Saturday, December 7, 2019

Comments by Theinarticulatepoet

Showing 345 of 345 comments.

  • You are welcome. I enjoyed the article.

    Yes, squeezing the life out of people with the blood spread so thin it doesn’t appear to be on any ones hands in particular is how the system functions. Consequently despite preventing suicide being a stated aim of the mental health system… the system is perfectly happy for people to kill themselves as long as they do it slowly enough. Try and kill yourself quickly and the system steps in. So the societal sanction against suicide appears not be against suicide as such just how quickly you do it. Conversely the system will only be investigated, if at all, if they accidently harm people quickly. Quirky.

  • I agree. If one wants to go and live on a farm go and live on a farm. If you are working for free or willing to pay for the privilage I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find a place. I don’t think going to one where some people are supposedly mad and some people are accidently not designated mad is a great idea.

    A lot of the big institutions were self sufficient by dint of having a thriving agricultural beating heart with all the inmates doing the heaving lifting. I guess that how they got to be called “funny farms”.

  • I’ve go sympathy with the idea of looking back at Moral Treatment. On the otherhand my suspicion is that in practice they might have been quite miserable places for a lot of the inmates. Always living up to someone elses standard. It’s just a surmise but I doubt it was as rosey as is sometimes presented…

    It’s interesting that mad people are presumed not only to benefit from being in the company of other mad people but that they all uniformly welcome gardening / farming in one form or another. Being artistic is another Trope…

    That said I expect a lot people do like theses farm type therapy outfits. I’d hate it. I like the feel of the pavement under my feet.


    Since mental illness is a lifelong condition with no known cure, the successful psychopharmacological management of disorders such as depression and anxiety can be challenging. Treatment with medication almost inevitably results in side effects requiring additional medications leading to additional side effects necessitating still more medications in a self-perpetuating cycle which continues until the patient dies or the insurance runs out.

    This report discusses two cases in which complete symptomatic relief was achieved following the administration of large sums of money to the patients. The comparative safety, efficacy, and tolerability of cash is assessed. Based on our findings, the clinical utility of monetary incentives in the form of cash deposits or lump sum payments directly to patients should be reappraised as viable alternative therapeutic modalities for the treatment of mild, moderate and severe cases of anxiety with or without co-occurring depression. Cash payment should also be considered the treatment of choice for all major depressive disorders including mild, moderate and severe clinical or sub-clinical depression, depressed moods and dysthymic, cyclothymic or depressive symptoms appearing with or without comorbid anxiety disorders.

    Case report 1:

    The patient is a 52-year old male with a history of depression. He reported feeling sad at various times throughout his life but did not seek treatment until age 51, when the factory where he had worked for 23 years was permanently shut down, costing him his pension and health insurance the same year his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The patient was initially prescribed Paxil 20 mg, but after complaining of sleeplessness and expressing suicidal ideation, the dosage was increased to Paxil 40mg with Ambien 10mg prescribed for insomnia. Depressive symptoms improved somewhat, but constant diarrhea, headache and nausea grew intolerable, so a switch from Paxil to Zoloft 50mg was tried. Within 5 weeks the therapeutic effects of Zoloft became readily apparent: the patient stopped worrying about the future and no longer seemed concerned about his wife’s failing health. Numerous treatment-emergent side effects were observed but the patient was reassured by his physician that chest pain, skin rash, constipation, tremor, dry mouth, hypertension and palpitations were not life threatening. One month later, pharmacotherapy was discontinued because the patient refused further treatment, claiming to be cured after winning $20 million in the Illinois State Lottery. A computed tomographic brain scan confirmed the patient had indeed fully recovered (see images below).

  • The original experiments were done on prisoners of war.

    I think a lot of people probably died but they don’t make it into the official history.

    His 1949 article here

    Basically he used his own urine “sane piss” and urine from people he thought were mad and started injecting guinea pigs. Some dies more slowly than others. Later on he started injecting people with more or less the same results. The names of these human sacrifices are lost to history.

  • An assumption made by all these researchers, is that behavior originates in the brain.

    The trouble is that however convenient it is for these researchers to make that assumption it is not one that stands up. The assumption that the mind body problem is solved is one of the biggest mistakes in psychiatry. And even they know its not true.

    It leads straight back to “what is the mind?” and therefore “what does it mean to be a person, a human”.

    The mind could just as easily be leading the brain. They ignore this because its just to difficult to contemplate even though it could just as easily be true. And just as likely is. Uncomfortable as it sounds all this “research” while potentially interesting is ultimately dehumanising for precisely this reason. Understandably they won’t want to hear this. But its the truth, even if its an uncomfortable one for them.

  • Yes… I am just exploring as well. I don’t have fixed views in the final analysis.

    Taking as a starting point that a mental health law regulates detention first, including the powers of arrest that police officers have…. (this may or may not be desirable in that it could be time limited or it may just open the door to the whole shooting match of mental health law.) I would like to see that done away with but Im not sure if its possible.

    My thinking is that having no mental health law is probably desirable because once someone has been detained they enter into a state of being where they are classified and treated differently to other people. Dehumanised or second class citizens. This is just undesirable and an inevitable consequence of having mental health laws.

    My own feeling is that MH laws are anti democratic and don’t fit well in a post modern world where their is a plurality of views about what are deemed acceptable forms of knowledge. ie psychiatric knowledge is not the only legitimate form of knowledge and hence its power derived from mental health laws is illegitimate.

    However it is not just MH law that needs to change be abolished. Their would be a requirement that the issues dealt with using MH law would be dealt with using civil and criminal law. It wouldn’t just be a case of repealing MH laws.

    MH law is only necessary becasue they allow difficult situations that have inherent philosophical and ethical questions to be addressed by reinterpreting those situations as medical situations…. thus avoiding philosophical and ethical questions. And of course by shutting down the conversation actions that follow like forced treatment are not brought under scrutiny.

    All this is meat and drink to you I am sure.

    So I do think that having a situation with no MH law is desirable. I also believe it would be possible as long as a lot else changed. I also believe that people would die as a result. My answer to that is that people are already dying. Its not a very palatable message as society likes its deaths to be out of site out of mind. Rather than ostensibly appearing to have been potentially preventable.

    As you know as you have read Faucoult they system we have has taken 300+ years to build and coming to a new consensus if ever won’t happen overnight.

    Just my thoughts…

  • My feeling is that stating a vision is the best first step. It is by far the best starting point for a clear conversation.

    While I am not certain if it is possible to have no mental health laws at all I do feel that it is certainly worth exploring it as an aspiration. Aspirations being just that they don’t demand an immediate answer although they do usefully beg questions.

  • I did attend. If I could sum it up it would be that their is a lot that needs to change in wider society. Its not simply a case of only changing the mental health system. In short their are a lot of issues that need to be addressed.

    I think that would be a fair summary but the good thing is that a more official document is going to be put together and circulated that will do a far better job than me of describing the outcome.

    When I get it I will post the document.

    It was a wonderfully run event with a lot of outstanding survivor speakers and space was made for representatives from other organisations like Speak out Against Psychiatry, Mad Pride and others to present themselves. It was a very bottom up event if I can put it like that.

    I think the plan is to have another event in a few months or so to carry on the conversation. I expect that as people coalesce around some central themes more will emerge in terms of doing things. I will say that there were a lot of people who attended were already doing a lot of doing and sharing around that was a theme for me if not for the event. I don’t want to speak for anyone else but I thought it was a really great event and a very safe space was created. I’m certainly looking forward to the document that comes out and next event.

  • Their is very little to be gained from having an argument with people who have what amounts to an ideological position….. no evidence will ever convince them of anything…… you can’t argue someone out of a position with reason if they never reasoned themselves into that position in the first place….

    It’s better to just posit an alternate point of view and leave it at that for the most part when dealing with ideologically driven zealots….

  • As medicine becomes increasingly demedicalised psychiatry is going to find itself marooned ….. even if no one critiqued psychiatry….. psychiatrists would and will sound increasingly anachronistic…… they will start to sound increasingly crazy to the general public all on their own……

    Its a slow process that the internet will only speed up…..

  • We have bodies…. time for psychiatrists to get over it. Calling someone mentally ill is just to say you disapprove of them….. same as calling someone fat is to disapprove of them if thats whats current in your culture… its all just cultural…..

    All bodies are different…. all people are different…. not better, not worse…. we are all just different….

    Attempting to reframe the social denunciation that is “mental illness” in to a denunciation of some ones endocrine system or cytokines is a neat trick but it won’t alter the truth of the matter….

    But then psychiatry isn’t about truth….. its about control…. so nice try but no cigar.

  • I believe that the future of psychiatry is a feature in history textbooks. Children will learn about it as a historical aberration, an oddity, along with human sacrifice, witch hunting, slavery and women not having the right to vote.

    Eventually people will have to have the concept of mental illness explained to them as a concept that primitive people used for a social purpose. Eventually it might even be forgotten about completely. Christianity only survives or survived in tact for 2000 years because the bible was written in a language people couldn’t understand for 1400 yrs. Ideas that are junk are going to be discarded by society at large much much faster from now on.

    Critical psychiatry is really just part of the death rattle of psychiatry…. a rattle that will only get louder…. the edifice is weaker than it looks.

  • Thanks… thats interesting, I didn’t know Szasz had ever refered to Postel…

    Stretching the point a little I feel this is also might interest people along the lines of the Dr. Fox effect.

    The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations

    Explanations of psychological phenomena seem to generate more public interest when they contain neuroscientific information. Even irrelevant neuroscience information in an explanation of a psychological phenomenon may interfere with people’s abilities to critically consider the underlying logic of this explanation…..Crucially, the neuroscience information was irrelevant to the logic of the explanation, as confirmed by the expert subjects. Subjects in all three groups judged good explanations as more satisfying than bad ones. But subjects in the two nonexpert groups additionally judged that explanations with logically irrelevant neuroscience information were more satisfying than explanations without.

    You couldn’t make it up… or actually it seems you can make it up… and get away with it…

  • The other side of the coin is represented by Gurt Postel, a postman who decided to pretend to be a psychiatrist in Germany. Hugely successful he reduced the compulsory admission rate by 86% as the medical director of his hospital. He made up and lectured to psychiatrists on “Bi polar of the third degree”….. his audience of psychiatrists lapped this nonsense up without batting an eyelid.

    Caught out when he was recognised…. not because of anything he did. Hero. Champion imposter of imposters.

  • @oldhead Wouldn’t want to rain on the parade of someone who found another humans presence helpful but I agree with you….

    If anything I find the soul snatchers who try to be empathic even more creepy and weird than the bio b.s.ters…

  • @Fiachra

    I feel that you are pointing towards a real difficulty…. most people who enter the MH system never come into contact with people who have a message that doesn’t conform to the traditional message…

    If I am right we are both in the UK…. I’m sure you know a version of Recovery has been taken up thats more or less congruent with medical model thinking within NHS services…. spaces where Recovery conversations take place are forums where people can hear about alternatives so thats something….. but it all a matter of luck and just meeting someone who themselves has been exposed to other ways of thinking…. its a bit of a problem…..

    Totally agree about schizophrenia…… its objectifying, degrading and dehumanising… all labels are of course…. one hopeful thing is their is a back lash of sorts going on against all the labels not just schizophrenia……

  • It is a curious fact that people seen as “psychotic” or “schizophrenic” may show sometimes more creativity, and sometimes less creativity, than “normals.”

    Are you certain this is a fact? No offense but this is just a trope….. mad people are creative and all that…. my fear that this a way of saying people who get caught up in the dragnet of the mental health system are somehow different to people who manage not to come to the attention of the system and avoid their turn sitting at the bottom of pile…..

    I’m not keen on othering people in this way…….

    Just saying…..

  • veg. Patients have to pander to psychiatrists for obvious reasons when they have ultimate power over them….. the suspension of ones critical faculties when your being held hostage is certainly a survival strategy…. I can appreciate that. So to some people win the mentalhealth lottery and have a good experience of the system.

    Lots of patients consider thier psychiatrist in the absence of a belief in god consider them to be thier lord and saviour. Psychiatrists love love love that sort of patient. It feels good for both parties.

    Some psychiatrists actually think of them selves as priests and reckon that just being around them has a sort of magic fairy dust effect…. this they believe…… no study needed. Perhaps you believe that as well.

    I believe that people should be allowed to believe what they want…..good luck to you with your beliefs and if what you read makes your faith grow stronger so be it….. faith based medicine needs faith based mantras….. stories of people cured with miracle wonder drugs that no one can quite explain… that sort of thing….

  • Veg. You are coming off as a bit patronising here….. my knowledge of neuroscience, pharmacology and epigenetics are quite up to date…. but thanks anyway.

    Genes code for structure, thats why they hold some but only a bit of promise for physical medicine.

    Genes code for structure not behaviour. End of story. These associations are mere sample size effects. Beliefs no matter how odd they might seem are the result of culture and environment…. no more no less….. psychiatry itself is merely an ideology….. an unprovable belief system….

    Anytime a direct genetic link is found that disorder disappears from the orbit of psychiatry, similarly if something is found that is really neurological it becomes neurology.

    Psychiatry is pure social control. I appreciate you might have some catching up to do but you are coming over a bit green….. no offence intended.

  • Science can illuminate but it can also blind…….while the technological approach born in the enlightenment has brought benefits to society in places it also brought us industrial killing in two world wars. The technological approach has worked out quite well in physical medicine…. in the affairs of humans subject to psychiatry not so much….. any realistic assessment is that its been nothing short of a disaster….. the science is suspect and psychiatrists know it….. its a profession in crisis….

    Human problems need human solutions….. not technical ones…..

  • @Ron, trouble is the sort of logic you are using here is straight out of the psychiatric play book….. if you “get better” you were never really “ill” in the first place….

    It won’t wash….. the whole system functions as a sort of dragnet….. pretending you can chunk up who gets caught in a meaningful way is a doomed enterprise…. imo

    Appreciate your comments though….just saying….

  • @ Ted , this doesn’t address the fact that the labels now being applied to people have almost no validity at all.

    The traditional argument is that reduced validity is worth it because the labels have some sort of utility value, but as the majority of the posting on this site demonstrate the utility value claim is very flimsy indeed…. of course thats something you and a lot of people here know already…. the trouble is getting to the attention of the public. One way is holding a placard in public another way is to get academics and journalists writing about the issues…. its all to the good and I believe will lead to the same end…..

  • Thank you for this article because it chips away at the edifice of psychiatry although I share Ted’s dismay that we need this level of scrutiny to expose the obvious….

    As one boring old man points out, “patients” don’t believe in this rubbish, physical doctors certainly don’t, psychiatrists hold their noses when they write these things down and increasingly the general public understands that these labels are essentially meaningless.

    It’s all to the good that people outside the mental health bubble are taking an interest in these issues….

  • The concerns listed in the article above just serve to demonstrate how mentalist all the concerned employees are….. all the so called concerns have to do with peers not meeting thier conditions of employment…. peers are no more likely to fail to meet the terms of thier employment contracts than anyone else. Its pure mentalism on the part of the “concerned” staff…..

    The concern about confidentiality is hilarious….. social workers and MH nurses are notorious blabber mouths…..

  • This article shows that peers working in places where they also get “huelp”…….expose the mentalism inherent in a system that can’t or struggles to cope with the idea that someone could need help and at the same could have something to offer as a helper.

    I do feel that people should work in places that deem themselves suitable providers…. to deny them work doesn’t make any sense because otherwise you would have to sack/fire current workers who “get ill” and need help. Anyone can need help one day. MH services need to get used to this and peer workers can be part of cultural change inside the system.

    Obviously working as a peer comes at a personal cost as peer working is ultimately incompatible with working inside the system….. ironically exposing the reasons why this is true is part of the power of the role…. its a paradox and comes at a cost….. pure abolitionists will feel uneasy with the idea of peers working inside the system at all…… my own feeling is that change will come faster with survivors working inside the system as well as outside….

    Each to their own…. thier is no point trying to occupy the existential moral high ground as no such place exists…

  • On the topic of Christianity I would claim Jesus for the home team as he would today meet all the criterion for the schizophrenia label….. pontious pilate was the first psychiatrist, if largtil had been available in the Galilee things might have worked out differently….. as it was it was death by cop….imo

  • Its an irony that moderation comes up in a discussion about someone who spoke about social control.

    For all the ways that unique people with unique circumatances could be helped if our current system, that grew out of the asylum system was proposed today……. ie lets build mini prisons in every town in the land and lets pass some antidemocratic legislation to lock up and drug people into a stupor even though they have committed no crime and that this system would be at the core of the system of help… would be treated with howls of derision. In todays world you couldn’t begin to get the system off the ground. No one would go along with it.

  • The right of freedom from fear. From the irren offensive.

    We call on all members of the community of people who recognize our basic right to self-determination as a people who suffer from psychiatric persecution, psychiatric incarceration and psychiatric torture.
    We hereby declare that:

    1 Preamble

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which satisfy the conscience of mankind with indignation, and
    has been proclaimed as that of a world in which human speech and belief and freedom from fear (consisting of the freedom from arbitrary detention, torture and killing) and enjoy freedom from want, the highest aspiration of man is true,
    since it is necessary to protect human rights through the rule of law, that the man is not compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression,
    we accept the atrocities of the systematic psychiatric mass murders in the gas chambers of the “Action T4”, which started in 1939 as a medical biologistic campaign in Germany, and was followed by the extermination camps in Poland, as a starting point for our following Declaration of Human Rights.
    We emphasize that the defeat of such barbaric acts, the worst case in the history of dehumanization and violations of basic social norms, 1948 after the Nuremberg trials was also the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.

    2 Therefore:

    A) A person is born from another man

    B) It is impossible to distinguish between the human rights of any person from those of another, no matter how extraordinary he look and think, or whatever he may express his thoughts.

    C) We emphasize that the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations are the basis to determine the fundamental human rights

    D) We hereby declare that we the use of psychiatric terms as medical slander, as biologistically – consider racial discrimination, particularly when it comes to determine a person’s behavior as a genetic or mental “illness”

    E) We hereby declare as a kind of torture: psychiatric persecution, arbitrary psychiatric incarceration and physical psychiatric coercion to penetrate the body – treatment with drugs, electroshock, psychosurgery, fixation, etc. These measures have been since the inception of coercive psychiatry over and over again by people everywhere referred to the world as torture, regardless of whether someone was referred by medical staff as “incompetent” and the place of these measures a “medical device” called “hospital” should be.

    F) Based on the previous arguments, we hereby declare psychiatric coercion as “fear” (“Fear”), as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. Everyone has the right to freedom from fear.

