Sunday, October 20, 2019

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • When “mad voices” are locked out of academia, you are really at where we’ve always been at, relatively speaking, under lock down. I’ve ceased to consume mental health services myself, no longer being a mental patient, but seeing myself instead as a member of the general public. Too much patience is a vice. If the chosen people had as much patience as some so-called “consumers” have, they would have never entered the “promised land”. I don’t have that much patience. I guess you would call me impatient.

    I don’t think the psychiatric survivor movement has benefited, credibility-wise, from becoming a consumer/user, or, in other words, a mental health treatment bondage movement. Buying and selling diagnoses, and the treatments that go along with them, is its own best critique. At one time mental patients were expected to become non-mental patients, and as such, fully functioning citizens. That expectation is no longer with us. Mental patient as a career just took a big shot in the arm with the introduction of peer specialists and disability workers, and this subtle expansion of the service industry has to work against any aims we might have for full equality and human rights.

    As for ECT, how can they continue to lie about the practice so much? There isn’t that much difference between ECT and insulin shock or metrazol shock therapy, but each of those practices were tossed into the dustbin of history. Why? Because they were not so “safe and effective” as claimed, just like ECT. If we look at this history of damage, and the deceit that facilitated it, the lies of the industry become transparent. With more and more mental patients, oops, excuse me, consumer/users, how can anyone claim that the “mental health” of the nation is improving? More and more patients means your epidemic is letting up? I really don’t think so.

  • The mental health system literally held me prisoner. Do I want a job with its prison system? No, I don’t. Where, actually, one has to wonder, would so-called “peer support” be without such a prison system? I don’t want any sort of certificate that says I agree with this sort of thing when I don’t. People speak of recovering from mental illness when the real thing they must recover from is mental health treatment, torture and imprisonment under another name.Torture and imprisonment that is literally killing people. I’ve learned my lesson. Its time for another subject.

  • I can identify with the ‘family scapegoating’ experienced there, but it hasn’t gotten so severe yet as to require a divorce from my family on my part.

    “The people”, especially families and their ilk, are why psychiatry is in the position it is in today. I’d say we need to work a little harder at informing and changing the hearts and the minds of “the people” than we have. They are, after all, not completely lost. Some of them might even be said to be ‘with us’.

  • I kind of think the “emotional upset” definition derived from the “physical injury” definition, and, therefore, somewhat metaphorical, or null and void. If you look into the origin of the word, trauma is the Greek word for wound, and “emotional wounds”, in the main, are metaphorical wounds.

  • “Coercive practices”, as they are called, have a different term for other contexts, and that different term is tyranny. If we’re going to criticize “coercive practices”, maybe we should be criticizing the entire system that has produced them, perfected them, excuses them, and apologizes for them. Antipsychiatry, as I see it, is pro-freedom, pro-democracy, and anti-tyranny. Why reform a system that should never have arisen in the first place when you can do away with it. More simply put, wrong is wrong, and “coercive practices” are not merely “dehumanizing”, they are wrong. Talk “reducing coercive practices” and you’ve already justified them. No, let’s not talk reform. Let’s abolish involuntary hospitalization and involuntary drugging. Tyranny is unjustified in all instances and under all circumstances. Limited tyranny has had its day, but let’s make sure that day is finally over by putting it to sleep once and for all.

  • Trauma as the catch-all cause…? I dunno. Averse childhood experiences are not the cause of averse adult experiences, but they certainly don’t represent a change of course away from them.

    I’d say the best course of action is to dismiss the diagnosis altogether, especially when that diagnosis is one of BPD. When other diagnostic labels can get away with insinuating that the cause is biological (requiring medicine, er, drugs), it is much harder to do so with the much more dubious diagnostic category of so-called “personality disorders”.

    Of course, a person could also spend the rest of their life in “treatment” for being difficult, too, but only if such was their inclination.

  • I wouldn’t expect psychiatrists and professionals on “the inside” to work to destroy “the inside” rather than reform it. I think the only good place to oppose that system, without being complicit, to one degree or another, is outside of it. “Top down” or “bottom up” are irrelevant outside of that system, instead, you’ve got other systems to deal with. Get rid of that system, and it’s kaput. A pin prick is all it takes, conceptually speaking anyway, and *pop* you’ve got no more mental health treatment system bubble.

  • I don’t think there is much argument about what constitutes force: involuntary commitment court orders, for instance, leather straps, locked doors, and goons with hypodermic needles. I do, however, think that you are going to get arguments, from true believers among the drug, label, torture and imprisonment gang, that the psychiatric faith is not based upon false premises, that is, that it is sound. As with all religions, and this goes for the “soul healer” religion as well, some of us are going to be skeptics and non-believers.

  • R. Whitaker never adopted an antipsychiatry position. That much was clear from the start. If you are not completely opposed to psychiatry, you are going to be supporting some aspects of it. If you want a vehicle for promoting the antipsychiatry cause, as you apparently do, OldHead, somebody else is going to have to serve as the main impetus for it. In other words, this is all rather do it yourself, and hopefully, do it yourselves, a matter for some sort of unity and solidarity on behalf of those who are true to the cause. Expecting MIA to be an antipsychiatry website, when it explicitly is not an antipsychiatry website, is like trying to drink from a glass that has no bottom. Do you want to do some organizing among those of us who are opposed to psychiatry towards the end of creating a viable vehicle for our position? That’s the place to start.

  • I don’t really think of mental health professionals as problem solvers. If they were problem solvers, they’d be out of business. As is, I’m grateful for all the people who have chosen other professions. The idea of the world as one great big loony bin is just a little too upsetting, not to mention absurd, for me.

