Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • “But adult babysitting is what some people who’ve been in the system seem to want.”

    Often at the behest of the parents of ‘adult babies’ it would seem, the parent of ‘adult babies’ who have, frankly, if truth were told, been abject failures at the weaning business (i.e. the business of making independent ‘adult adults’ out of their children.)

    As for the implications of what your saying (some people don’t want to be ‘adult’), true enough. Institutionalization, with community treatment programs as a prime example, has, within the community at large, given dependency a whole new dimension.

    People in the system are paid for perpetuating the system. This is anything but seeking rational solutions. People are “sick” in this “sick” system in the same way that the system itself is “sick”. Take homelessness. A whole service industry has evolved around “serving” the homeless. Are we any closer to providing affordable housing and jobs with decent wages. F**k no. It would throw too many people out of work to do so.

  • I wouldn’t oversimplify. I imagine for some people, myself included, there are fates worse than “homelessness”, and, sometimes, “homelessness” might be considered a way to avoid those more dire fates. Also, if you’re in survivalist mode, surviving “homeless” can be very instructive. I know there is no urban wilderness survival show on the Discovery Channel, for instance, but maybe there should be. “Nomads” are “homeless”, too, in a way, but they do have mobile “shelters”. (Of course, you could also say the entire world is their ‘home’.) I would imagine for a very few, too, “homelessness” might represent a preferred mode of existence. Of course, that’s not the typical view, and “homelessness” is generally seen as being “down and out”, in general, or as suffering from victimization through misfortune and impoverishment.

  • What? No mention of tardive dyskinesia? My problem with this piece is that there are plenty of people who might ingest a harmful substance thinking it beneficial, especially when you’ve got an entire profession encouraging them to do so. I think psych-drugs are worse than people generally credit them with being, and I couldn’t see peddling them even to a more select clientele. I see in your spiritual side effects mere mystification. The physical effects are the problem, and one of those, given long term use, is going to be, invariably, brain damage. I figure people could use a little more “wising up”, and a little less “dumbing down” than they are getting here. There are, as any recreational drug user well knows, more choice poisons.

  • Nor was there any word, at least in the piece above, on community treatment orders. Community treatment orders where the “medical gaol” is actually extended into the community at large. I would say community treatment orders represent a threat to the freedoms we all cherish, and an understated one at that. You don’t even have to be “admitted” to the hospital/”gaol” anymore to have treatment forced down your gullet. Where’s the liberty in that!?

  • I don’t need to be pursued by the system into the community. There was a time when the system let you alone after discharge. No longer. Now there are assertive community treatment teams, group homes, assisted living facilities, etc. Assertive community treatment teams make sure “consumers” don’t forget to take their psych-drugs. Group homes have loads of regulations; group homes and assisted living facilities have “medication” queues. I’d say it’s up in the air as to whether “care”, or the lack thereof, is what’s killing people.

    Italy, for instance, made a commitment to closing the asylums. In that country you have Basaglia Law or Law 180. Now I’ve read British accounts questioning the extent to which Law 180 has benefited people, but these reports seem to be biased in that they have more to do with their own agendas for back home. The write up about Law 180 on Wikipedia is quite positive. I’d say the problem is actually that more countries are not willing to attempt something so bold rather than otherwise. Things are worse, for instance, in the USA today than they used to be, at least in my opinion. I’d say this is because our country is so feign to try anything outside of the customary, or anything that might threaten drug company profits for that matter.

  • I didn’t think we were disagreeing about anything.

    I’m not dividing up “movements”, but if there were one dedicated to ending psychiatry, I don’t think it would be averse to lending people emotional support.

    I have no argument with the Szasz statement, but when people talk “alternatives” they usually mean options over and beyond institutionalization with the force that goes along with it. No institution is certainly the preferred option as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think anybody is obliged to provide an “alternative” because that is like this business of “supports” in the community. People say you need “community supports” before you can shut down institutions as an excuse to build the community mental health gulag. No you don’t. You just need to empty the building, and close it down. The community mental health act is a law we could live better without.

  • Okay.

    I repeat:

    “Forced treatment” itself is the imposition of unwanted treatment.

    “Helping people with problems”? I’ve not found the system (or anyone connected with it) very “helpful” at all. I think we’re back to Nomadic bashing self-reliance here while I’m all for self-reliance. They’ve got a “helper” industry now that’s anything but “helpful”. Find yourself homeless, down and out, watch out! Here come the vultures, but these vultures have human features. The vultures, mind you, are anything but broke and homeless, no, broke and homeless pays their salaries from now to never. All sorts of people today are being screwed by “help”.

  • I’m not really sure how to put this exactly, OldHead. I would align myself with the radicals, but, surely that doesn’t describe everybody in this business. People say “peer movement”, people say “consumer” movement, people say “recovery” movement, people say you name it movement. I wouldn’t call myself a part of any of those movements.

    Again, there were always these divisions, and I would be one to align myself with the radicals. Did we have a mental patients’ liberation movement? The terminology seems to have changed. I’m very wary of saying “our” movement any more because, yes, that movement has been destroyed, but I think it had a little help from people you wouldn’t expect to be doing that sort of thing, that is to say, I think some people just got exhausted with what was going on at one time, and decided to take the easier route, and that route, from one perspective, could be considered betrayal.

    There are differences of opinion, too, and there are people who actually want to play the “mental patient” role. There are others who want to play “health care provider” for people in the “mental patient” role, even some who were once in the “mental patient” role themselves. There are people, in fact, praising the authorities for violating their rights, abusively manhandling them, and imprisoning them. There is this “herd mentality” on which I am going to remain silent.

    “Alternatives” to “forced treatment” were always part of the problem, and the movement was to some extent intent upon creating these “alternatives”. The problem with “alternatives” is you don’t have “alternatives” without that thing that you need an “alternative” for. Once ‘in the business’, it’s easy to forget where you came from. We never needed “alternatives” to “forced treatment”, we needed an end to “forced treatment”. “Forced treatment” itself is the imposition of unwanted treatment.

  • I think it’s terrible enough that we have doctors prescribing opioids now, and with these prescriptions, launching their own overdose epidemic. Mixing opioids and benzos I hear can be a real killer.

    We went through this thing way back when if anybody remembers. I think one might have called it non-prescription drug culture. Hallucinogens can be fun, and they can be Hell, but the question is why would anybody want to escape this planet in the first place, and for good. Ultimately such escapes fail, and the space aliens are not such friendly creatures as we’d imagined them to be. Stellar consciousness you say. Well, among all your lost marbles where is the earth? Keep searching. It must be in there somewhere. What am I saying? We’ve got an opioid problem now. If psychedelia is worthwhile for a few weeks, then you’re back to ordinary (unexpanded) consciousness, and if you can’t make do with that, what then? Opening that can of worms is certain to lead to excess, something we’ve got more than enough of to contend with at the present moment.

  • Early intervention, as far as I’m concerned, is causative rather than remedial (or preventative). The propaganda has this running joke about how so many people in the system long term got there before the age of 14. Put a person in the system, and it can become very hard to get them out it. We know that there are instances where an ADHD diagnosis, for instance, led to a schizophrenia diagnosis or a manic-depressive diagnosis. When you’re going after the first episode, here you mean first episode, but of the second (or even third) diagnosis.

    “Clearly, a great deal of caution must be exercised in staying away from older, outdated and unproven concepts like “the schizophrenogenic mother” and blaming the family.”

    Families are often the people who put their family members away in institutions. Not so clearly, the family is one institution that often develops scapegoats of its own. Families locking up family members is another factor in so-called early psychosis that I would consider causative rather than remedial. I’m certain that it must be awkwardly difficult to talk about that “elephant in the room”, nonetheless, I’m also certain that it is there, and that it is not such a fiction as some authority figures would lead us to believe.

    Early intervention usually involves the use of psychiatric drugs to one degree or another. Would that it were otherwise. The effects of psychiatric drugs are, like that of street drugs, also often confused with symptoms of “disease”. I would think that early intervention often has a way of leading the way to much later intervention. Something to consider when approaching the subject of early intervention.

  • I see two upsurges in numbers and institutionalization taking place here, first, when they “ran it as a commercial concern”, a business, and thus the “trade in lunacy” took off, capitalism in action, (little bump) before, as you can see above, there was so much medical interest in the subject. Prior to this point, about all you had in England was Bedlam (St Marys of Bethlem). Then there is this age of madhouses. Then when medical doctors started getting involved, and you had the asylum building movement of the 19th century (big bump), mental health “reform” before the mental health movement started up (20th century). Recently, we’ve had a third great upsurge with the impetus of the psych-drug industry. (Now we’ve got an entire industry capitalizing on psychiatric cynicism– ‘chronicity’ and ‘non-recovery’.) You can add to this the institution extended into the community psychiatry business, the “alternatives” excuse, that is, we can’t close these big Victorian monstrosities (Kirkbride buildings and their replacements) without community supports being in place first. Those community supports also manage to up the numbers as the person who wants to be mollycoddled (have “medical” attention bestowed upon him or her) ‘forever’ now has that option.