    G) We recognize a psychiatry that is based on coercion and violence, as a crime against humanity because it deprives individuals the status of a man with his inalienable human rights by making known their soul to a bio-medical way as “sick” and of a bio-medical “mental illness” speaks, and thus legally justify all kinds of violence against them.

    H) We deny that the General Assembly of the UN has the right to exclude some of the members of the human community from being recognized as a human, by this psychiatric biologically – supports racist doctrine. Therefore we appeal to all peoples of the world to abolish the UN Resolution. 46/119 of 17 December 1991. This resolution violates the basic principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations 1948 This resolution is an attack on the human dignity of all members own the human community and their equal and inalienable rights, the basis for freedom and justice.

  • I was at a meeting the other day, a cosmopolitan gathering….. a black man said that bio psychiatry was institutionally racist….. everyone just nodded. An apostate psychiatrist added that it was a racist ideology and would remain so even if it was practiced by a black person. Nods all round.

    Every idea has its time….. its not looking good for bio-psychiatry.

  • @oldhead Thanks! I always enjoy your thoughtful posts!

    @Rossa I agree…. their are many ways to conceptualise what it is to be a person…. its a pity that the wonky bag of chemicals model bio bio bio dominates the western initiated gulag system…… the good news is that no one other than a small band of psychiatrists actually conceive of themselves like that…..

    Ill just add that imo the bio/psycho/social/spiritual(extra-terrestrial?) model isn’t a model that explains anything….. its just some prefixes and punctuation that serves to cover up the fact that none of the professional groups agree with each other about anything….. long run that is a good thing because it indicates that anyone exercising power in a “mental health” context does so illegitimately… imo

  • medicine has a long and venerable tradition that stretches back to the time of the Greek philosophers…..psychiatry was born in the asylum….. it has no such tradition.

    The asylums have largely closed…. society has changed. What has not changed is psychiatry. The truth is that psychiatry as Szasz is scientifically worthless and socially harmful. This is why long term society will do away with it. It might be hard to see that sometimes as the institution still has a lot of power but the institution itself is in crisis as a recent lancet article reviewed here on MIA attests to.

    When psychiatry was born women didn’t even have the vote. Mainly psychiatry preyed on the weak and vulnerable. Now anyone…. even people with social capital can get caught up in its dragnet…… this more than anything mitigates against it.

    What does society harm human society gets rid of …… eventually. The internet is changing everything….. ideas spread faster than ever….. the internet will play its part….. psychiatry is divisive at its root. Humans don’t like that…… modern humans hate it infact. divisive psychiatry has no future. There will be no coup de gra for psychiatry …… humanity will simply smudge it out….eventually and szasz will have played his part.

    Btw critical psychiatrists like MonCrief quote Szasz all the time. His ideas live on.

  • Oldhead

    Spot on. It is frustrating…..


    With regard to self harm…. their are only two kinds, socially acceptable and socially unacceptable….. what is acceptable is culturally defined.

    Most people who cut themselves do so very safely and for them the best thing you can give them is clean razor blades. This accepting approach usually has the effect of people not cutting so much…. even if thats not the point or the most important thing….

  • One thing that is not addressed here is the issue of social control….

    cut and paste from the above….

    A society could not be called free that is governed by laws which are so vague and broad as to regulate ordinary speech and behavior. The medical model developed as an ideology to disguise and justify covert forms of social control. Without invoking the medical model, could we call a society free where people can be deprived of their freedom and forcibly drugged because they are homeless and disturbing to the public? For hearing or speaking to their gods? For going on spending sprees? For believing the government is after them or that they are being monitored by electronic devices? For not being able to face the difficulties of life? It happens in this country and we pretend to the world to stand for the ideal of individual freedom. The problem is that society demands a greater degree of social control than law allows. The public wants to be protected from unconventional, threatening, and dangerous behavior. There is, thus, a public mandate for a covert form of social control which supplements rule of law. Medical-coercive psychiatry, in alliance with the state, performs this function disguised as medical diagnosis and treatment.

  • Thanks for the article….

    This might interest some people here….

    Alastair Morgan on ‘Is psychiatry dying? The contemporary “legitimation crisis” in psychiatry’, Joint Special Interest Group in Psychosis, 26 March 2014, 5.30 pm – 7 pm

    Durham University and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust Joint Special Interest Group for Psychosis (JSIGP)

    Abstract: This talk explores the contemporary “legitimation crisis” in psychiatry. Does psychiatry know what it is for, does it have a role in the future and does it have a clear idea of its conceptual foundations ? Should we care if psychiatry withers away, and dissolves into a range of new disciplines, such as neuroscience, the science of wellbeing, or the pragmatic management of life issues in the name of mental health recovery ? The talk will examine a proliferation of new and competing “paradigms” for the ontological status of psychiatry and critical psychiatry, and tries to map a direction for the future of psychiatry in the 21st century.

  • The reason all these studies contradict each other isn’t like giving away the secret formula to Kelloggs Frosties or anything…..

    Why olanzapine beats risperidone, risperidone beats quetiapine, and quetiapine beats olanzapine: an exploratory analysis of head-to-head comparison studies of second-generation antipsychotics.

    Of the 42 reports identified by the authors, 33 were sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. In 90.0% of the studies, the reported overall outcome was in favor of the sponsor’s drug. This pattern resulted in contradictory conclusions across studies when the findings of studies of the same drugs but with different sponsors were compared.

    Well isn’t this shocking….who would have thought it…..

  • Thank you for this….

    For junkies the work of the 7th Earl of Shaftsbury is relevant for his work on the Lunacy Commission…,_7th_Earl_of_Shaftesbury

    Anyone visiting Piccadilly Circus in central London can see the monument erected in his honour….

    Funnily enough he was a tory….a funny sort of tory….also responsible for the Factory Act…

    Thats enough…

  • @Sandra

    My above comment was edited but I expect you saw it anyway…. I did mean the post to be offensive…. I should have contextualized and fleshed it out a bit more…

    Anyway here is the ~Foucault Tribunal if you (you may already be familiar) or anyone else is interested….

    As for Philip Thomas – I’m not sure if Heidegger or Frank Zappa is the bigger influence on his writing….fluent as it is….I fear that “Hermeneutical Phenomenology” has limited sound bite potential…. but I appreciate his efforts….and yours…

  • @Sandra

    Why you are here is one thing….why your colleagues are not is another. Most of the psychiatry chat here is about the science, the blind mans buff and receptor tetris combination game. That can go on anywhere…. and it does.

    The community bit goes largely undressed……but thats the whole point….because if psychiatry wasn’t just a handy way of rooting problems that are the result of problems in society inside individuals…..then society would have to do something about that….politicians would have to do something about that…. something would have to change. But no. Psychiatry serves to prop up the whole crumby shooting match… an institution its deeply deeply repressive…..

    So by all means carry on…. carry on talking about brains and how its possible to interfere with them to oh so interesting an effect….. all this chatter does is obscure where the real problems lie….. like I say, I can’t see your colleagues wanting to discuss that either….

    Psychiatry isn’t just scientifically worthless….its socially harmful into the bargain….

  • “We know that lesions to the brain can cause, for instance, various types of hallucinations. It is not a stretch to think there is some abnormal brain functioning associated with any one who has a hallucination.”

    Not a stretch….?? If jumping to conclusions was an Olympic event psychiatrists would win all the medals…

    A thought…is a thought…is a thought…

    Some thoughts psychiatrists like….these come from “good” brains… therefore thoughts they don’t like must come from “bad” brains…

    It’s daft…but the graduates of medical madrassa can’t see it…won’t see it… when someone has been so thoroughly trained to see the world in one way….it becomes almost impossible to see it any other way….everything that doesn’t fit seems counter intuitive….

    It’s almost as if being indoctrinated into the brain blaming cult of psychiatry leads in the end to a sort of neurological condition…. its the only plausible explanation….

    Sorry Sandra…not a personal dig…just using your words to make a point…

  • @discover and recover

    Duane…I believe that many of the professionals that visit this site and others are so used to encountering people in the professional context they just fall apart when they meet them “in the wild” so to speak 🙂

    What they want is not so much respect but a sort of reverence….and when they don’t get it….they spit the dummy…toys get thrown out of the pramm…melt down…

    Contrast with the hospital environment where its ok to be as degrading as you like about “patients”… as long as they couch it with what they think are the right words…. they can be as nasty as they like and the “patient” just has to soak it up….quite a contrast…

  • @Jonathan

    I understand the points you are making and I can see the merit in what you are saying. However while I agree that psychosis is potentially as you say a generic word it is also redolent of the medical model where its use is very prevalent. So to me it is a question of priorities. When I suggest not using it I am prioritizing using language that puts the maximum amount of distance between what you are saying and what, typically, psychiatrists say.

    When the language changes it changes the way things are thought about. In the final analysis by way of illustration, if psychiatrists used a different language to engage the matters at hand on this site all the papers in their journals, that they currently read, would become unintelligible to them as they would also see them as irrelevant to the matters at hand.

    Knit picking at language is a habit of mine….

    Generally I agree with what you are saying….

  • I appreciate this article although I would like it better if it managed its subject matter without the word psychosis, which is really just a code word for schizophrenia….

    I’m not really keen on the idea that some people have “psychotic tendencies” either…its well demonstrated that sensory deprivation leads to altered states of mind anyone who experiences sensory deprivation…

    The idea of psychotic tendencies is to close to the idea of stress vulnerability thinking which in turn leads to the idea that some people are just inherently mentally weaker than others….this hypothesis… I just personally reject.

    I appreciate finding new words is a struggle and its often easier to just try and reuse medical words….that said I think its worth the struggle….to try…

  • Reminded.

    The Partnership Model
    “…professionals and non-professionals work together to provide services. The recipients of services are told that they, too, are partners in the service. However, the distinction between those who give help and those who receive it remains clearly defined. I consider services based on this model to be alternatives in name only. The overwhelming majority of alternative services […] fit into the partnership model.”


    “‘Alternatives’ based on the partnership model continue many of the same abuses.”

    The Supportive Model
    “…membership is open to all people who want to use the service for mutual support. Nonpatients and ex-patients are seen as equals, since everyone has problems at some time or other, and are capable of helping one another. Professionals are excluded from this model […] because they use a different model of helping, which separates those who give from those who receive help.”

    The Separatist Model
    “…ex-patients provide support for one another and run the service. All nonpatients and professionals ae excluded because they interfere with consciousness raising and because they usually have mentalist attitudes.”

    Open Dialogue is a Partnership Model and is thus not a true alternative. Soteria, as defined above, is a hybrid Supportive/Partnership Model and is also thus not a true alternative.

    As Chamberlin underlines: “Totally nonprofessional (ie. Separatist) alternatives for people in crisis are truly separated from the mental health system.”

    In “On Our Own” Chamberlin consistently and convincingly argues that orthodox models of care for the mentally distressed and distressing are harmful. Alternatives that spring up are most often, under closer examination, alternative in name only.

  • @markps2

    I covered this point. Its brainwashing but brainwashing entered into voluntarily. If a person doesn’t want it they are not suitable candidates for it anyway.

    And for what its worth DBT is just being your own thought police officer.

    Mindlessness training is just the final frontier of psychiatric imperialism where thought itself becomes a crime…its taking yourself hostage in your own head.

    Whatever floats your boat….some people find these things helpful…

    As to the last question their is so much wrong with it I don’t know where to start…so I won’t or I might never finish..

  • @Sandra

    By logical extension as you suggest in your example we can convince ourselves of anything if we try hard enough. Given the short time we each have on the planet that is probably for the best…not a bad thing…no… not at all…

  • @Brett

    I’ve read again and stand by my view.

    As to the claim that any therapist can eliminate all their personal bias from the encounter is a myth. Even an attempt at neutrality is to introduce a bias in itself.

    The idea of the object neutral observer is a conceit usually ascribed to psychiatrists but psychologists often make the same claim.

    I’m sure their is such a thing as a bad therapist…I also think that every therapist would agree with that statement. I doubt however if you surveyed every therapist you would find any who said that they were such an example.

  • @Brett

    I have never heard of anyone being involuntarily detained because they fear driving. But then the U.S. is a car obsessed society so I suppose its not beyond the realms of possibility. But we will go with this trivial example as its the one you have chosen even though the article is about “psychosis”.

    That driving is acceptably safe is just an opinion of yours. It is a socially acceptable opinion, after all its a belief most people hold. However in 2012 34,080 people died on the road. 1.14 percent, if we looked at injuries we would get an even bigger number.

    It’s perfectly rational to be concerned about driving and perfectly rational to decide getting in a car is not worth the risk. It’s not the view of the majority of people….but thats not the point.

    The point is that your job is persuade your client by what ever magic talking therapy device to hold the “socially acceptable” view.

    The only way to fail an assessment for CBT is to say you don’t want to do it. It’s brainwashing but it’s brainwashing that people go into voluntarily. Your clients have to want to do it…submit to the process…

    Brainwashing is a harsh word but it is an accurate word.

    As an aside I see that you presume to be the final arbiter of what counts as reality and what might count as a “useful” perspective as well…. all of which I am sure you will claim are perspectives you are careful not to impose on your clients….hmmmm

  • CBT is just another technology….just what people don’t need. More technology.

    CBT is a process where by socially unacceptable truth is replaced with more socially acceptable lies. Lies it may be easier to live with…but still lies.

    Its brain washing….pure and simple. Brain washing usually entered into voluntarily but still brain washing.

    Buyer bewares.

  • The Rise of Neuro B.S.

    An intellectual pestilence is upon us.

    Shop shelves groan with books purporting to explain, through snazzy brain-imaging studies, not only how thoughts and emotions function, but how politics and religion work, and what the correct answers are to age-old philosophical controversies. The dazzling real achievements of brain research are routinely pressed into service for questions they were never designed to answer. This is the plague of neuroscientism – aka neurobabble, neurobollocks, or neurotrash – and it’s everywhere.

    In my book-strewn lodgings, one literally trips over volumes promising that “the deepest mysteries of what makes us who we are are gradually being unravelled” by neuroscience and cognitive psychology. (Even practising scientists sometimes make such grandiose claims for a general audience, perhaps urged on by their editors: that quotation is from the psychologist Elaine Fox’s interesting book on “the new science of optimism”, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, published this summer.) In general, the “neural” explanation has become a gold standard of non-fiction exegesis, adding its own brand of computer-assisted lab-coat bling to a whole new industry of intellectual quackery that affects to elucidate even complex sociocultural phenomena. Chris Mooney’s The Republican Brain: the Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality disavows “reductionism” yet encourages readers to treat people with whom they disagree more as pathological specimens of brain biology than as rational interlocutors.

    The New Atheist polemicist Sam Harris, in The Moral Landscape, interprets brain and other research as showing that there are objective moral truths, enthusiastically inferring – almost as though this were the point all along – that science proves “conservative Islam” is bad.

    Happily, a new branch of the neuroscienceexplains everything genre may be created at any time by the simple expedient of adding the prefix “neuro” to whatever you are talking about. Thus, “neuroeconomics” is the latest in a long line of rhetorical attempts to sell the dismal science as a hard one; “molecular gastronomy” has now been trumped in the scientised gluttony stakes by “neurogastronomy”; students of Republican and Democratic brains are doing “neuropolitics”; literature academics practise “neurocriticism”. There is “neurotheology”, “neuromagic” (according to Sleights of Mind, an amusing book about how conjurors exploit perceptual bias) and even “neuromarketing”. Hoping it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon, I have decided to announce that I, too, am skilled in the newly minted fields of neuroprocrastination and neuroflâneurship.

    Illumination is promised on a personal as well as a political level by the junk enlightenment of the popular brain industry. How can I become more creative? How can I make better decisions? How can I be happier? Or thinner? Never fear: brain research has the answers. It is self-help armoured in hard science. Life advice is the hook for nearly all such books. (Some cram the hard sell right into the title – such as John B Arden’s Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life.) Quite consistently, heir recommendations boil down to a kind of neo- Stoicism, drizzled with brain-juice. In a selfcongratulatory egalitarian age, you can no longer tell people to improve themselves morally. So self-improvement is couched in instrumental, scientifically approved terms.

    The idea that a neurological explanation could exhaust the meaning of experience was already being mocked as “medical materialism” by the psychologist William James a century ago. And today’s ubiquitous rhetorical confidence about how the brain works papers over a still-enormous scientific uncertainty. Paul Fletcher, professor of health neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, says that he gets “exasperated” by much popular coverage of neuroimaging research, which assumes that “activity in a brain region is the answer to some profound question about psychological processes. This is very hard to justify given how little we currently know about what different regions of the brain actually do.” Too often, he tells me in an email correspondence, a popular writer will “opt for some sort of neuro-flapdoodle in which a highly simplistic and questionable point is accompanied by a suitably grand-sounding neural term and thus acquires a weightiness that it really doesn’t deserve. In my view, this is no different to some mountebank selling quacksalve by talking about the physics of water molecules’ memories, or a beautician talking about action liposomes.”

    Shades of grey
    The human brain, it is said, is the most complex object in the known universe. That a part of it “lights up” on an fMRI scan does not mean the rest is inactive; nor is it obvious what any such lighting-up indicates; nor is it straightforward to infer general lessons about life from experiments conducted under highly artificial conditions. Nor do we have the faintest clue about the biggest mystery of all – how does a lump of wet grey matter produce the conscious experience you are having right now, reading this paragraph? How come the brain gives rise to the mind? No one knows.

    So, instead, here is a recipe for writing a hit popular brain book. You start each chapter with a pat anecdote about an individual’s professional or entrepreneurial success, or narrow escape from peril. You then mine the neuroscientific research for an apparently relevant specific result and narrate the experiment, perhaps interviewing the scientist involved and describing his hair. You then climax in a fit of premature extrapolation, inferring from the scientific result a calming bromide about what it is to function optimally as a modern human being. Voilà, a laboratory-sanctioned Big Idea in digestible narrative form. This is what the psychologist Christopher Chabris has named the “story-study-lesson” model, perhaps first perfected by one Malcolm Gladwell. A series of these threesomes may be packaged into a book, and then resold again and again as a stand-up act on the wonderfully lucrative corporate lecture circuit.

