Monday, March 27, 2017

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You call psychiatry a marketing hoax.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    I can’t disagree with him there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Can corporate psychiatry win?

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

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

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

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

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

  • All psychiatric statements of this sort should be preceded with a disclaimer, such as, “Take with a grain of salt.” Especially with an ending like this guy gives. “Trust your psychiatrist, but” he could be talking absolute bullshit. Of course, there’s only one way you’re going to find out, and that’s the hard way. Better yet, know better, and skip the junk science entirely. A thousandth opinion on the subject is going to be way more than one too many. At some point or another, your intuition should kick in, together with your ‘healthy skepticism’.

  • Charles Nemeroff, the hypocrite, speaks on this thing. It’s okay to hook people on anti-depressants, he says, but hooking them on a club drug, Special K, is another thing, er, not when he doesn’t acknowledge the addictive qualities of anti-depressants. The U of Miami should have followed Emory’s lead, and not hired this joker Nemeroff. We don’t need another drug company drug pusher telling us what drugs to push. Pushing drugs is problematic in itself.

  • Correction: We Need To Stop Drugging People.

    Drugs, pain killers and psych-drugs, are not medicine. They should not be treated as such. The result of doing so is death and injury.

    Yes, we (if we be medical professionals) need to stop offering people drug cocktails. If you are going to inebriate people, it is much better to err on the side of moderation than it is on the side of excess. Otherwise, expect the tragic.

    We (the medical profession) have a huge iatrogenic death and injury problem on our (now bloody) hands. The sooner we start acknowledging it, the better.

  • Fast food chains BY LAW have their hooks in institutions of higher education in the state where I live, and probably most others. This is, of course, only the outer most tip of the corporate influence iceberg.

    Success in our country is often equated with the wealth that comes of working for corporate interests. Because of this equation, many schools of higher education in this country resemble nothing so much as glorified business schools, and business interests, of course, are anything but impartial and scientifically sound.

    There is a more noble path, through the academy, but it is a path that doesn’t sell itself out to the highest bidder, and it is also a path, fraught with perils, that involves seeking rewards elsewhere than in purely material terms. I hope in the future that perhaps more students will be able to take this better path.

    What you say about David Oaks is very true, Sandra. I think many of us feel a personal debt of sorts to him for all he has done, despite his Harvard education. David, if you are out there, I’m sorry I haven’t paid you visit out there on the west coast yet, but I hope to do so someday if I am able. Know that you’ve been on my mind.

    Thanks for writing this post, Sandra. For once, there are many things I am in agreement with you about.

  • The reviews of this film I’ve seen haven’t been completely positive. The movie itself is mostly fiction, and the picture is said to be carried by it’s lead, David Tennant. Adrian Laing, R.D. Laing’s son, said he didn’t recognize his father nor Kingsley Hall in this picture. I guess that means they will have to do another movie perhaps if they hope to begin to do justice to legacy of R. D. Laing. I will watch it when I get the chance, but you could say that I’ve been forewarned. I wouldn’t characterize this as bad news entirely. Laing hasn’t gotten out of the news since his heyday. It helps to be considered, as Laing so often is, as something of a 1960s icon.

    One who hasn’t fared so well since his much more recent death is Thomas Szasz, a man who saw Laing as something of his own personal Nemesis. What news there is regarding him or his views has slowed to a trickle. On the plus side, a book on Szasz is scheduled to come out this May, Thomas S. Szasz: The Man and His Ideas. Szasz, of course, was not without his following either, and this book may help renew a resurgence of interest there. I guess that begs the question of a Thomas Szasz movie, but why not? I would imagine there is much room for discovery among new generations when it comes to the ideas, perspective, and life of Thomas Szasz as well.

  • I’ve heard it argued, and reasonably at that, that Ezra Pound was diagnosed “mentally ill” in order to save him from the possibility of being shot for high treason if he wasn’t so diagnosed. This is not the same as saying, as this review suggests, that he actually suffered some kind of nervous breakdown, but perhaps…

    “Was he a traitor protected by the hospital from the punishment he deserved; or a truth-teller tormented for his candour?”

    This is another version of the insanity defense in that there were people trying to save him from an even worse fate, and then there were people trying to save him from the confinement that came of trying to save him from that fate (a subsequent sanity defense). He was an embarrassment to the US government, shutting him away in Saint Elizabeth’s was a pretty convenient way of dealing with it. After the storm had settled, and he’d lost so many years of his life, his sailing back to Italy wasn’t such a big matter for the feds who would have been happy to see him go.

  • Thanks for the slideshow, it was somewhat unexpected, knowing the source. I should be interested to see where you go with this in part 2 of your lecture. You end with one of the “discoverers” of Thorazine being brought down by the same student movement that brought down the government of Charles de Gaulle, and these students were claiming to be anti-psychiatry. This episode in history people should know more about. The war on drugs that might have changed the world is contrasted with those drugs that are used to enforce the status quo, to secure the established order, and to impede progressive change. Drugs like Thorazine, for instance. Psychiatry has been shown to be good at creating a contagion it has little power to “cure”. This, to my way of thinking, doesn’t speak very highly of your chosen profession. I’m just wondering, out of curiosity, what next?

  • 1 in 5 with a diagnosis, 1 in 6 on psychiatric drugs. Perhaps they should be pointing out that what screening we’ve had has already led to over-diagnosis, and any more screening to come can only mean more over-diagnosis. Is there a saturation point? I don’t know. I imagine that some people still have to be around to run things. I only know you’ve now got this “peer support specialist” business to aid and abet in this diagnostic growth industry overall. Where money making is involved, it’s one complication after another it would seem.

  • Maybe “A Curse For A Cursing Profession” would make a little more sense for me. I wish it, psychiatry, were a cursed profession. There is so much material gain (“blessing”) in cursing other people with pseudo-science, until it is shown up as the cursing profession it is, people are not going to get it. “A Shrug For A Cursing Profession”, it would seem, is more of the same guaranteed.

    Anyway, congrats on the release of the book. The Browning parody is an interesting addition.

