inspired by you): “Having been targeted and exploited (by) psychiatry for the past 23 years, I can see (you) are biased and quite inaccurate and misleading.’

      YOU on Gotzsche: “For example he dismisses the current studies that are a mix of drug company studies and peer reviewed third party clinical data that supports psychotropic as effective for most with actual chemical imbalance, yet he alludes to hos (sic) own studies with no details.”

      I’m looking everywhere for YOUR references to “current studies”…that “mix drug company studies and peer review 3rd party clinical data”. And ” drug company studies” are untainted by conflict-of-interest in your world?
      That’s like saying asbestos is safe because the manufacturers say so.

      Bless your heart.

      Further, any serious statement that includes “… supports psychotropic as effective FOR MOST…with ACTUAL chemical imbalance…” is an unfortunate product of entry-level Pharma-Speak influence. It betrays your need to couch a science-y sounding statement with the decidedly un-science-y, desperate “…FOR MOST…” & “…ACTUAL chemical imbalance..”. ‘Details’, please. Specifics, please.

      You DO reminisce about memories of ” REMARKABLE” anecdotal and personal “…TURN AROUNDS..”.
      Is that science-talk for temporary relief of symptoms…or a long-term recovery?
      The very next remark holds the key to the answer…”… trial & error…”. THAT I recognize.

      The reference to “… GENERAL ESTABLISHING guideline data” is familiar, squishy Pharma 101.
      You already ‘established’ your fealty to the “…drug company studies…”

      But HERE is where you fully engage me…
      “…MOST psychiatrists and mental health professionals, like me, use them as and (sic) adjunct to mental disciplines from counseling, environment, exercise, social connectivity, and the like.”

      My 23 years entombed in your industry, post DSM-IV, with the ubiquitous lifetime-bipolar, lifetime drug ‘treatment plan’ begs to differ….with a *vacated bipolar diagnosis…. in writing* (I’m guessing you’ve never seen one)….. following 9 years of hospital-documented damages that include myocardiopathy, 2 Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome ‘events’, a pre-frontal, sub-cortical, focal lesion, and anaphylaxis….from the drugs!… there was no ‘extracurricular’ treatments, just buckets of drugs.

      Oh, and I DO have all the industry-generated records and clinical Notes! Part of my ‘negotiation’ with the state Behavioral Health contractor.

      Here are “…my studies…with my details…”

      I started on the east coast, sleep-deprived and stressed….with top-shelf private insurance, was bankrupted by side effect disability, becoming homeless. Quickly. In Arizona, I was in state Medicaid ‘care’. It was identical….drugs, drugs, and drugs.
      Thousands around me, coast to coast and private to Medicaid-were experiencing the identical ‘treatment plans’. No “adjuncts”.
      It took 2.5 years to withdraw with a doctor, 3 years of seizures, and 10 and counting to adjust to my changed brain and body…and ‘ experience’.
      I’m tough, resilient, and still justifiably, appropriately outraged. ( The ‘ appropriate’ is just for you, as a “mental health professional”).

      As for the rest of your Pharma Infomercial…see Moncrief (antidepressants) and Healy (“killers on antidepressants”).

      YOU: ” The medications, done responsibly,…
      YOU: “…the benefits CAN OFTEN outweigh the side effects…”.
      “DONE RESPONSIBLY” didn’t occur…in MY lived experience despite the documented, tested, quantifiable damages reported by independent sources. Just MORE or different drugs.

      ” CAN OFTEN” isn’t science, it’s marketing.
      And you seem comfortable with it…as a fully invested ” mental health professional”.