    Such is the rigid formula of Imagine: How Creativity Works, published in March this year by the American writer Jonah Lehrer. The book is a shatteringly glib mishmash of magazine yarn, bizarrely incompetent literary criticism, inspiring business stories about mops and dolls and zany overinterpretation of research findings in neuroscience and psychology. Lehrer responded to my hostile review of the book by claiming that I thought the science he was writing about was “useless”, but such garbage needs to be denounced precisely in defence of the achievements of science. (In a sense, as Paul Fletcher points out, such books are “anti science, given that science is supposed to be our protection against believing whatever we find most convenient, comforting or compelling”.) More recently, Lehrer admitted fabricating quotes by Bob Dylan in Imagine, which was hastily withdrawn from sale, and he resigned from his post at the New Yorker. To invent things supposedly said by the most obsessively studied popular artist of our age is a surprising gambit. Perhaps Lehrer misunderstood his own advice about creativity.

    Mastering one’s own brain is also the key to survival in a dog-eat-dog corporate world, as promised by the cognitive scientist Art Markman’s Smart Thinking: How to Think Big, Innovate and Outperform Your Rivals. Meanwhile, the field (or cult) of “neurolinguistic programming” (NLP) sells techniques not only of self-overcoming but of domination over others. (According to a recent NLP handbook, you can “create virtually any and all states” in other people by using “embedded commands”.) The employee using such arcane neurowisdom will get promoted over the heads of his colleagues; the executive will discover expert-sanctioned ways to render his underlings more docile and productive, harnessing “creativity” for profit.

    Waterstones now even has a display section labelled “Smart Thinking”, stocked with pop brain tracts. The true function of such books, of course, is to free readers from the responsibility of thinking for themselves. This is made eerily explicit in the psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind, published last March, which claims to show that “moral knowledge” is best obtained through “intuition” (arising from unconscious brain processing) rather than by explicit reasoning. “Anyone who values truth should stop worshipping reason,” Haidt enthuses, in a perverse manifesto for autolobotomy. I made an Olympian effort to take his advice seriously, and found myself rejecting the reasoning of his entire book.

    Modern neuro-self-help pictures the brain as a kind of recalcitrant Windows PC. You know there is obscure stuff going on under the hood, so you tinker delicately with what you can see to try to coax it into working the way you want. In an earlier age, thinkers pictured the brain as a marvellously subtle clockwork mechanism, that being the cutting-edge high technology of the day. Our own brain-as-computer metaphor has been around for decades: there is the “hardware”, made up of different physical parts (the brain), and the “software”, processing routines that use different neuronal “circuits”. Updating things a bit for the kids, the evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban, in Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite, explains that the brain is like an iPhone running a bunch of different apps.

    Such metaphors are apt to a degree, as long as you remember to get them the right way round. (Gladwell, in Blink – whose motivational selfhelp slogan is that “we can control rapid cognition” – burblingly describes the fusiform gyrus as “an incredibly sophisticated piece of brain software”, though the fusiform gyrus is a physical area of the brain, and so analogous to “hardware” not “software”.) But these writers tend to reach for just one functional story about a brain subsystem – the story that fits with their Big Idea – while ignoring other roles the same system might play. This can lead to a comical inconsistency across different books, and even within the oeuvre of a single author.

    Is dopamine “the molecule of intuition”, as Jonah Lehrer risibly suggested in The Decisive Moment (2009), or is it the basis of “the neural highway that’s responsible for generating the pleasurable emotions”, as he wrote in Imagine? (Meanwhile, Susan Cain’s Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking calls dopamine the “reward chemical” and postulates that extroverts are more responsive to it.) Other recurring stars of the pop literature are the hormone oxytocin (the “love chemical”) and mirror neurons, which allegedly explain empathy. Jonathan Haidt tells the weirdly unexplanatory micro-story that, in one experiment, “The subjects used their mirror neurons, empathised, and felt the other’s pain.” If I tell you to use your mirror neurons, do you know what to do? Alternatively, can you do as Lehrer advises and “listen to” your prefrontal cortex? Self-help can be a tricky business.

    Distortion of what and how much we know is bound to occur, Paul Fletcher points out, if the literature is cherry-picked.

    “Having outlined your theory,” he says, “you can then cite a finding from a neuroimaging study identifying, for example, activity in a brain region such as the insula . . . You then select from among the many theories of insula function, choosing the one that best fits with your overall hypothesis, but neglecting to mention that nobody really knows what the insula does or that there are many ideas about its possible function.”

    But the great movie-monster of nearly all the pop brain literature is another region: the amygdala. It is routinely described as the “ancient” or “primitive” brain, scarily atavistic. There is strong evidence for the amygdala’s role in fear, but then fear is one of the most heavily studied emotions; popularisers downplay or ignore the amygdala’s associations with the cuddlier emotions and memory. The implicit picture is of our uneasy coexistence with a beast inside the head, which needs to be controlled if we are to be happy, or at least liberal. (In The Republican Brain, Mooney suggests that “conservatives and authoritarians” might be the nasty way they are because they have a “more active amygdala”.) René Descartes located the soul in the pineal gland; the moral of modern pop neuroscience is that original sin is physical – a bestial, demonic proto-brain lurking at the heart of darkness within our own skulls. It’s an angry ghost in the machine.

    Indeed, despite their technical paraphernalia of neurotransmitters and anterior temporal gyruses, modern pop brain books are offering a spiritual topography. Such is the seductive appeal of fMRI brain scans, their splashes of red, yellow and green lighting up what looks like a black intracranial vacuum. In mass culture, the fMRI scan (usually merged from several individuals) has become a secular icon, the converse of a Hubble Space Telescope image. The latter shows us awe-inspiring vistas of distant nebulae, as though painstakingly airbrushed by a sci-fi book-jacket artist; the former peers the other way, into psychedelic inner space. And the pictures, like religious icons, inspire uncritical devotion: a 2008 study, Fletcher notes, showed that “people – even neuroscience undergrads – are more likely to believe a brain scan than a bar graph”.

    In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and his collaborator Daniel Simons advise readers to be wary of such “brain porn”, but popular magazines, science websites and books are frenzied consumers and hypers of these scans. “This is your brain on music”, announces a caption to a set of fMRI images, and we are invited to conclude that we now understand more about the experience of listening to music. The “This is your brain on” meme, it seems, is indefinitely extensible: Google results offer “This is your brain on poker”, “This is your brain on metaphor”, “This is your brain on diet soda”, “This is your brain on God” and so on, ad nauseam. I hereby volunteer to submit to a functional magnetic-resonance imaging scan while reading a stack of pop neuroscience volumes, for an illuminating series of pictures entitled This Is Your Brain on Stupid Books About Your Brain.

    None of the foregoing should be taken to imply that fMRI and other brain-investigation techniques are useless: there is beautiful and amazing science in how they work and what well-designed experiments can teach us. “One of my favourites,” Fletcher says, “is the observation that one can take measures of brain activity (either using fMRI or EEG) while someone is learning . . . a list of words, and that activity can actually predict whether particular words will be remembered when the person is tested later (even the next day). This to me demonstrates something important – that observing activity in the brain can tell us something about how somebody is processing stimuli in ways that the person themselves is unable to report. With measures like that, we can begin to see how valuable it is to measure brain activity – it is giving us information that would otherwise be hidden from us.”

    In this light, one might humbly venture a preliminary diagnosis of the pop brain hacks’ chronic intellectual error. It is that they misleadingly assume we always know how to interpret such “hidden” information, and that it is always more reliably meaningful than what lies in plain view. The hucksters of neuroscientism are the conspiracy theorists of the human animal, the 9/11 Truthers of the life of the mind.

  • Thanks for this…nice to see Franz Fanon getting an outing as well…

    Reading this review reminded me of a News Night segment screen not that long ago… a Muslim woman was swaddled in towels and was being read the Koran by an Imam…as a response to her mental distress…

    Interestingly this approach to her distress was presented as problematic for UK mental health professionals and obviously shocking for “right thinking” civilized News Night viewers…

    What they didn’t show was how western mental health professionals would prefer her to have been treated, instead of being read to out of the book of her own religion…obviously what you are supposed to do is get five or six men to hold her down, strip off her clothes and inject her with mind altering drugs….so modern…so so terribly modern…so terribly nice and civilized…

  • “similarities between brain abnormalities found both in people who have been abused and those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia”

    The focus on the brain hear is misplaced and the whole problem with the approach.

    If a steam roller rolls over a pea and flatens it. Exploring the properties of pea skin, its properties and how it evolved and came to be be skin, how it is transformed by being steamrollered is to totally miss the point that it is the steam roller that is the problem….it is the steamroller that should be the subject of investigation….not pea skin.

  • From anger to action.

    We’re not mad we are angry
    C4 screened Eleventh Hour’s “We’re not mad we’re angry” in 1986. This was a unique docu-drama which took two years to make with a group of current and former psychiatric patients who held full editorial control. Many of the actors in the drama sequences had been service users, others were involved in the editing and production process. Many of the survivors interviewed were activists such as; Jan Wallcraft who became Mindlink’s first co-ordinator, David Crepaz-Keay, who went onto managing Mental Health Media, then Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion at Mental Health Foundation, Peter Campbell the founder of Survivor’s Speak Out’, Mike Lawson the first survivor vice-chair of National Mind (who got elected in favour of a psychiatrist who was so angry at not being elected he demanded a recount). Mike also designed one of the first Crisis Cards. It’s a seminal piece of work which you would never see now as criticism of services is more stifled and radical activism has been dumbed down by policy and recovery approaches.

  • Nice. Questioning the current system…

    Psychiatric diagnosis as a political device

    “Psychiatric services simply apply a diagnosis to whoever they are asked to deal with. The diagnosis signals that the situation can be re-interpreted according to a medical framework. This framework obliterates the memory that what psychiatric ‘treatment’ consists of is a particular social response to certain problematic behaviours. It conceals the fact that the response could be different.”

  • (A must read this one…When the T-4 Euthanasia Program commenced, Eberl was a willing participant. On February 1, 1940, at just 29 years old, Eberl became the medical director of the killing facility at Brandenburg. In the fall of 1941 he assumed the same position at Bernburg Euthanasia Centre.)

    The psychiatrist Eberl then went on to be the first camp commandant of Treblinka…

  • I also have a dim view of psychiatry…..

    For the first time in history, psychiatrists during the Nazi era sought to systematically exterminate their patients. However, little has been published from this dark period analyzing what may be learned for clinical and research psychiatry. At each stage in the murderous process lay a series of unethical and heinous practices, with many psychiatrists demonstrating a profound commitment to the atrocities, playing central, pivotal roles critical to the success of Nazi policy. Several misconceptions led to this misconduct, including allowing philosophical constructs to define clinical practice, focusing exclusively on preventative medicine, allowing political pressures to influence practice, blurring the roles of clinicians and researchers, and falsely believing that good science and good ethics always co-exist. Psychiatry during this period provides a most horrifying example of how science may be perverted by external forces. It thus becomes crucial to include the Nazi era psychiatry experience in ethics training as an example of proper practice gone awry.”

    A worthy article although it misses the main point that psychiatry was discussing killing its patients in the 1920 and continued to kill them as long as three months after WW11 ended.

    The t4 programm was a psychiatry led program that the Nazi only permissioned. Psychiatry asked for it and was enthusiastic about it.

    Psychiatrists in the six killing centres (psychiatric hospitals) channeled patients into the gas chambers, psychiatrists opened the gas taps and psychiatrists falsified the death certificates.

    Critically many of the psychiatrists from the T4 program then went on to work for the extermination camps set up under Operation Reinhard. These were Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzac due to their percieved expertise at industrial killing. Some of the equipment was taken from the hospitals and reset up for reuse… Of course psychiatrists also worked the ramp at Auschwitz-Birkenau selecting who would be gassed straight away and who would do slave labour….

    As was stated at Nuremburg “If it wasn’t psychiatry the holocaust wouldn’t have happened”.

    National Socialism (bad enough) didn’t infect psychiatry….psychiatry infected National Socialism and showed the Nazi how to kill…

    To much water under the Bridge to trust this profession ever again.

    Dr. Breggin has written and lectured on the role of psychiatry in helping to bring about the holocaust in Nazi Germany.

  • I think most psychiatrist come to understand that they are involved in something that is not altogether honest if not an outright fraud….

    Most of them lead lives of quiet desperation while going about the only business they know….some of them seek absolution from selected patients they chose to confide in….

    That was the old days….the internet is the new confessional…

  • @Sera

    Thankyou for this. I want to comment but may I ask, with regard to this:

    ” Some years ago, I visited a so-called ‘‘peer’ respite’ in Arizona that was attached to a crisis services center. (Mind you, this is not a model that I support for these sorts of respites in the first place.) A group of us sat with administrators on the crisis services side, and listened while they boasted about having recorded no restraints in the past year. That sounded good, until we asked more questions and learned that if someone was held down for under 15 minutes in order to be forcibly medicated, the administrators simply didn’’t count it as restraint.”

    Was this place in Arizona ?

    I ask because it sounds like it and the CEO of this org has recently been in the UK bragging about how they have reduced restraint in their crisis services to zero. Their model is being held up as a sort of panacea in some very influential places.

    I’m sure you don’t want to slander anyone but if a big part of their success is down to reclassification of what counts as restraint for admin purposes I would really like to know…

    Thanks in advance…

  • Wouldn’t beat your self up about tweeting at Rethink. Rethink is a despicable org imo and all your tweets were legitimate criticism. They take pharm cash and the CEO thinks this doesn’t represent any sort of conflict of interest or influence Rethink in anyway.

    Disease mongering filth in my book. The last think Rethink will ever do is Rethink…anything…

  • “Just want to add my one lone voice of reason”

    This reads in a way you probably didn’t intend…however, no one has a monopoly on reason and for what it’s worth rationality and reason are over rated. imo

    The age of reason and rationality reached their inevitable conclusion with industrialized killing in two world wars. Like I say, reason and rationality are over rated.

  • People who work in “hospitals” routinely use the word violent when what they are really faced with is unpredictability. Routine use of the word violence is part of the mentalism inherent in mainstream services.

    By using the word violent they brush the complexity of what they call difficult situations under the carpet along with their own complicity with generating what becomes violence.

    The mental health system is inherently violent, abusive and degrading from start to finish. The policies, processes, procedures and language used in psychiatric detention centres make them motors of violence. Professional legalized assaults by staff on involuntary inmates are only the tip of the ice burg.

    That the “medications” that are doled out often cause akethesia, which in turn results in irritability in an already extremely irritating environment is always discounted. This is just one example.

  • @Joanna,

    Yes, I’ve learned to be very suspicious of “survivour professionals”. for instance…imo while there tends to be some interesting insights or some useful ideas I am always left feeling that the overwhelming message is “I did it/made it” therefore, what I say has enhanced credibility and everyone else should be able to make it as well.

  • ~~~Newsflash~~~

    Homeless people are less likely to feel hopeless after eating a carrot and pumpkin seed loaf while finding half a big mac in a rubbish bin showed no improvement over placebo (artisan baguette)…scientists report…

  • When these studies have outcomes that are about symptoms rather than real life outcomes I get cynical…

    ie. The patient is still poverty stricken, living in a pig pen, violent partner, no friends…but hey symptom free…so thats OK.

    I sometimes wonder how many peer support workers are really peer pressure workers…

  • What we need instead is not simply a different label but entirely different ways of thinking about those psychological experiences and behaviours that have historically been mislabelled and misunderstood.

    Intergation disorder has changed nothing in Japan btw. One might as well go with dopamine disregulation disorder as suggested by Proff Colin Murray at the Institute of Psychiatry in the UK for all the good a name change would do.

  • Dear Sandra,

    Let me help you…

    The International Critical Psychiatry Network (ICPN)

    he International Critical Psychiatry Network (ICPN) has been created by medical doctors as a forum (primarily for medical doctors) to discuss, critique, and publicise opinions, practices, literature, and events that support critical thinking and alternative approaches to psychiatry. Building on the work of the Critical Psychiatry Network (CPN) in Britain and motivated by a concern about the ‘global mental health’ movement’s approach of globalising Western models of psychiatry, the ICPN wishes to consider a greater variety of ways of thinking about psychic difference and suffering. Recognising that the current dominant models (the medical model) for thinking about psychiatric difficulties and helping sufferers are not the only ones, we hope that the ICPN can contribute toward an exchange of ideas that can promote more locally meaningful and effective practice.

  • Henry A. Nasrallah, MD, a prominent psychiatric researcher is one of Americas best know leading proponents of “biological psychiatry”. He is a well known for “trolling” psychiatry articles…by that I mean trolling other pyschiatrists…one can’t take anything he writes seriously….

    He is the editor of Current Psychiatry….

    Look at the other rubbish he writes….

  • Test

    I had a plugin that enabled bbcode, which is a little more friendly and familiar to forum users, but it broke something else that I’ve since upgraded. I will go back and see if that works. I don’t want a WYSIWYG editor in the comments for a few reasons, but there’s no reason you can’t use basic html/bbcode formatting to make your comments more readable. Try it!,

  • Duane,

    Thanks. Yes, I agree with what you are saying. What I would say is that for historical reasons what has happened is that the technical job of deciding when to intervene, in the case of people who would willfully do others harm is one job. The second job is the more ordinary and routine professional work of engaging people who are distressed and clearly need something.

    Both of these roles are at the moment with in the orbit of psychiatry and both are bounded by essentially the same legislation.

    What I am positing, in part, is that disentangling these two different jobs is the first step to a solution.

    Not recognizing the difference between the two sorts of very different cases and trying to ban all forced “interventions” isn’t going to be helpful because society is always going to need to protect itself.

    That’s not very nuanced and a bit simplistic but that is the point I was getting at.

    Psychiatry isn’t the only profession that the state delegates to…

    I’m sure you are not anti-profession….

  • @Anon

    You wrote on this thread: “Nobody deserves to have their body entered by force and its function meddled with by quacks who cannot prove their bodies are diseased.”

    The point is that it is not a matter of deserving, the point is that their exist in society people who would willfully and with malice of forethought do others significant harm. Society is quite within its rights to balance its need to protect itself with other considerations.

    At the moment, society through the auspices of the state delegates that technical job to psychiatrists.

    There are many problematic aspects to this. The fact that you don’t want to talk about them is fine. Those conversations will take place regardless and with out you anyway.

  • @anon

    Your making assumptions about my experiences now. Invalidating other peoples perspectives is what mental health services do, you might like to consider that before you jump to conclusions and demark what you personally feel is a “safe” opinion.

    What you are trying to do is close down the conversation rather than open it up because you don’t like where it leads.

    Life isn’t as simple as you are making out. I am afraid you are wrong to say that people who challenge society to such an extent that the use of force is wrong is incorrect. Many people pose a significant threat to society and society is quiet within its right to expect to be protected from those people.

