Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • Indeed, drug companies should be held accountable, and making them pay for the clean up makes more sense than making anyone else do so. I just think that the only way to compel the drug companies to do so would be through legislation and the courts, maybe an executive order.

    What’s going on in the White House is mildly encouraging. Trump withdrew his DEA chief nominee after an expose’ by the Washington Post and 60 minutes. He says he will turn attention to the opiate crisis as a national emergency soon. The question is, 1. will the next nominee have his own conflicts of interests, and 2. is the same Trump who, as a climate change denier, would deregulate pollution going to rein in the drug industry?

    I have no doubt that the drug companies need to pay, and more than another hundred million dollar fine, some sort of reparations for the damage they have wreaked. Will it happen? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t see it happening without the courts making them do so. Short of such a consequence, I don’t think anything that is done is likely to be entirely adequate.

  • I think you can read Cuckoo’s Nest as an antipsychiatry text, too. Big Chief, in the end, walks away from the institution. He is the protagonist, and the perpetuater of the second death, a mercy killing of the already essentially dead McMurphy. His delusion is a critique of society that embodies a critique of the mental hospital that would try to make people fit into that society.

    Misogyny could be seen as a problem, easily correctable. Any woman want to tackle the institution from a female, if not feminist, perspective. There it is, Kesey’s tale doesn’t have to be any sort of be all, end all, of the matter. The good thing there is that Kesey was a novelist, not a moralist. McMurphy, hero/antihero, is the kind of a character a lot of people are able to relate to. I’ve seen people in similar situations. Catch them if you can, or sweep it under the rug. No matter. Shit happens.

  • “Mental health” is a myth. It is nothing more than a figure of speech, just like “mental illness”. Putting more and more money into a system of illusion and oppression is the height of absurdity. I want to stay uninvested in the “mental illness” manufacture business. The idea that a person is gaining by going from patient/inmate to “healer”/warden is not a good one, especially when it creates a lifelong attachment to the “mental health” system. I imagine there is still life outside the mental health system, and that’s why I’m staying there. When everything is mental health system, excuse me, brother, sister, I seek solitude and wilderness instead.

    Medicalization is a real problem, as far as I’m concerned, but it starts with people calling people diseased who are not diseased. Where does it end? It doesn’t. If you aren’t for reversing it, you are for advancing it. Capitalizing on it is a way of advancing it. I’m for putting on the brakes, and shifting into reverse myself.

  • The reason for the mortality disparity is not health care disparity, it is psychiatric drugs. In fact, you might pen the cause of this heightened mortality on the attention given to their “health”. Not only does the industry have a hard time addressing the fact that the drugs are killing people, but the industry has a hard time addressing the fact that the drugs are impeding, in a very many cases, recovery. Polypharmacy only raises the mortality rate you get from using a psychiatric drug in the first place. You don’t need to be “anti-medication” to realize that you shouldn’t be using these substances in excess, and that’s what we’ve got right now, excessive use of pharmaceuticals. Lessen the usage, and the mortality rate will decline correspondingly. You want to do something about this mortality rate? If so, do something about the number one treatment for the “disorders” we are commenting on, drugs.

  • I don’t think protest confers legitimacy on what is being protested. I do think protest can become so “normal” that it is, on top of being ineffective, regularly ignored. This is why a large degree of creativity is involved in the organizing of some such events. Part of what protest itself is about is information, that is, educating the public, and in that sense, it is about exposing the fraud, and eliminating power disparities. Guerrilla theater “mock trials” and so forth have been very effective protest tactics. I think although the psychiatric orthodoxy would try to ignore such an event, the Foucault Tribunal, for example, functioned as a kind of protest against the powers, in the case of psychiatry, that be, and impressively so. Protest itself functions as a way of saying no en masse anyway, and I can’t knock saying no en masse in favor of doing so individually when it comes to potential impact. A boycott, after all, is a form of protest.

  • “History has clearly shown that the best way to “run” the economy is to let it run itself.”

    I seriously beg to disagree. We now live in an oligarchy. Politics has been corrupted by corporate funding. Both parties are owned, in the sense of Mafia bought politicians, by corporate interests.

    How often have we heard that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Also, that the middle class is threatened with extinction.

    Some economies are forced to function on less money than the 60 billion $ obscenely rich man is credited with possessing. What the heck is he doing with 60 billion $ when people in the world are starving? Nobody, but nobody, is worth that much.

    Of course, Wall Street propaganda will say something else. Forbes magazines 10 richest men in the world know where their wealth comes from. All those poor people working for and under them for much, much less, and others, with money they are already reaching for.

    The 2008 economic crisis should have taught us one thing, that this kind of thing will happen again and again under the present system. So much for an unregulated economy. We’re just waiting for Trumpanomics to come undone due to its own greed and thievery. Don’t you know it’s coming. It always does.

  • I don’t think ‘our movement’ failed. It was a movement torn and beset by factionalism from the beginning. The wrong guys won in the battle between factions, and then they failed.

    ‘Our movement’ was destroyed in this battle between factions, but this failure of a faction might allow ‘our movement’ a rebirth.

    Such is my view anyway.

    I just don’t think the best course of action for the oppressed is to betray your comrades and become a turncoat oppressor.

    I see reason for optimism in the present situation.

    Surmounting this impasse may allow for ‘our movement’ to become a liberation movement once again rather than a non-liberation [There is another word that I could have used here that probably wouldn’t have gotten past the monitors.] reform movement.

  • Actually, Donald Trump being head of state of one of the most powerful countries in the world is not a distraction “from looking at the real causes of what’s going on in the world.” He, after all, is one of those “causes”. Notice or not, there’s a lot of “gibberish” coming up on Twitter as well. Scary “gibberish”.

    I was reading where one of these psychiatrists wants to subject all political candidates to mental health screenings. I’m going whoa. Can you imagine? It isn’t enough to screen school children and young adults for “mental illnesses”. Screen politicians, and you know where that’s going. Next it’s other job interviews. Police officers in training, teachers, service station attendants, you name it. I figure there is a point where this “duty to warn” thing could seriously imperil our civil liberties, if it hasn’t done so already. Prejudice is okay, I suppose, so long as it’s prejudice directed against people who have experienced the mental health system…No, it’s not Okay. Not Okay at all. Even ex-patients, if they’re to survive as ex-patients, need an income.

  • I wouldn’t try to characterize everybody who has worked with scientologists, including some members of the Church of Scientology, as tainted by that association. There is a word for judging people without a trial, and that word is prejudice. I’ve seen articles questioning the credentials of Dr. Breggin because of his concern over harmful practices. Jeffry Lieberman, former APA president, called Robert Whitaker “a menace to society”. Criticizing the orthodoxy is heresy to the orthodoxy. Not only Szasz, but R. D. Laing, and many another errant doctor who disputed the alleged benefits of standard practice (i.e. drugs, drugs, drugs) has found themselves in hot water with the psychiatric establishment, and such dissident psychiatrists are likely to take much flak from some of their colleagues. This same Lieberman mentioned above, for example, has characterized all critics of psychiatry, including psychiatrists, as antipsychiatry. It just isn’t so, Jeffry. If there’s a fault in the science, one isn’t being scientific by ignoring it.

