Thursday, June 22, 2017

Comments by Richard D. Lewis

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  • Bob, Bonnie, and John

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard Lewis

  • Kindredspirit

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Oldhead

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Frank

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Oldhead, Bonnie, and All

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

    I completely agree with this statement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Bonnie

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Uprising

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Frank

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Frank

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Frank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Frank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Cole

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Ron

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Markps2

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • To Lauren, Markps2 and all

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

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/10/may-force-never-ever-case-abolition/

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

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

    Richard

  • Lauren

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

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

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

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

    All the best, Richard

  • Ron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Ron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

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

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

    Richard

  • George

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Hi Ron

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Hi Humanbeing

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

    Richard

  • [email protected], The_Cat, and AA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Richard

  • Hi Markps2

    I am opposed to the use of force WITHOUT ANY EXCEPTIONS. This is not a view I’ve always held, but I was educated by psychiatric survivors, my own experience working inside the system, and new studies showing the harmful effects of forced “treatment.”

    If you read my blog at MIA a few years ago (here)https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/10/may-force-never-ever-case-abolition/ you will see this subject covered from every conceivable angle. The discussion in the comment section is rich as well, especially dealing with the issue of involving the legal authorities and the jail system in these situations.

    Abolition of ‘force,’ without exception, I believe is the only truly moral and just political position one can take on this vitally important issue.

    Richard

  • Bonnie

    Again, congratulations. There are many important lessons in this struggle which you have sought to educate people about.

    As to the issue of including “critical psychiatry” next to “antipsychatry,” I am not sure the best way to write this, but I do think it is important to include them as an important developing trend in the world, even though they are ultimately “reformist” when it comes to still wanting to preserve Psychiatry in the world.

    The way I see it is that IF the “critical Psychiatry” people take their use of the scientific method and their search for the truth regarding the true nature of Psychiatry in the world today to its ultimate and final conclusion. they will be forced to conclude that this fraudulent and overall harmful branch of medicine should be *abolished.* And we should do everything in our power to help them reach this conclusion. Of course, many of them will have to put aside their own self interests in order to make such an analysis and also act upon such discovered truth.

    *Abolished* not by a single legal decree, but instead systematically (through the work of anti-Psychiatry activists and others) exposed, isolated, and discredited for its oppressive use of the “Disease/Drug Based/Paradigm of so-called “treatment.” And thoroughly condemned for its legal power (second only to the Executive Branch of the U.S. government) to take way a person’s Constitutional Rights by forcibly incarcerating and drugging them in a psychiatric hospital/prison.

    When Psychiatry is ultimately stripped of these legal rights and exposed in society for its harmful and fraudulent form of so-called medicine (with its medical license also ultimately removed as well), Psychiatry will then be ignored by people and viewed as a strange and isolated sect in society, and simply “wither away” in due time.

    And all those people in society who worked towards “abolishing” Psychiatry in the above stated manner, they will have done the human species a big favor, as well as, advanced the cause of creating a freer human society.

    Richard

  • I agree Oldhead.

    AND Psychiatry has always had “guild interests” to protect and extend its influence as a medical specialty; based both on faulty science and invented concepts of “mental illness.”

    The major collusion between Psychiatry and Big Pharma that began in the late 1970’s was the advent of Biological Psychiatry; representing the very worst of psychiatry now on high doses of its own steroids. AND all this now riding a tidal wave of the pharmaceutical industry’s rapid expansion and innate drive for profit – by any means necessary.

    Four decades of perhaps the largest multi-billion dollar PR campaign and medical hoax ever perpetrated in human history, and here we are today. This extremely powerful institution of Psychiatry is now so deeply embedded in the social fabric of our society that it has become both a NECESSARY AND ESSENTIAL INSTRUMENT OF SOCIAL CONTROL preserving the continued existence of the U.S. empire.

    Richard

  • Hi Monica

    In Sept. of 2015 I resigned in protest from my job in community “mental health” after 23 years; I wrote a blog about this at MIA a year and a half ago. I still have a small private practice where I do therapy/coaching/helping or whatever makes the most sense (at this moment in time) to describe my relationship with people I work with.

    I always read and learn from your writings and in this case take the message as a very truthful and sobering assessment of the perils (for those people vulnerable enough in life to share their secrets with a stranger) inherent in my role/work as a so-called “therapist.”

    Over 10 years ago I briefly saw a therapist for a family issue (the person seemed like a very nice man) but I felt very uncomfortable with the entire process, especially with the issue of “trust.”

    There are less than a handful of therapists that I have worked with over the years that I had ANY trust in the quality of their ability to work with people in a counseling relationship.

    If anyone plans on doing this work with any level of integrity and safety for those they counsel, they need to constantly expose themselves to all types of survivor narratives and System criticism of the Medical Model that we might find at websites like MIA and Beyond Meds.

    If one is not continuously exposed to this form of education then they WILL NOT be able to help people very much, and most likely will end up harming them. AND each person doing therapeutic type work must make sure they are CONSTANTLY engaged in a form of self-interrogation regarding their own personal agenda and the actual nature of the inherent power differential in their therapeutic relationship.

    Richard

  • Kurt

    Thanks for writing here at MIA and participating in a difficult discussion.

    One important thing to point out in this discussion, is that in today’s world (when looking at power relationships), Psychiatry is the only other institution in our society that has as much power as the U.S. President and the Executive Branch of government.

    After just a 5 minute discussion with a “mental health” worker or family member, a psychiatrist can completely strip away a person’s Constitutional Right to freedom with a simple signature of a pen. With this signature any person DEEMED “a threat to themselves or others” can be forcibly incarcerated and drugged (some would say “mind raped”) in a psychiatric hospital.

    There is accumulating evidence that it is these kinds of experiences of trauma (the use of ‘FORCE”) that are a major contributing factor to the rise in suicide in this country.

    Kurt, I challenge you to read and contemplate the arguments made in the blog I wrote for MIA a few years ago titled: “May the ‘Force’ NEVER EVER Be With You: The Case for Abolition.” Here is the link: https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/10/may-force-never-ever-case-abolition/

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Hi Matt

    I am still very surprised you still want to cosign MartinMc’s comment. I hope you read ALL the follow up comments beyond his original comment.

    I believe myself and a few others made a strong case that he was in essence putting forth his own version of a form of biological determinism that in the final analysis only reinforces aspects of Biological Psychiatry’s pseudo-science. This same view ultimately reinforces certain prejudices regarding common fears of the rise of the Women’s Liberation movement.

    Matt, you said: “…I did not agree with everything he said, but thought some of it was quite valuable. By assuming I agree with certain things he said (when you couldn’t know all that I actually agreed or disagreed with), you might be making a mistake.”

    I would say that in my own participation in commenting on blogs, I am VERY CAREFUL when agreeing with someone on a few points to distinguish that agreement from other parts of that person’s analysis that I find objectionable.

    The fact that you were NOT clear on exactly what you agreed with, AND DID NOT follow up your comment with any objections to other parts of his analysis, leaves you very open to fair criticism of you basically co-signing what MartinMc wrote here.

    And MartinMc was also presenting some major political themes that quite often dovetail with Right Wing Libertarianism in this country. I believe it is very important to criticize these political views because they are so utopian when it comes to understanding the true nature and role of capitalism in today’s world.

    Richard

  • Thank you Steve, J, and others for your insightful critique of the shortcomings and problems with this blog.

    Kurt Michael, you said: ” Some teens have even accused my clinicians (many in their early 20’s) as being out of touch with teen culture, saying that as adults, we “don’t get it.” In fact, as an exemplar of a literal “piling on” to this so-called generation gap, my 24-year-old clinician was told that “24 is the new 40!”

    Have you ever considered the possibility that the huge “gap” that some of the teens are describing about your clinicians may have absolutely NOTHING to do with age. It may instead have EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE TYPE AND CONTENT OF THE EDUCATION THAT CURRENT STUDENTS ARE RECEIVING BEFORE THEY ENTER TODAY’S “MENTAL HEALTH” FIELD.

    Over the past 4 decades there has been a complete “take over” (in both education and practice) by the Biological Psychiatry “Disease”/Drug based Medical Model of so-called “treatment. The collusion, at the highest levels, between Big Pharma, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the leaders of academia, has led to a consolidated shift in the way psychological duress is understood in today’s world AND how caregivers are taught AND directed to provide support and care.

    Today’s students are thoroughly indoctrinated in a pseudo-scientific paradigm dictated by the outlook and practice of Biological Psychiatry, where the essential content is nothing more than a series of “genetic theories of original sin.”

    Students are directed AWAY from looking at what is wrong in our surrounding environment, and forced to focus on defective genes, brain “diseases,” and the “magic bullets” of mind altering psychiatric drugs that are alleged to correct mythical “chemical imbalances” in the brain.

    Even in those educational programs where students MIGHT be exposed to alternatives approaches (other then the dominant Medical Model) we cannot underestimate the overwhelming influence that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by Big Pharma and the APA in its massive PR campaign over the past 4 decades, has had on influencing the thinking of the American public.

    It is NOT A MYSTERY why young caregivers actively working in today’s “mental health” system are completely unable to effectively reach out and connect to teenagers who are only a few years different in age.

    Suicide is NOT a mystery, nor are the solutions to this crisis that difficult to understand. There must be major Revolutionary type institutional changes at all levels in our society. But the first thing that needs to happen is that We ALL need our brains “washed” thoroughly from the harmful AND deadly way of thinking and “treating” people promoted by Biological Psychiatry.

    Richard

  • Jill

    You said: “Addictive drugs capture the individual’s motivation system such that the behavior is compelled. The affective consequences of consuming the chemical are irrelevant. It’s not about seeking pleasure or seeking relief, its about having no choice.”