      If you are licensed in the U.S., does OpenData.gov have any listings of you? Considering your position(s) on these topics, don’t be shy…..Stand with your position…
      (ACA Sunshine Laws reporting monies from Pharma and device makers to medical entities)

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    • Thank you, Noah, for adding the voice of reason here. Well, I certainly agree with some of the points in the article, the thought repeatedly came to mind, “what patient population is this fellow actually working with? The worried well perhaps? ‘high-functioning anxiety’ clients, so to speak?” Big Pharma definitely has pushed things too far, but as a psychotherapist, who works with the trauma and attachment issues, and other environmental factors discussed in the article, I can agree with the need to have a taper plan with medication‘s, but I cannot agree with the flamboyant language he uses about, ending them, taking the medication’s out of the hands of general practitioners who are often most available to our heavily impacted clients, and so forth.

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      • JP, “Big Pharma definitely has pushed things too far, but….”
        That glib (the “but” at the end) statement is what undermines any legitimacy of psychiatry, as currently practiced.

        ‘Pushed things too far’ is a toothless euphemism for ….
        “been a damaging factor in millions of lives who ask psychiatry for help and, ironically, a major contributor to the APA stat of a 25% premature mortality rate for SMI’s”.
        Yeah….’definitely’ lose the “but…”

        Then there’s…
        “I cannot agree with the flamboyant language he uses about, ending them, taking the medication’s out of the hands of general practitioners who are often most available to our heavily impacted clients, and so forth.”

        Troubling “flamboyant language” (oh my!) aside…as a former concurrent client of psych & a GP for 9 years, the damages (quantifiable, independantly documented) inflicted by the psych ‘specialists’ were (repeatedly) so close to lethal…expecting SAFETY from a GP would be akin to handing a .44 to a toddler & spinning the barrel.

        My bona fides? I’m a former target.

        Confidence is one thing, hubris quite another.
        This Comment smacks of Dunning/Kruger.

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    • Which chemical imbalances are you refering to?

      I ask as I am not aware if any proof that they cause mental distress and I have never heard of people being tested for them before being prescribed psychiatric drugs.

      Both would need to happen, ie proof of chemical imbakances causing mental distress and testing of patients to show an imbalance before there was effective medical practice. I write as someone who has had multiple tests over the last 4 months for a heart condition. If psychiatry has got to the same level of medical science as cardiology I would like to know.

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    • Thank you for recognizing some of the flaws the author proposed. I especially found the author’s claim, that violence and mass shootings are due to psychiatric medication, unsupported. Making these types of accusations without providing evidence is irresponsible. Clearly, there needs to be more research into brain chemistry. As a layman, I have often thought it curious that many medications prescribed for psychiatric disorders are not fully understood. However, there is evidence supporting the effectiveness of many psych meds. Lastly, many clients and their families manage the symptoms of psychotic episodes using medications. In the past, many of these clients were institutionalized indefinitely. Today, some hold jobs and contribute to their families and society.

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    • A radically biased article like this is dangerous. It can mislead those suffering with mental health conditions to not receive the necessary, comprehensive care, including medication, for recovery. Medication is not the sole answer to mental health conditions. It is not indicated for everyone. It has potential side effects as well as potential benefits. Yet, it can be a vital part of treatment necessary for recovery for many. Biochemical and neuropathways impact on mental health have been supported by valid studies over decades. Steering individuals away from potential, beneficial treatment based on biased, self serving, narrow-minded articles is unethical.

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    • Corey,

      Dr. Peter is not calling for no drug treatments, he’s pointing out that “The doctors cannot handle the paradox that drugs that can be useful in short-term treatment are very harmful when used for years,” as the psychiatrists … collectively tend to believe, due to their greed.

      But as one who recently dealt with a loved one who became highly distressed, due to appropriately being taken off two heart meds … but he was not appropriately put back on a replacement heart med, resulting in three subsequent hospitalizations within one month … and a manic psychosis worse than I think the ambulance driver at my loved one’s third hospitalization had ever witnessed … certainly one worse than I’ve ever personally witnessed or experienced.

      But, after talking to the calm and psych self-educated me, that ambulance driver did run into the ambulance and scream to all that my loved one was “not violent.” Which likely resulted in my loved one getting better care than most people.

      I do understand that the psych drugs can calm down a distressed person, and that is needed, at times. And, I must even admit, as a person who has a family history of very adverse reactions to the anticholinergic drugs, that maybe even the antipsychotics may be needed for use in the short term, or maybe not?

