Comments by Steve McCrea

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  • You are denying reality. The point of the articles is that the Star-D has falsified outcomes. If you choose not to believe that (belief is not science) that is up to you, but don’t try to claim that later science is responsible for updating fraud. When the authors have been confronted with their false conclusions they have doubled down, not reconsidered. It was a handy conclusion that people like you want to believe, so they believe it.

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  • You are sharing the “general consensus” that we’ve all been taught to believe. I suggest you read some of these stories from real people who totally believed what you say and had not so great or horrible experiences.

    I’m puzzled also hoe “the right medications” are going to help with anything but #1. And of course, research has never really shown “chemical imbalances” to be real, measurable things. So you actually make a great argument that medication is at best a very small part of any treatment approach, yet you seem to be arguing it’s the whole thing.

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  • “Depression” is not caused by one thing. That’s the first error of psychiatry – lumping all “depressed” or “manic” people together as if their behavior or emotions tell us what is wrong with them or what they need. Saying someone “has depression” tells us very little about why or what to do about it. “Treating” something makes no sense if that “thing” isn’t really a thing at all, but a phenomenon with many possible causes and solutions.

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  • It is not about Clozapine per se. It’s about doctors playing fast and loose with the facts and the system being based on incorrect assumptions and guidance. I’d say it’s one more example of how patients are assured that doctors have all the know-how to use these drugs responsibly when they really do not, no matter how responsible they are. By the way, I consider it a pretty cheap shot to toss out that doctors have to be “lazy and negligent” to make Clozapine use a risk not worth the benefits. There are very good reasons it fell into disuse, as you very well know, and they had nothing to do with negligence.

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  • If I can’t discuss concerns about a comment or thread, then I can’t work with you. It’s part of the rules of posting. Otherwise, you can post whatever you want and I have nothing I can do except not publish your posts. Obviously, I have a concern to discuss. If you can’t do it, I’m sorry, but that means you won’t be allowed to post.

    Steve

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  • You say a lot of things here you have repeated because you heard them somewhere, but most of the people on this site have a lot of direct experience with the system themselves and understand it’s not so simple. Clearly, Brittney’s life didn’t suddenly get all better when she got treatment, did it? Additionally, the issue of the guardianship was fraught with all kinds of conflicts of interest and personal agendas above and beyond any “mental health” concerns. You might want to read Anatomy of an Epidemic and get an idea why people have concerns about the “mental health” system instead of assuming everything you’ve heard is automatically true and people who don’t agree are irresponsible or ignorant.

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  • Whether or not someone receives treatment is not an “outcome.” An outcome is a result of the treatment approach. The study does not state or claim or suggest or imply that no one has a good outcome using antipsychotic drugs. It suggests that ON THE AVERAGE, those who receive light or no intervention are more likely to have a better outcome at two years onward. A better outcome ON THE AVERAGE. There can be plenty who got a better outcome with drugs or a worse one with drugs as well. Your story is one story of millions. Yours can be 100% true and yet the average person can still be worse off in the long run on antipsychotics. You are one data point. A scientific study is made up of hundreds or thousands of data points. It’s not the same.

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  • Please explain how any one DSM “diagnosis” is derived from scientific observation and research. Specifically, please describe how exactly one can distinguish who “has” the “disorder” from who does not ‘have it.’

    This is not to say that people don’t like or benefit from biological interventions. But that’s nothing new – folks have taken substances to alter their mental/spiritual reality since the beginning of human history. That’s very, very different from claiming that something as vague and amorphous and subjective as “major depressive disorder” or “adjustment disorder” or “ADHD” is derived from the scientific method. In fact, the DSM admits they are not in its introduction, in no uncertain terms. You ought to read it some time.

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  • Your comments reflect not having read the many testimonies of people here who were diagnosed with “major depression” or “bipolar disorder” or even “schizophrenia” and were treated with drugs for years or decades with really poor outcomes, including a significant number who did far better after they came off the drugs and did other things.

    There are most definitely big medication success stories. There are also disaster stories. Same drugs, same “diagnoses,” very different outcomes. If you really want to understand a site like this, that has to be your starting point. You can’t decide people are ignorant simply because they had different experiences than you. Maybe you should stop and read some of the stories before you assume that no one here has suffered any “mental illnesses” just because they had very different outcomes than you expected to hear?

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  • Here are the references I quoted. Barkley and Cunningham 1978. Swanson et al 2003. Oregon Medication Effectiveness Study 2002. Montreal ADHD Study. Raine study from Australia. Finnish comparison study to USA cohort. Not to mention Whitaker himself, who summarizes the extant literature.

    How are these not citations of clinical studies? Barkley in particular is a super pro-ADHD researcher. It seems you didn’t read my earlier posts yourself. My comments are firmly rooted in years of long-term research, which you’d know if you’d bothered to read Whitaker’s work before deciding you already know all about the subject. It’s not too late to educate yourself, but I get tired of repeating the same lessons for folks who don’t seem interested in seeing another viewpoint.

    And the author mentioned his “clinical experience” including a specific case, as I recall, which is 100% anecdotal. I am very clear what anecdotal evidence looks like.

    I think it would be nice if you would learn to respond without putting down the person you are disagreeing with.

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  • ADHD being “more recognized” would in no way make it more likely that people taking stimulants being more likely to develop heart problems. It’s not a new suggestion. Probably not a common event but it sounds like more common if you take stimulants. Knowing what we know about stimulants, the increased risk of heart disease associated with them should not be surprising.

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  • The average “seriously mentally ill” person, most of whom have received years of drug “treatment”, die 15-20 years younger than the general population. There are, of course, multiple reasons, but psychiatric drugs and ECT are high on the list.

    The antipsychotics are known to induce diabetes and other metabolic issues, and to increase heart disease. If you think inducing diabetes doesn’t kill people, you are confused.

    Sometimes, psychiatry does kill.

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  • Anecdotes are not scientific evidence except in the crudest sense. I’m not saying the drugs have no effects or that “ADHD” is trivial or that people so diagnosed don’t do worse than the general population in a number of significant ways. I’m saying that, for instance, the claim that “untreated ADHD leads to delinquency” is false, because “treated” ADHD kid aren’t less likely to become delinquent. BOTH groups are more likely to commit criminal acts, though interestingly, I recall reading a study where those identified early on as non-aggressive “ADHD” types did not commit more criminal acts later. But it makes sense, impulsive people are more likely to do impulsive things, and committing crimes is often impulsive. The point is, IN THE COLLECTIVE, we do not reduce the delinquency rates by “medicating” the subjects. This does not mean a particular individual wouldn’t, say, feel better about school, improve their grades, or even say, “This stuff saved my life!” But those are anecdotes. Scientifically, we have to look at the overall effect, and overall, the effect of widespread stimulant use on the population is not large, if we look at the data rather than stories.

    I would submit to you that there are plenty of people whom you don’t know whose situations might have gotten worse to the same degree your client base got better. I don’t know what kind of selection bias you have in your population, but I worked with foster youth and saw plenty whose lives deteriorated after starting stimulants, particularly due to aggression toward others. Many ended up with more drugs and worse “diagnoses,” one ended up psychotic until she herself stopped the drugs and went back to her old “normal.” So anecdotes can tell many stories. Collective data is more reliable.

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  • Multiple long-term studies show no significant advantages to those taking stimulants vs. those who don’t when diagnosed with “ADHD” in childhood, other than the accidents you mention, and I believe clearly overstate in your comments. Delinquency rates, HS graduation, college enrollment, social skills, not even self-esteem scores were better for those taking stimulants. This has been confirmed since Barkley and Cunningham’s first review in 1978, confirmed by Swanson’s “Review of Reviews” in 1993, and in the OSU medication effectiveness study back in 2002 or so. Also confirmed by the Raine study in Australia, the Quebec study, a comparison study between Finnish and US kids who had very different medication rates but similar outcomes, and more.

    Read Whitaker’s works if you want to fully understand what’s going on at MIA. Not everything is the way the professionals have told you it is.

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  • It’s not really a legitimate approach to say, “What else should they have done?” It assumes that doing SOMETHING is essential and that NOT doing what they propose is foolish unless you have something “better” to replace it. It is possible that antidepressants were destructive AND there was not a “better treatment” available. We should not assume “antidepressants” as some sort of minimum standard of treatment that is the default unless we have something “better” to propose. Sometimes nothing is better than doing things that are destructive.

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  • I think you are missing the larger point, Donna. You say our “knowledge” of these things is in its infancy. But the “diagnoses” themselves are not explanatory of anything, regardless of the education and experience of the person involved. How is saying, “Joe feels really hopeless and sees no point in his life” any different than saying “Joe has major depression?” Is there some way to distinguish Joe’s “Major Depression” from Mary’s “Anxiety disorder with depressive features?” They are simply descriptions of what is observed, and clinicians will make a lot of noise about “clinical depression” vs. “reactive depression” but look in the DSM, there is simply NOTHING there to make a distinction. You meet 5 out of 8 criteria, you “have major depression.” Only meet 4, you don’t. Nothing about cause, nothing about ongoing stressors, nothing about culture – just a description. That’s not a “knowledge in its infancy.” That’s just making stuff up, plain and simple. There is no way any “knowledge” can advance from that kind of basis. The DSM is not knowledge. It’s a fantasy that makes people believe “knowledge” is behind it.

    Not sure what the answer is, but calling people names based on arbitrary checklists isn’t it.

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  • The fact that you worked through it yourself and found out what worked and did not work for you has to be a big plus for you. Additionally, I hope you learned that not everyone responds to the same things and that a therapist has to be creative and responsive to the individual needs of their client. It’s been proven again and again that these therapist characteristics are far more important than the modality used, in fact, in many studies the modality was not a contributing factor to positive outcomes.

    Bottom line, it seems you learned empathy for your clients and haven’t forgotten that lesson.

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  • I think it showed that administering group DBT training doesn’t lead to improved outcomes. If I’m a school administrator, that should be enough for me to think, “Well, we’ve got only so much time in the day, why waste time on something that doesn’t have a significantly positive effect?” An intervention doesn’t have to be proven harmful to be avoided. It just needs to be shown not to be significantly helpful.

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  • These “differences” are AVERAGES – They can never be used to determine if person A “has schizophrenia” or person B does not. There are tons of “schizophrenic”-diagnosed people who do NOT have frontal cortex atrophy. It’s also well known that frontal cortex atrophy and other brain shrinkage can be caused by the antipsychotics themselves. PET and f-MRI studies are absolutely useless in “diagnosis.” And of course, this must be the case, because there is no reason to believe any 5 people with the same “diagnosis” have the same kind of problem or need the same kind of help.

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  • I would add that psych ward staff also need to learn and practice these things. Some do this well, but some don’t. The real problem is POWER. The people with power are telling the kids how to “manage their emotions” and whatnot, but they are still free to be as abusive, neglectful, and thoughtless as they wish and suffer no consequences. Whether its parents, teachers, staff, doctors, pastoral leaders, or even just adults who are comfortable exercising power over those they feel are beneath them, as long as the person in the one-up power position is unwilling to step down, no amount of “emotional management” will make things any better.

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  • I would add that the teachers need to learn and practice any skills they want the kids to have.

    I had a neighbor kid who was in middle school. He explained to me they spent a one-hour assembly working on Carl Rogers’ reflective listening skills, including “I statements.”

    He was sitting on the stage after the session and a teacher came up and said, “You, get off the stage!” in a very loud and aggressive manner. He said, “I don’t like it when you yell at me. I’d prefer we speak in calmer tones.”

    He got sent to the Principal’s office immediately. What was the real lesson here?

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  • I would add that being told over and over that their emotional struggles are a “mental disorder” has contributed to younger peoples’ lack of ability to cope. Used to be parents, teachers, and the kids themselves got the message, “Hey, you’re good at x, but not so great at y. Let’s work on your Y skills.” No excuses, you just were how you were and everyone dealt with it, admittedly poorly much of the time, but at least the message was, “Don’t feel sorry for yourself – you can figure this out.

    I also remember the crazed maniacs who sometimes passed for school teachers back in my day. I’d hardly say the school environment has gotten more stressful!

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  • When I was a counselor and sometimes had to do these “diagnoses,” I viewed them the same way, and told my clients as much. I said they’re just descriptions of behavior/emotion/thoughts that are used to bill insurance companies. I told them I’d select the one most likely to get them the kind of help they needed. I always favored PTSD or Adjustment Disorder because they would incline toward talking solutions rather than drugs.

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  • Are you saying anything is better than telling someone they have an incurable brain disease and there’s nothing they can do about it except hope that the doctors have a magic pill that never seems to develop?

    A sensitive 8 year old can do better than a standard psychiatric intervention. On the average, listening to someone is going to help, but who needs to be a therapist to listen? And what guarantee is there that a therapist can and will listen anyway?

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  • It is also possible that some are NOT there to make you feel better.

    On the other hand, the bartender and the heroin peddle are there to make you feel better, too.

    Making someone “feel better” is generally only effective as a short-term objective. People who set their long-term goals at “making myself feel better” generally don’t have very livable lives.

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  • That does seem to be the message. At least from the incompetents. Just “think different thoughts” and your emotions will change! A bit of magical thinking, there. I mean, in the LONG RUN, it’s probably true, but to make out that a person can just “change thoughts” on command, especially after years of trauma or living in current danger, chronic or acute, is patently ridiculous. There’s a lot of trust building and examining patterns and detecting the purpose of certain behavior/thinking from the client’s viewpoint and a lot of “what ifs” and “Let’s imagines” before anyone gets around to saying something as monumental as “I’ve changed my viewpoint. I don’t need my mother’s constant involvement to survive.” People believe what they believe for a reason. It doesn’t work for a therapist to say, “That’s a bad belief, you need to change it!”

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  • Nobody is saying the medications are not valid. We’re saying PSYCHIATRY is not valid! The idea of taking a substance to make yourself feel better is as ancient as human history, maybe even older. It’s not an amazing 21st century discovery of the psychiatric profession. The biggest problem is these damned DIAGNOSES, which have no scientific reality but are used to promote certain products and discourage people from exploring their own solutions.

    If the drugs work for you, more power to you! This website is not about that. It’s about bringing some kind of sanity back to the world of “mental health treatment,” including stopping psychiatrists from involuntarily forcing people to take these drugs when they do NOT work for the recipient!

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  • CBT as practiced by many often does encourage clients to ignore or minimize or intellectualize social causes of distress. I find it useful in certain contexts, but see it as a tool, not a therapeutic school. It works fantastic for some people in some situations (I use it all the time myself), but there are times when “empowering oneself” has to take a back seat to taking an honest look at what’s going on or has happened in the past. For instance, a domestic abuse victim might learn to “think different thoughts” so they find their abuser’s comments less upsetting. This might be a useful skill, but it does not BEGIN to address the needs of the client. If all we gave our DV victims was CBT, we’d be doing them a gross disservice. Same with folks with big tramua histories. Telling them to “think different thoughts” is a short step from “get over it, you wimp!” And lest you think I’m exaggerating or making this up, several people have reported on MIA that they are told by their therapists that they should “not think of the past” and that processing historical emotions is a waste of time and they need to “Be mindful” and “focus on the present.”

    A good therapist can use CBT to get good results when it is appropriate. A bad therapist can use CBT to create an emotionally unsafe environment for their clients and effectively make their “mental health” status worse.

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  • Hi, Molly,

    I certainly have no intention of attacking psychiatrists. But you are saying things that are said by psychiatrists but not scientifically accurate. Antipsychotic drugs HAVE been shown to do brain damage, including reduction in grey matter volume, altering the size of the Corpus Collosum, and inducing neurological problems like Parkinsonism and Tardive Dyskinesia. No psychiatrist worth talking to will deny these things are known facts. There are now ads on TV to fight off TD, which is directly stated in the ads to be caused by their “mental health meds.” The idea that antipsychotics offer some protection from brain damage caused by schizophrenia or other “mental illnesses” is a nice concept, but again, I know of no evidence that this is actually true. Can you attach a link to a study or two to show where you’re getting this information?

    It is hard sometimes for people who have used the MH system and feel they have benefitted from it to hear from others who feel it has harmed them. I don’t think anyone here wants to upset you about this stuff, but they’re mostly just telling their stories, and I believe they have a right to do that, even if these stories don’t jibe with what you’ve read or heard or been told. And if it causes others to be a little more careful how they engage with the system, I think that’s all to the good. An informed patient has the best outcomes, but our practitioners mostly have conflicts of interest that prevent them from giving out the honest information that everyone needs. A lot of that information is available here, albeit often in anecdotal form, but still, don’t you think folks have a right to tell their stories? If you came on and told YOUR story and someone told you it was “wrong” or was damaging people, how do you think you would feel about it?

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  • It’s worse than that, Molly. They don’t know what they should be aiming at. The drugs hit parts of the brain they ARE intended to hit as well, and THOSE parts of the brain get broken down and stop working properly, too. They’re not quite shooting at random, but the targeted parts of the brain do not heal under their attack. And destroying them isn’t good for the brain, either. It is a poor solution.

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  • I don’t consider this obvious. A person may need PROTECTION, yes, and others may need protection from THEM, but why does “treatment” in the form of enforced drugging necessarily emerge from feeling angry or confused or despairing? How about giving folks a safe place to calm down and some sane people to talk with if they want, plus some food and sleep and the like? Why start with forced drugging as the only “answer,” especially when we see how poor the outcomes are for those experiencing such “treatment” in the long term?

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  • I learned early on that “intellectualization” is just one more coping measure, having its value and its drawbacks, just like every other coping measure. We all need coping measures, including denial, splitting, minimization, and intellectualization, in order to survive. There is nothing wrong with using any of them if they are working for you. The times we have problems is when we learn these measures early in life and come to believe they are our only options in certain situations. Becoming aware of the coping measures we choose and getting a broader range of options in any given situation is a valuable set of lessons. A lot of times, using intellectualization to “block childhood trauma” is the smartest thing to do. There are also times it can get in the way of moving forward. Just like any other coping measure. It is not good or bad in itself, it’s about how/when these coping measures are used that matters. And who is really in a position to judge that other than the person deciding how to “cope?”

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  • The answer is simpler and more grim – they prescribe it to keep them quiet. “Antipsychotics” reduce aggression, so any sign of violence or aggression from an “autistic” kid and out comes the Risperdal or Abilify prescription. Also often used to calm down aggression that’s actually CAUSED by stimulants for “ADHD”. Doesn’t even require a “psychosis diagnosis.” If they’re annoying enough and have a label, they are fair game for antipsychotics.

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  • Labeling terms is a very human practice. People come up with words to describe what they observe, and I have no problem with that. It’s the fetishizing of these words into “diagnoses” and “disorders” that upsets me, when the “diagnoses” have no more meaning or validity that saying someone who picks his nose has “excessive digital-nasal insertion disorder.”

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  • There is a difference between using a term to describe something (My husband is an ABUSER) and being DIAGNOSED with something (My husband beats me up because he has “Bipolar Disorder”). One is simply a linguistic means of describing people who have certain traits in common, the other implies some kind of deeper “causal” relationship between these people such that some sort of “treatment” will generally be helpful to all of them. Psychiatry blurs these lines badly, and I believe intentionally, such that people are confused between a description (These children all have trouble paying attention in school and get into trouble) and a diagnosis (all children who have trouble paying attention are suffering from a ‘disorder’ called ‘ADHD’ and there is a ‘treatment’ for this condition). Of course, this sells a lot of drugs, but the confusion does a great deal of damage to our society, as it prevents any real attempts to identify the actual causes in individuals, as well as taking perfectly normal behavior (being distracted when bored to death by the school curriculum or process) and making it into a disease state. But when we get as silly as calling something “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” because a person is oppositional and defiant, it should be obvious to any rational person that these “disorders” are absolute irrational nonsense! Might as well say someone picks their nose because they have “Nose Picking Disorder.” It wouldn’t be any less ridiculous.

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  • It also always seems hypocritical when they expect someone ELSE to prove their drugs cause dependency, assuming safety, while normally we expect drug trials to assume non-safety until proven otherwise. How many drugs have we been told are “not habit forming” and yet later turned out to have horrible addiction profiles? Benzedrine, Valium, Xanax, Oxy, Ativan, SSRIs… the list is pretty long at this point. Why aren’t we making the drug companies prove their drugs are NOT addictive/dependence-forming before they’re allowed to market?

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  • It did seem odd to me that after dismissing the claim that science understands the mind, the IFS approach still “diagnoses” people with “conditions” based on their “understanding” of the mind. Better to just admit it’s a mystery and work with the person in front of us and stop trying to “understand” them separately from their own conceptualization of their own situation.

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  • From what I understand of recent studies, the scientific consensus is about 30% of people taking antidepressants express finding improvement. When you take the placebo effect into account, that number drops even lower, and if you talk about an ACTIVE placebo, Kirsch puts the effectiveness rating near zero, at least in terms of any kind of significant clinical benefit.

    The drugs do DO something (mostly a stimulation effect, with a dampening of emotional reactivity), and some people find that SOMETHING positive for them. And more power to them. But we should remember that some people find marijuana or controlled doses of alcohol or taking DSMO or St. John’s Wort helpful, too. The problem isn’t that some people don’t report benefitting, it’s selling the idea that there are NO harms and that EVERYONE who is feeling depressed needs some, and even worse, that people who have adverse reactions or simply don’t improve are “treatment resistant” or are being dishonest!!!! Just because a person or persons report they like this and it helps them feel better is no reason to create a false narrative and make people who don’t feel such a benefit into some kind of monsters for “preventing effective treatment”!

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  • I’ll just remind everyone here that “bad science” isn’t really science at all. It is mostly attempts to use a scientific veneer to justify things that REAL science doesn’t support. The way to tell the difference is what happens when real science comes out with data that contradict the “opinion leaders.” If they attack the data or those who promote or share it, they’re not involved with “bad science.” They’re involved in marketing!

    But you ARE right, we do have to engage with anyone who is a real ally and not expect total agreement, except on the point that psychiatry as currently imagined needs to GO!

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  • To be clear, I as moderator am not in the business of deciding what content or claims are accurate or inaccurate, thank the Lord! All I do is make sure that the comments fit the Posting Guidelines. There is no censorship on any kind of content-based grounds, and people are welcome to say more or less whatever they want, with very few exceptions regarding taking over the site with off-topic conversations that don’t advance the purpose of the website. It is the job of the Community at large to add their feedback and “correct” anything that seems exaggerated or unproven, just as you are attempting to do.

    MIA needs to be judged on the articles. No website anywhere I know of is judged by the comments people make on the articles. I assume “professional” people understand this and act accordingly.

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  • While I agree with your sentiments, having been “behind enemy lines” for a number of years, the problem is that the workers, while some struggle with the ethics of their situation, also have the power to easily pass on their frustrations and “moral injuries” to the very people they’re supposed to be caring for. The “consumers” or recipients or victims of their care have no such luxury. It is imperative that those working in the system who DO recognize what’s happening fight to change it, even if it means losing their jobs. Saying, “I had to harm them, I would have lost my job otherwise” is very similar to saying “I was only following orders.” Not a valid ethical “out” for someone who really understands the harm being done.

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  • I always found “Behavioral Health” to be a bizarre term. How does behavior have “health?” Though I guess it provides a somewhat more honest glimpse into where these industries are really coming from. If we were healing “brain disorders,” wouldn’t it be “brain health?” No, it’s about controlling BEHAVIOR based on what Those In Charge think is “appropriate!” Not much science involved, but a lot of force and lies and manipulation!

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  • I think he’s saying that the people RUNNING the system exhibit “psychopathic” tendencies, which include lack of empathy, willingness to commit crimes to accomplish desired goals, willingness to lie, cheat or steal to get what they want, sometimes even a certain perverse enjoyment in watching others suffer. Overall, it speaks to a massive need to control others’ lives at their expense, and a lack of any concern for the welfare of anyone but themselves. This is a very rough and incomplete description, but such people are only rarely ever “diagnosed” with any kind of “Mental illness,” but rather tend to skate through life making trouble for others and getting others blamed for things they themselves have arranged. Those who are “caught” are more likely to be in jail than the “mental health” system, but plenty such people get into positions of power in businesses or government agencies where they have enough control to harm people while being protected from any kind of consequences. Of course, the world of psychiatry provides many such opportunities, and it would hardly be surprising if that field attracted a disproportionate number of psychopathic individuals, some of whom may be actually directing the course of the organization/profession.

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  • I agree. The only therapists of any value are the ones who recognize that there is no such thing as “professional objectivity.” In order to be truly helpful, we have to understand that everything we do is at all times influenced by our own desires and motivations, and that we are only aware of a small percentage of them. It requires “constant vigilance,” not some fantasy belief that professional training somehow cancels out subjectivity!

