Sunday, June 25, 2017

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • Another strange development, with Bonnie’s approval.

    There are a lot of things wrong with the current system, and it is a system that desperately needs changing. Putting profits over people wreaks Hell on people.

    Let me just say I’ve always had a problem with those ideologies that make feasible change possible only through world revolution. Nor do I think it very viable that any sort of classless society should be achieved through dictatorship. The idea of waiting for revolution to relieve us of psychiatry just doesn’t sit well with me. I, and I’ve stated this before, just don’t have the patience for it.

    In this Brave New World we are stuck in, I’d give a little bit of credit to the resistance of the “reservation”. I simply think much of the impetus for change is not going to be able to wait for any resistance on a massive scale to bring down the present system, that is to say, I think we are going to have to forge our own non-oppressive ways of operating, or of an outside the system “within the system”.

    Those authoritarian revolutions that have taken place in the past, rather than “abolishing psychiatry”. have found it convenient to have Coercive psychiatry serve their own social control ends. In lieu of a massive populist movement against psychiatry, I see no reason this would not happen again. Psychiatry itself, through the reform of moral management, had the blessing of the revolutions associated with the enlightenment that took place in France and America. Segregation and detention in huge Victorian monstrosities in the country was shortly to follow as a direct result.

    What am I saying? I’m not arguing against change. Are you? I don’t think it is intellectually honest to betray one revolution for another. Defeatism is no answer. Rather than sabotage one’s own efforts to effect change, with theory or whatever, I see a great need to redouble efforts. It is not like, during the long course of history that defines the existence of institutional psychiatry, there haven’t been heroes and heroic struggles against it. I worry here, and a great deal in fact, about the wheels of progress grinding to a halt due to a proclivity, among some individuals, to becoming “lost in theory”.

  • If ‘abolishing psychiatry’ didn’t include the abolition of forced mental health treatment, I don’t know that I could support it. (It does include the abolition of forced mental health treatment, doesn’t it?)

  • Mental health reform is usually a matter of legislating for more coercion or less coercion. Force is very much at the heart of this reform argument, in which “no force” is not seen as an option…because that would mean abolition of coercion, and an end to this type of reform.

    Other than that, I’m not sure what a person would mean by psychiatry reform, unless they are talking about its relation to big pHarma and big Govt. (dis-empowering it takes us back to the fight against force), that is, ending corruption, and as for it’s abolition…Well, do you mean the institution, the word, the practice, or the theory? And if all four, do it!…*whistling* I’ll watch.

  • Judi’s time? She died in 2010, and that was only 7 years ago. I’d think, at this point, her time is still our time.

    You’ve got many new mental health careerists who used treatment, in one capacity or another, as a gateway into the mental health field (or the “disability” field, same thing), now that the “peer” movement is so big. Some of them get work with government agencies so it can look like they’re doing much to “help” their “peers”. This makes the matter even more absurd, that is, they are careerists, and their careers perpetuate the system that extends this absurdity, increases the overall number of “peers”, and oppresses so many.

  • Although the terms have often been used interchangeably, “mental patients” liberation” (or “psychiatric inmates’ liberation”) and “anti-psychiatry” are not the same thing. “Anti-psychiatry” is largely an intellectual exercise of academics and dissident mental health professionals.

    ~from OldHead’s Judi Chamberlin quote.

    Actually, if rejection of the role of mental patient hurts the psychiatry profession, it could be said to be antipsychiatric. Imagine, liberation from the state loony bin. Not good for the psychiatry business, nor for the related organized crime of its drug company cronies. Psychiatry promotes the manufacture of mental patients. Non-patients, that’s not a very psychiatric concept, and it’s not going to bring home the bacon for Dr. So and So. These two movements happen to overlap, although it goes the other way with the more nefarious mental health (treatment) or mental patients’ enslavement movement, as I like to call it, colluding and collaborating with psychiatry. The mental health movement is much more friendly to the idea of “countering stigma” with “cool” and “trendy mental disorders”. The more, well, maybe the merrier is not the right word to use, you’ve got your company nonetheless. Promote non-patient-hood (i.e. liberation), and you are not feeding the “mental illness” industry, with its experts, many of whom are psychiatrists.

  • Szasz compares antipsychiatry (and, of course, we’re talking the antipsychiatry of psychiatrists), with the Dadaist anti-art art movement in Quackery Squared. If the intention of Dada was the end of art, and particularly in the case of its own art, that has not been the result. I don’t know what Duchamp’s urinal goes for on the market, but as a moment in time, it must be way up there.

  • The study featured above is whitewash and BS. It doesn’t take much to figure that out. Within the system drugs are so much the “norm”, talking about not taking them is frowned on, very seriously. I imagine someday the science will sink it, I’m still waiting for that day. I know, for one thing, they aren’t serious when they say the following:

    “Strategies for treatment discontinuation or alternative nonpharmacologic treatment approaches may benefit a subgroup of patients but may be associated with incremental risk of relapse and require further study, including the development of biomarkers that will enable a precision medicine approach to individualized treatment.”

    They aren’t interested, while suggesting there is a subgroup, in supporting the notion that anybody improves without drugs. They’re more serious concern is what they call “precision medicine”, which might be more appropriately called, designer drugging. This is sort of like saying if you’ve got a drug that makes you feel bad (has a lot of so-called adverse “side effects”), not to worry, we’re developing drugs all the time, and we must have another one that will do you good. Problem: some of the psych-drugs with the least overt adverse experiences can be among the ones doing the most harm. All neuroleptics are harmful, at least potentially. The mortality rate for people in treatment for the most devastating of psychiatric diagnoses, gleaned from other studies, speaks for itself. Curiously, notice of this high mortality escaped the attention of the group of doctors behind the above study, and no wonder, you can’t sell drug maintenance effectively by highlighting the damage they wreak. Of course, the advertisements present those adverse effects as a long series of brain numbing stats to be glossed over by the person desperate for quick-fix help. In the end, there is a moral to all this nonsense: buyer beware, psychiatry is a hoax.

  • I’d say even the short term use of neuroleptics makes people ill. The remedy for “psychosis” provided by the experts is in fact drug induced disease. The disease I’m talking about here is parkinsonism (sometimes called pseudo-parkinsons), similar but not the same as Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease destroys dopamine. Parkinsonism is a result of dopamine suppression, and that’s what neuroleptics do, suppress dopamine. Parkinsonism involves slowness, stupor, stiffness, and tremors. Parkinsonism is why people are given anti-parkinsons drugs, such as Artane, and Cogentin. What’s more, even short term use is likely to produce some increase in dopamine receptors, leading to dopamine super-sensitivity, a major cause of withdrawal symptoms and relapse.

