Saturday, April 21, 2018

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • More mush. I’m not very fond of psycho-babble, and when you add philosobabble, perhaps post-modern speak, to the mix, my disaffection is not thereby decreased.

    Thomas Szasz wanted to enforce a separation of powers when it came to medicine and the state, something the incredible expense of “healthcare” increases the difficulty of doing with every passing day. This article would go, it seems, potentially anyway, in the opposite direction.

    As I see it, framing the matter in this fashion is likely to serve such organizations as the APA and NIMH who want to blame the damage wreaked by psychiatric drugs on the victims of drugging more than it would serve anybody else. There is a great crime, and cover up, taking place here, and that is something that gobbledygook facilitates more than it relieves.

    Psychiatrists at present are talking about working more closely with medical doctors and general practitioners, and when the work they do is in the main harmful, and should be criminal, I think it’s time to reassert those boundaries that keep people safe, not bring them down. Engaging the rest of the medical profession as partners in crime only exasperates this extremely dire situation.

    We’ve got, just as we’ve got a prescription drug culture, a medicalizing and medicalized culture, especially in the realm of so-called “mental health”. Increasing it’s grip is not, in my book anyway, by any means, a good thing.

  • Since prior to the time when Emil Kraepelin separated the redeemable bipolar disorder, then manic depressive psychosis, from the imminently irretrievable schizophrenia, his dementia praecox, this kind of leap to medicalizing judgment has been the trend. Yeah, “bipolar disorder” has represented one of the stalwart pillars of the “mental illness” religion, especially with the flipped coin genetic twist. If you want to be “sick”, like the magazine, this is your big chance. Jump on board. You, too, can fight the “stigma” of any psychiatric label’s unpopularity and tendency to buck the trend. You can start by introducing yourself to your friends as “Hi. I’m Bipolar.” Should a doctor agree, there’s money in it.

    This is way up there with all of the Aut of the Autistic. Where, after all, culturally would we be without it? The institution has spawned it’s own variety of gallery debutante, and this disposition has a great potential for changing the world. (Not fast enough to suit me, of course.) What more can I say, but what an incredible update on ye ole chimpanzee!

  • Not all libertarians are right wing.

    “The anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque was the first person to describe himself as “libertarian”. Unlike Proudhon, he argued that “it is not the product of his or her labour that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature”…”

    If you’re thinking of “going libertarian”, as you put it, you don’t have to “join the party”, so to speak, and especially since it is a right wing party. Before the current trend of right libertarians there were plenty of libertarians of the left.

    “Left-libertarianism (or left-wing libertarianism) names several related, but distinct approaches to political and social theory which stress both individual freedom and social equality.”

    “In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, e.g. libertarian socialism, which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism, among others”…

    I’m not prepared to sacrifice any hope of social justice to one form of “social Darwinism” or another.

  • This kind of thing, the CVS surveillance, has gotten worse since I was in the system. Circumstance coupled with drug dependence will drag some people down. Resistance, what the system would deny, also has the potential to make people stronger. The “mental health” system’s assault on civil liberties expands daily. People will learn, or they will become compliant “mental patients”, that is to say, they will have become “adult children” having developed their own peculiar form of acquired ignorance.

  • I find this kind of study a little troubling for a number of reasons. First they are conducting research that would support conclusions they have previously arrived at (childhood trauma is the root of adult “psychosis”). Where are drawing foregone conclusions not a matter of bias? Secondly, here is another excuse for the pre-schizophrenic prodromal label. Want a schizophrenic adult? Label a child schizophrenic prone. ABC, what could be more difficult? Perhaps resisting the trend and countering medicalization by not labeling children and adolescents at all.

  • Okay. Statistically speaking, is .5 % a wide enough crack to let anything through?

    There are so many ways in which the pharmaceutical companies are literally getting away with murder, should we allow another one here?

    This is not a rare incident of the scientific sounding chicanery, it’s actually pretty typical, meaning that that great break through it is claimed we are always on the verge of, could be at least another century or two off, optimistically speaking.

  • I would call it another example of neurobabble though. Neuro, as a prefix, is the trend word, with a lot biomedical jargon employing it. Once people thought, now they have neurons firing synapses instead. Want to cast blame? Darn little neuron.

  • Political philosophy is going to continue to frame much of the debate as capitalism is intrinsically unjust and authoritarianism often sabotages the other more equitable schemes for redistribution of wealth and power.

    The APA began as the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane back in 1844 with 13 members. Instead of the Association ending with the dying off of those 13 members, the American Psychiatric Association that it evolved into now has some 37,800 members. It would take an awful lot of die off to kill it, and as you will note, the Association is going in the opposite direction.

    If there is to be no DSM-6, you can be certain there will be something else. They have their bible and nut-job field guide with the DSM now. Call it something else, and you don’t call it DSM-6. I’m not saying there should be a DSM-6. I’m saying that to think the APA won’t continue with more of the same shenanigans is to engage in wishful thinking.

    I would fill in your number 3 blank with continue the resistance to psychiatric oppression and social control (i.e. oppose human rights violations and forced treatment) with renewed vigor and inspiration. We will win in the end because we must.

  • I would imagine that the thing to do would be to try to get your own countervailing thesis published rather than abusing Twilah for her views. Her examples I thought pretty weak. Somebody was making skills out to be gender linked, and another was seeking “a cure” which presumes “disease”, and so they were expelled from what she saw as “the in-group”. Good decision “in-group”. Alright, but then there is all this antipathy, and if it isn’t directed at her, where is it directed? The article doesn’t need an editorial retraction. We know it doesn’t reflect the views of MIA. Instead we should have some of those other views published here as well. You disagree? Why don’t you put your credibility to the test by publishing a post. Don’t want to do so? Alright, that leaves us with Twilah’s perspective. I wouldn’t be disappointed in MIA for not retracting somebodies expression of their feelings. I would be disappointed in you for not publishing some kind of critique of her position, and defense of your own. Otherwise, she can have this slot by default if she wants it.

  • There is a lot of bias in psychiatric research these days, not vigorous science, and so, respectfully, Richard, I have to disagree. I think this is also true of many other fields. In recent years we have had several scandals arising in the social psychology department in some colleges due to complete fabrications in what was presumed to be research. Of course, there’s good cause there when a career goes down the tubes because of forged statistics.

    I need a word for all the biased research I see taking place today, and I can’t think of a better one than scientism. I don’t think all our problems can, should, or will be settled by the scientific method. A “theory of everything”, to my way of thinking, would resemble religion too much to be of much good. Science, after all, is about disproving, not proving, presumption and theoretical speculation.

    Science is not the only thing that is under attack, pseudo-science is also under attack, and for that I say, so be it.

  • April is April fools’ month. Also known as unawareness or ignorance month. April fools’ day falling on Easter Sunday this year must make it kind of special. Fools and religion, after all, go together.

    Wow, Twilah! An angry article on the web, and a strident disapproving comment as well. You must have hit a nerve. I can’t help but think that there is some truth to what you say when people are given to having such strong emotional reactions to receiving it. I’m just seeing intolerance in that reaction, not acceptance.

  • You’re making a lot over a word, Richard, and, as you don’t own the English language, I don’t see it. According to a number of dictionaries, scientism is a term with a certain meaning. Were we to, in the interest of “political correctness”, perhaps, censor use of the word scientism, I would be seeing scientism in exactly that sort of reasoning. My point being that if there is a correct use of science, there must be an incorrect use of it as well.

  • Psychiatry is the unofficial unacknowledged religion of the state. “Mental illness” is the cardinal belief of this deceptively simple state sanctioned religion.

    Just as militarized cops shoot first and think later, medicalized “mental health” cops have been trained to label first and think later.

    Around this religion has grown an entire service industry (“mental health” enforcement clergy) that fuels it and feeds it.

    Liberation is merely a matter of demedicalizing the non-medical, or of retrieving the concept of “health” from the realm of the abstract.

