Comments by Richard D. Lewis

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  • Beata

    You are a courageous woman who is, not only fighting against the enormous power of psychiatry (and Big Pharma) and their oppressive medical model, but also against the power of a state government apparatus that derives benefits from people believing in “genetic theories of original sin” and (in great numbers) numbing themselves against society’s daily traumas.

    On a world scale, the fight against against the medical model is INSEPARABLE from the fight against the inherent inequities in a profit based capitalist system that puts the profits and power of the bourgeois elites above the interests of the masses.

    Poland is just a more extreme example of authoritarianism in the world running amuck. In America the ruling classes are currently able to bury the truth about the medical model within a vast “market place of ideas,” and a competing media that is quite capable of passing on a narrative of multiple conspiracy theories that are believed by millions.

    Science, and the truth about how the world actually works in our daily lives, is under attack on many fronts. To all those people who want to compartmentalize the fight against psychiatry and the medical model, and separate it from all the other social justice battles in the world, PLEASE WAKE UP!

    The battle over the science of climate change, Covid 19 (masks and vaccines etc.), women’s right to control their own bodies, and racial theories of inferiority etc. can not (and should not) be separated from our need to expose the myth of the “chemical imbalance theory” and psychiatry’s promulgation of so-called psychiatric diseases and all their toxic drugs that allegedly “treat’ them.

    Beata Pawlikowska is “fighting the Good Fight” and needs all of our support.

    “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win”


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  • James

    Unfortunately, you have fallen into Healy’s “oh so charming” trap of pragmatic rationalizations for justifying oppression. And then you start repeating them back to me.

    Did you somehow miss his OPENING paragraph (in the quote repeated below) where he arrogantly ridicules our entire movement against the medical model as some kind of “romantic” notion. AND he is completely UPHOLDING AND DEFENDING the “disease” model of so-called “mental illness.”

    “…The call to ban ECT is linked to ideas that mental illness doesn’t exist – and indeed that disease doesn’t exist given the benefits ECT can produce in NMS and Parkinson’s disease. There is a romance to the idea that disease doesn’t exist but ninety-nine percent of the population just ain’t going to go there.”

    In other words: “Oh, come on you hopeless romantics, you’ll never end slavery, racism, women’s oppression, class distinctions, climate destruction ……… Let’s all be realistic and accept the “hard’ choices in life etc….because no one will ever agree with your fantasies of a better world. Just let me continue to stroke your moral pragmatism some more until you are truly ready to face reality as it really is”

    Mad in America has a WEALTH of archived articles that are well researched at a very high scientific standard exposing the harm done by ECT.

    Just go into their (MIA) search bar (top right) and put in “ECT archives – Mad in America” and then click on that where it appears.

    There are dozens and dozens of articles refuting everything Healy is minimizing and rationalizing about in his “oh so charming” moral gymnastics. And don’t forget to read the comment sections under these articles where ECT victim/survivors provide first hand knowledge of the harm done by ECT and psychiatry.


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  • James

    Thanks for responding.

    Yes, it would be “nice” if we could all “get along” and be “tolerant of different viewpoints” within our important social justice movement against the medical model.

    BUT I ask: what price do we pay if we fail to recognize that there are critical dividing line questions of principle within BOTH the scientific and political arenas at this particular historical juncture in America and throughout the world?

    AND these critical issues of principle (in the scientific and political arena) intersect on many levels, and they will have serious and dire consequences if they are not resolved in a direction of a more accurate scientific interpretation of how the world actually works, and also what social and political systems and institutions need to be developed to create a more just and equitable world environment.

    Yes James, more minor differences in both theory and practice (in our movement) should be tolerated and worked out over time through vigorous and respectful struggle.

    But ECT is NOT merely a MINOR issue of difference.

    You cannot be a vigorous opponent of racism, but then at the same time uphold the subjugation of women in society, and somehow expect people to seriously listen to your objections to racism.

    It is the same reason why Scientology should not be allowed and/or tolerated within our movement. Yes, they have made some scientific critiques of the harm done by psychiatry, BUT they are in reality a dangerous cult that perpetrates enormous harm to its members and other vulnerable people who get sucked into their cult. Any carefully reading of former Scientology member accounts will detail a litany of abuses and harm cause by this organization.

    David Healy creates much confusion, and ultimately harms our movement by his vigorous support and promotion of ECT.

    James, you said you only found one pro ECT quote from Healy. In my search, the VERY FIRST source found on the internet provided a plethora of pro ECT musings by Healy.

    To prove that he really DOES support and promote ECT, just check out (below) the incredible lengths to which he goes with such a myriad of moral and intellectual GYMNASTICS to justify the value of ECT. Dr. Philip Hickey would have a field day and make mincemeat of these half baked justifications for why ECT is not “as bad” as psychiatric drugs.

    I will now post some of Healy’s writings and then include the link below this comment. I will deal with the issue of Breggin in a later comment.

    (David Healy)

    “…The call to ban ECT is linked to ideas that mental illness doesn’t exist – and indeed that disease doesn’t exist given the benefits ECT can produce in NMS and Parkinson’s disease. There is a romance to the idea that disease doesn’t exist but ninety-nine percent of the population just ain’t going to go there.

    Romance might sound pejorative. I was going to say ethical nobility. When anesthesia was developed in the nineteenth century, it led some, who could not accept the idea of benefiting the many at the expense of the few, to agonies. There was an ethical nobility to such agonies in 1860, but most of us would regard their rehearsal now as romantic. Some of us split the difference and regard the bargain medicine has made as Faustian, but when it comes to the crunch of cancer or the maelstrom of melancholia we take the bargain and opt for anesthesia or ECT.

    See Sherwin Nuland’s extraordinary TED talk on ECT. But for every Nuland who gets the call right, the Devil probably wins in having ECT inflicted on someone who shouldn’t have it – but s/he wins even more comfortably when it comes to drugs.

    At the end of the day, I don’t see it as my role to decide for anyone what treatments they should or shouldn’t have. The message that the benefits you can get from me are linked to poisons, mutilations and shocks would reduce the use of all treatments across medicine, however anyone thinks they help, but they would still be given by some doctors to more than those who stand to benefit, or be demanded by some who don’t figure on meeting Dirty Harry.

    The resistance to the message that medicines are poisons is not confined to mental health. Delivered at a recent event at the Hay-on-Wye HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, the message was not well received but it’s difficult in any other area of medicine to imagine hostility of the type that the critics of ECT mount, unless orchestrated by the pharmaceutical industry.

    ECT is the most disputed treatment in all of medicine. This hostility was once actively fed by Pharma with adverts for chlorpromazine and other psychotropic drugs portraying a switch to their medicine as a way to eliminate Cuckoo Nest scenarios. Pharma have done some brilliant things in the mental health domain. One was their linking of concerns about the risks of suicide on SSRIs to Scientology. This was doctor Rope-a-Doping. The same has been done to ECT. From the 1960s onwards Pharma influence has made it steadily more difficult and its now close to impossible to get symposia on ECT into APA or other mainstream psychiatry meetings – this is activist Rope-a-Doping.
    A true story

    In one of the comments below, Johanna Ryan notes the mystique ECT has among some doctors. I’ve never really noticed it. It’s difficult to believe any doctors see ECT as anything other than Shocking. It would be great if they saw drugs as poisons in the same way. Some say they’d have ECT themselves if they ever became melancholic but an increasing number of them have never used it or seen it used. The only person recorded as seeing ECT as anything other than shocking was Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, who rigged an apparatus up in his garage thinking it might offer something similar to an LSD trip.

    But ECT is iconic in other ways. Clint Eastwood’s movie The Changeling opens with the line – This is a True Story. Not based on a True Story but an actual True Story. The Changeling portrays the horrors of psychiatry as they have been since One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – through involuntary ECT, The problem is the heroine’s incarceration happened 10 years before ECT was invented. There is something about ECT that all but compels people to use it as a symbol of the horrors of mental health systems. There is something about health which means we ignore where the real problems are coming from when ECT and anything else is used.

    The people most likely to profit out of Dirty Harry turning into a pussycat or talking to an empty chair are Lilly, GSK and Pfizer. Sorting out the honchos who make the treatments that cause the most damage would take care of the problems linked to ECT en passant, but we’ll be a long time waiting for Harry to tell a drug company executive to make his day.

    Meanwhile in another part of town….”


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  • Yingyang, your response to James is absolutely correct.


    You said the following about asking Healy about his support AND promotion of ECT:
    “Why would it be done? To gratify the people who think he doesn’t know the truth? Or try to shame him? His opinion on ECT is likely just as relevant as any other psychiatrist. Do we have any evidence he is an expert(beyond any other doctor) on ECT or other electrical treatments? In either case it does not relinquish him from the responsibility of his actions either.”

    Dr. Healy is a major PROMOTER of ECT in the field of psychiatry worldwide. He should be challenged, condemned, and YES, SHAMED for promoting such a harmful and oppressive form of treatment.

    Consider this for a moment:
    when a medical authority such as Healy, provides such great scientific criticism of the harm done by psychiatric drugs, and THEN goes “off the rails” on his analysis and support of ECT, this does great harm to the worldwide movement against the medical model.

    Healy’s positive work criticizing psychiatric drugs could potentially convinced and influence some vulnerable psychiatric victims to try ECT, and thus put them at great peril.

    LACK OF SCIENTIFIC CONSISTENCY (by doctors, scientists, and other activists) in the movement against the medical model, allows the psychiatric establishment some leeway to ridicule and marginalize a legitimate social justice movement. This can be done in a similar way that they sometimes effectively use the cult of Scientology to smear us.

    Unfortunately, the movement against the medical model has some advocates who, not only lack scientific consistency, but have literally gone “off the rails” when it comes to analyzing the science around Covid 19, vaccines, and the value of masks etc.

    For example, Dr. Peter Breggin (who was a former champion in the fight against the medical model) is now so far “off the rails,” and so scientifically inconsistent in his recent writings, that he has become a MAJOR LIABILITY to our movement. We must seriously criticize such individuals, and clearly distance ourselves from their highly negative influence on our movement.


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  • Rasx

    You have a powerful story and very well told. You also present many insights into how psychiatry and the medical model divert people’s attention from the very direct experiences of abuse and trauma within family life that is at the heart of why people present with so much psychological distress that gets labeled as “mental illness.”

    However, I think it is essential for all of us to move this particular narrative to another level of analysis.

    Most of these dysfunctional and abusive parents and their entire backward family cultural did not develop out of nowhere, and is not, somehow, the product of “bad genetics.”

    Most abusive parents, themselves, were also the victims of traumatic and abusive histories. This does NOT excuse their behaviors, but should make us DEEPLY analyze all the inherent forms of inequality, prejudice, misogyny, patriarchy, daily trauma, and mind crippling forms of poverty in a class based and profit based economic and political system.

    At the highest level of assessment of all that is wrong with psychiatry and the medical model, is how it DOES EVERY THING POSSIBLE to divert our attention and finger pointing away from examining all the many oppressive institutions that prop up this system.

    For in the final analysis, if we really want to end the medical model (and all its forms of oppression) we will need to make major systemic changes throughout the entire society.


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  • To Jay Joseph, Marie, and others

    I think it is more correct to say that on some level, genetics is a factor in ALL aspects of human behavior. HOWEVER, it also critically important and more correct to emphasize that any kind of so-called “human predisposition” (expressed in genetic makeup) is TRIGGERED and then reinforced by the surrounding environment.

    For example, human beings are capable of behaving very violently and selfishly, especially in highly threatening and highly competitive environments where trauma is a common experience. Are there gene combinations in the human species, that allow for humans to express these behaviors as a necessity of evolutionary survival? Yes!

    At the same time, there is CLEAR evidence in the sociological history of the human species, that in some more egalitarian, less competitive (for natural resources etc.), and with less traumatic experiences, that human beings have behaved in highly cooperative and loving ways, with extremely RARE instances of violence and so-called selfish behaviors. Are there gene combinations in the human species, that ALSO allow for humans to express THESE TYPE OF BEHAVIORS (triggered by the surrounding environment) as a necessity of evolutionary survival? Yes!

    Another important example to consider: If we take two people from roughly the same environment, and subject them to extreme forms of torture – one of the those people might start to mentally breakdown (with forms of psychosis – psychologically splitting off from reality etc.) after (let’s say) 16 hours of such treatment. The OTHER person being tortured might take (let’s say) 21 hours before psychologically splitting off etc.

    Are both environmental history AND GENETICS somehow involved in the difference of the 5 hours that it took to achieve a psychological breakdown for these two individuals. Yes, I believe it correct to posit that analysis.

    HOWEVER, why!!! should our society spend one dime (instead of billions of dollars), and even one minute of time on trying to find some genetic difference between the two individuals in the above scenario???

    We SHOULD INSTEAD be spending ALL our time on finding out why we have a society with all the kind of sociological structures (in the environment) that allows for the existence of these anti-social behaviors to even exist in the first place. AND then focus ALL our attention on creating a social ENVIRONMENT that will bring forward and reinforce the very BEST qualities of the human species.


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  • James, I REALLY respect your open and humble response. Many writers here would NOT have even responded to the criticism in my comment.

    In this type of interview situation, many journalists might hesitate to raise certain controversial questions for fear of being accused of “setting up” a surprise attack on the person being interviewed.

    One way to avoid this from happening, is to alert the person ahead of time that you will be asking a few tough questions on “such and such” issues, in addition to the main topic.

    I am not suggesting this approach always has to be done ahead of time, but there might some occasions where it works best. Just more food for thought for future interviews.

    Respectfully, Richard

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  • Let me preface my comment by saying, I love the writing and interviewing that James Moore does at MIA, including the majority of this piece with David Healy. HOWEVER, someone MISSED talking about the enormous “elephant in the room.”

    James’ very last comment above COULD HAVE BEEN the necessary tough (and sugary) introduction to an essential question by a truly fearless journalist.

    First, I will provide James’ words and then add my own in Italics:

    “Before we wrap up, I do just want to acknowledge that I am so grateful to you because you are one of the few doctors who will get down in the weeds with people like me who have experienced difficulties and have an eye-level conversation with people about their experiences and what they might have learned.
    There is so much humility in doing that that’s missing from many doctors that I’ve interacted with who just put themselves on a pedestal. Also, your long history of curiosity and of looking at these things through a fresh lens and a different perspective.”

    {But I must now ask you a question on a very controversial and serious topic. For years you have been a major advocate and torch carrier for an often highly condemned and criticized so-called “treatment” for depression. Over the last decades reams of new evidenced (including significant numbers of personal horror stories) have emerged citing the extreme dangers of electro-shock, including long term or permanent brain damage, especial severe memory loss and processing issues.
    David, are you willing to be self-critical at this time about your past support for electro-shock, AND also,would you be willing to take the lead in calling for a moratorium on this form of so-called treatment, while a new comprehensive AND independent scientific evaluation could be done on the overall safety, and/or dangers of electro-shock?
    Isn’t this form of self evaluation in keeping with the need for true scientific rigor and upholding a doctors’ pledge “…to do no harm.”}


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  • Well, Brett and Steve

    Now that you mention it, there are indeed drug companies who produce BOTH “anti-psychotic” drugs (major tranquilizers,) AND drugs that treat diabetes.

