Monday, July 4, 2022

Comments by Steve McCrea

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  • I notice that you seem to continue to view clients from a viewpoint of “diagnosis” and “treatment.” CBT to me is simply one of many techniques that can help certain people get a perspective on what THEY can to do improve their lives in ways that they find helpful. I never cared one whit what “diagnosis” they had. All I cared about was what THEY saw as the problem (often requiring some pretty good interviewing skills to help them figure out) and what THEY felt was helpful in moving forward. Sometimes CBT was perfect, sometimes it was useless, not depending on the “diagnosis” but on the person’s personality and goals and viewpoint on what they are trying to accomplish. Similarly, some people did REALLY well with regressive techniques, others wouldn’t consider it or it wasn’t really realistic given the circumstances or timeline or it just plain didn’t work. Some do well “brief therapy” techniques (what did you do the last time this happened?), while some find them insulting. Sometimes I made stuff up on the spot specific to that particular person. My primary rule was, “Gather information. Try something that seems to make sense. If it works, do it more! If it doesn’t, stop doing it, gather more information, and and do something else!”

    Milton Erickson said that therapy needed to be “reinvented” for every client/case. He was correct. I tried to approach each case with a “Beginner’s Mind,” as they say in Buddhist teachings, open to experiencing what is before me, no preconceptions or judgments or plans. I found that “diagnoses” did nothing but confuse and distract me from getting to know the PERSON in front of me, which was the key to my success in the field. The question to me was never, “What is his diagnosis” or “what is wrong with her?” or “what school of therapy should I follow?” It was more like, “Who is this person? What’s important to them? What are their goals and what do they see as barriers to those goals? What kind of fixed beliefs or behavior do they seem committed to that don’t make sense to me, and why do they make sense to them? How can I assist them in stepping out of their normal ‘scripts’ and see what alternatives might exist?” There is no formula for doing this – one has to simply roll up one’s sleeves and be humble enough NOT to “know” things about this client that you really don’t know at all.

    People are mysterious. Psych “diagnoses” don’t help us understand the mystery, they trivialize and confuse the real issues that we ought to be looking at. If I were you, I’d consider dropping them from your vocabulary.

  • We definitely agree on that, and that’s a good start to a deeper conversationn. It’s very important to understand not everyone has your kind of experience. I have thankfully never been held against my will, partly because I’m older and grew up in an era where “mental health professionals” were more interested in relationships and experience and less in proving biological causation, and because I lucked out and got a really good therapist on the first shot. Plus I am a white male with a college education, privileges the majority of those held against their wills don’t have. But in today’s environment, it’s quite possible I would have been “hospitalized,” because I definitely did express feelings of suicidal ideation during my therapy. I’m happy to have dodged that bullet. Others are not so fortunate.

    My distrust/disdain for psychiatry is not based on my personal direct experience as a client, it is actually based on comparing the conclusions of real scientific research to what front-line psychiatrists and “thought leaders” tell us is true. It started with “ADHD.” My son clearly fit the criteria, and I was concerned it would come up when he got to school age, so I did some research on long term outcomes. I was STUNNED to find that there was no long-term research suggesting that ANY long-term outcome, including academics, school completion, college enrollment, delinquency rates, teen pregnancy rates, social skills, or even self-esteem, was improved for “ADHD” kids taking stimulants vs. those who don’t or who take them only short term. I’ve tracked on the research since then, and that continues to be the case. Yet I heard psychiatrists and school personnel saying things like, “Untreated ADHD leads to school failure and higher delinquency rates,” when “treatment” did nothing to improve those outcomes!

    I have since tracked research on antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, antipsychotics, and to a lesser extent, “mood stabilizers,” and the exact same pattern emerges. Antidepressants are insisted on as “life-saving” for suicidal people, yet there is no evidence they reduce the suicide rate, and suggestion that they may actually increase it. Antipsychotics are supposed to be essential long term to prevent “relapses,” yet those who take them long-term are MORE likely to be re-hospitalized or otherwise deteriorate than those who use them short term or not at all (see Harrow’s work, referenced in Anatomy of an Epidemic). These are large scale studies of many people, and don’t imply that no one is helped by these interventions. It means that on the average, people are better off not taking any of these drugs for the long term. And people are not told this, and ought to be.

