Thursday, November 14, 2019

Comments by kindredspirit

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  • As a survivor of childhood trauma and intensely harmful professional intervention, I DO NOT IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER support governmental efforts to tackle childhood trauma as a public health issue. I have zero doubt this will produce tragic results as children are funneled into mental health treatment and families are destroyed by CPS involvement.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that…

  • I think there’s still a lot of static on my channel but you’ve clearly got a better signal. 🙂

    “From a spiritual perspective, healing happens through the heart. I believe the idea of a higher power is to have a foundational focus of Faith, which can inspire the feeling of love. When we feel love, our hearts are open and expansive, and this creates an entirely different self-perception and experience of life than when our hearts are constricted from chronic fear and hopelessness.”

    Keep preaching, Alex! The world needs more of this.

  • Better yet, how can we dismantle the “mental” healthcare system entirely and instead focus our efforts to ending all of the negative SDOH that drive the majority of psychosocial distress? Then we could refocus those “mental health care” dollars to curing the diseases that contribute to poor emotional wellbeing, like Lyme disease. The overlap between Lyme endemic areas of the US is identical with the geographic distribution of schizophrenia and this has been known by researchers since 1994.

    When will the medical community return to curing physical illnesses? As importantly, when will our politicians care about those without deep pockets?

    This is a farce and trying to make a form of social control more culturally diverse is akin to sticking lipstick on a pig and calling it Sarah Palin.

  • “They determine that exploration which leans on the interconnections of “mind, body, and society” and interdependence of “mental, medical, and social health” is needed in order to expand the field’s ability to meet the needs of individuals requiring relational care to effectively and humanely relieve suffering.”

    Thank you for this article, Hannah. Lovely job, especially at the end. ‘Relational care’, also sometimes referred to as ‘spiritual care’ was what Jesus practiced and preached, and is also a familiar concept in Judaism. I think a major challenge of an increasingly secular society is learning how to provide this kind of care for each other. (Can we learn to care for each other absent religious dogma and judgment?)

    I think it’s also highly telling that the only presidential candidate preaching this message of love and caring for each other – Marianne Williamson – has been roundly criticized in the mainstream media as “nutty”, “kooky” and similar derogatory descriptors. I find myself increasingly on the side of Dr Breggin’s Team Love. To love and be loved is what it’s all about. Everything else is window dressing. But how do we bring this into mainstream consciousness? That’s where I despair.

  • Excellent follow up and acknowledgment about the perils of using the term ‘psychiatry’, as well as the harms inherent in the current system of “help”.

    “Help” is definitely needed. I think people get caught up in thinking there is an either/or. If we don’t want psychiatry then we must be denying the need for “help”, which couldn’t be further from the truth – speaking only for myself, of course.

  • Great blog, Dr K. I abandoned religious faith almost two decades ago, so I didn’t take any offense from your criticisms and comparisons.

    I agree completely that psychiatry is structured like a religion – with faith in the drugs and doctors being the core tenet of its belief system. The individual diagnoses are, to me, simply another manifestation of The Devil (borrowing from Christianity) or “bad” demons/spirits. Psychiatry also requires faith, of course, because it’s beliefs of “chemical imbalances” and “genetic diseases” continue to be disproven or else responsible for only a tiny fraction of what is euphemistically called “mental illness”.

    I have opened my heart to the concept of spirituality and the interconnected nature of all living things, which is a giant leap into the unknown for me. I call this energy Gaia – the great primordial mother – but I struggle to envision this as a conscious being and instead see it as an energy flowing through and connecting all living things.

    I still get a giggle out of the term ‘sky daddy’ in reference to the Judeo-Christian concept of God. The God of the Bible is such a vicious, vengeful, frankly immature “toddler” like being that I can’t bring myself to respect it all as a concept, much less a “loving father”. Any half functioning adult human aught to be able to behave better than that so I just can’t give it any creed.

    Thanks for this article. It seems to still take some bravery to criticize religion as from the comments, I can see that even some outspoken people take offense at their deeply held beliefs being challenged. I appreciate that MIA published this anyway. Good one, Dr K!

  • Thank, Will. There is a lot of wisdom in this article. I especially liked these parts:

    “Instead, at each step remember your truth and trust and love yourself, knowing you are doing the best you can. You got mistreated, you are trying to heal and live in the world and be a responsible person to yourself. That’s enough.“


    “Be absolutely uncompromising that the people close to you must love and support you…”

    Honestly, if the people close to you don’t love and support you, stop everything else and fix that first.

  • The problem in a super competitive society like ours is that people take great pride in winning. Just look at Trump or the First Lady’s ‘Be Best’ motto. There’s no good in winning if you’re the only person on the dais celebrating.

    When you’ve been through hell, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of emerging intact on the other side. But if you’re not reaching back in to pull others out behind you, then your accomplishment eventually rings hollow as it was entirely self-serving. Unfortunately, cooperation and seeking a collective purpose is not heavily emphasized in this culture.

    Pride can be fuel for doing good, or it can be a stepping stone to vanity.

  • My understanding is that loneliness is actually much worse among Millennials than any other generation. Specifically, the number of Millennials who report having ZERO friends is more than double that of seniors. Although the problem may be compounded for seniors by isolation, which isn’t quite the same issue. There have been stories about renting units in senior housing to younger people that commit to socializing with the older residents and I’m sure there are other ways to address senior isolation. Maybe programs should aim to address both issues of senior and millennial loneliness by creating more opportunities for intergenerational socializing and friendships to form.

  • Very well put, Darby.

    It’s unfortunate that truly peer-run organizations outside of mainstream mental health struggle so much with funding.

    The current psychiatric system is run a bit like the civil rights movement. POC have only gotten the rights white people have given, and attempts to organize from Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter are heavily suppressed.

