Showing 210 of 210 comments.
Will MIA be doing a tribute to Matt Stevenson? I was just informed that he died on Thursday(?!)
I totally agree with your observations, Katie W. My experience with hospital birth left me feeling like I’d been sexually assaulted. It was horrible. And I was supposed to feel grateful for the violent and humiliating treatment I received! My home birth experiences were a much healthier, safer, and more humane.
This story, Katinka Newman’s story just came across my Yahoo newsfeed!!
PS: Maybe you ARE a bit like a dog with a bone, but I thank God that you are!
As always, thank you SO MUCH, Mr. Whitaker, for your good work and for caring about this issue. I would like to humbly request that you make the link to your paper a bit more prominent so that readers can easily find it. In case folks missed it in the body of Mr. Whitaker’s blog entry, here again is the link to his 46-page paper entitled “The Case Against Antipsychotics: A Review of Their Long-Term Effects.”
I should clarify, that question was directed at “givemeyourking,” who commented:
“So you think that everyone should get to have children no matter how mentally ill they are? How kind of you. Having children is just the thing for a highly stressed, mentally ill person living in poverty…..”
What’s your position on highly stressed, WEALTHY “mentally ill” people having children?
To givemeyourking, A madman? You mean Hitler? On what basis do you make your claim that he was a “madman?” Did he have a so-called mental “illnes?” How could a “madman” gain so much power and influence? Also, on what basis do you make your claim that “sane people ran the American eugenics program”? Did they all pass some sort of sanity test? Maybe the American eugenics program was actually run by a bunch of “madmen?”
Please explain yourself. Thanks.
Actually, I’m glad we’re having this exchange because it draws attention to a problem about which Pat felt passionately – that being the fact that people who have been subjected to psychiatric treatment for so-called “severe mental illness” can expect to die on average 20 years prematurely from causes such as complications from diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease. As I mentioned, Pat blamed his heart problems on “medications” which he had been prescribed.
Pat was only 63. He may have been a psychiatric survivor, but I believe psychiatry ended up killing him anyway, albeit not without a fight – and a valiant one at that. What a warrior he was.
(I should tell you that normally, anyone who calls Robert Whitaker an idiot, gets a dose of my wrath. But, I’ll give you a free pass. This time. 😉 )
You mean CONGESTIVE heart failure, don’t you? Pat’s heart problems were most certainly not congenital. He blamed psychiatric drugs for damaging his heart.
Here’s somebody from the entertainment industry poking fun at First-Order Psychiatry. Hilarious!
Bravo, Steve. Your list makes so much sense. I especially appreciate that sleep deprivation is Number 1. YES! And how does drugging the new mom and telling her she’s “disordered” help with any of the challenges/problems on your list? It doesn’t help! What new mom needs is lots of empathy and support. And naps.
The only thing I might add to your list is the temptation to feel guilty having a struggle at all with new motherhood – about not measuring up (Maybe #11 covers that). Oh, and having a new baby can put a strain on the relationship with the current child/children.
Did you notice that this Kinderman article is from Nov. 17 of LAST year?
Yes. Or worse, admonished to lower their expectations because they are doomed to a limited life due to their incurable “impairment.”
Yes, of course. Incurable AND genetic. And the afflicted person gets no warning about the iatrogenic dangers of “treatment” I appreciate your edits. Spot on!
I agree. Based on what I’ve experienced, part of conventional “treatment” seems to be getting clients to accept this idea that they have incurable, chronic, genetic illnesses. Nurturing that mindset ensures life-long revenue streams from those clients. Revenue may not be the motivation for promoting the “chronic disease” model of mental “illness,” but it sure is a benefit for providers.
The only people I know who have escaped the chronic mental “illness” trap did so by escaping conventional treatment.
Bob Newhart did a great skit of the “STOP DOING THAT” method of psychiatry. The “YOUR GENETIC MAKEUP MADE YOU DO IT” has great comedy potential too.
What if broken legs were treated like mental health problems? No x-rays would be done, no medical tests, no treatment to repair the damage and help the bone heal properly. The man with a broken leg would be told he has a life-long “bone disorder,” would be given sedatives and pain killers that would help him live with his bone disorder “like insulin helps a diabetic.”
If physiological health problems were treated like mental health problems, there would be a public outcry. And rightly so.
Thanks for the reminder to keep it civil, Emmeline.
A Google search popped up this CBS piece on Tom Harrell.
According to this account, regarding his affliction, “Harrell overcomes it with music. Yet the moment he stops playing his disorder seizes him. . . . But while Harrell appears in full retreat from the world, the music prevents him from losing his place. And when horn returns to mouth, the voices vanish. It’s the only time you don’t see the signs of his illness”
Harrell states that the psych drugs help keep him on an even keel, but that even with the drugs, performing is an act of will. And then his wife, Angela, describes “a toxic reaction to a medication that almost killed him.”
Not exactly what I would call a resounding endorsement of psychiatric treatment.
This article left me with the impression that it’s mostly Harrell’s wife and his music that keep him together. His story brought to mind a brilliant TED talk by violin virtuoso Vijay (Robert) Gupta about Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (a.k.a. “The Soloist”) entitled :
“Music Is Medicine, Music Is Sanity”
Oh, and by the way, nobody has “disabled” your ability to reply to their comments.
By the way, his name is spelled “Thelonious” not “Thelonius.”
You’re welcome, Steve!
I find myself getting fairly incensed over the ridiculous and defamatory practice of psychological autopsy. Ugh.
This notion that when Thelonious Monk was off his psych drugs “he only could play one song over and over in one key and was non functional” is simply too ludicrous to be believable. If Robin Kelley’s research is accurate, then I agree with you that it does seem that the opposite situation is true. Psychiatric drugs had a very detrimental effect on Thelonious Monk.
And I also agree with you that it’s time to get back to the original topic of Rob’s post.
This defamatory claim that Thelonious Monk “off his meds” was able to play only one song in one key warrants a rebuttal. In The Atlantic, Robin D.G. Kelley (his biographer who actually had access to Monk’s medical records), describes Monk as “a man who suffered more from prescription drugs and bad diagnosis than he did from illicit drugs and bipolar disorder. He received very bad medical treatment, bad advice and bad prescriptions for a very long time. The impact that had on his ability to function shocked [Kelley].”
Kellly also writes, “What’s far more important to Monk’s story than his diagnoses or misdiagnoses . . . is pharmacological history. Thelonious was given large doses of thorazine by one set of doctors, and another who was giving him large doses of amphetamine under the guise of ‘vitamins’. You can see how that might have created the conditions for strange behavior.”
About Lithium, Kelley writes that it “acts like a blanket on the brain for many people. When Monk eventually was prescribed it, later in life, it contributed to an unwillingness or a lack of desire to play. . . . he suffered from an increasing number of health problems, some of which had to do with the thorazine he was taking.”
Here’s the link to the Kelley interview:
As usual, we are in agreement, AA. (And please accept my apology for taking so long to respond!)
I don’t think it’s silly at all to celebrate. Yours is a great victory. Your life could have been completely trashed. Like you, both Kimmy and her mom credit Anatomy of an Epidemic for saving her life. Congratulations on reclaiming your life from psychiatric labeling and drugging!
Thanks for your kind words, Margaret. I believe that telling the truth about the damage done by mainstream psychiatry is the only thing that will bring about much-needed change. Telling your story will empower both you and others who have had similar experiences. Laura Delano is the editor for personal stories here at Mad In America. I encourage you to get in touch with her.
Well, Danny S, if “nuanced” is a synonym for “sneaky,” then I guess I would agree with you. What Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles has done here is simply dress up a marketing message in sciencey-sounding language.
I agree with AA. This chemical-imbalance-in-the-brain message is so much recycled crap.
Who needs studies and trials? Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles provides us with “a very simplified explanation” as to “How Ketmine Works” for even “TRD” (Treatment Resistant Depression). “Growing evidence suggests” (where have we heard THAT before?) that ketamine – wait for it – CORRECTS A CHEMICAL IMBALANCE IN THE BRAIN! Ta Daaa! Just like the marketers of Prozac claimed that it corrected a chemical imbalance! Who needs science when you can fall back on marketing spin? Here’s the link to “How Ketamine Works” on the website for Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles:
I agree! And how about Mahler, Handel, Mozart, Scriabin, Beethoven, Schumann, etc. etc.? I imagine there are very few famous composers who WOULDN’T be slapped with a mental “disorder” label and psychiatrized if they were around today.
There is not a shred of evidence which “proves” that the extreme state known as psychosis is caused by an illness of the brain. If you have overwhelming evidence, how about sharing a citation? And of course, there are no medical tests for ANY mental “illness.” That’s because mental “illness” is not a medical issue. The mind cannot have a disease any more than society can have a disease. Concepts like “mental illness” and “social ills” are metaphorical. Of course the psycho pharmaceutical industry would like everyone to BELIEVE that mental “illness” is a medical issue. However, the need for that industry to continue to profit is not a compelling reason to believe their propaganda.
