Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Comments by Frank Blankenship

Showing 3264 of 3391 comments. Show all.

  • 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.

  • Psych drugs are pollutants, and they work against the healing processes of nature. I object to the term “mental health”, but I agree that the way to health is through going Green because toxic environments kill. Generate a health conscious public, and their “mental health” will take care of itself. Of course, this move requires a shift in thinking away from the gluttony of capitalism, and the negatives of a plutocratic oligarchy. Do something about global warming, and a lot of traditional businesses may suffer, but health is going to improve overall.

  • Not unless they are part of human experiments, experiments that show that neuroleptics eat their brains.

    Doctors love patients who sell their products. I got a terrible case of akathisia on the Thorazine I received the first time I was “hospitalized”. That was enough. The effects were not such as would encourage artistry, but I’m glad you found some way to produce regardless. I’ve been on Zyprexa, too, and I know the effects can be more bearable, but this in itself I find deceptively dangerous. I would think Abilify is more of the same, that is, potentially bad for your overall physical (i.e. real) health in one way or another. I just have a problem seeing people who should be relatively healthy moving about on walkers or in wheelchairs. I just feel, all told, you have to watch out for the reefs.

  • Yay, Lauren Tenney! You’ve produced a great and informative article that should serve people well in their struggles against coercive treatment practices in the state of New York. I imagine most other states to be in the same boat so-to-speak, Kendra’s Law serving as the model for forced treatment in the USA, and so this kind thing might serve as a model elsewhere for fighting force and deprivation of civil liberties across the continent. Thank you for uncovering the facts, and exposing the system as oppressive, biased, and wrong.

  • Let me make an understatement. Many more statements such as the one made by the commissioner are long overdue. I hope this means that popular support for coercive maltreatments based on lop-sided power arrangements, and other acceptable forms of violence, torture, and thievery, is rapidly fading.

  • A multitude of classical farces if you ask me.

    It is my view that the “sickest” people around, and thus the most in need of “services”, are those doing the “treatments”. The problem is the business end of “mental health treatment”, and the solution (or cure) is not engaging in it.

    I have to congratulate the author on her escape from one trap, however, we could do the same thing on a more massive scale simply by restaging the circumstances differently of a percentage of the lives of the population. The wrong people, all too often, seem to be in power (I wonder how that happened?), and, at the same time, the wrong people seem to be relieved of power (Ditto!).

  • Any education that doesn’t take a careful look at the potential harm of these drugs is miseducation based on misinformation. One of my great fears, in treatment, way up there with non-consensual ECT, was the possibility of being put on a long acting injectable. I’ve seen what I would consider bad outcomes that resulted from the use of long acting drugs. My feeling is that doctors really don’t need long acting medications, and that they shouldn’t be used at all.

    Logically, withdrawal effects are going to be much more severe from long acting injectables than from your standard dose pill. This is something that doctors need to consider, and it is something that your “Guide” doesn’t even acknowledge, withdrawal being conflated with a bad outcome.

    The newer drugs are more deadly than the older drugs. We know this. That is the big point in the argument between the use of the newer drugs and the older ones. That Haldol is the drug used in testing their efficiency is not a great argument for the use of Haldol in any dose.

  • I believe, given the above facts, in retrogressing into progress. The old ‘trade in lunacy’ has been updated to such an extent that it is difficult for people to get their bearings. Ignore the business end of “the helping” cough, cough “professions” at your own risk. Generally, it is the professional who is “helped” most by this business, and the client who is “stiffed”, or, to put it another way, robbed blind. There is this attitude, we can’t really go after this profession critically because it would mean throwing so many people out of work. Okay. Actually, we’d all be better off with them in another profession, maybe even a profession that made sense.

  • It’s difficult not to comply with forced treatment. Attempting to do so can sometimes lead to harsher treatment than one would have received had one simply went along for the short term.

    I’m afraid that if one took an attitude of total non-compliance towards state imposed forced treatment the result, in most cases, would be an early grave.

    I myself advocate non-compliance with treatment plans, but outside of the institution. Inside you play the game until discharge. Not playing the game will keep you from being released, and increase the level of adversity faced. There are exceptions to this rule though, such as having a good legal team behind you, and a test case to win in the courts.

    As for pledges to non-violence…Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we could get them from the staff and workers in state institutions? Regarding their doing so. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Very good point. Most of the research is done to get drugs approved for market, unless it is research into “mental illness”, usually based on the premise of something biologically amiss. You know, the excuse to drug. What if the drugs are damaging, and the premise is fallacious? Isn’t that where we’re at? Actually we know the drugs are damaging, and the premise is only part of the story. There is a moral element to the “mental illness”/”mental health” equation. People are drugged, in large measure, not because they’re exhibiting “signs” of “sickness” (i.e. symptoms), but because they are thought to be misbehaving. (Or, as Dr. Thomas Szasz used to put it, because somebody else finds their behavior annoying.)

  • How so? I think it makes perfect sense grammatically. If a person credits something with an existence for which there is no evidence, they are crediting it with that existence. If a person disavows something, they are saying that something has no credible existence anyway. If it has no credible existence, no need for a disclaimer.

    One problem with psychiatric labels is that such labels have served as an excuse to treat people with drugs and electrical shocks, drugs and electrical shocks that have resulted in much iatrogenic (physician caused) damage, up to and including death. The surgeon general has a warning printed on every cigarette package about the dangers of smoking. Wouldn’t it be wiser, in the case of psychiatric labels, to offer such a warning about the unhealthy treatments that all too often commence with just such labels. This, in effect, is what a disclaimer would be doing, affirming the dubious nature of the labeling that has served as a springboard for so much physical injury.

  • I heard a person refer to neuroleptics as psychotic drugs once, and I think that was entirely appropriate as the drugs seem to impede a person’s capacity to fully “recover” from their, let’s say, out of this world experiences. Why does anybody call them “antipsychotic drugs” then? Obviously, the better to sell you toxic substances with, my dear. Psychiatric drugs are an oil field, a gold mine, or a winning lottery ticket, that is, moolah, much moolah, in the bank.

  • Lost Cause mythology, when it came to the reasons why the Old South didn’t win the war between the states, had something to do with the same excuse, that is, lack of resources. I feel that if one is going to start anywhere, usually that anywhere is with oneself. Letting others do it all, isn’t that usually an outcome of pathos? Expecting everything from another is magical thinking while expecting everything to come from oneself is simple realism. I’m not saying there isn’t a world out there, I’m only saying that it is necessary to separate the necessities from the luxuries when dealing with it. Your resource salespeople would, economically speaking, consider themselves more necessary than they actually are as a rule.

  • I feel as if there should be an MIA disclaimer at the head of any article crediting psychiatric diagnosis with any valid basis in science. It’s just not there.

    Bogus diseases make for bogus treatments, but treatments with real consequences. Treatments that would pretend to be helpful but that are actually harmful. We’ve got other words for these bogus diseases and their equally bogus treatments: fiction and fraud.

    Competition among the various label and drug sellers is how the “mental health” system expands, even when the label and drug seller claims to be “critical”. Telling the truth, in this instance, would require some kind of disclaimer, these views are not held by board members of MIA, etc.

    I’ve got a book on quackery that includes a few psychiatric treatments starting with bloodletting, blistering, emetics, laxatives, purges of all sorts, spinning chairs, and including later developments such as psycho-surgery and insulin shock therapy. Look closer, and I think you’d have admit drug therapy, talk therapy, and ECT, or just about anything pertaining to the field of “mental health” today.

  • When “we” are a ‘business’, sometimes the answer is to ‘get out of the business’ so to speak. When your “we” are an expanding category of so-called “sick” people, even abused and oppressed people, maybe some doctor would be better off in another field of study rather than that of “us”. Perhaps, and that statement is also true when applied to many of “us” as well.

  • I see competing approaches at work here, the only problem is that the more the “highly critical” approach competes with the conventional approach, the more entrenched the conventional approach actually becomes. You’ve just got two schools of thought competing for business, and business, the business of labeling and drugging people, is the problem. The farther away you get from them, the more the two schools of thought resemble each other. I don’t think sob stories really explain anything as sob stories are less a matter of selling stories, and more a matter of horrors that we’d want to see diminished. You don’t, I want to emphasize, diminish such horror stories by making a business, and therefore careers, out of them. You diminish such horror stories by attacking any such business, and the horrors that come with it, itself. This means acknowledging that a shrinking “mental health” system, “trauma informed” or otherwise, would be progress over a perpetually expanding system. I’d challenge the system, in a sense, to…Oh, how do you say? Oh, yeah. “Wither away”.

  • First, I’m really leery about providing more money for the government to get into our nation’s schools through “mental health” programs. Second, I don’t see how doing so is not going to lead to more labeling and drugging of school children. “Trauma” may provide an excuse for more labeling and drugging, but getting people out of the “trauma informed” system then becomes a little more problematic and difficult. A bigger system means an expanded system, both on the part of “the traumatized” “patient/consumers”, and the “treating” staff. My sense is that this bill, if passed, is likely to lead to more rather than less medicalization of school children, and that is something that I could not, in all honesty, support. Generally, I just see this as another liberal policy maneuver to fix matters by spend, spend, spending, and I think those spending efforts, rather than correcting anything, are likely to result in more and more of the same. This is especially true when this is a matter of putting the “mental health” system in our nation’s schools, just as it would be if they were doing the same at places of business.

  • The thing about Thomas Paine, and the thing that separated him from so many of his contemporaries, that was so admirable was his, comparatively speaking, incorruptibility. He went to prison for his beliefs, and he almost lost his head for opposing the french terror. I have to agree with you that he would probably have found himself in disagreement with psychiatry as it has developed today, basically, because that would-be science itself is so prone to succumb to the temptations of corruption. The lie plays out very well within psychiatry whereas the truth tends to fare much more poorly. I don’t see Paine as one who would excuse a great deal of falsehood, and in psychiatry, the excuse is very big indeed. I always admired Thomas Paine as one of our founding fathers. I find it amusing that Alexander Hamilton, big in the creation of the American banking system, has become a hit musical, and a box office success. Hamilton, of course, is one of my least favorite among the founding fathers. I don’t see anyone, fortunately, trying to transform the life of Thomas Paine into shim shim she-ree, or, basically, dinner theater, an aid to the digestive tract.

  • Step right up! We’ve got a pill for whatever dis-eases you. We can thank our lucky stars the vice squad hasn’t caught up with us yet. Snake oil…”You must mean fish oil.”…has gone big time. Step right up! Got a problem with the neighbors? Try some of this, and you will be saying, “What neighbors?” Step right up, or our goons over there, the ones in the whites suits (They must be good guys, huh?), will mug you, and give you a dose by hypodermic needle. Nobody is exempted. If he or she isn’t on anything, we’ve got a drug for him or her, too. Step right up! The elixir of the Gods is just gleaming for another contented customer. Step right up!

  • Just look at what happens to this case with the threat of expert testimony from Dr. Peter Breggin. There, in a nutshell, you have the problem with so many court proceedings when there is nobody to come to the defense of the accused. Were somebody to step in, the case might collapse, as did the case described above. We need more people taking sides, and in particular, taking the side of the “patient” threatened with unwanted, forced, and harmful treatments. One exception can make a world of difference. Thank you, Dr. Breggin, for all you have done, and are doing, to save people from harmful treatment practices.

    As for the electricity applied to school children, I can only imagine it will make their school performance suffer, and that certainly wouldn’t be a positive outcome. Of course, if their school work does suffer, they will be failing obediently, and that, I imagine, is the real reasoning behind this damaging procedure. We need to stop, once again, and let children be children, even if they are extraordinarily bright and inquisitive children.

  • Systemic violence, systemic state sanctioned violence, I’m glad to see the issue brought into the light of day. Racist and classist the system is, but it is cloaked in the language of biology, a language that becomes racist and classist when applied to certain socio-economic groupings of human beings. Obviously, in some situations, your “helpers” are not actually being so “helpful” at all, or, rather, they are, like buzzards, “helping” themselves instead.

  • Where would “mental illness” be without all the people who profit from it? I think that’s a primary concern. We’re dealing, not with a business, but with multiple businesses, all in cahoots. “Health” is almost a peripheral issue. What the matter is all about is keeping all these people who “serve” the people perceived as “needy” or “suffering” in bread and butter. Prevention efforts are corrupted by all the people who profit from “ill” health. Given the sort of treatments people receive, extended artificial disability leads directly to permanent physical disability, and permanent disability keeps some of these people going. I don’t see the money doing a lot of good unless it is directed towards getting people out of the system (i.e. what they used to call “mentally healthy”). There is absolutely no way to decrease “patient” numbers without downsizing, and that means getting rid of a lot of the people towards the upper end of the pyramid, that is, getting rid of some of the people who profit the most from this sort of thing.

  • Not all libertarians are Republicans. Over and over and over again.

    “Traditionally, libertarianism was a term for a form of left-wing politics. Such left-libertarian ideologies seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, or else to restrict their purview or effects, in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty.”

    Szasz saw himself as a classical liberal, a term that has been associated with libertarian in the USA, in some quarters, since the mid 1950s, but libertarian itself goes back much further, and includes much more.

  • Are there any true religions? I don’t think there are any true religions, making them all false. Are there any true Gods? Let’s see…Nope, only the ones bearing an official stamp of approval, that is, the ones supporting the authority of the state, therapeutic *cough, cough*, or otherwise *cough, cough*.

  • I’d like to see a tribute to Thomas Szasz because I think if anyone deserves it, he does. I know that, posthumously, “tough love” must mean something else. I think Szasz can easily withstand the criticism. When, after all, was Szasz not the target of “criticism” from those who were merely following the herd? I think there is still this herd-like mentality among those who try to tarnish his image. To oppose the person who dedicated much of his life to opposing involuntary hospitalization is like an endorsement of involuntary hospitalization. As a person who has been deprived of his civil liberties, at one time or another, by the “mental health” system, count me in the Thomas Szasz camp, please. I can brook no equivocation in the matter. Szasz did what so many others merely pretended to do. He supported us in our desire for liberty, and in protection of our rights to that liberty. I don’t see how this Szasz bashing, on any scale, can amount to anything but more excuses for abuses.

  • I don’t see a problem in libertarianism except where it embraces laissez faire economic policies. There is left wing libertarianism, too, and that is libertarianism that isn’t capitalistic. The opposite of libertarianism I imagine would have to be called something like slavertarianism, and I don’t think, under any circumstances, slavertarian is likely to be any sort of improvement over libertarian.

  • Laing and Foucault, especially Laing, got posthumously skewered in Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared, by Szasz, and here, with Thomas Szasz: an appraisal of his legacy, or reappraisal actually, something similar is going on. All these acquaintances and associates of Szasz, from envy or who knows what messed up motive, are coming out of the woodwork to take their parting shots at him, and posthumously, as if they could kill him twice. Despite the title of the article, “tough love”, a-knocking at Szasz for not just being another forgettable face on a book-jacket. and wishing to see him doing, say, time for his misdeeds, the Szasz I remember is the indefatigable opponent of forced hospitalization, and for that, I would say that a tribute, perhaps a permanent monument or a memorial, is more the order of the day instead. Szasz, as a general rule, was so much better than his detractors, and, funny thing, he still is.

  • Gratefully, I don’t care how much I may be harming myself by not agreeing with E. Fuller Torrey about anything. I mean…come on. We know there are all these would-be progressive “mental health” professionals out there who would take away the freedoms they protect with one hand with the other hand. Professionals who oppose forced treatment on one side of their mouth, only to embrace it on the other. Thomas Szasz took a much stronger position on force, and even if it meant working with some people who some people find distasteful, or some people are prejudiced against, I’d have to agree with Szasz on this one. Doing nothing, in other words, is merely a way of ‘aiding and abetting’ the enemy, and here, by enemy, I mean the enemy of freedom.

  • And/or protest human rights abuses and freedoms denied, boycott mental health services, shut down big state facilities, build the underground railroad, etc. Plus, celebrate diversity. You don’t have to start another “alternative” when you’ve eliminated the need for them.

  • What is spin?!

    It is heartbreaking to me that 600,000 of our most severely ill patients are either in jail or homeless and that we have done so little to advocate for the community mental health centers and affordable housing that would have freed them from confinement and ended the shameless neglect.

    Uh, I’ve got it. *Waving hand*

    Seeing “mental illness” as the primary cause of homelessness and jail-time?

    Personally, I don’t think psychiatry “among the noblest of professions”, and I wish we were better organized to bring that particular form of criminal activities to an end.

  • Groomed for success versus mussed for failure? This train ain’t goin’ nowhere! Adverse Childhood Experiences ACEs leading to Adverse Adulthood Experiences AAEs? I tend to see both developments as a dimension of farce, that is, change the play, and you will get a different result. Stage a tragedy, in the life-game, and the results are going to be tragic. What is that statement attributed, falsely, I believe, to Albert Einstein? Oh, yeah. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If adverse experiences are leading to more adverse experiences, maybe something is missing. Maybe something like pleasant experiences.

  • You could end a great deal of “the need for future services” by putting a stop to forced treatment. This reduction that Open Dialogue approaches might bring can only be relative so long as much “treatment” is non-voluntary anyway, non-voluntary being unwanted. There’s an easy way to reduce “the need for future services” when those services are involuntary, abolish, that is, outlaw, involuntary hospitalization. By involuntary hospitalization I mean hospitalization that can only be hospitalization in a figurative sense seeing as it is literal imprisonment.

  • Szasz has used the treatment Clancy Segal received at the hands of Laing & Co. as part of his argument. Clancy Segal, however, had seemed to reconcile with Laing, at least, in Laing’s case, posthumously. All three are deceased now. Laing, as you might know, successfully fought publication of Segal’s Zone of the Interior (1976) in the UK for a time. Zone of the Interior I think well worth the read in that it gives a pretty accurate, I would imagine, insider account of what was going on at Villa 21 and Kingsley Hall. There’s a final meeting between Laing and Segal at one point, after the incident that Szasz recounts, before they go their separate ways. Had Laing been a more conventional shrink, he might have had Segal “sectioned” in today’s parlance, but, no, he let him walk away, relatively anyway, unscathed.

  • Generally, Thomas Szasz campaigned for the abolition of forced psychiatry, and not, being a psychiatrist himself, the abolition of psychiatry. Coercive treatment is anathema to the whole concept of liberty. Right now you have rule of law and the mental health loophole. The mental health loophole constitutes a threat to the freedom of law abiding citizens. Close the loophole, and we’re back to rule of law.

  • You gamble, and maybe you lose some, however, I would imagine this kind of thing might ensure compliance to court ordered drug taking rituals if the “mental health court” authorities ever got wind of it. The price though is intimidating, but you know technology, maybe they can bring it down in time. All they have to do is keep going back to the drawing board and, sooner or later, eureka, it looks like we’ve struck Zyprexa again.

  • Those 3 points of divergence might give some indication about how far or how close your Critical Shrink is to your conventionally Bio-Medical Shrink. The only one I feel strongly about is bullet number two. Should the Mental Health Act be abolished? This point of divergence, I would have to answer in the affirmative.

    I think this leads to a similar question for people in the Antipsychiatry Movement. What points of divergence might they entertain? Some say that psychiatry should be abolished. Others are more intent on ending human rights violations and focus on ending force–the thing that was excused by enacting the Mental Health Act. I don’t think we have any dispute about “mental illness” being a myth, and de-licensing trained medical doctors does not in itself end involuntary harmful violence being inflicted on innocent people in the name of “mental health”.

  • If cessation of distress through early death be accounted a benefit.

    I think the only reason neuro-toxins, and specifically neuroleptics, get prescribed for non-psychotic conditions is the profit motive. If they can market their drug for something else they make more money. It’s the same thing that puts opioids back on the licit drug market. You’d think after ‘opium dens’ that they’d have learned a thing or two. Okay. Not so when you can make a buck or two, multiplied by the billions, and thus enter the same game the mob is so adept at exploiting, drug pushing

  • I don’t think the words are the same. Mad people are irrational. Mentally ill people are sick or unwell. The evolution of an idea went like this: first there was mad, and people thought they had to do something about them, and that something included segregating them from society at large (i.e. locking them up). Thinking that the mad would receive less harsh treatment if they were thought of as “sick”, they came up with this idea of “mental illness”. The word has now sort of gone full circle whereby physical treatments, the result of seeing “illness” as the culprit, has resulted in treatments that are maiming and killing people on a large scale. Also, these treatments have less than spectacular outcomes as a rule. Homo sapiens, the word for our species, in Latin means “wise man”. Unfortunately, I don’t think wisdom really characterizes the species. Humans, in case you haven’t noticed, are very gullible. They possess intelligence, maybe, they are knowledgeable, perhaps, but one thing they are not, as a rule of thumb, is wise.

  • “Schizophrenia” these days is practically, or literally, if you prefer, “bad outcome” by definition. I wouldn’t suppose you could effectively “cure” a “bad outcome* without believing in a “good outcome”. The necessity of “bad outcomes”, to my way of thinking, is like the necessity of “wagon trains”, that is, they are only necessary to psychiatrists and other “mental health” workers. “Bad outcomes” are not so necessary for the rest of us.

    Thomas Szasz had very strong and negative feelings about R. D. Laing and his methods. I myself have more negative feelings about the methods of the likes of E. Fuller Torrey, Jeffrey Lieberman, Joseph Biederman, Thomas Insell, and Allen Frances. I think, in contrast, as a founding member of the Philadelphia Project, and as a mentor of Loren Mosher with his Soteria Project, Laing had a few salvageable qualities. When it comes to involuntary institutionalization, I’d much preferred to have dwelt in an unstructured residence of the sort Laing was offering instead.

    I do though think things have been getting worse over the years, with even the more maverick professionals coming to resemble their bio-psychiatric would-be adversaries. Psychiatry itself is practically medicalization by definition. De-medicalization requires cognizance of the fact. Cognizance, and then action to decrease the numbers of people detained under false premises by “mental health” authorities, as well as the numbers of people they’ve, through brainwashing, converted to the “mental illness” religion.

    I know “mental patients” now in training to be “licensed social workers”. I would consider myself a failure were I employed as a “social worker”, or as any other sort of “mental health” worker. I guess you could say there are limits to my sense of pathos. Treatment is a business, completely at home with that other big player on the block and in the market, big pHarma. Alternative therapists and critical psychiatrists are part of the same business, with the same result. Patient numbers grow. It’s much easier to hire ex-patient professionals when you’ve got so many “patients” you don’t know what to do. I suggest that it would be easier to decrease the patient load if these professionals, and ex-patients, were doing something else altogether.

  • Boycott mental health services, en mass, and if successful, you’ve checked off objectives one through four. Like vegetable products, I think the way to go was illustrated by Cesar Chavez and his farm-workers, a general boycott. Strike, too, if mental health workers are amenable. Were mental health services much less popular than they are now there would be way fewer buyers. Disaffected, damaged and angry ex-patients are the way their pool of buyers is going to shrink. Sappy customers just support business as usual.

  • E. Fuller Torrey wrote a book on his abolitionist ancestor, Charles Torrey, and I’d say that in doing so, given the parallels, there was a double standard at work. I can’t see how one couldn’t see how chattel slavery relates to psychiatric slavery, nor how a person might not be against one without being against the other.

    E. Fuller Torrey also blames psychiatric casualties on psychiatric survivors, but like I said nobody was ever killed by a “mental illness”. Usually, it’s heart disease, organ failure, suicide (personal decision/one’s own hands), or any number of other ill health conditions that follow from complications due to compliance with harmful psychiatric treatment programs and practices.

  • This idea that force is necessary is pushing me into a corner. If the helping profession and the harming profession are really so much in cahoots, I pretty much have to come out on the side of freedom by opting for the scratching of the mental health profession entirely. Thomas Szasz opposed coercive mental health treatment throughout much of his career. It is very unfortunate that most professionals alive today don’t have the stomach to do the same. I think a stronger position imperative if one doesn’t want to aid and abet the enemies of freedom.

  • I’ve heard NAMIish people talk about “mental illness” survivors. Lol. Rotfl. I’m not a “mental illness” survivor. No, “mental illness” never harmed anybody. I’m a psychiatric treatment survivor.

    I’ve gotten to the point where, arguing against consuming human services, I have to be a little “sanist” with regard to myself, and make a case for my own “sanity”. I don’t have a problem with madness. A confession of madness however, as well as getting a person released from treatment, can get a person locked up in treatment. I can do without the torture, thank you.

    Mad pride beats mad humility. Sane pride is for normal people, and they’re about as boring as you can get. Everybody is crazy, only some of us have been caught. Recovery is slipping back into disguise and the character that goes with it. Mad, you say, perish the thought.

  • “Throughout history”!? The ‘big bang’ of this “othering” you are conceiving takes place in the 19th century with Kraepelin and Blueler. Or not. Madness receives it’s offical “disease” status there, does it not? Madness, pre-disease, and the “disease” title, delineate, with this “othering”, a most extreme form of alienation–alienation being “othering” by definition.

    “It follows that the project of de-othering schizophrenia might not be one of documenting and accepting the ineffability of psychotic experiences, but rather a project of truly understanding—and then dismantling—the very scenes of social exclusion that produce and reproduce them.”

    We need to dismantle “the very scenes of social exclusion that produce and reproduce them”? The “mental health” system, in other words?

    Sure. I could go along with that.

    I suspect though there is a little bit of ‘speaking with a forked tongue’ going on here. This alienation didn’t actually start with Kraepelin and Blueler, it began much earlier when we started locking up people wholesale for, rather than law breaking, madness.

    The solution? Easy. Stop locking innocent people up!

  • Give us more truth about electroshock! We need to stop this barbaric practice! The “safe and effective” lie is transparent, while the facts, such as you get from this article, speak for themselves. Electroshock is no way to “treat” a human being, and doctors who use it should be prosecuted under the law for harming those they have been entrusted to heal and protect.

  • Big government has been corrupted by money, corporate money. Congress has been referred to as a millionaires club due to the number of millionaires making up its ranks. Tax breaks for the wealthy, a vanishing middle class…Where do you think we’re headed? Liberty for the few, means slavery for the many.

    People are talking about campaigning for a 15 $ minimum wage now. Once it was much less than 15 $.

    “Timothy scraped a little hill level in the bottom of tile ditch. The sun made his white bristle beard shine. “They’s a lot a fellas wanta know what reds is.” He laughed. “One of our boys foun’ out.” He patted the piled earth gently with his shovel. “Fella named Hines-got ’bout thirty thousan’ acres, peaches and grapes-got a cannery an’ a winery. Well, he’s all a time talkin’ about ‘them goddamn reds.’ ‘God- damn reds is drivin’ the country to ruin,’ he says, an” ‘We got to drive these here red bastards out.’ Well, they were a young fella jus’ come out west here, an’ he’s listenin’ one day. He kinda scratched his head an’ he says, ‘Mr. Hines, I ain’t been here long. What is these goddamn reds?’ Well, sir, Hines says, ‘A red is any son-of-a-bitch that wants thirty cents an hour when we’re payin’ twenty-five!’ Well, this young fella he thinks about her, an’ he scratches his head, an’ he says, ‘Well, Jesus, Mr. Hines. I ain’t a son-of-a-bitch, but if that’s what a red is-why, I want thirty cents an hour. Ever’body does. Hell, Mr. Hines, we’re all reds.'” Timothy drove his shovel along the ditch bottom, and the solid earth shone where the shovel cut it.”

    ~John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

    Not even 30 cents is worth what it used to be worth.

    One way the issue gets confused is by diverting people into the “mental health” system. The government is taking care of people. Sure, it is. The tax payers are putting them up. Can’t go wrong there, can you? Think again. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and none are any the wiser thereby.

  • In the good ‘ole USA where everything revolves around the Yankee dollar, we’ve got the 60 billion $ man. This, and people working 3 jobs, and still not being able to make ends meet. I don’t know what you mean by the “free” world, apparently it isn’t quite “free”, in fact, it’s very costly. If the 60 billion $ man is worth 60 billion $, where does that leave everybody else? In the hole he dug? I think there’s got to be, if not a better way, at least a more equitable one.

  • Making a service industry out of the treatment of disease, physical or imaginary, is not the same as seeking the cessation of the symptoms of “disease”. More and more “diseased” people, of course, keeps the service providers, the healers that can’t heal, in business, just as fewer and fewer “diseased” people would threaten their livelihood. I would suggest that all these convoluted methods of rationalizing your profession are unnecessary when it comes to dispensing with that profession.

  • You’re absolutely wrong about communism and anarchism being diametrically opposed. Nor is anarchism all about vandalism.

    There are two traditions of anarchy, actually, individual anarchism (capitalist, and bad) and social anarchism (socialist, and good).

    Mutualism, collectivist anarchism (revolutionary socialism), anarcho-communism, and anarcho-syndicalism…all are communistic variants of anarchism.

    The Haymarket Riots, that event which gave us May Day, were more anarchist inspired than Marxist. It wasn’t until Vladimir Lenin’s first successful Marxist revolution in Russia gave us the USSR (now defunct), that the labor movement came to be associated with Marxism.

    Now that that “wall” between east and west has come down, and the Russians have ruined their revolution, to the point of counter-revolution, with bureaucratic stupidity, and Stalinoid mass murder and oppression, perhaps anarchism has a much better chance of resurfacing. The luster of Marxist revolution–what with that great blunder–has certainly worn off.

    It’s not like Marx himself didn’t do a lot to alienate and stymie followers of Bakunin, and if his prestige has suffered in recent years, well, as they say, ‘what goes around comes around’.

  • I don’t work under any such assumption. If it weren’t for forced treatment, what we are referring to as the “mental health” system would not have arisen. What is assumed is that there is something “wrong” with a certain percentage of the population, and that this percentage of the population needs to be “fixed”. Again, I make no such assumption. We’re going to be “suffering fools”, despite all, regardless.

  • Realistically? I hold my tongue.

    I agree on a need for action. The MIA forum though I hear is history.

    Theoretically people don’t survive the “mental health treatment” bubble. People that call themselves survivors, according to some of the so-called experts, perhaps have had “personality disorders”, but were never truly “mentally ill” in the first place.

    Fundamentally, if you do want to survive, it’s best not to ground yourself in “mental illness” mythology.

  • OK, then I guess we can officially classify you as “anti-communist” for future reference.

    I’m a communist, an anti-capitalist, but of the anarchist variety. I’m not a Marxist ideologue, no.

    “withering away” is what Harriet Beech Stowe expected.

    I’d hardly call the War between the States, otherwise referred to as the American Civil War, as a “withering away”. The Emancipation Proclamation might have come out of the Civil War, but without that war, there would have been no Emancipation Proclamation. There was a time even when Abraham Lincoln was talking about slavery continuing until the 1950s if the Union could have been preserved in the process. The south couldn’t see all new states coming in as non-slave states, and so things came to a head, with war the result.