  • Wikipedia is the peoples’ reference, and I can see some occasion to use it. True, other references may be more highfalutin, but I don’t think that makes Wikipedia any more, or less, reliable.

    It’s psychiatry that invented “schizophrenia”, not Wikipedia. Now tell me that “schizophrenia” isn’t the “disorder” label that Emil Kraeplin described as “dementia praecox”, later, renamed “schizophrenia” by Eugene Bleuler, all information gleaned from Wikipedia, and I will question the reliability of your sources, not those cited at Wikipedia.

  • I can’t really say “psychosis” terminology would be worse. “Psychosis” is associated with many, if not most, “mental disorder” labels. Schizophrenia is a “mental disorder” label, that is, psychiatry would have it be a discrete “disease” entity. In this regard, the side windows on the Wikipedia pages on both subjects are instructive. “Psychosis” is pretty general. “Schizophrenia” is characterized as “chronic”. What’s more, although, to my knowledge, nobody on earth has died as a direct result of the “schizophrenic” label, 17,000 deaths from “schizophrenia” are listed, culled from some study or other, for 2015. Go figure.

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

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

  • Allen Frances says, Trump isn’t crazy, he’s just plain bad. It’s America that’s crazy.

    Says he wants to get more politically engaged in some kind of demonstrative (as in demonstration) way..

    Who do I distrust more, Allen Frances or Donald Trump? I imagine I could decide that one with the flip of a coin.

    All the same, I’d refrain from locking up America for the moment.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency has become an Environmental Destruction Agency, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corruption in politics. Both parties in this two party system are owned by multinational corporations. What we’ve got is government of, for, and by the rich. I’d say the time for a real clean up is long over due, and I hope it gets here soon.

    Capitalism IS part of the problem. A conscious decision has to be made to put people over profits, or one form thievery or another will be the rule. There is not enough room on that mountain for more than one king, and, therefore, capitalism has to go. We don’t need one elite or another ruling over and bullying the vast majority of humanity. We need government by, for, and of the vast majority of humanity.

    Mental health reform is bunk. You’ve got two types of reformers. The law and order type that wants more restrictions, and the human rights type that wants fewer restrictions. Fewest restrictions are no restrictions. Reform is the problem. Forced treatment should be abolished, not reformed. The mental health system itself should be dismantled. Allow people to make their own mistakes, and you don’t have a mental health system anyway.

  • Obviously there is a constitutional issue involved here, namely, cruel and unusual punishment. Stacking the deck against a person, that is, piling mental health system on top of criminal justice system, has got to constitute cruel and unusual punishment, in some instances, particularly where the crime is pretty petty, and the “hospitalization”/punishment long. We’ve got the example, for instance, of Franklin Frye who died at St Elizabeth’s Hospital in DC 45 years after stealing a 20$ necklace. His case has cruel and unusual punishment written all over it.

  • World Mental Health Day, AKA World Mental Health Fraud Day, is a big part of the problem.

    Cease funding “mental health treatment” fraud, and start funding social change and social justice. Jobs programs, legal aid, education, affirmative action, etc.

    Pop the “mental health” fraud bubble, and people are people again rather than biological or behavioral anomalies.

    More money to the buzzards who swoop down on the unfortunate (i.e. people’s who make their living (fortune) off the misfortune of others)? Heavens, no. End this parasitism, and you solve the problem. Multiple problems as it were.

  • I agree. The issue is does Dr. Montcrieff mean by rules of conduct laws, or something else, and would Thomas Szasz have agreed with her. At this point, I’m not sure whether she would have rules of conduct be synonymous with laws, or whether she means something else. If she meant some rule of conduct beyond rule of law, I’m not sure Szasz would have agreed with her.

    “Against this argument, the advocates of involuntary mental hospitalization raise the second justification: protection of the public. This, of course, is a legitimate interest. But, following the libertarian tradition, I hold that a person should be deprived of his liberty only if he is proved guilty of breaking the law. No one should be deprived of his freedom for the sake of his “mental health”.”

    ~Thomas Szasz, Law, Liberty, and Psychiatry

  • All Fools Day (April the 1st) is taken, so I guess this makes for 2 All Fools Days, it’s just the 2nd is officially called “World Mental Health Day”. The world might suck sometimes, however, I wouldn’t recommend it’s doing so. Folly is contagious apparently, otherwise, you’d think they’d have gotten around to the creation of an All Sages Day for us to celebrate. As is, All Sages Day must be like the Unbirthdays you find in Lewis Carroll. If we’ve got these two days dedicated to folly, alright then, that leaves the rest of year for wisdom, provided, of course, that these 2 All Fools Days prove to be learning experiences.

  • Apparently collaborate is a synonym for conspire, and what the author calls “service user” is the subject this conspiracy revolves around.

    I would discourage people from “using” “services”. There should be a sign hanging from the wall of every “human services” building, or department, that says “user beware”.

    Conspire is a strong word. Too strong, perhaps. Perhaps the word I should be using for this collaboration against the “service user” is paternalism.

    The definition Google gives us for paternalism is “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.”

    I guess you can keep a good man (or woman) down. Especially if it’s your “job”.

    I’ve seen many articles on studies of the sort you are looking at. Thank you for drawing people’s attention to this “special report”. The puppet who is clever enough to play his or her puppeteers, should be clever enough to cut the strings.

  • If anybody is interested in pursuing the subject, here’s the piece I was referring to in the comment above.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/jeremy-gilbert/psychedelic-socialism

    Buddha meets Karl Marx, why not? We’ve already got Jesus Christ meets Sigmund Freud meets Karl Marx. I imagine there are any number of other revisions that can be made on behalf of the superego, and social justice, or whatever. The possibilities are infinite, had we an eternity to fill with them with. Marilyn Monroe meets Jesse James meets Karl Marx, etc. Party on.

  • Well, World Mental Health Day, for NAMI, is Mental Illness Awareness Day. As “mental illness” is the obverse of “mental health”, I think the wording is still appropriate. Should “mental illness” be a myth (re: Thomas Szasz), what does that make “mental health”?

    Resilience is such an epiphany. It’s a wonder more people don’t circumnavigate the trauma of treatment. (Or is it the treatment of trauma?) In some quarters, the answer to that question becomes rather nebulous.