By the way, Mark, I did describe to Dr. Campo some of your experience as a schizophrenia patient. He said you must have been mis-diagnosed. Typical.
Thanks for your kind offer, Nick Forand! There IS something you can help me with! Dr. Michael Corrigan and I are looking for a venue for a one-day seminar here in Columbus. The goal for the seminar, which Dr. Corrigan is presenting at universities across the U.S., is “to dramatically slow down the trend of over diagnosing, labeling and medicating children in the name of mental health.” Speakers will include experts such as Robert Whitaker, Dr. Gretchen LeFever Watson, Dr. Charles Fay, Jim Fay, Dr. Michael Gilbert and others.
Here is a link:
What do you think of having the OSU psychiatry department provide a venue and sponsor this important seminar? I’ll try to contact you via your OSU contact information. Or feel free to contact me at:
I’m also on Twitter and Facebook.
With all due respect, Mark Sullivan, that was way back in the 1970s when you found psychiatrists who actually helped you to reclaim your life. Where would you find that kind of help today? Seems to me that somebody in your situation today would be pressured to accept a diagnosis of life-long severe mental illness and coerced onto a cocktail of drugs that would shorten the lifespan by 15-20 years. Or maybe end up the way the University of Minnesota psychiatry did “Robert”
or Dan Markingson
Nick Forand, thanks for being a proponent of positive change at Ohio State! I hope you will continue to work on the chair of psychiatry until he moves from “strongly considering” a presentation by Mr. Whitaker to taking some real action to make it happen. The fact is that in 2012 when three deans at OSU (Nursing, Public Health, and Social Work) sponsored Robert Whitaker’s appearance on campus, the psychiatry department was invited to participate. John Campo declined.
Regarding the psych ward at Ohio State, Dr. Allen Frances and I wrote about my late son’s experience there:
The place was run by snakes in white coats then. Is there any reason for me to believe things have improved there?
I agree that almost all psychiatrists claim to believe in the so-called biopsychosocial model, but in practice they tend to be bio-bio-bio. For example, when I made the mistake of describing to John Campo (in a social setting, I would never seek “help” from psychiatry) my great despair over my son’s struggle and death, he told me that obviously, I needed to be on an anti-depressant. He then helpfully illustrated his point by explaining to me that if I had diabetes, I would not object to taking insulin. He further explained that the REAL reason I refuse to take anti-depressants is my “misplaced Christian pride.” (For the record, the REAL reason I don’t take psych drugs is I’m not buying the snake-oil sales pitch.)
On the up side, I was encouraged that Sandra Steingard was invited to present to OSU’s psychiatry department. Maybe there is reason to hope that change is possible. But then again, somebody like Jeffrey Lieberman was also invited, the quintessential snake in a white coat.
Why wait for your gravestone? Put “Menace to Society” on your business card!
Yeah, Mark, I think John Campo should invite Mr. Whitaker to address his Department of Psychiatry at OSU, don’t you? Time for the blind to stop leading the blind over there. They need Mr. Whitaker to pull them all from their big ditch of misinformation.
When they go off of them, that’s when drug WITHDRAWAL wreaks havoc and gets misinterpreted as a return of the so-called “illness.”
Zoloft gave me cardiac arrhythmia. When I told my psychiatrist about it, she said, “I’ve never heard THAT one before.” She completely dismissed my complaint. Didn’t take notes, didn’t report it. So I quit taking it and never went back to see her. I wonder how often complaints of adverse effects are treated this way.
So in your experience, only one out of five psychiatrists are capable of behaving like a decent human being, while 80 percent are pretty much incompetent. I wonder how well those percentages translate to the wider population of practicing psychiatrists. Are 80 percent incompetent? I reckon that sounds about right.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Thank you so much for commenting on my essay. I am a big admirer of yours, and I feel quite honored by your affirming words.
Your reference to sainthood sure made me laugh. I’d nominate Robert Whitaker for any accolades. Talk about providing unfiltered information regarding the truth! Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic gave me and everyone else involved in Kimmy’s journey the confidence to recognize and reject the lies of biopsychiatry and to believe in the human spirit.
Thanks again for your comment!
Yes, the clueless deference to mainstream psychiatry is truly maddening. I plan to send a copy of my essay to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, so that they will be made aware of the the terrible impact Judge Bender has had on our family. I am still angry about his arrogance and his sneering dismissal of my son’s humanity.
Thanks, B, for your kind words. I had only a small role in saving Kimmy’s life. The hardest work was done by Kimmy herself. I was honored to be able to assist and encourage her.
ebl, I’d rather not bother Mr. Whitaker, but you should be able to find me pretty easily on Facebook if you’d like to get in touch with me.
I agree that way too often, life after psychiatric treatment is some sort of death. Yes, this is what Jake and Kimmy experienced, and I know this has been the experience of your precious Siddharta – ROBBED of his life by the mental illness industry! Readers who are not familiar with Cindi’s journey from compliance to activism, please read about it here. You’ll be glad you did!
Cindi, what you have written here is so much more than a comment. You have given us a powerfully poetic prophecy. Thank you so much. Kahlil Gibran himself could not have expressed it any more eloquently.
Yes, may Our Stories become Songs of the Winds of Change. Those Winds of Change are indeed now upon us. Thank you for sharing your vision.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
– Proverbs 13:12
Thanks for bringing up the subject of hope. Hope is a theme in my TEDx talk from a few years ago.
I also describe numerous examples of American psychiatry done well (lest anyone label me “anti-psychiatry”). I wouldn’t want folks thinking that I’m some sort of rabid, irrational, anti-psychiatrist because hey, I’m not irrational!
Sorry to see the old “like insulin for diabetes” trope (tripe?) is STILL alive and well.
Sapolsky writes, “Depression is as real a biological disorder as juvenile diabetes . . .” I’m just shaking my head. Unbelievable. I wonder what his ties are to the pharmaceutical industry.
Regarding the Germanwings plane crash, the role of psych drugs HAS been mention in this article http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2015/03/29/faa-procedures-for-pilots-with-depression-taking-ssris/ and this one http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2015/03/nobody-is-stigmatising-depression-its-the-pills-we-need-to-worry-about-.html
The world needs to wake up to the massive iatrogenic damage being done in the name of psychiatric treatment. It nearly killed Kimmy. Keep speaking up!
I know! I agree! They SHOULD be interested in humans. I guess things like empathy and compassion are too “unscientific” for Psychiatric Times’ consideration. They need to maintain the ILLUSION that they’re all about . . . SCIENCE!
Indeed. It seems that as far as the psychiatric establishment is concerned human interest has taken a back seat to professional self interest. On second thought, back seat, schmack seat. Human interest has been kicked to the curb.
Best of luck to you and Bill. You are blessed to have this Mad In America community and the resources and connections it provides. I think it would have made a big difference for Jake. Both Kimmy and her mom credit Robert Whitaker with saving her life.
Thanks for commenting, warmac. And thanks for the Jim Carrey links. I’m definitely a fan!
Good point, Augustus. But I don’t wonder about it anymore. I have no doubt that there’s no money in mental health for pharmaceutical companies. There are, however, billions of dollars to be made managing chronic mental “illnesses.” Pharmaceutical companies put lots of effort into selling the idea that problems with thinking, emotion, and behavior are chronic, incurable “illnesses” that can only be endured by lifelong management with their pharmaceutical products.
Thanks for commenting!
Congratulations on reclaiming your life from the lie of the “broken brain.” Good for you! And thanks for your kind words. Yes, love and compassion have powerful healing properties.
Thanks, madmom. I am familiar with your family’s story from your comments here at Mad In America. I am rooting for your daughter. Do you think a nationwide group of honked off parents (an alternative to the pHARMa-funded NAMI) could change the deplorable mental illness industry that is failing so many? What do you think?
Thanks for commenting, Someone Else, and for your kind words about Jake. Yes, your story and Kimmy’s stories are the classic and all-too-frequent narrative of — to quote a friend of mine — “how initial treatment leads to a life as a mental patient (unless one escapes.)”
I’m so thankful that you and Kimmy escaped that constricted life!
Wow. “For some reason, they did not like my submission . . .” LOL! I think we know the reason. You did not provide them with the deference they crave:
They want to hear your story as long as it’s something along the lines of, “Thank goodness I sought help from psychiatry. They gave me an accurate diagnosis and provided me with a lifelong plan for managing my illness with health-giving medications.” They can’t handle the truth! Thanks, bpdtransformation, for being part of the movement to expose mainstream psychiatry for the quackery that it is.
That means a lot, coming from you, Sandy. Thanks for chiming in!