  • I’m not arguing for psychiatry, OldHead, I’m just pointing out that you are dealing with a number of different people with differing viewpoints. As you are not at some kind of antipsychiatry convention when you visit MIA it is good to keep that in mind. We could say that other people are not entitled to their opinions, but in general that is not the kind of thing that we do say.

    Anyway, as I was saying, one assumption that I’m not making is that MIA is an antipsychiatry website. That assumption I anyway am not projecting onto anything you wrote either.

  • I don’t see the left as a big monolithic grouping without a lot heterodoxy and disagreement within it. In a word, I don’t think you can generalize about what it is and isn’t with any degree of accuracy.

    Given “critical” and other approaches to psychiatry, I don’t think you can honestly say that “psychiatry and the medical model” are the same thing. Bio-psychiatry is another matter, certainly, using “the medical model” primarily to reinforce status and position, not to mention sell pharmaceuticals, or support the drug industry.

    You mention the gay struggle because Richard did, but there is also the disability rights movement, and it has been going on since the 1960s. There is also the woman’s liberation movement. I think all these movements are related, and that that’s where you go when you look at civil rights and liberties. Change from the bottom up sort of sums up the situation. There are also those instances where you find a black gay woman, for instance, who also, and less by happenstance than prejudice, to be a psychiatric survivor. What was it we used to say? Oh, yeah! Power to the people! ALL of the people (nor just some privileged elite)!

    I don’t know where you ever got this idea that MIA had anything much to do with AP unless it came from mainstream psychiatry, that is, the APA and organized psychiatry who see antpsychiatry in any and all criticism of psychiatric methods and authority however mild. It has little to do with AP in that you’ve got a lot of critical voices here, some of which happen to take an antipsychiatry position. MIA grew out of Robert Whitaker’s investigative journalism. If AP wants this kind of a vehicle, it can organize, and try establishing its own web presence. As far as MIA goes, AP is at least allowed a voice among the many other critical voices that use the website.

  • Have you ever read Pablo Neruda? His verse could be described as based on a poetics of the impure. This could be said to be in sharp contrast to the stiffly conservative, as well as unreal, mode of the puritans, ancient or modern.

    I wouldn’t want to isolate myself from any potential allies, in other words, if I didn’t have to do so. Nor would I want to “cut off my nose to spite my face” if you get my drift. I personally think there is a lot to be said for pragmatism.

    Some people are ignorant on certain matters, and in such instances, it is up to those who are knowledgeable to educate them. To expect everybody to automatically and magically share your view about things is to expect way too much.

  • There’s a lot of trashing of antipsychiatry taking place these days, OldHead, from many quarters, but I think it’s up to leftists of an antipsychiatric bent to offer their own perspective to any left wing dialogue. I would not blame leftists on this situation. I don’t think if you throw money at a problem you make that problem go away. Instead, your problem has just gained financial backing. No need to become defeatist. There’s no doubt that the “mental health” police force we’re seeing so much of has a lot to do with protecting the established order, and there can be little doubt that it is not the left that gains from maintaining the status quo. Point out the obvious, and maybe a little of bit of that ignorance that Richard Lewis speaks of above will give way to knowledge, and not only knowledge, but practical action.

  • Thumbs up to the anti-authoritarian aspects of revolt.

    “An anarchist society would be more ordered because the political theory of anarchism advocates organisation from the bottom up with the federation of the self-governed entities – as opposed to order being imposed from the top down upon resisting individuals or groups.”

    Pluralism, too, socialistic experiments within capitalist society, and capitalism in socialist contexts have their place. I don’t think you get anything out of waiting for the revolution but a deferred dream. You can make revolution now, and the system will either be shaken or unmoved, but at least you will have done something.

  • Psychiatry and big pHarma serve neoliberalism. Fight neoliberalism, and you are fighting the psychiatric social control system at the same time. Profiteer on people’s insecurities, and you’ve got the kind of system we’ve got going today. I don’t think they could do it without neoliberalism. Although we may disagree here and there, I think you’ve got the right idea, Richard. Thank you for this post.

  • I don’t have a current diagnosis. They, the mental health coppers, had a diagnosis. Without me, they don’t have a diagnosis. Confessions of “mental illness” might get a person out of an institution, however, such confessions aren’t likely to get a person as far as the denial of the legitimacy of any such confession extracted under torture, that is, state sanctioned violence, bullying, pressure and duress.

  • I really don’t like the sound of “epistemic injustice”.

    Ask Google the definition of paternalism, and you will get something like this…

    ” the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates’ supposed best interest.”

    Given an authority achieved through usurpation, there is always insubordination.

    Ask Google for the definition of jargon, and you get this…

    “special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.”

    When paternalism is the problem, the lingo is just a way of stirring up the mud of confusion from the bottom of the creek bed. (Another way of using language as a tool of oppression. Language that could also be used as a tool for liberation, however, not in the oppressor’s hands.)

  • Paraphrasing? This goes way back, OH. It’s not just my estimation or opinion.


    A. Well, what exactly do these drugs do? They block basal ganglia activity. The prefrontal cortex doesn’t get the input it needs and is being shut down by drugs. That reduces the psychotic symptoms. It also causes the prefrontal cortex to slowly atrophy.”

    A Conversation With Nancy C. Andreasen, THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 16, 2008

    The effect produced by neuroleptic drugs before it came to be called a “chemical straitjacket”, or “chemical restraints”, was once referred to as a “chemical lobotomy”. What do you have when you cut away “higher brain functioning”? I imagine you could call that what a lobotomy, chemically or surgically achieved.

  • Tell me how you can “chronically sedate” people without drugs? I just say if institutionalization itself is bad, with drugs it’s much, much worse. When a ‘drug free treatment’ is not an option, here’s another example of the extent to which people are deprived of their freedom (i.e. civil liberties), and in this particular case, it has had a tragic consequences on their overall physical health. Just look at the recent studies showing people in treatment dying at an age on average 15 to 25 years younger than the rest of the population. Were something done about this drugging, you’d be saving lives. Institutionalization by itself is just not that deadly.

  • “Psychiatric facilities” the private sector has been competing to run for some time now, too, so it isn’t just prisons. It’s psychiatric prisons as well. When the state can get somebody else to pay for it, the state tends to be okay with that, especially when you’ve got politicians with their hands in the kitty. In Florida, for example, governor Rick Scott has some kind of vested interest in “mental health” “privatization”.

  • Two different things (AP & PS) is right.

    What we used to call the ‘mental patients’ liberation movement’ we now tend to call the ‘psychiatric survivor movement’. I basically see those two movements as one and the same movement. In answer to what would the ‘psychiatric survivor movement’ be moving towards, as far as I’m concerned, it’s still ‘mental patients’ liberation’. The ‘psychiatric survivor’- ‘mental patients’ liberation movement’ can converge at this juncture with the ‘antipsychiatry movement’ in that you don’t promote psychiatry by liberating people from it. You liberate yourself and others from the ‘mental patient’ role by rejecting psychiatry, and the entire ‘mental health treatment’ racket that goes along with it. In that direction resides physical health, the only health that matters.

  • Of course, Laing took acid. There’s no question about that. He dished it out, and he took it, too.

    Laing climaxed in the 60s and 70s, after which he went into private practice as some kind of new age shade of himself, pushing re-birthing, and showing his sympathy for parapsychology and other forms of wishful thinking. If Szasz was the voice of moral authority, Laing was a part of the less morally fixated mandate to live of the sixties revolution.

    Thomas Szasz, when he looked at the communal living situation that existed in the Laingian alternative, missed a whole history of such communal arrangements (kibbutzes, monasteries, utopian communities) seeing only in such the Eastern block soviet. His own business relationship, a counselor selling his wares, an up and coming bourgeoisie shopkeeper of sorts, might be said to be much more conventional by contrast.

    It is with his libertarian stance, the value he placed upon freedom, that Szasz surpasses Laing. Had Laing been more of a libertarian, which he wasn’t, we wouldn’t be any the worse for it.