    My conclusion? One never gains one’s freedom and human rights by working nicely under one’s oppressor.

  • I find the microbiome – mind-gut-axis – approach much more realistic. It also explains why ptsd is so hard to export to other cultures after natural disasters. One thing Westerners, Americans in particular, share is a similar microbiome. So similar, in fact, that immigrants begin to lose their native bacterial loads almost immediately upon arrival even when they keep their traditional diet.

    A new study backs up the notion that PTSD is correlated with changes in gut bacteria that effect the brains ability to recover from traumatic experiences. I’ve really had enough of the mindfulness angle. It’s essentially gaslighting to continue with the “change your mind, change your life” narrative.

  • My grandfather had Parkinson’s. I’m very familiar with the disease and recognized my own symptoms even in a state of severe cognitive decline.

    My grandfather’s case was idiopathic and due to exposure to agricultural strength pesticides. He supplemented his income as a musician by being a seasonal farm worker.

    Thankfully, we know what his exposure was as well as he’s from my moms side with no history of “mental illness” or “bipolar”.

    My father is the only person that brings a supposed history of “bipolar” which he wasn’t diagnosed with until after he started Prozac off label for weight control in 1988.

    NIH researchers tried very hard to recruit me for a study on Parkinson’s back around 2006. I eventually decided not to participate in the study due to how many psych drugs I was taking which I knew would confound results. The recruiters actually became quite hostile when I dropped out. Now I know why. I was the perfect guinea pig for their mad science!

    PD is caused by a lack of dopamine – exactly the conditions neuroleptic drugs create. They might as well have entitled their study “Inducing Parkinson’s by Drugging the Crazies!” They know exactly what they’re doing!

  • I also think the headline should read ‘People Treated for Bipolar Disorder at Increased Risk for Parkinson’s’. Because the researchers refuse to control for medication use, and because they assume virtually 100% of participants are taking these drugs, there absolutely has NOT been a correlation established between “bipolar disorder“ and Parkinson’s Disease, but it does in fact reinforce previous studies that have implicated these and other drugs in causing Parkinsonism. But don’t worry, we HAVE to poison the “mentally ill” for their own good. Meanwhile the sheep line up for slaughter calling for ever more of this mind-liberating “treatment”.

    A shot gun would be preferable to any more of that slow death.

  • “The researchers write that their results may also be due to the use of lithium, antipsychotics, and antiepileptics since they found it “particularly difficult” to exclude these confounds. They did not attempt to control for the use of these drugs, because they consider them “foundational” aspects of treatment. They assumed that every participant was taking at least one type of these drugs.”

    It’s hard to read this without feeling enraged. I developed Parkinsonism after taking Latuda. I started recovering pretty much immediately upon cessation and made significant progress even before the Lyme treatment. Thirty days of doxycycline combined with cessation of psychiatric neurotoxins have come close to restoring my previous level of cognitive and neurological functioning. These monsters at NIH would have let me continue to deteriorate and called it bipolar and PD. My heart aches for all the people in these studies who are allowed to continue to decline cognitively and having it blamed on the diseases of bipolar and PD. This is government sponsored propaganda against labeled and thus marginalized populations. It seems to still be perfectly okay to conduct these unethical experiments on anyone stigmatized as “crazy”, “mad”, “mentally ill”, etc.

    NIH researchers also misdiagnosed my mother with Sjogren’s Syndrome when she in fact had Lyme disease. Her results (likely combined with many others misdiagnosed and mistreated) confound study results and lead to continued mistreatment in the medical care system.

    Disgusting! Unethical! Barbaric! These are just a few of the words that come to mind about this study and these researchers, and frankly NIH researchers on the whole, given the history. It’s still seemingly staffed by Nazis and eugenics is alive and well.

  • It is not lost on me that the response is calls for more mental healthcare. I wonder how many black parents would agree to mental healthcare for their children if they knew of the systemic racism in the medical system and that their children are disproportionately more likely to be diagnosed with SMI and heavily medicated.

    In fact, this must leave any thinking person wondering how many of these black youth suicides are due to drug reactions and self-stigma from these diagnoses…

  • The real problem with all of these blogs about the social determinants of health and psychiatry is that the authors don’t seem to get the fundamental conflict between the two. Psychologists and social workers are in a perfect position to deal with social and cultural issues. Psychiatry is the medical discipline that treats the individual for illnesses it’s own bible has placed within the individual. If psychiatry were actually concerned with medical causes of extreme states, it would be looking at the body, not observing, judging and labeling behavior. DSM 5 doesn’t even require an interview with the patient!

    The notion that the medical discipline of psychiatry can reform itself to be concerned with SDOH would be laughable if not for the apparent sincerity of the few pushing for this.

    So again, if the cause isn’t medical but rather social and cultural, why would we expect DOCTORS to treat it. This is as absurd as expecting police to deal with domestic issues. Cops train to dispense threats with lethal force. Doctors train to treat medical illnesses. Therefore expecting doctors to act like social workers is as stupid as expecting cops to act like social workers.

    It’s time to end psychiatry as we know it to be a pseudoscience masquerading as medicine and compounding people’s problems by trying to address social issues by adjusting neurotransmitters. What on earth is there to reform or save? And why isn’t there instead a push to return these problems of living to the domain of those who train to understand human social dynamics?

  • Julie, I spent a lot of time in detention. I’m very proud of that now. I stood up for something – for myself and others.

    When I was attacked and hit in the head by two boys the day I returned to school after major head surgery, not only did the teacher not care about punishing the boys that attacked me, I got punished with detention for cursing while describing what they did to me. The lesson learned of course is that it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters what you can get away with – not exactly the ethical lesson the adults should be aiming for… But it’s the one they’re teaching kids nonetheless. Adults are the reason bullying is still so pervasive in schools. It’s the adult hierarchy the children are learning and emulating.