  • Hmm. Critical psychiatry in quotation marks. I like.

    I imagine this radio show will suffer from some of the limitations that plague MIA as a whole, still, another vehicle for countering the devastating effects of prescription drug culture can’t be a bad thing.

    Psychiatric survivors as a whole are a long way away from being recognized for anything but their credentials if they have any. That said, somewhat warily, I look forward to listening to the radio podcasts.

    Hopefully the quotation marks mean you intend to feature a wide range of opinions from your guests, including on the list some who would consider themselves antipsychiatry. If so, I would definitely call it an exciting development.

  • If I were asked, do you think psychiatry as it is practiced today should be abolished, I would have to answer yes. The psychiatry of yesterday I can’t do anything about, and any psychiatry of the future is a hypothetical.

  • Like I said, I’m for completely dismantling the mental health system. I’m for abolishing coercive psychiatry. If dismantling the mental health system includes disempowering psychiatry, as it does, maybe we could be said to be in agreement over this issue.

    People have accused me of making much over semantics (i.e. definitions). They are correct. Okay, here I am not doing so. In general, I concur.

  • I tend to think this “illness” they came up with is predicated on the idea of controlling people who are seen as ‘out of control’, for instance, people who credit melancholia (“depression”) with being responsible for their lack of industry or employment. Good workers, good cannon fodder, good students….It’s all about keeping the well oiled machine going, and preventing dysfunction of the unthinking social apparatus. There is less question, when it comes to ‘out of control’, for one experiencing “mania”, or a so-called “psychotic break”. Uppity women, rebellious blacks, outcasts, and mountebanks, anybody who upsets the smooth functioning of the machine, with its conformity and its status quo, is a potential target of this social control system.

  • I share your interest, Richard, in confronting and opposing corporatocracy. That said, the problem predates the Psycho-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex by a long shot. Thorazine only entered the mental health market in the 1950s. Since then, the psych-drug industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar monstrosity. Robert Burton wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1621. To anatomize sadness/”depression” [sic] is to see it as a disease. The artificial disease industry since then, piggy backing the drug industry, has grown big, big, big. These are two different but related issues. I don’t think you need to bring down empire to tear down the psychiatric system, however I do think dismantling the system is related to bringing down empire. To put it another way, all of the patients have run out of my asylum. Psychiatry’s decline is not guaranteed by social revolution, and I can’t wait for that social revolution to occur, in so far as the psychiatric system is concerned, to do it in. Such doing in, if you notice, hasn’t happened in the past. I ran out of patience, so-to-speak, over this issue long, long ago. Change the political system, sure, you just don’t have to completely connect it with changing the psychiatric system. They, the politico movers and shakers, don’t always tend to be with us, the detractors of psychiatry, and when they are with us, their political allegiance crosses all party lines.

  • Psychiatry is just a word, Richard, and I don’t see censoring it accomplishing a lot. (It could even change the name of the practice in the name of eluding abolition). Psychiatry uses medical pretenses for social control. I see the social control as being a bigger issue than that of the medical pretenses.

    Psychologists are now demanding, and in some places in the USA, getting, prescribing privileges. If psychiatry were abolished tomorrow, as stated, I don’t think these psychologists would give a frig so long as it wasn’t psychology that was abolished.

    I am for dismantling the mental health system which I imagine could be interpreted as saying essentially the same thing as “abolish psychiatry”.

  • I am for abolition of forced treatment (i.e. repeal of mental health law). I don’t see abolition of unforced treatment as an issue, but if you want to take treatment away from people who want it, so be it.

  • I’m demanding the abolition of non-consensual coercive psychiatry. That’s the goal I aim towards. I’m not demanding anything be preserved. I’m just not demanding the abolition of consensual non-coercive psychiatry. Non-consensual coercive psychiatry is the law. Consensual non-coercive psychiatry is a matter of personal choice. I’m against mental health law, the thing that makes institutionalization possible. It’s bad and oppressive legislation that needs repealing. In lieu of the likelihood of doing so, there is the CRPD which would accomplish essentially the same thing, and which, of course, I support.

  • In Italy you had Franco Basaglia, communist and resistance fighter during WWII, and his Psichiatria Democratica movement, something that might have made Szasz pause a long time, pen in hand, over this linkage of the word democratic with the word psychiatry. Basaglia was another psychiatrist who distanced himself from the antipsychiatry movement of the time, like Szasz himself, despite Szasz connecting him with antipsychiatry in his book, Quackery Squared.

  • Szasz, who never gave a patient psych-drugs or ECT in his life, rationalized the selling of such practices in the name of free market capitalism, that is, if a person could be convinced that brain damaging treatment was medicinal (i.e. bought into this kind of hucksterism), he couldn’t condemn doctors for selling it as such, he was just going to be honest about the matter. He was against forcing any such treatments on people against their will and wishes. (Go, Szasz!) This attitude creates something of a moral dilemma for me. Yes, doctors provide patients with harmful treatments because they demand them, and because they pay good money for them. Would they be doing so if their patient victims were told the truth? Big question mark. Should doctors be selling these harmful treatments? Not in my book. Not in Szasz book either I suppose, he didn’t engage in such himself, but he wasn’t calling for outlawing the practice. I, on the other hand, would think there was something seriously wrong with peddling brain damage and physical injury as a method of “healing” that should be, if not outlawed outright, at least suppressed.

  • Incremental change is the next best thing to no change. I’d rethink that one, if I were you, Julie. Call it abolition, or not, I’m for more radical change. 300 years + of psychiatric oppression is 300 years + too many.

  • I don’t have an argument with you on this score, kindredspirit. I’m talking about the chattel slavery in the USA south that led to Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, and gave us the 14th amendment to the US constitution. Workshops, child labor, prison chain gangs (work details), sex trafficking, and coercive psychiatry, all can constitute a form of slavery. Indentured servitude existed in this country at one time. I thoroughly agree about prisoners and people in the 3rd world, too, nor am I for incrementalism in the battle against psychiatry. I just think that that battle is more important than any hypothetical future scenario. We don’t have to get hung up on details. We have to deal with things the way they are, and that is that.

