Thursday, November 23, 2017

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

Showing 100 of 921 comments. Show all.

  • Steve and Gretchen

    Steve, I agree, and I will take your comment to an even higher level.

    This blog had some well written and positive exposure of the poly-drug crisis in this country. But its conclusions were hugely disappointing and utopian as to any kind of solution for this corporate engineered epidemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of people.

    First off, it is wrong (and lets many institutions off the hook) to continue calling this an “opioid epidemic.” This is a POLY-DRUG CRISIS!

    Ninety percent of the people who die from an overdose have other drugs in their system. Benzos are often the key component in the fatal drug cocktails that ultimately stop heart and lung function. There is documented evidence that benzos are involved at least 30% of the time; my estimate would be closer to 50% of the time. THERE IS NO SOLUTION TO THE OPIATE PROBLEM WITHOUT A SOLUTION TO THE BENZO PROBLEM!

    How can anyone who watched the 60 Minute expose on the colluding elements of federal government agencies and Big Pharma, actually believe that just trying to call for Big Pharma to somehow fund the solution to this poly-drug crisis, will actually bring about the desired results???

    With all the crimes perpetrated by Big Pharma and their CEO’s in promoting harmful drugs over the past 4 decades, not a single CEO has spent one day in jail for these crimes. During this same period of time pharmaceutical corporations have been fined tens of billions of dollars. This turns out to be just the cost of doing business since these pharmaceutic corporation have some of the highest rates of profit of any industries in this capitalist economy.

    Unless and until a government and legal system exists that will put on trial and jail people who commit these types of crimes against humanity, there will be NO solution to the poly-drug crisis, or any other such social injustice. Any other so-called solution short of this, is simply utopian and misleading when it comes to where people should be expending their energies in some kind of movement.

    And Gretchen, I am giving this feedback with the utmost respect for someone who I believe is very well intentioned in their efforts to bring some light to a vitally important issue. I hope you are open to such feedback.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • This is a very important topic.

    Another valuable link for this discussion would be a blog I authored two years ago titled: “May the Force NEVER EVER Be With You: The Case for Abolition.” The in depth discussion that follows this blog is very rich in content and covers every possible angle of this debate.


  • This is a huge loss for humanity. Matt was a vanguard fighter in the human rights movement against all forms of psychiatric abuse. His compassionate humanity was revealed through all his comments and his blog writings at MIA. His relatively small number of blogs at MIA have played a very significant role in decontructing the pseudo-science and oppressive nature of Biological Psychiatry.

    Matt always made his viewpoint very well known to his readers at MIA (in both his comments and blogs), but he was also very open to feedback and criticism. We can all learn from his approach to seeking the truth.

    Following his first blog at MIA I wrote the following comment:

    This one of the very best blogs ever to appear on the MIA website. I do not make this statement lightly. The writing style is first rate and the the depth of research and the ability to combine such research with firsthand experiences is outstanding. I look forward to your future writings here and believe you have a critically important leadership role to play in human rights struggle against all forms of psychiatric oppression…. Richard”

    We will sorely miss those future contributions to our movement. When we lose someone of Matt’s stature we must all work that much harder to fill his enormous shoes and continue our march forward. All the best to his family and those that loved and admired him.


  • Bradford

    I respect many of your points but disagree with the following statement:

    “Also, I think psychiatry needs “the system”, far more than vice versa…. Would the pharmaceutical industry go *poof*, just because psychiatry did? Hah!…”

    This System we live under does VERY MUCH need Psychiatry and their paradigm of “treatment” as a necessary form of social control over those sections of the people who are most likely to rise up against it.

    AND the pharmaceutical industry has been a vital (highly profitable) sector of the U.S. economy, and psychiatric drugs are a big piece of this industry.

    For these reasons Psychiatry ans their Disease/Drug Based System have become “too big (and important) to fail.”


  • Monica

    Great message!

    “… consensual psychosis is the status quo…”

    Brilliant deconstruction of accepted thinking. I will definitely make use of that catch phrase in the future. Trump’s speech at the UN immediately comes to mind, and all those who would accept even a sliver of what he is putting forward, is simply shear insanity at best.

    His ultra nationalism (Fascism) is the the personification of “me first” in a profit based society that turns everything and everyone into a “commodity” to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. To accept all this, while almost half of humanity does not exactly know where their next meal is coming from, sets the tone and traumatic reality that millions of people face on this planet.

    “Mental illness” is their way of obscuring an oppressive reality and then blame the victims.


  • Bradford

    Lawrence has raised some important and true information in response to your point about the lack of psychiatrists and some of their current difficulties in staffing.

    I am not trying to be cynical or negative in reminding people of the still growing power of Psychiatry. I am only trying to be realistic about what we are up against here and what it might take to ultimately defeat Biological Psychiatry.

    Yes, I do believe the anti-psychiatry forces have made important advances in the last decade especially, but unfortunately the Diseased/Drug Based Model is so deeply embedded within medicine and our entire culture (after a several hundred billion dollar PR campaign), that its power has not been affected. It is still growing as we speak.

    Also, this economic and political system needs Psychiatry, and all its drugging, to control some of the more volatile sections of the people who could potentially organize significant resistance to multiple types of human rights struggles in this country and around the world. Psychiatry has literally become “too big to fail” to the maintenance of this system.

    All of this means our strategy against Biological Psychiatry must be both broad and inclusive, and very much connected to other human rights struggle challenging a profit based system/Empire.


  • Robert

    You said: “I don’t support any professional guilds and their hold on power. I oppose all of that.”

    The above statement DOES NOT mesh with the overall intent of the message in your blog which is seeking the “salvation” of Psychiatry. As a psychiatrist who is promoting more therapy and less drugging and labeling of people, you are, in fact, supporting the further existence of this guild and ALL its interests by suggesting A WAY for Psychiatry to save itself.

    And then you said the following: “I fully support fighting against today’s psychiatry. I do know that todays psychiatry will collapse upon itself. Because it is wrong and destructive. It has to, and I know it will. It is happening already.”

    No matter how well intentioned your motives are here (and I do believe you are sincere and compassionate in your work with people) this amounts to nothing more than pure wishful thinking on your part.

    Psychiatry is not currently “collapsing [in] upon itself” nor will it just fall apart “because it is wrong.”

    Psychiatry is stronger than ever and drugging and labeling more people everyday as we speak. Psychiatry has become a vital and necessary form of social control in a system that is clearly headed in a fascist direction as part of an Empire that is facing increasing competition and threats from competing powers on the planet.

    To end ALL forms of psychiatric oppression AND the institution from which it derives, major political struggle will have to be directed against that institution, as part of joint action and movements focused on multiple human rights issues.

    In a prior blog comment section you said that you were not a “political person.” The reality today is that we ALL must become more political (even if this makes us uncomfortable) if we truly want to end human suffering on the planet.

    Conscious and moral psychiatrists DO have an important role in the world in fighting psychiatric oppression:

    1) There are are millions of people trying to find a way to safely taper off of toxic psychiatric drugs who could use the help of sympathetic doctors. This struggle will go on for several decades even if all new psychiatric drug prescriptions ended today

    2) Activist psychiatrists can raise hell in every psychiatric organization and meeting that takes place on the planet by exposing and condemning all aspects of Biological Psychiatry. This could seriously disrupt the function of Psychiatry as an institution.

    3) Activist psychiatrists can call for the abolishment of Psychiatry as a medical specialty. This would have an enormously powerful political impact in drawing attention to the nature and origins of all forms of psychiatric oppression. This would be a courageous and selfless act that could make a huge difference in the overall struggle.

    Robert, I love your passion and commitment to help people and your willingness to criticize Biological Psychiatry. But there is an overall lack of moral consistency in your central themes and arguments here. I hope you are open to constructive feedback.


  • Robert

    Why would you or anyone else, who is trying to be both scientific and moral at the same time, want to save Psychiatry as a medical specialty? There is a world, and a world outlook, of difference between “therapy”: and “Psychiatry.” Since the word “salvation” has a strong religious context, I would say that ALL people (including current psychiatrists trying to be moral human beings) should seek “salvation” FROM Psychiatry, rather that attempt to somehow salvage what could be referred to as one of the closest thing to evil on this planet.

    I hesitate to use the word “evil” since it implies an a priori existence (like the “Devil”) which is abstracted from the political and social conditions in the world that have given rise to modern Biological Psychiatry, and which currently perpetuate its existence as a critical form of “social control.”

    Here I will repeat a comment I made to you in a prior blog on exactly the same subject about why Psychiatry should be abolished rather than somehow salvaged as a medical specialty:

    “Your theory of “the play of consciousness in the theater of the brain” has great merit as one way to explain severe psychological distress. I have no doubt you are a very good therapist who has helped many people overcome enormous problems coping with a very unjust world.”

    “But where is your scientific rationale for keeping Psychiatry as a medical specialty when the essence of what you do in the real word is “therapy,” and also the construction of well thought out therapeutic theories for how best to work with people in distress?”:

    “Since you agree that there are no brain “diseases” and the Medical Model is absolutely wrong when looking at ways of analyzing and providing support for people in distress, why hold on to the credential of Psychiatry/MD? Doesn’t the very existence of the MD moniker mislead people as to what you do and perpetuate the belief that these are “medical” problems that you are addressing in therapy?”

    “Yes, while Biological Psychiatry is the worst of Psychiatry on steroids, our Grandmother’s Psychiatry several decades ago was also quite oppressive when we look at the existence of lobotomies, Electro-shock, and other oppressive forms of “treatment” that people were subjected to. You even agree that psychoanalysis, which was more prevalent among psychiatrists in this period, also had its serious problems.”

    “One of best ways to proceed in a current movement to end ALL forms of psychiatric abuse is for activist doctors to declare Psychiatry THE SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL FRAUD that it TRULY IS in the real world.”

    “Robert, you could play a much more powerful role in this movement if you, as a psychiatrist with the MD moniker, would renounce the complete legitimacy of your profession as a medical specialty and sacrifice all the power and financial benefits that go with it.”

    “This would make a very important statement to the world that could potentially change many people’s thinking on the true nature and oppressive role of Psychiatry. And actually, this act of courage and defiance would provide a much STRONGER AND POWERFUL BASIS to promote your highly creative and useful theories of providing supportive therapy for those experiencing extremes forms of psychological distress.”

    Respectfully, Richard

  • This blog has exposed many problems with MAT (Medically Assisted Treatment). Let’s start with the name. First we must expose how the System cleverly changed the name from “Opioid Replacement Therapy.” to “Medically Assisted Treatment.”

    This change is deliberately designed to make it sound more benign and cover up the fact that they are providing more addictive synthetic opiate “drugs” NOT “MEDICINE,” as an alleged form of “treatment.”

    When discussing this issue we must “ALWAYS” expose their use of deceitful language to cover up their crimes BEFORE we analyze what is wrong with their approach to “treating” opiate addiction problems. Accepting their misuse of the English language is to concede them more power to brainwash people.

    Yes, suboxone and methadone may have some value as a very short term aid for people with these problems. But as some kind of long term “solution,” it is just a highly profitable making business that actually contributes to the continuation and expansion of opiate drug addiction problems.


  • Kate Millett’s important role as a radical feminist and as an anti-psychiatry activist has not been appreciated or thoroughly recognized. I hope someone like Bonnie Burstow will write a more comprehensive account of her political and cultural significance to the struggle for human rights and freedom.


  • Eric

    Great blog. Very well written, and very sharp in its exposure of the blatant distortions of the scientific method by Dr. Torrey and his cohorts who seemingly ignore reality slapping them in their face – all for an agenda of promoting the pseudo-science of Biological Psychiatry.

    And I agree with Darby, that definitely quotation marks should always be used for ANY of the so-called DSM psychiatric diagnoses. We mustn’t give any credibility to their misuse of the language supporting oppression.


  • Kurt and Elizabeth

    Some good history and exposure of the Pharmaceutical industry in this blog.