I can only speak for myself of course, but no, I don’t think it makes sense to talk about the deceased in the present tense. Although I’m sure the suggestion is well-intentioned, referring to the deceased in present tense feelss like denial to me, and that is neither helpful nor kind. The death of the beloved is horrific, especially the death of a son or daughter. It’s a horrible thing to face, but it must be faced. Denial is a natural reaction of course. It was my initial reaction. (“No! Not my son! You must have him confused with someone else.”) What I needed (and still need) in the aftermath of my son’s death was compassion – shared feeling. I needed people who could face this horror with me courageously, but with a shared broken heart.
“Abomination” works even better.
Let me replace “monstrosity” with”blasphemy” as a descriptor of psychiatry.
“I’ve seen patients joyfully bound off their cot [sic] within minutes of completing their ECT.”
PRAISE LIEBERMAN! It’s a MIRACLE!!!
LOL! LOL! I agree with you, Mr. Whitaker, there seems to be an allusion here to the gospel story of Jesus healing the paralytic. (Mark 2:1-12). Intentional? Very likely, I think, as Lieberman’s book, “Shrinks,” isn’t just a self portrait of a profession, it’s a self portrait of psychiatry suffering from a messianic delusion!
Another laugh-out-loud moment was Lieberman’s quote about how the “entire profession [of psychiatry] was utterly transmogrified.” Leiberman appears not to understand the meaning of the word “transmogrified,” which means “to change or alter greatly, and often with grotesque or humorous effect” or “to transform or change completely, especially in a grotesque or strange manner.”
Yes, the trade of psychiatry certainly is grotesque and strange, so much so it would be humorous, except that the killing, stealing, and maiming it commits is no laughing matter.
Thanks, Mr. Whitaker, for the good, hard laughs at the expense of this monstrosity called psychiatry. With the anniversaries of my son’s birth and death coming up in the next few weeks, I could use a laugh or two. Good therapy.
I agree, Steve! Whenever I see this kind of propaganda promoted by acolytes of the Treatment Advocacy Center, I am reminded of that famous quote, attributed to Goebbels:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
I, too, am familiar with the accounts of higher recovery rates in poorer countries. What is really infuriating to me, though, is that we’ve seen recovery rates (from “psychotic disorders”) as high as 80 to 85 percent RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES, claimed by (dissident) psychiatrists like William Glasser, John Weir Perry and Loren Mosher, who focus not on treating “diseased brains,” but on restoring respect, relatedness, balance, and hope to the troubled person’s life. I talk about my informal research on this topic here:
Also, I would like to take this opportunity to ascertain that I do indeed know how to spell “regurgitated.”
I could use a good copy editor.
I’m quite familiar with this claim that “about a third recover.” It’s one of those factoids, i.e. a piece of propaganda, which is regurgiated over and over by the disciples of E. Fuller Torrey and his forced drugging fan club, the so-called Treatment Advocacy Center.
Also in answer to the question, “what is ADHD, exactly?”, according to this article posted on another thread by MIA moderator Emmeline Mead,
ADHD is a SCAM and a FRAUD.
Thank you for your comment, Sa! It means the world to me to know that I might have helped you experience some hope during a dark time. Courage!
“What is ADHD, exactly?” It is nothing but a pejorative label applied to someone whose classroom behavior others find annoying and/or disruptive. It’s comparable to how the term “internet troll” is applied to someone whose online behavior others find disruptive and annoying.
So. ADHD – a pejorative label and nothing more (as are all the “diagnostic” labels in the DSM, a.k.a. psychiatry’s big book of insults).
Thanks, Grace. Your kindness has really made my day. It was just “luck” that I happened to notice your comment on MIA’s front page in the comment feed. Thanks for the dialogue. I clicked on the link to your blog and look forward to reading more of your thoughts there. In the meantime, I will continue to keep my eyes open to be ready for the return of color and delight. 😉
BTW, I deactivated my Facebook account a couple of months ago. I hope I don’t have an imposter!
It just occurred to me that I should put a link to my TEDx talk here:
Thanks for the prompt, Rossa.
Thank you so much for your comment and for taking the time to offer some encouragement. It’s SO encouraging to learn that your own frustration has become delight and that the dullness can turn to enthusiasm. If this is true and real, then maybe there is hope for me. Although I continue to keep my eyes open, I still feel surrounded by fog. It’s been almost 7 years since Jake’s death, and I’m STILL waiting for the color to return. Maybe I’m just a stubborn sadsack, I don’t know. ha ha Maybe the color will eventually return. In the meantime, the kindness of strangers like you keeps me going. Thanks again for reaching out. God bless you. BTW, you look familiar. Have we met?
Hey there blakeacake,
You are so welcome! In answer to your question, yes, I am familiar with the film “Awakenings.” It was probably the most heart-wrenchingly sad movie I’ve ever seen. What a tragic story. Why do you think the “L-dopa drug restored life” to a group of catatonic patients? None of them were restored to life. Treatment was a tragic failure. Were you unable to attend to the entire movie? As I recall, the effects of the drug were temporary, and ALL the patients returned to a catatonic state. So sad.
Good luck with your ADHD amphetamine addiction. I hope it doesn’t end up destroying you like it has so many others.
Warmac, I am SO sorry to learn of the harm done to your son in the name of ADHD “treatment.” I hope he is doing better now!
My own son is dead, in large part because of the self-serving LIES promoted by American psychiatry. What if we form a nationwide organization for pissed off, whistle-blowing families who have been devasted by the false paradigm of psychiatry? What if a large group of pissed off parents like the Fees and like you and me got ORGANIZED?! Mental “illness” is not the problem – it’s the incompetent, life-detroying bio-psychiatric paradigm and its “treatments.” That is the problem.
PS: I’d like to thank blakeacake for bringing us together here. Perhaps he/she will inadvertently serve as the catalyst to form a major backlash against dangerous psychiatric quackery.
Seriously?! Are you suggesting that drugging an inattentive kid with amphetamines is as harmless as prescribing eyeglasses for the nearsighted? What an inane comparison. When have eyeglasses ever killed someone?
Yeah! GREAT stuff!!!! I agree it needs to be replicated!
WOW!! This is the best news I’ve read in months. Dr. Shannon, how can we get one of your Wholeness Centers in Ohio? Any possibility of a franchise of some sort?
Re: Biederman, he should be chilling in the slammer, IMO.
“Why would you want a loved one kept alive against his or her will?” The author’s father offers an answer. He seems grateful that his own suicide attempt was thwarted.
The term “anosognosia” has been misappropriated from the field of neurology by pro-forced drugging groups like the “Treatment Advocacy Center.” It has no validity as a psychiatric term.
My, oh my, FaceOfChange! I can’t say for certain what has caused, in your words, your “verbalizing as hemorrhage of thought,” but I’m pretty sure your rant is not due to your possessing a “severely disordered brain.” More likely, you are expressing a natural human response to feeling vexed. I believe this natural human mechanism explains much of what gets labeled psychotic “illness.”
Of course, I cannot begin to explain the behavior of the fictional loonies in your make-believe scenarios – people flinging children off of bridges and whatnot! Let’s deal in fact and reality, shall we? Take Leonard Roy Frank for example, who is presently being eulogized here on MIA. As a young man, his “bizarre” behavior got him psychiatrically incarcerated, where his bio-psychiatric brain-blaming “doctors” forced him to endure dozens of electro-shock and insulin coma “treatments” to fix his “severely disordered” brain. How misguided! How barbaric!
Dr. Eleanor Longden is another interesting real-life example. She was so severely tormented by voices that she tried to drill a hole in her head to get the voices out. You can hear the short version of her story here in her brilliant TED talk.
There is, and was, nothing wrong with Dr. Longden’s brain even though she experienced a life-and-death struggle with her mind.
And what about the curious case of Anders Breivik? Can you explain what caused him to shoot to death 69 young people in a summer camp after killing 8 other people with a bomb?
Not even the court-appointed psychiatric so-called “experts” could agree if he was insane or not. Are you more of an expert than the professional “experts?” If you are, please offer an explanation for Anders Breivik’s behavior. Please do.
Bio-psychiatry is a joke, and bio-psychiatric reductionist explanations (a.k.a. brain blaming) for “abnormal” behavior is so last century. Please get with the times. Please do.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience and wisdom here. Much of what you have written resonates with my experience of my son Jake’s death, which while not exactly a suicide, shared some common elements with your family’s story, as it seemed to me as if Jake was caught in a vortex of self-destruction. You described this so well as Chris being “dragged into a deep and enveloping hole that was too dark to see and too powerful to escape.” Well said.
For the past week or so, I have mulled over what you have written. I find great wisdom in your eight lessons. But like Emmeline, I have had to wrestle with your suggestion that suicide and the kind of despair that leads to it are senseless. While some things can be difficult – maybe even impossible – to understand, that does not mean that the difficult-to-understand is senseless. The kind of hopelessness, dread, and shame that can push a person to end his/her life are terribly toxic – a deadly poison to the soul. After my son died, I felt like the only way I could find peace would be to understand the truth of what he had experienced. Maybe that’s misguided, I don’t know. Maybe what our loved ones experienced is a mystery, and I’ll just have to accept the mystery. I sometimes feel that losing Jake has infected me with the same poisonous hopelessness, dread, and shame. Lesson #1 prevents me from getting sucked in too far. But I want to understand the poisoning. And, more important, I want to know – what is the antidote?