    Just as there are ALSO pharmaceutical corporations who both produce opiate type pain killers AND the alleged drugs that are meant to “treat” opiate addiction, like suboxone etc. HOW CONVEEENIENT! said the “church lady.”

    Oh, capitalism, what a simply wonderful system!!!


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  • Steve

    I’ll repeat my question:

    “So does your sarcastic humor {mocking human attempts at building a classless society} imply that you believe that a class based profit system FILLED with multiple forms of exploitation (including the medical model) is the very best that human beings are capable of?”

    Human societies need to have both a political and economic structure. If you choose to belittle socialist type solutions, than what system do you propose?

    Steve, you say (about Marx’s socialist/communist model):
    “I am not sure his solution is workable based on the fundamentals of human nature. And to date, history has proven my observations to be accurate.”

    You say your “not sure”, but apparently you’re sure enough to use crude humor to mock those who have attempted to build a more equitable society.

    And you use the phrase “fundamentals of human nature” as your over simplified reasoning for one reason why socialism won’t work.

    What are these so called “fundamentals”? Haven’t we heard a lot about “fundamental of human nature” from the proponents of the medical model to justify their “genetic theories of original sin.”

    And finally, you resort to the false argument “…And to date, history has proven my observations to be accurate.”

    If human beings adopted the view that since prior “history” was unable to successfully create something new and revolutionary, therefore “it never will,” than nothing innovative and truly revolutionary would EVER be discovered.

    Human nature throughout history has proven to be quite malleable, and will clearly respond to the surrounding environment with behaviors of a high degree of “cooperation” or its opposite, “aggression and greed.”

    Historically, non threatening type environments with higher degrees of cooperation and egalitarianism etc. have brought out the very best of human qualities.

    Can’t we learn from these examples? And isn’t it our human responsibility to try our best to find economic and political structures that will truly move humanity forward and reinforce our best qualities as a species?

    Can we say that modern capitalism/imperialism has clearly become a failed experiment that threatens the very existence of the planet. If so, than we need to desperately find a new alternative. What is that alternative?


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  • Steve

    Your other comments above were very on the mark and educational.

    Why resort to joking (using Mad Magazine) about the serious and courageous attempt by human beings (millions who died in these struggles) to try and design and create a classless society without any forms of exploitation?

    The very definition of a stateless and classless communist society is one DEVOID of ANY forms of human exploitation.

    There has NEVER been any truly communist societies YET created on the planet earth. You know this to be true.

    There have been only a few serious attempts at building a “socialist” society. They only lasted, at best, possibly 30 years or so. They were viciously attacked and surrounded by hostile capitalist countries, and also had internal weaknesses related to their newness and ideological shortcomings.

    So does your sarcastic humor imply that you believe that a class based profit system FILLED with multiple forms of exploitation (including the medical model) is the very best that human beings are capable of?


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  • And BTW, Marie. you used the phrase “…and all sorts of other evil traits,” to describe certain human behaviors.

    These behaviors are NOT “evil” – they are ADAPTIVE behaviors that arise when human beings are placed in a highly competitive and often threatening environment. Sometimes certain of these behaviors can be quite necessary and helpful for survival in a very hostile environment.

    I don’t think you would be calling the socially unacceptable (and quite often self-defeating) behaviors that get labeled as “mental illness,” – “evil.”
    Are they not “adaptive” behaviors to a very stressful and often traumatic world?


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  • Marie, you say: “Humans are filled with love, but also with hate, envy, a desire to dominate, and all sorts of other evil traits. And those despicable traits are dominant throughout history and in all sorts of systems.”

    Yes, human beings are capable of both very loving and compassionate behaviors, as well as, selfish and violent behaviors. Are you therefore presenting some sort of “genetic” justification for us to accept exploitation and oppression as a fact of life we must ALWAYS live with?

    Human nature has proven to be an extremely malleable historical entity. The earliest tribal/communal societies were based on very HIGH levels of cooperation out of NECESSITY for their survival.

    Our ultimate goal in rebuilding the world as a better place to live, is to design an economic and political environment that brings out, and reinforces, the very best qualities of the human species, AND diminishes (over time) the more negative qualities.

    Capitalism by its very nature AND design is built upon a hierarchical structure of unequal classes and inherent exploitation of one class over another. The working classes are NEVER paid the full value of the labor they create. They often live in the barest of subsistence levels of survival, and ultimately are made to fight (and die for) wars of political and economic domination over other nations and peoples.

    Socialism (by design) is an attempt to build a society that (over time) can eliminate all class oppression and forms of exploitation. Socialist experiments on this planet are LESS THAN 200 years old. New and emerging societies on this magnitude CANNOT be expected to succeed on their very first attempts.

    Without referring to human genetics, please explain to me what is inherently wrong with the theoretical model of a socialist society?


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  • “This article is almost funny….I wish MIA would no longer publish articles like this, which are ideological, show little insight and have only a marginal connection to mental health.”

    I say:”What’s so funny about peace , love, and understanding.?”

    Of course, capitalism was an advance over feudalism, but that does NOT mean we shouldn’t take a cold hard look at the state of the modern capitalist/imperialist world.

    You say: “Under capitalism in the United States children are educated and most people have health care and housing.”

    The United States has LESS THAN 5% of the worlds’ population. Tell me where and how did this country accumulate all its wealth to create such a high standard of living? Have you ever heard about imperialist domination of Third World countries and their natural resources and cheap labor?

    You say: “Were conditions better under Mao…”

    Well frankly, if one could ask the people living under British controlled feudalism how it compared to life in China during Mao’s last 30 years of life. The average life span of a Chinese person DOUBLED between the 1949 successful socialist revolution, and when Mao died in 1977.

    Yes, China today is a very repressive state capitalist government and system competing for world dominance with other Eastern and Western imperialist powers.

    Where is YOUR nuance when it comes to analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the very first socialist systems historically attempted in a world where they were surrounded by hostile capitalist powers hell bent on their imminent destruction? Why can’t systems built upon “cooperation, peace, love, and understanding” be made to work for the betterment of human kind?

    We live in a capitalist/imperialist dominated world where mental health systems in EVERY country are part of the status quo that both reinforces and uses an oppressive medical model as a critical institution for the “powers that be” to maintain power and control over the masses.

    I am GLAD that MIA chooses to have articles that deeply contextualizes the current state of the medical model.


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  • How about ADDING a NUMBER 8) explanation to the number 7) (which seems to make the most scientific sense).

    How can this entire article be written WITHOUT making reference to the kind of world human beings are currently living in???

    “7) The final explanation is that antidepressant drugs (or treatment in general) may be responsible for more harm than benefit. Thus, even if a small number of people experience a short-term benefit, this may be offset by long-term failure and an increased number of relapses.”


    8) Human beings live in a very stressful and traumatic world filled with economic, political, and social inequality, with ongoing daily stressors that continuously push people over the edge of psychological tolerance. NO AMOUNT of so-called “treatment” or other social support systems can overcome this environmental disadvantage. Make the world a more hospitable and compassionate place to live, AND THEN the depression rates will start to decline dramatically.


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  • This was a very well written indictment of psychiatry’s position on prescribing antidepressants. It does reveal some of the very limited information and faulty research which some psychiatrists use to still defend their prescribing of these highly dangerous drugs.

    Dan Kriegman said: “There appears to be a tendency for antidepressants to reduce emotional reactivity which for some people may include a significant decrease in distressing thoughts and feelings.”

    I would disagree with the word, “significant.” The actual research show a “minor” reduction in so-called “symptoms.” AND I would definitely add the word “short-term” to describe the so-called “decrease in distressing thoughts and feelings.”

    All of this research is based on a relatively short-term period of analysis of those people receiving these mind altering drugs. And all of this research IGNORES the significant number of people (victims) who end up going down the “rabbit hole” of a seemingly endless number of new prescriptions of other drugs, including dangerous drug cocktails.

    Higher doses of a new and different SSRI (with different sets of bad side effects), and then benzos (dealing with akathisia and the higher amounts of anxiety as their depression fails to remit), and then mood stabilizers (to deal with the SSRI caused mania etc.), and then anti-psychotics (to deal with the drug induced insomnia and related psychosis etc.), and the list goes on, with perhaps multiple hospitalizations and failed suicide attempts.

    AND what about all the SUCCESSFUL suicide attempts – who in the field of psychiatry and Big Pharma are actually interested to know and report those oppressive statistics?

    Psychiatry and Big Pharma keep using the “blame the victim” phrase, “TREATMENT RESISTANT DEPRESSION” to describe patients who either don’t get better, or who will most likely get worse over time from their drugging.

    Let’s start turning this phrase back on these criminals, and called it more accurately, “TREATMENT CAUSED DEPRESSION.”

    My only criticism of this blog is that it does not go far enough. When we consider the millions of people harmed by psychiatry and ALL their mind altering and dangerous drugs, the only moral conclusion we can arrive at is to abolish psychiatry, and hold some of their leaders (along with the Big Pharma CEOS) criminally responsible.

    AND lastly, psychiatry is now too big and important to the survival of the profit based capitalist system, to be allowed to fail, or have its power diminished. Mere perseverance of exposure and rational thinking or writing (THOUGH IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY) will NOT be enough to stop all forms of psychiatric abuse. Revolutionary systemic change is essential to finally end this type of institutional oppression.


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  • Bravo! This is a very scientific and well researched blog.

    I would differ with the “pillar crumbling” analogy for the “chemical imbalance” theory AND for current psychiatric genetic theories.

    We cannot underestimate how much power psychiatry and their medical model wields in today’s world. They have become crucial “pillars” in propping up and sustaining a profit based capitalist system.

    In today’s world it is now quite possible for “alternate realities” to co-exist in the vast “marketplace of ideas.” Major systemic change will be required to bring down these “pillars ” of oppression.


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  • Kindredspirit

    (I posted this recent comment in another very old thread that you might not have seen)


    I am so glad you are posting here at MIA again. I read some of your past comments regarding your decision to step back for a while.

    I wholeheartedly agree that MIA has lost some of its past activist edge, and has somewhat retreated into a more limited “educational” role. This “educational” role has unfortunately been divorced (and consciously steered away) from some of the more volatile polarizing developments in the broader society.

    It is a mistake to separate the intense battles over science (on many fronts) and “alternative realities” in the current political realm, from what is happening in the overall battle to end psychiatric oppression and the medical model.

    I DO understand the intense political pull (“on the path of least resistance”) to steer things away (and separate out) these struggles, for fear of losing part of your audience. I also believe all this was happening (at the same time) as the earlier wave of anti-psychiatric activism was suffering an overall ebb from a previous high water mark of activism – that is, the 6-8 years following the 2010 arrival of RW’s path breaking book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.”

    During those years there was a failure on the part of existing activists to consolidate some type (or types) of advanced anti-psychiatry organizations to take advantage of the current crest of political exposures and activism at that time. These rises and falls (ebbs and flows) are a natural occurrence in long term political struggles, and we have to analyze and sum up these developments (and our mistakes) in light of current political developments.

    I don’t have to tell you just how polarized and dangerous the current political climate is, and how important it is for us to chart a course that will move things away from a devastating form of Right Wing totalitarianism.

    On a positive note, I do notice a growing deeper political frustration and anger in MIA content, that reflects the awareness that simply doing more and better exposures of psychiatry and the medical model will not just somehow cause their “house of cards” to fall.

    Psychiatry and their medical model has now evolved into such an important cog in the maintenance of the profit based capitalist system, that simply doing more scientific type exposures (and desperately seeking the broadest audience) will not fundamentally bring down psychiatry. Anti-medical model critiques will just be labelled as another “alternative reality” in the vast “marketplace of ideas.”

    The struggle against psychiatric oppression and the medical model IS (by its nature) and must (more and more) become connected to all the other major struggles for social justice in an overall oppressive world. And this will require activism and political exposures, that are willing to risk losing part of ones audience, in order to uphold the truth and draw the very real connections between all of these important struggles. I certainly hope this is the direction things are going, and I will do my best to encourage things in this direction.

    Carry on! Richard

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  • Kindredspirit

    I am so glad you are posting here at MIA again. I read some of your past comments regarding your decision to step back for a while.

    I wholeheartedly agree that MIA has lost some of its past activist edge, and has somewhat retreated into a more limited “educational” role. This “educational” role has unfortunately been divorced (and consciously steered away) from some of the more volatile polarizing developments in the broader society.

    It is a mistake to separate the intense battles over science (on many fronts) and “alternative realities” in the current political realm, from what is happening in the overall battle to end psychiatric oppression and the medical model.

    I DO understand the intense political pull (“on the path of least resistance”) to steer things away (and separate out) these struggles, for fear of losing part of your audience. I also believe all this was happening (at the same time) as the earlier wave of anti-psychiatric activism was suffering an overall ebb from a previous high water mark of activism – that is, the 6-8 years following the 2010 arrival of RW’s path breaking book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic.”

    During those years there was a failure on the part of existing activists to consolidate some type (or types) of advanced anti-psychiatry organizations to take advantage of the current crest of political exposures and activism at that time. These rises and falls (ebbs and flows) are a natural occurrence in long term political struggles, and we have to analyze and sum up these developments (and our mistakes) in light of current political developments.

    I don’t have to tell you just how polarized and dangerous the current political climate is, and how important it is for us to chart a course that will move things away from a devastating form of Right Wing totalitarianism.

    On a positive note, I do notice a growing deeper political frustration and anger in MIA content, that reflects the awareness that simply doing more and better exposures of the psychiatry and the medical model will not just somehow cause their “house of cards” to fall.

    Psychiatry and their medical has now evolved into such an important cog in the maintenance of the profit based capitalist system, that simply doing more scientific type exposures (and desperately seeking the broadest audience) will not fundamentally bring down psychiatry. Anti-medical model critiques will just be labelled as another “alternative reality” in the vast “marketplace of ideas.”

    The struggle against psychiatric oppression and the medical model IS (by its nature) and must (more and more) become connected to all the other major struggles for social justice in an overall oppressive world. And this will require activism and political exposures, that are willing to risk losing part of ones audience, in order to uphold the truth and draw the very real connections between all of these important struggles. I certainly hope this is the direction things are going, and I will do my best to encourage things in this direction.

    Carry on! Richard

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  • “The so called mRNA COVID vaccine was a total failure.”

    Huh! Where is the science to back up this statement?

    Yes, vaccinated people can be infected with Covid, but the vaccines have literally saved MILLIONS of lives across the planet.

    There is clear evidence that vaccines (and certain drugs) prevent serious Covid disease, reduce hospitalization, and YES, reduce the overall number of deaths by a significant factor.

    And this success of the vaccines has NOT been offset by any significant amount of serious side effects.