    However, there are important weaknesses in this blog which let certain institutions off the hook and misdirect people away from the ultimate solutions to these problems.

    First off, it is a big mistake to continue to call this an “opioid crisis.” This mistake, by itself, is very useful to the powerful forces supporting the status quo, and it obscures larger things going on here.


    Very few people EVER die with ONLY opioids in their system.

    Your did not make a SINGLE mention of benzodiazapines in this blog which have DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE of at least a 30% involvement in these overdoses deaths. My estimates are that this figure could be AS MUCH AS 50%! Where benzo are more often THE DECISIVE COMPONENT in the drug cocktail that ultimately kills people by shutting down heart and lung function. Most opiate dependent or addicted people KNOW HOW how to use their opiates, it is the fact that they lost track of their benzo consumption throughout the day. And there is documented evidence that 60% of all regular users of opiates (both legal and illegal) ALSO take benzos on a regular basis.

    It is WRONG to write about opiate drugs today WITHOUT, AT THE SAME TIME, discussing the concurrent benzo crisis in this country.

    AND the growth in benzos prescriptions (NOW UP TO 100 MILLION PER YEAR) in this country PARALLELS the growth in opioid prescriptions over the past 20 years.

    AND the institution of Psychiatry (in collusion with Big Pharma) played a decisive role in promoting and extending the proliferation of LONG TERM benzo prescriptions that makes this an epidemic equal to the opiate prescription problem.

    Until we get our terminology and history down and spread broadly, including appropriate names for these problems, along with targeting and ultimately punishing (with jail time) those institutions and individuals responsible for these crimes, nothing is going to change.

    I hope you can accept this constructive criticism with an open mind.


  • Bueno

    Good comment. Only we need to stop using the word “medicate” when it comes to describing psychiatric drugs. These are “mind altering drugs,” no different than other substances such as cocaine, pot, or opiates.

    Biological Psychiatry in collusion with Big Pharma has spent hundreds of billions of dollars convincing the public that these chemical substance are “”medicines.” We cannot and should not allow them to get away with this by using their PR type language which only misinforms the public and causes great harm.

    Once again, “language” is a very import part of our struggle to overcome all forms of psychiatric oppression.


  • Lawrence, Daniel, and all

    Just as there is no easy or simply solution (especially in pill form) to solve human beings conflict with their environment, there is also no “one simple word” that will somehow capture the crimes of Biological Psychiatry in these cases.

    “Iatrogenic” is a scientific term (unfortunately not YET widely known) that means “medically induced.” Not all definitions use the meaning “accidental.” I believe we need to keep using this scientific term until people start to grasp its meaning, especially when referring to psychiatric abuse.

    Most of the time “iatrogenic dependency” and the damage it causes is “accidental” when it comes to the particular doctor prescribing the drugs. Should they know better in the broadest sense? Yes!

    BUT these are major SYSTEMIC problems with many institutions (Psychiatry, organized medice, and Big Pharma etc.) who are deliberately putting profit BEFORE the safety and health of the public.

    We do not want to focus so much on individual doctors and take the focus off the toxic and “sick” system that has misinformed and brainwashed most doctors about psychiatric drugs in order to advance their profit and power in our society.


  • Let’s not give in to System language. Giving in WILL NOT get people the help they truly need. We need to forcefully challenge their language and terminology, as part of taking on the whole ideological underpinnings of this oppressive System.

    “Iatrogenic dependence” and “iatrogenic damage” are powerful terms when properly explained. The correct terminology will NOT become understood by broad numbers of people unless WE start using it now.


  • Lawrence

    I am NOT saying that someone could never become “addicted” to a psychiatric drug and/or take them in an “addictive” way – which involves a whole psychological component (self defeating type behavior patterns) as well. Yes, this does occur for some people with drugs like benzos, neurotin, ambien, and even seroquel etc., but this is NOT the dominant trend out there.

    What I am trying to emphasize here (and I believe J.Doe was as well) is that the vast majority of people who take psychiatric drugs AS PRESCRIBED, like a benzo, more often become physiologically (iatrogenically) DEPENDENT on them and suffer iatrogenic damage as a result. This is NOT addiction.

    They should not be called “addicts” and/or labelled as “addicted” or “treated” as if they have an addiction. This will only add to the harm already done and make the recovery from iatrogenic damage more difficult.

    Changing the language we use in these situations is a VITAL part of our overall efforts to defeat Biological Psychiatry and completely dismantle their entire paradigm that controls today’s “mental health” system. To not challenge the use of this language is to let the System get over on us and to reinforce their ideological hold on the masses of people.

    And BTW, 12 Step Programs are completely dominated by a disease based model and they have almost completely surrendered to Biological Psychiatry in their view and practice towards the use of mind altering psychiatric drugs. While these programs may help a small number of people, they do far more harm than good when it comes to people trying to overcome addiction problems.


  • Lawrence

    You said in a prior comment: “One of the biggest scams that psychiatrists have created, is handing out monthly suboxone prescriptions which enable heroin use by minimizing withdrawals until their next fix, or help them earn extra money for heroin by selling the suboxone on the street (where it creates more addicts), or make it easy for drug-seeking teens and young adults to legally score opioids if they are finding it hard to get them from pain doctors. They earn so much from assembly-lines of 5-minute suboxone clients, that even highly-paid doctors like anesthesiologists are getting in on the gravy train in order to increase their incomes. 12.5 million suboxone-type prescriptions are filled yearly, and healthcare and our government are calling for it to be used much more. ”

    I couldn’t have said this any better. This deserves an entire blog in and of itself
    You might want to check out my past blog on a similar topic.


  • Lawrence

    This is also a very one-sided (and unscientific) description of human nature, and tends to correspond to human nature as shaped by capitalist culture (in this historical era) – that is, “look out for number one and stab the person in the back to get ahead” etc.

    Human nature is a very malleable part of the human species. Human beings are “social beings” with the capacity to think rationally about what is in their best interests as a species.

    Humans are (and can) learn over time that cooperation and the institutions and social organizations that promote cooperation will serve its interests and overall survival as a species, MUCH BETTER than resorting to individual and/or selfish behaviors and/or creating those institution and forms of social organization that promote power differentials and gross inequalities on the entire planet.


  • Lawrence

    Overall a very good blog that raises some very important points about the role of Psychiatry in the poly-drug overdose crisis.

    It is very strong in drawing the connections between Biological Psychiatry’s “genetic theories of original sin” and the DSM diagnosing of children as a major causative factor.

    Some weaknesses were the narrowing of the focus to psychiatry’s role to the exclusion of Big Pharma and their profit bonanza with their massive campaigns in selling opiate drugs. In particular, the role of Purdue Pharmaceuticals and their launching of oxycontin in the mid 1990’s with their 5th Vital Sign Campaign and the resulting proliferation of pain clinics throughout the nation.

    Also, it is important to expose how the epic rise in benzodiazepine prescriptions parallels the corresponding rise in opiate prescriptions during the past 20 years. AND benzos are likely to be THE primary lethal agent in the drug cocktails in the poly-drug overdoses (involving opiates) that ultimately lead to death. AND of course, Psychiatry is intimately involved in the epidemic of benzo prescriptions which are now about 100 million per year – mostly long term prescriptions.

    On the issue of psychiatric drugs being “addictive,” I believe it is far more accurate and scientific to use the term “dependency” and/or “dependency producing” when describing these drugs. Please read J.Doe’s blog on benzodiazepines which is a great breakdown of the vital difference between the terms “addiction” and “dependency.”

    And finally, it is important to constantly point out the role of Biological Psychiatry’s paradigm of “treatment” and entire “mental health” system as an apparatus of social control in an increasingly volatile society amidst a dying Imperialist empire.

    Keep writing.


  • Brett

    A great blog that should be required reading for EVERYONE who wishes to pursue working in today’s “mental health” system.

    Your fictionalized dialogue has brilliantly exposed the essence of everything that is wrong with the current paradigm of the so-called “treatment of people experiencing normal human distress to an abnormal set of highly stressful environmental circumstances.

    We have a long and difficult road ahead to dismantle the System that encapsulates everything that you have so eloquently exposed in the above blog. Biological Psychiatry, in collusion with Big Pharma, has literally spent several hundred billion dollars in one of the world’s largest PR campaigns (ever in human history) that now pervades the thinking of vast sections of the population across the entire planet.

    Nothing short of major Revolutionary changes in the world can reverse the damage and harm that will continue if Biological Psychiatry is allowed to continue its means of social control in our society.


  • This article should be read by all MIA readers.

    This provides a penetrating analysis of the connections between modern human distress with the way in which society is structured, in particular, the way in which the production of human necessities is carried out and the resulting effects of all the inequalities of their distribution.

    We cannot seriously talk about ending psychiatric oppression without at the same time questioning the very nature of the environment that endlessly creates and nurtures its existence.

    My only criticism of this article is its obvious failure to question the very terminology and System thinking that mislabels and misunderstands all the forms of human distress it has so eloquently analyzed its origins.


  • samruck2

    I would never suggest that one has to be “anti-capitalist” to become part of a movement against psychiatric abuse, or that it should now be the “dividing line” issue.

    I am mainly advocating the importance of linking our current human rights movement against psychiatric abuse with other important movements such as the environment, anti-fascist, anti-racist, women’s struggles etc. Where do you stand on this point?

    I am only pointing out that at some point in the future of this particular movement (and all the other important political movements) the serious problems with Libertarianism and other Right Wing world views (attempting to lead these struggles) will present itself as a major roadblock to the progress of our efforts to end ALL form of human oppression.


  • Slaying the Dragon…

    You said: “Richard, with all due respect, you called my comment both true and absurd. Which is it?”

    Perhaps you should reread my comment. There is a HUGE difference in saying that there is “one objective reality” and saying that a human being can obtain some type of “objective neutrality.”

    ALL human beings are biased in their interpretation of reality. It is YOU who has promoted the myth of some form of political “neutrality.”

    You said: “The fact that psychiatry flourishes in modern America gives pause for reflection.”

    The reality is that not only does Biological Psychiatry flourish in the United States, but it is this particular Capitalist/Imperialist empire that was its birthplace, AND also where it is currently headquartered, AND where it grows exponentially every year to be exported throughout the world.

    And finally, you said: “I assure you that I am 100% antipsychiatry, and that the most thoughtful critics of psychiatry, Szasz included, have had a clear vision of the connection between psychiatry and the therapeutic state that is not in the least bit inimical to capitalism.”

    As great as the contributions of Thomas Szasz have been to the anti-psychiatry movement, it was precisely his ideological and political blind spots when it comes to his worship of “free market” capitalism that seriously LIMITED his ability to link the movement against psychiatric abuse with the powerful anti-Imperialist movements in the 1960’s.

    Just think of where we might be today if such an important thinker like Szasz had forged some type of theoretical and political (anti-psychiatry) analysis with these historically significant political movements that shook the world at that time. These were Movements which he not only ignored, but denigrated. This was such a major historical opportunity that was truly missed.

    Fortunately, there were some separate survivor/mental patient liberation type organizations and struggles that clearly originated and grew out of the 1960’s movements that provide us with some valuable history lessons.

    And today, Szasz would clearly run into a major theoretical and political wall when trying to accurately analyze the role of Big Pharma and how the profit motive corrupts almost all of medical science while providing essential fuel to the growth of Biological Psychiatry.


  • Slaying the Dragon…

    You said above: “But the author of this post does not argue from a point of pure, lofty, objective neutrality.”

    This is an absurd statement. There is no such thing as arguing from “…a point of pure, lofty, objective neutrality.”

    Yes, there is one “objective reality” out there BUT there has never been, nor will there ever will be, such a thing as human “objective neutrality.” We all have biases, and some of those biases are a closer approximation of what is truly going on with regards to the the objective world out there.

    Yes, someone from the “Right” can be anti-psychiatry, BUT only up to a certain point. One CANNOT be “ALL THE WAY” anti-psychiatry if you do not understand how capitalism and the profit motive has been an ESSENTIAL FUEL to the meteoric growth of Biological Psychiatry over the past 4 decades.