  • If psychiatry actually looked for medical issues with the patient, it would be finding a lot of Lyme Disease and a lot of Syphilis – sadly, our lack of screening for Syphilis, an easily treatable antiquated disease, has led to a spike in newborn Syphilis cases! And despite its known neuropsychiatric complications, the latest draft guidelines out of the IDSA recommends against testing psychiatric patients for Lyme Disease. Gotta protect the long term pharmaceutical profits at all costs.

  • Cannabis sativa (marijuana is a slur leftover from reefer madness) is not actually a single uniform substance. Some cannabis has no THC, such as what is termed ‘industrial hemp’. Cannabis in retail stores have many different properties. Some strains have little to no THC while having greater amounts of other cannabinoids and terpenes – each of which produces unique effects in the body. Much of what is available in legal (medical and especially recreational) stores however has very high amounts of THC and almost no detectable amounts of other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. When speaking about cannabis, marijuana or weed, one needs to be very clear about the properties of the specific product one is using. Leaving this information out of the discussion means we’re not necessarily talking about the same substance. Unfortunately, this level of education about the plant is not yet well disseminated and so people read (and repeat) misleading headlines like “marijuana causes psychosis” (or laziness) and don’t know that other strains with different chemical compositions actually treat psychosis (or can be stimulating).

  • The lack of patient representation is also a major issue in other disciplines that psychopathologize its patients such as the professional medical Lyme Disease community does. MyLymeData is a patient led and focused initiative to gather data directly from those with lived experience of Lyme Disease/TBD. I think a similar type of initiative will be necessary to change the discussion about “mental illness”.

    One thing to note about the groups of people that have extricated themselves (at least to some extent) from psychiatric pathologizing is that they formed mass campaigns to normalize gayness and feminism. That’s going to be harder for those who embrace the term “madness” and admit to experiencing altered states since that notion strikes fear into the population at large.

    Truthdig – a far left alternative news publication – just today published a hit piece on the “mentally ill”, homelessness, and the need to bring back institutions. The only thing this article proves is that psychiatric propaganda has no left or right bias. The Right wants to lock us up out of fear. The Left wants to lock us up in the name of social justice.

    I actually welcome the dire headlines about the massive increase in “mental illness”. They can’t target all of us. There is strength in numbers. That was the real winning tactic for those other groups too.

  • I appreciate the professor’s perspective on DID as a cultural epidemic as opposed to a legitimate illness or affliction, and especially how the expectations of our families, friends, and providers shape our individual experience of a particular diagnosis. If we could only get the well-meaning helpers to understand that their beliefs about these diagnoses actually help shape the experiences of their loved ones, so that they would stop labeling them with such nonsense and instead help them heal as whole individuals, that would be transformative for so many traumatized people who have been led to believe these constructs are real.

    As for the DSM, it’s harmful to EVERYONE, not just Americans or westerners. The issue isn’t that it’s not culturally sensitive to indigenous peoples, it’s a steaming pile of horse shit that’s harmful to all it’s applied to.

    Lastly, speaking of “American” culture as if there is such a thing – like we’re not a young country with many overlapping and competing cultures, is rather ignorant.

  • “Who wouldn’t fall apart after surviving that horror show of a childhood?”

    Too close to home for me. Sounds way too much like my own father and the insanity I and my sisters grew up with.

    One of the hardest things about surviving such horrors is learning to forgive yourself for the effects of what others have done to you.

  • Hear, hear!

    I’m a huge fan of Summerhill, and of the current “Wild and Free” movement in childraising and homeschooling.

    However, it’s all just another symptom of the dysfunction of capitalism. All it needs is obedient workers. It surely doesn’t want you to think or question or protest. School is the method used to prepare the population en masse to accept the exploitative labor practices they will be subjected to under the rule of the top .01%.

    In addition to that, school is also where American patriotism is force fed to young children so they will be conditioned to accept the massive war state and it’s attendant costs to the taxpayer going largely to private military contractors.

    School (whether public or private) is very, very important to the continued running of the system.

  • Teaching mindfulness in school as an approach to emotional distress caused by environmental factors such as poverty and family dysfunction has got to be the most utterly shameful, do-nothing approach that I’ve ever heard and the fact that it’s gaining steam is mind-boggling.

    The term McMindfulness has been used to describe the mindfulness trend and it seem appropriate here. It’s difficult to read the promotion of yet another method of changing the distressed child instead of fighting back against the causes of psychosocial distress. School is a major source of distress for many children. And the adults are clearly aware of contributing stressors such as poverty, hunger, housing insecurity, family violence, and community discord, so the response to merely teach children coping skills is rather disheartening. I have to wonder why, when reporting on such plans, there isn’t more of an effort made to point out the flaws of these bandaid solutions and demand better for our kids.

  • “Our work is to lay a foundation around the person that’s sufficiently solid for them to continue making progress psychologically.””

    This is the only kind of reform I can get behind and it’s exactly what I’ve been saying we need in terms of human support. It’s what psychiatry should be, it’s what child protection should be, it’s frankly what our justice system should be aiming for. Our society right now is about fear and control and punishment. It needs to be about caring and cooperation and camaraderie. We’re all in this shit show together, after all.

  • “For many, good, quality therapy could even be a tool for escaping long term medication use.”

    I would never suggest this connection. Medication use has been shown to impede therapeutic advancement. I am far from alone in feeling like therapy is a waste of time, and in fact, counterproductive when one is having medication-induced behavior they don’t understand or even know is being caused by the medications.

    Hypomania can be a very dangerous state – one I never experienced before SSRIs. They are a gateway to suicide because they eliminate the inhibitory feelings we naturally experience upon thoughts of death.