  • Not sure how to take this really. Thomas Szasz was against forced treatment. The issue was that the insanity defense exonerated the guilty and forced psychiatry punished the innocent. As I see it, Szasz was for rule of law, not rule of conduct. Yes, he was against medicalization, and he saw many “patients” as malingerers. They are, and were, malingerers. Szasz, Goffman and Alexander formed the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization in the 1970s. You don’t do such a thing if your position is one of wanting to imprison and enslave people for irresponsibility. Imprisonment, and deprivation of liberty (exclusion from the democratic process), for the irresponsible and foolish is what you’ve got with the psychiatric system today as is.

  • I see a greater danger in the rise of hate groups, MartinMc. Hate groups that Donald J. has expressed some sympathy for. Not that long ago, albeit before my time, a figure by the name of Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany. This Adolf Hitler in his pursuit of world domination, quite consciously, launched into a policy of genocide. That’s a truth that I wouldn’t want forgotten any time soon.

    Ever since his suicide people have been calling this Adolf Hitler crazy or “sick”. Okay. I don’t care what you call him. I don’t want another Adolf Hitler as head of state. It seems unfortunately we’re way too close to a situation when such happenstance could again conceivably become reality.

    I’ve met people who’ve denied the existence of the Holocaust. Donald J. Trump has claimed that climate change is disinformation spread by the Chinese. I don’t think we’ve got a whole lot of time to get on a track that makes sense, but I know that humoring Trump is no way to get there. When it comes to a crisis for our time, which is the bigger one, psychiatric social control, or global warming? Life on this planet could end up being at stake in how you answer such a question.

  • Dr. Moncrieff–what is causing all the elation (a symptom of mania) we are seeing? Excuse me, and don’t take my question seriously. Too much happiness, despite the rarity, has got to be a joke.

    Irving Kirsch in The Emperors New Drugs (2009), about SSRI antidepressants and the placebo effect, suggests that depression is, in large measure, nocebo effect. Depression then would tend to be mostly a matter of negative wish fulfillment. This makes sense, too, if antidepressants work little better than enhanced placebos.

    Not even science has to be so dreary and seriously drab as to get people down. One of Friedrich Nietzsche’s books was titled, provocatively enough, and before any allusions to sexual deviance might have been made of it, The Gay Science (German: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft) or The Joyful Wisdom (1882).

  • Conduct used to be a mark on a report card. Now, in order to placate teachers, it and its corollaries, for disciplinary reasons, ODD, ADHD, etc., education has become an even more treacherous environment for students to navigate (if easier for teachers and other authoritarians). Psychiatry and psychology have entered the school systems as instruments of oppressive control and privacy invasion (not to mention corporate imperialism).

    Eliminating the “bereavement exclusion” is just another method for psychiatrists to gain more patients, and thus more control and power, coupled with a deceptive sense of self-importance. Each DSM in succession has made for more ease in diagnosis. Many of us have been waiting a long time for this house of cards to tumble. Question is, how many more cards can it hold before people begin to get it!

    Great blog, BTW. Keep up the good work!

  • Trauma is injury, and another excuse for calling in psychiatrists, medical specialists.

    Brain trauma is one thing, psychological trauma is BS. If you can’t measure it, or lay your finger on it, how do you know that it is there? Because a person isn’t “resilient”? Now tell me why other people are “resilient”.

    No, I’m no more a proponent of “psychological trauma” than I am a proponent of “psychological healing”.

    I just figure, in some areas, the nocebo effect is pretty prevalent.

  • I’m not out to pathologize Emily Dickinson any more than I would be out to pathologize Henry David Thoreau. I think that, in a sense, is what we get, in this instance, from trauma theory. I would prefer to think we were dealing more with human beings than with their traumas. I don’t think pinning a psychiatric label on a person makes them particularly more admirable. In my view, trauma theory would do just that, in this instance, to the likes of Emily Dickinson. I don’t look on distinguished historical figures as damaged goods as a matter of principle.

  • Ironic, isn’t it? You get all these people claiming there aren’t enough psychiatrists, especially in rural areas, and yet this is a “need” psychiatrists have manufactured for some time. All these “disorders” in the DSM, for instance, increasing the demand for psychiatrists. Every DSM that has come out, quite consciously it would seem, has increased the numbers of mental patients in the world by lowering the criteria for diagnosis. Think about it, and the world’s necessity for training more and more psychiatrists could decrease correspondingly. Seriously. Do we really need more failed MDs playing doctor as psychiatrist?

  • I think it curious indeed that this writer would unravel “schizophrenia”, ‘the sacred symbol of psychiatry’, according to Dr. Szasz, on the account of the much more, relatively speaking, “minor” diagnoses, stuttering and sleep apnea. I would also question whether sleep apnea wasn’t related to some physical ill health conditions. I don’t think the psychiatric prison system was established to keep people from expiring in their sleep, or to make sure their enunciation of the mother tongue was entirely unbroken. I think it had much more to do with getting the loonies (so-called schizophrenics) off the street and out of the community. So much for a critique of critique that misses the point altogether. Medicalization, the finding of disease where it is not, according to this man’s views, is allowed to chug along completely unhampered.

  • My two cents:

    1. Outlaw forced psychiatry. Psychiatrists get away with murder because mental health law allows them to circumvent what is law for the rest of us.

    2. Stop paying for it. Mental health is a myth. Rather than asking the government for more and more tax payer dollars to nurture it, pull the carpet out from under the “mental illness” racket’s feet. Without funding resources, this ugly weed is going to wither and die.

    The problem we’ve got is number 2 coupled with number 1. The psychiatric prison is invading our communities in a big way. Surveillance and monitoring, and the neighborhood rats that go along with it, are on their way to becoming the rule. Have many mini-institutions replacing the big institution, and you’ve still got institutions. In fact, the numbers of patients and workers increase thereby. Cut off the funding, and the “sick” system is throttled.

  • I’m not saying a government check makes anybody rich. I’m saying there is a wee bit of difference between a lifetime of government checks, and subsisting off the labor of one’s own hands. Artificial disability is artificial disability. It’s very similar, in a way, to artistic ability. What do they say? Oh, yeah. Wiley like a fox.

    There is a very good reason why they say ‘follow the money’ as well. Any one government check is going to a heck of a lot of people.

  • I’d like to think you for this blog post, we could use many more posts that looked at the mental health treatment system from a historical perspective.

    There was a time when the mass of people in the USA didn’t have college educations or university degrees. No more. Presently, one is likely to be lectured about failure should one not pursue a career that involves attaining a college degree. My feeling is that were college not given the importance that it is in today’s world, diligently studying for the sake of a future career, there would be no ADHD diagnosis, which, as you point out, wasn’t existent before 1980 when the DSM-III came out.

    Benjamin Franklin, it should be noted, had a lot to do with the creation of the Philadelphia Hospital, the basement of which was taken with the treatment of ‘lunacy’. Philip Pinel, a supporter of the French revolution, made a big, basically PR, display of throwing off the shackles worn by ‘lunatics’. Moral management, with its asylum building boom, because of him and his like, was ironically associated with the enlightenment.

