Showing 66 of 66 comments.
Very competently-written; very moving!
This was a difficult read for me, with all its legal parlance.
What is obvious to me from this discussion is not only how confused our legal and justice systems have always been, but also how confused most of us remain as individuals about these issues.
Most people still agree that a person “guilty” of a “crime” should be “punished.” This is actually the social basis, I think, for the continued acceptance of psychiatric practices, the “crime” in that case being “mentally ill.” The punishment is delivered in the guise of “treatment,” but so little concern is placed on whether people (patients) actually get well, that it seems most find the whole process acceptable anyway, just as it is with “criminals,” even though punishment does not stop crime.
It is interesting to me that my studies of these issues have led towards the inescapable conclusion that crime and lack of mental well-being are closely related phenomena, particularly if we limit our idea of “crime” to the more destructive behaviors.
Neither of these phenomena actually solve using punishment as the “treatment.” But punishment still garners enormous social support for use in all sorts of situations, including in schools (via grades) and in business (via competition). There is something about punishment that lots of people like (until, maybe, they have to experience it themselves).
Thus I see a broader social issue clouding the whole arena of how communities and governments should respond when an individual dramatizes “bad behavior.” Most still see “punishment” as the only answer, and do not understand the causes of these behaviors well enough to realize that a more effective response is possible.
Though a bit verbose, I agree with the sentiment here. There’s this whole narrative of how accepting the “correct” label can help you live with your condition. This wouldn’t be so sad except for the fact that it seems to work for some people. I would guess that this is due to a cognitive shift, a sort of new level of self-awareness that goes with realizing something is seriously wrong. I could be incorrect about this, but it’s really hard for me to believe that it’s the drugs, because mental state is, in the last analysis, senior to drugs.
But because this works for some people, it’s been sold to them as a coping mechanism. And while we have no right, I suppose, to deny anyone the right to cope, I’d really like to see more opportunities for people to handle their situations once and for all. To be totally free of “episodes” or whatever was bothering them. And drugs don’t do that, and they never will.
So, I just want to keep things clear. We can enter the system, recognize that we’re in some sort of serious trouble, and learn to cope with it. But right now, that’s all the system – at it’s best – can do. And the only reason it can’t do better is because it’s being run by people who prefer things the way they are and don’t really want people to permanently get well. If I found a system that made me permanently more able and happier, leading, say, to an increase in my personal wealth, I’d make sure to use some of that newfound wealth to support that system. Wouldn’t you? But right now psychiatry doesn’t even envision that. And so they turn away from all the better ways to make their patients well.
Society “discriminates” because it is being kept ignorant of those better ways. If society in general were properly educated about the mind, the current scene would have to change; it would almost certainly improve.
In theory, a person who is already in a hospital, or under supervision of a doctor, should have a better chance of surviving this thing. Yet the first deaths are in a psych ward. That just means that these “doctors” aren’t really doing their jobs! I don’t need to see Medicine go public (like in the UK). It might help a bit, or even a lot, but the point is to make Medicine more effective. And to provide effective alternatives to Medicine where it obviously isn’t indicated. Psychiatry should not even involve Medicine. If your body is sick, you should go to a doctor or similar body health specialist. Why would you go to a doctor if just your mind was “sick?” They’ve been running this line on us that mental health is just a form of body health. And we bought it! Of course we need our bodies healthy. A lot of “mental health” problems would end more or less completely if those affected were physically healthy. But other such problems wouldn’t. So I think it should be clear that this appeal is being made because psychiatry is incompetent, not because mental patients are naturally more susceptible to disease. You can be very physically healthy and still have mental issues. But it is true that under current conditions, those patients are much more vulnerable. For most of us, though, I think it would improve our mental health to get back to work.
This is a good example of the double-edged sword involved with the current pandemic handlings. This man is in quarantine, basically, which should contribute to saving his life and the lives of others, if he got infected. Yet he gets “no fresh air, no sunlight, no opportunity for exercise.” That’s the perfect formula for making a person sick! This man should at least be getting nutritional support for his immune system. His psychiatrist, as a doctor, should be aware of this. But most aren’t. It is very sad, but madincanada should be working to get her son out of there so he can get some real help.
What I see happening more broadly is an attempt to turn us all into captives, like this man really is. Maybe the stay-at-home strategy is working. But I wouldn’t count on it. Per all the articles I’ve read, you can’t expect to develop really good immunity to a virus until you’ve been infected by it. So the handling is to strengthen our immune systems so that when we finally do get infected, we have the best chance possible to survive. A lot of bad things kill people. We can be cautious, but we can’t stop living. That’s the same thing as agreeing to die, isn’t it?