  • I disagree. If “mental illnesses” were actual “illnesses”, why, why, the coercion? Why the locked doors, and why the closed wards? We don’t force treatment on most patients in the hospital, in fact, many patients, with fatal conditions, have the option of not receiving any treatment. There is nothing however potentially fatal about so-called “mental illness” except perhaps the thoughts and actions of the “afflicted”. The issue has to be ‘public safety’ because it certainly isn’t protection of the folk physically detained in the asylum/hospital/prison. You don’t have to segregate people from the communities in which they work and live for medical treatment as a rule, but that is exactly what is done with so-called “mental health” conditions. My take on the matter is that coercion, incarceration, came first, and then people started talking “medical” because they thought, thereby, the coerced might receive less harsh treatment. The problem is that, following this reform ploy, physical treatment for non-physical distress has shown itself to be much more harmful than the distress itself. Distress that, in and of itself, is only harmful, to a substantial degree, through exaggeration, and you get a heck of a lot of exaggeration in the “mental health” system. Most people suffering from real medical issues are not under threat of coerced treatment, and further coerced treatment, following legal proceedings.

  • “We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files
    We’d like to help you learn to help yourself
    Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes
    Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home”

    Mrs. Robinson, Paul Simon, Bookends (Album), 1968

    “And here’s to you”

    My advice to people in the “mental health” system is get out of the “mental health” system. Being beholden, in debt, really, or dependent on other people, is not the best place to be at, and that’s what the system thrives on. It’s all artificial crippledom leaving any benefits as transparent as a three dollar bill.

  • I don’t go along with any of the “withering away” mythology, an aftereffect of Marxist ideology. The idea is that class society will “wither away” under autocratic rule that purports to be for and of the working class has to be the kind of baloney it sounds like. This is much like Marxist scientific materialism which is only a way of stacking the deck in favor of your own philosophy. You can’t say, whoops, sorry about that, but I was wrong. We wrote that classless society was going to win out in the end, and because you read it in a book, it must be like anything you might have seen on TV, that is, “true”. Error is the province of other people’s philosophies, philosophies that don’t have “materialism” on their side, philosophies that lose out.

  • Abolitionist, of course, was a word for people out to end the institution of slavery. Where psychiatry most resembles slavery I think people are quite right to speak of themselves as being abolitionists with their intent to get rid of it. Accounting people 3/4ths of a human being is unacceptable these days. Ditto, this disenfranchised a fraction of a citizen. Second or third class is the way some folks have put it.

    One problem in the past is that some big wig shrinks of the time were also with this independence struggle or that, and so we get the revolutions of the 18th century associated with moral management, the treatment reform and asylum/”prison” building movement of the time. This puts us further behind when it comes to figuring out that if 1. slavery doesn’t mesh with democratic values neither does 2. labeling, drugging, and scapegoating people for their differences in opinion, behavior and demeanor.

    I don’t think it necessary to get rid of capitalism to get rid of psychiatry, however, I also don’t think it necessary to get rid of psychiatry to get rid of capitalism. Getting rid of both? What a beautiful idea. Maybe we could work on that one together.

  • I am for abolition of involuntary treatment, and unapologetically so. As for abolition of psychiatry, why bother? If one can’t be treated against one’s will, where’s the problem? You don’t want it, you walk away from it.

    The other side of the coin is why would I support abolition of voluntary treatment. I don’t support abolition of voluntary treatment any more than I support the abolition of voluntary anything. I think if you’re looking for a strong man, as Josef Stalin is often called, to put things to right, your efforts are likely to backfire.

  • Let me, if you will, Pacific Dawn, clarify a little. I don’t go by the formula: Psychiatry is the root of all evil, eradicate it, and everything will be hunky dory. I have a great deal of skepticism regarding any such formula. I don’t think psychiatry is the root of all evil, and I don’t think if it is eradicated that everything will be hunky dory.

    What I oppose about psychiatry has to do with the two key words you mentioned in your comment, consenting adults. Forced psychiatry takes away our right to consent, and thus transforms us into children or sub-humans devoid of the basic rights as they apply to others of our species. You can’t deprive people of liberty without also depriving them of responsibility. I see forced treatment as a threat to our basic liberties as put forward in the Declaration of Independence, in other words, I see forced treatment as impinging upon our “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, or ownership of property. I would, in other words, give people back their adulthood, and with it their citizenship, by allowing them to say “no” to psychiatry. Get rid of forced treatment, and the only people being injured by psychiatry would be those who have consented to be so injured. Force deprives people of consent by definition. Get rid of involuntary hospitalization, and I have no issue with the profession. When they can’t force treat, and, thereby, injure, the likes of you and me, against our will and wishes, what bother! My problem with the profession–forcing treatment on people who neither desire nor seek treatment–will have been addressed. Treatment as a form of self-injurious behavior is not a really big issue with me. You really can’t force wisdom on people either. It’s not that consensual treatment is uninformed, it’s this matter that if you don’t really have the right to say “no” to treatment, the right not to consent to treatment, it can’t really be said to be consensual in the first place.

  • You’ve got an uphill argument to make, but not with me. Institutions of higher education train psychiatrists, governments evaluate and license them. A lot of people, a heck of a lot of people, think that what psychiatry is doing is just plain right. I’m not one of those people, but convention seems to count for a lot. You think you can convince people to deprive government of the power to license psychiatrists. There’s your uphill argument. It’s not one I’m going to make because my fight is with force, with power, and not with petty regulations and procedures. End forced treatment, and you don’t have to take the license to practice medicine away even from your pretenders. The problem is not that psychiatry exists, the problem is the power that has been granted to psychiatrists over the lives of other people. Take that power away, and they’re just like everybody else…again. The problem is not that there are psychiatric hospitals, the problem is that those hospitals are only figuratively hospitals, and that they are literal prisons. They aren’t hospitable at all. Change that, and you will have done something. Psychiatry is just a word, censor it, and it will reappear as a completely different word.

  • Loved Lou’s song, Kill Your Sons. Another good one is Billy Was A Friend of Mine. It’s about the choices people make, and how sometimes one path doesn’t lead you to the place where you thought it might have led you.

    Lou mentions the effects of Thorazine in the song Kill Your Sons, too. “All of the drugs, that we took, it really was lots of fun But when they shoot you up with thorazine on crystal smoke You choke like a son of a gun.” There’s that difference between psych drugs and recreational drugs again. I had a friend, now deceased, who was there at the counter when this lady he knew, on a neuroleptic, choked on a donut. She ultimately ended up in a coma, and then had the plug pulled on her. Apparently her brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long a time.

    Shock treatment was more utilized as a general purpose treatment (cough, cough) before the development of neuroleptics. I know of a person now who is on court ordered ECT treatments. I think that’s really scary. Apparently things haven’t changed so much after all. Why, in other words, court ordered shock? The “mental health” authorities have to keep this guy alive at all costs? You think? I wonder what is really going on there. One thing I don’t think the courts should be doing is forcing harmful treatments on people, and that, in his case, is exactly what they’re doing.

  • Most readers of this blog would probably agree that the paradigm of care that grows out of the medical model is the biggest challenge to confront.

    Not so here, hospitals, as a rule, don’t take prisoners, not unless those hospitals are “mental hospitals”, or “psychiatric institutions”, do they take prisoners. What am I saying? The “medical model” thing has to be, in large measure, tongue in cheek. The real issue we are dealing with is the “violence card” being played because that is the thing that allows these institutions, to express their own variety of violence, and to take prisoners. “Mental hygiene”, as it used to be put, is associated with “public safety”, and so, you’ve got this matter of getting people ‘off the streets’ who scare other people. I think that could only be medical in a peripheral sense. Why punish sick people? Something underhanded is taking place. Just what is it? I couldn’t say, but the aim is not literal “medical” care, it’s figurative “medical care”.

    Outside of that, I worry about your efforts directed towards systemic change increasing the immensity of the gargantuan creature that is devouring us. The size of the system has grown exponentially with time. What can we do to halt this breakneck expansion of the system? Labeling people “sick” who are not physically sick is called medicalization, and many efforts at reform have only succeeded in furthering the cause of medicalization.

  • Crazy people are “sick” people?

    Actually, now you can evade adulthood indefinitely by opting for the “mental health treatment” trip, however, campaigning for the violation of your citizenship rights and civil liberties has it’s shortcomings.

    No psychiatry is not an alternative to psychiatry until somebody starts shoving psychiatry down your throat. Stop forcing psychiatry on people, and they won’t need an alternative to forced psychiatry.

  • If you’re talking about forced non-consensual maltreatment, providing “alternatives” actually does validate force, Get rid of force, and you wouldn’t need “alternatives” to it. An “alternative”, in fact, when standard practice is not forced, would mean force. We don’t need “alternative” treatments (& look it up, “alternative medicine” is quackery), we need non-consensual forced psychiatry outlawed.

  • Labeled schizo-affective in the state hospital, I was put on Lithium. Possibly twice. Nasty stuff. I was also put on Synthroid for the hypothyroidism I developed due to the Lithium I was taking. Imagine that, double bad. The dosage for mood-disorders is almost at the toxic level, and so it’s not something you really want to do. I’ve known people who have had their kidney’s shutdown on the drug, and one person who had to have a Kidney transplant because of Lithium. Life is precious. Do the math, and you can figure it out for yourself. Lithium has to be one of the reasons the mortality rate for people said to be suffering from serious psych disorder labels is so high. Lithium is a drug I would not recommend people take.

  • But FrankB, isn’t it true that most people who end up in the hands of Psychiatrists or Psychotherapists put themselves there voluntarily.

    No, not so long as admission into a hospital means a locked ward. I don’t think people “volunteer” for forced treatment so much as they are “volunteered”. If you can’t get out of any situation you are in, well, we have a word for that situation, and that word is trap.

    And aren’t more people getting their lethal narcotics from Psychotherapists than Psychiatrists?

    Most people in the system, the public “mental health” system, are getting their neurotoxins from psychiatrists. Following the DSM-III, and the triumph of bio-psychiatry, more psychotherapy is done by psychologists than psychiatrists these days. In some places psychologists are being granted prescribing privileges, but that is still the exception rather than the rule.

    A heck of a lot is against the law. Too much, some folks might say, and so, yes, unfortunately we can outlaw many things, and often many good things get outlawed.

    Our government is not licensing anybody who hasn’t gone through school. I think you should do something about mental health law instead, the law that allows circumvention of the law when it comes to “mental” cases. Do that, and psychiatric assault ceases to be the acceptable treatment or behavior that it presently is.

    Of course, children should not be subjected to labeling and torture, but, once the genie is out of the bottle, putting him back in is always going to be problematic.

    I’m an atheist, and I don’t see the government forcing religion on me or anybody else.

    When the world revolves around the rich 1 % of the population, the other 99 % of the population is underclass. Of course, these underclasses are divided, in some fashion, between those who get paid off by the 1 %, another 20 %, and those who don’t, but you get the picture. With a more equitable distribution of wealth, the 99 % has the power to correct the many wrongs created by this situation.

  • Hit rewind, and go backwards in time. There is a chart in an article on The History of Mental Health Treatment.

    Under Chemical Interventions. It shows the numbers of mental patient in England and Wales over the years in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1850, you had 7,000 patients. In 1930, the number was up to 120,000 patients. In 1954, there were 150,000 patients. Okay, you keep going back in time, and that number is going to be much, much less than even the 7,000 we started with.

  • Did I say I supported Psychotherapy, Recovery, Life Coaching, Motivationalism, etc.? No, I did not. Bankroll brainwashing on your own time, but don’t drag me into the matter.

    Critical psychiatry is critical of psychiatry. Antipsychiatry is opposed to psychiatry. There is no intermediate zone. Either you lock up (and suppress) crazies because you fear them, or they are as crazy as they wanna be because you don’t fear them.

  • Perhaps a more appropriate heading and subject would be The Role of Bias in Diagnosis. Currently psychiatry has a few tricks to keep the diagnosis rate of schizophrenia at a consistant 1 % level. One is the bipolar disorder diagnosis that has taken off, and in a few years time, outdistanced in percentages the schizophrenia diagnosis rate. The other is that mood disorder grab bag between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder. It represents yet another release valve to keep the schizophrenia rate constant. Stars, geniuses, and celebrities get bipolar affective disorder pretty regularly. Schizoaffective disorder is not seen as so likely to result in negative outcomes as pure head-on straightforward schizophrenia, which leaves you schizophrenia as the throw away category of pretty much 1 %, and as Hollywood always knew, when it comes to leading roles in the white entertainment business, members of the circling savage hoard are always more expendable than those in the wagon train, and rescuing army.

  • The critics of psychiatry fall into two basic categories, depending upon their degree of criticism. Those who are merely critical of conventional psychiatry, and those who are even more critical of psychiatry. Those who are, in fact, so critical of psychiatry that they reject psychiatry altogether. The first group are advocates of critical psychiatry while second support antipsychiatry. You don’t need a “broader” term as that makes the ground covered by both pretty broad.

  • Much forced psychiatry is only technically legal anyway, and the technicality that it’s got is called mental health law, that loophole in the law that allows psychiatric assault to occur, which in many regards goes against constitutional law, or law as it applies to those of us who are not deemed sub-human, or an established under-class.

  • I feel like we’re getting a defense of psychotherapy, perhaps in response to another 25 items, only those items are reasons. The 25 reasons I am referring to are the 25 reasons delineated in 25 Reasons Psychiatry Must Be Abolished by Don Weitz.

    Psychotherapy, in relation to the rest of psychiatry, is somewhat of a diversion. We’ve replaced “mental disorder” with “mental distress”, and the doctor is now counselor, but perhaps the problem is more fundamental to lop-sided relationships, such as the relationship of “client” to “analyst”, or of “worker” to “boss”, or of “inferior” to “superior”, or of “slave” to “master” than all that.

    I have a problem with the idea of being framed by a snapshot. Automatic association, blackmail. Of course, personalities are more fluid than that, but what I’m getting at is that the “mental health” system bubble has all of these shiny associations floating around it’s bulbous interior surface.

    Things have changed. Once it was the abnormal the professionals were trying to make normal. Now it is the normal they would make out to be abnormal. If everybody was content, of course, there goes somebody’s paycheck.

    All it takes is a long sharp needle. One prick from the point of the needle, and POP, the fantasy is over, the bubble has burst, and the unreachable “mental health” goal has been attained, that is, the “mental health” torture is over. The long rehearsal is over. Time to get on with one’s life. One’s real life.

  • Our difference of opinion, OldHead, seems to be over whether the psychiatric survivor movement and the antipsychiatry movement are synonymous. You seem to think that the two movements are synonymous while I believe that the two movement neither are, nor should be, synonymous. In other words, it is my feeling that we’re dealing with two separate movements here, not one.


  • Can you!?

    You’re basically making up your own history to conform to your personal ideology. Can you at least make an attempt at some form of documentation of your claims (and not from OldHead)?

    You requested that anybody who challenged you must cite sources, however, you seldom, if ever, cite any sources of your own. Don’t accuse me of fabricating history if you can’t prove anything you say isn’t a fabrication.

  • Sure, treat counselors like any other operator of a service business, and protect people from them by law, rather than the other way around, that is, don’t protect counselors from being prosecuted by law for crimes committed against people engaging their services. I am assuming that people here know the difference between a service and a disservice.

    A related matter concerns hospitals that are actually prisons. Locked wards and forced treatment by hospitals should not be tolerated. Hospitals must remain places of healing, and they must not become places of detention. Where they have crossed that line, they must be shut down and abandoned.

  • I’m not a “happy customer” either. I wasn’t even asking for “help”. I was abducted, imprisoned, tortured, poisoned, slandered, robbed, etc., etc., etc., by the state “mental hospital” system. I am, in fact, no longer “a customer”. The whole abducting, torturing, poisoning, slandering, robbing business needs to be done away with.

  • I was juxtaposing talk therapy with drug therapy, Julie. My point being, a. all therapies are not equal, and 2. drug therapy can, while talk therapy can’t, directly kill you.

    Death by one’s own hand I would not consider a direct consequence of, but rather a personal decision.

    I’m not saying that some of what passes for therapy is not actually torture, or some form of intimidation. That kind of thing happens. It shouldn’t, perhaps, but it does, and the people behind it have their own ways of rationalizing it.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of lying and deception taking place in the “mental health” field, and that people aren’t victimized by such deceit. I’m just saying drugs will kill you, and talk won’t kill you. I’m also saying that every person who engages in the therapy trade is not a lying, manipulating, torturing SOB. That’s all.

  • Two issues are present really, the first involving deprivation of liberty, and violation of human rights, and the second, harmful physical treatments, rationalized by would-be medicine, with biology seen as the basis for ‘problems in living’.

    Between talk therapy and drug therapy, they’re both quackery, but drug therapy unlike talk therapy will kill and maim you. I can’t, in other words, completely agree that all treatments are equal, and that there can’t be a better way. There are certainly other reasons for treatment than the ones usually given, combined, in some instances, with much deception, and this ulterior motivation involves something besides actual health, the stated reason for such treatment programs.

  • Quackery pays, sure, but sooner or later your quacks are going to be found out. Anticorruption campaigns will take care of the big $$$$$$$ boys. Get the money out of politics, bust a few corrupt politicians, and your big bad boys will be a lot smaller.

  • One correction to the above is necessary. Moral treatment begins just prior to the 19th century, not the 18th, and continues onto the middle of that century.

    Imprisoning lunatics began in earnest on a larger scale than say 20 max inmates in Bedlam at the end of the 17th century, and near the beginning of the 18th. The scale of this mass imprisonment was just further escalated, once again, and much further, with the introduction of moral management, or more would-be humane treatment, great selling point for lunatic asylum/psychiatric prisons, towards the dawn of 19th century.

  • As far as I’m concerned, Ronald Pies and Mark Ruffalo, together with many in their field, have created their own bogeyman in the antipsychiatry movement. This movement doesn’t compare with the biological psychiatry movement, what with its pharmaceutical drug fiefdoms and the imperialism of western pseudo-medicine that is engulfing much of the planet at this time.

    I have a little problem with this time line of yours beginning in the middle of the 19th century. Before there were psychiatrists, there were, same thing, mad doctors and alienists. Of course, psychiatrists didn’t start calling themselves psychiatrists until about the middle of the 19th century, or perhaps later, the beginning of the 20th.

    From just before the beginning of the 18th century, moral management was the reform movement that existed until about, let’s see, the middle of the 19th century. Moral management, with doctors making a show of removing shackles from patients, patients that were only technically patients, but actual prisoners, was the thing. You don’t need, really, shackles when you’ve got solitary confinement (padded cells, strait jackets, and that kind of thing.)

    Okay. The problem is this asylum that people are not free to leave. That’s a prison. That isn’t an asylum, and it definitely isn’t a hospital. These prisons for the mad, psychiatric, one might say, prisons, began sometime prior to the first major reform movement (i.e moral management). Moral management actually escalated the proliferation of these psychiatric prisons (then termed lunatic asylums).

    I hope I’ve sort of paved the way here for the 20th and 21st centuries. Psychiatric prisons still exist, and they are making incursions into local communities as well with all sorts of mini-prisons being developed. Odd treatments, spinning chairs, blood-letting, physical beatings, ice baths, etc., have given way to equally if not more dangerous and odd treatments, electrically induced grand mal seizures, the thorazine (or even seraquel) haze, etc., but the quackery continues.

  • Communist works pretty well for me. Plus I don’t have the aversion to radical leftism that some people have which I think is a more recent phenomenon that owes a lot to the coinage of a more recent expression, “radical right”, “radical conservatism”, or “radical republicanism” put forward by some political commentators. I suppose if you become radical right enough, you start waving flags with swastikas on them, and we’ve done what might be called a ‘full circle’.

    Part of the problem, and Foucault would have been aware of this one, is that the revolutions of the 18th century, against the monarchy, as you put it, saw mental health reform (i.e. moral management, and the expanding asylum system that went along with it; an asylum system that had upped the patient population by 10s of thousands at the beginning of the 20th century) as a more enlightened way of dealing with the “insane”. Funny how, given this capitalistic adventure in salesmanship, that population hasn’t declined, on the other hand, but gets higher with almost every news broadcast in recent years.

  • I beg to disagree, there were never “two movements”, there were multiple movements. The psychiatric survivor movement was one thing, the antipsychiatry movement another, and although there was much overlap, I’m not going to equate the two. Our psychiatric survivor movement has been beset by factionalism from the beginning, and I figure it is better to acknowledge such differences than to pretend that we’ve always been, and will always be, in agreement.

    I’ve heard Ted say something about the 1985 conference being hijacked. The idea of the conference being hijacked adds an element of disorganization to the proceedings. If that’s the movement’s last organized event, and I’m certainly not saying it was, the movement for all practical purposes comes to an abrupt end there and then. I wasn’t there. I wish I had been. We need more events like those that we have had in the past.

    “Tentative cooperation”? Judi is an award now, and Howie is an institution in NYC. Those two are no longer speaking for themselves. Enough with the name dropping. I think we’ve reached a point, what with Nami Pamification, that what the movement has become must be opposed. Medicalization (i.e. psychiatrizing) is such a big issue, you know 1 in 4, or whatever the ridiculous figure is now, that we’ve got to fight all the peddling of “mental health” BS that is going on now. What was once the psychiatric survivor movement is behind a great deal of this patient proliferation, and it should be quashed. The patient proliferation, that is, should be quashed. Okay, now you can get a job in the “mental health” policing business. Count me out.

  • A great many opportunists apparently.

    I heard Judi speak at a few conferences, Alternatives among them. I’m thinking of Judi and Howie, too. I think she tailored her message to suit her audience, but then, who doesn’t?

    I think it depends on which movement you are speaking of. One movement changed after 1985. Many people involved in it up to that point didn’t change, and either ended up going their separate ways, or being, after a fashion, diplomatic.

    Oh, and it was the so-called CSX movement, “recovery” movement, “peer” “support” movement, mental patients’ bondage movement, or whatever, that sold antipsychiatry down the river, and not vice versa. (Of course, then there are people like you who think the psychiatric survivor movement and the antipsychiatry movement are identical. They aren’t.)

  • The drugs bothered me so much, regardless of dosage, that I stopped taking them outside of the total(itarian) institution of the state hospital. Inside I had no choice, you stand in the queue, and take their poison, or a couple of goons mug you, and give it to you in the rear with a needle and syringe. If I didn’t stop taking them, some doctor would be prescribing them indefinitely, reduced level, or packing the kind of punch to put down an elephant. Actually, I just went through the motions, and pretended to be compliant just to get on with my life. I wasn’t going to take their drugs, but the less people knew about that, the better. Other people took psych-drugs, and that was alright with me. They can live with the TD and metabolic syndrome, I suppose, better than I can.

  • ‘modeled on U.S.-style, managed care”

    It’s a boom industry in the U.S.A. I imagine that more diagnosing, more drugging, and more of about everything concerned with turning people into mental patients is more state of the art in the bad ‘ole U.S.A.

    That they’ve got better things to be doing in Canada. The notion might not occur to them.

  • Really? I thought Trump thought he was president or something.

    The present mental illness contagion, or mental health treatment consumption contagion if you prefer, we are presently experiencing can only grow with an expanding psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. Okay. Give people money, of course, and they’ve got bread on their tables. A career “mental patient”, alternatively called a “peer”, to differentiate them from “peer professionals”, whew. How much garbage do you have to swallow before you choke on it? Mental patients’ liberation exists outside of the mental health system entirely.

  • I read the article and felt that the bit on Robert Whitaker was insulting to him, and anything but even handed. One could say it called for a reply. While the story revolved around Laura, I kind of thought it sidestepped the doping issue, and dealt rather excessively with Laura as some kind of a poster-board “mental health” “recovery” case. I don’t know how you can list the number of drugs that Laura was on at one time without getting the idea that that was excessive. I also don’t think Laura was unusual in that regard, and this is the point that the author somehow either missed or suppressed. Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of drugs. It’s the whole bio-psychiatric narrative that pushes pharmaceuticals, and that’s a narrative that the author didn’t seem to question to any great extent. She, if you want to have a laugh, consulted Allen Frances for the piece. Allen Frances was downright comical trying to say, on one hand, that some patients needed drugs, and maybe, on the other, that some patients didn’t need so much altered chemistry. I think he came across pretty much like the two-faced drug pushing shrink, and the embarrassed but guilty architect of the DSM-IV, that he actually is.

  • When the movement decided to work for mental health system expansion by turning mental patients into mental health workers, mini-warders, across the board all of a sudden all these once angry young radicals became boring old farts. A bigger mental patient manufacture (i.e. medicalization) system is by no means a better system. I really hope they get it together. I’d like to see a monkey wrench thrown into the works someday.

  • We have a corporate owned media, and that, in large measure, must go a long way toward presenting only one side of the message, a message amenable to business interests. I really can’t imagine any national television company, with so much pharmaceutical money in sponsorship, airing a program that takes a critical look at pharmaceuticals. Over and over again, it’s drug ads with a litany of negative effects that they expect, and see, the public put to sleep on predominating. Gloss over this somnolent exercise, and attend to the “que sera sera”, they seem to be saying. I would think, this being true of broadcasting companies, maybe there are strings being pulled in other branches of the media as well.

  • Excuse me, is waiting for the revolution a “false choice” or no choice?

    There’s also the slogan “Nobody’s perfect” that was a slogan of the Nobody for President campaign.

    I couldn’t argue with the slogan “Don’t vote, it only encourages them.” Don’t vote, and I guarantee you somebody else will. The “haves” have been banking on a lack of vote from the “have nots” since time immemorial.

    I voted. I voted for Jill. I would do it again. One thing is for sure, not voting is just another vote for global warming.

  • Laing and Cooper split over Cooper’s invention of antipsychiatry.

    The most highly critical look at psychiatry is a total rejection of psychiatry, in other words, antipsychiatry.

    As for suffering fools, yeah, someone is always going to have to do something.

    Did I just use the word “always”? Probably shouldn’t have done that. Ditto, you and the use of that word, “never”.

  • Psychiatric coercion isn’t legitimate. Before we had anything that might be referred to as a “medical model” you had the police model. You STILL have the police model. Society wants to get errant members off the streets, and it has psychiatry to help it get them off the streets. The illusion that this effort has anything to do with health is just that, illusion.

  • If you just put all shock docs out of business by saying that, I must have missed something. As I said before, self-harm is big, big, big, and I’d like to write a self-harm guide sometime. You know, to compete with the self-help section at the bookstores. When your self-harm has help from professionals, it is no longer self-harm, it is “therapy”. I think everybody has a right to learn from their mistakes, however, first comes folly, then comes wisdom. Let me add, outlawing folly must be almost as big a mistake as mandating wisdom.

  • I don’t know, Ron. The idea of “real mental illnesses” seems to go along with the idea of “real mental illness treatment”. You know, the business of psychiatry, those doctors who “specialize” in the “treatment” of “mental illnesses”, “real” or imagined.

    I got out of the “mental illness treatment” racket entirely, and no complaints here. I’m content so long as nobody can force their “treatment”, perhaps more accurately referred to as trickment, on me.

    More to the point, I think a strong argument can be made against psychiatry, in particular in regards to the increased medicalization of everyday life, and the “chronic” label that goes along with it. (Wow! What exceptional salesmanship! Here’s your medical equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge.) Now where were we? Oh yeah! Doctors who treat imaginary diseases are quacks. If the DSM is not a book of discrete and “real” disease entities, what it is? Of course, a manual of quackery, but that manual doesn’t make doctors who don’t go by the manual any less quacks than those who do.

    I understand the need for silence. Were you at the riverside with a line thrown into the water, this fish is not biting. You sell “mental health treatment”, and without a clientele, you’ve got no meat on your table, and a desperate need for a career change.

  • Abduction, imprisonment, lobotomy, electricity induced seizures, poisoning by toxic chemicals, slander, lifelong persecution, rigged low status, kangaroo hearings, prejudicial mistreatment, compulsory false confession, etc., and the cessation of all of the above. I wouldn’t say that antipsychiatry is extreme, although psychiatry certainly is extreme.

  • The deceptions here are amusing, as well as the results. People are living up or down to expectations. Mostly down. You give people fake MRI scans, those people that receive fake MRI scans that say they are improving, think they are improving, and their dispositions change. Apparently, placebos work better for people suffering from severe depression than previously thought, provided you can deceive them into thinking so.

  • I think the changing demographic, the browning of America, is also changing its politics, and for the better, so I would tend to disagree. The problem is corporate imperialism makes no color distinction either. We’ve got a president that got into power through aligning himself with white supremacists. Put a point on the scoreboard for the reaction. This doesn’t mean that if you opted for the other corporate owned politicians, the democrats, that’s a big hit for “health” of any kind. Should we not do anything about corporate money in politics, corruption is going to drag us all down. Another way to put it is, it need not be a choice between two evils, and opting for the lesser evil of two, if there is a third course of action available, but in this case I don’t think that third course would be conceived of as a “middle way”.

  • I would expose psychiatry as the pseudo-science it is, too, however, delegitimizing psychiatry is not the same thing as abolishing it. I would have much less of a problem with psychiatry posing as medicine if its hospitals were actually hospitals (same base as the word hospitality) instead of literal prisons (places of detention). If such were the case, people wouldn’t be held against their will and wishes. The problem with psychiatry is, even if a person is familiar with facts about drugs, etc., that person can be drugged to death and debility regardless. Get rid of the locked doors, and special passes, the law that transforms hospitals into prisons, so different from other units in a hospital, and you’ve gotten rid of the problem. The problem is not psychiatry per se, the problem is the power this particular “mental health” specialty has been granted over and beyond other people. They have no more knowledge than the average Joe when it comes to behavior. It is this power the profession has been granted by courts of law that is the problem, a power that should be curtailed, and not the fact that the profession exists at all. When they have no more power than the ordinary citizen, ordinary citizens can walk away from them without fear of becoming their captives for eternity. Forced treatment, forced psychiatry, should be abolished. You abolish forced treatment by repealing mental health law.

  • Talk about an uphill struggle?…

    All psychiatrists go through medical school. Stripping them of their licenses to practice, once they’ve achieved that career goal, is a little more complex than wishful thinking. Should psychiatry not be offered in medical school, but there’s that uphill struggle again. Also, a difference of opinion with somebody, probably many bodies, if you’re claiming psychiatry is not medicine.

    There is going to be lawful prescribing of drugs so long as the drugs prescribed aren’t prohibited by law. There may be a big section of books in any library or bookstore categorized as “self-help” books, but “self-harm” is really, really big these days. What with all the self-help guides being written, I think somebody should write a self-harm guide. My point? If you were to outlaw the Darwin Awards, you still wouldn’t be outlawing candidates for winning them.

  • I don’t have a problem with the use of the word abolition in relation to an institution like slavery. I think you have to be more specific in the case of psychiatry. All sorts of people are going to have completely different ideas as to what psychiatry is. If psychiatrists are “soul doctors”, they’ve got freedom of religion on their side. If they are physicians, they’ve got the medical field. I am all for the abolition of forced treatment, forced psychiatry, however, how can I be opposed to forced psychiatry without being in favor of non-forced psychiatry. As long as the mental health coppers can’t nab me and treat me against my will and wishes I’m fine. If anybody wants to see a shrink, or any other sort of fortune teller what-so-ever, that, of course, is up to them. If we’re going after institutional practice, sure, if we’re going after every doctor in private practice, I don’t really see it.

    For the difference between critical psychiatry and antipsychiatry, I would refer people to David Ingleby’s 1980 book, CRITICAL PSYCHIATRY: The Politics of Mental Health, and realize that critical psychiatry has updated it’s views to suit the times.