  • I would say much of the “deterioration” psychiatrists see in long term patients is probably directly attributable to the psych-drug regimen they receive.

    Reduced neuroleptic dosage, in this study, for First Episode Psychotics is associated with improved cognition, is it? They should try reducing the dose to nothing then, and see what happens.

  • We live in a very wasteful society. I’m not out to pathologize homeless people or anybody else for that matter. When I mentioned E. Fuller Torrey and company it wasn’t to agree with them. Quite the opposite. Certainly those who don’t fit the mold must lack conventional wisdom. There is, of course, much folly to conventional wisdom though. I’ve been on some pretty swank wards myself, and, yeah, they are still a prison.

  • “By the mid-eighteenth century, the common method in the United Kingdom for dealing with the insane was either to keep them in the family home, or to put them in a “madhouse”, which was simply a private house whose proprietor was paid to detain their residents, and ran it as a commercial concern with little or no medical involvement.”

    At one time you had physicians who specialized in madness, but this practice later developed into a medical specialty, this specialty we call psychiatry–a word that didn’t exist before the 19th century.

  • The point I was trying to make is that the subject was a prisoner before he or she was a patient. The idea was that, given such imprisonment, medicalization would result in “kinder, gentler” imprisonment. Picaresque prisons hidden away in the countryside have their points, but they’re still prisons. The problem is not and never was the prisoner, it was the prison. So long as the wards are closed, and the “patients” are not free to come and go as they please, you don’t have a hospital, you have a prison. Of course, this is where we stash “unacceptable” people, but doing so is a form intolerance, of “non-acceptance”. You should read the likes of E. Fuller Torrey, D. J. Jaffe, and Pete Earley talk about how because somebody is homeless, goes on dumpster raids, and talks to him or herself on a park bench, that somebody must “have a mental illness”. This is the tradition, demanding that people fill a certain cookie cutter mold, or else we send them to the place where we stash “unacceptable” people until they are deemed “acceptable”. Before that tradition, people were more accepting of folly, but once that tradition had become established, folly is taken for a form of illness, a lack of health, rather than what you’ve actually got, that is, a lack of wisdom. Certainly, as much as they fail at the endeavor, our healers can’t be said to be any wiser than their, and a growing number at that, foolish patients. Or is it, patient fools?

  • Good and bad. I like where you’re going with this piece, in some respects, but it’s not like your interests don’t show through. Were you to “reboot”, to return to the roots, where would you be? I imagine it would be a dungeon-like environment pretending that if we treated folly and deviance as a medical problem rather than as a practically criminal one that treatment would be preferable. It was the locking up of the mad that got the medical profession involved in this matter to the extent that it is in the first place. Now that medical profession, of which you are a representative, has become a problem in itself. The problem in fact has not diminished one iota, it has instead exploded unto epidemic proportions. Folly is in all of us, and the proof is in the pudding, the pudding, in this instance, being the wonderland of mental health treatment. Alice eventually woke up, of course she was only a literary creation, based upon a real child at that, who may, or may not, have been learning. I can’t help but be very aware of the fact that with the present mental health system a great deal of unlearning must be taking place all the time.

  • What you’re seeing was completely predictable. The conservative end of the movement wanted nothing more than a job and pay WITHIN the system. Now that they’ve got it, it is no longer about supporting those who have experienced the mental health indoctrination system, it is about being a specialist in a specialist field, and that specialist field involves perpetuating the mental health indoctrination system. I don’t see a lot of good coming out of developing a cadre of mental health indoctrination specialists out of former victims of the indoctrination system. They’ve got their careers, and the pessimistic view of mental ill health that supports their activities. The fact that you’ve got “peers” doing as much, and sometimes more, than conventional mental health professionals is something the system always tries to avoid, I mean, given this sort of role reversal, what you have is pure farce. Sure, people can change “uniforms” and “roles”. We always knew that. Adopting other roles, outside of the “norm”, given a certain conventionality developing, that can be a problem. When this medical specialty, is not even really medicine, and the medicines people are being fed are actually toxic poisons, waking people up is the last thing in the world such a system would tolerate.

  • “Work” as a “peer”? How ironic.

    All these careerists in the mental health system are an indication of the vastness of the extent of corruption there is to that system. It is no longer about “healing”/”curing”/”recovering” people from “sickness”, now it is about perpetuating itself into the distant future. Some people would fancy the mental health system ‘eternal’. Imagine, having had a “sick” designation is now the requirement for a job in what purports to be about “health care”. Certainly, somebody is fooling somebody else.

    I’m very glad there are other pursuits one might engage in besides and beyond “mental health treatment” (torture, abduction, imprisonment, brainwashing). Some people enter the system at a very young age, and never leave it. I don’t think anybody should be condemned to the mental health system for life. The less time a person has to spend in that system the better. In the final analysis, I’m for dropping the loony bin into the trash bin of history where it belongs. Ditto the outpatient loony bin extended from the traditional institution into the community at large.

  • The range and scope of mental patients and former mental patients, in terms of performance and achievement, are as varied and broad as they are with never-been-mental patients. This being the case, calling a person a “peer” because he or she has been imprisoned in a psychiatric prison at one time or another during his or her life is an out and out insult, or perhaps, the better way to put it is to say, it ‘adds insult to injury’. In a word, any you out there reading this should know, hey, in this sense, we’re no different from you. The mud (prejudicial predicament) of some “peer groups”, you don’t want to get stuck in, not if you’ve got any sort of destination whatsoever to be reached. If they’re going to insult you with a grouping like “peer”, there is no need to add to the insult by going along with the gag and insulting yourself.

  • Great article and post. Thank you for writing it.

    I think these statistics illustrate the influence of anti-depressants on suicidality. Women tend to be more compliant when it comes to treatment and psych-drugs, and they also have the suicide rates that have risen much more dramatically than those of men whose rates show their own steep incline.

    I figure life for an anti-authoritarian has got to be tough in any event, seeing as the authorities are “in charge” of about everyone and everything. However, as far as I’m concerned, one reason for persevering in the face of these odds is that by doing so I become a thorn in the side of authorities who would desire nothing better than my abandonment of anti-authoritarianism. Were I to off myself, it would be a gain for the authorities. By not offing myself, the anti-authoritarians are made all the more stronger by the presence of this one particular person adding to their numbers. If there is power in numbers, we’re not talking subtraction here, in my case anyway.

    There are so many things wrong with psych-drugs, one of them being that they take control of a situation away from the individual so severely affected by them. Another is that they all seem to have their own withdrawal effects when one is trying to get back to ordinary consciousness. Sometimes, a person may need to taper off before they have a good grasp of what’s taking place around him or her. I figure psych-drugs can represent a cloud preventing a person from getting a clear grasp of the situation he or she is in, and it can be very much a contributing factor in the depths of his or her distress.

  • Very true, people perform up or down to expectations. People who are not treated like responsible adults are not likely to act like responsible adults. One option is to call them “sick” and to create “providers”, sort of like surrogate parents, for them. Another is to treat them like adults anyway, within limits, and see what transpires.

  • I see the corruption that starts with the psychiatrists in bed with drug companies extending to paraprofessionals in bed with their former wardens, metaphorically speaking, of course. Mental health treatment as the gateway into work in mental health treatment seems rather myopic in a dull way to me. I just kind of feel that adult baby sitting is something that we shouldn’t need so much of, and I’d like to see the practice diminishing. Of course, if you’re out to bribe people, or twist their arms anyway, sure, make it hard for them to get paid work anywhere else.

  • I really have a hard time with the idea that everybody who goes into treatment for some so-called mental health issue or another, sometimes two or three, should come out working for the system as a mental health paraprofessional, that is, if they want to be successful. I’m not sure what a “peer role” is exactly. I do figure it’s something you want to get away from if you want to be cured of the god awful mental health indoctrination system.

    Coming on the tails of the mental asylum building movement of the 19th century, that reform movement, you’ve got the mental health movement of the 19th etc. centuries, this reform movement. The movement, in other words, that gave Mental Health America its name. The driving force of this evangelical cause is their virulent faith in something called “mental illness”. It isn’t a “mental health” movement in reality, for mental health is kind of like modern art, nobody knows just what the heck it is, it’s a mental health treatment movement. A treatment movement much like the asylum building movement that proceeded it. Mental patients, in other words, should neither be seen nor heard, but we’ve got a place for them.