  • The biggest complaint I have against Laing, and the biggest difference between him and Szasz, as far as I’m concerned, is that Szasz came out publicly against coercive psychiatry, and R. D. Laing never managed to do so. He could come up with a non-structured environment such as existed at Kingsley Hall, but he couldn’t complete the connection between what was all right with that, and what was all wrong with the rest of the system, basically that it was all about force and state sanctioned violence. Szasz was very right to take on any and all psychiatrists who excused or encouraged forced treatment, and Laing, for his part, was one of those psychiatrists who didn’t clearly, strongly, and publicly come out against force, and in that sense, may have looked the other way.

  • If the arguments are more complex than a simple dichotomy between Szasz and Laing, why, why, why, reduce them to such!?

    I’m not here to cast judgment on either Thomas Szasz or R. D. Laing. You say the arguments are complex, and then you automatically simplify the matter by agreeing with Thomas Szasz in castigating R. D. Laing. Apparently, you are here to cast judgment, and negative judgment at that, on Laing.

    Szasz basically said that Laing was morally so bad that an ad hominem argument, such as that which he was making, would apply to him. I myself, well, I have a much harder time, when it comes to Laing, at ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’, as the expression goes.

    In short, I don’t feel that Szasz “was right about Laing”, at least, not in all regards, or disregards, as the case may be.

    The Kingsley Hall idea actually innately questioned the authority of the psychiatric establishment to begin with, and in that sense, I think it truly, and truly rather than falsely, could be said to be an antipsychiatry approach to such matters.

  • Hospital costs would bankrupt almost anyone while financial “health” is what the professional caste charged with “helping” or managing the “mentally ill” receive. These people live in residential areas while their clientele are stuck in the ghetto. The end of the “mental health” ghetto is the end of the “mental health” system. You can’t make your living off the poor once poverty has been eliminated. Of course, we’re not going there because it would put some folks jobs in jeopardy.

  • I would caution against over simplifying. Sure, there was a clear difference between Thomas Szasz and R. D. Laing, but crediting R. D. Laing with developing some kind of false antipsychiatry is a little over the top.

    Laing admitted he was not antipsychiatry. Laing however did develop with the Philadelphia Association the Kingsley Hall experiment which was, in many ways, quite revolutionary. Soteria houses are, in a sense, the successors of Kingsley Hall. Both could be said to be, if psychiatry is forced treatment, antipsychiatric.

    Szasz, early on, targeted any communal answers to his “problems in living”, such as the Laingian experiment, as examples of collectivism which he associated with communism and left wing ideology. Anything besides your typical psychiatrist client shopfront counseling relationship didn’t sit well with him.

  • Which or what antipsychiatry movement is that, pray tell?

    Antipsychiatry was first coined by psychiatrist as a pejorative term for anybody with the audacity to question psychiatric authority early in the twentieth century. It has since that time evolved into high comedy.

    This biological cause is only invoked to bolster the medical status of the psychiatry profession. There is a great deal of “mental disturbance”, for lack of a better term, that is completely socio-psychological in nature, while the biological often tends to be solely iatrogenic, physician caused, and a matter of injury sustained through the ingestion of neurotoxins.

    As for any antipsychiatry movement that exists, yeah, sure. If psychiatry is, as illustrated, basically a destructive force, hopefully it can have a very negative effect upon it indeed. Doing so would be a very positive thing.

  • Indirect brain damage is still brain damage. I mean drugging may not do as much damage as a baseball bat, but damage is still there. The instigation (indirect damage) is that something is behind the damage besides the drug, and this instigation is something that I would find highly questionable. I certainly, for instance, wouldn’t think institutionalization as damaging to the brain as head trauma caused by hitting the head with a baseball bat, nor do I think it is as damaging as subjecting it to toxic chemical substances euphemistically thought of as “medicines”.

  • I don’t think there is much doubt, looking at animal studies, that neuroleptic use results in brain mass loss (i.e. damages the brain). I also have little doubt that long-term use of neuroleptics results in permanent brain damage. Of course, this is not a direction of research any drug company, nor drug company bought psychiatrist, would be interested in pursuing. The atrophy sets in because the drugs disconnect the lower, more instinctual brain, from the higher, more intellectual brain, and THAT can’t be a good thing. What if you’d “turned off” higher brain functioning for good!?

    I wouldn’t argue that institutionalization isn’t a bad thing, nor that it isn’t damaging in it’s own right, however, I don’t think relationship and status damage is comparable with organ damage, not when the organ being damaged is what has been referred to as the executive organ in charge of functionality, or control central, of members of the human species.

    Institutionalization is one thing based on a pernicious form of “medicalization”, or medical fraud, while drugging is another. With “medicalization” you treat a well person as if he or she were “sick”, however with drugging you can actually transform a literally healthy individual into a physically unwell invalid. Given this circumstance, I can’t really view these two aspects of the same phenomenon on an equal basis.

  • I knew this mental hospital employee who was charged with the task of running groups for patients who didn’t want to leave the hospital despite anything and everything that occurred within the place. I don’t think mental hospitals ever were, in any literal sense, asylums. There is something to the claim that there is a lot wrong with institutionalization.

    The drugs are harmful, but within the context of the hospital, a patient hasn’t the liberty to reject them, at least, not in the hospitals where I was confined. The thing is, there are people on the same drugs that have never been confined to a hospital ward, and they stay on them. People take these drugs, in some instances, because they fear for their sanity if they didn’t. Of course, there are others, such as myself, who would fear for our sanity if we did.

    I have been relatively lucky. Despite multiple hospitalizations, I never got stuck for a year or more in the hospital. I dread to think of what might have transpired if I had. I have seen people devastated by such an experience to the extent that they were unable to recover their composure. I’d like to think I had more strength than that, but knowing the strength of psych drugs, I’m not sure my own would hold up so well.

  • Polite society is good at launching witch hunts while witch society is pretty slim to non-existent if not inconsequential. When “mental patients” cease being considered, as they have, members of the public, I think you can begin to see what kind of a problem we have generated for ourselves. One social problem, as with “medicalization”, right now is how “society” is dealing with some of its “problems” and/or “problem” “members”(?). Disenfranchisement and ejection/rejection, on top of this situation, must compound the matter a great deal. I myself see a big problem in that part of the population that would designate another segment of the population the problem population.

  • Words are often used for social control purposes. (Witness newspeak in Orwell’s 1984). I think jargon (specialist [one could say specialized] language) provides much of the same sort of thing in many instances.

    If a person is “out of control” in somebody’s estimation, what do folks tend to do? Call for the “mental health” authorities, that is, today’s agents, and therefore, technicians and engineers, of “social control”.

    Psychiatry is predominately about “medicalization”, and the people subjected to it, if they don’t have a true medical condition to begin with (usually the case), given enough “treatment” and the time to administer it, certainly will have a real medical condition eventually.

  • Neuroleptics lower your threshold for seizures, and so it might be very difficult to determine what was going on there. Withdrawal effects, probably wouldn’t help one iota. A slow taper? I would imagine such issues are sometimes the reason for slowly tapering off pills in the first place.

  • I have no doubt this modestly positive report on antidepressants has more to do with maintaining strong drug sales than it has to do with anything else.

    What would I do if the drug was an neuroleptic? I’d point to the mortality rates, the mortality rates on and off drugs, and also at the extent to which chronicity is increasing.

    With so-called antidepressant neurotoxins, I’d go straight to the chronicity versus recovery rates, on and off drugs. That and the physical harm that sometimes comes of taking these chemicals.

    People do claim some of these drugs are life savers, but what does the hard science say? It could say something entirely different, such as this is a drug you really shouldn’t be putting in your body.

    “Spontaneous” remission, recovery, fill in the blank. Yep, I hear that happens. Karma might just put in an appearance, and turn your whole disappointing life around. Such remains a hope anyway, however slim.