    The stats are staggering. If we were dealing with real disease we’d have a problem, but no “mental illness” ever killed anybody, even if a few people took up arms against themselves. 1 in 4 people says the WHO are affected by–dum dum dee dum–so-called mental illness at some point in their lives.

    Alright, what would I compare the mental health profession to, well, for starts, maybe the tobacco industry. You’ve got people without diseases of any sort who think they are diseased, and you’ve got a whole bunch of people who are feeding and fueling this artificial discomfiture with their “support”. I think we’d be better off, really, if your career mental patients and your profession mental health workers started looking around for something more contributory to the GNP to engage in.

  • I imagine there are some states in which withdrawing from psych drugs would not have been permitted in an institutional setting. My experience in the hospital was not one in which I had the slightest say about the psych drugs that were laid before me. You took them voluntarily, or they were forced on you via hired thugs syringe and needle. If this is the case, then certainly laws need to be changed to protect people from protracted sedation and the harm that goes along with it.

    I’m glad she was able to withdraw, and that she didn’t face severe consequences as a result. I’m also glad the judge, relatively speaking, ruled in her favor. I would hope that if it is a matter of progressive legislation insuring peoples’ rights, with Illinois being more progressive than many states, other states also get on board.

  • Involuntary treatment is something you abolish. Psychiatry is something you dissuade people from indulging in. There is a difference. On this, OH, you and I disagree. To abolish something you simply outlaw it. As, unlike involuntary treatment, psychiatry is a profession, freely pursued, that is not the way to go with it. Your analysis seems sketchy and flawed to me. All psychiatrists are not the same. Relieve them of this undue power that they have been granted by legislation and courts of law, and they are no longer the problem that they are today. The way you get rid of psychiatry is by boycotting it, and by, working with the market forces for competition that exist, driving it into bankruptcy. Much of its theory is already scientifically bankrupt anyway.

  • Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff went to prison for stealing money from people. Ditto, Farid Fata.

    Psych drugs are a gold mine, or perhaps more aptly, an oil field, of quick cash for researchers and investors seeking to develop the next new “quick fix” and trend in “medical” palliatives.

    Deception–something a little education might remedy–is not the same thing as coercion, just as an unfortunate choice in marriage partners does not always mean rape.

  • Outlaw undue force, sure. Outlaw fooling? I just don’t think it will go over. Practically all advertising is false advertising. People don’t sell products by being honest. Where businesses are concerned, that’s usually the road to bankruptcy court. Simply put, being truthful is not going to stop the competition from lying. There aren’t enough cells to hold all the liars, nor are there enough hospitals to detain all the fools.

  • Logic, JanCarol.

    “all psychiatry is forced”

    would be as much of a falsehood. Although “much psychiatry” is forced, certainly “all” of it is not.

    Psychiatry that is based upon a lie is based upon deception, however, deception and force are not equivalent. A person can learn the truth, however, in situations where force prevails the truth is irrelevant.

    Although it may sound better to the “winners” than it does to the “whiners”, despite the claim that “history is written by the winners”, might doesn’t really make right.

  • I agree with you that there are neurological conditions as distinct from psychological or psychiatric ones. Head trauma is still head trauma, and generally leads to medical attention. PTSD, well, that might be something else altogether.

  • Proof, Steve, proof. I do find your dysfunctional brain theory dubious. Elliot Valenstein, a psychology and neuroscience professor, authored a book he titled Blaming The Brain, and subtitled The TRUTH About Drugs and Mental Health. I would imagine, having read Mad In America and Anatomy of an Epidemic, you might get an idea of where I am going with this thing. *Tongue in cheek* She’s a bright girl, with a lovely personality, whereas he, her brother, he’s a dumbbell with a brain dysfunction, or is he? Perhaps he’s just a convenient scapegrace. Anyway. Thank heavens we’ve got institutions, electro-shock, Abilify, and you name it. Otherwise, he could become a real problem for us.

  • Sure, OldHead, we could die waiting for the momentum, but…no gun shot…no movement. I get it that strategy is important, but so is spontaneity. I think the movement has to be outside of the system entirely because the system is so deadly. Ever ready, in my view, beats never ready every time.

  • We’ve got that little problem again. I’m not sure what you mean when you say you’re out to “abolish psychiatry”. I would do what Thomas Szasz consistently campaigned for, that is, abolish involuntary hospitalization. Anything short of that is reformist. Almost two hundred years ago there was all this talk of removing physical restraints, more than two hundred years later the talk is still about removing restraints. That’s reformism for you. Incremental change, reform, has two directions to go in, more tyrannical, more oppressive change, or less so. Get rid of the tyranny, the oppression, entirely, and the degree to which it exists is no longer the issue.

  • We agree on a lot of things I imagine. The problem I have is with this rhetorical “abolish psychiatry”. All psychiatry is not forced psychiatry, all psychiatry is not psychiatric slavery. I’m for abolishing that, that being large-scale institutional coercive psychiatry. I’m not on a vendetta against private practice. When it’s take it or leave it (i.e. consensual and chosen), I’m not for abolishing it, as there are liberty issues involved. Were everybody to leave it, it would be defunct. The abolition of psychiatry would mean the triumph of antipsychiatry, in which event both fields would be reduced to redundancy, however, we’ve got a ways to go before we’re there.

  • Psychiatry = medicalization. As Lawrence says, it’s a branch of medicine. Only problem is it sells diagnosis and treatment of bogus disease. What is a psychological illness? What is a psychiatric disorder? Let me answer by posing another question. What is bullshit?

