Friday, April 26, 2019

Comments by Frank Blankenship

Showing 100 of 3264 comments. Show all.

  • Quackery pays, sure, but sooner or later your quacks are going to be found out. Anticorruption campaigns will take care of the big $$$$$$$ boys. Get the money out of politics, bust a few corrupt politicians, and your big bad boys will be a lot smaller.

  • One correction to the above is necessary. Moral treatment begins just prior to the 19th century, not the 18th, and continues onto the middle of that century.

    Imprisoning lunatics began in earnest on a larger scale than say 20 max inmates in Bedlam at the end of the 17th century, and near the beginning of the 18th. The scale of this mass imprisonment was just further escalated, once again, and much further, with the introduction of moral management, or more would-be humane treatment, great selling point for lunatic asylum/psychiatric prisons, towards the dawn of 19th century.

  • As far as I’m concerned, Ronald Pies and Mark Ruffalo, together with many in their field, have created their own bogeyman in the antipsychiatry movement. This movement doesn’t compare with the biological psychiatry movement, what with its pharmaceutical drug fiefdoms and the imperialism of western pseudo-medicine that is engulfing much of the planet at this time.

    I have a little problem with this time line of yours beginning in the middle of the 19th century. Before there were psychiatrists, there were, same thing, mad doctors and alienists. Of course, psychiatrists didn’t start calling themselves psychiatrists until about the middle of the 19th century, or perhaps later, the beginning of the 20th.

    From just before the beginning of the 18th century, moral management was the reform movement that existed until about, let’s see, the middle of the 19th century. Moral management, with doctors making a show of removing shackles from patients, patients that were only technically patients, but actual prisoners, was the thing. You don’t need, really, shackles when you’ve got solitary confinement (padded cells, strait jackets, and that kind of thing.)

    Okay. The problem is this asylum that people are not free to leave. That’s a prison. That isn’t an asylum, and it definitely isn’t a hospital. These prisons for the mad, psychiatric, one might say, prisons, began sometime prior to the first major reform movement (i.e moral management). Moral management actually escalated the proliferation of these psychiatric prisons (then termed lunatic asylums).

    I hope I’ve sort of paved the way here for the 20th and 21st centuries. Psychiatric prisons still exist, and they are making incursions into local communities as well with all sorts of mini-prisons being developed. Odd treatments, spinning chairs, blood-letting, physical beatings, ice baths, etc., have given way to equally if not more dangerous and odd treatments, electrically induced grand mal seizures, the thorazine (or even seraquel) haze, etc., but the quackery continues.

  • Communist works pretty well for me. Plus I don’t have the aversion to radical leftism that some people have which I think is a more recent phenomenon that owes a lot to the coinage of a more recent expression, “radical right”, “radical conservatism”, or “radical republicanism” put forward by some political commentators. I suppose if you become radical right enough, you start waving flags with swastikas on them, and we’ve done what might be called a ‘full circle’.

    Part of the problem, and Foucault would have been aware of this one, is that the revolutions of the 18th century, against the monarchy, as you put it, saw mental health reform (i.e. moral management, and the expanding asylum system that went along with it; an asylum system that had upped the patient population by 10s of thousands at the beginning of the 20th century) as a more enlightened way of dealing with the “insane”. Funny how, given this capitalistic adventure in salesmanship, that population hasn’t declined, on the other hand, but gets higher with almost every news broadcast in recent years.

  • I beg to disagree, there were never “two movements”, there were multiple movements. The psychiatric survivor movement was one thing, the antipsychiatry movement another, and although there was much overlap, I’m not going to equate the two. Our psychiatric survivor movement has been beset by factionalism from the beginning, and I figure it is better to acknowledge such differences than to pretend that we’ve always been, and will always be, in agreement.

    I’ve heard Ted say something about the 1985 conference being hijacked. The idea of the conference being hijacked adds an element of disorganization to the proceedings. If that’s the movement’s last organized event, and I’m certainly not saying it was, the movement for all practical purposes comes to an abrupt end there and then. I wasn’t there. I wish I had been. We need more events like those that we have had in the past.

    “Tentative cooperation”? Judi is an award now, and Howie is an institution in NYC. Those two are no longer speaking for themselves. Enough with the name dropping. I think we’ve reached a point, what with Nami Pamification, that what the movement has become must be opposed. Medicalization (i.e. psychiatrizing) is such a big issue, you know 1 in 4, or whatever the ridiculous figure is now, that we’ve got to fight all the peddling of “mental health” BS that is going on now. What was once the psychiatric survivor movement is behind a great deal of this patient proliferation, and it should be quashed. The patient proliferation, that is, should be quashed. Okay, now you can get a job in the “mental health” policing business. Count me out.

  • A great many opportunists apparently.

    I heard Judi speak at a few conferences, Alternatives among them. I’m thinking of Judi and Howie, too. I think she tailored her message to suit her audience, but then, who doesn’t?

    I think it depends on which movement you are speaking of. One movement changed after 1985. Many people involved in it up to that point didn’t change, and either ended up going their separate ways, or being, after a fashion, diplomatic.

    Oh, and it was the so-called CSX movement, “recovery” movement, “peer” “support” movement, mental patients’ bondage movement, or whatever, that sold antipsychiatry down the river, and not vice versa. (Of course, then there are people like you who think the psychiatric survivor movement and the antipsychiatry movement are identical. They aren’t.)

  • The drugs bothered me so much, regardless of dosage, that I stopped taking them outside of the total(itarian) institution of the state hospital. Inside I had no choice, you stand in the queue, and take their poison, or a couple of goons mug you, and give it to you in the rear with a needle and syringe. If I didn’t stop taking them, some doctor would be prescribing them indefinitely, reduced level, or packing the kind of punch to put down an elephant. Actually, I just went through the motions, and pretended to be compliant just to get on with my life. I wasn’t going to take their drugs, but the less people knew about that, the better. Other people took psych-drugs, and that was alright with me. They can live with the TD and metabolic syndrome, I suppose, better than I can.

  • ‘modeled on U.S.-style, managed care”

    It’s a boom industry in the U.S.A. I imagine that more diagnosing, more drugging, and more of about everything concerned with turning people into mental patients is more state of the art in the bad ‘ole U.S.A.