    I’m not sure Josiah Wedgwood’s methods would have been appreciated in the mostly agrarian anti-abolitionist south. I do know that there were arguments made against emancipating slaves on the grounds that there were many more black people proportionally in some northern state ‘lunatic’ asylums than there were in the asylums of the south. I imagine the situation was similar to that in the UK when, with the establishment of private mad houses for the wealthier classes, St Mary’s of Bethlehem, AKA Bedlam, rebuilt and expanded to house 4 or 5 times the numbers it had previously. Poor people, peasants, weren’t so important prior to the profitability housing the scions of the aristocracy provided for the lunacy trade of the time.

  • Victorian austerity (the secret of power of preliberated woman) meets trauma theory excess (womanhood as hated man survival), and the two find themselves in an estranged, if invalid, marriage, in a twisted sort of contorted mirror fashion. Emily Dickinson’s verse was so hermetic that you can find all sorts of things in it that aren’t there, including the sort of complete rubbish we read in the piece described above.

  • Paternalism is at work here. “Seeking help” is presumption. The government (in league with exasperated families) in many case would impose it’s version of “help” on those who never sought it.

    Convince a person that they are “psychologically distressed”, and that’s pretty close to convincing the same that they have a “disease”. The idea is to “calm” such a person through brainwashing and serving the interests of other people.

    Well, when a person eats themselves to death, I guess that makes overindulgence, in that instance, a bad choice, except, perhaps, as a form of suicide, and in so far as suicide goes, I imagine there are many other better ways to go.

  • Good news indeed if you could have a precedent setting case won in California to be followed by many other suits in other states. Of course, I’m dreaming here, but it’s a good dream.

    Shock treatment injures brains, for starters, and so I hope your legal action is successful.

    Thank you for reporting on this matter, and thanks go to your firm for taking it on.

  • Fascinating interview. I was left wondering whether he intends to extend these counter narrative conversations beyond the context of Fountain House at some point. There are plenty of people out there, with “lived experience”, who are not in Fountain House, or in rehabilitation along clubhouse model lines, who might participate in such a project if it reached them, and I would think both program and participants could benefit thereby.

  • “Involuntary” “seeking help”? Some people don’t ‘seek help’, and the state with its psychiatry would ‘intervene’ nonetheless.

    Sin is a religious term, and, therefore, N/A. You’re dialoguing with an atheist here.

    Some people fancy they are “sick”, who are not “sick”, and they, those people, ‘afflicted’ with imaginary ailments, have psychiatry and the entire “mental health” treatment bureaucracy to “service” them.

  • I was at the last two MFI national-type conferences. (MFI is having min-conferences around the ISEPP conference, too). The orientation has become more about creation of drug-free alternatives than political actions on behalf of attaining and protecting human rights. Perhaps it’s a defensive mode, but I’d like to see a few strong and offensive actions taken against the psychiatric state.

    A conference is not premature. We had the Psych-Out conferences a few years back, and to my knowledge (I was at the one in NYC), they went over great. I’d love to see a few more conferences of that sort, at least, a conference apart from the Alternatives “pe-ah” mental patients’ movement-type thing. I was wondering what happened. Supposedly they were going to take it to Boston, or something like that, but, fizzle, fizzle, Toronto and New York were it.

    We need a specifically antipsychiatry organization coalition more than we need a website, and then a website could grow out of the group, because that’s how that sort of thing works. What kind of stake, after all, do people have in a website without some kind of group backing? MIA, for instance, is a 501c3 with a BOD (board of directors, not anatomy) and all of that. Having an organized community of like-minded people makes throwing up interactive websites and organizing things like conferences all that much easier. Some organizations, for instance, exist primarily for the conferences associated with them.

    There is a way, surely, but until then, I encourage people, if they can, to turn their back on the mental health system. Seriously, who needs all that disability, injury, and dying? Not me. Why aren’t we doing something about it? Not becoming involved in it is a way of acting against it. Of course, we should be doing more. Anybody up to the work? I will sign you up, if you sign me up.

  • A person can, without any sort of brain change or abnormality, think him or herself into a corner, yes.

    It is social interactions, public events, that get people into therapy, and so in that sense, Ludwig Wittgenstein is correct. People don’t enter into therapy because their behaviors are seen as consistent with the “norm”. No state of mind is a problem in itself, it only becomes a problem when it interferes with the ordinary course of life events.

    Did the corner that this person or that thought him or herself into register in a discernible way in the social realm, this person or that becomes a prime candidate for therapy.

    Paul-Michel Foucault made the case in his first book, Mental Illness and Psychology (1954, rev. 1962), that without madness, without inexplicable behaviors, psychology would have little raison d’etre. Given irrational behaviors and acts, you’ve got psychology there, the study of people’s motivations, delving into this great enigma, the reason for the unreasonable in human behavior, and, frankly, there doesn’t have to be a reason. Your blog entry is a case in point. What are we primarily looking at here if not the behaviors of people that somebody finds wanting or disturbing? Doing so certainly doesn’t offer any sort of explanations for the behaviors of most men and women.

  • “False notion”, Slaying the Dragon? If there’s a “false notion” of privilege, which I doubt, is there a “true notion” of privilege?

    I don’t think we are helped by trying to make anti-psychiatry a leftist issue. When has the left, once in power, EVER abandoned psychiatric manipulation and oppression? A revolution may bring about more equality, however any classless society is still a long ways off (and a psychiatry-less society, that’s not on the left wing agenda yet.) Ending psychiatry is not dependent upon overall revolution intent on economic transformation, however there are many social and economic issues at work in putting people in the mental health system. I agree with you then. If we make this a right, left, or moderate issue we threaten the cause by alienating people who actually support it.

  • I wouldn’t be so “absolutely” on the subject of “victim culture”, OldHead. There are people who play the victim role unto death, and quite literally. People who wouldn’t be such candidates for a Darwin award had they been a little more skeptically self-reliant, and, as a result, less victimized.

    Acknowledging the existence of a “victim culture” however does not prevent me from being a left-winger, nor does it prevent me from criticizing a capitalism gone crazy. When some people are way too rich, and others are way too poor, beyond any merit, it speaks to a great need for social change, social change in the interest of social justice.