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  • I think you hit on something EXTREMELY important! It is those wounded by the abusers in society who are “diagnosed” and sent to “therapy,” while the perpetrators walk around harming others. Therapy at its best is about helping those harmed cope with the damage and the horrible awareness that abusers are running the show. I was fortunate to have a caring and competent therapist, so it’s very hard for me to even imagine what would happen to me if my therapist had joined forces with those authority figures responsible for the damage!!!!

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  • I will suggest here that per the scientific method, we assume something is NOT effective until it is proven to be effective. The “null hypothesis” in this case is that antidepressants do not reduce suicidal thoughts or behavior. If such controversy and conflicting studies continue to exist 30-40 years after ADs were introduced, I think we can conclude at this point that they DO NOT reduce suicidal thoughts and behavior.

    Of course, in the “antidepressants cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors,” the “null hypothesis is that they don’t. However, the fact there is a Black Box warning on all drugs impacting serotonin suggests there is enough evidence to concern people about their safety, especially in the young. Since there is almost zero evidence of any AD effectiveness in youth, and literally none in young children, even a chance of increasing suicide rates ought to be enough to eliminate these completely from the psychiatrist’s toolbox, at least for children.

    At a minimum, the evidence to date is more than sufficient to conclude that antidepressants do not decrease the suicide rate for any subgroup of identified “depressed” people. The fact that certain “researchers” and “thought leaders” choose to cherrypick the studies they like should not divert us from this conclusion. Any decent review of the literature shows no positive effect, and many show possible increases in suicide rates, even in studies involving people who were screened for suicidality before starting. It’s not really that much in dispute, except for people who want to believe otherwise.

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  • It has always infuriated me when therapists expect their clients to automatically trust them! Don’t they get that this is Step One of any decent helping process? I used to work with foster kids, and I’d often say to them, “I suspect you don’t trust me. That’s pretty smart. I wouldn’t trust me, either – you have no idea who I am or what my agenda is! And I don’t automatically trust you, either. I’m hoping as we get to know each other, we could develop some trust.” Or words to that effect. Oddly enough, I managed to earn the trust of many of them. I wonder why?

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  • I agree with you for the most part. I would never have gotten where I am from psychotherapy. I did have a very good therapist and it was important in getting me started in seeing the limitations of my upbringing. But without Buddhism, meditation, exercise, a job that challenged me to overcome some of my anxieties, the support of important people (including my wife), an exploration of a wide range of spiritual practices, self-help books, and some good old fashioned hard work, I’d have never gotten anywhere. And from what I understand, the training for therapists these days has deteriorated, and they spend time studying the DSM diagnoses but don’t bother with little things like unconscious motivations or the long-term impact of trauma or domestic abuse dynamics. So I don’t want to deny that psychotherapy can play a role for some folks, but it needs to be one who really GETS what s/he is doing, and is empowering of the client to pursue his/her goals. My therapist told me her goal was for ME to become my own therapist and not need her any more. Not every therapist has such goals!

    Anyway, I think you’re right, the best even the best therapist can offer (and as I see it, most of them aren’t very good!) is to help you set your feet on a different path. Where you end up going is TOTALLY up to you, and there are as many ways to find the path as there are humans on the Earth!

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  • Forget about “borderline personality disorder” or any other of their anti-scientific labels. What does she really need? What behavior or issues does SHE think are creating problems for her? What does SHE want to be different? What does SHE think would be a good approach?

    Usually, people who get branded with the “Borderline” label are those who have difficulty trusting others in relationships. See if you can talk to her about trust. Most are also people who have had traumatic experiences early in their lives. What kind of historical trauma is she still dealing with?

    She needs support and understanding, not more labels. Psychotherapy CAN be helpful but only if you find the right person who can create a safe place for her to explore her life and what she wants to do with it. Another person bullying her around and telling her “what’s wrong with you” and what she needs to do will not be helpful. I don’t know what the best way to go about it is, but it starts with NOT accepting the labeling process and find some other people, professionals or not, who agree with you and are willing to help.

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  • Sorry, but psychiatry does NOT rely on “common sense.” Common sense dictates that people who have been emotionally distraught need to talk to someone. Anyone who has witnessed a car accident or experienced an upsetting incident has an immediate urge to tell their story to another human being, who helps best by listening. There is nothing common sensical about the idea that “mental disorders are caused by faulty brains.” That is a very non-intuitive idea that has been sold and sold HARD to the public through massive PR campaigns and through TV and movies and other media methods.

    Common sense says that psychiatry is BS. It is only the pretense of “science” coming from the mouths of pseudo-“doctors” claiming “special knowledge” that allows people to actually invalidate their common sense and believe this unscientific and intuitively offensive nonsense!

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  • I would also say that the training for “talk therapy” has deteriorated massively while classes on “diagnosing” with the DSM are hugely on the rise. I often wonder from talking to them whether today’s clinicians have ever even been introduced to the idea of subconscious motivation? They get trained that PTSD exists but to they get any kind of training on what to DO that might be helpful to a traumatized person (or what NOT to do?) Once one’s had “therapy” with a person who doesn’t know what they’re doing and makes things worse, the idea that “therapy” could work is canceled pretty much forever. Which leaves people with very few options!

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  • You are confusing an observable problem and a workable solution.

    Of course, no one here denies that people live on the street and talk to themselves. Believe it or not, A LOT of those people are “taking their meds” and still doing that, or have tried the “psychiatric treatment” path and it has failed miserably for them. Did you realize that the likelihood of recovering from “schizophrenia” is now a LOT WORSE than it was in the 1950s, before the “drug era” began? Did you realize that the likelihood of recovering is MUCH HIGHER in countries like Nigeria, Columbia, and other “developing countries” where “medication” is used far less frequently? Were you aware of the fact that a lot of people having first episode psychosis don’t have another, but that the likelihood of spontaneous improvement has REDUCED since psychiatric drugs are in regular use? Have you learned yet that the average “seriously mentally ill” person dies an average of 20-25 years YOUNGER than the rest of the population, and that the drugs used to “treat” these “illnesses” are largely responsible for many of these early deaths?

    The social myth is that there are magic drugs that make everyone all better, and if only the “homeless” and the “mentally ill” would follow their doctors’ instructions, they’d be “normal” people working jobs and going to college and raising families, just like on the ads on TV or the movies and TV shows where someone goes “off their meds” and crashes and burns, but as soon as they’re back “on their meds,” they’re totally fine again. The industries have worked hard to create this impression, but if you can put this myth aside for a moment and actually READ some of the stories presented below, you might start to realize that it’s not such a pretty picture.

    Psych drugs do seem to be helpful to a certain percentage of the population without serious damage to their quality of life, and more power to them. But the idea that doctors have some great “treatments” that make MOST people “normal” again if only they do as they’re told is completely false. The bulk of “seriously mentally ill” people who are in “compliance” with their treatment plans are poor, unemployed (on disability), and living lives that most of us would consider extremely low in quality. Those who do better often do so despite their “treatment plans” and “providers” rather than because of them, or at least have little to no support for improving their life quality from those supposedly “treating” them besides the drugs they are prescribed. Considering the massive adverse effects most experience, ranging from involuntary movements to severely blunted emotions and motivation to loss of sexual function to enormous weight gain to diabetes and heart disease, it might seem that living on the streets is hardly any worse to some recipients. And that’s not even mentioning the tremendous loss of autonomy most experience, being constantly monitored and told what to do and threatened with incarceration, framed as “hospitalization,” if they step out of line or their “symptoms” increase.

    It is very easy to judge if you’re not someone who has had these experiences yourself. Why don’t you suspend the judgment for a while and try reading some of the many stories here about what has happened to people here who “complied” with their “treatment plans” and ended up devastated? There’s a LOT more to the story than you seem to have heard to this point!

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  • The key question would be whether one could distinguish in some objective way between “biological” and “situational depression.” Of course, no one has come close to doing that, and they don’t even bother trying any longer. It’s just “let’s try these drugs out and see what happens.” No pretension in reality of any kind of scientific diagnostic process. But as long as the big money keeps coming in, no one has an incentive to look deeper.

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  • Where can you have come up with such statistics? As far as I know, there is no objective description or measurement of a “neurotypical” brain that is possible. So a “neurodivergent” brain, while I think can be a legitimate identity to choose, is not a scientifically observable phenomenon, and as a result, its frequency of occurrence is not something we can claim to know.

    I personally find the term “neurotypical” to be to some extent demeaning, as it seems to imply that I have somehow gotten a “normal” brain and that therefore any struggles I may have are of less significance than the “neurodiverse” brain. I can tell you with absolute certainty there is nothing “typical” about how I have experienced life and I had plenty of struggles in school and elsewhere, even though my particular “brain” (if that is indeed the variable in question) allowed me to be quite successful in the educational environment and to scrape by socially, “it” has provided plenty of challenges in non-academic arenas. Of course, you could now decide (or I could) that I really am NOT neurotypical, that I’m “neurodiverse,” but again, that would be a decision of identity that I (or someone else) made, and not one that can be verified in any scientific manner.

    I don’t believe there are “neurotypical” brains out there – my observation is that everyone’s brain is different and everyone has certain things in common, and our society is highly intolerant of certain personality characteristics or behavior, which leads to bigotry and discrimination against certain people who don’t BEHAVIORALLY fit what is expected, whether because of their brains or some other reason. Does neurology factor into that? No doubt. But until there is a means of drawing some kind of objective line between the “neurotypical” and the “neurodiverse,” I’m afraid these terms remain social constructs without any objective meanings. Like I said, everyone should feel free to identify themselves as they wish, but I’d appreciate you and others not choosing MY identity for me!

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  • It would indeed be interesting!

    My point is that having a goal over which you have no direct control is a setup for failure, in my experience. Empathy in particular is VERY difficult to teach, especially to an adult. Not saying it could not happen, but I’d be more likely to look at something more along the lines of not engaging when negative stuff is coming from her, drilling how to convey the necessary message most effectively, and how to set good boundaries when she becomes abusive. All things the person himself can control. I’ve seen way too many people spend way too much time trying to “get their viewpoint across” or “help him see how he’s hurting me,” etc., with absolutely no success and enormous frustration. I recommend setting goals that a person can accomplish, regardless of whether someone else chooses to “understand” or not!

    Hope that makes some sense.

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  • The question is, how can anyone POSSIBLY determine where such a “line” lies, or if it even exists? And if we DON’T objectively define what it is, then we get arbitrary and subjective rules, leading to “diagnostic drift” toward whatever makes more money for the providers and less trouble for those in control of society’s institutions.

    And why do we need to define such a line anyway? Why can’t we simply say that “those who suffer need and deserve support” and provide it without pretending there is something physiological going on? Now, if there IS something physical that is off, like low thyroid, anemia, sleep problems leading to depression or hyperactivity, or whatever, then THAT is what should be treated, not “depression” or “anxiety.”

    I’d really be interested in knowing why you think such a line can be and/or needs to be drawn to be able to provide full support to those who are suffering?

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  • I hope that you found people with this label were a lot more different than they were similar to each other. That was my experience. The main thing they mostly had in common is that their early lives were shitty. Other than that, I saw a huge range of human interests, abilities, and personalities carelessly lumped together simply because traumatization had made it more challenging for the poor professionals to figure out what was going on.

    I actually have no patience for this “diagnosis.” Why not just say, “Mary was abused as a kid and has trouble trusting people” or whatever else is going on? Why talk about this group as if they had anything in common besides being labeled and discriminated against by the “system” personnel?

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  • Actually, the “comorbidity” is, in my view, not because these “conditions” share things, but because they are not actual medical “conditions” at all. What should be diagnosed is neuroinflammation, histamine intolerance, vitamin D deficiency, etc, rather than wasting time on these meaningless DSM “diagnoses” that don’t tell us anything about the actual problem at hand.

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  • That’s one of the most insidious dangers of the “label and drug” approach. It gives the impression that your environment is harmless and YOU have the problem. If only your brain worked better, you wouldn’t MIND being worked 60 hours a week at a mindless job that challenges your personal ethics on a daily basis! It’s all about Bad Brains, never about fixing the environment and expectations that lead to burnout!

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  • And we can see exactly how helpful the psych drugs were in preventing further violence!

    I agree with you, people should be judged on the danger and disrespect of their behavior, not some label affixed to them or some lenience based on “compliance with medication” or whatever else. We can see that compliance and safety don’t necessarily bear any relationship to each other.

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  • I am not surprised to hear any of that. The system is set up so that narcissism is rewarded. Back when I got my own therapy (1982), there were requirements that therapists go through their own therapy before being allowed into the office, and there was strong recognition that the therapist could do a lot of damage if s/he had not dealt with his/her own issues and instead acted them out on the client. Nowadays, I’m not sure they even train counselors on the fact of unconscious motivations they might have. I’d say one takes one’s life in his/her hands applying to a random “therapist” for help today. Odds are better that you’ll get screwed over than helped. I think that was already true in 1982, but it’s far worse today.

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  • I think we see here that chatGPT is simply regurgitating what the most common or popular responses are to this kind of question on the internet as a whole. It is not the act of “artificial intelligence,” it’s the act of a very fast collector of other people’s ideas and statements, collating these into some “safe” statements that fit into the mainstream of what’s already been said. It’s INCREDIBLY unlikely that any AI program will look at the situation and conclude, “Well, a lot of people say that antidepressants improve imbalances in chemicals, but research by X, Y, and Z have proven this trope completely false. Evidence is that it originated in propaganda from pharmaceutical company marketing schemes.” ChatGPT is going to amplify the most commonly held beliefs. It will never be able to challenge them, because it can’t really think.

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  • I will only take this moment to state that not ALL therapists see their role as to identify and/or correct defects in their clients. I think you are acknowledging that in your choice of words, but I want to make that explicit. My view has always been that the only ones who can tell us if therapy “works” are the ones receiving the therapy. They’re also the only ones knowing if something is “wrong” with them and/or what if anything they need to do about it. A good therapist works to help the client discover their own truths about themselves. Anyone who thinks they can “fix” or “improve” the client should be avoided like the plague!

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  • The science does not support your assertions. No medication has been found to reduce suicide rates, and most antidepressants increase rates. Recovery rates have been shown to be LOWER when taking antipsychotics over the long term. Only 30% of users report significant benefits from antidepressants, which is barely more than benefit from placeboes. This is what the science says. Repeating mythology doesn’t make it true. How do you KNOW these things you have claimed to be true?

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  • I don’t hear anyone saying the drugs don’t work. I hear someone saying that the data saying they DO work is biased. We already know that they work for less than half of the population at clinically significant levels – the most objective evidence says 30%. Don’t you think it’s fair to the other 70% to let them know they may not see the purported benefits? Do you think it wrong to let people know the actual adverse effect, including withdrawal, oops, I mean DISCONTINUATION effects, that plague many if not the majority of users? Do you deny that these drugs CAN cause harm to a significant subset of the population, based on the scientific data we now have available?

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  • ChatGPT gives back from what it’s read, that’s all. It can assemble a ton of information from multiple sources, and maybe even modify its approach if you find it offensive and say so, but it’s not going to provide much outside of the accepted mainstream views. It might outline alternative views, but will identify them as potentially controversial. It’s just a distillation of the “conventional wisdom,” with some acknowledgement given to less popular viewpoints.

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  • It is true that most psychiatric prescribing is done in a very robotic fashion, and would probably be BETTER done by robots, because at least personal prejudice and emotional reactions would be removed from the equation, and the robots wouldn’t hunt you down just because you didn’t follow their advice.

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  • That’s what chatGPT and other AI seems to do – it gathers a huge amount of data and then mimics human responses using “information” it has gleaned from other sources. It does not have any kind of individual thinking or critical analysis, and it works based on what it is programmed to do. It would be easy as heck to program such an entity to simply not publish anything negative about psychiatry or drugs. The only thing that surprised me about Bob’s response is that it has not already been programmed to a pro-psychiatry bent.

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  • That’s a great idea, actually! I’m guessing it would hem and haw about it, saying it’s “controversial” without really addressing the complete lack of scientific foundations. But who knows? The Chat app bases it’s “comments” on data gathered from billions of sources, and depending on the programming, it could come up with something critical.

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  • My point is only that psychiatric “theories” are mostly mythology. This is only one more example. EVERYBODY said that back in the 70s, even though there was no actual research supporting this idea. When the research debunked the concept, it had some effect, but the myth, much like the “chemical imbalance,” was already so ingrained that few gave it a second thought, despite the research. This seems to me to be the core of psychiatric “theory” – come up with an idea that supports their desired narrative, put out lots of propaganda to promote this idea and pretend it’s all very “scientific,” and don’t research or ignore research in any area that might threaten the narrative. Not much science actually going on!

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  • It is deeply disappointing to hear that professionals still toss around that idiotic trope that “ADHD kids react differently to stimulants.” That notion was debunked way back in 1978 by Judith Rapoport, et. al. It’s worth noting that Rapoport has been a big supporter of stimulants. She gave stimulants in low doses to non-ADHD diagnosed teens and found exactly the same response – less movement, better concentration on dull or repetitive tasks, etc. The only reason she said that people assume the “ADHD” kids react differently is because people are looking for that reaction. She called it “an artifact of observation.”

    The fact that such nonsense is still spewed about by “professionals” proves to me how little actual basis any of these “diagnoses” and “treatment” are founded upon. They have to lie to themselves and others to even justify their interventions. It’s such bull!

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  • I only wish I found this the least bit shocking or surprising. Dr. W is not an aberration – he’s the average “clinician” in a psych ward, as far as my experience goes. Someone who shows compassion and caring, let alone even the vaguest awareness of his own “countertransferrence,” would be incredibly rare. In fact, seeing someone act in a compassionate and genuinely caring way is what would shock me. Dr. W is just “business as usual.” It does disgust and horrify me, but it does not surprise me in the slightest.

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  • This was my experience as well, working “behind enemy lines.” I wasn’t even a psychologist, just a “mental health professional.” We had very little power to alter what the psychiatrists decided to say or do. It was a constant battle, but had to be conducted as a “reasonable conversation” or you were quickly branded as an “anti-meds” worker. I eventually gave up on trying to change the system from the inside. I don’t think it’s possible. I’ve become more of an “abolitionist” the longer I work with this crazed system.

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  • Can’t disagree with a word of that. The current system makes it as easy as possible to dismiss a client/patent’s concerns, ideas, plans, motivations, etc. and to blame the client for “having the disorder,” and blame “the disorder” for any failure or damage to the client. I think it is much, MUCH harder to find someone today working for the system who is worth seeing than it was back in the 80s when I went. And I was still lucky!

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  • I meant the therapist. I have no problem with the client using his/her own power to his/her own benefit.

    It matters because it applies to everyone, whether a therapist or not. What you’re saying is most therapists TAKE ADVANTAGE of their one-up power situation. But not all do so, even if it’s tempting. Same is true of humans you meet on the street, though they have less of a natural advantage in the power department, so it’s probably safer. But lots of “regular humans” take every advantage of their power over others and seek to maximize their influence at the expense of the person they are engaged with. It’s not fair to paint ALL therapists with that brush, any more than all humans. There are even psychiatrists here and there who have a heart and understand their power advantage and don’t use it to hurt their clients. Admittedly, not a common experience, but it happens. I had a fantastic therapist who REFUSED to “diagnose” me or interpret anything I said or did, but always put the question back to me. I kind of hated her for it, but it was the right approach, and I was much the better for my 15 months of weekly meetings with her. Worth every penny I spent. So it’s important not to overgeneralize about people we don’t know, just because they have a certain assigned “role” in “the system.” There are and have always been mavericks who do it their own way. I like to think I was one such.

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  • In the case of the DSM, the very nature of the “diagnoses” makes them diminishing and insulting automatically, as they presume the doctor is able to decide what is wrong with you lacking any concrete testing or evidence of anything being wrong at all. It’s hard to see how a label ever improves anyone’s psychological well-being, unless it’s a label they themselves choose to apply. I see nothing helpful about doctors or psychologists or counselors buying into the DSM fiction campaign.

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  • Exactly. The frontal lobes are the center of planning and organization, and hence motivation. It would be almost impossible to execute any kind of complex plan with the dopamine flow to your frontal lobes being so dramatically curtailed. And of course, there is permanent damage from which a person may or may not recover. All to “treat” a “disorder” that no one has any clue if it exists or what is wrong or what is being “fixed.”

    Chemical stun gun is a great description!

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  • I agree with this. In my own practice, I never “diagnosed” anyone except to make sure they got a kind of help we agreed they needed. And I told the client from the start that the “diagnoses” are just descriptions of what they already told someone and had no meaning beyond getting insurance reimbursement. Lacking a “diagnosis” never prevented any client I had from making progress. I’m guessing it made it easier for them to make progress, as I “normalized” their experiences and never gave the idea that there was something “wrong” with them that they couldn’t fix, which is the opposite of what these “diagnoses” do.

    What’s wrong with saying, “You get scared when you go outside” instead of “You have agoraphobia?” How does the latter help in any way?

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  • You are absolutely right! These behaviors serve a definite purpose, and unless it’s a truly safe environment, they will be needed again and again! It has to be up to the person him/herself to decide which of those historical coping measures remain relevant. In a typical psychiatric environment, defensive measures are generally quite essential!

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  • Hi, Donna!

    It sounds like you’ve been through hell and are still kinda there!

    With all due respect, it appears to me you’ve figured out these “doctors” don’t know the first thing about what they’re doing and their “diagnoses” are fantasies. Are you still looking to them for help? Or are you simply trapped in “the system” and having a hard time getting out of there? What do you see as your path forward?

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  • I am sure there are such people. What’s unfortunate is that they do not appear to be the “thought leaders” in the field, and are in my observation frequently set upon by those with a different agenda. The problems with psychiatry are not those of individual psychiatrists being good or bad people or even good or bad clinicians. It is a matter of the profession itself being committed to misguided values and priorities, including the priority of making money as a profession and maintaining status, and the actual needs of the patients/clients in such a scenario too often take a back seat, if they get a seat at all.

    I am always encouraged to find psychiatrists who take a saner approach, but in my experience (and I have more than a bit), they tend to be the minority, and with few exceptions, have little influence on how the profession as a whole considers the problem of “mental illness,” which they seem to have somehow obtained the right to define for the rest of us.

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  • Quite so. It is my experience that telling another person what to think/believe, even if you’re 100% correct, robs them of the ability to realize it for themselves, so they have to either agree or disagree with you instead of realizing their own path. I think exploring possibilities/brainstorming can be fine, but as soon as we start telling the other person what to think of their life and what to do about it, we start doing damage.

    Even the girl with “diabetes” can be talked to about how best to frame it from her viewpoint. Perhaps she comes up with, “I have to eat a special diet/take a drug to help” or “My body has trouble handling sugar and I have to take special precautions” or even “Sugar and I have a love-hate relationship.” Why not help her come up with what she feels comfortable instead of deciding what to call it and taking her options away?

    Interesting story – I used to work for a crisis line. A woman I had talked to many times called in and said angrily, “Those doctors told me I have Borderline Personality Disorder! I don’t have Borderline Personality Disorder! How DARE they say that about me!” I asked her, “What did they say that meant?” She says, “Well, they didn’t exactly explain it, but they said I have it and I don’t!”

    I said, “Let me get out the DSM and read off what they say defines this ‘personality disorder.'” So I read them off to her. “Emotionally volatile?” “Well, yeah, definitely.” “Sometimes feigns suicide for attention?” “Yes, I do that.” “Difficulty with trust in intimate relationships?” “Oh, yeah, for sure.” After I read a few more, she very calmly said, “Well, I guess I DO have it!”

    How different would this have gone if they simply started with saying, “It seems to me like you get pretty emotional about things compared to most people. Does that seem true to you?” Or better yet, “What kind of things do you tend to do that you wish you didn’t?” And just describe the behavior instead of the label. She clearly had no trouble acknowledging the behavior she engaged in, was quite aware of it, in fact. But the act of labeling pissed her off big time! So why bother with the label? Why not start with the client’s framing of the problem and go from there?

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  • Sorry, Jukia, but there is exactly zero evidence that the drugs increase suicidality by giving suicidal people the energy to commit suicide they were already planning. For one thing, almost all of these studies ELIMINATE anyone having any hint of suicidal ideation, so even if a few are being deceptive, the majority of these new cases of suicidality come from people who were NOT feeling suicidal before taking the drugs. The explanation you provide is a convenient one for drug companies and doctors who want to convince people that increased suicidality is not a concern, but Prozac in particular was kept off the market in Germany and I think also Italy initially back in the 80s because of increases in suicidal and aggressive behavior in those taking the drugs, so the claim has long been known to be false.

    I’m not disputing that some people report getting great benefits from taking these drugs. But it’s not ALL people, and a lot of folks report having little to no effect or becoming worse on the drugs. To claim that being off psychotropic drugs is “FAR more dangerous” than being on them for “most profoundly mentally ill people” is an opinion which is not based on scientific study. In fact, read up on the Wunderlink and Harrow studies, among others, which show that those diagnosed with “psychotic disorders” who don’t take psychotropics actually do better on the average than those who do. Again, not saying some don’t benefit, but generalizing from anecdotes to broad sweeping statements of “truth” is not how science works.