    NOR can one be “ALL THE WAY” anti-psychiatry if they don’t understand how essential Psychiatry has become to the maintenance of a capitalist social order. OR if one does not understand the kind of movement (and forces necessary to make up that movement) that would be needed to truly end this barbaric “mental health” system that is led by the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex.

    AND finally your comment that “…when in reality every successful advancement in the cause of liberty has come directly from the right, and from God fearing individuals who defied the consensus….” could not be more OUT OF TOUCH with reality and a complete distortion of human history.

    AND don’t forget it was all those “God fearing individuals” from the “Bible Belt” who formed the KKK and turned that part of the country into an area that could have been more aptly called the “Lynching Belt.”


  • Harper

    You said: ” I am not allowed to blog on MIA because I would be attacked as a professional. Yet I am offering a replacement model for the DSM, but have great difficulty getting a hearing for these ideas because I am a professional.”

    Can you explain more of your meaning here? There are many professionals who blog at MIA. Over the past 4-5 years I (as a professional) have 18 published blogs at this website. That said, that does NOT mean its always easy or that you don’t need a thick skin and the ability to accept and contemplate penetrating criticisms of your words and ideas. But it is overall a great opportunity to learn and teach through this intense form of dialogue, especially from those with “lived experience.”

    And speaking of criticism: your website ( ) reveals that you are indeed a real critic of the current “mental health” system and you even use the word “anti-psychiatry.” And in this comment above you put “mental disorders” in quotes BUT on your website you list “bipolar disorder” and a few other DSM “disorders” WITHOUT quotes. Is this just an oversight on your part or do you believe there is a basis to call these types of behaviors and thoughts some type of “mental disorder?”


  • Great blog that raises all the key questions about the current weaknesses and strengths in our movement against psychiatric oppression.

    Three years ago I wrote a blog that brought up similar issues. Here are a few quotes:

    “…This evolution of psychiatry in the recent era has to be carefully examined in connection to its strong links to the U.S. economy, especially the meteoric rise in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as other geo-political developments in the world, including increased governmental control and forms of repression in post 9/11 America….”

    “…Biological Psychiatry is not your grandmother’s or father’s psychiatry, as the expression goes; it’s not just “psychiatry being psychiatry” all over again. It is exponentially more dangerous and powerful than ever, and absolutely more essential to the “powers that be” in preserving the status quo. To not understand or grasp these historic changes will cause us to underestimate what we are up against and possibly misdirect us away from knowing how to develop the appropriate strategy for future efforts to end all psychiatric oppression….”

    “…To those who say that “psychiatry is dead,” and that it’s about ready to “collapse under its own weight” and that it just needs a little push from us to knock it down for good, I say this fails to understand what psychiatry has truly become in today’s world and how deeply entrenched and valuable it is to the ruling classes and to the survival of their entire monopoly capitalist system…”

    “…All these facts and statistics, combined with our own collective experience living within this system, leads us to one possible chilling conclusion: Today’s Biological Psychiatry has become such an essential part of the economic and political fabric holding together our present day society, including its ability and need to maintain control over the more volatile sections of the population, that its future existence may be totally interdependent on the rise and fall of the entire system itself…”

    The bottom line is that – Biological Psychiatry and all the institutions it colludes with for its current existence and overall power position in our society, has become TOO BIG AND IMPORTANT FOR MAINTAINING THE STATUS QUO TO BE ALLOWED TO FAIL.

    As the author of the above blog points out, it is vitally important that the anti-psychiatry movement link itself up with ALL the other key movements against the System, which should include the environmental movement, anti-racist movement, anti-fascist movement, women’s movement, LGBT etc.

    Key forms of direct action at key targets are important to weaken the enemy and organize new forces. BUT this alone is not enough as the above blog indicates. We do need to broaden our analysis, as well as, find creative ways to expose Psychiatry and increase our numbers and supporters. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY we cannot succeed in this movement by trying to “go it alone.”

    AND we cannot underestimate the importance of forming some type of vanguard organizations that have both a solid overall analysis and a strategy for advancing the struggle at this particular time which identifies psychiatry’s weak points and engages with them more on our terms.


  • Humanbeing

    I believe you were correct about the extremely low fatality rates taking a single overdose of ONLY benzos. The CDC statistical rates that Dr. Kelmenson quoted were INVOLVING benzodiazepines, meaning other drugs were involved in these deaths.

    AND very few people die of a single overdose of ONLY opiates. I believe 90% of the time other drugs are involved, with a high percentage being benzos – my estimate would be close to 50% of these poly-drug overdose deaths involve benzos.


  • I agree with all those who have raised SERIOUS questions about the use of benzos to alleviate problems with protracted withdrawal from SSRI’s.


    Dr. Shipko is NOT presenting a careful scientific presentation of all the evidence here with accurate timelines and knowledge about patients history of benzo or other sedative/hypnotic drug use over many years. This is only ANECDOTAL experience by one doctor’s observations over several years. I appreciate his efforts to help people and find out more about these withdrawal problems, but his conclusions and practices regarding benzos should definitely be SERIOUSLY QUESTIONED by all, BEFORE these drugs become more actively used in these cases of SSRI withdrawal.

    I would raise the following important questions about the ANECDOTAL evidence presented by Dr. Shipko:

    1) Anxiety is usually very much a big part of the depression experience as people lose confidence in their ability to predict their environment around them. This makes the prescription of benzos (from many different kinds of doctors) a huge likelihood in the prescription experience of those patients experiencing depression and/or protracted SSRI withdrawal. How many of these patients had PRIOR prescriptions of benzos and were PRIMED to both desire them (because of their short term effectiveness) and to develop dependency issues and/or the resulting benzo withdrawal issues that are now blamed on the SSRI’s?

    2) We have no way of knowing if those people suffering severe protracted SSRI withdrawal (including suicidal tendencies) and who were prescribed benzos (by a doctor anxious to reduce suicidal thoughts) what ALTERNATIVE solutions they would have eventually sought out to solve their problems. And perhaps this level of desperation could have led them to find BETTER and less dangerous solutions than taking benzos.

    3) We have no way to really know the actual LONG TERM results of those patients who ended up taking benzos to reduce their horrible withdrawal effects/akathisia. Are they eventually able to get off of the benzos, OR do they just become slaves to another drug withdrawal process that prolongs their misery?

    4) There is no documented evidence of the overall health and daily practices (and trauma histories) of those suffering akathisia and/or protracted withdrawal, including whether or not they use other mind altering substances or have lifestyle choices that make their withdrawal more difficult.

    5) For all these reasons it would be a huge mistake to draw ANY conclusions that somehow benzos are a safe alternative for people experiencing protracted SSRI withdrawal problems. At this time there is far more scientific and anecdotal evidence about the extreme harm caused by long term benzo use.


  • Thanks for the response.

    Just to clarify my use of the word “provocative,” I meant that in the positive sense of the word, in that I do believe we need to be “provocative” in today’s world in order to effectively challenge an oppressive status quo.

    I do wish the author of this blog would respond to some of your challenging criticisms so we could all learn more through a back and forth type dialogue on this important topic.


  • “If we can somehow let the public know that the foundation of biological psychiatry is a complete lie, then the whole thing should come tumbling down.”

    Lawrence, I wish it were that easy. There have been a number of powerful exposures of Biological Psychiatry published over the past 2 decades, including by a very vocal minority of critical thinking doctors. We clearly have the science on our side and an emerging group of activists and survivors, but we are up against some VERY powerful institutions.

    AND we are confronting an overall capitalist system that puts profits before ALL else. I believe that Psychiatry (with its growing role of social control in our society) and the wing of Big Pharma making enormous profits from psychiatric drugs have become “too big to fail.”

    I say this NOT to be defeatist but only to point out the necessity to link up this movement against psychiatric abuse with all the other movements (such as environmentalists, women, anti-racist etc.) that are confronting a profit based system that stands as a major impediment to all human progress.


  • Lawrence

    Thanks for continuing to dialogue.

    First off, I applaud your critical thinking skills and your willingness to speak out against the oppressive paradigm of “treatment” that has seized control of your profession. And I hope you continue to write here at MIA because you have much to offer the readers.

    My point about MD’s and other writers with credentials (including myself) working within this system, is that we have “a greater burden of proof” when it comes to teaching others about what is so wrong with this system, as well as, suggesting better alternatives.

    This “burden of proof” is very much based on the power differential that exists between professional and patient/client, and the harm caused by a high percentage of those working in this field.

    If you take the time to read many of the “personal stories” and other blogs written at MIA, and also the personal stories within the comment section, you will find a wealth of information and experience that you can incorporate into your critiques of Biological Psychiatry.

    These personal stories, combined with Dr. Peter Breggin’s writings, especially, do provide much evidence (both scientific and anecdotal) about the particular harm caused by antidepressant drugs. Also, you might want to read the short series of blogs written by Dr. Stuart Shipko that detail his long experience with victims of antidepressants. I believe that some of this material might change your perspective on the long term effects of these drugs on the brain.

    And BTW, as valuable as Dr. Stuart Shipko’s blogs have been at MIA, he did not go without some important criticisms regarding his acceptance of prescribing benzos for patients who were experiencing protracted withdrawal from antidepressants.

    Your points in your blog about the role of the placebo effect were very good, but it overall tended to seriously downplay other more harmful physical effects that result from this category of drug.

    I would also suggest you take some time to investigate Monica Cassani’s important website “” which has a wealth of information on these subjects.

    Please don’t shy away or hide from your MD credential, but just be more aware of the “power differential” and the extra “burden of proof” that comes with it.

    I’ll look forward to reading more of your blogs in the future, and thanks for hanging in there in the face of some criticism. This is how we all learn and eventually arrive at the truth.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • mjms1165

    A good ripe peach can be VERY SWEET and so am I to most people.

    If you REALLY want to know more about me and my belief system, you could take the time to do just a little more research before you start hurling insults and making false assumptions.

    Just click on “about” at the top of the MIA heading, and then click on “writers” and look for my name and picture using first names. There you will find 17 of my published blogs at MIA.

    You can also click on my name in the actual comment section and see (and read) every single comment I have made over the past 5 or more years at MIA.

    If you are, in fact, truly interested in knowing how I conduct discussion and struggle at MIA, including whether or not I am fair in my dialogue with other writers, you will take some time to do this research before “shooting from the hip.”

    When you read those comments you will notice that I almost always give credit to writers when they make good points, and I try to do that first BEFORE I launch into ANY criticisms or questions – which is exactly what I did with Lawrence Kelmenson.

    HOWEVER, when other professionals come to MIA with an attitude and/or an approach that they are here ONLY to teach others THEIR knowledge (and I do believe that many like Dr. L.M. do have much knowledge to learn from) BUT act in a way that also indicates they are defensive about any criticisms, and respond as if they have nothing they can learn from psychiatric survivors or other writers with far less credentials, or ignore the writings of those activists who have been engaged in this struggle for many decades (like Dr. Peter Breggin), THEN YES I will step up my degree of criticism until they show some humility and/or fully engage with respect and equality by responding to SPECIFIC points brought up in the counter dialogue.

    MIA has been published for over 5 years and there is a wealth of resources available through this website. Prospective writers at MIA (if they are smart) should do some basic homework before coming here to teach or share their knowledge with others, including those thousands of readers who have been deeply harmed by this oppressive “mental health” system. A system that is led by doctors and others who have numerous credentials after their name.

    Just so you know, I myself, as a therapist who, at that time, had worked 19 years in community mental health as an LMHC licensed therapist, VERY carefully studied the writings and comment section at MIA for 6 months BEFORE I even dared to comment or write a blog submission to the editors.

    SO mjms1165, what is your story???


  • Lawrence

    Nobody here has denied or contradicted your thesis that the placebo effect is very short lived and that reality will most certainly reassert itself in people’s lives again.

    HOWEVER, there is FAR MORE to this story, and there is an entirely NEW reality that enters a person’s life when they start taking mind altering psychiatric drugs.