  • What have we got that works? Soteria houses and Open Dialogue, but the Soteria approach a rarity and an exception, and Open Dialogue gets diluted where translated outside of Finland. It seems to me that the basic common denominator is psych drugs. People get better without ’em, people get worse on ’em. Behind it all is the presumption of “disease”. A fight for human rights is a fight against forced treatment of any variety. Also, informing people about the problem of damage due to long term treatment with drugs. This being the case, promoting more conventional ‘alternatives’ ends up being counterproductive. Doing so expands the mental health system, and increases the numbers of people in it. Those ‘alternatives’ end up for their own survival becoming closer to the conventional system, and this involves making compromises with forced treatment, and the human rights violations embodied by it. We’re better off, rather than doing so, promoting the non-treatment option. We should be offering some kind of resistance to the bureaucracy that has evolved around not tolerating people who don’t conform rather than aiding and abetting the scandalous crime of creating this entirely artificial “epidemic” of phony “disease”, and destroying a countless number of peoples lives and health in the process.

  • Wondering, given political loses, about whether there will be an Alternatives 2018, and what direction the movement will take in the future.

    It has been my feeling that fighting for human rights, and against forced treatment, makes more sense than promoting “mental illness” industry expansion through alternative “mental health” treatment modality development. This being the case, I would prefer to see more direct political action, demonstrations, civil disobedience, guerrilla theater, satire (public education) and the like.

    Yes, some things work and some things don’t, while the powers that be disregard what works completely. No treatment whatsoever is better than that treatment which causes harm, and much harm at that. Among options, rejection of treatment entirely should an option. Fighting for the mental patient role, no, I can’t see doing that. I’m more partial to dispensing with the mental patient role entirely. I think that something worth fighting for is what we used to call mental patients’ liberation, that is, complete independence from the “mental health” system and similar forms of governmental social control and intrusion.

    I’d also like to point out that Harriet Tubman has her own park and museum in Maryland. We need our own underground railroad, and we need operators to help get people free of unwanted mistreatment. I don’t know that we will ever achieve what they did before emancipation from slavery, but we need our own functioning underground railroad to break people out of involuntary treatment and those prisons that deceptively call themselves hospitals.

    We also have to move beyond doing the predictable. Protesting APA conventions is fine and dandy, but there is the TAC, too, and NAMI, and pharmaceutical companies as well, not to mention shock docs galore. I see a danger when one’s actions become too predictable to one’s adversaries, and that’s the point at which a surprise attack is long overdue.

  • Then why are they being locked up like…you tell me what? They certainly aren’t being locked up for “illnesses”. This is a far cry from quarantining people on account of contagion. Thomas Szasz suggested that it is rule breaking, but what are those rules but unwritten laws? All in all, what have we got if not a loophole in rule of law? I will tell you. Mental health law IS a loophole in rule of law that allows for locking up people who have not necessarily broken a law, but may have violated some social injunction, protocol, custom, or other, that is to say, it is a loophole for locking people up by getting around rule of law. What does this mean? Rule of rules? Crazy is illegal? I don’t know. You tell me. Technically there are time limits, but these time limits can be ignored every time they come up. Law doesn’t apply there. It’s a “civil” matter and, therefore, we don’t have the rights of people in the criminal justice system. Excuse me, they don’t have the rights of people in the criminal justice system.

  • Saks hypocritically contradicts herself when claiming to be “very pro-psychiatry but very anti-force”, and then coming up with this ‘one free shot’ at, of all things, unfree, that is, forced treatment. Not everybody who is labeled psychotic wants treatment, forced or otherwise. The supposition, false from where I sit, is that anybody who finds themselves labeled “psychotic” would prefer forced treatment over no treatment at all, and this is that person’s chance to get it (torture, poison, brainwashing, abduction, and confinement). I don’t see that. I think there are non-dangerous people characterized as “psychotic” who don’t want treatment. With other branches of medicine one has a right to refuse treatment. Only psychiatry imposes treatment on you regardless of whether you want it or not. Now which is it, “a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed or while awaiting trial”, a prison, or. “an institution providing medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for sick or injured people”, a hospital? So long as the doors to the units are locked, and people are not free to come and go as they please, I’m saying what you’ve got here is actually the first sort of institution.

  • Anyway, the “profit motive” is not the problem with psychiatry any more than it is with anything else.

    The idea of maximizing profits for the few at the expense of people as a whole, and their health, is not a problem with psychiatry, oh so cozy with the drug industry, and the bosses of the state? You think?….”Success” being put forward as the 60 billion dollar man, producing corporate lackeys is what our educational system is all about. How can you say that, OldHead?

    Achievement of what, Conscious1? A world technological take over? Monopoly by elite. Isn’t that what privilege is anyway? Elitism and privilege walk hand in hand, but it’s not a matter of achievement, it’s a matter of rigging the game. Achievement so that people can live in gated communities cut off from the common man or woman. (The common man or woman they are so scared of when they are reduced to criminal activity.) I don’t think so. Government by, for, and of the rich is screwing us royally as is.

  • Good points, Slaying the Dragon.

    To paraphrase Noel on the subject, “Plus, aspects of mental health treatment can be very harmful for many.” The “mental illness” industry is fond of heaping praise on itself, but as for recognizing damage when it is done? That would be bad for business, wouldn’t it?

    If we could cure more professionals of their profession, we’d be well on the way to “curing” their “patients”. Not so patients, too.

  • “In addition, rates of diagnosed mental illness and suicide continue to increase, despite record-breaking spending on mental health care.”

    Despite? Because of! Much of this increase is due to medicalization–using drugs to sell “diseases”, and “diseases” to sell drugs–and the very idea of “mental health”–thereby, increasing the patient count.

    I’d say the profit motive has a whale of a lot to do with it. When Big Pharma does so well on Wallstreet, what does the little guy matter? Develop the next Xanax, Prozac, or Abilify, and you’re in the money. You and all of your investors. Putting profits over people drives the whole ball game, and this means that rather than treating the whole person, it is convenient to focus on “disease”, regardless of whether that “disease” is real or not. If folks can profit from it, it’s real enough for those who are making millions off of it. The rest of populace are the gulls that feed their industry.

    “Mental health” workers are the grunts on this professional vulture totem pole, but they are still there. When you figure that a 20 % “mental illness” rate is crazy itself, then you’ve got that much figured out. Were a professional resisting the drive to indoctrinate more and more “patients”, that professional would be jeopardizing his or her own career. You’ve got a problem such as exists with many state hospitals. They can’t close the place down, it is the mainstay of the community, the main source of income for many or most of the locals. At least, so goes the rationale for keeping the system running.

    Suicide prevention, in my view, given this perspective, in all likelihood, fuels the rising suicide rate. Suicide has to first be seen as a problem before it can become, in fact, more of a problem.

  • Where the ‘mentalism’ (some say ‘sanism’) aspect of the ‘classism’ prejudice abounds…resist, resist, resist! One is, at least, in theory, made stronger by the fight (while possibility resides outside the oppression/degradation system entirely).

    When you’ve got a murderous society, I don’t see anybody bucking the trend in a particularly negative light. The state, a puppet of the bourgeoisie, wants mechanistic automatons. When people don’t oblige, you’ve got a strike for better days.