  • Much harm has come out of the imposter, psychiatry, as a medical specialty. Once you have removed the biological, you have also removed, strictly speaking, the medical. Talk anybody through anything, and the talker hardly needs a degree in medicine to do so. Merely having attained such a degree is no kind of proof that such a degree does anybody any good whatsoever. We have, on the other hand, much proof, and concrete proof at that, that it has done people bad.

  • It’s demeaning to call people untalented, and that without training and a trial run. I just don’t believe that it is true. Part of the problem is that the entertainment industry is a matter of corporate enterprises that would hold a monopoly on talent. Talent is so much about the marketing of talent that if you’re an artist, and you don’t pick up on that one thing, you’re totally off the grid. Untalented is a lack of marketing ability really. How did Vincent van Gogh, for instance, get to Sotheby’s? One can only make a long story short of that one. I’m not of the opinion that he got there because of the large number of untalented Vincents there are in the world, but that is, in a sense, the view put forward to the rest of us by the corporate owned mass media. A corporate owned mass media peddling to the populace’s infatuation with the idea of ‘celebrity’.

    I find a lot of appeal to your last sentence above. I think it could also be said that perhaps we have a great many actors who have an unrecognized talent in not performing their assigned roles. What to do with them? Whoosh! Out of sight/out of mind, or ‘institutionalized’. Certainly, there are better things we could be doing with these, albeit unrecognized, talented people.

  • I have long thought that acting classes might do a world of wonder for some of those who ‘don’t know how to act’, or as one could put it, for those who “act out”, however acting also flies in the face of the idea of authenticity, a concept I think perhaps over-rated in the first place. What better reason for learning to act a little than being stuck in the muck of an impoverished authenticity? Outside of his or her element, if somebody else has determined what that is, a person might be much better off.

  • Flashback to Princess Leia. Starwars opens with, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Or as David Bowie so succinctly put it, “Ground control to Major Tom”.

    I believe there is a great deal of desire to leave this mundane universe behind, however, I also think there is a great deal of virtue in this universe.

    I think this “been there, done that” dimension can be stretched past the breaking point, and then you’re right back where you started from.

    What goes up, must come down. People ‘crash’, the ‘highs’ have a downside, and being right back where you started from is not necessarily such a bad place to be at in the end, or in the beginning, as the case may be.

    What am I saying? Princess Leia, Mork from Ork, Trump enterprises, etc. Anonymous will always be an under-rated player it would seem. The attic trunk is shock full of illusions, and so in this particular instance, let us clink glasses over disillusionment instead.

  • I’m absolutely sure this is a more common circumstance than people would like to admit. Iatrogenic injury and death is a very frequent occurrence among the elderly under supposedly medical supervision. The more people who expose this kind of thing the better. I don’t imagine the situation is going to get any better after congress does away with the Affordable Care Act, but I am also aware that such “care” can very much be a contributing factor, too. Thank you for your story. I would hope that someday such recounting may lead to the changes our medical system needs so badly. As you say, this should be a object lesson for folks, educate yourselves, and maybe you can prevent your loved ones from being so atrociously mistreated by a medical establishment in the thrall of Big Pharma.

  • Success for anti-psychiatry would be no psychiatry. Psychiatry itself grew out of segregating and locking up mad men and women for being perceived as some kind of a threat to the rest of society. Psychiatry’s success is anti-psychiatry’s failure, and vice versa. As long as there is a psychiatry, there will exist a need for an anti-psychiatry to oppose it. No psychiatric labels, no psychiatrists, no psychiatric prisons, no harmful practices, etc. Such would be success for anti-psychiatry. Sure, it may be a long hard climb, but we were there before there were any psychiatric prisons, too, and in that sense, it would be a return, a return to the time before forced psychiatric treatment (i.e. the time after the demise of forced psychiatric treatment.) Let’s see psychiatric prisons (mad houses, insane asylums, “mental hospitals”) go the way of debtors prison, poor houses, and the institution of chattel slavery. They are where psychiatric prisons should be, in obsolescence. Psychiatry is pseudo-science, much like the pseudo-science employed in reinforcing superstitious beliefs, and so it should be treated.

  • If you could tell us about the protests you are personally orchestrating sometime, Borut, against whomever or whatever. I’m sure there are those among us who would be more than happy to join you, if at all possible, in that noble effort.

  • I would hope that you couldn’t stand in the way of the facts forever. I would hope you couldn’t do so indefinitely anyway. I know there is a big cover-up taking place in medical journals right now. How long can a convenient fiction keep the facts at bay? I don’t know really. The editors (like many mental health professionals) have their biases, and the information they print tends to reinforce those biases. Biased research, obviously, is not good research, and medical journals should consider the ethical consequences of holding a too myopic view of any specialty. Medical science should be about something besides promoting drugs of dubious value because they manage to squeak by with approval for usage by the FDA. I think the 1 in 6 statistic for the number of people on psychiatric drugs in the USA is (I’m not going to call it “sobering”.) staggering. It is encouraging to hear about anyone taking the drug industry, and harmful practice in general, on in these matters. I appreciate what you are doing, and I hope you are able to make some kind of headway when it comes to informing people about the reality.

  • Understood, AntiP.

    I think one thing you need to understand is that since MIA isn’t an anti-psychiatry website, and Robert Whitaker isn’t explicitly anti-psychiatry himself, you are going to get a lot of things on this site that have nothing to do with anti-psychiatry. The amazing thing, I think you could say, despite this, are the number of things that do get on this website, due to the position of some of its users, which are very much in an anti-psychiatric vein.

    As for the movements history, I think that is always going to be something of a contentious matter. Many of the people most associated with the term would not have it used to describe themselves in the first place. There is always this matter of separating the wheat from the chaff, and the figureheads from their ideas. We must rely on these ah-ha moments. Given a few ah-ha moments, well, that’s when one can be said to “get it”, and that’s pretty much what we’re after.