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  • Not surprising to me, but this is important research! The industry relies heavily on claims that “accepting you have an illness” and that “treatment” is just like “insulin for diabetes” reduces “stigma” and makes it easier for people to feel OK about their “mental illness.” Those in charge know these claims are not actually TRUE, but justify using them as PR because “people are more likely to seek help.”

    Like other stigma-based research on labels, these findings fly right in the face of these claims. There is no excuse or justification for lying to your clients in the first place, but this kind of research takes away the justification and exposes their “theories” for exactly what they are – propaganda to get more people onto psychiatric drug regimes!

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  • Sounds brilliant, honestly! I will say from my own experience as a counselor that my goal was always to help the person study their own decisions and experiences and make new decisions (if need be) based on their own observations and conclusions. This seems like it cuts out the middle man and just takes people right there! Perhaps the most important point is that it communicates to the person that s/he CAN figure out what’s going on and what is needed through study and sharing, essentially the opposite of what they hear from the mainstream “mental health” system!

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  • Wait, now the PSYCHIATRISTS are claiming “moral injury?” I suppose it DOES inflict “moral injury” of some sort if you’re constantly claiming to help people and yet so often make no improvements or make their lives agonizingly worse? Perhaps it’s time for a “Truth and reconciliation” circle as they ran in South Africa to help heal the “moral injuries” of the Apartheid regime? Do they expect us to feel sorry for them that their failures don’t feel very good to them???

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  • I agree 100%! I always counted on my clients alone to provide whatever useful information was in play. THEY are the only ones who really know what’s going on or what might help! But that’s the opposite of the mainstream view. The DSM itself admits it doesn’t even bother to attempt to evaluate cause. What’s the point of a “diagnosis” that doesn’t try to identify what the actual problem is!

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  • Well, I worked first for the Long Term Care Ombudsman program, which provides advocacy for seniors in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult foster homes/care homes. This is a US program that exists in every state, and while I was a paid employee, most of the Ombudsmen are volunteers. There are plenty of issues with psych drugs in nursing homes, I can tell you!

    Then I worked for 20 years for the Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA), sometimes known as the Guardian Ad Litem program. This provides volunteers for kids in foster care who advocate to get them to a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible, and for them to be safe in the meanwhile. The number of kids on psych drugs is beyond comprehension, and the longer they are in the worse it gets! So I found plenty of opportunities there to get into the grill of the psych profession, in an effective way.

    Mind Freedom, Inc. is also a more or less worldwide association of advocates for those in the “mental health” system, so the advocacy there is more direct.

    There are no doubt other organizations I have not mentioned who do advocacy for those in psych “hospitals” or other “mental health” facilities. You’d have to look around where you live and see what’s happening there.

    I’m glad to hear you are ready to take that step! It sounds like you certainly KNOW enough to do a great job – the trick is getting through the insane levels of resistance from the people who should know better, especially the psychiatrists themselves! But it’s worth it when you get a victory. I encourage you to go in that direction!

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  • I really wish I could refer you to someone! Have you considered support groups for people traumatized in childhood? It hurts my heart to hear that such therapy, which used to be considered at least one of the main approaches, is virtually unavailable to you now.

    I have found people associated with the domestic abuse or sexual abuse worlds to be much more likely to understand about trauma and approach it differently, in an empowering way. Perhaps a local women’s or domestic abuse helpline has a referral for a therapist who understands how to be helpful in these situations? They may also be a source for peer support groups, where you would at least meet others who have been through what you have (including the incredible rigidity and blindness of the so-called “mental health” services) and might have some support and/or ideas for healing? And maybe make a friend or two and feel a bit less lonely?

    I’m much more inclined to recommend peer support these days than therapy, as so many therapists (as you report) have become handmaidens of the psych industry. Anyone starting off with diagnosing and recommending drugs should be immediately eliminated from consideration, and in your case, that sounds like everyone!

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  • Well, that’s certainly true, and that’s why I’m very distrustful of anyone coming out of current “psychology” or “mental health” training. I believe they focus a huge amount of time on DSM diagnoses and very little on actual ways to improve one’s own awareness and emotional availability to the clients, or actually helping to discover and evaluate what the CLIENT thinks is helpful and desirable. It’s very arrogant and disempowering, the opposite of what is actually helpful!

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  • There is also a big difference between those who use scientific EVIDENCE as proof of their position and those who use scientific CONSENSUS (what ‘scientists’ tend to agree on) as proof of their positions. As has become very clear, many of the so-called “scientists” in the psychiatric field not only don’t rely on science for their conclusions, they actively attack any real science that contradicts their desired narrative. Corrupt “scientists” who benefit from their position of power should not be accorded any kind of special status. Only the science itself is worthy of discussion if we’re really interested in facts and knowledge!

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  • I don’t disagree with anything you said. Except that “diagnoses” are not PART of the “therapy process,” they are the justification for assuming authority over the “clients,” and as such are the opposite of therapeutic. The “diagnoses” are an evil that extends FAR beyond the “treatments” it is used to justify. It starts the process of “othering” and allows people to discriminate and downgrade the “mentally ill” (as they call them) with impunity. If there were no “therapy” at all, the DSM would still be incredibly destructive!

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  • I’m not ‘favoring the therapist’s position,” just describing what has to happen for it to work for the client. I fully acknowledge most “therapy relationships” don’t occur in this way and are mostly destructive or at best do nothing helpful.

    And “borderline personality disorder” is a DSM diagnosis and has literally nothing to do with therapy, except as providing an excuse for certain kinds of “therapeutic interventions” that ignore the needs of the “client.”

    I engaged in therapy that worked very well for me, and I wouldn’t be who I am without having done so. But I was lucky, very lucky. I’d have to be much MORE lucky today to find such a person, as I see most of those claiming to be “therapists” being guided down the wrong path. You yourself have acknowledged in the past that there are exceptions where people do benefit from a therapist, but we both agree it’s rare and in many cases not even possible. I’m not promoting therapy as a profession. I’m just describing what I see as necessary for it to work. Again, I’ve already agreed and acknowledged that most therapists are incapable of this level of awareness, and that one is just as likely to benefit from talking to someone they know who has some good listening skills. Therapy is a setup for most people, because of the inherent power imbalance and most “therapists'” inability to recognize let alone manage their own needs to heal their own power relationships. Alice Miller had it right.

    I hope that clarifies where I’m coming from. Definitely not of the “everybody needs therapy” school of thought!

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  • It CAN happen and DOES happen in some cases, but the incentive is to use one’s power for one’s own benefit. And you are right, this motivation is almost always unconscious and therefore very difficult to recognize for the therapist, even if it becomes obvious to their “clients.” Which is why I say you can’t really train someone to be a good therapist. They have to develop an acute awareness of power relationships and their own issues with power and be aware of these at all times when interacting with someone they are trying to assist. I’d say very few therapists ever meet this goal, and in fact, unless I’m wrong about what happens today in “training,” most of them aren’t even aware of it as a problem. So going to a random therapist is, indeed, a very dangerous undertaking. As research shows, your odds are just as good choosing a friend or colleague as someone with a degree.

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  • My view is that a person can’t really be trained to be a good therapist. I agree, it has to do with the essence of the relationship between two people, and techniques or schools of therapy are borderline irrelevant. “Diagnosis” via the DSM is completely irrelevant. It’s not a “cookbook” procedure, it has to do with creating a safe space and respecting the right of the client to decide what is “right” or not and how to define and pursue “improvement” in their own worlds. I’m not sure what they train “therapists” to know these days, but I know they spend a lot of time on the DSM and “brain scans” and neurology, and it seems not very much on what actually helps people grow and develop in their own way.

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  • This is all very well said!

    One approach I sometimes used with traumatized clients is to say, “I am guessing you don’t trust me at this point. I wouldn’t trust me either if I were you. You have no idea who I am or whether I’m a safe person, and distrust is very appropriate in such a situation. I’m hoping I can earn your trust over time.” Or something like that. Acknowledging the “rightness” of them being skeptical seemed to give the clients some sense of getting some power back. It always used to bother me when clients were dinged for “not trusting their therapy team.” I always said, “How do you know they can trust the therapy team?”

    I wasn’t very popular with a certain kind of therapist…

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  • I’m assuming the intent of a good and respectful therapist is to help the person before them to free up energy used to protect themselves from past traumatic experiences so they can use it to create a better life in the future, by their own definition, not the therapist’s. It is true that not everyone is prepared at a given time to go there, and such resistance should be respected as a behavior that meets a need for the client, something DBT seems not to recognize at all.

    In any case, what I’m pointing out is that “resistance” (which is a word I would never use) has historically been viewed as an indicator of exactly what you said, that the person is feeling it is necessary to protect him/herself from danger. These mechanisms are developed for very real reasons to protect from very real dangers at the time, and one HOPES that therapy becomes a safe place to identify what these mechanisms are (help the person be conscious of them rather than having them be automatic), and for the CLIENT to re-evaluate for him/herself whether and when such approaches remain necessary. This should leave the client with all necessary defense mechanisms intact and usable, but cut down on the times they are used on a knee-jerk reactive basis when not really needed, such as becoming hostile to the butcher because he wears the same had your dad wore all the time and his voice sounds similar so he must be dangerous like your dad, etc. Gaining personal awareness and decision-making power over such responses should leave a person feeling more in control of his/her life in general. That’s the theory anyway, and it appears to have been very successful for the clients whom I worked with.

    So the idea that the CLIENT is supposed to somehow abandon any “resistance” and just go along with what the “therapist” says is very, very damaging to the client. It is reinforcing the idea that they were WRONG for judging the past situation as dangerous, that the “authority figure’s” feelings are more important than the client’s, and that the big problem is not that the authority figure was abusive, but that the client wasn’t “understanding” enough of the needs of the authority figure and should try HARDER to repress and undermine any actions they took to feel safer. This is exactly the OPPOSITE of what I’ve found to be truly helpful, which is validating the client for taking necessary actions for self-protection and admiring their courage in doing so.

    One of the very first things I did as a counselor/therapist was to help the client validate that the “crazy” things they tended to do were not crazy at all, but made perfect sense to them at some time in the past. I would share that I’ve found it helpful to look at what DOES make sense about the behavior (AKA to what extend DOES it act to protect them) and validate them for coming up with effective “coping mechanisms” for a difficult situation. Only after getting very clear on that point would I propose to the client the possibility that such mechanisms are often used by all of us humans in situations where they aren’t as helpful as their original intended purpose, and that becoming more aware and intentional about them, or even developing some new ones with our adult intelligence and recognition that in many cases the danger is not current, might be a good path to follow.

    That gives maybe just a little feeling of how important it is for me to respect whatever behavior the client has come up with to survive in their world. I always assume that ALL their actions have purpose, and the question is only whether these actions continue to serve the purpose they were intended for in the present. I have never intentionally tried to force a person to drop or dismiss any behavior they feel is important to their safety and survival. I have tried to run only based on their own stated desire to change a certain pattern of behavior, and “resistance” is important in recognizing when the actual reason for the behavior is coming to light. Naturally, a person is entitled to hang onto whatever “resistance” they feel they still need. Therapy should only be in service of meeting their own goals, not mine!

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  • It’s not the client’s responsibility to avoid “distracting and annoying” the clinician. “Resistance” is supposed to be part of the treatment, at least it used to be back when therapists knew what they were doing. If a person is “resisting,” it was supposed to indicate that you’re getting to an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s not a reason to punish the client!

    If clients have to act in certain ways to keep the clinician happy, there is no therapy going on. That’s usually what got the client into their problems in the first place!

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  • That’s exactly what my therapist said to me at the beginning. She said the goal was to develop my own internal “therapist” which I could consult directly and for her to become unnecessary for me as quickly as possible. She did a lot of good for me, but only because she was focused on helping ME become more independent, not in dragging out therapy so she’d get more fees and feel superior!

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  • And this is how genetic testing COULD be helpful. Instead of testing for ONE GENE that creates ALL cases of “depression,” we should be testing for genes that explain a SMALL PART of the cohort which can actually be “treated” at its cause! Such discoveries will remove a certain number of sufferers, while not raising the belief or expectation that some magical one-gene solution will mean EVERYONE suddenly gets better!

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  • Thanks for your thoughtful reply! I agree that these things are complicated, and I appreciate the acknowledgement that “fitting in” to the so-called “social norms” is NOT a sign of “neurotypicality” but of ability to adapt to what are generally unreasonable expectations. The “ADHD” kid in class can’t adapt, and so is identified as “divergent.” Of course, it’s better for him than being identified as “mentally ill,” but that classroom is FULL of kids who are just as miserable as he is and yet don’t act that out for whatever reason, whether better suppression skills or more fear of punishment or whatever. Those kids are not any more “typical” than anyone else, they just don’t make trouble for the adults and are therefore identified as “normal.”

    Maybe the term “neuro” is what gives the word its “bioessentialist” undertone. Maybe if we simply identified ourselves as “divergent,” as in “diverging from expected social norms,” then everyone can get on board with “diverging” and maybe even find some new and better “social norms” that are easier for more people to live with!

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  • Frank, while I agree that paying for a quality therapist (if one is fortunate enough to find one) is hardly a form of oppression, I have to say that I’ve seen PLENTY of garden variety straight-up intentional oppression of psychiatric “patients” in the name of “helping” them that most definitely would meet any definition of oppression you can come up with. Dishonesty, use of force, holding people against their will without cause, forcing “treatment” that causes brain damage and early death while claiming that all of these issues are the patients’ problem and were not caused by the “treatment. All of these things are offensive to any sense of justice, freedom, equality of rights and basic respect due to any human being. It seems to me you are singling out the relatively rare case of a free and relatively well off adult engaging in a more or less fair exchange of money for services, and assuming the purchaser has both the information and the wherewithal to resist efforts to indoctrinate or mistreat them at the hands of the therapist. That’s a lot of assuming!

    If you slow down a minute and read some of the experiences shared here on MIA, you will see that the vast majority of commenters do not have the kind of experience you are describing. Many are forced against their will to do things they object to with neither information nor consent. Many more are lied to and emotionally manipulated into accepting a very unhealthy framing of their situation and into accepting “treatments” whose benefits are overblown and whose dangerous consequences are minimized or denied completely. This is the oppressive situation we’re dealing with. And it CAN happen in a paid therapy relationship, too.

    I’m sure you are a caring person who probably does a good job helping your clients. What I don’t think you get is that you are an outlier in the world most of the posters live in. It’s very understandable that most are extremely skeptical of therapy in any form. It’s been used to hurt them!

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  • My biggest problem with the term “neurodivergent” is that it implies there is a “normal” kind of neurology that “most people” have, and that one has to be “autistic” or “ADHD” or fit some label to be considered “neurodivergent.” I object very much to the idea that there is such a thing as “normal” vs. “divergent” neurology, in fact, genetic diversity is critical to species survival, and one of the great joys of humanity is the amazing degree of divergence that exists within the “normal” range of human behavior. Ultimately, I see us all as “neurodivergent” which means the term really has no meaning. It seems to me that the term “neurodivergent” reinforces the idea that “mental illnesses” are somehow neurological and are discernible by “divergence” from some kind of theoretical “norm.”

    I have no problems with individuals identifying themselves as “neurodivergent,” but I can’t agree with such people deciding that I or others are “normies” and that one has to have special qualities to qualify as “neurodivergent.”

    That’s my view of it. I’m sure others have their reasons that will diverge from mine!

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  • As I intimated, I don’t think most psychiatrists understand or care about fast- vs. slow-metabolizers and so forth. I do appreciate your research, and that was specifically what I was recalling and referring to.

    The difficulty with this approach is that it totally begs the question of what we are supposedly “treating” with these drugs. What we’re doing is manipulating brain chemicals and hoping we get lucky and find a drug that a person can live with that helps reduce his/her “symptoms” without saddling him/her with intolerable adverse effects. But of course, we have no idea if brain chemicals are in fact a causal agent in any of these cases, or how to distinguish the ones that are (if they exist) by any kind of objective means. It’s not really very different from observing that some people can take opioids or drink alcohol and be fine, while some are quickly overwhelmed by the drug’s effects and others seem to take a lot to have any effect at all. All fine information to have, but it hardly substitutes for figuring out and addressing WHY this person is distressed enough to be heading down to the bar every night to imbibe, and what we might do to alter that reality!

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  • I don’t believe that is completely true. They can apparently test for people who are “slow metabolizers” of different drugs and so perhaps avoid creating homicidal/suicidal ideation by SOME people taking SSRIs, but these tests appear to be far from foolproof, and just as importantly, almost no physicians regularly use such testing in their practice, despite your assertion that “ANY WISE PHYSICIAN” will do so. I’d be happy to be proven wrong about this, but that’s my understanding of the current situation. I have yet to meet a person currently engaged in the MH system who was offered such testing by their doctor, though I’ve heard of a few who demanded it themselves. Do you have any links to recent studies showing anything more promising than what I’ve identified above?

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  • Unfortunately, a great deal of what passes for “psychotherapy” these days does not incorporate any of the important philosophical underpinnings you mention above. A lot seems to now be focused on “neurobiology,” on DSM “diagnoses,” and on compliance with “medication” and other “treatment plans” like DBT or CBT. I did therapy for a number of years in various settings, some formal and some informal, and saw and heard what others were exposed to by their “therapists,” who in my view did not deserve the name. I’m not sure they are even taught about unconscious motivations or ideas of consciousness or striving or attachment or awareness of one’s own process, let alone touching on the existential issues of the bizarre expectations and abuses of modern society. The focus seems to be on making “symptoms” go away, as if “depression” or “anxiety” were the problem rather than the observable manifestation of the actual issues causing distress. This is the inevitable result of “DSM” thinking – reducing the complexity and spiritual richness of human experience to “desirable” and “undesirable” emotions or behavior, which the therapist and/or psychiatrist is tasked to change, by force or manipulation if needed. It is small wonder that folks faith in psychotherapy as you describe it is very low – very few people seem to ever experience it these days!

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  • I’m glad Ketamine therapy works so well for you! But I do want to remind you that this doesn’t mean it works for everyone. The idea that all people who are depressed have the same problem or need the same solution is not scientifically valid. I rejoice that people find Ketamine or any other approach workable for them. I just want to be cautious about using anecdotal data to extrapolate for others who may have very different circumstances and very different results than you had.

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  • Clearly, the most fundamental fallacy with the entire psychiatric edifice is the assumption that all people who “have depression” or whatever “mental illness” is under discussion are all ILL and have the SAME PROBLEM and need the SAME INTERVENTION. The DSM itself invalidates this assumption in its introduction, but this apparently has no impact on people’s viewing these “diagnoses” as some kind of valid scientific entity that can somehow be “researched” as such, even though the people in the study group often have little to nothing in common with each other. In fact, it’s been shown that multiple people can “qualify” for the same “diagnosis” and have not a single “symptom” in common! How it’s not obvious to anyone of a slightly scientific bent that this whole system is a house of cards built on nothing but opinion and bias is beyond my comprehension.

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  • Which once again reinforces the idea that the person one is interacting with, their maturity, skills, openness to experience, ability to create a safe environment, ability to help a client focus on their own goals and purposes, is what really matters in any kind of “therapy” or healing practice. I find calling MDMA “medicine” in itself to be an absurdity. It is not a “medical” process you are describing, it is a spiritual/emotional/intellectual journey that is very personal to each individual, and there is no way to create a repetitive “treatment” that can obtain any kind of consistent and predictable results for all people. The key is who is helping “guide” you and what kind of “guidance” they tend to provide (empowering vs authoritarian) rather than the particular drug or other method used. This is not to say that MDMA or any other drug may not be able to contribute to increased spiritual awareness or skills in life, but it’s not “medicine,” any more than alcohol or marijuana are “medicine” because they have certain effects that a person may or may not desire or benefit from.

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  • I do think it is of great concern that the number of contacts appears to have a direct relationship to the number of detentions. This would imply that the increase in contacts would have the same demographic distribution of seriousness as the ones already contacting crisis lines previously. Unless this is simply a redistribution of people who would have contacted another crisis line if 988 did not exist (which of course means there is NOT really an increase in contacts at all), one would expect that the new callers would have a LESS serious distribution of issues, because we should be courting new contacts who otherwise might not have called (the purpose of the 988 easier access).

    So there are two likely conclusions: first, that these callers are the same people who already used local crisis lines, and we have spent millions and millions of dollars to accomplish essentially nothing at all, or second, that calling a crisis line gives a particular probability of having the police dispatched, regardless of the average severity of the call. Neither one is a happy conclusion!

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  • We shouldn’t have to prove they are dangerous. The standard is that the doctors/pharma need to prove they are safe. I think the biggest problem is we have hired a lot of foxes guarding the henhouse of drug safety. If we had a REAL set of standards with honest, non-corrupt people applying them, we’d all be a lot safer and it would be a lot easier to get complaints heard and acted upon!

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  • It is easy to confuse “These categories are not scientifically valid diagnoses” with “debilitating anxiety doesn’t exist.” They are VERY different statements. I doubt anyone here would state that debilitating social fear and apprehension don’t exist or are not painful and difficult. The argument would be that just because you feel anxious in social situations, no matter how severe, it doesn’t mean you are “ill” in a medical sense.

    I say this as a person who suffered debilitating anxiety and depression in my youth, and now at 65 rarely experience anything similar. I did get therapy for a while and do a lot of self-help stuff but never was “diagnosed” with anything at all by my therapist. It is not necessary to validate these “diagnoses” in order to agree that someone needs help and support and to assist them in getting to a better place. I’m also not invalidating the potential usefulness of psychiatric drugs, just saying that the “diagnoses” themselves are not valid medical/scientific entities, and that saying so doesn’t invalidate ANYONE’S suffering!

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  • That is exactly my point. How is “standardization” even possible when there are no objective standards possible regarding what diagnosis to give, how to do a danger assessment, optimum “treatment,” what “good outcomes” are, how to measure them, etc.? It’s all so completely arbitrary! How can “imminent risk” ever be anything but haphazard and varied?

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  • I am sure this is an accurate summary of what is happening today. One of the main reasons I left the crisis line was the “professionalization,” which meant more fear of lawsuits, more rules and expectations and rigidity, and a greater likelihood of sending the police out on calls that did not really pose any danger at all. And the lack of any kind of objective standards for police dispatching or diagnosing or anything at all in the “mental health” world makes “quality control” almost impossible.

    But it does encourage me to know that crisis lines do still exist where dispatching is not an option, and I wanted to make sure I shared that fact. Of course, it’s a volunteer crisis line, not a “professional” one!

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  • My experience (and I have a lot) is that crisis lines I’ve worked at or volunteered at had a wide range of different views on what to do about suicidal callers. I was a supervisor for a volunteer crisis line in Portland, OR, and we tried only to talk unless a person had a specific plan and intent to carry it out. The line contract was taken over by a “professional” service and the likelihood of a dispatch went up quite significantly, though they did eventually develop a “crisis team” who would see some of the people without police being involved. I later volunteered at a crisis line that never traced or dispatched under any circumstances. So it’s not legitimate to overgeneralize – different crisis lines have different philosophies, and it may also depend very much on whom you reach when you call. I can see people being VERY cautious about sharing that they are suicidal with such a crisis line, without knowing what their general philosophy about such calls is and how frequently they tend to dispatch the police!

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  • I’m not sure I’d say the act of a stimulant improving concentration temporarily represents “healing” per se. Smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol reduces anxiety for many, but I’d not suggest they are “healed” by the process. There are no doubt some healing processes that are mediated by drugs, but I consider this to be more or less incidental to psychiatry’s intent. For instance, I know of a guy who took stimulants for a little while and said he discovered a mental state he could get to that way, then he STOPPED taking the stimulants and found other ways to achieve that same kind of mental state. I’d call that a kind of healing, and the stimulants were a part of it, but no psychiatrist would recommend or approve of the real healing part of that action.

    Anyway, that’s just my personal view on it. Some people find psychiatric drugs beneficial for whatever reason, and more power to them, but I don’t think it’s a form of “healing” to take a drug that makes you feel better temporarily. It might be the first step in healing, but psychiatry as a rule discourages any attempt at any further “steps,” in my experience. Healing tends to happen despite their interventions, not because of them.

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  • It does feel more than a little ironic to hear that she was attacked for questioning the efficacy of antidepressants, and yet failure to take antidepressants is assumed to be the cause of her suicide. As I said earlier, wherever you come down on the “cause” of her suicide, which of course, we will never really know, it is VERY clear to me that psychiatry did NOT get her to a place where she achieved “good mental health.” She clearly eventually gave up on psychiatry because it failed her. It is more than a little disingenuous to imply that her abandoning a practice that never really worked for her is somehow responsible for her despair.

