Monday, May 10, 2021

Comments by Whatuser

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  • Well I understand the point Sam and yourself Steve are making – ie. The individuals who profit from the misfortune of the victims don’t necessarily regard it as a mistake, maybe they are delighted at the profits they have extracted.
    Likewise the Landlords whose greed has been pandered to in my city to the extent that it costs twice as much to rent a place than it does to service a mortgage on the same place if you could secure a mortgage that is, are despite the regular display of crocodile tears aiming to disarm the critics of this injustice also delighted at how their greed has been pandered to.
    Of course the 500,000 dead in the opioid epidemic and the families who mourn them, the victims of various marketing campaigns pushing the use of psycho active compounds (neuro toxic poisons) who are crippled by them, and struggle sometimes for years to overcome these additional adversities might take a somewhat different – we might feel our lives have been destroyed as our lives frequently have been destroyed to gratify the greed of big pharma, the pride, vanity, sloth and cowardice of medics intolerant of our protests, deluded in their indifference to the harm caused at best and prepared to mistake agonizing withdrawals for relapse. Sometimes we the victims of iatrogenic injury mourn the loss of our lives while actually still alive.

  • I was tried on Lamictal once – It made my hair fall out. And purusing my files I’ve tried to find a reason why they prescribed it – They didn’t even make one up, which is surprising considering the utterly fictional nature of the rest of the reports.
    I should complain of this adverse reaction just so that when they again accuse me of imagining the adverse response to treatment I can suggest that they must be hallucinating a full head of hair!
    More recently having made various requests for the team to fulfill their legal and ethical obligations, including efforts to develop social supports and letting them know that service provision was most inadequate they discharged me from the service. The very next day moves were already in place to have me detained and pumped full the drugs I should actually be getting support to quit.
    I’ve been following Steve words of last summer which are ‘Do normal things which make you feel good about life.’ These are many and varied, sometimes they take alot of effort, sometimes there a walk in the park.
    I’m now, probably vainly, trying to see a way to getting some of these………………persons. into court. Literally if a situation arises wherein a Barrister gets to ask some of the treating professionals in my case this question ‘What verifiable, reliable observations or valid facts that support the opinions (mascarading as medical diagnosis) expressed about my client exist?’ If they asked that question in a court of law the psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. would be obliged to say ‘there are none’.
    I could even make a case based on my own observations of my own behaviour which any reasonable person would regard as a complete refutation of these ‘opinions’ and some of these are utterly meaningless other than the pejorative stigmatising nature of them, somewhat skin to the suffering which just waste my time, annoys and distresses me! Really, I’ve better things to be doing than observing my life being washed down the swany!

  • Thoroughly good article.
    Almost every actual problem experienced by ‘psychiatric patients’ is ignored. But with withdrawal from Psychiatric medication (aka Neuro-toxic poisons) adverse withdrawal effects (there are primarily benefits) can be and are regarded as symptoms of psychosis. Indeed, you can be veiwed as suffering relapse of an underlying condition merely on the basis of having reduced your medication. It’s happened to me and everyone was saying how great I was doing for months before and until they found out about the reduced dose.
    Currently I’m experiencing excruciating physical pain while reducing, despite taking below 10% of a minimal daily dose for a condition falsely diagnosed (for over 4 months) . And that’s not the only or even worst adversity from being so demeaned by ‘diagnoistic’ mistakes.

  • We all may have learnt much that is more or less gratifying or useful and maybe can learn much that is needed or unnecessary. This is welcome for those reasons alone. Every activist needs to undergo a process of development.
    However the phrase ‘problems with living’ rather expands the ‘market’ in treatment to include everyone doesn’t it? It has probably done more harm thuswise than any other blurb besides ‘chemical imbalance’. And what if you are somebody else’s ‘problem of living’ , someone with the power to insist on treatment. Yes more trust for the mill of expanding the market in treatment. And isn’t Popper one of the original neo Liberal ideologs? About time we concentrated on the problems inadequate resources confront people afflicted with severe deprivation experience and stop trying to brainwash us into thinking we can overcome inadequacies by the mere power in thought alone!

  • Actually Sera you are writing words that I recall myself as saying. So we probably agree on much of the same thoughts about how psycho-socially disabled folk like myself are mistreated, discounted, discriminated against, deprived of resources – it would be of enormous worth for those resources which are set aside to be more properly deployed to help us directly or ensure that people are employed to work with us to develop more meaningful lives for ourselves. Still don’t see the harm in according the title Dr. To those who’ve earned the accolade any more than according the accolade plumber, electrician, nurse, mechanic, dentist to those who’ve earned their skills with hard study and effort. Actually alot of people’s identity is very tied up with their work.
    Maybe I’m missing something (I’ve had long conversations with people about the misuse of the concept of ‘helping’ people in distress wherein the people failed utterly to comprehend the point(help can be welcome but a helping attitude can be cloaking the sense of superiority, one that feels no obligation to understand ie. its more akn to colonial attitudes) ) but consider the possibility that you are barking up the wrong tree with this. Better to focus on the major fact that psychiatry ignores – People aren’t disordered, we are distressed. We have no known etiology of disease, disorder, illness but suffer mental distress because of what has happened us, because of what hasn’t happened, because of what is happening here and now more often than not. These events can colour our psychology, our attitudes and make it difficult to get by until our attitudes change but the events, how we interpret them, our powerlessness over them are the key ingredients to understanding our distress. And appropriate resources the key to solving what seem intractable problems.

  • Fabulous blog Dana, it shows you as a confident capable person assured in their identity. Personally we ought to get support because we ask for it (most people are in that situation) or in extremis after a needs assessment. Supportive relationships and resources should not depend on adopting a pejorative label. All my diagnosis have been unnecessary, even in their own terms, usually very stigmatising and excuses to prescribe. Like many people in the psychiatric system the labeling has been the occasion for the denial of support not its introduction. But having said this you are quite right to show how we can work with the system the way it is and sometimes gain strength even from a woefully inadequate system of care.

  • Indeed the fact that somebodies expertise is earned is no reason to assume they always abide by it. Most people presumably are happy with the service they receive from plumbers, mechanics, physicians etc.
    The problem with psychiatry might be brought further into light by realising they have trained as experts but the expertise they possess, such as it is, does not equip them usually to work with people to develop a meaningful life. It’s aimed at containing the troubled and/or troubling person. Pharma have been exploiting this fact at enormous profit for decades now. And it’s got to the point that many of its victims are not particularly troubled!

  • “listening’ should clearly have been in quotes! But truly most patients say too much to their doctors, most doctors would agree here busy as they are with heavy patient loads, but then again you can’t afford to say nothing either! – Talking to a shrink usually merely gives them ammunition to use to justify otherwise unjustifiable practices.

  • Oldhead, how about – nationalising the commanding heights of the economy, promoting the common ownership of the means of production, housing for all, equal access to healthcare, education, the law and other professional services, welfare provision, pensions, leisure amenities. Sounds hopelessly ideal until you realise it has already happened. And oh right maybe UBI and certainly vigorous environmental protections.

  • Sara, congratulations on this effort to promote fairness and equality. However maybe your missing the point and overgeneralising from your experience of psychiatry. Question, would you ask Joe the plumber to diagnosis your aches and pains? I feel confident you’d go to a suitably qualified physician.
    Has anyone here actually studied for a doctorate, it’s hard going, and the honour, and it is an honour, is a testament to intellectual effort and rigour- we’d still be living in caves without people like this. People who’ve gone through a rigorous process of research and education to earn a Phd have every right to have it recognised. And have their expertise recognised, in their area of expertise. My but theres an awful lot of distracting nonsense going around these days.
    However Sara, please do keep honouring the struggle for fairness, equality and respect but also maybe we need to respect professional expertise and maybe be especially respectful when they get it so spectacularly wrong as they do in psychiatry. I’m not entirely convinced they know what their at despite being presented with daily evidence that they know what their doing!

  • Actually, thinking about it, their not even peering at our brains (all the brain scans have resulted in absolutely zero ‘psychiatric knowledge’) unlike neurologists. What exactly is it they do? A lot of listening and encouraging patients to talk, which their unfazed by and doesn’t exactly have them imparting much wisdom, prescriptions and a sense eventually that they haven’t heard a word you’ve said. But they usually do all this with an air of concern and decency, go figure.

  • The point being “what is the point of having a brain if it doesn’t respond to its environment?”.
    In science reductionism, reduces our attention to focus on a small number of crucial assumptions and has produced wonders as a result. Without this idea we could not communicate on the Internet, like here, for instance.
    But the charges against psychiatry and psychology is that they have taken this idea to a perverse extreme by excluding, almost in its entirety, consideration of the environment, merely peering inside peoples minds!

  • I think that’s by and large true. I contradict myself, they do know what their doing. They think you’ve got to be cruel to be kind maybe or that it’s the lesser of two evils. And often it’s through less cruelties. But I’ve met a lot of these people and their rarely out and out nasty. I think they genuinely feel they are doing the right thing.
    But also in some key respects I think they actually don’t know what they are doing. The numbers of people registered with psychiatric difficulties keeps rising and I don’t think the system has stopped to consider its role in this scandal.
    As for us patients, sometimes thankfully, they usually don’t care they are just fulfilling their duties.

  • Isn’t it sad the way the mental health service Almost automatically assume you don’t fit in because there’s something, whatever, endemically wrong with you and exclude the possibility that you might fit in better elsewhere. In fact by informing people you are psychiatrically disabling they deepen any difficulties, add stigma etc, etc,…

  • Hey Sam Science has come along way by leaps and bounds, we witness that all the time, but psychiatry like politics and economics has been rapidly headed in the opposite direction. Humanities social discourse seems to be regressing in this respect!

  • Excellent analogy oldhead.

    @KEPLER902 – How can you sustain the belief that ‘autism’ is a genetic condition which ‘runs’ in families? It’s incidence has skyrocketed in recent decades – your chance of earning a diagnosis of autism has climbed a hundred if not a thousand fold in that time, a hundred years ago you had zero chance of such a diagnosis. Our DNA has not changed in that time and our environment, not withstanding the immanent threat of climate catastrophe has got more benign, relatively, for people living in the west. And even if family members share behavioural traits they are more easily learnt than inherited.