    From the Introduction, pg. 19.

    ‘Psychiatry’ because unlike David Cooper’s ‘non-psychiatrists’, the contributors to this volume all feel that mental illnesses – whatever their correct interpretation and political significance may be – do exist. and furthermore call for specialized understanding and help.

    Replace the words “mental illnesses” with “emotional distresses” or “psychological traumas”, and there you go. Updated.

    ‘Critical’ because we think that psychiatry should take time off from examining its patients in order to take a good look at itself, with the benefit of the insights which recent sociology and philosophy can offer.

    You get ‘critical’ enough and you never go back. You retire, and, er, as it were, become an antipsychiatrist, or an antipsychiatry movement activist instead.

  • Voluntary? How do you define it? Psychiatry in some cases is completely voluntary. In other cases, what passes for voluntary is something entirely other than voluntary. Voluntary psychiatry is not a chimera. The question is when is that line crossed between entirely voluntary and forced. Voluntary treatment, as a form of plea bargain, is not voluntary at all. Voluntary is not a status, it’s a human right. Of course, you don’t have such a phenomenon outside of prisons posing as hospitals. End the hospital prison equation, and they can’t force psychiatry on anyone. That’s where I’m at, legalizing the freedom to say “no” to psychiatric tortures.

  • As I’ve said before, coupling abolition with psychiatry just creates an empty meaningless slogan. You have to, in other words, be more specific than that. Sure, we could legislate psychiatry away. We could legislate psychiatry away in the same fashion in which we could legislate freedom away. I would be more specific. Abolish forced institutional psychiatry. I’m good with that. Abolish psychiatric slavery. I’m all for doing so. Abolish psychiatry period. Well, you can’t do that without also abolishing freedom of thought and action, and I prefer more democratic methods of proceeding.

  • Electro-shock de-mystified. We need more articles like this one that present the facts because one thing is for sure, from the system we’re getting a pack of lies. What amounts to injury elsewhere in the medical profession is seen as a miraculously curative “therapy” in psychiatric treatment. Go figure. I would imagine that the half-truths such as are used to promote ECT must actually, in the final analysis, be somewhat less than half-truths. Perhaps one could call them quarter-truths, or tenth-truths. Shock is neither so “safe” nor “effective” as it is billed, in fact, what it is is dangerous and debilitating.

  • “we’re not going to leave MIA”… Or construct an antipsychiatry website!?

    Basically, you should refer to the content of Robert Whitaker’s comment below. If you’ve got another message, you don’t blame someone else for their message. You create your own vehicle for relaying that message. I never had this expectation that Robert Whitaker’s opinion of the matter had to agree with that of OldHead and KindredSpirit. Who thinks that way? You do the work, you frame the position your website is going to take.

  • I think it is enough to point out that antipsychiatry and critical psychiatry are not the same thing. Critical psychiatry, in fact, arose in reaction to people calling themselves antipsychiatry. Antipsychiatry does not push psychiatry on people in any way, shape, or form. Right now, people get into these arguments about what’s what. While there are places where I think the two factions can work together, there are also places where I feel they will not be able to do so, and that stands to reason as their perspectives and their aims are not identical.

  • I’m not a big fan of paternalism whether it comes from you or anybody else. “Voluntary” has been twisted by the present plea bargain mentality into its opposite, “force”. I’m not twisting voluntary to mean anything it doesn’t mean. I meant the kind of voluntary that actually means voluntary.

    I think we’ve had this discussion, after a fashion, before. As Thomas Szasz, by way of Karl Kraus, liked to point out, a chamber pot is not an urn.

  • Huh? If your complaint is about capitalism, we have the same complaint. Advertising is the propaganda of capitalism, and so I wouldn’t go looking for truth in it. I agree with you about direct to consumer drug advertising, it should be outlawed, but you’ve got to hold medicine a little accountable for encouraging it and capitalizing on it. On the other hand, I don’t think you can outlaw folly. (They already tried that, and what they came up with is something called the “mental health” system.) Nor do I think you can mandate wisdom, and any attempt to do so, in general, must be considered rank folly itself.

  • Or, to be more explicit, the problem is not psychiatry, the problem is mental health law. Repeal mental health law, and forced treatment becomes abduction, false imprisonment, assault, torture, poisoning, etc. Do nothing about the law, and psychiatry is just a word that was current yesterday replaced by whatever word they are using today. Psychiatry as a philosophy of anything is not the problem. Psychiatry as legalized abduction, imprisonment, torture, and murder, that is the problem. I don’t give much of a fig about all the talk, however, the abduction, imprisonment, torture, and murder. That, I’d like to see ended immediately, and with finality.

  • Essentially, OldHead, I think you are being unrealistic. Nobody is likely to abolish much of anything except by edict. I don’t see psychiatry as pure evil. I don’t even think the fact that psychiatry exists is the problem. If anything is to be abolished make it be forced institutional psychiatry. If anybody wants to consult a trained witch-doctor, it would not be right for me to stand in their way. They can make their own mistakes. You want to consult our contemporary form of headshrinker, go ahead. Only leave me out of it, and I will be content. Psychiatry is not the problem. Psychiatric power, control, and coercion–deprivation of liberty–what amounts to psychiatric slavery is the problem. Do something about the excessive authority granted to psychiatrists, and you’ve gotten rid of any need you might have to abolish the profession itself. The problem is not so much that we have phony hospitals, the problem is that those phony hospitals are actual prisons pretending to be hospitals. I don’t think they can be prisons as such without violating those rights that people supposedly have by law.

  • Good point. Representative government as we’ve got it is scarcely ever truly representative of anything but the corruption of the few. I don’t need a man up there pretending to represent what he takes to be my views any more than I need a person living what he thinks my life should be for me. Where certain matters are concerned, I think it must stay very much DIY.

  • I was struck by how The American Experience film on Walter Freeman, The Lobotomist, and the book by the same name, authored by Jack El-Hai, were so soft on the man. I often wonder about all the casualties and all the devastation that took place at his hands, and I’d like to see a book that told the story of the most debilitated victims of his surgery in detail. I have a book on Quackery, and Walter Freeman has a prominent place in it, and that is a place to which I believe he belongs. Your apologists for psychiatry, your middle-of-the-roaders, explain why anybody would try to turn the life of this or that monster into the subject of a straight forward biography. Yin/yang. How easily they blend in with the design of the wallpaper. People could shrug. Insulin shock therapy today might be considered quackery. ECT should be considered quackery! How is a grand mal seizure going to “help” anyone get “better”, and at what? I actually think, although they haven’t gotten around to it yet, some author might include much psych-drug use today as a further example of quackery in action. I hear SSRI antidepressants as a rule work no better enhanced placebos. Of course, there is the issue of what they are working on. No illness, no relief, but still, one might be consoled by all the withdrawal effects. Instead of getting scared, I would encourage people to speak out, and to tell the truth. Quackery is quackery, and what we are often getting in some areas of what purports to be “medicine” is quackery.

  • The first theme struck me as really bizarrely worded. “Medication-free treatment: an unscientific option for a stigmatized patient group.” AS IF, medication-free treatment might be a scientific option for an non-stigmatized patient group. The real reasoning here is a rather lame-brained, we’re doctors and doctors give people medicine. Doctors who don’t see drugs as medicine, and who don’t give them to their “patients”, are being “unscientific”. One could make similar claims about witch-doctors and their magic potions without evidence, the thing that is so sorely needed.

    Theme Two. “When the minority is in charge: the loudest voices get their opinions heard.” When IS a minority EVER in charge? In a totalitarian state or a prison, of course. Or a mental hospital. They’re calling their “patients” ideologically-driven. Isn’t it true that, in some cases, it isn’t ideology that drives them at all, it’s a desire for liberty, and beyond liberty, for equality.

    Which brings us to theme 3. “Patients with psychotic symptoms: the paradox of ‘lack of insight’ and choice of treatment.” I remember when the refusal to confess to having a “mental illness” was a defense mechanism rather than an entirely separate disease entity. How convenient! “The better to commit you with, my dear.” I just don’t see the paradox. As long as treatment is forced on patients, treatment is not a choice, it is a decision of state, a court order, and a law in violation of the law.

    Theme 4. “Professionalism vs. ideology disregarding science.” Professionals don’t disregard science, OH NO, it’s the plebes who do that. Especially the plebes who are not steeped in scientific training. Follow the money! Follow the money, and I imagine you will end up somewhere in the vicinity of a major pharmaceutical company. These doctors aren’t professional for nothing, sometimes it’s because they took pharmaceutical company money. The same pharmaceutical companies, after all, that have funded their educational establishments and pursuits.

    I wouldn’t imagine that, if all the psychiatrists interviewed held the same position, the pressure to change could have been that great. On the other hand, they feel pressure. Way to go, folks! Keep the pressure on! Maybe someday they will begin to see the light and change their ways.

  • Okay, somebody is, or some bodies are, out to draft a ‘dead sea scroll’ for the DSM of the future. Since when is psychopathologizing not medicalizing, and since when are either not slander. There might be something to neuropathology if it weren’t mostly psychopathologizing. Psychopathology is not pathology, psychopathology is moralizing masquerading as medicine. They know they have a problem, people know the DSM is bunk, but will their extension of the bunkery go over? Stay tuned. De-bunkery has still not made the kind of a dent that it should, but just imagine, and here it comes…The maiden voyage of the Titanic.

  • There is certainly what might be called a clinical utility in preventing overdose. Our prescription drug culture with fentanyl has grown ever more deadly, and it could have been predicted with the letting in of otherwise illegal substances through the side door. Pharmaceutical companies want to capitalize on the fact that drugs are not officially addictive when they are prescribed by physicians. Drugs support evasions, and evasions aren’t effectively solving problems with the resulting bad outcomes, death and injury.

  • The “position that psychiatry is an illegitimate and unscientific branch of medicine” (i.e. non-medicine) makes it sound like a charge of quackery is being made against the profession to me, and that, in fact, is what I would have say psychiatry is, quackery. “Evidence based” quackery mind you.

    Lobotomy has been replaced by neuroleptics. Right, and the average age of a mental patient at death dives to about 52 years of age. Take a good look. Neuroleptics, benzos, and SSRI antidepressants? See any wonder drugs there? Nope? Me neither. Instead one form of quackery, chemical doping, has replaced another, surgical brain mutilation.

    Talking about mental patient (AKA consumer/user) rights is like talking about slave rights, and we know the rights of a 3/5 human being can’t be the same as the rights of a considered 100 % human being. Obviously, it’s human rights we need to be discussing here. If anybody ever says rights without it being qualified by human, somebody has to straighten them out.

  • ‘Substance abuse’ is quite the misnomer for drug dependence, isn’t it? Doing so, a quite arbitrary distinction is being made between recreational pill popping and prescription pill popping. Most doctors don’t, but should, assist people in loosening their attachment to prescription chemicals, and, additionally, refrain from creating chemical dependencies among their clientele. The medical professional, obviously, needs to lessen it’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry, as those ties have corrupted current practice. When the length of the average lifespan is seriously challenged by current pharmaceutical usage, maybe it’s time for doctors to pay attention to the matter, and seek for less drastic means of relief.

  • I think doctors prescribe benzos for the same reason that some people prescribe so-called recreational drinking. Excuse me, as a drinker, for saying so, but I recognize my drinking as a vice. I don’t get the idea that people taking benzos are aware that doing so is a vice as well. If doctors got the idea, maybe they would, as they should, cease prescribing them, and while they are at it, cease prescribing them to excess. Anxiety is not a disease, anxiety is a survival mechanism of the species, and there is no relief from anxiety like the expertise and facility that comes of experience.

  • There is this impression among some people that Tardive Dyskinesia is some kind of acceptable trade off for ‘drug induced mental stability’. Also, neuroleptics, as has been pointed out, time and time again, have a way of transforming what might have been a transitory psychotic episode into “intractable psychosis”, or permanent impairment of the thought processes. I would suggest, on the other hand, that psychosis is preferable to brain damage, and brain damage is exactly what you get with long term routine drug taking regimens. I think the physician’s aversion to madness, in these instances, is much more excessive and exaggerated than it needs to be.

  • Dharmawardene and Menkes need to take a closer look at the “vast global burden” created by “iatrogrenic damage” directly attributable to “mental health treatment”. The “response”, it would seem, may be more injurious than the “compromise”.

    Funny how antipsychiatry has become the bogeyman here. Were I looking for an apt parallel, it might be with communism during the McCarthy era. No surprises. The customary scapegoat’s defender, of course, must also be turned into a scapegoat.

  • In closing I’ll repeat my position that an end to court-ordered psychiatric intervention should be the overriding demand uniting every strand of anti-psychiatry/”critical” psychiatry thought“…

    Yes, yes, and re-yes. We need put an end to forced psychiatric treatment (abduction, imprisonment, poisoning, torture, etc.) When all psychiatry is voluntary, and truly voluntary, the system will not be forcing itself on people who don’t want psychiatric treatment.

    During the 1970s Thomas Szasz and Erving Goffman had the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization going. The issues are still the same. You mean they still do that to people.? Sure do. We need to do something about it.

  • (As a general comment) I think that the demand for an end to legalized forced psychiatry is quintessential — both for those whose concerns are confined to civil or “Constitutional” (in the US) rights, AND to those who take a broader perspective, whose goal is to consign psychiatry and the mentality it represents to the dustbin of history.

    Loud applause.

    However there is an unavoidable symbiotic interplay between the two positions/goals: since psychiatry, as a tool for law-enforcement/social control, it depends on coercive force for its basic existence and “clientele”; depriving it of that capacity would send it on the road to certain extinction. So an end to forced psychiatry can be seen as both an end in itself and as a strategy towards the larger goal many of us have.

    I don’t think there is a larger goal. When psychiatry is no longer a wing of law enforcement/social control (i.e. granted a higher power over the lives of other people), psychiatry is no longer a problem. As many people as there are out there looking for something, end the punitive torturing aspects of psychiatry, and you still haven’t relieved this pursuit of an answer to problems in life. Some people turn to religion, others turn to counseling, still others turn to an end to counseling, if not murder, and I haven’t got any answers, so there.

    Call it pepsichology, or pepsiciatry, or pepsicolicism, somebody is going to be selling something, and somebody else is going to be buying. Paying for their own abduction, poisoning, torture, imprisonment, and disenfranchising mistreatment? I dunno. I’d think people have got to have better things they could be paying for.

  • Basically, OldHead, if you want a leftist organization supporting antipsychiatry you form one. Ditto, an antipsychiatry organization supporting leftism. Ditto, non-partison and rightwing organizations. Organizations are sort of a DIY matter because if you don’t DIY it doesn’t get done. Blaming everybody else for what you don’t do is kind of a slippery slope to fall back on.

    As for supporting an abolitionist positions the question is abolition of what? I don’t think abolition of a belief system is going to make much progress. As in slavery, if you’re going to abolish something, it should be an institution, not a philosophy. I don’t, for instance, think it a good idea of abolish freedom of thought and expression. I think we need to get more specific when we talk about what we’re going to abolish. I don’t think it makes sense to abolish what does no harm to anybody in the first place. Big oppressive institutions of social control and torture, sure, get rid of them. People just trying to get by, and make ends meet? Naw. They’ve got to have some rights as human beings to begin with.

  • If we can distance ourselves a little from the psychiatric survivor versus “mental health” professional class struggle for a moment, I don’t see dialogue (i.e. communication) so much as a privilege, er, luxury. I think sometimes, in the name of getting things done, it’s an out and out necessity, even if the people you would be dialoguing with happen to have differing opinions from your own.

  • It sounds a little like you’re trying to weasel “bio” etc. in there, and this sometimes indicates one’s answer to the prevalence of iatrogenic damage we see in the world today, the blight of the reckless physician, but I will let it slide for the moment. These lenses that you have a number of, must, in some sense of the expression, be metaphoric. That said, we’ve got a cliffhanger. I eagerly await the next episode, and a slideshow view of your answer to the “distressed” situation from all 25.

  • You’ve argued against pragmatism before, OldHead, and now you’re trying to suggest that you are for it.

    I consider myself antipsychiatry, but when it comes to abolitionist, it is forced treatment, psychiatric oppression, that I would abolish, and that includes non-voluntary voluntary treatment, the plea bargain. I’m not against any consultation that is freely entered into, and freely disengaged from, even if that consultation is with a consultant trained in psychiatry. You seem to think you’re going to convince everybody that psychiatry should be discontinued as a profession, and that eventually everybody, even psychiatrists, amiably are going to agree with you. I say, alright. Good luck with that. I’m not so patient in every sense that you might make out of that word.

    I don’t know, OldHead, but I don’t think it is going to be so easy to talk psychiatry to death.

  • Huh? So you think psychiatry does more good than harm, do you? If so, you’re welcome to it. I, however, not being a child, nor a sub-human, would prefer to be left to my own devices.

    As for documentation, OldHead, what do you want? The usual crap? Or, do you want to be cited as a source yourself?

    Excuse me for being literate and reading. Or, don’t. I don’t need your approval either.

  • Don’t think it needs to be reclaimed either, but the history of the word itself is pretty interesting as antipsychiatry began as a pejorative term that was picked up by detractors of psychiatry, and transformed into a positive, or, rather, one could say it had two origins, probably distinct from each other, and now, perhaps, a new twist.

    Some people interpret antipsychiatry as meaning the absolute destruction of psychiatry, the end of psychiatry, zero psychiatrists. I think that is a pretty bizarre interpretation myself, and it certainly wasn’t like that entirely back in the 1970s. I see antipsychiatry as repulsion, reverse magnetism, applied to psychiatry. I’m not interested in laying on a psychiatrists couch, nor in being imprisoned by one, nor in fraudulently playing “sick” for the entirety of my life. Antipsychiatry gives me the means and the freedom to oppose coercive psychiatric practices. If I can use antipsychiatry to thumb my nose at coercive psychiatry, I am happy to do so. Although I wouldn’t see psychiatry extinguished entirely, not wanting to prevent people from pursuing what interests them, I would certainly outlaw coercive (essentially unconstitutional) psychiatric practices that we might return to rule of law, and the letter of the law.

    Thomas Szasz pointed out that the word itself was first used by a German psychiatrist early in the 20th century against detractors of the profession, but then it fell out of use after WW1. David Cooper recoined (for lack of a better word) the term in the context of the countercultural revolution taking place in the 1960s. The acknowledgement that psychiatry, typically, does more harm than good, and that we would, all in all, be better off with it, informs this usage.

  • I get the idea that he is against forced treatment, and so I can’t really say I have an argument with him. He can call himself what he will. I am aware that we have differing perspectives on AP, OldHead. “Critical Psychiatry” is another fuzzy matter. If LC could be said to have practiced “Critical Psychiatry”, he is not a proponent of forced treatment. Other proponents of “Critical Psychiatry” could be said to be proponents of forced psychiatry. As an anti-force activist, I find his mode of practice (at least prior to retirement) preferable to theirs. I guess another way for me to put this is to say that, in my opinion, all psychiatry is not the same psychiatry. Your view on this subject, of course, diverges from mine. I don’t have a problem respecting differences of opinion.

  • I don’t know that language, which belongs to everybody, can be “hijacked”. Antipsychiatry itself has gone back and forth between the negative, pejorative uses for its detractors, and the positive, liberatory health conscious uses for its supporters. If psychiatry, as a rule, did, does, and will do more harm than good then antipsychiatry becomes a protest of, and a defense against, that harm.

    I don’t hold that everybody must see themselves as antipsychiatrists. I do hold that those who identify with the word antipsychiatry have every right to do so. It is a way of thumbing one’s nose at the harming professions, and, at the same time, recovering responsibility for one’s actions, and taking back control of one’s health. Of course, there is also the opposite course of action, too. One could become a treatment junkie, and a “chronic”, incorrigible “mental health” services user or consumer. I, personally, don’t see any “health” advantages in that latter course of action whatsoever.

    I myself am an unrepentant anti-forced-psychiatry movement activist. If by antipsychiatry we mean anti-forced-psychiatry, then by all means, count me among your numbers. If by antipsychiatry you would mean preventing people from of their own free will consulting members of the psychiatric profession, although I’m not going there myself, I don ‘t have a problem with them doing so. What I have a problem with is psychiatry, in combo with the legal profession, taking away my freedom of choice, and stripping me of control over my own life. I’m completely against that form of “psychiatry”.

  • Rather than, as Allen Ginsberg with his theory of spontaneity put it, “First thought, best thought”, I think it works the other way around, that is, “First thought, wrong thought.” Religions usually contain creation myths, not because there couldn’t be another explanation, but rather because there isn’t another explanation until somebody comes up with one. Coming up with a differing explanation for a creation myth is, in religious terms, heresy, and, therefore, cause for reprimand.

    I realize this is the opposite of expectations where the expectation is that one is born wise and acquires stupidity. I should hope that one’s klutzy steps were most likely to come early, and one’s more graceful moves might develop from those with practice. If one grows wise after missteps, okay, then maybe madness was never as “chronic” as we took it to be to begin with. Maybe madness is something we can move beyond.

  • You don’t lose your liberty under the Constitution, you lose your liberty under loopholes in, and violations of, the Constitution. I don’t think anybody should be incarcerated in a hospital anymore than I think anybody could be “healed” by imprisonment, mutilation, and torture. Involuntary hospitalization is what should be outlawed. It’s way up there with voluntary imprisonment and servitude. If Miranda warnings aren’t protecting peoples rights elsewhere, as they don’t outside of the criminal justice system, there is no place for them there. Rather than acceptance of hospitalization as imprisonment and servitude, I’d prefer to see people released from the mental patient role, and a Miranda warning isn’t much good if it can’t free you, and if it instead serves as a habitual rationalization for your further confinement. Basically, even if hospitalization is like imprisonment, I don’t think anybody helps matters by making hospitalization more like imprisonment rather than less. Miranda warnings, as far as I’m concerned, are the wrong direction to go in.

  • Kinda duh. Left liberal is not left wing. Bernie may call himself a socialist, all the same, he’s a mainstream politician. As is, the question becomes which politician best serves the interests of multinational corporations. Get the corporate money out of politics and you will have done a service to humanity. Right now, both political parties are bought and sold by the multinationals.

    Government of, by, and for the rich, or government of, by, and for the ‘middle classes’? Either way, something is missing. You need government of, by, and for the people, all the people, or else you’re double dealing. I don’t need a representative, really. Not when I can represent myself. Vicarious living in excess can never be living.

  • Great article. I’d like to think Bruce for bringing some of these matters to our attention. Just think, what if the “mental health” authorities, as they have with so-called and bogus ADHD, came up with an adult form of ODD. People might never be seen as adult enough to disobey bad orders. Another potential bombshell is the designation anti-social personality disorder. Here you’ve got a label they attach to borderline criminal activities, so long as those activities are not instituted by federal governments. In Russia, and some places in eastern Europe, disagreeing with the government is seen as a “mental health disorder”. Pussy Riot, for example, was prosecuted for Hooliganism. While in America you’ve got the Patriot Act, I’m not going to put it past the authorities to come up with a “mental health” label that might serve the same purposes. In so far as children and adolescents are concerned, what with ODD, CD, ADHD, etc., they’ve already got those labels, and they are used to keep youngsters in their place and powerless. It’s not a big step at all, as is done sometimes, to extend such oppression to some segments of the adult population.

  • Every forensic case has had a Miranda warning issued because in forensic cases not receiving a Miranda warning is grounds for dismissal. Otherwise, there is this little matter of changing the language to suit the context. Most mental health hearings take place in “hospital rooms”, not in ‘court rooms’. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”. Note: the warning doesn’t say “hospital” or “mental health facility”. We have a word regarding the issuing Miranda warnings in mental health cases, and that word is criminalization. Criminalization, in treatment terms, is no big improvement over decriminalization.

  • Work how? By requiring shrinks (& other mental health coppers) to follow a more stringent routine? Rather than see the creation of certain rules of confinement, I’d like to see more people released from confinement. I don’t think you get that by coming up with procedural regulations that support confinement. As is, in criminal cases, if the police issue Miranda warnings you’ve got a tighter case, if not, you’ve got the legal equivalent of a technical foul, and the case can be thrown out on procedural grounds. No procedural deviation, no grounds for release. I don’t think people are going to be any freer with a more regulated admission process. I do think they might tend to be less so.

  • Actually because mental health law is the state’s way of circumventing the law. Treating these people differently from those people constitutes a double standard to begin with. Pointing such out is a way of trying to return to rule of law rather than rule of medical experts.

    When what they are doing is treating people like criminals, Miranda warnings are not likely to encourage them to treat people any less like criminals. Repeal mental health law, end forced treatment, and you’ve dealt a death blow to the problem. Supply a Miranda warning, and you’ve only made the problem official, and reinforced it with a ritualistic routine.

  • Common sense should apply to the psychiatric interview, NOT Miranda warnings. I don’t think having psychiatric proceedings resemble criminal proceedings more than they do presently would constitute any sort of improvement. Instead, cease to prosecute (and thereby persecute) people for what you are calling “medical” conditions, and then we might be starting to get somewhere. The ‘lack of rights’ embodied in the ‘commitment’ procedure, do something about THAT, and you’ve got your citizenship rights back.

    Miranda warnings would only give the authorities more justification for what they are doing, and what they are doing is engaging in what ordinarily would be considered criminal acts.

  • Sure, get off on the wrong foot, so to speak, and you could be screwed for life. No question about it, and you wouldn’t be the first. Groomed for success, or mussed for failure, we’re all game players here, aren’t we?

    “Good losers”, “poor winners:” etc. Be a sport. Hollywood, Inc. needs your dreams and your cash.

    Expectations are…Someone is selling therapy, and given the ruts some people find themselves in, there are going to be buyers. After all, those ruts help us sell more therapy, and this therapy supports “the human condition”, that is, many, many therapy “consumers”, and much manufactured demand.

    We were talking about “the human condition”, that is, how somebody has to put bread on my table. Somebody who can’t do so without taking something in return. Winners, losers? Depends on which side of the couch you happen to fall, doesn’t it?

  • Should society be “providing” “medical treatment” for it’s social problems? That is the multi-billion, going on trillion, dollar question.

    “The number of people in Sweden experiencing mental ill-health has increased dramatically in the last couple of years.”

    Replace the word Sweden with the word world, and you might just have something there. No wonder Mad In America, Inc. is expanding, too.

    The 17th century Trade in Lunacy has evolved into a less lucrative (unless you think pharmaceutically oil’s well that ends oil’s well) but actually more sustainable 21st century Trade In “Mental Illness”. One might wonder why, but I don’t. Obviously, any Trade In “Mental Health” is not going to pay off. Also, you’ve got your release valve for the state when it comes to social issues with this detour and diversion (kinda like a perpetual motion machine).

    In the psychiatric realm, the alternative medicine angle (pseudo-science anywhere else) is booming because of the fraudulent nature of the entire business.

    Keep going.

  • “Investigating”? Investigating what? “Troubles”? You use the word “pseudo-medical”. Psychotherapy is on Wikipedia’s ‘List of topics characterized as pseudo-science’, and for good reason.

    “That person need not have been a psychotherapist—it could be your brother, aunt, pastor, or best friend—but by and large psychotherapists were good at listening, empathizing, reflecting back, and so on; qualities in short supply among people not paid to exhibit them.”

    Emboldened, with emphasis added.

    I would have definite questions about the short supply matter, and you didn’t say anything about business associates. Psychotherapy is a business. People without friends, or caring family members, can pay a psychotherapist for this type of functional relationship. Still, I don’t think it beats friends and family.

  • I don’t see the problem as encapsulated by the term biomedical model entirely. I once tried to talk to the head of the psychology department at UVA about speaking before classes there, and got nowhere. The survivor voice, the patient experience, was seen as anecdotal besides all the “evidence” these “researchers” were gathering, and therefore something not worthy of consideration (i.e. “unscientific”). Okay, the torture goes on pretending that it is something else. When you’ve been rendered “voiceless”, that is, you’ve got “no seat at the table”, what then? What calls itself “science”, in this case, wants to make sure you have “no seat at the table”. I guess democracy is very threatening to some people.

  • You meet deception with deception. The drugs make you feel horrible. If you complain about “side effects”, the doctor always has another drug in his drawer. Ultimately one ends up saying “yes” to the prescription, and then not taking the drug. Keep up the pretense, for the sake of doctor, family, and school or business associates, and “everybody is happy”. Spill your beans, and everybody will be wanting you to submit. Hold your tongue, and if you’re fortunate enough to evade major injury, you will feel a lot better, live a lot longer, and triumph over stupid compliant self-destructiveness in the end.

  • You’re doing a lot of needless speculating here. I don’t know that there are any people “who cannot necessarily be entirely independent.”

    I do think a lot of bias is involved.

    Research into “disability”, for instance, would tend to support “disability” claims whereas research into “ability” would tend to support “ability” payments.

    Give people something to do, and they will do it. Take that something away, and they are likely to be confused about just what to do.

  • No. Playing hooky is to be blamed on most missed school.

    Anxiety is not of necessity a negative. Where school is concerned, anxiety can induce attendance or avoidance. When avoidance is the issue, whatever evasions might be employed to achieve that avoidance need to be scrutinized.

  • Also, without jobs, on “disability”, or on another pittance, such as a “minimum basic income”, etc. In this country you have a community “mental health” system because people can’t imagine people, and certain select people at that, without such a stupidity. Blast that “outmate” business! In our country, Patrick Henry had an interesting way of putting it, that could be applied to the “mental health” system as well, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Another way of putting it might be to say, “Give me independence or give me death!” Dependence on a system that is not worth having in the first place really stinks.

  • Authoritarian is an adjective, although person or government might be the noun authoritarian describes.

    They have a saying in France, usually applied to the sexes, “Vive la difference”. As applies to the sexes, so too governments and people. Forget the distinctions between them at your own peril.

  • Self-governance need not be authoritarian.

    I don’t think use of the word antiauthoritarian misses the point at all.

    Synonyms for authoritarian include autocratic, dictatorial, totalitarian, despotic, tyrannical, autarchic, draconian, absolute, arbitrary, oppressive, repressive, illiberal, undemocratic, and antidemocratic.

    When speaking of a sun king, perhaps it is high time that sun best set. Caesar’s infatuation with Alexander need not infect the rest of us.

  • Politically the pro-“mental health” agenda is always the same, more government spending for “mental health treatment programs”. Whether this “treatment” is forced or not, except in theory, isn’t the primary consideration. I would like to point out that spending less on “mental health” doesn’t necessarily mean spending more for forced “treatment”. One could make some good arguments for less spending, at least, as long as there is “forced mental health treatment”, one could make an argument against paying for it.

  • On top of which, the system is hiring people who have been in the system. What the system is slow about doing, what the system is not doing, is getting people jobs outside the system, and thus, the system expands and it doesn’t contract. The so-called “epidemic” of “mental disability”, “chronic disability”, paying even more people’s bills, grows ever larger and larger.

    Self-reliance is good thing provided you haven’t been in the “mental health” system where self-control, anything other than debilitating-drug and paternalistic bureaucracy control, is seen as non-existent.

