Dear Dr. Hickey, Thank you so much for your writings over the years. You have a way of holding those in power to account that I find very refreshing. The system is so hard to change as there is not only great arrogance, but great corruption and great delusion as well. But change is coming! I do think that a compilation of your writings would be useful (even as an e-book). That way they can be preserved and others in the future can learn from your insights. Maybe MIA could do that? I wish you all the best in the time you have left. Know that others will finish what you helped start. You had a big impact on how I look at things as I try to come to terms with the effects of my 30 years of “treatment”. Thank you!
Dear Dr. Hickey,
Thank you so much for your writings over the years. You have a way of holding those in power to account that I find very refreshing. The system is so hard to change as there is not only great arrogance, but great corruption and great delusion as well. But change is coming!
I do think that a compilation of your writings would be useful (even as an e-book). That way they can be preserved and others in the future can learn from your insights. Maybe MIA could do that?
I wish you all the best in the time you have left. Know that others will finish what you helped start. You had a big impact on how I look at things as I try to come to terms with the effects of my 30 years of “treatment”. Thank you!
It will be nice to have a place for articles specific to Canada. I’ve bookmarked the Mad In Canada site and will be checking it as well from time to time. Thanks for the write up about it!
This is really sad and is happening far, far too often. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Thanks for an interesting article, but I think the link to alcohol is even stronger than you suggest. I was on anti-depressants for 29 years, and it is obvious to me now (over 4 years off) that my brain was being impaired the entire time I was on them. So by impairing and altering normal brain function both alcohol and psychiatric drugs CAN reduce symptoms and make people feel better. However, the brain impairment can actually be a block that prevents people for making changes in their lives and truly addressing their problems. So I could go to group therapy and get all kinds of insights into my life and changes I could make to improve myself, but I was unable to make real and sustained change due to the brain impairment. Now, off the drugs, I just do it and my chronic depression is gone! (But I have substantial brain damage.)
The last line really caught my attention: “All of these changes,” Lexchin and Fugh-Berman write, “need to be accompanied by a strong and ongoing endorsement from the leadership in the medical community”.
That is the problem right there. The higher up you go in medicine, the greater the chance of corruption. Why would the leadership want to change a system that gives them so much money?
Even after the prescription opioid epidemic nothing has changed. There is a recognition that corruption can be a big problem in the political and justice systems, and there are measures in place to prevent corruption. (You can argue that these measures are inadequate, but there is at least an acknowledgement of how harmful corruption can be.)
In medicine, however, everyone seems to think that Doctors have some sort of moral super-power that no-one else in society has. Many of these problems exist because there is nothing in place to prevent it. Doctors and the Drug companies get away with it simply because they can!
You would think that the media might learn its lesson after awhile.
This reminds me of the coverage about climate change, where they insisted on giving a voice to “both sides”. This delayed action for decades. Or with the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, where they refused to listen to victims and took the word of those in authority who insisted that “nothing was wrong”.
Society accepts that a politician can lie, or that a police officer can lie, or that even a priest can lie. Why not a doctor? Do they have some sort of moral super-power? Society seems to think so. The doctors also believe this about each other.
Eventually of course it will change. There are too many patients who have been harmed. But the longer this goes on the more people will suffer and die. It requires courage to persist and not to give up in despair, Robert. Some at least can be saved. Your courage and the courage of others who were willing to speak up saved my life, and for that I will always be grateful.
Another fantastic article Dr. Hickey! I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done over the years.
I was a patient for over 3 decades and was severely harmed by my treatments. (I was chronically depressed BECAUSE I was on anti-depressants. It turns out that prescribing drugs that impair normal brain function can be an impediment to recovery – duh!) Now, off the drugs at least I have a chance. (My chronic depression is gone but I am still in withdrawal from the drugs.) Do these authors expect me to do a happy dance for all those years of unnecessary pain and suffering?
I think the psychiatrists who treated me had the best of intentions but were largely delusional. They saw what they wanted to see and believed what they wanted to believe, but it wasn’t real. Their problem was that they only looked at the immediate short-term, and if you look ONLY at that it is easy to be deceived. (Of course, the doctors who used to bleed people had good intentions too. There are a lots of parallels with that practice.)
Psychiatrists may want to be treated like real doctors, but real doctors are concerned about the best LONG-TERM recovery rates for their patients, not just the immediate short-term. And real doctors would be concerned about their treatments causing organ damage…
Anyway, your writings are always a treat to read. I know from personal experience that you speak the truth, and I thank you again for saying it.
This sounds like a really good plan Robert. Thank you for all that you are doing!
I’m well aware of the crimes committed by Psychiatry against LGBTQ people. There is a lack of accountability for ALL medical offenses, from Eugenics all the way up to the current Opioid Crisis. But I believe that will change and that Doctors will finally be removed from their pedestal. (Just as teachers, clergy, politicians, etc. have been. Medical Doctors are about the only ones left up there.)
The point of my original post was that radical change is possible. Despite the lack of accountability for the past, an LGBTQ person today is living in a VASTLY different world than before. We also should not be afraid to dream of the impossible!
I think change is possible, though it will be a long and difficult process.