I just see these studies as an attempt by psychiatry to “fight back.” Our criticism of them is that they have no lab tests for their “illnesses.” So they are trying to figure out some lab tests!
But I see too many writers taking these “diagnoses” seriously, as Dr. Caplan points out these studies do.
That’s at the core of our problem in calling for major changes in the mental health system. We don’t want to give up those diagnoses!
This isn’t entirely misguided. After all, you can see a behavior and call it something. You can see someone running and call them a “runner.” Then they are walking and become a “walker.” Then they sit down and become a “sitter.” It might be useful for someone who shows a pattern of behavior that is always repeating. But still, all you really get is a description of behavior. You don’t really get a “diagnosis.” But psychiatrists are trying to prove they are doctors. Well, if they want to treat people with medicine (or nutrition for that matter) why are they in psychiatry? Why would you expect the psyche to respond to medicine? Their whole framework of thinking is irrational and actually exemplifies real mental illness better than most of their DSM entries do.
Our problem is that people really do have problems that can best be understood as “mental.” We need a better understanding of that whole phenomenon.
I see too many people talking about alternative treatments for all those same old tired diagnoses. What about alternative understandings that would lead in the direction of really effective treatments for problems that really bother people? Obviously, this goes beyond medicine and the brain. It’s not even their territory. We have to take it back from them.
Well, “most of us” doesn’t include me!
You asked for more resources that could be used by educators working with children. Here is the top one I would suggest: http://www.appliedscholastics.org/
This study technology represents a real breakthrough and addresses the whole area of study problems masquerading as “mental health” problems.
I agree with most of this.
The only benefit of such a study might be to highlight the relative benefits of a less “medical” approach.
The study does not adequately cover the issue of society’s treatment of “undesirables” and so makes some basic assumptions that might well be false.
The tone of the introductory paragraphs seems overly sentimental. It hints at a better approach, yet in the end fails to fully vindicate that approach. Even if that particular institution were the perfect model of care, the chances that we could reproduce that today in our world are not very high.
And I don’t think we need historical studies to tell us the answers; we just need to open our eyes and look.
Yes, a historical study based only on documentation from one point of view is unlikely to lead us to a full picture of what actually went on.
And though I am prepared to believe that this institution may have provided something resembling humane care, I am not prepared to believe that about asylums in general, and particularly about any institutions operated by psychiatrists.
That there was no financial incentive at this particular institution to do much more than provide rest and release as soon as possible, that is no longer the current financial model in most institutions. After all, that asylum is gone now, is it not?
I support the above sentiments.
Though hinted at, a notable absence is any data on how the patients were treated. But the hint (that they were simply allowed to rest, eat, and follow some sort of non-challenging level of activity) gives us a hint of what we should have done with our mental health system, rather than deliver it into the hands of modern psychiatry.
I live in California and am part of a group that monitors state-level legislation on the subject of mental health. There have been at least 27 pieces of legislation introduced so far this year! I don’t know how this compares to legislation on other issues, but to me it seems like a lot of attention is being paid to this. And from what I can tell so far, most politicians are assuming that our “mental health” system actually produces mental health. If it did, this would be an entirely different discussion.
Why don’t we still have something like an asylum system if it worked as well as this research indicates? I know that our research indicates that German asylums were in a terrible state by the early 1900s, and institutions such as Bedlam have for long periods had a less than honorable reputation. Was the older model of care disappearing because it worked?
When it comes to psychiatry, I would not at all doubt that to be the case.
I am totally agreeable with this goal.
I was interested in this article mostly for the concept behind it, not so much for how things turned out in this particular case, which was just a bit predictable.
My viewpoint and training suggest that a philosophical approach to the problems of the mind is an absolute necessity. In other words, concepts of God, of Spirit, of Matter, of “life” (biology), of Mankind, of groups, of sex and of oneself all impinge themselves on the mind and contribute to any resulting happy or unhappy mental consequences. Of course, a workable therapy must also be worked out. But it has been!
It’s just considered anathema by the psychiatric community for reasons that they could probably explain a lot better than I could.
Yes, psychiatry is not interested in finding the answer; only the next “solution” they can sell to a bewildered public.
Per my data, the problem goes much deeper than the development of the brain, as that’s not the actual locus of the mind. An answer does lie in the field of the mind, but not as psychology or psychiatry currently define it.
It is true that we and the media have focused on a few spectacular incidents when the truth is that “mass killing” is rampant throughout the world and has been for centuries. It is obvious that most of us continue to have little or no understanding of this or any real idea of what to do about it.
It’s true that this has been shown to be the case over and over in these events. But that can’t be the only factor. There are millions of kids on these drugs and the vast majority don’t flip out in this manner. Many more, as a proportion, simply kill themselves. But there’s no doubt this is an important factor that could be eliminated if we could get all to realize what a fiasco these drugs really are.