    I’ll say it again. A legal and professional framework needs to exist for this to happen. At the moment it is a covert system that undermines professionalism. This is what needs to change.

    Your solution is just putting ones head in the sand as to the complexity of the problems.

  • Depends what you mean by profit. If you are concerned that I might bring to the table a different perspective that makes you uncomfortable because it challenges your absolutist stance then I can see why you don’t want to have a conversation. My challenge to you is rooted in the practical reality that some people do challenge society and responding to them appropriately requires a legal and professional context that balances the interests of everyone.

    Conversations that deal with these issues require thoughtful consideration. As much as your invective might make entertaining reading it does nothing to actually advance your argument or even address the issues at hand.

  • Dr. Thomas: “It is also important to say that circumstances may and do arise where people’s behaviour and distress is so severe for short periods of time that it may be necessary to detain them in hospital, and to use medication for short periods of time (i.e. no more than a couple of weeks).”

    Anon: Thank you for your answer. I can only urge you to reconsider your stance, which as I read it, is a stance in favor of forced drugging as ‘chemical restraint’ and behavior control.

    I can’t speak for Dr. Thomas but I don’t read it like that at all. I am taking “circumstances arise” to include circumstances where people with equivalent levels of “distress” do not have recourse to 24hr social supports, family and friends, with the commensurate skill and disposition to support and keep a person safe.

    By denying people with diminished social circumstances the chance to be detained/socially controlled and offer/coerced/finally forced to take medication you are in fact discriminating against them.

    Anon, your eloquent arguments fall down because even within a family unit (however you define that) you will find a social control element at work. When those social supports don’t exist, the moral imperative is for society to take its place. Psychiatric services take on this role by proxy. That it is not explicit is a pity and wrong. It needs to be addressed but denying people help is not the right answer to difficult situations.

  • @Sandra

    The point for a lot of people is not to make the medical model “go away”. The point is elucidate the illegitimacy of the power that psychiatrists who use that model as a covert means of social control.

    No other medical specialty operates as a covert social control mechanism under the guise of “biology”. Pointing to similarities won’t make this fact “go away” either.

  • I was talking to a consultant surgeon the other day. He described how his trainees recoiled in fear from the bed of a patient. He said “No…you must not fear the patient…you must love them”. Can’t see psychiatry getting to that point, loving the patient and not fearing them. They learn how to do the exact opposite and defend themselves by being on their guard against “counter transference”.

    Other medical specialties only fear the mad because they have been taught to by psychiatry….

    I totally agree with you getting survivors in front of students very early on is key…

  • @Dr. Thomas

    “The Royal College of Psychiatrists would almost certainly say this is a matter for the Institute of Psychiatry.”

    I’m sure you are right. They are a bunch of spineless turkeys. If one considers that they deem themselves fit to pontificate on everything things else under the sun. This!?… This!?…is the issue they would decide is NOTHING to do with them….I’m sure you are right, they would take that position…it would be laughable though….utterly laughable…

  • “We should be told”

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists should be told as well.

    The average jobbing Psychiatrist has a hard enough job on their hands creating the illusory “Theraputic Relationship” against a back drop of falling public confidence in psyhchiatry, the requirement to act within the confines of the Mental Health Act, organisational polices of all stripes and so on.

    Events like this don’t help. In the end “patients” pay the price.

    Royal College of Psychiatrists
    17 Belgrave Square
    London SW1X 8PG

    Tel: 020 7235 2351
    Fax: 020 7245 1231

    Map and directions


    Reception (general enquiries) – [email protected]
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    Enterprise – [email protected] Telephone: 0203 328 6168

  • I don’t suppose this will get an answer. Anyway. Regarding “Turf War”. Never underestimate the ability of “Psychiatry” as a profession to hybridise to suit its purposes and shed none of its power.

    Not liking all this being portrayed as a turf war is one thing but to deny that it is, is just hubris imo.

  • To work inside or outside the system for change is a personal matter. In my opinion we need people who will do both….one is not better than the other…both are hard.

    One thing we don’t need is martyrs. We have those already with more joining them everyday…

    For those who do gritty work inside the system the trick is to be like an Oak Tree that moves in a hurricane in the face of fierce wind…

    Like the oak tree trick is to bend but not break….to survive…

  • @Faith

    I missed your comment on another thread. (isn’t it odd that the comments section is over loaded but the forum section of MIA is almost dead)…that aside…

    For myself I try and get away from speaking or writing about the brain as a special organ. Clearly it is certainly different from other organs and has some special qualities in some way but the trouble is it is also part of the endocrine system for instance…its a very messy picture as I’m sure you know…

    For me the questions are not so much about “the drugs affect the brain” because lots of things do that…it’s the power to use force that I object to….the fact that psychiatrists use their power to act mostly on the brain to me is (almost) beside the point. If a psychologist had the power to force me to sit through endless mind numbing therapy sessions I would object just as strongly….

  • “The Inmates Seem to Have Taken Over the Asylum”

    Yes, Allen Frances. That’s right. Get used to it. We can always do a you a care plan and get together a support group to help you cope with this time of change. Change is never easy….

    Please don’t struggle or someone will be along with a needle….and we don’t want that now do we…..

  • @Dr. Steingaurd

    You wrote:
    “On a positive note, perhaps the publication of the DSM-5 has prompted a much-needed discussion of the profound limitations of psychiatric diagnosis.”

    With all due respect where I am with a UK NHS perspective the discussion is actually how many psychiatrists do we actually need? Do we need any? The fact is all they really do is diagnose and prescribe anyway….set times for observation intervals in acute wards. All of these things can be done by someone else. In the US psychologists are getting prescribing rights, same in the UK. Admissions are ultimately done by social workers in the UK, thats the legal position.

    To be honest in the UK we have a system that can just about do totally without very very expensive characters called psychiatrists….I can assure you this isn’t just me….these conversations are taking place at the highest level in the NHS….just not out in the open yet….

  • @Cannot

    Our differences are informed by our differing political starting points but I agree, we agree about a lot. I change my mind about things all the time as well….

    I agree it’s all about power and the legitimacy of the power that “psychiatry” wields. I’ve no interest in out Doctoring Doctors. Psychiatrists know full well the gap between what they do and other doctors. The extent to which they deny the size of that gap varies from psychiatrist to psychiatrist.

    Psychologists and psychiatrists can fight each other to a standstill and do wage semantic battles to capture our hearts and souls…in my case they needn’t bother….of course these debates are important on one level, and we know that, which is why we take an interest.

    I’m not so confident that any of this will have much of an impact on the way people experience the mental health system in anything like the immediate future…

    The everyday reality for people is far removed from these debates….

    A press release and an article in the Gaurdian isn’t going to get anyone a decent place to live and enough money to live on…

    I’d certainly come to your party but I’d be the grumpy person in the corner putting a damper on things…. 🙂

  • @cannot

    You might have been joking with that remark…it certainly made me smile..

    More seriously rejecting the twin technologies of psychiatry and psychology for me is more about saying that their are other legitimate forms of knowledge based on what I have experienced as a human.

    Our knowledge as survivours has always been denied, ridiculed and painted as being in the same box as astrology and tea leaf reading rather than just as legitimate if not more so, than anything the professions have to say about us….

  • @Joanna

    That’s about the size of it…if you are not actually reading my mind you are doing a damn fine job of giving me that impression…lol


    You probably spotted they quoted Dr. Lucy Johnstone who blogs on here about formulation…

  • Yes, puts into stark relief NHS awards/gongs for “good practice for suicide prevention”

    I’ve seen a little bit of coverage about people committing suicide due to benefit cuts but most of the “news” is about people claiming HB for penthouse apartments in Chelsea…which is of course the norm…I mean we all have one of those don’t we….

    The government has done a great job of pitting the working poor against the non working poor thereby obscuring the real problem of wealth inequality between the richest and poorest….

    I could highlight a few chinks of light but I don’t want to ruin the mood….lol

    I know what you mean about self preservation…I am being circumspect as well….

  • @Joanna

    I agree it is harder to challenge…my approach is to use it as an opportunity to highlight what the real problems are…

    For instance, I will use the example in any forum I can, to say when someone is held down and injected in a seclusion room or bedroom they are not on a personal journey. (The personal journey trotted out so often) They are being ganged up on….so the need reinforcements….they need other people. They need other people when the government is try to remove benefits…and so on to highlight how “Recovery” obscures the collective….

    NSUN faces a challenge….at the end of the video below from it’s recent conference it refered to being for “service users” and “survivours”. That they make that distinction is a bit of a worry….Anne Beales at the end makes a good point about NSUN needing to decide if it is still part of a social movement or will it turn into something else…The website itself is plastered in “Recovery”….it looks a long way from Survivours Speak Out. (I don’t mean that in an overtly critical way…more of an observation)

    I do know that NSUN are getting some work from some commissioners to survey service users in local areas?? No comment.

  • @Duane

    It’s great when we can find the things we agree about! To often I feel we whittle out the things we disagree about (of course thats important as well) and consume all our energy disagreeing with each other. We lack power so these discussions get heated and we turn in on ourselves and each other.

    I am very guilty of this!

  • @Joanna

    Every word you say is true.

    The rise of the sickness schools, which I am sure will become a feature of the mental health service landscape, is part of a Recovery model predicated on the first step being the acceptance and internalization of a particular way of thinking about oneself. This is axiomatic to the Recovery Model as it is being sold…

    I feel the same way about peoples freedom to chose how they want to understand themselves….I am sure that you would agree that the problem is that people are only being offered one way of thinking….

    Coming into contact with services and all that entails is isolating in itself so people just never hear about alternatives….people can reach the point of being employed as recovery workers and sickness school facilitators with out knowing anything of the history of how they came to be in the roles they now occupy…

    Ultimately it is as you say a case of finding the issues that would unite….and framing them in language that the majority can coalesce around…

  • @Joanna

    “frankly I feel as fucked over by my peers as I do by psychiatry”

    The survivour voice is being squeezed out by those who are taking for granted what had to be fought for….I know you already said that but it’s worth repeating….

  • Quite right. The ECT “debate” always sort the wheat from the chaff in my experience.

    It’s not a surprise that older women are most at risk of getting this so called “treatment”. They are the group who are the least likely to make a fuss and just go along with the Dr.s orders.

    The loss of personal memories are at significant risk when ECT is used. That the loss of personal memories (the things that make us into us and define us as individual humans) can be so easily dismissed by enthusiastic psychiatrists speaks volumes…

  • Goffman’s Asylums, Szasz, Laing, now Phil Thomas and Pat Braken…

    Maybe that’s just me…

    Of course I have more to thank you for than that… I now spend time wondering “what is it like to be a bat?” and so on…

    May I ask where this train of thought leaves one….you mention concentration camps….as you know the children of parents who were conceived in Europe at a time of famine, while those camps were in operation, now live shorter lives than those children born to parents conceived shortly afterwards….not to mention an increased incidence of diabetes….the implications of neuroscience isn’t the only taboo in the c/s/x community…

    So if you will indulge me….does your train of thought lead you to conclude that at the moment of creation of each new potential human their is a joining or inflation of the collective conscious….and that some god is the final observer of last resort…in which case we might as well have invoked that deity earlier on…(?) their seems to me to be no reason to jump one way or the other….

    I’ve probably misunderstood the whole thing…..

  • @Joanna

    Thankyou, thats kind. I agree with everything you are saying. With respect to people losing support for not recovering quickly enough….there is a kick back that has been going on from G.P.s who are being asked to pick up the slack that you might well be aware of. Of course they don’t have the capacity….interesting to see how it will all plays out in the brave new world of clinical commission groups now that the PCT’s have nearly gone….

    I’m going to stop there before I go an a ramble about NHS politics…:-)

  • Since the time of Socrates seeing things, hearing things and having unusual perceptions was an accepted part of “culture” in many places. Madness was always something else.

    Re-liberating people who have these unusual (or not so unusual perceptions) from the orbit of the professions is a great thing.

    It does rather leave “The Mad”, that quality that defies further description beyond madness in the same black hole they have always been in…..

    You have to have experienced Madness to know the difference….

  • @dbunker

    (the fact that this link/forum exhibits little sympathy and in some instances open hostility toward them, is irrelevant. They succeeded.)

    I agree it’s a pretty foul and disgusting link.

    The “survivor movement” needs an equivalent of Stonewall imo.

    Stonewall is renowned for its campaigning and lobbying. Some major successes include helping achieve the equalisation of the age of consent, lifting the ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the military, securing legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt and the repeal of Section 28. More recently Stonewall has helped secure civil partnerships and ensured the recent Equality Act protected lesbians and gay men in terms of goods and services.

    Stonewall has an almost unique framework for a campaigning organisation in that individual stakeholders and donors are not ‘members’. This was part of the organisation’s original vision, in order to protect our capacity to be nimble both politically and operationally. Our Chief Executive has said: “We are not a ‘democratic’ organisation, in that we would never be satisfied to think that a position we took was based on the views of 51% of gay people, while 49% did not agree. We seek to develop all our work, and policy positions where appropriate, by building as wide a consensus as possible among lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

  • @Ron

    Yes, that paper is littered with may, might, suggests…this gets translated into this is how it really is…as I know you know…

    The pity is that these so called peer reviewed journals are only reviewed by people who have totally bought into the thinking anyway…

    Even so…N=14….thats pathetic…how they publish this stuff with a straight face is beyond me…if it was cardiology you would be looking at N=500 and then they would be couching that in very suspect terms….

  • @John and Joanna

    I agree with that definition…although I tend to associate it with contact with the more brutal and coersive aspects of tertiary services….when I look at the icarus project forum it seems to be flooded with “survivors” of family doctors who gave them a six weeks course of prozac…Ok im joking but you know what I mean…

    One of the most active and outspoken people I know….spent a full night in a psychiatric hospital after being admitted on Sunday night by a junior doctor and discharged on Monday morning…basically admitted instead of being sent home from accident and emergency in a taxi….they have all the patter though….human rights abuse…blah blah blah…

  • @Joanna

    Yes, dead men tell no tales or tell no fawning corporate recovery stories one might say…

    Even people who are ardent recovery fans have to acknowledge it’s not a panacea….it won’t fix everything…of course they will just respond that the system needs to “recover”…and so it goes…

    You might like this as well on “Recovery Stories”

    “Recovering our Stories”: A Small Act of Resistance
    This paper is from CANADA…culturally closer to the UK than the US in this respect…

  • It’s hard to see how finding a bio-marker would change anything anyway….imagine seeing a psychiatrist when you are feeling depressed only to be told the “test” has come back negative and get told “sorry, you’re not actually depressed….it all in you head”…and so what??

    The other real world effect,as you intimate, of this renewed vigor will be the way research gets reported once “results” are translated by the media for public consumption….this development can only make this currently bad situation worse…and it will redouble the researchers stake in the misreporting…..

    The whole thing reminds me of doomsday cults. When the world doesn’t end instead of taking it as evidence that they are wrong, instead they become even more fervent in their beliefs and just alter the date for Armageddon…

  • @Ron

    Really enjoy your site btw…

    I don’t know if you have ever come across anyone from the TI (targeted individual) community. Nothing like the schizophrenia construct. A whole different ball game. The really sad thing is that very often they do come into contact with the mental health system, however…… they tend to be excluded by “survivors” and associated groups such is the challenge they pose….sad to say. Not to mention sad all the way around.

    I’m sure google will throw up similar in the U.S.

    It’s not very common, a psychiatrist could easily go through a forty year career and not come into contact with someone from the TI community. (although they tend to be quite suspicious of each other so how they manage to cope is a thing of wonder!)


    Yes, its a pity that popular mechanics even stooped so low as to address those frankly absurd concerns…the internets democratization of knowledge is one thing but it hasn’t actually changed the laws of physics…. 🙂

    Regarding NIMH from the brief…the new domain research criterion will be based on the following principle(s)…

    Quote: “Mental disorders are biological disorders involving brain circuits that implicate specific domains of cognition, emotion, or behavior,”

    imo this is just doubling the bet…it could easily make things worse…

  • Who would have thought it…

    Note well:

    Donald Ewen Cameron (24 December 1901 – 8 September 1967),[1] commonly referred to as “D. Ewen Cameron” or “Ewen Cameron,” was a 20th-century Scottish-born psychiatrist involved in the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA’s) MKULTRA mind control program,[2] which CIA head Sidney Gottlieb ultimately dismissed as “useless.” [3][4] Cameron served as President of the Canadian, American and World Psychiatric Associations, the American Psychopathological Association and the Society of Biological Psychiatry during the 1950s. Notwithstanding a career of honors, and leadership in early 1950s psychiatric circles, he has been heavily criticized in some circles for his administration without patient consent of disproportionately-intense electroshock therapy and experimental drugs, including LSD, which caused some patients to become permanently comatose.

  • Thankyou.

    Small point…

    “I had been sad and depressed and taken a small overdose of Aspirin in an attention-getting gesture for help”

    I’m alway struck by how mental health professionals have managed to pathologise the ordinary process of communication, of which getting someones attention is always the first step.

    Attention getting is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s only mental health professionals who manage to frame it in such an unhelpful way…

  • @David

    And let us not forget that Egas Moniz won a Pulitzer for that whole leucotomy procedure.

    Worse than that…

    The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1949 was divided equally between Walter Rudolf Hess “for his discovery of the functional organization of the interbrain as a coordinator of the activities of the internal organs” and Antonio Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses”.

    ….and such a nice friendly charming man…arn’t they all?

  • This is really good from Peter Beresford

    Peter Beresford

    PETER BERESFORD is professor of social policy and director of the Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University. He also works with Open Services Project. He is a long term user of mental health services and actively involved in the psychiatric system survivors movement.


    Channel 4 screened Eleventh Hour’s “We’re not mad we’re angry” in 1986. This was a unique docu-drama which took two years to make with a group of current and former psychiatric patients who held full editorial control. Many of the actors in the drama sequences had been service users, others were involved in the editing and production process. Many of the survivors interviewed were activists such as; Jan Wallcraft who became Mindlink’s first co-ordinator, David Crepaz-Keay, who went onto managing Mental Health Media, then Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion at Mental Health Foundation, Peter Campbell the founder of Survivor’s Speak Out’, Mike Lawson the first survivor vice-chair of National Mind (who got elected in favour of a psychiatrist who was so angry at not being elected he demanded a recount). Mike also designed one of the first Crisis Cards. It’s a seminal piece of work which you would never see now as criticism of services is more stifled and radical activism has been dumbed down by policy and recovery approaches.

  • I agree those are the right questions.

    Legitimate power flows from legitimate knowledge. The challenge to have our knowledge recognised as legitimate so as to address power imbalances as I am sure you agree.