    So the reason I distrust psychiatry as a profession is because they’ve been dishonest. They’ve claimed that all their DSM diagnoses are entirely or primarily biological in origin, despite a lack of research suggesting this is true, and a commonsense critique that claiming the same cause for everyone’s “depression” or “anxiety” flies in the face of reason. They’ve lied about the research that IS done, and have attempted to suppress real data that comes out which contradicts their desired narrative (Harrow, Kirsch, the WHO intercultural studies, etc.) They accuse people like Robert of being antiscientific or cultists just because their findings challenge that narrative. So no, I don’t trust them, and it’s not for emotional reasons, though I consider a person having been personally brutalized an excellent reason to distrust them anyway. But I’m not one of those. I worked IN the system for years, and I saw what really happened as a result of this system. Not saying that all psychiatrists are evil or stupid, nor that people for whom these treatments work should be denied access to them. But I don’t think medical professionals should lie to people about what they “know” in order to get them to agree to a particular approach. Do you think it’s OK for an entire “medical” industry to misrepresent the facts in order to increase their market share? I don’t, and that’s why I have no trust or respect for psychiatry as a profession, regardless of my positive interactions with some psychiatrists and the reported successes of some percentage of patients.

    I hope that makes things clearer on where I’m coming from. If you haven’t read Anatomy of an Epidemic, you really ought to. It is very well researched and non-emotional in presentation, and might help you understand the “rest of the story” for people who have not been as fortunate as you and I have.

  • I challenge you to show me hard evidence that there is “some kind of chemical disruption in the brain” of all or most people who fit the criteria for “MDD.” The idea of the “chemical imbalance” theory was disproven back in the ’80s, before Proac even came to market. Even mainstream psychiatrists are disavowing this theory and claiming that they never supported it. They’ve moved on to the idea of “circuits” and of “genomic analysis” because their original theories on cause have never panned out.

    Of course, nobody knows if it’s nature or nurture, and as in pretty much everything, including hard biological illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, it’s no doubt a combination of both. The “diagnosis” is not made by any kind of brain scan or measurement of brain chemicals or EEG or any kind of measurement – it’s just a list of “symptoms,” and most doctors don’t even bother using those. How would it be possible to distinguish “clinical depression” (supposedly caused by biology) from any other kind of depression just using a checklist of symptoms?

    Your case may be particular, you may have some biological vulnerability, but I would bet that no one has shown you what exactly is wrong with your family inheritance. In any case, just because your case may be biological doesn’t lead to the conclusion that any other case is biological. The psychiatric profession makes a common but serious scientific error in assuming that all subjects with similar presentations have the same problem. This is, of course, nonsense scientifically, as something like a rash can be caused by dozens of things, including poison ivy, prickly heat, the measles, or syphilis. I’d sure want my doctor to be able to tell the difference before they started ‘treating’ my rash!

    The other interesting scientific question is: If there is no objective way to tell who “has” “clinical depression” caused by a “chemical problem,” how would anyone be able to determine what “overprescription” would mean? What’s an appropriate level of prescription look like for a disease that has no reliable physical markers whatsoever? That’s one of the biggest problems with the DSM approach – no one can really tell if the doctor is right or wrong, because it’s all a matter of “clinical opinion.”

    Again, I support anyone who finds antidepressants useful, or anything else that helps them. I don’t deny that depression can be a HUGE problem in a person’s life – been there, done that. But that doesn’t make it a medical problem. The burden of proof should be on those claiming it is, and they haven’t met the standard.

    Additionally, the article itself makes it clear that most people do NOT benefit from antidepressants. Why do you think that is, if it’s a biological problem? Or how can you distinguish the bio-depressed from the psycho-spiritually depressed? Or those depressed because their lives are depressing? How can you tell?