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  • My reality is that therapists who can create a kind and secure environment for a client to share and to some extent be challenged to seek new perspectives have success, regardless of the model they use. “DBT” will work well in the hands of a highly competent therapist, and will be a disaster in the hands of an incompetent one. CBT will similarly be successful to the degree the therapist can create a safe and connected environment where a person can share their fears and explore new options without feeling judged or threatened by the therapist. Whereas an insensitive or self-involved or “rote” therapist will have no success with CBT or any other approach.

    There is no way any person can become a “good therapist” by studying a manual and following instructions without truly understanding the nature of the delicate and emotionally sensitive interactions they need to become a part of. There is solid research supporting this viewpoint. I don’t think DBT is good or bad in and of itself, I just think it’s a bunch of possible tools that a competent therapist can use to build up their client’s feelings of success and control, or a bunch of possible tools an incompetent therapist can use to make their clients feel worse and then blame the clients for the therapists’ own failure.

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  • Here is one study showing how stigma is INCREASED by explaining “mental disorders” as biological problems.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9842491/

    Here is another:

    https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/biological-explanations-may-not-reduce-mental-health-stigma-0124181

    Considering there is absolutely NO evidence that any of the DSM “mental disorders” are fully or primarily caused by biological problems or issues, it’s mystifying why “anti-stigma” campaigns focus so much on convincing people that “mental disorders” are “illnesses like any other.” Unless the intent is not, in fact, to fight stigma, but to fight resistance to accepting drug therapy as the first line intervention for these ostensible “disorders.” Then and only then does this focus make any kind of sense. But then calling these “anti-stigma campaigns” isn’t very honest, is it?

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  • They also screen out suicidal people from the vast majority of these clinical trials, so these are not “suicidal people getting the energy to do it.” These are people who, for the most part, were not suicidal until they took the drugs. They most definitely can and do cause suicidal thinking. Hence, the black box warning. That warning ought to be enough for anyone to acknowledge the possibility.

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  • As extreme and simplistic as the idea that “schizophrenia” is in all cases caused by genetic or biological malfunctions which no one has ever been able to detect but we KNOW must be there?

    I’m always the enemy of extreme and simplistic. I just want to make sure that everyone is fully aware of the extreme simplistic basis for these ridiculous psychiatric “diagnoses” and the insistence on “treatments” being determined by such laughably unscientific claims. The proper attitude toward any case of “schizophrenia” is that we have a NAME but very little knowledge of what is going on IN THIS CASE and need to explore what’s happening IN THIS CASE and what might work IN THIS CASE. Trying to generalize based on these laughable “syndromes” where two people can both be “diagnosed” and literally have no symptoms in common (try it some time, it’s quite possible in at least schizophrenia and major depression by my direct observation) is almost as far away from scientific as one can get.

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  • I always find it odd that defenders of the current psychiatric paradigm so frequently conflate criticisms of that paradigm with ‘stigma concerning mental health.’ The two have literally nothing to do with each other. There is, in fact, HUGE “stigma” for people suffering emotional pain who DON’T use psychiatric drugs as part of their treatment, and those who choose to discontinue such treatment are often attacked relentlessly by the very people who are supposed to be helping them.

    There is certainly general discrimination in the public sphere against people who qualify for or identify with a “mental health diagnosis.” On that point, I’m sure you will find no disagreement on this site whatsoever. However, it is actually shown by scientific research that teaching people to view “mental illness” as a brain disorder of some sort INCREASES “stigma” and discrimination by making it easier for people to emotionally distance themselves from those who are suffering, while a “trauma-based” framing increases empathy and DECREASES stigma.

    So please don’t blame “stigma” on those who question the accepted psychiatric paradigm. It is the accepted paradigm itself which is responsible for most of the stigma, according to their own research. There is nothing wrong with questioning the scientific validity of psychiatry’s unproven assumptions, nor does questioning those assumptions mean or imply that those finding psychiatric drugs helpful are wrong or need to be forbidden from using them. Again, the two issues have literally not a thing in common.

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  • There is a VERY high correlation between childhood sexual trauma and psychosis.

    https://www.medpagetoday.com/psychiatry/schizophrenia/23087

    It is not at all far fetched to suppose that childhood abuse can contribute to the eventual development of psychotic states. There is also strong correlation with being an immigrant and living in an urban environment.

    As in all of the so-called “mental disorders,” the situation is FAR more complex than the “mental health” world would like us to believe. There is “no proof” (to use your words) that ANY “mental illness” as defined by the DSM is caused by any measurable biological/genetic factor either. I’d agree that current drug use and current trauma are often overlooked as contributing factors in psychosis. Maybe the problem is regarding “psychosis” as if it must always be caused by the same things or “treated” in the same fashion. Maybe there are many “causes” that work differently in many different people, and we ought to scrap the idea that “schizophrenia” is a “thing” that has a specific cause.

    Steve

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  • Additionally, a very significant percentage of studies use a “placebo washout” design, where they screen people who DO respond to the placebo out of the trials! This is obviously designed to minimize the placebo response and make it more likely that the drug will meet “statistical significance” vs. placebo. So far from using active placeboes, most studies actually try to weed out those who will respond to an INACTIVE placebo in order to bias the study in the direction of their drug. And somehow, this is not considered a violation of the scientific method!

    Here is a published article in a solid, scientific journal for the original poster to read. It goes over why the author concludes that more than half of all published scientific studies can’t be replicated, and hence are not valid. It ought to make him/her more cautious in assuming that anything published in a scientific journal is de facto proven truth!

    https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

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  • One article in an online publication has “done society a disservice!” Why refer back to Freud or Szasz to try and discredit the arguments of the author through the reverse “argument by authority” approach? Don’t you have your own arguments to make?

    It would appear to me you might want to re-read Szasz again, as he never claimed that the phenomena describes as “mental illness” did not exist, but that the idea that these were discrete and identifiable “disease states” of the body was mythological, as this concept is not supported by scientific facts.

    There is nothing “unqualified” about the argument that traumatic events alter people’s concept of who they are and how the world operates and what relationships are about. In fact, the entire movement toward “trauma informed care” is based on scientific proof that not only their behavior, but that people’s actual brain structures and activities can be dramatically altered both by early life trauma AND improved by healthy relationships later on in life. It is pretty regressive at this point for anyone to claim that traumatic events do NOT impact all of the so-called “mental illnesses” as defined by the DSM, however fuzzy and arbitrary those definitions may be. Even the most medicalized psychiatric supporters at this point know that the idea of a “chemical imbalance” or other purely physiological problem creating any “mental illness” being detectable by tests and repairable by drugs is completely unsupportable by scientific studies.

    Ironically, there is far MORE support for the remnants of Freud’s “trauma theory” through the “trauma informed care” movement than for the idea that any discrete “mental illness” described by the DSM is a scientifically valid description of reality. Even more ironically, the DSM itself admits these things in its introduction, where it says that:

    “In DSM-IV, there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or no mental disorder.” (APA, 2000, p. xxxi).”

    And even more tellingly: “There is also no assumption that all individuals described as having the same mental disorder are alike in all important ways.” (APA, 2000, p. xxxi).”

    So not only can the DSM criteria NOT distinguish between having one “disorder” or another “disorder,” or between having a “disorder” or having “no disorder.” Worse, two people who both CLEARLY QUALIFY for a given disorder may not have the same problems, needs, or possible solutions! What is the point of having “diagnoses” where the people who are so diagnosed are NOT “alike in all important ways?” Isn’t the point of a “diagnosis” to group together people who have similar needs and issues and distinguish people who have similar presentations but different underlying causes? These two clauses admit outright that these “diagnoses” are scientifically and practically meaningless!

    So before you go about accusing others of “unqualified arguments,” it might be wise to spend some time to qualify your own arguments. No one arguing in favor of the DSM “diagnoses” being taken seriously in any scientific manner is in a position to criticize anyone else for being “unscientific!”

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  • It is easy to move from “she wasn’t taking her meds” or “she engaged in recreational drug use” to “she killed herself because she stopped her meds” and/or “she killed herself because she’s an addict.” Neither of those premises has any more evidence backing them up than the “psychiatry killed her” idea. Any of those are possible, none are provable. But one thing we DO know for sure – this person had the best of available psychiatric care for decades, did not “resist” or “rebel” but in fact embraced the system for most of that time, and all of that “help” did not prevent her eventual suicide. It is certainly NOT valid to suggest that everything was going just fine before she “quit her meds!” It sounds from her blogs like she struggled the entire time she was “in treatment” and went another direction for whatever reason she chose. It would be EXTREMELY naïve to look at her situation and say, “if only she’d stayed on her meds…” Whether her suicide was caused by her engagement or disengagement with “the system” is not something we can determine, but I think it is more than fair to say that psychiatry failed her in many ways, and it’s never appropriate in my mind to blame the client for quitting services when the services have not been successful. If psychiatry were the answer for her, 20 or more years of committed engagement with the psychiatric system would have led to a different outcome. I think it’s more than fair to suggest that psychiatry AT BEST did not help the situation, despite her being fully committed to following their instructions for many years. Let’s not blame “not taking her meds” so easily, since we’re hearing we’re not supposed to be so “black and white” in our thinking as the author supposedly is.

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  • It is true that we don’t ever know what prompted a particular person’s suicide. What we DO know in this case is that decades of psychiatric treatment did not prevent it. Whether it contributed substantially to the event or not will always be speculative, but it’s equally speculative to say, “Antidepressants save lives,” when we don’t know how people would have acted under differing circumstances.

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  • It sounds like you might need some help getting away from an abusive partner! Are there any domestic abuse hotlines or programs in your area? There is hope, but you will have to figure out a way of putting at least some emotional distance between you and your husband. No one should be forced to live with someone who hates them so much they intentionally make an addict out of her!

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  • I would add that the presence of psychiatric drugs not only can do damage itself, but it also diverts young people (and older people) from other approaches that have been successful over time, both formally and informally. It may be the lack of developing support networks as much as drug side effects that are helping cause the deterioration of youth “mental health” today.

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  • There are actually plenty of hard scientific studies showing that psychotropic medications IN GENERAL tend to create worse clinical outcomes. Harrow et al for instance showed that people with poorer prognoses that took antipsychotics only briefly or not at all did BETTER than those who had better prognoses and took antipsychotics long term. So on the average, they were worse off taking psychotropic drugs.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5661946/

    Studies on antidepressants and “ADHD” also show no average benefit or worse outcomes for those taking drugs over the long term.

    Multiple studies show an increase in suicidal thinking and acts in those taking antidepressants, especially when younger.

    Many studies show the “severely mentally ill” have shorter life spans than the average person, much of it due to heart and metabolic problems that are known to be caused by antipsychotic drugs (clearly, there are other contributing factors as well, but treatment is associated with reduced life span).

    Your analogies are completely inappropriate. Taking diabetic treatment does not INCREASE the number of amputations, it decreases them. The same can’t be said for psychosis and antipsychotics or suicide and antidepressants. Not to mention, diabetes is known to be caused by a lack of insulin in all cases. No one suffers from psychosis for a lack of antipsychotics.

    Perhaps a more open mind and some honest research will help you see that the situation is not as black and white as you currently believe. You might start by reading Whitaker’s book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.” It could be quite enlightening.

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  • MIA is mostly interested in looking at alternatives to the “medical model.” It is unlikely we will want to promote any “antipsychotic” drugs given the history of failure and worsening of “symptoms” and in fact the shortening of lives resulting from the “antipsychotics” currently in use. It seems very unlikely that the “new” drugs will be doing anything beyond trying to suppress dopamine and maybe suppress the uptake of Serotonin like Risperdal and Seroquel and the other current drugs.

    It is truly a problem to be unable to continue. I’m betting no one warned you this could be an outcome of taking them in the first place! Have you talked to anyone who specializes in getting off drugs? There are such people around, but most psychiatrists either don’t know or actively try to prevent any effort for people to get off.

    Anyone else have thoughts?

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  • The use of the term “inclusion” already marginalizes the peer support workers. Who gets to decide if they are “included” or not? Obviously the REAL workers, who are by definition more important than the “peer workers” because they can “include” them or not at their whim.

    Reminds me of the concept of “shared decision making,” where clinicians are “encouraged” to “take the views of their clients into account” before making decisions. Obviously, the people being asked to “allow” their clients to have a “voice” are already trampling the rights of clients to true informed consent, and asking them nicely to please ask my opinion before you decide what to do to me is hardly a viable solution.

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  • To be clear, I am not against systematic interventions to help people who are struggling, as you seem to suggest. I just want to focus on things that actually work FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE CLIENT. There are some people I know who have used the drugs as a means to help themselves, and have suffered minimal adverse effects. I’ve also known others whose lives were destroyed following that path. I used to be a counselor/therapist and I believe helped lots of people find their way to a new path or direction for their lives. My approach helped a lot of folks, but I know it didn’t help everyone I came in contact with. I had a philosophy that allowed me to connect more directly with people about what their concerns and needs were, and I’ve taken people who had all kinds of different labels and been successful when they experienced failure in “the system.” I could share some pretty impressive stories of monumental changes in people who the “Mental health professionals” had decided were intractable.

    Others needed things I couldn’t provide. I tried to help them find some other pathway. I have never had or expressed the viewpoint that there is no such thing as suffering that requires some sort of advanced intervention. I am not sure where you ever got that idea, but I would appreciate it if you drop that as it applies to me. As you are against “bullying” as you so aptly put it, I’d really appreciate you not deciding for me what I believe and drawing conclusions on the basis of those assumptions.

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  • The problem is not that people don’t fully use the criteria (even though they almost never do), it’s that the criteria themselves are subjective, speculative, and completely unscientific in nature. You can’t judge “overdiagnosis” if there is no objective way to tell who “has” or “does not have” a particular “disorder.” The DSM itself admits in its introduction that 1) you can’t really tell who has which “disorder,” or where the line between “disorder” and “no disorder” can be drawn, and 2) any two people who COMPLETELY FIT the criteria at a given moment may not have the same problem or need the same kind of help. Of course, almost no one ever READS the introduction, and it’s couched in very squirmy language that requires interpretation, but it’s a pretty damning admission, don’t you think? We have no way of objectively determining which diagnosis you have, and even if you and another person are right in the center of the target, your diagnosis means nothing about the cause or your needs or what treatment to recommend. What is the value of such a “diagnosis?”

    When I did clinical work in the past, I simply talked to the client about his/her own conception of the problem and what they thought might have helped. While of course I asked good questions and made observations and brainstormed options with the client, in the end, the client was responsible for defining the problem and whether or not a particular intervention was “working.” It is arrogant in the extreme in my view for a clinician to enforce his/her views on what is “wrong” or what “should be done” on a client, as the main reason people suffer from “mental health issues” in the first place, ESPECIALLY when we’re talking about depression and/or anxiety, is because OTHER PEOPLE have taken over their lives and told them what to think, say or do and what was “right” in opposition to allowing the to follow their own personal “voice.” I consider it more abuse for a “professional” to boss a client around and disempower them the way they were disempowered by others in their pasts. Empowerment is the answer, not more powerful people exerting their control over the clients’ lives.

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  • Exactly. If the current model were working, people who USED TO BE disabled would now be OFF disability and working again! If someone’s disabled with, say, a bad knee, and gets knee surgery, we would expect that the corhort of such people would be LESS disabled than before the surgery! There may be a few for whom it did not work and they didn’t get better or got worse, but overall, the average disability level would have to go DOWN for this intervention to be considered effective! If people are MORE likely to be unable to work and participate in society AFTER receiving psychiatric “treatment” than before – well, there isn’t a much better definition of “ineffective” or indeed “counterproductive” available than having a “treatment” actually INCREASE the disability rate of its recipients!

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  • Again, I think you are confusing efforts to help with effectiveness. Stating things like “ECT is effective and safe” is just as dangerous or moreso than saying, “ECT can have serious adverse effects which should be considered before undertaking such a course of action.” Are you seriously claiming that there are NO or MINIMAL adverse reactions to “ECT” despite all of the hard and soft data showing that the results for some people are devastating? You do realize that “ECT” is the intentional induction of a convulsive seizure (hence the name) and that under normal circumstances, such seizures are considered dangerous and people take drugs to avoid them because of potential brain damage? Why would an intentionally induced seizure NOT be likely to produce brain damage when a spontaneous one IS likely to produce such damage?

    My beef with psychiatry is mostly the blithe dismissal of very real concerns that exist, as you demonstrate in your comment. It is not HATEFUL toward psychiatry to report on actual events and studies that challenge the conventional wisdom. “Trust me” is a dangerous comment for ANY physician to make, but more particularly those working in psychiatry, where knowledge is scarce and speculative on the ground and no one really understands the exact cause of ANY “disorder,” or even if such a “disorder” syndrome is a legitimate entity for study rather than a broad collection of phenomena which have been cast together into a syndrome because we don’t understand them, purporting to “know all about it” is just a blatant deception.

    Psychiatry would be a lot better off as a medical specialty if it took a big dose of humility and started to understand that these bad results are very often NOT random or made up or the result of “lifestyle issues,” but are very real and potentially dangerous side effects of the “treatments” they are handing out. That way, at least some measure of “informed consent” can be practiced, rather than providing bland and scientifically empty reassurances such as “ECT is safe and effective.”

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  • I worked for 20 years in the foster care system and the stories are all too familiar. I helped get a law passed to require such evaluations of kids before they were ever put on psych drugs, and with the help of a state-level nurse, we also managed to implement a triggered review of any case involving certain polypharmacy criteria. The drugging rate HAS dropped since then in Oregon, but it’s still way too high. It is the inevitable result of inventing “diseases” that can’t be objectively determined and giving people drugs for them. There will always be “diagnostic creep” if there is no hard line to decide when intervention is needed, as is the case with essentially every psychiatric “disorder.”

    Another interesting fact was that those kids cared for by relatives had a MUCH lower rate of psych drugging than those being fostered by strangers. I have the greatest respect for the many excellent foster parents out there, but think it really helps to have someone in the room with the doctor who feels a familial obligation to care for the child’s needs. It’s way too easy in the current system to believe we are acting in the child’s interests when we’re actually acting to make the adults’ lives easier. That won’t change until we get rid of these bullshit subjective “diagnoses” as excuses to drug kids into compliance or docility.

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  • It depends on how frequent the adverse effects are and how seriously they damage people. There are plenty of banned therapies for various physiological problems that are considered too risky, even if they work for some people. I agree some people seem to report positive results, and I don’t particularly want to take that away from them, but it’s a cost/benefit analysis that transcends the needs of individuals.

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  • I also think we should remember that Vioxx, for instance, did provide pain relief for a lot of people. It also killed a certain small percentage of them, far from a majority, actually a very small minority. It was taken off the market. Because it killed people. But some people found it very helpful. The FDA decided it wasn’t OK to risk people dying, even a small percentage, in exchange for pain relief.

    It isn’t always OK to allow a potentially unsafe intervention even if some people do fine on it, especially when you have no way to determine a head of time whom you might accidentally kill or whose life you may accidentally ruin.

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  • Saying that these folks need help does NOT translate into we should assume and accept that what the psychiatric profession has to offer is the kind of “help” that they need. It is absolutely wrong to postulate that needing attention means needing the kind of abusive and destructive behavior that is often accepted and even encouraged in the name of “psychiatric care.”

    Those “helped” by psychiatry with psychotic disorders die on the average 20-25 years YOUNGER than those who don’t receive such treatment. While it’s obvious that there are many variables involved, I challenge you to name another profession where receiving treatment REDUCES average lifespan. Something is not right here. The problem is not that these individuals need attention, it’s that the kind of attention they receive is not the kind of attention then need in a large proportion of cases.

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  • Sadly, I can validate all of your observations in the people I’ve seen have to go through the system. Professionals who are prepared to be vulnerable and really care are rare and are themselves often attacked for doing so. I apparently had “bad boundaries,” according to those who wanted me to toe the line and stop giving my time and energy to actually trying to help people get OUT of the system and manage their own affairs. Eventually, I had to give it up because it was clear that the intention of “the system” was VERY different than my intention!

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  • The idea of the “paradoxical effect” was disproven in about 1978 by Judith Rappoport, et. al. They gave stimulants to non-ADHD teens after doing a baseline behavior check. They found the same effects – better focus, less easily distracted, less movement of extremities. Rappoport said that the idea this was different for “ADHD” kids was because people were looking for that change and therefore found it, while the “Normal” kids weren’t particularly hyperactive so no one would notice if their activity levels dropped. She called it an “artifact of observation.”

    “In the 1990’s, it was thought that stimulants worked “paradoxically” in those with ADHD. That is, in people without ADHD, stimulants would cause agitation and over stimulation but in those with ADHD, they would act paradoxically and calm them down. In fact, it was considered by some to be a kind of diagnostic test- if the medication helped, then by default the person must have ADHD.

    This is actually not the case.

    We know today that stimulants stimulate the whole brain- in everybody. Those that have ADHD and those that don’t respond in kind. Stimulants can help everyone to focus, regardless of meeting criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD or not.”

    https://www.adhd.nyc/single-post/2018/03/28/the-paradoxical-effect-from-misunderstanding-how-stimulants-worked-to-understanding-whe

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  • My understanding is that it’s far worse than most who haven’t experienced can imagine. I went through a VERY brief period after taking too much caffiene and being up all night. I couldn’t stand up, sit down, lay down, close my eyes, walk around – it didn’t matter what I did, it felt wrong. I’m sure this is a tiny fraction of what it would be like to have full-on akathesia, all day, every day, especially if your doctors didn’t warn you of it, or deny or minimize the effects on you. It sounds perfectly horrible!

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  • Uncontrolled sense of restlessness and discomfort in remaining in one place, induced by many different psychiatric drugs. The name literally means “Can’t stay still.” It is mostly a subjective internal experience that most folks would not notice unless they asked about it. It is reportedly very uncomfortable! I’d love it if someone who’s had this experience can add some to this description, as it seems very clinical to me and I don’t think conveys how awful it is to have to put up with.

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  • It sucks that they invalidated you like that! Seems like one of the worst things that happens as a result of the labelling process – soon nothing you say can be believed, they can dismiss anything you say as “symptoms.” It’s dehumanizing!

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  • “I’ve met no clinician dedicated to the care of those with neurobehavioral disorders whose repertoire of treatment possibilities didn’t span the entire biopsychosocial spectrum.”

    Well, I have. Plenty of them. Not all of them, but I’d say 50-50 would be optimistic in the psychiatry world.

    This sentence also subscribes to a certain viewpoint, calling people “those with neurobehavioral disorders,” and assuming that “treatment possibilities” are the answer. This lens in and of itself can blind you and others who see people this way to the many options available for approaching people who are finding the world difficult to sort out at a particular moment. You are assuming you can identify these “disorders” and can assign them to people, which is in and of itself a dehumanizing process. Additionally, seeing these issues as “neurobehavioral disorders” has been shown to DECREASE empathy and INCREASE bias and “stigma” against them. So it is possible that you and many others who see things this way may fully believe you are being open minded and humble, yet still believe you can “know” what is “wrong” with another person and can “tell them” what “treatment” they need. This disconnect can prevent trust from your clients, and can allow you to unconsciously judge people who don’t meet with your expectations.

    This is not casting aspersions – this is a simple truth that has been supported by scientific investigation. NONE of the DSM “disorders” have a consistent and testable biological basis, and so none of them are objectively “diagnosable.” Why not simply talk to each person about what THEY think is needed and what they want to change about their lives, and help them based on their framing of reality rather than forcing a “neurobehavioral” frame on what is often simply normal reactions to difficult circumstances?

    I hope that makes some sense to you.

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  • Posting as moderator:

    It sounds like we’re getting into different interpretations of the same statements here. My read of the comment was that the commenter was criticizing the labels as not being helpful in general, not saying that the poster/blogger for choosing that label for him/herself. It’s a very touchy area, and I can understand Lisa taking it the other way. I think I understand both viewpoints, and I think both have legitimacy, and I’m hoping we can respect that there are differences of viewpoint expressed at MIA and that they are generally not aimed at a person just because they disagree with that person. I’m glad both of you got to say what you needed to say, but I’m hoping we can move on from this discussion soon, as I don’t see any way to really resolve such a value-based disagreement. I leave it to you to decide if another comment or two is needed to come to some sort of closure.

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  • It is odd that he says no one’s heard of it but they all think it’s garbage! How can “they” think such things if “they” never heard of it?

    Sure sign that someone’s afraid to be found out when they start coming up with irrational attacks! Of course, a lot of his friends probably DO think it’s garbage, but I think the same thing about their “model!” Depends who you hang with, I guess!

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  • Very well put. The biggest difference in psychiatry is that psychiatrists can seriously make things up out of whole cloth and use “reference to authority” to “prove” they are right, since there are no actual criteria for success. As much as it may not be proven that reducing cholesterol levels has any positive effect on frequency or heart attacks or life expectancy, at least the “treatments” DO have to reduce cholesterol numbers. There’s no such measurement in psychiatry, so they can REALLY go wild with their claims, as soon as anyone believes their bogus “diagnoses” are real.