  • The drugs work real well if you happen to own stock in the pharmaceutical enterprise concerned.
    They don’t work to cure any ‘psychiatric condition’ but they do work on the brain sometimes by making you feel like a duvet has been stuffed in your head or otherwise disabling you.
    Mostly though the seem to work to support the idea that you are undergoing a legitimate medical procedure.

  • @Sam, I don’t neccessarily like fishing even if its less unwelcome than some other activities. Indeed their might be some tasty morsels at the end of such a trip.
    @Steve, haven’t you noticed, well no doubt you have, that the mere act of attaching the word therapy can make almost any worthwhile activity a drudgery and ten times as expensive.! Indeed it may see previously free acts incurring a cost – but I suppose such is the cost of financialisation. Don’t encourage the bastards, people need an exit strategy out of psychiatry wherein they can make, cement and sustain genuine relationships.

    Do you all recall the scene in one flew over the cuckoo’s nest wherein a group of ‘patients’ visit the local ice cream parlour. Many such potentially interesting, amusing, worthwhile events take place during psychiatric care but are sometimes stripped of meaning by the deadening effect of drugs and the artifical nature of the relationships. They can be quite welcome nonetheless. These sort of events are often the nearest to genuine socialising many victims of psychiatry have in their lives.

  • Dana, as recently as several decades ago a dictionary running to over two and a half thousand pages had no entry for ‘autism’ in its main text, only in an addenda. Its was so rare to be so described. Why do you think huge numbers of people are now described as “morbidly self obsessed and out of touch with reality” when, like with yourself, there is ample evidence that this description is simply untrue?

  • I think you care because you comment several times a week. You might comment on the basic nature of what you think societies response to profound psychological turmoil might be. Even post revolutionary societies are going to have many persons so affected.

  • Neuro divergent will probably be used similar to bipolar – ie. address concerns about stigmatising language by invalidating those concerns. Claiming that replacing one word with another while simultaneously loosing the ‘diagnistic’ criteria and thus expanding your market. Its a bit frightening actually as the word neuro-divergence is a fact of all brains (there is no ‘typical’ neurological configuration) , it applies to all of us!

  • Neuro divergent will probably be used similar to bipolar – ie. address concerns about stigmatising language by invalidating those concerns. Claiming that replacing one word with another while simultaneously loosing the ‘diagnistic’ criteria and thus expanding your market. Its a bit frightening actually as the word neuro-divergence is a fact of all brains (there is no ‘typical’ neurological configuration) , it applies to all of us!

  • Sam, that’s often precisely the point.
    Except these days you don’t even have to express your distress. All you need is to fall for that marketing slogan “it’s good to talk” and you might find yourself in therapy – talking-and slowly being turned into a self absorbed solipsistic bore. Or maybe just fill in tic box form… Aaaaaahhhh!
    In the past many probably escaped the grasp of psychiatry by not expressing their feelings to the wrong person in the wrong way at the wrong time. Of course they still didn’t escape whatever traumas, adversities or deprivation they suffered. Oh the injustice!
    Take care.

  • I’m a case in point, the psychiatric intervention(s) have/had become a veritable vicious circle of decline which I am and have fought against valiantly rescuing somewhat my humanity but not escaping the trap. And that despite being educated, somewhat articulate and coming late to treatment equipped with a healthy scepticism of what might be in store. In fact initially I was pleasently surprised that it wasn’t nearly as bad as feared. Even my inital decision to refuse drugs was respected up to a point (still is) before I succumbed to denial of service threats. They rather disengenuously told me ‘you have a chemical imbalance’ and stated ‘its best for you to go along with the treatment or things will go worse for you otherwise’.
    Maybe its best to view psychiatrists in a political light. Certainly the power dynamics separating patients from family, friends, colleagues and psychiatric staff, those relationships are the key to success or more often failure. The work done in places like Trieste are done humbly and have proved more humane than the tic box diagnoses and prescriptions we are usually greeted with. But as yet the critical psychiatry professionals are merely slowing the push towards more ‘clinically’ driven bio- bio – bio psychiatry. Which is still usually delivered by humane even decent ‘professionals’ who maybe don’t know what their doing.

  • Isn’t that regarded as a relatively successful outcome (of psychiatric training)?
    Although falling toward obsequious rotund obtundency might be seen as the somewhat lesser evil sometimes.
    Whatever, regardless of these considerations, as I sit at the kitchen table, with two dictionaries open before me and another on my phone while they discuss the nature of language on the radio, these considerations lead me to believe these are two skills I need to develop.

    At first your use of the word obtuse was in question but then, well it seems to me that intentionality might be seen to be out of place in an environment like this. One of the chief errors in our thinking it seems to me is to assume intentionality where none exists. Whatever about the misdirected rage and emotional obduracy of the average trumpesta it would be wrong to assume that they are forever thinking of doing anybody any harm, although obviously some do.
    It seems likewise that the systemic troubles with psychiatric care getting worse with time can’t be analysed by assuming intentionality on behalf of staff, let alone patients for the most part. This might explain why expressing individual agency and having agency respected proves so impossible. Of course being free is remarkably far from doing what you damn well please.

    Mostly though I realise how much this damage has contributed to dulling my own senses while being trapped in this process. At least I’ve discovered a word, ‘obtundent’, that perfectly describes the treatment so frequently recommended.

  • Sam Plover
    We might benefit in our thinking by placing psychiatry in its proper social context. It is as you know not the sole author of misfortune in this world of ours. In fact it sees itself and sometimes is the author of solutions to intractable conundrums. The mental health services are not always damaging. I have found its interventions useful on occasion, making friends therein and finding some events to interest me. When life got spectacularly harsh on a few occasions its service even came as a relief. But the stigmatising, unnecessary and completely unjustified stigmatising diagnoses with the accompanying neurotoxins contributed to this harshness. In fact initially there was no obvious mental distress just a sort of social dislocation. You could say that as a person ‘lost’ in life the main requirements where socio-economic resources which in part the services strove to provide or connect me with.
    But the people most responsible for directing me to psychiatry (thus denying me opportunity, making me vulnerable to harm and losing me years of my life) had access to contacts and resources which they could have used to help me work my way out of my loss and even provided these tokenistically. They cannot or will not attempt to justify their choices.
    Two things may be or may not be relevant here, they disrespected my beliefs and sought to get me to abandon the philosophical stance that sustained and continues to sustain me, particularly my ecosocialist political choices. Also they themselves might have needed someone to scapegoat. So for that of other reasons they failed in often even considering useful interventions that they are resources to provide. Indeed at one stage when I hadn’t had any meaningful contact with them for years they decided to intervene in a fashion that rendered me homeless.

  • Dana, please attempt to give a reasonable explanation for the massive increase in ‘diagnosis’ of ‘autism’ in recent decades? And what precisely, in your view is ‘autism’? What ‘things’ do all or most as autists have in common, do you mean to say they have little interest in others?

  • I’m neurodivergent. We’re all neurodivergent now. Our minds can imagine things that never where while responding to the actualitie of what is. We are all different – neurodivergent- having different environmental stimuli to interpret but we’re all the same, what’s the point in having a brain if it doesn’t respond to its environment. We cant just imagine any old thing and make it happen any old way.
    We operate basically subjectively in a world whose déirce objective reality is near impossible to know with any certainty. And what does a ‘diagnosis’ do – it to ignores this reality and maps the real (psychological attitudes, disjunctures in relationships, society in turmoil, real tangible material deprivation (homelessness, unemployment, lack of training and education, unavailability of healthcare and welfare)) by pathologising, individualising and personalising with the illusory objectivity of a psychiatric/psychological diagnosis. Placing all responsibility in the hands of the most vulnerable – scapegoating.
    I respect diversity but when as a child I had a problem reading I wasn’t ‘diagnosed’ with a developmental disorder, neither was my ‘neurodiversity’ celebrated – I was placed in a class appropriate to my reading age! Thus I learned to read(as it turned out chronologically I was the youngest in class).
    It’s true that we are all subjects with our own subjective experience and understanding. We experienced depression, anxiety, psychosis in individual ways but if all we have to go on to understand what ‘autism’ means is to ask the person ‘identifying’ as such i’m none the wiser as to what it means. I must catch up and read a few more chapters of Sami Tamimis book.

  • @Diger. There is much sense in what you have to say but I can’t concur with everything you say. There are understandable reasons people reach out to psychiatry for ‘help’ with their problems, usually a troubled and/ or troubling significant other. Am I correct in assuming you have no direct experience of a psychiatric intervention (ie. as someone who is the recipient of so called ‘care’)?
    Doctors in my experience are skilled members of a helping profession motivated to solve problems. It is strange that the branch of medicine called psychiatry has chosen to take the strategy adopted by substance abusers to help people with whichever conundrums beset them these days.
    And they are rather insistent on it. Can I ask if you feel that anybody can truly volunteer to take their drugs (much different and inferior to drugs of choice ie alcohol) while denied their rights, deprived of resources and possibly threatened with detention (rightly or wrongly) based on the assumed quality of their thinking?
    A simple Internet search or a search of MIA will inform you of PTMF a unique distillation of many views critical of current practise and a structured understanding of how to make sense of the predicament and what to do about it. It’s a work in progress but seems to be a way of developing understandings that might lead us out of the current impasse wherein genuine recovery is proving near impossible for more and more people than previously! Here’s one page from MIA

  • @Diger, in short the best way to veiw my position is as stated, I’m an admirer of the PTMF understanding and always keen to respect the environmental, cultural, social context and origins of mental distress. Unlike some here I do believe (as it seems self evident) that some sorts of professional intervention are necessary sometimes even as we currently stand they are at best woefully inadequate if not downright damaging! Even excellent therapeutic interventions dont have the resources available for people in need and indeed don’t even often think of this need so focused on the inner mind are they (not that this is unimportant.) Often these days (how often I don’t know) no intervention is mandated by anything other than resources such as housing, education, training and welfare provision (and not even that sometimes.)
    Drugs: people gave always taken various subsatances to get by which can be a useful or even enjoyable distraction but that’s all it is. Often relying on substances to deal with a difficult existence can ultimately just add to the troubles afflicting you. I feel psyche drugs are mostly prescribed because they are so profitable but there are other reasons which motivate doctors to prescribe them. But do they solve anything or merely act to over up the problem? I’ve certainly rarely benefitted from these drugs and I’ve been forced to take them for nearly 30 years by now. My own struggle has meant that usually I’m on a fraction of an effective dose – I’d be on a least 10 times as much otherwise. But still I’ve lost tears of my life to unnecessary treatments that haven’t worked for me. I’ve asked people why they reached out for a psyche intervention instead of more meaningful resourced support and have received no satisfactory answer. Just insults in fact!