  • I don’t think any anti-psychiatry movement failed. We’re back at the myth of the phoenix, but I will reserve that story for another time. Anti-psychiatry is more likely to be reborn than it is to die out entirely. Psychiatry, after all, fervently believes in it.

    I agree that mental health agencies, organizations, programs, etc., are all part of the problem, however I equate anti-psychiatry with opposition to the mental health system en toto. Occupying mental health organizations and agencies is not a suitable thing to be doing unless it brings about their downfall. The social control business, I would hope, is going to find the going rougher than ever before in the not too distant future, and that with a lot of help, undoubtedly, from enemies like this one.

  • AntiP, you might consider spending as much time deconstructing psychiatry as you are now spending deconstructing anti-psychiatry. If you did, something positive might conceivably come of it.

    Organized psychiatry has spent a great deal of time and energy on PR and public image. Some of its leading lights have targeted what they see as the anti-psychiatry movement for many of the social ills the world faces today. The APA has developed, in fact, its own hit squads for dealing with critics. Anti-psychiatry is blamed for the suicide rate, the high numbers of people with psych-labels in the criminal justice system, and for the growing numbers of impoverished homeless people in the world. You name it, anti-psychiatry must be behind it. I just don’t think there is any sense in contributing to this fiasco, which is, no, not the fiasco of anti-psychiatry, but rather the fiasco of psychiatry. Psychiatrists apparently are authoritarian bullies unscrupulous at seeking out scapegoats for any mess they happen to have stirred up for themselves.

    Search YouTube for anti-psychiatry, and I’m sure you will find something there that may interest you. At the international level I think there is a legitimate sense in which you can speak of an anti-psychiatry movement. This movement however is at a great remove from the mental health movement, its parasitic followers, and the mental illness religion that guides and defines it. If it is making and unmaking itself at all times, well, as far as I’m concerned, there is hope in that. May it help to inspire a more worthy resistance to the unrelenting psychiatric intrusions, interventions, and human rights violation that we have been subjected to since they first began segregating and incarcerating people for being different, and breaking out of the dull and dismal norm of constrained existence.

  • If you can get sued for not following standard practice (deviating from what’s in the college textbook), and you can’t get sued for following standard practice (drugging and “hospitalization”), practitioners are going to be much more likely to follow standard procedures than to try anything different. Doing so favors the medical or the disease model, of course, as that is what standard practice, as a rule, is all about (“meds”/drugs and “hospitalization”). Protecting people from such becomes all the more problematic when doing so, as it does, also puts one at risk for litigation. Buck the system, in other words, and you can get sued, or do everything by the book, and even if your client is screwed, you’re safe. Obviously, given this situation, there are ethical issues involved that are not going to make the light of day.

  • The first problem I have on hearing about this book is with the title. Is ‘involuntary psychiatric care’ care? I think the idea that it is ‘care’, or has anything to do with ‘care’, on the face of it, mostly presumptive.

    The second problem is that I would doubt the authors go very far outside of their comfort zone when dealing with the issue, that is to say, I think it must be a very limited production and view. Although the idea of such a book may be commendable, I can only see bias in the choice of Pete Earley to write the introduction. There are people who are more impartial, or at least, less partial, although perhaps also less sensationalist. Pete has done much to promote forced treatment, and little that I know of to protect anybody from it.

    “When one makes a decision to force a person into a hospital there are two kinds of errors one can make — to force hospitalization when the person without it would not have harmed himself or anyone else, or to not force and have the person go on to harm himself or others. It is hard to know for sure, but I think that most of the time, we are more willing to accept the first error than the latter.”

    Thomas Szasz often inferred that a person could no longer practice his type of psychoanalysis. Why was this so? Litigation. He was actually sued in one instance for not following standard procedures after a client committed suicide. This is a major reason, as you put it, “we are more willing to accept the first error than the latter.” If the person is incarcerated, then the person is not in a position to harm self or another, however, when people aren’t incarcerated, where violence occurs, and family and mental health professionals can be held accountable for their erring associates actions, that means litigation.

    The gist of what I’m trying to say here is that one reason people are ‘more willing to accept the first error than the latter’ doesn’t concern numbers or evidence, it concerns custom and consequences. It is easier for mental health professionals to accept that error because if they don’t, the chances that they will eventually get sued goes up astronomically. Another point Szasz was fond of making was how in the criminal justice system we go out of our way to protect the rights of the accused while due process is basically scrapped in the civil commitment system.

    Now that litigation is often used as an attempt to exact punishment from people who, for one reason or another, eluded punishment in the criminal justice system, this begs the question of whether it should be used in such a fashion. I still think fear of litigation is very much a reason that more people are forced to endure forced treatment than it is credited with being, which is to say, people are being held not because that is what’s best for them, but because if they were released, and something happened, professionals in the mental health system would be held responsible through litigation of one sort or another.

  • If anybody remembers the LA beltway from the 60s and 70s the thing was notorious for its pollution due to the nitrogen emissions from automobiles. If there was any apt comparison it might be with the Peking of today. Turning the world into another Peking would not be an improvement. It would be a disaster for all forms of life.

    The businesses the Donald might relieve from government interference are the big ones. Oil and gas are big, big business. The coal industry may be dying, but that’s because it should die. There are cheaper, cleaner, more effective fuels available. that don’t require the same risk to human life. The Donald might revive this dying industry at the expense, think Geo-thermal and solar, of energy that is safer, cleaner, and more effective all the way around. Just because they have a gold mine in the oil business doesn’t mean that they should have a gold mine, or that this industry license should hold out for an eternity. Sooner or later something has to be done, and it is already growing late. The Donald represents an evasion of the facts all the way around. He can call himself an environmentalist as much as he wants to, it’s just that his actions make a whopper of that one.

    As far as I’m concerned, like the hashtag #NotMyPresident, this billionaire pompous ass, regardless of what he says about boosting small business, for the sake of big business no doubt, doesn’t represent me.