    That they’ve got better things to be doing in Canada. The notion might not occur to them.

  • Really? I thought Trump thought he was president or something.

    The present mental illness contagion, or mental health treatment consumption contagion if you prefer, we are presently experiencing can only grow with an expanding psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. Okay. Give people money, of course, and they’ve got bread on their tables. A career “mental patient”, alternatively called a “peer”, to differentiate them from “peer professionals”, whew. How much garbage do you have to swallow before you choke on it? Mental patients’ liberation exists outside of the mental health system entirely.

  • I read the article and felt that the bit on Robert Whitaker was insulting to him, and anything but even handed. One could say it called for a reply. While the story revolved around Laura, I kind of thought it sidestepped the doping issue, and dealt rather excessively with Laura as some kind of a poster-board “mental health” “recovery” case. I don’t know how you can list the number of drugs that Laura was on at one time without getting the idea that that was excessive. I also don’t think Laura was unusual in that regard, and this is the point that the author somehow either missed or suppressed. Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of drugs. It’s the whole bio-psychiatric narrative that pushes pharmaceuticals, and that’s a narrative that the author didn’t seem to question to any great extent. She, if you want to have a laugh, consulted Allen Frances for the piece. Allen Frances was downright comical trying to say, on one hand, that some patients needed drugs, and maybe, on the other, that some patients didn’t need so much altered chemistry. I think he came across pretty much like the two-faced drug pushing shrink, and the embarrassed but guilty architect of the DSM-IV, that he actually is.

  • When the movement decided to work for mental health system expansion by turning mental patients into mental health workers, mini-warders, across the board all of a sudden all these once angry young radicals became boring old farts. A bigger mental patient manufacture (i.e. medicalization) system is by no means a better system. I really hope they get it together. I’d like to see a monkey wrench thrown into the works someday.

  • We have a corporate owned media, and that, in large measure, must go a long way toward presenting only one side of the message, a message amenable to business interests. I really can’t imagine any national television company, with so much pharmaceutical money in sponsorship, airing a program that takes a critical look at pharmaceuticals. Over and over again, it’s drug ads with a litany of negative effects that they expect, and see, the public put to sleep on predominating. Gloss over this somnolent exercise, and attend to the “que sera sera”, they seem to be saying. I would think, this being true of broadcasting companies, maybe there are strings being pulled in other branches of the media as well.

  • Excuse me, is waiting for the revolution a “false choice” or no choice?

    There’s also the slogan “Nobody’s perfect” that was a slogan of the Nobody for President campaign.

    I couldn’t argue with the slogan “Don’t vote, it only encourages them.” Don’t vote, and I guarantee you somebody else will. The “haves” have been banking on a lack of vote from the “have nots” since time immemorial.

    I voted. I voted for Jill. I would do it again. One thing is for sure, not voting is just another vote for global warming.

  • Laing and Cooper split over Cooper’s invention of antipsychiatry.

    The most highly critical look at psychiatry is a total rejection of psychiatry, in other words, antipsychiatry.

    As for suffering fools, yeah, someone is always going to have to do something.

    Did I just use the word “always”? Probably shouldn’t have done that. Ditto, you and the use of that word, “never”.

  • Psychiatric coercion isn’t legitimate. Before we had anything that might be referred to as a “medical model” you had the police model. You STILL have the police model. Society wants to get errant members off the streets, and it has psychiatry to help it get them off the streets. The illusion that this effort has anything to do with health is just that, illusion.

  • If you just put all shock docs out of business by saying that, I must have missed something. As I said before, self-harm is big, big, big, and I’d like to write a self-harm guide sometime. You know, to compete with the self-help section at the bookstores. When your self-harm has help from professionals, it is no longer self-harm, it is “therapy”. I think everybody has a right to learn from their mistakes, however, first comes folly, then comes wisdom. Let me add, outlawing folly must be almost as big a mistake as mandating wisdom.

  • I don’t know, Ron. The idea of “real mental illnesses” seems to go along with the idea of “real mental illness treatment”. You know, the business of psychiatry, those doctors who “specialize” in the “treatment” of “mental illnesses”, “real” or imagined.

    I got out of the “mental illness treatment” racket entirely, and no complaints here. I’m content so long as nobody can force their “treatment”, perhaps more accurately referred to as trickment, on me.

    More to the point, I think a strong argument can be made against psychiatry, in particular in regards to the increased medicalization of everyday life, and the “chronic” label that goes along with it. (Wow! What exceptional salesmanship! Here’s your medical equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge.) Now where were we? Oh yeah! Doctors who treat imaginary diseases are quacks. If the DSM is not a book of discrete and “real” disease entities, what it is? Of course, a manual of quackery, but that manual doesn’t make doctors who don’t go by the manual any less quacks than those who do.

    I understand the need for silence. Were you at the riverside with a line thrown into the water, this fish is not biting. You sell “mental health treatment”, and without a clientele, you’ve got no meat on your table, and a desperate need for a career change.

  • Abduction, imprisonment, lobotomy, electricity induced seizures, poisoning by toxic chemicals, slander, lifelong persecution, rigged low status, kangaroo hearings, prejudicial mistreatment, compulsory false confession, etc., and the cessation of all of the above. I wouldn’t say that antipsychiatry is extreme, although psychiatry certainly is extreme.

  • The deceptions here are amusing, as well as the results. People are living up or down to expectations. Mostly down. You give people fake MRI scans, those people that receive fake MRI scans that say they are improving, think they are improving, and their dispositions change. Apparently, placebos work better for people suffering from severe depression than previously thought, provided you can deceive them into thinking so.

  • I think the changing demographic, the browning of America, is also changing its politics, and for the better, so I would tend to disagree. The problem is corporate imperialism makes no color distinction either. We’ve got a president that got into power through aligning himself with white supremacists. Put a point on the scoreboard for the reaction. This doesn’t mean that if you opted for the other corporate owned politicians, the democrats, that’s a big hit for “health” of any kind. Should we not do anything about corporate money in politics, corruption is going to drag us all down. Another way to put it is, it need not be a choice between two evils, and opting for the lesser evil of two, if there is a third course of action available, but in this case I don’t think that third course would be conceived of as a “middle way”.