  • Well, OldHead, from my perspective, “consuming/using” psychiatry is not surviving it, not when it has a pervasive potential to maim and destroy. Assisting your murderer is not innocence. “Mental patient” liberation means leaving the system, that is, becoming an ex-patient (or, from another angle, an ex-worker in that system). Everything else, within and of the system, is a matter of feeding that system, and thus perpetuating it. Liberation is a matter of leaving the “mental health” system entirely.

    I don’t buy the theory that people can’t leave the system because they are too traumatized to do so. All sorts of people have experienced all sorts of trauma, only people within the “mental health” system are expected to have had their resiliency so detrimentally effected due to that trauma that they are expected never to “get over it”. All you would have to do to get a different result is to change the expectation, however, why would “mental health” workers want the expectation changed? If all “mental patients” were liberated, they’d be out of a job, and out of business.

    As far as I’m concerned, it is our job to put them out of business.

  • I’m not going to make a judgment about the competence of Geriatric cases. I am going to say that the reason there are competency hearings in some cases involving so-called “mental health” is because the person receiving treatment doesn’t have a caring family to fall back upon. The court appoints a guardian, and the patient can, in turn, be royally screwed by such a predicament. If they had a family who would take them in, they’d be better off. Without support at home, it takes longer to receive a discharge from the hospital as financial concerns and housing must be dealt with first, at least, that’s the way the hospital sees it. This means a longer stay, and those arrangements that are made by the hospital with other facilities in the community. A guardianship, that which comes of an incompetency ruling, takes much control for person’s life out of that person’s hands, and can be potentially devastating.

  • I would not title a post in the manner in which you have done.

    “How Would We Know If We Overthrew the Mental Health System?”

    There are a surfeit of traitorous turncoats in the psychiatric survivor movement as is, when it is just a matter of the “provided for” changing places with the “provider”, that is, the “mental patient” changing places with the “mental health” worker, or, more explicitly, the psychiatric prisoner changing places with his or her warders, or the oppressed donning the uniform and position of his or her oppressor. It is not that. What it is is a matter of ending this unjust relationship entirely and with finality.

    We will know we have overthrown the system when there is no more system if, in this case, overthrow would be synonymous with abolition.

    Some of us have overcome the system already having removed ourselves from that system. When we have all overcome the “mental health” system, voila, no more system.

  • I’m saying psychiatry isn’t the law, forced treatment is the law. It is the law, in this case, that is our problem. It is a bad law that needs to be repealed. Do so, and you abolish non-consensual coercive (mal)treatment.

    I’m not abridging the dictionary, and I’m not arguing definitions. Abolish means abolish, get rid of, do away with, eliminate. No need to mince words, and definitely no need to make words mean their opposite. People may have different definitions, in which case, I will resort to the one supplied by the dictionary. Were we building a tower of Babel…Well, you know the parable.

    I don’t think it debatable at all whether psychiatry can be non-coercive. Much of it is non-coercive. Non-coercive, but expensive. Coercion is pretty black and white. Either one is compelled by law or force to do something one wouldn’t ordinarily do, or one is not. The locked closed ward, the psychiatric prison, is all coercion. It’s that coercion that I would see abolished.

    Psychiatry would not define itself as “first and foremost, and literally, a tool for the enforcement of cultural and legal norms”. I think we have to look at the way psychiatry defines itself, and also at how other people would define it, and not just at the way that it is defined by OldHead.

    Like OldHead I would welcome any and all discussion on the subject.

  • I’ve seen situations in the USA where people were locked up by these Assertive Community Treatment teams, these teams assembled to provide care for those considered most disturbed and less able to care for themselves. My concern is protecting people who find themselves in such situations. Like so many other people in the system we are talking about people who are victims of a leap to judgment. Technically, one might call “addition to the legal system”, the illegal system, there are so many constitutional rights violations involved. Calling such treatment “social control” is being honest about it. Calling victims of this illegal system “people with serious ‘mental disorders'” is being dishonest about it. I just think this extra-legal system of social control an illegal system if it would undemocratically support the rights of some people at the expense of the rights of other people. Calling upon medical authorities for social control purposes, automatically we are seeing the medical profession called upon to break the maxim that insures good care, “First, do no harm.” Secondly, there is the dishonesty involved in calling your morality police force medical doctors. “Sometimes necessary” covers a lot of ground, too much in my estimation, especially when in this country a person is deemed innocent until proven guilty. The “mental health” system, as it is not subject to due process, throws open the door to all sorts of abusive behavior on the part of the authorities and the state. I just don’t think effective rights protection, were it possible, would permit such social control practices as those that you would be excusing.

  • Coercive psychiatry exists, but saying that there is no such thing as non-coercive psychiatry is a lie. Say the psychiatrist is the guy, and his client is the girl, should the psychiatrist proceed when his client, in no uncertain terms, says “no”, that’s coercion.

    If you can walk out of the psychiatrist’s office, and he can’t do anything to stop you, that’s non-coercive, however, if you try to walk out of his office, and he reacts by having a couple of goons tackle you, and stick a needle in your butt, that’s coercive.

  • I think there is plenty of room for disagreement on that subject. If psychiatry were abolished, we’d still have “mental health” law forcing people into treatment. Psychiatry and force are not synonyms. Plus, psychiatry has always had a heck of a lot of help doing its worse, and if that help is still in place, even if you eliminate it, you’ve done nothing. Rhetoric, OldHead, is still not reality, just as nonsense is not sense, even if it is espoused by OldHead. Psychologists, in a power struggle with psychiatry, want prescription privileges. So much for your honorable, and untouched, exploratory whatever. It is not like they are any better, nor is it like psychiatry could have done what it has done without their, if not blessing, at least, acquiescence. The “mental health” system is not, simply put, psychiatry. There’s no sense in pretending that it is. If you abolish psychiatry without abolishing non-consensual coercive maltreatment, I don’t want anything to do with your abolition. Get it!

  • Focusing on psychiatry alone is distracting and diversionary, yes. Force is the issue with me, psychiatry, in and of itself, not so much. On the one hand you have these moderates and reformists diverting attention away from the need to abolish the forced torture system, and, on the other, you have these people talking abolition of psychiatry– Whatever that means?–doing the same. Psychiatry isn’t the problem, force is. If you were to abolish psychiatry, and forced “mental health” torture still existed, what then? Reassess? I see any call to abolish psychiatry as confusing and distracting. It’s not that psychiatry exists, in any form whatsoever, it’s that it has been given a power by law courts that would be criminal in other hands. I don’t have a problem with psychiatrists in private practice, I just have no wish, nor need, to supply them with business. It is institutional psychiatry that must be abolished.

  • The argument of capitalism versus socialism aside, ending political corruption in this country is going to be a matter of getting the money out of politics. Corporations should not have been given the same rights as individuals because people are harmed thereby, but it is big money that created this problem in the first place. Big money that has much less influence when election campaigns are paid for in a more democratic fashion, that is, by the people, and not just the rich people.

  • Well, how about antipsychiatry, or antipsychiatry movement studies? I don’t think you would necessarily eliminate a subject such as that one from the curricula. In my view, any course on antipsychiatry could include the mad movement (and any number of related movements), and vice versa.

    As for “mad”, Google’s definition search gives us “mentally ill; insane”, and I think there is much room for improvement there, that is, I don’t see the three terms as necessarily synonymous. “Mad” came first, and it has since been sidelined by the “medical model”.

    When we speak of “mad studies”, in my mind, we’re speaking also of the struggle of people oppressed by the psychiatric system for human rights, and I think there should be a place for that inside institutions of higher education.

  • I don’t see how anybody can strike out at the myth of mental illness without at the same time striking out at the myth of mental health. There was this business established around the idea of the management and “treatment” of the “mentally ill”, but it is based on the unsound proposition that minds, rather than bodies, can become “ill”, and in that regard it has more to do with morality than it does with physics.