  • Negotiating with the friend of my enemy, given Trojan horses, is fraught with even more peril. You don’t have to agree with Scientology to accept their critique of psychiatry, nor do you have to become a Scientologist to oppose psychiatry. As for dianetics and auditing, leave that to Scientology, and no problem. Psychiatry, organized psychiatry, in league with the drug industry, by contrast, is a huge and ravenous monstrosity. A huge and ravenous monstrosity that deprives many, many people of their freedom of choice.

  • I always thought those “last resort” arguments were BS, and just one more excuse for putting up with the intolerable. You don’t hear a lot of people arguing for “next to last resorts”. They don’t have to do so. It’s these “last resorts” that they are sentimental about, and find themselves so reluctant, in defiance of reason, to depart with. By calling them a “last resort”, atrocities are made acceptable.

  • We should have our own anti-TED or straight talks. TED is an exercise in kiss-ass academics. There are all these qualifications involved for nothing besides kissing ass. People will tell people what they want to hear while the inconvenient truth resides elsewhere. TED is just another ribbon on an student associate professor’s chest on the way to tenure. Beep that!

  • ECT “works” by injuring, by damaging, the brain. Presently it, brain damage, is being billed as a “safe and effective treatment” for depression. If objecting to brain damage is “polarizing”, I would suggest that not objecting is, as it is an unethical practice, much worse. “Safe and effective” electricity induced grand mal seizure has got to be a whopper of an oxymoron. Some people will be duped, but doctors shouldn’t be duping people, should they? A “healing technique” that “works” by injuring an organ of the body shouldn’t be called a “healing technique”. If honesty should be the way past this “polarization”. let’s be honest about matters, what we’ve actually got with ECT is a “damaging technique”.

  • While I agree with your critique, in the main, Richard, I also agree with most of the points Lawrence was making in his piece. Thumbs up on your points 2 thru 6, however, with point 1, given neo-liberal corporate capitalism, the American dream has receded further from the grasp of the average person than ever before in history. I’m not against what is referred to as the American dream. I am against the current process of making it unattainable for the vast majority of citizens. On point 7, I think Lawrence has the right idea. All parties should be held accountable, even those parties that have been victimized. “Chronicity” is often a matter of not abandoning, or attachment to, the “victim” role. If playing the “victim” is one survival strategy, getting over victimization, and getting on with one’s life, is another. “Victims” who don’t take responsibility for their own lives, ultimately collude with their oppressors. Surviving here is a matter of fighting back.

  • Yep, here’s another excuse for business as usual. We will just conduct it in another fashion using a different terminology. I think it makes more sense to encourage people to abandon the confining, labeling, and drugging business altogether. Medically minded people should be in the business of tending to people’s physical being rather than imprisoning them, slandering them, and maiming them.

  • I’m a pretty rational person myself, at least, I’d like to think of myself as such, and I put more credence in astronomy than I do in astrology, but a lot of people are Christians, and who am I to tell them that the universe wasn’t “created” in 7 days? If anybody is out to follow their heart, it might lead them out among the stars, and voila, astrology. I’m not going to prohibit people from putting up signs that say palm reader either, nor would I outlaw consultations with a fortune teller if such is one’s inclination. You’ve got people who take charms with them into casinos, and I’m not going to say that they shouldn’t do so.

  • I gathered that there was this unbridgeable communication barrier between myself and some of the mental health authorities that I had the misfortune to be served by. We spoke different languages. I had definite needs that I had to deal with while to them I was nothing more than a pathology. Ultimately, it came down to putting some distance between them and myself. My needs were beyond their comprehension, and their “sickness labels” made communication on a human level impossible. I don’t know how you tell somebody who thinks of you as little more than an illness that you are a human being. I just had the obvious epiphany, namely, that their services were not for me, and that my own best interests lay elsewhere. Under the circumstances it was one of these “and never the twain shall meet” type deals.

  • I’ve known people who wouldn’t touch a drop of alcohol, nor take a single toke from a reefer, but if the doctor gives them a drug prescription they gobble up pills like they were candy. We know we’re dealing with the same thing here. Doctors, supposedly people with people’s health in mind, encouraging what will inevitably lead to ill health. The news, too. It’s so full BS it’s not funny. Johnny’s alright so long as he takes his “meds”. Shame to hear about Elvis, Anna Nichol, Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, etc.

  • I don’t think rendering irrelevant is what one meant when one spoke of abolishing slavery. Human trafficking, and what are referred to as the occult sciences, are very much at a remove from one another. Some people go to a tarot deck for counseling, or amusement, for instance. The definitions of abolish that I’ve seen are a little stronger than what you’re implying.

    “Word Origin and History for abolish

    mid-15c., from Middle French aboliss- , present participle stem of abolir “to abolish” (15c.), from Latin abolere “destroy, cause to die out, retard the growth of,” perhaps from ab- “from” (see ab-) + adolere “to grow,” from PIE *ol-eye- , causative of root *al- “to grow, nourish” (see old), and perhaps formed as an antonym to adolere . But the Latin word rather could be from a root in common with Greek ollymi , apollymi “destroy.” Tucker writes that there has been a confusion of forms in Latin, based on similar roots, one meaning “to grow,” the other “to destroy.” Application to persons and concrete objects has long been obsolete. Related: Abolished ; abolishing.”

    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

    abolish verb

    Definition of abolish

    transitive verb
    : to end the observance or effect of (something, such as a law) : to completely do away with (something) : annul abolish a law abolish slavery

    I don’t think you completely do away with anything by merely declaring it irreverent.

  • Alchemy abolished!? Forbid the thought! I think we can and should get rid of institutional psychiatry, that is, psychiatric prisons masquerading as hospitals. I think it will require legislation though to do so. Just like the institution of slavery, institutional psychiatry is not going to go out without a fight. As is, it’s an uphill struggle convincing most people that psychiatry isn’t about medicine, it’s actually about social control. Talking about ‘abolishing psychiatry’, without specifics, however, I just see as mere rhetoric. If a person thinks talking to a shrink is helpful, I wouldn’t stop them from consulting a shrink. Ditto, a witch-doctor.

  • A driving force behind the growth of private madhouses in Great Britain was the perceived need to lock up errant members of the aristocracy when it was feared they might jeopardize their ancestral holdings. Many people who sensed an opportunity to make a killing off the rich were attracted to this practice. This, in turn, ended up inspiring the booming growth of the public asylum system. Bedlam itself was a very modest and meager affair until this happened, and the madness industry took off from there.

    I’m not saying that containing paupers in their desperation didn’t have something to do with the rise of public asylums. I’m just saying I wouldn’t ignore the business end of it either. There was money to be made off the aristocracy, and this, too, probably as much as any impetus to contain the rabble, had much to do with the rise of the hospital system.

  • If it’s a matter of the government buying off disaffected members of a community, the government is very good at doing that. Once we had conferences against human rights violations and oppression, now we’ve got conferences for “alternatives”, “alternatives” to human rights violations and oppression. When these “alternatives”, for their very existence, must make some sort of concessions to the very oppression and human rights violations that they would be offered as an exception to, I think the compromise has become too extreme. What we’ve got is system expansion, a constantly operating business, a growing psycho-pharmaceutical, perhaps even prison, industrial complex. Given this facet of the matter, “alternatives” to business as usual can become a sort of release valve facilitating business as usual. I kind of think putting money into dismantling the “mental illness” system makes much more sense than putting more money into expanding this system, and with it, the “pandemic”, and flourishing of the “mental disability” lifestyle (in a nutshell, increased, and increasingly popular, “chronicity”).

  • I’m going to say it again. The antipsychiatry movement and the psychiatric survivor movement are two different and distinct things. Should you want an antipsychiatry movement without professionals, you will only get a clique. The psychiatric survivor movement at one time was antipsychiatric however this movement in general bailed out on antipsychiatry over slices of government funding pie. The antipsychiatry movement never betrayed the psychiatric survivor movement, it was the other way around. Antipsychiatry was, is, and shall always be opposition to psychiatry. Always, that is, until there is no more psychiatry, and thus no need for antipsychiatry.

  • Which is preferable? The brain damage that comes from treating a metaphor, or the stability achieved by damaging the organ of thought. Oops. Sorry, same thing. Anybody calculating what is lost in these drug company logo trade offs? Ever watch TV? The sponsors want the litany of legions of detrimental effects to be sort of like soothing elevator music so that people will use their product. I just have a lot of qualms about “stability” at all costs.

  • What I’m saying is that what we’ve actually got is a “trade in lunacy” updated for the twenty-first century. Want to do something about it? Stop “trading in lunacy”! It’s a business, and as long as business proceeds as usual, nobody’s job is threatened. The “illness” is one “job” in that it “pays” for subsistence and survival. The “healing” or the “helping” is another “job” that does more than “pay” peanuts. Both “jobs” are dependent on one another while the antidote is self-reliance, the thing that can’t be encouraged without threatening business prospects and prosperity, you know, more than peanuts, for those in the business. The answer here is, of course, to diversify, that is, “trade” in something else besides “lunacy”.

  • How do you lock people up without resorting to violence? When an individual locks another person up, it’s abduction and false imprisonment, when the state does so, it’s ‘treatment’ or ‘punishment’. ‘Treatment’, by the way, that doesn’t require an acknowledged crime to be committed first. A whole array of activities directed at controlling portions of society escalates during the seventeenth century that hasn’t stopped escalating to the present day. It all begins with this incarceration. Where are labels and drugs without it? On the ground if they’ve been brushed off a shoulder. The threat and the use of confinement have much more to do with the issue than is generally acknowledged. “Moral treatment” was the tag-line for much of the “treatment” that took place during the nineteenth century. Oppression, in this case, becoming much more acceptable when associated with “reform”. “Reform’ that had much more to do with ‘show’ and ‘promotion’ than it had to do with anything more substantial. While conditions in psychiatric prisons, so-called “asylums”, may have improved for the prisoners. The numbers of both psychiatric prisons and psychiatric prisoners increased during the nineteenth century dramatically. These numbers continued increasing until deinstitutionalization efforts, and the expansion of the “mental health” system into the community, that came with the mid-twentieth century. Okay, so now there are more “patients”, but fewer of them are “inmates” (quite literally), and social control is taking more subtle forms. I’ve heard the word ‘epidemic’ bandied about, and the institution outside the institution (court ordered drugging and “outpatient treatment”, for instance) is growing. House arrest versus big house arrest, police battery versus chemical mutilation, I can’t say that the situation has improved a great deal over time. I can’t say, whether by fraud or by contagion, that the ‘epidemic’ has in any fashion subsided, nor that the numbers of people said to have a “mental illness” has gone down.

  • OldHead, you keep talking about psychiatric survivor leadership in the antipsychiatry movement. Problem. I think Bonnie Burstow is very correct in emphasizing the distinction between these two movements. It was, if you will recall, the psychiatric survivor movement that abandoned, in the main, the antipsychiatry movement, and not vice versa. I think we have to ally with those who are there, be they victims of the system or professionals within it. I don’t think dividing the antipsychiatry people does anything but impede progress. The old psychiatric survivor movement was what the present psychiatric survivor movement is not, and that is antipsychiatric. The movement, more or less, sold opposition to human rights violations and oppression out for government funded “alternatives”, “alternatives” that you wouldn’t need if you didn’t have human rights violations and oppression. Go figure. I think we need psychiatric survivor leadership within the antipsychiatry movement, however, I don’t think it should be led chiefly by psychiatric survivors. I’d say, on a practical level, working with the public and professionals has to work a whole lot better than complaining about them.

  • Sure, it’s basically about “treatment bondage”, and making the treatment pushers, and the treatment junkies, both, as conveniently comfortable about themselves as possible. We aim to explore outcomes. Really? For whom? For those afflicted by the treatment selling disease, or for those afflicted by the treatment buying disease, or for both groups of customers. If the problem is “treatment” attachment disorder, perhaps the “cure”, liberation, could come with “treatment” withdrawal and cessation. This business of treating “case managers” as “surrogate lovers” doesn’t go over very well with me, I tend to think they need me a lot more than I need them.

  • A drug as an adjunct to another drug? One drug is ‘damaging’, but two drugs are ‘healing’? I know that a heck of a lot of money is going to be made with the decriminalization of marijuana, however, who’s looking at a non-drug, health conscious, approach to ‘problems in living’? Recreational drugs, and I’ve used a few, are still, like hard liquor, recreational vices. Sure, CBD will probably make things easier for THC users, but, all in all, it’s the pharmaceutical *cough* market that you are fostering thereby. Drug ‘research and development’ is not the same thing as life skills mastery and acquired wisdom.

  • The choice, for Gandhi, was not between doing nothing and violence, it was between cowardice and violence. Gandhi called violence preferable to cowardice.

    “When there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advice violence,” the lawyer-activist from South Africa said in 1920.

    I imagine, in some instances, not interfering where one could interfere might be seen as a sign of strength and courage, given this view.

  • My feeling is that it’s the institution that needs abolishing and the language will take care of itself. I’m not out to abolish the word unicorn, but neither am I out to demand the establishment of a percentage of the population as unicorn herders, nor do I support the notion of putting aside a portion of federal acreage for unicorn reserves.

    I think it is also important, in order to prevent any confusion, to be quite clear about the type of survivor we are speaking about. I have to qualify the word survivor with the word psychiatric so that nobody can confuse survivors of psychiatric oppression, incarceration, treatment, or what have you, with rape survivors, domestic violence survivors, holocaust survivors, shipwreck survivors, etc. I’m not one to ever forget that I am talking to people who have had quite different experiences from my own.

  • I don’t like the way it is being used in this instance. “Mental illness” being a fiction, there’s nothing to “abolish” in “abolishing” it. *Snap* “Abolished”! No “mental illness”.

    In the last few years or so I’ve heard the term “mental illness” survivor bandied about, too. I’m not one of those. “Mental illness”, the fiction, never killed anybody. It’s psychiatric treatment, and the oppression that goes along with it, that are deadly.

    Usually, when the term ‘suicide survivor’ arises, we’re talking about the surviving family members of somebody who took their own life. I’d say, in such cases, that suggesting that the suicide had anything to do with “mental health” is a matter of supposition.

    I wouldn’t, anyway, call a ‘survivor’ of death by one’s own hand a “mental illness” survivor. I’d just call that person somebody who experienced a change of mind, and with it, a change of direction.

    Suicide, in other words, in my opinion, is the result of a decision, and not the result of any “lack of self-control”. People kill themselves because they chose to do so, and not because they were fated, in some fashion, to do so.

  • If the object was to lock up immoral people, even in the 19th century, the wrong people were getting the shaft. The thing about the “mental health” system that is so alarming is its circumvention of ‘rule of law’. What they were saying in the 19th century is that some people’s morality was “sick”. Today they are saying it’s their brains. Either way, it’s a loophole in “rule of law” that allows the “mental health” system to operate at all. People have talked about ‘othering’ here. The whole process could be referred to as a process of ‘othering’. Other peoples “morality” or “thought processes” are “sick” because “ours” are well, says this particular brand of an ‘us versus them’ dichotomy. It’s no wonder that “mental patients” served as the guinea pigs for Hitler’s final solution to the Jewish problem. People could conveniently avert their gaze. “Mental patients” have always fulfilled the role of the scapegoat’s scapegoat.

  • ‘Full moral status’ is outside of the “mental health” system entirely. What is the ‘moral status’ of inethical behavior, the behavior of doctors, overlords of the system, and their henchmen, every other worker in the system, contrasted with that of their charges, “mental patients”, 3rd class or lower citizenry? I don’t think the system very salvageable, and, yes, Virginia, there is life beyond the “mental health treatment” fantasy game.

  • Typically, withdrawal estimates of this sort are more likely to be under estimates than they are to be over estimates. This is true for any negative effects associated with drugs in which such blind faith has been invested. Psychiatric drugs are the mainstay of contemporary psychiatric treatment programs. I’m not saying that the use of these drugs is scientifically justified thereby, but I am saying that doctors are not looking for any problems regarding the use of their panacea. Either way, you don’t have war, you have an advertising spiel. In the public “mental health” system, drugs are going to win, but perhaps there is hope for doing things differently in private practice. Should healthy practices win out in private practice, then I think you’d probably have more material with which to bring such a debate into the public sphere. As I imagine that the most important consideration in the public realm is custom, I would think it is probably in private practice that any major, and scientifically valid, contributions to this argument might advance.

    I’m not sure ‘a war on antidepressants’ would be such a bad thing. I think, in fact, that it could mean that some people would be a lot healthier off drugs than they are currently on antidepressants.

  • Does this “injury” exist within a time frame? Permanent “injury”, together with eternal “healing”, strikes me as somewhat, to say the least, over the top. I mean a person can paint him or herself into a corner, however, not painting him or herself into a corner, that might require a little more tact.

    I understand that there are people who make their living pretending to heal those people pretending to be injured, however, I also understand that there are possibilities beyond pretense.

  • You can only elucidate those “principles (and facts)” in the discussion going on in the commentary? I know better. Sure, the struggle is about “ideas” and “statistics”, but the struggle is also about “personalities”, “personalities” with egos. Outside of “personalities”, and “personalities” with egos, there is no struggle. The ego-less don’t struggle, they surrender. I kind of wish you didn’t experience such publication fright in such situations, OldHead. I’m not a great fan of turning down opportunities myself.

  • Psychiatry as a commodity? If a person gets committed to a state hospital [sic] does that make him or her a “client”? I really have to wonder about all those “clients” of the federal penitentiary system, too. This is not a response to any ‘buy in’ because I am not ‘buying’. I know somebody is ‘selling’, but, please, permit me the liberty to decline ‘purchase’ of your product if for me it represents unwanted goods. Way up there with unwanted goods is the term “peer”. Are we supposed to be any more favorably disposed for being disenfranchised prisoners with the claim that we are somehow united in negative experience? Let the system correct you, if you like, I want no part of it.

  • Lots of anti-psychiatry survivors are,,,.

    Stop using the term “anti-psychiatry survivors”! I survived psychiatry. Anti-psychiatry was never such a threat to my physical existence as psychiatry was. If you’re going to specify a type of survivor, make it a psychiatric, or psychiatric oppression, survivor.

    I don’t see this great division you seem to see, OldHead, between psychiatric survivors and dissident “mental health” professionals. Between “mental health” professionals, and psychiatric survivors in general, sure, but that is something different. Either we ally with each other, or we form exclusives clubs, and we don’t get so far as we would if we had allies.

    Practicality means something from where I’m standing. If people just want to be difficult, no problem, the oppressors love that sort of thing. They’ve even got a couple of words for it, they call it “mentally deranged”. “Fight it out among yourselves, why don’t you, and we will just observe”, they must be saying among themselves.

  • I would pay a little more attention to the language you use, OldHead, if I were you.

    I also believe that the natural moral leadership of the anti-psychiatry movement — even when it not is not “officially” organized — is the unsolicited bequest, and duty, bestowed by psychiatry upon conscious anti-psychiatry survivors, just as it is with the proletariat in a standard class analysis.

    I’m a survivor of psychiatric treatment. I’m not a survivor of anti-psychiatry. (Sounds, to use Jeffrey Lieberman’s term, pro-psychiatry, doesn’t it?) I don’t have a problem with anti-psychiatry, with or without the hyphen. It’s kind of like referring to anti-rape survivors. I don’t think promoting sexual assault would be a good idea either.

    I am not, in any way, shape, or form, an anti-psychiatry survivor. I am a psychiatric treatment survivor. I’m perfectly okay, in fact, with anti-psychiatry. Get rid of the system. It stinks.

  • I’m as nostalgic as anyone for the movement we had before 1985, but we don’t have that movement anymore. I think we have to deal with the reality of things the way they are. The psychiatric survivor movement is one thing, the antipsychiatry movement another. Sure, there are places where those circles intersect, but there are places where they don’t touch at all as well. I’m not looking for an exclusive club. I think we can get more done if we all work together than if we work against one another.

  • I don’t see much organizing going on. Did you have a psychiatric survivor group with an AP orientation, and you wanted to reject professionals, that is your prerogative. The question then becomes, do you have an AP group, or a survivor group, or both? I can’t answer that one. I have a little problem with OldHead’s contention that psychiatric survivors must of necessity play the leading role in any AP movement that arises. I tend to think that leadership here is mostly a matter of personal initiative. I don’t think the core membership of an authentic antipsychiatry movement would consist of nothing but psychiatric survivors, and I can’t see allied professionals being drug around by the nose so-to-speak. Anyway, if you have formed some kind of “inner circle”, good for you. I hope you can manage to get to the next level of action from there if possible. Certainly NOT the end of story.

  • I have to acknowledge that divide between antipsychiatry and psychiatric surviving. A lot of people, so-called experts in lived experience, are making deals with so-called experts by credentialed training, and even working for, and in, the system. We have, among credentialed experts, only so many allies of any persuasion. My view is that we should be working together against psychiatry and the “mental health” system, essentially a “mental illness” system. I could take a leap, and call it the “mental distress” system. Either way, I would be willing to work with people like Bonnie Burstow, Phil Hickey, Lee Coleman, and Richard Lewis on the goals we have in common, the abolition of institutional psychiatry, and the liberation of people oppressed by psychiatric oppression. Should we not be working together on these goals we have in common, they do not get any closer to us than they are thereby. Anyway, for what it’s worth, and a very little at that, that’s my two cents of sage advice.

  • There’s a little bit of infighting between the two professions going on here, surely, but the situation is more severe than that. This campaign for pill pushing psychologists is, in my estimation anyway, a lot like those campaigns we’ve been seeing, and which I support, to legalize recreational marijuana use. Psychologists can prescribe pharmaceuticals in 5 states now, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, and Louisiana. 10 states have legalized recreational weed use. At this point, I think we’re fated, some might say doomed, to have both eventually. The argument regarding a scarcity of shrinks is completely bogus. Into the 19th century it wouldn’t have been medical doctors that we would have been talking about so much as lunatic asylum superintendents, and if it were drugs, the drugs would have been opium derivatives and laudanum, that kind of thing. Funny thing, too, with the opioid crisis we’ve heard so much talk about. I’ve still got this idea in my head that there isn’t much difference between an opiate and an opioid. Now if only professionals were prescribing recreation instead of drugs we might be getting somewhere.

  • If antipsychiatry is a form of resistance when it comes to psychiatric oppression, would surrender be an improvement? Think. It was a great number of years that chattel slavery existed in this country before it was finally abolished, and people in such bondage emancipated, wasn’t it? Given no movement against slavery, nothing but surrender, the story would have been a different one, wouldn’t it? You know where this argument leads, don’t you? It goes exactly where it should go, towards defiance, resistance, and opposition to psychiatric oppression in all of its manifestations.

  • Antipsychiatry has been “criticized” for being excessively negative. I consider this “criticism” essentially null and void. After psychiatry has engaged in all sorts of destructive activities, including slander, defamation, abduction, sterilization, imprisonment, brain mutilation, all sorts of heath destroying methods of “treatment” (AKA torture), and even mass murder, it has the unmitigated gall to call its opposition negative. I, on the other hand, tend to see such forms of devastation as the pseudo-science implements as negative, and anything to counter it a highly positive matter indeed.

    Antipsychiatry is a way of flipping off the entire mental health system, and I couldn’t imagine a better use for one’s Mad Pride than in returning the disservice that psychiatry has offered one with the constructive and positive use of this word, except perhaps, given a little bit of poetic justice, and a passage in the Bible, you know, “an eye for an eye”, in the sterilization, imprisonment, brain mutilation, mass murder, etc., of psychiatrists.

  • Apparently Mike Finkle is the executive director of On Our Own of Maryland Inc. If I met him, which is quite possible, he didn’t make a lasting impression.

    NAMI seems to have started in Madison Wisconsin. It now has affiliates all over. I just relayed what I picked up on the origin of the organization from wikipedia. I suggest that possibly Jim and Carol Howe had something to do with the founding of NAMI Maryland, the Maryland chapter of what is now a national organization.

    According to NAMI Wisconsin…

    NAMI was formed in 1977, when Harriet Shetler and Beverly Young, two mothers, each with a son with schizophrenia, met over lunch to discuss the similar challenges they shared raising a child with a serious mental illness. At a second lunch, the women, both active in civic and charitable activities, decided to assemble people with similar concerns.

    What do we do with our problem children, I ask you? Well, some of us would lock them up and throw away the key.

  • I think we have to go outside and beyond “our movement” in particular and embrace other movements. I was agreeing with Will (and MLK Jr.) on the need for us to do so. Admittedly, I’m not as invested in respites as much as you are, nor am I invested in the profession of psychology as much as Will Hall must be. That’s not the issue. The issue is going beyond such to embrace other movements and causes, and as such I think his was a much needed tribute and perspective. I also think that the bill he mentions is a very important one, and that supporting such legislation might help get some of the dirty money out of politics, and doing so would affect all sorts of other issues for the better. I see this article as being about Martin Luther King Jr., expanding ones reach, and joining political action movements. I’d like to thank Will for giving us a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., and for making his tribute so relevant to what is going on here and now. I don’t think the post had so much to do with either the psychiatric survivor movement, nor the mental health movement, in particular, as you might credit it with having, but that is that. I think it has more to do with the overall struggle for change and social justice around the world.

  • First, every year, on MLK day, “mental health consumers”, and people impacted by “mental health” and “intellectual disabilities” services in the state of Virginia march on the state capital in Richmond. Of course, the big demand is for more money, and the marches themselves, almost state planned, are far from anything Martin Luther King Jr. might have wanted his name attached to. Will Hall’s article is spot on when it comes to critiquing this sort of thing.

    Second, I had to search a second time for any mention of “peer respite” in the post, and eventually I found it. I don’t, in other words, think Will was focusing on “peer respites”, or, with you, the need for more “hospital alternatives” as he calls them. I think his piece is about going beyond that sort of myopia of vision. I have my own issues with the matter when it comes to the “peer respite” thing. Is the world really improved by opening more adult baby sitting centers, and should expansion, in that form, of social services be the sole aim of our protests and organizing? I have to say I’m will Will on this one, or rather, I’d go further than Will on the matter. I don’t have a big investment in the proliferation of “peer respites”, should it ever come about, but I do think our movement is connected to other movements, and that the matter of being human, irregardless of race, rather than a number in the DSM (for insurance company billing purposes, of course) is what counts.

    When it comes to creative maladjustment, or Mad Pride as some people put it, and joining the larger movements for social change and justice everywhere, I kind of have to agree with Martin Luther King Jr. and Will Hall in saying that, yes, that is something we should be doing.

  • Much like the APA when it underwent a facelift by ousting the psycho-dynamic with the DSM-III and reactively defending itself as a “medical” profession, that is, a matter of “biology”, NAMI arose from a group of family members who lock up family members worrying about the way they were being depicted and characterized. That’s right, just in case anybody was wondering, NAMI was not started by those family members who were being locked up. It was started by those who were putting their kin into institutions.

    NAMI was founded in Madison, Wisconsin by Harriet Shetler and Beverly Young. The two women cared for sons diagnosed with schizophrenia, and were tired of their sons being blamed for their mental illness. Unhappy with the lack of services available and the treatment of those living with mental illness, the women sought out others with similar concerns.

    I’m saying the above is primarily myth. The two women were NOT tired of their sons being blamed for their [sic] mental illness. The two women were tired of these boy’s mothers being blamed for what were seen as their son’s emotional disturbances. You see, in the seventies there was a lot of blaming family members who lock up family members for the state those family members that got locked up found themselves in. Letting everybody off the hook, the serious business of treating people who don’t want to be treated can go on unimpeded.

    NAMI is a later development of the same mental health movement that earlier gave rise to the MHA. In all truth, it is not a mental health movement at all, it is a mental health treatment movement, and, more fundamentally, it is a medicalization movement. A medicalization movement is a movement to treat people who are not sick as if they were sick, and as such, it is something that all decent and honest people should oppose.

  • You got that right. What happened to the original Soteria House? The same thing that is happening, in some areas, to attempts to establish an OD approach. It’s not a big money maker, like pharmaceuticals, and it costs money to develop. “Realism”, in some people’s minds, becomes succumbing to the pressure of corporate influence. Given a steady inflow of money, and few immediate health gains, potential health gains take a backseat to ‘business as usual’.

  • I don’t disagree with you here. I’m just not going to promote a social welfare system as a form of socialism, or a worker’s state. A bum’s state is not a worker’s state.

    There’s a lot wrong with our world and it’s elites. This is more reason to work to change things. Many, many people are under appreciated. Acknowledge that, and you can work to change it.

    Any one person’s notion of him or herself as the misunderstood genius and artiste, or even unemployed CEO? I’d say, the world is bigger than that, get over yourself.

  • You could decide these matters democratically, too. Of course, the majority would probably want to be slave owners, and, well, slaves, they don’t get a vote.

    I’m being sarcastic here.

    Replacing a ‘work ethic’ with a vegetative welfare state ethic, I don’t really want to go there. In my eyes, productive activity, regardless of what you want to call it, is still a virtue.

    I’m sure there’s a place for lounge lizards, slackers, and wastrels, I would just hope that that place isn’t everyplace.

  • For oneself, and for others. Isn’t that the way it usually works? As to why, I think purposeful action makes more sense than perpetual lethargy and permanent vacation. We could go to Aesop, and he’d tell us about the grasshopper and the ant, but the idea is essentially the same, because we are the agents through which morality enters the world. The person who is more fit to survive, in other words, is the person who has had more exercise.

  • We need the right to employment, too. Decent employment. I think there are a lot of “disabled” people who are only “disabled” by convenient theorizing, lack of opportunity, and corporate scheming.

    What is “automation” but “robotics”? Who are those “robotics” working for? My guess is they’re working for rich people and their corporations. Give jobs to poor people, and not robots, then we’d be getting somewhere.

  • I see much more misuse of King’s legacy, when it comes to the way “mental health movement” proselytizers employ it to support their positions, than I see any understanding of the man himself there. You point to this at one point, but you hardly go far enough. One psychiatrist, Nassir Ghaemi, has gone so far as to diagnose Martin Luther King, Jr., posthumously, and after the fact, bipolar. I agree that we do need to, as King himself put it, “join the movement”, however, that in itself might cause a little confusion. While I embrace the mad movement, I also embrace the antipsychiatry movement, psychiatry being primarily a medicalization movement, or a movement to pathologize what in itself is not pathological.

    I would qualify one statement you make: Promising to fix the mental health system without fixing the world it exists in is a false and fraudulent promise, by saying instead, fix the world and you will have gotten rid of the need for a “mental health” system altogether. I guess that is another way of saying, “fix the world and you’ve fixed the mental health system”. Get rid of it, in my estimation, and you’re that much closer to ‘fixing’ the world.

    We used to have a saying, the personal is political, and in Martin Luther King, Jr.s case, I think his support for creative maladjustment (no quotation marks) and ‘joining a movement’, were, to some measure, personal.

    King suffered from depression through much of his life. In his adolescent years, he initially felt resentment against whites due to the “racial humiliation” that he, his family, and his neighbors often had to endure in the segregated South. At the age of 12, shortly after his maternal grandmother died, King blamed himself and jumped out of a second-story window, but survived.

    The above sounds like a few lines from the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg if anybody has read it. Usually, “suffered from depression” means the “mental health” system had an excuse to march in and “intervene” with labels and ‘treatment’. Judging from his position on creative maladjustment, maybe these attempts to ‘adjust’ King to an “unjust” world didn’t go over so well as the system would have preferred.

