Showing 24 of 24 comments.
Thank you for your post. You make so many interesting points, from the personal to the systemic. Your schizophrenia journey is inspiring; I have always thought that such a recovery was possible and I enjoy hearing when people have shifted from being beset by symptoms to doing well.
Drugging children makes me want to cry.
Thank you for this beautiful writing about your sister; I am moved to tears.
I have just listened to three podcast episodes from Psychedlics Today. In the first two, Will Hall discusses psychiatry’s problems, and in the third, an anguished psychiatrist tries to rebut Will’s points, but is not convincing (at least to me).
Oh my god what a horror vision the dreadful machinebot Yager has vomited onto us!
Another (possibly) avoidable tragedy: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/11/i-dont-intend-to-let-my-son-down-twice-the-bereaved-father-trying-to-end-suicide
Unfortunately, it is no longer operating.
Thanks Rebel _/\_
Yes, I have read a lot of stories on this site over the years, and have spoken to many people who have had their lives destroyed by psychiatry and ignorant medical treatment.
I hope we are moving towards a new paradigm of ‘being with’ each other as the basis of healing. One of the things that floors me is is that there is an idea in the general publc that ‘mental health experts’ know how to ‘treat mental illness’ … urggggh … as though mental ilnesses are biological illnesses instead of symptoms, often present due to underlying trauma…
Hi Rebel, my online name is actually my genotype (very poor metaboliser), however I have never taken psych drugs, as thankfully, when I was having my trauma/depression/anxiety/breakdown it was the early 80s, and they weren’t drugging teens.
I really appreciate your answer. Maybe I should have said this when I asked the question, but I have done a Masters in Psychotherapy. However I have never started practicing because many folks report that it is dangerous, and I am gathering information (entirely for my personal understanding and contemplation – stories and reflections never to be shared) on how it causes harm in an effort to decide where to go from here. I have no need to be a psychotherapist, and do not want to go into practice until I am convinced that I can do it in a harm-free way. I am most interested in how people heal, and so far the answers vary widely. I have heard some pretty dreadful stories of what passes for therapy as administered by either a psychologist or a psychotherapist.
Once again, thank you for your reply.
Hi Rebel, I am so curious about this: “Psychotherapy isn’t too helpful, either as psychotherapy is just another drug masquerading as words and talk, etc.”
I thought good psychotherapy is about being with and building bridges between a person’s stuck parts, and where they want to be, usually, living a meaningful life, in freedom from past traumas and anxieties … in somatic therapy, the words are not even necessary … I’m not saying you’re wrong, but am seeking to understand your lived experience …
I second everything that Ann said. Reading this is heartbreaking. I worked in an akathisia clinic for 10 years, and I saw and heard everything you describe, and more. I am particularly grateful for your story, as it is so down to earth and relateable, and I am going to share it with my (now adult) daughter who reproaches me for not getting her put on psych meds when she was a teen. How could I, with what I was seeing in the clinic every day? Plus I am a very poor metaboliser, so she likely is too. But it’s very hard to impart the horror of akathisia, and your narrative does a much better job than I ever did with my daughter, who just thought I was exxagerating.
I wish your whole family well in the recovery endeavour _/\_
Thank you Peter, for all the work you do… From the top, middle, and bottom of my heart.
Ricky; thanks for sharing this. One of my missions as a new clinician (who is barely practicing, because I’m so disgusted with the field, and I’d rather not compromise what I know about coercive therapy and psych drugs in order to work in the field), and someone who also had a spiritual awakening, I am deeply sorry you had to go through this.
Slowly awareness of this problem is becoming better known (although not in the mainstream), and I hope that one day no one will ever be diagnosed with a (so-called) mental health problem when they are having a spiritual awakening, and that there will be resources beyond the Internet (eg physical spaces) where people can stay for a while if they open up too quickly.
I wish you all the best~
There might be another reason for that, too, Fiachra. People with different genetic heritage have a different risk of allelic variations, which affect drug metabolism (I am referring to the CYP450 system here). For example, I have no 2d6, so I get paranoid on cannabis, got serotonin syndrome on mdma, and didn’t sleep for days when I used to take street drugs. This is because I wasn’t metabolising the drugs out of my system effectively, and they would build up to toxic levels.
In psychiatry, this translates to a much higher incidence of adverse drug reactions in people who don’t have a full complement of genes in the CYP system (there could well be other systems involved too, but I don’t know about them) who are prescribed psych drugs. Maybe this leads to a higher rate of diagnosis of ‘mental illness’, which are actually adverse drug reactions, be it to psych or street drugs.