  • Anti-fascism and anti-racism don’t demand a belief in the abolition of fascism and racism for a very good reason. Realism. The important thing is to fight fascism or racism. Nobody is under a delusion that it might be eradicated, at least, not over night. They, fascism and racism (sexism, too), are rather like the hydra in ancient mythology fought by Hercules, cut off one head, and two more grow back to replace it. Abolition in anti-psychiatry is more complex than abolition in anti-slavery. Slavery was an institution that existed in only part of the world. Slavery was undoubtedly coercive. Psychiatry is rather more pervasive, somewhat more than an institution alone, it exists throughout the world at this time, and, the degrees of coercion involved, when and if you are dealing with any, vary. What was once the survivor movement did worse than go liberal which it certainly did. I see rather more complexity in the issue than that, and I don’t think we gain with an over-simplistic answer, that is, I wouldn’t require deception on the part of people who want to join the battle against psychiatry and psychiatric oppression before they can do so.

  • Well, when hateful families are involved in scheming to get family members scapegoated, and thus put in their place in that regard, what often gets “roped in” ends up being “adult children”, an oxymoron and fiction. Will they ever get to be ‘adult adults’? Probably not if psychiatry (a tool for those hateful families) has anything to do with it, and that’s why it is good idea to brush the whole system off. Paternalism can keep people locked into these losing relationships vis a vis those who gain from the other’s loss.

  • Be careful what you say. In the future, if you say “drop dead” to someone, and they do so, you could be charged with manslaughter.

    I think the judge made a bad decision here. My feeling is that this girl is a lot less guilty than physicians who would assist people with emotional difficulties at “suicide”. As you will notice, the “suicide” here is in between quotation marks.

    I was wondering whether the victim might not have been on psych-drugs himself. Suicidality will get you there, and in this kid’s case, it didn’t seem like it wasn’t common knowledge. From there, you just go to the black box warning labels.

  • Very true statement, Bonnie. You’ve got all this literature and media coverage of the antipsychiatry of psychiatrists and academics. What you don’t have is any coverage of the heroic antipsychiatry of psychiatric survivor activists like Don, Lenny, Ted, writers of Phoenix Rising, and writers of Madness Network News. These two movements do interpenetrate, but they are not the same. Many within the psychiatric survivor movement are none too friendly with anything pertaining to antipsychiatry.

  • OldHead, we live in a world with other people, and sometimes we have to make concessions to realism.

    Activists needed, yes, I think so.

    If it is determined that there isn’t any non-coercive treatment it would eliminate any reason NOT to use the term abolition.

    Of what? Psychiatry, or non-coercive treatment? If there is no non-coercive treatment, that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be non-coercive treatment.

    I’m seeing this business as very wordy and rhetorical rather than exacting. The party-line…I don’t know. I don’t like psychiatry any more than the next person. Well, actually I probably dislike it more than the next person. Abolish psychiatry? Sigh. I wish.

    I’m all for abolishing coercive psychiatry, or psychiatric slavery. Beyond that, I can’t find anything more than wordplay in demanding the abolition of psychiatry itself. It reminds me of this belief in “mental illness” that so many “mental health movement” advocates possess, and conventional psychiatry demands.

  • Laing and Cooper’s antipsychiatry was not really Laing and Cooper’s antipsychiatry, R. D. Laing rejected the term. Laing called ‘the antipsychiatry movement” of the time a movement on paper. David Cooper’s antipsychiatry was a product of the times in which it was conceived. When Cooper calls LSD, cannabis, etc., anti-drugs because they are not thorazine, benzos, what have you, well, untrue, they are drugs. I see his version of antipsychiatry as a part of transformative counter cultural change, and opposing the establishment.

    I remember at an International Conference on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression a woman saying she was against antipsychiatry because it was developed by psychiatrists. I had some familiarity with what had taken place at Kingsley Hall, and my feeling was I’d much rather have the option of residing in an experiential residence like that than be stuck imprisoned for a term in a state hospital. The Laingian experiments, in time, have gotten a much badder rap than they deserve. Today it’s like, here are these experiments that are a part of 1960s excess. That’s not my way of thinking about them, but there is much of that out there.

    Laing, despite coming up with a different kind of environment, never disavowed involuntary treatment. Szasz absolutely opposed non-consensual coercive psychiatry. Szasz blasted other psychiatrists for supporting coercive practices. In this regard, Szasz is very much a hero. That said, Thomas Szasz was a psychiatrist, and he had to distance himself from those, many of them psychiatrists at the time, associated with antipsychiatry.

    Until 1985 our mental patient liberation/psychiatric survivor movement was mostly against psychiatry, and quite literally, at least as far as impute went, antipsychiatric. Many people, a growing number, are still there. On the other side of the coin is the mental health alternatives business in which collaboration with psychiatrists is part of the game. Their numbers may be growing, too, but so is the blatant absurdity of the system they represent.

    For Szasz, anti-capitalism was an insult, and anti-communist was a complement. It is not so for everybody in the world. Antipsychiatry Squared is worth reading for Szasz approach to the subject alone. He read up on almost everything written on the subject, and he was very informed. Many, many of the people referred to as antipsychiatry in Antipsychiatry Squared, just like Szasz, would not have applied the term to themselves. I see the initial antipsychiatry notion as an improvement over coercive bio-psychiatry, and step towards where we stand today. Szasz, on the other hand, thought of antipsychiatry as worse than mainstream psychiatry. Yes, that’s the antipsychiatry of psychiatrists, and a contradiction in terms. Now onward to the antipsychiatry of people outside of, but opposed to, psychiatry, for instance, psychiatric survivors, their friends, and allies.

  • Okay, no need to talk about coercing non-coercion, that’s patent absurd if I would do so through law anyway, if possible. What I question is whether it is possible to abolish psychiatry. It’s feasibility, as far as I’m concerned, is only related to force. Anybody who wanted to could avoid psychiatry if it wasn’t a matter of force. Where you are going, nobody could receive psychiatry even if they wanted it. I’m not going to ask how I can keep someone from doing what that person wants to do, if that something is not injuring another. I don’t think I should be preventing them from pursuing their own freely chosen aims.

  • My personal feeling is that setting the bottom line at psychiatry abolition is setting the bottom line too high. You limit the numbers of recruits you might have, and alienate potential recruits that way. It also increases the difficulty of arguing for abolition of coercive psychiatry. It makes antipsychiatry, as Ron pointed out, too easy to dismiss.