  • Just to be clear, Maggie, I don’t think anyone here thinks a person should “just get over it.” That’s a trope that is tossed out by the psychiatric industry to try and discredit their critics, pretending critics are saying, “There’s nothing wrong, just quit whining.” But that’s not the critique here. The proble is the CLAIM that “depression” is a DISEASE STATE without providing any evidence that this is the case, and then pretending they can somehow TELL who “has clinical depression” and “needs medication” while in practice recommending drugs for pretty much every single case they run across.

    I have suffered a lot from chronic depression and it took years, decades really, to truly get a handle on it, and it still is a problem sometimes for me. But I don’t hold that I have a “disease” that can be somehow cured by messing with my brain functioning, because there is no evidence that either of those things are true. I also know that some people find antidepressants helpful on a personal level, and I have no concern about that. But I do have a concern about professionals making claims of scientific support for something they have no actual understanding of, particularly when they approach it in a completely biased manner and deny evidence that really IS scientific, such as the fact that most people do NOT get better on antidepressants, as this article shows us.

  • The most obvious one was the Germanwings aircraft murder/suicide. The guy TOLD his psychiatrist he was having trouble with his “meds” and asked for her help. I don’t think she did anything but continue him on the same drugs. And 150 people died needlessly. But his “mental disorder” was blamed instead of the psychiatrist’s mapractice and neglect.

  • “Treatment resistant” is such a ridiculous term! It implies that EVERYONE should respond to “treatment,” and that anyone who doesn’t is either personally resisting, or their “disorder” (a mental construct!) is resisting! Why not just say, “Our treatment failed” and leave it at that?

    What would you think if you took your car into the garage, the guy worked on it for two weeks and then gave it back and said, “The problem is, you have repair-resistent fuel injectors! I can’t fix them, but if you come back once a week we can treat the symptoms…” You’d get a new mechanic double quick!!!

    “Treatment resistance” is a loaded term meant to blame the client for the doctor/therapist’s failures.

  • No, that is NOT what I want. I simply want you not to classify people who experience hallucinations/delusions as “schizophrenics who believe they have that” or “schizophrenics who believe they don’t have that.” You are ‘diagosing’ that person against his/her will, even if you accept that they “don’t believe they have that.” Why not call it “people with delusions/hallucinations who call it an illness, and people with delusions/hallucintions who don’t call it an illness?”

    It is more like a Muslim trying to convince ME that I have to do Ramadan, because she’s a Muslim and that’s her lens. I hope we are capable of rising above that.

    But thanks for the clarification. I believe I understand your views much better now, and my prior confusion is quite fully cleared up.

  • You are clearly empowered to believe in your doctor – s/he may even be right! What I am saying has absolutely nothing about you or your diagnosis or your belief in your psychotic experiences as an illness or agreeing with your doctor. The objection I have is to you saying that because YOU believe your doctor and his/her diagnosis, it means other people who view it differently are “choosing to believe” something you regard essentially to be wrong. And you’re entitled to believe that, just as others are entitled to believe you are “wrong,” but most of your comments reflect an “open minded” attitude, live and let live, believe as you see fit, which I agree with. I was just pointing out that others should have the same right as you, not to be talked to as if their belief that their situation is NOT caused by biochemistry or is NOT called “schizophrenia” just because the doctor says so is irrational, which is what I was getting from your post. People don’t just have the right “believe their schizophrenia is something else,” they have every right to believe that they don’t have schizophrenia or that doctors’ “diagnosis” of schizophrenia doesn’t meet minimum scientific standards as a “diagnosis,” even if the condition described does exist.

  • With respect, DW, I have to note that you said:

    anyone has schizophrenia and prefers to regard it as not schizophrenia but some other ailment or stress or trauma or government plot or even extra terrestial indoctrination…

    I will be encouraging of this YOUR CHOICE of way you know YOU”

    It seems you are saying that others DO HAVE schizophrenia but are REGARDING it as “not schizophrenia.” This seems to violate your own principle – you are telling them that they DO have schizophrenia even when they don’t regard it that way. You want others to allow you to BELIEVE or ASSERT you have a disease called “schizophrenia.” Why do you not respect others rights to BELIEVE or ASSERT they do NOT have schizophrenia? If you respect that right, how can you say that they “have schizophrenia” by your own or the doctor’s definition and are REGARDING it as “not schizophrenia?” It sounds as if you are saying that you know they DO have it but are willing to tolerate them claiming otherwise. Is that how you see it?