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  • “Human life begins at CONCEPTION, not birth….”

    Says who? Scrapping cells off of the uterine wall is NOT ending a “human life.”

    Contraception that interferes with an embryo’s ability to attach to the uterine wall is NOT ending a “human life.”

    These so called morality debates CANNOT be separated from a women’s right to control her own body and reproductive rights.

    If you support the human rights of all people to absolutely determine what drugs or other psychiatric procedures are performed on their bodies, than you must also support that same right for women when it comes to contraception and abortion.


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  • Russell

    Thank you so much for that reply – I am glad to support you in any way I can.

    You know I was thinking about another very sad and enraging aspect to your story. If you sent this blog summary of your daughter’s murder to EVERY single doctor, nurse, hospital administrator, judge etc. who were complicit in her murder, they would most likely (perhaps secretly) express relief that her death occurred “on your watch” so to speak. This would (in their minds) potentially absolved them from any financial and/or moral liability related to her death. AND I am convinced they would actually blame you and your wife for her demise for not fully buying into (or in so many ways resisting) their Draconian and thoroughly oppressive forms of so-called “treatment.”

    This would just be another very pernicious form of a “blame the victim” approach, so they can avoid any type of moral, legal, or financial responsibility for her murder. I hope it is somehow possible for you to legally sue these criminals, and then use that money to help lay bare the oppressive nature of psychiatry and their bogus medical model.

    Your daughter was blessed to have such courageous fighters standing in her corner (doing the very best they could) during this horrendous nightmare.

    Carry on! Much Respect, Richard

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  • Russ and Carol

    So deeply sorry for your loss.

    I must say that this personal story represents the worst kind of torture and psychiatric abuse imaginable. It reads like a modern day horror story that renders “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and Chucky in “Child’s Play” seem like simple nursery rhymes with playful characters, next to those real life characters upholding AND practicing psychiatry and the medical model.

    I skimmed through this story because I’ve heard the story before (having read several HUNDRED psychiatric abuse horror stories) and also having a dear friend who suffered similar types of psychiatric oppression. I also worked 22 years in community “mental health” (as an LMHC) and know the cruelty potential, and harm done by psychiatry and their entire medical model.

    I simply cannot read EVERY detail ANYMORE, because I just become totally enraged . . . Can there be ANY DOUBT after reading this, that there needs to be major systemic POLITICAL solutions to end this horrific madness engineered by Big Pharma and psychiatry.

    Psychiatry must be targeted and ultimately abolished. And this can only happen if we are willing to challenge the future existence of a profit based capitalist system, that feeds off of, AND reinforces its existence.

    I deeply admire Carol and Russ Stence for speaking out about this horrific abuse, and for refusing to allow themselves to be crushed by the psychiatric murder of their precious daughter, Catherine – may her spirit live on in your heroic efforts to seek justice for all psychiatric victims.


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  • Joanna and Mark

    So glad you shook up the establishment with your recent research and written articles. AND they (psychiatry and Big Pharma) will seemingly NEVER cease to come up with excuses and bogus arguments to justify their past 30 years of rotten science and harmful “treatments” when it comes to depression (and SSRI drugs).

    What stands out most of all in all of these debates is just how desperate those in power are to NOT have people seriously examine what is wrong with their profit based societies (and related culture) in which they have so much power and privilege. For them, it ALWAYS has to be faulty genes and biology to explain troubled human psychological states of mind and related behaviors.

    And when we talk about environmental stressors or other trauma type events in people’s lives, yes, some of these events will exist (through chance happenings) in every society or system.

    However, some systems, have inherent forms of class divisions and other forms of exploitation and trauma built in to their systemic DNA. This creates an environment with overly intense stressors that more often pushes the human genetic genome to its extreme limits of ability to cope in normal ways.

    Of course, most likely all neural chemicals (and their processes) in the brain are somehow connected to depressive or psychotic type thought patterns, HOWEVER, that says nothing about true causation and/or about how to safely resolve (in a positive way) those kinds of extreme human psychological states.

    Human beings have the genetic capability to be very violent, AND also to exhibit very compassionate and loving behaviors. Certain DIFFERENT environments will trigger both of these examples of human thought patterns and behaviors.

    Our vitally important historic task, is to create the environment that will ultimately bring out the very best of what the human species has to offer the planet and the Universe.


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  • “In fact, well-known mainstream psychiatrists now claim that anti-psychiatrists have promoted the chemical imbalance myth to make psychiatry look stupid.”

    This is the equivalent of Trump and all his Right Wing fascist supporters blaming the insurrection on Antifa and left wingers etc.

    Some of the most important things to take away from this new report are the following:

    1) Mad in America has been reporting this same type of science for over a decade. This should add some credibility to all those critical of psychiatry and their medical model.

    2) Over 90% of the public still firmly believes this myth about “chemical imbalances.” The public needs to know that Big Pharma and psychiatry literally spent hundreds of billions of dollars in the world’s largest PR campaign (for over 3 decades) to spread this lie about serotonin, and promote their oppressive diagnoses and harmful drugs – all at the altar of a profit based capitalist system.

    3) Big Pharma and psychiatry know they have spread lies about “chemical imbalances” and have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to correct this erroneous thinking so prevalent in the mass consciousness. And we know perfectly well why they have done nothing about this, and will continue to do nothing.

    4) Unfortunately, this new report will most likely not in any way reduce the prolific prescribing of these dangerous antidepressant drugs. The power of psychiatry with their medical model and mass drugging is just TOO IMPORTANT for maintaining the status quo to be allowed to suffer any profit or power losses.

    “Come to the Cabaret”


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  • Unfortunately, Twelve Step programs promote circular reasoning type arguments that end up “blaming the victim” for their inability to “get sober.”

    For example, if someone keeps relapsing they are told, “you’re just not working the Steps the right way.” So there can be NO questioning of their “disease concept ” of addiction, or their religious moralizing with slogans like “Just Let Go. and Let God” – “You Haven’t Turned Your Will Over to God Yet” etc…

    This type of moralizing makes people feel like they are “personal failures.” INSTEAD of looking for and developing the actual mental and physical skills needed to break a serious addiction.

    Millions and millions of people have developed the necessary skills to stop self destructive habits without 12 Step groups, religion, or counseling of any kind.


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  • AA is just another “disease” model that lacks any scientific proof that a true “disease” process exists within the human body.

    Yes, AA and NA does help some people, but unfortunately its model dominates 90% of the rehab industry. This becomes a major “turn off,” and quite often a “turn away” for people who need desperate help for addiction problems.

    There are other alternative self help groups that neither push religion or the the disease model of addiction, such as Smart Recovery and Rational Recovery.


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  • “Not sure what this has to do with psychiatric diagnosis and treatment?…It’s a very complicated issue.”

    No, it’s really not all that complicated. Especially when you consider that HALF of the U.S. population just had a fundamental human right (the control of reproductive rights and one’s own body) taken away by the mere stroke of a pen.

    Taken away by so-called “justices” who once again are trying to impose their “theology” on people’s “biology.” This is an example of patriarchy in one of its worst forms; not fundamentally all that different than what we criticize in those countries ruled by extreme forms of Muslim theology.

    I applaud Madison and MIA for publishing this important summary of author Kevin Carriere’s journal article on a reproductive justice framework.

    And this issue (just like racial oppression) has EVERYTHING to do with psychiatric diagnoses and the medical model. Both minorities and women in this society are more likely to become victims of all forms of psychiatric abuse than other segments of our society.

    AND this recent SCOTUS ruling will only ADD additional social and economic stressors to both women and minorities, especially those without the economic means to pursue appropriate medical care.

    One CANNOT really call themselves a feminist OR believe in equal rights for ALL human beings, unless they firmly uphold the fundamental right of a woman to have an abortion – ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!


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  • Rebel

    We are ALL political – whether we want to be or not.

    We are either “political activists” – trying move society toward certain political aims and goals.

    OR we are “political fodder” – people being moved by OTHER forces in society who MAY NOT necessarily be doing so in our best interests.

    If someone chooses to go off by themselves (as an “individual”) and just meditate or pray for change, then I would argue that they will be subject to the “political” whims of those in society who are actually engaged in political activities affecting the very institutions we must live under.

    Yes, “politics” can be risky, but I would argue that it is FAR MORE risky to let others do it for you.

    BTW, “politics” does not necessarily mean “running for office,” but can involve ANY TYPE of effort we make to influence how people think and act in the world around us, especially as it pertains to certain established institutions in society.


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  • Rebel says:
    “With all due respect, “theoreticality is not practicality.” The comments made speak almost of “genuine socialism” as a “utopia.” Sadly, “utopias” are just that “utopias” and exist only in fiction and fantasy.”

    Nowhere have I EVER referred to socialism as any kind of “utopia.” These are your words, and a “straw man” argument about the nature of socialism.

    I spoke above about the GRADUAL elimination of exploitation under socialism. Socialism as a TRANSITIONAL SOCIETY (on a long journey to a truly classless society) will take many generations of education and transformation of both the young and the old.

    This period of “transformation” will require continuous struggle within all political and social structures. The “birthmarks” from the past history of capitalist divisions and exploitative thinking within society will require continuous debate and wrangling over new ideas and a total “breaking with the past.”

    This will be a dynamic and exciting process of political change – never boring – with the the constant risk of some people in society trying to take things back to past forms of exploitation and domination.

    Rebel says:
    “The answer always resides in each individual and his or her relationship to Spirit. …In my way of thinking, it seems almost delusional to even consider that “socialism” can do it either.”

    Unless “individuals” become part of an actual political movement for major systemic change against all the oppressive institutions within a profit based capitalist society – NOTHING will change.

    The “spirit” we need is that which is can only be derived from the collective struggle of humanity for a better and more egalitarian world. This kind of struggle (creating a new and fertile environment) is what has the potential to bring out the very best in the human spirit, and an evolving human nature.

    In fact we are now in real danger of losing what little democracy actually exists in the U.S., and descending into full blown fascism.

    What would truly be “delusional” in these circumstances, is to expect the current status quo of a profit based capitalist system to solve the very problems it has inherently created itself. Psychiatry and the medical model are an essential feature of this status quo.

    To Rebel and others:
    it is time we begin to explore brand new political and social options in the world. Climate destruction, world war, and the developing second “civil war,” demands we think “big” and “outside the box.”


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  • Birdsong

    There are NO genuine socialist or communist countries in the world today, so your comment above equating systemic flaws regarding psychiatry and these two types of systems, does not make complete sense.

    Theoretically, there is NO contradiction between capitalism and psychiatry. Capitalism is a class based system that, by its very nature, has built in mechanisms of exploitation and oppression – it was NEVER intended to be fair or egalitarian by its own design.

    Theoretically, genuine socialism is, by design,, meant to gradually eliminate classes and all forms of human exploitation. So psychiatry (by its true nature) is in total contradiction to these goals and systemic aims.

    Yes, it is possible in a newly emerging socialist society for there to still be leftover forms of psychiatric type abuses. After all, the medical model (and all its pseudoscience) has a deep hold in the thinking of most people in the world today.

    The struggle against the medical model will be an important struggle within the newly emerging socialist societies. HOWEVER, it will be FAR EASIER to argue against psychiatry and the medical model under a socialist system, because it DIRECTLY contradicts the fundamental aims and goals of socialist theory and practice.

    In contrast, psychiatry and the medical model, has become an ESSENTIAL FEATURE for the future existence of capitalism. It serves the profit motives of Big Pharma, along with the power motives behind expanding the guild interests of psychiatry. AND IMPORTANTLY, it shifts people’s attention away from the inherent exploitation, alienation, and trauma within a class based profit system to make people focus on “bad genes” and “personal flaws.” AND of course, it drugs and anesthetizes potentially rebellious sections of society.


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  • lookingUP

    I have been a political activist since the late 1960’s; that’s when I first began to question the myth of the American Dream and American Exceptualism. I quickly became a critic of the U.S capitalist/imperialist system, and I am still a firm believer that a new form of socialism is the next step that humanity must take to save the planet.

    I first became a critic of psychiatry and the medical model in the early 1990’s, and I fought its takeover of the community “mental health” system while working in a New Bedford MA. clinic (as an LMHC counselor) for 22 years. I worked with hundreds of people facing all types of severe psychological distress. I did my best to keep people away from psychiatry and their disease/drug based approaches to so-called “treatment.” In this period of time I think I helped some people – but only they could fully answer your inquiry.

    Since MIA stated a decade ago. I have 17 blogs published at this website – the very same number as Niall McLaren. You should check through these blogs to compare our approaches to not only “helping” people , but also proposing a way forward.

    I have some respect for Niall McLaren and the work he has done to help people.

    In this historical period where class contradictions in the world have reached such a perilous point of intensity, I have little patience with people (who should know better) pointing everyone in the direction of *reforming* institutions and systems (like psychiatry and capitalism) when the real world evidence says they now belong in the dustbin of history.


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  • Jim Phelps says: “To be truly helpful, Mad in America should help readers with these kinds of decisions, not fan flames.”

    This statement is not only UNTRUE, but also defamatory towards any FAIR evaluation of the content of Mad in America (MIA) over the past decade.

    MIA has published an enormous amount of content that provides real world examples (both theoretical and practical) about how to survive and overcome mental states of severe psychological distress. This includes a plethora of alternative types of NON-psychiatric drug related therapies, AND personal stories of recovery (that includes stories of those who were harmed by the medical model approaches).

    At times, MIA published numerous stories of those people who found the short term and very cautious use of psychiatric drugs helpful in their journey to “recovery.”

    An absolute necessary part of that information MIA published over the past decade has been the dangers associated with the use of ALL psychiatric drugs. This is because NO ONE ELSE on the planet (except for a tiny group of authors of books and activists) was alerting people to these dangers.

    We cannot discuss this entire topic without addressing just how pervasive and prolific the entire medical model has become in the world, AND how this creates a gigantic “path of least resistance” even for more well informed clinicians.

    I worked for 22 years in a community health clinic in New Bedford MA., and watched the takeover of the medical model and the rampant uncontrolled growth of psychiatric drug prescriptions I worked with more than two dozen psychiatrists and nurse practitioners in that period of time.

    The few drug prescribers that I respected (including several who read Robert Whitaker’s books etc.) STILL, despite all their attempts at being a careful prescriber of these drugs, would get caught on a dangerous “path of least resistance.”

    There were so many people coming into the clinic in distress (many already on these drugs) and already deeply indoctrinated by psychiatry’s and Big Pharma’s “chemical imbalance” theory.

    This is a PR campaign never seen in human history before, to the tune of several hundred billion dollars, that has come to totally dominate the public narrative around anything related to “mental health.”

    Even the so-called informed drug prescribers could not avoid getting caught up in the “RABBIT HOLE” of psychiatric drug prescribing. This is where one drug is not “working” and causes all kinds of uncomfortable (and sometimes intolerable side effects like ‘akathisia”), and one NEW drug, or COCKTAIL of drugs is prescribed to deal with the so-called “symptoms” caused by the initial drug.