  • What once was the mental hygiene movement, and now refers to itself as the mental health movement, is a movement that is all about medicalization, that is, the provision of medical “care” for people who might be considered to be “in distress”, or in crisis, but who are literally not (i.e. are not physically) sick. NAMI is one of the latest organized manifestations of this movement. The results of this evangelical drive to treat people, and the zealotry behind it, are the almost daily news reports that the numbers of people diagnosed with psychiatric/psychological issues are rising. Another result is the systemic expansion achieved by recruiting patients into its workforce. It should come as no surprise to anyone, that if you wanted the numbers to decline, you’d be working in the opposite direction. that is, towards getting people out of this artificial disability system. Apparently, some folks threw in the towel long, long ago.

  • Random letters on a keyboard don’t even make an intelligible acronym. I don’t think ADHD a particularly intelligible acronym either, but that is that. Granted, many people in the system have communication issues, and now they have, as they have always had, alienation issues.

    My concern is rather, and I can see the reasons you are there, and that they are important ones, at least for you, the impending deprivation of liberty and the scrapping of due process that goes along with it.

    “As we learned more (alarming) details, it became clear that she is “a danger to herself or others.” “

    “Danger to self or others” is the legal term that allows locking innocent people up for being in what one might call distressing and complicated situations. In other words, it is bad and constitutionally unsound law. I personally have a lot of issues with holding people for their own presumed good, and protection. There is, after all, a risk to all endeavors. Together with having the right to do something constructive with one’s life, I think one should have the right to do something destructive with that life. I don’t think the state should be making those decisions for a person when no crime has been committed. You don’t “treat” people against their will, the matter at the heart of this ruse, without violating their constitutional, their citizenship, and their human rights. The rule of law that this law allows circumvention of, I think preferable to the rule of thumb that you end up with.

  • “A bit of history: What people call “mental illness” or “psychosis” today has been around a very long time.”

    Not exactly. The coupling of the words “mental” with “health” goes back to the year 1803. The coupling of the words “mental” with “illness” goes back to the year 1819, and “psychosis” goes back to the year to the year 1847. Approximately, of course.

    If we’re going to speak of such matters in ancient times, I think we’re going to have to look at their concepts, and their language. Things have changed a great deal, and we shouldn’t be thoughtlessly imposing the present on ancient times or ancient societies.

  • I don’t know what happened to my rose colored glasses. Must have misplaced them somewhere.

    I would caution though that “progress” is often subjective, and that there were times in the distant past that were much more “progressive” than anything anybody has going today. Should this “progress” actually be “regress”, then I beg to disagree, it is time for a U-turn.

  • Just imagine, fraudulent medical treatment has become an acceptable way to take away peoples’ citizenship rights, and here we are reading about a trendy techie method by which it can do so. Big pHarma R and D is going after their next big jackpot, and so what do the rights of plebes mean to them anyway? Gulp. Watch out for the future. If it’s still there anyway. Between pervasive surveillance and the monitoring of flagged deemed sub-humans, and massive global warming, what kind of a future do we have left?

  • Mad Pride has got to beat mad humility, shame, cowardice, and defeatism. I don’t have a problem with people bristling and showing their colors. Given a choice between doing something, and not doing anything, count me in there with the marchers. If you think you’ve got it, flaunt it, because forever holding your peace should not be an option. It’s good that Mad Pride has come to the streets of Mexico City. May this be the first such event, and certainly not the last. I hope you have another parade scheduled for next year, the year after, and the year after that. I would hope that people will grow more tolerant of human differences once they have been exposed to them. Keep up the momentum, and let’s watch this thing strengthen and grow. Thank you for this post, and for doing your part to give this world what it is lacking.

  • I think demaking psychiatric *cough, cough* “care” quite possible. Pull the funding rug out from under the psychiatric pharmaceutical industrial complex, and there you go. The hospital prison, with its torture chambers, and the system associated with it, can go to ruins, and stay there until it crumbles to naught.

  • It’s interesting to note that the mental health bubble is so important to you. This prevision of “care” that you speak of, is a business, and its a business that knows that something more is involved to it than, your constant criticism, medical attention. Good health, the abstraction, is bad for business. Bad health, the abstraction, is good for business. You’ve got your non-standard practitioners in competition with main-stream practitioners for business. What business? The selling of disease and its treatment. Threaten this system, of course, and there goes some folks bread and butter. When your business is selling ill health, good health is a threat to your survival, and the survival of your family. Of course, these business interests are going to be resistant to change. There is a point at which it becomes too late to, let us say, change careers midstream. Funny thing, the ill health business is booming while the physical fitness business is only doing so so. No gain without pain they say. Business as usual, of course, is not so complicated.

  • Antipsychiatry comes and goes, but nobody can manage to kill it off because it’s a Phoenix bird. As long as the system is about, and mostly about, violating human rights there will be a place for antipsychiatry. That said, it is not in a better place than it was say 30 years ago when nobody was calling “antipsychiatry” a label, falsely accusing it of “negativity”, and before the “mental patients” movement had turned on it. Today, it still has a pulse, due to a few professionals and an endless supply of “in your face” ex-patients. As long as “treatment” is damaging and forced, it will have a future. The same cannot be said for psychiatry.

  • I think you’ve got a point, although I’m not sure which system Efrat is supposed to be a “plant” (your word) in. “mental health” or higher education? Except for any condition that is proven to be neurological, and. therefore, has a physical basis, we’re talking medicalization – the provision of treatment for figurative, non-existent, diseases. The other side of that coin is that you wind up with a lot physical damage, and thus a need for medical treatment, due to the harmful treatment provided for fictitious disease. Not compounding the problem here, can be very difficult, within the medicalization system itself.

  • If they’re “still alive”, they’re “survivors” by definition. Apparently this is an admission, if weakly so, that the system is maiming and killing people. I don’t see many “heroes” around, not for merely ‘surviving’. If anything can be done about the maiming and killing, well, then you’ve got ‘heroes’.