    Or does the other person have a right to DEFINE their experience as they please, since there is no objective way to “diagnose” schizophrenia beyond a list of thoughts and behaviors made up by a committee of psychiatrists? If everyone has a right to their own interpretation of reality, why would you or the doctor be in any position to define their condition as “schizophrenia” and then magnanimously grant them the right to “regard it” as something else?

    Perhaps your concern is not that others won’t allow you to define your own condition, but that others choose to define it differently than you do?

    I ask this with the utmost respect. I have had a hard time understanding where you’re coming from, and I sometimes think I do, and yet you sometimes talk as if you think I don’t. Maybe I didn’t really understand you in the first place? Some clarification would be appreciated!

  • I certainly never said any of those things. What I DID say is that DOCTORS should not be able to tell YOU or ME or ANYONE ELSE what is “wrong” with them when they have no idea or scientific or even intuitive basis for their claims. I get frustrated when you claim I am saying that you have no right to choose your label. I have literally NEVER said that. I have said that no one ELSE has the right to label YOU (or anyone else) without your (or their) agreement. I hope the distinction is now clear.

  • As usual, I agree with you almost completely. The one exception is your comment that you are sure the “mental health” meme was entered into with “good intentions.” Nothing expands that quickly without funding behind it, and that funding comes from our friends in the Pharmaceutical Industry. I am certain this phrase was chosen specifically because it had the effect that was wanted, and it was spread as propaganda through the usual “advocacy” groups and social media sites with the intention of making it ‘popular,’ as a means of marketing their wares. The more “mental health” is normalized, the less people look for other explanations, and the more drugs and “services” are sold. The intentions are NOT good!

  • People who don’t want to change anything should be left alone. I was assuming we were talking about a person seeking assistance. I see no need for an outside “professional” to label their experiences as “mental disorders.” I think it should be up to the person seeking help to define what they want to change and whether or not a particular approach is of interest or appears to be “working.” I hope that is clearer. No one should be forced to entertain “help” for something they don’t want help with, nor should someone else be able to define what “help” looks like for a particular person.

  • Parents don’t have to be monsters to cause harm to their children’s psyches.

    No one is all good or all bad. We are all human and make errors and do good things and mess up and recover. It’s not about good or bad parents. It’s a lot about what adults went through when they were kids and pass on, and about what adults/parents are expected to do in our society and what they are supposed to do with their kids.

    Most people would say my parents were fine people. They did a lot of things right. But they did some things wrong, too. Additionally, schools were full of well-meaning folks who often did a lot of harm because “that’s how we do it.”

    An example: Good parents were expected to leave their kids to “cry it out” in their cribs when I was a baby. They were expected NOT to nurse their babies and to feed them solid food at way too young an age. Some were told that taking Thalidomide was safe and ended up with hydrocephalic babies or other birth defects. All were expected to send their kids to schools without question, even though some of my teachers were absolutely crazy and dangerous. One hit me in the head after she tossed a book across the classroom in second grade and I protested. Was that my parents’ fault? The teacher’s fault? The school’s fault? Society’s fault? It doesn’t matter whose “fault” it was or whether the teacher was a monster or just a sad old lady who never was loved. What matters is that I had experiences that were not healthy for me. They hurt me, whether they were intended to or not. It was helpful to recall those hurts and what decisions I made at the time, so I could learn to make different decisions today. There were no monsters. Just adults trying to do their best. But I still got hurt, and I don’t have to make excuses for them. I can take care of my own needs and let them be upset about it if they want to. Which my parents were, but we healed some as I grew up and was better able to express myself. I loved them, they loved me, and we were better off facing up to the painful moments where things didn’t go so well.

    No blame or monsters or heroes required.