    It would be important for you to do some preliminary homework about Mad in America BEFORE you pontificate theories here that ignore and dismiss over 5 yeas of publication of the detailed stories of psychiatric victims AND the scientific research that clearly elucidates the harm done to the brain by psychiatric drugs.

    BECAUSE when people challenge some of your theories (that reflects your lack of homework in reading key source material mentioned), you simply repeat your main point, and fail to respond to the specific arguments be raised in criticism. This approach will not work here at MIA.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Quote from above:

    “And when people are put on synthroid, they usually stay on it indefinitely, because their bodies’ own production of natural thyroid hormone slows down or stops, since they are getting all they need from the outside. Here we again have modern medicine’s classic business model.”

    Sounds exactly like the two important brain mechanisms called “homeostasis” and “down regulation” (which I have outlined in two comments above), and which your blog unfortunately seems to deny and/or ignore as it related to all psychiatric drugs.


  • Lawrence

    Yes, we get all the evidence with the placebo effect influencing the INITIAL positive reports about the mood enhancement of antidepressants.

    But when you say the following: ” If SSRI’s serotonergic effects aren’t the actual cause of the mood improvement, wouldn’t that make it likely that they aren’t the cause of the mood worsening, either?”

    Aren’t you engaging here in shear speculation (similar to methods used by Biological Psychiatry) without any science to back this up these comments? Aren’t you discounting tons of personal experience reported by thousands of victims of the psych drugging epidemic along with the research of decades of work by Dr. Peter Breggin???

    Lawrence, you have NOT addressed all the other points that I (and others) have raised regarding the actual brain disabling effects of all psych drugs.

    In addition to placebo effect, part of the initial mood enhancement reported by some users of antidepressant is the actual STIMULANT EFFECT produced by these drugs because of a chemical composition similar to other stimulant drugs. Don’t forget that stimulant drugs were some of the first “antidepressants” to be tried by Psychiatry. The manic behavior CAUSED by SSRI antidepressants IS NOT just part of someone’s imagination at work here.

    Lawrence, have you read any of Dr. Peter Breggin’s books? Are you prepared to mount a counter narrative to all the research and analysis he has done over several decades?

    Kirsch’s writings on the placebo effect are NOT the end all of a comprehensive analysis on the short or long term effects of antidepressant drugs.

    Lawrence, have you ever asked any of your patients/clients about their reactions and feelings regarding the overall effects (both positive and negative) of antidepressants on their thinking and personality?

    Well, I have done so numerous times, and their answers often mirror the research done by Peter Breggin and several others who report emotional blunting/numbing (over time) and difficulties bonding with other people, to name just a few. These effects go well beyond the more obvious sexual dysfunction which, in and of itself, SHOULD NOT be downplayed in its overall significance.

    I have used the phrase “selfish indifference” to describe what many clients have reported to me. And this does not even address the more serious problems when “akathisia” sets in and a patient experience’s an agitated depression and/or a disabling of their morale “conscience” which can both lead to very dangerous and harmful behaviors.

    Once again, Lawrence you HAVE NOT addressed the issues of the operative brain principles related to “homeostasis” and “down regulation.”

    And Lawrence, since you have not retracted your view that many of us are somehow repeating the same errors of Biological Psychiatry related to the “chemical imbalance” theory, I will throw in a few other questions here.

    How does your “totally placebo effect theory” explain the fact that there is scientific evidence that antidepressant drugs will eventually lead to a reduction in serotonin receptors in the brain due to the “down regulation” effect?

    And similarly, how does your analysis explain the scientific fact that prolonged use of “antipsychotic”/neuroleptics drugs (which block dopamine in the brain) leads to an actual increase in D2 dopamine receptors in the brain, which now becomes responsible for the “super-sensitivity” effect related to severe withdrawal problems when these drugs are stopped, AND is most likely responsible for the common experience of breakthrough psychosis while still on these drugs?

    And finally Lawrence, why have you not addressed your incorrect references to benzodiazepines while misusing the words “addiction” and “addictive?”


  • mjms1165

    A quick response to your question regarding “where is the evidence:”

    First off, an important part of Robert Whitaker’s book “Anatomy of an Epidemic” provides numerous academic studies that detail some evidence neuro-chemical disturbance by psychiatric drugs.

    AND every single book published by Dr. Peter Breggin going back to his first major thesis titled “Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the Brain” which I first read in 1991, details a large amount of scientific evidence that all psychiatric drugs disable brain function.

    AND how about the important connection that psychiatric drugs have to the ever increasing rates of suicide, and their role in the spate of mass shootings over the past several decades – is this not a real life example of the dangers of disturbing the thinking process centers of the brain and those areas where human morality resides?


  • Lawrence

    Your blog contains some valuable exposure of Biological Psychiatry’s Medical Model and their “genetic theories of original sin” that provide the theoretical backdrop for the enormous harm caused by a profession that pledges to “do no harm.” Pimping off of the placebo effect is only PART of their overall crimes within this deadly paradigm of so-called “treatment.”

    Your blog also contains several incorrect points as well, that unfortunately let’s Biological Psychiatry and their criminal Medical Model off the hook, AND denies aspects of the tragic reality faced by millions of its victims.

    A big part of the harm caused by the promise of antidepressant drugs (as well as all the other categories of psych drugs) is the EXPECTATION by patients that they should be getting better (as advertised and hyped by several hundred billion dollars of advertising over many decades), AND when they don’t get better AND usually get worse, THEN they REALLY feel F$%ked up. Many people now draw the often deadly conclusion that their “disease/illness” is somehow much worse than everyone else’s, AND they will NEVER get better.

    And part of the reason people don’t get better BESIDES the fact that they are focused on a quick fix in the form of a pill/drug (instead of attempting to solve the nature of their conflict with their environment) is the ACTUAL DAMAGED caused by the drugs themselves.

    Your blog denies the harmed caused by perturbing the sertonergic, dopamanergic, and/or the gaba receptor system etc. in the brain. Do you not accept the principle of “homeostasis” and “down regulation” and then acknowledge the harm caused by the alteration, disruption, and possible damaged created by the long term use of these psychiatric drugs affecting these brain systems?

    How do you explain the ENORMOUS problems millions of people are having with withdrawal problems related to these drugs, where these withdrawal symptoms are often protracted, including some lasting for years, and some residual effects that never seem to totally abate?

    We know that 90% of the neuro-chemical, serotonin, functions outside the brain, and also in parts of the brain that have no alleged connection to mood etc. How can you conclude that critics of the “chemical imbalance” theory are repeating the same mistakes of Biological Psychiatry by exposing the harm and dangers caused by deliberate disturbance of the serotonergic system with antidepressant drugs?

    AND what about the damage that benzos do to the gaba receptor system in the brain? Are you denying the reality reported and faced by the tens of thousands of benzo victims seeking counsel from citizen scientists leading and participating in the numerous internet forums gaining worldwide attention?

    And on the benzo question, you included a comment in reference to benzos as “…these addictive pills…” and also the term “sedative/addictive drugs.” If you read several of the blogs on benzodiazepines that have been written at MIA you would be scientifically persuaded to use, with extreme caution, ANY reference to “addiction” when referring to these drugs.

    Yes, benzos can be, and are, used in an “addictive way by some people. And as I have written here at MIA, I believe they are often THE key component in the deadly cocktails of drugs that include opiates, that end up killing so many people – my estimates are up to 50% of all overdose deaths may involve benzos. And this is one reason why this poly-drug overdose crisis WILL NEVER slow down until this reality is understood and exposed.

    BUT the vast majority of people prescribed benzos ARE NOT ADDICTED to these drugs but instead are IATROGENICALLY DEPENDENT. This is an important, and qualitatively different distinction, that more scientifically describes the actual effect these drugs have on their victims, AND places the blame squarely where it belongs – on the front door step of Biological Psychiatry, Big Pharma, and the leaders of organized medicine. To misuse the term “addiction” and/or “addicted” here is to fall into the “blame the victim” trap promoted by the institutions responsible for this worldwide benzodiazepine crisis.

    So Lawrence, I appreciate your efforts to further deconstruct the Medical Model and criticize Biological Psychiatry. You make several good points, but your overall thesis here is seriously undermined by some major errors in thinking and analysis.


  • Congratulations on creating such a valuable and creative form of political art that exposes Psychiatry and their entire oppressive System of “mental health.”

    I believe we often underestimate the value of all forms of art as a means to expose the forces of oppression and rally people to take action. Sometimes a creative piece of artwork can reach people in a way that other forms of political exposure are unable to accomplish.


  • Bravo to Peter Breggin for writing this vitally important story.

    I must say that these installments of this tragic story are an incredible indictment of Biological Psychiatry and the entire Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/ Industrial/Complex.

    I must also admit that as much as I consider myself a major critic and activist against this whole system, I was to some degree under the influence of the type of toxic propaganda that has been spewed by the news media coverage of this story. My view of this young woman and these tragic events was, indeed, poisoned by the powerful influences of this System’s pervasive media.

    I always tell people to pay attention to the “narrative” of a person’s story and always ask “why” and “how” someone came to behave in a certain way – no matter how bizarre or violent. Somehow in this case, with Michelle Carter, I dropped my guard and violated my own critical thinking skills. I hope this never happens again.

    Thank you Peter Breggin for digging so deeply beneath the surface to expose the true forces and institutions (Psychiatry and Big Pharma) who are ultimately responsible for these horrible and sad actions and behaviors by such young and innocent victims in our society.

    I think this blog series should be spread around far and wide. I do believe it can play an important role in waking people up to the horror of today’s “mental health” system, because it contains so many “holy shit!” type moments as you read the details of the story.


  • Lawrence

    I was disappointed that you chose to not respond to my critique of Freud and to the political importance of the most conscious and advanced thinking psychiatrists calling for their own profession to be abolished.

    This type of stance by psychiatrists would NOT mean that they would suddenly need to abandon their credentials and stop functioning as a psychiatrists in the world. On the contrary, there would be an enormous amount of work they could be doing to counter all forms of psychiatric abuse and the Medical Model.

    For example, these politically conscious psychiatrists could raise hell by challenging Biological Psychiatry in every gathering and meeting of organized psychiatry on the planet.

    They could also organize a cadre of psychiatrists that would study the science of psychiatric drug withdrawal and launch efforts to provide medically credentialed support to the millions of people trying to get off of these toxic substances.

    They could offer to testify at thousands of legal trials where Big Pharma, the APA, and organized medicine are being sued for criminal negligence in all the suicides and mass shootings where psychiatric drugs have played a key role.

    There will be many decades of work and the need for many major Revolutionary changes in society before we are even close to having the material conditions in the world to actually abolish Psychiatry.

    BUT, can you say the this is NOT the highest moral stance that needs to be taken by the most conscious psychiatrists in the world? Is it not important for the most conscious AND moral psychiatrists to look beyond their own narrow guild interests in these times and take a political stance that could truly hasten the end of all forms of psychiatric abuse?

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Lawrence

    Thanks for the response. I completely agree that there are some psychiatrists who have helped people in the past, and today, there is a small minority who do very positive things in exposing the truth and helping people.

    However, I definitely would not include Freud on the positive side of history. While some of his concepts and theories regarding the “unconscious” have some merit, it is also true that he was very much a political coward who put his career aspirations far above the search for the truth.

    And his fatal decision (early in his career) to deny the objective truth of the numerous examples of sexual abuse disclosed by many of his female patients, and then instead develop a theory claiming they were instead some form of sexual fantasies, has overall done enormous harm (primarily to women) over many decades.

    It is very clear that Freud’s decision was a cowardly response to the early derisive responses from his colleagues regarding his reporting of high rates of sexual abuse.

    And finally, Lawrence, just because there is a tiny minority of mainly older psychiatrists who do (or have done) some positive things, begs the question as to whether or not psychiatry should be abolished.

    Psychiatrists who want to do therapy can call themselves psychologists or therapists. Those who want to study and treat the brain (or other neurological problems) can call themselves neurologists.