I see this as an attempt by the mental health system to walk away from its responsibilities in this matter.
That we might support this flight only indicates that all our data shows that system doing more harm than good.
But these people are using the traditional paradigms for “mental illness” and “treatment” which have never worked – always been faulty. So while seemingly avoiding the disaster of letting the mental health system get even more involved in “preventing” antisocial behaviors that they know absolutely nothing about, we get nowhere in understanding why such incidents do happen or what if anything should be done about it.
I think that when a person points any kind of deadly weapon at another person when the other person is unarmed and shows no violent intentions, that person has gone temporarily insane and may be about to commit murder. We don’t expect any system, particularly the current mental health system, to be able to predict when such events might occur. Probably, good top-notch police work could do more to prevent such disasters than any sort of “teen screen” fiasco or similar “preventative intervention.”
But that’s only because the police understand criminals better than most of us do.
If we all understood the dynamics of these events much better, not only would the current mental health system no longer be run by psychiatrists, but we’d be on our way to solving a lot of other societal problems, too. What this points out most clearly to me is the gross lack of understanding of these events by the people who should understand them quite well.
Oh, to what depths will The Times sink! And to think we let it into our house (in my much younger years) as a respected and admired journal of modern life! I will not rest easy until the Times apologizes for atrocities such as this one!
It is truly a sad scene, isn’t it? And though I wish I could hearken back to the “good old days,” the more I learn, the more it seems clear that those days never existed. If the good days exist, they must exist in our futures, waiting for us to create them. So while we bemoan the past and the present, let us also create the beginnings of something better.
I only want to point out that although many of us think of “illness” as meaning a medical problem, more broadly it only means “condition of being unhealthy.” There is no need to reduce the experience of “mental illness” to a fiction to make our point. Our central problem is that we need “mental treatments” that actually make people well and happy. Such treatments actually exist. Although nutrition is involved with some of them, medicine is involved with none of them. They exist, yet have largely been rejected by the mental health community in general and psychiatry in particular. And that’s the point. Psychiatry has turned its back on people with mental or emotional problems in favor of making a quick buck. It has always been that way with psychiatry. We have to find ways to limit their ability to harm until such time as we can replace them.
I would not be surprised if there is not a single person running for office who is willing enough and aware enough to oppose the psychiatric system.
I certainly haven’t run across any. But these people are not total fools. They have probably met dysfunctional people (if not some actual psychiatrists) and they know that “mental illness” is not just something someone made up, it’s something that really affects people. They just have been fooled into believing that psychiatry takes care of this, when there could be nothing further from the truth.
The “illness” equals “medical” problem is perhaps a weakness in our language. But I don’t think that most people who write on this subject, even the ones who post comments here, understand what the mind really is or what to do about it. Psychology doesn’t know.
My 65 years of living have resulted in no great respect for politics or politicians. Yet they are part of our society; we can’t just write them off. They get elected and they create laws that shape how we experience life. I am not very into being a voter these days, but if I were, I would want to somehow support those who are willing to speak up for basic human rights. I’m actually surprised that Bernie has taken this stand on this issue. Of course it doesn’t go far enough, but we are trying to restrain these people as best we can until we can find a way to replace them with saner beings. Right now, it’s an insane system. We have to do more than just fight it; we need to replace it with something saner, and that boils down to saner people.
You actually make a good point here. But I am concerned about how many people are clueless about all this, even people in these professions. They have no right to be clueless, but I can see how it could happen.
While this lady could be seen as an accomplice to those who kill with pills, ECT and other “treatments,” I would prefer to keep the focus on those directly responsible for those deaths. I figure if we can keep the pressure on, people who speak in public about such things will eventually get the point that supporting these people is untenable.
The question remains: What to do about these guys?
They obviously fill some sort of socioeconomic need or they couldn’t find work. Currently, psychiatry rates as one of the most highly-paid “professions” in the U.S.; probably similarly elsewhere.
It seems to me we will have to doggedly work to knock out from under them all the props they currently use to make themselves seem so valuable.
– We should push hard on the fact that non-psychiatric interventions are more effective at reducing or eliminating anti-social behaviors.
– We should de-mystify the mind as much as possible, so that it is widely understood and techniques based on that understanding are in wide use.
– We should push the benefits of honesty and decency in society, in all their forms. Because obviously, psychiatry has powerful supporters who don’t believe in honesty and decency. If they didn’t they would either be out of work, or they would adapt to an honest way of making a living.
– We should continue to push for a total respect for human rights in all sectors of society, and educate people in general about what their rights are.
– We should work to break the societal dependence on drugs as quick fixes for personal problems. We have these drugs because they help in emergencies. We need to show the public that they don’t need to be on a medication to be healthy and happy.