    Oh, and I’m also mad as hell about it.

  • Your post is right on the mark, Lauren. Red flagging is a red herring. Studies show the population being targeted isn’t a dangerous population. The background checks are only a further means of harassing traditional scapegoats, that is, of diverting attention away from real issues. Background checks are not going to sweep away these weapons of mass destruction. Weapons of mass destruction, relatively speaking, are going to sweep away more people instead. In the meantime, the government is peeking into your den, and the number of names on the FBI’s list of people deprived of their second amendment rights keeps growing. I can’t help but think that before long the American people might begin lamenting the loss of even more of the freedoms that they used to take for granted before they legislated them into barbed wire holding pens and dust.

  • The “adversity” I was “distressed in response to” was the “adversity” of having “civil commitment” proceedings launched against me, of being locked up. Released back into the world at large, all I can say is, now I have a cause to celebrate. I do genealogical research, and I know of a number of ancestral connections who died in what is referred to today as the state hospital, but what was referred to back then as the state asylum. In other words, there was a time when incarceration in a loony bin was for life. I am relieved that we, as a society, are not so alarmed about all the mad people running loose as we used to be. I would hate to see more people doing life imprisonment in a state hospital. It just isn’t as likely to happen today as it was back then. I guess because we’ve had a new and more tolerant take on madness. On the up side, the state is not as likely to lock what were once referred to as lunatics up for life. On the down side, it’s treatment for “mental illness” is more likely to prematurely kill those who have come into contact with the “hospital” system. Were we a little more tolerant, perhaps it wouldn’t need to “treat” people for being “different”. What a boring world it would be, after all, if we were all the same. I think those differences give us a cause to celebrate whereas there are others who think those differences give us a cause to “hospitalize” and “treat” to death as the case may be. I’m glad to be out in the world. I really didn’t like confinement at all. I think our differences belong out in the world rather than being objects of shame, shunted off to a quiet secluded and shaded recess to brood, silenced, and hidden. I call the celebrating of those differences Mad Pride.

  • Well, I see nothing wrong with nonconformity pride. I figure we could use a lot more of that.

    I’m with Szasz on one matter, abolition of involuntary hospitalization. Why should I care about what psychiatry is up to if it can’t be forced upon me against my will and wishes? Abolition of psychiatry? I’m not sure what that means. Prohibit a profession? Well, okay. You do that. I will work on ending human rights abuses and forced maltreatment instead.

    Stupidity pride, idiot pride, foolishness pride…Why not? Let’s hear it for not wising up.

    I tell you what. I imagine we have a lot of antipsychiatry pride here. Let’s hear for, wise or ignoble, antipsychiatry pride.

    Now let’s hear it for freedom, freedom to be oneself. That’s what mad pride is all about for me, and I wouldn’t have you taking it away from me for anything in the world. Sorry.

    Mad power…Its coming whether you like it or not. Just sit back, and get used to it.

  • Would you try to establish a bell curve for behavior, and make all at the center of the curve “normal”, and all at the edges “extreme”? I dunno. Sounds a little scary. French surrealist, Rene Magritte, in one of his illustrations, depicted people as coffins. I don’t, for one, equate “normality” with “goodness” any more than I equate politicians with truthfulness. Conformity and drudgery don’t always seem like the way, if you had a way, to go. I’m not shy. I embrace my madness, and I want to express it. I’m not too keen on being pigeon holed in a pine box.

    Mad Pride, fundamentally, is about tolerance and acceptance of our eccentricities and our differences. I don’t have a problem with those eccentricities and differences. Perhaps you do. I think there should be a place to express them, and therefore, I enthusiastically welcome Mad Pride and the mad movement. Segregating people, and locking them up, for being different just isn’t my idea of a good time. Letting them be themselves, and, spontaneously, do what they would do? Now you’re talking.

  • Mad pride and antipsychiatry aren’t mutually exclusive in my view. There are circles that can and do intersect. I suppose one could throw a mad pride activist out of one’s antipsychiatry demonstration, but I don’t think doing so would be particularly helpful. The same goes for excluding an antipsychiatrist from your Mad Pride bash. What’s to be gained by that? If it was a system ruse, it would be called Mental Illness Pride (or, worse, Mental Health Pride.) Given the point to which antipsychiatry as a movement has declined, uniting with the Mad Pride movement might be, in my humble opinion, another way to reinvigorate it.

  • Antipsychiatry is not a label, its a predilection. Put me in your loony bin? No, not today, thank you. In fact, make that not ever again. We could make a statement, and have it signed, in triplicate. If you want to be a prisoner of the “war on mental illness” help yourself, but as for us. No. Not ever again. Smash the psychiatric state, and smash it to smithereens! Psychiatry is “just misleading and unneccesary” as far as those with this particular predilection are concerned. We’d prefer not to be tortured, analyzed, scapegoated, drugged, falsely imprisoned, treated for figurative diseases, invalidated, crippled, discredited, killed, etc., etc., etc. I think the word they used to have for this kind of predilection was freedom of deliberation, and freedom from harassment, and all sorts of other slights. Oh yeah, in particular, freedom from psychiatry. If anybody needs it, that must define a different population.

  • Well, I’d like to see more antipsychiatry in the world regardless of whether that world is the world of the ivory tower, or the world of Main Street. I don’t think antipsychiatry on University Avenue is any further from Main Street than it would be on any other street. I actually think what Bonnie is doing is great because, Main street or academia, people are talking antipsychiatry again (and the freedom of pursuit that goes along with it). The final word hasn’t been said on psychiatry yet, and, of course, I’m not blaming antipsychiatry for that.