    Neither Robert Whitaker OR Jim Phelps discussed (above) how so-called more benign and “careful” prescribing of psychiatric drugs on the “path of least resistance” often leads to the extremely harmful and dangerous “RABBIT HOLE” of drug prescribing.

    There have hundreds of stories and comments by MIA writers and readers detailing stories of the harmful and dangerous “rabbit hole” of psychiatric drug prescribing that has led to sometimes decades of personal suffering and anguish.

    When Dr. Phelps says: “When to use an antidepressant, and for how long, requires careful, personalized decision-making—which MANY [my emphasis] psychiatrists do (granted, not enough. Find a young one if you can).”

    This is simply wishful thinking on his part, and a fundamental untruth about the state of his profession. Anyone who has worked around psychiatrists in hospitals and clinics knows that they are clearly on the “path of least resistance ” of drug prescribing and more often than not, start people down the dangerous “rabbit hole” from which many victims never return. This fact includes even a few “well meaning” and partially informed (about psych drug dangers) doctors.


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  • Niall and others

    Let me prefaced my following comment with this statement. Niall McLaren comes across as a well meaning critic of psychiatry with some partial truths about what is wrong with the medical model. If I ever encountered a psychiatrist (God forbid!) in a hospital or jail, I would much prefer it were him (and a few other writers at MIA) than anyone else out there. BUT, when it comes to proposing the way forward, there are serious problems and contradictions in his analysis.

    Niall said: ” Despite the claims made on his {Szasz} behalf, he had no positive effect on psychiatry as it exists, I think he actually made things worse because it hardened attitudes all round.”

    What should we make of this highly confused comment?

    First off, Szasz’s greatest accomplishment was his brilliant presentation of the “myth of mental illness.” Should we really expect it to have a “positive” effect on such a backward and oppressive institution, other than educating the public and other potential victims, and perhaps, creating conditions within psychiatry for it to begin to split apart and be rendered less able to cause harm to people.

    AND, the second half of Niall’s above comment: “…he [Szasz] actually made things worse because it hardened attitudes all round.” is simply a recipe for telling people to AVOID exposing the truth about something because it could potentially polarize people who become more firm in their belief system.

    So what should we conclude from this? That it is better to remain silent and NOT tell the truth about oppressive theories or practice, and essentially “bury our heads in the sand” and hope things somehow get better by presenting tiny “bits and pieces” of truth, with the wish that people MAGICALLY put it altogether somewhere and sometime in the future. With this type of approach in the historical account of political change movements, NO human progress would have ever occurred.

    Yes, Szasz’s shortcomings were many – as I outlined a few above. BUT his exposure (as far as it went) of the “myth of mental illness” should be UPHELD AND CELEBRATED, because it has helped create more favorable conditions for true anti-psychiatry (and anti medical model) activists to unite that struggle with other social justice movements for more revolutionary systemic change in the future.

    Niall can talk about the “profit” hungry drug corporations and the fact that psychiatry and Big Pharma have misused their “power” etc. etc… BUT he is not willing to ever identify the fact that ALL THIS is taking place within a highly oppressive class based – profit based – capitalist/imperialist system.

    QUESTIONS: 1) Can psychiatry and the medical model be fundamentally changed and/or eliminated (your choice) WITHIN the current evolution of modern capitalism?
    2) Are they (psychiatry and capitalism) so mutually dependent on the other, that their future existence and trajectory in history cannot be separated?
    3) Isn’t it beyond the time to educate people about the truth of this symbiotic relationship, instead of FEARING that it’s TOO POLITICAL or might somehow lead to more POLARIZATION etc.?

    For Niall (to knowingly) leave out this kind of analysis and fail to address these kind of issues, is MISLEADING, and sadly ends up essentially LYING (regardless of intentions) to the masses about what we are truly up against in this insane world.

    The “polarization” that Niall and others fear so much, is happening at an accelerated pace (for many reasons) in this country (and others in Europe), AND BY REMAINING SILENT OR HALF STEPPING WITH THE TRUTH, it will do NOTHING except allow the forces of oppression and MORE authoritarianism to get STRONGER!

    We can and must do better than this!


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  • Nicmart

    You said: “Szasz also supported economic freedom for all people.”

    What if a section (or class of people) representing 10 percent of the population controls 70 percent of all the wealth in a country, and the bottom 50 percent of the society controls only 2 percent of the wealth?

    AND what if this same class (at the top) makes all the rules in society, that more often then not, totally benefits the interests of that same top 10 percent?

    Is this really “economic FREEDOM [my emphasis] for all people…”?

    It is these sort of very vague political platitudes (throwing around words like “freedom”) repeated by Right leaning Libertarians (like Szasz), that have no real meaning when tested in the concrete world.

    OR should I say, they really become political justifications for continuing all the enormous inequalities in a class based “*free*market” capitalist system.


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  • Nicmart

    There is a huge difference between being tolerant of people’s right to their own spirituality, AND the existence of a highly oppressive institution. such as psychiatry. When it comes to evaluating and acting against oppressive institutions, a “live and let live” approach is a cowardly moral abandonment of principle.

    Yes, I would give kudos to Szasz for his stance on homosexuality and his related criticism of psychiatry. BUT I would hardly call his stance on the cold blooded murderer, Dan White, some sort of courageous moral high ground. This is just plain moral sensibility – 101.

    As to the so-called use of psychiatric oppression under socialism, your historical definition of countries that were indeed genuinely “socialist” would probably radically differ from mine. The Soviet Union, for example, was a “state capitalist” type regime when they used some of these oppressive means of social control.


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  • Birdsong

    I never used the word “conspiracy,” but I do frequently use the word “collusion” to describe the relationship between Big Pharma and psychiatry.

    Psychiatry in the 1960’s (as an oft disparaged and dwindling profession) was a “would be” medical specialty in a desperate search for a “science” to justify its existence and increase its power and influence.

    What they found (and unfortunately implemented on a grand scale) was a highly oppressive and harmful “pseudo-science.” And as things evolved over the past four decades, the capitalist system (as a whole) was more than a willing participant AND beneficiary in these developments

    Any careful reading of Robert Whitaker’s several books shows clear documentation of an increasing amount of collusion (on many levels) between psychiatry and Big Pharma beginning, in the 1960’s up to the very present. And all this required the ability to work within the political realm by finding the means to manipulate, and ultimately control decisions that took place at the FDA. Just examine the game of “musical chairs” that takes place where former FDA appointees end up on the boards of Big Pharma corporations and vice versa.

    People may try, in these troubling times, to focus more on the “personal more than the political,” but this is becoming increasingly impossible to do given the mounting political polarization and the high stakes in each and every political decision being made these days. We can no longer afford to NOT to be involved in the political realm of things.

    Birdsong, just listen to the Jan. 6 hearings. The word “revolution” has been repeated many times, representing many different political agendas out there. Do we want to go forward in history to a more humane and egalitarian society, or go backwards by just maintaining the status quo, or something FAR WORSE – which is where the Right Wing wants to take us?


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  • Szasz, would not declare himself as “anti-psychiatry,” perhaps because he was not really thoroughly opposed to the medical model, and/or did not want psychiatry to be stripped of its medical license or legitimacy as a so-called medical discipline.

    Szasz’s right wing (pro capitalist) form of libertarianism blinded him from uniting (in the 1960’s) his profoundly valuable and radical critique of aspects of the medical model with the rising anti-imperialist, Black Liberation, and rising women’s liberation movements. This was a major missed historical opportunity to advance the overall struggle against psychiatric abuse.

    Where was Szasz’s critique of Big Pharma colluding with psychiatry’s growing proliferation of psychiatric drugging and their totally corrupt way of testing (with ghost writers and manipulated data etc.)? After all, apparently everyone has a right to sell what they want, when they want, and make billions of dollars at the expense of doing enormous harm to millions of psychiatric victims.

    AND everyone apparently has a right to declare themselves a religion, even when they function in reality as a dangerous cult. AND why not work with, and unite with them against psychiatry, because (in their ‘religious” view) psychiatry competes with their same base of potential recruits. Never mind the fact, that connecting the movement against psychiatric abuse with this dangerous cult, has created enormous obstacles (including being discredited by association), which still plagues our movement to this very day.

    Szasz was a complex historical figure who made major contributions to exposing aspects of the medical model, but he also had major shortcomings that limited his ability to have a much greater impact on ending psychiatric abuse. Unfortunately today, Dr. Peter Breggin suffers from some of the same type (as Szasz) of ideological and political shortcomings that now makes him much more of a liability to our movement than an asset.


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  • To DW and others

    Thanks for your meaningful reply and question.

    I also strongly believe we SHOULD definitely fight for reforms and incremental changes as we militantly oppose the medical model and all forms of psychiatric oppression. We cannot and should not ignore (or put off to the future) trying to help those in the present moment being harmed by psychiatry and their medical model.

    HOWEVER, there is an important strategic orientation as to how best to carry out these day to day struggles for meaningful reform and basic protection from psychiatric harm.

    The struggle for reform MUST BE part of an overall strategy for genuine revolutionary change. AND I mean not JUST revolutionary change against the medical model, but MOST DEFINITELY to the overarching economic and political system (profit based capitalism) which gave rise to, and now perpetuates and sustains the medical model.

    If we fail to link to link these two struggles we are MISLEADING and, frankly, LYING to people about what it will actually require to end all forms of psychiatric abuse and the medical model. Without this broader strategy, people will gradually become demoralized and trapped within dead end reformist approaches to change.

    This demoralization and desperate type (narrow) reformist approaches is happening as we speak. Any careful reading of MIA blogs AND the comment section over the past decade, can see the slow (but obvious) spread of political demoralization and its impact on the content of people’s activism.

    We now have MORE THAN ENOUGH credible scientists and experts AND articulate psychiatric survivors, AND published books and journal articles, THAT THOROUGHLY EXPOSES the “chemical imbalance” theory, and ALL the harm done by the DSM, psychiatric drugs, and ALL their various components of the medical model.

    YET, psychiatry and their proliferation of drugging and forced hospitalizations, and overall public indoctrination of the “chemical imbalance” theory is continuing its spread and growth in exponential ways. THE MEDICAL MODEL IS NOW STRONGER TODAY THAN EVER AND STILL GROWING – HOW IS THIS STILL POSSIBLE?

    Those people who think psychiatry’s “house of cards” will suddenly collapse when we reach a certain mass of scientific exposures and reformist activism, are unfortunately, sadly deluding themselves and others.

    We must carefully examine the growth of the medical model (psychiatry and its colluding partner – Big Pharma) over the past 4 decades, and understand how it has evolved into a vital pillar of support for preserving the capitalist system.

    Drug corporation profits (fueled by the proliferation of psych drugging) has now become an important and necessary pillar for sustaining the U.S. economy.

    As the economic and political crisis (pre-civil war type polarization and threats of outright rebellion and possible fascism) expands in the the U.S., the medical model’s “genetic theories of original sin” take on even greater importance.

    They DO NOT want people to start examining the inherent flaws within the capitalist system, with all its trauma conditions, inequalities, periodic economic crises, and inevitable drive toward inter imperialist wars and destruction of the planet’s environment.

    They DO NOT want people to understand that their various forms of psychological distress, alienation, and despair are rooted within their daily conflicts with a grossly imperfect and traumatic environment. An environment that DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

    The “powers that be” benefit tremendously from having people overly focused on so-called “bad genetics” and inherent personal human flaws.

    AND most definitely, the “powers that be” benefit tremendously from having major sections of the potentially rebellious masses anesthetized by mind altering AND mind numbing psychiatric drugs.

    Over the past 4 decades, psychiatry and their medical model, has evolved to the point where its future destiny CANNOT BE SEPARATED from the future of the capitalist system. They each need the other for their existence. The capitalist ruling classes will NOT allow psychiatry to lose its current role in society nor its level of power – it’s too valuable to them. To them, we are just an “alternate reality” and an “alternate set of facts” to be relegated to the back pages of the news in their vast “marketplace of ideas.” Kept within this “vast marketplace” we are of no fundamental threat to the status quo.

    So my concluding point is as follows: We will NOT succeed in ending all forms of psychiatric abuse, or eliminate the medical model, unless we are prepared to also end the very system that sustains and perpetuates psychiatric oppression. We cannot and should not separate these two struggles – they both need to be linked together as we take on the daily struggles to help and protect potential psychiatric victims.

    There are many people who write at MIA that are aware of the connections between the medical model and capitalism. HOWEVER, they either choose, or allow themselves to be constantly sucked onto the demoralizing and dead end “path of least resistance” – a path of very pragmatic and narrow incremental change.

    Keep in mind that all this is taking place in a country that is standing on the PRECIPICE of a civil war and a quick slide into outright fascism.



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  • This interview completely misses the mark, as do most of today’s critics of the medical model. It ends up being a partial expression of the truth that will sadly go nowhere, except to an unfortunate reformist dead end.

    “You quote Richard Buckminster Fuller in your book, and he said, “You never change something by fighting the existing reality, to change something, build a new model that makes the current model obsolete.”
    How do we go about making the current model obsolete when so much power shapes and controls it?”

    My question is: why use this insightful quote of Buckminster Fuller if you’re NOT GOING TO APPLY IT TO THE CURRENT REALITY WE FACE with the oppressive medical model and the enormous power of psychiatry and Big Pharma?


    The medical model and its future is now inseparably bound up in the overall future of capitalism. They now each need the other for their existence.

    The medical model shifts people’s focus away from examining the systemic flaws within capitalism, to so-called inherent genetic flaws in the human species as the basis for all human despair and oppression in the world. AND it drugs and anesthetizes those sections of the masses (who might potentially rise up against this status quo) to render them (physically and mentally) as no longer a serious threat. All the while Big Pharma makes enormous profits and psychiatry retains such enormous power over people’s lives.


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  • A good exposure of what is wrong and oppressive with the medical model.

    “chemical imbalances (now a discarded theory)”

    While a few psychiatric leaders have publicly disavowed the “chemical imbalance” theory, it is simply not true that this theory has been “discarded” by the medical model.

    There are still hundreds of so-called legitimate medical online websites and clinical service descriptions of “mental health treatment” facilities that repeat a version of the “chemical imbalance” theory.

    And I would rightfully speculate that the unscientific theory of so-called “chemical imbalances” is repeated literally hundreds of thousands of times every day in psychiatrist’s and clinical therapist’s offices in the U.S. and around the world.

    Promotion of the “chemical imbalance” theory is perhaps the world’s largest and most expensive (several hundred billion dollars worth of advertising) disinformation program in human history.

    All this rivals “the big lie” about who won the 2020 presidential election. So many people, including Trump himself, have repeated this lie AND SO DESPERATELY want to believe it, that IT IS NOW PERMANENTLY embedded in their consensus reality.


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  • Mark

    What a powerful story, and such passionate and melodic music to match.