    I don’t think you get reason out of being unreasonable. I don’t even think more unreason is the answer to unreason. I mean I’ve got my limits when it comes to the utilization of anybody’s total waste of time machine. What was it Dante saw etched above the gate he entered? Oh, yeah. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” False hope though, that’s another thing, isn’t it? Myself, I’ve finally figured out that there must be another way circumventing this absurdity, and if I can find that other way, believe you me, I’m taking it.

    Sera, there’s always been a lot wrong with the MHA. Their crusades for more treatments, and for the money for treatments, are not my crusades. Heaven defend me from them. I’m actually for well enough being left alone. Why couldn’t the MHA be for something good like that. Instead it’s all about pounding the round peg into the square hole. De-criminalize de-medicalize crazy confusion and disorientation, and no problem. Fools have a way of coming to reason in the end anyway, if their folly doesn’t destroy them first. Legislating, as we have, against folly is rank folly in itself. Whatever it is the system is trying to force on people, one thing I know is that it isn’t wisdom. As long as that is the case then, it isn’t for me.

  • I was being facetious. Consider, for instance, if I had made male sexual endowment contingent upon brain smallness. The scale doesn’t change, does it? There is a great deal of more difference between any two species than there is within any one species, despite those differences that do exist.

    I wouldn’t consider ‘human intelligence’ an oxymoron, but I would certainly differentiate between mere intelligence and the wisdom that might, or might not, come of such intelligence. We can teach people to be smart, no problem. Can we teach them to be wise? I’d say that is a much more nebulous subject, and, unfortunately, there might be a fork in the road whereby the road to success branches off from the road to wisdom.

  • There is a big gap between “commit suicide” and “attempt suicide”. I think the gender gap might narrow, or go in another direction, if the issue were “attempted suicide”.

    Herd instinct here is a problem as well for these supposedly “self-reliant” men for whom “success”, and I imagine all “success” to be “social”, assumes so much importance.

    Certainly, if you look at the last paragraph, patriarchy is an issue. Would empowering women decrease the amount of male suicides? And, second thought, would it increase the number of female suicides?

    The good news is that, given over population and the environmental wastage that accompanies it, with fewer men in the picture, pestilential humanity is somewhat less of a pest as a result.

  • Wa-wow! How about doing a study to determine whether ivy leaguers have bigger brains than other college educated people, or if professionals have larger brains than industrial workers, and then whether the same is true of college trained professionals and workers, and their untrained colleagues, or not? You can also do the same regarding information on skilled laborers, and unskilled laborers. I imagine conventional wisdom would say yellow brains have to be bigger than white brains, and white brains have to be bigger than black brains, but we’d still need to sift through the data to arrive at a conclusion. Anyway, they’re just out to pick on poor students, aren’t they?

    One thing I am certain of is that this insistence that the drugs don’t have any effect must be bogus. Fry a person’s brains with amphetamines (standard treatment for ADHD), and, you know, if they were all there before, they aren’t going to be all there afterwards. Of course, these guys are so far in with the drug companies that they aren’t going there under any circumstances.

    I think one must remember that before you had ADHD, you had ADD, and before you had ADD, you had something called minimal brain dysfunction (MBD). Apparently these 80 something psychiatrists have determined to their satisfaction that you still have minimal brains dysfunctioning. Such a determination, of course, supports the profession of psychiatry, and keeps a growing river of customers for the treatments, primarily drugs, that they are selling. If the treatment leads to no cure, or no recovery, all the better, there’s job security in that, and this at a time when the claim is being made that we need more, many more, psychiatrists in order to service the many customers we are creating. Excuse me, of course I meant to administer to all the as of yet untreated “sick” people we are finding inhabit the world today.

  • Thanks for this post. Seen as “doubly brutish”, oppressed by two systems, the criminal justice and the mental health systems, forensic patients generally have it worse than the rest of us, and they don’t thereby cease to need our support, in fact, they desperately need us to save them from a living burial and collective forgetfulness in some cases. The insanity defense, in many instances, can equal more time served in both systems under more callous attendants. Forensic patients really need more people on their side if they’re ever to be liberated from the dual systems of oppression they suffer under.

  • Rather than “disease model”, here you have “distress model”. I see the “distress model” as another form of suggesting “mental illnesses” (cough, cough), “mental health problems”, or whatever, are “real”. I find it curious that the author connects this “distress” to social and economic conditions without coming to the obvious conclusion that they are the source of this “distress”. “Chronic distress” would be a lot less “chronic”, in my book, if it was linked to the social conditions in which a person finds him or her self. Change those conditions (duh!), and you relieve the “distress”. Don’t change those conditions, and you just have another excuse for permanent therapy. I’m not yet convinced the author isn’t an advocate, with so many lurking in the woodwork these days, of therapy addiction.

  • “Broad and inclusive” certainly doesn’t describe Christian fundamentalists, and I’ve spent much of my life in what is described as the bible belt of the US south. My sense of the Unitarian Universalist Church jives more with that Reverent Epperson describes. From what I’ve heard, and I’ve engaged in political actions with Unitarians, the Unitarians are more open to progressive ideas than most other faiths. I’ve heard of them welcoming atheists and members of Wicce into their congregations, something you are not likely to get elsewhere. Sure, they ‘believe in the existence of a higher power’, but there are others among us who believe in extraterrestrials as well.

  • We’ve got an epidemic of death by opioids, and cocktails spiked with opioids. You don’t deal with such by ignoring it. This film maker doctor, despite his good intentions, has his hidden and vested financial ties to the drug companies. There are better treatments available today, something he disputes. One of those better treatments involves ceasing to use highly addictive dangerous opioids when you can use something else.

  • Does ‘they fucked, therefore I am’ work?

    I have problems with any approach that involves surrendering to the crowd. My book of inspiration, beyond Descartes, is Homer’s Ulysses. Be forewarned, it is not a friendly world out there, not unless you happen to be a fool. There are plenty of opportunities for deception, and especially self-deception, that others are not going to help you out of, but which they may help get you deeper into.

    Do you know your place in the world? Happily, I don’t know mine. Donald J. Trump can take a flying leap off his notorious Trump Tower for all I care, and the world would be a richer place as a result.

  • My doubt is that soft science should be considered science at all. The problem here is that some mental health professionals think they are dealing with an exact science when there is no real proof that this is so.

    Michel Foucault in Madness: The Invention of an Idea (1954, revised 1962) suggested that without madness there would be no psychology. Psychology presumes all behavior to be accessible to reason, even unreasonable behavior, and unreasonable behavior is not accessible to reason, it would be idealistic to presume otherwise. Funny how unreason, trying to crack that enigmatic inscrutable nut, would keep this profession going strong, isn’t it?

  • I was amazed at the amount of bias displayed by these Globe reporters. This is not the kind of a story that should be appearing in a legitimate news source. You’re right to take them on, but I can’t imagine them, unfortunately, showing up for the World Hearing Voices Congress. I wish, but it’s kind of like, well, why would they praise the people they are disparaging? Of course, because they got it wrong.

    After talking about the police getting Edward Hennessey to put down the knife he was threatening suicide, maybe by cop, it’s unclear, with, you get this:

    “The outcome could have been much worse: More than 50 times statewide since 2005, the Spotlight Team found, police involved in similar confrontations have shot people who were suicidal or mentally ill.”

    Why aren’t they investigating the police for unnecessary violence and brutality? Even murder? Because they’re alright with the criminal justice system, despite police misconduct. They’re claiming the mental health system broken because of the presence of crazy people disturbing the sensibilities of presumed sane folks. Fix the system, and your crazies are swept under the rug, as before, in total institutions of segregation and neglect. (Out of sight, out of mind.) They’re blaming the system on these failures, but, surely, there are successes, too. It would be nice to hear from a few of those successes, of course, success, in this instance, means being outside of the system they would presume to fix.

  • “Remission” according to a Google definition search is “a diminution of the seriousness or intensity of disease or pain; a temporary recovery.”

    Temporary? So they are expecting a return of intensity for these 74 % of patients off psych-drugs?

    Despite the rhetoric, I’ve very leery of cancer “mental illness” comparisons, and I would imagine more research is in order.

    It would be nice to see a few patients, on or off psych-drugs, fully recovered. Maybe they could use a few more 20 + year studies.

  • You were expecting us to propose overthrowing the government? If so, easier said than done.