  • I’m not sure they were ever “bedazzled.” If you listen to the discussions around the time of the creation of the DSM III, they were quite blatant about their political goal of establishing psychiatry as a “real science” by pushing claims of biological causation and treatment. Of course, Big Pharma was happy to help out for a price, and they developed a symbiotic economic relationship that continues today. Many lower-level “mental health professionals” are, in fact, bedazzled, but the leadership premeditatedly planned to sell this concept to the public, whether or not it was true, and they have succeeded.

  • Why bother forming a model of a “mental disorder?” The term is already so biased and polluted it’s not worth trying to rescue. Why not simply help people identify what they want to change about themselves and help them find a way to do it? Or work to alter the known social conditions which create such emotional distress in the first place? Why not work on building a world that respects people’s mental/emotional condition instead of making diseases out of them?

    Humans’ biases will not ever allow for a rational “model of the mind,” let alone of “mental disorders,” in my humble opinion. It’s a case of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle brought to life: as soon as a mind starts studying “the mind,” the mind itself is altered by the process.

  • I think you have hit the most fundamental problem with the “helping” professions. Anyone who thinks they can tell another person what is wrong with them, what they need, and/or what they need to do about it is inherently dangerous. People don’t need someone to define things for them, they need someone to help them figure out what they need and how to get their needs met. Humility and empathetic listening, along with a few carefully-selected pointed questions, is what most people find most helpful, whether it’s from a professional, friend, family member, or a stranger on the street. As soon as a person forgets that the only one who knows the ‘right answer’ is the person seeking assistance, they become a hindrance rather than a help. And when they expect the person seeking support to “appreciate” whatever “help” they choose to provide, they become inevitably damaging to the person they are claiming to “help.”

  • It is also very possible that the best of parents make errors and their kids end up hurt. It is very important that parents are willing to take responsibility for their contribution to thhe problem, and the best parents are willing to do that, and make it OK for their kids to give them feedback about their experience as children. You don’t have to be a “bad parent” to contribute to your child’s emotional struggles!

  • I agree, that is exactly what happens, even to other health professionals. We’ve all been taught that “mental illness,” and suicide in particular, is very, very DANGEROUS and that anyone NOT a professional will no doubt mess it up, with the corrolary being of course that you’ll get sued if you don’t get it right. I remember a kid in residential treatment who would claim he was “suicidal” because he knew it meant a trip to the ER and he could get out of a day of school. The res staff were too afraid to handle it until they got approval from the psychiatrist to do a “planned ignore” and not automatically transport him every time he said the “s” word. It really is quite ridiculous – we are removing what is probably the BEST assistance a person thinking of ending his/her life can get – support from friends and loved ones – in favor of forced hospitalization and drugs that present no evidence of doing anything to reduce suicides, and may actually increase them. Who is insane, now?

  • The term “recover” is often used in terms of injuries or illnesses. It is the assumption that a mental/emotional challenge is an “illness” of some sort in the individual that needs to be challeneged. And I would submit that many people need help “recovering” or “recuperating” from the assault on their lives and their integrity that psychiatry itself has perpetrated!

  • You are quite right. There was a quite open discussion of this back in the 90s. They chose the term ‘medication’ instead of ‘drug,’ and substituted ‘discontinuation syndrome’ for ‘withdrawal,’ to differentiate as much as possible their psychiatric “medications” from their close cousins, street drugs (and sometimes they actually USED street drugs and called them “medications” instead.) There is no doubt what you say is absolutely and intentionally true.

    “Severe and persistent withdrawal syndromes from antidepressants have long been neglected or minimised. Obscuring a potentially serious risk, the pharmaceutical industry coined the term “discontinuation syndrome” to avoid association of antidepressants with psychotropic dependence. This term is unnecessary and misleading, suggesting antidepressants cannot cause dependence and withdrawal.11,16 Thus, patients and prescribers may misattribute withdrawal symptoms as relapse or emergence of new mental disorders.11,16,21”

  • I think for some people, “recovery” means “accepting of diagnosis and taking all drugs prescribed by doctor.” The idea of recovery WITHOUT or IN SPITE OF medical intervention seems to be heretical in some circles. It’s almost like you’re saying it’s not a medical problem at all! Which might suggest that maybe THEIR acceptance of their diagnosis and medical intervention could be called into question. EEEK!!!