    There’s the additional concern that many therapists drop clients who stop taking medications or don’t have a psychiatrist. It’s happened to me and plenty of others. Therapists have to learn how to diagnose and psychopharmacology, at least in Maryland, just to be licensed.

    I lied my way through my entire withdrawal. “Yep, doc, I’m great, thanks.” Even as I was in deep distress. Good therapy is possible but it certainly isn’t common. I’d never advise someone to inform their therapist they were going off meds. Or to use therapy as a way to get off meds. It seems like many of us only get out of the system by dropping out completely.

    In short, I don’t equate healing and recovery with professional therapy. Therapy *can* be helpful but that is so rare in our current system. There’s no substitute for having/developing strong connections with other humans, but I think that is rare and unlikely to occur in a genuine way with a professional you’re paying.

  • There is also physical illness with neuropsychiatric effects. I continue to heal from Lyme. As well, chronic psychic distress takes a toll on the body. These are what the link between ACEs and chronic illness is partly about.

    I am not just referring to mental processes as such, but the dynamic interplay between our bodies and our environment that create and exacerbate poor physical health which often translates into distressed mental states.

  • I disagree.

    We DO need more legal action and political activism.

    We also need recovery and healing from the abuses that took place. When people learn ways of being that aren’t helpful to themselves or anyone else, a court victory may make them feel good but will not help them learn how to interact with others or to be able to function within society.

    We need both.

  • Gender roles – a 100% cultural construct that varies by culture – are harmful, full stop. Suggesting to children that it’s even possible to have been born with the “wrong” sex parts because they don’t conform to cultural expectations for their assigned sex is abuse.

    Not confirming a person’s desired gender expression is also abuse. But just because someone expresses themselves differently from the way our culture has pigeonholed expression of sex, sexuality, and gender roles does NOT make them the LITERAL opposite sex.

    It’s mindboggling to me the amount of damage this cultural programming is doing to young people – both men and women. What should have ended in a freer society – one in which people can express themselves however they want – men wearing makeup and dresses, women not doing so, not shaving, not conforming – has instead become an even more highly enforced gendered culture.

    A man doesn’t need a vagina for permission to be gentle and loving or to be allowed to wear skirts. I don’t need a penis to be dominant, to wear jeans, not shave and eschew toxic, chemical-laden beauty products.

    Gendered expectations are the problem, not what sex parts one has.

    – An Unapologetic Radical Feminist

  • No, loneliness does not increase risk of “common mental disorders” and I will not use the language of the DSM to make the point so that those who are still enjoying their privileged existences can other me as part of the “afflicted”. Loneliness increases risk of severe emotional distress and psychic anguish. It is a kind of psychic death. It is an effect of a toxically individualistic, and fear-promoting culture that values productivity, competition and a veneer of cheerfulness far more than love, genuine nurturing and cooperation.

    I’m sorry to say that neither Cigna nor any workplace wellness program (nor even the well intended events arranged by my strictly ruled corporate owned apartment complex) will be leading the way back to happiness. This can’t be fixed by the same entities causing the problem to begin with.

  • The fact that people have to be coerced into receiving “care” should tell us all we need to know about the quality of that “care” and what people think of it.

    The fact that coercive practices have been designed into the “care” system and codified into the law of the land reveals that it isn’t about “care” but rather about control.

  • What an incredible interview and I haven’t quite finished it yet. This line I thought is particularly cogent and worth highlighting:

    “might you be having an emotional but sane response to an insane situation”

    The pathologization of emotion intensity to mean “big emotions = insane” is essentially the crux of psychiatric gaslighting. Big emotions are often entirely appropriate.

  • There used to be a saying “before diagnosing yourself with depression, make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes”. It seems the new motto is: if you can’t cope with the assholes, something is wrong with you. It’s not other people’s abusive behavior that’s the problem, it’s your inability to cope quietly.

    We’d have been better off sticking with Jefferson Airplane’s red and blue pills… at least those provided a good time.

  • The problem with DBT is that it’s a secularized, westernized and thoroughly homogenized, terrible facsimile of Buddhism, often applied by professionals in authoritarian and punitive ways.

    The underlying concepts aren’t awful but the adherents of this fledgling religion aren’t readily distinguishable from the followers of any other religion. “Don’t reason. Just have faith and do what we tell you to do….Or else.”

  • Yes, my disclosures as an adult have often been met with distancing and treatment like I’m unstable or even weird. I guess I’ve had to learn to be ok with that.

    My first mother-in-law – the mother of the 29 year old man who married me at 16 – told me straight to my face that she didn’t believe a word I said about childhood abuse of any kind because she knew my parents and they were “good people”. My parents are/were likeable in many ways and have/had many great qualities. That doesn’t change my mother’s history of neglect and physical abuse or my father’s proclivities for sexual activities with toddlers.

    I think the most stunning responses for me to cope with still were the people who, after hearing me disclose clear abuses, gave my parents suggestions on further abusive techniques as they saw my “bad” behavior as the “real” issue.

    I had a babysitter who would say “if you were my kid I’d make you kneel on hard rice patties with your nose stuck to a circle on the wall. A few hours of that would straighten you out!” Or my favorite still, the middle school principle who instructed my father to whip me below the knees because he couldn’t be prosecuted for bruises below my knees. When my sister-in-law found out my brother had been convicted for molesting me, she went on a tirade about how horrible it was for a little girl to falsely accuse her brother of rape – a word I’ve never used since five year olds don’t usually have to be forced.

    People would not just deny the abuses, they’d outright excuse them – Virginia Beach Social Services called my mother admitting to sitting on me and beating my head into a concrete floor “parent-child conflict”. Her excuse? I was just such a BAD KID, she “lost her temper.”