    Given this little disagreement, when it comes to the “mental health” or “mental illness” system, I’m in complete agreement when it comes to joining a cause and tackling governmental corruption. From the corruption of government by big money follows much of the corruption that effects this country elsewhere. “Fix” that, and it will go a long ways towards correcting a lot of other things, powerlessness, impoverishment, and disenfranchisement among them, that are wrong here.

  • Great point, Rachel. If the sexes are more or less evenly divided in the mental hospital, why do you need more males? Oh, because theory has it that “mental illness” is the root cause of some violence in the country, and men are more prone to become violent than women. If the “mental health” system is basically a form of pre-criminal pre-punishment, the public safety (“mental hygiene”) issue, there you go. Boys are more of a threat to the public than girls, in theory. We need fewer people in the “mental illness” system irrespective of gender. The idea that you need more dudes than chicks in the “mental illness” system is sexist from the beginning. Wowee! What do you think of those women? Unfit for life outside of the kitchen and pregnant. They don’t even make good “mental patients”, do they?

  • In my view, the hospital IS the disease, and closure is the cure. So long as these places have locked wards, they are prisons, not hospitals. Open the doors, and anybody who doesn’t want to be there will have exited.

  • What is an “organic mental disorder”? You mean these people don’t have “brains”? An “organic disorder”, to my way of thinking, would be a “brain disorder”. An “organic mental disorder” is a side of the argument as to whether “mental disorder” is “organic” or “functional”, and to what extent. I simply don’t think they’ve won it by implying that involuntarily committed patients (sic) tend to have it while voluntarily committed patients (sic) don’t tend to have it. I would also question whether, if we’re dealing with “brain injury”, the best treatment for it would be imprisonment. How do you get people involuntarily committed, circumscribing human rights, in the first place? You make a mountain out of a molehill in exaggerating the extent of the problem. Doing so could mean ascribing “brain disorder” to erratic behavior. I know public safety is the issue, but sometimes the fear of harm to the public is disproportionate to any danger emanating from the facts. My point? I seriously doubt that some kind of bias wasn’t behind this study to begin with. Just consider, how convenient? Involuntary patients have “brain disorders” while with voluntary patients it’s merely a matter of “behavioral issues”. You think?

  • The results attained in Finland are still a beacon of hope for those of us looking for some kind of exception to the dismal record of business as usual in the “mental health” field. Dr. Mueser’s conclusion is cynical. Too cynical. Were the issue scientific investigation, and were we to conclude that because of the steep price involved there should be no more experimentation, science would stagnate. Implementation, with all sorts of dilution taking place, has to be part of the problem, but it’s written into the equation. I can only agree in so far as difficulties and challenges exist, however it would surely be a mistake to conceal the potential good under the negative shadow of this sort of temperamental belt tightening. How do you gather data without doing research? You don’t. I would suggest, on the other hand, that the status quo isn’t everything, and, therefore, a certain amount of spending on experimentation is justified for it’s own sake alone. Not giving a little to OD, or any other new and different approach, is surely a way of not giving, and I’d think we could do better than that. You can’t make gains without research, the present dismal record in treatment outcomes alone is all the justification we need for investing in further research, even if that research is into the potential expansion of OD type practices.

  • Not unless one has attained a position (i.e. status) does wisdom, in my estimation, edge one towards conservatism. I would think that, to a certain extent anyway, people’s politics reflect their interests. For some it may take longer to attain a position of power however. Wisdom itself need neither be conservative nor liberal, nor even, ahem, radical. The restraining of power that comes with wisdom, I don’t know, you tell me where that falls on the political spectrum.

  • “Boys need more help with mental health”, unless, of course, they’re f**ked up girls.

    I would expect as women gain more power and status in society, it only stands to reason that they will also be “marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression”.

    The issue is probably arising, among males, in part because of the shift in power dynamics that has occurred in recent years. “Stoic, competitive, dominant, and aggressive” women spelling more and more f**ked up boys.

    I don’t see “mental ill health” in the matter so much. If somebody new is going to succeed, somebody else is going to have to endure sacrifices, and/or take a fall.

  • Dragon Slayer, above, was referring to prosecuting psychiatrists, and perhaps even forbidding their practice, as “tough love”. I think it kind of a stretch to call that “love”. I was trying to point out that, in many cases, “tough love” is what people think they are showing by admitting people into psychiatric prisons AKA hospitals. To more precisely reword what I said in my earlier comment, the “mental health” system is no way to treat a friend.

    I imagine there is a great deal of acceptance to love. Acceptance that would rule out excluding and ridiculing people.

  • Yeah, OldHead, I’m not knocking love.

    Blaming people for evading responsibility is a very human thing to do. I don’t consider it “victim blaming” to suggest that a person could slough the “victim” role now and then. Not realizing there are other roles in life besides that of “victim”? What can I say? If you don’t choose your fate, you certainly choose how you react to it.

  • I have a problem with any struggle for justice that ISN”T based upon one’s feeling for his or her fellows. I think there is always a danger of becoming too abstract, too ideological, and essentially too obtuse in one’s way of thinking to see beyond the tip of one’s nose.

    Yes, “tough” “love” is what you get in the “mental health” system, but “tough” “love” can kill you. How could I best put it? Oh, yeah. “Mental health treatment” is no way to treat a friend.

  • So nice to read a love story here for a change. I think it a good thing when a little of that victory can rub off on the rest of us. Suppressing emotion, or closing oneself off to it, doesn’t improve one’s take on reality one iota. Being open to experience, and accepting, yes, I’d have to say, there is something to that.

  • One needs to look more at the madness of so called normal people to get a different take on the subject. Often it is the most ordinary people in the world who are the most nuts.

    Shedding a rational light on madness isn’t enlightening, not because madness is uninteresting, but because madness isn’t rational.

    It’s not the madness of mental patients that is fascinating, because that’s only a matter of prejudice and slander, and it becomes incredibly old incredibly fast, it’s the madness of the species as a whole, and especially those members who are in denial when it comes to their own fallibility.

  • Buddhism isn’t science, but neither is philosophy. It’s the difference, and an important distinction it is to make, between physics and metaphysics that we are dealing with. Metaphysical speculation is a basic necessity, but at a remove from the exact sciences and their inflexible mechanisms.

  • Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we had an antipsychiatry website and more antipsychiatry organizations? Unfortunately, I have my doubts that 2019 will become The Year of Antipsychiatry. I guess, when it comes to bursting that not so little “mental health treatment” system bubble, we’ve still got a little more work to be done. If there’s a resolution to be made then, may it be to push in that direction, and not stop until forced treatment is a thing of the distant past. So if this blog-post is about making money oppressing people, I’m not interested, however, if this blog-post is about liberating people from oppression, keep talking, I’m all ears.

  • One of the main reasons for going after “biological markers” for so-called “mental illnesses” is to be better able to sell drugs to people, people that consume drugs as treatments for fictitious illnesses. I don’t think it any wonder that, for instance, a direct to consumer DNA testing company like 23 and Me would make a deal with a pharmaceutical company like Glaxo, Smith, and Kline. Which treatment drug is the least debilitating for you, in other words. Well, no drug, but don’t listen to me, and seek “biological markers” for a so called “mental illness”. and, of course, we can find a drug for you that isn’t as debilitating as whatever drug it would be that you might end up taking. A “designer drug” let us say. It’s just that none of these drugs are likely to be as non-debilitating (i.e. non-damaging) as no drug whatsoever.

  • I only know that there is a lot of physical damage associated with “treatment”. Physical damage that is a direct result of attributing so-called “mental ill health” to biology. Where do we draw the line? Ending “treatment”, in these instances, can be a way of reducing or, at least, containing iatrogenic damage. Given excessive treatment, such as people receive today, disability is often a certainty. I find it not at all surprising that some people would want cover up this damage, or plead blissfully ignorant of it, by attributing it to faulty biology.

  • My view of the matter could still be described as social constructivist. “Mechanism of disorder”? What is that? Some kind of “chaos” button? “Disorder” here is another way of trying to say “disease” or “sickness” without using the word “disease” or “sickness”. You are saying some people’s neurobiology is out of whack. I have serious doubts about that conclusion. Anxiety, for one thing, is neither symptom nor disease. Anxiety is an evolutionary and natural survival mechanism, a human trait. The way to overcome excessive anxiety is through mastery and facility of any particular ability or talent. The only “disorder” that anxiety is a “symptom” of is the “disorder” that accompanies inexperience. My point? Use any language you want to to frame the matter the problem is still the same. Medical doctors who treat diseases that don’t exist are quacks. Perhaps it is time to come up with a more valid explanation for what people are doing when they use “medicine” as an excuse to meddle in social relations on a wide scale basis.

  • A non-practicing Jew, and an atheist, I wouldn’t call that pro-religion, although I wouldn’t call it militant atheism either.

    Exposing “mental illness” as a fabrication is a political statement of sorts. How moral reform becomes an issue that reflects upon so-called “mental health” is one thing to consider. The moral bone connecting to the….fantasy bone, and that kind of thing.

    Szasz was an opponent of what he called the therapeutic state. He supported the separation of powers when it came to medicine, and the state, certainly an interesting and political position to take. Today this is somewhat problematic, yes, now the state has medicine to try to control us with, but also medicine itself, often real legit medicine, is being priced out of the range of most people’s ability to pay for it without federal assistance, voila more and more public (as opposed to private, the thing Szasz supported) health programs.

    Ultimately what does the privacy matter leave us with? Scrooge McDoctor gloating over his or her ill gotten gains.

  • I don’t really have a great deal of fear of self-control, Alex. In the social realm, it seems, a lot of people have a great deal of fear of the opposite of self-control, that is, they are possessed of the fear of ‘losing it’. In the been there done that department, eventually, this Jesus pushed that stone aside.

  • Kay Redfield Jamison is a disorder label and treatment saleswoman with quite a promotional spiel. Multiple book length in fact. One might call it the patient doctor doctor patient gimmick. I treat it the way some people treat hard liquor, that is, never touch the stuff.

  • I’m not so sure that power is our deepest fear. It was Lord Acton, an influence on Thomas Szasz, who said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Power in the wrong hands is a real fear.

    It wasn’t too long after the Emperor Caligula woke up a deity, that some people figured he was “off his rocker”, and that he needed to be deposed, or put down like a rabid animal.

  • Considering all the elites I’ve encountered in my time, mad in quotations marks doesn’t seem to really qualify. It’s like ‘somebody else said that’, huh?

    Mad without quotation marks people with hidden powers, I dunno. Mad superheroes. Okay. There may be something to that, however, as of yet, in the domain of SciFi and Fantasy.

    On the other hand, and I must stress this matter, glamorizing and glorifying the mad experience is often the reverse of the disqualification, dismissal, and invalidation you get in society and the system. Pretty mad in quotation marks things to do to people. Have you ever read Dostoevsky’s The Idiot? The protagonist is a rather Christlike figure one might characterize as “too good for this world”.

  • Psychiatry isn’t posing, it pretty much is our official Pre-Crime Division. Insanity, after all, is defined in our legal system as a danger to self and others, that is, they lock people up in hospitals (sic) for that, being a danger to self and others. Seeing as no crime has necessarily been committed for them to do so, I’d have to say that Insanity and Pre-Criminality must be pretty much the same thing, or, in other words, interchangeable terms.

    I’ve heard psychiatrists say the very same thing you say about sooth saying about diagnosis.

  • Well, it would be nice if people were able to work outside the “mental health” penal system as well.

    I’d like to see the numbers of people labeled and treated GO DOWN. Unfortunately, things are NOT going in the direction of a diminished therapeutic state. Instead such rates are on the rise, and part of the reason is…that they have no problem getting people employment within the system, and an expanding system it is. Getting people out of the system though is another thing altogether, and for that reason alone, I’d have to say that many of these “mental health workers” really need “help”. Uh, anybody out there up to signing a few pink slips?

  • Crazy became a positive some time before the Jefferson Airplane went there. The beat/beatnik movement gave it a positive slant on the cusp of the sixties.

    As for positive slants, it is my view that the Mad/Mad Pride movement does the same thing with the word “mad”. I’ve got no aversion to celebrating my madness.

    Right now, I see a lot people complaining about antipsychiatry, however, given the negatives of contemporary psychiatric practice, I see it as a very positive term myself.

  • “Crazy” etymologically, OldHead, means “cracked”. “Cracked” is okay, and there is a lot of charm to it. One could even twist it into a “Look at me. I been” traumatized kind of thing. I suppose it would not be so charming though to a puritan.

    “Mad”, on the other hand, pre-dating by a long shot any medical model, went back to “changed”. One could, in this instance, ask, particularly with regard to any taint of prejudice, would you rather be “changed” or “cracked”?

    Mad, btw, goes back to the 13th century (1200s), Crazy to the 16th (1570).

    Actually both words are related to silliness and folly, and I think that is a big part of the problem, particularly in pathologizing traits and characteristics (arguably a foolish thing to do), error being, basically, a very human foible.

    The “mental health movement” people, shrinks included, have a problem with both words. Mad and crazy are pejorative terms in their view, and insulting when, in their view again, what we are dealing with are “sick” people in need of understanding and pity.

  • I swear, this is a subject with a great deal of potential for development. Collaboration with Fascists Improves Quality and Value of Oppression. Collaboration with the Rulers of Totalitarian Regimes Improves Quality and Value of Research into Community Surveillance Techniques. Collaborations with Partisans of Totalitarian Regimes Improves Quality and Value of Subjection. There are all sorts of spin you can put on it. The possibles are, so to speak, infinite.

  • Am I to assume we are not all “adult” here? This idea of healing people of their “psychic” pain is, frankly, a little hokey.

    If I were to accept your claim that, “We cannot simply reject all notions of help just because of some connection with the “Mental Health Industry”.” I have to qualify it with a, “but I can.”

    As long as we cannot reject it, without having it imposed upon us, I think “help” is the wrong word to be using. “Help” that is offered against my will and wishes, to put it mildly, is not “help”.

  • Do we have any evidence that “mental disorders” are biological? No. Do we have evidence that MS is biological? Yes. I think you have to make that kind of distinction. In the “mental health” realm it’s mostly a case of the treatment being worse than the “disease”, or, to be blunt, most of the disabling damage found there is iatrogenic in origin and nature.

  • What we take for “mental” or “emotional disturbance” has always been a matter of social adversity. Finally, a few researchers get around to recognizing it as such.

    As the above report points out, how can you diagnose “emotional depression” in ignorance of economic depression? Here, it is human relationships that must make all the difference.

    Remember the land of opportunity? It belongs to 1 % of the population now, but, collectively, we have the power to change all that.

  • As I keep trying to point out, “mental health law” represents a loophole in “rule of law” by which people can be deprived of their freedom for reasons that are ostensibly “medical” in theory. Close that loophole, and, once again, you’ve got laws against abduction, false imprisonment, torture, and poisoning, even if those crimes are committed by the federal government. Laws that “mental health law” allows law enforcement, the “mental health” authorities, and the court system to circumvent. Get rid of “mental health law”, and these atrocities no longer occur on a regular basis.

    I wish the whole motivation of this website were to remind people of the history of “mental health treatment”, but, as the site is primarily used by “mental health professionals” and their victims, I don’t think that can be the case. Ice-pick lobotomies, all sorts of shock, sterilization, and even mass extermination, all of these things were developed and happened in the twentieth century, a new low in the treatment of those folks called “the insane”. You go to the turn of that century, and you’ve got the social Darwinism that eventually created this matter. WWII may have exposed and helped to end the eugenic era in which all of these practices originated, but since the 1950s, post (in the main) eugenics, you’ve had the development of psychiatric drugs, a development that looks to be equally sinister as those drugs are maiming and killing so many people managed by them.

    “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”…”Liberté, égalité, fraternité”…Should we return to the values of our founding fathers, we’d be getting somewhere. So long as paternalism prevails instead, you’ve got a muddy rut. “We know what’s best for you better than you do yourself. It is whatever insures our life, liberty, and happiness at the expense of yours. You got out of line, and now we have to rehabilitate you. We have to put you back in your place. Those slogans above, forget them. They don’t apply to you. They apply only to the privileged elites. The elites who have to do something about those people who don’t know where they stand in the pecking order.”

  • Thank you for this story. I had looked for the words to describe myself as an antipsychiatrist activist that didn’t connect myself too closely with the practice of critical psychiatry. I now suppose the term I was searching for to be social constructionist. As regards so-called “critical realists”, humoring people seeking treatment for imaginary diseases isn’t what I would call particularly “real”, nor is it something I would call “transparent”.

  • No. Only mental hospitals are prisons. On most wards of the hospital, people are free to come and go as they please. Only the psych-wards have locked doors.

    Patients can opt for death except where so called “mental health” is involved. Mental patients are prisoners. They are not prisoners because they are hospitalized. They are prisoners because they are imprisoned.

    This is where we get back to discussing the difference between urns and chamber pots. They are not, as any dictionary will explain, the same thing.

  • You have the right to be stupid.

    I guess I’m not in the majority.

    The concept of “mental illness” is a cardinal belief of the “mental health treatment” religion, and people who subscribe to it are protected from persecution by the US Constitution.

    Potentially, the US Constitution can protect people who aren’t converts to the “mental health treatment” religion from persecution (false imprisonment, torture, neurotoxin poisoning, slavery, etc.) by that religious sect as well.

  • Okay, you have the right not to be stupid.

    Basically, if you were in a situation where you would be incriminating yourself it would matter. Here, as we don’t have criminals confessing to their crimes, it’s a little different.

    I still see the matter as reformist though. If one is talking incremental change rather than complete abolition, this is just one more little increment among many, and another excuse to hold off on abolition.

  • You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?


    Usually we’re talking about people OUTSIDE OF A COURT OF LAW.

    Sometimes the public defender doesn’t do much vigorous defending the suspected precriminal. There is nothing in these Miranda rights compelling him to do so. He can manage by doing pinky exercises, and SO LONG AS WE ARE OUTSIDE OF A COURT OF LAW, get away with it.

    Do you understand the rights I have just read you?

    SO LONG AS WE ARE NOT GOING TO COURT those rights mean nothing. I’ve experienced commitment hearings in hospitals (sic) where it was just me, the magistrate, a public defender, and a ‘mental health” professional. If you are saying that if some cop read me the above it would put me on an equal footing with people who have jury trials, in which burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt means something, I will have to tell you to your face that you are full of crap.

    Anybody else want to use the constitution as toilet paper. If so, great, because that’s all you’re getting here.

  • It would not put them on an equal footing so long as no crime has been committed, and due process doesn’t apply in civil commitment hearings. I take it you are not talking about so-called forensic cases where an actual crime has been committed. If that is the case, it would be even crazier to detain people on the basis of having read them so-called rights than if they were actually guilty of breaking a law. Having read people so-called rights, in my opinion, is not a good reason to hold innocent people prisoner despite the fact that you want to give some goon the power to do so.

  • I still think we should be ending ALL forced treatment instead of even considering the idea of instituting any kind of Miranda rights for innocent people. Miranda rights, or wrongs, are still “reforms”, and sometimes it has got to be better to end a bad thing than to continue the farce. Rather than “reforming” the “unreformable”, scrap it, and hospitals can go back to being hospitals, ditto prisons. No Miranda rights without, what they serve anyway, and that is due process. Seriously, I don’t think you’ve got due process when you try people for pre-crimes. Should we return to rule of law, and get out of the rule of thumb business, so much the better. It makes sense that a criminal case can be dismissed because a person was not read their Miranda rights, however, should a person be kept in a ‘hospital’ simply because they were read their Miranda rights? I just see that as one more instance where the US constitution would not be coming to one’s aid when it should.

  • Concerned Carer. There was a time before anesthesia, a time when people knew the actualized terror that could be invoked with shock treatments. Shock treatments that often resulted in fractured bones. Now that people being shocked are anesthetized, sedated, you don’t get that terror so much. Put people under, and people can pretend they didn’t go through a traumatizing, grueling, and damaging, ordeal that their bodies (think, sleeping minds) went through.

    A sham drug doesn’t really compare with a real device. That’s the great divide, and people who were complaining before they got a sham pill are more likely to continue complaining with continued sham pill use. A damaging device, on the other hand, might manage to quell so called depression and sorrow at the expense of gray matter, but who do you know wants to have less gray matter to rely on? And, if you’ve got people suffering from “brain trauma”, their ability to complain is likely be affected as well.

  • More than 100 years ago moral management was presenting itself as the great liberator of patients from restraints. More than 100 years later, and there are still people being physically restrained, and there are still campaigns against it. That’s reform for you. Do you seriously want to lobby congress for Miranda rights for pre-criminals? (This is with insanity legally defined as dangerousness, or pre-criminality.) You could be making the same argument 100 years from now. That’s reform for you. If I’m going to lobby congress for anything, let it be for the end of forced treatment. I don’t think any compromise, let alone a Miranda rights compromise, is possible with what all non-consensual psychiatry actually represents, and that is undue force. You can lobby for police officers, or “mental health” coppers, whatever, reading you your Miranda rights as much as you please. I would prefer to lobby against forced treatment, all forced treatment, instead. I wouldn’t want to see another 100 years go down the tubes, but suit yourself if you think you can spare them. That’s reform for you.

  • Without due process, the situation in most civil commitment proceedings, there is no reason to invoke Miranda rights because they aren’t going to do you any good anyway. Had we due process, that is, a guaranteed jury trial, the case might be different. It’s like our legal representation, such as it is, it’s not up to that people get in criminal court, usually, the commitment hearing is a kangaroo court anyway, and no mere pretense of rights protection is going to change that.

  • In the 19th Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard did get a law or two on the books in a state or two ensuring due process of law (jury trials) for psychiatric inmates. Such a law was enacted in the state of Illinois that lasted from shortly after the civil war to 1895. I’m all for due process because I think with due process you might be able to destroy the mental hospital system as a whole. Jury trials are expensive and time consuming, but they do give people a chance to exercise what are seen as they’re citizenship rights. Without trials, you have only prejudice, and, on top of it, no rights.

  • We don’t need Miranda rights, we need the abolition of forced treatment. So long as you’ve got forced treatment, psychiatric institutions will be prisons pretending to be hospitals. Offer Miranda rights, and you may have gotten rid of the pretense, but not by liberating the prisoner, by making the prisoner less of a patient. Miranda rights come with acceptance of force, not its abolition. I couldn’t say one was making things better by making commitment proceedings more like criminal arrest anymore than I could say that one was making things better by making hospitals more like prisons. Make them less like prisons, and that would be a matter of making progress. Make them more totalitarian than they are? Not me! If this is your idea of “mental health” reform, OldHead, I’d perish the thought.

  • It would provide no protection. Tell people to shut up. Common sense can do that. The courts have free access to all the files in the hospital anyway if they want them, so much for confidentiality. The problem is not incrimination, the problem is the suggestion of that one doesn’t have the self control of a gnat. Silence isn’t going to save anybody from “expert opinion”. It’s this power that has been granted to so called “experts” that we have to do something about. Read people their Miranda rights, and the analogy between being arrested and being committed would no longer be analogy. Not having due process in the first place, diagnostic labels amounting to a civil offense rather than a criminal one, that’s no improvement. If you are facing civil commitment proceedings, Miranda rights aren’t going protect you from that one iota. Say absolutely nothing, and you must be “catatonic” or something, uh, in the public mind, that is. Not saying anything might prevent a person from being convicted of a crime, a matter that requires EVIDENCE, but it is not going to prevent that person from being hospitalized, especially when the hospitalization is only figurative, and the confinement is real.

  • Generally, people are read their Miranda rights to remind them of their first amendment rights, namely, that one has the right not to incriminate oneself. If one is not a criminal, I’d suggest that they are better served by constitutional protections than they are by resignation to confinement. Non-criminals need not, or should not have to worry, about incriminating themselves. Given the medical pretenses behind forced hospitalization, what good do ones first amendment rights serve there. You haven’t got a “criminal”, you have got a “patient”. “Incriminating” a “non-criminal”? Our rights are supposed to protect us from that anyway. If our rights are going to serve us, in such a situation, it is not so-called Miranda rights that are going to do so. People are locked up in psychiatric facilities, not for breaking the law, but for the suspicion or prediction that they will break the law in the future. Save people from future “incrimination”? Why bother? We’ve got their Miranda rights to take care of that after the law has actually been broken.

  • I don’t think telling people what they should know already, that is, that everything they say or do will be used against them, and in these cases, generally, skirting courts of law, is going to stop the abuse of power that facilitates it. I think you need to do something about that power rather than transform more and more civilians into prisoners of the state. I have a great deal more trepidation about making prisoners of innocent people than I do about liberating those prisoners from the prisons they currently inhabit. Reading people their Miranda rights, in my view, in non-criminal situations, would only work towards maintaining that prison system and the relationships that sustain it among non-criminals. It certainly doesn’t represent much of a right in any real way, however, without it you should be able to use the constitution against such violations of rights as occur, for example, false imprisonment, and the breach of confidentiality involved as well as the lack of due process.

  • How do you compare ECT with placebo? Knock people out with sedatives and strap them to contraptions that relay no electricity? As is, you’ve got placebo trials for drugs being used, and it is understandable that placebos are used in drug tests. I would think you just compare shock to the drug that has already gone through it’s own trial by placebo.

    I don’t see a placebo trial making a world of difference. I think you really need to be ascertaining, and determining, the extent of damage done by shock. As is, in theory, no damage is done, but we all know better than that. My problem with the trial by placebo is that they are doing that all the time with psych drugs. It’s a matter of getting the drug approved by the FDA. A placebo trial would just be another way of avoiding the issue of harm.

  • Yeah, my thought, too. Human experimentation is no great improvement over animal experimentation.

    As for any “diminished capacity”, no shock doc is going to go there. As long as the very real effects of shock are not explored, it’s business as usual because it’s a lot easier to sell electroshock as “safe and effective” than it is to sell it as brain damage.

    I think you have to keep hitting them with with the truth because when it comes to determining the facts through research the industry is not going to go there. They can’t sell shock treatment and tell the truth, too. and as long as research into its potential for damage doesn’t take place, they don’t have to do so.

  • The authors obviously, see the statement at the end, have a great deal of ties to the drug industry, from which one might surmise their attitude toward the subject. If these drugs are faulty, less active with time, it’s a matter for drug research and development. We just haven’t made the right chemical oil well strike yet. Our drugs aren’t quite as miraculous as we’d have them be, and so we’ve got some more work to do in developing the drug that does it all. Get all the kinks out, and we will have found one heck of a happy pill. A misguided pursuit from my perspective (re: opiates as pain killers).

    Why do antidepressants stop working? Why do placebos stop working? Take a wild guess. Maybe it’s because they never worked in the first place.

  • In a world as corrupt as ours is, any corruption of Scientology has got to be a relative matter.

    If antipsychiatry is defined as ‘opposition to psychiatry’, Scientology qualifies as antipsychiatry.

    Conflating antipsychiatry with Scientology is psychiatry’s way, as exampled here, of ‘killing two birds with one stone’.

    I prefer to think of antipsychiatry as that set of people opposing psychiatry that overlaps with many other groups, subsets thereof, such as Scientologists, skeptics, freedom fighters, civil libertarians, non-conformists, fitness freaks, pathologists, constitutionally minded lawyers, psychiatric survivors, Mad Pride celebrants, disenchanted family members, and dissident mh professionals.

    I’ve got absolutely no reservations about associating myself with antipsychiatry. In fact, I do it all the time.

  • No point in going by the book if the book can’t separate misinformation from information.

    The problem I have with psychotherapy is this idea of it as preparation for ‘real life’, this idea that somehow the realm of therapy is a realm bracketed off from ‘reality’, and that, more or less, never the twain shall meet. Some people go directly from childhood, another realm bracketed off from ‘reality’, straight into therapy, psychotherapy even, what might be termed ‘extended childhood’. Where does it end? The idea that the end of psychotherapy should dwell in any ‘other world’ besides this one is still too speculative as far as I’m concerned.

  • Scientology has long waged war on psychiatry, that psychiatry would deliberately be using that aggression to serve its own ends only makes sense.

    L. Ron Hubbard wanted to replace psychiatry and psychology with Dianetics. I’m not too keen on the idea myself though. Uh, that is, I’m not too keen on Dianetics. I’m perfectly alright with the idea of getting rid of psychiatry and psychology.

    The good news is that Scientologists are against lobotomy, ECT, psychiatric drugs, and other forms of abuse masquerading as medical treatment. In so far as they take such a position, I have to stand with them. They get their followers to agree not to take neurotoxins, and that’s not such a bad idea at all.

  • Anyone or thing purporting to advocate antipsychiatry activities or education, not including them. I tell you, OldHead, you certainly haven’t cleared up the matter here. So “we” are, etc., except for them.

    There is, of course, a divide between “critical psychiatry” and “antipsychiatry”, however just where the line is drawn is not as clear as it might be. You have this idea of a psychiatric survivor or ex-patient led antipsychiatry movement that might not sit so well with some professionals. The mental patients’ movement, where it is not a mental patients’ liberation movement, however has different ideas on the matter. I question whether there are enough antipsychiatry ex-patients to be making the rules concerning antipsychiatry.

    I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in Dianetics, however I am grateful that the CCHR is there, and that it has taken an antipsychiatric stance. Now whether this makes them us, or us them, I don’t think has been entirely cleared up yet.

  • Who said anything about taking it as an absolute? I’m pretty much a relativist all the round myself.

    Don’t let your suspicions turn into paranoia. No need to cross that line, OH.

    There is a saying. It goes way back. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

    If you’re not going to do a dang thing, OH, I guess that entitles you to say anything and everything.

    The NIMH is a government agency, and that is problematic from beginning to end. You want government control? I don’t. Any “support” there is likely to be directed towards co-optation.

    I’m an atheist, OH. What fundamentalist Christians think, as far as I’m concerned, is N/A.

  • A certain amount of pragmatism is to be expected, OldHead, present company excluded.

    I don’t care if people don’t get that we’re not Scientology. It only takes a few minutes of explanation, and the confusion is usually coming from ulterior motives, such as, an affinity for intolerance towards eccentricities and unconventional behavior.

    Awhile back, and with apologies if any are needed, Al Galves, speaking about Scientology and the CCHR, put it this way. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I see the CCHR less as a charitable institution than as an organization with which we as antipsychiatry activists share goals and mission. As such, I think it makes more sense to stand beside them than against them. I think we’ve got enough on our plate in opposing psychiatry itself, and we don’t have to make anything more difficult for us than it already is. I’m not turning my back on support just because it is coming from the CCHR. Any and all support is welcome.

  • The CCHR (& Scientology by extension) has the money and means to change things that most of us, as isolated individuals, lack. This is one of the advantages in organizing, evangelically or otherwise. ‘Power in numbers’ is the way I guess you might put it. If the CCHR is for choice and human rights, and against ECT, psychiatric drugs, psychiatric imprisonment, and other means of harming and destroying people, I don’t think I can, in my right mind, oppose the CCHR. I don’t think I should shoot myself in the foot either. It would be counterproductive for me to do so. I’m certainly not opposed to the CCHR’s opposition to human rights violations and psychiatric tortures. If the CCHR is out to assume the role of watchdog and whistle-blower, well, way to go! We need more of those who are willing to expose injustice and corruption, and defend our rights and liberties, not fewer.