  • I would expose psychiatry as the pseudo-science it is, too, however, delegitimizing psychiatry is not the same thing as abolishing it. I would have much less of a problem with psychiatry posing as medicine if its hospitals were actually hospitals (same base as the word hospitality) instead of literal prisons (places of detention). If such were the case, people wouldn’t be held against their will and wishes. The problem with psychiatry is, even if a person is familiar with facts about drugs, etc., that person can be drugged to death and debility regardless. Get rid of the locked doors, and special passes, the law that transforms hospitals into prisons, so different from other units in a hospital, and you’ve gotten rid of the problem. The problem is not psychiatry per se, the problem is the power this particular “mental health” specialty has been granted over and beyond other people. They have no more knowledge than the average Joe when it comes to behavior. It is this power the profession has been granted by courts of law that is the problem, a power that should be curtailed, and not the fact that the profession exists at all. When they have no more power than the ordinary citizen, ordinary citizens can walk away from them without fear of becoming their captives for eternity. Forced treatment, forced psychiatry, should be abolished. You abolish forced treatment by repealing mental health law.

  • Talk about an uphill struggle?…

    All psychiatrists go through medical school. Stripping them of their licenses to practice, once they’ve achieved that career goal, is a little more complex than wishful thinking. Should psychiatry not be offered in medical school, but there’s that uphill struggle again. Also, a difference of opinion with somebody, probably many bodies, if you’re claiming psychiatry is not medicine.

    There is going to be lawful prescribing of drugs so long as the drugs prescribed aren’t prohibited by law. There may be a big section of books in any library or bookstore categorized as “self-help” books, but “self-harm” is really, really big these days. What with all the self-help guides being written, I think somebody should write a self-harm guide. My point? If you were to outlaw the Darwin Awards, you still wouldn’t be outlawing candidates for winning them.

  • I don’t have a problem with the use of the word abolition in relation to an institution like slavery. I think you have to be more specific in the case of psychiatry. All sorts of people are going to have completely different ideas as to what psychiatry is. If psychiatrists are “soul doctors”, they’ve got freedom of religion on their side. If they are physicians, they’ve got the medical field. I am all for the abolition of forced treatment, forced psychiatry, however, how can I be opposed to forced psychiatry without being in favor of non-forced psychiatry. As long as the mental health coppers can’t nab me and treat me against my will and wishes I’m fine. If anybody wants to see a shrink, or any other sort of fortune teller what-so-ever, that, of course, is up to them. If we’re going after institutional practice, sure, if we’re going after every doctor in private practice, I don’t really see it.

    For the difference between critical psychiatry and antipsychiatry, I would refer people to David Ingleby’s 1980 book, CRITICAL PSYCHIATRY: The Politics of Mental Health, and realize that critical psychiatry has updated it’s views to suit the times.

    From the Introduction, pg. 19.

    ‘Psychiatry’ because unlike David Cooper’s ‘non-psychiatrists’, the contributors to this volume all feel that mental illnesses – whatever their correct interpretation and political significance may be – do exist. and furthermore call for specialized understanding and help.

    Replace the words “mental illnesses” with “emotional distresses” or “psychological traumas”, and there you go. Updated.

    ‘Critical’ because we think that psychiatry should take time off from examining its patients in order to take a good look at itself, with the benefit of the insights which recent sociology and philosophy can offer.

    You get ‘critical’ enough and you never go back. You retire, and, er, as it were, become an antipsychiatrist, or an antipsychiatry movement activist instead.

  • Voluntary? How do you define it? Psychiatry in some cases is completely voluntary. In other cases, what passes for voluntary is something entirely other than voluntary. Voluntary psychiatry is not a chimera. The question is when is that line crossed between entirely voluntary and forced. Voluntary treatment, as a form of plea bargain, is not voluntary at all. Voluntary is not a status, it’s a human right. Of course, you don’t have such a phenomenon outside of prisons posing as hospitals. End the hospital prison equation, and they can’t force psychiatry on anyone. That’s where I’m at, legalizing the freedom to say “no” to psychiatric tortures.

  • As I’ve said before, coupling abolition with psychiatry just creates an empty meaningless slogan. You have to, in other words, be more specific than that. Sure, we could legislate psychiatry away. We could legislate psychiatry away in the same fashion in which we could legislate freedom away. I would be more specific. Abolish forced institutional psychiatry. I’m good with that. Abolish psychiatric slavery. I’m all for doing so. Abolish psychiatry period. Well, you can’t do that without also abolishing freedom of thought and action, and I prefer more democratic methods of proceeding.

  • Electro-shock de-mystified. We need more articles like this one that present the facts because one thing is for sure, from the system we’re getting a pack of lies. What amounts to injury elsewhere in the medical profession is seen as a miraculously curative “therapy” in psychiatric treatment. Go figure. I would imagine that the half-truths such as are used to promote ECT must actually, in the final analysis, be somewhat less than half-truths. Perhaps one could call them quarter-truths, or tenth-truths. Shock is neither so “safe” nor “effective” as it is billed, in fact, what it is is dangerous and debilitating.

  • “we’re not going to leave MIA”… Or construct an antipsychiatry website!?

    Basically, you should refer to the content of Robert Whitaker’s comment below. If you’ve got another message, you don’t blame someone else for their message. You create your own vehicle for relaying that message. I never had this expectation that Robert Whitaker’s opinion of the matter had to agree with that of OldHead and KindredSpirit. Who thinks that way? You do the work, you frame the position your website is going to take.

  • I think it is enough to point out that antipsychiatry and critical psychiatry are not the same thing. Critical psychiatry, in fact, arose in reaction to people calling themselves antipsychiatry. Antipsychiatry does not push psychiatry on people in any way, shape, or form. Right now, people get into these arguments about what’s what. While there are places where I think the two factions can work together, there are also places where I feel they will not be able to do so, and that stands to reason as their perspectives and their aims are not identical.

  • I’m not a big fan of paternalism whether it comes from you or anybody else. “Voluntary” has been twisted by the present plea bargain mentality into its opposite, “force”. I’m not twisting voluntary to mean anything it doesn’t mean. I meant the kind of voluntary that actually means voluntary.