    Also, I’ve noticed that some people say abolish psychiatry while meaning something else: delegitimize it, end it as a branch of medicine, what have you. Were there no psychiatry, antipsychiatry would lose its reason for existence. I’d call that very much easier to say than to do. Despite antil-fascism, now you’ve got skin heads and neo-NAZIs. I’m not prepared to say that psychiatry can be abolished.

    There may be no non-coercive psychiatry, but that doesn’t negate the necessity for outlawing coercive psychiatry. If psychiatry is, as has been suggested, a priesthood, you’re fighting freedom of religion, and that can be a difficult battle to win. I simply don’t think being against psychiatry means calling for the abolition of psychiatry, especially if doing so is completely out of the question any time soon, and we might as well be dealing with goals that are possible instead.

    I can’t do battle with forced treatment if I am also expected to be doing battle with unforced treatment at the same time. Any argument I make is going to be diluted by my insistence on no treatment for anybody, even those people who would demand it for themselves; those who keep the treatment business booming. I see forced treatment as the problem. If there isn’t any non-coercive treatment, all the more reason for calling for the abolition of coercive treatment. What’s more, if there is no non-coercive treatment in reality, non-coercion isn’t the problem.

    How anybody is going to force an end to non-coercive psychiatry beats me as well. We are supposed to keep non-coercive psychiatry from taking place, are we? I have a problem with the idea that we are going to coerce non-coercion on anybody. Saying so doesn’t make me a psychiatry salesman, advocate, promoter, or supporter, or even a Critical Psychiatry supporter. The question remains, how are you going to endeavor to abolish psychiatry without looking as bad as psychiatry because you had to resort to coercion to do so.

  • I had my first “psychotic break” [sic] when I was in college, too. My feeling is that these things most often begin at some point during the transition between childhood and adulthood, at least traditionally. There is no “mental illness” there whatsoever. Instead what you’ve got is a spill along the sometimes rocky road to adulthood. You pick yourself up, you brush of the dirt, and you keep on going. What you don’t do is listen to the hogwash coming from the “chronic mental illness” industry, the “mental health” treatment movement. Instead, you let statistics be statistics, and as the song goes, Live and Let Die.

  • Non-coercive psychiatry is non-coercive by definition. The same holds for coercive psychiatry, it is coercive by definition. Court ordered psychiatry, and psychiatry that occurs as the result of a mental health hearing (i.e. civil commitment proceeding) is coercive psychiatry. It is coercive psychiatry by law, and furthermore, it is coercive by definition. If there are other forms of coercion involved, you will have to be more specific. However coercive non-coercive psychiatry might be, well, if it were truly non-coercive it couldn’t be coercive because that would make it a contradiction in terms, wouldn’t it?

  • Cooper and Laing did not hijack the term antipsychiatry. David Cooper coined the term ca. 1966, and introduced it to R. D. Laing and a few associates at a meeting in 1967. R. D. Laing held his tongue, but he saw himself as what might be called a “serious” psychiatrist, and he was furious at Cooper for the idea of an antipsychiatry movement. The term was first introduced in 1908 by a German psychiatrist, Barnard Beyer, in a pejorative sense, for anybody with the audacity to reject psychiatry and oppose psychiatric authority. It fell out of favor after WWI, but now it is back, in the pejorative sense, among bio-psychiatrists. Szasz aimed Quackery Squared not only at psychiatrists who called themselves antipsychiatry, but also at some who would now call themselves Critical Psychiatry. I don’t think you could say that anti-psychiatry was ever “hijacked”, but now that it is a term used by survivors of psychiatry, you could say that now it is where it always belonged.

  • Coercive psychiatry is the law of the land. Change that law, and maybe there would be a non-coercive psychiatry. Lying to people is one thing, buying lies is another. Doctors give patients poison, and the patients take this poison for medicine. I say there is a big difference between the person who takes poison of their own volition, and the person who takes poison because they are under court order to do so. I would deny the court the power to order people to take poison.

    Lies are disinformation, untruths. When people have been truly informed they know better. When they have been truly informed, they will know their poison from the medicines they have been told they are receiving. The truth can be redeeming for physical health, provided the damage has not been too severe, and on top of that, the truth can be revolutionary.

  • I AM abolitionist, OldHead, I’m just not abolitionist of non-coercive psychiatry. I’m abolitionist of coercive psychiatry. I’m not sure it would be possible to abolish non-coercive psychiatry, and non-coercive psychiatry is not a problem as far as I’m concerned. My primary objective is ending forced treatment, coercive psychiatry, psychiatric assault.

    I have obviously been influenced by Thomas Szasz, but I diverge from Szasz in some areas, too. Szasz was a fervent anti-communist, and I am an anarcho communist. Szasz aimed the brunt of his attack on antipsychiatry, his distancing himself from it anyway, at dissident psychiatry’s left wing. I see mainstream psychiatry as much worse than what was then psychiatry’s left wing, and I don’t think of mainstream psychiatry as being any less fraudulent than left wing dissident psychiatry. I think of it as being more fraudulent.

    Coercive psychiatry is the law of the land. Until that law is changed, of course, psychiatry is going to be mostly a matter of coercion. Mental health enforcement exists mainly as an adjunct of law enforcement. When this law is repealed or changed (modified), nobody should be able to force psychiatry on another person. Coercive psychiatry should be outlawed. Non-coercive psychiatry is going to be less coercive when coercive psychiatry is no longer the law, but against the law. When coercive psychiatry is against the law, you have the law on your side when it comes to combating it. If, and I question whether it is, non-coercive psychiatry is coercive, then at least you would have a legal method of protecting yourself from it.

  • Through police and legislative force? Locking people up and assaulting them in the name of psychiatry, oops, treating them, is perfectly legal.

    Really, but psychiatrists are assaulting people caught up in the mental health system all the time. You are talking about ending psychiatry then through legislation, okay, I will buy that, but you know, we got mental health law (i.e. forced treatment) through legislation, and so it works both ways.

    Were forced psychiatry a crime, I’d have no problem with the police force man (or woman) handlng a shrink, and locking them up for the crime. Not all force though is state sanctioned. Forced psychiatry is the law, it is not a crime, and so that is not what happens as a rule. Instead, it is the so-called patient, the person labeled, slandered by the mental health system, who is victimized by psychiatry. (“Re-traumatized” is the way some people put it.)