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  • It shouldn’t be the patients’ job to act on outcomes, it should be the doctors’ jobs. It is clear they have totally abdicated that responsibility, and that they insist on using the same “treatments” despite actual WORSENING outcomes for the clients.

    Though as someone else pointed out, if the desired “outcome” is to make money for the practitioners, they’re doing a fine job of it.

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  • Of course, no real analysis has been done on causes, because they’re afraid to find out the truth because they suspect it’s their wonderful drugs.

    Of course, life survival strategies and poverty and other stresses would contribute to this, but some of those strategies are actually a result of “treatment” in many cases. For instance, smoking is incredibly common in the “chronically mentally ill” and is often blamed for these dramatic statistics. But it is well known that cigarettes increase dopamine, and a discussion with the “patients” shows that many of them smoke to reduce the adverse effects of their “medications” that dramatically reduce their dopamine levels. And of course, being a “mental patient” almost ensures that poverty will result from long-term “treatment.” Drug abuse is also common among the “CMI” population, but I’d still maintain that this is another failure of the “mental heath” system, as an effective system would make people less likely rather than more likely to use street drugs.

    It’s all fine and good to blame the patients, but the hard reality is, more treatment leads to shorter lives, and there is no “explanation” that absolves the “doctors” from this horrible statistical result. No other “treatment” modality for any other disease state would allow this kind of statistic stand.

    There MIGHT be subgroups whose lives are extended by psychiatric intervention, but I have seen no study that has even looked at this question. If there were such findings, I’m pretty sure we’d see huge headlines saying “Psychiatric treatments increase longevity!” even if it applied to only 3% of the population!

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  • Just for the record, I’ve never studied psychology in any depth. My specialty is actually education, in which I have an MS. I sort of snuck into the “mental health” field through the back door, which may be part of why I never really bought into the “DSM worldview” or the psychiatric dogma. I agree with you 100% that the DSM is a complete scientific fraud.

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  • In fact, they will tell us over and over again that there IS no cure and taking their drugs will be our only hope of “managing the illness.” The choice of “Insulin for diabetes” was not one made by chance. That’s the reality they have always wanted to create, because it justifies endless drug prescriptions and the denial of other approaches meant to actually eliminate the problems they need to sell their products.

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  • I appreciate you sharing your experience, and I agree that lived experience should include everyone who has such experience, regardless of what that experience is.

    I do wonder, however, where you get the idea that if alternative approaches were identified, they would have been identified by psychiatry and adopted. I just finished posting on the article about Martin Harrow, who was apparently castigated and attacked for publishing research that did not agree with the psychiatric mainstream position that all “schizophrenic” diagnosed people must be maintained on antipsychotics for the rest of their lives. Harrow was no radical, he was a mainstream researcher who simply reported his findings of a very well-designed study. They attacked him simply because he challenged the status quo belief system and threatened the hierarchy’s control of the narrative. It seems very likely that the very best evidence of any alternative approach would be attacked and buried, rather than identified and accepted. That’s my view of it anyway, and I think that’s what the evidence tells us. Mainstream psychiatry is not particularly interested in alternative viewpoints.

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  • All very well said.

    RE: iron deficiency and “ADHD”:

    “The lower the levels of ferritin — a protein found inside cells that store iron — the more severe the symptoms. A small study, published in Pediatric Neurology, showed that symptoms improved when iron-deficient children with ADHD took an iron supplement.”

    https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-mineral-iron-supplement/#:~:text=Low%20Iron%20and%20ADHD&text=The%20lower%20the%20levels%20of,the%20more%20severe%20the%20symptoms.&text=A%20small%20study%2C%20published%20in,ADHD%20took%20an%20iron%20supplement.

    This is from ADDitude Magazine, hardly a bunch of antipsychiatry rebels!

    Of course, some “true believers” try to claim that “ADHD reduces iron levels!” No accounting for human stupidity, I guess.

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  • POSTING AS MODERATOR: I just want to be clear in approving the above comment that I am assuming the author means the abusive families of those “Mad people” who HAVE abusive families, as there are plenty of “Mad people’ who don’t have abusive families, though there are also plenty who do.

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  • That’s exactly my reaction! If you have two options, one of which is completely safe and without notable adverse effects, while the other has all sorts of possible damage AND stops working as soon as you stop it, and both are “equally effective,” clearly, the first is FAR preferable! But the researchers never seem to say this. Maybe they’re not “allowed” to!

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  • My point is that “mad” and “crazy” have both been used historically as more or less synonymous. There is nothing about “mad” that implies “mentally ill” in the modern sense. In fact, it is also synonymous for kind of wildly creative and spontaneous. There is also the usage of “mad skills,” meaning incredibly fantastic. And of course, “mad” also has the meaning of “angry,” which makes the choice of the word “mad” kind of interesting for a website like “Mad in America” – it can reflect any of the above meanings, including having difficulty with the weird expectations of modern society AND pissed off that we are expected to “be OK” with all that AND angry at the “system” for driving us all “mad!”

    So I think it’s a very rich word with a lot of nuances, very, very different from the extremely specific word, “Mentally ill,” which was created for the very purpose of “othering” folks by the “professionals” or “experts” claiming they have some authority to determine who is or is not “normal.”

    Anyway, that’s my take on it. And I’m not making comments as moderator here, just me as a person expressing my views on the point. I see no reason not to have “Mad Camp” as long as the more empowered uses of the term “mad” are intended and understood. The problem to me is not the word, it’s the intention behind the word, and I don’t see “mad” as necessarily having the the intent to disempower or other a person, especially if that person chooses to identify with “madness” as a means of empowering him/herself.

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  • As I think I’ve said before, we’ve kind of aired this out pretty thoroughly. There are people who want to “reclaim” the word “mad” from the psychiatric profession, and those who consider it unredeemably contaminated. I think everyone is entitled to their own view on that point. “Peer” is a different issue to me, as I believe it’s fair to say the term was invented BY the psychiatric profession for the purpose of “defanging” the antipsychiatry movement, and has some associations that are hard to shake. But the term “mad” (like the word “crazy”) has a long and varied history of use over centuries. In fact, I have seldom if ever heard psychiatrists or psychologists using the term “mad” at all. They usually eschew it for terms like “mentally ill” or “mentally disordered” or even “consumers.”

    But in any case, I think “mad” is going to remain an interesting and ambiguous term, and I can’t see these ambiguities being resolved in the MIA comments section any time soon!

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  • I agree. The drive to define things as “psychiatric” is as far from scientific as it could be. It’s a big-time marketing scheme, as the inventors of the DSM III have admitted out loud. And it of course is an effort to protect the status quo social dominance system from criticism by attacking anyone who isn’t “loving it” or at least keeping quiet about their objections as being “ill” rather than “damaged” or “oppressed” or simply “dissatisfied” with the current state of affairs. As in any “dysfunctional family,” those with the power are protected and those without power are blamed. The last thing anyone suffering from emotional stress and difficulties needs is to be blamed by those in power for their own distress!

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  • I agree absolutely. The framing of these problems as “disorders” and the semi-arbitrary division of such issues as being some sort of unitary problems is in itself hugely problematic, and accepting that framing means we’ve lost 3/4 of the battle already. The DSM is the key to psychiatry’s claims of legitimacy, and I don’t think we can undermine psychiatry’s hegemony until we challenge the legitimacy of their bogus “nomenclature” and pretense of knowledge about things they have no real understanding of.

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  • I will once again point out that fearing retaliation from one’s peers or superiors for reporting abuse is not STIGMA. It is DISCRIMINATION, plain and simple. The person is not ashamed of reporting, s/he is AFRAID of the consequences of reporting the event, and for very concrete and real reasons. They are being treated in a violent and threatening manner for seeking justice. VERY different from the concept of “stigma,” if it ever actually does apply to any kind of violent victimization such as rape or sexual assault.

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  • Yup. You can’t diagnose a “disorder” from averages. Just because something is more common in a particular population doesn’t make it a causal factor, as many in the non-identified population still have the same “something,” just in somewhat smaller numbers. This is the big problem with both brain scans and “genomic” studies – they rely heavily on correlations, but as any beginning scientist knows, “Correlation is not causation.”

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  • I do get that. But most of that is in the context of “diagnosis.” I’ve heard lots of arguments about whether someone qualifies for a “PTSD diagnosis” based on whether or not their experience could really be called “traumatic.” I think this is very damaging. Traumatic experiences are at the discretion of the person feeling traumatized. Minimization is another act of discrimination that is unfortunately encouraged by the whole idea of dividing people into the “mentally ill” and the “sane,” which as we both know is not a scientifically valid distinction.

    That’s my take on it anyway. Everyone on Earth has experienced trauma of one sort or another. Who is to say that being abandoned temporarily by one’s parents at the age of 6 is more or less of a trauma than being sexually molested by the babysitter or being told day after day that you’re too stupid to succeed? Something is as traumatic as the effect it has on the person being affected. No one else is really in a position to judge.

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  • Psychiatric drugs and demon dispossession have some common roots back there historically. Both identify a vague and unidentifiable “something” that has “taken over” the victim and needs to be “driven out” by physical and or psychological means, even when the ‘exorcists’ have no actual comprehension of what the entity that has “taken over” actually might be. On the whole, I’d be more in favor of demon dispossession, though – fewer ill effects on the body in general!

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  • POSTING AS MODERATOR:

    The use and meaning of the word “Mad” has been a constant controversy here for years. I totally understand the conflict from both sides. I hope we can all accept and understand that others’ use of the word is for their intended meaning, even if it means something else to us as individuals. I find “all or nothing” statements about this unproductive, and hope we can own our own beliefs and meanings without having to accuse everyone who doesn’t agree with us of some sort of misbehavior. As the prior poster says, “language is a tricky beast,” and I think we are best served by discussing how we find the word “mad” affects us or how we might seeing it affect others without the assumption that everyone has to see it the same way.

    Hope that makes sense. I don’t think we’re going to come up with a black and white answer to this nuanced question!

    P.S. I just came across this from Laura O posting earlier on this same thread. I hope she doesn’t mind my using it as a model. It is a perfect example of how to critique the use of this word without attacking others who see it differently:

    “I, too, would never label myself or others as “Mad”. For me, it’s a condescending, disparaging word that minimizes the very real suffering survivors experience in their lives.”

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  • The biggest problem with Freud is that he chickened out. He had it right at first, that many young women were being sexually abused by their relatives or others, and that their “Mental health issues” were largely caused by this. But his colleagues attacked him and he backed down, deciding that these recollections were “fantasies” in order to protect the men of the day from scrutiny. It took another hundred years before we finally came back to the point, and there is still a TON of resistance to the idea to this day. A large part of the effort to blame “mental illness” on the victim’s brain is that it deflects attention from the real causes, which are generally abuse/neglect, poverty and social dysfunction.

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  • I agree 100%. I had a dog who was neglected in her early life – she was constantly anxious and needed to be petted all the time to keep from freaking out. She also used to compulsively run away, much like abused/neglected teens in foster care often do. My friend also had a parrot who behaved quite “normally” most of the time, but whenever a wooden stick or rod was brought near him, he totally freaked out, going back and forth between attacking the stick and trying to hide from it. Sounds a lot like “PTSD” to me! (I mean the parrot, not my friend!)

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  • COMMENTING AS MODERATOR:

    To yinyang: I have revised this comment slightly so it will pass our Posting Guidelines. I was unable to send you an email to discuss it, not sure exactly why, . If you want to be informed of or have feedback into moderation decisions, I’ll need a functioning email address from you. Thanks!

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  • It has always been my belief from observation that the main action of “antidepressants” was a general blunting of emotion. That result is described by many who take the SSRIs in particular, and fits with both the “positive” and “negative” reported effects. If one is very anxious all the time, a blunting of emotions can be associated with reduces anxiety, which might seem positive. If one is being held back from doing impulsive things (including killing oneself or harming others) by fear of the consequences, blunting may result in manic episodes, increase in suicidality, or increase in impulsive violence, including those occasional murderous acts we all have heard about. Loss of sexual function is also consistent with blunting of physiological sensations and with impairment of the motivational system to rewards (rewards are less rewarding, hence not as much worth pursuing, or sometimes not even physiologically feasible). There isn’t much that the SSRIs do that isn’t explained by emotional blunting. I think that is their main mechanism of action. And I think it is well worth recognizing that these are not “antidepressants” but “antiemotion” pills, and to ask whether this is really something that society as a whole really wants to be promoting as a benefit.

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  • That is exactly how I used to work. I always used the client’s exact words or as close as I could get in framing the problem. The only purpose for DSM “diagnoses” was to obtain reimbursement, and if the topic of “diagnosis” ever came up in discussion (and it usually did not), I would tell them exactly that. I’d say I gave them the best “diagnosis” I could to get them the kind of help they were needing/asking for, and that the “diagnosis” meant nothing else but that. I always told folks that they were the only ones who knew what, if anything, was “wrong” and what would work. I was just helping them to sort that out for themselves.

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  • You are not taking responsibility for the impact of your invalidation of others. You have not demystified anything that I can see, it comes across that you have simply told another poster they were too stupid to figure out how to get EMDR paid for. It came across as condescending and had a hurtful effect. I would hope that you as a professional carer would want to know that so as to avoid doing similar harm in the future. At a minimum, you could own your own experience (“I personally haven’t had that problem” or “It’s my understanding that most insurance will pay for EMDR”) without telling the other person they were wrong for saying otherwise. You don’t know enough about their situation to presume to tell them what can and can’t be covered in their context, and I think you’d be well served to remember that next time you comment on another person’s experience.

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  • Rachel, I’m baffled how many times you seem to have taken the exact opposite from my words that I am intending to communicate! I am a HUGE believer in the impact of environment and family upbringing as the MAJOR CAUSE of most of the DSM “diagnoses,” and science backs me up on this point. Where on earth did you get the idea I thought otherwise? I need to figure out what I’m saying that is not getting across to you. It’s really confusing to me how you are mistaking my meaning so frequently, even though I sense that you are doing your best to make sense of it!

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  • Touche! It is fascinating that the psychiatric mainstream claims that these “mental illnesses” are all or mostly genetic, yet they have to use torture of animals to create similar circumstances. Wasn’t the “wire monkey” set of experiments sufficient to establish that early childhood mistreatment/neglect leads to a host of “mental illnesses” for adults? How many times do we have to do the same experiments and still fail to see the real results?

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  • Quite so. But you and I are in no position to judge how easy or difficult it may be to find a provider willing to support/justify the treatment the client wants. I’m saying it’s important that folks with professional backgrounds, like you and I, learn to step down from our one-up power positions and listen to the people actually in the trenches seeking services. If someone says, “I can’t get a therapist who will provide EMDR because I have a BPD diagnosis,” it is our job to listen to and believe them, because we are not in their position. A more respectful approach would be to ask some questions, like, “What state are you in? What have the therapists said to you when you asked? Is it the therapist refusing to ask or the insurance company refusing to cover it? What kind of “reasons” are you getting from the insurance company?” Then maybe we can help that person find a path toward getting it covered. Just saying, “No, you’re wrong, it’s covered by your insurance” comes across as both condescending and invalidative of the very real experience of the poster. It is, for lack of a better word, a rather unprofessional approach, IMHO.

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  • As I have always maintained, people act a certain way because on some level it seems necessary or wise for their own survival. To think that folks can simply “think away” their own history and the reasons for their fears and their insistence on or avoidance of certain situations is actually quite invalidative of their experience. And suggests simplistic answers, such as “Just think the right thoughts and you’ll feel better soon!” which are hardly realistic for people struggling with past and often current abuse, often by the very system that’s claiming to help them. And it provides cover for blaming the victim for “failing to think the right thoughts” or “failing to take the program seriously” when it doesn’t work for them.

    I’ve been told by several people that DBT practitioners sometimes FORCE people to engage in “mindfulness” activities. Nothing could show more ignorance of how mindfulness really works than thinking you can force someone to do it and expect any kind of results. These manualized “therapy programs” are of very little use in most cases, as what the person really needs is someone to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND them, and help THEM make their own minds up about what they want to be different and whether or not a certain approach is working for them.

    And your last comment is most important. There is no way to completely set one’s issues aside as a therapist. The best one can do is to be aware that you DO have issues and you WILL bring them to the session, and to be aware enough of them to distinguish between your own needs and the client’s needs. The number of people who can actually do this is incredibly small!

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  • Not saying that at all. I’m saying to do legitimate scientific research, you need a legitimate research group of people who have something that makes them the same. Murderers don’t qualify as such a group, as they are selected by a specific kind of behavior AND by the fact that they got convicted. It could be an interesting subject that might LEAD to some scientific hypotheses, which could then be tested, but simply comparing brains of convicted murderers smacks of “phrenology,” where the head shapes of criminals were compared to conclude what commonalities criminals shared in order to predict criminality. It was, of course, a complete bust, but it all sounded very “scientific.” So far, brain scan research has been used to “explain” a lot of things that it doesn’t explain at all. I’m very skeptical based on the sketchy history of brain scan research as well as the obvious heterogeneity of the group of “convicted murderers” and would have to see the basis for the research to judge.

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  • It’s always interesting to listen to these ideas, but they are mostly very unscientific, relying on the assumption that correlation = causation. The fact that there may be some similarities between brain scans of two people who happen to be murderers proves absolutely nothing at all. Until we can see that most or all murderers have the same brain activity/structures and that no one or almost no one who doesn’t murder doesn’t have them, we have nothing of use scientifically. Murder, like all human behavior, is extremely complex, and there is no reason to believe that it is “caused” by a particular physiological state.

    I just wanted to clarify where I was coming from. My main point is that you can’t vote diseases in and out of existence. There needs to be some sort of objective means of distinguishing between who does and does not “have” a particular “diagnosis,” and such means simply do not exist for ANY “DSM diagnosis.”

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  • I think you are speaking in technical terms of what is theoretically possible, while the other posters are speaking in terms of what ACTUALLY HAPPENS in the real world. It’s probably neither possible nor appropriate for those of us who haven’t been in the position of seeking “treatment.” I defer to those who have been on that side of the table.

    That being said, I really do appreciate your efforts to destigmatize the BPD “diagnosis.” I think your framing of these “diagnoses” is about as sane as anyone working within the system can make it. But I do think it’s important to remember that you (and I) are/were outliers and that most clients of the “mental health system” are not treated with anything close to the degree of respect for their context than what you are describing.

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  • I refer to it only as a way that some people identify themselves. Of course, I don’t see psychiatry as a “product” in the same sense as a tube of toothpaste. First off, toothpaste doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. Second, no one can legally force you to accept their “toothpaste” as a “product” that they can force down your throat! I suppose the person is a “consumer” in the sense that they are forced to “consume” the drugs that are selected for them, but the social meaning of “consumer” suggests a person who can use their buying power to influence what products are available. That certainly does not apply to the bulk of psychiatric “participants,” willing or not.

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  • It is extremely easy to describe a behavior without a label. Some examples: “I feel worried every time I go out of the house. I’m not afraid of anything specific, just have this big surge of anxiety.”

    “When Mary visits her mother, she sees things in the house that remind her of her sexual abuse as a child by her father, and she often experiences flashbacks of the event.”

    “Monique has never left her children with another caregiver in 5 years. She states that she is afraid that her children will be sexually abused. When asked, she relates that she was also sexually abused as a child.”

    These describe what is happening far more accurately than “I have agoraphobia” or “She suffers from PTSD” or “She’s got an adjustment disorder.” And they invite an exploration of why these things are happening, and what might be done about them. In the latter case, a very short intervention inviting her to find someone she knew would NOT sexually abuse her child and make a plan to get a break led to a COMPLETE TURNAROUND in her life, from suicidal to passionately pursuing a sexual abuse recovery program. I met her two weeks later and she was virtually unrecognizable, she was so pumped. So why did she need a “diagnosis?” She did not. She needed someone to be interested in her situation and to drill down as to her motivations and to help her take some sort of effective ACTION to challenge her unproductive but understandable fears.

    Some doctors THINK “mental illness” is a ‘misfiring of the brain,’ but no one really knows what that really means, even though they say that. There is no evidence of “proper firing” or “misfiring” that they can point to, no measurement of correct “chemical balances” that they can perform, no “normal brain” they can compare yours to and show some sort of abnormality. I find (and science supports me in this) that this kind of explanation leads many folks to feeling hopeless and disempowered, and deflects attention from the causes and possible interventions that might let the person herself take more control of her life.

    I am certain that different people have variations in their genetic makeup, and I don’t exclude the possibility that in SOME cases, this may create some kind of vulnerability. But that does NOT make the genetic differences a “disease” marker. First off, there is absolutely no reliable evidence that any “mental disorder” associates with any “genetic abnormality” in the brain. The best correlations are in the single digits for large groups of genes considered together, but none is even close to being able to predict ANY “mental disorder” in the entire manual. Whereas most “mental disorders” correlate at over 80% levels with childhood adversity and mistreatment. Since genes are the one thing in the entire equation we can NOT change, it seems pretty silly to spend billions researching genetic causes when we know that childhood adversity is a very ADDRESSABLE reason for these “disorders” occurring.

    In your case, you yourself identify that others with similar genetics have some similar behavioral tendencies, but your case became more severe because of the abuse you suffered. It seems if you need a “diagnosis” it ought to be “Victim of childhood violence,” which is at least observably true. Saying someone “has OCD” and trying to blame it on your brain is very typical psychiatric narrative, but it is pure speculation on their part, they know NOTHING about the actual causes of these behaviors and emotions.

    If their approach works for you, more power to you. I would never want to take that away from you. But your personally benefiting from what they did with you does not legitimize the DSM, which the head of the NIMH himself said “lacked validity” a few years back. The NIMH even stopped using the DSM diagnoses for research after that time. It is VERY legitimate to question the DSM categories scientifically, and it has nothing to do with believing or not believing that people in distress need assistance. I think everyone should do what works for them, but I am opposed to lying to people about what is known just so they’ll be more comfortable accepting whatever treatment is offered.

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  • I am not calling you “brainwashed,” and I have never suggested eliminating all treatment, and I don’t know how you would draw that conclusion from what I wrote. My comments clearly criticize not TREATMENT but the idea that the DSM can “diagnose” people accurately of some kind of medical problem using checklists of problematic behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.

    Perhaps you are thinking that DSM “diagnoses” are the same as treatment? I understand that people benefit from getting outside help, and professional assistance CAN be quite useful to some folks if you have the right professional and the right approach.

    But pretending that somehow professionals can distinguish between “obsessive thoughts” and “intrusive thoughts” and normal thoughts is not scientific, and the DSM itself says it is unable to do that. I’ve helped lots of people over the years improve the condition of their lives, and never once did a “diagnosis” play any role in helping bring it about.

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  • Most psych survivors were psych consumers at one time. I’d say it depends on the “consumer.” Those who are invested in promoting the current system need to be left alone, but there are many “consumers” who are confused, angry, frustrated, and beginning to doubt the veracity of the psychiatric narrative. Such people need to hear from survivors rather than those other promotors of the status quo referred to above.

    I consider it bigoted to assume that all “consumers” are the same.

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  • I understand that you believe these “disorders” have some real scientific meaning. I do not. Being very familiar with the DSM, these “disorders” are very simply descriptions of behavior or thoughts or emotions a person might have which tend for whatever reason to occur together.

    Intrusive thoughts are VERY common with people recovering from traumatic experiences, and seem to actually be part of the DSM description for PTSD. So how can you tell if you have “covert OCD” or “PTSD” or simply have thoughts you don’t want to have that seem to come from the outside? I’m not against DESCRIBING things I just think putting a name on something one observes is not the same as “diagnosing.” A diagnosis ought to be aimed at establishing cause, distinguishing between seemingly similar presentations based on cause, and distinguishing between effective treatments/interventions for the situation. As a former counselor/therapist, I found little to no value in labeling a person’s experience based on the DSM. I simply went directly to “What are you experiencing?” and then looked for the underlying reasons the person may be experiencing these things. “Intrusive thoughts” can have many different origins, and I’d start by asking what the thoughts were and when they arose and go from there. No “diagnosis” is needed – all I needed to know was that the client was willing to share their experiences with me and help me understand what was happening to them. The only reason I ever gave a DSM diagnosis was for insurance reimbursement, and that’s about all they are good for, IMHO.

    I’m sorry if that clashes with your beliefs, and I don’t expect you to agree with me or think less of you if you don’t. But my opinion is based on decades of experience and I’m not likely to change it, as I feel I have a very good handle on exactly what these “diagnoses” really represent.

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  • I don’t care how the DSM 5 “organizes” their fictional definitions of “disorders.” As I noted, the DSM itself admits it can’t clearly distinguish between someone who has Disorder A or Disorder B or Disorder A and nothing at all wrong with them. It goes on further to say that “There is also no assumption that two people with the same disorder are alike in all important ways.” In other words, two people with the same “disorder” may have very different needs and very different causes and very different approaches may be needed to help them, even though they have the same “diagnosis.”