In the 1950s or 60s (when homosexuality was a crime), if you had said that same-sex marriage would be legal a half-century later you would have been laughed out of the room!
Real, radical, and substantial change IS possible!!
I had a similar experience Rachel.
When I did a bit better I credited the medication (though it never lasted), and when I did worse I blamed myself and my own weaknesses. The thought that no matter what I tried I could never be well BECAUSE I was on the drugs never occurred to me. “Medication Spellbinding” was in full force for me…
Next month it will be 3 years since I came off anti-depressants after being on them for 29 years. I am still experiencing withdrawal (though at this point I think it might be permanent brain damage). I can’t thank you enough Peter Gøtzsche for the work you do (and the others here on MIA).
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the reluctance by those in positions of power to do the right thing and put the needs of patients first. Surly they must realize that eventually they will be held to account. There is massive corruption certainly, but also massive delusion (and no, the irony of Psychiatry being largely delusional at this point has not been lost on me).
This blog post reminds me of the middle ages, where those who challenged the Church were called blasphemers and heretics and burned at the stake. Maybe the “Age of Reason” was just a blip and we are going back to the old ways…
I was unaware of TranspariMED and the work you do. Thanks so much for writing this article and for helping to change this rotten and corrupt system. It’s a start at least!
I’m not sure what it will take. Perhaps it is because we are just “crazy people” and so our lives don’t matter very much? I view all of these things as being part of a larger pattern, where the long-term effects of Psychiatric treatment are completely disregarded. That is why the Doctor who came up with the lobotomy won the noble prize in medicine!
When we do complain about the long-term effects we can be dismissed because of course, we are obviously crazy! But you are right about getting human rights and feminist groups on board.
Thanks for the encouragement, James.
The withdrawal issues aren’t the same as when I started. Things keep changing, which I take as a good sign. The drugs have been with me my entire adult life, and my depression problems started as a teenager. So this gets into things like identity – what kind of person will I be off the drugs and without depression? It is exciting and terrifying at the same time. I look forward to writing that success story someday!
I agree with you PacificDawn. We need to take action. It can be hard to do though when in extreme withdrawal and when you are just trying to survive. I hope to do more as I improve. I guess the biggest thing I can do now is tell my story, and I have to those who I know are on medication. There are VAST numbers of people out there on these drugs. If I can prevent even one person from going through the suffering I did it will be worth it.
Rosalee, Thank You for the kind words!
The perverse thing here is that I believe many of the Psychiatrists who I saw over 30 years DID care. I do not believe they intentionally tried to hurt me. But the whole system is based on trust. They trusted the information they received just as I trusted them. The corruption is at the top. A big problem here is that Doctors do NOT confront or challenge other Doctors, even when those other Doctors are harming patients.
If the Neurologists, as a group, said “Hey! ECT can cause PERMANENT brain damage! Psychiatry, you CANNOT do this to people!”, then ECT would be banned immediately. There are many who know of these atrocities, but they put themselves first ahead of their patients. For this reason, it will be a black stain on ALL of medicine.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Finding someone you can talk to about these things in person (and not just online) can make a big difference. They can be hard to find but there are people who do care and want to help. I’ve forwarded some of the articles on this website to people I know. Not all were helpful, but some were. I sympathize with your despair…
The impact on medicine will be quite profound. The anti-vaxers are criticized for ignoring scientific evidence and yet here we have a medical profession that is doing the exact same thing! The media are reporting on some of these things, but are not yet connecting the dots and seeing the massive corruption issue. The media just assume that because these are Doctors they will do what is best for patients!
I understand your pain and frustration, James. It is now 27 months since I went off anti-depressants and if anything I am doing worse. At first it was extreme brain fog and an inability to focus. Now I have extreme insomnia and a host of gut issues. I cannot work and am living off savings. Somehow I need to get better before the money runs out. There is information on the internet but no in-person support.
Never in my worst nightmare could I have imagined that medicine could be so corrupt. Psychiatry for some reason thinks the Hippocratic Oath is optional. In order to find truth you have to be open to it.
But what can we do except keep moving forward? Not giving in to the despair is the hardest thing. Sometimes I just don’t have the strength to keep fighting, even though I know that I must. You have tremendous courage and I appreciate all you have done for the Mad in America community.
P.S. I was on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers for 29 years.
That was a really interesting BBC article. Thanks for posting that!
It is obscene and criminal that these drugs can be prescribed without an understanding of how they work or what the long-term effects are. This story made me very angry and very sad. I hope this woman can finally rest in peace now…
I tapered myself off of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers 13 months ago. I still am having lots of issues including: tiredness/lethargy, vision changes, stomach/bowel issues, and a persistent “hangover” effect/fog-headedness. I was on these drugs for 29 years.
If I knew then what I know now I would have never gone on them at all. However, I don’t have a time machine and cannot change the past, as much as I might want to.
I’m not sure if there is anything that can be done or if I am permanently screwed. Aside from the usual eat right/exercise information there doesn’t seem to be much out there and my Psychiatrist can give me no help. There is some information about the tapering but not so much for what follows. It’s been 13 months! Am I going to be like this forever?