    The biggest issue that continues to plague efforts at protecting kids is people’s judgments about specific parents and specific children. Parents who can afford lawyers are usually fine and get away with untold horrors. Parents who can’t often lose children due to simple neglect that is poverty induced. Kids who fight back like I did get targeted. Kids who don’t may be just as miserable but will have better outcomes if they aren’t targeted for intervention.

    The whole state of affairs is a complete shit show when it comes to helping victims of abuse at any age. I suppose at the ripe old age of 40, I should be “over it” by now. And in many ways I am. But I still feel an obligation to speak up against the increasing targeting of abused kids and young adults struggling to finish raising themselves in a world that seems harsher by the day. I’m really at the point of saying fuck anyone who can’t handle the unvarnished truth about abuse – especially sexual abuse, which still seems to be the ultimate taboo subject, despite the current “Me Too” era.

  • Thanks Rosalee. It’s certainly a topic I’m very ambivalent about. I do believe that children are harmed by abuses within the family, but I am no longer convinced that either our child protective services or pediatric mental health system is helpful in the majority of cases when one looks at the outcomes of intensive intervention that focuses on the child. It is heartbreaking that what is billed as “help” so often adds additional layers of harm.

  • “I’d call it a certainty. But it doesn’t stop with ditching the drugs and labels, that’s only step one. There are layers of healing to do, it’s a process, and it’s important to specifically be on a healing path. Healing & change is hard work and it requires flexibility in thinking, letting go of old beliefs and considering new perspectives. This is a big change and some will embrace it while others will be resistant to making that kind of core shift. Different paths, outcomes, and realities happen from this particular variable–allowing vs. resistance.”

    Keep speaking your heart-truth, Alex. It’s a wonderful example for those of us walking a similar path.

  • “That Peter’s would like to see psychiatrists treating children to be employed by the authority also in charge of education provision.”

    This was where you lost my interest, considering the amount of damage schools do in the process of preparing kids to be worker bees for capitalism. The last things kids need is more “mental healthcare” delivered through the school system.

  • We all rely on the government and this is code speak for the toxic independence this culture fosters. I honestly wish people would stop using this ridiculous phrase.

    If you don’t want to rely on the government, please don’t breathe or drink the water – keeping those safe is a function of the EPA. Don’t eat food – the FDA and USDA are responsible for keeping that safe. Don’t fly – the FAA clearly serves no function there. Don’t watch TV or use the internet or a cell phone – of course, the FCC is kind of screwing the pooch these days anyway. Please don’t call 911 if your house is burning down or you have a heart attack. God forbid those socialist programs should have to care for your needs in an emergency.

    Oh wait, we like these programs that help the deserving. It’s food stamps, welfare and disability payments going to all the useless lazy hedonists we don’t like. Got it.

    If anyone deserves a payout for the abuse she’s taken, it’s Marci. It should be the government and the pharmaceutical companies paying out for a wrongful death lawsuit.

  • “With this in mind, the authors proposed several points of improvement and intervention. First, they stressed that parents need to understand that their affirmation and care following abuse is essential. They then called for more ubiquitous legal and welfare interventions, early detection for at-risk children, for trauma-informed care in healthcare practitioners and community agencies, and, ultimately, for societal change to overcome denial and silence.”

    No. This absolutely breaks my heart. The worst thing I ever did was tell a neighbor what was happening to me. It changed my life. It brought social services, foster care, years and years and years of harmful child therapy. It allowed my family to target me as the problem and still get away with abuse. Sexual abuse was not the worst thing that ever happened to me. Professional intervention was. This is the worst advice I’ve ever read published here. The mental health system abuses children after they’ve been abused and they do it with the aid of courts, CPS, teachers.

    If I could change one thing about my life, I would have kept silent about childhood sexual abuse. Intervention hurts kids.

  • “RW inappropriately considers such views worthy of respect rather than mockery.”

    I do not now and never have had the impression that RW considers such views respectable, merely that those arguments are used successfully because of the generally negative view the public holds against Scientology.

  • Ten years!!! Congrats!!!

    I agree, too, the idea that under treatment has hazards is completely bogus, because what people need are love and validating support and community resources, not “treatment” via drugs and labels. The mental health community is doing its level best to deny the social determinants of health in favor of an outdated disease model that only benefits the owners and Pharma.

  • Alex, the new research implicating osteocalcin in the fight or flight response doesn’t negate previously discovered hormonal responses to stress, it’s just saying that the physical reaction to adrenalin and cortisol doesn’t happen as quickly as they once thought and so they went off looking for other hormones that would explain that rapid response. The adrenals and cortisol depletion are *definitely* still involved and adrenal fatigue is known to be a big factor in all sorts of things but especially ME/CFS type symptoms that so many survivors have to deal with during/after withdrawal.

    I think what Steve meant by “real” science was comparing it to psychiatric pseudoscience. 🙂

  • Respectfully, there is an entire organization made up of family, friends, and concerned others speaking for and over those labeled as “mentally ill”. It’s called NAMI.

    I don’t want families brought in so they can be supported in fixing their broken loved ones. I want systems change to address family dysfunction that is one source of perpetual distress to so many.

  • There is a significant percentage of of people who privately dismiss western medicine as dangerously hubristic and often harmful. When they speak up about other ways of healing, they are summarily dismisses by the masses as anti-science. The propaganda is deep and pervasive. Your doctor is not god.

    Ask a doctor how to stay well. They will often say to stay away from doctors. That is very telling all by itself!

  • Psychiatry is an illegitimate and pseudoscientific branch of medicine. But it is still a branch of medicine. Also, much of medicine is still not understood and a series of trial and error, which is why promoting any belief that western medicine is actually evidenced based and doctors are authority figures or healers is truly the definition of delusional.