  • Sorry Steve as I was saying by and large we probably agree here on this. My question was for those here who are articulating an entirely untenable stance, defending the indefensible by attacking everyone who suggests a response to life’s most extreme tragic consequences. You cannot wish away these troubling circumstances, situations and mental states by abolishing psychiatry. It would immediately reemerge anyhow as these extreme states aren’t going to go away anytime soon. So please try answering the question I’ve actually asked and tell me how you (@Oldhead,@sam plover etc.) suggest society should respond to these varied troubles without resource to psychiatry.

  • Extraordinary report. Thank you Mr. Robert Whitaker for exposing another example of rapacious avarice occluding common decency and the sensible assessment of evidence. The pile of evidence is clearly pointing at greed as the primary motive for the prescription of psychiatric drugs (and usually of those not in a position where they are obliged often to meet the victims of their prescriptions).

  • @Steve MaCrea, @Diger. These are by and large fair comments. I think we probably agree a lot about psychiatry as it’s currently practised. Here’s the main motives for prescribing psyche drugs in my opinion –
    1. Greed. 2. Wrath 3.Credulity 4.Laziness. 5.Vanity 6.Greed (did I mention greed) 7. Risk aversion. 8.Desperation.
    You will note that none of this much relates to the Dr/patient relationship – The Dr. is motivated by intellectual curiosity to provide solutions and the ‘patient’ usually needs solutions to sometimes quite complex psycho-social difficulties that maybe quite resistant to any obvious course of possible action – So drugs are prescribed.
    Having said that, it seems here that some people seeking the abolition of psychiatry have no viable response to these situations. ie, your responses while welcome do not in fact answer the question asked.

  • Any of you AP people want to tell me something else I don’t know, maybe by answering the question! I’ve suffered extensive misery as a consequence of psychiatric interventions, I could write the book on abolition but I won’t – something resembling psychiatry would quickly reinstitute itself and anyhow my experience suggests most if not all people arrive in psychiatric services already burdened with trouble. So I’ll ask again for those people suffering profound misery how do you suggest society ought to respond to our difficulties?
    If you don’t respond with some kind of answer I’ll assume you mean to respond by abandoning us all together.

  • So when people are at the end of their tether, at their wits end, overwhelmed with their own or others mental distress what sort of system of care do you think should be available for people to turn to? Your not denying the very existence of psychiatric problems now are you? (granted that many (possibly the majority(particularly children)) are treated for problems they don’t have and treatments are heavily bio – bio – bio, lacking adequate psycho social supports and resources) but huge problems which are currently refered to as “psychiatric” exist and individuals can’t cope, what do you suggest we do about them?
    I think that a lot of people’s time might be saved if psyches included the phrase ‘your in the wrong place my dear’ and were able to direct people to appropriate supports/resources and could avoid the pressure to prescribe the latest patented wonder drug but many peoples minds are already quite addled by the time they first meet a mental health worker.

  • Sam plover? Is that an insult or something? Psychiatry has been and is being reformed constantly – encapsulating more mere ‘problems of living’ and more beholden to corporate interests and the influence of rapacious greed.
    Do you honestly think that abolition will in any way improve the lot of people overwhelmed by psycho social traumas and any associated impoverishment and deprivation?
    Psychiatry needs to be transformed. How exactly do you suggest society respond to people trapped in impossible circumstances?

  • Gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexualutt, poverty, status, credentials and disability – All the usual suspects, with stigmatising diagnosis can be and are employed to double down on prejudice, discrimination, discounting, denying or ignoring a person’s own subjective reality and the manifest denial of adversity, trauma and deprivation.

  • No, doctors are the experts in solving problems – they are not motivated by greed, wrath, credulity or all the other problems by and large. Don’t you think that mostly people encounter psychiatry already overwhelmed by difficulties? Many find a system that works with them to arrive at solutions to their problems. However for many, like me, the efforts to help become part of their problems, stigmatising diagnosis and pressures to collude with false labels, ineffective treatments and discounting your own needs in addition to what might include objectifying othering leads me to think that psychiatry is often part of the problem. However, still the primary offences are external to the system but exert their influence on it nonetheless.
    Philip Hickey is quite correct to suggest psychiatrists should show more courage in resisting such pressures.

  • Have you noticed how so called anti stigma campaigns while well meaning attempts mostly attempt to mostly destigmatise psychiatric interventions. And then compound the error in priorities by promoting beliefs that are known to compound the stigma, ie biological causality.
    You say we shouldn’t be ashamed to be called ‘schizoprenic’ for instance, well don’t use that diagnosis then, refer instead to our multiple adversities, deprivation and traumas! And try fighting for the provision of resources that are actually shown to promote recovery.

  • Philip, well you left them out this time, which is a bit of an oversight! But my criticism is not of you, merely to highlight the many pressures psychiatric services are under. I usually appreciate the work you and colleagues are engaged in aimed at securing interventions that work and avoiding interventions that don’t work or are unnecessary. Thanks.

  • I see no harm in critiquing psychiatric practice, it has after all played havoc with many lives including mine but maybe helps many too or so they claim. But why spare they powerful interest of pharma or the supporting role of advertising, marketing, insurance practices, media promotions, political decisions enabling paying for what is characterised as the bio-bí-bio model – somewhat disengenuously but not entirely – Or indeed a wider societal failure to support the provision of resources (housing, education, healthcare, welfare) sufficient for sustained recovery. Or indeed spare patients (whom you call customers! Customers of what exactly? ) from their responsibility for believing credulous bullshit, if that’s what it is, you seem to believe so.

  • I see no harm in critiquing psychiatric practice, it has after all played havoc with many lives including mine but maybe helps many too or so they claim. But why spare the powerful interest of pharma or the supporting role of advertising, marketing, insurance practices, media promotions, political decisions enabling paying for what is characterised as the bio-bí-bio model – somewhat disengenuously but not entirely – Or indeed a wider societal failure to support the provision of resources (housing, education, healthcare, welfare) sufficient for sustained recovery. Or indeed spare patients (whom you call customers! Customers of what exactly? ) from their responsibility for believing credulous bullshit, if that’s what it is, you seem to be left I’ve so.

  • Thanks Iva, I’ve always believed that the social context of distress (past events, current adversity, deprivation etc and fears for our future) is vital, indeed central to understanding (shit happens leading to disturbance and the absence of available psychological, social or economic resources has a primary role in the resolution of such) distress. It is indeed crazy to believe otherwise but what to do about it?
    As a personal example immediately upon a coercive detention a few years ago the distress incumbent upon being trapped in a shit storm disappeared overnight. The relief felt was not as profound as felt by those escaping a war zone but welcome nonetheless. Unfortunately the system was unable to provide the resources needed for a relocation but toying with a highly stigmatising diagnosis which I may or may not have fought of f and a continued dependency on psych meds.
    I hope the work here can encourage a change in the mentality that currently struggles to imaginebetterfutures to us victims of life’s travails, adversity and the deprivation that prevents us tackling difficulties.
    Thank you.

  • Intellectually dishonest, emotionally laden misdirected hyberbole fails suffering humanity. Never one shy to critique our collective failure to provide adequate responses for mental distress I note that this article fails itself by sparing utterly the most egregious offenders in this ongoing scandel while attacking those with some insightful commentary that may in time prove fruitful.

  • The numbers are certainly staggering, incredulous in fact. And very frightening indeed. Even reading Bob’s extraordinary report leaves me with a sense of disbelief and I almost want to insist it’s been fact checked(footnotes please), and I’ve been aware of these problems for decades. How can this scandal be happening?
    I asked a professor of psychiatry for research evidence that the drugs ‘worked’ as she insisted over twenty years ago. She responded ‘Read a textbook’. To which I said I have. She couldn’t provide any proper rational for standard medical care. It’s over ten years since Irving Kirschs research showing that the tablets work no better than placebo more or less. I’m sorry but saying its ‘standard medical care’ doesn’t cut it. Professionals must be held to a higher standard than that, they are expected to have learnt something useful in order to qualify, to learn from an experience we can respect them for. I don’t know about you but were I come from we’re taught that ignorance is no excuse! If the evidence of the harms done by these do called ‘treatments’ is so readily ignored you have to wonder how this comes to be and why it’s not only allowed to continue but continues to get worse.

  • Politicians want first and foremost to keep their seats. For now they are ensuring as many people as possible are getting the ‘mental health care’ we so richly deserve. A British new Labour spin doctor frequently confesses to his battles with depression on public radio shows. For some reason he insists on calling it an ‘illness’ despite never being challenged on this point. As such despite being a man of considerable privelege and status he is simultaineously denied the insight he needs and acts in effect as an (unpaid) shill for psychiatry. He was in part the architect of the destruction of a party committed for all its faults to ‘the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy’ to one with unquestioned deference to neoliberalism and unqualified support for those ‘compassionate conservatives’ war. If this scandal is ever tackled properly it will maybe because of its impact on healthcare in the round and not bacause of its particular impact on psychiatry were people can be depended on not to care. I’m not holding my breathe but as the Poet Seamus Heany says –
    History says, don’t hope on this side of the grave. But then once in a lifetime the longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope and history ryhme.
    Here’s hoping enough folk can struggle to escape the bludgeoning fog of capitalisms current blindness. We all depend on that, not just those of us afflicted by psychiatric adversity.