  • Not at all. We’ve talked about ‘dismantling the mental health system’ before. I don’t know how you would ‘dismantle’ it without ‘abolishing’ it. I just don’t focus on blaming psychiatry because I don’t think the fact that there is a psychiatry is a problem. The real problem is forced treatment, the legislation that has been enacted that gives such power over people’s lives to that profession. The community mental health system, a result of the community mental health act, was one of these things put in place to remove people from the big asylums into the community, but it’s just more of the same. You don’t need a community “mental health” system to release people from psychiatric prisons. All you need, if you want to be thorough about it, is demolition equipment and a demolition crew. If “mental illness” is actually a myth, as some of us insist, you don’t need a “mental health” system for maintaining the pretense that it isn’t so, that it’s a reality.

  • I was proposing abolition of the “mental health” system, I wasn’t proposing the “mental health” system. I feel like the original psychiatric movement had this obsession with laying all the blame on psychiatry which was just short of the facts. Psychiatric nurses, psychologists, social workers, ex-patient psychiatric prison warders (i.e. turncoats), careerists of all sorts, I don’t think they are the good guys either. I thought you were providing many outs for people within the “peer” movement that actually worked towards expansion of the system. My issue with drop in centers, etc., is that they have become much more compromised in their position vis a vis mainstream psychiatry over time. Funding issues, for one thing, lessen their independence from the system and the government. What do you get out of this compromise? More “patients” (consumers, users, whatever) and more professional, even paraprofessional, staff. De-medicalization is opting out of the system altogether.

    We are not free from the mental health system as long as one person is under threat of legalized force.

    Perhaps, but I personally AM free of the “mental health” system. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be the same with others.

  • My disagreement starts with the first sentence.

    “The radicalness of the anti-psychiatry movement has unfortunately become one of its greatest hurdles to overcome.”

    Radical-ness is not the problem with the anti-psychiatry movement, at least the psychiatric survivor end of it. Focusing all the energy and blame on psychiatry alone is a big part of the problem. Where are psychiatrists without family members, politicians, law enforcement, psychologists and social workers, institutions of higher education, etc.? They’d be, of course, on the street or in the unemployment line.

    “What would it take to go about abolishing psychiatry and the mental health system?”

    Although you might be on board with # 1, abolition of psychiatry, I don’t think there is really a lot here on # 2, abolishing the system.

    Let’s look at your 15 proposals. While I’m entirely in agreement with some, I end up shaking my head about most of them.

    * = total agreement.

    1. *

    2. Institutions of higher education are as likely to replace psychiatry programs with Mad studies and neurodivergent studies programs as they are to replace law enforcement training programs with black history and minority studies. The fact that schools offer psychiatry programs is no excuse not to fight for the inclusion of Mad studies, disabilities studies, minority studies, and so forth.

    3. Here’s where you rather than abolish the mental health system work in and for it, and, thereby, work toward expanding it. Needless to say, regardless of the specialist jargon and obfuscation used, I’m not going there.

    4. You’re that much closer to ending suicide prohibition if you get rid of the hotlines altogether.

    5. *

    6. Get rid of the service providers altogether, and you don’t have to train them to slack off. Otherwise, reduce their numbers, and accomplish the same aim.

    7. Expanding the “peer mental health” treatment system = expanding the system in its entirety. People need to learn how to, as in reverse magnetism, opt out of the system.

    8. I don’t really think having health institutions serve as drug dispensaries is a good idea. The most effective way to decrease length of stay is through defunding.

    9. I myself would not want to encourage drug use, pushing, promotion, and manufacture. I don’t think institutions or federal governments should do so either. We are, given the present opioid crisis, dealing with the consequences of living in a prescription drug culture, and I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    10. This conflicts with #s 8 and 9 (i.e. drug selling and promo). We’re shown drug ads on television and the internet every day of the week that provide a lot of information on adverse effects that they expect viewers to simply ignore.

    11. You wouldn’t have to launch drug withdrawal programs if you didn’t start with drug treatment programs. Stop drug peddling, and you eliminate both.

    12. ALL psychiatric diagnoses ARE bunk.

    13. *

    14. People should not be paid not to work regardless of whether its through SSI or UBI. Jobs over bureaucracy!

    15 *

    The problem with # 15 is you don’t need to change the law so much as you need to repeal it. Without mental health law, this force we are presented with would be illegal anyway. Mental health law represents a loophole around criminal law.

  • That would be great, for a start, but then…

    How about creating a society where all people had jobs? I don’t think we had that even in the 60s.

    Who is served by unemployment? Corporate interests I would think. What do they get out of it? 1. a surplus labor force, the old Marxist thing, growing less important all the time, 2. a scapegoat, 3. deflected scrutiny, 4. increased mechanization, 5. maximized profits, 6. bought politicians, 7. tax cuts for the rich, 8. an aim for philanthropic efforts, 9. a country of suckers, 10. bought institutes of higher education, 11. stiff competition for jobs within the monopolies (stifled competition), 12. gated communities and slum lords, 13, oligarchy (government by, for, and of the rich), 14, disenfranchisement of the vast majority of humanity, 15. elite status and privilege, etc.

    Not to fear, the terminator is coming.

  • “Social welfare problems”? I’m not a fan of the throw money at it, and it will go away theory. I just don’t think it works. Throw money at a problem, and you’re funding it. Now what we’ve got is an entire service industry growing up around the idea of “homelessness” and people not being able to take care of themselves. This industry is doing anything but providing affordable housing, as well as independence and self-sufficiency. What it is doing is perpetuating itself, and the population that it thrives upon, the so-called “needy”. Treat adults like children, and what do you get? Of course, adults who act like children. Treat adults like adults, and once again those adults have rights.

  • If you are saying that it has something to do with our present society valuing propriety over freedom I would have to agree with you…but not it.

    You are weighing in in favor of some kind of social control, beyond law, criminal law, it seems to me, and I would not be doing so.

    I see a lot of exaggeration taking place in the name of “mental health”, and, frankly, I would go in the other direction, that is to say, I would downplay the matter rather than turn the problem of problem people into a runaway and thus unstoppable industry.

    What was done? These huge asylums were built to contain, and keep hidden, the problem. Essentially they came to serve as the rug under which society swept it’s unwanted castoffs. If you accept the human about us as a whole, in my opinion, you go in the opposite direction.

    “Supports”, “help”, blah blah blah, “the community mental health system”, much of whining nanny statism, etc., in general, these matters are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

  • Thanks for this informative and apt review. If people get “chronically depressed”, and “functionally disabled”, as a result of taking SSRI anti-depressants, were one to call for accuracy in advertising, perhaps it would be more fitting to call these drugs depressants rather than anti-depressants. What do the research results actually show? People are more likely to recover off the drugs than on. Hmm. Could it be that these drugs are somehow behind the epidemic of “mental disorders” that we’ve seen sweeping the nation in recent years? I think I could safely place a wager that such is indeed the case. Any studies that would try to say otherwise are obviously based on those short-term studies the drug companies use to get FDA approval, and to peddle their wares. Not surprisingly, a lot of doctors, “mental health” professionals, politicians, and others, are implicated in bolstering this multi-billion dollar industry.

  • Agree 100 % with most of the last paragraph above. Whatever terms we happen to use, the problem is discrimination and prejudice. “Disability” though, I have several issues with from the onset. For starters, it defines this relationship of an individual to receiving government SSDI checks. Then there is the matter of, if you are saying “mental illness” is a myth, how can you say “disability”, without confirming and reliable tests of one sort or another, in many cases, where so-called “mental illness” is concerned, isn’t a myth as well? I’d like to see many people with jobs and purposeful lives that the present system denies such, and I see the “disability” excuse as one of those reasons for such denial. I suppose you could call it cynicism in action.

  • As for the term “user”, you’ve also got “consumer” and “mental patient” which essentially mean the same thing. If you fight the idea of the last, in a “clinical” situation, force is still law, and the institution exists to get people to admit to “having” a “mental illness”, the basic justification for the psychiatric profession.