    I think we’ve had this discussion, after a fashion, before. As Thomas Szasz, by way of Karl Kraus, liked to point out, a chamber pot is not an urn.

  • Huh? If your complaint is about capitalism, we have the same complaint. Advertising is the propaganda of capitalism, and so I wouldn’t go looking for truth in it. I agree with you about direct to consumer drug advertising, it should be outlawed, but you’ve got to hold medicine a little accountable for encouraging it and capitalizing on it. On the other hand, I don’t think you can outlaw folly. (They already tried that, and what they came up with is something called the “mental health” system.) Nor do I think you can mandate wisdom, and any attempt to do so, in general, must be considered rank folly itself.

  • Or, to be more explicit, the problem is not psychiatry, the problem is mental health law. Repeal mental health law, and forced treatment becomes abduction, false imprisonment, assault, torture, poisoning, etc. Do nothing about the law, and psychiatry is just a word that was current yesterday replaced by whatever word they are using today. Psychiatry as a philosophy of anything is not the problem. Psychiatry as legalized abduction, imprisonment, torture, and murder, that is the problem. I don’t give much of a fig about all the talk, however, the abduction, imprisonment, torture, and murder. That, I’d like to see ended immediately, and with finality.

  • Essentially, OldHead, I think you are being unrealistic. Nobody is likely to abolish much of anything except by edict. I don’t see psychiatry as pure evil. I don’t even think the fact that psychiatry exists is the problem. If anything is to be abolished make it be forced institutional psychiatry. If anybody wants to consult a trained witch-doctor, it would not be right for me to stand in their way. They can make their own mistakes. You want to consult our contemporary form of headshrinker, go ahead. Only leave me out of it, and I will be content. Psychiatry is not the problem. Psychiatric power, control, and coercion–deprivation of liberty–what amounts to psychiatric slavery is the problem. Do something about the excessive authority granted to psychiatrists, and you’ve gotten rid of any need you might have to abolish the profession itself. The problem is not so much that we have phony hospitals, the problem is that those phony hospitals are actual prisons pretending to be hospitals. I don’t think they can be prisons as such without violating those rights that people supposedly have by law.

  • Good point. Representative government as we’ve got it is scarcely ever truly representative of anything but the corruption of the few. I don’t need a man up there pretending to represent what he takes to be my views any more than I need a person living what he thinks my life should be for me. Where certain matters are concerned, I think it must stay very much DIY.

  • I was struck by how The American Experience film on Walter Freeman, The Lobotomist, and the book by the same name, authored by Jack El-Hai, were so soft on the man. I often wonder about all the casualties and all the devastation that took place at his hands, and I’d like to see a book that told the story of the most debilitated victims of his surgery in detail. I have a book on Quackery, and Walter Freeman has a prominent place in it, and that is a place to which I believe he belongs. Your apologists for psychiatry, your middle-of-the-roaders, explain why anybody would try to turn the life of this or that monster into the subject of a straight forward biography. Yin/yang. How easily they blend in with the design of the wallpaper. People could shrug. Insulin shock therapy today might be considered quackery. ECT should be considered quackery! How is a grand mal seizure going to “help” anyone get “better”, and at what? I actually think, although they haven’t gotten around to it yet, some author might include much psych-drug use today as a further example of quackery in action. I hear SSRI antidepressants as a rule work no better enhanced placebos. Of course, there is the issue of what they are working on. No illness, no relief, but still, one might be consoled by all the withdrawal effects. Instead of getting scared, I would encourage people to speak out, and to tell the truth. Quackery is quackery, and what we are often getting in some areas of what purports to be “medicine” is quackery.

  • The first theme struck me as really bizarrely worded. “Medication-free treatment: an unscientific option for a stigmatized patient group.” AS IF, medication-free treatment might be a scientific option for an non-stigmatized patient group. The real reasoning here is a rather lame-brained, we’re doctors and doctors give people medicine. Doctors who don’t see drugs as medicine, and who don’t give them to their “patients”, are being “unscientific”. One could make similar claims about witch-doctors and their magic potions without evidence, the thing that is so sorely needed.

    Theme Two. “When the minority is in charge: the loudest voices get their opinions heard.” When IS a minority EVER in charge? In a totalitarian state or a prison, of course. Or a mental hospital. They’re calling their “patients” ideologically-driven. Isn’t it true that, in some cases, it isn’t ideology that drives them at all, it’s a desire for liberty, and beyond liberty, for equality.

    Which brings us to theme 3. “Patients with psychotic symptoms: the paradox of ‘lack of insight’ and choice of treatment.” I remember when the refusal to confess to having a “mental illness” was a defense mechanism rather than an entirely separate disease entity. How convenient! “The better to commit you with, my dear.” I just don’t see the paradox. As long as treatment is forced on patients, treatment is not a choice, it is a decision of state, a court order, and a law in violation of the law.

    Theme 4. “Professionalism vs. ideology disregarding science.” Professionals don’t disregard science, OH NO, it’s the plebes who do that. Especially the plebes who are not steeped in scientific training. Follow the money! Follow the money, and I imagine you will end up somewhere in the vicinity of a major pharmaceutical company. These doctors aren’t professional for nothing, sometimes it’s because they took pharmaceutical company money. The same pharmaceutical companies, after all, that have funded their educational establishments and pursuits.

    I wouldn’t imagine that, if all the psychiatrists interviewed held the same position, the pressure to change could have been that great. On the other hand, they feel pressure. Way to go, folks! Keep the pressure on! Maybe someday they will begin to see the light and change their ways.

  • Okay, somebody is, or some bodies are, out to draft a ‘dead sea scroll’ for the DSM of the future. Since when is psychopathologizing not medicalizing, and since when are either not slander. There might be something to neuropathology if it weren’t mostly psychopathologizing. Psychopathology is not pathology, psychopathology is moralizing masquerading as medicine. They know they have a problem, people know the DSM is bunk, but will their extension of the bunkery go over? Stay tuned. De-bunkery has still not made the kind of a dent that it should, but just imagine, and here it comes…The maiden voyage of the Titanic.