    I personally don’t think anti-psychiatry restricted by legalism. After all, “insanity” itself has been legislated a legal designation. There has been some talk on this site about civil disobedience and ‘underground railroading’, and these are certainly not matters that would keep all our activities open, above ground, and circumscribed by any unjust law, and legal system.

  • Everybody doesn’t feel about psychiatry the way you do.

    Legislators and voters are a big part of the problem. Society is the reason we have psychiatric prisons. Psychiatry would not be where it is today if society had not put it there.

    Mental patients, “consumers”, or whatever you want to call them are members of society, surely, but not in the eyes of the leading members of society, nor society as a whole. We’re another group that must suffer the tyranny of the majority. A majority that gloats over its ability to make scapegoats out of people who are different.

    There are good little compliant mental patients, yes people, and the like, potential government agency material, and they get a modicum of approval, and stupid jobs, but that’s like a low blow all the way around, isn’t it? There are also real people out there somewhere, too.

  • Well, at least, you put helping in quotation marks where it belongs. Some of us don’t want their “help”, even if it is freely offered. Some of us just want to be left to our own devices, that is, alone. Not all of us feel so “distressed” about our circumstances as others claim to feel “distressed” about their’s. Some of us find much of the meddling taking place intrusive and offensive. Not all of us are “adult children”, some of us are adult adults.

  • Great tribute, Peter. Thanks for giving it. Dorothea, among all those who deserve some kind of recognition, has gotten a little, and she has survived many years of horrific mistreatment. That says a lot. Now there is the matter of this 25 – 30 years earlier mortality people in the mental health system face. I don’t think junk food in the USA is so much to blame as the drug, drug, drug mentality of so many of the people in the mental health services business. Of course, they’re big on junk food here, too, but people not maintained on these chemicals should be that much more capable of self-management, something the drugs often make difficult. I suppose the case is still out in some regards, but a junk food argument would also support that “life styles” argument that is often made when researchers want to blame this early mortality on some kind of hereditary “brain disease”. No “mental illness” ever killed anybody, not directly anyway, although the same argument cannot be made of “mental health” treatment.

  • Institutional psychiatry must be abolished. I’d like to point out though that the problem is not only psychiatry, it’s psychology and social work as well. You’ve got all these bureaucratic parasites who make their living off of the misfortunes of others (i.e. their fortune depends on [IS] the misfortune of their clients). I’m not sure you can outlaw psychiatry anymore than you can outlaw fortune telling, the brewing of whiskey, or a religious sect, however, I think the power of psychiatry can be abolished. The problem is this power over other peoples’ lives that psychiatrists have been granted. To limit that power is to liberate the people psychiatry was designed to oppress.

  • Do you have a link to the interview with the director? I’ve seen the trailer that is on the Crazy website, but no interview. Sad, yes, but naive? Many people caught up in the mental health system have had their constitutional rights (until contested in court) taken away from them. This is what seems to apply in the case of Eric featured in the film.

    I would also say that given the treatment teams, conditional releases, and outpatient facilities that exist today, the criteria of eligibility for forced drugging is not so restrictive as you would suggest. There are people, who after an initial period of institutionalization, are not allowed a drug free option. Many lawyers, as well, are not sympathetic to their issues either. I consider myself lucky for having a family that was supportive, being locked before these all these security mechanisms came into existence, and, additionally, being relatively unscathed physically, unlike so many other people in long term “care”, by the treatments I received.

    Law permits forced treatment now. Mental health law still represents a loophole in constitutional law for locking up (and drugging) some people under medical pretenses despite constitutional protections that apply to the citizenry as a whole.

  • I’ve wondered about the sources Peter Weiss might have drawn from in constructing his play. I know that Antonin Artaud, French surrealist, dramatist, and madman was portrayed as the same Jean-Paul Marat in Abel Gance’s something like 6 hour long epic silent movie Napoleon (1927).

    I don’t know that I will ever get a chance to see Napoleon, which is something of a shame, not that it is a bad thing, but rather because where are you going to find anyone willing to stage a six hour long silent era motion picture.

    If you ever get the chance to see it, Antonin gives a pretty impressive performance as a monk in Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) which has been shown on TCM a number of times, and is definitely worth a watch. She (Joan) reputedly heard the voice of God speaking to her you know, and it got her, no, not thrown into the loony bin, but rather burned at the stake as a witch, and a threat to the English crown, her captors.

  • I definitely see building an underground network of people out to assist people at escaping forced and harmful treatment (state sanctioned violence) as a very real need that is likely to increase with time. If there’s anything I can do to help you make this venture a successful reality, please, let me know, and I will do what I can to do so.

  • “Fully recovered” doesn’t “use services”. “Fully recovered” does not describe any “service user”.

    The way to ” full recovery” is through cessation, and ultimate termination, of “service use”.

    With a reported 9 – 21 % “recovery rate”, you can see why I don’t think it is a good idea for anybody to pay much attention to the stated opinions of so-called “mental health experts”. There must be few “symptoms” of a so-called “mental illness” less pronounced than standing in attendance upon such an “expert”.

  • Thank you for this interesting, and about torture anyway, truthful post.

    Torture = traumatic maltreatment, which the institutions supply in deuces. The further question is, once in the system, how do we “cure” people of, “recover” people from, the system. The mental health treatment system being the domain of the institution extended invisibly into the community at large.

  • The problem with treatment “alternatives” is that they represent a surrender to forced treatment. If forced treatment were outlawed, non-forced treatment would not be an “alternative” treatment, it would be standard practice. I’m not for “alternatives” to forced treatment. I’m for an end to forced treatment. There is a big difference.

    Here we’re talking “alternatives” to the DSM, but the principle is still the same, there is no “alternative” like no catalog of “mental disorder” labels (insults) and their (mis)”treatments” (confinement and drugs). These “alternatives” to the DSM would be other DSMs, more or less, and these people have better things they could be doing with their time.

  • Oh oh, here we go again. Part of this has got to be about the power struggle between psychology and psychiatry. (One example, psychologists demanding prescribing privileges.) The DSM-5, like every preceding DSM, makes it easier for psychiatrists to label people, and to collect a tab for the drugging/treatment of the label. Current understanding is that all this psychopathology exists on a continuum with normality disorder. The alternative approaches cannot be much of an improvement over the DSM if they are an improvement at all, except by ceasing to label and drug people entirely.

    “This alternative system incorporates comorbidity and allows for flexible adaptation to individual client needs, the authors write.”

    Last time I looked co-morbidity was just an excuse for poly-pharmacy. There is something to be said for “flexible adaptation”, but if you ask me, there is more to be said for ceasing to rely on psych-drugs as the panacea for disturbing behaviors. It’s not a multiple size matter at all, if you give an elephant enough sedative, you can put that elephant under, no matter how large a beast we’d be dealing with. Are these alternative diagnostic methods going to produce fewer mental patients than the DSM with its ever rising casualty count. I have my doubts as to whether that, fewer patients, and as a logical consequence, more “health”, is what these psychologists and others are after with their “alternatives”.

  • Yes, we first meet “mental disorder” in the DSM where psychiatrists were leery of using the word “mental illness”. It was Thomas Szasz who referred to “mental disorder”, and similar expressions, as “weasel words”. I agree with him totally on that score.

    As I wrote earlier, I think the dictionary definition of “illness” is much too broad because, essentially, if you entertain such a nebulous definition, “illness” becomes an abstraction and, obviously, real illness is no abstraction.

  • Good point, OldHead. In the not only department, aren’t we being way too Greco-Roman, that is, in the Western tradition, and in the Western imperialist tradition at that, when we equate this would be/would not be “illness” with “disorder”? You’d think that the problem with certain people is only that they lacked a decent organizer. Fractals are, in part, about the order accruing to chaos. An unreasonable command is still a mad command, but should such make it a disordered order as well?

    In 19th century France precocious young poet Arthur Rimbaud, on a related note, made a literary theory out of the systematic derangement of the senses. The writer was to make of himself a visionary by pursuing it. Doing so did not make Arthur Rimbaud mad, no, that requires the intervention of a psychiatrist, alienist, or mad doctor.

    If, and only if, the problem is “disorder”, what then? Does the shrink “help” the client order their disorder the way a housekeeper assists at keeping a mussed house in order, or what? And should “disordered thoughts”, if that is the problem, be forced by the state into some kind of conformation with the more orderly “norm”? Are we not free, as we should be, to be as “disordered” as we would choose to be?

    It would seem that I’m not as critical of insubordination as some of these professionals would be, and with reason, as it supports their claims to authority, claims I would dispute.