  • “I wonder why anyone would then equate the antipsychiatry cause with nutcases and extremists?” Surely you don’t have to blame the antipsychiatry movement being equated with nutcases on Scientology and the CCHR. As for extremists, I don’t know many things more extreme than psychiatry in it’s efforts to exploit, quarantine, and contain nutcases. I would like to think that we could work with the CCHR where it served us rather than falling into some kind of bitter and divisive, enemy serving, as in divide and conquer, infighting, alienating potential allies in the process. I like to think of myself as not so much antiscientology as I am antipsychiatry, and antipsychology to boot. (If we’re talking two fruit here, give me meat rather than salad.) However, and, of course, in the final analysis, your position is going to be your own.

  • When 46 % spent from a week to a month in the hospital (sic), and 38 % spent under a week in one, I would imagine that their understanding of ‘oppression’ is not as highly developed as it would be had they spent a longer time in such a blatantly oppressive environment and situation. This has always been a catch, the people seeking treatment, don’t tend to be the ones getting it, as a rule of thumb.

  • This manifesto is a manifesto in support of more and more medicalization, that is, a confusion of social and relational issues with medicine. I say it belongs in the trash. Wasting more and more money on calling health “illness” is asking for an increased volume of “bad outcomes”. “Mental illness” is a myth, and as for flattering the ‘deluded’, why bother?

  • I wouldn’t want somebody to give it to me if I was in his shoes because I have, in a sense, been in those shoes. As a prisoner in a psychiatric institution, one tremendous fear has always been of the authorities inflicting damage upon me with the claim that doing so would quicken my return to society through the use of such a device as electroshock. Ditto, the no longer popular practice of radical brain surgery (i.e. lobotomy). (Cuckoo’s Nest, remember.) I would not have ingested neuroleptics if I had had my way about it. I think doctors should have better things to do with their medical skills than proclaiming a damaging procedure beneficial. If the suspicion is, for example, that one thinks too much, the answer, in psychiatric terms, is to lessen one’s capacity to do so. I could not see damaging this poor man without his consent, and in his case, it would probably be somebody else’s consent that you would use to get him, as you see it, returned to “sanity”.

  • When I was in school they were calling “manic depressive psychosis” a rare genetic based “disorder”, but since the view that some children thought to suffer from “ADHD” actually had “bipolar disorder”, the population of people labeled “bipolar” has surpassed that of the population labeled “schizophrenic”, and, in fact, is now more than double the “schizophrenia” rate. How did this happen? I don’t know, but any day now now, researchers inform us, they are going to have identified the mutant gene behind it all.

  • Another interesting stat, 69 % of the people who took the survey said they were on the psych ward for depression. Maybe they should not be taking things out on themselves, but should be turning their anger outwards towards the government. A government that, while claiming to represent the people, only represents a small elite segment of the population, and certainly not that large and growing number of sad people who find themselves confined to an institution. If people are sad, perhaps it is due to bad governance rather than bad *cough* genes.

  • I don’t see this “survey” as being particularly conducive to “abolition”. Wish it was. I see it as conducive to selling psych tortures.

    Let me make a few points as to why. 66 %, a full 2/3s, claimed to be satisfied with their medication. Okay, that wasn’t my percentile group, feeling at home with the chemically tortured. 62 % didn’t think they experienced “unjustifiable” abuse in an institution. 46 % would recommend emergency hospitalization (sic) for an “unwell” friend. I don’t see how you can recommend it without approving of it. Add to that the 16 % without reservations, and psychiatric imprisonment is here to stay. 32 %, almost 1/3, thought hospital (sic) admission saved their lives. 46 % spent only from a week to a month in the hospitally loony bin thing. Add that to that the 38 % who spent under a week on the wards, and you’ve got well over 2/3s covered.

    Sure. We need to get rid of this sort of thing, but it’s not going to happen with a survey. The survey just sweeps up too many of the recently psychiatrized (newly medicalized) in its wake. Enough with the yes men (and yes women). We need a larger and louder crowd of “no” votes. Down with psychiatric tortures. You can dump the lot of them into the trash bin. Most of us know they should be redundant by now, after so many hundreds of years, and I can hear Captain Picard in the background saying, “Make it so.”

  • I would imagine that some of the bipolar disorder, so-called, in adults is not exactly the frenzied activity of exceptional brains. When recreational drug use disturbs normal cycles of activity, of sleep and wakefulness, when people use uppers and downers regularly, it’s bound to have a major effect on all aspects of their life. Celebrities, occasional prone to receive a diagnosis of “bipolar disorder”, are also known to use recreational drugs liberally wherever such resources are flowing freely. Self-medication aside, if anti-depressants aren’t very effective at containing depression, I would doubt that a combination of uppers and downers are going to do the trick any better. Mess yourself up on drugs, uh, I mean develop “bipolar disorder”, and, wouldn’t you know it? Doctors think they have a drug for that.

  • I wouldn’t give him ECT. ECT used to be used primarily as a control mechanism. Today it is used in the “treatment” of depression. A “man who feels his guts are rotting, the devil is after him and hears the voices of demons” sounds like a man who is terrified. He is also a person who shouldn’t be subjected to ECT merely because of his fears. If it weren’t for the sedatives given before ECT, ECT, as in the old days, would be a terrifying experience in itself. These sedatives don’t make ECT a safer experience, they just knock the patient out so he doesn’t know how traumatic the experience he just went through was. Any other available treatment alternative is preferable. The remedial effects of ECT are identical with the effects of serious trauma to the brain. There are many questions to begin with about the long term effectiveness of ECT, and head trauma is not likely to clear this man’s thinking up, long term or short term.

  • Reform, eh? Is that more restrictions and human rights violations, or less? Legislators, in their eagerness to pass forced treatment laws, restrict human behavior, and curtail civil liberties, think they are for reform, too. When it comes to deprivation of liberty, and other human rights violations, I kind of think we need to go whole hog (i.e. abolish them). In other words, although a lesser wrong is better than a more serious wrong, a lesser wrong is still a wrong, and something that I would like to see corrected, not excused. Reform is an excuse for harm, that is all, the only argument, if the argument is reformist, concerns the matter of level or degree of harm perpetuated. Abolish harm, and then you’re talking.

  • The underground railroad IS a way out of the clutches of the loony bin. As for “alternative”, that includes anything and everything but forced treatment. Get rid of the force, and none of it is “alternative” any more. We don’t need any “alternatives” to force, we need to put an end to the use of force instead. Are more options better? Not necessarily, but cultivating a hobby, for instance, is probably preferable to ruminating in a broom closet.

  • “Crash pads” for “getting heads together”, sure, that’s one way to look at it. Unfortunately, that’s not what you get. Mostly, people “wind up getting worse” because “treatment” is based on false premises, mainly that there is some kind of disease at work on the subject. Psychiatric intervention, like military intervention, is a hostile act. I think people would be better off without the “mental health” system all the way round. Abolish forced psychiatry however, and the only complaints would be coming from people who did “seek” “help”. I’d like to remind you that some of us were prisoners of the system, and not its welcome guests. Ending the “insanity defense” would close one loophole in accountability here while ending forced treatment would close the other. Then, if you’ve got complaints, in the final analysis, you’ve only got yourself to blame for them. A system that “needs alternatives” to itself is a system we should get rid of. “Alternative medicine” is, generally speaking, a form of quackery, except in psychiatry’s case, where what’s offered as mainstream treatment is quackery.

  • Huh, and re-huh. “Tough love” is usually punishment masquerading as affection, isn’t it? Had we affection masquerading as punishment, that would be something else, wouldn’t it? My only point is, in this instance, if you think that in this ‘director’ guy you have caught another Harvey Weinstein, I don’t think so.

    I don’t see this as some matter that would be frowned on in a capitalist setting but smiled at in a socialist one. Martyrdom, in the sense of eternally delayed gratification, is a hard way to go, and sometimes it can get excessive.

  • One could consider any and all sexual relations as examples of “sexual exploitation”, except for the fact that they aren’t. We hear that a “therapist” claimed to be reprimanded for having had sexual relations with a “client”. We don’t know that he “exploited” her. Such, at any rate, is my interpretation, although perhaps the “director” at this time might have shown better judgment by leaning on his first amendment rights rather than treating Will as if he were a priest in a confession booth. In such situations, the less said, the better, unless one is interested in doing serious damage to one’s career. As for coming clean, if anyone has a lot to come clean about, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a confession.

  • Get rid of forced treatment, and you’ve quickly fixed much of what is wrong with the “mental health” system. The question remains, why imprison innocent people in the first place. In the name of health? You’ve got to be kidding. I’m imprisoning you to protect you from yourself and/or other people. Really? Not if I have anything to do with it.

    Life is a risk people should be allowed to take.

  • Prostitutes (or should I be saying sex workers?), too, but I’m hardly against career changes. I recognize “mental health” workers of all sorts as state bureaucrats, and, frankly, that’s why I wouldn’t be one in the first place. I doubt it’s in the best interests of your client when you act as an agent of state managed social control, and so what I’m really objecting to is this sort of conditional emotional investment, and the silly arrangement it produces. There are just, other silly arrangements, that I consider more beneficial.

  • Business obligations are about self-interest, too. With regard to “love” as “punishment”, or where it is “forced”, in what we call “rape” and “assault”, I’d be in agreement. Outside of that, I prefer due process, something prisoners of the “mental health” system don’t get, over character assassination. Given due process, your suspect is innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Should such a professional amateur mismatch produce another mad psychiatrist or mad psychologist, I would hope not to be too prejudiced against the subject myself.

  • I see physical harm as more of a problem than any sort psychological innuendo or presumed personal fragility. The power differential nobody is denying, and I’m certainly for doing something about that as it is 100 % behind the totalitarian nature of forced treatment. I just don’t see any virtue, nor power for that matter, in this neutering of the subjects of the therapeutic state. Members of the professional class, and those they are bound to by study, custom, or habit (“provision” or whatever), are not different species, unable to cohabit and breed. Treating them as such is harmful and insulting.

    We were speaking about “love” recently in commentary on a different post by a different author. I certainly was never one to confuse “love” with the “therapeutic” tortures I received, however, I am not ruling out “love” as a matter for discourse. This definitely brings in the question as to motivation when it comes to both professional service provider and his clientele, the service consumer, or user. I don’t know to what island the “lover” has been exiled, in your book, but apparently, you and I are not going there, are we, Richard?

    I simply don’t think the infantilization, de-humanization, and sub-humanization of the “mental patient” by legal and “mental health” authorities very helpful to achieving human rights for the human being in the “mental patient” role, and the loony bin trap. Not all “mental patients” even, would want to be consigned, or condemned even, to screwing only among their own maligned, marginalized, and dis-empowered populations. I have to ask, in some instances here, who is giving and who is taking?

  • I disagree unless your client is a minor.

    We could also be dealing with the case of a client “taking advantage of a therapist”, except in that case, the matter would, after Freud, be called “transference”, would it not?

    I always had a problem with the circumscribed and bracketed unreality of therapy, set apart from real life, and I still do. I don’t see a great deal of benefit in treating grown people like children, and, in fact, I see a lot of harm developing out of doing so.

  • I don’t really care if the therapeutic play of this couple carried over into their sex play, or vice versa. That’s their business, not mine. I don’t think every relationship involves one predatory individual taking advantage of an innocent and naive patsy. Some relationships are a matter of two people taking advantage of each other.

    I think there is a big difference between priests molesting children and being protected by the church and two adults, with emphasis on adult, getting involved in a relationship. I don’t buy the current “adult child” nonsensical narrative that is being sent down the line, and as such, I think people should be able to make their own decisions.

  • Okay, and so if one has an intimate relationship, one must drop the professional relationship, and vice versa? What does that do for “love at first sight”, or even at “second sight”? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know, as they say, s***t happens.

    I don’t think this taboo of yours (i.e. the given present patient doctor dichotomy) was such as it has become today.

    Carl Gustav Jung, if you’ve seen the movie A Dangerous Method (2011) is known for having had a relationship with one of his patients, or former patients, and a future psychoanalyst herself, Sabina Spielrein, but perhaps it was actually after the professional relationship had dissolved that the intimate one began. Regardless, life can get messy. Provided, of course, the engine turns over at all.

  • I’m not really good with setting boundaries myself, preferring to get past them. I guess that makes me something of a dinosaur.

    I’m not in the mood for a witch burning, even if the witch we’re talking about burning happens to be a witch doctor.

    I’m not a big one for the ‘confessional mode’ either, and with that, there goes the entire therapy industry out the window.

    Sexuality is ALWAYS going to be a sensitive issue. If one is going to blow the whistle on anything, I’d want it to be on something more important than some minor sexual indiscretion or other. I simply think, if you’re going to destroy a person’s career, there’s got to be a better reason for doing so than somebody’s injured pride.

  • “Flakes of infinity” are fine and dandy, up to a point, and that point is the point at which you have to say, to quote Bertolt Brecht, “Grub first, then ethics”. “Wha-what?! Are you saying there is a limit to the virtue received through contemplation of my navel?” Yes, I think there is a limit to how beneficial contemplation of a navel might in the long run turn out to be.

  • True enough.

    I just think anybody who had done any thought on the subject would have thought long and hard before making opioids a drug of choice. Apparently some peoples, and peoples in important positions at that, thinking apparatus is off. Should they have lost their positions of authority over this break in their thinking devices. I would think that one wouldn’t have to think so long and hard over the subject as one might over the prescribing of these dangerous and addictive substances in the first place. As result of their faulty thinking apparatuses, we have people dead and dying that otherwise wouldn’t be dead and dying.

  • I kind of think all efforts to talk psychiatry to death are doomed to failure from the get go. Basically, it ain’t gonna succumb to talk.

    I also don’t happen to go along with the “abolish psychiatry” slogan in particular. If you’re going to ‘abolish psychiatry’, you’re not going to do so without ‘coercion’, and I’m against coercion.

    I would see psychiatric oppression, that is, coercive psychiatry, abolished. No contradiction there. Psychiatry is only a problem because of its propensity to treat people who don’t want to be treated. Get rid of that power, and psychiatry would no longer be treating people against their expressed will and wishes.

    When psychiatry can’t treat people who don’t want to be treated, when it no longer operates prison camps, what is the problem? All anybody who doesn’t want to be treated has to do is say, “no”.

  • I hold doctors responsible. It is now doctors who are the primary suppliers of opiates, not parents. We’re talking prescription drugs. Parents are only going with the flow. Doctors should not be pushing drugs that are more deadly than they are beneficial. This goes back to what I was saying before. You already had the 1914 law, and then you fashion a way around it. That’s asking for trouble. What are they teaching them in school? What it seems they are not teaching them is that opium, and opium derivatives, or drugs that act like opium and opium derivatives, are not drugs they should be doling out like candy. We already went through this matter in the nineteenth century, and I guess, at this point, we have to relearn the lesson of the early twentieth century.

  • You had the 1914 law for a reason. Opium and opium derivatives used to be considered legit medicine. Now we’re supposedly trying to forget why that law was put on the books in the first place. Opium is potentially deadly dope. We’ve got what is referred to as an opioid crisis now. Why? In the 2000s what happened early in the 20th century is apparently a lesson we have to learn all over again. Widening the definition of ‘opium den’ just doesn’t cut it.

    Doctors wouldn’t be becoming such unscrupulous drug distributors if they had been taught better in medical school.To re-frame the problem, basically, amphetamine and opiates are drugs, not medicine. Ditto, alcohol. You’re going to have to go a little light on the pain killers if it is not the patient you want to kill.

  • Pain doctors knew what they were doing, didn’t they? Circumvent the Harrison Act, done with the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, and you make a bundle. The mafioso possessed the same sort of knowledge, only in their case, illegality can up the ante. Illegal, or legal, addictive substances are profitable. Outlaw fentanyl, and the mob is back in business. Actually, you don’t even have to outlaw it. It’s so addictive that if they get their hands on it, stacks of money grow. Now that medical doctors have become major drug distributors, that’s got to give a body pause for thought.

  • Mad, maybe?

    I’m not bashing righteous rage.

    As for credibility, is the anger that comes out of personal experience any less credible than many of those little scraps of paper framed and hanging from office walls that we call credentials? The stuffed shirt and nameplate is credible with the credibility that comes of class privilege, status, custom, and excessive bullshit. He or she also, btw, has the potential to be a major impediment to constructive change. I’m also tipping my hat to any con artist that can expose those con artists of conventionality and the status quo for the frauds and hucksters that they actually are.

  • Antipsychiatry can’t die. Phoenixlike, it is always going to be reborn from its own ashes. As long as coercive mistreatment goes by the name of psychiatry there will be a place for antipsychiatry. As long as psychiatry has it’s bug-a-boo, antipsychiatry, it will be something we can throw in its face, it will be a way of defiance. Should psychiatry stamp out the flame. One more dry stalk is dangled in the wind waiting for a single spark to rekindle the raging fire. As long as people demand compliance, the resilient resistance of antipsychiatry will be a physical need, and a need that is not going to ever fizzle out entirely. As long as psychiatry is unfreedom, antipsychiatry will be freedom. You can’t stamp that out. It is something that is going to come back again and again and again. It will keep coming back until it is triumphant. If psychiatry must kill the spirit, antipsychiatry is the spirit that it is trying to kill, but although you can kill the flesh, you can’t kill a spirit. Try, and that spirit is going to haunt you to the end of your days.

  • Proof? A fish with lungs isn’t proof?

    Fish are evidence. Fossils are evidence. Legs are evidence. The vanishing vestigial tail of the fetus is evidence.

    Why? What did they say about Everest? Oh, yeah. Because it’s there.

    Why aren’t fish in a constant process of evolving? Well, in relation to other species, some that made their way to land, some that started on land, and returned to the water, fish are kind of slow.

  • Yes, OldHead. Britannica has it’s points, but it is not everything, and there is a place for the voice of the people, too. There is a place even for those people who are not the “established authorities”.

    Well, should the “mental patients’ liberation movement” ever wish to evolve from the “consumer movement” back into itself, Wikipedia is not going to prevent it from doing so, and Wikipedia could even be of assistance if anyone chose to use it in that capacity.

    Birds are dinosaurs. Avians evolved from theropods. Without theropods, no avian acrobatics. It is not like dinosaurs have left us. Birds, if they are not dinosaurs, are literally the direct descendants of dinosaurs. Homo sapiens can’t make the same claim.

    Healthy skepticism is one thing, but there is a point where “doubt” becomes “unreasonable”. The evidence of your senses is there for you to behold. I will leave it at that.

  • I don’t know, OldHead. It’s a big leap from a frog to a human, but I myself am kind of glad it has been made. Sure, evolution takes a long time, but just think where we might be without it. Excuse me, you wouldn’t be able do that without a brain, would you? Sorry.

    “Ancestral characters are often, but not always, preserved in an organism’s development. For example, both chick and human embryos go through a stage where they have slits and arches in their necks like the gill slits and gill arches of fish. These structures are not gills and do not develop into gills in chicks and humans, but the fact that they are so similar to gill structures in fish at this point in development supports the idea that chicks and humans share a common ancestor with fish. Thus, developmental characters, along with other lines of evidence, can be used for constructing phylogenies.”

  • I think it had more to do with possibility 2 [climate change + catastrophic interstellar collision] than possibility 1 [a failed experiment (too big)]. Dinosaurs were the most successful creatures on earth at the time of their extinction, and, thus, as far as experiments go, they wouldn’t qualify as failures. Dinosaurs roamed the earth for more than 150 million years, and, btw, its only been 65 million since they’re departure. Oh, all except birds, of course.

    The origin of frogs, on the other hand, predates that of both dinosaurs and birds, going back to before an even earlier extinction, that of the Permian age, nearly 300 million years ago. What can I say? That’s success for you, baby!

  • Ahem. Anthropology is not the field you should be looking into, paleontology being that field. Paleontology, and….zoology.

    Reverse genetic engineering and the fossil record both demonstrate that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs. The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early “stem-birds”, such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of fully powered flight, and many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, and long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified dramatically around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages. But birds, especially those in the southern continents, survived this event and then migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This [bird diversification] makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics.

    Emphasis added.

  • I read, because of interbreeding, most Europeans are about 2 % neanderthal. Neanderthal was another species of human. Neanderthal had been around longer than modern man has been in existence but neanderthal went extinct. Hopefully the same fate doesn’t await us, at least, not before perhaps a further evolutionary leap has been achieved, and our species has a successor. A successor beyond the rats and cockroaches anyway.

  • Well, as stated, bacteria are evolving into antibiotic-resistant variants.

    I believe there is a sort of frog that glides through the air by way of its webbed feet. You don’t get that sort of thing without evolution.

    Also, birds evolved from dinosaurs. Dinos went extinct, but birds are still with us.

  • How many people define psychiatry as “trauma denial”? I think most psychiatrists are going to disagree with that definition, and when it comes to the “trauma informed” tag, I imagine that there are psychiatrists who would call their form of “care” “trauma informed”.

    If you can’t sell treatment for sadness as treatment for “disease”, maybe you can do so as treatment for “trauma”.

  • I don’t think the end of evolution, for Darwin, was humanity, by any means. Darwin was a scientist, not a humanist.

    I think the evidence for evolution is abundant. We refer to it when we speak of fossil evidence, or the fossil record. We know now, for instance, that some of those big bones that turned to stone belonged to gigantic reptiles rather than to human giants or to dragons, both creations of mythology.

    Meglodon teeth were thought to be petrified dragon tongues until Danish naturalist Nicolas Steno recognized them as sharks teeth sometime in the 17th century. Guess what? Nicolas Steno was right. They weren’t, and they aren’t, petrified dragon tongues.

  • As much deceit as exists in the “mental health profession”, OldHead, and you’re talking about the “credibility” of the person who “identifies” as “seriously mentally ill”? I don’t really think “credibility” and ‘dishonesty’ make a good mix.

    Sometimes a person might need “recovery” from their family, and then who is there to “save” said person? Certainly not the “mental health professional” hired by the family to adjust their errant member to some sort of bondage.

    Brain health, LittleTurtle, is not arrived at through brain damaging drug usage and electrical shocks. Now whether it can be arrived at through family counseling is another matter that would require further research. I’m just very skeptical about any research results that suggest “counseling” on top of brain damaging drug usage and electrical shocks equals a healthier brain.

  • Some people have issues with the word “antipsychiatry”. Other people have issues with the word “mad”, especially when coupled with the word “pride”. I myself have no problem using either word. I don’t have any problems using the words “psychiatry” and “unimaginative” either.

    At a more practical level, I’m not cleaning up my speech, the concept of “pro-psychiatry” can be a problem. We have another word for “pro-psychiatry”, and that word is “medicalization”. “Medicalization” is what you might call “a break with reality” on a massive social scale.

  • Forced treatment should be abolished, however, if you’re going to “detain” people against their will and wishes, a no drug treatment option should be provided. Ditto a no shock option. No amount of information is going to make drug treatment or shock treatment harmless procedures. I can’t say for sure that I know what “voluntary” treatment in these cases means any more than I know what “informed consent” means. What does it mean? We made a “plea bargain” and we handed somebody a printed form to sign? You watch TV, and on TV you get a string of ads, drug ads, and these drugs ads are followed by a listing of adverse effects, that seems to drone on forever, but the idea is to get people to be mesmerized by the ad, and to tune out the adverse effects. Nobody is even saying, here, you shouldn’t take these things, but since you’re going to do so anyway…. No, they’re going to be saying, read the print out, and then do what you will. Honesty would mean saying, straight up front, this is a drug nobody should be taking long term, and if it’s a drug nobody should take long term, maybe it’s a drug people shouldn’t even be taking on a short term basis. I just wonder and worry about the number of times “informed consent” might mean “misinformed non-consent”. We know some treatments are supposed to be harmful, but still, you’re hoping to get a “sane” person out from their usage in the end. When it comes to weighing risks versus benefits, somebody could still be tampering with the scales.

  • I don’t see mad as a label. I don’t see it as an insult. It’s kind of like that saying somebody came up with, “Black is beautiful.” Mad is beautiful, too.

    Basically, what I didn’t say is what the “mental health movement” says today, that is, mad is not a scientifically valid term to be used for people who are “sick”. Mad has morphed from something closer to “bad” into ill and ailing.

    When mad is not…mad:

    The disclaimer was, in my view, a necessity. Sure, it was satire. I was joking, but somebody, duller than you, of course, might not get the jest.

  • “Mad” is not a label. Directed at pathetic “sick” individuals who have not the capacity to see to their own needs, nor understand their conditions, “mad” is an insult. The “mental illness” industry objects that it is no longer “politically correct”, nor feasible, to use the term, as people are no longer “mad”, they are “mentally ill”. They actually have “brain diseases”. Just like “crazy”, just like “lunatic”, etc. According to the “mental health” police and their hired goons, “madness” is an insult. We’re talking about “sick” people here after all. Watch your language, OldHead, you know how people get “triggered”.

    Disclaimer: the above views are not those of the person making the comment.

  • Most terms in the lexicon dealing with psychiatric conditions are variants, in the etymological sense, of a way of calling an individual “sick”, possessing “ill health”, and, in that fashion, seeing ‘disturbed’ as ‘diseased’. Madness, on the hand, having been coined prior to the development of the medical model, originally meant changed. I don’t have a problem with that definition in particular. I do though have an argument with efforts to change people back into those people their community, friends, and relatives, etc., were more familiar with through drugs, electric shocks, and other destructive tortures. Mad, in this instance, is a way of responding with a measure of pride. Sorry, folks, but your changeling is here to stay.

    Oh, what a boring world we’d have if everybody were the same! I see Mad Pride as a reason to celebrate our differences, and thus, a cause célèbre. You’ve got little reason to conceal your difference. I’d say, when you can flout it, and flout it without being locked up for doing so.

  • In the states, psychologists want, and in some cases, are being granted prescribing privileges. Not all psychologists, mind you, but some. The claim is that there are too few psychiatrists in rural areas, and so psychologists have to assume part of their role. The system is a problem, surely, but I would be a little wary of any psychology against psychiatry argument. Mostly the two professions are completely in cahoots.

  • Yes. Psychiatry is just a ten letter word. Take the word “insanity”, for example. “Insanity”, although etymologically it means “unwell”, is not a medical term, it is a legal term. Psychiatrists were not born with the power they wield, it was granted to them by state legislatures. You get rid of the profession of psychiatry, and those state legislatures will merely assign the same power they’d granted to psychiatry to another profession. The problem is not psychiatry. The problem is psychiatric power. The problem is not that we have mental hospitals, the problem is that these hospitals are only figuratively hospitals and that they are literally prisons.

    You say that psychiatry is coercive by nature, and that all psychiatry has to be, to some extent, coercive. I say that is nonsense. Psychiatry is coercive because it has been granted certain powers above and beyond other professions by law. You get rid of the profession, but you don’t do anything about the “bad law”behind the power, and that power will merely be granted to another profession. Undue force is the problem, not psychiatry. You get rid of force, and psychiatry can’t touch you without your consent.

    I’ve seen lives destroyed by psychiatrists assisting the courts in ruling people incompetent. With such a ruling you, in effect, render a person a non-citizen, demoted in status to that of a child or a subhuman. This is not a power I think anybody should have over people who are, in all other regards, adult. If you get rid of the profession, and you don’t do something about that power, you’ve done nothing except change bosses.

  • We get the same arguments in the USA. Fact: psychiatry is killing people. Fiction: psychiatry is saving lives. The numbers don’t lie. As I see it, psychiatry is very destructive to human existence, and this makes antipsychiatry a very positive thing. As for the science, what science!? There is no reliable test that has been able to prove the existence of any “mental disorder” whatsoever, and the search for the “mad gene” is coming up relatively empty. They’ve got their bullshit manual, but it’s a bullshit manual, and it’s come under fire from all directions. You get a rosy picture from these psychiatrists about the science of the brain, and the discoveries that they are going to be making any day now, but they are still stumped by the same questions they were asking 100 200 years ago. Psychiatry is deeply embedded in the system of general health here in the USA, too, but that incorporation is a scandal, much to the detriment of medicine, that we keep exposing over and over again. On the one hand you’ve got real medicine, and on the other, you’ve got unreal medicine, medicine for people who aren’t “sick”, but wish perhaps they were.

  • If psychiatric assault, just like other forms of physical assault, were illegal, then you wouldn’t need an alternative to it since standard practice would no longer be a matter of assault. The problem with “alternatives” is that they’ve let human rights violations and deprivation of liberty in through the side door. Get rid of forced treatment, and you won’t need “alternatives” to forced treatment. Duh. We don’t need “alternatives” to forced treatment, we need to put a stop to forced treatment.

  • I do see myself as antipsychiatry and I think using the word is one good way to thumb one’s nose at the mental illness and the pharmaceutical industries as well as the stupid people who get tangled up in their subterfuge and devious marketing schemes. Where I disagree with you, OldHead, is that I think the problem is force, legally sanctioned through legislation, and not the profession of psychiatry itself. When it comes to fighting forced treatment, I think your position misses the mark as much as that of the “alternatives” movement which is so compromised by collusion and a major contributor to medicalization, if “alternative” medicalization. If one talks about reform, in the mental health system, that talk is all about more force or less force. Talk about abolishing psychiatry is somewhere outside the ballpark whispered in some trashy back-alley and completely off the table. Abolish forced treatment, and you’ve got no force being applied to make people prisoner patients against their will and wishes. Collaborate with the enemy, or engage in conspiracy theorizing, and forced treatment remains. I see you and the “alternatives” people, who care only about government funding, as working together to keep force in place. When it comes to human rights violations and fighting psychiatric oppression, I think the movement needs to focus more on fighting oppression, and less on fighting psychiatry, feeling, unlike you, that the two terms are not of necessity synonymous.

  • Thank you, Peter, for all you have done for those who are being threatened with death and injury through the legalized drug trade.

    This age, particularly hard in its whistle blowers, hopefully will be succeeded by another. What is the problem? Obviously, greed, immorality, and corruption. (If everybody wants to be a member of the 1 %, you’ve got nobody to apply the reins to the 1 %, and to hold the 1 % in check per se.) You let people get away with murder, and there’s no end to it, unless we call an end to it. The drug companies in league with the mental illness industry have been killing people with abandon for some time now.

    What is needed? I don’t know. Maybe a Whistle Blowers Union that could take on corruption in general.

  • I have a little problem with this “special gene” theory as well. It reminds me of “the great man theory”. Alexander earns the moniker “the great” through a hostile take over of all these independent nations. Julius Caesar comes along, and says, “that means there are people specially endowed to rule the world. People like me.” Caesar gets his just deserts, but the empire rolls on, until the barbarians anyway. Napoleon comes along, and says, “The revolution is over! Hail, the new emperor!” Traditional monarchies object, and take him down. Hitler comes along, and says, “I’m the man particularly endowed to rule all the nations of the world.” Anybody sense a pattern here?

  • I do not see many people beyond you, OldHead, holding the same view as you. As a victim of forced psychiatry, my issue with psychiatry ends once the force is abolished. Going any further would be overkill. I think you have a simplistic and unworkable formula. Blame everything on psychiatry, and see the solution as it’s demolition. Basically, I don’t believe psychiatry is to blame for everything, nor do I believe that life would be a bed of roses if it were abolished.