    To allow the continuation of a medical specialty that alleges to treat mind “maladies” or “diseases,” is to sustain and promote the myth of “mental illness” and the continuation of the Medical Model which does enormous harm in the world.

    It is very important for politically and scientifically conscious psychiatrists to take a moral and just stand that their own profession needs to be abolished. This will hasten the historical demise of all forms of psychiatric abuse.


  • This Time article is just a very sophisticated regurgitation of Biological Psychiatry’s Disease/Drug Based Medical Model. It repeats every fraudulent lie about psychiatric drugs and the so-called “chemical imbalance” theory. It shows how Big Pharma and Psychiatry are now moving on to develop Ketamine type drugs as a “new frontier” in depression “treatment.”

    All this just shows how deeply embedded Biological Psychiatry is in our culture and within the consciousness of the masses. There are two “realities” out there as to what defines “mental illness” and the ways to address problems of psychological distress.

    This scientific and political duality is connected to, and very similar, to the different or “alternative facts” and “realities” between those who support and believe Trump, and those who oppose this developing Fascist trend.

    It is becoming more and more apparent that it may take an actual Civil War to somehow resolve this growing division in society. Big Pharma and Biological Psychiatry have simply become “too big and powerful to fail.”


  • Lawrence

    Good blog. I believe it is is important to add to your point about all human thoughts, feelings and behaviors being expressed in some type of neuro-chemical fashion.

    The important addition I would make is that these expressions would all take on an individual character from each and every different person. In other words, there would be no one neuro-chemical expression for all forms of depression, anxiety etc. This is just another reason to discount, deconstruct, and dismantle Biological Psychiatry’s efforts to impose a Medical Model on human behavior, thoughts and feelings etc.

    Lawrence, psychiatry is a scientifically fraudulent and oppressive institution that does enormous harm in the world. While you are helping to deconstruct their Medical Model with this blog, why is it that you do not, therefore, call for psychiatry (as a medical specialty) to abolished?

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Jocelyn

    Great blog that challenges the Establishment’s on going efforts to avoid any thorough going exposure of the worldwide benzodiazepine crisis. The focus on Xanax is a way to misdirect people away from the pervasive corruption that permeates Psychiatry, Big Pharma, and organized medicine when it comes to the prolific prescribing of all psychiatric drugs; benzos are clearly some of THE most harmful and deadly.

    If the depths of this crisis (involving the harm caused by ALL benzos) were truly understood by the general public, it would be extremely threatening to these particular major medical institutions. The business of “treating” anxiety and depression in our society – two of the biggest “symptoms” of an overall System that is truly sick and dying, is both necessary and highly profitable.

    Unfortunately, only the very rich and famous celebrities get all the publicity when it comes to some of the harm caused by benzos and other drugs, BUT even in these very public overdose deaths the true role of benzos is still very much hidden from the public. Please check out my blog from last year titled “Who and What Killed Prince and Michael Jackson: Will the Role of Benzos Ever Be Revealed.”

    Jocelyn, keep writing on this issue. And your YOU TUBE videos are very powerful and a life savior to many people.


  • Henry

    Thank you for this very interesting analysis of the historical forces influencing the critically important role of science in our society.

    I want to pose some provocative differences with some of your conclusions regarding both the problem and the solution to having true and unbiased science as a liberating force for human progress.

    You said: “In a drastically oversimplified nutshell, one might describe pre-WWII science as a cottage industry carried on by independent intellectual entrepreneurs motivated primarily by curiosity in seeking truths about the natural world, not beholden to patrons and subsisting typically in ivory towers undisturbed by social, political, commercial interference; science was free to be its own thing.”

    This above statement leaves out the very important history of the role of religion as a distorting influence holding back human progress and sometimes viciously punishing, any and all, those whose scientific endeavors somehow threatened religious doctrine. Political power in society usually benefited from these religious pogroms because, religion itself, has historically reinforced acceptance of both slave and class based forms of oppression.

    And looking at the situation today, Psychiatry and its Diseased/Drug Based paradigm of so-called “treatment” (with all its “genetic theories of original sin”) very much shifts the focus in society AWAY from any critical appraisal of the inherent problems with both the economic and corresponding political system. It’s all about bad genes and brain chemical/PERSONAL DEFICIENCIES rather than the defects in our particular economic or political institutions.

    And I would argue that over the past 4 decades Psychiatry and Big Pharma (as an institutions in society) have become too big and essential to the status quo to be allowed “to fail.” Especially looking at the role that these backward forces play as institutions of “social control,” drugging and incarcerating (in penal and psych hospital jails) those sectors in society who are potentially the most radical creative agents of social change and possibly a force for revolutionary change.

    As for your idea of a “science court,” in theory this sounds good, but without any FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES away from this profit based economic and political system, this would ultimately be corrupted and fail. Just as we are suppose to have a true democracy in this country, is it not a total and complete sham and illusion, controlled and manipulated by the 1% percenter/ruling class?

    The political and social role of Psychiatry as an instrument of “social control,” and the role of Big Pharma (with their enormous profit levels) are now such an essential part of the U.S. economy, that they both stand (along with the capitalist system that both sustains and depends on them) as major impediments to the liberating role of science and of ALL human progress.


  • Chrys

    Thanks for the positive feedback and thanks for the update on all your activities, including the bumps in the road in your life’s trajectory.

    You are clearly a “survivor” in every sense of that word. You have such a positive attitude about pushing forward and experiencing every aspect of life, despite any and all setbacks.

    You have quite a collection of songs and you carry yourself very well musically. I like that woman singer you have on your Facebook as well.

    It sounds like you are on the cutting edge of providing some very helpful resources for those people experiencing severe emotional distress. I hope you write about this at MIA.

    Sue says hi and is impressed with all that you do and accomplish.

    All the best,
    Comradely, Richard


    Very few people ever die from a single dose of a drug in the opioid family. AND PRINCE DID NOT DIE FROM A FENTANYL OVERDOSE!

    This is a POLY-DRUG OVERDOSE CRISIS where BENZODIAZEPINES play a particularly deadly role in these overdoses. Prince, Michael Jackson, and almost all these other celebrities that have died of a drug overdose have had one or more benzos in their system at the time of their death.

    BENZOS are often “THE” DECISIVE component in a deadly cocktail of drugs ingested by those people dying from a poly-drug overdose.

    And Psychiatry has played a DECISIVE role in creating the conditions for the massive over prescribing of benzos in the world.

    Benzos have a documented role of at least 30% involvement in overdose deaths. I believe that figure would be much closer to 5o% if all the statistics were readily available and accessible for evaluation.

    Sixty percent of all regular opiate users also use benzos on a regular basis. Benzos greatly magnify the “high” when combined with opiates.

    We need to challenge all those who continue to label this an “opioid crisis.”


  • The_Cat

    You are stuck in state of “political Purgatory” that has created a major blind spot when it comes to your activism against psychiatric abuse.

    You have an appropriate level of distrust of the government and the various forms of government repression.

    BUT, you have a major uncritical blind spot when it comes to analyzing how “free” market capitalism has brought us to this point of a Psychiatry/Big Pharma (with all their drugs and labels) dominated world.

    And you seem so ready to go forward WITHOUT seriously questioning whether or not this profit based and class based dictatorship (“free” only for those who have the gold and the related power that goes with it) should be allowed to continue running the show.

    So the best you can come up with is some type of Libertarian “hands off the marketplace” approach that will simply allow all those in strategic positions of power in this economic and political system to continue to run amuck with their unending forms of oppression.

    While sometimes your critique of a problem is spot on and your personal sharing of how the System has harmed you is truly heartbreaking, it is this “blind spot” (I mentioned above) that can be so frustrating and, at times, annoying to some readers here.

    For every one’s sake here at MIA, and especially for your own sake, I truly hope you will not be condemned to this state of “political purgatory” for eternity.


  • Slaying the Dragon of Psychiatry

    Thanks for the compliment. Once I had the lyrics you quoted above, I knew I had something important to complete and get out to the people.

    My youngest daughter, who is not a survivor, did the video editing and helped me pick out the best images and find the best places to put them in the video.

    The picture of the woman hiding her face (in obvious distress) next to the tree, is the one that gets to me the deepest every time I see it – “With nights that linger so long/ They’ll darken the brightest day.”


  • Sonja

    That was one of the most in depth and meaningful comments to anything I’ve ever written at MIA. Your support for my work on this video and your suggestions for changes in my blog were incredibly valuable and validating to me.

    Just as you believe “Benzo Blue” validates the experience of benzo victims/survivors, your words and support also validates me. I’ve been at this (trying to make Revolutionary changes in society) since 1968. It is hard not lose faith that these kind of changes are possible in the world.

    Your call to action to all survivors (who are able), is the kind of passion and commitment that is vitally needed in this movement. We do have to find the ways to ignite those sparks of rebellion that can someday very suddenly erupt into a prairie fire of mass action that will lead to the necessary systemic changes in society.

    Sometimes we may not even be aware that the material conditions (which have been developing and changing in seemingly imperceptible ways) are ready to explode in rebellion. So we all must persevere to not miss these historic opportunities when they arise.

    The world is now a very volatile place to live and there will be dramatic changes in the not to distant future. HOWEVER it is not clear which historical direction these changes will take us – forward or backwards (towards more fascist control and oppression). It is up to us to mobilize and make sure this direction will be FORWARD.

    Over the past 4 decades Psychiatry and their Disease/Drug Based paradigm of so-called “treatment” has gotten stronger DESPITE some very significant scientific and political exposure in the past 2 decades. Benzo prescriptions are rising as we speak. Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry profit levels (and their system of social control) may have become “too big to fail” for the current economic and political system.

    So the movement we are trying to build here cannot ONLY focus on single incremental issues or have a strategy of “going it alone” separate from other movements challenging the status quo. We all must raise our heads and see the big picture here while we search out multiple allies in this broad based struggle for major social change. I do believe the struggle against psychiatric abuse can be an important tributary feeding a much larger river that someday may “wash away the old and sweep in the new.”

    Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! Comradely,Richard

  • BigPictureAwareness

    I had some time to spend with your comment.

    Thanks for the responses to my music video. It is always nice when someone is inspired to actually quote the words from one of your songs or poems.

    You said: “My only concern is whether this meditation on the material world and the truth of what happens to people is a clear-eyed perception of reality, or an anger-rage fueled and vainglorious desire for revenge. Are these songs you speak of truly organizing or agonizing,…”

    I am definitely seeking a “…a clear-eyed perception of reality…” and I believe, while there is some definite room for “anger and rage” in our responses to oppression, I think we definitely need to avoid “revenge.” Because “revenge” will eventually eat you up and cause people to take on the mantra of their enemies; all of which will derail our efforts to make a more humane world through Revolutionary change.

    However, just punishment for those (in the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial/Complex) who have committed gross crimes of fraud and criminal/medical negligence, is a prerequisite for change to occur in any thorough going way in the world. This, however, will require mass movements toward change, and we have a ways to in order to achieve those conditions.

    In fact, I will say that, unless and until, the material conditions exists in the world for their to be true justice dished out to those in power who oppress people, than there will be NO substantial change towards ending the miscarriages of justice such as the worldwide benzo crisis.

    I am from the school of thought that says “I am therefore I think.” But I appreciate the role of dreams and mythology to help illuminate the real world and provide different forms of art and entertainment.

    Good to hear from you and have your encouragement,


  • J.Doe

    I can’t tell how important your comment is to me. Of course, you and your powerful blogs at MIA were an important inspiration for this song. And all the other people who have written about their benzo experiences are also in this song.

    Knowing that someone became tearful watching the video brings tears to my eyes. It is is the kind of emotion that makes us feel the most human and want to make this world a far more humane and just place to live. I know that it is wishful thinking that by July 11th 2022 (“…and there will be no mercy when psychiatry finally has its day…”) some of the people responsible for this worldwide benzo crisis might be tried in a court of law and justly punished, so we clearly have much work to do ahead of us. Carry on!

