Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • Definitely a much needed post. What have you got from Lieberman and company? Of course, ‘guild interests’ speaking. Bias speaks more loudly than the evidence which is being conveniently swept under the rug. Just imagine, we can’t say that anti-psychotic drugs cause brain shrinkage because none of the animals whose brains shrunk after we gave it to them had schizophrenia. As usual, the evidence is presented so selectively as to reinforce their biased presumptions. Somebody has to illustrate, as you have done, that this really isn’t a rigorous effort to get to the truth, instead it’s a matter of reassuring people that all is okay in mental-health-treatment-land, even when it isn’t.

  • I would imagine oppositional defiant disorder, so called, is much like conduct disorder, certainly no real disease. Conduct used to be a merely a grade on a report card, but it serves the school authoritarians to treat “bad” or disobediant behavior as disease. Disorder in the classroom is now a “treatable” offense. Of course, it’s all a matter of fitting one to one’s casket.

    Terrific post. Fortune smile on the defiant and the mischievous.

  • Yes, thanks for responding, MartinMc. I have a problem with a person trying to pathologize society, or populations within society, or social trends and characteristics. To my way of thinking, so long as society is not inundated with pathogens, pathology exists in individuals, not social groupings, as a rule of thumb. Ask Google, and pathology is defined as “the science of the causes and effects of diseases, especially the branch of medicine that deals with the laboratory examination of samples of body tissue for diagnostic or forensic purposes.” I suspect what you’re calling “pathology” has more to do with morality than it does with lesions in physical organs, or disease, properly speaking. Are destructive actions symptomatic of disease? I would suspect that they are not so symptomatic of disease as they are of bad decision making. I suppose the question remains, are bad decision made by broken brains or fallible human beings? Whether men, women, or both sexes hold the reins of power isn’t a matter of pathology as far as I can see. I don’t myself see pathology in gender and power relations, and I don’t think you change those power relations by pretending they are matters of pathology, and handing them over to the medical profession, thus making power brokers of physicians, who are, more likely than not, going to serve themselves.

  • When Bad Behavior Is Misdiagnosed Disability. There are, you know, welfare cheats. There are people finding clever ways of defrauding the government. There is also this blurred line between “disability” and “ability”. Is monkey aping another monkey, or is monkey actually “sick”? Get a lot of monkeys aping other monkeys, and what have you got? Oh, yes. Of course. A service industry.

  • Had events not brought the matter to a head, Abraham Lincoln saw the institution of slavery as enduring until sometime in the 1950s. Imagine, slavery in the 1950s, and then think about the Jim Crow laws that followed reconstruction. We have the same problem with psychiatric slavery. Here you see another gradualist position, and if he, Dainius Pūras, doesn’t give a date, he could be expecting force to be abolished in the 3000s, or beyond, and that’s an awfully long way away from today. Meanwhile, the body count rises, and people who stand by have to be considered accomplices to the carnage.

    Thank you, Tina, for taking a principled stand against confinement, assault, torture, insults, poisoning and murder masquerading as legit “caring” medical treatment. It is not any such thing, and what we need to see is its end, not its rationalization.

  • I have a little difficulty MartinMc seeing how anybody who describes themselves as “anti-corporatism, anti-elitist” would not also be “anti-capitalist”. As for “anti-globalist”, I can’t completely sever the local from the international, especially where GLOBAL warming and INTERNATIONAL human rights violations, including war crimes, are concerned. Corporations, for one thing, are multi-national now, and they’ve got their ways, bought politicians and run-away industries, of effecting circumstances throughout the world. That’s global! If there is something to isolationism, it’s not the evolution of the homo sapiens, which as a species, has with time become rather wide-spread. I see a problem in exceptionalism, I don’t see a problem in internationalism. It’s not like people are a different species just because they happen to live in India, or Africa, or ‘south of the border’, from those in more affluent countries. Affluent countries, BTW, out to dominate and lord it over, by exploiting natural resources and cheap labor, the rest of humanity. Affluent countries that also are threatening survival for many people, and beyond humanity life itself, throughout the world, including within the borders of those same affluent countries.