  • I agree with this. It’s telling that psychiatrists want nothing to do with legitimate brain-effecting illnesses, referring those to neurologists, rheumatologists and infectious disease specialists. The domain of psychiatry is psychiatric drugging of behavior, not curing physical illnesses.

  • is THE authority on Lyme Disease. The membership is worth it to have access to the Lyme Times newsletter. There is also MyLymeData, run by the same org, which is providing the first of its kind, patient-centered data repository for Lyme symptoms and treatments.

    Mary Beth Pfeiffer is the Robert Whitaker equivalent in investigative Lyme journalism. Her book is from 2012 but still full of relevant info.

    Avril Lavigne released just this year what have quickly become known as the Lyme anthems – Head Above Water and Warrior.

    Finally, Steven Jarrod Buhner is an herbalist who came up with what’s known as the “Buhner Protocol”, which many chronic (late diagnosed) Lyme patients find helpful. He has a stack of books on herbal antibiotics and antivirals.

    NatCapLyme and Bay Area Lyme are the two largest and best known patient advocacy groups in the US, with lots of free good info, too.

    *** Sadly, the Lyme community often pushes traditional psychiatric treatments under the delusion that they’re real medicine. With suicide the number one cause of death for Lyme Disease, desperation drives many of us into the hands of witch doctors; both psychiatrists and a good portion of those claiming to be “Lyme literate” and offering treatments such as IV peroxide infusions. So it’s really a massive mine field to navigate, especially for those without a significant pre-existing medical knowledge base to draw on.

  • The truly sad part is that the medical/psychiatric community is completely ignoring real illnesses like Lyme Disease that have known neuropsychiatric effects, among them dissociative states, psychosis, and mood lability.

    There is an epidemic of neuro-Lyme mimicking psychiatric disturbances, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends against testing psychiatric patients for Lyme Disease.

    Additionally, Moderator Steve commented the other day that the medical community generally harms an enormous number of patients. This is true. If medical error were properly accounted for on death certificates and were a reportable condition, it would amount to the third leading cause of death.

    While this blog was generally well-received, I think you err in your position that it is Psychiatry alone (or primarily) that is doing active (known) harm to its patients while other disciplines are ‘real’ or ‘good’ medicine. There are guild interests going on in virtually all of medicine.

    The American Heart Association for example, accepts meat industry funding and has close ties with pharmaceutical companies promoting statins for almost everyone.

    The IDSA has close ties to the health insurance industry with enough evidence that a RICO case has been allowed to proceed.

    Women are routinely harmed by the entire medical industry.

    The US is the most dangerous developed country in which to give birth.

    This is just what immediately comes to mind. So I think it’s wise to recognize that medicine does harm, full stop. It is always a gamble when you receive medical care. The privileged get to seek multiple opinions and choose what care they receive. But most don’t have that option with our current capitalist, profit-based and profit-seeking, health care delivery system. Emergency medicine is always a crapshoot. Always. Both in delivery and cost.

    Psychiatry does enormous and largely still untold harm. But western medicine is not to be praised at this moment in time. On the whole, the lot of us are sicker and more dependent on chronic pharmaceuticals than ever before. This is not a win and it’s not progress and it’s not limited to psychiatry.

    Otherwise, right on!

  • I suppose this reminds me that August 2015 was when I quit Lexapro – four years seems odd, as if it hasn’t really been that long. I was so heavily drugged that the SSRI was the easiest to withdraw from and marked the beginning of my withdrawal journey. Gabapentin and Lamictal were the difficult ones for me. I’m still approaching three years off them all which feels like a real accomplishment.

    I developed tinnitus only about a year ago but I sympathize. I believe it’s not withdrawal related but symptomatic of Lyme Disease. It is maddening at times though. Loud music in headphones is the only relief I get from it.

    Anyway, congrats on your sustained recovery from psych drugs. Likewise, I find all of my moods much easier to cope with – and spring back from – now than when I was popping pills.

  • I would really love to see the Open dialogue approach adapted to suit the response to children and families in crisis. So many children end up in psychiatric care and/or protective custody due to trauma/poverty/family dynamics, and yet the focus is almost always on treating the child in isolation from its distressing environment as if the child were the problem and not the environment. This damages children, it damages families when siblings and parents resent the distressed child’s needs, and it costs so much over the child’s lifetime in terms of recovering from such treatments and targeting. I don’t believe the current approaches to “trauma-informed” care in schools and community settings are adequate or correctly oriented toward helping families.

    “In Open Dialogue, Valtanen explains, “supporting the individual and family’s agency from the beginning of the work is prioritized above the professional assessment of the situation or the diagnosis of the individual.” When professionals are too quick to make conclusions or interpretations of a client’s situation or decisions, it may lead to a reduction in the client, family, and network involvement.””

    This is precisely the direction that CPS, schools and community settings need to be moving in. Help families and you’ll help kids.

  • What a refreshing read, Lauren, thank you! Some of the most disturbing material published on this site has been in the calls for tighter background checks in response to indiscriminate acts of public gun violence, which is a white, MALE, driven scourge. Given that women are responsible for roughly 3% of these crimes and yet women make up a majority of those in psychiatric care, it doesn’t follow that “mental illness” is strongly correlated with such acts. But we do not yet have the cultural will to address toxic masculinity and systemic racism, which often combine to fuel these mostly well planned heinous acts.

    I do see some value in red flag laws as applied to those with a demonstrated history of domestic violence since that is so strongly correlated with those who go on to commit public acts of gun violence. Studies have shown that women remain at risk of being murdered by their abusers for decades after they escape abusive situations. So again, I think that what is largely missing from these discussions is the risk of MALE violence. I do find some amusement in the fact that my abuser (the one who put a loaded gun to my head while drunk) can purchase a gun while I can’t. It’s a sad testament to who really runs the show.