I wanted to list these out, because I think it is clear that some of these are not easy to accomplish. Fault-finding and exposees are all well and good. But in the long run, we need solutions that work that can totally replace what’s going on currently in the field of “mental health” all across this planet.
This was interesting for me. What it tells me most is, it doesn’t really matter where your heart is; most people just don’t have a clue. It seems studying Psychology really doesn’t help that much in that direction, either. I’m an electronics technician whose parents studied to be social workers. I wasn’t happy with what my college-educated parents had to offer me in terms of understanding life, so I went out and studied all sorts of subjects from all sorts of sources instead of going to college. I consider myself very lucky to have made any progress at all in the direction of getting a clue. I found a subject which could be considered a humanities subject that actually seems to help people consistently. And this is a very unusual thing, as subjects like psychology, economics, history and business management don’t seem to be designed to help anyone. They only end up helping when the people involved really want to help. Those guys will pick out the parts of their subject that seem most helpful, and come up with a helpful subject.
I also feel very fortunate to have studied science, technology and engineering. Because in those fields, if a technology doesn’t work, it is discarded. The humanities have never been run that way.
I don’t think we should put this beautiful black woman down for trying to make things work. Because most of us don’t have a clue, either. The only reason my life includes any hope or happiness is because I know it is possible to get a clue. Who knows, it could happen to you, too!
We have known almost forever that nutrition and emotional attitude are related. Have you ever tried having a rational conversation with a starving person?
I can’t quite tell from the context, but the term “nutritional psychiatry” sounds really bizarre to me.
I know that there must be a portion of psychiatry that hopes to someday redeem itself, and this may be some small attempt to move in that direction. The one thing you can say about vitamin therapy is that it doesn’t totally invalidate the mind-is-brain theory that has been used to justify drugs, psychosurgery and ECT to “treat” mental problems.
But the fact is that most people who have been successfully using nutritional therapies have become much more interested in the gut biome as a source of numerous non-optimum conditions, “mental problems” being only one type.
Anyone who tries to treat the mind by treating the brain, no matter what we call them, will get it wrong because that is not a workable model.
Our main problem with psychiatry, of course, has not been their treatment model but the fact – supported now by long years of evidence – that they don’t really care if their patients get better or not.
“Siberia Bill” – officially, the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act. It was intended to set up an independently-run mental health system in the territory of Alaska. Per the Wikipedia article on it, the bill was “innocuous” but used by several groups as an example of creeping loss of freedoms in the U.S. The bill would have established a Trust to finance the Alaskan facilities, funded by potential revenues generated by a million acres of Alaskan land. Provisions were included for treating citizens of the lower 48 states on a reciprocal basis. It doesn’t sound that innocuous to me, particularly considering what has rolled out since that time.
I urge you to take a closer look. Mr. Hubbard has recognized this problem since 1950. We came into this movement very early in its development, helping to defeat the “Siberia Bill” in 1956. We now have content on TV and the internet, so you can learn more about the subject in the safety of your own home. It’s great to be “left alone,” but that’s not the world we live in today. In a world full of connections, communications, and interdependency, we need criminality out of the picture. And we are dedicated to working towards that end.
As a Scientologist, I have to deal regularly with the general ignorance in society about the subject I am studying, as well as the occasional barb flung by those who believe the falsehoods advanced by those who wish this subject would just disappear. Those falsehoods have for the most part been advanced by institutional psychiatry and its supporters. Are we suddenly willing to trust their data on this subject when they have gotten everything else so seriously wrong? Scientology should be part of this discussion, but it can’t properly be as long as so many of us don’t know what it really is.
In a sense this is the real “mental health crisis” in the world today: That so many people are convinced that they need authoritarian (which is to say, basically criminal) actions to handle situations in society that “we don’t have answers for yet.” The authoritarians are poised to continue to move in on governments (in particular) and other sectors of society that don’t know how to deal with the situations modern life is throwing at them. To the extent that this world remains technologically advanced, the authoritarians have an advantage and will continue to make inroads. A lot of people are rather sure that this will continue and we will end up losing our freedoms to an advanced technological society with anti-people weapons too dangerous to be confronted. Those people don’t realize that Earth is different and that we fully intend to handle this and take Earth in a new direction. Our work remains badly fragmented, but I do think that we can get better organized, find the best ways forward, and make it happen.
Again, I urge readers to look for themselves. Don’t rely on old misconceptions put in place with the help of (guess who?) psychiatry. I don’t see it as an “entanglement” to ally myself with a group that is working for a world without war, crime and insanity. Check out their streaming video site and decide for yourself. Don’t trust your enemies to tell you who you shouldn’t trust!