What a horrific loss you and your family have endured. You have my heartfelt sympathy.
WOW, Caitlin! Thanks for this contribution to the conversation! Interesting . . .
How ironic that Richard seems to be borrowing on a quote made famous by Jesus, “the truth will set you free,” in his appeal for a mechanistic worldview. Is Richard declaring, as Jesus did, “Everyone on the side of truth listen to me.”?
Such a bold statement begs the question, “What is truth?” (to borrow Pilate’s response to Jesus).
PS: great article, Dr. Berezin! How wonderful to have you contributing here at Mad in America! Your views on madness brought to mind the work of Dr. Bert Karon and his view that “schizophrenia” is akin to a sort of chronic terror syndrome.
I do hope we’ll be hearing more from you!
I DID read your article, Dr. Berezin. My comment was not directed at you. It was directed at the commenter FaceOfChange.
FaceOfChange, I believe that you are the one who’s clinging to discredited theories. As Dr. Phil Hickey has stated, extreme problems with thinking, emotions, and behavior are not “illnesses.” There is absolutely no evidence to support your notion that so-called psychotic “illnesses” are caused by some sort of brain deficit. Such ideas are remnants of last century thinking. I suggest this TEDx talk by psychiatrist Jim van Os to help you start getting your thinking up to date. Dr. van Os explains why psychosis is not an illness.
MIA has INDEED published a Christian theologian, Elahe Hessamfar, who states “we certainly don’t suffer from a lack of medical treatment for [“those whose spirits are broken”] . . . In fact, if anything, we suffer from overmedication, and hurful treatments that may damage a person’s ability to make right and wrong decisions.”
Here’s a link:
Reverend Haynes, I encourage you to submit your own article to Mad In America. I, for one, would love to hear more about your perspective on what role the church might have in healing those with broken spirits (aside from providing free meeting space for NAMI initiatives, of course).
Thanks, Academic, for making some great points about the chemical imbalance hypothesis/theory. I appreciate that calling it a theory or hypothesis gives it too much credit. Better to describe it as the
chemical imbalance STORY
chemical imbalance MYTH.
I also appreciate those who dub it the
chemical imbalance FRAUD
chemical imbalance LIE.
Oh my. Thanks for the link to the blog on “Myths About Psychiatry.” This Stotland character really knows how pile on the hogwash, doesn’t she? E.g., she claims that brain scans can detect depression?! Yeah, right! And people treated for so-called schizophrenia can have “fulfilling lives” thanks to psychiatric drugs that she claims “unclutters their brains.” ha ha ha ha ha ha And – this one’s the most hilarious – prejudice against psychiatry goes back thousands of years!! Oh my goodness. What a load of crap.
That Stotland is a former president of the American Psychiatric Association speaks volumes about how intellectually bankrupt THAT group must be.
Several years ago, Lariam was reported by Time to be among the top ten prescription drugs linked to violence. Looks like all the other drugs on the list are psychiatric drugs. Here’s the link:
The information published in the Time article came from this study:
It’s remarkable how many more psychiatric drugs made PloS One’s list (in addition to the Lariam, a.k.a. mefloquine).
What would motivate a person to take the time to write and publicly post such a smug, mean-spirited comment? Ew.
au contraire, candreae –
The suggestion that neuroleptic drugs (a.k.a. antipsychotics) cause Parkinsonism is quite well founded, see the last paragraph of:
And sadly, according to this article, Parkinsonism generally has “a worse prognosis compared to typical Parkinson’s disease.”
I should add that Dr. Angell is quoting Robert Whitaker.
If you read Nancy’s comment you will see that she herself states that the drugs “may or may not be useful.” If you feel that the drugs have been helpful to you, then good for you! They are not helpful to everyone.
Thanks for bringing up the New England Journal of Medicine. Its former Editor In Chief, Marcia Angell MD, wrote this book:
“The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It”
AND, in Dr. Angell’s article for the prestigious New York Review of Books, she offers the following quote:
“Imagine that a virus suddenly appears in our society that makes people sleep twelve, fourteen hours a day. Those infected with it move about somewhat slowly and seem emotionally disengaged. Many gain huge amounts of weight—twenty, forty, sixty, and even one hundred pounds. Often their blood sugar levels soar, and so do their cholesterol levels. A number of those struck by the mysterious illness—including young children and teenagers—become diabetic in fairly short order…. The federal government gives hundreds of millions of dollars to scientists at the best universities to decipher the inner workings of this virus, and they report that the reason it causes such global dysfunction is that it blocks a multitude of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain—dopaminergic, serotonergic, muscarinic, adrenergic, and histaminergic. All of those neuronal pathways in the brain are compromised. Meanwhile, MRI studies find that over a period of several years, the virus shrinks the cerebral cortex, and this shrinkage is tied to cognitive decline. A terrified public clamors for a cure.
Now such an illness has in fact hit millions of American children and adults. We have just described the effects of Eli Lilly’s best-selling antipsychotic, Zyprexa.”
A wise friend once described Pat Bracken to me as “fantastic, the very ideal of a psychiatrist.” 😉 I agree!
Thank you so much for the great work you are doing, especially in exhorting other psychiatrists to recognize the shortcomings (and I would add, the grave dangers,) of biopsychiatric reductionism. Bravo, sir!
I hope you will continue to promote the message that “the neurobiological project in psychiatry finds its limit in the simple and often repeated fact: MENTAL DISORDERS ARE PROBLEMS OF PERSONS, NOT OF BRAINS.” Not everyone will embrace your message, of course, but some will. Courage!
Thanks again for all you do.
By the way, I LOVED the Picasso analogy. Nicely done!
Brilliantly stated, Kris. Thank you!
Ooooh, nice “debate” tactic,” Vegwellian. When you find yourself trounced, attempt to discredit your opponent(s) by suggesting they are mentally ill. This is also a great illustration of just how “scientific” psychiatric diagnosis is. Simply label any strong emotion, especially anger, as a symptom of mental illness. Poof. No science needed when mental health “experts” can simply react to opposition with defamation and slander, and label a person as “abnormally” agitated, angry, sad, happy, manic, irritated, impaired, oppositional, defiant, etc., etc., etc..
Bravo, Donna! Thank you for calling out Vegwellian’s comments for what they are – non-science propaganda and self-important diatribe.
Ha ha ha. Good one, RonW! 🙂
Thanks for sharing that observation. Your comment brought to mind the old proverb, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The tricky bit is resisting the urge to stab each other with those sharp points! 🙂
I liked what Rossa had to say too! I’m guessing “Come now” is a haughty way for RonW to say “This is bs”
Thank you for articulating this point, Rossa. I too believe our culture could learn a few things from shamanic practices about how to help people navigate extreme mental states, a.k.a. psychosis/mental “illness.” I also had trouble with Mr. Fontaine’s class-centric bald assumption (great term, BTW) about shamanic traditions being supposedly obsolete. And I was amused but not surprised that your thoughtful observation was met with a snarky “Come now” from an apparent close-minded ivory tower dweller.
In his TEDx Rainier talk on myths, shamans, and seers, Phil Borges describes how our western culture gives us little permission to explore nonrational states of consciousness. Of particular interest (to me anyway) was Phil’s interview of the State Oracle of Tibet, the Venerable Nechung Oracle, Thupten Ngodrup, who is the medium who channels the Dalai Lama’s oracle. Obsolete? I don’t think so.
In addition to Tibet monks, Phil has interviewed shamans from all over the world. Fascinating stuff.
Phil quotes Albert Einstein at the end of his talk:
“We humans tend to experience ourselves as something SEPARATE from the whole we call ‘The Universe.’ This is actually an optical illusion of our consciousness. It’s LIKE A PRISON for us. Our task is to free ourselves from this prison by widening our CIRCLE OF COMPASSION to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. This is the only true foundation for our INNER PEACE and SECURITY.”
Here’s a link to Phil Borges’ talk. It’s well worth the 14 minutes to listen and watch. And Phil’s photos are STUNNING!
Thanks again for speaking up about this topic, Rossa!
Oops. I left out the name of the psychiatrist who exposed the fact that “antipsychotics” cause loss of brain tissue. That would be Nancy Andreasen. She also was awarded the National Medal of Science for her research on so-called schizophrenia
Welcome to Mad in America!
Plenty of experts disagree with the “experts” who have tried to use scare tactics to bully you into drugging your son. For starters, here’s an article by psychiatrist Robert Zipursky refuting the myth of psychosis as a degenerative illness.