    What is the point of “diagnosing” people with something that they may or may not have, when even those who fit the same “diagnosis” may have totally different problems requiring totally different solutions? It makes the concept of “comorbidity” more than a bit of a joke. Do I have “excessive digital-nasal insertion disorder” or do I have “itchy nasal passage disorder?” Maybe it’s comorbid, because my nose itches AND I pick my nose to relieve it? Or is the latter simply a consequence of the former diagnosis?

    The real question is, why should anyone care what label you put on my behavior? Why not just let me pick my nose, or help me with the itchiness or find something useful to do besides “diagnosing” something you have absolutely no understanding of?

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  • It is so obvious how biased they are toward the evidence by how they talk about it. For abuse to have CAUSED “schizophrenia,” apparently we need proof beyond a reasonable doubt that EVERY case of “schizophrenia” is caused by abuse, despite there being no reason to assume all cases of “schizophrenia” are caused by any one thing, it being a behavioral syndrome that could have many causes. But for biological causation, a tiny correlation of hundreds of genes associated with less than a tenth of cases is evidence that “schizophrenia has a biological cause,” even though correlations with childhood abuse are ten or a hundred times stronger. How is it that the world of science and medicine is still willing to entertain and publish such obviously biased nonsense?

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  • The very concept of “Comorbid disorders” presumes that the DSM is able to distinguish between one “disorder” and another, while the DSM itself asserts its own inability to do so.

    “In DSM, there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no disorder.”

    In other words, there is no clear line between “disorders,” so the concept of “comorbid disorders” is totally invalid.

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  • I would also ask why we would assume that the woman would NOT have lay down on the bridge just because she was “medicated.” And the term “leaving [her] unmedicated” reflects a very paternalistic attitude, as if we have a right to “leave” or “not leave” her in a particular degree of “medicatedness.” As if she herself has no particular rights to decide her own course of action.

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  • I think any medical diagnosis needs to be able to differentiate between a “normal” and a “diseased” state, objectively and consistently. Medicine is to treat the BODY. “Psychiatry” and “Psychology” are supposed to deal with the “psyche,” aka the Human Spirit. Attempts to treat spiritual issues with drugs and surgery and electric-shock-induced seizures are doomed for failure. So I think the “treatment” of any spiritual/emotional condition does not belong in the realm of medicine, and therefore the idea of “diagnosis” in the medical sense is irrelevant, and likely unavoidably destructive.

    I much prefer the use of descriptive language. “Mary hears voices speaking to her that others can’t hear. She is feeling very anxious and worried that the voices are going to tell her to kill herself, as they have done in the past. She feels safest at her sister’s house, who is good at calming her down.” That sort of thing is a LOT more helpful than saying, “She’s got schizophrenia!”

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  • I never have agreed with almost anything Dr. Pies has said. He’s a marketing agent for psychiatry.

    What he’s saying in the article is technically true, but he is not taking into account HOW the DSM is used. The fact that someone has a “medical diagnosis” opens the door to stigmatization, which has been proven over and over again to be greater the more medically the causes of these “diagnoses” are viewed. A lot of the text he includes are from the introduction and clinical guidelines, which I’m sorry to say most clinicians don’t bother to read, or if they do, fail to put into practice. Pies also fails to give any reason, and in facts argues AGAINST it, for putting people into these “fuzzy categories” in the first place. Any reasoning he uses is more sociology/anthropology than medical in nature. By admitting there is no clear boundary between one “disorder” and another, and between having a “disorder” and having “no disorder,” he acknowledges that the whole house of cards blows down with the slightest puff of air.

    Here is an example in his own words: “When a patient presents with the complaint, “I hear threatening voices in my head,” we simply must diagnose—a word whose etymology means, “knowing the difference between.” For example, we must know the difference between “threatening voices” stemming from combat-related trauma, on the one hand, versus schizophrenia or anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis15 on the other. Otherwise, our treatment is likely to be misguided.”

    Note he gives NO real reason why he “MUST DIAGNOSE,” and defines diagnosis as “knowing the difference between.” But he just admitted above that the DSM itself asserts no ability to “know the difference” between being disordered or not, or between having one diagnosis or another! So giving a DSM diagnosis does NOT provide “the difference between,” it actually confuses such efforts by lumping people with widely differing problems into the same “diagnosis!”

    Notice also in his example that he is NOT talking about differentiating between “mental disorders,” but between causes (Combat trauma, encephalitis, or the mysterious and undefined “schizophrenia,” which is such a vague “diagnosis” that the Japanese are not even using it any longer.)

    In short, Pies and company talk a good game, but when you look at what he’s REALLY saying, it’s simply more marketing of ideas that don’t have any scientific basis at all.

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  • Again, this would not be a “cause” of “ADHD,” as the large majority of those so diagnosed do NOT have this mutation, and there are apparently lots of people who have the mutation who DON’T get diagnosed with “ADHD.” There may be a VERY small subset of those diagnosed who have this problem, and I have no objection to folks testing for this anomaly and doing some sort of research on the tiny subgroup. But at that point, they are no longer diagnosed with “ADHD,” they are diagnosed with CDH2 mutation, which has to be made very clear in order to get any useful outcome.

    As to stimulant “treatment,” as I indicated earlier, there is little to no evidence that using stimulants in the long term improves overall outcomes for the “ADHD” cohort, and there are notable adverse effects, including growth retardation, loss of appetite, and psychotic symptoms in up to 10% or more of users at “therapeutic” dosages. But one would have to look at the CDH2 subgroup and look at them separately to really answer that question. In my book, if there are risks and no real long-term benefits, I don’t care if there IS a biological cause, there is nothing to recommend assuming the risk of drugging kids without a clear and substantial benefit.

    The other problem is who gets to define what is beneficial? If the teachers are telling the story, they might decide that being relatively inert and sitting quietly in a chair all day is a beneficial outcome. But what about from the kid’s point of view? Nobody bothers to ask what THEY find helpful in most cases. It’s an intervention for the benefit of the adults. As I said, why is there no “hypoactivity disorder?”

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  • I agree, to be scientific, one must be skeptical and always open to new data that disconfirms your hypothesis. To the exact contrary, the psychiatric/psychological industries have a marketing approach, searching for and emphasizing every tiny snippet of data that supports their contentions, and going far out of the way to bury or discredit even bury data that disagrees with their preferred narrative. As soon as you start selecting which data you want to pay attention to, you’ve left the ship of science!

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  • I would submit that Buddhism, for instance, does not require or teach conformity, except to the extent that certain practices are recommended to improve one’s understanding of one’s own spiritual nature. I’ve also been to Quaker meetings, where there is no preacher or designed program, but the attendees are encouraged to get in touch with their “intuition” and speak as they feel moved to speak. I don’t see much conformity there, except that you need to be quiet while others are speaking and not invalidate or criticize what they share.

    I definitely see that organized religion tends very strongly toward enforcing conformity of both belief and actions, and often uses fear to create compliance. I have never had any patience with such practices. I think we should all be in touch with our own inner sense of what is “right” and true, rather than following some outside interpretation of reality. That’s one of the reasons I love the Quaker approach. Nobody gets to tell you what God (or whatever spiritual reality a person might believe in) has to say to you. You get to seek those answers for yourself.

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  • That’s the other good point – we know that healthy relationships can “heal” whatever changes to the brain occur as a result of trauma, at least to an extent. Why we waste time on all these biological cause studies when we KNOW that social conditions can be improved and result in improved outcomes is quite puzzling. Unless we postulate that those providing “treatment” aren’t really that concerned with people’s outcomes being improved?

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  • I think we’re overgeneralizing a bit, though. Not ALL religious are about conformity. There are lots of brands of religions, and the same nominal religion can have sect with WILDLY different approaches! But I do agree that humans tend to turn any religious practice in the direction of conformity, and the more “organized” it is, the more authoritarian it seems to get. But that’s just my observation.

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  • So are you saying that large pharmaceutical companies DON’T frequently promote their products by hiding data and lying to the public and overstating the benefits and downplaying the adverse effects of their product? Do you remember Vioxx? The lawsuits they “settle” out of court, like the one for falsely advertising antipsychotics for children? You don’t think that PharmA lobbyists are buying influence in Congress? And I’m not just talking about checking labeling – I’m talking about assuming that doctors are always telling the truth and have your best interests in mind.

    Take the antidepressants as an example. It was a known fact that they caused aggression and suicidality in a small but significant number of recipients, way back in 1987. Prozac was initially banned in Germany for that very reason. But it took until something like 2003 for that warning to get onto the label. Why do you think that happened? Do you think no one NOTICED? Or perhaps they suppressed this information in the interests of making profits? Do you really think they are beyond this? Or that doctors are all above board and honest and well educated when they get a ton of their information from drug reps?
    I don’t think the regulation of the drug industry is any better than it was 40 years ago – in some ways it’s worse! Did you know that you can get a drug approved with just TWO studies that show it’s even marginally better than a placebo, even if there are 80 studies saying it doesn’t work or makes things worse? It used to be three were required. Hardly an improvement in the regulatory system.

    I’m really not sure why you seem to be making this into a black and white issue. The world isn’t divided into those who qualified to interpret medical information and those who are doomed to accept their judgment. I notice you have not acknowledged that an intelligent person CAN personally read scientific research and draw his/her own conclusions without the intervention of a “medical professional.” Do you think that is impossible? Are doctors automatically smarter than I am? Are there no incompetent or corrupt doctors out there who can’t be trusted with my body and my life? If I can’t decide that, who can? And how would I decide if I’m too dumb to do my own research?

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  • Who said only trusting oneself? Clearly, I’m advising doing scientific research, speaking to other doctors and medical professionals for second opinions, looking at proven alternatives, etc. I’m saying that AUTOMATICALLY trusting that what a doctor is telling you is the truth just because they are a doctor is foolish and dangerous. It’s also bullshit that no one is smart enough to learn on their own a good bit of important information that doctors may or may not share with you. You don’t need qualifications to read scientific studies in many cases, or to simply read the patient handout for any drugs you are prescribed, especially when we’re talking about psychiatry/psychology. Not saying I would determine for myself what drugs (if any) to prescribe, but it’s not that hard to discover that your physician is talking through his/her hat with a little research.

    My dad was taking blood thinners after a heart attack. He went to a doctor, told him all about every drug he was taking, and was given a second prescription. Within a day or two, he was having instant bruising when he put his elbow on the table or pressed his finger into his arm. He looked up the second drug he was prescribed, and it said in BOLD LETTERS: CONTRAINDICATED WITH BLOOD THINNER X. DEATH COULD RESULT. He was hemorrhaging at the slightest touch. A minor car accident or a fall off a chair or small ladder would have certainly killed him on the spot. Yet the doctor knew all his medications and still prescribed this deadly combination. Are you suggesting he wasn’t “qualified” to look up the drug and discover it is contraindicated with the blood thinner he was prescribed, nor to conclude quickly that his subcutaneous bruising was almost certainly caused by the noted negative interaction between these two drugs?

    Every since that time, I NEVER take any drug until I’ve looked it up and examined side effects and contraindications. If my dad had fully trusted that doctor without question, he’d almost certainly have been dead at 40, instead of living until he was 85. Unquestioning trust in doctors is as dangerous as going it alone with no advice. In psychiatry in particular, going it alone may in fact be safer in many cases.

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  • It is saying that you can’t trust that the doctors or Big Pharma are going to give you honest information. I don’t think it’s promoting the “untrained public” to “self medicate,” it’s promoting asking questions and doing one’s own research and getting multiple opinions before assuming that the “information” you have been given by the professionals is automatically to be trusted.

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  • Yes, animals do appear to commit suicide:

    https://qrius.com/humans-commit-suicide-animals/

    I think it is EXTREMELY damaging to “put thinking suicidal back in the closet.” This will make it MORE likely that people will kill themselves because they can’t talk about it! I used to work a suicide hotline and have talked to hundreds of people who said they were considering suicide. The vast majority were not “threatening,” they were simply desperate to end the pain they were experiencing and wanted some kind of help.

    I have heard of people, especially domestic abuse perpetrators or child molesters, threaten suicide when consequences ensue for their bad behavior. This is a different matter and should be dealt with much more harshly, I believe, as it is an attempt to use the threat of suicide to manipulate or control others and avoid accountability. But the vast majority of suicidal people are looking for someone to talk to and connect with.

    Of course, there are also those who rationally decide that suicide is the best next step in their lives, based on health conditions or something of that nature that has a very grim future prognosis. It would seem cruel to deny such people the right to talk over the pros and cons of their options, including suicide, so they can make the best decision they can.

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  • I am saying all of those things. When “ADHD” is defined by a set of behaviors, most of which are based on school behavior, and none of which are even slightly objective observations, you’re going to get a group that has little to nothing in common with each other except the behavior. It could be totally normal for that child at that age and stage of development. It could be the result of nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron, or sleep problems. It could be an indicator of problems in the home that are not addressed, particularly domestic abuse. It could be an indicator of prior trauma and possible “PTSD” symptoms, where there is a huge overlap with “ADHD.” It could be an incompetent teacher who doesn’t know how to manage a class and provokes resistance from the more sensitive or the bolder kids. It could be the child is bored to death because s/he is way ahead of the class and isn’t being challenged at all. All of the above considerations could cause the “symptoms” described as “ADHD.”

    Here are a few of these “symptoms:”

    making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
    appearing forgetful or losing things
    being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
    appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
    excessive physical movement
    excessive talking
    being unable to wait their turn
    acting without thinking
    interrupting conversations

    Not one of the above is in any way objectively measurable, and none require any kind of medical “explanation.” Most are just ways that kids act when they are young and less mature. Ever know a kid who acts without thinking, or interrupts conversations, or had a hard time waiting their turn? More importantly, how many kids do you know who do NOT engage in these behaviors at least some of the time? How could you possibly tell when a kid “interrupting conversations” reached some critical level that it becomes a “symptom?” And why would we assume that any of this is caused by some sort of “brain problem?”

    A very interesting study shed some light on the advantages this “ADHD” behavior actually conveys on kids and on society. They took groups of three kids and gave them a set of three problems to solve. One bunch had two “normal” and one “ADHD” kid in each group. The control groups had three “normal” kids in each group, no “ADHD” kids. They measured how often the group was “on task,” working on solving the problems. The control groups did significantly better on this measure, while the “ADHD” groups goofed off or screwed around more and spend a good deal less time working on the problems. But NONE of the control groups solved any of the problems, while all of the “ADHD” groups solved at least one and I believe a couple solved all three! So their goofiness and off-task behavior allowed for more creativity and outside the box thinking and meant these problems got solved.

    Now if they’d had groups with THREE “ADHD” kids, it’s quite possible nothing would have gotten done at all! But it shows that we NEED these “ADHD” types to help us solve problems, and that having ALL conventional thinkers in our society will most likely lead to stagnation and failure.

    It takes all kinds to make a world, as they say, but apparently psychiatry has no idea what that means, as they want to make all kids act in ways that keep the adults happy. And that’s what I believe “ADHD” is really all about.

    Notice there is no “Hypoactivity” disorder? I think that says a lot!

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  • Some have claimed that “ADHD” brains are smaller on the average, but those studies did not take into account medication use, which shrinks the very parts of the brain they say are smaller, particularly the cingulate gyrus. Additionally, even if these studies were accurate, they are AVERAGES, which means that lots of people WITHOUT “ADHD” diagnoses have smaller brains and lots of people WITH “ADHD” diagnoses have larger brains. It is obvious that if these were “causes,” it would apply to all of them. There is no evidence that everyone with “ADHD” has any kind of similarity in brain structures, so that claim is BS.

    Of course, a lot of psychiatrists will tell you that your kid needs “treatment.” That’s just what they do. Until and unless they have some evidence that this “disorder” is actually a disease state, you are safe ignoring them. It’s also VERY important to note that kids who are “treated” with “ADHD” drugs do not do any better in the long run, academically, socially, or physically, than those who are “diagnosed” but don’t receive any stimulants. So the “treatment” is not worth anything much in the long run on the average, even if some seem to do better taking the drugs.

    My final point is that even if the “ADHD” child is in some way biologically different, difference is not the same as disease. Species survival depends on genetic diversity. There is no reason to think that being less patient with boring stuff and wanting to move around and not follow rules is evidence of anything “wrong” with the child. I think the main problem is that we try to expect kids to do things that are abnormal to expect kids to do. The strong evidence of this is that fully a THIRD of kids diagnosed “ADHD” in Kindergarten prove NOT to get that “diagnosis” if they wait a year later to enroll in school. A third grow out of it in one year. That’s not a “disease,” that’s a problem of inappropriate developmental expectations.

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  • Who is trying to take away your Adderall? Certainly nobody here. If it works for you, that’s your decision. The problem is not with people taking Adderall if they feel it’s helpful, the problem is telling everyone that these difficulties are the result of a “disease state” despite having little to no evidence that such a “disease state” is valid and verifiable.

    It’s not about the drugs. It’s about the “diagnoses.”

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  • I don’t think it’s broken. I think it serves a different purpose than it pretends to. It does quite well in making money for certain people and keeping other people under control or sufficiently diminished in capacity to not be threatening to the status quo.

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  • Excellent counterexamples of the “need for forced treatment!” I’m so sorry you had to go through this kind of crap. And I think you are right, it remains invisible to most “insiders,” because those who have been essentially arrested and held against their wills are totally willing to say whatever they need to say to get the hell out of there. So if you ask a forcibly incarcerated person in a “mental” ward if they were OK with being detained, the smart ones will say, “Oh, yes, BLESS you, I’m SOOO lucky you put me in here, I’m SOOO much better now, can you please unlock the door and let me go home?” This is not even taking into account the phenomenon of “internalized oppression,” where some of the victims spend a lot of energy trying to explain why their abuse is “understandable” and somehow deserved, as a means of avoiding the conflict of being the adverse effect of an overwhelming power that they can’t possibly match. I’m usually all for asking the client to let us know the truth, but asking people in the hospital psych ward involuntarily if they agree they ought to have been detained is going to give you a very distorted picture of reality.

    Thanks for sharing your stories. I hope some of those “insiders” take a good look at the utter randomness of these events!

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  • Not only do they “report” data, they distort it, hide it, or sometimes make it up from whole cloth. If they were real scientists, they’d have given up on the “bio-medical model” decades ago. These professions are more like marketing agents, only putting forward such “data” as promotes the products they are selling, and hiding or minimizing or distorting anything that might harm their bottom line.

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  • I would say that psychiatry shares many similar aspects with religion, but is not itself a “religion” per se. I’d say it’s more of an anti-religion, deleting any kind of theology but instead “preaching” that the spirit does not exist and that all of our behavior is the result of chemical interactions and that human beings lack any of the essential qualities of will, intent, values, priorities, and also lack the ability to have an impact on their own psychological/emotional welfare.

    I would have no objection with psychiatry being a competing “philosophy of being”. The problem is, it is claiming to be a scientific endeavor and part of the field of medicine! This tends to give this nihilistic philosophy FAR too much influence far beyond what its arguments have merited. Additionally, Spinoza and Kant and Hegel did not have the power to forcibly detain people based on their philosophies.

    So psychiatry can make all the claims it likes about “useful fictions,” but in the end, it’s not OK for “doctors” to use “fictions” of any sort to manipulate people into using drugs they don’t need or want, and particularly to use such fictions to forcibly detain and drug people whose only crime is having a hard time fitting into our strange and challenging social expectations.

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  • POSTING AS MODERATOR:

    Bill aka Thomas Schnell,

    I have warned you several times by email that failure to respond to email communication is a violation of the posting guidelines. As of now, I have heard nothing from you. Nothing you post will be published until you email me directly at [email protected] or [email protected] and agree to abide by the posting guidelines and respond to feedback given to you via email. This is not in opposition to posting viewpoints that are supportive of the mainstream psychiatric model, it is due to constant disrespectful posts and other violations of the posting guidelines which can’t be addressed without direct email communication with the moderator. Until I hear from you via email, your posts will all be blocked, no matter the content or form. This is the last time I will talk to you about it. The next step is to simply block all communications from the email you are using. It’s up to you to decide.

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  • As I’ve said before, in what other area of “medicine” do we have to have a discussion of “shared decision making,” with some doctors OPPOSING the idea of sharing with the very person being “decided” about? It is the CLIENT who should be deciding how much decision-making to share! What happened to “informed consent?” We shouldn’t have to be talking doctors into SHARING the decision making with patients. Patients should ALWAYS be the decision-makers if they are in any way capable of communicating their intentions, and doctors should be ADVISING them. The fact that patients have to ASK to be a part of the decision-making process shows how screwed up the power dynamics really are.

    The only barrier to “shared decision making” is prejudice and discrimination by the practitioners.

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  • The big error that the DSM perpetuates is the idea that a particular “diagnosis” has a specific cause in all cases. The DSM itself disclaims that they mean this, but that’s how people interpret it, and I don’t think it’s by accident that it works out that way.

    It should be obvious that at least SOME of the time, crappy parenting IS the cause of a person’s “mental disorder,” and addressing that early life trauma is an essential part of their healing from the resulting injuries to their spirit (speaking metaphorically, of course). The idea that exploring parents’ behavior as a possible causal factor is “blaming parents” is downright childish, and plays into the hands of those parents (and they are NOT rare) who will use a “mental disorder” as a cover for their own abusive or neglectful behavior.

    It’s also important to note that parents can do damage without intending to. They don’t have to be “bad parents” or be overtly abusive to simply not understand the child’s needs and make mistakes that contribute to their anxiety, depression, or inability to exert control over their behavior at times. So it isn’t a matter of “blaming parents,” it’s more a matter of helping the child/adult come to terms with ways in which their parents may not have been able to meet their needs fully.

    It’s not a “black and white” thing. It’s just as bad (or maybe even worse) to let all parents off the hook as it is to blame parents for everything that goes wrong with a child’s life.

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  • You and our society are combining two separate issues. Society needs to be protected from people who are behaving dangerously or disrupting the ability for society to function. That does not automatically mean they need “treatment” in the form of drugs, or that the drugs will automatically make it better, or that the full civil rights of a person need to be eliminated in order for society to be protected. There are people who have experienced both jail and forced psych hospitalization who prefer jail. Not saying that’s the answer, either, but forcing drugs on someone isn’t necessarily the answer, either. Maybe we need to be creative and start coming up with some new answers that nobody’s thought of yet.

    A reminder that shooters at Springfield High School, Columbine, Red Lake MN, and many other places were taking psychiatric drugs at the time of their shooting sprees, not to mention the Germanwings guy who flew a plane into a mountainside on purpose. The media makes it appear that the drugs somehow magically make a person fine and stop any possible threat they may pose, but the hard facts of reality don’t fit that rosy picture. And the damage done by enforced psych hospitalization can be substantial.

    How do YOU propose balancing the safety concerns you mention with the high rates of damaging adverse effects of both the drugs and the process of being essentially arrested without committing a crime and forced to take a drug that may not only not help but make a person’s situation worse, and take away any right of that person to place a rational objection to the force being applied?

    My personal view is that once force is involved, you can no longer call what you are doing “treatment.” It becomes enforcement of social norms via drugs, and that is absolutely NOT the same thing as trying to help someone get better.

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  • “The incidence rate of bipolar disorder was 30 times higher in people with a prior diagnosis of ADHD and anxiety than people who weren’t diagnosed with either.”

    https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adhd-and-bipolar

    Stimulants can cause “bipolar” symptoms:

    https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/ajp.2006.163.7.1149

    “The FDA notes that usual doses of stimulants like Adderall can cause psychotic or manic symptoms, like hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania, in children. They also note aggressive behavior or hostility in children and adolescents with ADHD.”

    https://cliffordsegil.com/this-is-how-adderall-really-affects-your-brain/

    “Emergence of New Psychotic or Manic Symptoms
    Treatment emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in children
    and adolescents without prior history of psychotic illness or mania can be caused by stimulants at usual doses. If
    such symptoms occur, consideration should be given to a possible causal role of the stimulant, and
    discontinuation of treatment may be appropriate. In a pooled analysis of multiple short-term, placebo-controlled
    studies, such symptoms occurred in about 0.1% (4 patients with events out of 3482 exposed to methylphenidate
    or amphetamine for several weeks at usual doses) of stimulant-treated patients compared to 0 in placebo-treated
    patients. ”

    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf

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  • Very true. There can be good information in actual research which is not available to the public due to obfuscation or inappropriate framing of issues. One of the worst things about the DSM is that it prevents any real research on subgroups of any “diagnostic category” because it’s assumed that research has to be done on the entire cohort, heterogeneous as they all are. If 10% of “ADHD” diagnosed kids are improved by addressing low iron, this is viewed as a failure, because only 10% of the cohort is “helped,” while supposedly 70% are “helped” by stimulants. But this 10% can be COMPLETELY CURED by this approach and removed from the cohort! No one knows of this because such research is buried in drug company-supported study manuscripts intended to bury it. It’s not really science to corrupt findings in this way!