  • The profit motive is bad for healthcare! This extraordinary report illustrates how. Healthcare provision freed of greed is available at much lower cost, more efficiently and effectively. For this reason most healthcare facilities until recently have operated on a professional non-profit basis.
    It is possible and does happen that by and large trustworthy medical care is offered free at the point of care (paid for through taxes or other mechanisms). And it seems that still now most of the basic research and development of medicine (and technology generally) is conducted free of greed by reasonably honest scientists whose work is rigoursly examined and critiqued by colleagues. It’s only when something looks profitable that it’s hived off into the private for profit business sector. I was alerted to this fact by Noam Chomsky and confirmed it by research(sorry I’ve no links readily available). Pharma do have its own labs and research but their claim to need profits is pure poppycock, even in their own labs the scientist are not motivated by greed (who’d study science on the basis that it would make you rich) but nonetheless are under pressure to pander to the corporate bottom line. So they do do research and development but it’s hard to know how exactly how much as their ‘research’ budget includes do much of what is basically marketing! This doesn’t just apply to psychiatric drugs we’re it’s worst but to the other scandal of opiate dependence but to overprescription generally of anti biotic (fueling resistance) , statins, benzos, sleeping tablets, excessive unnecessary screening and testing.
    Even in Europe our relatively effective health care systems (psychiatry not withstanding, although most people still believe mental distress arises from experience not biology this veiw hasn’t entirely infected the clinic for some strange reason although it has some effect) have not escaped the notice of business. A company previously best known for selling records and tourism has contracts worth billions to provide ‘mental health’ care and they havent being using it to enable people to dance around listening to their favourite or take us on holiday. Have you hoticed how you can walk into a therapists office with a love of music, hobbies and interests and walk out with ‘coping strategies’?

  • Yes Richard I agree it’s all rather complex. (I read the other thread which proved enlightening.) I have to admire the idealism of people seeking the abolition of psychiatry in toto, along with capitalism. But I’m not sure but that psychiatry will outlive capitalism. After all some people will still be driven to distraction by their experience of life. This I have little doubt will be true even if and when capitalism has outlived its usefulness if it ever had any. I’ve only recently come to this view in the light of climate crisis, another reality our ‘mental health’ brigades have identified for concern. In the meantime I won’t be holding my breath waiting for psychiatrys demise. I think there’s always going to be a need for an organised professional response to some people’s states of mind. But here’s still hoping your good selves or others efforts will at least inspire enough restraints to be put in place to limit the damage. Asking psychiatry to reform itself is obviously having no impact. You can throw all the ‘scientifically’ evidenced rebuttals at it you like it will have and has had no effect. They seem utterly oblivious to evidence of any kind while still managing to give every evidence of being decent professionals who sincerely believe in what they do. But maybe they will continue to and maybe more so lose some court cases. But so far they’ve managed to take these on the chin.
    Personally I find no harm in simultaneously respecting the clear thinking (which I continue to admire despite my own muddled thoughts these days, my mind being addled by circumstance, experience and drugs) of some academics who have concern for how society responds to psycho-social distress, while still noticing that they all to often appear to pull their punches when called on to reject the basic functioning of psychiatry, and individualise responses. That and their own experience and understanding may explain what appear to some as cynical rejections of some stances articulated here.
    Anyway I think the analyses of the problems being discussed here and the activism might bear some fruit eventually. It won’t be before time. Good luck and take care.

  • This is actually part of a series of interviews with academics/clinicians with a critical perspective on psychiatry. It’s quite interesting to read and provides some intellectual armoury against the nostrums of psychiatry. I rejected psychiatry from the get go and have always understood my difficulties in a social context but have nonetheless been ground down by the the psychiatric process. Obvious benefit could have produced less adversity from being better informed. These are interesting interviews but I wonder if like always the arguments are being presented merely to give the psychiatric establishment occasion to refute them. The PTMF is grounded in an understanding that our problems start in our experience of the world and what we make of it. Psychiatry has no time for real life experience. However psychology is often no better, engaging in tick box exercises to confirm a diagnosis for psychiatry or counselling coping strategies that while sometimes effective up to a point also place the locus of responsibility in the individual.
    I have considerable admiration for a long line of psychologists who in their work acknowledge actual adversity but I’m doubtful that they’ve had much impact on clinical practice very often in Britain as elsewhere. So often critiques of psychiatric practice pull their punches at the point of acknowledging adversity and often merely at the adversity people sometimes experience in psychiatry. After that they just continue with the process of tinkering about inside our heads. It’ll be a massive job of work to undo the damage done by this mindset.

  • Hey Fiachra ever heard of the ‘schizophrenia challenge” it goes like this -‘ patient’ ( client/consumer/victim/inmate) “Hey doc if you think this poison is so great why don’t you take it then, it might help relieve you of a few of the fixed false ideas you’ve been hawking around about me and improve your social skills, maybe even your occupational functioning, why not have a go then it just might help? ”
    Doc thinking to self – I can see this is not going to go well.
    Well normally this approach is fraught with danger and rarely goes as intended. Sometimes the doc actually takes up the challenge though and within hours of taking just one tablet finds their mind in an awful mess, their occupational and social functioning falling apart and occasional start getting suicidal and wanting to die.
    So called ‘Schizophrenia’ the world’s worst insult mascarading as a legitimate disease is as far as I know the only condition where the treatment causes the majority of its (alleged) ‘symptoms’.
    Good luck with getting your MP interested, however insisting your afraid to walk onto a building site may not prove very helpful (just saying).

  • “Human suffering arises from our embodied interaction with a world, that though it cannot be known cannot be wished away.”
    This is a very thoughtful interview with a very thoughtful, sensitive and erudite man. Thanks. But despite this well reasoned stance which often seems beyond argument, despite the considerable evidence which is easily accessible, despite the fact that psychiatry usually employs educated, cultured and seemingly decent individuals to do its business it carries on oblivious to the evidence. Its failures, mistakes, sometimes downright horrors continue. Why?
    It’s not because their monstrous people – It does us no favours to dehumanised psychiatrists as we have been dehumanised. But still psychiatry exists with, despite many changes, the same basic mindset that Denys the harm that adversity, oppression, abuse and neglect cause people. Not only that but it has expanded its enterprise, sees more people treated than ever before (by a long shot) and despite the recognised proven failure of its treatments seeks ever more confidently to expand further into society. Why? How can it get away with this blind indifference to people suffering to reason even as it claims to be reasons best protector?

  • “Human suffering arises because of an embodied interaction with a world whose nature we cannot know but which we cannot escape.” I don’t know why we need to keep debating this. The DSM mindset outlived it’s usefulness long ago if it ever had anything to commend it. But it seems to proliferate like an out of control epidemic capturing more and more in its poisonous grasp – poisionous words followed by poisonous drugs. Not all are harmed or recognise the harm, maybe even some are helped to heal as they claim – who am I to argue with them. But many are left dissapointed if not destroyed by these treatments which profit the few at the expense of the many. Resting as it does on no firm intellectual basis but more so on a profound denial of the dangers inherent in life, the damage done by adverse experiences, events or circumstances how does it survive and continue to thrive?

  • Well said. In France wearing a mask is mandatory whereas last year they banned the wearing of masks to stifle public protest whatever you think of it.
    In fact one of the things I know about masks is that as anew thing when introduced first they were heavily and no doubt articulately criticised even by respected members of the medical profession in the C19th. It took a long time for them to be widely accepted even in medical circles. But earlier this year at the start of thr pandemic there was widespread hoarding going on, the price of masks sky rocketed and even medical services were sometimes finding it impossible to source supplies – that’s what initially motivated public health officials to put out the message not to wear masks – the law of unintended consequences maybe?

  • Absolutely nothing in particular Oldhead. Things go in opposite directions simultaneously sometimes. The master strategists with their tentacles infiltrating every avenue of human endeavour are no doubt rubbing their hands with glee. Covid is really serious even as they are delighted to have a really serious replacement for the distraction of the Trump show, who’d have thought that was ever going to fly. In politics both sides now the centre right as well as the right have seizes on to the new distraction, even if its distasteful to a say so as Covid is not just taking and ruining lives it is laying waste to whole communities. What are called the disaster capitalists and their strategists and propagandists are indeed rubbing their hands with glee carrying on with their program unnoticed, unaccountable. They couldn’t give a shit about you or me but have come to dominate the agenda determing what is legitimit to articulate. To a ‘commie without a home’ I find a lot to agree with in what you say. Its validating and occasionally enlightening, much here I’ve heard before or figured out myself but occasionally like now I need reminding and sometimes you and others give me pause for thought. But there is as yet no law that says we have to agree on anything let alone everything. I wish I could say the same about the psychiatrists who I seem to fascinate. Yes I’d Stay away from them but that’s easier said than done in the circumstances.
    For now I am well and truly pissed off with hearing about Covid. From a homeless utterly isolated person living with and caring for an elderly couple obsessed with worry about the virus I dropped in on Mia to find relief from that particular news feed. Thank you.

  • Oldhead, can I just say that I really really don’t want to have an argument with you about vaccinations! But can we both agree that the forces of rapacious corporate greed are indeed winning, hands down, and without any properly organised opposition the sort of which we used to have in the Labour movement and elsewhere. If I recall it may have been your good self who alerted me to what Warren Buffet, one of the world’s luckiest men, said that there is indeed a class war ongoing and the rich are winning – hands down and no dispute.
    As of today one of my sources of news tells me that the loneliness and anxiety of the many during lockdown is distress to be interpreted as a doubling of the number of people showing signs of depression. So that’s another potentially huge expansion in the market, after the already near doubling during the austerity years, the expansion into schools prisons etc. This from a leading mental health charity that once upon a time used to actively harbour and fund the activities of critically inclined survivour activists.
    So that’s all cause for despondency. Not to mention the almost trillion dollar handout the world’s 1000 richest people and corporations got in the bailout earlier this year.
    And maybe we can agree that the profit motive is bad for your health. US healthcare costs are over twice per head as Britain’s NHS and yet people live longer in the UK despite its climate etc. This in spite of large swathes of the American population being uninsured or under insured. You can go bankrupt or end up destitute and homeless for becoming ill, that can’t happen in Europe.
    A large part of the motivation however for over prescribing, over valuing, overselling meds, for disease mongering, unneccesary screening etc. is the profit motive. A good number of people below the line here are prepared to criticise the profession or the government but not tackle one of the key motivating factors in the problem – greed. We need in our solution to recognise this fact. Not for profit healthcare systems have better outcomes and are run at lower cost. I personally credit the scientists who developed life saving treatments obviously. Most of the research and all the basic research is done in non profit institutions, philanthropically or government funded labs or university labs. Failing to nationalise pharma when national free at point of use health care was established seems to have been a serious oversight.