    I don’t think many people are talking anti-education today, but they are talking antiwar, anti-fascism, antiracism, and, hey, yeah, antipsychiatry. I can see a reason for all four: anti-violence, anti-fascism, antiracism, and antipsychiatry. I think we probably have a wee bit, to exaggerate, too much anti-education in the world as is.

    As an academic discipline, note, it is less likely to die out due to lack of interest (and lack of support by the way). Now, how do we get it into branches of government, and department stores?

  • I know they’ve had Mad Pride celebrations in South America, in Sao Paulo in particular. Now Mad Pride (el orgullo loco) has come to Mexico. May it have many happy returns. What the world needs, together with less boredom, is more flamboyance and eccentricity, and with it, more tolerance. Way to go Mexico City! Continue to be, mad, and proud.

    The idea of “psycho-social disability” is a bad joke though. This matter hinges on somebody convincing you that you are “dysfunctional”, and if you buy it, the joke is on you. Give a person a reason, a purpose, and you’ve just given the shove to “dysfunction”, and with it, “psycho-social disabilities”.

    “Yeah, sure, I agree. We should do that more often.”

  • Involuntary is non-consensual, misinformed or otherwise. There is no speaking of “informed consent” in the context of involuntary treatment. When they stir up the muck though, and disinform people, it does as its supposed to do, obscuring the line between imprisonment and recuperation.

    Of course, there is always “informed consent” as a plea bargain, too. You know. Go in “voluntarily”, with “informed consent”, and should you withdraw that “consent”, your status can easily be changed to “involuntary”. There is nothing “voluntary” about such plea bargains as they are always based upon a veiled threat, and as such, a form of terrorism.

  • Generally, I think its peoples’ treatment, usually a drug taking regimen, that they don’t end up recovering so well from.

    All diagnosis is over diagnosis where non-existent diseases are concerned. The treatment leads to iatrogenic damage, which coupled with habit, leads to more treatment.

    You’ve got your alternative services and your bio-psychiatric services in competition, but the result is the same thing, an increased patient population, more and more medicalization. Mental health itself is basically medicalization, that is, the provision of medical treatment for non-medical problems.

    Given the absurdity of such a situation via such a system, I can only advise people to get out of it.

  • Basically, you detach yourself from the system by not becoming a part of its games. Claiming there is no mental illness is heresy to folks in the mental health system. Claiming not to have a mental illness, at least, one is not setting oneself up for treatment. I don’t see a good need for the argument in abstract terms, that is, I’m not in favor of a mental health system sans the concept of mental illness. Say “I have a mental illness”, and suddenly, you’ve become fair game. Arguing against the concept of mental illness, philosophically, is still an uphill struggle. Arguing against having a mental illness personally, that is still a good way out of the system, provided you’ve got support in your bid for independence. I actually like to see people leave the system rather than just pretend to do so.

  • When people are claiming to be “bipolar” and suchlike, “I am not mentally ill” places one beyond the system, and that’s the best argument I know of to make with the “mental illness” religion. Converts, if they haven’t been duped into confessing to having a “mental illness”, are fervent believers in “mental illness”. Claims of denial only bring on the anosognosia label and additional harassment. Because “mental illness” is a religious belief, there is no telling the converted there is no “mental illness”. It’s like saying there is no Jesus, or there is no Santa Claus.

  • The mainstream “mental health treatment system” is all about providing iatrogenic damage on top of medicalization. “Alternative” services, while setting themselves up as a more radical approach, in many instances, reinforce continuing medicalization with their own brand of competition. If you want to do something radical, the thing to do is to pull out the funding. The thing that keeps the whole absurd system functioning, and spreading like wildfire, is money. Get rid of the legal tender that keeps it going, and you get rid of the problem.

  • “The researchers expressly acknowledge that the recommended dose is unsafe and that it would be unethical to expose their subjects to the effects of the medication.”

    This statement says it all. It’s okay (i.e. “ethical”) to damage crazies, but as for “normal” people, not if they, the researchers, can help it. I’d call that just one double standard among many.

    Great article. It should be interesting to see how much brain structure might change on a weeks dose of 5 milligrams of Olanzapine a day. I’d think it might be more difficult to do the same experiment if your drug was Thorazine or Haldol, the drug they test drugs like Olanzapine against.

  • If more doctors would personally test their drugs, fewer patients would be on them. I applaud the doctor here for taking his own medicine. Lucidity was not something I achieved through the use of neuroleptics. Ditto, “sanity”. Lucidity came out of ceasing to take neuroleptics, neuroleptics, in my case, being an impediment to clarity of thought.

    Why do so few doctors test the drugs on themselves they use on their clients? Easy, because they know! Neuroleptics are what the natives used to call ‘bad medicine’, that is, such drugs are toxic substances, and as such, poisonous to the central nervous system.

  • I just don’t see how anybody can be liberated from the role of mental patient and work as a “peer specialist”. I know the “self-help movement” has made some strides, and developed its own jargon, but this part of it I’m extremely leery about. I was finished with my “mental illness” before it began having had unwanted “treatment” forced on me against my will and wishes. No more of that, thank you. I also don’t want to have anything to do with the ‘mental health treatment system’ because, as they say, there is ‘health’ in not having anything to do with it.

  • Work is work? Here, let me draw up the benefits of play, and question your mentality. Drudgery may pay, but it has its downside. Stupid is stupid, not to mention often redundant, and stupid defines many research projects as well as job descriptions. If we’re going to have any trillion dollar trade deficits, let them be, at least, for something that makes a wee bit of sense. I’d wager that this ‘trade in lunacy’ that we’re indulging in never made a whole lot of sense.