    “Intervention” gives me a problem, too, for the same reason that one country may have with another country interfering in it’s own internal affairs. MYOB doesn’t work where YOB is, as it is in psychiatry, another person’s B.

    You don’t have force without violence or the threat of violence. I’m glad that Tina pointed out the violence involved. The state has “danger to oneself or others” as an excuse to lock innocent people up. This makes the state guilty of an abuse of power where the state would use it’s authority to harm people who would harm nobody.

    One big difference I have with Tina’s view is that I think the “disability” excuse way over used. I also think the budding “disability” field of professional career “peer supporters” and “helpers” an example of corruption. My worry is what we are seeing. The numbers of adult babies existing in the world today has a heck of a lot to do with the numbers of adult baby sitters operating in the world today, and, by the way, vice versa.

    Forced treatment needs to be abolished. Reform is always about using more or less force. Abolish forced treatment, and you no longer have two reformist sides of the same debate debating whether more or less force should be applied. Instead, you don’t force unwanted maltreatment that claims to be “medical”, even when it is not “medicine”, on human beings.

  • I had a different take on the Gerald Klerman claim in that I tend to agree that that’s the way psychiatrists see it. I found neuroleptics made me feel terrible, and it wasn’t that they were saying taking this substance was going to make me get any better. The claim was that a person with a certain diagnosis would have to take these drugs for life, and they were drugs that made me in particular feel terrible.

    I was also at one time given a so-called anti-depressant, and I didn’t think it did a thing for me. My doctor at the time said that my body had to adjust to taking the drug with time. Perhaps he thought of it as a happy pill. I felt I wasn’t depressed. I decided not to take the anti-depressant, and I think that was a wise choice. Had I not done so, not only do they have their own set of adverse effects, there would be withdrawal effects to consider if I’d ever tried to come off of them after continued use either with help or entirely on my own.

  • I would hesitate on this subject before agreeing, if I could agree. Bio-medical psychiatry is as firmly entrenched as it has ever been. “Broken brain” and “chemical imbalance” may be falling by the wayside, but attributing disorders to genetic causation is only growing stronger, and now, with bogus “bio-markers”, you have an ingenious method of increasing drugs sales. Much of this creation of the DSM has been about reinforcing the status of the psychiatrist as a medical professional, and in that matter it has been highly effective. Seeing as the role of the psychiatrist is contingent upon seeing many common problems people face in life as medical conditions, I don’t see a way around exposing the mythology that that profession has developed around itself as a justification for its existence. I can’t say that there is nobody who is critical of psychiatry for having arisen in the first place. Regardless, people are going to come to that profession’s defense on the basis of perceived need rather than legitimate science, making one question whether that perceived need is enough to justify the entire endeavor, and thus, the pretentious masquerade.

  • Who defines “torture”? Psychiatrists?

    As long as psychiatry is going to be imprisoning people, and asking for a “confession” (admission) of “mental illness”, before it will release (discharge) them back into the general population, I don’t think you can accuse it of being innocent of torture. I can’t imagine that this statement is anything but tongue in cheek as psychiatry and psychiatrists are torturing people at this very moment.

    What they’re saying is we don’t want psychiatrists to be accused of “torturing” people the way psychologists have been accused of doing so, and here, it’s okay to “torture” locals, just not foreigners, in the interest of what? Diplomacy? I can’t help but think this statement partakes a little of that power struggle between two competing professions more than anything else.

    Are eastern European, and in particular, Russian psychiatrists, going to stop labeling, drugging, and locking people up for disagreeing with the government? Ditto, USA psychiatrists?

  • I have to be very cynical about the way things are going, especially this business of “advocating for”. I support the Soteria house model of alternative. I’m also very wary of the “mental health” treatment consumption business. On the one side you have “mental health” workers, and on the other side you have treatment junkies. It’s a thin line, with a lot of corruption, some treatment junkies crossing over to become treatment pushers themselves. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to become an abuser or a victim. I’d encourage them to get out of the system instead.

  • I see psychiatric drugs as essentially harmful. They are construed as helpful, but they aren’t helpful. They are so harmful that doctors should be leery of prescribing them. These drugs are advertised as miraculous medicine for people suffering from “mental illnesses”. In a hospital, actually incarceration, setting, they complement the confinement. A lot of people have been duped into thinking these harmful substances are beneficial to health. I think they are detrimental to health, and to me, that’s exactly what these infographs show. The question is, how do you get people who have been duped into thinking something that is bad for them is good for them to take better care of themselves. I think of the infographs as a start in that direction.

  • I’m warming a little to the graphics. Anyone who reads them should begin to get the idea. Neurotoxins aren’t good for your health. I feel if we go into “mental health”, anyway we put it, we’re actually dealing with an abstraction. The point is that doctors should be warning patients about these drugs rather than prescribing them, and doing so for life. Given that there are so very many people who have been completely duped, I think they have to be a positive step in a better direction.

    Antidepressants don’t relieve depression effectively, and taken long term, they may exasperate it.

    “Antipsychotics”, neuroleptics, atrophy the higher functioning of the brain, and they decrease brain mass (i.e. destroy brain cells).

    Benzodiazapines should never be prescribed long term. They are addictive, and they impair cognitive functioning.

    It’s not an information war that people are suffering from here so much as it is a disinformation war, and as such, reliable information can become a powerful inoculate to it, and an invaluable armor against it.

  • What is the number one cause of “mental distress” in the world today? Although the matter is certainly not beyond dispute, I would say that the number one cause of “mental distress” in the world today is the fact of being born into the physical universe, that is, corporal existence. Many peoples’ experience of life on this planet began with a slap on the rump.

    I like the graphs, and I think they must be very instructive, however I do have a little problem with how they were conceived. This is especially true with the one on what you call anti-psychotics, and I would call neuroleptics, drugs that I have heard referred to, with no small sense of irony, as psychotic drugs. The problem, as I see it, is this matter of envisioning “mental distress” as a form of “impairment” that would be corrected through the impairment of drug use. The reality is that what you really get are psychological, that is, psycho-somatic conditions supplanted by chemically induced physical injury.

    “Chronic psychosis” seems to me a much more mythological creature than say “chronic drug impairment” coupled, of course, with financial “impairment”/dependency. This web of causation starts with seeing a problem where no problem necessarily exists. The web of deception is further complicated by the x = unknown factor. Here, a cause is like the winning number in the lottery, all you have to do to get “mental distressed” is to reverse the odds.

    Curiously we don’t see “mental distress” as a winning position, mostly.

  • I wouldn’t disagree with you on this one, OldHead, but I want to point out that in the media there is this ongoing story that some people kill other people because they suffer from a “chemical imbalance” that returns when they “go off their meds”. It is this false narrative that we are going to need to spend a great deal of time doing battle with. According to news accounts it is the drugs, when they take them, that prevent them from killing people. I think, in many instances, some folk are more interested in maintaining this false narrative than they are in ascertaining the truth. You’ve got this “as if” guiding peoples’ actions. Why rock the boat when doing so is going to put your career in jeopardy? We’ve got a business here, and the only way to get it to register a skin reaction, is to lay it out in no uncertain terms. These neurotoxins are injurious and deadly, and we’ve got the studies to show that to be the case.

  • No, it’s mad Americans that they would disarm. The idea is that the “public” needs to be protected from “them”, the ‘mad dog killers’. That they would be “disarmed” is of no concern to anyone so long as the “public” is protected.

    Unfortunately, as far as I’m concerned, the “public” is completely bonkers, so there. Take that. I know, I might have difficulty defending myself, especially given laws enacted against my doing so, but you do realize, too, that those laws are unconstitutional, don’t you?

  • The humanities, social “science”, “metaphysics”, etc. If a person is going to step to the beat of their own drum, I don’t want to impose another person’s drum beat upon them.