    How the question “what is health” is answered is important because it answers the question what is a health service for and what should it do, what is its core business. Traditionally doctors are the group who are presumed to have the most legitimate knowledge and therefore legitimate power and hence control what health services do.

    In the UK the challenge to doctor power is as old as the foundation of the service itself. Doctors unions opposed the setting up of the National Health Service, how it was achieved in the face of that opposition is a story a canny political operators who drove a wedge between hospital doctors and family doctors. To long and involved for this post but suffice to say the questions in play were exactly the ones that you posted.

    Senior civil servants in the Department of Health are more likely to have degrees in Philosophy from Oxford than say physics of computer science for good reason.

    Hot topics of conversation of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence are about social and distributive justice not about the latest drug technology as one might think.

    As far as mental health services are concerned they are at root as biologically driven in practice as anywhere else. From a public policy perspective and who gets a say it is the usual suspect of Professional Bodies, Royal Colleges, think tanks, (this is a left leaning one that has some clout, the one you link to looks like a tiddler) provider organizations, strategic purchasing bodies and so on.

    The extent to which the survivor perspective impacts all of this is hard to quantify. What I would say is that it is not totally irrelevant, and probably effects the wider discourse more than one might think.

    I could write more on the history of the links between the UK and US survivor movements pre-internet and their respective impacts not least on each other but it would be beyond the theme here. Perhaps another time. I am sure your insights would be greater than mine in anycase….

  • @Faith

    You wrote:

    “on the psychotic spectrum and who also strongly identifies with processes of construction and deconstruction, reconstruction, I feel compelled to say that capacity to reconstruct depends on what you are putting back together and how it got taken apart in the first place.”

    Wise words. Worth considering that process of construction and destruction, reconstruction is something that those labeled “sane” do ALL THE TIME and no one bats an eye lid. Do people not make themselves up as they go along? Everyone reinvents themselves from time to time…don’t most autobiographies really belong on the fiction shelf…

    We know the truth…

  • @Paris

    Thank you! I agree with you when you wrote:

    “I think it’s important to be careful here and try to avoid getting bogged down in abstract philosophical discourse while forgetting about what’s really important–connecting with our values and trying to meet our basic needs.”

    What I would say is their is a time and a place for philosophical discourse. I feel it is really important that we have intellectual bedrock behind us when we move to practicalities because it clarifies where we draw our legitimacy.

    For instance medicine draws upon the tradition of empirical science where we draw upon personal experience as a legitimate form of knowledge in the tradition of Descartes “I think therefore I am”. The subject matter is the method. We need this behind us or at least it really helps imo.

    The debate between Chalmers and Dennet about the nature of consciousness is not entirely irrelevant to us. I lean towards Chalmers philosophically…fwiw.

    It’s not unsurprising that you see health as a concept that applies at the societal level as opposed to the doctorly approach that applies a functional fitness model one person at a time. These are at root profoundly philosophical questions that have real world consequences when we start to question what “health” is.

    In the UK we have a NATIONAL Health Service and public health promotion is funded by the government. In the U.S. their is little to know equivalent as they take individual (doctorly approach) rather than a collective approach. Our philosophy and values inform us as we engage real world practicality….

    Thanks again…I feel it’s worth teasing these things out sometimes…

  • @John Hoggett


    I suppose you mean the Queer Mad Liberation Army (QMLA)….well they split and formed The Real Queer Mad Liberation Army (RQMLA) and the Queer Mad Peoples Liberation Front (QMPLF) ages ago…..

    Although I have heard that they might get back together as they have opened a back channel of communication via an emissary from the Mad Gay Workers Front. (MGWF). Have to wait and see……

    Getting Dolly onside would be real help though….I have wondered if Oprah Winifred might be susceptible to an approach….I have heard that her followers are legion and that she inspires in them a sort of slavish devotion that Ayatollah Khomeini could only dream about…

  • Thanks Chrys, that clears things up nicely.

    I’m full of praise (get it “praise”…never mind) for anyone prepared to take part in these sort of get togethers….breaking out into a group and getting your thoughts down on flip chart paper with a fuzzy felt tip pen…. that requires the sort of steely devotion to the cause thats not for the faint hearted….sitting through “open mike” on the afternoon of day two, instead of slipping away early, is for only the hardest conference warrior and the bravest of the brave…

  • Hmmm…a little clarity about this would be nice.

    My guess is that this is one of those talks/conference.

    Like this one

    Hotel Columbus via della Conciliazione 33 is just outside Vatican City. “TEDxViaDella Conciliazione has been organized by a group of lay people in Roman academia.”

    OK so the Popes probably not going to be there but it is what it is and hopefully it will serve a purpose….

    If this is what it is they can all stroll down for an ice cream afterwards from one of those vans thats always parked at the entrance to St. Peters square. 🙂

  • We see eye to eye on that. To be serious and fair to mainstream services for a moment, neither of which come easily to me….as I am sure you know their is a culture war that goes on at a subterranean level with in mainstream services. It’s not the homogeneous block it’s sometimes fun to portray it as.

    By injecting the notion of recovery and associated concepts into the conversation the nature of those conversations has changed. Unlike empowerment recovery has ceded control of those conversations, so recovery as a notion will fade and some new “word/concept” will take its place. But what won’t happen is that control over the “big conversation” if I can put it like that, will never be wrestled back out of our hands completely.

    Thats kind of how I see it when I’m in a generous mood towards the pharmaceutical, psychiatric services and day time televison industrial complex…..

  • @Darby Penney

    Outstanding point. Brilliant. “leading experts” That says it all.

    These “leading experts” will no doubt report back to us breathlessly about their triumphs when they get back.

    We need to remember our place as far as they are concerned is to be cheerleaders and acolytes, buy their books and be greatful…

    If they were real allies they wouldn’t dream of going without survivors….if they were on our side they would demand that as a condition of going…

    That probably seems harsh but it’s the truth really…I haven’t anything about this except here so I suppose their might be going to be a token role. Someone pushed forward with a misery memoir to slake the palate of people who revel in hearing about others torment at a safe distance….

  • Recovery concepts are really useful to traditional mental health services… Now instead of “Take your pills and fu_k Off” they say “Take your pills, do a WRAP plan and Fu_k Off”. Which is obviously a major step forward….

  • @David Ross

    That would be a big problem if disability was defined as a medical problem. True it would make the “mentally ill” a protected group but crucially without the social model as cover it also opens a huge gap.

    And its a big big gap. If you look at the UN definition of torture it specifically excludes interventions that are done for medical expediency from the torture definition.

    It would be like trying to define what a surgeon does to you on the operating table (lets face it thats pretty grim) as torture.

    Thats how big the gap is that opens up if the legal definition of disability is a physical medical one rather than the social model definition.

    It’s a glaring problem that the CHRUSP must have at least thought of…thats why I am asking…

  • Interesting. I don’t mean to blow the wind out of anyones sails but I do have a question about the CHRUSP.

    All of the hard, valuable and profound work of the CHRUSP is predicated like a huge inverted triangle balanced on one single notion. Namely that “mental illness” is accurately characterized as a disability. Specifically a disability according to the social model. This narrow point is not insignificant.

    Traditionally the survivour movement has shied away from the physical disability movement. However the rise of the social model of disability has created space for a rethinking of that position given the social models potential to be leveraged to the advantage of the survivor agenda.

    Given that my question is does the US Federal law also define disability using the social model? If it does then fine. But if it doesn’t and the legal definition of a disability is as a physical (read medical) problem then the whole inverted pyramid topples over.

    I would be interested in Tina Minkowitz’s thoughts on this.

    Personally I think the social model is a potentially useful device and a very minor compromise given its potential as a tool. But I do wonder if the legal definition of disability is congruent with the social model or is this point being obscured for expediency.

  • Yes, I did see that you brought up global warming. I took it that you were a skeptic as far as that is concerned.

    Again with regard to the IRA, see how I used the word “they”. I was stating their position. That doesn’t mean I agree with it. To be honest think that was obvious.

    I do find it amusing when right wingers simultaneously attempt to show patriotism by ostensibly supporting the military and police and at the same time demand they need unlimited weaponry to defend themselves against those same people. Seems a contradiction….

    I don’t think DSM5 is going to cause the IRA to start attacking psychiatry….it’s just not going to suit their agenda. Their refrain is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. The idea that you can tell who the “bad” people are is implicit in that slogan. It’s totally congruent with the position of psychiatry that psychiatrists can do the same thing. They have a lot in common.

    You see the NRA has an entirely different agenda to yours. They want to play up the idea that people should be scared and they need to defend themselves against violent “mad” people. Psychiatrists are their friends in this endeavour. But good luck getting them on your side.

  • I concur with all of that. Defining recovery as a process that lasts forever turns it into something one can never quite achieve, an impossible dream. To much like you will always be sick.

    Below is a paper published in Studies in Social Justice from the University of East London that make many of the same points and indeed goes much further…

    Uncovering Recovery: The Resistible Rise of Recovery and Resilience

  • @cannotsay

    I clearly stated that the IRA were terrorists. If you read what I wrote it was that they believed they were freedom fighters. They saw themselves as a side in a civil war and that it was a very complex situation. To be honest I don’t think you are being serious. Unless you are purposely trying to get part of the conversation pulled by the moderators by deliberately misrepresenting what I wrote.

    If you could be careful about not misrepresenting me not least because it destroys threads. Not that I actually care because it’s so blatant as to be glaringly obvious and a bit silly imo.

    The article you quoted is certainly interesting. However what it demonstrates is how far apart you and the NRA are in terms of your desired goal. Where as you see psychiatry as something to be abolished, from the article the NRA see psychiatry as a handy tool. ie the appropriate authority regarding when someone should get their guns back and presumably who should never get them back. So it looks like your idea to find common cause with them might be something of a non-starter.

    Anyway…the point is we come at the issue of “madness” from different political perspectives. Me from the progressive left, where the bulk of the survivor movement sits and you from somewhere further to the right. (from here it feels like talking to a tea-party activist but I could be wrong). It’s they way you suggested that Obama was less than popular after, correct me if i’m wrong, a landslide election victory. It’s just that seems to be a typical tea-party narrative. He won but he isn’t really popular….unlike the loser…who is actually popular and should have won…I’m sure you will correct me if I am wrong on that point. 🙂

    The real issue is how these different political perspectives can ever be reconciled into something harmonious is the real challenge.

  • @cannotsay

    I’ve already pointed out how the NRA leverages its influence and makes it one of the single most powerful lobby groups in the U.S. out of all proportion with the size of the gun manufacturing industry. That you refuse to knowledge this is imo just self deception on your part.

    You wrote:
    “The point about the IRA / islamic terrorism London 2005 / UK is to showcase that in the UK people do not have the appreciation for police forces and military members that people have in the US. That’s all.”

    To be honest that’s just plain silly. 🙂

    Good luck with the NRA….if they rebuff you don’t say I didn’t tell you….I can’t think of a group less likely to be interested in being associated with the survivor movement….

  • @cannotsay

    Ok. The NRA represents gun makers not mom and pop gun owners. Their political significance is that they intervene in the political process at a more fundamental level than other corporate lobbies. They actively fund campaigns and run campaigns against politicians in primaries. This is how they leverage their corporate interest and undermine politics and is significantly different to the way most corporations operate in the lobby system. This strategy has worked in the past but as public opinion shifts and political voting patterns in the Senate and Congress fail to reflect that public opinion it will eventually result in a backlash. (as demonstrated in individual Senators approval ratings after they voted against back ground checks, a measure that had huge public support but not the support of the NRA) Corporations can buy politicians but they can’t buy the voters. The truth will out.

    I don’t know what your point about the IRA was all about. I’ll just say that the IRA were terrorists. They would say the IRA was the military wing of one side in a civil war. The political wing had elected politicians entitled to sit in parliament. Anyway the point is it was a whole different ball game. Ironically after 9/11 they lost a lot of the funding that was coming from the U.S. as funding that particular brand of so called “freedom fighter” fell out of fashion in the US so to speak….anyway….moving on…

    Your point about celebrating in the street is just a cultural difference. In the UK we tend to be more circumspect about public displays of emotion. It’s nothing to do with how we feel about things as a general rule.

    I think you are right about engagement generally though. It should be as broad as possible. As for common cause I would probably single out the LGBT community rather than the NRA. The lesbian gay bi-sexual and transgender community has made huge strides in advancing their own cause. Not least disentangling themselves from the orbit of psychiatrists but also in a civil rights context. Just look at the advances that have been made, no longer do people cower in fear in the police or the military or any other sphere of public life. Gay marriage now accepted as a common place and an ordinary right. (with a few notable exceptions, hopefully not for long) They, as significant members of the survivor movement should be our role models and mentors. That’s how I see it.

  • @cannotsay

    You wrote:

    “And I remind you that this is Mad In America, not Mad In the UK or Mad In Australia.”

    You should take a look at the Mission Statement of the site.

    MIA Mission Statement First sentence

    “The site is designed to serve as a resource and a community for those interested in rethinking psychiatric care in the United States and abroad.”

    To lighten the mood this clip is really funny!!

    And all American….

  • @dbunker

    You wrote:

    “What we needed to do was enforce the existing gun laws.
    If over 22,000 of those noxious pieces of institutionalized stupid haven’t prevented gun violence in America, and they Haven’t, WHY would we want to continue to Enforce those counterproductive Infringements?”

    If we made the extent to which criminals obeyed the law the measure of the rightness of having the law….that would be a sorry state of affairs. Which is of course why laws aren’t repealed just because criminals keep breaking them….

    If you always followed that logic then you would want to repeal the laws against fraud and embezzlement because they don’t always stop fraud.

  • Yet again this thread shows how politics trump our feelings about mental health issues every time.

    Regarding finding allies we probably need to look for them in organisations that have broad brush support rather than pressure groups that are in themselves already divisive.

    The NRA wants everyone to have guns the more the better but the “mad” are probably the one group they are prepared to throw under a bus. From their point of view the last group of people they will want to be allied with are psychiatric survivors.

    I think MSM means mainstream media….if you are on the left you think MSM is biased to the right….if you are on the right you think it’s biased to the left….

    Unless it’s Fox news of course and that as everyone knows…..isn’t really news.

  • WARNING: This post could be triggering for people with no sense of humour. If this is you, look away now.


    I think you could be onto something. There is a precedent. The worlds most famous voice hearer was of course Jesus and he managed to change the course of history with his do unto others message. He met all the main criteria for schizophrenia, god knows what would have happened if they had largactil in Galilee 2000 yrs ago. Things could be looking a lot different….

    Flip side he did kick off a massive expansion in trade with his do unto others ditty. Providing as it did an easy means of doing trade based on trust rather contract law which is based on the idea that someone is trying to rip you off. Point being he rather gave capitalism a kick start as well…..maybe he didn’t see that far into the future to see Exxon mobile growing up. Either that or he underestimated what a bunch of shits human being can be when they put their minds to it….

    Btw do you think Lazarus had mental health problems after he was brought back to life….it would be a bit of shock i’d guess…..

  • @Jonah

    Just to clarify

    You wrote:

    “You offered a hypothetical situation, in which a *prisoner* was ceaselessly punching himself in the face, and (you described) no amount of gentle consoling would stop him from doing that.

    I offered a possibility, that: a straight-jacket and padded room might be helpful, in that situation.”

    The trouble is that it does intersect with mental health. In the UK the special hospitals, Broadmoore, Rampton and Ashworth are staffed by NHS nurses but they are members of the Prison Officers Association.

    Things are not always clear cut as is sometimes made out, that is what I was getting at generally.

  • @Jonah

    I’ll will try and distinguish between physical and chemical restraint in future when there is room for misunderstanding.

    I understand you that you can envisage circumstances where physical restraint is justified.

    I am less clear about the absolutism with regard to “brain drugs”. Is this a position as clear as say Jehovah’s Witnesses who won’t accept blood in any circumstances?

    If say a person was unconscious after a car crash they would perhaps be administered a muscle relaxant and a general anaesthetic prior to surgery. The general anaesthetic being very much a brain drug working at the level of the synapse.

    I get the feeling that some people would regard the general anaesthetic as the “thin edge of the wedge”.

    I’m going to take it that in those circumstance you would be happy with the non-consensual, due to lack of capacity, administration of a “brain drug”.

    I don’t feel you have willfully misrepresented me, certainly not to the extent I feel compelled to offer clarification but thanks.

  • @Jonah

    The original question was “What would Torrey make of a UK paper” so my response was to posit the alternate question “What would UK psychiatrists make of Torrey?”

    My point is very very few people in the UK have even heard of him. In a UK context he is an irrelevance.

    The distinction between Torrey and Murray, as I made clear in the post you partly quoted, was that Murray owes his influence to being a political operator. Torrey owes his influence to having a single large donor. But I agree with you he uses the cash that his influence buys to good effect. I’m not sure what point you are trying to tease out here to be honest.

    The real difference between Torrey and Murray is that putting them on a spectrum Murray is more of a disease monger and Torrey more a fear monger. Not much to choose between the two….why this difference between them should translate into a difference between ourselves is a bit of a pity and I certainly can’t see what is to be gained by it….

    We agree about plently I am sure but message boards have a way of teasing out differences so that’s what we focus on…..the nature of the communication being so poor that we (we being nearly everyone who uses message boards) end up haggling and arguing over points that we could sort out in five minutes in person. It’s silly really but that’s the way it is.

    We do disagree as far as I can tell about something quite substantive though. I am far more concerned about the use of restraint and seclusion. You have posted that you are far more relaxed about these practices. (as I understand you) Fine. It’s a much bigger issue than the one above that’s so small I can hardly discern it.

    You have mentioned my response to your own story a couple of times now. I haven’t addressed that before but I will now because clearly you didn’t appreciate my answer. I will try and be as clear as I can. In no way did I intend to belittle your own experience. My answer was, I thought, doing the exact opposite. I intended to impute that you were not alone in your experiences not that your experience was insignificant. That you took the latter interpretation is I hope just down to a cultural difference and what passes for the right response. I hope that clears that up.

    As far as the efficacy of CTO’s thanks for all the links but it’s not me you have to convince….I was on that side of the argument while they were being considered.

    I have made this point before but most of the differences between people in the survivor/user movement boil down to a difference of political perspective. We reject each other’s politics and yet we are expected to get along and achieve something. I’m certainly happy to leave you to be the judge of what the survivor movement has achieved….it’s not belief that it has achieved nothing or that it never will but that the majority of what it has achieved is solace. That’s not patronizing….it’s not a small thing to achieve. I think its important.