    I related to your blog as someone who worked as an LMHC clinician for 22 years in the community mental system in New Bedford, MA., and I have fought against the oppressive Medical Model of so-called “treatment” for 30 years. I have 17 blogs on related topics in the catalogue of blogs at Mad in America.

    I also related to your blog as a performing singer/songwriter who is “Making Music to Change the World.” Here is some links to two of my songs on the topic of psychiatric abuse:

    Your story about identifying with Jesus is actually quite common among people enduring extreme forms of psychological distress. Sometimes this identification with Jesus relates to an individual’s belief that their level of suffering could not possibly exist, and/or be possibly endured, unless it somehow corresponded to the level of pain and suffering endured by Jesus, himself, on the cross. In other words, “how else could God allow such extreme suffering to occur for myself, UNLESS it had some devine purpose in life on earth.”

    I say all this not as a religious person, but as someone that is trying to understand the powerful impact that a belief in an omnipotent spiritual entity can have, along with the negative impact that a belief in “original sin” can have on people living in a traumatic world. After all, this is the same world where psychiatry promotes multiple “genetic theories of original sin” in their oppressive DSM “bible.

    And I loved your story in the song “Icarus Reprise” where the character “Daedalus stands outside the bedroom door singing to his son, being honest, compassionate, and giving him advice and hope.”

    This reminds of some of the work I used to do with EMDR therapy for trauma. It was always a significant sign of progress for a person when they achieved some sort of “distance” from their trauma history, when they would experience mental images of themselves “observing” or looking through a screen at themselves when they were a child, and at the same time experiencing strong feelings of compassion for what that child had to endure. This always represented an important step in overcoming the toxic feelings of “guilt and shame” that many victims of childhood abuse still feel within themselves as adults.

    Mark, I did check out your website and will reach out to you via email. I currently live an hour south of Boston, and perhaps we can meet up in the future and share some music. I do know some people that run some songwriters in the round at some local venues, perhaps that might be a good place to rendezvous.

    All the best, Richard

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  • Eric

    Yes, this sentence is pointing to the importance of environmental and solution focused factors in overcoming depression and sadness.

    BUT, we must also point out that in today’s trauma ridden and exploitative world, sadness and depression are normal reactions to difficult circumstances. And how a person eventually responds to these circumstances (without being drugged!) can potentially teach that person valuable lessons for how to survive in the future.

    HOWEVER, that sentence in which you chose to praise is also riddled with some of the worst and most oppressive language in the Medical Model’s arsenal – “diagnosis and treatment of individual diseases.”

    There is NO scientific evidence that these problems are actual “diseases.” And there is tons of evidence in the backlog of MIA articles over the years detailing just how harmful a psychiatric “diagnosis” can be to the self identity formation of a human being.


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  • To clarify my above comment, I do not mean to be dismissive of all of Dr Fava’s research and critical writings on psychiatric drugs. I have praised some of his past writings and believe he is one of the few psychiatrists today that is raising serious criticisms of the psychiatric profession.

    However, my above comment is meant to show how even the “critical psychiatry” adherents sometimes lapse into the same speculative pseudoscience that they often criticize.

    I am sure there is plenty of cognitive dissonance and defensiveness for today’s “critical psychiatrists” when it comes contemplating the elimination of psychiatry as a genuine and legitimate medical specialty.

    Until psychiatry finally disappears (through enormous political struggle), “critical psychiatrists” can seize the moral high ground by raising holy hell within their profession and helping the millions of psychiatric victims get off their harmful drugs and/or dramatically reduce their reliance on these substances.


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  • “Helping patients to overcome their difficulties requires excellent skills in differential diagnosis; deep knowledge not only of the potential benefits of treatments (ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS REMAIN LIFE-SAVING MEDICATIONS IN SEVERE DEPRESSION [emphasis added]), but also of their vulnerabilities; and awareness of the advances in psychotherapy that enable self-therapy.”

    In this blog Dr. Giovanni Fava wonders why we don’t have the science and commitment by today’s Medical Model to help people get OFF of antidepressant drugs. Well, he needs to look no further than his OWN failure of rigorous scientific consistency when it comes to Big Pharma and psychiatry’s myth about the so-called “benefits” of these drugs.

    Where is the scientific evidence, after more than 3 decades of prolific prescribing of hundreds of millions of prescriptions for SSRI drugs, that they are in truth, “LIFE-SAVING MEDICATIONS?”

    The collusion between Big Pharma and psychiatry (with their world’s largest and most expensive PR campaign in human history on the “benefits” of psychiatric drugs) is nothing but pure speculation and wishful thinking. MIA has published dozens and dozens of scientific analyses of drug studies over the past several years refuting the MYTH of the so-called “benefits” of these drugs.

    Dr. Fava ends his blog by saying, “We have serious problems and we need a different psychiatry.”

    Yes, I agree we do have serious problems in a capitalist world that turns literally everything and everyone into a commodity (to be bought and sold) for the almighty bottom line of profit. BUT I SAY, we DON’T need “a different psychiatry,” – we need NO PSYCHIATRY and a new economic and political system.


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  • I am glad someone has taken the time to summarize the important parts of Joanna Mongrieff’s recent blog. I will repeat the same comment I wrote at that time.

    “This blog is a very good overview of the history and the role of the “mental health” system in a Neoliberal capitalist world.

    BUT it does lack the necessary urgency needed to understand and respond to the current intensity of world contradictions within these systems that is placing the planet in great peril.

    And we must emphasize that this world is based on (and cannot exist without) the fundamental underlying principle of *exploitation* that is inherent within a class based capitalist society. AND this *exploitation* leads to ALL SORTS of stressors and forms of trauma that push humanity and the human mind to very extreme forms of psychological distress.

    This psychological distress is “medicalized” (and drugged) by psychiatry and Big Pharma in order to serve the larger power structure’s need to control and contain ANY form of disruption and dissent within the larger social order.

    The proliferation of psych drugging of the broader population, and the incarceration of “malcontents” within psychiatric prisons, has now become an absolute NECESSITY within today’s capitalist societies for its future survival. AND the high profit margins and growth of Big Pharma’s psych drug industry has also become an essential feature within the stabilization and growth of today’s capitalist economy.

    In today’s world the future of psychiatry (and their entire Medical Model), and the continuation of a class based capitalist system have an inseparable destiny. They are both totally interdependent, and CANNOT exist, OR continue on the planet without the other.

    All this has VERY important implications when developing strategies for trying to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world.

    It is essential when analyzing all the problems within the “mental health” system to make the very DIRECT connections the Medical Model has to the very existence of capitalism and imperialism in the world.

    To NOT do this, is to promote the ILLUSION that somehow we can reform psychiatry and their Medical Model, and we can also make “adjustments” to capitalism whereby it will magically become something it can never ever be – a fair and just society. You CANNOT ask (or expect) Dracula to suck water or some other liquid besides blood; he WILL NOT, and CANNOT exist without blood.

    With bourgeois democracies in the world facing imminent threats, along with the dire existential threat of climate collapse and inter imperialist nuclear world war, it is BEYOND THE TIME, when we must reevaluate alternatives to the class based capitalist systems of social organizations that will NO LONGER work (or exist much longer) on this planet.

    The first socialist experiments on this planet, which only lasted a mere 5-6 decades at best, MUST BE *reimagined* by summing up past shortcomings and mistakes. If we we fail to make these efforts, then the entire planet is doomed to destroy itself.

    Human nature has much greater diversity and potential than “dog eat dog” and “look out for number one.” This is the human nature taught and nurtured within class based capitalist societies.

    Human beings also have the capacity for high levels of cooperation and human compassion for others. Doesn’t the Russian invasion of Ukraine reveal to us both extremes of human nature? It is imperative for us to find the type of environment (and related societal structures) that allow the very best form of human nature to flourish and thrive in the world.

    Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! Richard”

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  • Karin

    Great blog – a truly powerful story of recovery from psychiatry and their oppressive Medical Model. Yes, the language in the “Song of Psychiatry” does severely oppress people, but the language of other songs can point towards struggle and liberation.

    I hope you consider these two songs as representing the important struggle of overcoming psychiatric oppression: (“How Long a Time”) and (“Benzo Blue”)


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  • This was a very good interview on a very important social justice topic.

    I have great admiration for the hard work and dedication Sonja Styblo gives to the psychiatric survivor movement.

    And to Tim McCarthy,Gianna D’Ambrozio, Sonja Styblo and others – here is a link to an entire blog I wrote at MIA on the issue of the intersection of benzo dependency and addiction, called “Bridging the Benzo Divide: Iatrogenic Dependency and/or Addiction?”


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  • This blog is a very good overview of the history and the role of the “mental health” system in a Neoliberal capitalist world.

    BUT it does lack the necessary urgency needed to understand and respond to the current intensity of world contradictions within these systems that is placing the planet in great peril.

    And we must emphasize that this world is based on (and cannot exist without) the fundamental underlying principle of *exploitation* that is inherent within a class based capitalist society. AND this *exploitation* leads to ALL SORTS of stressors and forms of trauma that push humanity and the human mind to very extreme forms of psychological distress.

    This psychological distress is “medicalized” (and drugged) by psychiatry and Big Pharma in order to serve the larger power structure’s need to control and contain ANY form of disruption and dissent within the larger social order.

    The proliferation of psych drugging of the broader population, and the incarceration of “malcontents” within psychiatric prisons, has now become an absolute NECESSITY within today’s capitalist societies for its future survival. AND the high profit margins and growth of Big Pharma’s psych drug industry has also become an essential feature within the stabilization and growth of today’s capitalist economy.

    In today’s world the future of psychiatry (and their entire Medical Model), and the continuation of a class based capitalist system have an inseparable destiny. They are both totally interdependent, and CANNOT exist, OR continue on the planet without the other.

    All this has VERY important implications when developing strategies for trying to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world.

    It is essential when analyzing all the problems within the “mental health” system to make the very DIRECT connections the Medical Model has to the very existence of capitalism and imperialism in the world.

    To NOT do this, is to promote the ILLUSION that somehow we can reform psychiatry and their Medical Model, and we can also make “adjustments” to capitalism whereby it will magically become something it can never ever be – a fair and just society. You CANNOT ask (or expect) Dracula to suck water or some other liquid besides blood; he WILL NOT, and CANNOT exist without blood.

    With bourgeois democracies in the world facing imminent threats, along with the dire existential threat of climate collapse and inter imperialist nuclear world war, it is BEYOND THE TIME, when we must reevaluate alternatives to the class based capitalist systems of social organizations that will NO LONGER work (or exist much longer) on this planet.

    The first socialist experiments on this planet, which only lasted a mere 5-6 decades at best, MUST BE *reimagined* by summing up past shortcomings and mistakes. If we we fail to make these efforts, then the entire planet is doomed to destroy itself.

    Human nature has much greater diversity and potential than “dog eat dog” and “look out for number one.” This is the human nature taught and nurtured within class based capitalist societies.

    Human beings also have the capacity for high levels of cooperation and human compassion for others. Doesn’t the Russian invasion of Ukraine reveal to us both extremes of human nature? It is imperative for us to find the type of environment (and related societal structures) that allow the very best form of human nature to flourish and thrive in the world.

    Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! Richard

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  • “Capitalism, hand in hand with democracy, is the only logical way forward as flawed as it is.”

    This statement above by Jack Murphy seems to represent the views of several writers, including Steve McCrea, here in this comment section.

    So much criticism and angst focused on a system of economic and social organization (socialism), that currently exists NOWHERE on the planet.

    In fact, a genuine socialist state has NOT existed on this planet since China in 1977 – ending after ONLY 3 DECADES OF EXISTENCE. BTW, the average lifespan of a Chinese citizen doubled (from 35 to 70 years) during that same period.

    AND the Russian revolution only legitimately lasted for little over 3 decades on this planet – 1918 to the early 1950’s.

    Where the HELL are people’s political priorities of criticism and human angst??? I am totally amazed at such MISDIRECTION of compassionate attention of importance!

    The fact that this planet is on the verge of total climate destruction AND possible inter imperialist nuclear war (by competing capitalist nation states), has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with socialism and communism – AND EVERYTHING to do with the current dominant capitalist form of social organization!!!

    So counting the years of the two socialist revolutions – socialism has only been tried on the planet earth for a mere 60 years of experimental practice.

    Where are people’s priorities? Is it not the Right Wing extremist’s ideology and talking points that wants people to focus on the “communist bogeyman,” and NOT on the realities of the inequalities and injustices that pervade modern capitalist societies.???

    Steve says: “Marxism as practiced has been a disaster…communism in practice was a total failure”

    Is this not an example of an “absolutist,” and rather undialectical historical evaluation of only little over 60 years of socialist practice on the planet? A mere tiny spec of time in the development of various forms of human organization.

    Would this viewpoint not be the equivalent of declaring heart transplants a FAILURE in 1967 because the first heart recipient only ended up living for 18 days?

    Look how far the science and the practice of heart transplants has progressed since the earliest experiments. Fortunately, some doctors and medical ethicists did not give up on these heart experiments despite “trial and errors,” AND much criticism heaped upon them at the time.

    Similar to a human transplanted heart that is surrounded by cellular activity that wants the body to TOTALLY REJECT the new organ, the conditions that existed for the new emerging socialist states in the world (first Russia then China) WERE QUITE SIMILAR IN NATURE.

    This enormous amount of economic, political, and military HOSTILITY that surrounded the experimental socialist states, combined with internal mistakes trying to create something new and innovative on the planet (like heart transplants), had EVERYTHING to do with why these efforts for a brand new form of social organization were unable to succeed.

    Steve says:
    ” Humans need to feel like they are competing in some way, that their individual efforts make a difference. They don’t do very well working for “the good of the collective,”…”

    Here we see the oft repeated argument that “it’s human nature” that is the problem with why socialist type cooperation cannot work in the world.

    Human nature is NOT a fixed entity, but is quite malleable under different environmental conditions. Human empathy, compassion and cooperation is just as prevalent on this planet as is competition, violence towards others, and selfishness.

    What is THE environment of social organization that is most likely to produce (and let flourish) human cooperation and compassion for others?

    Must I remind Steve and others in this comment section, that for many THOUSANDS of years of social organization (in primitive communal tribal societies) HUMAN COOPERATION WAS BOTH A NECESSITY AND THE COMMON PRACTICE OF SOCIAL EXISTENCE FOR SURVIVAL PURPOSES.

    Human groupings that FAILED to practice this form of cooperation would soon go out of existence.

    YES, (many of you are saying), these forms of “cooperation” based societies were practiced mainly out of NECESSITY (a forced choice, if you will), BUT what then took place when excesses were able to be produced within human society and we had the formation of classes. Now (you say) there were power struggles among those who wanted to CONTROL AND OWN the excesses of goods (food, products, livestock etc.)

    Yes, this is all true, and it was a contributing factor to the ultimate development (following feudalism) of early capitalist forms of economic and political structure.