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  • It sounds like you worked VERY hard to find the right practitioner! Not everyone has the resources, time, or freedom to do such a search, unfortunately. It is true, most of the people here had bad to horrible experiences, and in a way that’s a bias. But there are SOOOO many places folks can go to talk about their positive experiences, it’s super helpful to have a place where ALL experiences are welcome to be shared. I know of a person who got kicked off of a “bipolar support group” because she questioned psychiatry’s approach to her case. I’ve gotten ‘feedback’ on an “ADHD” site for using the term “Drug” – I’m supposed to say “medication” so as not to suggest any connection with street drugs, even though all the “ADHD” drugs are, in fact, sold on the street. There are many practitioners who view any skepticism toward “medication” as a sign of “lacking insight.” It is a lot of hard work to find the kind of help you need, and it shouldn’t be. That’s what MIA is about, IMHO.

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  • POSTING AS MODERATOR:

    I am posting this here because I have no other means of sending this message to you, Thomas. I apologize for posting this publicly, but I appear to have no other option to contact you.

    Thomas, a WORKING EMAIL ADDRESS is a requirement in the posting guidelines, as I have stated before. I have no email I am able to use to contact you. You sent me a home address, which is of no use to me at all. You are unresponsive to emails at the email address you have provided. Your posts have become increasingly problematic, and I am unable to talk to you about them due to your own choices, yet you complain in your comments that you are not informed of why your posts are being moderated.

    At this point, I have no choice but to let you know that, if I don’t get a response BY EMAIL, or receive a functioning EMAIL ADDRESS from you to which you are prepared to respond within the next day or so, I will be forced to stop posting your comments. Please contact me by email WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS at [email protected] or [email protected] if you wish to continue posting here.

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  • I can read the list of “criteria” as well as anyone. They’re not exactly complicated. And I have an MS and experience as a counselor, and used to diagnose lots of people using the DSM (though I saw it only as a means of getting their insurance to pay, not any kind of scientific “truth” about their condition). It was pretty obvious that if I sent my oldest to a standard school classroom, it would be days before I got “the note” telling us to take him in for an “evaluation”.

    Here are my responses for Patrick, our oldest:

    Displays poor listening skills (yes)
    • Loses and/or misplaces items needed to complete activities or tasks (frequently)
    • Sidetracked by external or unimportant stimuli (frequently)
    • Forgets daily activities (yes)
    • Diminished attention span (Compared to whom? But less than most kids his age)
    • Lacks ability to complete schoolwork and other assignments or to follow
    instructions (not sure if it was ability or motivation)
    • Avoids or is disinclined to begin homework or activities requiring concentration (Absolutely!)
    • Fails to focus on details and/or makes thoughtless mistakes in schoolwork or
    assignments (yes)

    • Squirms when seated or fidgets with feet/hands (yes)
    • Marked restlessness that is difficult to control (yes)
    • Appears to be driven by “a motor” or is often “on the go” (dumb criterion, but if they mean he didn’t like to sit in one place, absolutely)
    • Lacks ability to play and engage in leisure activities in a quiet manner (Are you kidding? No volume control!)
    • Incapable of staying seated in class (maybe not incapable, but had a hard time with it)
    • Overly talkative (not really – this is the only criterion that did not apply to our oldest)

    Symptoms present prior to age 12 years (from birth, more or less)
    • Symptoms not better accounted for by a different psychiatric disorder (e.g., mood
    disorder, anxiety disorder) and do not occur exclusively during a psychotic disorder
    (e.g., schizophrenia) (This is a fascinating criterion, meaning even if ALL the criteria are met, you might NOT have “ADHD” if, in someone’s OPINION, you might have something else. VERY scientific! But no, it wasn’t)
    • Symptoms not exclusively a manifestation of oppositional behavior (Again, very silly. How would anyone ever make this determination?)

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  • Sorry, Thomas, but even the most mainstream of psychiatrists will tell you that there is NO brain measurement, PET scan, SPECT scan, MRI, or other objective measure that is diagnostic of ADHD or any other “psychiatric disorder.” The DSM itself admits that these “diagnoses” group together people who may have little to nothing in common physiologically – they are grouped based entirely upon subjective and unmeasurable criteria like “Acts like driven by a motor.” How would you measure THAT?

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  • Your premise is contrary to research data. I’m not going to go into agreement with you that everything has been tried when it has not. If an open classroom has not been tried, it should be.

    The other thing I’d look into is what kind of family life or conditions the child is experiencing. There is hard data showing that kids in foster care have MUCH higher diagnosis rates, and that the overlapping symptoms between “ADHD” and “PTSD” quite commonly lead to PTSD sufferers being “diagnosed” with ADHD without looking at the underlying trauma, which is often ongoing.

    However, it is appears to me that you are not really interested in having this discussion, as I gave you a very legitimate answer to your question, which you intentionally dismissed on speculation without considering it at all. Two of my three kids went to “open classrooms” and did absolutely fine despite moderate to severe “ADHD” symptoms in elementary school. You make no comment and give no credence to the fact that similar results have been observed with many who fit the “ADHD” criteria. It appears to me by this behavior that you are simply selling your viewpoint and trying to invalidate others who have given perfectly rational responses. This is not productive and I frankly find it extremely irritating. I could be wrong, but it appears to me at this point that the only answer you will accept is, “You’re right, Thomas, I’d totally put my kids on Ritalin.” I’ve already faced EXACTLY the situation you described and HAVE come up with an effective plan to handle it without any stimulants at all. So no, I would NOT put my kids on stimulants, because I did not need to, as we came up with a more effective plan.

    See my remarks on Thomas Edison. There are other examples (like Einstein) of kids who didn’t do so well in school yet contributed mightily to our society. The ability to apply oneself to concentrating on schoolwork is a massively overrated skill. And you’d have a lot more influence on the people you are so passionately trying to convince of your viewpoint if you’d start by acknowledging the multiple successes of “ADHD” people who have succeeded without “treatment.”

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  • A person with diabetes has a measurable deficiency in insulin, and giving insulin directly repairs that deficiency and leads to physiologically measurable results.

    No child or adult has ever been shown to have a measurable deficiency of Ritalin or Adderall, and giving Ritalin or Adderall is not repairing any such deficiency.

    The situations are not in the least comparable, as anyone who looks beyond the surface arguments should easily be able to comprehend.

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  • COMMENTING AS MODERATOR:

    This kind of claim is completely disingenuous. You know very well that I’ve contacted you a number of times to discuss why your comments are being moderated, and you have chosen not to respond. If you don’t check the email you have included with your registration, please send me an email you DO read and I’ll be happy to keep you informed. It is extremely inappropriate to engage in this kind of backhanded attack in the comments section, and I normally would not have posted it or any reply, except for the fact that so far, your comment is completely contrary to reality and I want to know if there’s a legitimate reason you have not been reading the emails I have sent or if you’re pretending I have not tried to reach you in order to try and create dissention.

    Do not respond to this comment, as it will not be published. If you care to have a genuine discussion of the problems created by some of your posts, please direct it to [email protected].

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  • Funny how Edison is often referred to as a sufferer of “ADHD.” He did horribly in school and was kicked out of elementary school with the comment he was “incorrigible.” Educated at home by his mother. No stimulants. Yet he appeared to turn out quite well in the end, didn’t he? Why didn’t he become a criminal or a drug addict? How was he able to learn so well without the benefits of a standard classroom? Is it possible that he always had the capacity to learn, yet could not do so in the sterile and rigid environment of a school classroom?

    “Edison had strong opinions about education. Most schools, he believed, taught children to memorize facts, when they ought to have students observe nature and to make things with their hands. “I like the Montessori method,” he said. “It teaches through play. It makes learning a pleasure. It follows the natural instincts of the human being . . . The present system casts the brain into a mold. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning.”

    Frequently Asked Questions – Thomas Edison National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)

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  • An open classroom, as I’ve already stated more than once. You are making the assumption that paying attention to schoolwork is necessary to succeed in life. The long-term studies on stimulant treatment belie this assumption. Kids taking stimulants complete more homework, pay more attention to the tasks at hand, yet don’t learn more as a result. This should raise questions as to whether they may be daydreaming simply because the “work” they are presented with is inherently dull and ineffective as an educational tool.

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  • “Candidate gene…” “association/linkage…” These are speculative ideas, probabilities, not causal factors. A causal factor will be present when the situation is occurring and absent when it is not. In these GWAS tests, the “candidate gene” is present in the unaffected population in large numbers, just somewhat larger numbers in the “test” population. It doesn’t really explain anything at all.

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  • And another 24 million who may have been told that “this is the answer” and remain in despair, and are prevented from seeking other solutions by the faith they put in their doctor’s promises.

    I would love to see what percentage of doctors tell their clients there is about a one in five chance you will get a significant benefit, let alone how many inform their clients of the wide range of other options available. I talked to a woman on the crisis line I worked one time, and she’d been seeing a psychiatrist for well over a year and seen no benefits. She was frantic, telling me she thought nothing would ever work and she’d feel that way for the rest of her life! I asked her if anyone had told her there were other things she could do for depression besides drugs? She was silent for a moment, suddenly calm. “No,” she said. “Well, there are,” I told her. “Oh!” she said. “Well, THAT’S good!” Her despair was gone in a moment as soon as she learned there were other options, but NO ONE had discussed these options with her!

    There is a very great harm in telling people that you know the cause of their suffering when you don’t, and even greater harm when you tell the person you have a solution when that solution has a 4/5 chance of failure.

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  • I mostly agree, but I can’t really agree that science has resisted the colonization of its methodology and discoveries against the forces of greed and capitalism. The very existence of “biopsychiatry,” which is the only real psychiatry that exists today, is proof that greed and corporate control can take over a supposedly scientific endeavor and turn it into a gigantic marketing campaign. When we are hearing that more than half of today’s “discoveries” are false due to corruptions in the scientific method and in some cases outright fraud, it’s hard to see how science has been able to avoid being coopted by the forces of capitalism and greed. True scientific method is value-neutral, but how many scientists have the courage and integrity to continue to do real science when the results they discover are covered up or they are attacked for coming up with the “wrong” findings for those looking to make more money?

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  • It really sounds like the medication was a life saver for you. I have also heard other stories of this nature, and I have no doubt they were true. Where I object is when you assume that “we” (meaning all students suffering from attentional issues for whatever reasons) will all benefit in the same way as you did. As you say above, many factors impact learning. Stimulants are only one factor, and according to the literature, not the determinative factor for most kids. Again, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t determinative for YOU and for others who had such a favorable response. It just means we can’t generalize from personal experience to scientific conclusions on a population level. I believe you, 100%. I also believe the statistics. I also believe the stories of people whose lives were made just as much worse by stimulants as yours was made better.

    So I hear your personal experience, and your understandable passion for this subject. I’m just not down with the assumption that because you had this experience, everyone who is diagnosed with “ADHD” will have a similar one.

    I’d still be very interested in hearing your response to the established fact that “ADHD” kids do far better in open classrooms than in standard ones. I have two kids who both qualified for “ADHD” diagnoses, and we used homeschooling and alternative child-centered schools, no medication or other “treatments,” and both graduated from HS with honors, and the youngest graduated from a university with honors. Both are gainfully employed, have never gotten into drugs or delinquent behavior, and appear to feel pretty good about themselves and their lives. I really think it is a possible answer for a lot of kids who get this label. What do you think?

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  • https://news.fiu.edu/2022/adhd-medication-alone-doesnt-improve-classroom-learning-for-children-newresearch

    From James Swanson, et al, who is a proponent of the use of stimulants for “ADHD.” This is a review of ALL reviews to date (in 1993) and so is a compilation of ALL research to that date, not just one study:

    What Should Not Be Expected
    1. Paradoxical Response
    a. Responses of normal children are in same directions
    b. Responses of normal adults are in same directions
    c. Responses of affected adults and children are similar
    2. Prediction of Response
    a. Not by neurological signs
    b. Not by physiological measures
    c. Not by biochemical markers
    3. Absence of Side Effects
    a. Infrequent appearance or increase in tics
    b. Frequent problems with eating and sleeping
    c. Possible psychological effects on cognition and attribution
    4. Large Effects on Skills or Higher Order Processes
    a. No significant improvement of reading skills
    b. No significant improvement of athletic or game skills
    c. No significant improvement of positive social skills
    d. Improvement on learning/achievement less than improvement in behavior/attention
    5. Improvement in Long-Term Adjustment
    a. No improvement in academic achievement
    b. No reduction in antisocial behavior or arrest rate

    https://escholarship.org/content/qt4jr2777t/qt4jr2777t.pdf

    “In the short term, stimulant medication is effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD and appears well tolerated with relatively minor side effects. In the long term, much of the benefit of stimulant medication disappears after medication is ceased. Studies have demonstrated only marginal improvements in adult outcomes following a period of treatment in childhood.”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16623654/

    There are also the RAINE study in Australia, the Quebec ADHD study, the long-term data from the MTA study in the US, and a comparison study between Finnish and US “ADHD”-diagnosed children showing that there were little to no differences between groups, despite the Finnish group using far less stimulant treatment. And the OSU medication effectiveness study, though somehow the original reports on long-term outcomes don’t seem to be available any longer.

    I’m afraid the jury is in on this point – there is no general long-term benefit to stimulant treatment of any significance. One can certainly find individual studies that claim these effects, but large reviews of huge amounts of data show no real benefit of mass treatment of “ADHD” with stimulants. This of course doesn’t mean that some individuals are not positively affected, perhaps in very significant ways, but as a group, stimulants have not proven to improve long-term outcomes for “ADHD.”

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  • I have responded many times directly to comments you have made, and asked you questions to clarify your position. If you ask me a question, I will always respond to it if we are engaged in a discussion. I have acknowledged points that you have made that seem to be supported by the literature. I simply have a different set of experiences than you. So far, I have not seen any interest from you in finding out why I hold the beliefs I do, nor have I gotten responses to clarifying questions I have asked you, nor do I recall having gotten any response to the research data I have provided regarding ADHD kids doing better in open classrooms or outcome measures not being improved in the long term by stimulant treatment alone. I don’t think it is at all true that I have not listened and responded to your comments. I don’t see you listening to or responding to mine. I don’t expect agreement from you, but I would hope some kind of acknowledgement would be forthcoming when I take the time to respond to your comment. If you don’t want to, that’s up to you, but I don’t appreciate being judged as unresponsive when the facts say otherwise.

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  • Posting as moderator:

    It is. If you feel any specific post has been allowed that has personally attacked you or your character, please either hit the “report” button or better yet, email me and explain what you are seeing.

    However, as I have said before many times, disagreeing passionately with a person’s viewpoint is not considered a personal attack, it is simply disagreement. It is important for folks to keep this in mind when evaluating whether a comment constitutes a “personal attack.”

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  • It sounds very much like your parents were emotionally abusive, simply because you didn’t fit their expectations of you. I consider that horrible on their part, and I empathize with having to put up with that kind of horrible behavior. I would be very angry and disappointed by them, but I’d imagine I might always feel somewhat like I could “never be good enough” to satisfy them. Their behavior was cruel!

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  • Consensus of “experts” has absolutely nothing to do with science, Thomas. Scientists agreed at one time that formula feeding was as good or better than nursing, that Thalidomide was safe and effective, that DDT had no harmful side effects, that Valium was not addictive, that Xanax was not addictive, that Benzedrine was not addictive, that Tardive Dyskinesia was a consequence of “schizophrenia” rather than the drugs given to “treat” it, that Viiox was safe and effective, and that SSRIs had a mild side effect profile and no withdrawal effects at all. None of these things that “experts” agreed to proved to be true in the long run. “Experts” have lots of conflicts of interest these days, making the problem even worse. You can hire an “expert” to claim almost anything these days.

    And we already have a means to help these children that is drug free and proven by actual scientific research. It’s called an OPEN CLASSROOM. “ADHD” kids are indistinguishable from “normal” kids in such an environment. The only thing stopping us is laziness, narrow vision, and the financial conflicts of interest mentioned above.

    I continue to notice that you tell other people what you think they should believe but do not respond to my comments relating to your assertions. Again, I ask you, are you here to have a conversation or to try to get others to agree with your pre-determined viewpoint? A failure to answer this will indicate the latter, and I will no longer bother trying to have a conversation with you, though I may still post scientific evidence to counter any claims about “experts” agreeing as some sort of proof of anything.

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  • I do agree with you, 100%! But I guess I’d put it another way: people who have physical brain lesions resulting from accidents or actual diseases are NOT diagnosed because someone labels them with a psych disorder instead of actually finding out what’s wrong with them! I guess I have a big problem calling these labels “diagnoses” instead of recognizing they are meaningless labels, no different than saying, “He’s socially awkward” or “she’s pretty aggressive in conversations.” They are opinions based largely on biases and stereotypes and tell us NOTHING about what is really going on for that person. And as you point out, they also deflect attention from searching for ACTUAL medical diagnoses that we CAN do something about!

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  • I would submit that there is no way to “misdiagnose” “bipolar disorder,” as there is no legitimate, objective way to “diagnose” it correctly. If we can’t objectively distinguish between those who “have bipolar disorder” and those who do not, the idea of a “diagnosis” loses all value except as simply a discussion term. If you can’t know you are “right,” how can you know if your “diagnosis” is “wrong?”

    But I agree with you completely – the lion’s share of “mental illness” is simply each person’s response to trauma and difficulties in survival which we all face in one way or another.

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  • “The findings suggest that the serotonin theory was endorsed by the professional and academic community,” the authors write. “The analysis suggests that, despite protestations to the contrary, the profession bears some responsibility for the propagation of a theory that is not empirically supported and the mass antidepressant prescribing it has inspired.”

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2022/04/psychiatry-ever-endorse-chemical-imbalance-theory-depression/

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S266656032200038X

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  • Yet oddly, these behavioral changes contributed nothing to long-term outcomes, as multiple studies have shown no academic advantage for taking stimulants over the long term. Kids who took stimulants and kids who did not had very similar academic outcomes, including test scores, HS graduation rates, college enrollment, or even other measures of social outcomes like delinquency scores and self-esteem. So apparently, doing more problems more quickly might get approval in the classroom, but has no actual impact on learning.

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  • And my observation is that the most helpful professionals are the ones who simply back down from the “expert-user” dynamic and talk to the person like one person to another. Which is what they are!!! The most important lesson I learned as a counselor is that I never had the answers, the client did. Sometimes I had the right questions, that was about it. The rest was all an exercise in giving a shit about the other person’s life.

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  • I have as well. I’ve also known insensitive, thoughtless, means-spirited psychiatrists. And I’ve known compassionate and intelligent psychiatrists who have done a lot of harm by following “protocols” instead of getting to know the patient. I’ve seen psychiatrists who insist on increasing the dosage of something that has harmed their patient or not been helpful.

    I have also noticed something about you, Thomas. I notice that when I ask a challenging question, you don’t answer it.

    Why is it so important for you to convince everyone here that your viewpoint is correct? At least, that’s how it seems to me. I see little to no effort to understand others’ feelings, experiences, and logical objections, and a lot of effort to promote your own viewpoint. Is that why you came here?

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  • Commenting as Moderator:

    Just so everyone is aware, ALL comments are “held in moderation” initially until I or someone else can approve them. Since I am doing 5-8 hours a week in this role, it can sometimes take hours, or even up to one calendar day, for comments to be approved. There is no meaning to having a comment “held in moderation” unless it’s been more than a day, in which case folks should contact me to make sure the comment isn’t lost and to discuss any concerns the comment might have raised. But this one was approved as soon as I read it.

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  • See my later post for examples.

    At this point, Thomas, I’m not sure you’re really willing to engage in a meaningful conversation. Are you here to discuss different people’s realities and to learn from each other, or to promote your own viewpoint? I’m not sure I want to waste more time trying to present an alternative viewpoint if you’re seriously not open to hearing alternative viewpoints. Are you?

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  • Actually, stimulant treatment has not been shown to increase self-esteem in the longer term in “ADHD”-diagnosed children.

    https://www.additudemag.com/impostor-syndrome-adhd-treatment/

    “However, they also found a negative effect on the youth’s sense of self with youth reporting that they no longer felt like themselves, were happier off the medication and noticed a change in their personalities.”

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40474-015-0039-5

    “Studies have demonstrated only marginal improvements in adult outcomes following a period of treatment in childhood.”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16623654/

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  • Of course, the theory that “ADHD” is caused by a genetic malfunction is also not based on double-blind, controlled studies, despite what we’ve been told. Let’s not set a double standard. Of course, the idea that something so nebulous as “having difficulty paying attention” or “being overly active” is ALWAYS caused by the same thing is absurd. But here is one article supporting that poor parenting DOES have an effect on attention span and hyperactivity in some kids:

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-adhd-critical-parents-health-0224-20160211-story.html

    Other causal factors that have been identified include poor diet, low iron levels, high lead/heavy metal concentrations, and sleep apnea. And trauma has also been implicated, particularly kids who have “PTSD” symptoms have a huge overlap with “ADHD,” and a study I recall said that family doctors in particular are more reluctant to diagnose “PTSD” over “ADHD” even when children clearly meet the criteria for the former.

    https://life-care-wellness.com/how-childhood-trauma-could-be-mistaken-for-adhd/

    This in my mind is the inevitable result of having such sketchy, subjective criteria for “diagnoses.” Kids can meet the criteria for both “ADHD” and “PTSD,” and there is not a clinician in the world who can objectively tell the difference. All we have is their opinion on the matter, because the “criteria” don’t make the distinction for us, do they?

    We all know there is no definitive cause of “ADHD”, despite decades of research. I’m not holding my breath that there ever will be, because it’s obviously caused by a whole lot of different things, since the only thing these kids have in common is that they have a hard time paying attention to things they aren’t very interested in, and similar subjective “criteria,” not all of which they have to even share with others with the same “diagnosis.”

    From the DSM: “[In DSM]… There is also no assumption that all individuals described as having the same mental disorder are alike in all important ways.”

    So we can’t assume that all “cases of ADHD” are “alike in all important ways.” This strongly suggests that the assumption all such cases are CAUSED by the same phenomenon is completely inappropriate.

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  • We always seem to be “on the cusp,” yet those razor-sharp understandings and interventions never seem to have developed. I’m glad at least that you recognize that we’re trimming hair with a scythe right now. It is difficult to understand, though, why you don’t consider giving someone a shave with a scythe is a pretty dangerous undertaking, especially when there are less dangerous options, including letting one’s beard simply grow out!

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  • The “proper diagnosis” of ADHD requires the subjective evaluation of “traits” with pseudo-scientific foundations. Such concrete and measurable things as “loses and/or misplaces items needed to complete activities or tasks” and “Appears to be ‘driven by a motor’ or is often ‘on the go'” or “is overly talkative.” You know, the kind of things that a Scientist can Measure with his “Talk-o-meter” and such.

    It is also very obvious from my own observation that these criteria are almost never consulted. Most doctors simply go with what their “impressions” are, usually based on parent and/or teacher report. The main reason more and more kids are “diagnosed” is not because we’re looking better or there are more kids developing this “disorder.” It’s called “diagnostic drift” – when subjective criteria are used to establish a boundary, over time, that boundary gets pushed so that more and more people “meet the criteria” due to pressure from parents and/or teachers to “diagnose.” This was very clearly seen in autism as well as “ADHD.” I have also NEVER in my entire career seen a doctor document “more than one person” providing evidence in “more than one setting.” To the contrary, I’ve seen dozens, probably more like a couple of hundred cases where the school was the only source of “information” and where parents agreed to the stimulants under pressure from the school. I’ve also seen some where one parent decides to “get him/her diagnosed” when another (usually non-custodial) parent disagrees completely. I’ve seen kids who ONLY take stimulants for school time because they “don’t need it” at home. According to you, these kids should not be “diagnosed.” Yet they are, by the wonderful, caring, competent medical professionals you speak so highly of in your next post.

    I get the impression that you really want us to believe that all or most mental health professionals are competent, caring and thorough, and track closely on family history and the success of their interventions as well as the potential side effects. I would bet big money I’ve seen a hundred times as many “ADHD” cases as you have in my career, and I can tell you that those assumptions are very, very wrong.

    I recall one girl who had graduated from an eating disorder clinic. Shortly afterwards, she was put on Ritalin for “ADHD” by her caring and competent medical professionals. Oddly enough, she started eating less, an obvious and very well documented side effect of the stimulants which started almost immediately after their administration. They started talking about her “relapsing” in her “eating disorder!” It took my VOLUNTEER, LAY-PERSON advocate, about 5 minutes to figure out what was going on, and we eventually convinced them to stop the stimulants. Lo and behold, the “eating disorder” went away! Her argument was, “What’s more important, eating or finishing homework?” But the professionals were apparently unable to make that value judgment.