  • This nomination looks like a coup for the TAC (E. Fuller Torrey, D. J. Jaffe and company). It goes along with their party line, we should focus on treating “serious mental illness” (even if it doesn’t wish to be treated), and it is very “medical model”. The article states that McCance-Katz thinks “SAMSHA has a perceivable hostility to psychiatric medicine”. All in all, ominous. I’m not sure where she will go with the “peer support” system, but her nomination comes out of Murphy’s wish to shake up SAMHSA. You can imagine that if SAMHSA is perceived as being hostile towards “psychiatric medicine”, she’s not going to be a friend of MIA either. There’s a lot of talk of “evidence based” research, but should outcomes worsen, as I’d expect with an emphasis on drugging they must, eventually, such a nomination might lead to a further reassessment.

  • Alright, those totalitarians who wish to end dialogue, will have no dialogue, hopefully, not ending dialogue altogether. I presume discussion on various posts can continue in forum if need be. I just want to point out that this kind of decision would not be an advance for freedom of speech (and thought for that matter), and as a result, MIA may be hurt by it in the long run as a result. “De-voicing” people who use this website is certainly not going to increase its appeal among those same people, and some of those “de-voiced” people are likely to feel that the time has come to flee to more accommodating, and less threatening, quarters.

  • Great post! “Party line” is good way to put what is going on here. “Biology” is crucial to the mission of psychiatry, not because the evidence supports it, but because it supports the definition of psychiatry. Allen Frances claimed that to leave “biology” out of the ‘bio-psycho-social’ mix was to be extreme, but it’s not such an extreme idea at all, it’s just that without a biological problem, the claim that psychiatric conditions are medical is questionable. Very questionable. You could say, with equal certitude, that if psychological causes were fallacious, biological ones are no less so. The psychiatrist, after all, is basing his judgment not upon evidence, but upon a DSM checklist. There are a lot of undesirable behaviors on these checklists, however those pin-pointing bio-markers are still as elusive as they ever were. We can’t say, with any degree of certainty, that conscious choice isn’t involved.

    Thomas Szasz dealt, years ago, before the DSM III (1980) came out in fact, with the subject of mental health and illness as political ideology in his book of essays, Insanity and Ideology (1970):

    “The mental health professional who chooses to be a loyal member of his profession will thus embrace the ideology of mental health: he will teach it, apply it, refine it, distribute it as widely as possible, and, above all, defend it against those who assail it. Whereas the professional who chooses to be a critical thinker will scrutinize the ideology: he will analyze it; examine it historically, logically, and sociologically; criticize it, and hence undermine it as ideology.”

    He goes on to say:

    “However, this conflict (between loyal members and critical thinkers) could also work to the detriment of science. In the case of the mental health profession, I think it has.”

    Biology is apparently no longer merely biology, instead biological causes have become a key component of mental health ideology. Any day now, we’re going to have those bio-markers, runs the party line, the brain will reveal its secrets, and with them will come an expansion to our treatment shoe and wardrobe closet. (Of course, far be from me to reveal that they’ve been playing this same game–We are on the verge of momentous discovery!–for over 200 years).

    Maybe not. Huh?

  • I take it you have never been committed to (imprisoned in) a psychiatric hospital, and force drugged and man-handled in the process, following your typical kangaroo court hearing?

    We have a difference of opinion. You think psychiatry and pharmacology, and all that sort of thing, that is, mental health policing, is more scientific than commercial. I see a lot of commerce in it, but the research is so biased, what I don’t see is science.

    Criticizing the mental health system is not a personal attack, not unless perhaps a person deeply identifies with that system. Some of us, frankly, don’t so identify.

    Plenty of mental health professionals, much to my chagrin, blog at MIA, and use the website. I would be happier to see other sorts of professionals using this site as anything. Anthropologists, journalists, lawyers, trapeze artists, clowns, etc. Some of us “purists” feel like caving into the will of mental health goons would be a matter of “cutting off the nose to spite the face”. Alright. I’m not going to lie to you, that would be dishonest, despite the fact that that is just what you want. Sorry, but I’m going to continue to speak my mind. Thanks anyway.