      But I do know a benzo didn’t work to calm my loved one down, after his first hospitalization. A brief use of an antipsychotic, which I was unable to prevent at his second hospitalization, and a lack of psychiatric treatment, since my loved one had been diagnosed with a neurologic illness, not a psychiatric one. That did result in my loved one suffering from no sleep, and a sleep deprivation and/or drug withdrawal induced supersensitive manic psychosis, within days after his second hospitalization.

      My loved one’s third hospitalization, in which I do not know what he was given, since the psychiatrists don’t tend to be forthright in their treatments with family members. But whatever they gave my loved one to calm him down, followed up by a low dose of lithium only, after his third hospitalization did work. Or, at least, so far so good.

      So most people on MiA, I think, are not calling for no drug treatment. We are just calling for responsible and appropriate – as opposed to insanely greed only inspired DSM lies about “life long, incurable, genetic mental illnesses,” that have never been proven – appropriate medical treatment.

      https://psychrights.org/2013/130429NIMHTransformingDiagnosis.htm

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  5. For the last few days, I have been using chatGPT to answer queries on mental health and analyse my own thought patterns. It has been fantastic. Personally, a lot more useful, private and devoid of labelling in files than real life sessions with a therapist. It explains it better than many humans can in real life too.

    These tools have great potential to transform the care of people going through (at least some) forms of psychological/social distress.

    For instance, if any of you suffer from intrusive thoughts, try having a conversation about it with chatGPT.

    chatGPT makes a lot of mistakes in things like programming (though still pretty useful), identifying songs from which sections of lyrics are from etc., but when it comes to ordinary language conversations, it’s pretty good.

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    • Thank you so much for saying what I’ve come to realize after decades of experience.

      Your work is heroic.

      I realize that there are good people, and that my last psychiatrist was a good person. Yet the momentum of this profession and its sister industry are too big and powerful for any one person.

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    • Thank you so much for saying what I’ve realized after decades of experience.

      Your work is heroic for its honesty. We need more people like you to help our world achieve better.

      I realize that there are good people, and that my last psychiatrist was a good person. Yet the momentum of this profession and its 1.5-trillion-dollar-in-one-year sister industry are too big and powerful for even a saint.

      I personally have purchased an Emotiv wearable real-time EEG headband (Epoc X) now. (I have yet to start using it, and have only independently studied which parts of the brain are affected by trauma and abuse).

      I now specifically seek proof, metrics and transparent critical thinking after decades of trusting those who haven’t seemed to have SMART goals for their patients/clients.

      Other professions must produce specific results. This profession has existed for too long without proving that they’re transforming people’s lives for the better. An industry raking in the money it does ought to be scrutinized and held to higher forms of accountability.

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  6. “The third is that when molecular genetics has consistently failed to produce anything about diagnoses being related to specific genes, we are told that the area is “complex.”10:63 This is bullshit.”

    Thanks for calling out the bullshit for what it is, Dr. Peter!

    “The doctors cannot handle the paradox that drugs that can be useful in short-term treatment are very harmful when used for years and create those diseases they were meant to alleviate and even worse diseases.”

    Uh, da, since all doctor were taught in med school, that both the antidepressants and antipsychotics can create psychosis and hallucinations, via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning … we most definitely have a societal problem with a lacking in ethics, too greedy, medical industry.

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

    But, hopefully, the Covid debacle has made that clearer to most people?

    “The only thing I had done was to tell people the truth. But this cannot be tolerated when the subject is psychiatry.”

    Well, if you speak the truth about the impropriety of never ending wars, or the banking industry’s fraud, you’ll also get defamed by the psychologists and psychiatrists … too many of whom believe speaking truth is unacceptable. But that comes from one whose insane former psychologist literally blamed “a chemical imbalance in my brain” for all the distress caused by the distressing events of 9/11/2001, when I was picking up her medical records.