  • @Jonah

    It wasn’t resignation it was just a statement of fact the CTO’s are part of the furniture in the UK.

    There are a sizable minority of psychiatrists in the UK who refuse to use CTO’s. (15% i’m guessing??)

    The were never intended to be so widespread. What appears to have happened is they are being used instead of section 117 leave, which still exists.

    Part of the rationale is that they offer greater legal protection for the patient than 117.

    Anyway they were intended to be used for people who had serious forensic histories not generally as has happened.

    The most likely change in the short term is a relaxation of the requirement for a second opinion doctor as their use has become so common that requirement was becoming a burden on the mental health system. The mental health alliance has lobbied the Department of Health about the inequity of this.

    CTO’s may be abolished but they will be replaced with something. Untill then psychiatrists who use them will continue to and those that don’t will feel justified.

    None of this has anything to do with my opinions about them, it’s just a statement about the facts on the ground.

    On a final note they are fiendish to administer and the “correct” use of them is very poorly understood as the link to the CQC that I included and you reposted demonstrates.

    It is not generally well understood that a patient should not be placed on a CTO unless they are in agreement to take medication anyway. Like all mental health law the logic is byzantine but that’s not the particular point even if it’s the whole point if you want mental health law abolition or reform.

    Mental health law website is a reliable source of information.

    As for the question about Torrey (you didn’t ask this) I can say by way of return that for all intents and purposes he is an utter irrelevance in the UK….less than .0001% of UK psychiatrists would know or care who he is….

  • The NICE guidance for Schizophrenia makes a similar point about not taking medication. “If psychotic episodes are brief and psycho-social functioning is not affected then not prescribing medication should be considered” (roughly from memory)

    I was quite surprised when I read this guidance….

    Far to much emphasis is placed on “relapse and symptoms” at the expenses of the rest of peoples lives. Even florid psychotic episodes don’t have to be turned into the crisis they are by mental health services.

    Thats how I see it…

    As a side note compliance is the accurate word because it accurately reflects how most people practice. It would be nice if concordance was the word that appeared in the literature…

  • Very similar to the censorship of ideas.

    Turning the phenomenology of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty into an easily digestible narrative that the BBC can reach for is part of the challenge without appearing Luddite.

    Suggesting that some human challenges are not best met with technology should be an easier sell than it is. The BBC has a duty to provide balance and often they go as far to provide the balance themselves if they can’t find it anywhere. This is a good chance to make this point to them.

    Julia Hammond on BBC Radio 4 often does a good job of being critical and balanced, covering all points of view. I’m sure I have heard points of view congruent with the critical psychiatry networks stance given equal billing from time to time.

  • @Jonah

    Straight jackets and padded cells…. truly I am shocked that in this day and age you suggest this….

    When I think of the work that has gone into rooting these things out of mental health services and to find that they are seriously being considered on this site of all places…

    I don’t know what to say….

  • -Anonymous

    For clarification of the capacity concept.

    Take a child with a learning disability who has the capacity to decide where to live, who to live with, how to spend the day and so on…

    The child has a brother who is dying for want of a kidney.

    The child cannot give informed genuine consent to giving up a kidney to the brother because they lack capacity to make that decision but they do have the capacity to make the choices above . (so the argument goes, which I agree with even if you don’t)

    In this case it is for a high court judge to decide what is in the childs best interest. In this real life case the judge deciding that having a living brother was in their best interest and the child gave their brother a kidney. (or the evil state stole the kidney and gave it to someone else depending on your point of view)

    The judge could have gone the other way but that illustrates the point a person can have the capacity to decide on thing but perhaps not another at the same time. And of course capacity can fluctuate over time….

    As a general rule capacity is assumed to exist and the burden is to satisfy that it does not….

    Regarding locked in syndrome I was pointing out that on the one hand you defended a course of action because the alternative was to rely on a subjective judgement and then switched because you alluded that being unconscious was an objective judgement when of course it is not….it is entirely subjective as well.

    On the topic of subjectivity (I don’t suggest that medical explanations for mental distress are defacto the only explanations that are valid if at all) even when a doctor says you have cancer that is only a subjective value judgement. And one that is often wrong at that. We wouldn’t expect a course of inaction just because that particular diagnosis is a subjective judgement. I’m drawing that parallel to illustrate that subjectivity alone isn’t a valid reason to dismiss a course of action.

    Defending my option of non consenting administration of medication in the original example says nothing about my opinion of the dopamine deregulation theory. In fact I find it entirely unconvincing but that is another matter. I believe that the over riding consideration should be how best to prevent the young woman beating themselves black and blue. Just because capacity is a subjective judgement does not rule it out as a useful principle in the case where a person is non communicative….

    My belief is that a prolonged restraint is potentially more harmful in the long run than medication.

    I didn’t take your suggestion of gentle holding as your option as I had earlier posited that very gentle holding was not making any difference. But if you are saying that you prefer restraint then I accept that is your preferred option. We have both made a case….I don’t believe there is any moral high ground to be had.

    The parallels with date rapists imo don’t really add anything to clarify the issues at hand. The motivation of the date rapist is their own gratification. I’m taking it as a given that even actions we disagree with are not motivated by that sort of evil intent.

    There are for sure people who work in mental health services who probably shouldn’t , whose motivations might be more suspect than others. Certainly some of them we might both call “sick”. Weeding these people out of the system and how to go about it is another matter.

  • @Anonymous

    You wrote:

    “No is ever completely “lacking capacity” — unless or until s/he is rendered fully unconscious.”

    Now who is making a subjective judgement? See locked in syndrome.

    Fully lacking capacity is not the test as has already been established capacity fluctuates and a person can have capacity to make a decision about one thing but not another at the same time.

  • @-Anonymous

    Fine. You don’t have an answer for the person hitting themselves then. Walk away.

    If you can’t address the distinction between medicating/drugging with out consent and medicating and drugging by force a person with capacity then I can see why you don’t want to continue. The latter I agree with you about. The former you don’t want to talk about…..

    You have argued yourself into a corner with the best of intentions but a corner none the less that you can’t find a way out of. imo

    Jonah has decided to recommend restraint. I’m reluctantly recommending medication. You on the other hand are taking the easy option and walking away. That I would suggest is arguably the most immoral of all actions.

    I do wonder how you would explain this inaction to the young womans family who came to you asking for help? Something about subjectivity?? They would just take her somewhere else….

    Although I can’t see many people being so cruel imo as to allow that to happen….

    Just how I see it…

  • @Jonah

    You wrote:

    There is this notion, that people are or are not ‘capacitous’; that’s an utterly *bogus* dichotomy, in my humble opinion…

    That their is a dichotomy is not the contention. That would be untrue, I agree. Capacity fluctuates and one can have capacity to decide what to have for breakfast but not the capacity to make a long term financial decision at the same time. It is certainly not a simple dichotomy.

    In the most complex cases capacity decisions are made by high court judges not doctors in any case.

    I agree if everyone made advance directives the world would be a much simpler place.

    Many of the people on this thread will eventually lack capacity due to dementia….I wonder how many have advance directives for that….

  • @-Anonymous

    That is incorrect. The fact that the person is hitting themselves is objective. That they don’t respond is objective. They have been brought to the facility by people who know them well.

    Capacity isn’t just a medico legal term, it is also an easily understandable concept. Sometime people have capacity and sometimes they don’t. The extent of capacity may well be a theoretically subjective judgement. However the situation is concrete and what is happening is real. You have a real choice to make.

    When you chose to do nothing you are still basing that on a subjective judgement as well.

    Real life demands we make subjective judgements all the time because we can’t tell the future.

    So you are still just not taking any responsibility and nothing about the subjectivity of a capacity assessment makes doing nothing any more ethical.

  • @-

    You wrote:

    Nobody can say to an opponent of forced drugging “If you are against forced drugging don’t get forcibly drugged”.

    True, but that is not the situation. It’s a choice between administering medication without consent and using force without consent.

    Ignoring the distinction between what you wrote and the actual choice I have posited above doesn’t make the distinction go away.

    Flooding the conversation with invective doesn’t obscure the challenge of deciding what the best course of action is when someone lacks capacity.

    No one makes a choice to lack capacity which is why the challenge to respond in the most humane way possible exists in the first place.

  • @-Anonymous

    Ok. First this isn’t a terribly unusual scenario. That you posit that it is suggests a paucity of experience of situations similar to this.

    Secondly it’s nothing like a ticking time bomb because you have the person in front of you hitting themselves.

    You can inject all the invective you like but I would suggest that perhaps what you really don’t like is that the situation doesn’t fit into the simple narrative that drugs are always evil.

    I agree that traditional mental health services use restraint, chemical and physical, to often and to soon. However both carry risks, physical and psychological and situations do occur when it is a choice between one or the other.

    Below is a link to the UK Independent Panel on deaths in Custody

    Given the number of deaths that occur during and following restraint trying to pretend that restraint is risk free isn’t imo taking the problem seriously. That’s even before getting into the even trickier area of solutions that take into account gender and cultural appropriateness, both of which you studiously ignore.

    Because you hold the position that the administration of medication should be a “never” event doesn’t entitle you to claim the moral high ground. Quite the reverse.

    Taking options off the table is ceding the moral high ground if anything imo. And taking options off the table for other people certainly does.

    So far you have chosen the do nothing option and the person is still hitting themselves. Doing nothing isn’t ethical it is just abrogating responsibility.

  • @Stephen

    What would you do then?

    A young woman brought by her family to a mental health facility unable to give consent as they temporarily lack capacity who is beating themselves with some force alternately in the face and other body parts. Otherwise they are doing nothing else.

    No amount of getting close or gentle touching to get them to acknowledge you is making any difference. They are sitting apparently oblivious to their surrounding and occasionally hitting themselves with considerable force.

    It’s physical restraint or chemicals. Unless you can come up with a magic third way its one or the other.

    What course of action do you recommend?

  • @Jonah

    You wrote: “I wonder: is it possible for you to simply respect my right (and, anyone else’s right) to say, once and for all, a forever “No!” to acuphase and to other psychopharmaceuticals???”

    Of course. Yes.

    However in making your choice for someone else, you have imo massively underestimated the seriousness of restraining anyone. Physical restraint is as serious a violation of the self, every bit as potentially lethal as the administration of medication. It’s nothing to be done lightly. People die all the time following a period of being restrained. You seem to want to ignore this.

    The other point that you might not taken into consideration is that being restrained by Patch may be culturally inappropriate for the person under consideration. As they are not in a position to give consent to either option this has to be given serious thought as well. This is even before we get on to the appropriateness of a female being restrained for ten hours by a much older man.

    Another element that hasn’t been mentioned is that which ever course of action might be taken it needs to be made by a team. I get the feeling that the Patch “hospital” is probably run along the lines of a dictatorship. I don’t imagine staff who challenge Patch last long.

    I think that for a floridly psychotic young woman it should be taken into account that being restrained by Patch dressed as CoCo The Clown for ten hours could be quite distressing….actually I’m fairly convinced that it could take quite a bit of getting over. Especially if the young woman put up any sort of resistance that Patch had to subdue with his “cuddle”.

    Of course Patch is a family doctor so I don’t suppose he has had occasion to try out his cuddle technique on mental distressed people who just happen to live temporarily in prison. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest he might come unstuck….

  • I’m sure that is the goal we all have in mind.

    It takes people with blue hair and a penchant for baggy trousers to lead the way sometimes…

    I don’t doubt the sincerity….I just question the idea that restraint is somehow always a superior more ethical solution to some situations than medication.

  • @Jonah

    I’m sure we have all seen countless shocking circumstances and observed painful situations, seen contemporaries die one by one and all manner of horrors.

    It’s good to remember these things and remind each other of them from time to time.

    Fair enough you would restrain the person with your own body for as long as it took in the hope that it would achieve the outcome you desire….

    It would still be non consenting act…how ever “loving” and not one that you could be certain they would approve of.

    In the real world can you say that you would be prepared to do this for every person you have ever met or seen in the street….somehow you would have to wrestle them to the floor for the “cuddle” session first for one thing…

    I can’t see this working for the general population with “cuddlers” on standby at accident and emergency departments…

    I feel a ten hour cuddle/restraint from Patch could also reasonably be described as torture as well…

    A cuddle/restraint is just as potentially deadly if not more so in the short term….

    I do respect where you are coming from but I think you are just avoiding the use of force issue…

    Given the choice between Patch sitting on me (in that specific circumstance) and acuphase I would chose acuphase or similar…until someone can come up with something better.

  • @Jonah

    OK..well you say you wouldn’t medicate that person (just brought to a facility by a family member for the sake of argument).

    I totally get that it’s against your principles. Forced medication is against mine as well. I’m not trying to play of game of holier than thou…

    The situation i’m describing is one that by any stretch of the imagination or definition the person is not able to give consent…

    Now if that person is beating themselves black and blue I don’t think we can call the people incompetent unless we can posit an alternative course of action.

    I totally understand that a lack of human warmth may be a distinguishing feature of that persons life and certainly it is incumbent on “caring professionals” with lived experience or not to fill that gap as best they can.

    Ive watched the video. If you are saying that you would cuddle the person for ten hours (as Patch said he had done in the past) then that’s fine answer.

    We have something like that in the UK it’s called gentle holding. Generally it only works were the gently holder (cuddling person) is bigger and stronger. There comes a point when that’s just using force. It’s really just restraint. Pretending it’s not using force isn’t really being serious…it’s just playing with words…

    I’m taking it that in this case you recommend restraint (holding/gentle or otherwise) rather than medication.

    All i’m saying is that practically its one or the other in some cases.

    Unless i’ve misunderstood you.

  • @cannotsay

    Life expectancy from CIA fact book.
    United States
    2012 est.

    United Kingdom
    2012 est.

    Your point about cancer survival is true. How ever it comes at a price. In the US because doctors are more prone to practice defensively they do more investigations. More investigations mean that cancer gets found earlier. Earlier detection leads to survival. The price paid is all the false positives. This means that many people undergo painful and expensive treatment that they never needed. This is not insignificant. Think women who have mastectomies they never really needed.

    All I am saying is you can make a case for any system one likes but their is no one right answer.

    You might not like the idea of a socialist NHS but you do talk about freedom and liberty a lot. I look at it this way…the NHS provides universal cradle to grave freedom from fear. Fear of being ill and not being able to afford treatment. Freedom from the fear that my employer might exert because my health care plan and my families plan, the health of my children is tied to my employment status rather than status as a citizen. Freedom from the fear that the economy might nose dive and through no fault of my own I can’t afford treatment for my family when I lose my job or my employer decides they don’t like me.

    That’s real freedom imo.

    It’s called a society where we look after each other. Where we don’t feel that if we don’t take out of the pot as much as we put in that somehow we have lost. Rather that we have just been lucky and not got ill and if we pay for someone else who was not so lucky we don’t mind because we are all in the same boat.

    The NHS doesn’t shackle us, quite the reverse is true. The NHS set’s us free to change jobs, start businesses, take employment breaks to look after a sick relative because we know that our health care is taken care of. All these are individual freedoms we enjoy because a collective ideal.

    Just my opinion.

  • The potato based snack food industrial complex is a contagion that has seduced many an unsuspecting mind with slick advertising campaigns…think super stick thin super glamour models necking family size bags of cheesy wotsits like they were grown whole in gods own vegetable plot… Forget big pharm , big potato…that who we have to worry about now….you have been warned…

  • @Sera

    Thankyou for posting the below.

    When we create alternatives, sometimes we cross paths with violence. Why? Not because people with psychiatric diagnoses are naturally dangerous, but because people have often been institutionalized, traumatized, and treated chemically in ways that have serious impacts on who they are and how they act. (I can’t claim that these are the only reasons, but they are certainly prominent and obvious ones.)

    At this point, I am seeing and hearing enough about this issue that I think it does need to be acknowledged and discussed. I feel like it’s a little too convenient for us to say ‘no force’ (which, again, I agree with), ask people to leave our communities when they cross a line (which, again, I agree with) and never bother to talk about what we actually think should happen in the gap there

    My thoughts are that to often as a community profoundly unhappy with the way mental health services respond to extreme states we sometimes try to wish away some of the complexity around the issues we are talking about.

    It’s one thing to have absolute clarity in hypothetical situations and have clear red lines from the safety of our arm chairs on the internet. It’s quite another to be faced with real life complexity and difficult decisions.

    As people with lived experience begin to create alternatives or work in services and encourage them to work differently we are going to have help come up with some of the answers to the difficult questions and moral dilemmas that people in crisis present society with.

    For example some people when they are in crisis/spiritual emergency/experiencing a psychotic episode/lack capacity have the habit of hitting themselves full in the face and body with their fists with great force, all the while oblivious to their surroundings. Everyone is going to draw their boundaries in a different place but their comes a point when no amount of lived experience is going to inform whether or not restraint or chemical or physical is the right response when all (I do mean all) else has failed. Eventually we are all in the same boat faced with the same ethical choices irrespective of life experience or training.

    My specific example might not please everyone but situations similar to this do occur and one way or another short of leaving the person to ravage themselves someone has to decide on a course of action.

    I’m not suggesting I have all the answers but I do think it’s important to have these conversations along side the conversations about injustice.

    Just my thoughts.

  • @dbunker

    I have investigated this quotation

    “At the moment, it is probable that the indirect effect of civilisation is dysgenic instead of eugenic; and in any case it seems likely that the dead weight of genetic stupidity, physical weakness, mental instability, and disease-proneness, which already exist in the human species, will prove too great a burden for real progress to be achieved. Thus even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable”

    It’s from this document written in 1946

    It’s on page 21.

    The author also talks about the “need to maintain diversity in the gene pool”. The whole section sounds very tinny on the ear in 2013. It’s a good find but while I hope you don’t take this a as a personal attack in anyway I do feel that in the context of the whole document, the time it was written, the intention behind the whole document, the phrase written in 1946 is essentially a historical oddity and irrelevant.

    I think people should look at the original and make up their own minds if this obscure quotation (clearly out of date) is seriously something to worry about.

    If I thought that it represented a train of thought that was current I would be worried to. I don’t believe it is on reading and I don’t believe anyone seriously still thinks this way so for myself I’m not going to worry about it.

  • If people want to get naked, smoke dope and mull over how the world might be a better place that sounds good to me, even if I don’t want to join in.

    Agenda 21 is non binding. Sometimes laws are passed using the democratic process that are congruent with it but thats not a conspiracy. It just means that someone has lost the political argument.