  • How do you abolish something without force? It’s a natural and simple enough question that follows from the discussions we’ve been having. Coercive sex is against the law. Coercive psychiatry is within the law. I think that if you’re going to outlaw forced sex, you should outlaw forced psychiatry, too. Mental health law allows mental health authorities to do things to people they call “mentally ill” that would otherwise be against the law, just like rape and other forms of assault.

    You say I have a limited and reformist agenda, that’s your opinion. I, needless to say, don’t see things that way. All these other professions collude and collaborate with psychiatry in the main. Psychiatry couldn’t do what it does, in other words, without help from them. The situation, given such collusion and collaboration, I would say, is comparable with the one that existed in NAZI occupied France. You’ve got resisters of psychiatry and you’ve got collaborators with psychiatry, I see most of the members of the professions mentioned as collaborators. I list myself among the resisters.

  • OldHead, I am for abolition of forced treatment (i.e. non-consensual coercive psychiatry). I’m indifferent to the idea of going any further than that, except to say that if you’re using force to prevent people from doing what isn’t forced, it creates an issue in its own right.

    I wouldn’t demand people be for abolishing psychiatry, or make an either/or of it. While psychiatry has its medical pretenses, with psychoanalysis, it also has its pretenses of being something more than medicine proper. Basically, it is founded on false premises, but even factual premises are not going to make psychiatry go away.

    Before psychiatry, a 19th century term, there were mad doctors and alienists. After psychiatry, I dread to think what the social controllers will be calling themselves. Abolish psychiatry, in this sense, and you’ve just abolished a word that could be replaced by another word. Ditto, the institution.

    I see the entire mental health system as more pervasive than that, and every profession within it as part and parcel of the problem. Psychiatrists have taken the major portion of the blame for some time from some quarters, but psychiatrists are hardly the only bad apples in the barrel.

    You’ve said before that the mental health system needs to be dismantled. If so, you and I agree on that matter anyway. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and peer whatchamacallits might consider scrounging around for another, an unquestionably needed, and more ethically sound, professional calling instead of the one they have been stricken with.

  • MH experts keep the brain washing torture system going. No doubt about it. I think some people realize the problems accruing to privilege and elitism, and the need to get past those things. Of course, I could be wrong. Keeping people in their places is a full time job for the mental health bozos.

  • No, to annihilate it, to end it, to eliminate it, that is to abolish it.

    Yes, psychiatry’s pretense is that of being a medical specialty. Delegitimize it and that gig is up. It is, however, far from the only flake diversion posing as some form of science, and not providing licenses to charlatans doesn’t necessarily prevent them from practicing what may not be medicine.

    Psychiatry is out to treat people for diseases that aren’t even real diseases. There are certainly plenty of people who literally aren’t sick who feel that they are sick to keep things going for some time to come. Abolish charlatanism, if you can.

  • Opposing the mental health movement IS the only way forward anyway. “Mental health” is a brainwashing term. What you’ve got is a “mental health” treatment movement. In more definitive terms, a brainwashing torture movement. De-criminalize, de-medicalize (tolerate) madness, and no problem. Crazy is back in the picture because crazy is as crazy does, no matter how hard and deep you try to hide it. Crazy is going to break back into the world, just you wait and see.

  • Richard,

    I’m through with this discussion, Richard, but I don’t think I’m guilty of circular reasoning. I don’t appreciate people trying to bully me into adopting their positions, or into shutting up. I just say enough. I’m not stuck. Are you? Unless you’ve got a comment of substance to make I feel we’ve exhausted the matter. You’ve got your position, I’ve got mine. We can agree to disagree as somebody once put it. Anyway, we certainly don’t have to agree.

    Respectfully, if you like, Frank

  • Post-psychiatry is an interesting phenomenon that is not post-psychiatry at all, being psychiatry, quite literally. At least, so long as psychiatry is being practiced.

    I would abolish force (non-consensual coercive psychiatry) as I see doing so as a viable aim. Abolishing psychiatry, in my view, is like abolishing astrology or soothsaying or religion. Not a viable aim. I would expose and delegitimize it, that is, take the power over peoples’ lives away from psychiatrists that they currently possess. If you think you can do more, all I have further to say further on the subject is, “Good luck with that.”

  • I don’t see discussion as unproductive, nor do I think it is a good idea to suppress it. You don’t have to agree with me, I don’t have to agree with you, but we should be able to present our respective cases in any discussion that takes place. I’m not expecting to convince anybody of anything straight off the bat. It may take a long time for an idea to germinate. In that case, I’ve got time.

  • If you had a world revolution that was going to bring down psychiatry I’d be all for it, but I’ve never heard tell of such a revolution, and that’s because that’s not the way it usually goes. The world revolution and the antipsychiatry revolution are, in other words, at antipodes. I’m not saying that it has to be this way, I’m just saying this is the way it is now. I’d like to see change. I just recognize that we are not on their agenda yet, and I think its an agenda that is going to be difficult, but not impossible, to change. In lieu of such change, I’m for getting rid of the psychiatric system.

    I don’t say “abolish psychiatry” because I think of psychiatry as a philosophy, a system of thought, and I’m not one to oppose freedom of speech and expression. I do say “abolish the psychiatric system” because I see the system as creating a diminished double of the world in which the world could only benefit from its dissolution. End the perpetual non-interrupted rehearsals for life, that mean so much to the mental health system, in other words, and it will mean folks will be living in reality.

  • I didn’t get the idea that you responded to the content of my comment, Richard. Do that, and we will have something, critically or complementary, to talk about.

    You’ve got all these people dying in the psychiatric system, not because they are non-compliant, but because they are compliant. I have never made an argument in favor of compliance (i.e. using/consuming mental health treatment [drugs, confinement, restraints]), quite the reverse, however, if a person is going to make an argument that means an early grave, what do you get out of it? An early grave, of course.

    The argument has been put forth that people in the mental health system lack will power owing to their respective “illnesses”. “Mental illness” itself has been defined as a lack of will power. That’s not my definition, and I want no part of it. “Mental illness” is BS. Ditto, BS.

    “There is actually FAR MORE social control going on in the world from NON-COERCIVE Psychiatry than there is from that which is coercive.”

    I have to disagree with you on this score. Non-coercive by definition is not controlling. I would argue instead that there is not much non-coercive psychiatry at all. Get rid of the coercion, and then tell me how psychiatry is faring.