    “What should be do about this? I have these suggestions:8:172”

    Great suggestions! And where I thought we may have disagreed, you did come around to agreeing with me, in a later suggestion. Thank you so much, Dr. Peter, for speaking the truth. It’s so important!

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  7. Psychiatry has saved my life. I had my first psychotic bout at 18, followed by a long depression and a suicidal attempt. Two years of psychological treatment couldn’t relieve depression. Only after two years did I get an anti psychotic drug that had just come out and my depression was gone! That drug has been also successfully preventing another psychosis.

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  8. I’ve enjoyed this series. But I have a question. I told someone I know who works for a social service agency that almost all psychiatrists depend mostly on drugs and do little or no therapy. She said as part of her job she worked with a psychiatrist for 10 years who didn’t like drugs and minimized their use. I can’t find any statistics on the percent of psychiatrists like him.

    Does anyone know where I can find this information?

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  9. The author does make some excellent points, but I still have some reservations about some of his arguments.
    I don’t believe that the so-called mental health industry in general, not just biologically oriented psychiatry, has a valid purpose. From a purely logical or linguistic viewpoint, it’s totally absurd to speak of thinking and emotions per se in terms of health or sickness. The criteria for judging the appropriateness of a specific thought, action, or pattern of behavior are based wholly on cultural and societal norms, which evolve over time (as we can readily see from the sudden removal of homosexuality from the category of psychiatric disorders in 1973, or the arbitrary adoption of prolonged grief disorder in the latest version of the DSM).
    Dr. Gotzsche’s advocacy of psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, etc. seems to me to be misplaced, inasmuch as the great majority of them continue to base their clinical “expertise” on spurious, arbitrary, ever-expanding or shifting categories concocted on the basis of a consensus vote, not on rigorous, verifiable, universally accepted scientific experiments and testing. Without the dubious authority of the DSM, exactly where do they claim to derive their allegedly superior knowledge of and insight into human cognition and behavior?
    No, this entire field rests on false or misleading premises, and should be exposed for being the gigantic, often harmful scam and cargo cult (i.e. pseudoscientific endeavor) that it really represents.

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    • I have to admit that Dr Gotzsche’s advocacy of psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, etc. bothered me quite a bit because these disciplines are just as dependent on opinion-based pathology as psychiatry. I was taking into account the world as it is, meaning that most people are conditioned (unfortunately) to automatically turn to so-called “experts”; it therefore seemed (momentarily) to be the only realistic alternative to being automatically placed at the mercy of licensed drug pushers. How else could I have forgotten the wonders of self-therapy and peer support?

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      • There can be no “experts” in a discipline that lacks rigorous, verifiable, falsifiable criteria. To cite just one random example: Are there expert phrenologists? No, because phrenology lacks a sound empirical foundation. The same is true of the entire would-be science of psychology, which is based solely on subjective, culturally conditioned, ever-changing standards of sanity and abnormality.
        Emotional distress is universal, but the criteria for judging its appropriateness in a given society certainly are not.

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  10. What is the alternative to using psychiatric drugs? Easy. Don’t use them, or use them very little. The world would be a much better place if we dropped them.

    We should try to help people as well as we can. Humanistic psychiatry focuses on the patients’ troubles, and on how they can best be helped, respecting their experiences, values, preferences, and autonomy. Coercion is not an option.

    All patients will be offered – without delay, as they are offered psychiatric drugs without delay in the current system – psychosocial interventions such as psychotherapy that have better outcomes than drugs and are also cheaper in the long run. Electroshock will not be used, as the clinical benefit is doubtful, and its harms include death and irreversible memory loss.