  • @cannotsay
    If only any of that was true. American (APA) conceptualizations of mental distress have been spread around the world and that has done a huge amount of damage. Thats the big picture. The American survivor movement has sadly achieved very little other than provide solace to each other, that no bad thing but it’s not an achievement in terms of changing anything.

    The survivor movement is a small fraction of the much bigger consumer movement and they simply support the establishment.

    It’s not hard to see why so little gets achieved. Punks, hippies, anarchists, liberals, libertarians, social democrats, socialists, every stripe of right and left across the political spectrum rejecting each others politics from the starting line. This thread amply demonstrates that. Getting all that diversity to unite in a common cause? It’s not happening is it….

    As the above blog entry and comments about guns demonstrates it’s the politics that people care about far more than the impinging issues of mental health.

    When you call state employees, policemen, firemen and health care workers a necessary evil it really just demonstrates how far apart we are before we get onto talking about mental health issues. In the UK over 1 million people work for the national health service. Refer to those people as evil and the general public is just going to roll its collective eye balls at you…

    Like it or not that is a socialist institution that has a totemic status even with what passes for the soft right. Their is a national consensus that that socialist institution is a good thing.

    Psychiatry has always had an internal debate with it self. But the survivor movement isn’t a part of that. They consider you and me both an irrelevance. An interesting spectacle. Even the ones who post here for the most part just post and go once they have passed on their golden nuggets of wisdom. Even this very site is only hosting us like symbiotic parasites. It owes its existence to a journalist, not a survivor.

    The UK based critical psychiatry movement has advanced the cause of survivors more than survivors have because they get listened to and taken seriously. Survivors don’t get listened to.

    Most of the journal articles, many on this site, that question the dominant paradigm appear in journals published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. You can’t get more British than that.

    I wish you were right and the survivor movement did have more influence but it doesn’t and while we reject each others political view points I fear it won’t. We just ride the wind of progressive change….well I do…you have your faith in an ideology that as I see it is increasingly on the wane and being marginalized from a global perspective…but there you go…

    Forget about pretending to hold the existential moral high ground. No such place exists.

  • I probably won’t win many friends for saying this but a sober conversation is required about guns and extreme states of mind or madness or however you want to characterize it, just not mixing. It’s no good ignoring it and pretending that not true.

    Sticking one head in the sand about this plain fact and shouting about equality to the exclusion isn’t going to win the cause social justice for “mad people” any new friends.

    They are just going to write you off as irresponsible….and for my money going by some what has been written here they would be right.

    The conversation needs to be much more grown up. Madness and flying jumbo jets don’t mix. Epilepsy and driving don’t mix.

    If we want society to take the cause of mad people seriously we have to stop conducting the conversation like spoilt brats with no regard for anyone but ourselves…

  • “The rate of involuntary commitment in the European Union is like ~ 7-10 times higher than current mental hospitalization rates in the US.”

    Not comparing like with like here. In the US voluntary admissions may be more common but they are involuntary in all but name. In the UK the pernicious nature of this has been recognized and its a much less common practice. In the UK if you are in hospital you are more likely to be legally detained, which is as it should be.

  • The idea that parliamentarians can’t vote as they see fit is absurd.

    In the US congressmen and senators are equally tied though but just not to a party. They are beholden to corporate interests which they never rebel against rather than party interests.

    Money has totally corrupted the US political system.

    Your point about the rates of commitment is interesting but you are leaving out that in the US a huge number of people are just in prison instead. The other thing you have left out are the conditions that people are held in. In the UK seclusion and restrain are much less common than in the US where that problem is much much worse (generally).

    The other thing you leave out are lengths of admission which is critical. The judicial oversight in the US leads to much longer detentions because psychiatrists are often unable to discharge people without the say so of a judge.

    Six of one half a dozen of the other here.

    A more balanced presentation required here.

  • Tricky….I like to take my time and get to know people slowly…

    I guess I’m just repressed… I have trouble taking people who wear shorts seriously so being totally in the buff could present some hurdles requiring mental gymnastics and compartmentalization skills…

    Sounds like you went prepared for fun….

  • I love this from the Esalen site….

    Must I Get Naked? Is Esalen a Nudist Colony?

    The hot springs at Esalen have been in use for over 6,000 years and are clothing-optional. Nudity is common in the baths and the swimming pool but by no means mandatory.

    We encourage each individual to find their own edge between comfort and growth, either wearing a swimsuit or not, knowing that the environment we strive for at Esalen is one of personal sanctuary and respect for the human body.

    For those who do choose to use the springs, in a bathing suit or without, daily or once in a lifetime — the hot springs experience embodies much of what continues to make Esalen a singular place of adventure, contemplation, and community.

    Rough translation – It’s a nudist colony.

  • Ok. So now you are suggesting Afghanistan as a model for a system of government…that’s fine but it is strange.

    True, I am positing that this sort of breakdown in civil society in the US is so unlikely that it should be discounted. I understand you think it’s realistic situation that you should plan for. My point is that is absurd.

    The title of this post is “Please Defend the Right to Bear Arms”. Its a pro gun rant masquerading as being about equality and mental health.

    Thanks for demonstrating that so convincingly.

  • OK. US law is based on UK law… all US law is derivative of Magna Carta and UK law. The UK is a country not a continent by the way.

    Your system of government is based on British parliamentary democracy so spare me the lecture.

    I asked you a civil question that’s all.

    You are quite free to shoot yourselves to bits and lock up a greater and greater percentage of your population than any other country and so on and so on and become more and more violent and dangerous as a society in the process…rights I see you are taking full advantage of…

    The idea that the people of Europe don’t live in free countries and don’t understand freedom is utterly laughable…

    Toddle pip….

  • Hand guns are illegal in the UK following a school shooting. The police don’t routinely have guns either. Hence we don’t suffer mass shootings and everyone feels safe.

    In the United Kingdom, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is 2010: 0.25 (not even into whole numbers)

    In the U.S. In the United States, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

    2011: 32,1635
    2010: 31,6726

    Seriously who is brainwashed now??

  • Who said anything about nuclear weapons?? Are you suggesting you want your own personal nuke?

    Anyway…Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have never been democratic so that’s a strange point.

    I do think the fact that the pro gun lobby engages with a debate with itself about the chance of the government nuking it goes to show how detached from every day reality they are.

    The everyday reality is that people are shooting each other with a stunning regularity and that is what people should be thinking about. What is actually happening, not fantasy scenarios that involve the government using nukes against the general public. imo so unlikely as to be not worth talking about.

    The fact that the US is a corporate totalitarian state seems lost on the pro gun lobby. The overwhelming majority of Americans support greater gun regulation but they wont get it because politicians are beholden to the people who give them money to get elected. Corporations. The candidate with the most cash always wins. US politicians represent corporate interests not people these days.

    You want a gun for a battle that is already over and you have lost.

  • -Team formulation isn’t always easy to implement. Tact and persistence are necessary to get everyone on board; the dynamics of the meetings can be tricky; it is hard to preserve the time on busy wards where other crises take priority; the facilitator will be required to do quite a bit of chasing up and generally ensuring that the formulation does not simply get lost in the day-to-day pressures and crises of mental health work.

    This is so true. Getting a culture change in an entrenched system can feel truly sisyphean. The result is that people, staff, self select out of the system and go and do something else.

    I’m sure you know that surviving as a progressive member of staff can be a hard enough job without even trying to change things very much.

    That said I do believe that formulation concepts are a core plank of the progressive agenda inside mainstream services and change will come in the end.

    Thanks for this…

  • @cannotsay In all seriousness…how are you going to defend yourself with any gun, theoretically, against a government that has tanks, drones, satellites and tanks?

    The people who wrote the bill or rights didn’t foresee the modern world.

    The US government and both main parties have totally sold out to corporate interests anyway. That’s the real world. Not some fantasy about the future. You having guns or not isn’t going to change that. The NRA is beholden to the corporate interests of gun maker not gun owners. You already live in a totalitarian state where a small corporate vested interest group rules over the majority.

  • If you want to honour the constitution why not bring it up to date? To be honest that’s what the people who wrote it would want you to do.

    At best the people who wrote the bill of rights expected you to have the right to a flint lock musket. Time moves on the government has tanks and drones now so the idea of defending yourself against a government “gone bad” in the woods with guns of any sort is absurd.

    The key is in the word amendment in 2nd amendment. Time moves on. If equality is really the issue then an equal position would be for no one to have a gun.

    The original Constitution sanctioned the keeping of slaves and that has changed. Why not this? If the law never changed we would all still be using Magna Carta as originally written or even the Hammurabi Code.

  • Wonderful article! Nicely unpicking the issues. Stigma being the result of prejudice. Prejudice being the result of ignorance and faulty beliefs. In this case the faulty belief being that unusual mental phenomenon are best explained medically. Prejudice then leading to discrimination.

    A dreadful circle twisted into a knot with medical thinking holding it all together.

    The Glenn Close bring change to mind campaign isn’t well known about where I am in the UK but the similarly named and well funded timetochange campaign suffers from some of the same features. Luckily not all of the timetochange material is of the same ilk and people working inside timetochange have produced some creative as well as provocative material selling more nuanced messages….

    One option is to work within these organizations and ironically change them from the inside to make them fit for purpose… I know good people who have made that choice….

    “reasonably good taste in music” I think that’s what you call damned with faint praise…

    Thanks for bringing this issue up….

  • Louise,

    That is a brilliant and telling point about the name change. All they had to do was recommend a name change. It’s not as if the schizophrenia commission had the power to actually enact a change.

    So the fact that they could even bring themselves to recommend a change speaks volumes. They “recommended” lot’s of things, why not that???

    We know the answer, Rethink sponsored the report and the real name of Rethink as registered with the Charity Commission is The National Schizophrenia Fellowship. All becomes clear when we know that.

    Rethink was set up as and remains a carers charity. Again its paternalistic to its core.

    I’ll look up your book…sounds great!

  • Jonah,

    I appreciate your perspective. I can’t add much to what Marian has already said. I did mean whatever next. Fuller is a different kettle of fish. He owes his fame to a single large donor. Without that we would never have been likely to hear about him, he would just languish in obscurity. Murray on the other hand is a political operator. He is astute enough to temper his message depending on his audience. That’s how he has achieved his influential status. His knighthood is testament to the fact that he has jumped through every hoop the system has set for him with the grace of a greyhound chasing every last scooby snack the system has to offer.

    This act of changing his message to suit worked well in the good old days before the internet. See here how different he sounds when he thinks he is among friends. It reminds me of the infamous Mitt Romney fundraiser.

    At least now with the internet their is no hiding place for duplicitous careerists.

    To expect him to challenge the system in any meaningful way is really totally unrealistic. imo. Like any good bureaucrat who has scrambled their way to the top of the dung heap he will look back at the wreckage and shamefully try and paint himself in a good light while failing to accept his own complicity.

    The critical voice from within Psychiatry in the UK is provided by the network. At least one of the members occasionally writes here.

    Regarding CTO’s. I’ll just make the point that they have become part of the furniture in the UK. It used to be that when people who were detained in hospital went on leave they did so under section 117 of the mental health act. Now CTO’s have replaced that as the leave tool of choice. There are a substantial number of jobbing psychiatrists in the UK who recognize that their use is being abused and refuse to use them. Sir (lol) Murray is a creature of the system and establishment though, the chance that he would take a stand against them must be very slim.

    The CQC (care quality commission) regulates providers in the UK and has published some quite critical reports regarding the usage of CTO’s. Particularly the disproportionate use against black minority and other ethnic groups. However they don’t go as far as to challenge their underlying assumptions.

    While I am a huge critic of the system in general their are things to be hopeful about. The voice of Robin Murray is not one of them though. He is a bio-bio-bio man to his paternalistic core. He can’t hide it, it just leaks out of him from every pore. The best we can hope from from him is that he retires and soon.

    I hope that hasn’t come across as to much of a personal attack. He is entitled to his view but I can’t think of him as a potential ally to the survivor movement. Like I say….there are reasons to be hopeful but he is not one of them.

  • OK. Summoned up the courage to have a look. Some of it is so childish and naive that it’s hard to believe that he has much experience of being with people who have unusual thoughts at all.

    All his prejudiced and frankly silly ideas come tumbling out…

    He also tells some outright lies about his schizophrenia commission work…lies by omission.

    Just laughable….laughable….

  • imo long term drugging has never been for the benefit of “patients”. It has always just provided a legally defensible course of action for doctors.

    There will always be the odd occasions when tragedies happen be it a suicide or homicide. It’s easier for a psychiatrist to defend an action that was taken even if it it turned out to be wrong than to defend an inaction.

    It is this knot along with others that needs to be unpicked.

  • Thank you as well for clarifying that you believe in coercion and force when your demands are not met as evidenced by your use of the word compliance instead of concordance.

    For your information compliance is not the word used by all medical professionals so I can only imagine you are speaking to a rather backward thinking group of doctors.

    It’s not the existence of the drugs that is the problem it is that they are forced on people. It’s the people who use that force that need to be dealt with. It is they who are the problem, not the drugs.

  • “Once someone is started on these drugs, the risk of relapse is much higher when they are stopped than when they are continued.”

    Trouble is EVERYONE gets started on the drugs. Of course some people are more vulnerable to being screwed up by them than others. Any study is only going to discern that some people will be more or less screwed up by them. Not who should never have been started on them in the first place. That should be the focus.

  • Well put. The whole problem in a nutshell. If you stop taking them and don’t “relapse” then you apparently never had the so called disorder in the first place. So the “misdiagnosis” never comes to light unless you refuse to take the advice and stop taking the medication. Which as we have seen is a very very difficult thing to do.

  • Sure. But when you put it like that you make it sound like their is a problem with people not being offered medication. The problem is actually the reverse. To be fair you have addressed that to an extent.

    Where I feel you are off track is highlighted by your use of the word compliance. It speaks to a top down the doctor knows best approach. If you used the word concordance it would at least denote that your approach was to come up with a plan together. But i’m getting the feeling that you use the word compliance because that is exactly what you expect and if you used the word concordance it wouldn’t be accurate anyway as you don’t appear to believe in it.

    When you say compliance I can only assume that not taking medication long term is actually off the table. I don’t mean to be rude at all but your language doesn’t really stack up. How does one be non compliant with a recommendation not to take medication? Of course that rhetorical question needs no answer because recommendations not to take medication just doesn’t exist in practice.

    You probably tell i’m struggling to find a polite way to say that I find what you have written is rather disingenuous. I apologize if that seems a personal attack but I can’t find any other way to address the issue of compliance vs concordance and the mindset that each implies.

    The rest of the medical profession has long come to terms with the fact that “compliance” is a myth anyway. Medicine cabinets all over the western world stuffed with untaken pills are testament to that. It’s only professionals in the mental health world who go into bed wetting mode when their patients decide taking medication long term is not worth the candle.

    My other point is that the medical profession already knows long term use isn’t worth the candle. The reason they go on recommending them is nothing to do with patients though. It’s simply that it provides a legal defense if anything goes wrong. You can defend an action in court no matter what the outcome, inaction lays the doctor wide open. So the drugs are not for the patient. They are for the doctor. This simple fact needs no research. It’s a plain as the nose on my face.

  • In fairness I don’t think that people in the UK with a “history of psychosis” are being admitted to hospital on the third grounds on a regular basis. Their is not enough capacity in the system for one thing although I wouldn’t say it never happens.

    The third point pertains more to a situation where what gets called an eating disorder means that a person, possible a child, is at risk of dying if they don’t eat. The perspective of BMJ writers is going to be a little wider than just “psychotic disorders”.

  • Thank you Prickly Pam! I certainly agree with you that a civil rights approach is the best hope for a unified way forward.

    Personally I find it ironic that while a lot of the conversation is about forced treatment (for obvious reasons) by the same token the truth is that many of us will at some point lose capacity due to dementia regardless of our mental health.

    How many people who rail against forced treatment have bothered to formulate an advance directive in the event of losing capacity due to dementia? It’s going to happen to a lot of people.

    Do we not blame society for not taking our cause seriously because they think a loss of capacity wont happen to them?

    I’m going to take a wild guess and say pretty close to 0.00 percent even among the most noisy activists having an advance directive for loss of capacity due to dementia.

    Just a thought.

  • “The primary lesson of the mental health civil rights community is that we have to learn to lean on each other to get though adversity, which means opening up and admitting when things aren’t moving in a direction we want or expected or try to typically project publicly.”

    The trouble is when you say community this includes leftwingers and rightwingers and liberals and libertarians and anarchists who are automatically expected to flexibly accommodate one another, and of course they can’t, they’ve already rejected one anothers political outlook from the very start.

    Another problem is religion. You ask what would the creator want but not everyone in this community believes in a creator. So just asking that question, while it may be important to you and others, is potentially alienating to potential allies.

    Being seen as anti-medical first is a problem as well if that is the initial message that is projected. Mainstream media just associate that sort or rhetoric with “cranks”. Whatever ones own truth, that is not a good starting point. Doctors are still among the most respected members of society. Ignoring this isn’t realistic if one really wants to find a way forward and achieve something.

    Nice article, nice questions.

  • Great, so the message is don’t worry your little head about any of the issues being discussed by people who have experienced the same thing. Instead submit yourself like a child to the responsible adults who are psychiatrists. Listen to your psychiatrist for they are the font of all wisdom for they have read the right research and they know whats best for you.

    Suffering and distress is real and demands a response but submitting to the will of psychiatry only ever makes things worse. That’s the evidence.

    Give me an inspirational blog over the dismal scribble in the British Journal of Psychiatry any day. Reading the BJOP may be interesting and entertaining for those who enjoy puffing up their egos and fancying they can discern meta-messages.

    People need alternatives not more of the same from illness informed sickness services. The more widely spread this message is the more people will be able to defend themselves against mental health services if/when the time ever comes.

  • Yes, I have read that and I like it as far as it goes. However it still makes recovery a personal/individual thing. Many of the things that exacerbate distress are societal problems. In short how can one completely recover when the person sitting next you can not due to injustice?

    The lack of an answer to this question is leading me to question the real value of recovery concepts.

  • Thinking of stale ideas…i’m just about finished with recovery as a concept. Not because it’s inherently bad but because mainstream services have decided to implement “Recovery oriented services” in a way that amounts to little more than a re-badge of what they currently do.

    I prefer the collective model of recovery discussed below but mostly that’s not what I see.