  • “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat. “We’re all mad here.”
    ~Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

    Radical remedy for “mental illness”, abolition of the psychiatry profession.

    What was once a war on “mental illness” has turned into a war on “stigma”. This war on “stigma” would make the mental patient role trendy, (life long, too) and thus further fuel the “epidemic” we are presently experiencing. Reverse directions, and your mental patient population is going to go down. Why not your mental health professional population as well? Reverse directions, and your mental health professional population might be forced to decline with it. Continue on the present course, and before long, the advancing mental patient majority will be outlawing mental health anyway.

  • Forced treatment…and forced silence. Good one.

    As long as treatment is forced, and non-consensual, I feel like many of these professionals are behaving very unprofessionally indeed. just as they would be if they were engaged in non-consensual sex. Brute force is brute force, and certainly there are other ways in which business might be conducted. So long as treatment is a euphemism for assault, in a great many cases, I would question your motives for wanting to remove the verbal self-defense option.

  • Maybe nobody should be allowed a voice who doesn’t have a Harvard degree. Do you think that would work? Soon, you won’t hear anything from me because I will be mumbling through my gag. I know. I’m “no good”. I’ve been a psychiatric prisoner. That’s proof I must be a “bad” person. I’m not one of your select bloggers. not one of the “leadership elite”, or a mental health careerist. I can hear your corruption speaking loud as a minefield, but I’ve been deprived of the capacity to respond. I have the knowledge without the power. Mumble, mumble, mumble.

  • So seeing the good in what a professional is doing is “good” while seeing the bad in what a professional is doing is “bad”. I don’t know, Emeline. Must we demand such “blind spots” out of people, such “holes” in the fabric of truth. I don’t think the issue of whether a service is good or bad is going to be settled by niceties. I think it rather depends on the evidence. I don’t, for instance, see anti-mental-health-system-ism as a bad, and, therefore, negative thing, but perhaps you do. I see it as a very positive thing. I do imagine, on the other hand, that some people’s prejudices, prejudices directed against other human beings, support the mental health system. That said, I do think it a good idea to let the bloggers themselves be the judge of what needs monitoring, and what doesn’t.

  • I’m with Stephen in his reservations about this new policy, if it is one. I’ve been in situations where mental health professionals would not speak about Open Dialogue, going off psych-drugs, and such because it was considered “too controversial” a topic. Anyway, that was their excuse.

    When the going gets tough, the tough quit…You think? If it’s censorship you’re after, well, I suppose there is a long history of that, but shouldn’t your experts expect sticky questions rather than avoid them. I’m not one who thinks it is a great idea to cave into the intimidation of the likes of Jeffrey Lieberman, Ronald Pies, Allen France et al., and I wouldn’t be encouraging cowardice from people who have real questions.

  • Good post, mostly. I have a problem though with a statement like the following:

    “I still think antipsychotics can be useful, and that the benefits of treatment can sometimes outweigh the disadvantages. However, it does no one any service to pretend that they are innocuous substances that somehow magically transform (hypothetically) abnormal schizophrenic brains back to normal.”

    Keyword, sometimes, the question is when.

    I would hope that this conclusion, subjective or not, would not be used as a ruse to psych-drug a patient who objects to taking psych-drugs (i.e. a patient who does not ‘consent’ of his or her own volition), and who, for that reason, might also be accused of “going against medical advice”.

    I have yet to see a circumstance in a clinical situation where patients are given a choice in the matter, and this, I think, ultimately disastrous; the supposition being found in a similar statement, without any qualms, that neuroleptics are “useful and the benefits of treatment outweigh the disadvantages.” Here we are put at risk for innumerable negative “effects”, among them, Tardive Dyskinesia, metabolic syndrome, “lowered brain mass”, etc., and we still don’t have any say in the matter. I’d say, in the overall scheme of things, the opposite statement is more true. Long-term, neuroleptics are not very useful, and the deficits of such treatment, by far, outweigh the advantages.

    Listening to patients who have qualms about taking dangerous and potentially harmful neuroleptics, even short-term, the question becomes, is there a place for that in your “sometime beneficial usage”?