    I also saw many cases where kids became aggressive when taking Ritalin or other stimulants, a fairly common adverse effect that is noted on the patient handout for every one of the stimulant drugs. Very frequently, instead of stopping the stimulant, such kids were put on antipsychotics, like Risperdal. Now antipsychotics, as you may or may not know, have the primary action of increasing dopamine uptake to lower the amount of dopamine between the brain cells. While stimulants have the effect of reducing dopamine reuptake and increasing the amount of dopamine floating around in the brain. It doesn’t take a neuroscientist to figure out that if giving something to INCREASE dopamine leads to aggression due to TOO MUCH DOPAMINE, the right thing to do would be to STOP INCREASING THE DOPAMINE SO MUCH! Why would it occur to ANYONE to give ANOTHER drug to decrease the dopamine you’re increasing with the stimulants???? Again, these are the same competent, caring mental health professionals who are trying their best to provide good service. But a high school student could figure out what’s going on in a 15-minute internet search. And this was not an outlier, Thomas. This happened ALL THE TIME. Probably seen a hundred or more such cases over 20 years, maybe a lot more than that.

    I could give you a lot more stories, but you get the drift. I’m not saying the medical professionals are all incompetent or don’t care, I’m saying they are operating on FALSE INFORMATION which warps their decision making in very bad ways. It’s not a matter of incompetence – the basic assumptions of the system are faulty, and unless you luck out and get a maverick who does his/her own thinking, the training in those basic assumptions turns potentially good clinicians into feckless authoritarians copying behavior they don’t really understand but feel compelled to repeat because their boss/trainer/insurance company says that’s what they’re supposed to do.

    I will allow that I did run into some really competent clinicians in my 20 years working with foster youth, some of them quite impressive. But they were very much in the minority. The majority, as anyone would expect, followed their training and pretty much locked up and stopped thinking when their training let them to poor results.

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  • You are absolutely right, there are a lot of honest, hard-working individuals in the medical industry (though I hope you will concede that like any profession, there are also plenty of dishonest, lazy ones as well). The problem is, when you work in a SYSTEM that is designed poorly around false assumptions and is corrupted massively by financial conflicts of interest, even the best people will end up mostly doing damage control, and the bad ones will do massive destruction.

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  • This is straight out of Irving Goffman (The Total Institution). The needs of the institution ultimately trump the needs of the individual, and the emphasis on “safety” in the short-term, physical sense is primarily a means of keeping the staff and institution out of legal trouble. To really change this would require a reconsideration of priorities that a large institution is rarely interested in or capable of, as it goes against their own interests, and the patients have no power to prioritize their own needs and have to simply put up with whatever the institution decides to do. Hence, the institution has no real incentive to do other than what they do – protect themselves first, whatever the cost to the patients’ emotional safety.

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  • Certainly, the correlations between childhood abuse and “schizophrenia” labels being assigned is orders of magnitude higher than the most optimistic estimate of “genetic contribution.” We’re talking over 80% vs. at best single digits, and that’s not even allowing for the biased research and reporting you properly identify. Plus, childhood abuse is something we CAN do something about!!!!

    Someone simply doesn’t want that information to be discussed! I wonder who?

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  • Posting as moderator:

    It seems I made an error in approving the initial comment in this thread. Now I’m feeling like having to allow each person respond to the last person’s assertions, but it has become increasingly non-productive as time has gone by.

    At this point, I’m going to ask folks to swallow up whatever hurt feelings and misunderstandings and move on to other posts. I’m no longer going to publish the back-and-forth discussion about who said what. It’s clear there are some disagreements, and that’s OK, but let’s move away from the subtle personal slights that have started to emerge in this conversation.

    Thanks!

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  • Who here has said that chemicals can’t change one’s cognition? Nobody here would believe such a silly, obviously incorrect thing. It’s just that altering cognition does not constitute medical treatment per se. People have taken drugs to alter consciousness since the beginning of time. Tons of people drink coffee to increase alertness, a lot of anxious folks (like me) have used alcohol to moderate social anxiety, people use hallucinogens to have altered perceptions of reality. Sure, people can take stimulants to help them concentrate, or antidepressants to help them focus less on what is worrying them and more on what is happening now. Why the hell not? But it’s not like it’s some great technological discovery that drugs alter consciousness. The concept has been around for millennia, undoubtedly from before recorded history. They’ve invented some newer drugs recently, and MAYBE they are better in some ways for some things. But they have no idea what they are “treating” with these drugs, and they can’t predict ahead of time whether or not the drugs will “work,” they don’t really understand WHY they have the effects they do, nor is there any kind of broad agreement on what “works” even means (Is it better NOT to be anxious about the fact that your husband might come home drunk and possibly kill you and the children? Is it a positive to take a drug to be OK with your dead-end job and your crappy boss? Is it an improvement to be able to “stay on task” in school when the long-term studies show that those kids who “pay attention” don’t learn any more than the ones who are goofing off?)

    And there are ALWAYS costs for taking any mind-altering substance, and almost every one of them leads to tolerance over time. One of the very worst failings of psychiatry is their unwillingness to be honest about the real costs vs. long-term benefits so clients can make an honest cost/benefit analysis.

    You may not be a scientist, but I am by training (a chemist). And I’m telling you, the fact that a drug temporarily ameliorates a particular condition or state of mind is no big discovery in medicine. If someone could actually discover WHY a certain 20-30% of people responded to Drug X, that might be the BEGINNING of something of significance. But a pretty decent percentage of people respond to mega-vitamin therapy or changes in diet or improved exercise plans or meditation, too. So which is the real “treatment?” Or is the “disorder” not really a medical condition at all, but simply an inconvenient mismatch between one’s personality and the expectations of the society one lives in? And as such, would there not be multiple possible “solutions” to the problems so created, including the solution of simply not playing by the rules one is expected to comply with?

    “It works for me” is not a scientific argument. It’s a personal testimonial, which is great, but there are a lot of varying testimonials out there that have to be taken into consideration, and some of them are VERY different than yours.

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  • So why not simply have kids who struggle with Kindergarten wait another year to enroll, and have kids who don’t do well in standard classrooms assigned to open classroom environments where “ADHD” kids do so very much better? These are two things that we KNOW help and do absolutely ZERO damage.

    Perhaps the need to “pay attention” to what other people think is important is very much overrated in our society. Maybe we need to help these kids build on their strengths rather than making them feel ashamed of not being able to or interested in doing what the adults have decided is “essential” for kids to do.

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  • I pretty much agree with all you said, except that I don’t think “social defeat” is caused by the genetic phenotype, it’s caused by the society’s unwillingness/inability to be flexible enough to deal with the wide range of “phenotypes” that are around. “ADHD” is the best example. It is caused almost entirely by inflexible social expectations in schools. Kids who go to school a year later have a 30% lower chance of being “diagnosed.” Kids with an “ADHD” diagnosis in open classrooms are virtually indistinguishable from their “normal” peers. A great study showed that groups of 3 with an “ADHD” kid in the group did FAR better solving problems than groups of 3 “normal” kids. If we didn’t expect young people to sit still for extended periods of time “studying” subjects they have no interest in or have already mastered, “ADHD” would mostly disappear, regardless of the fact that some kids will always be ‘more active’ than others in any group.

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  • Many people do better when they STOP taking their psychiatric drugs. Not everyone benefits, in fact, the latest solid review of decades of data suggest that perhaps 30% of users have a substantial improvement on psych drugs. You just happen to be one of those who benefited, and more power to you. It doesn’t mean that these people will deteriorate if they go off the drugs. Many have had no benefit or have been harmed by the drugs, and are pleased to get back to a more “normal” state, even if it is not optimum.

    You are not doing anything wrong at all. You believe based on your experience that the antidepressants are essential for your survival. Not everyone believes or experiences that.

    If you were made psychotic by your antidepressants, your feelings about them might be very different. If you were essentially arrested for saying you were suicidal, handcuffed, taken in a police car to the hospital, “evaluated” by a person who didn’t seem to care, locked in a ward with a lot of other people who are struggling and possibly acting out in a frightening fashion, given drugs you did not choose to take without any semblance of informed consent, and told when released that you HAD to take these drugs or you’d be hospitalized again against your will, your feelings about antidepressants might be very different.

    There is nothing wrong with taking psychiatric drugs. There is also nothing wrong with NOT taking psychiatric drugs. Each person has to decide for him/herself, and we should not criticize them for making their decisions on their own best data. We SHOULD criticize the psychiatric industry for being dishonest with their patients, though, because they owe folks an honest rendition of what they do and don’t know, including that chemical imbalances are NOT implicated in depression and that only 30% of people taking antidepressants experience significant relief, as well as the common side effect and withdrawal effects of the drugs they are prescribing.

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  • Science has been contaminated by the profit motive. There have always been concerns regarding authoritarian approaches to science, which is why a lot of new discoveries come from people not in the field of the discovery. But since they started allowing professors to profit from their work, and allow drug companies and others to fund fellowships and chairmanships, the situation has become far, far worse, to the point that someone estimated over half of recent scientific “discoveries” are actually false. The news media also contribute to this by blasting the commercially favorable results they are given in a press release when some new “discovery” is made, but never bothering to publish a correction or retraction when the original researcher had to “eat crow.”

    Science is at this point highly corrupted, especially where pharmaceuticals are concerned.

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  • I would add to that cultural dislocation and living in an urban environment.

    The example I use is that not ALL kids who get hit by cars at a crossing near a school have their legs broken. Should we do research into why certain kids have “weak bone disorder” and try and come up with some “treatment” to make their bones tougher? Or should be maybe put in a traffic light and a crosswalk?

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  • Well, since until recently the industry has DENIED that there are any withdrawal effects, they certainly wouldn’t bother HELPING you deal with the effects they are trying to pretend don’t exist!

    It is criminal to let someone deal with that kind of crap without support, especially if you’re the one who created the dependency in the first place. But unfortunately, the industry appears to have no sense of shame.

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  • Per Alice Miller, the only thing that would distinguish a “good therapist” from a “bad therapist” would be the degree to which they are aware of and have processed their own childhood trauma, so that they would not act those needs out on the client. The “school” of therapy or the degree of the therapist would have essentially no impact on the outcome. Which I think is why they found that talking to a friend is just as likely to be helpful as talking to a professional. Not all friends will be helpful, only the ones who have dealt with their childhood trauma, but the odds of finding someone who has are not improved by seeing a “professional.”

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  • Truly. They find a SET of genes that has a 1.065% correlation with the “condition” in question (not even dealing with the impossibility of locating a legitimate study group with the subjective criteria used for “diagnosis”) and say, “We’ve proven that “ADHD” is genetic!!!” You look at the article and find that only 5% of the study group has this combination, while 4.7% of the control group has the exact same set of genes! How is that causation? But people lap it up. I guess if you WANT to believe something badly enough, you find a way to justify it.

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  • And yet adults diagnosed with “ADHD” report on the average lower quality of life. Which means for every success story, there is someone made at least that much worse. Decades of research show no improvements in long-term outcome for ADHD kids treated with stimulants over those who are not. So whether it has a “biological etiology” or not, stimulant treatment by itself does nothing to make life better on the average for those so treated.

    I do rejoice for your personal success, and hope it continues to go well for you. But the idea that we are “nearing an understanding” of “ADHD” is not supported by the literature. In fact, the BEST “treatment” for ADHD seems to be to put kids in a non-traditional classroom where they get more control of their activities. No “medications” needed. On the average, of course.

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  • My favorite is “Treatment resistant depression.” Not, “We failed” or “we don’t know what we’re doing,” but “Your depression RESISTED my efforts to treat it!” What would we do if we had a plumber come by and we paid him $200 dollars and he said we had a “repair resistant toilet?” We’d fire him and get a new plumber! What kind of professional blames his/her client for his/her failures?

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  • This community consists of a huge majority of “affected people,” Tmason. They just weren’t affected in the same way as you were. I find it disappointing to see how easily you seem to dismiss other “affected people’s” experiences while wanting others to value yours. It is not “at your expense” that people share their stories, even if you find these stories confusing or contradictory to your own experience. It is for their own benefit. If you want to be respected, you need to start with respecting the fact that not everyone experiences the “system” the same way you do. If you’re not interested in that kind of discussion, where each person is entitled to share their own story and experiences and no one is entitled to invalidate them for doing so, then I think you may have come to the wrong place.

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  • I agree that “treatment” and involuntary detention need to be seen as COMPLETELY separate issues. It does not follow that because Person A is having a hard time managing in society without worrying or annoying people, that person needs “treatment” forced on them, or needs “treatment” at all. It makes sense that society might need to protect its members from someone who is out of control of his/her behavior, but as soon as a person is arrested (and let’s be honest and call a spade a spade, that’s almost always what happens, they are arrested and handcuffed and put into a police car), it stops being “treatment.”

    I don’t see why there can’t be “calming centers” where people go to be away from chaos so they can regain their perspective without having to label that person as “mentally ill” or force drugs on them. Maybe there can be things on offer if people want them, but literally forcing pills down a person’s throat can’t really be seen as therapeutic, IMHO.

    I also think Miranda rights are appropriate before every “mental health” detention evaluation, including the right to not answer and the right to legal representation.

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  • I would add that there is no real way to TRAIN someone to listen respectfully in all cases. There are “techniques” that can be taught to a person who is really open to experiencing how others feel, think and behave and their motivations for doing so. But there is no way to guarantee that any individual is capable of or interested in having that experience, and if they are not, no amount of training can get them there. So someone having a degree in psychology or counseling is no guarantee that this person is any better than a random person on the street at listening and caring about another person. And research reflects this, as I recall. But for some reason, I can’t find the study that applies on the internet – it is drowned out by dozens and dozens of articles on “why therapy is different than friendship” and the like.

    What people need is a non-judgmental listener who will support them in figuring out their own path. What they are offered is often VERY different from that, unfortunately.

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  • I don’t think it’s fair to say everyone thinks anything in particular. There are plenty of people here who are still involved in the psych system, voluntarily or not, and who use psych drugs, voluntarily or not, and some who have found therapy helpful, while some have not. Some give credence to mental health labels from the DSM, some (perhaps most) do not, but no one is required to disbelieve in them or to believe anything in particular. There are people who post here who are supportive of the current mental health system and who report research findings in support of the status quo paradigm.

    I think what most people have in common at MIA is that they have either been harmed or seen people harmed by the “mental health” system as it is. I doubt that ANYONE would question that the phenomena listed in the DSM as “mental health disorders” occur and exist and are troublesome or even extremely distressing to many people who experience them. From my own point of view, I think the question to be posed is, just because a set of phenomena happen and can be identified as happening, does that lead to the conclusion that the person experiencing them is medically ILL, or requires medical intervention? Does it automatically imply, as many doctors claim, that one’s brain is malfunctioning, and even further, that there is nothing that YOU as an agent in the world can do about such phenomena?

    The second, and extremely closely related, question is this: Are psychiatrists, psychologists, the news media, entertainment media, the internet, telling us a true story of what science really says about these phenomena? For instance, if schizophrenia is a purely biological phenomenon, why is it so much more common among immigrants and urban populations? Why do sufferers in third world countries have so much better recovery rates if the don’t use our “state of the art” drugs to manage their condition? Why is it that people in countries that accept “hearing voices” as a culturally appropriate phenomenon tend to have “nicer” voices compared to those in cultures where hearing voices is shamed and looked on as a “disease?”

    Also, the history of pharmaceutical research is rife with manipulation of results and downright dishonesty. This is not confined to the psychiatric field, but it seems to be far, far worse when dealing with phenomena that can not be objectively distinguished from “normal” situations. We’ve been told that antipsychotics were responsible for “emptying out the psych wards,” only to find that it was a policy decision having nothing to do with antipsychotics, and that people diagnosed with “schizophrenia” are much less likely to recover today in the age of pharmaceuticals than they were in 1955. We’re told that Prozac and other SSRIs have a very mild side-effect profile, only to find out that they can cause some people to become suicidal or homicidal, and can have devastating withdrawal effects that were swept under the rug for decades. We hear that “depression” is caused by low serotonin, only to find out that this theory was debunked back in 1985 or so, and psychiatrists now tell us that “no competent psychiatrist has believed this for decades.” There is a fundamental DISHONESTY about the system and how it “works.” A skepticism about the intentions of the system may be the thing most of us here have in common.

    I appreciate your asking that question. I take it to indicate you are concerned with understanding the community you are entering.

    You are welcome here to have your own views and share them, as long as you are respectful about it. Others may disagree with you, as long as they are respectful about it.

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  • Judith Rappoport et al proved this back in the late 1970s. She and her colleagues gave stimulants in therapeutic dosages to teens who were not diagnosed with “ADHD”. They measured things like movement levels and activity levels and ability to concentrate. All were improved in a similar manner to those who were diagnosed with “ADHD” (or whatever they called it back then – hyperkinetic reaction of early childhood or MBD or the equivalent). She called the “paradoxical effect” a myth which was “an artifact of observation,” meaning that people noticed that the “ADHD” kid concentrated better because they were LOOKING for that, but did not notice the same effect in non-diagnosed people because they weren’t looking for that result.

    https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.341313

    Note that Rapoport has been a supporter of stimulant treatment for “ADHD” for her entire career. This study has been considered conclusive (in 1978) and the idea of the “paradoxical effect” was dropped afterwards by researchers, though the popular myth of the “paradoxical effect” survives in some communities to this day.

    More recent scientific commentary on the subject:

    https://www.adhd.nyc/single-post/2018/03/28/the-paradoxical-effect-from-misunderstanding-how-stimulants-worked-to-understanding-whe

    The idea that “ADHD” kids react differently to stimulants has long since been discredited.

    As to WHY they increase concentration, we’d have to get into talking about the role of dopamine in concentration, an area where I have not studied extensively at all. But it is VERY clear that all kids (and by extension adults) taking stimulants will react in a very similar manner.

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  • The idea of “using one’s voice” as a means to combat insensitive or bullying people is that it doesn’t work very well if you don’t have the power to make your own voice heard. Speaking up when involuntarily committed to a psych ward or living with an abusive partner or abusive parents can be extremely dangerous! Certain bosses specialize in firing anyone who “uses their voice” in any way that challenges the boss’s power and control. I do think we should trust our intuition, but we need to be selective where we “use our voices” if we don’t want to get injured!

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  • Clearly, being “highly sensitive” is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Research has proven that insensitive and thoughtless people fare better in society, experiencing less anxiety and depression and being more successful in certain professions like sales, law, or politics. There are special drugs now to help people care less, the most popular being “Fuckidall,” promoted by famous comedian, Robin Williams. Our next efforts will be to create psychoeducational presentations in schools and other places teaching people the importance of insensitivity and teaching them specific “Fuckidall” skills that can be practiced even without medical intervention.

    Stop worrying! Stop caring! Buy some “Fuckidall” today!

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  • There is certainly no denying that physiological damage CAN cause psychological phenomena. The problem, as you intimate, is the assumption that physiological damage is the ONLY thing that can cause psychological phenomena, or worse, that physiological DAMAGE (and let’s be honest, that’s what every drug intervention AND so-called ECT does to the brain, and usually to other parts of the body as well: physiological damage) is the only way to address psychological phenomena. It’s like saying insufficient memory can cause a computer to slow down, so the answer to any computer slowing down is adding more memory chips. Illogical. Except adding memory chips at least enhances the machine’s capacity, while psychiatric drugs without exception decrease the body’s capacity to do something, whether the reuptake of serotonin (SSRIs), the reuptake of dopamine (stimulants), or whatever process these drugs disrupt.

    So if some observable physical defect can be detected, it should be addressed as best we can. But ASSUMING that we’re addressing a physiological deficit that no one can actually identify is a very dangerous pathway.

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  • I have to disagree with you that “we” (meaning all ADHD-type personalities) “function at a level so far below our potential.” This is only true to the extent that you accept the normal capitalistic go-to-work-and-do-what-your-boss-says-for-a-paycheck kind of standards as one’s “potential.”

    A fascinating study was done not too long ago where they took kids and put them into groups of three. The study groups had two “normal” kids and one diagnosed with “ADHD.” The control groups had three “normal” (non-ADHD) kids in each group. They gave them a set of three problems to figure out the solution to. I can’t remember the age level, but I think they were elementary, something like 8-10 years old.

    They measured “on-task” behavior, and the non-ADHD groups did far better. The groups with the “ADHD” kid in them screwed around more, focused less on the problems and more on just hanging out together. But when it came to solving the problems, NONE of the so-called “normal” groups solved ANY of the problems, while each of the ADHD-inclusive groups solved at least one, and if I am recalling correctly, a couple solved all three.

    Now if you’d run groups where ALL THREE kids had an “ADHD” diagnosis, it’s quite possible nothing would have been accomplished at all in terms of the problems at hand. But it’s clear from the results that the off-task, goofy, creative, “what about this” kind of behavior from the supposedly “mentally ill” child played a very important role in getting the task at hand done, even if less time was spent at the task itself.

    I think the implications of this study are quite huge. Perhaps instead of trying to FORCE the “ADHD” kids into becoming more willing to do as they are told and focus rotely on the “task at hand,” we ought to be looking at figuring out how to make the most of this skill set that clearly our society needs to survive! I think that’s why the “ADHD” kids in the open classroom settings were almost impossible to detect – they weren’t being expected to be rigidly “on task” doing something they found dull or pointless, so they had far fewer problems than their counterparts in “regular” classrooms.

    Another interesting study looked at employer satisfaction with their “ADHD” – diagnosed employees. One might expect they’d be less satisfied because these employees would come late, be disorganized, say offensive things to other workers, etc. But as it turned out, their satisfaction levels were quite similar to “normal” employees. The experimenter observed that the “ADHD” employees tended to CHOOSE jobs where promptness and adherence to assigned tasks were not as important. They became ski instructors, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, salespeople, whatever suited their personality best.

    Which goes back to my original thesis: “ADHD” is a real phenomenon, but it is mostly a problem only because we expect these kids to do things that they are not ready or able to do, and then punish them for failing to do so. When they have more control of their environment, deciding what to do and when to do it and when to shift to the next task, as in an open classroom, on the whole, they do MUCH better than if they are being constantly directed by authority figures on what to do next and when to start and stop their activities. So much better that they look “normal” to professional observers who are looking to pick them out.

    This does not even take into account the HUGE percentage of kids “diagnosed with ADHD” when something else is really the problem. 20 years working in the foster care system showed me how frequently kids with horrible home lives and super high anxiety levels or even frank PTSD symptoms are labeled “ADHD” because they “have trouble concentrating on their work!” Well, if YOU were removed from everyone you ever knew after years of being abused and neglected and were forced to live with a family who had to be PAID to take care of you and could dump you at a moment’s notice, you might find concentrating on schoolwork a bit difficult, too!

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  • No one can be totally “nonjudgmental.” The best we can do is be AWARE of our judgments and decide not to act on them, but take them into account when evaluating what is the best thing to do. A person who pretends to be “nonjudgmental” is usually not being honest with him/herself and will have to rationalize any decisions as being “for the good of the client.” I always knew there was a danger I was acting to meet my own needs rather than the clients,’ making it a lot more likely I could avoid that danger. At least, that’s how I saw it.

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  • Oh, absolutely, for me, any therapist who thinks s/he can be “above” countertransferrence (aka an emotional reaction to a relationship with another human being!) is highly dangerous!

    In my relatively brief stint as a counselor, I viewed my reaction to the client as a) my responsibility completely, b) something that told me about how I might potentially make this situation worse by making it about me instead of them, and c) information about how the client is affecting me that may give me some insight into what’s going on with them. It is completely NORMAL to have an emotional reaction to an interaction with a client or any other person for that matter. The only thing that SHOULD distinguish the counselor from anyone else is that they understand how to use that information to get their own issues out of the way and make sure they are responding to the person asking for help. Anyone pretending they DON’T have an emotional reaction to their client is just plain lying to him/herself.

    The only way I see to be able to be successful as a “counselor” or “therapist” is to have your own shit together enough that you don’t end up acting it out on the client. That means that far from being “above” your emotional reactions, you are 100% aware of those reactions AT ALL TIMES and are humble enough to know they are there and respect them, both as an expression of your own needs and as a conduit to information that might be of help to the client. There is no training for this ability. It means you have to have done your own “work” on yourself by whatever means you can. I found clients respected me because I was genuine and in touch with my emotions and was honest with them about what was going on for me without putting responsibility on them for my reactions. They liked it that I was human and real with them, and that I think was what worked when it did work – nothing to do with any training or “method,” just being one human honestly there with another and willing to share their pain without trying to “fix” it to make myself feel better.

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  • A few good studies back in the 1970s showed that “ADHD” diagnosed kids placed in open classroom environments were indistinguishable from “normal” children. Additionally, a bunch of studies in very different places ALL showed that if you wait a year to enroll kids in Kindergarten, the rate of “ADHD” diagnosis goes down by 30%! A very odd “disease” indeed that is reduced by 1/3 if you just let kids develop for another year before enforcing your expectations on them, and pretty much disappears completely when you stop enforcing those expectations entirely!

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