    This above statement is one sided and leads to an unscientific understanding of addiction that actually reinforces Biological Psychiatry’s and the medical establishment’s “disease” propaganda regarding the nature of addiction.

    In fact, it is this view which uses words like “capture” or “hijacking” the brain as one of the main arguments of those “mental health” opinion leaders who push the whole concept of addiction as a disease. They consistently call addiction a genetic based, chronic, and progressive brain “disease” which requires “treatment” and quite often, replacement drugs and/or psychiatric drugs to manage for one’s lifetime.

    Yes, on going heavy use of certain drugs can impair and diminish (while using) the frontal lobes and more rational thinking parts of the brain that clearly impair judgement. “Capture” and/or “hijack” are misleading concepts that are refuted by literally millions of examples of human experience where people have broken major addictions (most often) with no formal “treatment” of any kind.

    BTW, I’m not using AA or NA as the example for those people recovering without “treatment.” For the actual record of success for the 12 Step groups is quite low (about 10%) according to the Cochran Institute.

    The whole famous rat experiment cited above refutes your concept of “capture” mentioned above and its applied misleading beliefs in the direction of “disease” thinking. It also cuts against the whole concept of neuroplasticity which is one explanation for why people can recover from major addictions.

    Jill, I suggest you read Dr Carl Hart, neuroscientist, and Dr. Lance Dodes (The Sober Truth) to get a better scientific perspective on these issues so you are not unknowingly promoting “disease” based thinking and faulty science.

    Richard

  • MartinMc

    Your above analysis represents a clear example of putting BIOLOGY above the more dominant and principle influences of ENVIRONMENT as the determining factor when examining the evolution (with some periods of rapid revolutionary change) of human culture and human nature. You are making a different version of the very same errors as Biological Psychiatry.

    You have taken a “brief” snapshot of some of the more common ways men and women behave in today’s world in this historical era (or projected your own narrow personal experiences growing up) and, in an unscientific and mechanical way, projected that onto a very static and limited view of human nature. In the final analysis, this view only serves to reinforce the status quo and some of the worst stereotypes regarding what constitutes sexual identity and the social roles of men and women in our society.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT AND DOMINANT FACTOR in how human beings socially interact with one another within society is rooted in the fundamental way in which the necessities of life are produced, the ownership of those means of production, and the type of political organization that is developed to oversee production and manage social life within the broader society.

    Both human culture and its closely related construct called human nature are quite malleable when looking at the history of the human species.

    While one can’t discount that there are some biological (especially the levels of certain hormones) differences between men and women, these differences are not only secondary to the influences of the culture and society surrounding them, but that very culture itself can have a direct impact on a person’s biology, including levels of hormones etc. depending on what is happening in that environment.

    In today’s world most human beings live in large social groupings, including large urban centers. Production of the necessities of life on also done socially, most often in larger group settings called factories. So we live together socially and produce socially BUT the very means of production built and operated by a working class is OWNED and CONTROLLED by a SMALL CLASS of capitalists.

    In order to survive, those in the working class must SELL THEIR LABOR POWER to the highest bidding capitalist. This my friend is just a higher form of slavery – called WAGE SLAVERY.

    This same class dominates and controls the entire political system and we are duped into thinking we live in a democracy.

    It is this societal framework in which the social roles and so-called differences in human nature between men and women are fostered and developed. The role of women, as oppressed second class citizens, within this framework has been necessary and vital to the ruling classes to maintain their power and control throughout society, despite some limited changes in First World countries.

    MartinMc, you can put Maggie Thatcher or Hillary Rodham Clinton in major positions of power in a capitalist dominated political system and they will act (and have already acted) just like the men who preceded them. The internal logic of *capital* is to “expand or die.” In the final analysis they will end up doing things within a general framework of expanding and protecting the Imperialist empire. The fact that they have given birth to children or have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies will mean virtually NOTHING when it comes to their political decisions and actions as a government leader.

    Richard

  • MartinMc

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I want to be clear that I am not somehow labeling you as a bigot or a Right Wing fascist sympathizer.

    HOWEVER, your current analysis and previous comment was “cloaking” (and maybe you are not even aware of it) a very dangerous set of ideas that, in fact, mirrors in similar ways some of the main themes of the Right Wing Libertarians in this country.

    The fact that you have such a blase view of Trump also scares me, and tells me volumes about your political instincts AT THIS TIME. There are many people with far less knowledge and political sophistication as you that have an appropriately visceral negative reaction to Trump, especially women and minorities. And your above comment shows a complete failure to grasp the more subtle (and sophisticated) forms of sexism and racism in today’s academic world.

    So, no MartinMc, I am NOT somehow putting you in the camp of the people I would describe as the ENEMY. However, that being said, the views you are currently professing, if taken to their furthest extension, do end up in some scary places.

    My pointed use of sarcasm in my above comment is mainly to alert you and other readers the very dangerous extension of these set of ideas.

    MartinMc. you said: ” I wouldn’t say I am anti-capitalist as I believe that giving people the opportunity to bargain between themselves about what they are willing to offer each other for their efforts or products while having a limited governmental or judicial process to go to if an agreed deal or contract has not been fulfilled is an essential component as I don’t just trust the market enough to correct itself.”

    As to your description of modern day Capitalism, I don’t think I’ve read a more “benign” sounding description of today’s system of wage slavery that, not only fosters and maintains class oppression in this country, BUT operates the most DESTRUCTIVE form of Imperialist domination throughout the Globe.

    Don’t forget that the U.S. only makes up slightly less than 5% of the world’s population, yet it sucks up and controls vast percentages of the worlds natural resources AND holds a vast number of countries in a constant state of economic and political backwardness to serve its Imperialist needs and agenda. Do I need to bring up Imperialist wars, for one example, to make this point?

    AND look what havoc, crimes, and distortions the capitalist profit motive has wreaked on today’s system of medicine, the”mental health” empire, and its huge barriers to fostering legitimate independent science.

    As to your positive references to Carl Jung and his use of maternal and patriarchal archetypes, don’t forget that Jung had sexual relationships with several of his “patients.” What does that say about his judgement and views toward women?

    MartinMc, I still maintain that I want to be a “million miles” from several of the views you profess here, because all my political experience and understanding of history tells me EXACTLY where this type of viewpoint is headed.

    MartinMc, you said: “… your reply has given me a chance to try to prove to you that you do not need to stay away from my analyses and that I’m not as nasty and sneakily cunning as you seem to perceive me to be.”

    First off, I never used words such as “nasty” or “sneaky,” those are your words. And further, it is very unfortunate that you are seemingly NOT currently open to changing your thinking on these critical issues. What this comment tells me is that you currently have NO INTENTION of reevaluating your above comments or learning from my criticisms and analysis here, BUT you ONLY want to defend and restate and/or double down on these backward headed viewpoints.

    MartinMc, I hope you, and others who may hold similar views here at MIA, will seriously reevaluate where these ideas will take you and our entire society, if taken to their final extension.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • MartinMc and Matt

    Neither one of you did much with these comments to advance ANY confidence from MIA readers in your ability to advance the causes of social justice beyond perhaps a partial critique of what is wrong with today’s “mental health” system.

    First off, let me be clear where I am coming from, so there will be no attempts by MartinMc to smear me with some kind of liberal democratic brush.

    I am anti-capitalist and condemn both the Democratic and the Republican Party as being tools and instruments of the 1% constituting a ruling class that is an impediment to future of human progress on this planet. They have always been, and will continue to be, totally unable and unwilling to provide any thorough going advance of any forms of social justice for people in this country, and most definitely for people around the world, as they control the number one Imperialist power dominating the world stage.

    My views on MIA policy have been well stated several times in this blog and I will not repeat them again here.

    MartinMC’s critique of MIA staff members and the supposed source of their political decisions about blog policy is shear nonsense cloaked in a sophisticated attack on women’s liberation and other related struggles for social justice in the world.

    MartinMc’s says: “I believe that matriarchal control is beginning to become more prominent in Western societies…”

    Oh, so I guess you believe the struggle for women’s liberation may have gone a bit to far for your liking. And in particular, perhaps the role of women in leadership positions at MIA is the cause of the so-called stifling of the *freedom of speech* of mainly male bloggers in the comment section.

    MartinMC should I anticipate that you believe that perhaps the struggle against racism in America may have also gone too far for your liking, with their being perhaps too many minorities promoted into positions of power in this country. And therefore this has now become the source of some kind of “racist” backlash now oppressing white people.

    Have you somehow forgotten that the political system in this country just took a MAJOR leap in the direction of Fascism with the election of Trump. That every single struggle for human rights, from women’s control of their bodies, gay rights, advances against racial oppression, the struggle against psychiatric oppression, protection of the climate etc. are in serious jeopardy of being set back or wiped out completely.

    MartinMC you allegedly speak out strongly for *free speech* but what direction is the “freedom” moving in regards to the struggles for human rights that I mentioned above. AND please tell us exactly what is YOUR agenda on these vital struggles that you cloaked in a sophisticated rant against MIA moderating policy.

    MartinMC you said: “…where it highlights how Democrats are far more likely to be diagnosed with a ‘mental health condition’ than Republicans so while I know that there may be other better explanations from this I would guess that psychiatry, its affiliates and the pharmaceutical industry would only be delighted if more people became or voted Democrats…”

    Now MartinMC, in this comment you have totally exposed and embarrassed yourself, and once again revealed a not so hidden form and agenda of bias and discrimination against oppressed people in this society. Apparently you believe that people who get diagnosed with “mental illnesses” in this country are the same “numskulls” that fall for the liberal Democratic and/or other types of a Left political agendas.

    As has been proven here at MIA by its publication of legitimate science and correct (is it safe for me to use this word?) political analysis, poor people subjected to all aspects of poverty, racial minorities, women, gay people, transgender people etc. are ALL more likely to be diagnosed with a so-called “mental illness” and drugged in this country.