  • Perhaps, but that “vast underclass” keeps Psychiatry, Recovery, and Salvation Seeking afloat while paying the bills for the respective professionals in such fields. Boycott such professions, and your “underclass” is no longer so “vast” nor “under” as it once was.

    Social scapegoating though starts in the home for sure.

  • Psychiatry, the mental health treatment system, is a diversion from addressing and resolving long standing social issues. Medicine deals with physical problems. By treating social problems as physical problems the mental health treatment system perpetuates itself, and such social problems as exist. Theory has it that things are the way they are because of slouchers, degenerates, and suchlike genetically defective people desperately in need of treatment facilities, and voila! Society has it’s two basic archetypes, with all shades between, popular successes and rejects.

  • Well, unfortunately, the authorities seem to be doing two things simultaneously now, talking about control of weapons (1), and because of this perceived need for scapegoats, depriving people in the mental health system of their second amendment rights as ‘citizens’ (2). I would prefer a peace loving society, but this need for scapegoats, victims of hate speech and smear campaigns is part of the equation, too, and a part with a long history.

    I’m not saying, as some might, that the second amendment insures our right to armed insurrection. When you take away people’s rights to weapons, if possible, as in put them on this FBI list, you remove them from the threat of armed insurrection as well. I just think any massacre on main street, so-to-speak, all daydreams of armed insurrection aside, becomes basically something we as a society have to do something about.

  • The problem is, OldHead, when you don’t go after guns who do you go after? The FBI has a list of people who have undergone psychiatric institutionalization whose second amendment rights they would deny. “Mental health” profiling is the NRA’s, and the system’s, answer to gun control. I wouldn’t call that, by any means, an even playing field. Remove military style weapons from circulation, and you don’t need, as is the present case of people with psychiatric histories, a scapegoat for gun violence.

  • Yes, but people are never able to wreak as much damage with knives as they can with automatic weapons. These rightists in a car in Charlottesville only managed to take out one women while this gunman in El Paso with a hatred of Latinos kills 22 people in a Wallmart. You can’t do that with a knife. Somebody is going to stop you. Automatic weapons are very effective killing machines. Knives, not so much.

  • Richard, I think ultimately it is going to come down to some kind of gun control, that is, outlawing the sale of automatic weapons and assault rifles because the availability of such weapons is making mass murder a trendy crime of opportunity and convenience. The NRA serves gun collectors, and people who seek guns that are almost only appropriate for military actions. the kind of weapons nobody needs on the street. You want safe streets, you are not going to get them so long as certain weapons are in circulation. Get them out of circulation, and then people, people desperate for a body count, and rows of corpses in body bags, aren’t targeting department stores and malls, places where masses of people congregate.

  • I was impatient before I was a patient/prisoner, and I’m still impatient, impatient for change. When you say We’ve Been Too Patient, well, I’m not there. I was so impatient I bucked the patient part. So much for the “mental health” bubble with it’s incremental *cough, cough* change.

    What is “peer work” except a weird word for more and more medicalization. Cut to the “cure” (i.e. reality) , and we’re ‘over it’. I am anyway.

  • Well, your logic does seem faulty, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to quelling the violence that threatens so many innocent people. “Corporate totalitarianism on steroids”, my view, didn’t kill 22 people in El Paso for starters. “Corporate totalitarianism” is behind these violent episodes? I don’t think so.

  • Truth is, given escalating and threatening violence, people feel compelled to protect themselves and their families. To do nothing is to put both, regardless of whether high powered guns or nut cases be blamed, at risk.

    People want less violence, as a general rule, not more. Not even attempting a solution means the violence continues to increase. I suggest that this very practical concern underlies some folks reasoning on the subject.

    Requiring the overthrow of capitalism for the achievement of a modicum of peace, I’d call that a ‘pipe dream’ if ever there was one. Suddenly, the opium of the intelligentsia (political ideology) has replaced the opium of the masses (religious doctrine) as our primary motivation.

  • “Client’s antipsychiatry?” I suggest a little duplicity involved so long as your “client” is still buying “therapy”, and “therapy” from a person afflicted with “professional” therapist disorder who is selling it. Boycott therapy, and you also boycott hypocrisy.

  • Your solution, OldHead, is a bevy of lawyers? Interesting.

    A few years back a patient gunned down a psychiatrist in a northern Virginia parking lot, but, generally, the violence we’re talking about is not a matter of “mental illness”, and not directed at “mental health personnel”. Of course, on the wards the situation is a little different.

    Were the MH authorities to catch the person who was slaughtering hispanics in a Texas Wallmart before he took action, don’t you know they would have loved to have done so. As we’ve continually pointed out, they’re not any better at that sort of thing (predicting the future) than your average Joe.

  • Guns didn’t exist forever (and you’re simplifying a much more complex argument). Were we dealing with hunting weapons, no problem, you can keep them. Nobody is going to clean a mall of customers with a shotgun. We’re talking about military-style weapons, killing machines, and weapons that when crime is equivalent to opportunity can wreak a lot of destruction. Bows, arrows, Bowie knives, slingshots, they haven’t created the problem we’ve got with automatic weapons and recent massacres.

    I’m not saying the use of certain drugs might not be a contributing factor in the escalating crimes of hate we’re seeing. I am saying that to see them as the predominate factor, or the only factor, is to blindside yourself.

    Violence is a far cry from peace, love, and happiness, and most of us had rather see more peace, love, and happiness than WallMart, etc., massacres, but if we don’t do something about the real cause of these acts of violence, by which I mean the availability of weapons of, relatively speaking, mass destruction, of course, they are only going to escalate.