    Can we really expect Trump and Cuomo – white men – to target their own demographic?

  • I don’t have any problems with your explanations of the science but I do think you speak in overly praising terms about psychotherapists and therapy itself. Much of what passed as therapy for me was further traumatizing – especially the childhood intervention you promote so strongly. This tends to lead advocates to push for more family separation in order to protect the child, but the foster care statistics are abysmal and troubled children especially are often further abused by non-familial foster caregivers, increasing, not decreasing that child’s trauma load.

    Twenty-five years of therapy made it possible for me to speak of horrific traumas without really feeling the pain. That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there, it means I learned to perform for therapists. Acting okay isn’t the same as being okay.

    The current licensing guidelines in maryland for psychotherapists requires multiple courses each on DSM diagnosing and psychopharmacology. This directly promotes psychiatry, not healing from personal connection and safe emotional exploration.

    Additionally, I do not think that even excellent psychotherapy is a panacea for the very clear and alarming science about chronic disease and early death among those of us with high ACEs. My understanding of epigenetic changes is that deletions of genetic code are permanent. I have accepted that despite the long telomeres I inherited which have meant my female family members routinely live into their 90s, I will probably die young.

    I think this topic deserves a lot more discussion but I am extremely leery of simple solutions such as therapy, especially when promoted with such glowing prose. I can only imagine you aren’t personally familiar with how much damage this system doles out to those already deeply harmed.

  • Effrat, I have spoken on all of these topics here in the comments; it is clear to me that you have a solid understanding of the issues people are facing and the environmental factors driving psychic distress in western (US) culture.

    This was an extraordinarily well-written and organized article that I was very pleased to read. I think there is a desperate need for people with your knowledge set in psych academia. You have clearly studied well and were a perfect choice for the first antipsychiatry scholarship award. I’m sure you’ve made Dr. Burstow very proud!

  • I don’t think this is true. The Christian conservatism of my childhood taught that Jesus eschewed the moneylenders and stood up for the poor, for sex workers and otherwise marginalized populations. The church has traditionally provided the services that now fall upon the (supposedly, but not really) secular state. As Rachel has pointed out repeatedly, the church has been corrupted over the last 30 years into accepting psychiatry (specifically, psychiatric drugs).

    I am not religious (I am Buddhist-oriented but do not embrace the idea of anthropomorphic gods) and I am further Left politically than just about anyone I know, but I have been Left Libertarian since the early aughts – long before I embraced antipsychiatry. I still think that salvation has more to offer people in terms of hope and community support than psychiatry does. The trick would be finding a church family willing to tolerate the discomfort of being labeled anti-science. How convoluted it has all become, eh?

  • Yes, graduate doctors with hundreds of thousands in student loan debt and then be surprised that they’re corruptible with cash payments, vacations, and gifts! There’s a reason that extreme debt is a disqualification for a government security clearance. It’s too easy to bribe people with large debts.

    Propublica’s Dollars for Docs is still one of the best resources for checking out physicians conflicts of interest. I remember finding out my gastroenterologist was an industry “thought leader” and had made over half a million dollars from giving speeches at conferences. I never went back. How can you trust someone like that?

  • But how can this kind of research hold any validity if the “personality disorders” are as invalid as the rest of the DSM labels? This is where the neuropsych field continues to run into replication issues. The DSM labels are unscientific to start with, so any correlations between adverse events and specific diagnoses needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Much better to simply assert that adverse prenatal environments have adverse effects on child development. This would be inclusive of other research that attempts to correlate prenatal infection, stress, drug exposure, etc on “autism”, “adhd”, “schizophrenia”, “psychopathy” etc.

  • My problem with “mad pride”, “neurodiversity”, and similar labels is that they serve only to continue “othering” folks experiencing the normal range of human emotion and reaction.

    Trauma did not make me “mad”, “crazy”, or “mentally ill”. Extreme states resulting from adverse experiences should be viewed as part of the spectrum of normal response. I resent the idea that being distressed in response to adversity is something to celebrate. It’s not special, it’s evidence of harm.

    Likewise, the altered mental functioning (neuropsychiatric effects) that result from infection and inflammation in the central nervous system from serious physical illnesses like Lyme Disease, syphilis, HIV (even Alzheimer’s is increasingly looking like it has an infectious etiology), is NOT something to be celebrated as “madness”.

    Unlike being gay, I wasn’t “born this way” and I certainly won’t give any credence to the debunked biological/genetic theories of “mental illness” etiology by embracing such a position. I refuse to glorify the effects of environmental harm when what is needed is systems change – both in medicine and culturally.

    I understand that the labeled population wants better treatment from society in general, but arguing that we’re fundamentally different is a good way to remain targeted for eradication, not inclusion.

    Frankly, I think “Pharma Bro”, Jamie Dimon, The Sackler family, Bernie Madoff, The Trumps, etc, are far more dangerous to us societally than the odd “crazy” who does something sensational. How much press does one person being pushed in front of a subway train deserve when despotic wealth hoarders are screwing us all while smiling and gladhanding? I’m going to guess that far more deaths and misery are associated with the names above than with the one off stories that hog media attention and cause distressed folks to remain targeted as some kind of massive danger to society.

    No, I won’t fight for “mad pride” and I don’t see it as being particularly compatible with antipsychiatry. Given my own circumstances, I’m a shining beacon of normality and goodness, so I will not participate in my own othering and beg for acceptance of my supposed “madness”. Fighting for systems change is my only focus.