  • No Oldhead I have no expertise as a virologist or epidemiologist or anything else for that matter. But that doesn’t make me automatically distrust everything that goes on in the world. Virology is not psychiatry. Vaccinations have been responsible for very significant improvements in mortality along with other public health measures including the elimination of some diseases and the massive containment of others. Anti vax messages have been responsible for outbreaks and resurgenses of some otherwise well contained viruses. And recall that the original anti vax message was tied up with a false label which exposed it to my mind as false immediately and later this claim was comprehensively rebutted.
    As far as masks are concerned it doesn’t seem to be a big ask to cooperate with seemingly sensible public health measures and easy to do to. I defer to kindred spirits comments above.
    But yea we are as you say being ‘sold a bill of goods’, if nothing else covid has removed alot of otherwise significant stories from the news agenda. We should as always be deeply skeptical about any claims made in areas were alot of money is at stake. The motivation to make false claims overprescribe, oversell or overprice an otherwise acceptable treatment are of course maximised by concerns for profit over peoples health.
    As far as anti psychiatry being removed from social media, well so called anti psychiatry or even critical psychology messaging is a rather marginal thing and increasingly so in my experience. For instance this feed highlighting the adverse effects of psych drugs has been flagged.

  • Indeed, I’m just nitpicking, we have no need for false labels – can I have my chocolate egg now. Do I really have to take those tablets? Seriously I’m struggling with some people who take these concepts very seriously indeed. You know what that’s like so until I can succeed in both putting more distance from them and get closer to more amenable folk I’ll be struggling with the thought of letting them have a piece of my mind or playing dumb.

  • It’s important to preserve some distinction between madness and badness. People of course can be bought. I’m not sure if all people are as scared of the allegedly ‘mentally ill’, ‘nutters’ crazy people in their midst, sometimes now they just seem concerned that people take their drugs. They call this ‘care’. After that they usually don’t want to know. The violence argument ignores the institutional violence of coercive manipulative psychiatry. They call this ‘care’. The victims of which are more often the victims of violence than the perpetrators of it. In fact it seems that people being treated such are less likely to commit violent crime than the normals.

  • No the easter bunny does not exist but the concept is real. I have to disagree with you here Oldhead, we do need labels and not for nothing. We need to call out the ‘medicalisng’ of distress and the ‘individualising’ of experience, of trauma, abuse, neglect, poverty, oppression, discrimination. Adversity in all its forms is increasingly responded to as ‘mental health’ problems. And this very individualising narrative approach is neutralising our collective Capacity to even discuss the adversity at the root of our troubles.

  • The drugs don’t work they just make you worse.
    The coronavirus pandemic is real.
    Wear a mask for crys sake. Vaccinations are safe, anyone who says otherwise is responsible for spreading diseases the consequences of which are….. Disease.
    Nobody serious is seriously suggesting mandatory vaccinations.
    The label your searching for is disaster capitalism OH.

  • And it’s not just the exceptional overcoming of difficulties that this applies to. No doubt many homeless people have been encouraged to strive to overcome our loss by the power of belief alone (although probably not by their carers who may fear losing a client) but mere thought cannot manifest bricks and mortar…
    Even as one homeless person is housed by their own efforts or with support in the current dispensation corporate landlord ism ensures another is rendered homeless. No society has ever housed all its people adequately without collective resources being deployed and few enough at that rate.

  • Thanks, I hear ya. Their hardly quaking in their boots at the likes of me in this suffocating bourgeoise culture. But the corpus of ideas and the movements I support are frowned upon even if they have a respectable heritage but have been and increasingly neutralised. How has psychiatry gone from something your mother threatened you with to something your encouraged to actively seek help from voluntarily and not necessarily in desperation?

  • While ’empowerment’ is also a term used and abused to hoodwink us into thinking we can surmount impossible odds if we merely adopt the right attitude I won’t quibble. Let’s reclaim the language – It is indeed empowering to see things as they are even as that is the corrupting of our consciousness by this manipulation of our conscious awareness of power. It is empowering, humbling and not a little frightening to acknowledge the pervasiveness of the individualising of suffering even as it rears its remorseless indifference to our fate. We realise the immensity of the challenge and at least free ourselves of blame and loathing for the acts of power. Take care.

  • Exactly so Oldhead and I’m no marxist. What we are witnessing is precisely the commodification of ‘care’ with ‘care’ presumed to be the pretense of concern for a persons feelings and indifference to their circumstances. “Get your head straight and your life will work out fine” I’m advised. This ignoring in its enteirity the exercise of power in the world, the exercise of such power largely denied to the likes of me, niave enough to be sharing my thoughts with mental health professionals.
    But this kind of discourse seems to be seaping into everyday discourse, percolating everyday life, trickling down into the commons poisoning relationships and increasing our sense of alienation.
    Maybe it’s just my becoming further and further socially excluded that I experience this kind of miserably interaction so often. I’d be delighted to see some research on it because it seems likely to be a consequence of the proliferation of ‘mental health awareness/literacy’ marketing campaigns. It’s not just therapists that engages in this kind of thing. Often people do it voluntarily in circumstances where its not their duty to expand the market for mental health treatments. As listening ear counsellors, in self help groups, as teachers these days overly concerned with their charges ‘mental health’ while in effect operating to open up a huge market for the psy complex. I’m not entirely convinced these people are overly happy about this state of affairs but usually seemly strangle reluctant to discuss it. That is discuss why after they’ve offered their help and concern (professionally or otherwise) they insist on distracting you from the reality of your actual problems to affecting sincerely or otherwise concern for the state of mind your expressing. I mean maybe that’s a problem but if should somebody be consulting a therapists when their house is on fire is it beyond the therapists responsibility to insist your on to the wrong person you should call the fire department to put the flames out.
    Many a life has been lost this way. Many have found themselves often with sincere concern to resolve a temporary difficulty turned into a lifelong career patienthood. With all the drugs and therapy sessions, peer counselling, recovery programs etc. And all the while the actual difficulties that beset you are ignored and actually added to in effect.
    How does it help if someone is unemployed and isolated, out of the loop so to speak, to be given a diagnosis of mental illness and drugged into a soporific submission to occupy a place barely on the margins of society with no hope of support or concern that addresses their circumstances.

  • I don’t think it’s a lack of sincerity so much as a lack of thought or a lack of responsibility. What Megan seems to be driving at is power or the abuse of power. What are often sincerely held beliefs are often used to deny the felt trauma. A man brought up with an inate sense of superiority may not ipso facto be accused of insincerity by saying there is no racism/sexism nowadays although best thought of as looking for a rise. Similarly a psychiatrist might express sorrow for our feelings of a sadness or anxiety and give us little chance to avoid ‘treatments’ which more often than not add to our traumas. And they can and do argue for coercive interventions (even the more progressive ones) by presenting case studies it seems impolite to argue with. So what I think Megan is arguing ng is against the power of language to invalidate experience (notwithstanding that some people are being overly sensitive, misattribuing responsibility, maybe in denial etc.)

  • Thanks, best as you say just to walk away if people persist with that kind of attitude. But, and I’m should be careful how I say this, sometimes it’s a lot easier to walk away than shake off somebody’s influence.
    I mean 20 years after making the conscious change to survivor status I’m back using the system. Not by choice so much as lack of choice. But a sorry state of affairs really!

  • WTF.. ‘consumer’, who’d have thought anyone might think that this term might fly. Some 20 years ago I’d been involved in an Advocacy group trying to establish itself. I thought we’d agreed that even ‘patient’ was inappropriate, people were survivors or users or more like used and abused by a coercive or at best time wasting unhelpful service (with rare exceptions).
    But at least my overwhelming sense of disbelief that we might be expected to defend the “rights of consumers of mental health” allowed me to empathise with the sense of disbelief that some mental health professionals feel when presented with evidence from the real world. Who’d have thought that twenty years of abuse and/or neglect might damage someone. No the real world can be safely ignored as the role of adverse events is merely to trigger “mental ill health”.
    The world is obviously a dangerous place sometimes–besides being awesome always- but once you become a ‘consumer of mental health’ these dangers and the damage they cause, the hurt and distress we feel can be safely ignored.

  • “I’m sorry you feel” surely, “I thought we’d medicated the fuck out of your capacity to feel” or think for that matter.
    What I like about this series of articles is not the specific clichés which may be more or less sincere but how they are used by people to excuse themselves from having any rational discourse about what might be quite complex difficulties. In doing so they can guarantee that the person they claim to be helping ends up frustrated as shit.
    Having said that I must remember that the next time someone decides what’s wrong with me and what treatment to take I should probably respond by thinking “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Although it’s maybe pointless saying so as they most probably would stop listening after the first two words.
    Personally I’m desperately sorry anyone sought to get me wrapped up in this awful racket and I’ve remained trapped by its manipulative machinations for decades. A sorry escapade indeed to find your life stolen from under your feet and behind your back.