  • Have to strenuously disagree on this one, The_cat. The Donald just appointed an enemy of environmental protection head of the EPA. His administration is likely to be exploiting the very fossil fuels that are behind the current global warming crisis the world is experiencing today. What does this mean? Fewer regulations and more pollution for the sake of maximizing profits. There is no question as to who is going to be experiencing the brunt of this sort of appointment, the average citizen. Capital hill politics is no longer an exclusive millionaires club. Nope, with the Donald it has become a billionaire’s club. If you’re going to develop energy resources, at least develop clean ones, otherwise, somebody is going to have to put an end to your dirty pool game eventually anyway. It’s called ethics and good government which are not the sort of things we are going to get out of an oligarchy of the sort we’ve got at the time being.

  • I commend you, Tina, for speaking out against forced treatment and human rights violations. So many who should be doing the same are not willing to do so. The first step to fighting forced treatment and human rights violations is recognizing that they occur. Treatment alternatives, and the government funding that goes along with it, have made it more difficult for some people to speak out because they are in programs colluding with the very people that are keeping people down. The mental health system is expanding. Realize that this is not a good thing. When the system expands more people are said to be “sick”. When the system contracts fewer people are said to be “sick”. The system is not likely to contract until more people start speaking out against its expansion. When more people speak out, we are going to have more of that non-violent resistance you speak of. The subterfuge under which the Murphy bill advanced into law must have taught us something. It’s time, the time for nonviolent resistance, given the pervasive expansion of mental health services, and into all aspects of life, is long overdue.

  • Give me ten cents and I will diagnose Allen Frances. The ten cents would make me a professional diagnostician. In lieu of such payment, I will withhold diagnostic judgment.

    According to Allen Frances, Donald Trump is not a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Instead he is some kind of an anti-democracy autocrat. To-may-toes, to-mah-toes. Either way, I would think that must qualify him as legally insane (i.e. a dangerous personage).

    Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, I will have you note, have availed themselves of all sorts of armchair diagnoses after the fact and posthumously. There has to be something, after all, besides plain badness that makes bad men bad.

    Let me make myself clear. I’m not diagnosing the President myself. Not for less than ten cents anyway.

  • You did the right thing, Twilah. Irregular heart beats, heart attacks, seizures, and the list goes on and on. I’m sure there are many people who think they have no choice in the matter when it comes to psych-drugs, but they certainly do have a choice. Simply caving into drug company corporate funding pressure is to ignore the high toll that people are paying in this regard, and the point is, people are paying a high toll. Should we turn a blind eye to that heavy price then we contribute to it. Rather than increasing the damage, in all good conscience, resignation seems the only responsible course of action you could have taken.

  • I don’t think “diagnosing him is harmful to all of us.” I do think the matter ludicrous. If it helps expose psychiatry as medical fraud that’s a good thing.

    I was reading this piece by a signer of the petition, and he writes, “Of course, mental health professionals wield no real power.”

    That’s a stunning statement as far as I’m concerned. Completely untrue. Their word has the power to lock people up in institutions, and their word has the power to get people released. Apparently that is not something this mental health professional thinks a lot about, although he does think about how he doesn’t have the power to force treatment on a standing president.

    Petitions only count for so much. Donald Trump is not the only person to brush the lint from his shoulders in this instance.

  • “Mentally ill” and “mental health” though make “mental” a medical and pathology matter. Something it never is, in and of, itself. Mad etymologically just means ‘changed’. Crazy is close to cracked I believe. Mad and crazy are not diagnoses. There was a point at which certain people thought people in the mad house/lunatic asylum system would be treated better if they were thought of as “sick” people, and out of this came the “mental hospital”. I think this helps to illustrate that there is a big difference between “mental patients” and real “sick” people. Impugned “disability” in this situation could end up being more “debilitating” than actual “disability”, something that might not have occurred if not for this medicalization of ‘problems in living’, and that results in an even more dismissive paternalism. If people can be killed by kindness, I wouldn’t under estimate the killing power of feigned kindness either.

    I’d rather be ‘crazy’ than “mentally ill”. “Mental illness” is a lifetime pit unless you happen to find a proper exit from that maze. People aren’t diagnosed “mentally healthy”. Psychiatrists are “experts” in “mental illness”, not health. They don’t seem to have a clue about that. “Mental health” is, like suicide, a more or less DIY matter, which is to say, you can’t expect its “diagnosis” from a psychiatrist. People usually end up in the psychiatrist’s office because somebody else has a problem with their behavior, and the psychiatrist is good at giving that problem a pathological label. Getting rid of that label only occurs when a person takes matters in their own hands.

  • Which is worse, to be called “mentally ill” or to be called “mad”, “crazy”…what have you? I was reading a book in which it was inferred that people had been “mentally ill” for as long as people had been around. This took me aback for one reason, elsewhere I read that the first instance of the use of the term “mentally ill”–the word “mental” connected to the word “illness”–was 1847 in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Early in the 20th century, with a wave of asylum building reform zeal, the term took off. I’ve never felt that “mentally ill” was any less ‘stigmatizing’ than the words “mad” or “crazy”. Quite the reverse.

    Donald Trump is a rich boss of a tax evader. Legally evading taxes is supposed to make him smarter than the average citizen. I don’t see it. Donald Trump is an example of the 1 % that are getting richer at the expense of the 99 % who are getting poorer. I would imagine that makes for a heck of a lot of people, albeit not the majority, who should be getting diagnoses for voting this bozo in. Trump is a brand name. If the brand name is unhealthy, well, it wouldn’t be the first. Who could object to the Ronald McDonald of Presidential Candidates? Well, me for one. What do we have to look forward to in the future? More tax breaks for the rich obviously.

  • Assertive Community Treatment teams exist for the benefit of those deemed more disturbed than others, that is, for people thought to have a hard time coping on the outside, which is, in itself, something of a leap to judgment. I’ve seen ACT teams put people in the hospital for one reason or another. Not taking “meds” is a good one. As I mentioned previously, I was taking Virginia Human Services Training at one time. This training would have qualified me, most probably, to work on an ACT team. This would have been a matter of taking psych-drugs to some patients, and making sure they were taking them. Low man on the totem pole, it was not something I would have wanted to do, and so, for ethical reasons, I withdrew.