    The fact that more people from these particular groups vote Democratic proves nothing in this context except that, as expected, – environment trumps biology when it comes to understanding the kinds of social stressors that push human beings beyond their ability to cope. The fact that less Republicans get diagnosed has more to do with their *class* position in society than any other factor you are trying to imply here.

    So MartinMC, if you were trying to offer a well thought out political analysis for why the MIA moderating policy is wrong, you failed miserably. And as much as I agree with some of your initial concerns about the closing down of the comment section of some blogs, I DO NOT want to be within a million miles of the rest of your political analysis.

    And Matt, you have just embarrassed yourself as well, by saying: “The comments here from Martin are excellent.”

    Do you really want to cosign MartinMc’s above comment?

    Richard

  • Emmeline

    Have you considered this. In the future, this policy may force people like myself to just go ahead and write an entire blog that is a devastating critique (within the appropriate standards of writing) of the prior (silent) author, as a follow up to a particular blog.

    I bet you might see that author suddenly appear in your comment section when her/his viewpoint/positions are totally deconstructed by other commenters and the new author, her/himself.

    As you know, I eventually did this once at your suggestion to deescalate a particularly hot comment section. Although the blog came out several months later and was also very hot in the comment section, the final result (after my actual testimony for the MA benzo bill) was a very rewarding reconciliation among almost everyone involved.

    Richard

  • Uprising

    I see no evidence that there is a lack of bloggers trying to be published at MIA. The blogs keep coming and coming, and many from first time writers. And sometimes I even lament that fact when my blogs so quickly get pushed down to the bottom of the front page and then off the screen.

    Let’s hope that MIA becomes so popular (with tons of good blogs submitted) and widely read that MIA staff can set the terms more decisively about required participation.

    Richard

  • Emmeline

    Thanks for that response.

    That still doesn’t answer the point about what efforts will MIA make (in delineating a preferred policy based on its overall mission etc.) in attempting to persuade all bloggers about the value AND importance of participating in discussions to enhance the search for the truth and the ultimate goal of social justice.

    Richard

  • Philip

    Your posts are SO devilishly deconstructing of Biological Psychiatry in the most scientific and sarcastic way that it simply gives me such great joy to read them, and I laugh out loud all the way through most blogs.

    This is simply one of your very best, but, of course, I have said that to myself before. You are a vitally important treasure to the anti-Psychiatry movement that sparkles beyond the brilliance of true gold. Keep on keeping on!!!

    Richard

  • Bob

    Thanks for this response to such an important and intense process that is occurring within this vital social justice resource that you were so instrumental in creating.

    I still strongly advocate for a policy that ALL people who blog here should be required to participate in some way or level in the discussion that follows their publication. Even if that participation (because of time constraints and other responsibilities) can only be one summarized response at the end of the discussion addressing some of the main themes etc.

    Don’t forget that all the authors publishing blogs here at MIA are getting the ENORMOUS PRIVILEGE to promote their ideas, their reputation, their books, and even their BRAND, if you will (some make a living off of their writings and business endeavors related to their writing interests), to a broad internet audience. MIA has grown in readership significantly over the last few years, so this is no small opportunity and privilege that authors are given.

    The least they (the authors) can do is make an effort to provide some give and take with the readership base of this blog. And Bob, I hope you are hearing how vitally important these comment sections have been, especially to survivors who read at MIA on a regular basis. Some people have stated that they learn more from the discussions than the actual blogs themselves.

    IF IF IF you decide to allow some authors to close discussions (and I hope you don’t), then I would hope you make sure you impress upon ALL authors that you would STRONGLY PREFER that they engage with the readership, and NOT allow these closed blogs to become even close to a “norm” at MIA.

    Recently, the two nutrition writers who promote their books and “brand” at MIA closed off such a discussion after a few people raised some legitimate questions. These questions were not raised (in my opinion) in any kind of a hostile way, but they were “pointed” probings of exactly what was being promoted in the writings. I felt this may have fueled the beginnings of a bad precedent or direction here at MIA.

    Is it not also the role of MIA moderators to “soothe” the egos of some authors and help clarify what readers are REALLY asking of the authors? So that they can see that they are not being “attacked” by these questions, and that further dialogue and clarification would only enhance our efforts to arrive at the truth of the matter being discussed, and actually advance EVERYONE’S goal of improving scholarship and knowledge.

    More food for thought – ONWARD!

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Brett

    Thanks for that thoughtful and personal response.

    I still believe that MIA must retain and nurture its solid survivor base with all its edginess and yes, anger at times, in order to continue its mission. In fact, I would say that in many ways this “voice of survivor” edginess actually attracts many professionals to come here and explore in a deep going way the actual effects that this system, and those of us that work in it, are having on the very people we are suppose to be serving.

    Some professional people may be hesitant to write or comment here, but I believe they DO VERY MUCH want to know what is truly on the minds and in the hearts of those they profess to serve. AND I believe those same professional people want very much to be accepted into this community by the most ardent and critical survivor activists.

    This whole process may take some time because the overwhelming majority of professionals do not yet truly understand the inherent nature of the power differential in their relationship with their client/patient relationship, or understand the terrible harm perpetrated by this System.

    Brett, I remember a previous period a few years ago when you stepped back form participating at MIA for the very same reasons. BUT you came back again to try and fit in and actively participate. I am confident that your heart is in the right place and you will, indeed, be back with us in due time for another try. Next time, don’t wait so long OR reconsider now, and push on through all your reservations and fears.

    There are many people here who want you to be participating in this community and witness the changes that you (and all of us) will go through in the coming period of intense struggle against the EVIL EMPIRE (I do not use this term lightly) of psychiatric oppression.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Oldhead

    Who says he has to share my “goal of bringing down the system.” You are being just as subjective in your own impatience with this f#$king System as he is, only in a different and more “ultra left” way.

    Did you read Brett’s comment above? Did you you not pick up on his frustration trying to make change against all these overwhelming powerful forces out there? Did you you not pick up on his personal admission that he has difficulty with contentious discussions? We both have no idea of what personal experiences Brett has endured in his life that might make him more sensitive to this sort of dialogue.

    Sometimes it’s hard for me and many others that participate here to deal with certain comments and difficult exchanges. Some are more seasoned and experienced than others. I believe it is his frustration with the System and his personal difficulty with certain exchanges that led Brett to make what both you and I believe are bad proposals for how MIA’s blog dialogue should be operated. This does not make him some “enemy” that deliberately wants to take down MIA and destroy its vital core.

    MIA does NOT have a revolutionary agenda, nor should we expect it to have one. It is a “community” of people seeking the truth about what is going on with this oppressive (my description) “mental health” system and seeking solutions for those harmed by it.

    Oldhead, if you are really interested in changing this f#$king System you’re going to have to figure out how to communicate with people like Brett and James (the author of this blog) and others not at your level of critique or political experience, or you’ll end up in some corner somewhere hurling insults at people, and not advancing this cause much.

    Sometimes you act like you can’t discern the difference between your enemies and your potential friends in the Long March we are on in this movement. I stand with you in your overall anti-Psychiatry critique, but some of your methods of struggle need some adjustment, Comrade.

    I disagree with Brett on a few important issues, BUT he is still on OUR side of the barricades and we must work toward “uniting all who can be united” in this struggle to build a broad based movement. Oldhead, why aren’t you attempting to win over Brett to your perspective instead of assuming that he will hold onto, forever, what it is you think he needs to change???

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Brett

    Your record proves you have made great efforts to advance a more radical critique of Biological Psychiatry. I have read some of your articles in the past and found them to be skillfully written with important exposure of the entire “mental health” system. You have also made some very valuable contributions to some of the addiction discussions that have followed some of my blogs critiquing the “Disease” Model of addiction. You ARE a part of the MIA community and you BELONG here and I hope you decide to remain here.

    That being said, it does not mean that you and I (and the rest of this community) share EXACTLY the same assessment of the current objective reality facing us, necessarily agree on the best strategy to advance this cause, or share exactly the same ultimate goals of this movement. AND we don’t need to ALL be in exact agreement on these things to all work toward advancing this cause. NOR should we expect to ALL be on exactly the same page at this time.

    Your above comment actually reveals a great deal of the frustration and yes, anger, we all feel about why our movement against Biological Psychiatry is not at a more advanced stage. We have THE SCIENCE to refute them, a significant number of articulate and outspoken survivors, and a solid number of credentialed doctors, scientists, and other professionals, YET the “Cabaret” still goes on seemingly unabated. In fact, if anything, it is more accurate to say that their oppressive System is stronger than ever, and still getting stronger every day. How do we explain this?!

    You said in the above comment:
    “I do not know if the culture here is a barrier to more professionals engaging with MIA, but I think it is possible…. But I also think there are lots of other people like me, who support MIA’s mission but who are hesitant to engage with this community because of its culture. And also, perhaps, because they are more interested in discussing certain issues with their peers than with a general audience.”

    Brett, you are a firm believer in science and the scientific method. You, indeed, practice it in both your writings and in your professional work. Yet, in the above statement you used the phrases “I do not know,” once and “I think,” twice, and the phrase “perhaps because” once. And then you followed those phrases with a predetermined (possibly subjective) conclusion as to why MIA and our movement is not growing faster. And that conclusion was your proposed belief that it must be all the edgy and sometimes combative discourse that takes place in discussions that follow MIA blogs.

    Respectfully, Brett, you have seriously veered away from the scientific method here and perhaps imposed a conclusion (out of our universal feelings of frustration and anger with this f@#king System) that flows more from your own subjective discomfort with contentious debate, and yes, sometimes dialogue that comes across as personal and cutting. While I have somewhat steeled myself against over reacting to this, I can’t tell you how much sleep I’ve lost and emotional stress I’ve experienced when my blogs are up and the debate and discussion gets pretty hot.