If you’re looking for “easy” you’re on the wrong website! THEY reach the people with expensive marketing campaigns including appearances by “experts” on news shows and relentless advertising. We don’t have those kinds of resources, but we have some good and very informative material on the internet, and on DVDs. It’s a matter of contacting people and getting the material into their hands. I wouldn’t describe it as “easy.” But for something really worth doing, we might have to put aside “easy” and just keep working at it.
As far as Scientology goes, I think it’s high time those who avoided the subject in the past but want to see positive change on the planet take another look at this group, what they teach, and what they are trying to achieve. We all know that psychiatry is one of the biggest enemies of this group. Why? Informing yourself is now even easier since they now have a TV channel and streaming video website. This subject is a perfect example of how criminal psychiatrists have kept like-minded persons from working together with outrageous and untruthful accusations against one of the strongest groups opposing them. Who really wants that divide to continue?
These are all good points. Those commonly referred to as “opinion leaders” normally rise to their positions through the institutions of academia.
It is not even that “ordinary people” are stupid or are totally barred from access to good data. It’s just that they expect people working in academia to help them sort out these issues and make them understandable. In a big and complex society it is not unreasonable to expect that some people in the group would specialize in this function. But of course that means that if those people are successfully misled, then all who depend on them for this purpose will also be misled. And so in the absence of a fully ethical academic community, we find the need for the ability to observe, think and act independently of the opinions of others. And while some may find it difficult or impossible to acquire that ability, it certainly is a valuable ability to have.
Freedom Magazine still publishes online and also has a print edition.
There should be more such publications. It deals with more than just the psychiatry problem, but it also takes the view that a lot of these societal upsets share a similar, if not identical, source.
This is the group I work with: https://www.cchrint.org/
It’s got resources, willpower, and talent. It probably shouldn’t be the only such group, but it aligns well with what I think such a group should be doing.
Check out this organization:
I don’t expect academia to educate the masses. I just don’t want to write them off as totally worthless. I have heard that government officials and other “professional” people listen to academia. That’s why I want to see criminality stripped out of that sector. People in academia are supposed to act ethically, and they really should, as should all of us.
We educate the masses with real grassroots programs. There are many out there already.
The group I’m currently a part of is working on a project to get ECT banned in California. It looks like we will start with a ban on ECT on minors. Similar projects are being worked on in several other states in the U.S.
With actions directed towards getting governments to act to protect human rights, we have a strategy that we hope will slow down the rate of abuse.
But there have been LOTS of laws written to protect human rights. Yet human rights continue to be violated. So it is clear that this strategy alone cannot succeed, if what we want is a planet where all people act sanely and ethically towards each other.
Assuming that we can (and we can!) understand this problem sufficiently to know exactly what needs to be done to achieve this higher goal, the work needed to make that happen still remains very daunting.
But we have found that educational activities are a broad fundamental. These include informing people of what their rights are, which “answers” being pushed at them are criminal and which are sane, and various non-violent actions they can take to protect themselves from the criminal elements that exist at every strata of our society.
In time we expect to be able to render those criminal elements harmless, for the most part.
But that work requires more than mere education, and is obviously very far from complete.
It would be helpful if we could get the academic community to “let us in.” There are already many dissident voices, even a few psychiatrists. So we should not assume that academia is totally in the criminals’ pocket, nor should we assume that about any agency or business, although in some cases the facts are pretty damning. I think if we see it as a problem with criminality in all the strata of society, then we can work in the direction of weeding that out rather than trying to totally replace those institutions just to get them to start acting sanely.
I have never seen someone successfully “deprogram” themselves. There is a technology that accomplishes it, but it requires a group effort. Any idea that we can get through this without sound organizations with strong memberships is misguided, I believe. THEY are organized. We have to do better than that.
“De-programming” as a name for the desired activity has been compromised by people who kidnapped and tortured people who had joined various religious movements, calling it “deprogramming.”
The data on how mental programming was actually accomplished is too incredible for most people to believe. But the closest activity we have like that on Earth is psychiatry, particularly when they use hypnosis. This is a Manchurian Candidate sort of scenario. Of course, hypnosis does not have to be used for evil purposes, but it can be.
But the desire of the community to preserve itself is at the crux of this involuntary commitment/treatment issue. From the community’s point of view, an individual does not have a “right” to act destructively if that action violates the rights of others (current list of rights is per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). To maintain a good balance between the needs and desires of the individual and those of the community requires a higher degree of sanity in society, and particularly among its leaders. And by definition, this has to be a self-determined change for each individual.
Meanwhile, we push for saner practices based mostly on human rights concepts in a world that remains largely insane. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep pushing for reform. But it does mean that this push should be paralleled by a push to find and deliver workable mental treatments on this planet. They do exist.