However, brain tissue loss does occur, but psychiatrist and long-time editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Psychiatry stated in the New York Times that it’s the “ANTIPSYCHOTICS” that cause tissue loss. (She sat on her findings for years because she feared the information would cause people to stop taking the drugs!)
You may also find solace in a book written by renowned British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff – The Myth of the Chemical Cure:
Finally, I think you will find great encouragement in this brilliant and inspiring 14-minute TED talk by FORMER schizophrenia patient Eleanor Longden:
Good luck educating the nincompoops who are “advising” you!
What a brilliant analogy. Thank you, Ann, for this comment. I also agree that there is no excuse for the evil being done to suffering people by some practitioners of psychiatry – unless one considers willful ignorance a valid excuse.
Bravo, Dr. Epperson.
Oops. Never mind. I just found out that you DID try to offer it and that perhaps a deal is in the works. My bad.
This is a great idea! I’m going to get myself one of those hoodies! I am wondering, though, why your film dept. is missing an important documentary – a particularly thought-provoking work of world-class investigative journalism and artistic merit. Where is award-winning filmmaker Kevin P. Miller’s “Generation Rx” in your online store?!
Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis has called “Generation Rx” a “powerful and often chilling eye-opener.” I believe that for anyone who’s considering ADHD or depression drugs for a son or daughter, this film is a must see.
The psycho pharmaceutical industry has poured billions of dollars spreading the message of the supposed benefits of their products. “Generation Rx” does a phenomenal job of exploring and exposing the RISKS of psychiatric drugs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xehHwkPpevk
Francesca, I see the phrase as a non sequitur. But thanks for sharing your perspective on what is “obvious to anyone” and for judging my comment “dishonest.”
I disagree, Francesca. The second half of Joel’s buzz phrase is a non sequitur, and the first half “if you want to get better, take a pill,” has everything to do with what Joel is whining about. But if making a harsh judgment about me gives you some kind of jollies, go for it! Cheers.
ha ha ha ha WHAT “context”?! How is quoting the first half of Joel’s nonsensical buzz phrase “dishonest?”
It’s not just you, John Hoggett. I, too, find Joel Hassman’s rant in this comment section to be pretty much incomprehensible. Like you, I get that he’s miffed and defensive. At least he is able to express that much pretty clearly.
I also took a look at his blog, titled “Can’t Medicate Life.” The very first words under the title are these:
“If you want to get better, take a pill”
LOL! Why is he lambasting, blaming, and shaming psychiatric clients who are simply trying to follow that advice?
The risk of SSRI-induced suicide cannot be reported too often or too clearly. To censor reporting of the details of suicide serves nobody. I know way too many mothers who have lost their sons in this way. The truth must be told for everyone’s safety.
The title of this post is most certainly NOT dangerous, because “the evidence for a causal relationship between media reporting of suicide and actual suicide is incredibly weak and is underpinned not by science but by ideology and the desire to silence the critics of psychiatry, protect the pharmaceutical industry and enhance the status of ‘suicidologists.’”
We need to be able to talk about suicide clearly and without impediment in order to bust the myths that “suicide arises from mental illness, that psychiatric treatment prevents suicide and that talking about suicide causes contagion.” Down with these MYTHS!
Fantastic! I’ll email you this week.
Mark Sullivan! How wonderful to see you commenting here. Have you ever considered writing a guest blog for Mad In America? Maybe sharing your personal story? I wish you would! So many people could be encouraged by your story. It might even be life-saving.
Amanda Bynes has escaped the identity of “severely mentally ill woman” because she has RESOURCES that most people do not have. Her LAWYER has saved her reputation here. Her lawyer went to the media and let them know in no uncertain terms, “My client does not have schizophrenia,” essentially drawing a line and telling everyone “If you want to cross this line and defame my client by suggesting she is ‘severely mentally ill,’ then prepare to have your teeth kicked out in court.”
Amanda Bynes has too much to lose to be labeled with a life-destroying bogus diagnosis like “schizophrenia.” There could be millions of dollars in revenue at stake. Her lawyer could lose a valuable client were Amanda to be successfully labeled as “schizophrenic.” Her powerful friends are not going to stand by and allow her to be destroyed by the mental illness industry, the way larmac’s son was destroyed and my own son was destroyed.
Of course the psych industry can have double standards, larmac. They can do whatever the hell they please. Who is going to stop them except for maybe a well-paid bad-ass lawyer?
And while I’m ranting here, I don’t entirely buy the “best practices” approach either because it implies that sometimes a mental illness label is warranted when certain other causes are ruled out. If somebody exhibits symptoms of psychosis, there is always SOME REASON for it – be it psychotropic agents, heavy metal poisoning, infection, severely frayed social relationships, trauma, abuse, bullying, or sleep deprivation to name a few. Psychosis and/or weird behavior should never be blamed on mental illness. “Mental illness” does not exists except for as a metaphor.
Nobody should EVER be involuntarily harnessed to a stigmatizing, life-destroying, hope-sucking label of “chronic severe mental illness” like schizophrenia or bipolar. NOBODY.
God bless you, larmac. Thank you for continuing to speak out about the crimes against humanity committed by the mental illness industry.
Big love to you!
I posted some rather pointed comments on the Connecticut Forum’s Facebook timeline: https://www.facebook.com/TheCTForum
Thanks for providing the link and for the suggestion, Sera.
“wouldn’t we do best to turn our efforts to demedicalizing human experience?” Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you, Sera, for speaking your truth publically, especially to young people who are so vulnerable to being psychiatrized during the perilous journey into “adulthood” (whatever THAT is). Every time you do speak out, you encourage other independent thinkers that it’s OKAY to question the mainstream, politically correct thinking du jour.
Go, Sera, go!
Oh, so beautiful, Duane. Thank you for sharing. From the bridge – “These labels that they give you cause they just don’t understand” Hmmm.
Hunter Hayes “gets it.”
I am so sorry to learn of your loss. Your question is not inappropriate at all! In what part of the country do you live? You know, we could communicate more easily by using a more direct method. You can find me on Facebook, or the editor of this site, Kermit Cole, can put you in touch with me via e-mail, OK? Hang in there!
Yes, yes, yes. Well said, markps2. Just today I came across a quote by Dr. Thomas Szasz who says that psychiatric diagnoses are often “swung as semantic blackjacks: cracking the subject’s dignity and respectability destroys him just as effectively as cracking his skull. The difference is that the man who wields a blackjack is recognized by everyone as a thug, but one who wields a psychiatric diagnosis is not.”
Thugs wielding semantic blackjacks. Surely, this was the role of the experts who “treated” my (late) son.
I am so grateful to people like Krista MacKinnon and Will Hall for showing families a more truthful and more hopeful way to address the challenges of mental/emotional turbulence.
Thank you so much, Andrew Yoder, for sharing your profoundly insightful wisdom here. I wholeheartedly agree with Alex’s comment above that your 10 points on serving others in emotional turbulence are spot on! I will try to pass them along and share widely. And thanks for exposing and highlighting the cause and effect connection between the disease model of “mental illness” and its resulting in bigotry toward suffering humans. Brilliant. As you are probably well aware, one of the most blatant proponents of bigotry is the Treatment Advocacy Center. They recently posted this article on their website and Facebook timeline, claiming that 40 to 50 percent of people with “bipolar” and “schizophrenia” are too impaired to have any say in their “treatment!”
And then TAC goes on to describe the “mentally ill” as sitting around naked, smearing themselves with feces and pulling out their own eyeballs. How is this anything but HATE SPEECH!?
Anyway thank you again, Andrew, for sharing your considerable wisdom. I especially appreciated your observation that if a wealthy person is diagnosable as mentally “ill,” then that person is considered “eccentric,” but a poor person in the same condition is a problem, “sick,” and in need of “treatment.” Well said!
BTW, from a Beachy to a Yoder, are you too often asked if you’re Amish?
“fat, ugly, aging, minimum wage piece of garbage”?!??! WTH? To me you are beautiful and sparkling, brilliant and kind-hearted, a shining star. You may be in a yucky place right now, but something much better could be right around the corner. Stop listening to you-know-who, and get her voice out of your head! 😉 Sounds like Leah felt a lot like you do when she was stuck in that dingy, stinky group home, repugnant to everyone around her. She was a shining star then too, but that fact hadn’t been recognized yet.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12) I just posted that scripture on another piece, but it fits even better here. Leah, I loved your description of the medicinal qualities of “a longing fulfilled” – even a longing as simple as a walk in a beautiful place.
It’s Longden. Eleanor LONGDEN. L-O-N-G-D-E-N.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12)
I SO agree with your words, “we are lacking dignified, caring, discerning and attentive treatment for those whose spirits are broken.” If only we had more of what the Hearing Voices Network offers, for example. http://www.intervoiceonline.org/ (Perhaps their methods might help your own family.)
Here is a HVN leader, voice hearer and research psychologist Eleanor Longden, speaking at the 2013 TED conference about learning to live (an abundant life!) with her voices.