    I’m not a survivor, so my words are especially scrutinized by many readers here. But I’m OK with that, because we have to endure these pressures if we truly want to change the world. And I also know many therapists who do harmful things in their work.

    The same sort of contradictions are present when white people are involved in Black Lives Matter or men are involved in struggles against women’s oppression. This System has placed enormous barriers of racism, sexism, classism and the endless other divisions created by this System, including between psych survivors and professionals working in an oppressive “mental health” system. We all have to work through this, and yes, suffer with some angst and anxiety when people disagree with us etc.

    I believe the future success of MIA and its mission must involve a foundation (including a growing number of developing leaders) of outspoken, and YES, edgy, articulate, and sometimes openly angry victims/survivors who educate us professionals about the true underbelly of this oppressive System. Those same survivors also need to be open to learning a few things from the scientists, professionals, and other intellectuals who have the skills to use science against our enemies who operate this gulag.

    MIA would not even exist without the original core of survivors who were the impetus and inspiration for this entire project, and have been the heart and soul of Robert Whitaker’s books. The future of this endeavor must, and will, involve a growing core of activist survivors, or it will fail and fade into obscurity.

    I believe the MAIN reason why it has been SO difficult to grow our movement is because we have underestimated exactly what we are up against. Biological Psychiatry, in collusion with Big Pharma, has literally spent several hundred BILLION dollars over the past 4 decades on the biggest PR campaign in history to perpetrate some of the most deadly myths in human history. This mythology is deeply imbedded throughout the entire population, both among those who are highly educated and those who are functionally illiterate.

    Let’s be clear, we are up against an empire here and Trump’s new appointee for “mental health” has already declared her desire to INCREASE the power of BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY in the coming period.

    Brett, don’t let these frustrations get the best of you and/or let the System turn us all inward fighting among ourselves, resorting to subjective type conclusions for why our movement is not growing more at this time. Try to remain as scientific in your personal efforts to dialogue at MIA as you are in your professional life.

    Let’s all take a deep breath, and then dig back into all the rich discussions here at MIA and struggle (including within ourselves) with searching for a deeper understanding of the truth and finding the ways to ultimately bring down this Beast of a f$%king System. Carry on.

    Richard

  • Sonja

    Great blog – and such a powerful story told with such deep insight based on “lived experience” with these dangerous and grossly over prescribed drugs.

    I had heard bits and pieces of your story in our prior conversations but had no concept of the depth of the living hell you experienced. You are one brave and resilient woman who is engaged in a very important battle against Big Pharma and Biological Psychiatry.

    Keep us posted on the the progress of this legislative effort; for I want to help in any way I can.

    Comradely, Richard

  • To Brett, James, Emmeline and ALL

    I just completed a very brief look at the list of all the authors/bloggers here at Mad in America. I attempted to assess the number of professionals who have written several blogs AND actively participate in discussions.

    I believe that Brett, James, and some others here may be exaggerating or over estimating the nature of the problem where professionals working in the System are somehow “victimized” by excessive criticism or some type of perceived personal attacks, and thus, discouraged from further participation here. AND that somehow this requires a qualitative change in MIA policy leading to the closing down of some discussions under written blogs. Or the suggestion that there should somehow be a SEPARATE site for ONLY professionals to dialogue.

    Here is a partial (unscientific list) of professionals who write at MIA on several occasions who do JUST FINE with the comment section. It does not mean that some of their views are not criticized or challenged, but they handle this process quite well, knowing when to respond to certain negative critiques and also knowing how to shy away from dialogue that has reached an impasse: (and BTW, this is a list of professionals for whom I believe have not had any “lived experience” as a survivor, but of course, living in this world today does subject us all to multiple forms of trauma on many different levels, including those stories told to professionals by “clients”, “patients,” etc.)

    Carina Hakanson, PhD – Bonnie Burstow, PhD – Bruce Levine PhD – Kjetil Mellingen PhD -Peter Gotzche, MD – Rev. Dr. Steven Epperson – Jay Joseph, Psy.D – Johanna Ryan – Michael w. Corrigan, Ed.D – Philip Hickey, PhD – Richarad D. Lewis M.Ed., LMHC – Robert Berezin, MD – Sandra Steingard MD – Stuart Shipko, MD

    This list does NOT include professionals who also have “lived experience” which is a whole separate discussion in many ways. And I did not include some writers at MIA who write very few blogs or I am unaware of their personal history with the System.

    The few writers here at MIA who are having the most difficulty with this process should not “project” their personal assessment onto other professionals writing here by exaggerating the nature of this problem in such a way as to pressure MIA into making significant editorial changes.

    And as a last point, I would suggest that some of the professional bloggers who are having the most problems with this process go back and read the many blogs and comment sections of Dr. Sanda Steingard over the past several years.

    If you do, you will get first class lesson in how to stand your ground in the face of very harsh and emotional criticism, yet honor and respect, and YES attempt to understand where the writer is coming from in their traumatic experiences within the System. And she very astutely knows when certain dialogue has reached an impasse and, she artfully moves away from such exchanges before allowing such dissonance to devolve into harmful forms of communication. This does always make people happy when this cutoff happens, but it is a testament to her compassion and personal incite as a human being in a very controversial profession as a psychiatrist. It is also why she is highly respected by her patients, other critics of the current “mental health” system, and also respected by those who even believe that Psychiatry should ultimately be abolished as a medical specialty.

    Richard

  • Brett

    As a professional AND an anti-Psychiatry activist who is determined to be a part of a movement WITH psychiatric survivors to end ALL forms of psychiatric abuse, your suggestions here, if implemented, would be a serious step backward for this entire movement.

    And this perspective, if widely adopted, would only further polarize and exacerbate already existing contradictions among survivors and people working in the system. And don’t forget there are a number of survivors out there also now working inside the system. How would you classify them in this whole dynamic?

    You said: “I suspect there are many people in my profession who would welcome a MIA-style resource for news, blogs, and discussion about issues related to MIA’s mission, where they could discuss and debate important issues among fellow professionals who generally share their values without having to spend their time arguing with those who want to abolish all mental health professions, regard science as worthless, and so on.”

    Your comment about having to waste time “…arguing with those [survivors] who want to abolish all mental health professions, regard science as worthless, and so on…” is a gross exaggeration of how these views get expressed here. A very tiny minority here at MIA express views that “all mental health” professionals should be abolished.” (BTW don’t you indeed desire a world where therapists and other “mental health” professionals are no longer necessary?) And the vast majority (I would guess 90% or more) express deep appreciation and value for ALL the science that refutes the oppressive paradigm promoted by Biological Psychiatry.

    You said: “I hope that someday the culture here will allow me to confidently recommend that kindred spirits in my profession become actively involved. MIA has a long way to go before that can happen.”

    Brett, there are many professionals who blog and comment here who do just fine. Please don’t project your current dissonance onto other professionals participating here, and then make a principle about dividing people off from one another. If you’ve read some of my blogs and commentary in discussions on benzos you will see that I’ve encountered some serious turbulence at times. But I have learned a great deal by persevering with an open mind through these difficult and turbulent waters. And I believe some survivors have learned from me in the course of these debates and discussions.

    Yes, MIA has a long way to go, as WE all do, INCLUDING YOU, before we can end psychiatric oppression.
    DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!!!

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Emmeline

    You said:”I hear you on professionals not always being willing to make the effort to see things from the perspective of people with lived experience. But the reverse is also true — people making no attempt to see the good in what a professional is doing, instead bending over backwards to find fault and assume the worst, sometimes missing the point of a blog entirely or reacting to things the writer didn’t even say.”

    I would say in this situation the onus/responsibility is mainly on the professional to step back and not overreact, or take things in a personal way and respond on that basis. This is true even when we are, in fact, personally attacked by a commenter and/or survivor.

    I am not suggesting this is easy to do, nor am I suggesting that this comment section should be allowed to become a free for all battle of competing comments without any rules of decorum.

    As a professional, we should assume form the git go that many people have been harmed by this oppressive “mental health” system and that many therapists have engaged in the negative aspects of the inherent power differential (therapist/client relationship) and taken in some of the worst influences of the Biological Psychiatry paradigm – labeling, “disease/drug based model etc.

    I read MIA carefully for 6 months before I dared to comment and/or write blogs here. Some might say I shouldn’t had to do such intense preparation before participating. But others might say it was a smart and necessary process of preparation.

    I guess you might be critical of how I participated in this particular discussion. I believe I have given the author credit for the important points he has raised, but also tried to understand where all the objections and criticisms have come from as well.

    Emmeline, if you are critical of my participation in this comment section I hope you find a way to engage me on where you believe I was off the mark. And that does not mean it needs to happen now in the comment section.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Stephen

    Interesting comment. And I find as I get older (69 an 1/2) and closer to the end of my life, the less willing I can tolerate oppression or ideas that in some way may unknowingly reinforce oppression. And also the older I get the bolder I become in strongly putting out my views and not fearing the response and/or sugar coating my views to avoid upsetting people.

    I still realize I must be careful and respectful how I go about this, but there definitely are changes in how we dialogue on controversial issues as we get older. At least that is true for me, especially over the past two years.

    Richard

  • James

    I actually agree with the essential point you have made (in the above blog) about the importance of searching for (and helping others search for ) a true understanding of reality as it truly exists in the the objective world – independent of any one persons subjective interpretation of that reality. Not being in touch with this objective reality can be a serious problem for individual members of society and our society as a whole.

    Where I think people picked up on some issues with your blog is on the question of how do we go about living with (and working with) people who have a different or distorted view of that reality. I think this is where some people may have picked up on some rigidity or paternalism etc.