Steve’s ideas about what is going on with people that we call the “mental” part of life are the closest to what I have learned. The only reason it seems “difficult to prove” is that most people are unaware of the work being done in this area. There is a cultural bias favoring the brain model that has been very difficult to change. Perhaps the most visible “alternative” work that I am aware of concerns past lives, which is basically a for-sure phenomenon at this point. This work alone destroys the brain model. There are even real psychiatrists working in this area. Yet it remains “fringe.”
Elements of the psychiatric community are gradually pulling away from drugs and ECT as they are increasingly exposed as coercive, damaging, and unsuccessful. But as a group, they are not pulling away from the brain model. And we won’t get it right until we do. The “health” of the mind does not depend on treating the brain in any way. It is that simple. The mind is a whole new world, and these doctors and the people supporting them don’t want to go there. Programming? Yes, that’s an important element of the new model. Should the old model become totally untenable, programming is probably what the advocates for a new model will focus on. But that’s a machine viewpoint of life. It does not fit the human condition, either.
This article has spotted the basic pattern of how those who want a super-controlled society are rolling out their plans.
I don’t see any group on the scene that has been more effective than CCHR at reining in the psychiatric aspect of this strategy, which is a very key part of it. If you are going to coerce a society through the subject of mental health, then you need “experts” who are willing to cooperate in doing your dirty work. CCHR is trying to take the subject of mental health away from the criminal psychiatrists. I think it deserves our support.
But what I also see here is a lack of understanding regarding what the bigger picture is, and why people like those psychiatrists could ever rise to the status of “mental health experts” while so obviously getting no real results. And that lack of understanding leads to an incorrect estimation of effort of what it will take to turn the whole scene around.
The technologies discussed above are not the only ones under development. And though the drug model for treatment currently holds sway, I am sure other strategies are being developed, should they be needed. It is not enough to play cat-and-mouse with these monsters. We must take away their power forever. It is a huge job, and it will require considerable organization.
I just want to make sure readers have some concept of the magnitude of the problem we are up against.
Dr. Breggin makes the point about diet/nutrition several times in his article. It is a huge issue (and hard to believe not in some way related) as bad diet and nutrition are being promoted to us at every turn these days, even as the “smart” people are going organic. Any doctor should look at diet and sleep before doing anything else (except maybe in severe cases, but we’re talking about ADHD), and many doctors and psychologists are. Psychiatry is way out in left field on this one, but that’s only to be expected in their case.
I very much agree with Dr. Breggin about these issues and where this whole thing is headed if we don’t succeed in changing its course.
But my viewpoint on the mechanism being used by these treatments is that they are attacks on the mind and spirit via the body. The brain is not the ultimate residence of an individual’s personality or life. It is only a very important tool which he or she uses to interact with the physical universe. There are many people who survive well and happily with parts of their bodies damaged or missing, even their brains. But this is an unnecessary and unreasonable burden to place on people who are used to operating with their entire body intact. The problem with these treatments is the continued poisoning, damage, pain and confusion they cause. And the problem with all the theories behind these treatments is that they assign wrong cause. I think we should be careful in our own writing about these subjects to avoid the trap that the population is being pushed into, which is the dogmatic idea that the mind and personality reside in the brain. They don’t. These treatments are physical attacks on people with no real therapeutic purpose. They damage, degrade and terrify just like many other forms of physical attack do. And that is all psychiatry really wants to accomplish.
I work on the assumption that there will always be a “mental health system.” The only major questions are: Who controls it? Are they ethical? Is their technology effective?
Systems can be reformed, and I think this is the only realistic approach in this case, and with many other societal systems that today seem broken.
I believe this analysis of the current situation is flawed.
The concept of salvation has been terribly misused. But it has a grain of truth in it.
The psychiatric concept that the mind is in the brain is totally false.
The Marxist approach remains basically materialistic, as the Capitalist approach has always been.
They are both mistaken in denying Spirit.
They key action to take is to correct this error.
It is a problem of education, not political action.
The handling, of course, would be to take away psychiatry’s “expert” status by learning more about the mind than they will ever know, and thus be able to replace their perversions of help with real help.
There are many working on this right now. I think we just need more, and eventually their house of cards will topple.
This is all very fine, but what are we going to do – for example – with the psychiatrists? Does not their despicable behavior indicate some sort of mental problem? We have a similar situation with other types of criminals. Do you have a suggestion regarding how society should handle such beings? Do you think such people can be rehabilitated? I think some of them can be.
Beyond that there are many human conditions, both temporary and chronic, that have mental components. We can learn to help people through these situations. Don’t you think we should try?