  • I think the standard dictionary definitions of disease and illness are way too broad. When you extend the turf of the “medical” beyond the domain of the purely physical, for example, just what are you talking about? In some instances we’re talking morality and social conflicts, things that are not, and should not be, considered disease entities. I do concur though with the idea that imaginary diseases are going to impact some people much more than they do other people. There are, after all, some people who are more vulnerable to deception than their more skeptical neighbors.

  • I have to laugh. “Stigma” reduction, not “stigma” elimination!? “Stigma” is built into the selling of mental health treatment. We make the receiving of mental health treatment more “cool”, if that’s what it is, and trendy by talking about reducing the “stigma” attached to receiving it. People aren’t going to “consume” or “use” your product if it’s billed as increasing “stigma”, one negative among many, and if you eliminated “stigma”, you’d have no product. It’s your bill of goods, not mine.

  • Indeed, forced treatment needs to be outlawed. Psychiatry does not in itself equate with forced treatment though. De-legitimize psychiatry and psychiatry will be clipped of the claws through which it enforces forced treatment. Here the problem is that psychiatry is a tool of bad law. Psychiatrists are the experts who, through law, get people locked away in institutions. Get rid of the bad law that allows them to violate people’s rights with impunity, and that expertise will count for that much less. Without that power, their expertise should prove all the more bogus and contrived. My view is that forced treatment needs to be abolished, and psychiatry as a profession needs to be completely de-legitimized. This de-legitimizing starts with exposing psychiatry as fake science.

  • Cure the vultures of their profession, and you’re well on your way to curing their victims.

    Generally, when it comes to emotionalism, it is usually a matter of the dupers using deception to better deceive the dupes.

    Reason has been in short supply for some time now which leaves us dealing with this surplus in absurdity.

    You want my advice? Get out of the mental health profession. Find a real job.

  • Great for those outside of the USA, not so great for those inside the USA. I would say that the psychiatric survivor movement as an anti-psychiatry movement sort of self-destructed in the USA, in part due to not distancing itself from the mental health movement, however, it is far from dead. This is to say, if you get an anti-mental-health movement going outside of the USA, great. Still, it’s not like the USA doesn’t need its own anti-mental-health movement. You certainly don’t need Americans dominating the movement and guiding people in struggle outside of the continental USA. They’ve got their own struggles, but hopefully we can still find some kind of agreement between us regarding our respective struggles, and also develop some kind of solidarity with the worldwide movement against the MHS, and for human rights, as well.

  • a) Families are often the people most responsible for locking family members up, and thus we get out of them their own ‘conflicts of interest’, “dysfunction”, and scapegoats. Pinning it all on “disease” is a convenient form of invalidation.

    b) I wouldn’t equate respect for human rights and freedom with Heaven, and incarceration and rights violations with “realism”. I agree with you when you say, “The remedy for the much maligned ‘psychiatric tyranny’ lies in the legislative domain: do away with all such laws.” The insanity defense is a big part of the problem. Convict or acquit, the insanity defense provides two systems for dealing with criminal conduct, and it is unfairly hardest on the people who happen to get caught up in both systems.

  • This should prove interesting. When I was first incarcerated in a mental institution, I was aghast at the difficulties “the mental illness is brain disease” approach to people created for me in particular. It made communication between myself and staff very difficult to say the least. The approach, in effect, cancelled me out as a human being. Personality mattered for nothing, as motivation, purpose, etc. was attributed to the symptomatology of such a “brain disease”. I was no longer seen as a person but rather as a collection of symptoms spelling out disease, disease to be completely suppressed. Were I to express myself on a subject of importance to myself, it was discounted as a symptom of “mental illness”. I am not a “disease”, but I couldn’t say anything about myself and my goals, etc., without it being construed as pathological. Subsequently, it was pretty easy for me to dismiss their theories as bunk, just as it had been easy for them to dismiss anything issuing from my mouth as symptomatic of disease. Our philosophical differences, in other words, became irreconcilable. I didn’t appreciate, as a human being, being confused for a “disease”. There is simply no talking to people who confuse everything I say for a symptom of some kind of dispensable aberration, not until they cease to confuse me for such a dispensable aberration anyway, and they were not ceasing to do so so long as I had any kind of social intercourse with them.

  • I don’t think you can just *poof* wish psychiatry gone, and there will be no more psychiatry, however, I do think you can expose and discredit it for the lack of science it displays, and the corruption it embodies. Psychiatry has this power it has because people have granted it this power. This makes the task of anti-psychiatry, as I see it, the taking away of that power through the de-legitimizing of psychiatry. When it is no longer taken seriously as science, as authority, as judge and jury, as privileged caste, etc., as it is today, it will no longer be in possession of the power over people’s lives that it presently possesses.

  • ‘Both/and’ is problematic in and of itself. The system expands, and even if you don’t get everyone doped up (an either), you get more and more people feeding drug company CEOs.

    Clozapine is the current excuse the mental health authorities give for drugging people they think would be too “deteriorated”/”sick” to exist outside of the hospital otherwise. I would call that something of a crock, together with this one study that you would cite to prove your point. One study, in and of itself, proves next to nothing.

    Protect the community from what? Certainly not from members of the same community? Otherwise, you can quit rustling your sensationalist newspaper stories. Everybody and their fifth cousin has already been there.

  • “The ward is not yet serving as an alternative to forced drug treatment.”

    So people are still being locked up and drugged against their will and wishes. When they are being locked up and drugged against their will and wishes, they have no pack up and leave option either.

    Robert Whitaker calls it a crack in the door, and it is certainly little more than that. This “revolution”, if that’s even the right word to use for it, is not happening for everyone everywhere in Norway. Carrying this “revolution”, if that’s even the right word for it, further than they’ve done is still going to be a challenge. They’re meeting with resistance, and the evidence has hardly started to pour in. I just wonder, when it comes down to it, whether the authorities are even going to care whether people get less harmful care or not, so long as the social control system itself grinds onward, and doesn’t come to a complete stop. A complete stop, in my book, would be to end the business of forcing unwanted (mis)treatment on people. Do that, and you’ve gone beyond these reformist measures that people have been complaining about.

  • When all is said and done, speaking in practical terms, I can’t blast providing a drug-free option. I was never allowed a drug-free option when I was incarcerated and (mis)treated by psychiatry and the mental health system. They just had no hold on me once I had stepped outside of the locked doors of the would be hospital. People have been chemically maimed for life because they were provided no drug-free (mis)treatment options. We’ve got an epidemic of TD, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and you name it because people aren’t provided drug-free options. We’ve got that 25 years shorter than average lifespans because people aren’t provided drug-free options. Providing drug-free options is a no brainer as far as I’m concerned. Drugging people, on the other hand, in order to achieve a more obedient, conformist, and non-grumbling population is something I have real problems with. The issue here, in the final analysis, is about deprivation of liberty. Were our citizenship rights respected, we wouldn’t be imprisoned in prisons pretending to be hospitals, nor would we be drugged into demonstrating what somebody else considered acceptable behavior at the expense of our health. A drug-free option is just a tiny bit of a break from the deprivation of liberty you get in a total institution. It would be redundant of me to say, “Give me liberty or give me death”, but many people die for the choice, made by who knows who, of psychiatric enslavement.

  • Of course the law needs to change. Repeal mental health law, or more realistically, pass and apply the CPRD, and the rule of law again applies.

    I don’t think psychiatry can be dissolved as a profession any more than soothsaying can be dissolved as a profession, however, I think the science behind it can be exposed, and through exposure, discredited, and that doing so would effectively reduce psychiatrists to the level of soothsayers (tarot card readers, alchemists, palm readers, etc.) An interesting diversion, perhaps, but nothing to take seriously.

    Phrenology, the reading of head bumps, was once taken quite seriously, Now we know better. I think the same thing could happen to psychiatry. The kind of thing that would, at least, have a potential to pull its serious study as a field of endeavor out of the institutes of higher learning.

    I do agree with OldHead and Bonnie in some regards. You may get less harm, but the problem is of doctors harming patient/prisoners in the first place. People are imprisoned and poisoned with drugs. When the mental health system is closer to a penal system than a hospital system, the evidence is only going to do so much good as the object of treatment is not so much the production of healthy people, but that of the production of obedient subjects. It can’t really resemble a hospital system anyway seeing as we are not talking about literal physical health when we speak of “mental health”, it is always a metaphor, an expression of speech, and, therefore, a cypher for something else.