    BUT NONE OF THIS, explains why it is not possible for human beings to combine that same early sense of NECESSITY (for existence) with the FREEDOM OF INTELLECTUAL AND HISTORICAL CHOICE now that we have the knowledge to solve the problems of production and construction of all the necessities of life AND the means to distribute them equitably on ONE PLANET.

    Soon more people on the planet will begin to realize that if WE DON’T begin to combine a NECESSITY of both human NEED AND CHOICE., then the entire planet CANNOT AND WILL NOT survive.

    Many people here are stuck in an intellectual box of simplistic and cliched explanations (after decades of political brainwashing) of why capitalism must be the highest pinnacle of human organization.

    Folks, it’s NOT WORKING! The planet is dying, and it’s time to explore political options and choices OUTSIDE the box of Neo-Liberal corporate capitalism.


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  • Bradford said:
    “Bruce Levine is either not being intellectually honest here, or perhaps too glib. Psychiatry doesn’t exist as it is today because it’s boring. It exists as it does today, because it makes money selling drugs to people society finds annoying or inconvenient, thereby helping solve, or at least abate, situations and people that society would rather not have to deal with….”

    Bradford and I often disagree on many subjects, but I think he is absolutely right to challenge Bruce Levine on his “boring” analysis of modern psychiatry. In fact, many of Bruce’s past blogs have provided some of the explanation for why many “critical thinkers” don’t intellectually take apart the entire oppressive Medical Model.

    Psychiatry is never “boring” to those suffering from its to multiple forms of labeling, drugging, and incarceration.

    And “critical thinkers,” from liberals to more genuine leftists and other social justice fighters who advocate for the causes of oppressed people in the world, have been overall fooled by a four decade long (highly sophisticated) PR campaign costing over several hundred billions of dollars.

    Many of these same people would still repeat the “chemical imbalance” myth, which continues to inundate all sorts of medical and “mental health” websites and medical texts. The genetic theories of “original sin” (and related DSM diagnoses) regarding various types of extreme forms of psychological distress, are still accepted by many “critical thinkers” who should know better.

    AND these same type of people (often with well meaning compassion) will eagerly support increased funding (as a knee jerk like reaction) for more “mental health” services to address the rapid rise in anxiety and depression in today’s world. They will support these measures WITHOUT doing any serious evaluation of the same status quo Medical Model that causes far more HARM than good.

    The ruling classes and their minions, and all the other fellow travelers of oppressive power mongering, know VERY WELL the value of psychiatry and their entire Medical Model in maintaining social control and class oppression. AND they have spent accordingly (to its value) on their several hundred billion dollar PR campaign, that (so far) must be declared a major success for our enemies.

    Bruce, you have gotten so many things right in your blog (and other writings), but you did miss the mark with that comment.

    It is up to us to continue to search for creative ways to break through the intellectual AND ACTIVIST log jam that seems to paralyze and fool most “critical thinkers” and social justice activists. There is much work to be done.


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  • “Szasz was a Libertarian, not a Capitalist”

    Szasz’s brand of Right Wing Libertarianism is the total personification of Neo-liberal individualism and defense of the capitalist “free market” system.

    And this represents the ultimate defense of both class privilege and social injustice (or at the very least, ignoring and/or turning away from acknowledging such injustice).


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  • rebel says:
    “To link anti- psychiatry with the particular groups mentioned is to link the anti-psychiatry movement with marxism, etc. Psychiatry is a tool of control as is marxism, etc. With all due respect, it is only legitimate for anti-psychiatry to be linked with a more libertarian point of view. I do not mean to be blunt.”

    I say: since when are all social justice movements, including those fighting against climate destruction and inter imperialist war – “Marxist?”

    This sounds like a ‘talking point” currently repeated over and over again by Right Wing Republicans and others of that ilk, in order to reject and smear all social justice type movements.

    There are no facts to back up this statement. Yes, there are people who label themselves “Marxist” involved in these movement, but the VAST MAJORITY are of many other different political persuasions, or people who currently remain undefined.

    I only WISH there were as many true “Marxists” out there as you seem to imply.

    “Marxism” is not “a tool of control,” but rather, an ideology that deeply analyzes the history of oppressive class based societies and charts a path for humanity toward a more eqalitarian societal structure (socialism leading to communism), that ultimately leads to a “stateless” and class free world.

    There is NOTHING inherent in Marxist ideology that advocates for “social control” other than controlling and preventing some people in society from exploiting other human beings.

    Marxist ideology AND practice in the world is about 150 years young. Just because its prior experiments were defeated and/or failed (with mistakes being made), DOES NOT negate the essence and value of Marxist ideology as a liberating force in the world.


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  • Great blog which raises many important questions.

    Yes, Szasz made enormous contributions to dissecting and dismantling the foundational thinking that props up the oppressive institution of psychiatry, and also for his opposition to all forms of forced “treatment.”

    Unfortunately, Szasz also pissed away major opportunities in the 1960’s to advance the overall struggle against psychiatric oppression, by failing to link his incisive exposure of psychiatry to the rising struggle against U.S. imperialist war, the Black Liberation movement, and the rising women’s movement.There are common threads of social control, class oppression, and the insatiable drive for capitalist profit embedded within the underlying causes for these forms of oppression.

    Szasz’s embrace of the standard form of Right Wing Libertarianism created huge blind spots that crippled his ability to carry some of his thinking about psychiatric oppression to a more revolutionary place, both ideologically, and especially for organizing and inspiring political activism as part of the rising wave of activism in 60’s.

    Szasz’s brand of Libertarianism leads to a form of hyper individualism that is running rampant in today’s society, and remains part of the underpinnings of the anti-vax and anti-mask movements that ignore legitimate science and completely pervert what it means to fight for *freedom.*

    The Szasz quote used above encapsulates some of this faulty libertarian thinking:
    “Anybody who wants to go to a psychiatrist is fine. Anyone who wants to take psychiat­ric drugs is fine with me… I am for freedom and responsibility.”

    His last sentence about being for “freedom and responsibility” totally contradicts his laissez-faire view towards people’s “choice” to engage with psychiatry and take their drugs. It’s NOT OK that the institution of psychiatry exists in this society to do all their dirty work, and be allowed to push their drugs on vulnerable people. Where was Szasz’s critique of the massive and corrupt collusion between psychiatry and Big Pharma in their promotion of DSM diagnoses and the enormous proliferation of psych drugging??? I guess Big Pharma should be “free” to make money and drugs however they choose.

    And what would Szasz say about the sweetheart deal (and lack of criminal consequences) that the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma have gotten away with for the negligent deaths of more 500 thousand deaths related to the opiate epidemic?

    Because Szasz had no problem with the capitalist system, he couldn’t see (or perhaps he didn’t care) that psychiatry was becoming more and more of a necessary tool for social control of the most volatile (and potentially revolutionary) sections of U.S. society. The future of both entities (capitalism and psychiatry) are now historically intertwined in a symbiotic relationship of mutual need – one can’t exist without the other, AND their final destinies cannot be separated.

    The other Szasz quote: “The libertarian philosophy of freedom is characterized by two fundamental beliefs: the right to be left alone and the duty to leave others alone.” This represents a prime example of the type of philosophy that embraces the “privilege” and tolerance of “injustice” that Bakunin called out in his criticism of Libertarianism.

    The current movement against all forms of psychiatric oppression MUST be linked to all the other powerful social movements for social justice AND for the survival of the planet against climate destruction and inter imperialist war. Any viable critique of psychiatry (as an oppressive institution) cannot be separated from a very much related critique of all that is wrong with a profit based capitalist system.


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  • Phil
    Great pair of blogs as usual.

    I had the same confusion and issue as Louisa with one of your uses of the term “mental illnesses.”

    In your comment you said the following:

    “So when we encounter a problem in thinking, feeling, or executive functioning, that has clearly been caused by brain injury, it is important to acknowledge this. During my career (I’m now retired), I worked in a number of nursing homes. Most of the people there were elderly, but there were also young people who had incurred brain damage, either from trauma or from illnesses (infections, etc.), and whose mental processes (thinking, feeling, and behaving) were markedly impaired. It seemed obvious to me that the brain damage was the cause of the impairment in mental processes.”

    Yes. I agree we should acknowledge that various forms of temporary or permanent brain injuries can cause problems in the realm of human feeling, thinking, and/or behavior.

    BUT, I think we should avoid the term “mental illness” to describe this phenomena for two reasons: 1) The term is too loaded and corrupted in meaning because of the many decades of use by psychiatry and their bogus Medical Model. 2) It is not clear that the “illness” part accurately describes what is actually occurring within a person suffering from certain forms of brain damage or impairment.

    “A disruption, disturbance, and/or distortion of mental processes and resulting behavior” might be a far better phrasing which allows us to avoid any of the terrible confusion and oppressive associations with psychiatry’s Medical Model language, and the harmful “treatment” that follows their unscientific “mental illness” labels.

    And I believe that a doctor with a neurologist’s credentials, perhaps assisted by a good therapist, could provide the necessary help for someone whose mental processes have been perturbed by some form of brain damage or injury.


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  • James, thanks for this great interview on a vitally important subject matter.

    Johann Hari has a brilliant mind, and the ability to penetrate well beneath the surface with very important cultural critiques of the degeneracy of modern capitalist society.

    Throughout this interview there are numerous references made to the role of profit (as an out of control entity) in the marketplace driving the tech companies and their CEOs to promote and develop technology for numerous forms of social control.

    AND we also know that profit and social control are the driving forces behind all forms of psychiatric abuse and oppression. Psychiatry (in collusion with Big Pharma) and their entire medical Model of so-called “treatment,” are just too important to the preservation of the capitalist system to be allowed to fail. Their future destinies are now totally interdependent.

    The “elephant in the room” question never really addressed in this interview (I have not read Hari’s new book, “Stolen Focus”) is as follows:

    Can any of these deeply disturbing problems facing society be solved WITHOUT ending the profit based capitalist system, and moving humanity on to a newly imagined form of socialism?

    We keep reading more and more critiques of the harm done by the role of PROFIT corrupting every aspect of our society, especially the moral choices and decisions made by those people in key positions of power and control.

    Is it really possible to REFORM capitalism and somehow place societal restrictions on all forms of exploitation?

    OR is exploitation (no matter how much you try to restrict it) inherently and forever a part of the genetic DNA of capitalism – something that will eventually and ultimately corrupt human intent, even when some people make enormous efforts to prevent this from happening?

    Can this planet and the human race survive another 100 years of class rule, and a profit based capitalist system?

    Anyone who has read many of my past blogs and comments at MIA, know my answer to these questions is a resounding – HELL NO!


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  • Lisa

    Thanks for sharing this incredibly powerful story of psychiatric abuse.

    You were such a compassionate ally of Kathleen, and you have so deeply honored her life by sharing her account of the horrors that the so-called Medical Model of “treatment” can cause for it victims.

    Kathleen Fliller’s story should be REQUIRED READING for anyone coming anywhere near another human being in the so-called “mental health” system.


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  • James

    This was a very educational and thought provoking interview, AND I (as an anti-psychiatry activist) have much respect for Giovanni Fava as a doctor doing such serious and important work helping people recover from iatrogenic damage done by psychiatry and their Medical Model of so-called “treatment.” And Dr. Fava’s book sounds like an important book for many reasons, including its exposure of psychiatry’s current crimes prescribing harmful drugs and “gaslighting” its victims.

    I was really pleased to read the analysis of anti-depressant drug toxicity after a period of time on the drugs, and the cascade of negative consequences that can follow these prescriptions.

    Important questions, concerns and comments about the interview:

    1) The assessment of the role of benzodiazepines in treating anxiety and anti-depressant withdrawal was seriously lacking in some important analysis and overall warnings about dependency issues.

    2) The interview left the impression that (as opposed to other benzos) clonazapem – klonopin was both safe and effective. While I am not totally opposed to ever using benzos in such cases (I know Dr. Shipko also advocates their use) I DO NOT believe it is helpful to leave the impression that clonazapem is without serious risks. We know that there have been millions of people who have suffered from klonopin dependency – just ask Stevie Nicks.

    3) How long does Dr.Fava advocate the use of clonazepam? AND then, how soon, and for how long does he recommend for a period of withdrawal?

    4) Dr. Fava seems to imply that psychiatry could have a prosperous future if it would somehow shift to a more educated psychopharmacology with less use of drugs, combined with psychotherapy.

    5) Under a profit based capitalist system the Medical Model cannot, and WILL NOT, make any fundamental changes in its oppressive “treatment” model. Psychiatry has become far too valuable in maintaining the status quo by reinforcing the belief that human angst and psychological disturbance is genetically based. AND the sedative drugging (and incarceration) of key sections of a potentially rebellious society, helps to stave off future uprisings that could overturn the “powers that be.”

    6) Dissident psychiatrists like Dr. Fava could play a VERY positive role for many decades helping millions of victims get off of toxic psychiatric drugs and exposing their potential dangers.
    AND dissident psychiatrists could also play and important role shaking up and exposing the psychiatric establishment and their collusion with Big Pharma.

    7) But, as a medical specialty (in the long term) psychiatry needs to be abolished. It remains, overall, a very oppressive institution that does far more harm than good. There is no legitimate science to justify its existence as a medical specialty. Some of these doctors will have to shift over to either neurology (a legitimate science of brain functioning) or client centered therapy.


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  • JanCarol

    I respect your history as a psychiatric survivor and your overall condemnation of the crimes of Big Pharma, especially as it pertains to the promotion of psych drugs and the related harm done to millions of people.

    You said: “It stuns me that anyone who has survived neuroleptics, benzos and “antidespressants” could accept anything Pharma says at face value.”

    Who here in these discussions about the medical benefits of Covid vaccines has accepted the words of Big Pharma “at face value”? I have not, AND do not, accept the words of Big Pharma “at face value.”

    First off, in the entire history of Big Pharma’s development of all types of medically used drugs in the world, what percentage of these drugs have overall been very helpful to humanity, AND what percentage have been harmful?

    Do you deny that SOME of these drug creations have saved lives and are positive ways to manage certain diseases and other serious medical problems facing humanity?

    Yes, it is reasonable and responsible in today’s world to have enormous skepticism about what drugs Big Pharma creates given their underlying drive for profits and unholy track record. BUT, unfortunately, we all must do our OWN research and evaluation to determine what is potentially dangerous, AND what is truly helpful in treating a dangerous virus or other medical problems.

    Back in 1995, I decided to take a highly toxic chemo drug (recommended by oncologists) to treat a particular form of testicular cancer. If I had not taken that drug, I most likely would NOT BE HERE today to write this comment.

    Did some drug company make money off of producing this drug? YES, but there are medical researchers and scientists who actually create things (and do so for the right reasons) that truly benefit humanity. The fact that the pharmaceutical industry makes money off of these drugs is an important, but separate question regarding their value as necessary medicines.

    You said: “The mandates that Richard speaks so highly of – are of a product which is leaky and short acting, at best, and provides temporary benefit which expires after about 6-8 months.”