    Read “Humanistic Psychiatry Declaration” which I uploaded yesterday: https://www.scientificfreedom.dk/2023/11/14/humanistic-psychiatry-declaration/

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  11. Although I have the greatest respect for Dr. Gotzsche for his trenchant critiques of biologically oriented psychiatry, I strongly object to his use of the word “patients” in regard to people who experience various forms of emotional distress. If one accepts the notion that so-called mental disorders are not diseases in the literal, pathological sense, but rather metaphorical descriptions of states of mind or types of behavior approved or disapproved in a particular social milieu at a certain point in time, I believe it is wrong to continue employing medical terminology (i.e, “symptoms,” “therapy,” “patients,” “pathology,” “emotionally ill”) for an aspect of human life where such terms may be misleading and fraught with harmful consequences.

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  12. I thank Dr. Gotzsche for his dedication to the truth and humane treatment of distressed people. However…

    Per Szasz, psychiatry is slavery. While the concept of humanistic psychiatry appeals to me, I do not think such a paradigm has the potential to change the mental health industry at its core. I ask myself: what is psychiatry, stripped of force, fraud, violence, and coercion?

    The answer—as best I can tell, anyway— is that it is nothing. Nothing at all.

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  13. In Tess of the D’Ubrevilles Tess is asked what type of star Earth is she believes blighted for various Hardian reasons.
    This is similar to Ursurla Legiin The Lathe of Heaven and L’Engle A Wrinkle in Timeand Octavia Butker’s post diseaster and pre less diseaster planet.
    So I think what Peter is acknowledging in that we need help. How that help is created offered and accomplished throughout the era of human sapiens not great. And every once in a while light breaks through the shadows of humanity and compassion even reloution is accomplished by a wide variety of means. It has been dark the last forty years as the so called help was professionalized and then taken control of by money cabals of every sort and way.
    The human being is so complex and yet so simple and yet we are just beginning to understand the havoc we have wrought upon ourselves and the other species in this planet and the planet itself.
    Many folks have either understood or felt or saw or experience this volition fragmentation in all sorts of ways. This use of chemicals as a solution to complex human issues one corrupt path. There are many other paths that have created further problems and the cris we live in daily now.
    If one looks at public health stats psychistry has failed in almost all areas. Guns are proliferating and have been for decades, people and children deal with despair, there is a terrible inequality in socio- economics, and really what has the field of psychiatry really done to help children? No Selma Fraiberg, no Marian Wright Elderman, no Jane Addams, no Jacob Riis, no Fritz Redl,
    no Mary McCloud Bethune, these folks flawed as all humans but what does a flawed research paper do that ends up in an esteemed journal do except literally cut down more trees that don’t need cutting. Robert Cole’s at least tried to understand the Civil Rights Mivement. At least he acryislly talked and listened to RubybBrudges sndvagain he was flawed but he went into her neighborhood. How many psychiatrists have walked into neighborhoods where there is not only economic injustice but ecological injustice?
    At this point in time I see no heroes and some there but suppressed or swamped by paperwork administration and just kept on doing the same old same old and unable to see hear and think about the fact this isn’t working and what donI do about this? There are some but again not enough for a long too long for a groundswell and a walk with others including us who were in crisis that they actually furthered harmed because they had no idea what they were doing and as Peter has shown were taught a false narrative.
    Loren Mosher was defunded and left the profession. That was a long time ago and look where we are. And this affects the military and vets of all genders.And people are spiraling down and need something more than the system of using chemicals as the be all and end all solution.
    It has been a tragedy of moments proportions among many of human civilization’s tragedies. We have more knowledge about trauma than ever before. The truths of history are coming out of their once nailed shut wells and in this era of crisis perhaps it will catapult us humans into a different mode of civilization. The first thing is for ALL the folks that were in the system to listen humbly to surviors and hear the whole story. The second is to apologize and sincerely and heartfelt x Thevstories must allow you to feel the pain of others as your own. Then the making of amends. And for those hurt or harmed the ones who can still do this some sort of forgiveness when it is seen as acceptable.
    To hold hate in one’s heart never worth the energy. And always remember as be kind EVERYONE is fighting a great battle.
    And then we can pick up the shards of now and try again becsuse that is the only choice. Shards and coral grows by fragmentation so e can be a planet of coral not dying to learning to live in a new way.

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