  • There is certainly what might be called a clinical utility in preventing overdose. Our prescription drug culture with fentanyl has grown ever more deadly, and it could have been predicted with the letting in of otherwise illegal substances through the side door. Pharmaceutical companies want to capitalize on the fact that drugs are not officially addictive when they are prescribed by physicians. Drugs support evasions, and evasions aren’t effectively solving problems with the resulting bad outcomes, death and injury.

  • The “position that psychiatry is an illegitimate and unscientific branch of medicine” (i.e. non-medicine) makes it sound like a charge of quackery is being made against the profession to me, and that, in fact, is what I would have say psychiatry is, quackery. “Evidence based” quackery mind you.

    Lobotomy has been replaced by neuroleptics. Right, and the average age of a mental patient at death dives to about 52 years of age. Take a good look. Neuroleptics, benzos, and SSRI antidepressants? See any wonder drugs there? Nope? Me neither. Instead one form of quackery, chemical doping, has replaced another, surgical brain mutilation.

    Talking about mental patient (AKA consumer/user) rights is like talking about slave rights, and we know the rights of a 3/5 human being can’t be the same as the rights of a considered 100 % human being. Obviously, it’s human rights we need to be discussing here. If anybody ever says rights without it being qualified by human, somebody has to straighten them out.

  • ‘Substance abuse’ is quite the misnomer for drug dependence, isn’t it? Doing so, a quite arbitrary distinction is being made between recreational pill popping and prescription pill popping. Most doctors don’t, but should, assist people in loosening their attachment to prescription chemicals, and, additionally, refrain from creating chemical dependencies among their clientele. The medical professional, obviously, needs to lessen it’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry, as those ties have corrupted current practice. When the length of the average lifespan is seriously challenged by current pharmaceutical usage, maybe it’s time for doctors to pay attention to the matter, and seek for less drastic means of relief.

  • I think doctors prescribe benzos for the same reason that some people prescribe so-called recreational drinking. Excuse me, as a drinker, for saying so, but I recognize my drinking as a vice. I don’t get the idea that people taking benzos are aware that doing so is a vice as well. If doctors got the idea, maybe they would, as they should, cease prescribing them, and while they are at it, cease prescribing them to excess. Anxiety is not a disease, anxiety is a survival mechanism of the species, and there is no relief from anxiety like the expertise and facility that comes of experience.

  • There is this impression among some people that Tardive Dyskinesia is some kind of acceptable trade off for ‘drug induced mental stability’. Also, neuroleptics, as has been pointed out, time and time again, have a way of transforming what might have been a transitory psychotic episode into “intractable psychosis”, or permanent impairment of the thought processes. I would suggest, on the other hand, that psychosis is preferable to brain damage, and brain damage is exactly what you get with long term routine drug taking regimens. I think the physician’s aversion to madness, in these instances, is much more excessive and exaggerated than it needs to be.

  • Dharmawardene and Menkes need to take a closer look at the “vast global burden” created by “iatrogrenic damage” directly attributable to “mental health treatment”. The “response”, it would seem, may be more injurious than the “compromise”.

    Funny how antipsychiatry has become the bogeyman here. Were I looking for an apt parallel, it might be with communism during the McCarthy era. No surprises. The customary scapegoat’s defender, of course, must also be turned into a scapegoat.

  • In closing I’ll repeat my position that an end to court-ordered psychiatric intervention should be the overriding demand uniting every strand of anti-psychiatry/”critical” psychiatry thought“…

    Yes, yes, and re-yes. We need put an end to forced psychiatric treatment (abduction, imprisonment, poisoning, torture, etc.) When all psychiatry is voluntary, and truly voluntary, the system will not be forcing itself on people who don’t want psychiatric treatment.

    During the 1970s Thomas Szasz and Erving Goffman had the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization going. The issues are still the same. You mean they still do that to people.? Sure do. We need to do something about it.

  • (As a general comment) I think that the demand for an end to legalized forced psychiatry is quintessential — both for those whose concerns are confined to civil or “Constitutional” (in the US) rights, AND to those who take a broader perspective, whose goal is to consign psychiatry and the mentality it represents to the dustbin of history.

    Loud applause.

    However there is an unavoidable symbiotic interplay between the two positions/goals: since psychiatry, as a tool for law-enforcement/social control, it depends on coercive force for its basic existence and “clientele”; depriving it of that capacity would send it on the road to certain extinction. So an end to forced psychiatry can be seen as both an end in itself and as a strategy towards the larger goal many of us have.

    I don’t think there is a larger goal. When psychiatry is no longer a wing of law enforcement/social control (i.e. granted a higher power over the lives of other people), psychiatry is no longer a problem. As many people as there are out there looking for something, end the punitive torturing aspects of psychiatry, and you still haven’t relieved this pursuit of an answer to problems in life. Some people turn to religion, others turn to counseling, still others turn to an end to counseling, if not murder, and I haven’t got any answers, so there.

    Call it pepsichology, or pepsiciatry, or pepsicolicism, somebody is going to be selling something, and somebody else is going to be buying. Paying for their own abduction, poisoning, torture, imprisonment, and disenfranchising mistreatment? I dunno. I’d think people have got to have better things they could be paying for.

  • Basically, OldHead, if you want a leftist organization supporting antipsychiatry you form one. Ditto, an antipsychiatry organization supporting leftism. Ditto, non-partison and rightwing organizations. Organizations are sort of a DIY matter because if you don’t DIY it doesn’t get done. Blaming everybody else for what you don’t do is kind of a slippery slope to fall back on.

    As for supporting an abolitionist positions the question is abolition of what? I don’t think abolition of a belief system is going to make much progress. As in slavery, if you’re going to abolish something, it should be an institution, not a philosophy. I don’t, for instance, think it a good idea of abolish freedom of thought and expression. I think we need to get more specific when we talk about what we’re going to abolish. I don’t think it makes sense to abolish what does no harm to anybody in the first place. Big oppressive institutions of social control and torture, sure, get rid of them. People just trying to get by, and make ends meet? Naw. They’ve got to have some rights as human beings to begin with.

  • If we can distance ourselves a little from the psychiatric survivor versus “mental health” professional class struggle for a moment, I don’t see dialogue (i.e. communication) so much as a privilege, er, luxury. I think sometimes, in the name of getting things done, it’s an out and out necessity, even if the people you would be dialoguing with happen to have differing opinions from your own.