    I still say, that despite the high profits accruing from Covid vaccines for Big Pharma, the legitimate scientific evidence indicates they are safe and effective. The people who are currently dying from Covid are the unvaccinated. AND there is increasing evidence that those who have recovered from Covid (even mild cases) can have long term negative medical consequences.

    A key consideration in all of these issues about Covid vaccines is the fact that the risk of death and serious disease process effects ALL classes of people. Some of our biggest enemies in the world all have the SAME fundamental desire to stay alive. Big Pharma CEO’s and their families, are ALL taking the Covid vaccines, and for good reason.

    When it comes to evaluating both the harm AND benefits of Western medicine, we must avoid “black and white” or other dismissive approaches to these questions; it could have life or death consequences for some people.

    Yes, it is truly sad that in today’s world we ALL must be “citizen scientists” and independent thinkers, because it is not safe to trust our government and large institutions, like the medical establishment. But for now we must sort out the reality, and the fact, that occasionally they say something that is true, and that should be followed for our survival and best interests as a species.

    Respectfully, Richard

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  • yinyang

    For your information, I am also against forced drugging in ALL circumstances, and that includes for any kind of drug, psychiatric or vaccines. And as far as I know there has only been a few examples of forced drugging with the Covid vaccines; this may have happened in some prisons.

    However, I am NOT opposed to vaccine “mandates,” which is completely different This is clearly a situation where someone’s personal rights are superseded by the SOCIAL RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of the broader society. If someone wants to work in a hospital, then they must comply with the mandate and NOT put others they are treating in that environment at risk of being harmed by Covid 19.

    If someone decides NOT to be vaccinated (which should be their right), then they should live isolated from making contact with any significant percentage of other human beings. This is a fair social requirement irrespective of anyone’s political evaluation of the overall political and economic fairness of the larger institutions.

    In other words, I am a huge critic of the U.S. imperialist empire (and seek its replacement with socialism), but I accept vaccine mandates because it is currently in the BEST interests of ALL classes in our society for health and survival.

    If someone chooses to live in a community and other larger gatherings of human beings, then the social rights and responsibilities of the larger group take precedent over individual rights, especially when it involves major issues of health and human survival for a significant section of the population.

    You may be correct that Covid 19 does not threaten the actual survival of our entire species, BUT it clearly threatens the life (and long term health) of a significant section of people who can have certain levels of vulnerability to the disease. The rising figure, which is currently at 700 thousand deaths for this country, is factual proof of this danger.

    As to your statement; “…the “vaccines” obviously don’t work…”, this is simply NOT TRUE by any fair scientific evaluation. I don’t think anyone would define “work” as meaning total prevention of contracting the Covid disease.

    The vaccines clearly, by ANY VALID statistical measure, prevent serious disease, AND most importantly, prevents death from Covid almost 100% of the time. By this measure, Covid vaccines clearly “work.”

    Two thousand people in the U.S. are still dying everyday, and they are almost 100% the unvaccinated members of our society. And this now includes a growing percentage of younger members of society, and not just those over 65 or in poor health.


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  • This represents a big loss to the psychiatric survivor movement. Chyrs was a tenacious fighter against all forms of psychiatric abuse, and a personality brimming with the very best qualities of humanity – she will be sorely missed.

    My wife and I had the privilege to meet and talk with Chyrs for a few hours in 2013. Our scheduled rendezvous took place at the Redhall Walled Garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh Scotland during a traveling excursion.

    I wrote a blog posting for MIA here: https:(// that details this wonderful encounter at an outdoor support center for people dealing with extreme forms of psychological distress.

    My condolences to her family and all those who knew her.

    Long Live the Spirit of Chrys Muirhead!


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  • “Why shouldn’t we see the vaccine rollout as following the same pattern as the one used for psych drugs?”

    There are very simple and important answers to your question.

    Covid 19 is a real “disease” by any genuine scientific analysis at the cellular level of the human body.

    Psychiatric disorders are made up by a committee with a show of hands, and reflect no scientific evidence of an actual “disease” process within the human body.

    Covid 19 vaccines are highly effective (one of most successful vaccines in human history) and mitigate the serious progression of the Covid disease itself, AND almost 100% guarantee the survival of those contracting the disease. AND the vaccines have proven to be extremely safe, with very few side effects of any consequence.

    Psychiatric drugs may provide SHORT TERM reduction of certain uncomfortable feelings for some people, but are highly toxic substances to the human body and brain, and can create severe disturbances in brain (and body) functioning for many years, even after stopping their use. There is NO reliable scientific evidence that they actually work in the ways they are falsely advertised. Overall, the main effects (and side effects) of these drugs cause FAR MORE harm than good in the world.

    While both the Covid 19 vaccines and psychiatric drugs make enormous profits for the pharmaceutical companies, there is an important and fundamental difference between the two.

    Covid 19 represents a serious existential threat to the survival of our species (as opposed to the myth of “mental illness”) that cuts across ALL class divisions in human society. The Big Pharma CEO’s (and their families) need the Covid vaccines for their survival just as much as the poorest sections of people on the bottom rungs of society.


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  • To Bob and others

    RW says:
    “As for whether the root source of the problem is capitalism, the problem is that there isn’t a regulatory requirement for honest, independent trials….It could still be possible to have a capitalistic system that required independent testing of new drugs, and didn’t reward psychiatrists and other “experts” for shilling for the drugs.”

    Any serious examination of how a class based capitalist system functions in the real world screams that this type of reform (leading to a fundamental change) is virtually impossible.

    Just look at the efforts in this country to eliminate and control “monopolies” in the corporate world. This has never been accomplished, AND never will.

    And then read this article about how the stock market is rigged with endless, and virtually UNSTOPPABLE, forms of “insider trading” (

    The people that make the rules and control ALL of the essential instruments of power in this society are from the upper classes. As long as classes exist, people will ultimately find the ways to maintain their privilege and financial advantage – this is an ABSOLUTE LAW flowing from the very nature of “capital” itself. That is, always seeking the highest rate of profit through its internal nature of “expand or die.”

    Human beings that function within such a capitalist system, and view their survival within these parameters, merely become instruments of these economic laws related to the existence of “capital” itself.

    Even well meaning people who struggle to behave with a higher set of moral standards, will be pulled in this direction like a “moth to the flame.”

    In other words, there can be NO completely “independent” evaluators found within such a profit based system to uphold the true interests of the masses. Those people who do struggle to actually be “independent” and uphold the true safety interests of the masses, will never be allowed to be placed in these positions of power and evaluation.

    AND if someone (with high standards of legitimate science and fairness) were somehow able to be in such a position of regulatory power, they would NOT last long. They will be isolated and ultimately eliminated. Just look at what happen to Peter Gotzsche from the Cochrane Collaborative. This is standard practice within a capitalist system, and we should not be surprised when this happens.

    This is NOT cynicism or negativity on my part, but I believe an accurate evaluation of the inner workings of the capitalist system in a class based society.

    This does not mean we shouldn’t fight for reform, but it needs to be done as part of a LARGER STRATEGY of seeking to move beyond a class based capitalist system.

    Given the current level of polarization, and the danger in this country of a fascist takeover, to still promote “reform” as a central strategy, is to promote potentially dangerous illusions and waste valuable time in our political activism for change.

    Respectfully, Richard

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  • Someone Else

    You said: “Capitalism may work just fine, if our government officials actually did their jobs, instead of being bought out, and doing the opposite.”

    Government officials are almost always from the upper classes who are imbued with the belief in the “survival of the fittest” and “look out for number one” mentality that pervades modern capitalist society.

    Anyone in government who tries to go against the interests of the capitalist class of oligarchs will eventually be isolated and somehow neutralized.

    The profit motive ultimately corrupts every nook and cranny of human society.

    We have been indoctrinated to believe that capitalism and its ideology corresponds with true “human nature.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Human nature is very malleable and will flourish with cooperation and invention when societal structures are built on a foundation of equality where classes and the profit motive are systematically eliminated over a period of time.

    In today’s society there are NO CONSEQUENCES (except perhaps a “fine”) for corruption that leads to human casualties. Look no further than the recent settlement “against” Purdue Pharma and the corporate CEOs responsible for half a million deaths with the opiate epidemic. They get to pay a “fine” and keep their billions WITHOUT spending a single day in jail. What a country! and what a justice system!!!!


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  • Bob, thanks for another uncompromising and well researched exposure of the totally corrupt nature of Big Pharma, and their promotion and sales of dangerous psychiatric drugs.

    How can anyone read this and not be outraged and sickened by the current state of psychiatry and their total collusion with Big Pharma?

    I hope such exposures keep being written and circulated throughout society. I believe this kind of reporting could help create new activists who will fight for much needed change in the future.

    HOWEVER, there are much more important conclusions to draw from these types of political exposures, beyond the fact that scientific research is consciously being corrupted by the role of money payoffs and the related high profit margins of the pharmaceutical industry.

    Here we are talking about corruption that is now practiced OPENLY “in the light of day” (with all the dirty deeds being published in various places online), and people like Robert Whitaker (RW) are ALLOWED to actually publish these devastating political exposures, AND circulate them in the VAST “marketplace of ideas.” NOW WHAT!!!

    ‘Business as usual” just continues and continues, with not even a hint of fundamental change on the horizon. RW’s scientific and political writings, and all the other great exposures written by “Critical Psychiatry” and “anti-psychiatry,” end up getting lost and swallowed up within this increasingly VAST “marketplace of ideas,” and treated as just another set of “alternative facts” among the other more powerful “alternative realities” touting all the benefits of the Medical Model, with all their drugging and DSM labeling.

    AND RW’s “alternative facts” will be published somewhere on page 17 in some newspaper or journal (besides MIA), AND the Medical Model’s “alternative reality” will consistently be presented on page 1 of newspapers and journals, AND with their billions in advertising, Big Pharma continues to plaster the benefits of their drugs and DSM labels EVERY NIGHT on prime time TV – day in and day out. The brainwashing is overwhelming, and it completely dominates and overshadows ANY chance for opposition thinking to have a legitimate opportunity of gaining a foothold in the public’s thinking.

    The capitalist profit system, with its omnipresent ability to buy off and ultimately control almost all scientific research, AND control the key structures within public media and their means to disseminate information to the masses, will tolerate a Robert Whitaker (and his writings), because it knows it has the money and means to ultimately control and dominate the public narrative.

    Some may think I am being cynical in my above analysis, I believe it is a very accurate and sober view of what we are truly up against in our struggle to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world.

    The current level of political polarization in this country, and the dangers of an outright fascist takeover, should give serious pause to anyone charting a course for serious institutional and political change in this country.

    Political exposures, like the one above, ARE very important to create conditions for change, but MAINLY as a means for gathering new forces for much bigger battles ahead.

    NOTHING fundamental will be changed with psychiatry and their entire Medical Model unless, and until, we are prepared to move beyond a profit based capitalist system. Psychiatry, with all its drugging and labeling, is very useful (and necessary) for the future of the capitalist system. It keeps the masses anesthetized and focused on personal genetic flaws, instead of critiquing the sick and outmoded system that surrounds them and consumes every fiber of their being.

    Their destiny (both psychiatry and capitalism) has now become completely intertwined and forever inseparable. Any strategy for future political change MUST take this reality into serious consideration, and incorporate that understanding into all forms of strategy and tactics.


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  • Katel

    You have a very powerful personal story of trauma and harm caused by exposure to psychiatry and their Medical Model. I looked back at all your comment history here at MIA (by clicking on your name, “Katel”). and there is a profoundly important set of comments describing in great detail specific examples of almost every form of so-called “treatment” abuse that you had to endure at the hands of these criminals.

    Katel, your writing is very clear and direct, with an extremely important message regarding the harm related to psychiatry. I would hope you could find a way (at some point) to work with MIA editors to write up your personal story related to psychiatric harm for publication as a blog at this website.

    Both your story, and your ability to dissect and expose (in an ongoing way) the fraud of psychiatry and their Medical Model is a gift to potential victims of psychiatric oppression, and a powerful weapon in creating more favorable conditions (over time)) to ultimately bring down this beast of oppression.

    The area of MA. in which you live does have many potential allies who have endured similar forms of trauma at the hands of psychiatry (I have met many great people from that area) and they are quite articulate and active in fighting this form of oppression. I would hope at some point you could seek out and find a way to link up with these people.

    I have no specific solutions to offer you for your personal journey, but I do believe in neuroplasticity as it relates to slow recovery from past harm done by truamatic psychiatric “treatments.” And I am truly inspired by your humanity and fighting spirit (which shines through in your writings here at MIA) when it comes to taking on the powerful institution of psychiatry.

    All the best – Carry on! Richard

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  • AP, yes it is very sad to say that you are quite correct about this.

    People have been under the false notion that after enough exposure of the fraud of psychiatry and their Medical Model, that the “house of cards” will simply fall – NOT going to happen!

    Psychiatry and their Medical Model (with drugging and psychiatric labeling) has evolved into a very important pillar propping up, and helping to maintain this profit based capitalist system.

    Psychiatry and their Medical Model CANNOT, and WILL NOT, fall until we remove and replace this criminal system with a people controlled socialist system.

    The future of psychiatry (and their Medical Model) have a destiny that is now permanently intertwined. So-called “reform” solutions are a tragic dead end and a waist of valuable time and effort, UNLESS they are fought for as part of an overall revolutionary strategy.


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  • Diane Smith says: “And I know that pharmaceutical companies spin their findings in the most flattering way but I am at a loss as to help people who desperately need more than talk therapy. I have seen people have amazing results with depression meds.”

    Talk therapy may not immediately help people (and bad therapy may actually harm people) because we live in a very traumatic and difficult world.

    And “mind altering drugs” do sometimes provide short term benefits for people suffering deep emotional pain, but this DOES NOT mean it will benefit people in the long term. The evidence shows just the opposite; long term use of psych drugs causes FAR MORE HARM THAN GOOD!


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  • Diane Smith says: “People should not be prescribed meds right away unless it is strongly indicated but for true clinical depression how does he propose that we help people function on a daily basis?”

    What is “true clinical depression?” This is just a made up term by psychiatry and Big Pharma. It has no provable scientific basis. And it fits well with those people doing therapy who do not have the patience and understanding to work with people struggling to survive in a difficult world.

    And what does “strongly indicated” really mean? Sometimes both the “client” AND the therapist are looking for the quick fix.


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  • Another great blog exposing some of the deeper elements within neoliberalism and its justification for a class based capitalistic system.

    Combine this exposure of the oppressive roots within Positive Psychology with James Davies’ book “Sedated,” and you now have a powerful pair of ideological weapons exposing the finer points of ruling class control and domination. Psychiatry and their Medical Model fits right into this paradigm of “genetic theories of original sin.”

    And we all must carefully examine many aspects of New Age Spiritualism, which also has a strong current of Positive Psychology meandering through its ideological underpinnings.


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  • Kindredspirit

    We should all be more than a little nervous about the current state of polarization in this country, which clearly seems headed in the direction of civil war type conditions and potential violent conflict.