    I saw this blog as an opportunity to go back into some of your inconsistent moral and scientific beliefs (as expressed in prior blogs where you defended Catholic doctrine on very controversial issues) which are quite contradictory at times. Since you very often insist on the importance of science and acknowledging the true nature of objective reality (as in this blog) I am totally confounded by your moral and political inconsistencies.

    And James since you are such a gifted writer and seeker of the truth, I believe you underestimate the impact of your words and moral stances in other contexts, especially when it comes to defending Catholic doctrine and how that might influence other Catholics or would be Catholics.

    You said in your earlier comment that you advocate for reform in the Catholic church, yet some of your writings in Catholic publications such as here (http://www.aleteia.org/en/scienvironment/article/10-ways-that-science-is-proving-the-church-is-right-and-the-cultures-wrong-5881921179484160) were using a very limited version of scientific understanding to justify a very backward and harmful social agenda.

    If you were really advocating for reform in the Catholic church why would you not use the same standard and method that allows you to criticize Biological Psychiatry and their whole System (in such a deep going way) but yet not take those same types of risks in challenging the Catholic hierarchy and their harmful doctrine when it comes to women and gay people etc.?

    You could potentially be a powerful force for change within this institution (Catholic church) yet you seem to spend more energy convincing others (with extreme forms of mental gymnastics) to go along with and accept this doctrine. I am totally perplexed and confounded by this moral inconsistency, especially since I do respect many of your other writings.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • James

    I find it necessary to repeat something I’ve said to you in prior discussions over the years: I respect your writing here at MIA. You have published many excellent blogs and critiques of what is wrong with Biological Psychiatry and their whole “mental health” system. I have learned from your writings and hope you publish more in the future. At the same time there are some issues we have major differences on when it comes to inconsistency in moral beliefs, political agendas, and religious doctrine.

    Somewhere in the comment section under your prior blog a few years ago titled “Addressing the Mental Health Crisis: What Really Matters,” you made the following statement: “”But the ONLY thing I care about is understanding what truly is, no matter how inconvenient, unpopular, antiquated, or mundane they appear. Period.”

    James, I want to hold you to this comment. I hope this statement would also apply to any and all critical appraisals of your words and written blogs, even when the first tendency (that all of us tend to have) when we are criticized; that is to be defensive and sometimes deflect the discussion to other issues.

    In this case you are now bringing up the fact that some people writing here at MIA cannot always handle heated debate of their ideas (and are thinking about not writing anymore blogs here), including those times when people may express their angst against professionals (and their being part of the System) and the Catholic religion etc. And yes, at times that includes dialogue that crosses the line into angry outbursts and what may appear to be personal attacks.

    I would say that if we truly are interested in learning from this process (that includes all of us who author blogs here and believe we have something to teach others) then we must be able to weather the many different forms of debate and political struggle that occurs at MIA. Despite a minority of examples where these discussions digress into bad forms of communications, OVERALL there is very positive dialogue going on here at MIA, and there are enormous opportunities to learn about the world and ourselves.

    James, why not step back for a moment and consider that some people have picked up on a particular tone or rigidity in how you presented your ideas here. You just might learn something if you can get beyond the defensiveness and search for the underlying meaning of what people are saying. This includes even those times when they might not be expressed in the best way.

    I am the one who brought up the Catholic issue and I will explain in a subsequent comment why I chose to bring that into this particular discussion.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • This article has many good aspects to it in regards to bringing forward the role of trauma in addictions. Unfortunately it still promotes the disease concept of addiction and has not escaped the influences of Biological Psychiatry.

    The following quote reveals how it promotes the same old “disease” based thinking:

    “So, how long does it take before they’re cured? “How long should you take insulin if you have diabetes?” responds Sumrok, making the point that this is a chronic disease, that people should be in treatment for as long as it is necessary, and that some may relapse.”

    And at the end of the article it promotes the new female president elect of the American Psychiatric Association; as if putting a woman in this position is somehow going to change the reactionary and harmful nature of this organization.

    Richard

  • I would say that even the term “consensus reality” has some problems when you examine history. What was the “consensus reality” regarding Black people in this country during the period of slavery and after (even to a lesser degree today)? The “consensus” among the vast majority of people would have contained the most blatant forms of racist prejudice, including all forms of racial inferiority and stereotypes.

    And what was the “consensus reality” in Nazi Germany in regards to the Jews, gay people, communists, and those labeled “mentally ill?”

    There is “consensus reality” and then there is the actual true reality independent of any one particular human being attempting to comprehend and understand it. Some people may have a closer approximation of exactly what that reality is at any given time.

    Yes, it is important for all of us to seek out and attempt to understand “reality” as it truly exists at the moment and within our surrounding world. And not knowing this reality, or somehow having a distorted perception of it can cause problems for any given individual and the society at large.

    So the author of this blog does have an important point he is making. But based on his prior blogs and his vehemently uncritical and total acceptance of Catholic doctrine, he leaves himself open to enormous contradictions and hypocrisy in his thinking and overall ethical approach to morality.

    In prior blogs he has strongly defended the Catholic church in its stand against gay people and homosexuality. This stance by has (in reality, “consensus” and otherwise) caused enormous harm and death (through murder and suicide) to perhaps hundreds of thousands of people. And given the Aids crisis in Africa, the Catholic church’s position on birth control has also directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings. These are irrefutable facts by any standard measure of reality.

    While this author has written some good blogs and is willing to question today’s “mental health” system, his critical thinking skills seem to reach a sudden halt when it comes to evaluating the true role of organized religion in the world.

    Richard

  • For Biological Psychiatry this “Choosing Wisely” campaign is nothing more than a lot of ass covering and a “pretend” form of “Informed Consent.” Prescriptions of all their toxic substances (psych drugs) only keep going up every year.

    Given how pervasive and powerful Psychiatry is as an institution of social control, all this will not change unless and until, Psychiatry is ultimately abolished as a legitimate form of medicine. And that cannot happen unless and until, there are revolutionary changes in our economic and political System.

    Richard

  • Oldhead

    You said:”Dialectical materialism works fine within the sphere of political struggle, which is part of the highly material focus we currently share. But there is ample scientific consensus that the very existence of material substance, along with the perceived limitations of time and space, are essentially illusions, or limitations of our senses.”

    I am surprised that you would promote this form of “relativism”, that is, a kind of approach that says, “well we can’t really know all these things for SURE when it comes to spiritualism and materialist philosophy etc. and the political reality that flows from all these real life problems we all face.”

    Don’t you you see how this conveniently fits into this giant hodge podge of beliefs in the so-called “market place of ideas,” where nothing is really knowable, so we can’t really be sure of anything etc. or take direct political action in the real world because “who the f#%k really knows what is true” etc.

    This fits very well into people just living their life as individuals and “doing their own thing” because “reality is only in your own mind” etc.

    This kind of “relativism” is VERY USEFUL to the ruling classes (and those that want to preserve the status quo) because people are often paralyzed by uncertainty and the related forms of mystical thinking.

    There is a reality out there and there are knowable truths AND WE MUST ACT DECISIVELY ON THAT KNOWLEDGE TO CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER. Yes, there will always be things we don’t understand, and the universe is always in a state of constant change but this SHOULD NOT prevent us from taking decisive action in the real world.

    Dialectical materialism, as a scientific methodology for understanding our world (and the universe), is NOT limiting in this sense but actually embraces the concepts of unknowable truths and a constantly changing reality.

    Richard

  • Hey Frank

    Every time they build a new telescope it shatters all previous conceptions, and they end up conceding the fact “well, I guess we were wrong, the universe goes out much farther than we used to think.” This itself will be an infinite process as human knowledge and our capacity to explore the universe continues to expand.

    And here is another aspect of infinity to explore. There is both “inner” and “outer” (for the sake of better terminology) forms of infinity. For as human beings explore smaller and smaller objects by searching for the so-called smallest particles inside known objects, suppose we conceive of this as also another endless search where smaller and smaller particles will be discovered in an “infinite” space going in the so-called other direction, if you will. And there is a dialectical relationship between both forms or types of infinity.

    Infinity is almost an impossible concept for humans to understand because of the finite nature of our thinking minds. But nevertheless, we can explore these questions and they have important significance in understanding both philosophy and physics and ultimately, political solutions to human problems. Food for thought.

    Richard

  • JanCarol

    I respect your beliefs and I did not mean to offend you with my use of the word “confusion.”

    Part of my strong anti-religious beliefs come from my years of political activism and study of history as to how religion has been used as the ‘opiate of the masses” to suppress and undermine people’s ability and willingness to fight the “powers that be.” I still believe it overall serves this function in today’s world. And yes, there are major differences between organized religion and any one particular person’s spiritual belief system.

    That being said, I am also aware that some very religious people have also been great fighters historically against against an oppressive status quo. And I am sure this will also be true in the coming battles.

    It is still very important to have these kinds of back and forth discussions, in a respectful way, because the better we all understand how the world works the better we will be prepared to change it.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Seth

    You say: ” To deny a priori the existence of “God” shows either one is unfamiliar with modern non-fundamentalist theology and non-dogmatic mysticism or one has embraced a 19th century Newtonian materialist view of “science.””

    You are promoting a philosophically “idealist” presentation of reality similar to the old “I think therefore I am” approach to understanding the world. As opposed to a more philosophical “materialist” approach which says “I am therefore I think.” The latter presupposes the existence of an objective reality independent of and outside the self.

    Seth, the view you are promoting actually places MAJOR LIMITATIONS on the true nature of the “universe” by implying that it is “finite” and predetermined by an a priori existence of a supernatural “God,” which you would probably say has existed “infinitely.” This unscientific outlook actually stands (in the long run) as a major obstacle to human progress.

    What makes far greater sense and can be backed up by true science, is that “the universe” itself is infinite – it has always been there and will infinitely exist, that is, the law of matter in motion is infinite. Nothing was “created” by a “God” for it has always existed.

