On the Mad in America podcast this week, we continue our reader Q&A with Mad in America founder Robert Whitaker. In Part 1, we discussed Mad in America, the biopsychosocial model and the history of psychiatry. For Part 2, we will be covering reader questions on pharmaceutical marketing and issues with psychiatric treatments including psychiatric drugs and electroconvulsive therapy. Thank you to all of you who took the time and trouble to send in your questions.

The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity. Listen to the audio of the interview here.

You've landed on a MIA journalism article that is funded by MIA supporters. To read the full article, sign up as a MIA Supporter. All active donors get full access to all MIA content, and free passes to all Mad in America events.

Current MIA supporters can log in below.(If you can't afford to support MIA in this way, email us at [email protected] and we will provide you with access to all donor-supported content.)



  1. Thank you both for this second compelling and valuable podcast.

    The discussion around de-prescribing in the UK is addressing an important aspect of current Primary Care endeavour.
    Recently this has been enhanced by scientific publications and video information materials for prescribers/de-prescribers addressing the importance of SAFE de-prescribing of antidepressant drugs. (ADs.)
    This has included advocacy for individualised, extended withdrawal planning and the increased success when hyperbolic-tapering dose regimes are applied.

    A greater awareness of Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndromes is welcomed; however it would appear that few publications address AD-related AKATHISIA as a life-threatening potential withdrawal phenomenon?

    AKATHISIA requires the highest levels of awareness by prescribers and patients/relatives on commencing ADs, dose increasing, changing antidepressants and withdrawing these drugs.
    Surely it should be addressed in all of these circumstances to ensure valid informed consent to a change in treatment?

    As always, time constraints may profoundly limit what can be explained and understood in a ten minute consultation?

    Report comment

    • It’s good to see that at least a few “retired physicians” are starting to garner insight into the common adverse and withdrawal effects of the psych neurotoxins, and are now finally, honestly speaking out.


      And I agree, educating physicians about AKATHIASIA, in a timely manner, and properly educating physicians is important. So they are actually able to give informed consent to their patient, who they’ve promised to do no harm to, prior to prescribing the psychiatric neurotoxins.

      But, never forget, all the anticholinergic drugs can create psychosis and hallucinations, via anticholinergic toxidrome poisonings – which all doctors were taught in med school.


      So no mainstream doctor or psychiatrist, who doesn’t first warn all patients of anticholinergic toxidrome, prior to prescribing an antidepressant or antipsychotic – was, and still is, remiss – in giving informed consent.

      Report comment

  2. Thank you for keeping up the fight against this…I’m tempted to say cabal. I have been naive, believing that all of this research of the last 20 years showing the harms and risks of modern psychiatric treatment would eventually be embraced, or at least acknowledged, by the mainstream. I guess very naive.

    Report comment

  3. The disease model being propagated in people’s identities is what disturbs me the most. Free advertising for the firms as far as I’m concerned. I Have tried to bring it up to my peers but always was the messenger who got shot.
    It has to be one of the most effective social coercion and control hijackings I’ve seen in my entire life. I’m not that old though, so I am going to dedicate more of my life to tracking the effects of this.

    People will never have true agency if they believe they’re permanently broken. I will have to borrow the words from this exchange in the future – asking truthfully – would you rather have the label of being ‘diseased’ forever, or admit that you’ve been taken advantage of/something bad happened to you?

    The sad truth is, American machismo work culture fueled with hyperindividualism discourages people from “admitting when they’ve been hurt”, as “being hurt and not taking it on the chin like a man” is honestly part of the reason now why young men think they’re broken to begin with. An expectation to uphold imperial masculinity x silent stigmatic backbone of psychiatry = a big mess for ANY gender.

    A lot of what people are experiencing are the effects of socioeconomic class woes and class punishment, not a disease from within them, but we are now living in a society where “pre sorting” yourself or seeking a group based on taxonomy online *may be the only outlet you have for help and social support*. In this regard, it is a double-edged sword and needs to be talked about.

    The information online simply isn’t accurate anymore, because the corporations and elites have had ample time to pipeline people to information that is more economically useful to corporations rather than which actually helps an individual. They want to control the narrative as long as possible.

    As a result, It seems people are bonding over mistreatment of given systems and starting to go through mental health services as rituals, and some do it just out of curiosity. Most start pipelining themselves and realize it’s bullshit in some capacity, yet proceed anyways because of a lack of local options. Not good. We deserve better, more holistic community and platforms in which to talk about the bullshittery.

    Report comment

    • You hit it on the head. People cannot talk to friends or family as social support so they turn to “therapists” who just make them feel more broken much of the time. Especially if they are genuinely “neurodiverse” or not status quo. They love to humilate and hold power over people like that. I am still angry about it because the anxiety from the abuse made me turn to opioids. Good for them though, they get paid for the suboxone I take now. It is disgusting and in my opinion you are correct in your perceptions of the psychiatric industry. The small percentage of psych workers who do genuinely care are sadly indoctrinated into the current paradigm so they are brainwashed into thinking the psych system is good. So frustrating.

      Report comment

  4. My impression from this spectrum of questions is that most people – even though they dislike the use of drugs – feel the “allopathic compulsion” to offer or take a “medicine” to handle a problem.

    I know from at least one source that many cultures have been indulging in “herbal remedies” for at least thousands of years. Even of you just feel nervous or sleepless, someone wants to give you a tea or something like that to “calm you down.” The practice of meditation has existed for almost as long, yet many feel they cannot do it. Other non-drug practices were developed very recently are and not yet in wide use. I would hope that they would some day replace the widespread use of drugs, even in emergencies, but at this point most people see no other viable alternative and have swallowed the Psych narrative that mind=brain.

    I would like to see Mad In America put more attention of research and opinion that challenges the mind=brain narrative and provides non-drug alternatives. Someone has to do this job!

    I am very convinced that the mind IS NOT located in the brain, though I feel that today I am in a tiny minority. If we are ever to break the drug-based treatment bias in the field of mental health, we MUST strengthen a popular conviction that the mind is not the same as the brain. To me this is completely obvious, but to most it is not the least bit obvious. Someone needs to be working to make this more obvious.

    Report comment

  5. This website and those who advocate for victims and potential victims of the psychiatric industry are a breath if fresh air in this time of money, power and greed. I wish so much that it could change. Imagine a neuro-psychiatric system that actually cared about its patients over profits and power. The literal opposite of what it is now. I do believe there are people employed in the psychiatric system that genuinely want to help, just not most of them. That is my experience. Get the money and power, then throw away people who are not worth the time. Make them feel subhuman and stigmatize them with false diagnosis while we sit back and humiliate them to get a subconsious or concious thrill.

    Report comment