    I guess one could say that ACT teams most closely resemble a parole system for ex-patients. Screw up, and the ACT team is there to handle the matter.

  • The average age at death for people given the most serious diagnostic labels, since the development of the atypical neuroleptics (1990s), has gone down 10-15 years or so, that is, people are dying at a younger age. Atypical neuroleptics, in other words, are killing people faster than typical neuroleptics. I don’t think this creates a good case for saying that treatment methods have improved substantially.

    One major difference between the 60s and the 70s and today is that criticism of psychiatry has become rarer, and perhaps more muted, than it used to be. Back then, I’d say it was a lot easier for a person to trash the whole psychiatry business without fear of consequences than it is today. Since then, drug advertising has become the primary sponsors of much television. The APA has started their own PR campaign to store up it’s image, and the drug companies have gotten even more insidious in their infiltration of all aspects of life. 1 in 6 people are estimated to be taking a psych-drug in the USA at the present time.

    Another difference is that psychiatry is blaming its failures on its critics. I don’t think this sort of confusion was going on when we first tried to draw attention to the harm being done by psychiatry. Apparently, the profession is learning how to sow discord of its own. Now that harm, in their telling of it, is the result of criticism of their methods. You can’t cut through the BS either without some kind of real investigation into the harm done by treatment but, given the cozy relationship of psychiatry with the pharmaceutical industry, it’s not anything to expect any time soon.

    One way in which things have gotten worse is that now psychiatry is much more likely to follow a person out into the community once their incarceration is over and done with. You’re got Assertive Community Treatment teams to make sure treatment/harrassment doesn’t end at discharge. It used to be one had freedom to look forward to, not so any more. To my way of thinking, these are not improvements at all.

  • First off, I don’t think over drugging an instance of ‘over care’. I don’t think people are drugged to excess because people ‘care’ for them. Now what is actually going on there, I leave to your own best judgment, as well as your imagination.

    “After examining over 4000 studies, and hundreds of meta-analyses, I surfaced from my research and was hit with a startling “Aha” moment: non-drug approaches really work.

    One could turn this equation around, and say that after looking at all these meta-analyses one thing is clear: drugging doesn’t really work. What it results in, as a rule, are negative outcomes.

    I would like to see ‘non-drug options’ applied, but my experience has been in the public mental health system, and there, any approach besides and beyond ‘drug, drug, drug’, still has a long way to go. The ‘learning curve’ is a steep one, and social factors, among mental health professionals, among others, are the big impediment here.

    “Non-drug options” may not be a panacea, however mental health professionals still, and despite much evidence to the contrary, treat “drug options” as a panacea for so-called “mental disorders”. This has created a major physical health risk for anybody serviced by the public mental health system. “Over drugging” is the rule, and it’s maiming and killing people within that system.

    I wish you luck when it comes to changing things within that system, I just want to point out that piece-meal changes aren’t likely to do a whole lot of good, not when what we need is a radical paradigm change of approach across the board, and that’s something that, at present, is very far removed from the reality.

  • I don’t think it helps to have a doctor admit to mistakes his or her profession has made without those mistakes being delineated. There is much need for a paradigm change in psychiatry because of the drugs being used on patients. Those drugs have been shown to:

    1. debilitate, and effect one’s overall physical health in a negative fashion.

    2. impede the process of recovery, if in fact the patient recovers, and also increase the severity of the “disorder” they would be “treating”.

    3. put a patient in the grave 15-30 years before the patient would have died by “natural causes”.

    I think it important that people get a grip on why “mental health treatment” desperately needs to change. When people are dying because of standard practice, more aptly referred to as standard malpractice, this is something that affects everybody. I don’t think the case can be stated often enough. There are a great many reasons why doctors should be doing some things differently.

  • The way to “mental health” is not arrived at through “consuming”. Duh. “Consumption” is “consumption” of “mental health treatment”. “Mental health treatment” is based on presumption of illness. “Misbehavior” is not illness. Psychiatry sells disease labels and their treatment, basically, drugs and bureaucrats. I’d say that it is a good thing that they cured you of your infatuation with the “mental illness” industry. The question is, how do we cure other “professionals”, “providers” so-called, with no taint of “consuming”, of contributing to this morass? “Mental illness” industry propaganda now claims 1 in 5 people have a “mental illness”. Reading a book from the 1970s, the figure 1 in 7 people was thrown up. The numbers apparently have grown. Present propaganda talks about the dangers of “untreated mental illness”. It is my belief that the dangers accruing to treatment far outweigh the dangers of any and all “untreated mental illness”. I’m glad that it is an industry you are no longer working in. It is my hope that someday soon the foundation is going to collapse under the “mental illness” industry. If it does, we will all be a little healthier as a result.

  • I agree that we need to put people over profit (the opposite of what capitalism is all about), and that the anti-psychiatry movement in this sense is related to the environmental movement for that very reason. I’m not linking it to the fight against capitalism because I think in practical terms doing so is not going to get the best results, if it gets any results. It’s like this for me, psychiatry (medical fraud) is one problem you can work on a solution to, but if you link it to the problem of capitalism (political economy), you’ve got two problems instead of one, and you are even further from your goal than if you tackled the matter one problem at a time. Two problems demand two solutions. The bigger you make the problem the further away you get from a solution. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Henry David Thoreau said that. Sure, doctor complicity in drug company profiteering is behind hundreds of thousands of iatrogenic deaths every year, but this goes way beyond the field of psychiatry alone, and it does, perhaps, implicate capitalism. The thing is, when you get such in psychiatry, the very field itself is on trial because the entire industry is based upon an erroneous presumption of illness. We can do something about medicalization today. We can’t wait for socialism to do something about medicalization because there are no guarantees.