    And unfortunately, the balance of political understanding and developed organization is NOT very favorable at this time to those on the “Left” who grasp the necessity for humanity to move well beyond the oppressive nature of a class based capitalist society.

    When I make reference to “revolution” I am clearly referring to both realms you mention, That is, “revolution of thought” and a total breakdown of the social order of things.

    For all those who want a better world, we must certainly be involved in “changing minds” in revolutionary ways and in a revolutionary direction. Helping ourselves and other people become more rational and empathetic about every aspect of institutional forms of human oppression, and seeking newer revolutionary alternative economic and political forms of social organization etc. beyond capitalism.

    As to the “breakdown in the social order of things,” that will not necessarily occur by human design or intention, but instead is the inevitably consequence of the intense class conflict over control of natural resources and necessities of life, fueled by international competition and related conflict of rising imperialist powers.

    And yes, we should be very concerned about exactly who has most of the guns at the present time, especially with the rise of organized Right Wing militias etc. HOWEVER, when there is a total breakdown of the social order, guns will suddenly be available to everyone who wants one.

    This is because this level of social breakdown will create major divisions within the military itself (creating different well armed factions) and within various police forces etc., and of course various parts of the country. And since there are already so many guns in this country, people will just end up confiscating them from WHEREVER they are stored.

    I say none of this lightly, and have some of the same fears you have, and especially for my children and grandchildren who are inheriting such a complex and divided world.

    I recently completed a new song (on the day after the last election) called “Second Coming.” In this song there are two Native American characters living on the streets of Birmingham, Ala. Here is my chorus:


    Shiloh says there’ll be a “Second Coming” / A reckoning all the sinners need not fear

    There’ll be no “come to Jesus moment” / When the “Strange Fruit” sadly reappears

    Yellow Bird can’t say if she’ll pull the trigger / When someone looks her dead in the eye

    Said, she’ll never ever stay silent / When the Klan, again starts to rise / Oh, they’ll be no compromise

    You know these wars are never “civil” / Especially the second time around


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  • I agree with those who have heaped a great deal of praise for this author and his penetrating analysis of neoliberalism as a guiding ideology for the current state of modern capitalism.

    James Davies (with his book “Sedated”) has taken concepts about all the enormous harm perpetrated by the medicalization of human distress that some of us have been critiquing for many years, and uncovered and revealed multiple deeper layers of both the institutional and mental chains of control this Medical Model has created in today’s world.

    For anyone hoping to make major, and/or revolutionary, change in the world. this is not only a must read, but also a must be discussed, digested and developed, and then circulated analysis.

    Here is just one of the more insightful parts of this interview:
    “…rather than saying ‘poverty generates multiple forms of human suffering and distress’ the word trigger invokes the powerful cultural symbol of ‘mental illness’ to denote something that poverty supposedly provokes and that the model can supposedly ‘treat’. This move does a couple of things. It ensures that the model remains relevant in the face of the social determinants of distress, protecting or even expanding the model’s jurisdiction over us, but it also allows the model to claim sophisticated ‘bio-psycho-social’ credentials, despite relegating social causes to mere ‘triggers’ and widely privileging biological/drug interventions in the management of what has been triggered – namely – the ‘mental illness’.”

    On the negative side of Davies’ analysis is the fact that after a such a devastating critique of modern capitalism, he still remains stuck in “reform” and “reformist” type solutions for all the economic and political problems that will require serious *revolutionary* solutions.

    Davies says:
    “Firstly, reform has to start with ourselves…until we have more accommodating political arrangements in our economy, reform will be significantly hobbled.”

    Davies appears only willing to hint at the need for larger systemic change leaving his readers to somehow believe that fundamental change is still possible within a class based capitalist system, even though he admits it will be more difficult in a post Covid 19 world.

    Here Davies states the following”
    “On the other hand, it is also true that socio-economic reform looks far less implausible than it did even in early 2020, given the economic effects that Covid will doubtless continue to exert in the coming years (an area I expand on in the book). So, and to finish by paraphrasing something I say in ‘Sedated’: when change arrives, and it will arrive as no economic paradigm has ever existed in perpetuity, alternative ideas in the realm of mental health will only be poised for implementation if we keep putting in the effort right now; if we work to defy the neo-liberal pressures and enticements, and if we develop interventions that put the needs of people and communities above our failing and now fading economic ideology.”

    All this type of analysis does is ultimately perpetuate the illusion that fundamental change is somehow still possible within a capitalist system. This follows earlier comments about so-called “socialist” elements within society that predated the Medical Model takeover that began the 1980’s. This sort of implies that early incarnations of psychiatry and the “mental health” system were somehow devoid of oppressive forms of power and control over its patients and potential victims.

    While forms of societal help in the past that involved principally counseling elements may have provided more support for people experiencing extreme psychological distress, we cannot forget the snake-pit hospitals, Electro-shock, Freudian misogyny and earlier incarnations of psych drugs like Thorazine etc.

    I bring all this up NOT to suggest that we shouldn’t fight for reforms in the current reality, but only that we should do so firmly with the perspective that this work is part of an overall strategy for revolutionary changes leading to a complete socialist transformation of society. Here I am talking about a new form of socialism (learning from past historical mistakes), that has never before been attempted in human history.

    Davies’ overall analysis in “Sedated” only reaffirms my belief that psychiatry and all forms of psychiatric oppression are firmly and FOREVER entrenched within the capitalist system. The Medical Model needs capitalism for its existence, AND capitalism now needs the Medical Model for its future existence. This symbiotic and deadly relationship between these two entities has evolved in a relatively short historical period over the past four decades.

    The power and control (the drugging, incarceration, and mental chains) that the Medical Model (psychiatry and Big Pharma) provides for keeping the potentially rebellious sections of society under manageable control is an ESSENTIAL INSTITUTIONAL NECESSITY for the future of capitalism’s existence. The future of BOTH the capitalist system, and psychiatry and their Medical Model, are now forever inseparably bound. All future efforts to end all forms of psychiatric abuse in the world MUST accept this reality AND strategize accordingly.


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  • Kerry

    You know I have great respect and support for what you are doing with EMDR. I hope you’re open to being challenged on a few points.

    You said: “Other non-EMDR trainings I have attended taught me “medication can be what allows the work to get done”. (Of course, it’s not right for everyone.)…One of the central tasks of EMDR therapy is keeping anxiety and dissociation “within tolerable limits”, which can be greatly facilitated by medication – and healing will be just as possible and just as robust for that person, if not more efficient.”

    I don’t deny that certain mind altering *drugs* can be useful to people in very SHORT TERM doses to manage and control excessive, or even out of control, feelings, emotions, and/or extreme psychological distress.

    That being said: when we examine the overall role of mind altering psychiatric *drugs* as it effects people with “PTSD diagnoses” and other so-called psychiatric “diagnoses,” we must acknowledge that the principle effect of these drugs is to numb emotions and interfere with (and often damage) necessary and appropriate cognitive functioning. All the things we need and depend on to navigate and better understand the world and our role within it.

    These *drugs* also create dependency and undermine a persons ability to actually develop and strengthen important coping skills to manage life in an extremely stressful world.

    The overall negative effects and role of these drugs in today’s world FAR OUTWEIGH any of the short term benefits that a small minority might obtain from their use.

    And what i have learned from my EMDR work and my readings on the subject is that when people do EMDR while on psychiatric *drugs,* they may have to actually repeat some of the same work when they come off of these mind altering *drugs,* BECAUSE they are now experiencing a FULLER INTENSITY of feelings and emotions related to past trauma events.

    And finally Kerry, notice that I never used the word “medication,” and always used the word *drugs* to describe these mind altering substances that are so prolifically prescribed in today’s world.

    I believe it is extremely important to make a clean break from all Medical Model thinking and use of language in order to promote more humane ways of helping people overcome trauma. There are no scientific medical markers to justify psychiatric diagnoses. There is no evidence of cellular anomalies that justify the word “disease” to describe extreme psychological distress. And thus: there is no scientific justification to use the word “medication” to describe what are in fact, mind altering *drugs.*

    We should NEVER concede psychiatry and their entire medical Model, the use of the word “medication” without a serious and quick challenge. Serious social and political change in the world has always necessitated the struggle over language and terminology. And the use of the word “medication” is one of those words we need to fight over and change NOW if we want genuine change if the world when it comes to overcoming all forms of psychiatric abuse.


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  • l_e_cox says: “When am I going to hear news of someone using a Locational or similar process and what their experiences were with it?”

    I sincerely hope we do not hear too much about “Locational processes.” because Scientology is a dangerous cult that has harmed many people.

    And I would warn MIA readers that while Scientology is a major critic of psychiatry, they are equally as dangerous, AND they are competing with each other for the same base of very vulnerable potential victims.


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  • Fifty percent of all opiate (including heroin) overdose deaths involve benzos being part of the cocktail that ends up killing people. In fact, I would argue that benzos are THE MOST DECISIVE killing agent in the cocktail. That is because most opiate addicts know how to use their opiates, INCLUDING FENTYNYL but they often forget exactly how many Xanax or Ativan pills they had earlier in the day.

    Benzos are highly desirable drugs for people addicted to opiates because benzos magnify the effect of the opiates, but sadly this can be deadly because it can totally shut down breathing and the heart.

    Yes, I know that they have to sedate someone who goes on a respirator, but this particular cocktail of drugs probably killed many people before the Covid had a chance to complete its deadly effects.


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  • Kerry

    This was a great summary of EMDR therapy.

    When I was doing active therapy (including EMDR) with people (until 2015) I found EMDR to be especially helpful for trauma victims. In some cases I saw remarkable positive changes take place in just a few sessions.

    People expend a great deal of energy throughout their life trying to avoid and/or “outrun” their memories of trauma experiences. These efforts are often labelled and falsely *medicalized* as “depression,” “anxiety,” or “Bi-polar” etc….

    EMDR can allow some people to finally “slow down” and look at these past events in a safe place, AND with an adult mind that’s more capable of reprocessing these events in a way that appropriately assigns “responsibility” and allows for more self empathy.

    When bad things happen to children they often “take on the badness as if it were their own.” This fills children with enormous amounts of guilt and shame at an early age that they often carry into adulthood. EMDR can sometimes finally provide the safety and necessary distance from these events to more appropriately access true responsibility and so-called “blame” for events that the trauma victim blamed on themselves.

    We now know that each time someone remembers past events they are actually recreating new memories, because there is a process of reprocessing going on that re-edits these past events with the current *adult* outlook and moral capabilities and standards.

    With EMDR people do not forget the past trauma events, but are often much more able to tolerate and “own” the memories. and especially NO LONGER have to expend so much self defeating energy running from those past memories.

    Understanding this about trauma and the positive qualities of EMDR therapy (when carried out appropriately) helps explain and expose just how harmful psychiatry’s (and their colluding partner, Big Pharma’s) Medical Model (with all their labeling and drugging) is to trauma victims in the world.

    Kerry, your work helping people who have experienced trauma is very difficult, and I salute your compassion and efforts to do this work and educate others who may wish to pursue it in their counseling career or their own personal work in therapy.

    All the best, Richard

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  • KS

    Those are very interesting and scary links you provided. Before this I was not aware of any connection between tick borne illnesses and bio warfare labs etc. – it never even entered my mind. Although I did find it strange that widespread existence of ticks in New England (I grew up in southern Me. and now live in southern Ma.) was never a problem when I was growing up, or in my middle years.

    I have had Lyme twice now and was fortunate to have early symptoms and thus was placed on a quick course of antibiotics which (so far) has precluded any further symptoms.

    My wife and i have each (so far this year) removed two ticks that had already begun to bite into our legs. And just this morning I found a dead tick in my bed, which probably fell off one of our dogs who like to cuddle with us in the bed in the mornings. The dogs are given some medicine that eventually kills ticks that stay on their body for a certain length of time.

    Please let us know if you learn anything substantially new on this topic in the future. I am sure the government and military will do everything possible to not allow anything about ticks and bio-labs to become public knowledge.


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  • Lisa

    This was an extremely powerful story of the horrible odyssey your family has endured related to some of the worst forms of psychiatric abuse. I wish you and your son all the best in future efforts at recovery and also restitution from those responsible for these crimes.

    This story needs to be publicly told and exposed well beyond the scope of Mad in America. I would hope you and/or other contacts you have in the creative world, could write and produce a movie on this entire subject matter. The world is in desperate need of another movie with the creative power of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

    I would hope you would view (and spread on social media) this brand new 11 minute video called “Prescripticide.”

    This powerful video highlights the powerful connection between psychiatric drugs and the rise in suicides and the violence connected to mass shootings. This is information that has been systematically hidden from the public.

    Your story, together with the “Prescripticide” video, would make for a very interesting conversation with documentary film producer Michael Moore.


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  • KS

    There are some things we need to be cautious about when it comes to these genetic testing and metabolism theories regarding psychiatric drugs. You may have addressed this in other comments, but I will make a few points here for discussion.

    We have to be VERY CAREFUL that Big Pharma and psychiatry do not use this science about genetics and metabolism as a way to actually EXPAND their prescribing of psychiatric drugs. Example being: they do the testing (and makes tons of money on testing) and then prescribe like crazy to all those not testing positive.

    There may be some people who are genetically more sensitive to psychiatric drugs and will have the more extreme “akathisia” side effects etc. BUT that does NOT mean that on some sort of continuum of effects, millions of others will have various lesser levels of “akathisia,” AND a host of other negative effects from psychiatric drugging.

    We have to make sure we expose the totality of harm done by these drugs when discussing or promoting these genetic tests for metabolism issues with psychiatric drugs.


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  • rebel

    I have great respect for you and your heroic struggle escaping from the clutches of psychiatry and their oppressive Medical Model. And I am very inspired and have deep respect for the fact that you have chosen to be active against the Medical Model by writing here at MIA.

    My challenges to some of your words here are not meant to be disrespectful to you or your religious beliefs. We are all on a journey to uncover the truth in the world and try to use that knowledge to help liberate us from all forms of oppression. This journey requires the struggle over words and belief systems, and this can be very challenging, and even uncomfortable at times.

    My belief system, including my understanding of history, tells me that various forms of superstition, including some of those held within certain religious doctrines, have been very harmful to humanity, and that these superstitions stand as a roadblock to human progress.

    When I see contradictions in certain statements in the comment section, I sometimes choose to point this out. I try to conduct these discussions in a respectful way. I would be dishonest if I hid my beliefs on these questions, and a coward because I somehow feared people’s reactions to my strong views on these questions.

    My view on “spirituality” is very much related to human connectedness. That is, the powerful feelings one experiences when being part of a movement to change the world for the better. In my experiences going back to the 1960’s, I have felt emotional highs (empathy and love) when participating in some political movements, where “the whole felt much greater than its particular parts.”

    Rebel, I hope in the future we can agree and disagree on some things respectfully without taking personal offense to each other’s comments.

    Respectfully, Richard

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