  • I see psychology, and social work, in the main, as colluding with psychiatry in being agents of the state in oppressing a certain portion of the population in the interests of maintaining the status quo. For somebody who does want to be left to his own devices, these guys just won’t let well enough alone.

    Now psychologists want prescribing rights so they can be as bad as psychiatrists. Mostly they are doing the bidding of psychiatrists anyway. Ditto social workers.

    The mental health professional who goes against the drug, drug, drug grain is not going to be your conventional mental health worker as a rule. It is not uncommon for doing so to destroy a career, but luckily life doesn’t begin and end with the mental health field.

    As far as the mental health service industry as a whole goes, it’s a big, big shaky bubble whose popping is long, long overdue.

  • I believe that research would need to be done on the subject before such a sweeping statement could legitimately be made. Nature and time, I hear, can effect wonders. My view is that ceasing to use psych-drugs in itself would most likely improve outcomes, although perhaps not as dramatically as some people might desire. Open Dialogue, taking another approach, one that is less prone to use neuroleptics in excess, reportedly has a 80 % success rate. Take that, 33.3 %!

  • I’d call this an intriguing and much needed post. At least somebody is asking how people respond to neuroleptics. 1/3 think them beneficial, 1/3 have mixed feelings about them, and 1/3 see them as harmful and unhelpful. This is kind of like “recovery” rates, given conventional “treatment, where 1/3 “improve”, 1/3 stay about the same, and 1/3 “go downhill”.

    The next question is how other people react in some instances. Family members can be terrified of a relative “going off meds”. Sensational article after sensational article mentions some mental patient who committed an atrocity, and the tag line seems to be, he or she was okay when “on meds”, but he or she wouldn’t stay on them. I would hope this evidence would be able to counter, to some extent anyway, this kind of presumption and bias. There is often, and I know this from first hand experience, little or no outside support to be found for people wishing to come off neuroleptics.

    There is this research into how people actually feel about neuroleptic drugs, and there is Robert Whitaker’s investigation of long term studies. Ask people how they feel, and you’ve got the same problem you’ve got with eyewitness testimony. Regardless of what people say, they could be wrong, ergo, ‘to err is human’. The long term studies though say something that it is much harder to argue with. The only question there is when are psychiatrists themselves (Get a load of what Lieberman is saying!) going to start paying attention to the evidence itself, their evidence.

  • I finally got around to replying to your messages.

    James is out to play mental health professional, and to correct people for being ‘wrong’, and thus ‘mentally ill’, from his authoritarian perspective. (He is also out to protect society and his children from them.) I’m offended in the sense that I see it as demeaning and insulting to look down on other people so, that is to say, I think he’s prejudiced against the very people he works with. I myself am into anti-mental-health-system-ism, and that being the case, I see people like James as a big part of the problem. Mental health professional disorder, in other words, must be “treated”, and preferably with many a pink slip.

  • What do we have here? A “grand canyon” between reality as it is perceived and reality as it exists? I have a problem with the following statement because it is as if you are not taking people at their word.

    “One fundamental mistake I believe is repeatedly made today when it comes to working with those who feel disenfranchised, marginalized, discounted, or discriminated against is believing that the opposite response must be the best response.”

    Basically, the problem I have with this statement is that if you are objecting to feelings of disenfranchisement, etc., it must be because you doubt the reality of the people you are referring to, that is to say, you think they are being dishonest. This leads to an either/or. Either it is you, or it is them being dishonest. If they actually ARE disenfranchised, marginalized, discounted and/or discriminated against, maybe the best response would be enfranchisement, acceptance, tolerant and engaging social justice. If this (your view) is a rationalization for working for a state that endorses disenfranchisement, marginalization, negligence, and prejudice, the fact that the police force, air force, etc., is with you does not put you, nor it, in the rights.

    I think the problem I have with your view is seeing it as a tacit endorsement of those things that are wrong in society, filed perhaps under the heading “the human condition”, rather than making a commitment to social change. Of course, such a view conveniently keeps you employed in, and by, an oppressive system, and your family, at least, taken care of, and out of “need” itself.

  • “Training nursing home staff in understanding needs can reduce antipsychotic use”, especially when that training is in not using “antipsychotics”.