  • I don’t know what you’re talking about. Plain English, please, if you’re going to talk about anything. I don’t think the problem resides in Whitaker’s cherry picking of the data, although perhaps that’s where it resides with you. As for hard data, most of the research today is directed towards getting drugs approved by the FDA for market. You’ve got a chemical gusher in drug research and development. Doing so, in order to profit from it, is fraught with its own biases and shortcomings. This makes such studies short term and of dubious value. Whitaker is looking at the data from long term studies.

  • I don’t think your premise here holds, that is, 1, I don’t think “the capitalist system ‘needs’ psychiatry to maintain its existence”, nor do I think 2. “we will have to end a profit based capitalist system BEFORE we can fully end Psychiatry.” Psychiatry serves capitalist interests, surely, but it is based upon fraud. I don’t think you have to get rid of capitalism before you can expose and dispense with fraudulent practices. The psychiatric hoax has been used to advance both socialist and capitalist agendas. It is the authoritarian nature of these systems, not their economic differences, that supports this hoax. I’m for equality, but I’m for liberty, too. Freedom from social control masquerading as medicine.

  • If you haven’t read Mad In America, please read it. The WHO research is included therein. This is not about sloppy data collection. This is about how psychiatric drug use effects treatment outcomes. The evidence shows that outcomes have not improved, they’ve gone downhill, and that this downhill progress is related to the primary means of treatment, psych-drugs. Chronicity has become a growing problem. Chronicity and the disability tab that goes along with it. There are numerous studies contained within the pages of Mad In America. Read the book, and get back to me with your defense for your defendants–psychiatry in bed with Big Pharma. I personally don’t find them to be very defensible.

  • Eugenics was our idea. Legally sanctioned sterilization began in the USA. The Germans borrowed it from us, and carried it to it’s natural conclusion. You don’t sterilize people because you think highly of them, you sterilize them because you don’t want them proliferating. Euthanasia is more thorough. It was only natural for them to prepare for the final solution, attempted genocide of the Jew, on the scapegoat of scapegoats, the mental patient. The killing of 6 million, the final solution is general knowledge, the eugenic preparation, still pretty hush hush.

  • Another reason, if you look at matters historically, “the trade in lunacy” in Great Britain, which had a great deal to do with the rise of institutional psychiatry, was a matter mostly of families of wealth trying to keep errant family members from squandering their fortunes, to keep the money in the family, when it wasn’t a matter of the unscrupulous conspiring to steal the wealth of the confused and naive. Poor people didn’t matter so much, they could be handled by poor houses and debtors prisoners, not mad houses so much. There was a great fear during the 19th century of gentlemen and ladies, people of polish and distinction, being whisked off the street and lodged in the mad house. Of course, this was before the mental health system became the run away freight train that it is today.

  • I was referring to the World Health Organization studies conducted in the 1970s and 1990s showing better outcomes in the developing world than in the developed world. Those outcomes have begun to change. One of the reasons given for the good outcomes was the absence of psych-drugs used there. This situation has changed as well. 1 + 1 = 2. There has to be a reason. Genetics doesn’t explain this difference. It would seem that the alibi you are giving is full of holes.

  • Remember Senator Joe, remember the blacklist, remember all that has been done to destroy the unions, at least, the most radical of the unions. I can’t forget where we come from. The same holds for psychiatry, the drug companies, the mental illness industry, and all the forces, in whatever condition, aligned against it. My thought: if you’ve got two armies to fight, you don’t want them combining forces into a single army that would be even more difficult to vanquish. Psychiatry is all about mental health policing, but it really doesn’t have the rule of law on its side. Mental health law operates by way of making a loophole in the law. Close the loophole, and there is no mental health law. As I see it, two small armies are easier to defeat than one large one. I’d keep that in mind if I were you.

  • My point is that they must be fought independently of each other. Join them and the likelihood of succeeding at either diminishes to the extent that they are joined. There are leftists who aren’t with us, there are rightists who are with us. Psychiatry and capitalism simply aren’t joined at the waist in Siamese twin fashion. I can’t pretend that anti-corporate or anti-capitalist rhetoric is going to bring down the house of psychiatry, although it may help bring down the house of corporate capitalist imperialism. Left liberal Mother Jones magazine, with the Obama administration, publishes a piece playing the violence card, and blaming it on “mental illness”. This is what we are up against. There is no way in hell that I’m going to say you can’t be finished with psychiatry without first having been done with capitalism. I would be done with both, but each in its own time. I don’t think it helps to connect them like Siamese twins unless you aren’t serious about your objectives in the first place. As far as I’m concerned, we can be finished with one without being finished with the other. Capitalism and psychiatry are simply not a beast with two heads and one heart that can be dispatched so easily, and to pretend that it is is to lose sight of both objectives, and, in essence, to beat yourself up. I’m interested in diminishing the power of psychiatry and capital, but I don’t think treating them as synonymous is going to get us one iota closer to our goal. They are not synonymous, and treating them as if they were, gets us further away from the objective of abolishing either. I’m sorry, but I don’t think, on this issue, that impracticality is my strong point.

  • “You did not address my point about how at this time in our history Psychiatry has become such a vital part of how the current ruling classes can maintain their power and control of the masses. “

    I assume this is addressed to me. I agree with you up to a point, and after that point we part company. I agree that psychiatry is a weapon the status quo uses for social control, and to neutralize, and disengage, potential threats to its authority.

    “MOST IMPORTANTLY, the future of Psychiatry is inseparably linked to the entire future of the capitalist/imperialist system – you cannot effectively fight or end one without targeting the other.”

    As I have said before, I don’t think it makes any sense to make abolishing psychiatry contingent upon social revolution. End psychiatry and you will still be waiting for social revolution. Have a successful social revolution, and you will still be waiting for the end of psychiatry. I feel I have to separate the two goals in the interests of achieving either one of them. I’m not waiting for a revolution to end psychiatry, and I know better than to think that the end of psychiatry will spell the end of capitalism.

  • I’d say the circumstantial evidence for causation is pretty abundant.