    “God” is actually finite in the sense that it is a conceptual creation of human beings to somehow explain the unexplainable in a confusing and often traumatic reality. The more human beings grow to understand how the world works and create a reality with less oppression and trauma, such concepts as “God” and/or religion (and other superstitions) will no longer be necessary for the human race.

    Richard

  • JanCarol

    Thank you for sharing such a powerful story with so much emotional depth and meaning. Even though your descriptions of the “darkness” were hard to fathom, your sense of hope and rediscovery of self were truly very inspiring.

    I will definitely pass this comment on to a very close friend who is currently in the throws of a very difficult stage (serious insomnia and unrelenting anxiety in the early part of the day) of withdrawal from several decades of being on a psych drug cocktail, which includes lithium.

    I can definitely see how your post psych drug experiences could have a “spiritual”component to them perhaps in a similar way I described “spiritual” in my above comment, which I will repeat here:

    “While I am a hardcore atheist, I still believe in a certain concept of “spirituality,” IF that is extended to mean a form of human CONNECTIVENESS (emphasis added) that elicits a strong emotional sense of bonding and/or an uplifting sense of being part of, and connected, to certain social movements (where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) attempting to change the world for the better. I certainly felt these feelings in the movements of the 1960’s and beyond, and in today’s movement against psychiatric oppression and other environmental and anti-capiatalist struggles. These types of feelings (loosely called “spiritual” in the broadest sense) are based on tangible human interactions in the REAL world, not superstition.”

    In your case just reconnecting to the experience of real feelings again, both to nature and other human beings (we are by nature social beings), must be a complete revelation and profoundly emotional in a deep going way.

    But I do try to make a distinction between those particular feelings and the religious belief in a supernatural “god,” which I believe is in another metaphysical category. Sometimes these two categories of feelings are confused by people and lumped together. I don’t think this blog at MIA was able to draw those necessary distinctions, which was one of its major shortcomings, in addition to trying to separate out these questions from the overall harm perpetuated by the massive amount of psych drugging going on in society.

    Again, thanks for telling your story.

    Richard

  • Oldhead and Vortex

    I agree with Frank’s above comment.

    Oldhead you said: ““Science” cannot prove or disprove spirituality, they are two different realms. One is subjective and experiential, the other objective and abstract.”

    This statement makes no logically sense. All experience is based on human interaction with the material world; which is the originating source of all ideas and thoughts. There can be no thinking or thought processes without there first being human interaction with the objective world that exists outside of oneself.

    As to science (or those believing in science) proving spirituality in terms of the existence of supernatural beings, this cannot be done, nor is it our responsibility to try.

    If someone says there is a pink elephant in the room but no one can see it with the naked eye or find any material evidence of its existence, it is NOT my responsibility to somehow prove it’s not really there. It is their “goddamn” responsibility to prove it is there, otherwise please stop insisting it is there, AND that others should accept on faith its existence.

    How many similar sorts of superstitions and beliefs based on shear faith or trust in those proclaiming to know the truth, have ended in such great harm and destruction to the human race?

    And Oldhead, science can’t be both objective and “abstract” at the same time as you implied in your above statement. This does not make any sense in this context.

    Richard

  • Matt

    You have NOTHING to be defensive about regarding your issues/questions regarding religion and and spirituality.

    I should start out by saying that I am NOT an agnostic, but rather a militant atheist. I believe that not only is there no such thing as a “God,” but that religion and the spread of various similar forms of superstition is a harmful thing for the human race as a whole. I don’t deny that religion may have a short term consoling affect for some people in grief etc., but overall belief in these unscientific myths holds back the progress of humanity.

    While I am a hardcore atheist, I still believe in a certain concept of “spirituality,” IF that is extended to mean a form of human connectiveness that elicits a strong emotional sense of bonding and/or an uplifting sense of being part of, and connected, to certain social movements (where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts) attempting to change the world for the better. I certainly felt these feelings in the movements of the 1960’s and beyond, and in today’s movement against psychiatric oppression and other environmental and anti-capiatalist struggles. These types of feelings (loosely called “spiritual” in the broadest sense) are based on tangible human interactions in the REAL world, not superstition.

    Matt, I’d like to challenge your comment that said: “… since I believe that these beliefs are basically denials of the fact that we are as far as we know alone in the universe (without a known God),…”

    We are NOT alone! There are several billion human beings on this planet we can unite with to transform this world into a more peaceful and humane place to live. People, who can and do provide us with tangible evidence (on a daily basis) of love, affection, and support. Since there is no God, and nobody can prove its existence, it is beyond me how people can claim that somehow we (atheists or agnostics) are in anyway missing out on some mystical connection that has no basis in proven reality.

    Matt, you also said: “… they are often adaptive delusions, since one feels safer and less afraid of death and meaninglessness by believing in God or being spiritual.”

    I don’t believe for a minute that this is necessarily true or more “adaptive” in a positive way. Many very religious people are very hypocritical in their social relationships and have serious problems in making genuine human connections. Many also have great fear of death. Is it possible in some situations that their religiosity stands as an obstacle for them being able to make those human connections or overcome their fears.

    Matt, you said: “…After writing this, I realize that it is depressing not to be spiritual; however, I do not view deluding oneself with unevidenced beliefs as something to be proud of and thus it is difficult for me to be spiritual, even though I love nature and other people.”

    Again, nothing to be defensive about here. For me it is NOT depressing, but rather LIBERATING to not be burdened with the all the religious superstition and the false concepts of “sin” and “evil” etc. that come with most religions. It is precisely your love of “nature” and “other people” that makes you a “spiritual” person in a sort of philosophically “materialist” way (if I might frame it that way).

    Matt, I believe your instincts about these questions are far more on target than those who will immediately accept religious dogma with no verifiable proof in the real world. And I must point out here, that I mean no disrespect to people who still hold on to religious beliefs. I think that religious belief will be around a long time on this planet and I plan to work as hard as I can alongside of many religious people as we attempt to change the world. I just want atheism to command the same level of respect among the broad masses, so that atheistic people DO NOT have to be defensive or somehow feel “deprived” or lacking in some mystical human quality.

    As to the content of this particular blog, I have very mixed feelings. The following quote rubs me the wrong way:

    “To be clear, I’m not trying to debate whether medications work or not, or if they are an appropriate first-line treatment for emotional distress. The aim is to look at the particular ways that psychiatric medications work which create the conditions for perceived interactions with spirituality.”

    While I am very much in favor of most scientific endeavors (even some of the more obscure investigations), I don’t know how someone can remain so impartial to the huge elephant in the living room of any discussions regarding psychiatric DRUGS in today’s world. First off, to use the term “medications” is to concede to several decades (where billions have been spent on marketing) of propaganda by Big Pharma to convince people that their mind altering substances are somehow “medications,” instead of the mind altering drugs that they are in reality. This is NO SMALL point in semantics, but a direct struggle against very oppressive language.

    And most importantly, given that overall their psychiatric drugs are causing FAR MORE HARM THAN GOOD in the world, that is, literally destroying millions of human lives, who the hell cares their psychological effect on spirituality WITHOUT AT THE SAME TIME LINKING THIS TO THEIR OPPRESSIVE ROLE IN OUR SOCIETY? Or how can we EVER separate their social and political role in society from their effect on spirituality?

    These drugs are, in their essence, mind altering substances, that impair overall brain functioning. So using common logic, I would expect them to interfere with rational cognitive functioning which would, in most cases, enhance one’s tendency to accept all forms of superstitious thinking, which includes religious spirituality. What more do we need to know on this artificially separated out subject of investigation.

    Richard

  • Robert

    I think it would be helpful if you came down a few notches from your high (no pun intended) horse and listen to what some of the commenters are trying to say here.

    I have stated in prior comments that I believe you have made several good postings at MIA. That being said, you still, in the final analysis, defend Psychiatry as if it is a legitimate part of medicine – to be only “reformed” and not “abolished” as history will clearly demand in the near future.

    Perhaps some of your dogmatic responses to the possibility that psychedelic drugs might be helpful to some people under certain (safe and highly controlled) conditions, is reflective of some your difficulty in being thoroughly dialectical materialist in your assessment of the scientific fraud that supports the existence of Psychiatry as a legitimate part of medicine.

    To clarify my beliefs on this question: I am NOT advocating or supporting the use of these drugs by Psychiatry. I have zero trust in this institution (as a whole) having the legal right to prescribe ANY mind altering substance to any human being, or other animal, for that matter.

    There have been prior blogs on the MIA website written by major critics of Biological Psychiatry who have found the use of certain psychedelic drugs, in carefully controlled and supportive environments, to help with reprocessing past traumatic events that WERE NOT accessible using other more commonly accepted therapeutic methods.

    Robert, are you aware of some of the more recent scientific evidence that indicates that memory is a very malleable phenomena in the brain that is subject to transformation and adjustment each time a person is able to access it through many different types of internal and external measures that overcome prior blockages?

    I believe there MAY BE emerging scientific evidence that certain psychedelic drugs might help people access certain traumatic memories in a way that helps them reprocess these past events in such a way (not previously possible) that allows them to move on from the negative power of said events. Perhaps there is also some anecdotal evidence from other people over the years who have also used these drugs recreationally that experienced some other similarly positive effects.

    Robert, do you deny that this evidence mentioned above might someday show that these drugs could prove to be helpful under certain circumstances?

    Yes, I also believe (as you do) that for many people, over the past several decades, psychedelic drugs could have caused great harm and contributed to dangerous, or unhelpful, forms of psychosis like effects. But we must be THOROUGHLY SCIENTIFIC when examining these questions, NOT mechanical and dogmatic in our outlook. And this is coming from someone who has written many blogs on the harm done by all categories of psychiatric drugs.