  • That meme also assumes that psych drugs always or consistently make people’s “symptoms” better. There are plenty whose “symptoms” get worse, or who get new “symptoms” of new “disorders” that they never had before because of reactions to the psych drugs they were prescribed. Many of the foster kids I worked with got significantly BETTER when taken off their psych drugs that clinicians claimed were so essential to their survival, and there were many more who were no better or worse on or off the drugs, which of course means the drugs contributed nothing to their “mental health!” I’ve seen a girl diagnosed with an eating disorder put on stimulants, after which folks were very alarmed that she stopped eating! Who would have guessed? I’ve seen a girl diagnosed with diabetes, and we advocated for her to be taken of Seroquel, and a few weeks later, the diabetes was GONE.

    Why the assumption that these drugs are always positive, or that the pros always outweigh the cons? It is a very disturbing assumption that harms a LOT of people!


    I’m afraid that the literature shows brain damage to be quite common in ECT. In this review, they suggest some level of damage is always present. ECT “works” by inducing a grand mal seizure in the individual receiving it. When people have seizure disorders, we do everything we can to STOP them having seizures, specifically BECAUSE there is damage to the brain when uncontrolled seizures occur.

    I’m not trying to invalidate your personal reality, because what works for you is what works for you. But it is not accurate to suggest that loads of studies show no brain damage from ECT. It is most likely that any therapeutic effect for ECT is the result of minor brain damage. But sadly, it is not always “minor,” as many survivors of ECT can attest. It is, at best, a very risky procedure whose benefits are unpredictable and generally very short lived. That doesn’t mean that no one finds it beneficial, but it does mean that claims of “safety” are not supported by the scientific literature.

  • I would not call that “overmedicated.” Of course, there is no way to determine the “proper” level of “medication” when the “disorders” they claim to see have no actual, objective definition. But being on 9 drugs is not “overmedication,” it is MALPRACTICE! And I’m willing to bet that despte (or because of) her massive “medication” load, he’s still doing poorly and has a crappy quality of life. That is not healthcare. It’s malpractice.

  • I agree with you for the most part. The only objection I’d make here is that psychiatry is not to me “science done badly.” It is pretend “science” used in the service of marketing drugs. You and I both agree that enforcing drugs on people as “the only solution” is oppressive, especially when done so without the consent of the “drugged.” I am adding that pretending that “science” supports such an action, that the reason you should “go along with the program” is because “you have X disorder” or “you have a chemical imbalance in your brain” is not science, but pure marketing, promoting something they know is NOT supported by science as if it were, because it sells drugs.

    If psychiatrists said, “These phenomena happen to people. We don’t know why, but we have discovered some drugs that may stop some of these phenomena temporarily, with x and y adverse effects,” then they’d be a lot closer to being scientific.

    So a person can believe fully in science as a means of determining the truth (or I should probably say, a means of determining what is NOT the truth, as science is a lot better at that) without having a minute to give for psychiatry’s effort to use people’s vulnerability to sell them drugs. I will add that I don’t worship science and recognize its limitations, and have a full spiritual life and believe in lots of things that Science can’t explain. But psychiatry has nothing to do with science, except to the extent that they can study what effects these drugs actually have on people, and they’re not even honest about that.

    I never confuse psychiatry with science. It’s a marketing scheme, plain and simple. You or anyone else can certainly use the psychiatrists’ framing of disorders or diseases if you choose to, and more power to you for it. I even use some of them on occasion. But I don’t view such “disorders” as scientific entities, any more than describing someone as “courageous” or “a slow runner” or “has lovely hair” as scientific descriptions.