    People don’t realize how debilitating neuroleptics are, and part of the reason is that while cautioning people not to use the drugs on nursing home patients, it is considered alright to give them “on label” to people labeled “schizophrenic” or “bipolar”.

    Do something about this “off label” prescribing, and we are well on our way to reducing “on label” prescribing.

    Yes, if it’s not okay to kill the elderly, maybe it’s not such a good idea to kill other people who seem lost and confused either. Due to the use of these drugs, people in treatment for serious mental conditions so-called, are dying earlier than the rest of the population. Just like senior citizens treated with them in relation to senior citizens who aren’t.

  • I’d say it’s no harder to conceive of a finite universe than it is to conceive of a finite stone. You only arrive at infinity by ceasing to count, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a great number of objects out there. It only means there are way too many to count. Death would intervene long before anybody/bodies could finish.

    I don’t see Albert Einstein as another Bishop Berkeley, that is, seeing everything as manifestation of God, God speaking through an individual’s subjectivity. I don’t see, say Einstein, reducing all to subjectivity as you just endeavored to do. Logic may be the method by which we determine what is out there, but whatever it is it is not mind, and not only is it not mind, but it is not infinite.

    Some would not look beyond the tips of their own noses, however that doesn’t mean that nothing exists beyond the tip of one’s nose. Sure, however sinister and pervasive is self-indulgence.

  • “Healthy skepticism” may be a figure of speech, all the same, there is something to be said for it. What isn’t “healthy”, and you have psych-drugs and religion (including the religion of psychiatry) to prove it, is letting the wool be pulled over your eyes. There are cons, after all, that are legal in one fashion or another, and which do more damage, all in all, than the outlawed ones.

  • Perhaps “laughable” was the wrong word. People, many people, definitely took Laing very seriously. Many people, psychiatrists among them, didn’t take him so seriously, too. He certainly though, and probably owing to his status as 60s icon as well as the broad range of his thinking, has proven to have staying power.

    Paranormal and parapsychology are like interchangeable terms, at least for me, and I wouldn’t say Laing took an interest in parapsychology (the study of paranormal experience) as a discipline to be pursued, it was more like a passing fancy. It was something he talked about, and something he wasn’t out to expose as a stage show stunt or a hoax and bad science.

    I’m an atheist, Seth. I’m not looking for any “Eastern religion” “master”, with or without “supernatural powers”. It’s not something I feel I’m lacking in my life. I’ve seen plenty of people who were smitten with what for one from the west may have seemed a new faith for a time. I would think some of them have turned their gaze elsewhere by now.

  • Matter is finite. Infinite and immortal go together. There is the argument about whether the universe will expand indefinitely, or whether it will eventually reach a limit of expansion and collapse in upon itself. You can’t measure infinity, but if you could, somewhere within it, surely, there must be a God lurking, if not a Goddess, or three.

    We have reasons for calculating the shortest distance between two points, such as destinations to reach, but just try calculating the longest distance between two points, eventually the grim reaper will end that kind of nonsense.

    I don’t count infinity. I see it 1. as a belief, and 2. I don’t have the time. Cut things down to their smallest components, and you wind up with something like string theory. Infinite is not infinite if you come to the end of it. Given mirrors, infinity makes an interesting illusion, but an illusion is all it is.

  • I was in the hospital while the X-Files were playing, and it was fun to vanish into invisibility the way the characters on the show seemed to do, but the X-Files was definitely television. The doctors had it over on me when it came to mind control. One of the most, not laudable, but rather laughable aspects of R. D. Laing was his interest in parapsychology. I suppose it supports emotion, but the science, as far as I’ve seen, is not behind it. I’ve even participated in parapsychology research, and though there may be some statistical advantage gained by some people, as clear evidence of paranormal activity, it has never been very convincing as far as I’m concerned. While stage magicians may be masters of deceiving the crowd, when it comes to ESP, alchemy, clairvoyance, and other shell games, I would be wary of deceiving oneself.