  • That’s a pretty judgmental thing though, isn’t it? Judging people to be ‘lacking in judgment’. You can go over the scene of the “affliction” with a fine toothed comb, and ultimately you still get to, ‘he who is without fault, cast the first stone’. Throwing people away, or designating them ‘throw away people’, is not an example of the best exercise of judgment. How do they put it? That ‘karma’ thing, oh yeah! ‘What goes around, comes around.’ ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ Still, miss out on that first chance, and some might confuse it for a third chance, and life for one inning at a baseball game. The judged are going to judge the judges, and the judges have their own arrogance and paternalism to account for.

  • I think there is a ‘curse’ alright, but it’s more than ‘medical’ actually. It starts in the family, and extends to school, job, and society in general. Some people, a shoulder-brushing uplifting complement to those ‘groomed for success’, are ‘mussed for failure’ and put on a ‘failure’ track; a rut that you will find doesn’t take you very far in the real world, or the world purported to be real anyway. While the rest of the world is acting like a bunch of schoolgirls who decided, well, if we get together, and give each other awards, we will have some kind of sympathetic emotional support and a head start over everybody else by being award winners. Even Alt psych has it’s pets, and it’s unmentionables. The problem with the ‘medical curse’ is that it’s anything but a fix it measure. It only affirms the ‘failure’ track, and gives society further justification for manufacturing more and more such ‘losers’. One reason the entertainment industry is such a monopoly is because people don’t pay attention to the world around them. I mean, entertainment is everywhere. Sooner or later, the credential of ‘lived experience’ is going to have to matter a little more than the credential of your highly trained overlord and master. I’m happy for your ‘success” but…all the lipstick traces on that brilliant ass still don’t make it shine like a star. There is a brilliant ignorance that is pretty fetching, given that who and what you are ignorant of, only adds to your brilliance. It has been pointed out that once a certain amount of filthy fortune has been achieved accumulation is no longer a matter of merit. It assumes a certain momentum all its own that only gets stronger and more powerful with time. Enough said. All those eyes looking down and heads shaking, I’d be awful curious to know what it is they are looking at. Once you’ve put certain individuals at such a great disadvantage, such a handicap, the only corrective there, and corrective of ignominy (death, disorder, destruction, and deterioration), can be is recognition and promotion. Until then, I guess tin badges, Mardi Gras jewelry, and dime store ribbons will have to suffice. There is an underground, there are people holding up there, and they are going to break through to the surface. Just wait and see.

  • Well, Szasz pegged them ‘weasel words’ or ‘weasel terms’, and so they are. As if people had “disordered” thoughts because doctors (and everybody else) had “ordered” thoughts, and not because the doctors were looking for a useful word to use that didn’t directly (the weasel part) infer “illness”. (They’re doctors, remember.) “Schizophrenia”, too. There you’ve got a term that purports to be the proper name of a medical disease like pneumonia, cancer, or psoriasis. Like, I don’t think so.

    I think you have to look at them from another perspective though, too, and that’s from the perspective of ‘health’ insurance. Also, legality. “Sanity” and “insane” are legal terms. Bureaucracy needs words for the disability pie it doles out to it’s ‘dependents’. If “mental illness” doesn’t have a literal reality, it sure as heck has a paper reality. A paper and a social reality, given the prejudice of people that catch loony birds. People are bound to language, lying language, and often by law.

    This makes looking at the words we use very important indeed. Liberation from specialist terms? That’s not so hard to achieve, I would think. Still, the illusions need to be shown up for what they are, and that’s where philosophy comes in.

  • The “wise patient” might be characterized as a non-patient (ex-patient), at least, non-compliant, ditto, “the wise psychiatrist”, “critical” or unorthodox in his case, but since we’re realists here, and the “mental health” treatment bubble is a long ways from popping, I would imagine it’s the human being who wises up to all the contrivance in the drama taking place around him or her.

    As for the “good therapist”, Thomas Szasz recognized a great need for more psychiatrists for the defense of the interests of the patient/client as there is presently an overabundance of psychiatrists for the prosecution of such patient/clients in the interests of the state.

  • “I don’t understand how getting people going with the inflammatory, polarizing, political bating is helping anything. It’s just making everything worse from what I’m seeing.”

    You can make this statement, with a straight face, after reading some of our present clown of states tweets?

    *****

    I’d question whether they (psi functionaries) have any business diagnosing anyone, regardless of whether they’d met or not, except, of course, that it’s their business.

    “Mental illness” is baloney, but if you’re going to diagnose anybody as having it, Donald Trump gets my vote Otherwise, #notmypresident.

  • Psychiatrists are labeling people regardless.

    If the issue is getting rid of Donald Trump, I’m not going to quibble. Maybe the creation of a 4th Reich to make American great…again…is not the most sensible direction for our country to be taking.

    I think the hour is growing late, and the consequences of jeopardizing all life on this planet, at one time or another, has to be faced.

  • I love the logic in Szasz. I’m not saying there aren’t flaws in his thinking. I’m just saying that one thing follows another the way it doesn’t with so many of his colleagues. His thought, in that regard, is pretty consistent.

    I think logic reinforces science. This is the problem with much work in the human sciences. Illogical science is ‘bad science’.

    Dr. Montcrieff is right to focus on language here, and our discourse on the subject here indicates why. Wittgenstein and Szasz had that concern in common.

    I take the view that rationalism is my salvation. Doing so, I can defend myself as “sane” against accusations of “insanity”. I can also, in good faith, be held responsible for my actions. I realize this is an atypical approach to the matter, especially for a person who has done time in the Loony Bin, but, given that matters are getting worse for us, as in the recent passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, I see no other recourse for such as myself. If a lawyer (or anybody else for that matter) should ask, then, no Insanity Defense for me, please. Thank you.

  • Logic is the method, coupled with science, by which we arrive at the truth. There are so many inconsistencies in psychiatry that a good dose of logic is called for to get beyond them. Ludwig Wittgenstein, being the major impetus behind positivist logic, certainly deserves a place in any series of blogs that would look at psychiatry from a philosophical standpoint. Self-deception and deception seem to be so pronounced in the field that, indeed, separating fact from fiction must become a pressing issue for anybody taking a good hard look at the matter.

    I, following Thomas Szasz, don’t think “mental disorder” is any improvement over “mental illness”, but that said, I am very curious to see where this philosophical trek of yours might lead, and I see it, in so far as the illusions put forward by the field are concerned, as something that can’t be a bad thing. Of course, given your profession, conventional language is required for reasons that go beyond medicine–bureaucratic, legal, and financial, for instance–and this presents us with another reason for recourse to philosophy when looking more closely at it.

  • Loved the first letter, and shocked to find this reluctance to acknowledge it by the journal. It shows how statements made in the initial report fly in the face of logic. Apparently guild interests mean more to the publishers of American Journal of Psychiatry than reasoned responses.