  • Do people ever “recover” from, or exit, the alt therapy industry? I’ve seen it suggested from way back, particularly in left-wing quarters (Freudian/Marxist), that therapy is everything, but I rather tend to take the opposite view. Therapy is a bubble getting ready to pop. Therapy is chronicity, and chemicals are not the only junk that people need to taper off using. Junk therapy, it seems, must have addictive qualities of its own. Anyway, the DSM with its behavioral addictions would suggest as much, but do you really have to peddle junk. Yes, Daniel, there is life beyond Alternatives. Less alien(-ated) life in fact. ‘Touchy feely’ comes with its own drawbacks. Treating the providers is especially troublesome as their need to “help” is so severe. Surely, somewhere, there must be an exit to this meddling business.

  • I’d say great if I thought it would mean more people exiting the system. I’m more inclined to think it is just another program. The rhetoric, in other words, is bound to clash with the reality. You’ve got a lot of people colluding with psychiatry as a rule of thumb. Psychiatrists are among the top dogs in the system. If more people were actually tapering off psychiatric drugs, then maybe more of them would be able to function on their own. I’m not sure it is anything more than an option, occasionally taken, in this circumstance. I just worry that what is described in the PDF might be more apt to expand rather than to contract the system. I do imagine, although I could be wrong, that some things are not quite so bad in the UK as they are in the states. As you say, if it does help some individuals escape the system, that would be a very good thing indeed.

  • Terrific developments in Norway! It would be my hope that eventually they might lead to alternatives to forced treatment being developed as well. If the evidence from these open wards supported medication free treatment, I don’t see why they couldn’t be used on closed wards, if on a limited basis, too. Finally, maybe the potential of medication free treatment could spread beyond the borders of Norway. Anyway, I consider this good news all the way around.

  • Is it a rhetorical question? The author is a psychiatrist. He seems to think the science is unsound to the strictly biological approach. He has done some things differently. Non-biological approaches present us with another problem. What business do medical doctors have in counseling anybody about anything other than medicine? He has the power to do things differently, but this doesn’t resolve the basic issue of a psychiatrist’s role. “Real sickness”, if that’s what one means by “mental disorder” or “troubled”, is neither “sickness” nor “real”. Seeing it as such has become an excuse to injure people by way of treatment, maltreatment in actual fact.

  • “You will be aware that there are people who claim that there is no such thing as mental disorder; that anybody who claims to be mentally troubled is simply making it up. I don’t believe that.”

    Two terms, not necessarily synonymous, are “mental disorder” and “troubled”–“mentally”, socially, or however one might view “troubled”.

    The problem is that psychiatry is a branch of medical science, and, therefore, the presumption is of a physical basis for “mental disorders” (a way of not saying “illness”) or whatever you want to call them. Otherwise, why do psychiatrists have medical degrees? Couldn’t another profession attend to your “troubled” souls with equal or better facility? Psychiatrists are doing an atrocious job, as a rule, anyway, and so much of this atrocious behavior is based upon the view that confused or troubled people suffer from a physical condition requiring the services of a physician.

    Real is a relative term. When we say “mental disorder” or “troubled”, are we saying that the person so described has a disease? If we are implying as much, and it is not true, we are being deceptive, lying. We are not dealing with an actual disease. The reason there has been so much iatrogenic damage done in the field of psychiatry is because psychiatrists are presuming they have a physical disease when actually they have no physical disease. Take the case of cancer, an imaginary tumor is not a “real’ tumor, however chemotherapy for an imaginary tumor is certain to harm the patient. It would harm the patient even if the patient had a real tumor, but if the patient had a real tumor, the hope is that the treatment will relieve the patient of that tumor. In psychiatry you have medically trained doctors treating people for diseases that quite literally don’t exist, and through this treatment they’ve created their own epidemic of physician induced injury. Injury that they are calling treatment.

    Psychiatrists are well aware that they are physicians. This is one of the reasons why the critical attitude in psychiatry is not predominate. Psychiatrists know where their interests lie, and they don’t see those interests as lying in the self-destruction of their chosen profession. People outside of the field, in particular victims, have much more reason to oppose the profession which presumes that some kind of innate biological inferiority is found in them, and then proceeds to debilitate them through injurious maltreatment.

  • The PDF in the above post’s link is addressed to service users. They sometimes call themselves consumers in this country. How does a person become a service user/consumer? Sometimes it is through psychiatric incarceration miscalled hospitalization. After the exclusion of incarceration, there really isn’t an open armed inclusion, as if anybody thought there would be. I don’t advocate for service using/consuming. I don’t see doing so as surviving if it is the mental health (mis)treatment system that one would be surviving. Survival, in my view, is outside of that system. I advocate non-compliance with treatment plans, that is, I advocate rejection of the mental patient role. With using/consuming it is usually drugs that are being used/consumed along with other types of would be assistance rendered. Drugs are another form of captivity, but they aren’t the only other form of captivity. There was talk in the above PDF of people discharged from their treatment teams. That’s another form of captivity, and it doesn’t end there. So long as people use/consume mental health services there will be mental patients. Hmm. How inconducive to so-called mental health is that? A mentally healthy person, after all, is a person who doesn’t consume/use such services by definition. I rest my case.

  • I have a much more jaded reaction to articles of this sort. I had a teacher once, a mental health professional, who was pushing the thriving versus surviving thing partly as a reaction to the criticism of psychiatric survivors. Thing is, given recent statistics regarding people with the most severe of labels, you’ve got less thriving than you’ve got dying in the mental health system, which remains, as pointed out, a system of exclusion.

    I think to begin with you have to deal with those exclusions this article speaks of at the beginning, and nowhere do I see this being done. This would also be a matter of dealing with the power disparities that facilitate (loaded word) those exclusions. Here is the system, in other words, there is the mental health system, and, as a rule, the twain don’t meet. Your “break with reality” system is suffering, in this regard, from it’s own “break with reality”.

    They are out to address the unemployment issue, are they? I’m not sure what “vocational services” means, but I know what “peer support” is all about, and it’s not about getting people out of this “break with reality” system. Ultimately, “peer support”–I don’t know–‘work’ or ‘play’–means expanding the mental health system. You’re getting more “consumers”, “chronic patients”, all the time, hire some, and you’ve got more workers to help carry the load when it comes to your growing patient population. The most radical experiments are the ones least likely to succeed, and the course of most “alternatives” here is to grow closer and closer to the traditional “forced treatment”, adjust them to “normalcy”, system.

    “Distress”, too, always conjures up the image of the maiden in distress for me. Usually, this maiden is counting on the efforts of a knight in shining armor to rescue her from the harassment of some villainous character or another. There is also the situation of the wagon train being circled by native Americans, I think they called them ‘savages’, and praying to catch the clarion call of a bugle in the distance expanse. In my case, I’m not prone to see the mental health system as a knight in shining armor or the cavalry. Quite the reverse. The ‘alternative’ thing, too, here is evolving more into an adjunct to the tradition system than into salvation from it, at least, to my way of reckoning.

    We discuss this or that approach, and while we are doing so, the population of people in treatment, what is it? 1/5 of the population in the USA, approaching that in other places, goes up by another .01 %. Those .01 %s add up eventually. What do we do then? Hire more “peer support” mental health paraprofessionals? Really? I’d seriously consider sending the mental health system a get-well soon card over this contagion, but…I don’t think it would do any good in the long run. What is the problem? The truth is out there in the world, not hiding from it, and I don’t think people are helped by seeking permanent sanctuary from it. People are basically alike, in the main, and it is only the mental health system that creates this false sense of difference between one and the other.

  • True enough. I believe the same thing could be said of bad advice, too, that is, it’s pretty universal, and given the drug, drug, drug mentality of the mental health goons, when it comes to early mortality and chronicity, the statistics seem to bear me out.

  • I think David Healy recently complained about a type of McCarthyism in psychiatry silencing the voices of psychiatrists. Here you’ve got an example of the power of psychiatry, and the mental health mob, in league with the pharmaceutical cartel, perhaps forcing a teacher to change professions. This teacher was dropped for a bumper sticker, and as one person puts it in the article, for the progressive, he used the word “socialist”, views she expressed. Apparently high school is not ready for free speech yet either. When you think about the 1984 aspects of this matter, it gets a little scary. If the labor movement failed, as someone suggested in a comment recently, it was because it had a lot of help doing so from the federal government, a federal government now in the hands of a big business brand name. If he (President brand name) didn’t have such a tendency of putting his foot in his mouth (er, or, tweeter), I’d worry.

  • I didn’t. I imagine there is an element of narcissistic self-absorption in even going there. I didn’t buy this negative line I was getting from psychiatrists I had seen. Why should I have done so? It struck me as a form of sincere folly to do so, and I had no interest in becoming anybody’s gull. One detrimental course of direction to take is to believe the course you’re taking is detrimental because somebody told you it was so. There are people who listen to the “authorities”, and that becomes their problem. A bigger problem exists in the fact that the “authorities” only know so much. Some ignoramuses are more knowledgeable than the learned “authorities” who put so much faith in their blasted statistics. Not listening (or practicing discretion in what one hears) is an art some of us picked up on early, and, thereby, spared the world a few more suckers.