    MIA was never a specifically antipsychiatry website and organization, only OldHead would expect it to be one. I know that many people feel underrepresented at MIA, and I can understand the reasoning there, and the feelings involved. I also understand that it has provided some people with an antipsychiatry perspective a voice on it’s site, and for that I, for one, am grateful. I think it is up to antipsychiatry movement activists, antipsychiatrists themselves, to form the organizations and develop the internet presence specifically devoted to antipsychiatry. As such, the responsibility doesn’t fall on the shoulders of Robert Whitaker and the MIA board in any event. It falls on the shoulders of those people who identify as antipsychiatry, or who claim to be part of the antipsychiatry movement.

  • So-called precision psychiatry, and there is nothing precision about it, is not a paradigm shift.

    I don’t see it as a “blind alley” though, not unless it is “consumer/users” and the general public that are being blinded. If they test people’s responses to drugs, you’ve got a method of making more people compliant, and thus, duping and doping more people. The problem, obviously, is that this also means more drug induced injury, ‘disability’, and death.

    If you’re looking for the precision part of it, maybe it is really precision social control that they are after. Polish our deceptions, and we’ve got more people following us like lemmings.

    1. It’s not a paradigm change.
    2. If the problem is not “bad genes”. Assuming that the problem were “bad genes” is a false basis to work under (i.e. an error).
    3. Even if “mental disorder” were, as I heard somebody say once, 70 % genetic, that would leave 30 % to social, psychological, or other causes, and I imagine there is no basis for the 70 % figure anyway except that it would make the “disorder” more biological than not. In other words, the figure is entirely arbitrary, and only given because it supports the theory.
    4. The research on genes, as you’ve shown above, doesn’t support the theory. If genes have little to do with the development of “mental disorder” then they have much less to do with the development of “mental disorder” than many people presently presume.

  • Another of MIA’s missions apparently is to provide a voice for mental health professionals. Right now, I don’t think it has ever been resolved as to what an antipsychiatry stance might actually consist of. All sorts of people disagree when it comes to what they call psychiatry, and some of us have disagreements as to what we’d be calling antipsychiatry. BTW, OldHead asked us about abolition, and I consider my answer a raised hand. I can’t quite make out yours though.

  • I wouldn’t expect MIA to be a leftwing journal any more than I would expect it to be a sounding board for the antipsychiatry movement, but there are people here, such as myself, who are decidedly of the left, and who have little use for psychiatry, or the system that sustains it. There are also people associated with this site, and users of it, who are psychiatrists, mental health professionals, or who work in the system in one capacity or another. MIA never sold out. MIA was in another space from the beginning. As long as it let’s people with different opinions sound off here, I don’t see what the problem can be. If you want an antipsychiatry movement sounding board, or a leftwing rag, make one, but expecting MIA to be favorable, as a rule, to your particular bias, is just expecting a little too much.

    I’d like to see some action, too, and that’s why we need to organize. If we had our own site, and our own organizations, then we could be planning and initiating political actions of our own as well. I couldn’t see expecting MIA to be the instigator of such, but there are people here, you’re talking to one of them, that would be more than willing and eager to help get that kind of thing up and running.

  • Educating the general public, and consciousness raising, are always important. I’m not a big fan of psychotherapy, but if it worked by directing anger outward at the sources of oppression, sources such as neoliberalism and privilege, rather than inward, on the presumption that a deeply flawed individual needed moral correction, that would be an improvement. The faults, as a rule, reside in relationships rather than individuals, and it is, if anything, our ways of relating that need to change.

  • Great sensibilities, but psychotherapy as political education? Sure, seeing as people are not getting that education in other, neo-liberal controlled, venues. Could become a little dull though. There is something to be said for having fun, too. I just don’t think any of this is as disruptive of neoliberalism as one would suppose. I tip my hat however to any psychotherapy that would be about politicizing people, and especially those who have been marginalized.

    “Psychotherapy under neoliberal capitalism can be characterized by an inherent contradiction.” Nope, I don’t think so. “On the one hand, psychotherapy can be one of the key means of spreading and reinforcing neoliberal ideology and thus advancing the interests of finance,” LaMarre writes.” No doubt. “On the other, it can unsettle the capitalist political order by cultivating subjectivities that disturb the primacy and normalcy of the free-choosing, entrepreneurial self (this, of course, does not mean that therapeutic conversations can entirely escape neoliberalism).” Correction. “On the other,” neoliberalism has an escape valve. Neoliberalism THRIVES on un and under employment, no disruption there. It’s just another instance of the masses feeding the rich.

    You’ve got a long way to go to mount any serious challenge to neoliberalism, but politicizing the down and out is a good start.

  • I can’t see abolishing psychiatry without abolishing forced treatment. Psychiatry sees itself as a medical specialty, a branch of “medical science”, even if it actually is a police science, or pseudo-police science, pretending to be a medical science. Abolish psychiatry without abolishing force, and you’ve only changed management, or, you know, bosses. This represents a problem when the “alternatives” “peer” “recovery” dizability whatchmacallit so-called movement is way too compromised to fight for human rights and against force any more. They are, to speak bluntly, working with the enemy. If we are to be freedom fighters, then we need to be working for freedom, and not waste our time chasing another version of ‘pie in the sky’.

  • Propaganda doesn’t make a person a prisoner. I’m saying that there are people who go to the shrink’s office, or get into treatment programs, not because they were involuntarily, or even plea bargain “voluntarily”, committed to a facility. Sometimes they get into things just to see what’s going on. You’ve mentioned John Lennon before. John Lennon and Yoko Ono did the primal therapy thing with Arthur Janov. Good thing, bad thing, I can’t say, but the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, his first post-Beatles solo venture, came out of it.

    I can’t say I had it as good as you did. I was driven by family members to the hospital, and admitted. Only after I got out did I see the shrink in another capacity, and I can’t say that was entirely pleasant either. After a few trips to and from the loony bin, I was in outpatient treatment, and I regularly, quarterly or yearly or something like that, did the 20 questions thing with a shrink. “Do you hear voices?” “You know that kind of thing that got you into trouble. You’re not going to do it again, are you?” And so on.

    I don’t see that psychiatry and the mental health system equate. Get rid of psychiatry, and you will still have the mental health system. Get rid of the mental health system, and you may still have psychiatrists, but the worst of what they do will be over. This solution to social problems that they’ve got going, grabbing, what is it? 20 % + of the population. Well, it isn’t really working. In some instances you’ve got people making a living on “bad outcomes”. Who needs that!?

  • Government bureaucrats, business people on a short fuse, family members, law enforcement, the drug industry, psychologists, social workers, nurses, ward staff of all sorts, grunts and groans, psychiatry could do very little without all those subordinates in some, but not all cases, who work and collude with it. I mentioned the court system previously, if it weren’t for the import politicians and judges have granted psychiatrists they wouldn’t have nearly the power that they have today. There is an entire psy-complex that extends well beyond the profession of psychiatry itself which you ignore at your own peril.

    As for ideology, if you mean bio-psychiatry, not all psychiatrists subscribe to it, and it is something that could be subject to change given undeniable evidence and public pressure. I don’t hold this view of yours that all psychiatry is the same, especially not when that dissimilarity means putting some innocent people in harms way, or defending them from such.

  • I’d say that the mental health system is the real enemy, and what friends and allies we’ve got are outside of, and beyond, the constraints and confines of that system.

    Less mental health treatment means more mental health. The real problem is that mental health treatment endangers physical health, and if you want to stay physically healthy, which in turn facilitates what we call “mental health”, you will get away from the entire mental health treatment paradigm.

  • The chief difference between my position and that of OldHead is that I’m not so much antipsychiatry as I am anti-mental-health-system. Psychiatry in itself is not the problem, psychiatry is only a problem because psychiatrists have been granted so much power over other people’s lives. Get rid of that power, and psychiatrists are just like everybody else.

    The mental health movement is behind much of the expansion of the mental health system today. It is not really a mental health movement at all, instead it’s a mental health treatment movement. It is, basically, a medicalization movement, and medicalization involves calling matters that are not medical medical, and offering medical “treatment” to people who are not “sick” in the slightest, although, some of them might be said to be errant or lost. The system itself just represents another cul de sac, and thus, insult added to injury.

  • Psychiatric expertise as seers (i.e. people in the know about whether this person or that will do harm to themselves or others or not in the future) is no better than that of the ordinary citizen. This is the problem with bringing psychiatrists into the courtroom. It is the courts that are colluding with psychiatry in granting the profession this privileged status. It is, frankly, not about rights, the acquired rights of psychiatrists negating the unacknowledged rights of their victims. It is about power saying, in a sense, tread lightly lest you stir up a hurricane (initiate proceedings that lead inevitably to tragedy.)

    The problem, you see, does not begin and end with psychiatry, and getting rid of psychiatry won’t get rid of the problem. Why? You’ve got the courts, you’ve got the families, you’ve got related professions in the mental health camp, you’ve got hired goons and grunts, and all of these people, and psychiatry, are working together, and closely together at that, to keep other people down and out. Blame everything on psychiatry, and if you ever did succeed in getting rid of it, something else just as creepily oppressive is going to rush in to fill the recently vacated power vacuum.

    It should be obvious to anyone who looks deeply into the matter that something more sinister than the provision of adequate medical care for physically “sick” people is taking place here in the mental health realm. It is folly (unwise) to use state legislatures and the legal structure to try and outlaw folly, but that is what has happened. What do we get out of this vain effort to put folly permanently to rest by banishing it from existence on the street, in the shop, in the hallway, and in the office? Basically…the mental health system. Wisdom is not something that can be forced on people. Wisdom has more to do with knowing when not to intervene than it does with interfering with the natural course of spontaneous events.

  • I don’t see any point in arguing where David Cooper WAS coming from. I just think our movement might have been a lot more accommodating to psychiatry without him and people like him. Part of the reason behind these arguments stems from the animosity Thomas Szasz had towards R. D. Laing. Couple that with his antipathy for left-wing socialism, and you’ve got Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared in a nutshell. I just see the likes of Jeffrey Lieberman, Ronald Pies, E. Fuller Torrey, Allen Frances and the larger portion of the APA establishment as being much more problematic than that of a renegade like Ronald Laing ever was. Alright, so now Szasz, with the publication of that book, has increased the ammunition for the opponents of the critics of psychiatry. Fine, fire away.

    I see only one way of abolishing psychiatry and that’s by outlawing it. Were psychiatry like the institution of slavery, it would be much simplified. Slavery is wrong, do away with it. The problem here is that some people freely seek psychiatry, and don’t have it imposed upon them from the outside. As long as that is the case, I can’t see abolishing it. I would abolish forced mental health treatment, forced psychiatry. I would do so by outlawing it. (If mental health law were repealed, it would be outlawed.) To my way of thinking, forced psychiatry deprives people of liberty, and I wouldn’t want to deprive people of liberty. It is enough to abolish forced treatment, and with it, psychiatric oppression. I can’t see the virtue of any drive to abolish the profession borne of the revenge motive, that is, what occurs when some people who have been deprived of their liberty wish therefore to deprive others of their liberty. I just don’t get the idea that you would know when to stop once you had started down the path of depriving people of their rights. Once we start in that direction of forcing people, I imagine it could come back around to having force applied to you again.

  • Everybody is not a mental health police officer. I don’t have a problem with anybody’s chances for becoming a mental health police officer going down the tubes.

    I think there would be much fewer people “disabled” by the system if we had fewer mental health police officers. Hey, that’s an idea! Depopulate the mental health system by de-funding it. Funny if in the process of doing so, you also enabled many people supposedly “disabled” by the system.

  • R. D. Laing rejected antipsychiatry. Psychiatry (psychoanalysis) was his bread basket. He wasn’t into the antipsychiatry thing at all . David Cooper, if he didn’t coin the term, revived it.

    You are saying that David Cooper’s brand of antipsychiatry is false, and OldHead’s brand of antipsychiatry is true. You are also saying that the Thomas Szasz brand of psychiatry is closer to your brand of antipsychiatry than David Cooper’s brand of antipsychiatry. I’m just not sure that follows.

  • You embrace the term, too. Thomas Szasz didn’t embrace the term. So, are we to assume that you are a better antipsychiatry activist, or antipsychiatrist, than David G. Cooper?

    I dunno. I embrace the term, too. I just wouldn’t assume that I am a better antipsychiatrist than you or David Cooper.

    Thomas Szasz wanted to disassociate himself from R. D. Laing and leftist fellow travelers on the continent. Fine and dandy, but he was still a psychiatrist, and as such, by his own accounting, a fraud.

  • Laing and Cooper, OldHead, were not joined at the hip. R. D. Laing and D. G. Cooper were two separate entities who actually split over the issue of anti-psychiatry. R. D. Laing would not refer to himself as anti-psychiatry. He called the anti-psychiatry movement “a movement on paper”. David Cooper, in the end, claimed not to be a psychiatrist, and he said he was promoting non-psychiatry. A chapter in his last book, The Language of Madness (1978), is titled “The Invention of Non-Psychiatry”. Laing, at no time that I know of, stated clearly and definitively that he was against forced treatment. With David Cooper, on the other hand, the situation is a little less clear, and as he died in 1986, I wouldn’t expect it to become any clearer with the passage of time, however, I would not be filing him under psychiatry.

    Psychiatry is defined as the branch of medicine dealing with the study, treatment, and prevention of “mental illness”. If, as Thomas Szasz claimed, “mental illness” is nothing more than a figure of speech, then all psychiatrists are quacks, by definition, and anti-psychiatry, in so far as it is seen to practice any form of psychiatry (psychoanalysis included) would be guilty of an even greater fraud.

    This leaves us with the problem of the etymological definition of psychiatry as “soul healing”. Obviously, somebody’s science has spilled over into their religion, or vice versa. Being an atheist, I don’t buy the “soul healer” line. Knowing that psychiatry is pseudo-science, I don’t buy the science angle of it either.

    If psychiatry is defined in any other fashion than it has been, you have the problem of reconciling that with the meaning of the word itself. Were it conceived of as counseling troubled people, for instance, why the medical degree together with the medical pretenses that go along with that piece of paper?

    Antipsychiatry being opposition to psychiatry, I don’t see that any such contradiction exists there. Psychiatrists go inside the psychiatry office space, antipsychiatrists stay outside of the psychiatry office space (and brackets). Abolish forced “mental health” treatment, and, the key word here being “force”, they won’t be able to force their pseudo-scientific religious views and practices on you or anybody else. They certainly won’t be able to force such views and practices upon any person against that person’s expressed will and wishes.

  • I don’t like it either. I think it is false. I don’t like the idea that some people can’t “provide” for themselves, and thus they must be “provided” for. What it does is “privilege” the “providers” over the “provided for”. I don’t think it has been adequately demonstrated that they are completely incapable of “providing” for themselves.

    An entire service industry has sprung up around “providing” for the homeless, but note, what is being “provided” isn’t, as a rule, affordable housing. Why? You make sure everybody has got housing, and it’s going to throw all these service “providers” out of work. Now you’ve got several service industries that depend for their existence on people not being employed. Employ them, and these service workers would have to get real jobs. As long as their clients are un or underemployed, your service worker has a career. Employ them, and the hoax is up, your parasite loses, with its host, its reason to exist.

  • Neurobabble, as if anybody thought it wouldn’t, has reached a new low. Neurobabble, somebody’s answer to psychobabble, is equally offensive. The idea is that neurology is more scientific than psychology, however, if we attach neuro to psychiatry, as has been done, you can begin to see the problem that has developed. Quasi-medicine embraced medicine, and there aren’t enough bladder bags in the world to prevent medicine from embracing quasi-medicine, before enough time has elapsed, that is, to be struck with the error of its ways.

  • Yeah, whatever. I’m not trying to win any prizes for so-called ‘political correctness’.

    Physical is real. Psychological is next of kin to metaphysical.

    I don’t really think anybody can prove ‘psychological’. People can prove physical though, but that’s only because physical manifests itself through the evident. Science, in any event, isn’t about proving, it’s about disproving.

    I’m just saying, in some instances, the proof of “can’t do-it-ness” is deficient or lacking, and contrary to what the facts would suggest.

  • Gotta fall back to Thomas Szasz on this one, OldHead, and Szasz bringing in Karl Kraus, his anti-Freud.

    “I have done nothing more than show that there is a distinction between an urn and a chamber pot and that it is this distinction above all that provides culture with elbow room. The others, those who fail to make this distinction, are divided into those who use the urn as chamber pot and those who use the chamber pot as urn.”

    ~Karl Kraus

    Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry (1974), Thomas S. Szasz

    Abolish means get rid of. If you don’t abolish it, you don’t get rid of it. Do I take it that you, by this insistence, have arrived at a way to cling onto things that you would “abolish” while claiming they are “abolished”? Sounds kind of evasive to me.

  • I mean we’ve got people to help when bodies get injured, but when social standing is “injured”, well, then the matter becomes much more sticky and complex. The question then becomes, whose side are you on? The side of that which all too often gets described as “the human condition”, or the side of “social justice”?

  • “Head” or “brain trauma” is one thing, OldHead, “psychological” or “emotional trauma” another. Until evidence comes in that says otherwise, and concrete substantive evidence at that, the first instance describes actual trauma, and the second instance describes fictive trauma. Of course, anyone can easily ascertain that there are innumerable fictive doctors out there that are very actively engaged in endeavoring to “heal” folk of their fictive traumas.

  • This article is giving the issue a certain spin. The two dead women can’t speak for themselves so the people who would be speaking for them put this together. What we’ve got is another lame piece of “mental health” movement propaganda pushing an agenda. They’re still out to hide the facts of the matter, that is, that what we’ve got here are not medical patients but prisoners, in many instances, unwilling prisoners.

  • Allen Frances is too hung up on this argument of using the moderate approach. Even when he was debating Thomas Szasz his position was that the “mental illness as myth” position was extreme. I guess he’s found out that mainstream psychiatry’s pathologizing and drugging of everything is another form of extremism. Presently, he feels he’s taking on the fanaticism of Donald Trump and his supporters. He doesn’t feel that the Donald needs labeling, drugging, institutionalization, and our pity though. I guess because it would be extreme to label an elected official a “danger to self and others”, however, it would not be so extreme to label any homeless body snatched from a park bench a “danger to self and others”. If he had a motto, I think it would be, “Do no harm in excess. Harm in moderation, on the other hand, that’s okay.”:

  • Anti is a prefix meaning against. Antiwar, antifascist, antipsychiatry, etc., I’m surprised that we would even be having this discussion. Notice that I start with the definition of the anti before proceeding to the term it is intended to oppose. If you are against something, alright, this is the thing you are against. Most importantly, authoritarian is autocratic while anti-authoritarian knows that you’ve got a lot of fools holding the reins to power. Democratic was the synonym used for anti-authoritarian. More than democratic, anti-authoritarian tends to be non-hierarchical, and, in many respects, sees change as coming from the bottom up rather than from the top down. Sometime the guard (the status quo) has got to change, anti-authoritarians are there to give it a little push in that direction.

  • I know I’ve read about it in more than one book of recent authorship although I couldn’t exactly tell you which books. I will mention one. Robert Whitaker himself tells the story of the hunger strike in a section of Anatomy of an Epidemic under the subheading Lessons from a Hunger Strike, pg. 333-334. MindFreedom hit upon this great idea of utilizing dissident professionals in this particular political action, and because of that, it has had an effect that has extended beyond the user/survivor community. MFI was challenging the science, and to do so, it helps to have scientists behind you.

  • Counterproductive and non-productive are pretty much the same thing, OldHead. Were we to have a strike, we would not be producing a product. Were we being counterproductive, then, it would be some other bodies who were contributing to the GNP, not us.

    Yeah, but the Grouch statement was such, with all those meaningless words, as to imply that he doesn’t disagree while he’s disagreeing. Qualifying “I do not disagree with you.” with “I cannot say” is a way of being politic, isn’t it? And politic is a way of being less than truthful.

  • If we had the numbers, we don’t have the organization. Organization is a part of putting those numbers to use. Hopefully, in the future, we can begin to put a dent in organized psychiatry (the APA has 30,000 plus members) through organized antipsychiatry. I would think, not requiring medical degrees, or even college educations, might make it a little easier for us to organize, and with organization comes the kind of momentum and leverage that you don’t achieve through widespread disorganization, confusion, and non-focused non-engaged non-action. Practicality, here, at least, means something.

  • Yours is certainly an important blog post, Bonnie. Thank you for taking this action on. I think it’s long past time that some kind of concrete action was taken over electro-shock and any number of other invasive measures promoted by psychiatry. The 2003 MFI hunger strike has generated more positive commentary in recent literature on the subject of fighting the misinformation fostered by psychiatry than any political actions taken in the past. People should do everything they can to spread word about what is going on in Ontario. If this action spreads to the USA, and beyond, I would certainly want to take part. ECT, as a button I have puts it, is a crime against humanity. If we are going to do something about this and other crimes against humanity we have to do something that will grab people’s attention, and a hunger strike is just the thing to do that. I hope that we are able, through events like this one, to draw attention to the fact that human rights are being violated, and people are being harmed by what purports to be therapy practiced today, most pointedly, in this instance, by electro-convulsive shock maltreatment.

  • Your comment began by discouraging people from romanticizing anti-authoritarians using George Bernard Shaw as the prime example. George Bernard Shaw’s admiration and affection were drawn to both fascist and socialist dictators, and there’s nothing anti-authoritarian about that aspect of Shaw.

    “Shaw’s later plays often arose from impatience with between-the-wars malaise, when governments that had failed to prevent the First World War were in disorderly regression towards a second war. As before, the political mixtures were not working. Shaw was en route from textbook socialism to a vague authoritarianism.”

    Got that, vague authoritarianism.

    If you would be opposing the authority of man to the authority of God, you are still adopting an authoritarian position.

    Simply put, authoritarian according to a Google search is an adjective meaning…Favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom. Authoritarian person here is a synonym for autocrat, despot, dictator, tyrant.

    Antiauthoritarian, according to, means “opposed to authoritarianism.” Antiauthoritarians, in other words, are opposed to the qualities described in the previous definition. The synonym given for antiauthoritarian is democratic.

    George Bernard Shaw admired some of the policies of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. (Very ‘great man theory’ I would imagine.) If he was following Tolstoy earlier in his career, apparently his enthusiasms eventually went in another direction, and that direction was by no means antiauthoritarian.

    Shaw’s statements in the YouTube video were very judgmental, that is, full of the sort of judgments one might arrive at who adopted an authoritarian attitude. I don’t see antiauthoritarians, as a rule, declaring the mass of humanity unfit to live. George Bernard Shaw’s picks for the three greatest men of the 20th century were Einstein, Stalin and, if modesty permitted, George Bernard Shaw. Again, anti-authoritarian is not a word I would use to describe George Bernard Shaw.

  • Very complex sentence, OldHead. Maybe you should consider coming up with something lighter next time.

    …”that it is counterproductive to couch our words in ways designed to not make people uncomfortable (even if they should be)”…

    What is that, a triple negative or something of the sort?

    A double negative (“life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”~Langston Hughs) being positive, a triple negative must be negative. To quote Groucho Marx, “I cannot say that I do not disagree with you.”

  • “D.J. Jaffe has written a brilliant, compassionate, and disturbing book that best explains the mess of our mental health non-system and how to solve it.”
    ~Allen Frances

    “Over his long career as researcher, clinician, and ardent advocate, E. Fuller Torrey, MD has been the most persistent and most effective champion for those with severe mentally illness.”
    ~Allen Frances

    “Psychologists criticize psychiatry for its reliance on a medical model, it’s terminology, its bio-reductionism, and its excessive use of medication. All of these are legitimate concerns, but psychologists often go equally overboard in the exact opposite direction- espousing an extreme psychosocial reductionism that denies any biological causation or any role for medication, even in the treatment of people with severe mental illness.”
    ~Allen Frances

    “”Chemical Imbalance” was a #BigPharma scam to push drugs on normal people experiencing the expectable sadness/anxiety of everyday life. Not to be confused with people who suffer from severe mental illness which really does require meds.
    ~Allen Frances, Tweet on Twitter

    Emphasis added.

  • Then stop writing AOT. AOT is a acronym for assisted outpatient treatment. Assisted outpatient treatment is, in the jargon of the “mental health” treatment industry, actually a euphemism for forced treatment.

    Opinion is the point. In my opinion forced treatment is harmful. Another person’s opinion may be that it’s helpful. Even if I’m among legislators I am going to be calling it the way I see it, not the way somebody else sees it. If this treatment is designed to assist in harming me, and others like me, I need to make that fact known. Concealing it does no good to anybody. If harmful legislation is to come from this euphemistic jargon, we need to let that fact be known.

  • About AOT? You mean court orders for involuntary treatment. I’m not using the three words ‘assisted outpatient treatment’ together because you don’t need a court order to assist anybody in outpatient treatment if that’s your aim. I, unlike you, am not calling forced treatment assistance.

  • I can’t really buy into the AOT lie. Assisted outpatient treatment for forced treatment? Well, that’s the kind of treatment I, for one, can do without. Calling it assisted outpatient treatment only feeds the lie. I know there’s a lot of jargon out there, but sometimes it helps to cut through the crap.

  • I don’t really think that George Bernard Shaw’s spiel here is so much anti-authoritarian as it is authoritarian. The NAZI’s, certainly nobody’s idea of anti-authoritarians, were saying something very similar. Shaw also had this thing about Joseph Stalin I read. Nothing anti-authoritarian about that.

  • Dependent is also different from independent. A little independence, and they, that “we” you speak of, can’t touch you. Cut the strings, and the puppeteer is lamenting the loss of his marionette. There is much to be said for self-reliance, especially as other-reliance can prove debilitating and crippling. I’m ever ready to knock “helpers” when the people they “help” the most are themselves.

  • If it is authoritarian socialism, it isn’t the will of the people anyway, it’s just the will of another autocrat. Joseph Stalin, in his paranoia, killed a great number of people who didn’t need to die, and many Russians are still nostalgic about his rule. Vladimir Putin manages to retain the autocratic nature without the socialistic illusions. So, thug with illusions, or thug without illusions, sometimes one must draw a line.

    At least, here, if subtly, you are acknowledging the violence of the state in your Wikipedia quote. As for legitimacy, isn’t that mostly a matter of who holds the reins of power and who doesn’t? Holding a monopoly on power, in other words, doesn’t make the exercise of that power legitimate. It is no more legitimate than a claim to power on account of the divine right of Kings, that is to say, by the claim that one’s tyranny is countenanced by the good graces of some supposed supreme deity or other.

  • Yes, but in some less developed countries, it becomes a peasant revolution rather than a proletariat revolution. Dealing with such requires some revisions to the script authored by Karl Marx. Even Vladimir Lenin had to revise the script to realize socialism in Russia. It is also a divergence from the non-revisionist, more authoritarian line. Do what Karl Marx says, or else. Of course, in that regard, wine and bread are literally the blood and flesh of Christ, too.

    Self-governance can have more to do with exercising moral restraint than with creating autocratic figureheads to control segments of the population. Let me leave it at that.

    I find it more practical to argue isms than to argue ain’tisms. I’ve got that ism reservation stuff from the school marmish type before, too, but I don’t pay it a lot of mind.

  • Jeffry Lieberman, and others of his ilk, are still pretty much all bio-psychiatry, if with a psycho-social spin. Also, Ronald Pies, who knows where he coming from, except in so far as he’s a fork-tongued defender of the guild.

    Allen Frances actually had communications that I read with E. Fuller Torrey. If you’re looking for a ‘bad cop’, maybe it’s E. Fuller.

  • Oh, I tend think we’ve been there for some time. If this psychiatric label fits you to a Tee, maybe it’s time for you to break out of your box

    Dependent personality disorder (DPD), formerly known as asthenic personality disorder, is a personality disorder that is characterized by a pervasive psychological dependence on other people. This personality disorder is a long-term condition in which people depend on others to meet their emotional and physical needs, with only a minority achieving normal levels of independence.

    Of course, the majority who can’t achieve normal levels of independence are those giving undue credence to the opinions of the experts, the authorities on such “disorders”. Anti-authoritarians, by this token, with their hard won skepticism towards authority, are by inclination, if not nature, much more “healthy” to begin with.

  • Are you an authority on this subject, OldHead, or are you just making this stuff up as you go along? I suspect, knowing a little about bit about the subject myself, the second part of the question to be true.

    A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.

    In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy. Each government has a kind of constitution, a statement of its governing principles and philosophy. Typically the philosophy chosen is some balance between the principle of individual freedom and the idea of absolute state authority.

    I take it that in this matter of scales you weigh more heavily in on the side of absolute state power than you do on the side of individual liberty. I think power divorced from the will of the people is dangerous, and likely to lead, as it has in the past, to catastrophic conclusions.

  • Something of the sort, yes. He’s a “mental health” policeman who believes in his business. He knows the drugs are bad for you, but when it comes to doing something about them, that’s a relative matter for him. In all seriousness, when it comes to saving the day, I wouldn’t expect a lot out of Allen Frances, and as far as those expectations go, he hasn’t let me down yet.

  • Great article, but, and long but, I don’t really see Dr. Frances jumping ship. He should be asked how he feels about forced treatment because I know he’s in bed with E. Fuller Torrey and D.J. Jaffe. Notice his line about people with “serious mental illnesses” versus “the worried well”. It’s the same line you get from Torrey and the TAC.

    Allen Frances, if he felt a little twinge of remorse, never came completely clean about the DSM-IV, and it is my guess that he never will. All of these manuals, successively making it easier for doctors to diagnose patients, and thus prescribe drugs, have sent the “mental ill health” rate, and with it the use of pharmaceuticals, soaring.

    He also thinks ADHD is a legitimate disorder for which some people need to take drugs. He just has questions about the numbers. Okay. Do you think Allen Frances’s doubts and reservations are going to bring those numbers down one iota? Certainly not.

    This Allen Frances is the same Allen Frances who was taking money from Johnson & Johnson in the 1990s for helping them to write a set of schizophrenia guidelines that favored Resperidal as the preferred means of treatment.

    Once he’d finished with editing the DSM-IV, this kind of critique became his way of staying in the limelight, and being an APA bigwig, and former editor of the DSM, stay in the limelight he did. He’s getting all this attention because of his former roles, as well as his position as Duke professor emeritus. He’s not, and he never was, a real critic of the system. He’s just got a new way to grab the limelight even though his chief role in the drama has faded from view, and he’s now some kind of ineffectual gadfly.

    You make a good point about the GPs. Would GPs be prescribing so many pills if the APA had taken a position against excessive drug use? Certainly not. Allen Frances, in blaming everybody else but members of his own profession, was only showing his true colors, but we knew what those were all along. If you were expecting anybody to jump ship it shouldn’t be Allen Frances. If he’s any kind of performer, thank Heaven, all I have to do to get rid of him is to change the channel.

  • It was I. I was the person who mentioned A.S. Neil and Summerhill. I think the Summerhill experiment in the education department bears positive comparison with the Kingsley Hall/Soteria House experiments in the “mental health” department. Madness, if left unattended, has a way of resolving itself in the same way that freedom, natural pursuits, may prove more beneficial at teaching than compulsory learning by rote.