    I think the end of that letter itself bears repeating….

    “The wise psychiatrist will take a more balanced view, and work with their patient to slowly reduce the dose of antipsychotic to the minimum level compatible with the patient’s continuing mental health: in a minority, but an important minority, this level will be zero.”

    If only more psychiatrists felt the same way, there might, in fact, be a lot less iatrogenic damage in the world than there is today.

  • It’s not about whether anybody likes Donald Trump or not, it’s about whether Donald Trump will be damaging to the American people, or whether he’s just a big ole’ pussy cat.

    R J Lifton seems to think Trump is going to be removed from office due to his involvement in Russiagate. Could be. If so, I prefer to help him along rather than to hinder efforts to get rid of him.

    Name calling is name calling regardless of whether it’s done from the security of an armchair or inside the confusion of a health clinic, however, the question becomes which is the more important goal for the moment, removing Donald Trump or delegtiimizing psychiatry.

    We had the same problem with the Thomas Eagleton affair. George McGovern’s campaign was said to be hurt because he dropped his VP choice Thomas Eagleton over the ECT he had received. Obviously, he had an undisclosed “psychiatric diagnosis” (depression) in his past. Most of us say he should have held onto the guy. Thing is, McGovern didn’t stand much of a change in the end anyway, and so much for that.

    Getting rid of Donald Trump is a viable possibility. Delegitimizing psychiatry runs up against the prestige of all sorts of established Universities and Colleges, and that’s only for starters. I’d say that makes getting rid of Trump the more viable option. Becoming a stickler about means doesn’t help us get rid of the present clown of state, and could actually hinder such efforts.

  • Robert Jay Lifton wrote the foreword to the book Bandy X. Lee edited, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. The book itself is a collection of essays by some 27 “mental health” professionals that apparently grew out of a Yale University conference on Duty to Warn. The professional referred to in the piece above is Robert Jay Lifton as it links to a Bill Moyer interview with him on the same subject.

  • I’ve lost multiple friends and acquaintances to the effects of psychiatric drugs. If it were any other group of people being so decimated and impacted there would be universal outrage. As is, you’ve got a cover up, with multiple accomplices in it, going on. I’m hopeful that the truth will out eventually, but, at this point, it is still an uphill struggle.

  • Here Robert Jay Lipton is saying Duty to Warn in the case of Donald J. Trump, pardon the pun, trumps the Goldwater rule. Duty to Warn has to do with “danger to self and others”.

    Given grave concerns for the future of our, and all, nations, getting rid of Trump by any and all means necessary might be the order of the day. Questioning his “sanity”, of course, despite any impugned “stigma”, is where this ridding may have to begin.

    I ask you, does Trump have difficulty recognizing the difference between right and wrong, and should not a less stressful and potentially dangerous form of employment perhaps be found for him? You tell me.

    One too many madmen (or women) in executive office, and the fate of all life on this planet would be sealed. Regardless of whether you insult mental patients by calling the prez nutso or not, a change of course would seem to be, before we as a species contribute to our own total destruction, in order.

    Although it is ‘witnessing professionals’ who should do the warning according to RJL. People, that is, blessed by credentials, and the power to judge and put away those less blessed. The educated, or over educated, elite in other words. I think there might be a lot ‘street smarts’ displayed in getting rid of the present jerk of state myself.

  • Remember desensitivity training? Yep, perhaps folks could use a little more sensitivity training instead.

    “We might say that Everyone is Mentally Ill”…or, my preference, that Nobody is Mentally Ill. Mental coupled with Illness is an abstraction, and an oxymoron, if all Illness, properly speaking, is Physical.

    Of course, saying that Nobody is Mentally Ill doesn’t solve the problem of certain people who say that certain other people are Mentally Ill. I guess that’s one we will have to keep working on.

    If anybody doesn’t think all people capable of displaying behaviors characterized as “psychotic”, I could suggest a strict regimen of torture, I think, to function as remedy for such–I don’t know–Is it “sanity” or “insanity”?

  • Rewire parts of the brain from what? Some supposed “normality”? And what is it that makes some people more resilient than others and less prone to be terminal victims of what you call “trauma”? All I see is scapegoating.

    Psychiatry grew out intolerance for eccentric, flamboyant, and different behaviors. What a coup when you can call such things “mental suffering”, and get people to buy your product (i.e fabricated disease labels and the treatment thereof)!

    I mean if we’re going to treat grown ups like children, there is definitely a case for, as Thomas Szasz outlined it, referring to insane asylums as adult orphanages. Thing is, as far as I’m concerned, that is a case for deinstitutionalization rather than, as is, the maintenance of psychiatric prisons of one form or another.

  • The field of psychiatry right now has a very detrimental effect. It maims and kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. Lobotomy, ECT, drugs, etc., all were the direct result of these medical specialists seeking a physical remedy to what may not be a physical problem at all.

    Every branch of medicine is not the same, but psychiatry’s claim to legitimacy as a branch of medical science is much more dubious than most, if not all, others. The proof is entirely lacking that what we are dealing with are actual physical ailments.

    Symptoms in psychiatry, given the DSM, are lists of unwanted behaviors, making the presumption of “underlying disease”, if anyone should question it, all the more questionable. Basically, as is, scrap psychiatry and you would be protecting health and saving lives at the same time. Sometimes health and lives are more precious than is changing them in the name of the abstract “functionality” of phony baloney “medicine”.

    MIA does not take an antipsychiatry position, and so you are in no danger of being banned for not taking such a position yourself. If research were to show, as some claim it does, that people “in crisis”, for lack of a better way of putting it, do better who have never been exposed to psychiatric drugs than those who have, well then, I guess that fact must speak for itself.

  • I disagree, and I agree with what you have to say here.

    The news is not so good as you would suggest. In fact, it’s still pretty dismal and grim.

    I feel the 2006 report missed the point of the matter by focusing on health disparities, exercise, and diet rather than on the real problem behind this early mortality, neuroleptic drugs, specifically atypical neuroleptics. Atypicals were developed to help reduce some of the effects of the phenothiazines, most dramatically Tardive Dyskinesia. Problem is, there are metabolic changes associated with the atypicals connected with all sorts of physical conditions, any one of which can kill. People were dying earlier on phenothiazines to begin with, the development of atypicals increased this average premature mortality by 10 to 15 years. Deal with that, and these “seize control of the mind” drugs are no longer shortening lifespans. Lifestyle changes, ending smoking, exercise, and improved diet, all these would come with a diminishing of drug use. It is the over reliance on these drugs that is killing people, and any of the other health changes recommended are mainly cosmetic, a smokescreen for the industry, and a cover up of the mass maiming and murder of people that is taking place in the mental health system.