  • My regrets in advance for doubting you Frank. Health care provision is obviously in ennourmous difficulties. I agree you can’t blame so called ‘anti-psychiatrists’ for failing to ensure the adequate provision of resources to support people struggling with difficulties. Most of those labeled such rejected the accolade. They were a diverse bunch after all and hadn’t the resources themselves. I also agree the conclusion seems wrong-headed, but maybe just badly worded. I was listening to journalists recently report that the financial result of medicare for all might result in something like $17 Trillion in savings to the American citizens in the first decade if enacted. I support so called ‘socialised’ medicine and while agreeing professionals deserve decent rewards for their hard work I’ve also realised that the profit-motive is bad for health in all manner of other ways. The researchers who do basic research to develop ‘treatments’ usually do so in non profit situations-universities, government labs, philanthropic organisations etc. To give the fruit of their labours to private corporations to feed private greed is wrong. The profit motive isn’t the funder of research often enough but it seems however that sometimes it does result in motivations to be less than candid in the evaluation the resulting ‘treatments’.

  • Thank you Frank. The forces sustaining “mental health treartment”s continued rise are indeed sustained by the current neo-liberal consensus, prioritising profit over people’s needs, wants and ignoring human rights as it does. Sorry for doubting, you are obviously reflecting such cynicisms rather than generating them. My point was merely attempting to respect the intentions of social care employees who might be assumed to respect as much as possible the wellbeing of people attending their clinics for ‘treatment’ – The reasons they find themselves there being of another import. And indeed the profit-motive seems to see recommendations for ‘treatments’ which sustain people in ‘treatment’ pointlessly. It would be a sad day indeed if we damage those systems trying to support people who need such support and end up buying into the marketing scams of anyone responsible for causing and/or sustaining people’s troubles in order to profit from selling ‘treatments’ of dubious provenance!

  • Frank, are you not being overly cynical about the expertise of mental health professionals? Might it be worthwhile considering if they want to be ‘treating’ their ‘patients’ effectively and maybe more qualified to know and as often as not equally disgusted at the exploitation of people’s vulnerabilities which drive up Bad Pharmas profit margins. In my extensive experience psyche professionals avoid trying to sell anything, they don’t see themselves as businesspeople but rather as professional carers. If we can take the profit orientation out of psychiatry and allow the experts to do their work we might be all the better for it.
    Of course as a sometime Libertarian DemocraticSocialist I want the enactment of Social-Democratic policies that reduce the possibility of damage occurring to people in the first place and offer resources and support workers who work with people to solve their problems. Broadly equalitarian dispensations being to be proven as more effective than any others tried so far.

  • Peter, please go and immerses yourself in some critical psychiatry/psychology texts at least. The first sentence evokes the taught – they would say that wouldn’t they! ‘Early intervention’ meaning treating people before they become ‘ill’, you can’t argue with ‘prevention is better than cure’ can you? Well actually if you treat people for a condition they don’t have, (regardless of if it’s an imaginary disease or not) then lo and behold after treatment they still don’t have this condition (usually).
    A verifiable miracle cure is it not? Who determines if these predictions are correct, after all doctors can’t even agree on who has these conditions independently of each other more than 50% of the time and that’s when a person is troubled or troubling in their behaviour.

    I think your doing good work here, some of the best work on these problems comes from journalists. But please get with the program already. Be critical, assume every claim is wrong for starters.

  • Good point Steve, and true for the ‘clinician’ obsessed with power. But also follow the money. The producer can charge 1,000 times the cost of manufacturing generic pills with its new patent. Already Olanzapine has been repatented as a dispersible tablet, also for reasons of ‘compliance’ – and it is handed over to all and sundry regardless of the presence of ‘compliance’ issues or not. And Ely Lily have already scored 250 billion in profit on that one. I think Abilify was the most profitable drug in the early years of this decade. Have these people no restraints on their greed at all?

  • Brilliant posts, detailed responses from Oldhead and some others as usual. I am sorry for the time wasted however, a lot of time on my hands being no excuse. Maybe it’s not so rare to witness so many words articulated to say so little.

    As for bipolar didn’t there used to be manic depression, a real enough experience maybe, bipolar is just another unreliable, invalid diagnostic monster, a vast expansion for obvious reasons. Depression has the purpose of teaching us not to be depressed, another real enough experience (and horrible too), mania, according to some is built upon a melancholic outlook might have the purpose to also teach us – not to be manic, maybe! At least according to some admirable wise woman. As for bi-polar who can tell what that might be.

    Chris congratulations for having moved a few step from the central ideology of bio-bio-bio-psychiatry, if you have, realising that other people exist and that our relations, current, past and our hopes of the future are key to understanding our minds, in extreme states of distress or otherwise – whatever you imagine is the need for ‘psychiatric’ interventions the answer to our perplextion is always away from any system of care, unless you work there. – – Anyway keep moving!

  • Sorry Robert but surely the mainstream media can afford to be more questioning and avoid merely rewriting a press release they know to be the product of a marketing agency. The mainstream media often hype themselves to be ‘the first draft of history’, to be, like you, avid stubborn fearless investigators or holding a mirror up to society and sometimes they are. Surely with so much at stake here and not withstanding the current revenue crisis in media they can afford to do better or are we always to be badly served by media quiescent in the face of authority, manufacturing consent?

  • Maradel – You make a good point. May I answer it this way, – Those of us who see an injustice in the world may choose (or feel compelled) to attend to it, to challenge injustice and hopefully do something about it if not actually end it. We don’t have to identify as ‘victims’ to acknowledge that we or others have been and are the victims of adversoties and that the systems employed to support us often result in additional adversity rather than any remediation.

  • Good article, another unnecessarily sad tale but so glad to end happy, for now. The current housing shortage across all anglo-saxon countries is devastating for the homeless obviously and the resulting extortionate rental rates are causing huge stress for renters, particularly those in precarious employment, and it even affects those purchasing property as the result is not just higher rents but higher prices for property everywhere. Huge profits for some, obviously and more stress = more ‘customers’ of the mental health industry which must cost enormously. Can this be a deliberate strategy?

    No country has ever housed all its people satisfactorily, at least not for very many years. And of those that do they gave up totall reliance on the market and employed construction workers as required. The results proved amongst the best health care measures as well. Slum clearances and stable housing proved a great boon to people’s physical health through disease control and considerable mental wellbeing is also apparent. We need to seize control of the housing market from those merely seeking to profit and reassemble the atititude of homes for all!

  • The profit motive has no place in health care. Healthcare as a business is motivated to supply the most expensive treatments for the greatest duration. Without the desire to maximise profits Doctors are free to use the best most effective treatments for the least amount of time. And avoid treating people for conditions with no effective treatment or conditions which aren’t diseases at all!

  • If it’s true that elements secretly control the universe, their not doing such a wonderful job are they. People probably could do just as well left to themselves.

    We should maybe just ignore them and they’ll go away. Or maybe not, in which case another answer might be in order!

  • Hi Lawrence, in relation to zombies again I’m afraid, for your information I was reading about sleep. They have discovered that adolescents body clocks change to keep them awake at night and wake up later. But school starts to early and many children are thus deprived of vital sleep, particularly REM. The consequences are irritable, moodier, distractible and unfocused children – These you will recognise as ‘syptoms’ of ADHD (and also core features of fear.) We could do with resetting school start times to 10am or later to assist developing minds apparently. When the schools of Edina Minnesota changed opening time from 7:25 to 8:30 SAT scores increased from 605 to 761!

  • Binra – Certainly a vibration will follow us around for sometime after important events and adversities, maybe even into subsequent generations, changing, dissipating and influencing our choices and reactions.

    Here’s another similar story –

  • I would ask those wont to demand ‘personal responsibility’, well ‘Responsibility for what?’ Having, obviously, deliberated long and hard the answer was that they come up with nothing!

    We can only accept responsibility for that within our powers. It’s good to know our personal power, reflect on how best to exercise them and learn to counter threats and overcome adversities.

    However the leader of a health service was caught splitting hairs over this distinction. He tried arguing that just because he was responsible for running the service he should not be held to be to blame for a scandal in the running of the service,?! Y

  • Sorry for delay in getting back to you, Jclaude. Was a bit blue. Not sure how to elaborate or if an actual study has been completed. I’m a slow typer and all that.

    But Penal colonies where established in New South Wales, Van Diemens Land and other parts of the continent now called Australia. The great majority of the settlers where thus convicts Transported, as punishment, to those Lands in the first half of the C19th. It would be a personal observation of mine that it stands to reason that if ‘offending’ behaviour was coded in the genes then this would be detectable by the behaviours of present day Australians as they would have these genes over represented in their genome. This appears not to be the case however – case closed!

  • Before Churchill the Empire ran a convincing experiment in behavioural genetics, they did not mean to but they did. It was called the policy of Transportation wherein many, very many people with proven behavioural difficulties, usually time inside, where transported to Australia. Did these people prove to be recidivism offenders and begat generations of ner-do-wells?
    Eh, No, case proved it would seem, but many, even great admirers of Empire still cling on beliefs in hereditary, breeding and eugenics. The good news is that they are in the minority with, for instance, some 97% of ‘patients’ believing their psychic disturbances are rooted in environmental adversities etc. Even a majority of psychiatrists give a role to such and aren’t strict bio-determinists but then strict social determinism is not viable as resources balance adversity and our agency in determining responses is a vital lever in determining ‘outcomes’.

  • Alternatively, when people stop believing they turn to anything or everything, not nothing then slowly and only rarely. Which leads to a sense of emptiness, a trembling fear, a profound terror and confusion. Even people with enemies or other adversities still get paranoid, in fact having enemies or adversity would seem to be a pre-requisite. Or as some analysts like to joke sometimes, insight and/or catharsis only lead to why we do what we do to get us into trouble. What to do about it is another story!

  • The popularity of eugenics is still manifest in the 21st century. I notice the recurrent race/iq spat has resurfaced again as it does in the popular media every 20 years or so. Pointless and nasty. And all those twin studies done or funded by professed eugenisists still have unquestioned authority in ‘research’ assuming the genetic ’causes’ of ‘mental illness’ despite there methodology, analysis and reporting having been totally critical many times going back many years.

  • The British citizens thanked Churchill for his part in winning the War, gladly but thankfully voted the then socialist Labour Party to win the peace, dismantling the empire, setting up the NHS, bebuilding Britain including massive house building for ex troops (exposed to The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist in the trenches) their wives and nationalising the commanding heights of the economy. Churchill accepted all this to later regain power, promising to build even more homes.