  • People control, and here we’re talking about loony control, is the alternative. Hunt for witches, or deal with the prevalence of weapons that cause a great deal of destruction of human lives. Excuse me, OldHead. I just want to see fewer horrific incidents of carnage involving the use of weapons that probably shouldn’t be on the public market anyway. Do nothing about the problem, and, of course, the problem is not going away.

  • Hate speech is a myth? What neo-NAZI organization are you working for Slaying the Dragon?

    Of course, hate speech is not a myth. People hate jews, blacks, queers, nutters, etc., and they say so. Hate speech isn’t quite at the level of hate crime, but one could easily say it is getting there.

  • I think most people understand that the whole “mental health” field is something of a “witch hunt”, however such an awareness is not going to prevent people from hunting for witches. I think, OldHead, gun control makes a lot more sense than what we’ve got, mental patient control. Hate speech and scapegoating? It’s the guns, dummy! Get rid of those. If some kind of gun control isn’t enacted, the present debacle is only going to become more severe. Mass violence is the issue, not “mental health”.

  • Donald Trump is employing the same rhetoric employed by the NRA. It’s not guns, it’s crazies. ” That means there are 46 million adults that are said to be “mentally ill” in the United States.” 46 million adults. You don”t think somebody is over stepping their bounds a little do you? They sure are. Great article, and I agree wholeheartedly.
    Donald Trump and E. Fuller Torrey are scapegoating and employing hate speech against people in the “mental health” system.

  • The DEA seldom arrests doctors before the mortality rate becomes drastic, that is to say, better more arrests than fewer. I wouldn’t use “pain management” as a cover, in that regard, it has got its shortcoming

    Neuroleptics were a folly to begin with, but if the authorities can peddle them as “pain relief”, they probably will This is why education is so important in countering disinformation. Just because some people are fools, that’s even more reason for the rest of us not to compliantly follow.

  • I disagree, Pacific Dawn. Etymologically speaking the term mad predates medical model terminology which is why NAMI sorts get so out of shape over calling people mad rather than “mentally ill”.

    Lightheartedness, too, can underline the difference between serious and frivolous “mental illness”. Frivolous “mental illness” is not so likely to be deadly, nor intractable, although the other sort, or at least treatment for it, can be a real killer. Of course, the term itself is a misnomer, but it still designates something that gets under somebodies craw.

    Neurodiversity is just more neurobabble, and should be covered under civil liberties. All nonsense aside, you should have a right to be who you chose to be. Cognitive freedom, if that’s the way it is put it, sure. How you choose to be includes how you are.

  • Two doctors in JAMA write that “methadone maintenance”, the standard treatment for heroin addiction, should be the future treatment for people on physician prescribed opioids. Really!? Talk about an iatrogenic mess. First you’ve got doctors pushing the kind of drugs that garnered street pushers heavy sentences. Next, you’ve got the same answer applied for the patients put on opioids that you had for junkies hooked on heroin. Is there no law in this country? Drugs are not medicines, and one drug is not the answer to another drug. Somebody should be busting these guys! Any solution, such as “tapering strips”, and a more total solution at that, would be an improvement.

  • Why am I not a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, mental health system worker, mental patient (mental health consumer/user *cough cough*), welfare state bureaucrat, or drug company salesperson, etc? They’re all, from the doctor who thinks he’s saving the world to the lowly goon on the wards, gangsters in cahoots. You don’t get them out of business by complaining about them. Junkies of all sorts do that. You get them out of business by ceasing to put money in their pockets, by ceasing to pay for their services. You’ve got 20 % + of the population drugged and labeled, and a sizeable amount of the rest of the population doing the drug, label, and servicing. Alright that covers maybe 25 to 30% of the entire population. You want to convince them to do something else? You might try leading by example. Take me, for instance, I’m already doing something else.

  • Psychiatry doesn’t enforce laws. Psychiatry aids law enforcement in enforcing laws that are already on the books. In some places the opinion of two psychiatrists is required to civilly commit a person, but this requirement is a matter of law, not medical procedure. I have a problem with how the issues are being framed here. Civil commitment is the real problem. I think all the rest of the legal squabbles in the “mental health” field revolve around this locking up of innocent people. You have a “right to treatment” but no right to decline or refuse treatment. It seems to me that most of the would-be protective laws derive from the fact of locking people up in the first place. Stop locking people up, and the necessity for having such protections disintegrates. Since when were your captives ever guaranteed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? Uh, oh, yeah. I guess since about 1776 or thereabouts. I wonder whatever could have gone so horribly wrong.

  • OldHead, we have mental health law on top of criminal law so that the mental health authorities can do things to people with diagnostic labels that they’d get arrested for doing to people without diagnostic labels (i.e. abduction, false imprisonment, assault, drugging, etc.) Without mental health law they wouldn’t be able to do so. Not legally anyway. Many laws, including mental health law, work in opposition to the protections provided by the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. I’m calling, in this instance, such unconstitutional law, illegal law, because technically, it is illegal. If mental patients, on the other hand, are second or third class, say, non-citizens, or non-human beings, no problem, huh? Like chattel slaves, or caged critters, the law doesn’t cover them, and it wasn’t meant to do so.

  • The point I would be making here, OldHead, is that psychiatry is as much a branch of pseudo-law-enforcement as it is pseudo-medicine, and I don’t think our position is improved by pitching the pseudo-law end of it. “Actually”, its neither, but if you want to look at psychiatry as a branch of law enforcement, its law enforcement, if you want to look at it as a branch of medicine, its medicine. Of course, there should be quotation marks around both “law enforcement” and “medicine”. Deadly medicine or illegal law, your pick.

  • Mental health law represents a loophole in rule of law, a way around the law, for dealing with people bearing psychiatric labels, their special scapegoats. You can only close the loophole by getting rid of mental health law. Mental health law allows the mental health authorities to treat their captives, “patients”, the way it would be illegal to treat anybody else. Illegal, that is, if it weren’t for mental health law.