    One could imply that a rapacious appetite for acquisition and exploitation was natural, but such an appetite is a threat to the environment (i.e. nature), too. Go with number one, and you’re in step with the drummer supplied, go along with number two, and you’re out of sync with the times. I’m not saying anybody should be in sync with the times.

    I don’t see scientism as a nonsensical backward term. I see it as a matter of applying science where science, for one reason or another, doesn’t apply, or, say, belong. Medicalization, for instance, where one is labeling non-medical problems, such as distraction or disobedience or misconduct, diseased, for social control purposes. Medicalization is an example of scientism in practice.

  • We don’t need more people applying the scientific method where it can’t, or shouldn’t, be applied. The view that everything comes under the umbrella of science, or that all problems will be solved by it, is, to my way of thinking, scientism.

    As for more people thinking scientifically, when it comes to soft science subjects such as psychiatry and psychology, that’s not what you get. What you get are more people thinking pseudo-scientifically. Astrology is science to the person who doesn’t know any better.

    Logic is not the truth. Logic is a method for determining what the truth actually is, and of distinguishing that truth from falsehood.

    Can there really be such a thing as being “too rational” and/or “too logical”? Yes. Anything can be taken too excess, even logic and rationality. The mental asylum building movement got a big boost from the enlightenment’s ostracization of viewpoints it felt to be unreasonable and non-rational and the people who held those views.

    Applying the scientific methods to all aspects of society is what I saw taking place in Walden Two, B. F. Skinner’s utopian/dystopian depiction of the future, depending on your perspective. Being more of a Walden One type of person, I’m no fan at all of behavioral mod. We’ve also got Orwell’s 1984 to show how science can go dreadfully wrong.

    I would never want to confuse science with so-called social engineering.

  • I think you’re overreacting, Richard.

    Wikipedia defines scientism as follows…

    “Scientism is a term generally used to describe the facile application of science in unwarranted situations not covered by the scientific method.”

    …and that is exactly how I was seeing it.

    Google gives us…

    “thought or expression regarded as characteristic of scientists.”


    “excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.”

    Close enough.

    You’ve got me wondering whether or not it isn’t your own scientism that has you objecting to the term.

  • Generally, Steve, my understanding is that medical model goes along with biological psychiatry, and when we say medical model we mean biomedical model. Anything less biological would be out to buck the medical model in some fashion.

    The question here is whether any of the problems or conditions covered by psychiatry are actually medical/biological, or whether they are psychological/social, and to what, if any, extent.

    Medical implies biological, however, in psychiatry we are dealing with issues that are not, in a very many instances, biological in the slightest. Hence the need for alternatives to any strictly medical approach to such problems. Many of us are very aware of the harm that has come to people of dealing with such ‘problems in living’ as if they were medical conditions.

  • We disagree about Wikipedia, OldHead. You see it as totally unreliable. I see it as a peoples’ reference that anybody can edit and revise. In my view, any inaccuracy there is a matter of allowing it to be that peoples’ reference. If you find anything false therein, you have the capacity, yourself, to make a correction. I have done so. What about you? People are required to cite sources, that’s about making yourself credible. I also disagree about the random high school student being more credible. As I was saying, where I have found any major mistake or misleading statement in Wikipedia I have tried to offer a correct revision. I couldn’t do such with Encyclopedia Britannica, for instance, and I am proud to be able to do so with Wikipedia.

  • Basically, Steven Spiegel, I guess I should have included the sentence before the sentence before the sentence about not considering diagnosis to be a negotiation between patient and doctor.

    This is from Wikipedia on Biomedical Model.

    “According to the biomedical model, health constitutes the freedom from disease, pain, or defect, making the normal human condition “healthy.””

    I don’t invent these things. Do you?

    Hence disease model and biomedical model are essentially the same thing.

  • If we do a search we find out all sorts of things. Things, such as, ‘the biomedical model has been around since the mid-nineteenth century’, and…

    “Unlike the biopsychosocial model, the biomedical model does not consider diagnosis, which affects treatment of the patient, to be the result of a negotiation between doctor and patient.”

    We will skip the biopsychosocial model as I consider it mainly a ploy used by biomedical model psychiatry to defend itself by pretending to be something it is not. (The Ronald Pies article is a case in point.)

    One model that would contrast with the biomedical model is the trauma model, but as trauma is actually injury, and another excuse to bring in the medical profession, I don’t see it.

    Disease model is applied mainly to substance abuse (huh?), or addiction. Something that you get if you resort to biomedical model treatment for non-biomedical conditions (social and/or “mental” problems), drug prescriptions.

    “The disease model of addiction describes an addiction as a disease with biological, neurological, genetic, and environmental sources of origin”

    Contrasted with the above approaches is the social model.

    “The social model of disability is a reaction to the dominant medical model of disability which in itself is a functional analysis of the body as machine to be fixed in order to conform with normative values. The social model of disability identifies systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) that mean society is the main contributory factor in disabling people.”

    The only problem I have with the above ‘definition’ is with the concept of “disability” as applied to people with ‘problems in living’. “Social disability” like “mental illness” is a metaphor in my book, but still the last model, the social model, comes closest to addressing some of the very real problems we have with conventional biomedical treatment of non-biomedical problems (i.e. medicalization).

  • And what is the difference between “disease model” and “medical model”? Doctors and nurses, or viruses and infections? I think they are the same. This profession for tending fabricated fictitious diseases, and the bogus illnesses that it would, with its quackery, *cough, cough* forge and “treat”.

    Medical model wasn’t arrived at by people who subscribed to biological psychiatry, quite the opposite, it, as a rule, has been a term used by people who were highly critical of this form of treatment which they saw as a form of medicalization, that is, providing medical treatment for non-medical problems. Disease model, similarly, would take personal problems for “brain dysfunction”, or “disease”. There’s more difference between a tomato and a potato.

  • Biological psychiatry comes under flack from critics of the strictly biological approach to ‘problems in living’.

    Biological psychiatry adherents respond by saying, “Look, we’re not so bio-bio-bio (biologically minded) as all that after all, we’re actually pretty bio-psycho-social.”

    1. Assumption of Pie’s 6 assumptions: the biological presumption

    All 5 of the other assumptions further reinforce and support this basic presumption.

    Thank you for reminding Pies and others of his ilk that real science is not a matter of presumption.

  • The drug companies situation vis a vis courts of law complements the “mental health” situation vis a vis courts of law. If good health is good behavior, physical illness is no longer necessarily unhealthy. It is the social control aspect of psychiatry that we are dealing with here, and social control attained through the administering of drugs.

    I don’t think it is helpful to blame drug companies without seeing how all these other people are involved in the same business, which is to say, the drug companies couldn’t do what they do without a lot of help from a lot of people. If you’re really going to take this system on you have to automatically go to the root of the problem, and that involves the extreme amount of injury and death, not to mention bad behavior, that may be attributed to the use of these drugs in “treatment” aimed at social control. Could we tolerate people’s behavior in the first place, you wouldn’t get all these measures designed to control it, nor this equation of behavior with health.

  • We’ve got two related concepts in the area of morality under discussion here, freedom and, what goes along with it, responsibility. The other side of the coin is enslavement (if of a mechanistic variety) and irresponsibility. Whatever “free choice”, together with responsible decision making, there would be in such a world would likely to be determined by genetics, that is, presuming people are not, by nature, free.

  • The problem of free will versus determinism is philosophical, OldHead, and that means it covers more technical ground than a blog such as this, being aimed at the general reader, would be expected to cover. It’s an interesting and involving subject, going from determinism to libertarianism, and covering incombatablists (of freedom with determinism) and combatablists. I’ve seen, with the advent of scientism (or pseudo-scientism), the deterministic argument grow more popular. This simply goes over most peoples’ heads, and it is not something that any argument is going to resolve to everybody’s satisfaction.

  • Although I don’t know what this has to do with Moe, Larry, and Curly, I will take a shot at it.