    I don’t mind you viewing yourself as “ill” and describing yourself that way. I do mind a doctor pretending that they have proof that I am “ill” and therefore need to accept their “treatment” of me as a legitimate medical practice, especially in the absence of any evidence that they can identify a definitive cause and test me for it in some objective manner. Just as someone is free to be a Christian or a Muslim or a Hari Krishna if they want to, but I object when they start telling me I have to agree with them, especially if they try to claim that “Science proves that Christianity is the ‘right’ religion.”

    I hope that clarifies the point.

  • I think there is a big difference between one citizen telling another one what to think/not to think about their condition, whatever it may be, which I think would be a bad thing, and a person with big social power, like a doctor or psychologist, telling people that “science” says that you have “X disorder” and that it is biological in nature, and that drugs are the solution, especially when there is no scientific evidence that is the case. So I think the two of you may be talking about different subjects. It seems like DW is not liking it if people tell HER that she “is not ill” or that “schizophrenia is not an illness,” which I completely understand and agree with. What I understand YOU to be saying (and I agree with you 100 percent) is that the PROFESSIONS of psychiatry and psychology have intentionally perpetrated misleading or downright dishonest representations of the truth, and that these misrepresentations have damaged those they claim to help. To me, these are completely different subjects, and I hope we can all be careful to make sure we make that distinction. If DS or anyone else wants to frame their experience as an illness or attribute a biological cause, they are free to do so. When a psychiatrist or psychologist or an MD makes that claim about someone ELSE, then it is THEY who are bullying and telling others what to believe about their own condition, without scientific backup for their position.

  • In fact, the data suggest that antidepressants, far from saving lives, actually INCREASE the odds of someone committing suicide. And the fact that the suicide rate for folks leaving a psych hospitalization is so amazingly high does not speak well of the “treatment” they are receiving.

    There is no drug on the market today that can legitimately claim to reduce the suicide rate. Even the drug companies don’t claim that in their advertisements. They count on psychiatrists to do that bit of marketing for them.

  • I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. To me, the idea of talking to a “professional” who pretends to some “superior knowledge” in order to “diagnose” me with a “disease or disorder” is VERY different from sharing my experiences with someone who has been there and understands how it feels to be in a similar situation. Human beings have communicated and shared with each other in times of trouble or to mitigate traumatic experiences since the beginning of human language. It is a natural and healthy thing to do. The problem I see is that this natural, human process has been coopted by those claiming special skills or knowledge in the area of “helping,” while presenting no evidence that a degree or professional position confers any kind of advantage in doing so. Folks need to recognize when they’re being scammed. But to suggest that sharing one’s experiences with another human being is ipso facto proof of being a fool or a sucker is just plain nonsense to me. I’m all for fighting back against the system and have done my share over the decades, but I also know that without other caring individuals to listen and help me through life’s challenges, including one very helpful therapist in my 20s, I would not be in the excellent place I am today, and in fact, would never even have fully realized that I needed to fight, and whom I needed to fight against. Dismissing the need for human sharing of experience is simply not a workable theory, no matter how many barriers are manned. But people DO need to learn, or re-learn, since we all once knew how to do this intuitively, how to discern those who we can trust from those who are not really there for us. Many revolutions were brought to a standstill by people’s inability to realize which leader ought to be trusted and which should not, so it doesn’t just apply to therapists or “peer supporters,” either.

  • Actually, I respect people’s inherent ability to discern who are and are not their allies. Unfortunately, that ability has been messed with starting at a very young age, and it is the lack of that ability that allows people to be taken advantage of, including by “professionals.” If people need anything in terms of “help,” the thing they need most is the ability to learn whom they can and cannot trust. If you ask me which is more likely to be trustworthy, a psychiatrist, a therapist, or another person who has “been through the system,” I’d bet on the third by a mile. It’s true many such have been coopted, but that should become obvious in 5-10 minutes of conversation.

    And I’d ask you this: if people are to join in some kind of resistance movement, would that not involve disclosing their affairs to people who may or may not be their actual allies?