    Better humor a hypochondriac by providing phony treatment for phony illness than imprison a person who has a committed no crime, a person who is innocent in every sense of the word, and claim that your imprisonment, and the torture that goes along with it, seeking a confession of “mental illness”, is some kind of medical treatment.

  • There is no mention among the above steps of the need to develop an underground railroad to aid people in escaping forced drugging. We are down to 3 states without forced outpatient drugging laws. A present danger is that IOC, if all states succumb to its seductions, might be legislatively mandated across the nation. This makes it essential that some people possess the necessary bravery and fortitude to defy the authorities, and risk imprisonment by sheltering people threatened with state drugging. As it was for people escaping slavery in the 19th century, so it is for people escaping forced drugging in the 21st century.

  • Good point about the name changing, OH. “Mental distress” (have PTSD, are “chemically imbalanced”, etc.) is nearly as bad as “mentally ill”, only the use of the expression can’t really decide whether we are dealing with a confusion or a pathology. As such it serves as just another lame excuse for intervention. The idea is that there is something fundamentally wrong with some people when there could be something fundamentally right about those same people. Criminals enter the house of corrections for breaking the law. Do we really need a parallel “house of corrections” for people who are deemed “wrong” although they have nonetheless “broken no laws”? That’s what we’ve got with the mental hospital system.

  • I think a point is really being missed in your arrangement of steps to follow. People are NOT placed on IOT because of a worry about the “chronicity” of any “sickness”. People ARE placed on IOT because of a perceived threat of violence to the general public, that is, this worry is over the little matter of guilt and innocence rather than sickness and wellness. People are drugged not due to their supposed sickness but because of events like Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc. This being the case, the best argument is the argument provided by the facts, statistics. In drugging this population of people, you are drugging a population that is more likely to have violence done to it than to do violence. That is not a good argument for drugging people as a violence prevention measure. Next question, if you restored any of these drugged people to “normality”, er, “health”, are they going to be more, or less, prone to commit acts of violence against other people afterwards? The facts simply don’t support drugging people as a violence prevention measure as that is going to mean you are going to drug many people who are not violent in any way, shape, or form just to keep a minuscule fraction of that population in line.

  • Mental health advocacy groups (MHA, NAMI), the criminal justice system, pharmaceutical companies, biomedical psychiatry, allied professions, the state welfare bureaucracy, the mass media, and the pharmaceutical industry…it’s not like any one of them is not guilty of pushing “mental” and civil order through the use, or abuse rather, of harmful chemical substances, namely neurotoxins. Ronald Pies has made it his task to defend his profession from allegations of doing that of which it is most certainly guilty but all them must share some part of the blame. The line between disinformation and information is crossed pretty regularly when profit is to be made by doing so.

  • Ronald Pies is putting himself forward as a defender of psychiatry from what he would see as false accusations. I guess you could sort of conceive of him as a defense attorney for a psychiatry profession on trial and perhaps in crisis. One potential false claim is that psychiatry has promoted the “chemical imbalance theory”. Oh, excuse me! The “chemical imbalance hypothesis”. The second has to do with the profession of psychiatry “intentionally and deliberately” lying about the matter of promoting the “chemical imbalance” whatever. Okay. The promoters of the “chemical imbalance” whatever, except for a brief aside about pharmaceutical companies, remain in this article unmentioned. So Ronald Pies says, on the one hand, psychiatry has not been behind, nor promoting, any “chemical imbalance theory”, and, on the other, that “antipsychiatry bloggers” are, in part, responsible for these false allegations being made against psychiatry. The question then becomes, who, if not psychiatry, has been promoting this notion of a “chemical imbalance”. We’ve got the defense attorney speaking, and here he is trying, of course, to raise a “reasonable doubt” when it comes to the culpability of his client, his profession. Question is, if psychiatry is not one of the guilty parties, who are the guilty parties? My view is that these “antipsychiatry bloggers” Pies mentions are certainly not guilty of promoting any “chemical imbalance theory”. Who then has been guilty of promoting such a position? It doesn’t really pass my smell test. We know that these psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry are often, for profit, position, or status, in cahoots. It isn’t psychiatry alone, nor the pharmaceutical industry alone, that has been behind this promotion, but they are there. I don’t think it is the best defense one could raise. I guess that means somebody must be perjuring themselves, and, therefore, one of these myths is not as much of a myth as the other. I know Pies would like to blame both of these “myths” on antipsychiatry, if that is the usual suspect, but I’d also have to say that that is something of a laugh. If psychiatry really were on trial, he’s going to need a much better argument than that to win his case. Antipsychiatry invented the “chemical imbalance theory”, and then laid it on psychiatry, claiming that psychiatrists had endorsed this notion when they had not done so. Clearly somebody is lying. Do you really think they are going to be able to bust antipsychiatry over this one? Antipsychiatry is guilty of diagnosing and treating “chemical imbalances”? Since when? Somebody is lying, sure. Somebody is guilty, sure. I don’t, however, think that the guilty party is antipsychiatry, nor do I think that psychiatry has been exonerated of having committed any wrong doing.

  • Neuro-babble is the term I use for the trendiness of neuro-speak in academia about practically everything these days, and I think the term ‘cognitive freedom’ actually grows out of this neuro-babble, that is to say, it has grown out of a deterministic biological reductivism manifested by mainstream psychiatry. Get rid of the bias, and you won’t have people complaining about bad brains so much anymore. Isn’t that the issue really? The claim that some people shouldn’t have a voice on account of the thoughts generated by their bad brains.