    Comradely, Richard

  • Ron

    I agree that we should always make credible statements. But the thrust of your arguments of late (in defenses of Psychiatry) is to DENY the critical role of a vanguard (and vanguard like statements) in overcoming and ending all forms of psychiatric abuse. All this should point to the ultimate demise of Psychiatry as a medical specialty.

    Was there not an important role for those people in the 1960’s who made slogans such “Get the F%$K Out of the War Now!” And those people who actually had slogans favoring the NLF achieving victory over the U.S.

    When I first saw these slogans (before I became politically conscious) I found them rather shocking. But they certainly did promote much intense discussion and a desire on my part to find out how someone could take such a provocative position. All this led me in the direction of becoming more radical and to taking a more decisive stand against the Vietnam war.

    Your whole approach at MIA of late is to “tail” after the struggle and urge everyone to avoid “being too extreme.” In the 1960’s and 1970’s we use to call these kind of people “firemen” – constantly trying to water down the struggle and keep the embers of rebellion from erupting into a full blown conflagration.

    Time to reexamine your role here.


  • Ron

    You said: “My point is simply that we should take care to only blame psychiatrists for what they are actually responsible for, and no more.”

    And when we do blame Psychiatry for ALL the things they ARE actually responsible for (even those things you would agree with) somehow it NOT enough for you to call for Psychiatry to be abolished.

    It seems like in all the recent discussions at MIA you are so quick to come in and somehow defend Psychiatry , or at least, LESSEN the impact of the totality of their crimes, and the implications for Psychiatry’s future.

    Why are you SO interested in defending Psychiatry? Do you feel this is somehow a threat to your own professionalism as a therapist and educator in the System?

    If I was a conspiracy theorist ….., but I’m not, so I won’t go there. But I am pointing out a trend here that is worth taking a look at.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Michael

    Your ideal consent form in its essence says that Psychiatry has no right to exist because it is based on fraudulent and harmful science.

    So let’s cut to the chase and call for Psychiatry to be abolished.

    There is no such thing as true “informed consent,” nor can there be, as long as Psychiatry has the amount of power it is allowed to currently possess.

    And as long as we live in a profit based society Psychiatry WILL be granted this type of oppressive power. So discussing what true “informed consent” would look like is interesting, but it is an unobtainable “pipe dream” short of actually abolishing Psychiatry once and for all.


  • Oldhead

    You said: “Unfortunately none of the self-described “revolutionary vanguard” organizations currently in existence seem to have a clue about any of this…”

    For this we should not be all that surprised since this may be the last human rights struggle of great significance. As more radical activists from OUR movement link up with all the other tributaries of struggle, it will certainly bring to those struggles our thoroughgoing deconstruction of the Medical Model. And the bigger our movement becomes the less it will be able to be ignored and/or misunderstood.

    They will simply not be able to ignore or avoid dealing with these issues as the overall struggle against the System intensifies. Just as the women’s movement asserted itself during and after the 60’s upheaval.

    And if it continues to be ignored or downplayed as new Revolutionary changes take place, then there just may have to be a “revolution within the revolution.” Whatever the case, none of these obstacles should discourage us, or cause us to be defeatist or hesitant about doing what is historically necessary to advance our struggle against ALL forms of oppression.


  • Matt and others

    Matt, you said: ” The sad thing is, they [psychiatrists] are not actually bad people, and they could do much better, if they had accurate information about the nature of severe distress and the serious harms of neuroleptics.”

    A question is raise here: When do people who continue to do “bad” things even when they are increasingly exposed to knowledge that their behavior is doing “bad” things to people, finally get labeled as “bad” people???


  • Bob, Bonnie, and John

    Bob, thank you again for MIA and your willingness to be so open about your evolving political perspective on these vitally important matters.

    I do see some value in giving “critical psychiatry” a forum because it does expose more of the underbelly of Psychiatry and creates more favorable conditions for splits to occur within the institution. This will help set the stage for more people to eventually see Psychiatry for what it is in the real world and migrate towards becoming full blown “anti-psychiatry,” and for the institution to ultimately be dissolved of any medical or legal credibility in our society. This helps create the material conditions in the world for Psychiatry to be finally “abolished.”

    The anti-psychiatry movement, like any other radical movement in history, will be vilified and labeled with all sorts of discrediting descriptions. But, if it both scientifically and morally makes sense to abolish Psychiatry, then it must be supported, AND we must work hard to help people understand why this is a just political and moral position.

    It is up to us, through our painstaking work, to show that the anti-psychiatry movement is, not only, highly compassionate and ethically astute in its analysis, BUT also, consistently RUTHLESSLY SCIENTIFIC in its ability to apply science to deconstructing the Disease/Drug Based Medical Model. We will gain followers by always staying on this “high road” and never watering down our politics or falling into some form of reformism.

    As to whether or not “abolishing Psychiatry” is a reasonable goal given the way the world is currently constructed. Looking at the world 40 years ago, some type of “attrition model” of abolishing Psychiatry MAY have made sense and been possible to take place over the long term within the current Capitalist/Imperialist system.

    However, several important factors in the world that have occurred in the past 4 decades that now make this “attrition” approach not realistic or possible:

    1) There has been over 4 decades of one of the most complete and successful PR campaigns (involving several hundred billion dollars of deceptive propaganda) of political brainwashing in the history of the modern world. Biological Psychiatry’s “chemical imbalance” dominating, Disease/Drug Based Medical Model has now become so deeply entrenched among the masses that it would require major “Revolutionary” changes in society to uproot this way of thinking.

    2) The pharmaceutical industry is such a vital cog in the U.S. economy, and one of the most expansive and profitable, that it has become literally “too big and important to fail.” Psychiatric drugs have played a decisive role in boosting and expanding Big Pharma in this period, and helped it become such a vitally important segment of the U.S. economy.

    3) The world has qualitatively changed since 9/11, and it has become a more volatile and dangerous place to live and to maintain nation states and the various international alliances. And U.S. Imperialism has become increasingly more isolated and tenuous as the the #1 empire in the world.

    4) All this makes the role of Psychiatry, with its mass drugging, its misleading focus on its “genetic theories of original sin” as the central human problem, and forced hospitalizations/incarcerations etc. – such a necessary and important means and method of SOCIAL CONTROL throughout society. For obvious reasons they are targeting (with drugs and labels) those sectors of society that have historically been the most prone to becoming political activists against the System.

    5) For all of the above reasons, I don’t believe “abolishing” Psychiatry is possible within this current Capitalist/Imperialist system. But this DOES NOT MEAN it is an incorrect, or somehow a Utopian slogan and/or political goal to be raising at this time.

    Do people really believe that we can save the planet from environmental disaster WITHOUT major systemic changes in how our society is organized and governed??? The very same questions could be raised about ending racial oppression or women’s oppression on a global scale.

    I believe that the movement to end all forms of psychiatric abuse, and ultimately abolish Psychiatry, can be a vitally important tributary in a world wide river of upheaval transforming the entire planet into a more humane and just place to live. So in the context of the above political analysis that I have sketched out here, to be “anti-psychiatry” makes perfect sense, and it is morally the only position I can live with in this “crazy” world at this time.


  • Richard

    I agree that many chronic pain patients have been scapegoated and abandoned by the very system that created the current poly-drug overdose crisis. I use the term “poly-drug crisis” because very few people ever die from opiate drugs by themselves.

    However, I must disagree with much of the rest of your analysis of this problem.

    You said: “… among the estimated 100 million Americans affected by persistent, long-lasting pain (by the American Academies of Medicine). Within this group, an estimated 16 Million are treated in any given year for recurrent persistent pain, and on the order of 3 Million are treated for more than 90 days with opioid analgesics.”

    The so-called “…100 million Americans affected by persistent, long lasting pain…” sound like a highly inflated figure that only serves the needs and interests of the pharmaceutical and pain medicine industry. This sounds very similar to the extremely high figures of so-called “mental illness” estimated and promoted by Biological Psychiatry to sell all their oppressive forms of “treatment.” These are exactly the kinds of statistics that lead to over “treatment,” including more drug prescriptions.

    And some of the organizations you listed as positive sources of information and support, such as The American Academy of Pain Medicine, The American Academy of Integrative Pain Management, and U.S. Pain Foundation, where were they back in the 1990’s when the 5th Vital Sign Campaign was initiated and then promoted the proliferation of pain clinics and pill mills that spread all the country fueling the rapid rise in opiate prescriptions? And what are THEIR current connections to the pharmaceutical industry – how many of their members are on Big Pharma’s payroll? You cannot deny the fact that they have a direct stake in having a high number of pain patients to treat in this country.

    You said: ” The most effective interventions for confirmed addiction are medication-assisted.”

    This statement could have come out of the mouths of the most ardent supporters of Biological Psychiatry and CANNOT be substantiated by LEGITIMATE statistics or studies. And “medication assisted treatment” is the new euphemistic term that describes “opiate replacement therapy” because the latter term is not so much socially accepted by the public. And of course today many addiction patients are also guinea pigs for a host of other mind altering psych drugs. ADDICTION IS NOT A DISEASE AND DRUGS ARE NOT THE CURE.

    I am not saying that some of these drugs such as suboxone should never be used or don’t have a SHORT TERM ROLE in helping some people break their addiction problems. But these drugs, including methadone, are grossly overused in long term “maintenance” programs which are both highly profitable and also become an oppressive means of social control in our society. And these drug replacement programs ARE NOT solving the drug problems, including overdose epidemic, in this country.

    And given the 100 million yearly benzo prescriptions (mostly long term) in this country, giving out MORE synthetic opiates to people with addiction problems is a recipe for even MORE overdose deaths. This is especially true given that I agree with the statistic you include that probably 50% of all overdose deaths involve benzos, where I believe benzos may actually be the decisive component in the deadly drug cocktail.

    And finally, while I believe chronic pain is an issue for a certain segment of the population, I also believe that organized medicine (as a whole) doesn’t have a clue how to treat the problem and most of their treatments have made the problems worse for patients. While I believe that pain drugs have a role in some treatment regimens, overall it SHOULD NOT BE THE MAIN FORM OF TREATMENT. Unfortunately, once drugs have been administered for an extended time it makes it very difficult to switch course in treatment. This is why I stated in my first sentence that the Medical Establishment is now prepared to scapegoat and abandon these patients because they created a problem they have no idea how to solve.

    There is evidence in many of these chronic pain cases of “opioid induced hyperalgesia,” where long term use of these drugs INCREASES pain sensitivity by lowering a person’s pain/frustration threshold for tolerance. These drugs (over time) often lead to less activity and physical motion by those taking them which will also exacerbate pain issues by increasing body stiffness and ultimately affecting mood related problems.

    These are clearly complicated problems but just freeing up easier access and/or opposing more restriction of opiate drugs is also NOT the answer. Certainly the lessons of the Portuguese experiment is definitely worth further examination. And as far as rewriting new guideline for pain treatment in this country, I would place very little trust in including a group of “pain management physicians” to come up with safe and effective protocols. Their track record is not very good.

    Richard Lewis

  • Kindredspirit

    In NO WAY was this a criticism of you. And I am not suggesting people should not read this material or watch CCHR videos. They can be instructive in many ways, especially if we can tract down the sources for their information and statistics so we can use it in our own anti-Psychiatry political work.

    I only bring this up because I believe very strongly that Scientology is a dangerous (powerful and well funded) cult that should be avoided at all costs, including any kind of unknown connections.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Oldhead

    You said: “Also, on a “yes, but…” note, it remains undeniable that some of the best anti-psychiatry documentaries have been done by CCHR/Scientology (without promoting their own “brand”).”

    Their strategy of not openly promoting their “brand” is all part of their sneaky and deceptive methods of political organizing for Scientology.

    The same thing goes for “Natural News” which is another internet front for Scientology. Even some people in this blog were promoting how good this website is without knowing that it is a Scientology front group.