    Richard

  • Pitolay2002

    I like some of what you say here but the following part of your comment is WAY OFF:

    You said: ” Methadone has been used to treat opiate addiction for a long time and is currently considered the gold standard for the treatment of opiate dependence…”

    The “gold standard” comment only makes sense if you are talking about the profits of Big Pharma and the ability of the ruling classes to control certain sections of the population. The current uses of methadone are very dangerous and overall very harmful to those caught up in the clutches of the “orange handcuffs.” I suggest you read my past blog at MIA:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/04/manufacture-maintenance-oppression-profitable-business/

    And as to its dangers: less than 5% of opiate prescriptions involve methadone (a synthetic opiate), yet it is implicated in one third of all the deaths associated with opiate drugs.

    This profit based System we live under has NO solution to drug overdose crisis and as long as there is the existence of poverty and various forms of class oppression, it will NEVER be solved.

    And I will add, that I agree with many of the criticisms of this blog’s dogmatism when it comes to the possible benefits of psychedelic drugs, especially as it pertains to the reprocessing of past trauma experiences.

    Richard

  • Truth

    You said: “The drug and ECT damages to my brain mean no amount of love can help me to recover.”

    I don’t know how you define “recovery,” but I just want you to know that over the past several years reading all your comments, especially your unrelenting exposures of ECT and on going challenges to Dr. Healy, you do a masterful job of exposing some of Biological Psychiatry’s biggest crimes. Carry on; we need you!!!

    Comradely, Richard

  • FeelinDiscouraged

    You raise a good point about “spiritual abuse” being a form of trauma.

    I am aware of this problem and have frequently used the phrase “genetic theories of original sin” (which was originally coined by Ashley Montagu to describe biological determinism) to describe Biological Psychiatry’s “Disease”/Drug Based based theories and practice.

    The whole concept of “sin” can be very harmful to people, especially because it is based on myth and things that don’t exist, and is used punitively to make people feel bad at a core level.

    Richard

  • And BTW, I would NEVER defend OR promote the kind of “treatment” offered in all the current inpatient Psych Hospitals for WHATEVER problem people end up there for.

    Julie, I appreciate your detailed critical comments and personal accounts of the horrible “treatment “you have been subjected to over the years.

    Richard

  • Julie and others

    Even though I have a history of being a therapist, I NEVER mentioned “therapy” and NEVER mentioned “bad parenting,”(even though I do believe this can be a factor in some cases). I DID mention the possibility of a trauma history AND other types of conflict with one’s environment as being causal factors in what gets labeled as “eating disorders.”

    All this is predicated on the fact that we live in a very stressful, unjust, and often trauma filled world. Do you deny THIS reality and the fact that it is THE PRIMARY source of those human problems that get labeled as “mental illness?” As opposed to the “genetic theories of original sin” and other “diseased based” theories promoted by Biological Psychiatry, that represents pseudo-science at its best.

    And yes, I believe that what gets labeled as “eating disorders” (that happens FAR MORE often in women) is very much connected to women’s overall oppression within our society, especially the high rates of sexual abuse and the treating of women’s bodies as sexual objects. Do you deny this reality?

    I DO NOT say this is the ONLY factor, but certainly is a SIGNIFICANTLY IMPORTANT factor in these problems. And I believe most research would back this up.

    These problems are certainly NOT based in nutritional deficiencies as a primary causal factor as the author has promoted. Why are people NOT CONCERNED about this problematic form of REDUCTIONISM?

    Richard

  • Julie and others

    Do you (and others) not see the major problems with the OVERSIMPLIFIED and REDUCTIONIST views being promoted by this author?

    While I’m sure there are many origins for problems that get labeled as “eating disorders,” they DO NOT mainly DERIVE from “nutritional intake” issues. I believe it is correct to say that their origin derives more from ONE’S CONFLICT WITH THEIR ENVIRONMENT. This includes various forms of trauma experiences (or perceived trauma), especially in the early years of growing up.

    This author is using a lot of anti-Biological Psychiatry language, but then is using a REDUCTIONIST approach to say that bad nutrition is both the CAUSE and the SOLUTION to everything that gets labeled as a “mental health” issue.

    This author’s approach IS NOT helping our cause. She may be well intentioned in her work, but we must be equally as critical of this particular form of REDUCTIONISM as we are of mainstream Psychiatry.

    Richard

  • Ok, so let me get this straight; “eating disorders” are caused by “leaky gut” and solved by changing ones diet and/or nutritional intake. How dumb of me to think these were complicated questions.

    So, no need to examine any possible trauma history which could have directly affected a person’s body image or related desire to “disappear” (and not be noticed) or become less of a sexual object within a society with high rates of sexual abuse and objectification of the female body etc. OR explore other unresolved psychological stressors that could manifest themselves in power and control issues with food etc. etc.

    You are presenting a potentially dangerous oversimplification of these kind of problems and other forms of extreme psychological distress. This becomes almost the flip side of the same REDUCTIONIST type of coin promoted by Biological Psychiatry, even though it is dressed up in some anti-Psychiatry type language.

    Richard

  • Elizabeth

    You leave us with the impression that if we just had a “Revolution in Nutritional Health” all the “symptoms” that get labeled as “mental illness” would disappear in the world. This view is steering people AWAY from a more centrally important and vital political and social agenda.

    Extreme psychological distress PRIMARILY arises out of one’s conflict with a stressful, unjust, and often traumatic environment that frequently pushes the human species beyond its ability to adequately cope and adjust to these circumstances.

    I would strongly contend that these enormous stressors in society mainly have their origins in a class based and profit based economic and political system. Psychiatry has clearly evolved into a major institution of social control within this political framework.

    While nutritional health has some SECONDARY importance in the overall scheme of things, it is primarily a POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REVOLUTION that must take place to create the material conditions in the world to eliminate those conditions that give rise to “extreme forms of psychological distress” that get mislabeled as “mental illness.”

    Richard

  • Elizabeth

    I agree with many of comments here challenging some of your central beliefs.

    In the recent blog on nutrition and “mental health” by Bonnie Kaplan and Julia Rucklidge, I raised the following question and comment – to which they never answered:

    “You said: “…our research has helped put on the map the idea that mental health problems CAN be addressed through nutrition, offering an alternative to our current approaches.”

    “What exactly is meant by this statement, especially your emphasis on the word “CAN”? I am a firm believer in science and the scientific method. I support your efforts at researching the value of nutrition as a valuable “aid” to recovery, but I believe it can be harmful and even dangerous to exaggerate its meaning if not backed up by proven science.

    “In my comment above I stated the following:
    “And more importantly, RECOVERY from these negative and harmful experiences in life must ultimately be UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED in each person”s own experience and timetable for recovery. This may, or may not, require therapy, but most certainly will require A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT to nurture one’s recovery.”

    “It is here where good nutrition and gut health may be an important ENHANCEMENT or ADDITIONAL SUPPORT for such recovery by aiding a more suitable INTERNAL BODY ENVIRONMENT for such recovery, but NOT the PRINCIPLE MEANS for such recovery to take place.”

    “A person in recovery will STILL have to address the original traumas that began their conflict with their environment AND the subsequent traumas that took place when they encountered AN OPPRESSIVE “MENTAL HEALTH” SYSTEM that added to, and reinforced, earlier traumas. There can be no SUBSTITUTE OR SHORTCUT for doing this work.”

    Richard

  • Matt

    Great blog. Very insightful critique of some of the serious weaknesses remaining in the so-called “Critical Psychiatry” movement.

    Your emphasis taking on “System language” is an important lesson for many writers here at MIA who have not yet taken their own critique of what’s wrong with the “mental health” System far enough, or to the next level.

    And that next level will ultimately (in the final analysis) lead to an “anti-Psychiatry” position, that is, seeking to abolish Psychiatry as a legitimate medical specialty AND stripping them of any, and all, legal rights in society to take away a person’s human rights with disease labeling, forced drugging and incarceration in Psych hospitals.

    Matt, about your quote from John Read: “A dilemma for all of us … is whether or not to soften our criticisms of psychiatry in the hope of reaching those psychiatrists whose minds are not totally closed. But doing so rests on the assumption that change can come from within the profession.”

    I would add that it also comes from an incorrect outlook that says “gentle” and “unoffensive” criticism and/or political critique is the only type of feedback that leads to people actually changing their minds. This is simply NOT TRUE in the real world.

    In my own experience (as well as my knowledge of many other people I know), quite often, it is very sharp and uncompromising criticism that ends up forcing people to deeply examine their own belief system, thereby leading to a more radical transformation of one’s political outlook.

    I am not suggesting that personal attacks or cheap sarcasm and snide remarks are the way to go here. But let’s face facts here, there is a serious clash of world outlooks (based in a class society) that have devastating consequences on the daily lives of millions of human beings. This could very well lead to some type of Civil War. We don’t have time to be all “sweet” and “sensitive” about these life and death questions.

    Every one is usually somewhat defensive when they first encounter criticism of their views, but it is the reflective period that follows that can provide the basis for change. Soft peddling our views or fearing that we might offend someone’s feeling will only SLOW DOWN our Long March to true liberation from this madness.

    Richard

  • John

    Thanks for that source reference on Harvey Jenkins the founder of RC counseling. This article raises some serious questions about this type of therapy and those that practice it. This whole topic requires much more investigation before people should be promoting these programs.

    Richard

  • Peter

    In all my comments over the past few years I have always bent over backwards to find something positive in an author’s blog before raising some of my concerns or criticisms. I am always respectful and try to never allow myself to resort to cheap or snide comments or personal attacks. I try very hard to raise the level of political and moral discourse in every discussion I participate in.

    I stand by my sharp and unrelenting responses to this author. Do you not see his overriding arrogance in his belief that he is truly “enlightening” his students with this pathetic message covering up for and apologizing for such an oppressive “mental health” system? And especially his insulting belief that he has been so “successful” as psychiatrist over the past 30 years.