  • No we don’t. We want real Peer Support to be paid for by all the money that we save when we fire all the psychiatrists and stop wasting so much money on non-working “Treatments.” I think the objection to referring to “mental health conditions” is mostly that it makes “peers” into automatic subordinates to the “mental health” system. I’d love it if the “system” were subordinate to y’all and especially the clients themselves, but that’s going to require a total re-do of the model where peer support is an “adjunct” or an “alternative” or “supporter” rather than the main deal.

  • I know how ETC “works.” After the “patient” gets 3-4 “sessions, they assure the doctor, “I feel SOOO much better now. THANK YOU for this wonderful experience! I don’t feel even a TINY bit depressed! Now, can you unlock that door so I can get far, far away from you and your ‘help?'”

  • I think it is also important to remember that not all “logic” is logical! But I agree completely, it is the suppression of feelings, not the feelings themselves, that lead to real trouble. Not all feelings need or deserve to be acted upon, but all of them can be safely EXPERIENCED, and in fact, feeling “negative feelings,” as people call them, generally leads to them being LESS likely to be acted upon in a destructive way.

  • You should keep in mind, though, that how a country is RULED (monarchy, etc.) is not the same as how the economy works. Capitalism is an economic model. We kind of know at this point that uncontrolled capitalism leads to monopolies, price-fixing, decreasing wages, and an increasing gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” At the same time, we know that a fully government-controlled economy does not allow for sufficient freedom and motivation to create solutions to problems. Both are susceptible to corruption, of course. So it’s not a simple question of how the government is organized. Private enterprise has its own set of rules. There are plenty of capitalistic countries that have despotic governments or monarchies or even ostensibly “communist” governments like China or Viet Nam. It’s a very complex problem!

  • Actually, the best “treatment” for childhood trauma has been shown to be a healthy relationship with a caring adult or adults. Dr. Bruce Perry has written extensively on this point, as have others. The psychiatric community, as usual, has focused on the ostensible “brain damage” caused by childhood trauma, but have bypassed (or intentionally ignored) the brain-science solution, namely a safe environment with caring parents, which is shown to heal a good part of the damage you describe.

  • It is also “surprising” because doctors and other “wise ones” have blamed “hormones” for all cases of “postpartum depression,” in the interest of promoting their biological solutions to women’s “hormone problems.” This, of course, is an ancient trope used in service of oppressing women through asserting that their “hormone swings” make them incapable of thinking, voting, holding political office, owning land, etc. The idea that MEN might suffer from “postpartum depression” shoots a gigantic, cannonball sized hole in the side of the “it’s women’s hormones” ship, and so of course must never be considered. If MEN can become depressed after a birth, well gosh, that means it might have something to do with the CONDITIONS new parents have to tolerate rather than some random “hormone imbalances” caused by God’s poor design of women’s bodies.

    Of course, the industry will now embark upon an effort to prove that MEN’S hormones are somehow altered after their partner gives birth, spending millions of dollars and assuring us that “the solution will be right around the corner” instead of observing the obvious and trying to work on improving post-birth support for both men AND women.

  • Good post, Jessica. It might be of interest for you to know that a number of studies in different places in the US and Canada show that simply waiting one year to enroll kids in Kindergarten reduces the “ADHD diagnosis” rate by a third! It should be obvious to anyone that this has more to do with developmental levels and adult expectations not matching, not a “disorder” centered in the child because they can’t do what the adults arbitrarily expect of them. And the worst of it is, “medication” over the long term does not improve ANY outcome that we care about vs. kids who were not “medicated” for the same “disorder.” The whole thing would be funny if kids weren’t getting hurt by it!

  • I appreciate your scientific mindset in not ruling things out when you really don’t have data to draw a conclusion. I wish more folks had that attitude.

    I will add here that it is in my experience very difficult, in fact often next to impossible, to detect “signs of akathesia” beyond a person telling you what is going on. There are sometimes external signs, like being unable to stay in one place for long, or restless legs and that sort of thing, but it is described as an INTERNAL sense of restlessness and agitation. It may or may not be accompanied by obvious externals symptoms, and a meaningful discussion with the subject would be necessary to make a definitive diagnosis. It is also easily overlooked or seen as symptoms of “the disorder” rather than recognized for what it is.