The simplest example of this is to be found in the lectures on this website. The lecturer spoke of a young man who was having psychotic breaks which were handled by nutrition therapy. We can debate what “well” or “healthy” mean, but these are common English words and have always meant more than just “not physically sick.”
I see an inclination among these commenters to dismiss the whole concept of “mental health” as some sort of sham. I don’t see it that way at all. It’s just that psychiatry has never had the answer and probably never will.
How many South African police joined the force because they wanted to defend the system of apartheid against all attackers? A lot of guys want to be police because they just like the idea of an orderly and safe community. But in South Africa (as an example) some of those guys found themselves in a situation where they were murdering innocent protesters who just wanted to be respected as people.
They didn’t realize how far their leaders would go to defend the status quo. They were pushed into situations which they sooner or later realized were very unethical. A few of them came clean during the Truth And Reconciliation process.
I see a similar situation in the “mental health” system. Remember: That system doesn’t include just psychiatrists. There are police, judges, lawyers, social workers, psychologists, and real medical people all caught up in that system. They look to the psychiatrists as the “experts” and that is their huge mistake.
We are attacking organized psychiatry because it is so perverse, so dishonest, so criminal. It has cooperated willingly in depriving so many people of their basic human rights for no purpose higher than profit. But ultimately we will have to provide everyone who participated in that system with a way to recover from the ill-effects it has had on everyone who has participated in it. I don’t see any way around that.
If you really don’t want to call the various classic mental phenomena (those that existed well before the DSM was ever invented) “mental illness” then be my guest to invent a new term.
But to imply that the abilities and capabilities of an individual cannot be attacked and reduced through mental channels would show a vast ignorance of life and history.
Those channels of attack do exist, and will be used as long as there are minds to attack. Our problem today is to bring people up to a level where they can successfully repel such attacks.
One important needed action is to expose and discredit the false technologies of psychiatry. For they are false without a doubt. But that is only one important needed action, not the end of the line. There will still be a lot to be done once psychiatry is moved out of the way.
This comment makes a good point, but goes far beyond the scope of this particular issue. There are many factors that help create poverty, despair, addiction and what most of us refer to as “mental illness.” At this point these factors are not generally well-understood. Most of us have no specific idea of how to make things right, only a keen awareness that things aren’t yet right.
I hope the awareness of how to improve the situation without just creating more tougher situations will catch up to the awareness that the status quo is so inadequate that it is for all intents and purposes criminal.
The idea of having a revolution is an old idea. It is the first thing many of us think of, but I can only ask you to observe where we are today and to what extent all those past revolts really helped change anything. There is no doubt that change is needed. I have great doubt that revolt (at least as it has been used historically) is the way to achieve that change. I think something on the order of education is much more likely to get us where we ultimately want to go.
But, there ARE alternatives to psychiatry! That is to say, proven technologies for making “crazy” people well. That so many even on this forum are unaware of this fact only demonstrates how thorough, widespread and effective psychiatric propaganda has been. I have no doubt that it would be difficult to put together an effective and ethical mental health system, but that’s not saying that we lack the technology (human technology, not machine technology) to do so. That technology exists.
This is a well-considered (but for me over-long) discussion of this issue.
One point that sticks out for me is that all members of the profession were never on board for the “modern” medicalisation of mental disorder. Those who oppose this approach to “treating” the mind must today stand in opposition to “psychiatry.” Yet there have always been a certain number of psychiatric doctors who actually wanted to make people better, not just get paid for writing prescriptions.
Beyond that, I have never seen in any discussion like this a lucid treatment of how this profession (or any of the major professions for that matter) is actually organized. There must have been a minority “central authority” that made the decision to pursue the medical model. Yet it seems difficult or impossible to identify exactly who those individuals are.
Further, it has been noted by various historical researchers that psychiatrists played key roles in several past governments that specialized in terror as a method to control populations. This is NOT the expressed or implied purpose of psychiatry, yet those actions exist as historical fact. The profession must deal convincingly with that legacy if it wishes to shed the very justified public perception that it, as a profession, is basically lying through its teeth.
Naming the brain as the center of mental (and spiritual?) activity is the result of an Industrial Age love of materialism. This approach to life plays well with most people and has become popular across this planet. While a few of us know this approach to be misguided and really profoundly unworkable, our message falls on mostly-deaf ears. And when the inevitable consequences of our rape of this planet finally catch up with us, it will be too late for most of us to learn the lessons we should have learned last century.
Even if we were to turn this planet around and somehow win the struggle for Sustainable Earth, the planet could still be taken from us by forces currently beyond our control. What we need for the long run is an “exit strategy.” Buddhism has an exit strategy (release from the cycle of rebirth). But that is not what is being talked about in the West regarding the benefits of meditation. And so the West misses the real point of the whole thing.