  • I don’t see why you don’t add neuroleptics to your list of prescribed drugs people are affected by. Ditto, ADHD drugs. Psych-drugs, on the whole, are all pretty problematic across the board, and things people should think twice (or more than twice) about before taking. Chemicals they might be better off not ingesting at all. In this country we have a problem with prescribed pain killers, in particular opioids, and mixing opioids with benzos can, and is, deadly. I don’t see why you are so fixated on benzos and anti-depressants, unless you entertain the notion that this divide between so-called neurosis and so-called psychosis is too intimidatingly broad to cross. We need groups that can defend people from having their human rights violated by the system in cahoots with the big drug-companies. I think people really need all the support they can get when it comes to defending themselves, and their own freely made decisions, from drugging due to bad science and bad law.

  • There’s a slogan that goes, “Get the money out of politics!” There’s a lot of truth in it, especially now that the Congressional millionaires club is becoming a billionaires club. Most of us are not members of the 1 %. How can that have anything to do with ‘representation’? Corporate interests have corrupted politics, and we’ve reached a pass where, sooner or later, we have to do something about the situation, or everybody, even your oligarchs, are going to be hurt by it. Oligarchy, after all, is only so good as the wool that it uses to cover your eyelids.

  • I’m going to have to agree with Matt and Richard on this one, Vortex. Any evidence of ESP, necromancy, and so forth is not the the kind of thing you see on television and at the movies, that is, there is really very little concrete evidence to support a belief in its existence, the only kind of evidence that matters, beyond wishful thinking. Reality itself I guess you could say is lacking in the special effects department. Harry Houdini, it seems, hasn’t managed to make his way back from the grave yet, Jesus Christ notwithstanding. (Of course, Harry was a Jew for all the difference that makes.) I believe Uri Geller’s spoon bending was shown to be a hoax years ago. The science behind spirituality, it just doesn’t cut mustard as of yet. Of course, they can conduct these experiments for as long as people exist to conduct them, but as for performing “miracles”, the lot of humanity is still left out of the loop by these things. What experiments you’ve got still fall far short in that regard.

  • Actually, OldHead, some people think of psych-drugs as medicine, and they want them. Consensual drugging is an “alternative” to forced drugging, just as is no drugging. Consensual sex, in this sense, is an “alternative” to rape, just as is abstaining or refraining from sex.

    I have issues with the “alternatives” perspective for another reason. Were forced treatment outlawed, just as forced sex is outlawed, non-force would no longer be an “alternative” to standard practice because non-force would be standard practice. Focusing on the creation of “alternatives” rather than on protecting human rights makes human rights violations an adjunct of “alternatives” campaigns. The idea of creating “alternatives” rationalizes forced treatment, in this sense, and goes along with it. End forced treatment entirely, and the creation of “alternatives” to it, ceases to become necessary.

  • Thanks for drawing attention to this appointment, David. People need to contact their representatives, and block the confirmation of Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz. According to D.J. Jaffe, she agrees with him in saying that people who have been through the psychiatric ringer aren’t equipped to become experts in that field. I’d say this is just another reason why we have to fight all the harder against these violations of our human and citizenship rights. Epidemics in tardive dyskinesia and early mortality are the result of drugging. Forced drugging means there will be more of it. Rather than becoming discouraged and disheartened, now is the time to renew efforts to bring about change, and to do our best to salvage more and more people from this tyrannical and oppressive system. It is my firm belief that if we keep fighting for the better things in life, eventually we will win them.

  • Not all “peers”/ex-patients work in “peer”/ex-patient run programs (respite centers, drop-in centers, and the like). Community mental health boards are hiring “peer”/ex-patients, too, and sometimes getting “peer” jobs into the system can be a struggle in itself. Getting jobs after certification, given the nature of the system in some places, can be problematic in itself. Prejudice exists. “Peer-run” operations and the mainstream system find themselves having, to one degree or another, to work together. For the ex-patient, sometimes, its all about the much more basic issue of having a steady job and salary. I see a bit of corruption in all this, with the “peer”-run programs more and more coming to resemble the conventional system. Sera herself works for the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Center, in Northampton, Massachusetts, and if there’s one place where the corruption is less than elsewhere, I’d say it’s there in Northampton.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Okay.

    I repeat:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

  • “Work” as a “peer”? How ironic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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