    “And more importantly to consider here, is that both Psychiatry and the “mental health” system have become such vital cogs (over the past 40 years) in preserving social control in this Imperialist Empire that NEITHER will go out of existence, unless and until, the Empire falls and is replaced with an entirely different system.”

    I can’t wait for the fall of empire to bring down the psychiatric system. Nor do I see why anybody else would. I think we’re going to need to take matters into our own hands in order to bring down the psychiatric system. The fall of empire can, and will, wait. If you will notice, the fall of empire has seldom resulted in the fall of the psychiatric system before. I have little cause to believe that it will do so later.

    I personally don’t need psychiatry. I can live without it. Now where the world is at with regard to psychiatry is up to the world, not me. I’ve already cast my vote.

  • I’m not using the word ultimate here, Richard. You are. Thanks anyway.

    The psychiatry business is booming, Uprising. That means a lot of psychiatric slaves in the world. Maybe you need to ask them why they’re buying it? I’m not buying it. I’m not in treatment. I’m not in the system. I don’t have a problem with that.

  • Reforming forced treatment is a reformist position. Abolishing forced treatment is an abolitionist position. Abolishing forced treatment, as far as forced treatment is concerned, is not reform. Its abolition, kaput, no more.

    You’ve got reformers who want more force, and you’ve got reformers who want less force. What reformers don’t want is no force. You don’t get abolition, no force, through reform.

  • I think it would be possible to abolish forced treatment, that is, I think it would be possible to abolish non-consensual coercive psychiatry, however I doubt that it would be possible to abolish treatment that is freely requested and freely given (for a fee, of course), that is, consensual non-coercive psychiatry. I have no love of psychiatry, and I realize that it has done a vast amount of harm.

    You mention psychiatry as a medical institution. Didn’t I say I have no objection to one talking about abolishing institutional psychiatry? Again, I don’t see a vast amount of difference between psychiatry and fortune telling. Fortune tellers still manage to eke out an existence through their trade. Abolish coercive psychiatry, and there are still going to be “soul healers” out there. I’m more interested in abolishing forced treatment than I am in abolishing treatment for those who want treatment because they erroneously think they are “sick”, or that there is something “wrong” with themselves. To my way of thinking, it is worse to harm someone who is aware they are being harmed, against their will and wishes, than it is to harm someone you have bamboozled into thinking that what harms them benefits them. Many psychiatrists, also, seem to have managed to have bamboozled themselves on the subject.

    Technically you could actually abolish psychiatry without abolishing forced mental health treatment. When medicine has become an excuse for social control, I don’t think medicine is the problem, social control is the problem. Psychiatry has its medical pretensions, on top of which, all psychiatrists are trained physicians with medical degrees. I can’t see abolishing psychiatry if something else is going to perform the same function. I can see abolishing coercive psychiatry because that coercion is what I’m talking about regardless of whether it is coming from psychiatry, or from somewhere else, the mental health movement, for example.

  • I’m also all for abolishing psychiatry as a legitimate branch of medicine, however, abolishing psychiatry as a legitimate branch of medicine is not the same thing as abolishing psychiatry.

    “Mental illness”, the subject of psychiatry, is not a valid term, but just try convincing psychiatrists and their clientele. Yes, much harm comes of it. That much harm comes of it doesn’t put us outside of the realm of free discourse on the subject. Psychiatrists and their clientele often have a different view on the matter.

    I don’t know that I would say medicine is in its infancy. Psychiatry, on the other hand, is bogus medicine that has more to do with social control than it ever had to do with actual healing or symptom relief. Alright, you’re singing to the choir here. Getting beyond the choir, and that’s why I bring up my concerns, that’s the issue.

  • Interesting post, BTW, and thank you very much for it. Perhaps this is not the place to indulge in arguing fine points. OldHead often sees semantics behind this problem or that, however, I think there are real matters of substance to consider, and that wording is very important in some instances. I agree with much of what you say in this post, I just think there are matters that have not been properly hashed out philosophically that we are going to have to deal with at some time.

    I don’t disagree with there being much that is bad in non-coercive psychiatry. I would imagine that ‘abolition’ would mean ‘wiping it off the face of the earth’. I’m fully in favor of doing so in so far as forced mental health treatment is concerned. I just think that it would be difficult to go much farther than that, and for me, being a victim of force, getting rid of force assumes a priority over getting rid of anything that is unforced.

  • We’ve been having this argument elsewhere, Bonnie, and I suppose I will have to explain myself in more detail to clarify my position on the issue. I believe in interpreting, hyphenated or non-hyphenated, the word antipsychiatry in a broad sense so as not to alienate potential recruits rather than more narrowly. I would never say, as you seem to say, abolish psychiatry, at least in an implied sense, without coupling it with system, institution, or oppression. It is one thing when you have a movement, as you did with the one that preceded the antipsychiatry movement, to abolish the institution of slavery. It is quite another thing to claim, whether true or not, to be out to abolish white supremacism. One can, of course, be anti-racist. Abolishing racism, however, is not within the present realm of possibility. Psychiatry, etymologically speaking, means “soul healer”, technically making it a profession hybrid, the result of a mating between divinity school and medical school. One could further suggest that it is philosophy. I don’t think laying down a dogma that says ‘If you are not for abolishing psychiatry you are not antipsychiatry’ is particularly helpful. In fact, I would think that it would aid those who want to insult us by calling us “fringe”, “fringe science”, or a “fringe” group. As a psychiatric survivor I know first hand all the bad things that come of psychiatric, and further, as with those services you mention, mental health treatment in toto. I happen to be, like Szasz, the psychiatrist, against non-consensual coercive psychiatry, however, this does not mean that I am for psychiatry. I cannot, in all honesty, oppose consensual non-coercive psychiatry, and expect to make a winning argument against non-consensual coercive psychiatry, too; that is, I have to distinguish between the bad and any potential good in the field. If psychiatry is a way of thought, I’m not out to suppress free expression of it. I have endured forced treatment, and I am for its abolition. Any other position is reformist. I, however, am not saying I’m in favor of suppressing free thought and expression. If psychiatry is a philosophy, the best counter to it is another way of thinking. I wouldn’t say that because I believe in coupling psychiatry with system, institution, or oppression, I am therefore critical psychiatry, as you have suggested. Although there are a few critical psychiatrists opposed to forced treatment, there are innumerable critical psychiatrists who are in favor of forced treatment. I have to draw the line there. I can’t tell other people what to do with their lives, except in so far as they interfere with the lives of other people. I have no need of psychiatry, still, I can’t expect other people not see some point in it in so far as they are concerned, and I can’t tell them they aren’t within their rights in consulting a shrink if they should choose to do so. It is not something I would do, but I’m not them. Bluntly, I am not in favor of critical psychiatry, and furthermore, I don’t have a medical degree. I’m for exposing psychiatry as fraud and pseudo-science, and delegitimizing it as a power and a profession. That said, I can’t wish it off the face of the earth anymore than I can wish any other form of fortune-telling off the face of the planet. Yes, I’m against ‘psychiatric slavery’, but that’s where the system, institution, and oppression come in. Psychiatric freedom, take it or leave it. I’m leaving it.