Thank you so very much for boldly and “heretically” suggesting that psychiatric drug treatments can not only harm the individual, but can also be the culprit behind the violence we keep hearing about in the media. We all need to be repeating this “heretical” suggestion. As Helen Keller said, “The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next.”
Even Jesus was thought to be a heretic as well as a madman. The gospel of Mark describes how Jesus’ own family thought he was mad – “they went to take charge of him, for they said ‘He is out of his mind.’” Mark 3:21 But taking charge of somebody who is acting “strangely” by trying to force chemical control on them is not the answer. As you have so clearly explained, understanding and compassion illuminate a better way.
I agree that it does indeed take “discerning ears” and “perceptive eyes” to comprehend the phenomenon of “madness, ” combined with patience – lots of patience.
He who has ears, let him hear.
I certainly hope we will be hearing MUCH more from Elahe Hessamfar.
Well, I think a good START would be helping writer/director Kevin P. Miller to finish and promote his new film, which is at present 75 percent complete! Kevin’s last movie, Generation Rx was almost picked up by HBO. The time is NOW for his new film, based on the thousands of letters he received from grateful people (grateful to Kevin that is, for telling their story) – people who were harmed by our current deeply flawed paradigm of mental “illness” treatment.
Kevin’s films answer the “‘heretical question’ of ‘Could the drugs be the culprit behind the violence?'” with a resounding “YES!” and he highlights a better way – what Elahe Hessamfar describes as a “dignified, caring, discerning and attentive treatment for those whose spirits are broken”
Only $43,000 more needed to fund the project. You can check out the 2 minute teaser and make a donation here:
What ever happened with the petition to release Adam Lanza’s toxicology report? Is it still pending?
Get a sneak peak at “Letters From Generation Rx,” the latest film by international award-winning filmmaker Kevin P. Miller. Here’s a link:
While you’re there, consider making a donation to help him complete what could be the most powerful and important film ever produced about mental illness.
Great point about the two-part process! Thanks, Stephen and Seth.
Michael, You are probably correct that Torrey will never allow himself to understand, much less accept, truth.
If Torrey did embrace the truth about psychiatric diagnoses, he would have to admit that his treatment of his “schizophrenic” sister degraded her, that her treatment was horrifically inhumane and abusive. His vanity will most likely never allow him to make such an admission. In short, to admit the truth would mean to admit he’s behaved like a monster.
Torrey’s addiction to creating a glowing reputation for himself will ensure he keeps oppressing and degrading those he labels as “severely mentally ill,” all in the name of “helping” them “for their own good.”
Have you tried the forum on this site?
I’ve heard that some of the best help available can be found there.
I think you’re right that the unfortunate change in Torrey’s ideals had something to do with his sister’s “schizophrenia.” So sad.
“People are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” How ironic that this quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, a man so profoundly melancholy that his friends arranged a suicide watch for him. Did he make up his mind to be so unhappy? I doubt it. Maybe he uttered this famous quote before the death of his sons, if he actually uttered it at all. Thanks for bringing it up, Cyndi! You’ve inspired me to read up on this great man. And thank you so much for sharing part of your own story here. It reminds me of another quote, attributed to Dallas Willard,
“Feelings are, with a few exceptions, good servants. But they are disastrous masters.”
Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, of all people, describes this degradation process so well in his brilliant chapter entitled “Mental ‘Patients’ as Not Responsible: The Fate of Jesus and Other Hippies” from his book “The Death of Psychiatry.”
Torrey states, “there is no question but that calling a person mentally ‘ill’ is pejorative.” He writes, “Since mental ‘patients’ are not responsible, then everyone who can successfully be labeled as mentally ‘ill’ can be ignored, depreciated and even ridiculed. Their thoughts and their actions assume the same importance as those of a circus clown.” Wow, talk about degradation! Torrey was once so opposed to labeling people with “mental illness,” that he called such a label “nonsensical” and worse, “a potentially deadly political and philosophical weapon.”
Brilliant!! Here’s a link to the e-book:
A “strong troll vibe”?! LOL! Where did THAT come from?
You have not failed, IMHO. You and your daughter are incredibly fortunate to learn the truth BEFORE it was too late. I was not so fortunate. http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxColumbus-Suzanne-Beachy-Wha your daughter is alive, her future is hopeful, and trust lives in your relationship! Please try not to feel bad about what’s past. How the heck could you have known better with all those lies coming at you with the force of so much authority?
LOVE your idea. A group like MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers! We could have MAD, Mothers Against Diagnosis, as activist Becky Murphy has suggested. I so agree with Dr. Paula Caplan’s position that ALL the harm of psychiatric “treatment” BEGINS with its bogus, unscientific, and pejorative “diagnoses.”
How about Mothers Against Diagnosis & the Medical Model Of Mental “Illness”? MADMMOM”I”?
Madmom, Thanks! I will email you ASAP. Unfortunately, that will not be as soon as I’d like, as I am away from home with sketchy Internet access. Thank you so much for speaking from your passion/anger. You rock, mama!
Madmom, I sure do appreciate your outrage. You sound like me! What a relief to finally find somebody who might actually “get” my anger. Coincidentally, or not, my Twitter name is MADMother. Maybe we should connect?
Oopsy. I just now saw Donna’s reply. Sorry for the redundancy.
How about “neuroleptic” which is what they were called before the drug marketing whizzes came up with “antipsychotic.” “Neuroleptic” means brain- or nerve-seizing. This is a pretty good description of how this class of drug “works.”
Never mind. Comments are visible and brilliant.
Hi. I’m Suzanne, and I’m an M.I.A. addict.
(What’s that first step again?)
I can’t find ANY comments on the Lieberman’s Scientific American piece. The comments must have been disabled? Too much backlash for him to handle?
Hermes, what a brilliant summary of a very complex topic. I agree with everything you’ve just said here. Especially the bit about neuroleptic “treatment” of a natural response to extraordinarily stressful conditions. Neuroleptic “treatment” can be truly sickening – in both the literal and figurative sense of the word.
Thanks for the prayers, cannotsay. I need them, for sure.
Encephalitis is not a “mental illness.” A psychiatrist is not qualified to treat encephalitis (or stroke or aneurysm, end-stage syphilis, rabies or any other medical condition which may present as a “mental illness”). If a supposed “mental illness” has an actual physiological cause, then it is not a “mental illness” or a “psychiatric illness.” Illnesses with physiological causes should be treated by real doctors or medical specialists, not psychiatrists.
To quote E. Fuller Torrey about the term “mental illness,” he says, “The very term itself is nonsensical, a semantic mistake. The two words cannot go together except metaphorically; you can no more have a mental ‘disease’ than you can have a purple idea or a wise space.” (from Torrey’s seminal work, “The Death of Psychiatry”)
I am pleased that we are at a place now where we can at least have a discussion. I don’t think I’m making your point for you, but I think we may be closer to sharing some sort of consensual reality. ha ha
More later . . . Gotta run.
What ScottW is describing as “catatonic schizophrenia” is probably not a psychiatric condition at all (whatever THAT is), but rather a physiological problem or illness, like perhaps encephalitis lethargica.
Robert Whitaker writes that neuroleptics (a.k.a. antipsychotics) can induce “deficits similar to those seen in patients ill with encephalitis lethargica.” Hence the similarity in symptoms between patients suffering with “neuroleptic malignant syndrome” and Scott’s version of “catatonic schizophrenia.”
Susannah Cahalan recently wrote a book, Brain on Fire, about her “month of madness.” Even though she was at one of the best hospitals in the world and had access to some of the best doctors on earth, she was misdiagnosed with mental “illness,” as she had symptoms which looked exactly like “schizophrenia.” What was actually afflicting her was a rare disease, anti NMDA receptor autoimmune encephalitis. Fortunately for Susannah, a neurologist caught it at the catatonic stage that “precedes breathing failure, coma and sometimes death.”
There is a network of British psychiatrists (the Critial Psychiatry Network) who favor the abolition of the “schizophrenia” diagnosis because it has no basis in science, it is harmful, and it promotes stigma. I think I’ve seen somebody comment on this site that a diagnosis of “psychosis” is about as useful as a diagnosis of “rash.”
Agreed! And I am incensed by the “unsound mantras that are repeated even when they are demonstrably false” a.k.a the repeated LIES. This lack of truth telling is a big part of what inevitably killed my son. The lying must stop.
You started out your comments here with a blatant lie, and I called you on it. How is that “unfair?” Then you try to backpedal and excuse the blatant lie by reframing it as being “unclear.” Whatever.
You are correct that I don’t want to “debate” you. You seem to be way more attracted to obfuscation than truth. I just want the lies about so-called mental illness to stop. As anyone can see from the many personal accounts on this site, from the data shared by Robert Whitaker, from the fact that “mental disorders” are THE leading cause of disability in North America, and as I know from my own personal experience – the lies are killing people and destroying lives.