  • Labor lost during the 1970s? Perhaps we all lost. The rich are getting richer, everybody else is getting poorer, and the US just elected a 1 %-er head of state. I wouldn’t imagine there could be a situation more due for dramatic change than the one we’ve got. If the honeymoon is over, it’s not the end of the world. Here comes the divorce, the marriage, and the honeymoon.

  • Yep, or a similar book about how to avoid treatment, that is, the mental health trap, entirely, or a 101 on grass-roots political action directed against organized psychiatry (the APA et al.) and the mental health system, and published under the name of the Anti-Psychiatry Press.

  • I had a friend, now deceased, who used to greet me with “You’re looking better” every time I saw her. “Better than what?”, was always my unstated reaction. I figured out that the reason she was saying this was because we’d been in an out patient facility in treatment together.

    Above you have the propaganda then. You, too, could “Get better.” Thing is, don’t expect to “Do good.” That’s for the undiagnosed. I figure the best thing to do is to ignore the therapy/brainwashing business altogether. That way, you can do “Fine” regardless.

    Either that, or make bunches of money. Nothing seems to impress people more than bunches of money.

  • Aisle upon aisle of bookstore palaver has convinced me that we need an anti-self-help industry movement. Not grasping the obvious, once it has been handed to you a thousand times over, I would call an indication of unreason (AKA madness).

  • Berserkers are apparently at the gates of the psychiatry empire. “Anybody got a flammable substance, and a match?” You can tweet to your heart’s content, but some downfalls are sweet. Unfortunately, I don’t see it coming yet, however, perhaps, eventually. 20 % of the population can bring down a much smaller figure, and through doing so, facilitate their own liberation (as well as improved health). You mention a medical McCarthyism, but psychiatry isn’t medicine. At least, it can’t prove that it is medicine. Generally speaking, it’s injury. 400 years of confinement are too many. There are a lot of dupes out there, aren’t there? Maybe it’s about time we woke them up. Yeah, that’s right. Burn, baby, burn!

  • Great post! This is more along the lines of the kind of articles we need.

    You call psychiatry a marketing hoax.

    “In general, the way to neutralize a hoax is to expose it to the proper authorities.”

    Psychiatry is more than mere marketing hoax. The problem we’ve got here is that law makers made this exception to the law (mental health law) pertaining to rule breakers (people given psychiatric labels). For this to happen, you need collaboration between politicians (law makers), the criminal justice system (law enforcers), and the mental health system (dept of correction for rule breakers). This agreement involves handing the rule breakers off to the medical establishment for purposes of containment. Problem: rule breaking is not a medical condition, however, mental health law (this exception to the law proper) would make it so. As psychiatrists are deemed “experts” on “mental health” in courts of law. Who is one going to report this hoax to? Politicians and law enforcement are in cahoots with the psychiatric profession while the FDA itself is buddy buddy with the pharmaceutical industry. The public? Well, sure, that’s probably a good place to start.

    When you come to non-psychiatry professionals though, so long as we haven’t exited mental health or social services, we’re still in the domain of the psy-profession in general. These tend to be, in large measure, a big part of the problem because the vast majority of them are major collaborators with psychiatry. They are also fed by, and go along to feed, a growing “mental health movement”. A movement that is really not about “mental health” at all, but is rather about the provision of “mental health treatment”, and getting funds for it from the feds. Now we’re back in the midst of that marketing hoax you talk about. “Mental illness” labels are now the trend, and as this is so, the whole ridiculous system expands.

    It is just as insulting to call “mental illness” or “mental disorder” “problems of thinking, feeling, or behaving” as the reverse. I’m would not be any less offended to be called a “problem” than I would to be called a “sicko”. Problem to whom? Thomas Szasz differentiated between the ‘psychotic’, whose behavior others complained about, and the ‘neurotic’, who complained about his or her own behaviors. “Mental illness” and “mental disorder” are figures of speech. Problems are usually issues between two or more people, and they are seldom, if ever, innate to the individual. Calling a spade a spade, a mental illness is a counterfeit disease, a medical fiction, and therefore, more of an illusion than a problem. You “cure” “diseases”; you “solve” “problems”. “Treating” “problems” can only exasperate them, unless those “problems” happen to be actual “diseases”. “Harming” people in the name of “treating” them neither “cures” them of any medical condition, nor “solves” any “problems” they may have.

  • The author you are citing is the author of the blog post and book review, Susan Rosenthall, rather than the author of the book, David Cohen, where she offers a certain objection to his view of mental health work. I tend to agree with you about this aspect of the matter. People who work in this human service industry, the psy-profession, whether at a lowly position or a more prestigious one, do so because it pays, and it pays them to keep quiet on the issue of force and human rights violations. People who speak out on these issues tend to lose what jobs they had within the system.

    We are closer to no mental health system with no forced mental health treatment, and that’s the direction we need to be headed in. Encouraging careerism only exasperates the situation. Careerism that arises from the artificial “disability” industry and the “mental illness” religion it is founded on. Through careerism the system expands. It is a harmful system that a great many of us could well live without entirely. We aren’t getting any closer with a lot of lying hypocrites exploiting the misery they help to create while pretending to be doing something about it.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the disorder label with the least amount of substantiation as a “mental disorder”.

    I think there’s a better way to put this. Oh, yeah. Anxiety isn’t a “mental disorder”, except, perhaps, in the heads of psychiatrists and their patients.

    I tend to equate anxiety with inexperience and growing pains, and I see it as something most people learn to deal with in time.

    Your mountain is a molehill, but I like the idea of using political activism to get over it.

  • First link above. Archival material regarding the 1968 Antiuniversity.


  • No wonder some folks have learned ‘disabilities”, psy-professionals have been “teach”ing them for some time.

    If the function of the University is to provide consultants and staff to corporations, fulfilling some kind of strange idea of Academic success, (filling the ranks of a privileged professional class) perhaps it’s time to revive the idea of the Antiuniversity. Following David Cooper’s introduction of Antipsychiatry to the world, and the Dialectics of Liberation Conference in 1967, for a brief while in 1968 there was established the Antiuniversity of London. I would suggest that Universities are, in many ways, used as a tool in much the same fashion as is psychiatry, to promote and serve the interests of neo-liberal capitalism.

  • “A professor of sociology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, Cohen informs us that

    the current discussion is a critique of professional power not of personal experience and behaviour which may have been labelled (or self-labelled) as a ‘mental illness.’ (p.3)”

    He seems to be saying that social problems get mislabeled “disease”, not that they are such, and he claims that psychiatry needs to be abolished.

    I can’t disagree with him there.

    You should see the price of the book though. I find the price intimidating. What sort of proletariat can afford a 95 dollar/euro book? & as a 75 euro e-book? This is, of course, coming from academia rather than the streets, but nonetheless.

  • It’s very good indeed to see a contemporary Marxist critique of psychiatry as a tool of neo-liberalism. There have been Marxist analyses along these lines in the past, but to have something available in the present is more of the kind of thing that is needed.

    Although many of the limitations of Marxist theory are evident in the review of this book, I’m grateful that it has been published. If we were to change Marxist analysis to anti-capitalist analysis I might be more in agreement with that analysis and more ‘on board’. All you have to do, to get the gist of the problem, would be to change the words neo-liberalism and capitalism for socialism. I see authoritarianism as the real problem here; an authoritarianism demanding social control; an authoritarianism that affects not only neo-liberalism policy, but that also is endemic to much modern Marxian policy.

    Marxism, after a fashion, too, has only replaced official religion with its own religion, inverted Hegelianism, Scientific Materialism. A Scientific Materialism that flies in the face of the social choice, Susan Rosanthal, the author of this review, suggests we would be making. In Marxism, those choices are made for us more than by us, the masses of humanity being subjected to the force of economic pressure beyond their control. ‘Free will’ is not a concept particularly amenable to deterministic (a trait shared with psychiatry) Marxism.

    I’m glad he is going after the psy-profession. Psychiatry could not lock up “rule-breakers” if there weren’t a law handing “rule-breakers” over to the medical profession. Were it to do so, without this law, psychiatry itself would be in violation of the law, and as such subject to criminal prosecution. The entire psy-profession is guilty of collaborating with psychiatry in this matter, and reversing the harm, more or less, means opposing the psy-profession, too.

  • “Schizophrenia is a label that refers to many different illnesses.”