  • “Really? So for example one kind of support that currently exists is that people talk to other people about what is going on in their lives – do we really need to eliminate that, or anything remotely relate[d] to it?”

    Whatever conversation is–you call it “support”–I’d say it is rather safe, and it will resume as usual regardless of whether mental health torture is permitted or not. I don’t think anybody is out to stifle “talk”, nor “caring”, so long as it isn’t phony, the way so much of “mental health” “care” (& bureaucracy) is phony. We’d just get rid of the phoniness, and the system that “supports” it (i.e. phony baloney-ness).

    Simplicity is a virtue, Ron. The ancients were aware that this is so. One can create mazes out of vague fears, and conjure a Minotaur from the mundane and commonplace. Were people to live more in accord with their natures, and less with the contortions and distortions brought on by the modern and urban addiction to rapidity, maybe they would ‘get it’. “Hunters and gatherers” had a sustainable lifestyle, and little to no “mental illness”, on top of it.

    There is such a model for the complete dismantling of the mental health system actually, it is called the times before the enlightenment. Until nearly the 18th century there was very little institutionalization as we know it. Folly was a part of life, to be handled by families and communities, and rather than despaired of, expected. It was a part of the daily grind (as it remains) despite the “mental health” police. “Wising up”, too.

    I do see a problem in overly “black and white” thinking, but I think there is even more of a problem with covert collaboration and collusion. Aiding and abetting a corrupt and murderous system is not the way to go. Caring can and does exist outside of the “mental health” system. Life, real life, is there. Institutional psychiatry, forced treatment, the phony system, must go. We’re all better off without it.

  • What is all this talk about “mental health”, thumb suckers and nail biters? Isn’t that a lot like ‘normality”? I’ve screened for it, and it is nowhere to be found. Believe me, I’ve looked. It must be smaller than a quark if it’s anywhere. It keeps slipping out of the holes in our butterfly nets. You ever been tickled by a person asking to “feel your wound”? Don’t heal me. I’m fine with my madness. It’s not a mad, mad, mad enough world for me anyway. The “mental health” treatment system is a big part of the problem. It is also anything but what people keep claiming it is, that is, “broken”. It only works too well. I wish it were broken. If we could break it, we would be liberating a great number of people. Eventually, hopefully, that is something we might be able to do, shatter the “mental health” torture system. When “mental health” torture is added to the junk heap of redundancy, then, and only then, will we have the last laugh. Until then, practice, and you will be the kind of a sap the “mental health” cops, the conformity goons, and the establishment NAZIs want you to be. Dull as a wrong turn, many miles back, to boot.

  • I kind of agree with Richard here, Ron, in that I think the system arose out of a perceived need for social control, not because people were upset. When they are upset (distressed, confused), nature is the better physician. I definitely don’t think it a matter of reform. There are two types of reformers, those who want a more restrictive system, and those who want a less restrictive system. Restrictions coming with the system, no system is best. The extreme numbers of people in the mental health system today arose because the system existed in the first place. Once a business (treatment, for instance) becomes established, expansion becomes an aim, and a factor in the “mental health” treatment business is always going to be this matter of selling “mental illness” labels, the prerequisite to treatment.

  • When people are in “very severe psychological distress and confusion” as you put it, Ron, the usual response to this “distress and confusion” is to imprison the distressed person, to torture that person, and to drug him or her, or, at least, to attempt to do so, into non-distressed non-confusion. Imprisonment, torture, and drugging represent our chief “forms of support” for such individuals. No support, to my way of thinking, is a vast improvement over those “forms of support”. The idea of other “forms of support” actually descends from those “forms of support” (i.e. imprisonment, torture, and drugging). Such, at any rate, is my tentative answer to your question, put to Richard. I hope Richard will find the time to reply to your comment eventually as I would really like to see how he might answer you as well.

  • Can psychosis treat psychoanalysis? Freud kept clear of people labeled “psychotic”, whom he considered beyond the pale of analysis, preferring instead to work with people labeled “neurotic” or “hysterical”. Szasz differentiated between people whose behavior others complained about (“psychotics”) and people who complained about their own behavior (“neurotics”). The moral is…lay off trying to change the behavior of, however “sick”, well enough. Psychiatry upset the psychoanalytic applecart with the DSM III. Still, it’s a rocky terrain, and psychiatry’s solution has meant a return to, what do you call them, “incurables”, chronicity, a massive amount of long-term treatment failures. Of course, psychiatry’s success is in manufacturing so many failures that going out of business must be seen as unthinkable. Faux cynicism, in this case (the artificial invalid business), proving very lucrative.

  • I’ll say it is! As ever, Dr. Thomas “Gizmos and Gadgets” Insel is true to his colors. Alright, we couldn’t find those “biomarkers” bio-psychiatrists have been looking for so long and so hard. Let’s look at “digital phenotypes”, the way people labeled with disorders use the internet. “Digital phenotypes”? That doesn’t even make literal sense, but now that you’ve got internet companies luring psychiatrists away from government agencies, there is, of course, money in it. You know Facebook is gleaning demographic information from it’s users. Should it also be gleaning “mental health” information that can be mined by the pseudo-medical establishment (i.e. psychiatry)? Information gathering is information gathering, only it seems that this information gathering will be used for purposes of social control. I remember a time before “digital phenotypes”, however I imagine there is an popularizing text on the way on the subject. Here’s another way for the mental health copper to be intrusive. Watch out! Big brother (and sister) are watching you. Step out of line, and they’ve got a label, together with a “digital phenotype”, for you. How far away can we be from a time when they will be showing up at your doorsteps with commitment papers on account of your recent internet activities? We know, thanks to Edward Snowden, that the NHS has been spying on us. Imagine this intelligence agency or that, and psychiatrists, working together in a concerted effort to keep people in their places (i.e. oppressed). Wow! We’re there now, aren’t we!?