  • Hi Oldhead, in this highly alienated, alienating world ‘Professional support’ might seem the best that people can get to some – it is often delivered with some charm, kindness and seeming concern. However, we must point out that ‘service’ not ‘care’ is their business and have no particular monoply of ‘understanding, compassion and wisdom’ as you say. The expanse of therapy culture and psychiatry is maybe rendering some feeling helpless in the face of their fellow man’s suffering or giving others excuses not to care. After all even if sometimes we feel the need for professional advice life is lived outside of those circles which often focus inside are own characters and ignore the real world struggles, adversities and limitations we face.

  • Churchill did suffer fro manic depression, the black dog as he called it. And it should come as no surprise he looked down on the afflicted, he was a colonialist, first of the Liberal variety and later a Conservative when he was largely responsible for saving the world from Nazism.

    In fact about then many people who relied on a mono crop diet where afflicted with the consequences of food processing which stripped their diets of key nutrients, in the South many of the poor relying on corn as mainstay found in consuming processed corn (which has a longer shelf life) that they developed Pellagra from B3 deficiency.

    And many concerned with the scandal of Psychiatry have a contemptuous view of the afflicted, even here, right on this thread, overlooking the many obstacles, hurdles and absence of resources we face. Actually there was a guy who was very concerned, saddened and angered at the 6 false messiah locked up in a psychiatric ward because he knew he was the true second coming and they where all deluded!

  • A case of putting the cart before the horse maybe OldHead, certainly changes. The 40% of America’s homeless who work (another 40% are out of work merely on account of their housing lack) and just need a reasonably priced home! They might appreciate the Profesional concern often delivered with kindness and care, but the profound housing shortage in the Anglo-Saxon world won’t deliver a home. But it is very profitable for the few who own rental'(about a 1,000% raise in rent over the past couple decades heavily disadvantages even those in work).

    And changing the subject seems to be the main idea. The long term cost in health, people getting mixed up in the criminal justice system or/and suffering mental distress might prove more costly than decent stable housing. The best advice followed in places like Finland and Denmark is for housing first even for people with a period of chaotic lives or substance abuse. Well since a 1bed is got for about €500 /month in those places working people don’t enter homelessness much or at all. But the idea you need to get your head straight beforehand has proved to be wrong, providing the resources, stable housing first and then supports proves to be not only more effective in giving people stability but cheaper than long term hostel care, for the vast majority anyway.

  • No Oldhead I was saying that calling people lazy, feckless and irresponsible as an alternative to calling them mentally ill might just suffer from the same base assumptions. It is an understandable response but well, appearencescan be deceiving!

    It is after all a common stigma that the unemployed and persons in poverty have to labour under. In an era of the working homeless it will come as no surprise to you that much effort is put into providing therapy for those afflicted before such considerations as actual housing.

  • That’s sad really – But maybe you misunderstand, I’m not suggesting we care for adults the same way we care for children – We might care for people wherever their at otherwise we might care not at all. What kind of care did you have in mind?

    Nevertheless it does seem strange that a society placing such a high regard on responsibility finds it easier to medicate a troubled and/or troubling child than recommend parenting classes which have a better success rate.

    And the Placebo response at 50%+ is a not unattractive ‘success’ particularly as it applies to such a disabling state as depression. In fact it seems that almost any ‘treatment’ seems to get as many positive responses as negative ones!

  • Lawrence you’ve illustrated the dangers of adopting the patient role here, it would probably regrettable if this area took too keenly to regarding this as a form of identity politics, there are already many industry supported groups where people have little in common except their ‘mental illness identities’.

    However one reason medicine won the debate over who cares for the insane, over the purveyors of moral treatment, is because Doctors can uniquely have authority to relieve us of our responsibilities when overwhelmed by illness. And many overwhelmed by extreme mental states can expect equal relief. It is robbing us of our futures by overly pessimistic prognosis, peddling dubious theories and prescribing toxic treatments which is wrong.

    And biological medical notions are far from the only such ideas, being told that your suffering from unresolved incestuous libidinal wish fulfillment is no more helpful than assertions of chemical imbalance or genetic deficiency, unfounded, unproven and untrue.

    In a month when the UN rapporteur on poverty releases a scathing report on how America treats its poor you are in danger of going from the fact of people alleged to be ‘mentally ill’ being accused of being feckless, lazy and irresponsible. Maybe neither? Maybe damaged, frightened and denied access to resources, suffering the limitations of being human in a world that doesn’t often care well for human frailties and vulnerability?

  • Well yes, but the thought that came to mind was the wanton hypocrisy in co-option threats to the system while nothing really changes, adverse events being sidelined as triggers for underlying vulnerabilities rather than accepted in there own right as disturbing. And all the while genuine critics are marginalised, silenced or destroyed.
    But your right ‘mental illness’ is culturally constructed to explain away such horrors that we might otherwise feel overwhelmed by.

  • Indeed Frank not just Russia, here too and they even write it down. Some decades past I was on a weekend furlough from a place I came to call ‘The venus fly trap’, reading the Sunday paper a piece of economic propaganda in the interests of wealthy elites called for disagreement. My assertion that this was self interest masquerading as economic fact would have some empirical evidence to support it yet it was duly recorded as potential evidence of madness by the shrinks.

  • Hi Frank, whether we are ‘condemned to be free’ or hold our freedom in esteem might depend on circumstance. Living under Nazi occupation and other adversities may have gifted Sartre with more difficult choices and responsibilities than Szasz.

    Most peoole here are presumably concerned about how bio-determinism is oversold, without evidence (accepting the effects of various neurotoxins) in relation to conditions ill defined by psychiatry and subsequent or prior abuses and excuses for harmful acts. We should be aware as you are that some theorists even regard free will itself as an epiphenomenon of the brain, not always even as a necessary illusion presumably. I’m not sure how we account for occasions when some people lose conscious awareness and control of their minds however. That’s a bad way of putting it as no one ever has total awareness or control of their minds but you know what I mean.

  • Hi Emily, congratulations on putting together what seems like an excellent educational opportunity.
    Something I noted was that in the first edition of The Primal Scream Janov (a therapist) promised primal scream therapy could cure a person of their homosexuality, then a decade later in the second edition of the same text he was promising that the same therapy could cure you of repressing your sexuality!

    Or putting it another way don’t you find it a tad suspicious that a group of professions (the mental health professions) can go from denying the very existence of childhood sexual abuse to a few decades later declaring themselves the ‘experts’ in it’s ‘cure’ or ‘management’ (more insidious still.)

    Just a thought! Good luck in developing and spreading a more informed understanding therein.

  • I didn’t say no one is distressed by mania. I’ve been distressed by mania a number of times – other people’s. It isn’t always distressing, for me or the person in a state of mania. I said someone somewhere (not usually the person in the alleged manic state of mind, maybe a family member) must be distressed enough to go looking for help and the subsequent treatment must be approved by persons claiming to offer or authorising such treatment.

    I’ve never approved of or suggested such treatment myself but do realise their is some call for interventions to ‘deal with’ extreme mental states like these. I wish humanity might progress to a point where the ‘annihilation of personhood’ was a not infrequent consequence of such ‘treatments’ and they where used sparingly if at all.

    You accuse wrongly – ‘you annihilate positive experiences, you negativise the fullness of peoples’ subjective experience’ – Having neither the inclination nor the power I avoid these common features of said treatments. So where did you get such notions from, you don’t know me?

    You seem like an intelligent person who has suffered great trauma, the best of luck to you.

  • ‘If your not confused you’ve been misinformed’. At least if you operate within the limits of being human. Psychiatrists might admit no such limits! Thus there’s often a natural confusion from honest appraisals. Part of psychiatry charm is to appear to remove confusion from some by asserting ‘mental illness’ but the confusion is deepened and hidden. This is an artificial confusion which robs people of the potential for truthful understanding of their troubles if any.

  • They diagnose ‘mental illness’, hard to avoid that phrase it seems. The prognosis can indeed be an iatrogenic self fulfilling prophecy Rachel. Even Prof Anthony Clare once the public face of psychiatry in the UK stated that the neurotoxin used to treat psychosis induced the ‘negative’ symptoms of these conditions.

  • It’s good to see someone realising the politics of psychiatry. But ‘re-politisiation’ mental health is always nothing if not political. The absence of discourse about power dynamics therein hides the fact that it usually operates like other disciplines with a peculiar silence on power (economics/ psychology etc.) in the interests of power. So congratulations on opening a debate……

  • Nobody with a wit of sense could think you wanted the patient role Frank, nobody does, it’s rather foisted on people usually these days with vague threats that ‘it will go better for you if you go’ voluntary”!
    It’ s possibly better to suggest that the ‘mental health movement’ could co-opt any ‘sanism’ movement as part of their increasingly successful ‘anti-stigma’ campaigns, which as you know are anything but – psychiatrists/ psychologists continue to stigmatise people by diagnosing these so called pathologies, frequently retraumatising or otherwise compounding the presenting troubles, if there are any!

    In the meantime psychiatry continues to increasingly act as bad pharma marketing executives and dominate the discourse. The fact that you found it easy to walk away from such a fraud is inspirational to many and fair play to you for doing so. Long may it last. Such acts are not always so easy however. Anyone who can free themselves from neurotoxins, stigma, shame, often considerable social pressure, the Katy Bates of the psychiatric world, poor work histories and social isolation. Often improvements are not greeted with joy but resentment, restlessness and others doing the othering beginning to miss the handy scapegoat they’ve come to enjoy. People frequently tapper off mess with little or no support and then are confronted with their original problems of living maybe even less equipped to deal with them than before the great explaining away cover up. If you can do that your something of a hero it can’t often be that easy.

  • Matt, ‘Mental illness’ is a part of a whole lexicon of confusion surrounding human distress. It has the direct effect of medicalising distress and compounding our confusion, diagnosis explaining away any context and a helpless need for ‘expertise’ rarely if ever to be found.

    I agree it’s a bit mean spirited to argue the point but I’ve never bought into the concept and using the term as a metaphor, which most people, in these parts anyway, still do, only serves to confuse matters further as different people take a different read on it.