    Uncovering Recovery: The Resistible Rise of Recovery and Resilience
    David Harper, Ewen Speed


    Discourses of recovery and resilience have risen to positions of dominance in the mental health field. Models of recovery and resilience enjoy purchase, in both policy and practice, across a range of settings from self-described psychiatric survivors through to mental health charities through to statutory mental health service providers. Despite this ubiquity, there is confusion about what recovery means. In this article we problematize notions of recovery and resilience, and consider what, if anything, should be recovered from these concepts. We focus on three key issues, i) individualization, ii) the persistence of a deficit model, and iii) collective approaches to recovery. Through documentary analysis we consider these issues across third sector organizations, and public and mental health policy.

    Firstly, definitional debates about recovery reflect wider ideological debates about the nature of mental health. The vagueness of these concepts and implicit assumptions inherent in dominant recovery and resilience discourses render them problematic because they individualize what are social problems. Secondly, these discourses, despite being seen as inherently liberatory are conceptually dependent on a notion of deficit in that talk of “positives” and “strengths” requires the existence of “negatives” and “weaknesses” for these concepts to make sense. We argue that this does little to substantially transform dominant understandings of psychological distress. Thirdly, these issues combine to impact upon the progressive potential of recovery. It comes to be seen as an individualistic experiential narrative accompaniment to medical understandings where the structural causes of distress are obscured. This in turn impacts upon the potential for recovery to be used to explore more collective, political aspects of emotional distress.

    Drawing on the work of Fraser, we use this critique to characterize “recovery” as a “struggle for recognition,” founded on a model of identity politics which displaces and marginalizes the need for social, political and economic redistribution to address many of the underlying causes of emotional distress. We conclude by stating that it is only when the collective, structural experiences of inequality and injustice are explicitly linked to processes of emotional distress that recovery will be possible.

  • Heidegger, Wittgenstein , Vygotsky, Szasz, Laing, Kurt/Mark Vonnegut, the patient may have read all these things so when the psychiatrists expounds a theory the wise detained patient will keep quiet. The psychiatrist doesn’t know his patients previous reading list. The psychiatrist doesn’t know if the patient actually believes or takes account of anything they say or is merely humouring them. A confounding factor although perhaps not in the examples above.

    Perhaps it’s just as easy to overestimate the importance of our conversations as it is to overestimate the importance of medication.

    Interesting thought experiments though. I enjoy them for what its worth.

  • Totally agree. Mental Health services are typically sanist (only the sane have rights) or institutionally mentalist. One day some brave soul will bring a prosecution on those grounds. Perhaps with the rise of peer support and other such initiatives that person may even be an employee.

    That might engender some change. The Law. Thats the sort of language services understand even if they rejoice in not understanding the people they are supposed to serve.

  • At the risk of being contrary I would just like to posit an alternative perspective.

    While I agree recovery is a process it is also a subsidiary concept . What is most important is having a meaningful life and having a meaningful life is also the most important part of recovery.

    While I agree from a personal perspective the recovery process can go on endlessly this perspective also hides risks. The first risk is that it makes recovery an impossible goal. One can never say one is truly fully recovered in that case. Exactly the position people labeled with schizophrenia have always found themselves in. The second risk is that by having “fuzzy” definitions of recovery, that service providers take the chance to define it themselves, usually what happens is they just re-badge what they are currently doing as recovery oriented.

    Ron Unger is very good on this topic.
    “I believe that recovery remains a useful concept, but also that it will only give us leverage to change the system if we give it a clear and powerful definition, and resist efforts to water down that definition.”

  • “One of the committee’s most ambitious proposals was perhaps the least noticed: a commitment to update the book continually, when there’s good reason to, rather than once every decade or so in a giant heave. That was approved without much fanfare.”

    The roman numerals have been dropped, next up 5.1 5.2, its what you call a pot boiler. For “update continually” read generate more sales for doing f’all.

    p.s. 5.1 & 5.2 will be crap as well. You heard it here first.

  • I think you need to look at the inquiry pages as it answers most of your questions about the motivations.

    We are aware of the increasing unease, even among psychiatrists, about the use ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘psychosis’ to describe complex problems of living. More importantly, when these are used as labels attached to people, they can cause serious problems through increasing stigma and undermining the humanity of people given these labels. Indeed, some people seem to suffer from the labels more than they do from other problems of living. Black people in Britain seem to suffer disproportionately in this way.

    In December 2011 we noted the launch of a project called ‘Schizophrenia Commission’ and saw how it was set up without much discussion with service user/survivor organisations and organisations working with black and minority ethnic communities. It seemed to be dominated by a unit that researches ‘psychosis’ and structured in a narrow medical framework that accepts diagnoses as valid ways of labelling people. We felt that the time was right to launch an inquiry into the ‘schizophrenia’ label. And, when we found that such an inquiry was strongly supported by many organisations and individuals, and that many of them were actually willing to do so publicly by allowing us to include their names on our website, we decided to go ahead, raising funds for our expenses as we went along.

  • I’m so sad to hear how the commission (as opposed to the inquiry) tried to manipulate you. But the way you stood up to them is what I will hang on to.

    As far as feeling despondent, I know how that feels as well. What helps me is knowing that other people feel the same way as me. What ever I do I try and see in the context of a wider movement (as fractured and full of infighting as that movement might be) so again we don’t need to feel the burden is on ourselves all of the time. For me it’s important to take a break from the issues sometimes and look after myself.

    Sometimes I remind myself that I can’t help others if I forget to look after myself.

  • @Stephen Gilbert

    Luckily most of the rest of the world knows that the “Tea Party” movement is an aberration. Only 3 million people watch Fox news and half of them for just to have a good laugh.

    Plenty of Americans working at the UN and plenty of them are ex military working in some of the most difficult and treacherous places on the planet as I’m sure you know already.

    Onwards and upwards 🙂

  • 1 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
    2 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
    3 International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
    4 International Labour Organization (ILO)
    5 International Maritime Organization (IMO)
    6 International Monetary Fund (IMF)
    7 International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
    8 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
    9 United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
    10 Universal Postal Union (UPU)
    11 World Bank Group
    11.1 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
    11.2 International Finance Corporation (IFC)
    11.3 International Development Association (IDA)
    12 World Health Organization (WHO)
    13 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
    14 World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
    15 World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
    16 Former specialized agencies
    17 Related Organizations
    17.1 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission
    17.2 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
    17.3 Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
    17.4 World Trade Organization (WTO)

    And as if the WHO and WTO and the High Commissioner for Refugees and the international protection of intellectual property rights were not enough how about all the peace keeping operations? Below are the ones that are current.

    United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS)
    United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA)
    UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)
    African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)
    UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI)
    UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)
    UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)
    UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
    Asia and the Pacific
    UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT)
    UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)
    UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) *
    UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
    UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
    Middle East
    UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
    United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
    UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)

    I could go on but just to finish off (its absurd for you to bring this up anyway) WW2 was a global war. The fact that you sat on the sidelines pretending it was nothing to do with you is well remembered. But hey better late than never. You took sides just like every other country. You didn’t save anyone any more than the other allied countries saved you.

    Anyway probably you were just smarting because the british torched your capital in 1814.

    Hey ho. Toodle pip.

  • That “abandoned illness” report was a travesty and I would go as far as to say a hypocritical document by people who are entirely complicit in the way services are structured in the UK. In fact they have benefited handsomely. Masters of self deception.

    The only good thing about it was Terry Bowers findings which they consigned to an appendix.

    Enough of that.

    This is much better. Great work! Cant wait for the full report.

    Down with the medical model. Up with hermeneutic phenomenology!

  • “Surrendering any more of American Sovereignty would not have solved Any problem not only for the US but for people whose rights have been violated in the rest of the world as well.”

    Sorry that is just silly. Do you think that you cede sovereignty every time you negotiate a bilateral treaty??

    How do you feel about the World Trade Organisation? Do you really feel you cede Sovereignty when you sign an extradition treaty?

    Sometimes the US is not so much another country but another planet.

  • The UN is just not that scary. The U.S. government typically acts as though it doesn’t like it because they can’t control it.

    The reality is that it membership is entirely voluntary and its hard pushed to get agreement on just about anything. So its criticized for being useless as it seeks consensus and being a scary monster at the same time.


    to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
    to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
    to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
    to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,


    to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
    to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
    to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
    to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

    Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations.

  • From the European Agency for Fundamental Rights
    The following 24 EU Member States have ratified the CRPD:

    Austria (ratified 2008, including the Optional Protocol)
    Belgium (ratified 2009, including the Optional Protocol)
    Bulgaria (ratified 2012)
    Cyprus (ratified 2011, including the Optional Protocol)
    Czech Republic (ratified 2009)
    Denmark (ratified 2009)
    Estonia (ratified 2012, including the Optional Protocol)
    France (ratified 2010, including the Optional Protocol)
    Germany (ratified 2009, including the Optional Protocol)
    Greece (ratified 2012, including the Optional Protocol)
    Hungary (ratified 2007, including the Optional Protocol)
    Italy (ratified 2009, including the Optional Protocol)
    Latvia (ratified 2010, including the Optional Protocol)
    Lithuania (ratified 2010, including the Optional Protocol)
    Luxembourg (ratified 2011, including the Optional Protocol)
    Malta (ratified 2012, including the Optional Protocol)
    Poland (ratified 2012)
    Portugal (ratified 2009, including the Optional Protocol)
    Romania (ratified 2011)
    Slovakia (ratified 2010, including the Optional Protocol)
    Slovenia (ratified 2008, including the Optional Protocol)
    Spain (ratified 2007, including the Optional Protocol)
    Sweden (ratified 2008, including the Optional Protocol)
    United Kingdom (ratified 2009, including the Optional Protocol)

  • Personally I think its great to have a hopeful and positive message for people who experience madness, even if saving the world seems a little far fetched. (imo not all mad people are particularly pleasant or creative for that matter, myself included).

    imo the goal of any movement should be to get societies to stop “beating us up” simply because it is the wrong way to treat other humans.

    Bringing religion and party political politics into it just muddies that water and potentially alienates as many people as it might attract.

    Apologies to those who will find that pragmatism to simplistic for their personal tastes.

  • Imagine the letters that will have to go out.

    Dear Mrs. Biggins,
    I’m thrilled to let you know that the miracle of the modern/democratic voting system you have officially been cured. You are officially no longer sick.

    Please see me so we can make a plan to stop your medication.

    Your sincerely
    Dr. Bonkers

    Followed by

    Dear Mrs. Biggins,

    It is with great regret that I write to tell you that when the vote on your disease was taken Dr.FKWitt was in the Kazi. (thats toilet for Yankee readers)

    Dr.FKWitt has now had his vote included and sadly you have had a relapse.

    This will clearly cause you some distress. Please increase the dose of all your meds x2.

    Yours sincerely,
    Dr. Bonkers

  • All I know is that a pen is no use when the police/kidnap squad turn up to drag you away.

    The pen is no good when the carers/frustrated martial artist on the ward decide to put you in seclusion.

    The pen is no good when the psychiatrist decides a community treatment order will be good for you.

    Talking is fine but you cant use reason and logic to talk someone out of a position they never used reason or logic to arrive at.

    btw we are on the same side. I was being flippant…

  • this is better.

    In December 2011 we noted the launch of a project called ‘Schizophrenia Commission’ and saw how it was set up without much discussion with service user/survivor organisations and organisations working with black and minority ethnic communities. It seemed to be dominated by a unit that researches ‘psychosis’ and structured in a narrow medical framework that accepts diagnoses as valid ways of labelling people. We felt that the time was right to launch an inquiry into the ‘schizophrenia’ label. And, when we found that such an inquiry was strongly supported by many organisations and individuals, and that many of them were actually willing to do so publicly by allowing us to include their names on our website, we decided to go ahead, raising funds for our expenses as we went along.

  • I tend to think that a focus on “cultural change” is laudable. However culture is the result of beliefs, its the faulty beliefs of those who work in services that have to change.

    Always talking about culture obscures this fact and lets everyone off the hook because you end up with a situation where nobody things they are actually part of the problem.

  • In the UK this report was covered extensively all day by the BBC and led on the evening news. All good for awareness raising. However….trust me on this…the authors are now concerned about the effect all the negative publicity about their work could impact on staff morale.

    You have to ask, if publishing a pdf doc gets them worrying if they have done the right thing, how likely is that anyone will attempt any real change that might shake those same staff up??

  • Thanks for the clarification. I should take a look at the mission statement.

    The trouble I have with these “findings” is that they may add to a better understanding with respect to a particular way of thinking about madness but they distract the eye from, imo more helpful perspectives.

  • Yes, thats true but EVERYTHING they produce or article they write is evidence of their own stupidity. Documenting their own crapness is one thing they are very good at.

    Psychiatry is full of it, and some of the latest “discoveries” in the field indicate just how full of it psychiatry happens to be. Take this report, New Genetic Mutations May Keep Some Mental Disorders From Dying Out, at PsychCentral. The post concerns a study suggesting that because mental patients have fewer children and “mental illness”, the label, isn’t dying out, we’re seeing genetic mutations…

    People with certain mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism, tend to have fewer children than the average person, suggesting that these disorders persist not because of heredity, but because of new genetic mutations, according to a new study.

    Or, and this isn’t stated, because we’re not dealing with a heritable condition. In other words, it’s a matter of the decisions people make in their lives and not so much the genes their parents gave them.
    People in the psychiatric system exist within a social context, and it’s this social context that is not being looked at so much.

    The findings shed light on a longstanding puzzle in psychiatry: How do the genes linked with some mental health disorders persist in the human population, if people with those disorders tend to have fewer children?

    I would suggest that the issue is a matter of supply and demand. If mental health professionals had fewer children, there wouldn’t be such a demand for nut cases.
    No doubt some Swedish researcher somewhere along the way was impacted by the SciFi movie The Andromeda Strain, and nothing can be the same since.
    For example, schizophrenia is extremely heritable, so it would make sense that it becomes more rare over time. But the disorder seems to persist in 1 percent of the population, which suggests that new mutations are occurring quickly enough for it to remain consistent, said [researcher Robert] Power.
    Correction, bias has it that schizophrenia is extremely heritable despite all the evidence that would indicate otherwise. If it’s not genes, it must be genes. This is biological psychiatry to the core. Nobody is saying look to social and environmental factors, nobody is saying that, but maybe somebody should.

    When you are selling disease it is convenient to pretend you are selling something else, like health, because people wouldn’t tend to buy disease on its demerits alone.

    The researchers note that some people with mental disorders may take medication that affects fertility, or they may have been hospitalized at some point during their reproductive years, and these factors may have influenced the results.
    Or they may be facing prejudice in what is referred to as the competition for suitable, if desirable is too strong a word, partners. One scapegoat doesn’t reproduce. Two scapegoats do reproduce, but they hardly do so well as the goat with his harem in the herd.

  • “raising questions about how genes for these disorders could be inherited and survive through generations.”


    btw why is this this site hosting this sort of junk??

  • If you read the whole report…yawn…

    You will see it is very drug centric, restates the dopamine hypothesis, nothing about forced treatment or community treatment order. All critical issues for people with this label. Even has some service user comments highlighted saying how important drugs are to them…wonderful..

    This has been set up in response…

    “In December 2011 we noted the launch of a project called ‘Schizophrenia Commission’ and saw how it was set up without much discussion with service user/survivor organisations and organisations working with black and minority ethnic communities. It seemed to be dominated by a unit that researches ‘psychosis’ and structured in a narrow medical framework that accepts diagnoses as valid ways of labelling people. We felt that the time was right to launch an inquiry into the ‘schizophrenia’ label. And, when we found that such an inquiry was strongly supported by many organisations and individuals, and that many of them were actually willing to do so publicly by allowing us to include their names on our website, we decided to go ahead, raising funds for our expenses as we went along.”

  • Mad pride is for everyone, whether or not you have personally been labeled by the psychiatric system. Mad Pride is really about Human Pride. Mad Pride celebrates how each person’s eccentricities, passion, uniqueness and freedom makes you human. Mad Pride does not allow our humanity to be pathologized by mental health systems than prefer us to feel ashamed of ourselves when we dont conform to their idealised notions.

    Thats how I see it.

  • Only one answer.

    dont understand these changes inside
    or how it feels like when worlds collide
    judgmental clik which you’ll never fit
    vacant outsider degenerate
    look you up and down with blinded eyes
    scapegoating you with their ignorant minds
    flip em the V n let it all hang out
    this is wot living lifes all about

    sexuality within, colour of your skin
    body shape or place of origin
    all amunition for the other side
    protecting their own pain deep inside
    social norms and moral codes
    these justifications soon will implode
    Im anti religion and anti state anti greed and anti hate

  • 8. What are the costs to the Country of schizophrenia?

    I hope lots of people are offended and sickened by this question. I am. Until we have research that doesn’t ask “how sick are these people” and doesn’t value human beings in terms of dollars earned or “lost to the economy by them” we don’t have research worth talking about.

    How about a study that measures the human cost in terms of the misery caused by the use of bigoted labels like schizophrenia?

    Anyone who uses this term is deluding themselves if they think they are making a contribution on my behalf. They are not.

  • I’m not interested in any study that starts out using the term schizophrenia. It is the language of those would oppress us. Once you use the language of the oppressor they control they not only control the language they control the way we think about ourselves. To me this is unacceptable.

    I recommend Mary Boyles paper. “It’s all done with smoke and mirrors. Or, how to create the illusion of a schizophrenic brain disease”

    From the paper “In this paper, I shall discuss some of the main ways in which the credibility and reasonableness of the belief in schizophrenia as a brain disease is created and maintained; before I do that, however, it is important to note that this belief obviously implies a prior belief in “schizophrenia” and, since “schizophrenia” is consistently presented as a diagnosable illness which causes bizarre behaviour and mental experiences, the scene is set for acceptance of the idea of schizophrenia as brain disorder, albeit one whose precise nature is unknown. This in itself is perhaps a powerful enough mechanism to account for the credibility of the belief, but there are other mechanisms which are worth discussing, for at least two reasons. First, those who want to disseminate alternative models of psychotic behaviour and experience may be dispirited by the sheer persistence of the belief in schizophrenia as a brain disorder and want to reflect on some possible reasons for this persistence; second, those who are open to alternative models may still find themselves pulled between these and the apparent credibility of the belief in schizophrenia as a brain disease. One further point should be emphasised. I’m not suggesting that any of the mechanisms I’ll discuss are planned or even consciously used. On the contrary, at least some of them might seem simply like “doing science”. I would argue, however, that it is difficult to over-estimate the threat presented by criticisms of the biological basis of schizophrenia and of the idea of schizophrenia itself, and that it would be naive not to expect defensive and anxiety-reducing measures to be (consciously or unconsciously) taken.”

    Reprinted from Clinical Psychology Issue 12. April 2002 pp 9-16