  • Hi Alex, I tend to view conflict as a normal part of all relationships, not just something that happens once or twice and then you get on swimmingly from then on. I don’t think I’d say I can judge someone from a single conflict, though a BIG conflict early on would certainly make me hesitate to invest deeper trust in the other person. I think trust is gained in stages, therefore, after one has learned that the other person can communicate and behave in validating and nonabusive ways. I also believe that this requires any potential therapist to have the capacity to absorb some client issues early on while building that trust and while the client is learning that the enrvionment is a safe one where issues and feelings can be expressed honestly.

    The problem with the mh industry and notions of conflict with a treatment provider is that most of mental health is delivered in an authoritarian manner (FYOG, as some say) rather than with truly shared and guided decision making. With the former, it’s not ever really possible for the client/provider team to build authentic trust and navigate conflict because the provider will always win any power struggle. The latter requires building trust between strangers and I think the normal rules of learning how to interact with different kinds of people applies. My comment about learning to navigate conflict was made under the assumption that the provider is acting as a helper/guide/assistant rather than as an authority but from my own experience I know that is rare, so your point is taken. The fact remains that the system of help is pretty broke.

  • There’s nothing wrong with learning new ways of being in the world as one matures and heals, alongside receiving the assistance one needs to survive.

    My disdain for the manualized therapies is precisely that they rely upon learning coping skills but don’t help the individual make the changes necessary – changes that often entail long-term support and financial assistance. I didn’t need a psychotherapist or medication. I needed help escaping from an extremely abusive spouse, a proper education, and antibiotics to treat the symptoms of what I now know was Lyme disease. No one should ever be forced to “cope” with abuse or a treatable illness.

    Coping skills have their place, but almost all of what the helping professions offer is medications combined with coping skills, when what most people need the most is a restoration of the social contract. This boils down to a lack of public will to help poor people. Welfare assistance and paid college/daycare would have been a much cheaper investment for the taxpayer than the fifteen year long disability path I ended up being forced into.

    I have no problem with learning how to cope with life’s natural sadnesses and difficulties – they are fodder for building one’s inner fortitude and grit. Much of modern life stressors are very far removed from anything natural, and are imposed by a sociopathic capitalist class system in which there are few winners and many losers.

  • Connecting “severe mental illness” with “monstrous crimes” is not only stigmatizing but factually incorrect. And you wonder why nobody wants to “adopt” us.

    The biggest barrier to these kinds of projects is funding, not lack of desire to help people. When the majority of Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency, how are you expecting people to do much more than cheerlead? The majority are suffering – by design of a system that prioritizes self sufficiency over cooperation.

    I have had a desire for some time to establish an intentional community for psych survivors, but doing anything outside of the system takes funds that most survivors don’t have, including me, since of course, household wealth is not the same as personal wealth.

  • Point of contention: showering daily is not healthy for anyone who is not being exposed to healthcare pathogens. For one thing, it washes off the vitamin d that your skin oils produce in response to exposure to UVB light and which takes time to absorb back into the skin and blood stream. It’s also not particularly good for your surface microbiome, and the skin is our first line of defense against illness. Also, literally none of the most financially successful people I know showers on a daily basis.

    Secondly, CBT (actually ALL of the manualized therapies) places the onus on an individual to adapt to their situation and develop better coping skills and internal regulation rather than acknowledging and assisting the client to change the circumstances leading to the distress.

    It’s no wonder that treating people as if they’re to blame for their problems and calling it “therapy” doesn’t make them feel better. Most of the time I was in “therapy”, I was high achieving, an honors student, traveling, involved in my community and being gaslighted by treatment providers as not really being invested in my own wellbeing or simply being “seriously mentally ill”. Too bad it took so long and I took so much abuse before my Lyme diagnosis. Even with my trauma history, I was kicking ass and taking names while being tremendously physically ill.

    I certainly hope the providers of these “services” will take the feedback from service users to heart.

  • This is an interesting finding. One of my favorite people, who happens to be a former therapist, has expressed very similar thoughts about what makes an effective therapist.

    “Interestingly, the findings suggested that it may take an interpersonally challenging situation to arise in therapy for these therapist effects to emerge. In other words, how therapists respond when faced with challenging moments differentiate the effective therapists, who respond with empathy, self-control, and emotional containment, from the less effective ones.”

    This concept of navigating conflict is especially one we’ve explored as friends, with us both believing that real trust isn’t built until you’ve successfully navigated a conflict (or several).

    My personal view on the manualized therapies is that they are basically useless in helping the client create permanent improvements in their living situation – they focus on coping skills and changing the patient, who may very well be having a totally normal and expected response to adverse circumstances. An effective therapist, in my view, will help the client create change in their circumstances that are leading to distress. That doesn’t always come quickly. Of course, if the client is nothing more than a source of income for the therapist, marginal (or short-lived) results can be expected. There must be some level of real attachment and caring for the client.

    Timely piece!

  • Nice, well sourced blog, Corinna! I’m so sorry to hear about your friend.

    “The reality of being an advocate is also this: We are trying (with no resources) to heal from medical harm while trying to defend our methods of healing from constant criticism, while trying to help other patients heal, while trying (with no resources) to change a system that isn’t rewarded for creating healing.”

    I hear you. The system isn’t designed for healing and/or recovery, it’s designed for profit. Even nonprofits have to compete in ways that were optimized to benefit a for-profit system. It’s designed for quick, cheap solutions that make nice political sound bites, not to address expensive, long-term root issues.

    I don’t think you should frame the changes you’re making as ‘quitting’, with all the negative connotations that are attached to that word. You’re shifting gears into a different, equally valuable and needed role. Suicidal thoughts thrive on these notions of ‘quitting’ and ‘failure’ but you and your work are necessary. You should be very proud of what you’ve built and really try to internalize that handing off of roles to new fresh players has always been part of progress.