Regarding your “final point,” who cares if what I referenced is called a “study,” a “review,” a “meta study,” a “meta analysis,” or “evidenced-based-ultimate-last-word-on-the-actual-truth?” Your side-stepping into the realm of semantics was a nice attempt at dragging a red herring into the mix, though. Nice try.
Be well. And please stop lying. It’s not nice.
ScottW began his comments here by making a reference to studies of identical twins separated at birth who end up having EXACTLY the same rate of a mental illness despite having been raised in completely different environments. Then when I provide a link to a study which refutes that preposterous claim, he dismisses it by virtue of his own subjective judgment of it being “poorly written.” LOL!
Can ScottW provide ONE SINGLE link or citation which supports the ludicrous statemt about twins separated at birth who end up having EXACTLY the same rate of mental illness? No? I didn’t think so.
“studies of identical twins separated at birth who end up having exactly the same rate of a mental illness”
That’s laughable, ridiculous, and just plain false.
Beautiful writing, Dorothy! What a harrowing story, but thank you so much for sharing it. So sorry you had to go through such terrible experiences. You certainly deserved better!
“Why would a parent want to insist that their child is mentally ill?”
Your question has haunted me for some time. The most insightful answer to this question I’ve seen to date was Marian’s Goldstein’s explanation about the narcissistic parent. The topic deserves a blog of its own. It’s a huge problem.
A couple of years after my son Jake’s death, I joined a “support” group at my church called Loveing Someone With Mental Illness. I was sure the group members would be so happy and encouraged to hear all I’d learned in the previous year about the myths of mental illness promoted by the APA and the pharmaceutical powers. I couldn’t wait to encourage them with the hopeful truths about Loren Mosher’s work, the success of Open Dialogue, and all I’d learned from my psychiatric survivor friends. Boy, was I wrong. The leaders were hell bent on teaching NAMI’s Family to Family curriculum about chemical imbalance and chronic “illness.”
As an example of their mindset, regarding the success of the Soteria model, Karen, a group leader scoffed, “Well if THAT was true, our government would have established Soterias in every state by now.” The group leaders told members they should go ahead and mourn the loss of their “loved ones.” When I objected – encouraging members never to give up hope and that I know dozens of people who had been able to outgrow their diagnoses of mental “illness” and have full, meaningful lives – I was kicked out of the group. I tried to appeal to the pastors, but I was told “this course has been approved by church leadership.“ And I was told not to return to the group.
It’s noteworthy to mention that Karen also enjoyed blaming her children’s mental “illness” on her ex-husband’s mental illness genes. She sneeringly stated that their genetic inheritance from him was “the gift that keeps on giving.” The other group leader, Jane, had told me two years before about her son’s suicide, “I was finally able to find peace by just accepting that my son had a sad life due to his chemical imbalance.”
So there’s part of the why. There’s something very comforting (for some people) about a simplistic explanation for a complex “problem.”
Thank you, Dr. Elliott, for being such a relentless champion for Mary Weiss and her son, Dan Markingson. The way Mr. Markingson was mistreated and exploited by the University of Minnesota psychiatry department is absolutely sickening. It’s inexcusable! I appreciate your persistence in exposing this travesty and demanding accountability and change. Thanks, also, for providing a link to the petition to investigate psychiatric research misconduct at the U. of Minn. I signed it and will share it as widely as possible.
LOVE the photo! “Nutter” LMAO!
[[personal attacks removed]]
Thanks for using the appropriate honorific “Mr.” when referring to Pies, as opposed to “Dr.”
Matt, thank you so much for so courageously telling your story. Don’t let the authoritarian ignoramuses get you down.
Keep going, Matt! Yay Matt! Go, go, go!! Gimme an “M” Gimme an “A” Gimme a double “T”! (This is me cheering you on)
Big love to you Matt!
As I read your story, I felt myself become increasingly outraged and empathetic. YOUR son’s story is very much like MY son’s story. Here is a short version:
Maybe it’s time for all the pissed off parents to join forces and demand change. This label-and-drug paradigm of “treatment” is damaging way too many young people, draining them of hope. It’s madness. It MUST STOP NOW!
My parting comment:
I’m not “hostile,” I’m “snarky.”
There would be no point in offering constructive criticism to somebody as thoroughly indoctrinated as you.
So, monkeys hunched over and sitting passively are depressed? Really? That could be a description of somebody with a bad headache.
What’s YOUR point in posting comments here? What does it get you or anyone else who reads your regurgitated factoids? (That is, besides the obvious amusement value.)
How does one make decisions without free will?
What I find hilarious is that Layla begins her comments on MiA with a stern warning to Laura against indicting psychiatry by using anecdotal evidence based on Laura’s own personal experience. Bad Laura! Then Layla proceeds to try to defend the validity of the psychiatric industry by using – wait for it – anecdotal evidence based on Layla’s own personal experience! What a riot. And then Layla peppers her “arguments” with silly claims about brain pathologies and even “evidence” of depression in non-humans and anxiety in rodents! LMAO! How could we ever measure the “mental” states of non-humans? Have them “describe how they feel and what sorts of thoughts they are having” to use Layla’s description of the diagnostic process.
I can’t wait to hear more of her insights on the “science of human experience”(?) and the “science of psychology.” I can always use a good laugh – most therapeutic. Thank you, Layla.
Seriously? It seems you’re saying that being an abuser of others is A-OK, IF one has first been abused. Way to keep the cycle of inhumanity going! Guess what. I’ve been abused too, so there’s my “entitlement.”
So, you seem to be endorsing the verbal abuse on this thread directed at Rossa by the oh-so-sanctimonious Jonah and “Nijinksy.” It seems to me that Rossa is struggling to find the best possible way she can to support her son and facilitate lasting health and wholeness for him. How do we support a parent whose grown son struggles with recurring psychosis? Oh, I know! Let’s attack her and accuse her of humiliating and “infantilizing” her son. Let’s dismiss her seemingly sincere desire to help without harming by likening her help to the most horrific kind of sexual abuse imaginable. Never mind that she is exploring every possible alternative therapy there is. Yes, let’s demonize and vilify her. That’ll fix her! While we’re at it, let’s vilify all parents whose children struggle with mental/emotional challenges. It’s always the parents’ fault, right? They all live to oppress, abuse, and control their children, don’t they.
Geez, no wonder there are so few parents involved in the Mad in America community.
But, hey, thanks for pointing out my own “highly inappropriate bullying” behavior. I humbly bow before your moral superiority.
Hey there, Twinkle Toes,
Is there a way that Rossa’s son and family might benefit more directly from your vastly superior insight into their personal situation? Maybe you could direct his/their “therapy” through private messages?
And, if you truly feel “abused” by my comments, then I aplogize. Being “abusive” is certainly not my intent. To reference your earlier comment, you’re responsible for your own emotions, after all, and if you choose to interpret my comments as “abusive, to put it mildly” that’s your problem/issue, not mine.
Of course I’m responsible for my emotions. I am sometimes saddened. I am sometimes elated. I dislike (what I interpreted as) bullying behavior, so I spoke out. It’s not a big deal. Have a nice day, Princess Bigfoot.
On second thought, here’s the studio version of “Spies.” With lyrics:
“Spies” live performance:
“Spies” by Coldplay
It’s also easy to act boorishly and then play the “I have a valid reason for my irritation” card. That kind of logic also “works” to rationalize acts of road rage, child abuse, spouse abuse, and a whole range of repugnant behavior.
I, too, was saddened by the hostile comments directed at Rossa. And I agree that nothing good comes from shaming and attacking. Let’s share wisdom without spitting venom. Thank you for speaking up, Jennifer.
Here’s a link to the cached version:
So sad, so beautiful. My heart is broken all over again by this story. How did I miss this blog?! Did it ever appear on the front page of MiA? Who is the subject of this story?
Your courage and honesty are a testament to the beauty and strength of the human spirit. Your writing about your experience of the difficulty of life is a great gift. Thank you, thank you. You encourage and inspire us.
Leesa Marteenez! I will do what I can to facilitate a connection. We should all have a reunion in D.C. That would be great fun!
Ugh. Go get ’em, Julie!
Ok, but what does a viola have to do with it?
Viola the revolution???
I’m confused by this comment. But speaking of confusion and families, here is a link to what appears to be an enlightened endeavor to help families who are caught up in the confusion of how best to deal with substance abuse, trauma and/or mental health problems. http://practicerecovery.com/familymentalhealthrecoverycourse/
This group exists “to deliver high quality, accessible Mental Health Recovery Education and Support to families, friends and people experiencing what gets labelled mental illness.”
I thought the title was genius! I did not even notice until Stanley pointed it out, and I spent years as a copy editor! We see what we want to to see. Serendipitously brilliant!
That’s wise. Teaching hospitals are the worst possible place to take somebody for mental health care. The psych departments of teaching hospitals have been the breeding ground and incubator for the mental illness industry – dispensaries of poisonous labels and “remedies.” Ptooey.