  • It sounds a little like you’re trying to weasel “bio” etc. in there, and this sometimes indicates one’s answer to the prevalence of iatrogenic damage we see in the world today, the blight of the reckless physician, but I will let it slide for the moment. These lenses that you have a number of, must, in some sense of the expression, be metaphoric. That said, we’ve got a cliffhanger. I eagerly await the next episode, and a slideshow view of your answer to the “distressed” situation from all 25.

  • You’ve argued against pragmatism before, OldHead, and now you’re trying to suggest that you are for it.

    I consider myself antipsychiatry, but when it comes to abolitionist, it is forced treatment, psychiatric oppression, that I would abolish, and that includes non-voluntary voluntary treatment, the plea bargain. I’m not against any consultation that is freely entered into, and freely disengaged from, even if that consultation is with a consultant trained in psychiatry. You seem to think you’re going to convince everybody that psychiatry should be discontinued as a profession, and that eventually everybody, even psychiatrists, amiably are going to agree with you. I say, alright. Good luck with that. I’m not so patient in every sense that you might make out of that word.

    I don’t know, OldHead, but I don’t think it is going to be so easy to talk psychiatry to death.

  • Huh? So you think psychiatry does more good than harm, do you? If so, you’re welcome to it. I, however, not being a child, nor a sub-human, would prefer to be left to my own devices.

    As for documentation, OldHead, what do you want? The usual crap? Or, do you want to be cited as a source yourself?

    Excuse me for being literate and reading. Or, don’t. I don’t need your approval either.

  • Don’t think it needs to be reclaimed either, but the history of the word itself is pretty interesting as antipsychiatry began as a pejorative term that was picked up by detractors of psychiatry, and transformed into a positive, or, rather, one could say it had two origins, probably distinct from each other, and now, perhaps, a new twist.

    Some people interpret antipsychiatry as meaning the absolute destruction of psychiatry, the end of psychiatry, zero psychiatrists. I think that is a pretty bizarre interpretation myself, and it certainly wasn’t like that entirely back in the 1970s. I see antipsychiatry as repulsion, reverse magnetism, applied to psychiatry. I’m not interested in laying on a psychiatrists couch, nor in being imprisoned by one, nor in fraudulently playing “sick” for the entirety of my life. Antipsychiatry gives me the means and the freedom to oppose coercive psychiatric practices. If I can use antipsychiatry to thumb my nose at coercive psychiatry, I am happy to do so. Although I wouldn’t see psychiatry extinguished entirely, not wanting to prevent people from pursuing what interests them, I would certainly outlaw coercive (essentially unconstitutional) psychiatric practices that we might return to rule of law, and the letter of the law.

    Thomas Szasz pointed out that the word itself was first used by a German psychiatrist early in the 20th century against detractors of the profession, but then it fell out of use after WW1. David Cooper recoined (for lack of a better word) the term in the context of the countercultural revolution taking place in the 1960s. The acknowledgement that psychiatry, typically, does more harm than good, and that we would, all in all, be better off with it, informs this usage.

  • I get the idea that he is against forced treatment, and so I can’t really say I have an argument with him. He can call himself what he will. I am aware that we have differing perspectives on AP, OldHead. “Critical Psychiatry” is another fuzzy matter. If LC could be said to have practiced “Critical Psychiatry”, he is not a proponent of forced treatment. Other proponents of “Critical Psychiatry” could be said to be proponents of forced psychiatry. As an anti-force activist, I find his mode of practice (at least prior to retirement) preferable to theirs. I guess another way for me to put this is to say that, in my opinion, all psychiatry is not the same psychiatry. Your view on this subject, of course, diverges from mine. I don’t have a problem respecting differences of opinion.

  • I don’t know that language, which belongs to everybody, can be “hijacked”. Antipsychiatry itself has gone back and forth between the negative, pejorative uses for its detractors, and the positive, liberatory health conscious uses for its supporters. If psychiatry, as a rule, did, does, and will do more harm than good then antipsychiatry becomes a protest of, and a defense against, that harm.

    I don’t hold that everybody must see themselves as antipsychiatrists. I do hold that those who identify with the word antipsychiatry have every right to do so. It is a way of thumbing one’s nose at the harming professions, and, at the same time, recovering responsibility for one’s actions, and taking back control of one’s health. Of course, there is also the opposite course of action, too. One could become a treatment junkie, and a “chronic”, incorrigible “mental health” services user or consumer. I, personally, don’t see any “health” advantages in that latter course of action whatsoever.

    I myself am an unrepentant anti-forced-psychiatry movement activist. If by antipsychiatry we mean anti-forced-psychiatry, then by all means, count me among your numbers. If by antipsychiatry you would mean preventing people from of their own free will consulting members of the psychiatric profession, although I’m not going there myself, I don ‘t have a problem with them doing so. What I have a problem with is psychiatry, in combo with the legal profession, taking away my freedom of choice, and stripping me of control over my own life. I’m completely against that form of “psychiatry”.

  • Rather than, as Allen Ginsberg with his theory of spontaneity put it, “First thought, best thought”, I think it works the other way around, that is, “First thought, wrong thought.” Religions usually contain creation myths, not because there couldn’t be another explanation, but rather because there isn’t another explanation until somebody comes up with one. Coming up with a differing explanation for a creation myth is, in religious terms, heresy, and, therefore, cause for reprimand.

    I realize this is the opposite of expectations where the expectation is that one is born wise and acquires stupidity. I should hope that one’s klutzy steps were most likely to come early, and one’s more graceful moves might develop from those with practice. If one grows wise after missteps, okay, then maybe madness was never as “chronic” as we took it to be to begin with. Maybe madness is something we can move beyond.

  • You don’t lose your liberty under the Constitution, you lose your liberty under loopholes in, and violations of, the Constitution. I don’t think anybody should be incarcerated in a hospital anymore than I think anybody could be “healed” by imprisonment, mutilation, and torture. Involuntary hospitalization is what should be outlawed. It’s way up there with voluntary imprisonment and servitude. If Miranda warnings aren’t protecting peoples rights elsewhere, as they don’t outside of the criminal justice system, there is no place for them there. Rather than acceptance of hospitalization as imprisonment and servitude, I’d prefer to see people released from the mental patient role, and a Miranda warning isn’t much good if it can’t free you, and if it instead serves as a habitual rationalization for your further confinement. Basically, even if hospitalization is like imprisonment, I don’t think anybody helps matters by making hospitalization more like imprisonment rather than less. Miranda warnings, as far as I’m concerned, are the wrong direction to go in.