    Now if someone were to start quoting that source, this would give Psychiatry and the Establishment another easy opening to label us all Scientologists.


  • Oldhead

    I addressed you because of the following comment you made further down this comment section:

    “P.S. I don’t think that “intolerance” of “abolitionist” language is the problem, it’s the insistence that one can only be anti-psychiatry if they DO use it. It seems more like a loyalty oath or something at this point.”

    In this case language matters very much. Again, read all the so-called political justifications for NOT using “abolish.” It is very revealing of a “reformist” and/or “defeatist” approach, either consciously or unconsciously.


  • Frank

    You said: “… doctors provide patients with harmful treatments because they demand them, and because they pay good money for them. Would they be doing so if their patient victims were told the truth? Big question mark. Should doctors be selling these harmful treatments?”

    None of this could really exist if there wasn’t a Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex that spends billions of dollars of PR marketing campaigns every year brainwashing the masses into believing they need drugs and psychiatric “treatment.”

    This has everything to do with the type of economic and political system we live under. This is NOT “free”choice going on here and never will be as long as this System exists.


  • Oldhead, Bonnie, and All

    Bonnie said: “… we are not simply arguing about words. We are arguing basic principles–bottom lines And while semantics is surely involved here, it is not just a matter of semantics. Also it is hardly just bullshit. It makes a huge difference whether people declare themselves opposed to coercive psychiatry only or whether they declare themselves opposed to psychiatry period.”

    I completely agree with this statement.

    It is very instructive to not only see how some people have responded to the proposed goal of “abolishing Psychiatry,” but ESPECIALLY the particular arguments they have used for opposing this radical and historically just position.

    On the one hand you have the very clear “reformist” approach coming from Ron, who is constantly cautioning everyone about being “too extreme” with our language and political positions. If his political line was followed during the 1960’s there would have been NO vanguard organizations AND the entire movement would NOT have gone nearly as far as it did. He would have been critical of Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, SDS, and the Yippies and all the other more radical groups who pushed that movement as far as it was able to advance in the face of great resistance on the part of the System. And while all of these groups made mistakes, their main mistakes were NOT that they were TOO FAR OUT THERE WITH THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS.

    And while i believe that Frank is politically more advanced on many of these issues than Ron, (and I side with him on most issues here) unfortunately he is repeating some of the same sort of arguments against “being too extreme” and “not alienating people” by using the terms (and principle) of a”abolishing Psychiatry.”

    Permeating many of Frank’s comments is a stance (perhaps unconscious) against the role of vanguard organizations and not grasping the importance of some people taking a more advanced position in the development of a movement for change.

    And there also seems to be a theme in his comments and a belief that a world without psychiatry is not really possible (or it is somehow utopian), so maybe we should lower our sights and settle for something less. It is this kind of belief system that often leads people to fall into incrementalism and various forms of reformism.

    I hope Frank is open to taking a deeper look at this trend in his writings, and I do understand very clearly (and more so now) why Bonnie will not compromise on the “bottom line” of “abolition,” nor will I.


  • Bonnie

    I agree, his willingness to pragmatically align himself with Scientology was a big mistake on his part and it did hurt the Movement. And it still comes up today in many ways.

    And I will add this about Szasz, while he made enormous contributions deconstructing Psychiatry and the Medical Model, his love affair with “free” market capitalism and Libertarianism blinded him to the historical significance of the uprisings around the the world during the 1960’s.

    This ideological and political “blind spot” kept him from linking the oppressive nature of Psychiatry and the growing struggle against it, with the powerful movements against the Vietnam War and the growing Black Liberation/Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement. And I doubt he would have been willing to criticize the role of Psychiatry as a form of social control helping to perpetuate and sustain multiple forms of class oppression throughout society.

    It also makes you wonder how far he would have been willing to go in criticizing the profit hungry pharmaceutical industry and the criminal nature of their fraudulent marketing of psychiatric drugs.


  • Uprising

    You said: ” There is no such thing as non-coercive psychiatry. There are only degrees of coercion.”

    You are more clear and correct to state it this way. When I was using “non-coercive psychiatry” in my above comment that said:

    “There is actually FAR MORE social control going on in the world from NON-COERCIVE Psychiatry than there is from that which is coercive.”

    I was referring to the more obvious and open forms of coercive psychiatry, like forced hospitalization and forced drugging. In the final analysis ALL Psychiatry in today’s world is “coercive.”

    In the same way that a woman may end up remaining in a very abusive relationship with a man, there are always very overt as well as many subtle (and culturally influenced) forms of coercion going on. But in the broadest sense of understanding the concept of “freedom of choice,” these are NOT “free” choices.


  • Frank

    I agree with Bonnie about the current nature of this discussion regarding the concept of, and movement to, “abolish Psychiatry.”

    We are going around in circles with you, mainly because you are “stuck” in a defensive mode of discourse here. The weaknesses in your arguments have been clearly elucidated and you still refuse to acknowledge and address these contradictions. I am done for now.

    And finally you said: “I’m not expecting to convince anybody of anything straight off the bat. It may take a long time for an idea to germinate. In that case, I’VE GOT TIME.(emphasis added)”

    Yes, it does take a long time for certain ideas and movements to germinate. But NO!!! WE DON’T HAVE THE TIME NOW TO FUTZ AROUND ANYMORE and play word games when it comes to building a theoretical and organizational presence in the world for abolishing Psychiatry.

    You can stay stuck, while others will go forward NOW to further advance this vitally important process that was initiated in years past. Frank, history must, and will, pass you by on this issue.

    I respect your stances on many other issues related to our movement, but on this issue you are presenting obstacles and roadblocks with some sort of word game of intellectual gymnastics. I am prepared to move forward without you.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Frank

    You have not responded to the content of my criticism of your prior comments; you now seem to be evading the discussion.

    You said above: ” Maybe you need to ask them why they’re buying it [psychiatry]? I’m not buying it. I’m not in treatment. I’m not in the system.”

    Frank, maybe they’re just not just as smart as you. Or maybe they are truly “informed” people who love Psychiatry and love being f#%ked over.


  • Frank

    You said: “To my way of thinking, it is worse to harm someone who is aware they are being harmed against their will and wishes than it is to harm someone you have bamboozled into thinking that what harms them benefits them. ”

    Tell this to all the millions of victims of the worldwide benzodiazepine and SSRI crisis.

    You said: “When medicine has become an excuse for social control, I don’t think medicine is the problem, social control is the problem.”

    There is actually FAR MORE social control going on in the world from NON-COERCIVE Psychiatry than there is from that which is coercive.

    And lastly you said: “You could actually abolish psychiatry without abolishing forced mental health treatment.”

    You are seriously contradicting yourself. Psychiatry has now become essential to the promotion and maintenance of the “mental health” system AND as a means for social control in society.

    And more importantly to consider here, is that both Psychiatry and the “mental health” system have become such vital cogs (over the past 40 years) in preserving social control in this Imperialist Empire that NEITHER will go out of existence, unless and until, the Empire falls and is replaced with an entirely different system.

    So, you might ask, why am I advocating for the abolishment of Psychiatry if I believe the Empire must fall first before this can happen???

    Because I believe that the movement against Psychiatry and the entire mental health” system can be a vitally important tributary of struggle against this entire System to help ultimately bring it down. Just as I believe the environmental movement and the struggle against racial oppression and the oppression of women will also be vitally important tributaries as well.

    The fight against all forms of psychiatric oppression and the call for abolishing Psychiatry can be an important educational tool exposing the true nature of Capitalism/Imperialism, as both a threat to the future survival of the planet, and as a roadblock to the future progress of the human species.

    Frank, It seems like you don’t see (or advocate for) an ultimate end to Psychiatry, because you don’t see the possibility of a world without the need for its existence. You are somehow ready to settle for the the ultimate utopian fantasy that non-coercive Psychiatry can actually exist in a world without there being coercive Psychiatry. Ain’t happening!


  • Frank

    You said: ” If psychiatry is a way of thought, I’m not out to suppress free expression of it.”

    Psychiatry is obviously much more than “a way of thought.” It is a very powerful MEDICAL INSTITUTION with more power than any other branch of medicine in that it has similar powers of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. Especially, when it comes to having the right to take away someone’s freedom and forceably hospitalized and/or drug them against their will.

    I hear you saying something to the effect that “we can’t tell someone they can’t be a psychiatrist or a fortune teller.” These are VASTLY different categories of people. Telling fortunes and practicing medicine (and in Psychiatry’s case drugging and forcing people into hosp/jails) are qualitatively in a different realm of practice.

    It is one thing if a person goes around telling people they are a “pilot” or a “medical doctor.” It is a whole different thing if a person attempts to fly a plane without a proper license. That is dangerous and correctly so, against the law. It is also a whole different thing if a person simply believes they are a “doctor,” but then takes it to another level by actually attempting to practice medicine on people.

    Psychiatry is a medical specialty that also does some therapy. If Psychiatry is someday stripped of its medical license (which is a KEY STEP towards abolishing Psychiatry) then it will no longer BE Psychiatry anymore. Those people will now be ONLY practicing some type of THERAPY and BECOME some type of THERAPIST. They will NO LONGER BE A DOCTOR PRACTICING PSYCHIATRY. If they choose to continuing working with people as if they are a DOCTOR, they will be breaking the law and justly punished for committing a crime that could potentially harm people.

    We need to have to have the specialty of “pilots” to fly airplanes for travel purposes and we need it to be licensed for safety purposes. There is absolutely no societal need for Psychiatry and especially for a medical specialty that is based on totally fraudulent science and practice, and that clearly harms millions of people around the world.

    BTW, Bonnie, thank you for writing this blog. I am currently pondering the totality of your writing here.


  • Cole is a great website and your responses have been right on. Thank you for everything you are doing to fight this worldwide benzodiazepine crisis.

    In this discussion we can see the inherent flaws and contradictions with Libertarian thinking. They all worship at the alter of “free market” capitalism actually believing that it is somehow really “free.” In the real world it is only free for those people powerful enough (or lucky enough) to get to the top of the economic and political pyramid.

    And those people who believe in this nonsense and who are not in with the 1% at the very top, are just “wannabes” dreaming of somehow making it to the top. It is same mentality that gets millions of poor people to play the Lottery dreaming of an “individual” path to some sort of stability and happiness.

    All this WILL NOT change the world but only give us more of the same forms of human oppression while defending the status quo.


  • Ron

    Open Dialogue and Soteria are “outliers” hovering on the edges of the System. They are such a tiny percentage of what is overall happening to people who encounter the “mental health” system. For you to say they are somehow “…a better part of…” the “mental health” system is simply a totally ridiculous statement when looking at how small and isolated these alternatives are at this time.

    Because they are SO small and this System is SO completely dominated by Biological psychiatry, BOTH are in serious danger of either being totally crushed and/or co-opted by the System. Any serious examination of the history of social change would teach you this reality.

    I am not trying to be negative about the prospects for change WITHIN the System, I am only being realistic about what we all up against here.

    Again, you are seriously underplaying the nature of the problem here, which seriously clouds your ability to see what the solutions are and how they will have to be brought about.


  • Markps2

    You said: “Talk of suicide has to be put back in the closet where it belongs. If you talk of suicide you should get locked up.”

    I am surprised you would make such a backward statement. It is exactly this kind of thinking that leads to MORE suicide. People need to openly talk about such thoughts without judgement or threat of incarceration in a hospital.

    When people are told (or believe they need) to hide or suppress these thoughts it actually creates a GREATER probability they will carry out such an act.

    And part of “despair” is wondering if it is worth going on with life. These kind of life dilemmas need to be openly discussed with other human beings NOT denied or suppressed. And in the end we ALL have the right to decide whether or not we want to live or die.


  • To Lauren, Markps2 and all

    In the my previous blog titled “May the ‘Force’ NEVER EVER Be With You: The Case for Abolition” see link below:

    I make the case against the use of ALL ‘force’ without ANY exceptions. I challenge people to read this, including the very rich discussion that follows the blog. Every possible facet of this contentious issue is covered within this blog and discussion.