“Crazy-making” is right! When my son was briefly in the psych ward of a teaching hospital, he complained that they were always watching him and taking notes on his behavior and things he said. He felt like he was being constantly observed through a magnifying glass. Of course, the white coats interpreted his discomfort as “paranoia” and a symptom and therefore proof of how “ill” he was. Infuriating!
Thanks for this eye-witness account of “the beginning of the franchise of Bipolar disorder – type II, rapid cycling, NOS.” LOL! That franchise has been quite the money-maker, hasn’t it? Ick.
Sandra, you are one of the most clear-thinking individuals I have ever encountered. And I adore the way you fearlessly challenge your colleagues with that clear thinking. Keep it up!
Of course you were not truly voluntary. Who volunteers to let her life be poisoned by deception? You were the unwitting and trusting subject of poisoning by the mental illness system. The first, most egregious poisoning you encountered was the poisoning of your mind with an authoritative sounding lie about your brain being fundamentally and chronically defective. What a dangerous lie. And then to add injury to insult, your body was poisoned with, well, poisons – neuro-toxic substances.
You had at one time voluntarily agreed to receive help. Who wouldn’t? But what they slipped you instead of help, was poisonous.
Thanks for exposing the system for what it is – a dispensary of mental and physical poison. More important, thanks for giving us an antidote to the poisonous lies. Thanks for shining your own light and the light of truth and hope for a better, healthier way to live.
I totally agree with what you say about the simplest yet most difficult aspect of the human condition – “love one another.” In my TEDx talk, I mention how psychiatrist William Glasser was able to revive the lives of “chronic schizophrenics” by restoring to them respect and relatedness, which is the essence of love. Powerful stuff, that love.
The way you have shared your own journey to wholeness on this website is such a generous act of love. I’m always so excited when I see the newest installment of your story posted! Your willingness to be vulnerable and transparent is such a precious gift and will no doubt save lives, just as Robert Whitaker’s compassion, courage, and honesty saved your life. I’m looking forward to your book (and movie) with great anticipation!
Thank you so very much for your kind words! Your writing on this website has been so refreshing for me. Thank you for so visibly and vocally challenging the status quo. I imagine that for you to do so as a psychiatrist could be professionally risky. So do know of my deep gratutude for having the courage to act and speak from a place of moral and intellectual integrity. You rock, mama!
I had to chuckle at your comment, “As a psychiatrist, I am not sure if I have much to offer.” I’m not sure you have much to offer as a psychiatrist either. But I AM sure you have MUCH to offer as a wise and compassionate person.
Perhaps. A post on the failings of the mental “illness” industry (I stand by the term) might be more venomous than anyone would want to get near. It’s something to consider. Or maybe I should just write a book . . .
And thank YOU Vanessa, for sharing your expertise here on this site as a contributing blogger. I so appreciate your fearless and brilliant writing. Blessings back atcha!
Mark, you have an epic story that needs to be more widely shared! MIA readers can get to know Mark a little better through his appearance on this video/audio recording of a WOSU radio show with Robert Whitaker from April 2012. http://wosu.org/2012/allsides/perspectives-on-the-treatment-of-mental-illness-in-america/
Great point, Stanley! These labels are often soul-killing lies – labels like *dangerous* and *mentally “ill”* being applied with a broad brush to people who happen to be homeless for any number of reasons. We’d all be beter off to push past each others’ labels and try to understand the real person. That’s why I love that Sara Groves quote so much. “Every heart has so much history . . .”
Well said, Julie. Do know how sorry I am for your own loss, while I admire the way you are striving to wrestle some good from that loss with your non-profit, Anna’s Hope. Thank you for reaching out to help families struggling with the kind of addiction that robbed you of your precious Anna.
I thought of you as I read this quote by Donald Miller today, “We don’t know how much we are capable of loving until the people we love are being taken away, until a beautiful story is ending.”
Sending you a big hug.
Amen, sister Dorothy. And nothing more infuriating than having your struggling son or daughter’s life be poisoned by the mental illness industry. Thanks for all you do in fighting to change the status quo.
Thank you, Darby!
I so appreciate how you tell the stories of the “suitcase people” in your presentations and your book http://www.suitcaseexhibit.org/indexhasflash.html and http://www.amazon.com/Lives-They-Left-Behind-Suitcases/dp/1934137146/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352406181&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lives+they+left
These narratives are such powerful illustrations of how madness can be a sane response to an insane world, in Laing’s words. The madness/craziness/anguish of such people (with whom I can certainly identify, by the way) makes so much sense when set in the context of their lives and experiences.
Showers of blessings to you for giving voice to people who would otherwise be lost and forgotten. Their stories are so precious, and much can be learned from them and from you.
Thank you for your kinds words. In turn, thank YOU for your willingness to be so vulnerable and transparent in sharing your own son’s journey as he recovers from a schizophrenia diagnosis. http://holisticschizophrenia.blogspot.com/p/about-this-blog.html
I wish I had been able to find such a resource when Jake was going through is struggle.
Thanks Jonah, for your comment! More important, thanks for reaching out to help the “wanderers” who cross your path. What a wonderful way to put your compassion into action. I wish you could have met my son too.
As for David Healy, he has my gratitude for not only listening respectfully to patients and wronged people, but also for giving them a forum and even amplifying their message. It’s been my experience that most psychiatrists aren’t even capable of respectful listening. So in this regard, Dr. Healy is exceptional. And, I figure if angry, threatened psychiatrists are calling him a “scaremonger” and trying to ruin him, he can’t be too bad, in my book.
Psychiatrists could learn much by listening respectfully to the people they are supposedly helping. Isn’t that a no-brainer?
I do agree with you, Jonah, that shocking the brain with high voltage electricity seems like a really stupid and harmful practice. However, the reviews of people who have experienced it are all over the map, e.g., “I would happily die rather than have ECT again.” (Woman, Yorkshire.)
and “If I had not received ECT I would be dead by now.” (Woman, Staffordshire.) from http://www.mind.org.uk/help/medical_and_alternative_care/making_sense_of_ect
Mixed reviews aside, I would never agree to its use for myself or for anyone I cared about. I’d be interested to see somebody blog about it on Mad In America. ECT is a bit off topic on this thread.
David, you are not the only one who notices Cledwyn’s brilliance. I too am enthralled with C’s uniquely keen mind. I savor every well-turned phrase and tastefully chosen word, not to mention the gut-busting humor. Would you agree that Cledwyn deserves a wider audience?
How wrong and how sad that this anonymous parent’s hope was stripped away by lies. This is so much my own story. I wonder how many of us there are. If we gathered our collective outrage and passion, we would present a formidable force for change. NAMI would have nothing on us. Hell knows no fury like the parent of a son or daughter victimized by a predator passing himself off as a benevolent helper.
I resonate with every paragraph of this anonymous parent’s story – being told maybe it’s best my son is dead – finding out too late about the paths to healing and wellness because that truth has been suppressed by those who profit from the status quo . . .
This sentence especially got to me:
“You’ve discovered this problem and you think if people hear the issues they will be as
horrified as you and will say we mustn’t let this happen again.”
You would think anyone with a sense of decency would be horrified, would join in the chorus of “This must stop! NOW!!”
When I was invited to converse with the new chair of the psych department where my son’s nightmare started, I thought surely this man would have the proper attitude – that this must not happen again. But no. (I was naïve.) Instead, he told me that obviously, I should be on an anti-depressant and that my refusal to consider taking psych drugs was due to my “misplaced Christian pride.” After all, if I had diabetes I would certainly have no problem taking insulin. (ugh)
The disrespect and arrogance exhibited by those plying the psychiatric trade is unsurpassed.
Here is part of my story. Sound familiar?
Anonymous, I do hope we can find each other. At the very least, I can be here for you. I stand with you. I get it, and I’m not going anywhere, except to the front lines of battling this injustice.
A great big THANK YOU to Mo Yee Lee for using her position as a respected academic researcher to challenge the commonly held (but false) view that severe mental “illnesses” are caused by some sort of chronic and incurable brain pathology. I hope her study will have a huge impact in publicizing how people can and do get well, stay well, grow stronger, and jettison their psychiatric labels.
One of the most powerful ways to fight the lies and the horrible treatment of the psychiatrized is for survivors to tell their stories in every venue possible by every vehicle possible. Mo Yee Lee is using the vehicle of academic publication to tell these survivor stories, exposing what helps, what hurts, and illuminating the many paths to wholeness and healing. Fantastic! I am honored to be fighting for truth alongside her and this community at Mad In America. Thank you for being so passionate in seeking change for a better way to help and care for those who are hurting or oppressed. Thank you, Mo Yee Lee!
I wonder what a judge or jury would think about Torrey’s REPEATED libel and slander. Bob, if you decide to sue Torrey’s slanderous ass, I’d be honored to donate to your legal fund.