    The notion of ‘sanism’ might help pinpoint the othering which takes place and the legitimising for people to project their fears unto sufferers maybe an alternative to ‘mental illness’ or a recognition of its fraudulent qualities is more pressing?

  • We’re counting on genuine ‘fools’, who being prepared to risk societies ire by pointing out the obvious defiencies and outright coercion, fraud and self-deceit involved and suggest better means of responding to despair, vulnerability and desperation than manipulating, coercing or exploiting the troubling situation to the max.

  • And not much if any medical basis either beyond the allure of medical authority.
    No the basis of psychiatry is always political, they are in the business of social control after all, something frequently demanded!
    Best to look at your shrink as a politician not as a doctor. And sometimes rare as it is they even use their power benign, but moreover they can usually call on their ace in the hole – The placebo effect – take credit for that and any confounding effects, time limited healing, the person’s own efforts good luck, others efforts and your laughing

  • Agreed, but why did they hand over their power so readily even the so called left have collapsed in the face of a corporate charm offensive?
    You’ll recall Corby said opponent to lead Labour was a former senior pharma employee, when did that ever make sense?

  • Psychiatry serves a useful function to all institutional structures, they provide one means of silencing and getting rid of the awkward squad, anybody who fails to fit in with their expected role, asks to many questions or threatens the status quo. Simply firing someone isn’t always possible and the institution of the family for instance may balk at the cruelty of just showing the door to a troublesome member if they appear to be in no state to care for themselves or simply want to keep a handy scapegoat close at hand.

  • Thanks Rachel you’ve inspired me to find a long lost word! When growing up we we’re warned about or threatened with psychiatry but since the invasion of the community care teams and the monumental bad pharmaceutical marketing campaigns we’ve all been made fools of. No the word might be people or person but we’re called ‘patients’ the appropriate term for legitimate health services, or user, client, survivor an apt description of those who’ve survived this fraud, rarely done on your own, thus the tendency to ostracised unbelievers, no the term I’ve failed until now to realise is ‘dupe’! The mental health movement has made dupes of nearly all of us by now, sadly!
    Ohh and a handy notion when confronted is to realise that many of us might have a tendency to misdirected or angst, it’s safer that way. Just so long as you have the decency to check our own contribution, many learned folk fail to do so and automatically assume it’s nothing to do with them often misdirecting their own fears onto the mythical mentalillness. Often people’s angst is done no end of good by staying clear of those who get their goat up, that would be my default approach, and wish that the same was true of others! But I get the message you express yourself loud and clear. Less of that talk of duct tape you’ll be giving people ideas

  • Institutional protection rachet
    They said ‘you have a chemical imbalance’ They lied. They ‘diagnoised’ mental illness, which finding to be a myth, they never shared (do as we say not as we do) but finding out anyway they said ‘we had to put something down’ – did they mean me? – did it have to be so profoundly stigmatising excusing such poison?
    Then they told the truth ‘we’ re concerned about your quality of life’ which subsequently lay in ruins! After ‘predicting more and more breakdowns each subsequently worse than the other’ my family and friends abandoned me. No one can predict such a future but some by these and other means can make it happen
    Try again, fail again, fail better.

  • Would it be that the confidence they portray in making their pronouncements is inversely proportional to the confidence they feel about the evidence base for those pronouncements. Certainly the quick resort to articulating the party line and name calling and isolating serious critics of their thoughts and practices would suggest they don’t feel positioned to either counteract or ignore such critics?
    It is baffling considering other professionals honesty and openness about the limits of what they can do, but that’s when they have something useful to offer!

  • It would take Warren Buffet to declare victory in a one horse race in the age of TINA. I do suspect that psychiatries fundamental argument is the same failure to construct viable alternative narratives – for now it seems the neo-liberal thought collective, like bio-psychiatry, have found viable means of countering most opposition usually with considerable recourse to intellectual dishonesty.
    It still surprises me however that even the radical left seem unable to get the insidious influence of not just bio-psychiatry but also highly individualist psychologies the product of bourgeois academia, self-help gurus and motivational thought which creep about the edges of disaster responses of all kinds trying to save people from the evil of feeling injustice. It is of course always worth knowing that ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar’, ‘we do not see the world as it is but as we are’ and ‘its better to act your way into a feeling than feel your way into an action’ etc. But the almost conscious refutation of power dynamics and indifference to life’s genuine horrors if not pleas and praise for such resilience cloud a hidden agenda of libertarian survivalism and total deference to power and wealth accumulation. ☹️

  • Never really thought about it that way before. But our crowd don’t even go as far as negotiating the amount of abuse people receive, they’ve seemingly been happy to be co-opted by the beauracracy with no protest, at best they might act as a valued listening ear but mostly call for more consideration of people’s maladaptive attitudes and bad choices, always impossible to ignore and the most obvious victim blaming stance. I had got involved because it seems that activism at least allows for making some common cause about injustice and history would teach that even within revolutionary change it is incremental progress that happens, nothing happens all at once and within the current clampdown the policy of the neo-liberal revolution is one of incremental regression. So for now anyway most of us at least some of the time may be negotiating how much abuse we’ll put up with as well as what benefits we demand.
    But my point really concerned those who see the malevolence at work in their lives are often still heavily resistant to any concern with power. It’s easy to see when psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, economists ignore power that that shows how they serve power but when the oppressed so to speak ignore such forces even in private, it takes some courage to stick your head above the parapet, well it’s quite odd really isn’t it?

  • It’s never been put so well.
    It did however ( does) surprise and confuse that so many survivors (anti-psychiatry or otherwise) fail to see the problem with identifying as ‘consumers’ of ‘mental health’ or any actual health services for that matter?
    We did at least manage to advocate for statutory reviews of committal but as you note these safeguards have been neutralised by the powers that be and user lead advocacy has been seen to be in collusion with those forces, sad if it weren’t so tragic.

  • Oh and I can avoid pschiatrists/pschologists for the most part – I only wish I could say the same about them – they seem quite keen to help for some reason and are quite willing to reach out into the community to do just that nowadays. And some of them as students of the consequence of repressive forces are worth attending to. I don’t generally critic them as individuals but attacking their ideas seems to get them even more angsty.!

  • There certainly are quite sinister activities ongoing. The continued increasingly successful attempts by the neo-liberal thought collective to monopolise understanding through a market understanding and monetise everything. Their aim ultimately to destroy democratic citizenship and any other type of understanding in social affairs. Even with the potentially calamitous nature of climate change humanities need to respond is being hijacked not merely by denial is but also by an insistence on market solutions, at this rate the planet may become a near totally hostile environment before they succeed!
    It’s some 17 years since a group of survivors tagged our group as defenders of the ‘ consumers’ of mental health services seeming to forget their involuntary and coercive nature. I recognised a lost cause right there!

  • Rachel is quite right there. And empathic relationships with ourselves or others are key to responding to distress. Postulating biological causes renders the need for empathy, a difficult process at the best of times, pointless which serving the interests of power is probably just the point of such reasoning. ‘your loved one is ill, there’s nothing you can do, we’ ll take care of the problem’. Although for people diagnosed they often have few if any potentially empathic relationships in their lives and I suppose that is often why we can overvalue the role of professional help.

  • I think it was Steve Biko who said the the greatest weapon in the arms of the oppressor was the minds of the oppressed. Psychiatry/psychology operate increasingly in the interests of elites to do just this- to colonise people’s minds and suggest various propaganda to explain away the consequences of poverty, abuse, trauma, victimisation, discrimination etc. I like you would imagine it a no-brainer to oppose such re-traumatisation but folk seem to be rendered increasingly helpless to oppose such violence! But they ‘respect’ the expertise usually delivered with the veneer of kindness never questioning the true allegiance of their ‘helpers’. Maybe it is help itself that might be the problem?

  • I don’t mean to be so pessimistic but big corporationsl have heard Marx clearly and have been busily changing the world to suit their own interests for quite some time
    Some of the $250,000,000,000 from Olanzapine has gone for just such a purpose no doubt ☹️

  • And next you’d say organise!
    Which is where things become problematic and people start to jockey for position as activities are professionalised people may start to sabotage those activities – it may be that it’s the 90% of professionals that give the 10% a bad name. How do you get from a position where the vast majority have no problem realising the origins of distress in life itself to a profession which now increasingly has colonised our responses and insisted the answer lies totally within? And it’s not just psychiatry, psychology and therapy that does this but seems to be universal amongst elites and their neo-liberal acolytes.

  • Indeed Steve diagnostic labels are seen as intrinsic to the individual leaving us dependent on expert cure or management, their biological nature fundamentally disempowering and stigmatising. Whereas the idea of patterns of distress rooted in a response to circumstance leaves us free to explore the means of addressing those circumstances and whatever it is in those circumstances or our responses that trap us here.

  • Well good on you so. I’m not familiar with that book, psychiatry certainly can be hazardous to your health! Toxic psychiatry was one of the scariest reads avaikable!
    But I did a course in choice theory psychology, read a book of the same name and he struck me as a right creep, maybe it’s a different fella?
    And the nun teaching us showed some training video about how this fellas work was used to help beak the air traffic controllers Union under Reagans watch. In it the shrinks where describing stress due to excess workload as a mental illness and encouraged to abandon solidarity with their colleagues accept disability and take the tablets. He was a psychiatrist after all!

  • Like yourselves I was on occasion in the throws of a happy hypomania – the shrinks soon put a stop to that having declared I was chemically imbalanced – how regrettably that was. If they’d asked wharhappened to me which I was trying to tell them rather than deciding erroneously what was wrong with me which I also tried to tell them the power dynamics affecting me might have revealed themselves as more tractable than they became! But I suppose you’d be hard pressed expecting such a conservative enterprise to fight the power, better to recruit ‘customers’ for big pharma for life.

  • I think you might have a point Neil but the massive marketing budgets of big pharmaceutical might have something to do with it! They now have an easy message to sell as do many self help gurus indeed a message often to good to refuse. And why is it that you think many mental health professionals seem so resistant to evidence that their treatments don’t work if not make things worse for people?