  • I’m afraid I’m going to have to interject a sour note into this beautiful music you would be making. It concerns an illusion embedded in the title of D. J. Jaffe’s book, Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill, that you, apparently, share with him. It is NOT a “mental health” industry, it IS a “mental illness” industry. Many of the people most active on this website are employed by this “mental illness” industry, and are actively working on its expansion, with disastrous consequences. My hope is always completely beyond, and outside of, that “mental illness” industry. You mention a high school student coming up to you and introducing himself as a “chronic schizophrenic”. I wouldn’t regard it as a great improvement if this high school student had been introduced to the “pe-ah” movement, now or later, and referred to himself as a “chronic schizophrenic in recovery”, and did so for the remaining 40 or so years of his life, because he would not be likely, as a “user/consumer” (i.e. compliant mental patient), to live much longer than that. Polarization isn’t the problem as I see it. The problem is the “mental illness” industry that so many of you are infatuated with, and in that regard, concurrence, agreement, going along with ‘the band’, only adds to the problem as it is not part of the solution.

  • Seriously, OCD!?

    This is a rather ridiculous piece. Someone who claims to be on the, speculation has it, autism spectrum is a number of waste and reproductive body parts. The author, however, finds OCD debilitating and real. S**w “mental health” ‘awareness’ week, month, year, century, etc.! It’s all about “mental illness”, isn’t it?

    Lighten up. Develop a sense of humor. Send your OCD packing. Who knows? I hear, despite the author’s denials, doing so is well within the realm of possibility.

  • Positivity is only half of the whole equation, if that. Perhaps there should be a chapter in Anti-Psychiatry 101 about this up and coming anti-self-help movement. My feeling: self-help is a whole section in the book store competing with psychology and psychiatry, etc. It has created an increasing number of self-help junkies. It has also upped the numbers, not only for depression ‘sufferers'[, but for “mental illness” ‘sufferers’ in general. Consuming “self-help” is not always the most “self-helpful” thing to do apparently. I think at the end of all this self-indulgent nonsense, a good belly laugh is called for. Epiphany of that sort resolves everything (nothing, too). A spot on the mountain, after all, provides us with a superior view of the world, and a sense of perspective, too. Anyway, that potential is always there. Of course, the same thing might be said of the beach.

  • Mad = bad, not. Good one, Ron.

    “Romanticizing”, “glamorizing”, etc. I’ve heard the complaints before. Perhaps the blind (“normal”) could use an extra set of eyes.

    It is a certain type of person often that gets labeled for their ‘superior’, but under appreciated, talents. I will leave it at that.

    I think the introduction to Star Trek says it well. “Space, the final frontier”…etc.

    There is no crying need to, the opposite of what you describe, ‘demonize’ madness. Not where it has not been coupled with violence and criminality anyway.

    Decriminalize, legalize, and deinstitutionalize madness. Stop trying to pound the strange and different peg into the standardized dull and “normal” hole, and there you go.

    When we recognize people’s right to go crazy, to indulge in extreme error, for the sake of any eventual but natural correction that comes along, or whatever, I would say that progress is being made.

  • I see a little bit of the Skinnerian dystopia (Walden II) in the above. I don’t think tinkering is very moral in itself, and here you’ve got these superior-minded scientists (sic) and/or technicians out to improve the morality of everybody else. Trekkies might point out that it violates the non-interference clause of the federation. In my opinion, some of the most immoral people in the world today are ethicists. The corollary would be the folly of trying to force wisdom on the populace. No wonder it ends on a sour note about so-called neurointerventions. Victor Frankenstein clones, with their new fangled and improved morality, are taking over. Funny thing, it seems there is a lot more wrong with the new morality than with the old. Imagine pointing to the Japanese, during World War II, drugging workers with speed in order to get more productivity from them. That has something to do with moral enhancement? Were I religious, which I’m not, I’d be praying for the Lord to deliver me from these moral enhancers.

  • Interesting post. We need more Gore, I mean Glore, Psychiatric Museums.

    One thing I take issue with:

    “I think all these voices and perspectives are important.”

    I don’t. I think those voices and perspectives that support physically healthy ways of treating people, and don’t violate their law given age of consent rights, are much more important than those which would harm, confine, and ultimately kill the people in their charge. I think the issue is covered, acknowledged or not, under hate crime.

    I’ve got a slogan that would work well on some item from the gift shop. “Clozapine is the new lobotomy.” It used to be said that the only thing that kept some people out of the hospital was a lobotomy. Now they say the same thing about Clozapine. Putting it out there might make people realize that they were dealing with real people, or not. Anyway, they’d be getting a bit of the understated truth. Clozapine IS the new lobotomy.

  • Anti-Psychiatry hasn’t had such publicity, albeit much of it bad, in ages. The only anti-psychiatry news there’s been, and this in a few decades, is news of the scholarship at UT. Shrinks have been talking about anti-psychiatry, and now they can’t hide from it. It, too, is a college course. Congratulations. You have certainly struck a blow for academic freedom. There should be more courses of this sort. It is certainly a few steps beyond, as it should be, in any good college, ‘business as usual’ school. You know, what the bad schools are so good at excelling in. Let’s hope we can manage to make more good news out of it in the future, especially when the need is so great for such good news.

  • It is my view that merely protesting the APA is not enough, we need to be demonstrating against NAMI (and other hate groups) as well. It is no longer proper PC, and chiefly because of the lobbying efforts of NAMI, to pin the “illnesses” of children (some of them “adult”) on the “sins” and abuses of parents, but there have to be plenty of children haters within the ranks of the NAMI hate group. NAMI promotes forced treatment (human rights violations) and takes money from drug companies. NAMI encourages a obsequious compliance in victims of psychiatry, the mental health system, and NAMI. You want to right this situation? Well, we are well on the way to doing so when we capsize NAMI. Need I say more?

    Thanks for this post and report, Sera. As with many, but not all, of your posts, this one is right on target, and the kind of thing we could use more of. Keep ’em coming!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    He goes on to say:

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

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

    Maybe not. Huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Forced treatment…and forced silence. Good one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keyword, sometimes, the question is when.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • I finally got around to replying to your messages.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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