    I agree in the sense that it makes no sense to spend money to disable people when you can spend money to enable them. The idea is that maybe some of these people don’t have to spend their entire lives dependent on others financially for their subsistence and survival. Much money is spent managing people on disability that could be put to better use getting them back on their feet and out of the system, integrated into society at large, with jobs and functional existences. What a waste of cash! It’s an absurd system that encourages this, and it is a system that needs to change.

  • Illuminating post, and it is interesting that you focused on ADHD and opioid addiction disorders, two of our most recent additions to the pantheon of majorly iatrogenically induced dysfunction epedemics . As if to say, the lying doesn’t start here, folks, this is just the tip of the whopper iceberg, and very far from capturing the whole devastating mess in its entirety. How true! We’ve got these man-made epidemics that no man is taking responsibility for. When first you start making your living off imprisoning people, of course, continuing to profit doesn’t involve freeing them. Stupid laws, like stupid illnesses, proliferate. Unwritten law, too, begins gaining on written law, and there we have a problem as the liberty of all people begins to be so much at stake. Lying politicians, lying pharmaceutical exes, and lying psychiatrists don’t make such odd bedfellows after all. Telling the truth doesn’t pay, not like making up whoppers anyway, much to the detriment of those of us who do possess a conscience.

  • Such as the psych system, I suppose. It should be done away with.

    The state of New Jersey is another matter.

    “States of awareness” people can develop some control over, despite one of the “myths of mental illness” disputing that fruitcakes ever have any sense of “self-control”. Ditto, states of unawareness, or so called “extreme states”.

    Consciousness can either be raised or lowered, with raised being the preferred direction to take it in.

    Once upon a time there was a Choo Choo that must be rusting in idleness and dereliction by the side of the railroad tracks somewhere. I don’t think the “I think I can’t” mantra you find so prevalent in the “mental health” system these days is really conducive to positive outcomes.

  • When it comes to making an argument for the salvation of institutional psychiatry, it is very much like arguing for the salvation of the plantation system. Private practice, to my way of thinking, is not what most people in the public mental health system experience. Given this far from ideal circumstance, getting out of that system can be very problematic indeed.

  • Moral management, with it’s asylum building fanaticism, in large part, was responsible for this growth. Just think Dorothea Dix, and her drive to see that more lunatic asylums were built. The idea, much like today, was that crazy people were being housed, when they had houses, in jails and similar facilities, but you don’t build asylums you don’t want inhabited, This movement, billed as a reform movement, increased the population skyward of people bearing psychiatric labels, and confined to institutions. The drive to have people treated, against their will, in other words, escalated the numbers of people being treated (i.e. abducted, imprisoned, tortured, brainwashed, and killed). Of course, there were some positive aspects of this movement, however, one of them was not keeping the numbers of the mad down. “Mental illness” was “serious” business, and people “afflicted” with it destined for the “asylum”, as some people felt people bearing psychiatric labels shouldn’t be allowed to wander on the loose outside of such institutions. If you say, “for their own protection”, then the question becomes who is to protect those threatened with protection from their would be protectors. Protection, of the sort you got in the asylum, kept the campus/grounds graveyard, with it’s nameless and numbered cheap concrete bumps or slabs, to relieve the embarrassment of potentially scandalized relatives, and hush up the family secret, itself expanding.

  • Antipsychiatry. Anti-psychology, too, if need be. Anti-governmental-intrusion, anti-psychiatric-intervention, and anti-paternalism. Anti-whole-human-services-bureaucracy. Keyword, bureaucracy. All these little barriers between hombre y hombre just have to go.

    “Mental suffering” is it’s own critique. Want to suffer? You are free to do so.

    Institutional psychiatry (mad houses) in the UK didn’t get off the ground in a big way until after the middle of the 17th century or thereabouts. Michel Foucault wrote of a dialogue that existed between reason and folly in the middle ages, and that we contemporaries, not being so tolerant, no longer have.

    Locking people up, and people who have broken no laws, for having unconventional views and behaving oddly, well, I would say doing so is not really necessary, and, in fact, it is a matter of violating those peoples’, so long as the constitution applies, human rights. If you will remember, ‘life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness’, and all that good stuff are values that we, as a species, happen to hold dear.

  • Well, it doesn’t take much to step from Adverse Childhood Experiences into Adverse Adult Experiences. The question then becomes, what does it take to reach experiences of a different sort? Also, those people who are most likely to blame ACEs for their present predicament, are those likely to succumb to AAEs via human nature, and the path of least resistance. “Getting over it” completely, that’s a pretty mysterious process still, isn’t it?

    Another thing, seldom brought up, for those of us of an anti-psychiatric bent, trauma theory provides another excuse for bringing in a medical specialist (i.e. a psychiatrist), of which we disapprove, and what you get out of this medical meddling, as a rule, is more medicalization of the explicitly non-medical. Whether you call it PTSD, or give it any other number of disorder labels, you’ve still got a label, and something to draw workers in the human services industry to a body like vultures to a cadaver. Alright, in this particular instance, where’s the proper insect repellent to keep those buzzards at bay?

  • Drugs aren’t the best way to deal with people on drugs, or off drugs for that matter. Duh. I don’t think trauma any better of an explanation for ‘psychic turmoil’, let us say, than genetics, and I dispute both. Trauma theory is popular these days, no doubt about that, but I hope sometime soon maybe somebody can imagine a third way for us to get beyond it. Need I add, there are a lot of people who are not getting beyond it. In that sense, trauma theory can serve, much like drug induced debility, as a disincentive to recovery.

  • I have known a great many casualties of psychiatric drugs. Some of them may have started with marijuana. Some of them wouldn’t touch the stuff. You’ve got people on benzos who wouldn’t touch alchohol. I’d say they might as well. There’s not that much difference between the “anxiety relief” benzos provide, and the lowering of inhibitions you get with social drinking.

  • I was in Virginia on my way to a family reunion, and fleeing Irma, when I read in USA about Kate Millet’s death.

    The Loony Bin Trip definitely has a previleged place on my book shelf.

    Kate, and others like her, could definitely use a page. Losing her is a grievous loss to our movement–a movement that needs a few more more Kate Millets, and a few less Kay Redfield Jamisons, Natasha Tracys, Elyn Saks, etc., etc., etc.

    Some of us aren’t “sick” and don’t “need” to be abducted, imprisoned, tortured and brainwashed in the name of *cough, cough* medicine.

    Here’s to Kate Millet, and more mental patients’ liberation together with less mental patients’ bondage.

  • Equal certainly doesn’t describe hiring practices. It would be interested to see a study done matching certified peer specialists with their diagnoses, and see who it was who got the jobs. I would imagine that some labels end up being much more employable than others.

    Not to be put off though, I feel I’ve beaten them to the punch not wanting to be a mental health worker of any sort.

    End “mental illness”! Boycott the mental health system!