I very much value the work being done by so many people to dislodge psychiatry from its stranglehold on the field of Mental Health and to find better alternatives. This work buys us time to handle other important aspects of the situation. Bringing more ancient wisdom from the East to the West might help. But Buddhism hasn’t saved the East yet, has it? So, there is much more to learn along this line, far beyond what Buddhism and related Eastern practices have to offer.
They should be called by the names you listed.
They certainly should not be called “mental health professionals,” as they aren’t!
oh-oh – I’m down to the last “reply” level.
Well, it’s true I feel much different about the term “mental illness” than I do about the term “mental health.”
Illness tends to imply an organic problem. But the mind is not an organic entity. So that term definitely miscommunicates.
However, Mr. McCrea’s comment points out that many people identify “mental” with brain function, which is a point of ignorance that needs to be resolved.
I am sympathetic to this viewpoint, but “mental health” as a term has been around for a long time. I can’t see realistically replacing it with some other term at this point.
There have been many perfectly appropriate terms hijacked and misused by persons or groups with questionable intentions. I feel a more productive path would be to demand that people and groups, especially in the professions, be honest and competent. These qualities can be improved in people, though I know many have all but given up. I think we have to go forward believing that reforms are possible.
If science recognized the existence of spirit or consciousness – even the possibility that it exists – I think they could find some ways to measure it. Science measures a lot of phenomena indirectly, and that would be how this would have to be done. I don’t think we need to get too awe-struck by these concepts, but your basic point is very important. It turns out that these concepts are necessary for developing workable ideas of what the mind is and how it works, how to change it, and how to return control of it to its rightful owner.
We don’t have good evidence that the brain is the correct target for treatment. This is what psychiatry wants us to think. Well, why take their word for it? We are taught that the brain houses the mind, but this is false data. So it is likely that the brain is not the correct target for treatment.
Thank you, Frank.
Starr, I appreciate so much your thoughtful answer to my comment. I am very happy to hear that you are aware of the basic situation we as a society are facing.
It is interesting to how this conversation took off!
The missing link is the problem of really knowing what causes actual mental health issues, knowing workable ways to treat those causes in people, and thinking that the existing “experts” are trying to come up with better answers.
Psychiatry’s track record is pretty clear at this point. Sure there may be individual psychiatric-trained doctors who understand how wrong it is to push expensive drugs on people just because they can’t get their minds off some loss. Those “good guys” are not being supported by their professional organizations. Those professions, those organizations, and those “experts” are not, unfortunately, leading us on the road to a brighter future. That’s the first problem to confront.
So, what they have actually done is demonize workable treatments that don’t benefit them. I bought a bottle of multivitamins the other day, and there is a medical warning on it for pregnant women and other “at risk” groups. It doesn’t say what agency mandated this warning. As far as I know, micronutrients have never caused any significant harm to anyone – ever! They also demonize most other forms of workable treatment. And so these “experts” are actively seeking to prevent us from knowing the truth.
Thus, we are going to have to find out these answers for ourselves. I have a great source of answers, but it is very “controversial” so I usually don’t mention it directly. They are there. Maybe not ALL the answers to everything! But plenty of good answers. They don’t want us to have this knowledge. Don’t continue to rely on their “help.” It is false help!
I totally agree with Dr. Breggin. We were trying to get this done in Berkeley back in the early 1980s. After all these years and all the studies showing harm, it is almost beyond comprehension that anyone would still be willing to defend this practice. It only shows how demented a few fanatics can become. Yes, please, let’s get ECT fully banned!
Anyone involved with mental health in these times should be aware of Hubbard’s work on the subject. It is a disservice to the subject to not even mention that he pioneered a workable therapy starting in 1950 and since expanded it into a whole set of technologies for mental and spiritual healing.
My own experience with the system was, thankfully, very brief (less than 2 years) and did not involve any drugs. This was back in 1979-1980. When my Berkeley psychologist heard I was thinking of visiting a real psychiatrist or two to see what they were doing with Transactional Analysis, she was aghast, and warned me not to go near any psychiatrists. That was my first real hint that something was seriously wrong with the system.
Years later, I discovered that my father raised his young family and went to graduate school with the help of a very generous grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. He taught Social Work students, which field psychiatry was trying to take over. So be warned! Social Work has long attracted many people of goodwill, but it is under serious attack from psychiatry, and has been reduced in many places to a bird dog activity to find the Mental Health System new “patients.”
I so sympathize with your desire to help people avoid the chasms you almost fell into. This website gives us lots of good ideas in that direction. But it leaves Hubbard’s work and CCHR out of the picture. And they should be part of the picture. If you include them as part of your picture I think you will be very happy that you did.