  • Kinda duh. Left liberal is not left wing. Bernie may call himself a socialist, all the same, he’s a mainstream politician. As is, the question becomes which politician best serves the interests of multinational corporations. Get the corporate money out of politics and you will have done a service to humanity. Right now, both political parties are bought and sold by the multinationals.

    Government of, by, and for the rich, or government of, by, and for the ‘middle classes’? Either way, something is missing. You need government of, by, and for the people, all the people, or else you’re double dealing. I don’t need a representative, really. Not when I can represent myself. Vicarious living in excess can never be living.

  • Great article. I’d like to think Bruce for bringing some of these matters to our attention. Just think, what if the “mental health” authorities, as they have with so-called and bogus ADHD, came up with an adult form of ODD. People might never be seen as adult enough to disobey bad orders. Another potential bombshell is the designation anti-social personality disorder. Here you’ve got a label they attach to borderline criminal activities, so long as those activities are not instituted by federal governments. In Russia, and some places in eastern Europe, disagreeing with the government is seen as a “mental health disorder”. Pussy Riot, for example, was prosecuted for Hooliganism. While in America you’ve got the Patriot Act, I’m not going to put it past the authorities to come up with a “mental health” label that might serve the same purposes. In so far as children and adolescents are concerned, what with ODD, CD, ADHD, etc., they’ve already got those labels, and they are used to keep youngsters in their place and powerless. It’s not a big step at all, as is done sometimes, to extend such oppression to some segments of the adult population.

  • Every forensic case has had a Miranda warning issued because in forensic cases not receiving a Miranda warning is grounds for dismissal. Otherwise, there is this little matter of changing the language to suit the context. Most mental health hearings take place in “hospital rooms”, not in ‘court rooms’. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”. Note: the warning doesn’t say “hospital” or “mental health facility”. We have a word regarding the issuing Miranda warnings in mental health cases, and that word is criminalization. Criminalization, in treatment terms, is no big improvement over decriminalization.

  • Work how? By requiring shrinks (& other mental health coppers) to follow a more stringent routine? Rather than see the creation of certain rules of confinement, I’d like to see more people released from confinement. I don’t think you get that by coming up with procedural regulations that support confinement. As is, in criminal cases, if the police issue Miranda warnings you’ve got a tighter case, if not, you’ve got the legal equivalent of a technical foul, and the case can be thrown out on procedural grounds. No procedural deviation, no grounds for release. I don’t think people are going to be any freer with a more regulated admission process. I do think they might tend to be less so.

  • Actually because mental health law is the state’s way of circumventing the law. Treating these people differently from those people constitutes a double standard to begin with. Pointing such out is a way of trying to return to rule of law rather than rule of medical experts.

    When what they are doing is treating people like criminals, Miranda warnings are not likely to encourage them to treat people any less like criminals. Repeal mental health law, end forced treatment, and you’ve dealt a death blow to the problem. Supply a Miranda warning, and you’ve only made the problem official, and reinforced it with a ritualistic routine.

  • Common sense should apply to the psychiatric interview, NOT Miranda warnings. I don’t think having psychiatric proceedings resemble criminal proceedings more than they do presently would constitute any sort of improvement. Instead, cease to prosecute (and thereby persecute) people for what you are calling “medical” conditions, and then we might be starting to get somewhere. The ‘lack of rights’ embodied in the ‘commitment’ procedure, do something about THAT, and you’ve got your citizenship rights back.

    Miranda warnings would only give the authorities more justification for what they are doing, and what they are doing is engaging in what ordinarily would be considered criminal acts.

  • Sure, get off on the wrong foot, so to speak, and you could be screwed for life. No question about it, and you wouldn’t be the first. Groomed for success, or mussed for failure, we’re all game players here, aren’t we?

    “Good losers”, “poor winners:” etc. Be a sport. Hollywood, Inc. needs your dreams and your cash.

    Expectations are…Someone is selling therapy, and given the ruts some people find themselves in, there are going to be buyers. After all, those ruts help us sell more therapy, and this therapy supports “the human condition”, that is, many, many therapy “consumers”, and much manufactured demand.

    We were talking about “the human condition”, that is, how somebody has to put bread on my table. Somebody who can’t do so without taking something in return. Winners, losers? Depends on which side of the couch you happen to fall, doesn’t it?

  • Should society be “providing” “medical treatment” for it’s social problems? That is the multi-billion, going on trillion, dollar question.

    “The number of people in Sweden experiencing mental ill-health has increased dramatically in the last couple of years.”

    Replace the word Sweden with the word world, and you might just have something there. No wonder Mad In America, Inc. is expanding, too.

    The 17th century Trade in Lunacy has evolved into a less lucrative (unless you think pharmaceutically oil’s well that ends oil’s well) but actually more sustainable 21st century Trade In “Mental Illness”. One might wonder why, but I don’t. Obviously, any Trade In “Mental Health” is not going to pay off. Also, you’ve got your release valve for the state when it comes to social issues with this detour and diversion (kinda like a perpetual motion machine).

    In the psychiatric realm, the alternative medicine angle (pseudo-science anywhere else) is booming because of the fraudulent nature of the entire business.

    Keep going.

  • “Investigating”? Investigating what? “Troubles”? You use the word “pseudo-medical”. Psychotherapy is on Wikipedia’s ‘List of topics characterized as pseudo-science’, and for good reason.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_topics_characterized_as_pseudoscience

    “That person need not have been a psychotherapist—it could be your brother, aunt, pastor, or best friend—but by and large psychotherapists were good at listening, empathizing, reflecting back, and so on; qualities in short supply among people not paid to exhibit them.”

    Emboldened, with emphasis added.

    I would have definite questions about the short supply matter, and you didn’t say anything about business associates. Psychotherapy is a business. People without friends, or caring family members, can pay a psychotherapist for this type of functional relationship. Still, I don’t think it beats friends and family.