    Westernized medicine (psych-drugs) reaches the 3rd world, and afterwards chronicity and government health expenditures are on the rise. Dramatically so. We’re talking the impoverished world. Their mental health was much better than ours until psych-drugs arrived on their shores. Funny thing, is this relationship, this correlation, directly linked to cause, and why wouldn’t it be? The developing countries had fewer problems than the developed world before the advent of psych-drugs? Come on. I don’t think so. You’ve done a little bit of speculating, but I would say without evidence (of declining job opportunities, lack of community, unhealthy lifestyles, etc.), you’re alibi for the most probable suspect just doesn’t hold water. They were doing things differently, and had much better “mental health” as a result, they adopt western methods and health declines start to match those in the west. 1 + 1 = 2. If you don’t have a better alibi for western med, we’re busted, sorry.

  • User/consumer = mental patient. Mental patients’ liberation = ex-patient/survivor. We’re inundated with this propaganda. 1 in 5 (or 4) have a “mental disorder”. BS. The idea is still to become 1 of the 4 in 5 without a psych-label, even should doing so “stigmatize” psychiatrists.

    “Users” aren’t ready, that’s why they’re “users”. There is no “peer illusion” without them.

    Forced outpatient drugging laws are an improvement over forced inpatient drugging laws. Things are improving in some respects. The shift is from a physical and chemical prison to a bureaucratic and chemical prison. There was a time when spending a lifetime in a psychiatric institution was the rule. Perhaps we’ve made a bit a progress since then.

    Agreed regarding factionalism and divisions. They aren’t all bad at all. I will always mark myself among the radicals in this struggle. What remains are the conservatives and moderates. For them, when it isn’t eternal “recovery”, it’s careerism and a paycheck, or it’s not rocking the boat. A boat I just want to see capsized.

    Follow the money. SAMHSA is all about the money. It is through SAMHSA that some of these “alternatives” get their slice of taxpayer pie. SAMHSA is the system. Protecting people from the system. Getting people out of the system. Such is much more problematic. The government controls, and keeps “needy” people “needy” through the money.

    SAMHSA, with recent legislation, and a new administration, has it’s share of problems. The power you speak of SAMHSA having is very shaky. It could crumble into very little over night.

    Schizophrenia is a foreign language used by the people who want to impose one version of reality on all peoples. I tend to dismiss the idea that there is any such animal.

    Tolerance of folly. De-medicalization, and de-criminalization, of madness. There you go. I could see that. Rein in the thought police, and let freedom ring.

  • I’m not talking about working for the system, I’m talking about working against it.

    No, 50.1 % about it. I don’t think we need a lot of people, I do think we need a few. The way I see it, given 1. the demise of the movement that used to be, ca. 1985, and 2. the recent passage of the Murphy bill, I think we’re way back where we were in 1969/1970. So we need a movement (within the movement) against what the movement has become.

    But the money is coming from the system, SAMSHA, like the NIMH, is a federal agency. I wouldn’t remain beholden to the feds by taking their cash. There are, if not always, usually strings attached. I think we need people working outside of the system, against the system.

    We won’t get far without some sort of organizing effort. If that’s union, then ‘I’m sticking with the union’. If not today, then tomorrow. The need is great, and it’s not going away.

    I stand by the need to ‘forge alliances’. Solidarity forever!

  • Great write up, Dr. Hickey. When it comes to fighting the psycho-technology and social control of the state, best represented by organized psychiatry and its institutions, we need as many people as we can get behind us. Although I guess that makes it an uphill climb at this point, I would like to think time is on our side, and that someday their little house of pill bottles is going come crashing down around them. How can it be otherwise? Hold that thought…A little birdy just told me that rescue is imminent.

  • The situation you describe is pretty typical, Julie. The people most likely to be hired are the people with the least worrisome diagnostic labels. So least, in fact, that sometimes they, of course, are also those with the most questionable diagnostic labels. Human rights work won’t get you so far in the system as an investment in that system will, and as it is basically a system of oppression, so much for that.

  • Two words, “off-label prescribing”. This is bingo for the drug companies. You’ve got articles rationalizing the off-label prescribing of drugs for cancer patients. You’ve got mental health propagandists comparing “mental ill health” labels to cancer. If the kid is deemed “treatment resistant” or “suffering” from a “co-occurring disorder” label, what’s a doctor to do? Turn to the drug company literature, of course. Meanwhile, where is the person to explain to doctors and parents that amphetamine and neuroleptic drugs aren’t sugared aspirin, and that they shouldn’t be doled out like candy? Medical school should be teaching doctors not to drug children. Medical school should also be teaching doctors not to leap into the labeling game that so often precedes drugging. The evidence doesn’t support it, and, in the long-run, the “treatment” tends to produce results much worse than the label itself. “Treatment” will kill you; name calling, not so much.

  • I have a few doubts about this whole “peer” thing, you’ve got survivors engaged in all sorts of activities above and beyond paid “peer support” (i.e. mental health work), and this matter of state conferences still leaves people coming from states without such organizations out on a limb. Nationally, internationally, we need to forge the alliances that we don’t have at present, and alliances that don’t leave the major portion of the movement out in the cold and on shaky ground.

  • Initially there was no SAMSHA, it was the NIMH that funded the first Alternatives Conference. I would fault government funding in large measure. Government funding is still a big problem. The same government that is funding forced treatment would be funding alternatives to forced treatment. If the irony is lost on anyone, it isn’t lost on me. What happened to the International Conferences on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression? They were a heck of a lot of work, and some people ended up doing more of it than others, as would be expected. Also, there were conferences that didn’t pay for themselves, that ended up, to one degree or another, in the red. My view is that the people who brought these things off in the 70s just got plain exhausted, and without dedication, it ain’t going to happen. I think we need something like the conferences we used to have that aren’t a matter of the government pulling puppet strings, but you need the kind of dedication, extending to the pocketbook, that is often hard to find among survivors of psychiatry. If you see the government as your hero, your knight in shining armor, then no problem, here comes the Calvary. Funding is taken care of, however, if government is part of the problem (witness Al Gore and the climate change conference), big problem. We shouldn’t be embracing the mental health movement, too. It is a movement that is all about getting more and more government funding for the “treatment” of people who often don’t want to be subjected to such “treatment”. Intolerance is intolerance, even when it disguises itself in a hospital uniform.