    1. No.

    2. Freedom and force are antithetical. You don’t force freedom on people any more than you force freedom on animals. They are, to use an ancient movie title, born free. Some animals couldn’t live outside of a zoo, you say. Alright, I’d call that exceptional circumstances, and I definitely wouldn’t force the rest of the animal kingdom into a zoo.

    3. “Disability” payments versus employment, that is a difficult one, isn’t it? Some people are homeless now, that is, they don’t lack the ability to pay their rent, they lack the money to pay any rent. This involves two other issues, job availability and affordable housing. Building condos for the relatively well to do isn’t going to fix that. Maybe someone should start looking for some creative solutions to the social problems capital is creating for everyone.

  • Amusing illustration. I’m reminded of an episode of The Three Stooges if anybody is interested. It’s called From Nurse To Worse (1940). Moe, Larry, and Curly have this idea for an insurance company scam. Curly will pretend to be crazy for the insurance money. When they take Curly to the psychiatrists, his act is just a little too convincing. The doctors want to perform something called a cerebrum decapitation on him. The rest of the show is about Moe and Larry’s efforts to assist Curly in escaping from this operation. The fact that lobotomies were being performed on a rather routine basis at the time must have lent some sort of weight to the message, if message there could be said to be in The Three Stooges.

  • If I had to spend time on a “psych ward”, Dragon Slayer, I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer for it to be spent in a library rather than in a prison of sorts, and if I’m to receive “medicine” for my “soul”, let it be instruction from books rather than intoxication (or stupor) from drugs.

    Institutional coercive psychiatry having been around for 400 years or thereabouts now, let’s hope that it won’t take another 100 years for what you call Szaszian ideas, or the demand for an end to such coercive practices, to gain traction. My point being, there was a before institutional psychiatry and, so far as I’m concerned, I’d love to see an after.

  • Well, you’ve got a lot to learn then if you’d be willing.

    The classical world was a class society, but it wasn’t all upper classes, nor was it mostly slaves. I think there is much that is known, and much still to be uncovered.

    Socrates was found guilty of corrupting the youth of Athens, and ordered to drink hemlock. I think there are going to be historical parallels of relevance today should anybody choose to look for them.

    We are the ancients in the sense that we are their direct intellectual descendants. Go to Greece and Rome, and you may find the literal blood descendants of these people who gave us so much in terms of sensibility, custom, arts, and literature.

  • I agree about not forcing treatment on people, but as psychiatrists and “mental health” professionals are now compelled by law, in the USA anyway, to lock people up for their own protection, and, in part, this is protection from their own hands, I think that it would be a mistake to over simplify.

    Michelle Carter was not a professional, and her situation was enlightening in many ways, and could be reviewed, if you should choose to go there.

  • Thank you for this interview. As professor Michael Fontaine points out, the ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t have lunatic asylums. Also, that eccentricity, madness, was more accepted, as of course it would have to be, in the community then than it is today. This is one of the many things you get from looking at these things in terms of historical context, and I imagine, he’d be the first to tell you that you can find out so much more from looking at ancient approaches to many of the problems that we encounter in the world today. It’s not until much, much later that madhouses and lunatic asylums start popping up like mushrooms, and you get institutionalization on any large scale to speak of. I’d say, right there, we have much to learn from the ancients.

  • I’m surprised that this pod cast hasn’t generated more discussion. I have two Google News search terms that I employ regularly. One is “psychiatry” and the other is “R. D. Laing”. While there has been a smattering of news about Thomas Szasz, for instance, since his 2012 death. It is less than sporadic. R. D. Laing, on the other hand, hasn’t really vanished from the media spotlight in some quarters since his death in 1989. There are many reasons for this media longevity that one could point to but, all the same, I think one has to consider it a remarkable achievement on his part.

  • The fear or threat of violence is a way for APA members to drum up business. This is what this statement says to me.

    “Mental illness” itself is a metaphor, that is, not illness at all.

    So when “mental health” becomes the solution to school violence, that matter is being resolved through scapegoating, the traditional scapegoat being the “mental patient” or mad person. It’s like blaming bad things on Jews, blacks, Arabs, witches, or you name it. While it is ‘politically incorrect’ in today’s world to blame those other groups, it’s still considered very ‘politically correct’ to blame violence and so forth on “mental illness”.

    Two words, ‘insanity defense’. E. Fuller Torrey wrote a book titled, The Insanity Offense. When the perpetrator of a crime is seen as “insane”, the perpetrator is not seen as a moral agent. It is his “illness”, his “lack of agency”, that is said to be “responsible”. Problem is, this exoneration of criminals condemns everybody in the “mental health” system by association.

  • Thomas Szasz got sued when one of his clients committed suicide. His offense, his methods were not those employed in standard practice, in other words, drug people, and if one dies by his or her own hand you can’t be sued, don’t drug them and you can.

    The other problem is that this then makes the doctor’s task to employ every means at his disposal to “save” the client from him or herself whether the client wants to be “saved” or not. This is not exactly supporting the client’s interests as the client sees them. It is also a major breech of client doctor confidentiality.

    I’m not sure where this stands in relation to non-intervening witnesses, I just know that now these psychologists are going after Donald Trump, and saying that “duty to warn” is being downplayed because of the Goldwater rule. “Duty to warn” involves warning the public about people who are “a danger to self and others.” If “mental health” professionals now have a “duty to warn” when it comes to “danger to self”, maybe you can see the problem. The physician or professional who doesn’t “warn” can be subject to litigation.

    The state could prosecute, remember the girl (Dr. Breggin here at MIA did a series on the case) who was recently convicted for not doing enough to stop her boyfriend from killing himself, and call it something like criminally negligent homicide or man slaughter.

  • Thank you for this article. I didn’t see anything that I really disagreed in your post. I certainly don’t see how anybody could say that suicide is not a civil right.

    If we consult Wikipedia on the subject:

    “In most Western countries, suicide is no longer a crime.”

    “No country in Europe currently considers suicide or attempted suicide to be a crime.”

    “In the United States, suicide is not illegal but may be associated with penalties for those who attempt it”

    If taking one’s life is not a crime, if it is not illegal, and thus it is legal, it is a civil right.

    This is instructive because there was a time when attempting suicide was treated as a felonious offense allowing the state to take the life of the person who attempted to take his or her life.

    Now we’ve gone full circle with the state endeavoring to force people to continue living regardless of their own wishes on the matter, however, in so far as that goes, it is only failure that will illicit such efforts to save people from themselves. Anybody who has been successful at suicide has put themselves well beyond the reach of any law that we know of.

  • If you’re saying the “recovery” movement is not a “recovery” movement. Agreed. I mean you’ve got all these people making their living “recovering” people from “mental illness” who would be out of work if they succeeded in doing so. Why aren’t there more “recovered” “schizophrenics” in the world? Take a wild guess. The more astute question is why aren’t there more “recovered” “mental health” professionals? You’re not going to “recover” “schizophrenics” (or former “schizophrenics”) without at the same time “recovering” the “mental health” staff designed to tend to them. Simple economics, pay people to do something, and they are going to do it. Stop paying them, and you are going to see some really angry people. I kind of think we should be paying them, if we’re going to pay them, to do something else.

  • That’s why I left those 3 links up there, Darby. Now you, or anybody else, have 3 takes on the “mental health” movement that you can make whatever you will out of. As is, it’s not really a “mental health” movement at all so much as it is a “mental health” treatment movement, and that’s something that just doesn’t sit well with me. Treat anybody else, thank you. Leave me out of it. I’m perfectly content with my present madness.

  • Disconsensus certainly has it’s place. I don’t think an accurate “interpretation of the real world” is ever attained through consensus.

    With regard to, “social groupings of humans promoting and allowing any forms of exploitative and/or potentially traumatic experiences to exist”. “Property is theft.” Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said that. Overlords, kings, presidents, corporate chiefs, etc., all got there through violence in one form or another. Reversing this situation, as ever, remains a tall order.

    As “invalidation” has always been a corollary to “validation”, I find “validation” often a matter of corruption, relatively speaking, to begin with.