    So runs a recent theory put forward by some psychiatrists, but there is no proof to support it over any other theory. Sure, uh huh. This shape-shifting of illnesses can’t be just one illness alone, and so it must be many illnesses.

    Check your common sense at the door, and you can have it back when you leave.

    “The treatments are best if they are individualized and centered on specific person.”

    Of course, this snow-flaking of approaches appeals to snowflakes. One size doesn’t fit all, and your rights are less than those of a chimpanzee if, perchance, you should choose to die with your rights off.

    When you are selling “treatments”, it helps to be flexible about who you are selling those “treatments” to. The idea, after all, is to make a sale.

    There is an earlier sale involved here really. If you are going to “treat” a person for having a “disease”, first you have to sell them on the idea that they have a “disease”. It goes along with the “treatment”. “Undiagnosing” people, unselling them, well, that’s a much more tricky business. It’s the kind of business that might interfere with business were it attempted.

  • Keyword: personally. Generally there are a lot of people selling mental health services, but I don’t happen to be one of them. Also, there was a difference in the past when you were left alone, relatively speaking, after discharge from an institution. People are less likely to be freed from the institution unconditionally these days. Crazy happens. I would legalize/decriminalize/(demedicalize) it. I’m not for locking people up who have broken no laws, under medical pretenses, and thus violating their rights as citizens and human beings. Outpatient treatment is like an afterthought of inpatient incarceration that has gotten way out of control. Again, I don’t think anybody need spend a lifetime in the mental health system. I’m not in outpatient treatment even, and I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t think introduction into the mental health system at the tender age of 14, earlier, or even later, at 20 or 21, should of necessity lead to mental health treatment for the same individual at the age of 54, 64, or what have you. Recovered, past tense, in other words, for me, is at a far remove from currently popular “in recovery”.

    Who is “you”? I’m not a member of the MIA board. The same holds true for a great number of people who visit this website regularly. MIA is not an anti-psychiatry website although there are people with anti-psychiatry views who use the site. When it comes to rudeness, as in your case, it is not restricted to the people who have some kind of sympathy for MIA. Anti-psychiatry is much less profitable venture than psychiatry, psychology, social work, pharmacology, etc. I’m pretty sure that if you followed the money you’d find out that it wasn’t going into anti-psychiatry, however, one person’s anti-psychiatry is another person’s psychiatry. Countering the damage, there’s a tab to that, and an industry in it, too. I don’t think the people on this website, as a rule, though, have been making fortunes off the pharmaceutical industry, and that can’t be said of all mental health workers. What am I saying? If you’re looking for the most corrupt people in the “mental health” business, you are not likely to find them here on MIA. There is plenty of bunk in the “mental health” literature, you apparently have absorbed some of it.

  • Medicine doesn’t cure the incurable. If you’re out to suggest that you have some kind of incurable “mental illness”, I’m very much a skeptic on the subject.

    Alleviate usually concerns pain, unless your pain is psychological. You don’t, in other words, alleviate wrong thinking, you correct it.

    Some people call “mental illnesses” disruptions of the thought process, you know, that thing behind those firing neurons. If the problem is with the thought process, clarity of thought couldn’t hurt.

    Your analysis, pathayes, is tainted with cynicism. I would prefer to be the master of my fate rather than have my fate master me if you get my drift. I don’t think people are fated to be “mentally ill”, mental health service consumers, or whatever. I think if you’re on a cul de sac, you can always turn around, and get back on the road that leads somewhere.

    I know that there are many people selling this idea of “chronic mental illness” today, and the drugs that go along with it, however, I personally don’t think anybody need pursue a career as mental patient if they don’t want to do so. Ditto, mental patient sitter. I don’t see the mental health treatment bubble as ‘the real world’ that exists just beyond it, and that’s where that bubble become so vulnerable. If ‘the real world’ doesn’t ‘break in’, people should seriously consider ‘breaking out’ in order to reach it.

  • Sharing the data is what people here on this website are doing.

    If you are saying you have solid evidence that SSRI anti-depressants are effective and low risk, I’d love to see it, otherwise, we’re sharing the evidence that exposes anti-depressants as less than effective and high risk. Ditto, neuroleptics, anti-psychotics so-called.

    We can’t all be happy customers of the variety that you seem to be. SSRI anti-depressants are the drugs that people have the most complaints about, and there must be reasons for this to be so. Among the reasons that have been found are 1. the drugs are hardly more effective than placebos at relieving “depression”, and 2. there are serious physical health conditions that can come of taking these drugs, given long term maintenance, without any eventual tapering off of dependence. If you’ve found some statistically significant data that says otherwise, we’d love to see it. I just don’t think that data exists, not reliable data anyway. Of course, there are drug company hacks who will tell anybody (you, for instance) what they want to hear.

    Why? Drug companies in recent years have weathered some of the largest civil suits in history. Drug research and development is way up there with prospecting for gold and drilling for oil in terms of profitability. The world is full of dupes, only, they are the ones agreeing with the drug company print outs. The drug company is out to sell a product, and if a sucker buys, that’s just more money in the bank for the people selling, more or less, toxic chemicals.

  • First thought: is this a joke? Of course, “mental disorder labels” are increasing. Of course, treatment isn’t wiping them out.

    1. The labels are inventions of the treatment industry.
    2. The DSM is designed to expand the numbers of people described as “mentally ill”. IV created all sorts of new psych-labels. 5 made it easier to diagnose people through the labels that exist.
    3. Much prevention is seen as a matter of early detection, something that is, in fact, causative. There is no reliable litmus test to determine whether what you detect is actual or not.
    4. One thing they really need to investigate, bottom rung of the corruption chain, is the disability industry. The numbers aren’t going down, for one thing, because “treatment” has become a gateway into “mental health” work. (More workers means a greater capacity for provision and, therefore, more patients.)
    5. Drug maintenance and recovery are world’s apart. You are not going to eliminate the need for medical care by making drug addicts of your patients. There is this great need for a paradigm change now because doctors are doing just that.
    6. Physicians are now seeing physical health and “mental health” as inter-related. The problem with this perspective is that “physical treatments” for “mental ill health conditions” often cause “physical ill health”. Psychiatrists, in this scenario, are blaming iatrogenic (physician caused) conditions on “mental illness”. Point: Disease is not the cause of any injury done by the physician.

    Hypochondria and addiction are seen as genetically determined disorders in some instances. If thinking you have diseases that you don’t have is a disease, what then? Ditto, the feeling that the choice of taking drugs was made for you by your ancestors. Well, I leave it to you to consider the unconsidered limits of this kind of perspective.

  • I will be very interested to see how you conclude your lecture.

    I can’t at this point judge very well as I’m caught up in this suspense as you present it. I’m not sure where this is going to lead.

    “When his office was ransacked, Delay’s world was turned upside down but psychiatry and doctors are still here — so we won, didn’t we?”

    We, the good guys, are psychiatrists, it would seem, in your book. They are not in mine.

    “We didn’t win. Both psychiatry and antipsychiatry were swept away and replaced by a new corporate psychiatry.”

    Can corporate psychiatry win?

    I think basically we’re heading into a situation that contains elements of its own demise within itself, but how that will happen is still beyond us.

    As for the demise of anti-psychiatry. If so, it will rise from its ashes again and again and again. You can’t really kill a struggle for human rights and social justice that easily. Just as chattel slavery had its abolitionists, psychiatric slavery has its abolitionists to this day. Just as you had opponents of psychiatric superstition and tyranny in the 19th century, and in the 20th century. You will have them in the 21st century, and beyond, if need be. Sooner or later, the edifice is going to topple and fall because it was based upon a lie to begin with, a lie upheld and supported by brute force alone.

    That said, this corporate enemy of ours could make for a lot of strange bedfellows as well.

  • I want to say that I don’t see a complete negative in R. D. Laing. What amazed me when I was first diagnosed, etc., was the degree to which the experts were making medical metaphors out of human experience. Laing realized that there were human beings under all this specialized jargon and invalidating garbage. De-vitalizing people is one thing, re-vitalizing them is another. Kingsley Hall was an interesting experiment that the automaton establishment has grown immured to dissing. I’m not so keen on dissing it. The demonization of people in the criminal justice system is not nearly so terrifying to me as the diminishment of people in the mental health system. I would have a very hard time really getting ahead of the game, given the sub-human rights that go along with psychiatric character bashing, if I accepted all of that absolute crap without question. How about you?

  • That would indeed indicate poetic justice and a change of guard around the bend. One can’t be pessimistic about these things anyway, not and keep pushing, as one must. If “what goes around comes around”, psychiatry’s curse, from the perspective of its victims, must be on the way to biting it in the butt.