    Markpc2, to give this System any “room to move” on this harmful and dangerous violation of human rights is to (in the final analysis) conciliate with the “enemy” and leave the door open for greater harm in the long run. I hope you will reconsider your position.


  • Lauren

    Thank you for standing up and fighting this oppressive “mental health” system and for targeting the specific criminal role of Psychiatry.

    Psychiatry currently has certain legal and political power in this country second only to the Executive Branch of government. With a mere signature of a pen a psychiatrist has the power to override the Constitutional Rights of any citizen by incarcerating them in a psych hospital (another form of prison) and drugging them (mind rape) against their will. There is little legal recourse against this, and the System is stacked against those attempting to fight it.

    Your public exposure of these crimes is heroic under these difficult circumstances. Even if you lose this particular legal case you will have educated more people about these forms of psychiatric abuse.

    I hope you continue to be an active participant in the MIA blog community.

    All the best, Richard

  • Ron

    So I guess you don’t believe this System and its main (and most powerful) leadership, Psychiatry is “rotten to its core.” Since you have essentially evaded my above questions, and my response to the “foolish” label you placed on me in your prior comment.

    Then, as part of your avoidance to these questions, you totally mischaracterize my words when you say: “Calling such people and their networks “rotten to the core” is probably not the best way to win allies.”

    My references to “rotten to the core” are clearly directed at the overall “mental health” system, and to the vast majority (and core leadership) of Psychiatry.

    You twisted my words, as if I was condemning every individual working in the “System.”

    If you have read any of my past blogs and/or hundreds of comments, I have always supported and defended dissident workers, and other truly compassionate caregivers currently working inside the System. At the same time, I have always encouraged those people to take more risks in challenging the System while walking that “razor thin line” it takes to remain truly ethical while working inside an overall oppressive System.

    When looking at the System as a whole, those “programs” and “networks” and “individuals” doing really positive work are an extremely small minority of what is out there. So when making the kind of changes I am advocating, YES, the entire System needs to be dismantled, while preserving a few of these tiny exceptions.

    When I said in my prior comment “Of course people need supports of various kinds, but these will not, and cannot, be anything remotely related to what currently exists.” I was characterizing the 95% of the entire System. If you are talking about individual counselors and therapists doing overall positive work, I would put that percentage at a higher level. But much of their work is often canceled out by the mass drugging and forced hospitalizations.

    To again clarify my meaning here: there are a tiny minority of psychiatrists doing positive work in the world today. The rest are completely bought and sold and doing harm to people. Can they change and possibly “jump ship?” Of course they can, but it will not happen because people coddle them or conciliate with them. Confronting this institution with the truth about their role in the world can be very uncomfortable and painful, but it needs to happen without mincing words.

    And actually, our task here is to mainly convince people OUTSIDE of Psychiatry about this oppressive institution, for their own selfish “guild” interests blinds them to the reality of the harm they carry out. And change there will MOST DEFINITELY primarily come from the outside.

    So in conclusion Ron, I believe (based on your writings) that you do helpful work with people, but your “reformism” and defensiveness about preserving the System, and the overall UNDERSTATING of the severity of the PROBLEMS, is both troubling and misleading to those people who follow your words.


  • Ron

    Either you believe the current System is “rotten to the core” or you are promoting a view that it has simply gone astray and needs a few adjustments. You might even be inclined to say that it needs “major adjustments,” but even this misses just how deeply the poison of the Medical Model has permeated every pore of our entire society, let alone how completely Biological Psychiatry has totally seized control of, and has penetrated every aspect of this so-called “mental health” system.

    This System must be completely “dismantled,” otherwise we will be in danger of some of the totally corrupted elements infiltrating any new types of support systems that emerge to replace it. Of course people need supports of various kinds, but these will not, and cannot, be anything remotely related to what currently exists.

    And as long as you are still comfortable holding onto language like “mental health” to describe different ideas, feelings, and behaviors that deviate from the “norm,” it shows how even you are still very much influenced by, or willing to conciliate with this “sick” System on some level.

    The same point goes for your willingness to still accept a “medical approach to supporting recovery [in such cases} might be called “psychiatry.” ” Here again you are ready to conciliate with a “medical” or “biological” approach to supporting people in some sort of psychological distress.

    There is absolutely no scientific basis to have a medical specialty like Psychiatry, since none of the issues they are suppose to be addressing are medical in nature. And those medical issues that do affect people’s thought processes (such as thyroid problems etc.) can be dealt with by other categories of medical doctors.

    And we can certainly see the enormous harm that Psychiatry is perpetrating on this entire planet. While there is a tiny minority of psychiatrists doing positive things for people in the world, as a whole, this medical profession is also so “rotten to the core” that there is absolutely NOTHING to salvage or redeem here!

    Ron, you said: “I think it’s kind of foolish to talk about eliminating such categories completely…”

    So who’s really being “foolish” here? Given how deeply Psychiatry and THEIR system has a hold on our entire society, why would you even consider trying to reform any of this? Psychiatry currently has certain political power (which only seems to increase as each day passes) second only to the Executive Branch of our government.

    With a simple signature of a pen by a psychiatrist you can be incarcerated in a Psych Hospital/Jail, labeled and forceably drug against your will. The System’s need for this type of social control only seems to be increasing as we speak. Despite all our efforts at exposure of their faulty science and prolific drugging, Psychiatry has only gained in power and influence in the recent period. The “cabaret” goes on right under our noses and you are still calling for “reform.” How foolish is that, I ask???


  • The last sentence of this article reads as follows: “In the end, looking for someone to blame for the epidemic might be less useful than figuring out how to stop it.”

    The reality is that these types of crimes by Big Pharma and certain medical leaders WILL NOT STOP, unless and until, some of these CEOs are actually convicted and put in jail. Right now they are simply fined millions of dollars, which they can write off as a marketing expense.


  • George

    Welcome to MIA as a writer and not just as a reader.

    I find your approach interesting, but I fear (as a first impression) that it drifts too far away from a “materialist” analysis of what is so wrong with a human environment that produces so much trauma like experiences in people’s lives. It is these real life (trauma) experiences that are most often the source of people’s need to “break” from “consensus reality” as a necessary *coping mechanism* of survival.

    You said: “So, I believe that all of us writing for MIA do so from our foolish and mad selves, hoping to bring to the debate table the missing viewpoints that have been left out of psychiatry’s consensus ideas.”

    I would point out that this above statement mischaracterizes why many people write here at MIA. There are several authors, and people who are regular participants in the discussions at MIA, that DO NOT want to somehow reform the “mental health” system. We want this System to be completely dismantled and eliminated. We believe that there are many OTHER forms of social supports that have been (and can be) created that are much more humane and successful in helping people deal with with extreme forms of psychological distress.

    And as for the future of Psychiatry, once again, there are a growing number of people who believe that Psychiatry cannot, and should not, be reformed. The main problem with this institution is NOT somehow that it has drifted away from Freud and Jung towards the “biological.”

    Psychiatry has a sordid history that predates the takeover by “Biological Psychiatry,” which has now become the worst of Psychiatry on steroids. Psychiatry is a medical specialty that is fundamentally based on fraudulent science and the incorrect understanding of what comprises those human thoughts and behaviors that get labeled as “mental illness.” These incorrect ideas and practices in the world are very harmful to millions of people.

    I do recognize that there are some INDIVIDUAL psychiatrists who are more focused on therapeutic type supports and are truly helping people in distress. And there are some other psychiatrists who are also helping people more safely taper off of toxic psychiatric drugs. These individual psychiatrist can play a positive role in the world in the coming decades.

    However, trying to REFORM Psychiatry, is misleading people as to the essential nature of this overall oppressive institution. Dissident psychiatrists should be both raising hell within their profession by targeting the criminal leaders of the biological takeover, AND pointing out the fundamental scientific and philosophical flaws within Psychiatry, in order to work towards ultimately *abolishing* Psychiatry as a medical specialty. The more honest and humane psychiatrists can then migrate towards *neurology* or *therapy* modalities as a more legitimate alternative.

    When Psychiatry has finally disappeared from our planet we will know that human society has truly advanced to a far more humane place to live.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Hi Ron

    Good blog. I have come to understand “madness” as a very useful and important “coping mechanism” that can, not only help with a person’s survival for a period of time in their life, but also provide very useful lessons and personal growth in a very troubled world. Obviously, it can become a problem for many people if this coping mechanism somehow gets stuck in the “on position” for extended periods of time.

    You said:
    “Conversely, the “sane” typically suffer from smugness, a mistaken sense that conventional “normality” is an adequate response to the world, and an inability to understand or imagine what might go beyond that.”

    I would add that it is not just that people don’t “…understand or imagine what might go beyond that,” but they fail to see what is SO WRONG with a world that forces (through all forms of high levels of stress and/or trauma experiences) so many people to venture into the uncharted waters of madness.

    There may come a time in human history (after major revolutionary transformations in the world) when “madness,” as we currently understand it, will no longer be a necessary or useful response to one’s environment.

    Where I depart from some of the concepts of madness is when people promote a view that people are “… called to the life of a shaman” and/or start to believe that their delusions (that remain beyond a period of usefulness) are in fact real, and/or provide them with magical powers. I believe these are examples of the “romanticizing” of madness.


  • Hi Humanbeing

    I know that there is now much more scrutiny of the drugs prescribed to chronic pain patients. And as it typically happens in this System, the victims of this long history of harmful prescribing are subjected to more prejudice to take people’s focus away from the real criminals. But the use of the “war” analogy is far too extreme and overstates what is actually happening here.


  • [email protected], The_Cat, and AA

    Many of the things you are saying here are supporting potentially harmful and unscientific beliefs regarding both the benzodiazepine AND the opiate crisis in the world today.

    Jeff you said:
    “Benzodiazepines are not dangerous drugs, and that’s why they are listed as class 4 drugs, which means that there is a low level of dependence when using theses drugs correctly. The only people these drugs harm are the drug addicts…”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. As we speak, benzodiazepines are harming literally millions of people around the world. With rare exceptions, people who take this category of drug for longer that two weeks (including time for withdrawal) are bound to get in some type of trouble or experience serious iatrogenic damage.

    While there are some people who use these drugs in an addictive manner and yes, benzos are intimately connected to the drug (especially with opiates) overdose crisis, THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM BENZODIAZEPINE USE ARE TAKING THEM “AS PRESCRIBED.”

    Jeff, we don’t know all the specifics of your medical issues, but it is improper to extrapolate a whole series of medical and scientific points from your own particular personal experience, and then condemn others if it somehow it does not exactly match your own subjective experience.

    There is NO WAR ON CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS IN THIS COUNTRY! Chronic pain pain patients are a small minority part of a much larger group of people who have been harmed by Big Pharma and the medical establishment because of a long history of unsafe and unscientific prescribing of several different categories of drugs.

    We have no way of knowing (over many years) what would have happened to chronic pain patients if they had been treated with several different types of carefully directed medical and rehabilitative protocols BEFORE ALLOWING THEM TO BECOME PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY DEPENDENT ON OPIATES AND SOMETIMES ALSO BENZOS.

    Once these drugs have been used for any significant period of time, it is extremely difficult to reverse course and go back to other medical protocols that could be potentially MORE effective. NO, these chronic pain patients SHOULD NOT BE RIPPED OFF THEIR CURRENT COCKTAIL OF PRESCRIBED DRUGS. As particular victims of the harmful prescribing patterns of organized medicine, they are entitled to the highest level of care and attention in order to solve (on an individual basis) a way to manage their pain.

    Unlimited or unrestricted access to benzos and opiates IS NOT the solution to these problems. Right Wing phrases that point the finger at “big government” being the problem are misleading at best, and they let the real criminal here off the hook.

    It IS NOT the SIZE of government that is the identified problem here, it is, rather, WHAT CLASS OF PEOPLE IS GOVERNMENT MADE UP OF, AND WHO DO THEY SERVE?