  • “All treatments of mental disorders are about changing something in the brain.”

    I’ve seen quite a bit of this kind of thing recently, but I don’t think you will find a great deal of agreement on the subject even within your own field. I see yours, as put forward above, as somewhat of a biological reductivist outlook. You would, similar to many psychiatrists with a biological bias, resolve the mind body problem by declaring mind body. I, on the other hand, to use a metaphor in describing activity within the brain, would not want a violin confused with the music it produces.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding the actions of psych-drugs, however I would not call the brain damage incurred chemically a result of “chemical psychotherapy”. If anything is achieved through talk therapy, or psycho-therapy proper, that anything is seldom brain damage, and I question whether the brain itself is altered in any significant fashion through talk. Insight may be gained, but this insight is of a different variety than that which would be achieved through ingesting a chemical substance with, as must always be the case with sedating agents, a certain degree of toxicity.

  • Again, I’m more interested in ending harmful mistreatment than I am in absolving guilty parties of guilt, although doing so may have some significance for the religious. Accountability is important, and not something that can just be dismissed. If they won’t quit willingly, then we will have to find a way to make them quit, through prosecution if necessary. I’m not out to save people for any world other than this one.

  • Genuine or fake apologies? Who needs apologists? Psychiatry is quackery. There is no apologizing for that. You’ve got to get people doing something else. Remorse and acknowledgment of wrong doing are good when they lead to change of activities. When they don’t, they become meaningless. The problem is not just that psychiatry is quackery. The problem is that this quackery is responsible for a great deal of death and injury. We are not just dealing with a few relatively innocent fortune tellers. We are dealing with a whole industry full of scoundrels maiming and killing people by chemical means. This guy just got a quick glance of what’s in the mirror. Well, it’s a mirror that we need to be holding up to the entire misbegotten industry. You are supposed to be medical doctors! How can you do what you do? You are needlessly injuring and killing people. Don’t do what you do, and people will be healthier, lives will be spared. This is what the statistics tell us. The same statistics you are working with. Pay attention to them sometime.

  • I don’t really see “forgiveness” as an issue. I see stopping the damage as an issue. That psychiatrists are human beings, and thus prone to make mistakes, only follows.

    His final statement is not so huge when you consider how many others have made similar statements, and have had little come of them, and then it becomes…another prestigious psychiatrist leaves the field to other psychiatrists.

    “I’m not sure it’s appropriate to hold scientists responsible for what people do with their results.”

    Somebody said hindsight is 20/20. You’ve got “scientists” working for the pharmaceutical industry. I think we need to hold scientists responsible for their actions, that’s ethics, and in that regard, it helps to anticipate the results of those actions, that is, the negative as well as the positive.

    Conflict of interest is very real, and you’ve got scientists working on all sorts of projects, projects that don’t always make complete sense, and projects that aren’t always in the best interests of the general public. Those scientists, as the mental health profession shows, aren’t always the people most adept at critical thinking.

    Funding is always a big problem, funding and oversight, lack one and you have no science, lack the other, and you’re getting away with murder. Funding sources are often less than disinterested, and that underscores the need for some sort of oversight.

  • I think people should have a no drug option. They have no such option at present. If a person gets committed to a state facility they are going to be drugged. As far as I’m concerned all research on the matter shows not only that people don’t recover from long term drugging, but that they are injured physically, and that this physical injuring often ends in death. Even if a person is imprisoned in psychiatric prison, and even if it is done by a court of law (i.e is forensic), I think the person should be protected BY LAW from iatrogenic injury. Psychiatric drugs cause iatrogenic injury, and I don’t think anybody should be forced to take harmful drugs against his or her will and wishes. I don’t think injuring people through chemical substances should be a punishment for any crime either. If a crime has been committed, let confinement be the punishment, not chemically induced injury.

  • I don’t think it is enough to acknowledge that mistakes have been made. Those mistakes have been responsible for much disability and death. If Sir Robin Murray were remorseful, and out to correct those mistakes that have been made, but that’s just it, there is little acknowledgement, witting or unwitting, of wrong doing. I think Sir Robin has a long way to go before the thing he acknowledges translates into real people with real lives. He claims that if he were to be going into the field today, he might want to be engrossed in those pretty little brain scans. I say we don’t know if we’re looking at brain activity or drug activity when we view brain scans. It is very positive that he gets it about “dopamine super-sensitivity” however, for the rest, I’m thinking were he starting afresh, he’d be making a fresh set of mistakes. I’m still waiting for patients to be seen as human beings rather than broken mechanisms. Death and debility, it would seem, to him, are still a matter of statistics, not people. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think for Robin Murray and similar others the severity of the problem has ever sunk in. If it had, his critique would be sharper and more forceful. As is, he made some mistakes, and perhaps he thinks they are correctable. I, on the other hand, only see a fresh set of mistakes in the making. He is changing, surely, but are those changes going to be enough to correct a legacy of bad science. I don’t think so. Not until a few others have realized the same mistakes have been made and are determined to correct them. I don’t think you do so by talking “trauma” one moment, and then imprisoning a person, and feeding that person a toxic substance the next. Psychiatry is still in a state of denial about the harm it has caused, and I don’t think his admission quite the slap in the face that his profession in fact needs.

  • I have to disagree with you, Shook, on points 3 & 4 you would make above. Psychiatry still doesn’t know what it’s looking at, and “30 or 40 different biological processes” says as much. Psychiatry adopted a more biological approach to treatment in 1980 with the publication of the DSM-III, and I don’t think things have changed appreciably since then. Did more psychiatrists have a change of heart such as Sir Robin Murray did, that would be a very good thing indeed. Although there is talk of holistic treatments, etc., I don’t think we’re anywhere close to the situation that existed before the release of the DSM-III. Are we headed there? I would say it’s too early to say, but it’s certainly not too early to be hopeful.