  • I don’t see the problem as encapsulated by the term biomedical model entirely. I once tried to talk to the head of the psychology department at UVA about speaking before classes there, and got nowhere. The survivor voice, the patient experience, was seen as anecdotal besides all the “evidence” these “researchers” were gathering, and therefore something not worthy of consideration (i.e. “unscientific”). Okay, the torture goes on pretending that it is something else. When you’ve been rendered “voiceless”, that is, you’ve got “no seat at the table”, what then? What calls itself “science”, in this case, wants to make sure you have “no seat at the table”. I guess democracy is very threatening to some people.

  • You meet deception with deception. The drugs make you feel horrible. If you complain about “side effects”, the doctor always has another drug in his drawer. Ultimately one ends up saying “yes” to the prescription, and then not taking the drug. Keep up the pretense, for the sake of doctor, family, and school or business associates, and “everybody is happy”. Spill your beans, and everybody will be wanting you to submit. Hold your tongue, and if you’re fortunate enough to evade major injury, you will feel a lot better, live a lot longer, and triumph over stupid compliant self-destructiveness in the end.

  • You’re doing a lot of needless speculating here. I don’t know that there are any people “who cannot necessarily be entirely independent.”

    I do think a lot of bias is involved.

    Research into “disability”, for instance, would tend to support “disability” claims whereas research into “ability” would tend to support “ability” payments.

    Give people something to do, and they will do it. Take that something away, and they are likely to be confused about just what to do.

  • No. Playing hooky is to be blamed on most missed school.

    Anxiety is not of necessity a negative. Where school is concerned, anxiety can induce attendance or avoidance. When avoidance is the issue, whatever evasions might be employed to achieve that avoidance need to be scrutinized.

  • Also, without jobs, on “disability”, or on another pittance, such as a “minimum basic income”, etc. In this country you have a community “mental health” system because people can’t imagine people, and certain select people at that, without such a stupidity. Blast that “outmate” business! In our country, Patrick Henry had an interesting way of putting it, that could be applied to the “mental health” system as well, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Another way of putting it might be to say, “Give me independence or give me death!” Dependence on a system that is not worth having in the first place really stinks.

  • Authoritarian is an adjective, although person or government might be the noun authoritarian describes.

    They have a saying in France, usually applied to the sexes, “Vive la difference”. As applies to the sexes, so too governments and people. Forget the distinctions between them at your own peril.

  • Self-governance need not be authoritarian.

    I don’t think use of the word antiauthoritarian misses the point at all.

    Synonyms for authoritarian include autocratic, dictatorial, totalitarian, despotic, tyrannical, autarchic, draconian, absolute, arbitrary, oppressive, repressive, illiberal, undemocratic, and antidemocratic.

    When speaking of a sun king, perhaps it is high time that sun best set. Caesar’s infatuation with Alexander need not infect the rest of us.

  • Politically the pro-“mental health” agenda is always the same, more government spending for “mental health treatment programs”. Whether this “treatment” is forced or not, except in theory, isn’t the primary consideration. I would like to point out that spending less on “mental health” doesn’t necessarily mean spending more for forced “treatment”. One could make some good arguments for less spending, at least, as long as there is “forced mental health treatment”, one could make an argument against paying for it.

  • On top of which, the system is hiring people who have been in the system. What the system is slow about doing, what the system is not doing, is getting people jobs outside the system, and thus, the system expands and it doesn’t contract. The so-called “epidemic” of “mental disability”, “chronic disability”, paying even more people’s bills, grows ever larger and larger.

    Self-reliance is good thing provided you haven’t been in the “mental health” system where self-control, anything other than debilitating-drug and paternalistic bureaucracy control, is seen as non-existent.

  • Negotiating with the friend of my enemy, given Trojan horses, is fraught with even more peril. You don’t have to agree with Scientology to accept their critique of psychiatry, nor do you have to become a Scientologist to oppose psychiatry. As for dianetics and auditing, leave that to Scientology, and no problem. Psychiatry, organized psychiatry, in league with the drug industry, by contrast, is a huge and ravenous monstrosity. A huge and ravenous monstrosity that deprives many, many people of their freedom of choice.

  • I always thought those “last resort” arguments were BS, and just one more excuse for putting up with the intolerable. You don’t hear a lot of people arguing for “next to last resorts”. They don’t have to do so. It’s these “last resorts” that they are sentimental about, and find themselves so reluctant, in defiance of reason, to depart with. By calling them a “last resort”, atrocities are made acceptable.

  • We should have our own anti-TED or straight talks. TED is an exercise in kiss-ass academics. There are all these qualifications involved for nothing besides kissing ass. People will tell people what they want to hear while the inconvenient truth resides elsewhere. TED is just another ribbon on an student associate professor’s chest on the way to tenure. Beep that!

  • ECT “works” by injuring, by damaging, the brain. Presently it, brain damage, is being billed as a “safe and effective treatment” for depression. If objecting to brain damage is “polarizing”, I would suggest that not objecting is, as it is an unethical practice, much worse. “Safe and effective” electricity induced grand mal seizure has got to be a whopper of an oxymoron. Some people will be duped, but doctors shouldn’t be duping people, should they? A “healing technique” that “works” by injuring an organ of the body shouldn’t be called a “healing technique”. If honesty should be the way past this “polarization”. let’s be honest about matters, what we’ve actually got with ECT is a “damaging technique”.

  • While I agree with your critique, in the main, Richard, I also agree with most of the points Lawrence was making in his piece. Thumbs up on your points 2 thru 6, however, with point 1, given neo-liberal corporate capitalism, the American dream has receded further from the grasp of the average person than ever before in history. I’m not against what is referred to as the American dream. I am against the current process of making it unattainable for the vast majority of citizens. On point 7, I think Lawrence has the right idea. All parties should be held accountable, even those parties that have been victimized. “Chronicity” is often a matter of not abandoning, or attachment to, the “victim” role. If playing the “victim” is one survival strategy, getting over victimization, and getting on with one’s life, is another. “Victims” who don’t take responsibility for their own lives, ultimately collude with their oppressors. Surviving here is a matter of fighting back.