Unfortunately (and bizarrely, considering how important it is), psychiatrists do not know about pharmacogenetics (the relationship between drugs and genes). However, doctors who aren’t psychiatrists know about it somewhat. For example, that you shouldn’t eat lots of brocolli or grapefuit if you’re taking statins, because the brocolli and grapefruit inhibit the liver enzymes that are responsible for metabolising the statins. It’s the same with psych drugs; giving an ‘antidepressant’ or ‘antipsychotic’ to a poor metaboliser will result in a much higher chance of an ADR. As will giving one of these drugs to an older person, or a very stressed person, or a person on birth control, or on other drugs… some substances inhibit, and some induce…and knowing what substance does what, and what enzymes are available for metabolism is a basic and crucial question to answer if you’re going to force drugs on people (obviously I wish they wouldn’t, but they do)…
I am still struggling to understand why psychiatrists are so illogical, unscientific, and incurious…
I had a similar response… I am sort of relieved that At Last, a psychiatrist has experienced what so many of us know from the inside, and now understands that his medical training is unnacountable, b*s* (although Dr Horowitz was more diplomatic than that). But I’m feeling pretty tetchy, too.
It’s well known, by, like, everyone that if you withdraw suddenly from many drugs, you get withdrawal syndromes. Why would it be such a stretch for the 0.5% of the supposedly brightest members of our population to understand that a drug that alters neurochemistry (in unexplained and poorly understood ways) would not have the potential for dramatic withdrawal reactions if suddenly withdrawn? It’s not like the body says, ok, this is a nasty street drug, so we’re up for withdrawal syndrome, but this is a nice pharmaceutical, so we’ll just reset ourselves quietly without a fuss. I mean, that sounds stupid, and yet something like that must be the thinking process…
DFK: Thank you for your comment; it is so helpful to me, as a trainee therapist.
Thanks Greg; I am so appreciative of your essay, and am passing it on to my son.
Out, you have touched on an important point: For some (often completely unsuspecting) people, meditation can lead to various levels of decompensation, which is a field of research currently attracting a lot of interest (Dr Willoughby Britton at Brown University has published in this area). And you also make an excellent point: No self is not for everyone, and it’s hard to control how far into that shift you go as a meditation practitioner (most people do not even realise that from an Eastern perspective, that is the entire point of the endeavour)…
Bippyone, you make a great point about the drugs having a place. I sometimes (ok, very occasionally) find clients who do much better with drugs than without them, and I like to be reminded of this, lest I get too one-sided.
If advocacy can get the public and the medical profession educated to the point that it is widely understood that the drugs can have significant side effects and a possible nasty withdrawal syndrome (& potentially the need for compounded medicine), then drugs may take their rightful place as a possible treatment, and not a mainstay…
Fiachra, that is an interesting idea; and the only one that makes sense of their attitude… somehow I still struggle with believing that they are *that* stupid and insensitive … I guess Niall covers this in his article… I suppose then, what we are looking at, is the banality of evil (as Hannah Arendt said)…
Chilling question, to which I must, regretfully answer, no – no difference that I can see… (Note, I am not addressing this to you personally, but to the system and its psychiatrists that lie about ‘treatment’ protocols)
Thank you for this blistering article and all the work you are doing on behalf of the truth, and patients’ rights.
My recent experience: Three months ago: Taking my teenaged son to get a GP mental health plan because he wanted to see a therapist (not my idea! but he felt strongly that he needed help outside the family). Within 5 minutes of doing a checklist depression inventory (the K10), the GP announced that he had a chemical imbalance and he needed to go on antidepressants. My son relayed this information, knowing that I would never agree, and anxiously asked if the doctor could “make” him take the drugs. I changed GP’s so he wouldn’t have to go through this again when the mental health plan needed to be ‘renewed’ a couple of months later.
The second GP said “Your K10 scores are no better! You are really unwell! You are going to have to go on antidepressants to sort this out! This is unacceptable!” It took me an hour to calm my son down (he was by now quite convinced that he was fundamentally broken), and (again) go through the research with him, discussing that the chemical imbalance theory is an unproven hypothesis, and that these drugs have a withdrawal syndrome, and side effects, and they were only trialled for 6-8 weeks, and not on paediatric populations blah blah blah, and that both his parents have metabolising issues (I am a poor metaboliser, and he will have half of my genes), which means there is a higher likelihood of him having metabolising issues.
Then he was in the horrible situation of having to navigate two different sets of beliefs (his collective doctors’ the ‘experts’), over mine, (I am a psychiatric mental health worker with lived experience of the negative impact of carelessly prescribed psych drugs in family members and clients). (Note, I did not force my beliefs on him, but he knows I will not pay for antidepressants so he can get over school bullying and the impact of his father leaving the family).
All this to say that I agree with Niall that GPs should not be prescribing antidepressants. And as for my experience (as a patient advocate) with psychiatrists… man, they are (often- not always) plumb crazy… (shakes head in wonder)… I mean Donald Trump crazy…