    Please read his past blogs (and the comment sections) and then decide what he has learned over the past 2 years. If anything his MONSTROUS HUBRIS has only become more inflated, and thus more dangerous.

    When there is this level of arrogance and hubris by defenders and apologists of the system, there is no room for trying to find “common ground.” This kind of trash must be exposed for what it is, without any efforts to sugar coat the reality of what is going on.

    Respectfully, Richard

  • “Emotional Skills and Strategies for Aspiring Mental Health Workers”

    Dr. Ragins, you have provided your students with a sure fire recipe for being “Good Germans” in the face of major human rights violations being carried out every day in this country.

    If any would be students entering today’s “mental health” system possess even a minor amount of critical thinking skills and a developed moral conscience, they will inevitably face the following political and moral conundrums on a daily basis:

    1) A massive amount of cognitive and moral dissonance regarding the daily harm perpetrated against millions who enter today’s Disease/Drug based Medical Model.
    2) A daily unrelenting discomfort and internal knot in their stomachs related to what they see being done to people and their particular role in carrying out possibly more harm, all in the name of “treatment.”
    3) Lost sleep thinking about the added traumas from the System that those unfortunate souls entering “treatment” have to suffer, and what could, and should be done to stop it.
    4) Moral dissonance on a daily basis about WHEN and HOW to “Blow the Whistle” on the crimes that they witness. And then heightened anxiety and paranoia when they do “Blow the Whistle” anticipating the System coming down on them and most likely losing their job and source of income.

    I am not suggesting that new students entering today’s System cannot help some people, or even make a difference by challenging the “Beast” from within. HOWEVER, this is a very difficult road to follow, filled with many obstacles and pitfalls. Dr. Ragins has offered his students nothing but better ways to “go along to get along;” that is, with a full set of moral blinders covering both their eyes and their heart.

    Dr. Ragins, why didn’t you tell your students to read Mad in America; an absolutely essential tool for anyone taking on today’s “mental health” system? Perhaps if they did read MIA on a regular basis they would have exposed your bogus defense of Biological Psychiatry.

    Two years ago in one of your blogs, Dr. Ragins, you boasted about yourself as being a “good psychopharmacologist.” Please tell us what you have learned over the past few years about which particular drug cocktails are “most effective” for your patients. And also tell us how many people you have “saved” by forcing them against their will into some kind of so-called “treatment.” Please, please tell us all your success stories; maybe we could all learn something from you. You obviously have decided that you cannot learn anything from us.

    Richard

  • Thank you for this thoughtful blog.

    As i stated in my very first blog at MIA:

    “Similarly, extreme states of psychological distress can lead to altered states of consciousness that are mislabeled as a “mental illness” and a “disease,” but could instead be better looked at as a creative and necessary coping mechanism dealing with an experienced and/or perceived hostile and threatening environment. This coping mechanism, as with addiction, may also prevent more extreme reactive behaviors or provide an escape or temporary relief from intense physical or emotional pain….”

    “Here is the rub. A problem often arises with both substance use leading to addiction and also with extreme states of psychological distress, when these behaviors and related thought patterns are sustained for extended periods of time, the formerly helpful coping mechanisms can gradually, or even suddenly, turn into their opposite and now become primarily self-destructive, self-defeating, and socially unacceptable*. This is especially true when the short term benefits of the behavior and resulting thought patterns start to shift and begin to cause far more immediate, as well as long term negative consequences for the individual and the people around them. Some people may now actually get stuck in this new state of being and be unable to find their way out by themselves. This is the point when we might say that these once helpful coping mechanisms have now seemingly become “stuck in the on position.” ”

    I would add the point that all of these “extreme states” have there own internal logic to them based on each person’s individual conflict with their environment. And the more conscious a person can become of this internal logic (within a safe and supportive environment) the better able they will be at resolving or adapting to this conflict; thereby ending or significantly reducing any self-defeating, self-destructive, or socially unacceptable behaviors or thought processes.

    Psychiatry and their entire Disease/Drug based/Medical Model of “mental illness” must not only be vigorously opposed, but ultimately abolished as a legitimate part of medicine.

    Richard

  • Thank you Bob for this important update on the state of “treatment” in Norway.

    This update does point out some minor cracks in the current oppressive “mental heath” system in Norway and throughout the world. Your painstaking efforts, together with other reformers, has helped create the basis for some change. We should not underestimate this development, nor should we overstate how far it takes us on the Long March toward ending all forms of psychiatric abuse.

    What this article points out is that Norway is quite unique in that it is both the origin of Open Dialogue and other important reformist efforts, BUT also at the same time has some of THE MOST Draconian laws in the world regarding the use of forced drugging and forced incarceration in Psych hospitals.

    This combination of extremes in Norway reflects a coming Civil War over these seriously divergent approaches.

    Today, Psychiatry is an extremely powerful institution in Norway and throughout the world. It performs a very important function of social control against the interests of those fighting for radical change. It will not allow its power to be diminished, even slightly, without a major fight.

    There already is significant push back in Norway on the part of Psychiatry against these particular (relatively minor) reforms. This push back will certainly intensify as things develop. Psychiatry is hoping for, and will seize upon with a vengeance , the first instance of violence or suicide in these small programs, and will attempt to crush any further reforms. We must not underestimate what we are up against here.

    I agree with those who say there can be no “Revolution in Psychiatry;” there can only be attempts at reform. Given the oppressive power that Psychiatry wields in today’s world, and the fact that it is an illegitimate branch of medicine, I believe there can only be (and must be) a Revolution AGAINST Psychiatry.

    Richard

  • Hi Bonnie

    You said: “…our research has helped put on the map the idea that mental health problems CAN be addressed through nutrition, offering an alternative to our current approaches.”

    What exactly is meant by this statement, especially your emphasis on the word “CAN”? I am a firm believer in science and the scientific method. I support your efforts at researching the value of nutrition as a valuable “aid” to recovery, but I believe it can be harmful and even dangerous to exaggerate its meaning if not backed up by proven science.

    In my comment above I stated the following:
    “And more importantly, RECOVERY from these negative and harmful experiences in life must ultimately be UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED in each person”s own experience and timetable for recovery. This may, or may not, require therapy, but most certainly will require A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT to nurture one’s recovery.

    It is here where good nutrition and gut health may be an important ENHANCEMENT or ADDITIONAL SUPPORT for such recovery by aiding a more suitable INTERNAL BODY ENVIRONMENT for such recovery, but NOT the PRINCIPLE MEANS for such recovery to take place.

    A person in recovery will STILL have to address the original traumas that began their conflict with their environment AND the subsequent traumas that took place when they encountered AN OPPRESSIVE “MENTAL HEALTH” SYSTEM that added to, and reinforced, earlier traumas. There can be no SUBSTITUTE OR SHORTCUT for doing this work.”

    Could you please respond to my point about what will most often be the “principle means” for recovery from “mental health” issues? And could you justify not using quotations when using the term “mental health?”

    Respectfully, Richard

  • Understanding nutrition and gut health are very important areas to explore when looking at ways to ENHANCE recovery from severe forms of psychological distress.

    HOWEVER, we must be VERY CAREFUL to not fall into the trap of exaggerating its importance or reinforcing Biological Psychiatry’s own dangerous and faulty theories of “broken brain” chemistry.

    First off, it is doubtful that bad nutrition can be the ultimate cause of severe psychological distress OR its cure. If we promote such a view we are dangerously close to promoting the “chemical imbalance” theories of “mental illness” by the current oppressive “mental health” system. That is, a view that good nutrition will somehow “correct bad brain chemistry etc” or create a better environment for brain chemistry “to normalize…” etc. If we are not careful we are in danger of promoting false hope for people (and their families) who are seeking recovery for themselves or their loved ones.

    While there may be some more rare examples of people having severe distress related reactions to toxic chemicals and substances within our environment, it is more OVERWHELMINGLY THE CASE that what gets described as “mental illnesses” represents human conflict with a stressful and trauma filled (and/or perceived) environment.

    And more importantly, RECOVERY from these negative and harmful experiences in life must ultimately be UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED in each person”s own experience and timetable for recovery. This may, or may not, require therapy, but most certainly will require A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT to nurture one’s recovery.

    It is here where good nutrition and gut health may be an important ENHANCEMENT or ADDITIONAL SUPPORT for such recovery by aiding a more suitable INTERNAL BODY ENVIRONMENT for such recovery, but NOT the PRINCIPLE MEANS for such recovery to take place.

    A person in recovery will STILL have to address the original traumas that began their conflict with their environment AND the subsequent traumas that took place when they encountered AN OPPRESSIVE “MENTAL HEALTH” SYSTEM that added to, and reinforced, earlier traumas. There can be no SUBSTITUTE OR SHORTCUT for doing this work.

    I am raising the above points, NOT as a criticism of the authors but only to help clarify important topics of discussion when dealing with nutrition and gut health.

    The authors made the following VERY IMPORTANT statement :
    ” we are living in an era in which drug companies have so totally corrupted scientists and clinicians that our audience members cannot believe that there is any other way to ‘do business’ in the scientific world.”

    This is oh so true! And unless and until we ELIMINATE, ONCE AND FOR ALL, the profit motive from all scientific, medical, and social supportive endeavors in our society, we WILL NOT be able to fully understand extreme forms of psychological distress in our society OR provide the means and overall supports necessary to promote ultimate recovery options.

    Richard

  • Humanbeing

    People must, and can only do, what they are capable of doing in this movement. There should be no quota system or unreasonable expectations.

    I love your participation here at MIA and always learn something from your comments.

    There is a role for every single person who yearns to be free from the oppressive yoke of Psychiatry and the overall System that sustains and requires its presence on this earth.

    Comradely, Richard