  • Romantic nihilists are romantic nihilists. Anarchists are advocates of self-government and voluntary associations rather than autocratic or “representative” government and coercive institutions; the word etymologically means “without rulers”.

    As for Vladimir Lenin, as many of those same anarchists have pointed out, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics isn’t what it used to be, being kaput. So much for Leninism. The same Leninism that recently, by collapsing, breathed new life into anarchy.

    Now that you’ve got Putinism triumphant in Russia, tell me, what kind of improvement is that!?

    You’re wrong about anti. First you have thesis, then you get antithesis, leading to a synthesis, and an outcome of the dialectical process. First explanations inevitably lead to revisions, that is, second, third, etc., explanations. A good lie may hold water for a short while, but inevitably, as a water container, it is going to be found inadequate. Ditto, as a wardrobe.

    This leads back to a variant of our chicken versus egg argument I mentioned earlier. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? A fundamentalist Christian might say God the father while a fellow with a more scientific Darwinian understanding of the world, might say, um, Tyrannosaurus Rex.

  • I don’t know how this is related to any original point about the anti-war movement being a ruse because it certainly was not a point I was making. I was only acknowledging that many of these people were only in it for the moment. I admired Abbie for not selling out. Jerry got into this “young upwardly mobile professional” thing (i.e. he took the cash and ran with it). Okay. It served him for a time I’m sure. Youthful rebellion over, all these upper middle class kids can go into business… to please dad. I’m not there. Some people sold out, some people didn’t sell out. I have a little more admiration for those with the fortitude not to sell out. Of course, I’m imagining that there is a place for not selling out. Too much corruption is just that, too much corruption. Your bargain, in other words, with the devil is not mine.

  • Counter stigma, and stigma by extension, IS a great marketing tool. Should one suggest, like a good antipsychiatry movement activist, that you don’t really need treatment, they would be, according to the prevailing theory, stigmatizing people who believe in the great God “mental illness”, and in their own innate incapacity. No need to get out of the treatment racket, no, you can’t do that, and people who don’t accept your sense of entitlement are stigmatizers. Also, then you might have to earn your own pay check. As is, who cares, so long as your service providers get paid?

  • “Three editors, David Horowitz, Sol Stern and Peter Collier, later denounced liberalism and became critics of the left. For a brief time, the magazine’s Washington correspondent was Brit Hume, now working for Fox News.”

    “Rennard Cordon “Rennie” Davis (born May 23, 1941) is a spiritual lecturer and venture capitalist who is best known for his prominent organizational role in the American anti-Vietnam War protest movement of the 1960s. He was one of the Chicago Seven defendants.”

    I heard Rennie Davis speak out against the Vietnam war at the anti-war moratorium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Same moratorium in which I heard Phil Ochs sing.

    “Davis later became a venture capitalist and lecturer on meditation and self-awareness. He is the founder of Foundation for a New Humanity, a technology development and venture capital company commercializing breakthrough technologies.”

    I always saw Jerry Rubin as something of a sell out, what with when he “Yupped out” as they say, after his Yippee days. Not so, Abbie. Of course, dying in close proximity to one another time wise, perhaps they can be remembered as something of a comedy team. It’s only a shame that Abbie managed to, whether intentionally or not, that’s still unclear with me, do himself in. Had he stayed on for a few more years, maybe we’d be associating the two names together less than we do.


    The nights, the railway-arches, the bad sky,
    His horrible companions did not know it;
    But in that child the rhetorician’s lie
    Burst like a pipe: the cold had made a poet.

    Drinks bought him by his weak and lyric friend
    His five wits systematically deranged,
    To all accustomed nonsense put an end;
    Till he from lyre and weakness was estranged.

    Verse was a special illness of the ear;
    Integrity was not enough; that seemed
    The hell of childhood: he must try again.

    Now, galloping through Africa, he dreamed
    Of a new self, a son, an engineer,
    His truth acceptable to lying men.

    December 1938
    Wystan Hugh Auden

  • Yeah, better to stick with nihilism than become a contradiction in terms.

    Problem with the anarchists is not a problem with the anarchists, it’s a problem with popular trends. Remember all the radicals associated with the anti-war and civil rights struggles of former times. There was this magazine way back when called Ramparts, and some of its editors, once the war was over, skipped over to the other side, and became right wing political commentators. There were also Yippees, politicized hippies (Jerry Rubin and Rennie Davis come to mind), who changed camp, jumping from socialist activism to money grubbing corporate lackeyism once a changing of the guard had occurred. This is to be expected. Some people, lacking convictions, are only in it for the short term.

    Once upon a time there was no American Idol, previously, in more revolutionary times, there had been a Battle of the Bands instead. Oh, for the good old days when it was all a matter of a Battle between the Bands. (The Hollywood entertainment industry, if you must know, has become something of a monopoly.)

    It’s not a more frightening world without witch doctors because shrinks–psychiatrists, short for head shrinkers–are the witch doctors for today.

    I don’t know. Who does? I would like to feel that absurdism is going to give way to sense someday.

  • There are competency hearings, OldHead, that would rule some people too incapacitated to manage their own affairs. When, after such a hearing, a guardianship is established for a person, their “best interest” is out of their hands, and decided by another party. It can be an excuse for forced treatment, and it is very problematic in other ways as well, being a prime example of paternalism. I wouldn’t call the “experts” who make these determinations so much more competent than the people they make the rulings over as I see prejudice, in large measure, as a guiding principle to the entire process.

  • In a related vein, Michel Foucault, in one of his College De France lecture series, “Society Must Be Defended” (2003), disputed the idea of “natural law” based upon “social contract”. In his lecture, he inverts the aphorism by Carl von Clausewitz, “War is the continuation of politics by other means”, coming up thereby with, “Politics is the continuation of war by other means.” This chicken versus egg type argument would seem to make “nature” a whole lot less genteel than one might, at first, imagine it to be.

  • It used to be “divine authority”. I see the question of whether or not there is any “natural authority” much more debatable than that of whether or not there is any “structural authority”. Of course, there may be what we might call an “acquired authority”. Children, for example, don’t tend to be as skilled as trained workmen. Either way, to my way of thinking, “natural authority” is kind of way up there with “divine authority”, or, to put it another way, in chimpanzee society, “natural authority” is authority possessed by chimpanzees.

  • “Historically, there have been three major forms of socialism — Libertarian Socialism (Anarchism), Authoritarian Socialism (Marxist Communism), and Democratic Socialism (electoral social democracy).”

    I don’t see how getting “some terms straight” is not part of this intellectual disagreement and philosophical conflict you are trying so hard to avoid entanglement in. What’s more, not all anarchism is individualistic, and, thus, non-socialist. If you will notice, one of the three forms of socialism mentioned above is described as ‘authoritarian’.

  • Just the other week I was at the 21st Annual International Conference for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP) conference in Toronto Canada. The keynote speaker there happened to be one Jacob Blum, a whistle-blower on government corruption in a previous Canadian administration. He spoke directly to many of the hardships faced by people who have exposed corruption, in terms of social and institutional malignment, and suggested that doing so almost makes some sort of psychotherapy a necessity for the party who undertakes such actions. I had, prior to this journey, just finished reading your book, and I thought, considering that such disparate ‘anti-authoritarians’ as Ralph Nader and Edward Snowden were covered within its pages, how truly relevant the text becomes to just such an event. Great work, Bruce. I hope your book is able to reach many people.

  • The WHO opened the door when it found that “depression” was rapidly becoming the leading cause of “disability” in the world. Here’s the pie, and there’s the “mental health” treatment industry salivating over the coming slices. The problem, supporting this “mental health” treatment industry, you’ve got the “mental health” movement. The “mental health” movement is a medicalization movement. If there is no “mental illness”, literally, all “mental illness” diagnosis represent examples of medicalization. Developing nations, of course, need to resist this importation of western medicine, but, really, people need to oppose the “mental health” movement because the “mental health” movement is the real impetus behind this spread and expansion of medicalization. It starts at home, and it spreads to infect the rest of the world. The antidote, antipsychiatry, means resisting this movement to spread phony “disease”, and the service industry that feeds off of it, everywhere, and, in fact, working to reverse it. Of course, that said, doing so goes against the interests of the service industry that gains through this expansion of medicalization. Win/win, except, of course, as far as everybody else is concerned. I wish you good luck when it comes to interjecting a few moral scruples and hesitations into the situation. That’s a start, I suppose, of course, but much much more is needed, not in terms of medicalization, but in terms of de-medicalization.

  • The war upon “mental illness” has devolved into a war on “stigma”, and you know, or, at least, you should know, how that is going to go down.

    We’ll just coax this little “mental illness” along, and maybe it will expand, and in the process fuel our treatment business. Good thing doing anything concrete about it is so “stigmatizing”, huh?

  • I dunno, OH. Counter stigma is kinda like buzz lingo for selling “mental illness”, and especially “chronicity”. You don’t need to get “better”, not when you can have one trendy “mental” condition or another, plus the nifty little government handouts that go along with them.

    At one time “mental illness” was “curable”, but now it is no longer “curable”…again. Make way for the “mentally ill” future, and it’s complement, of course, the “mental health treatment” dystopia.

  • Uh, I thought you said there was no “it”, OH.

    I think this anti-“stigma” stunt is just another way to sell invalidism. You know who they (the mh movement counter stigma campaigners) REALLY don’t like, don’t you? People who say they are anti-psychiatry. People who deny the existence of “mental illness”. Basically, anyone who says the treatment world isn’t the right place for you, me, and our brothers and sisters to waste our time, and the majority of our lives.

    I’m not there. You want to belong. Alright, go ahead, but not me, not me. I belong someplace else. Someplace where I’m not being screwed by all these phony baloney “helpers”.

  • R. D. Laing fancied himself something of a writer, okay, but he hardly came close in terms of numbers. Thomas Szasz authored more than 30 books I believe. I’d have to call that some kind of accomplishment.

    On top of this, unlike Laing and so many others, Szasz was consistently and adamantly opposed to forced “mental health” treatment. In this regard I consider him the psychiatric survivor’s friend.

    I’m not knocking Szasz.

    Did he have his faults. Sure. He thought anti-communist a complement, and his faith in a free market economy made his thought in some respects resemble Social Darwinism. However, his virtues outweighed his faults by far, and made him seem a head taller than his nearest competition.

    All in all, I’m not knocking Szasz.

  • Flooding the Market With Psychiatric Drugs WILL Increase Mental Disorders. I don’t think there is any need to seem so tentative. Here’s another example of the “mental illness” industry pretending somehow to be about producing “mental health”. It doesn’t result in “mental health”, it does result in increased “consumers” of the “mental health” treatments it “provides”.

    This is globalization of westernized medicine, although medicine is perhaps a misleading term to use. We have no doubt that if we provide the treatments (drugs), you will provide the patients (treatment junkies). We’ve knocked out the notion of free choice in order to have a steady supply of treatment customers, that is, revenue, and increased job security for members of the “helping” professions.

    Alright. Each and every one of you. Enjoy your invalidation vacation.

  • The way of all media more or less. Remember the A Brilliant Mind fiasco. In the film version of his life Ron Howard suppresses the fact that John Nash didn’t take neuroleptics, not thinking them beneficial, placing him on one of the newer ones, because he didn’t think it was a good idea to suggest to all mental patients that they could go off their drugs. This hospital prison idea, apparently, is a hard one for many folks to resist.

  • I don’t feel so poorly about Thomas Szasz at all. He exposed psychiatry for the thoroughly non-medical pseudo-science that it was (and continues to be). He’s not nearly so much of a witch doctor as your run-of-the-mill psychoanalyst who thinks he is “healing” people, and spends so much time going around in circles with them, and, as a rule, not making much progress, unless your idea of progress is all talk.

    As for being dragged to mass, Szasz was not Catholic. He was, I take it, a non-practicing Jew.

  • It is an issue though, despondent. Put profits over people, and where do you think the mass of humanity are going to be at? Running big corporations or slaving under them and suffering because of them? Medical treatment, not health, is a business, too, and if we value profits more than human beings, in the medical field, health and welfare are going to suffer as a result. Medicine should be about healing people, and it should not be about accumulating a personal fortune at the public’s expense. A fortune that can only grow with an increase in overall misery.

  • The country is paying bundles for treating people who aren’t sick with drugs that will make them sick, and ultimately cost much more money.

    These drugs used to control disobedient, rebellious, and non-compliant populations of people are not medicinal in the slightest. They are social control drugs. Chemical restraints. They cause conditions, in fact, that may require real medicine, and can be deadly. Dr. Peter Breggin uses the term neurotoxins to describe their actions, and that works with me as well.

  • Barack Obama was a disappointment for many people, not just because he persecuted more whistleblowers than any previous president in history, but because he was in the pocket of multi-national corporations. He appointed a man with drug company ties to head the FDA for one thing. My point, get the money out of politics. American politics stinks to high heaven of corruption. It is not only psychiatrists who are taking drug company blood money, politicians are taking this blood money, too.

    Next we need to oppose the mental health movement because it is not a health movement at all, it is actually a medicalization movement, and medicalization is making people physically ill. The country is paying bundles on treating people who are not sick, and through doing so, it is paying bundles by making them physically sick. All this insurance you speak of, the pressure to dole it out, and bankrupt the country, that pressure is coming from the mental health movement. We don’t need a mental health movement at all, what we need is a health movement. Create a physical health movement, and mental health will take care of itself. You just have to realize, the mental health movement is a physical ill health movement to realize where the problem resides.

  • I looked at the decision online, and, yeah. I was last incarcerated in 1997, years after this decision. Of course, it wasn’t in California, and states vary, with legal aid, in some instances, virtually nonexistent in some places. I have a little problem with the idea that people can be drugged after being ruled incompetent. I’ve seen people ruled incompetent, and such a ruling could have resulted (my cynicism) in more incompetency hearings and rulings.

    I agree about getting the information out there. I’ve seen people have seizures and heart attacks on neuroleptics, and you have those studies that have shown the high mortality rate. The drugs are crippling and killing people. The story that people need these drugs, or else they will commit some violent crime, is way over the top. Truth is, the drugs themselves are more dangerous, as a rule, than any of the people being targeted for treatment.

  • Yes, thanks Sera. I will have to see this.

    I really have a hard time though grasping the legal significance. Involuntarily committed a number of times, I didn’t consent to treatment, informed or otherwise. Is this about status, voluntary versus, or something else? I dunno. Once out of the hospital I was out of their hands.

    When big pHarma is getting bad press, and taking hits in the movie theaters, I think maybe MIA is having some kind of positive impact.

  • Abilify has been advertised as a “treatment” for “treatment resistant depression”. Abilify is, of course, a neuroleptic. My point is that if you are drugging 1000 or 100 people for every one person you might, according to theory, be able to “help”, that doesn’t make much sense. I would also suggest that there has to be a question as to how deeply entrenched, in that one percent, their “ailment” is lodged. We don’t know, for instance, how much of it might be antidepressant related, that is, maintained by a certain degree of toxicity in their treatment.

  • I disagree with the idea that “political ideology has no place in assessing the efficacy of antidepressants” because I agree with you when you say “I don’t think there is evidence for a subset we can identify for whom antidepressants work”.

    “Open dialogue and psychosocial and recovery projects” exist within the “middle health” bubble, but most professionals, let alone psychiatrists, just aren’t there, that is, they aren’t there in the ‘alternative medicine’ corner of that bubble. The “mental health” bubble pops when medicalization, exposed for the fraud that it actually is, given public education campaigns, meets massive populist physical resistance.

    I don’t think the vast majority of psychologists, as you say, “get it”. Psychologists don’t have such a big role because they don’t want a bigger role. They have restricted their activities, in the main, to treating less “serious mental illness”, so-called, leaving the business of playing a prominent role in the more totalitarian institutions to psychiatrists.

  • I’m not sure that would work, however, there is always the old fashioned way, that is, lie.

    Hmm. Really? Is that what that is all that is about? I didn’t understand what you were asking.

    You think they are going to have cops looking over your shoulder. I don’t think so.

    Did I? Really? How do you know? You have a detective checking up on me?

    Everybody has to make sure their alibi holds together, but, come on, it’s just a question on a form. I don’t see anybody doing a lot of time for giving a “wrong” answer.

  • Breach of privacy! They shouldn’t be doing this in public schools, not when it’s none of their business, and it’s none of their business.

    1. They’re prejudicial (Do you really think mental health treatment equals violent behavior?).
    2. Privacy is breached. (See above.)
    3. Another stupid law has been added to the books. (Stressing the need for a dumbest law prize to be awarded every year to state legislatures throughout the USA.)

  • Yeah, OldHead. Anybody who doesn’t think it’s alright to harm people with pharmaceutical products should get behind Peter Gotzsche. I was grateful to hear of him telling the truth about these substances in Europe, and now, the powers that be have done what you would expect them to do anyway. Hopefully they don’t succeed in suppressing that truth altogether. We know what is going on there, but resignation is not the answer.

  • My arguments are not being made from the perspective of operating within capitalism. If “mental illness” is bogus, it’s not going to be any less bogus under socialism. I’m just saying that in both instances the government doesn’t need to be paying for it.

    As for corporations, we’re talking multi-national corporations, that’s how you get run away industries and hidden Swiss bank accounts. They’re still there, even after socialist revolutions, you just hope your socialist government will maintain more control over their business dealings locally.

    I suppose that last line concerns “privatization”. “Privatization” of schools, loony bins, and prisons. Yes, you’ve got collusion there between business and government, however, if people mattered more than profits, we wouldn’t be going there in the first place. When government is mainly a place for a greedy elite to line their pockets, well, that’s what you get. We’re a long way from direct democracy, and so, with representative democracy, the joke is that nobody is truly represented.

  • If, OldHead, there is no “mental illness” as you keep claiming, then socialism cannot be a matter of the taxpayer subsidizing the “mental health” system.

    As for citizens and socialism, as most of us are required to pay taxes, it depends on who you ask, and here you get into those big government little government arguments that I am not going to get bogged down in.

    Corporations have received all sorts of tax breaks as business incentives under the theory that tax relief allows them to expand and build, and thus helps the economy, employment and all that. You’re not hurting big corporations, in other words, by taking government money. What do we keep hearing? Oh, yeah. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. So much for nanny state would be socialism.

  • Yes, Steve, from each according to, and to each according to, the problem is, who decides this issue of “need” and “ability”? It is never so simple as it might seem on paper. For example, given discrimination and prejudice, do we call that “need” or “ability”? Doctors decide it on the basis of the DSM, and a lot of people have issues with their decisions there. You can trash people by not giving them a chance, or you can give them a chance. It’s just a number in the DSM, and that number means a lifetime of disability and disability payments. Hey, the label, the condition, comes with a bill of goods, and, frankly, I’m not buying it.

  • Basically, OldHead, you seem to think socialism consists in paying people to subsist, and I don’t think that is the case at all.

    If people work for themselves, they aren’t working for capitalists. If people don’t work, well, they aren’t working class, are they?

    I’m not saying capitalism is a good thing, it isn’t. I’m saying capitalism uses its under and unemployed for more than merely a reserve labor force. Opting out of the work force can be a way of serving capital as well. It certainly isn’t forming a union and going on strike for better wages and conditions.

  • Excuse me, since when did leftists become advocates of not working. Nobody is stealing from the bourgeoisie if the bourgeoisie is stealing from everybody, and then laying aside this money to prevent trouble from the–what do we call it–not working class, maybe the dysfunctional class. Is THAT better than displaced class? I don’t think being dismissed from the labor force or significance, really, a good thing. In the case of such invalidation, re-validation can become difficult to achieve.

    I like to think people would like to be contributing to something besides the social burden, but, of course, I could be wrong. That national debt is growing all the time.

  • The false science of psychiatry supports this system of state subsidies. They are intimately linked. If you want to get rid of one, you’re going to have to get rid of the other.

    In the old days (the middle ages), you didn’t have so many ‘natural fools’ requiring ‘keepers’, but today, when the state is the official designated ‘keeper’, you’ve got ‘fools’ crawling out of the woodwork just to be ‘natural’.

    All I can say is, there has GOT to be a better way of doing things.

  • I just think there might be a way to get non-“sick” people to start thinking and acting like non-“sick” people again, for the benefit of society as a whole. Of course, we don’t have to do that, do we? Not when we can scrap common sense altogether.

    For example, rather than rehabilitation in which people pretend to be working, how about some of these places contract some kind of real public works project that would lead somewhere and produce something that would be lasting. Instead of “Oh, no, we can’t do that. You see, these people are totally dysfunctional.” Sorry, they’re all through, are they? Totally useless? What WAS I thinking!

    I consider, you see, job programs an improvement over permanent vacation programs. Of course, all kinds of people could be permanently “out to lunch” as they say. Whaddya do? Shrug ’em off?

  • Mental health treatment and insurance fraud go together like a horse and carriage, etc.

    How do you differentiate between malingering and “illness”? How do you distinguish between disability and insurance fraud? Well, actually, given psycho-social disability, you don’t have to do so as both are pretty much the same thing.

    Guaranteed basic income, are you kidding!? How does such compare with minimum wage? Is it above or below average? You gonna get 15 $ an hour for doing nothing? Call it zazen or something. Your view seems to be that a guaranteed annual income and the nanny state are the same thing. If so, to quote Groucho Marx, ‘I’m against it’.

    Jobs over nonsense! I really don’t think the “sickness” pretense an improvement over a meaningful existence.

  • There you go with that non-compliance spiel. How can the drug companies lose when not taking your drug is deemed such a offense…against who?…humanity? medicine? What an advertising scheme, and, amazingly, it’s one that works.

    You’ve got a billion dollar industry doing what billion dollar industries do. If you were looking for Mr. Nice Guy. Try the cubicle on the ward. He’s probably either shuffling the halls, playing cards, or glued to the community TV set drooling all over hisself.

  • This is where the system is, was, and will be at, and so no surprise as far as I’m concerned. A belief in the great god “mental illness” requires the ritual sacrament of a periodic pill at the altar of devotion. It is not, and it never has been, health that drives people here. The driving principle is business interest and profitability. How do you sell drugs? If Johnny goes off his “meds”, he’s going to go loony, and that means, in the sensationalized media and industry propaganda, violence. If you don’t keep doctors with drug company ties off your boards and out of your organizations, this is the general direction in which things proceed. Science? Medical science, if it ever had anything to do with medical science, lost out a long time ago. This is all about appearance, not substance.

    I think you could improve outcomes, lessen harm, save lives, and so forth by eliminating drug use altogether, but 2 % instead of whatever excessive figure it is today would be a great improvement.

  • Marxian class analysis is about relationship to the means of production.

    Sure, and where you stand in that relationship. Do you own the means of production, or do you sell your labor to operate that means of production?

    Pardon me if I resort to Wikipedia by way of explanation.

    The view that identity politics rooted in challenging racism, sexism, and the like actually obscures class inequality is widespread in the United States and many other Western nations; however, this framing ignores how class-based politics are identity politics themselves.

    The source is listed if you want to look into it.

  • You, Richard, and OldHead, have been complaining about identity politics. I realize that you are going at it from a Marxian perspective, but I also realize, as pointed out before, that Marxism can be critiqued as a brand of identity politics itself when it comes to proletariat versus bourgeoisie.

    While identity politics in itself is divisive. One group realizes that it’s interests do not necessarily correspond to the interests of another group. It can also be unifying in that various groups can see where their interests are joined with that of their fellows who belong to other groups. In this sense, it is simple realism.

    Alright. I’ve said my piece. While we do not agree, I respect your opinion, I think you are entitled to it, and I await your blog post. I wouldn’t expect, if you were doing so, that such a article is likely change many minds, but it should be good for some interesting discussion on the subject nonetheless.

  • I picked up 4 definitions from the internet, Oldhead, that I laid out there in an earlier comment. We could go back to it if you wish. I really don’t think Richard is under any obligation to define his terms when anybody can resort to the dictionary.

    Anti-psychiatry survivors doesn’t work for me, however, if you had written anti-psychiatry psychiatric survivors that would have done it. I’m sure psychiatry might point to a whole bunch of anti-psychiatry casualties, but, you know, those folks are pretty biased, turning a blind eye to the casualties for which they are directly responsible.

  • What is the premise behind “mental illness” labels? “Mental health”, of course. If “mental illness” is only a metaphor, a figure of speech, so is “mental health”.

    I’m gratified to see demonstrations erupting all over the UK. They should be erupting all over the rest of the world as well. The Global “Mental Health” Movement is a actually global medicalization movement, and, as such, it needs to be opposed.

  • Not being a “mental patient”, nor a “psychiatric inmate”, I don’t think your language game sufficiently clear in that regard, which is to say, I’m not going to identify as an “exmate”. “Exmate”, to my way of thinking, is too close to “peer”. You have the “mental health” authorities trying to control people through specialized language. The language of disease and the language of treatment. Okay. The only language I need is the language that exposes that system of social control for what it is. I prefer to severe myself from the “mental health” system completely and to put it behind me.

  • Both. I think theory grows out of practice rather than the other way around. Theory without practice is kind of very lame.

    Do I equate action (without quotations marks in this case) with “demonstrations, arrests, screaming mobs, etc.”? Not exactly. We’ve been talking about conferences, too. Conferences are actions. Conferences and periodic meetings. Things that can lead to other actions. Meetings that come up with agendas. Agendas that can then be carried through. Checking off items on a list is, I would think, better than no items and no list.

  • I’m a quarter of the way through Resisting Illegitimate Authority now, and all I can say is, if the rest of the book is like what I’ve already read, I’d highly recommend people read it. I think it directly speaks to what a lot of us are going through, and to what we have to deal with in life. I’ve got another of Bruce’s books on my shelf, but, by way of contrast, I’d have to say this one takes the cake.

  • I’m not out to bash theory, OldHead. I really didn’t realize this discussion you were having was so very theoretical as you would suggest. Nothing wrong with emphasizing theory so long as you don’t over emphasize it. Let me just add that I wouldn’t want to neglect practice either. Without practice, if it were music we were making, I don’t think we’d be getting very far beyond cacophonic noise, and sometimes it would leave me with the feeling that we really needed to work on our harmonies.

  • I don’t have a high opinion of experts, OldHead, I have a much higher opinion of members of oppressed groups. I know some members of oppressed groups who got to be members of those oppressed groups solely on account of the opinions of so-called experts.

    I think practical matters always outweigh any theoretical considerations. If we’re going to build a broad based movement, we don’t want to put too many obstacles in the way of doing so. This “definition” business is one of those obstacles that we just don’t need.

    “Plus before you can have a “rank & file” you need an organization.”‘

    Wrong. Before you can have any leadership you need an organization. The rank and file is out there. You are having discussions with them right here and now at MIA.

    Also, you want to identify your opponents. You want a position paper composed. You want those definitions you are talking about. Those are things that come out of an organization. They could be the results of committee meetings. A movement in minutiae, or a few small particles of it. When you have that organization, doing so is no longer theoretical, no longer an abstraction.

    At this level of abstraction, should you want to be heard, your only recourse is literary, publish or perish, otherwise, without the collective effort of an organization, it’s going to go nowhere.

  • Who? You’ve got the “C/S/X” movement, as it has been called, to blur that line.

    I call myself a survivor just the same as people who have experienced rape, assault, torture, and everything short of murder call themselves survivors. Anybody else can call themselves what they will. Thing is, I don’t see encouraging people to “consume” or “use” therapy, especially drug therapy. It’s like a tit that they just can’t get over, only the poison this mental health treatment tit lactates is deadly.

  • Well, calling people “outmates” is why I had to pull back from what would be your terminology, OldHead. If the contrast is between inpatients and outpatients, I reject the mental patient role entirely. Survivor is relative, but some “consumer/users”, or “outmates”, if that’s your term for the same, have survived psychiatry only in so far as it hasn’t yet killed them. They’re psychiatric victims who have not yet completely succumbed to the ravages of harsh circumstances and excessive doping.

    Were the world to stop locking up people for being different, there goes your precious mental health system. I don’t think people should be criminalized and medicalized (disempowered, marginalized, etc.) in such a fashion. You only have so very very many outpatients because inpatient incarceration started in the first place. Get rid of the system, and such people, left to their own devices, will once again be free to be themselves.

  • That, coupled with “mental”, is what we were called, and so we countered with a demand for mental patients’ liberation.

    There was a point when I was a psychiatric prisoner. I dunno? Does ex-psychiatric prisoner work any better for you? I think ex- or former mental patient sufficient. Everybody knows what “mental patient” means, and everybody has some clue that the whole “mental illness” thing is mostly bogus. I was never ‘patient’, nonetheless, you play the game or you don’t leave the prison, uh, I mean “hospital”.

  • Realistically, every oppressed group is likely to see its own interests as superseding those of any other oppressed group, and when it comes to waiting for the most oppressed to receive justice before starting the struggle of your own, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    You don’t want the person with the anchor tied around their ankle to drag you under with them. Usually, it’s a situation of, as the song goes, “live and let die”. Enough people go, and you’ve got extinction. Not a good result at all I would imagine.

  • Admittedly, I’m not out to challenge Richard over his position although I think it is the wrong position. I’m not sure how possible survivor-led antipsychiatry would be anyway, our numbers being somewhat slim. I don’t see a specifically survivor antipsychiatry movement taking off anywhere, although there are a few groups that would try to be such. I think it is going to take an alliance with dissident professionals, and other like minded people, to make any kind of real movement of it.

    As for identity politics not having a consistent meaning, I can give you a few dictionary definitions, and anybody who wants to can reach their own conclusions about consistency. I tend to think that the psychiatric survivor movement itself arose out of identity politics, and so my view is probably not so consistent with your view.

    I particularly liked the definition given by Dictionary dot com, so let’s start there.

    identity politics

    noun (used with a singular or plural verb)

    1. political activity or movements based on or catering to the cultural, ethnic, gender, racial, religious, or social interests that characterize a group identity.

    Then there is Google.

    i·den·ti·ty pol·i·tics

    noun: identity politics

    a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.

    Also Merriam-Webster.

    identity politics noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
    Definition of identity politics

    : politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group

    Finally, Wikipedia.

    Identity politics are political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. Identity politics includes the ways in which people’s politics are shaped by aspects of their identity through loosely correlated social organizations. Examples include social organizations based on age, religion, social class or caste, culture, dialect, disability, education, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, generation, occupation, profession, race, political party affiliation, sexual orientation, settlement, urban and rural habitation, and veteran status.

    Alright. Yeah, Something like that, and I’m done.

  • Definitions are out there, OldHead, and the internet gives us easy access to them. It’s not like that is something we have to come up with by scratch. You just go to a search engine, type ‘identity politics definition’ into the search box, give a click of the mouse, and see what this or that dictionary or encyclopedia says. There’s no need for anybody to fabricate anything just to please you. Want an idea of what I’m getting at? Google, Lycos, Yahoo, whatever people use these days… It’s out there somewhere. Trust me.

  • Let me get this straight, if CMH is an acronym for community mental health, you are praising outpatient, for lack of a better word, institutionalization. I suggest that CMH, if it means community mental health, and community mental health system by extension, is not non-institutional, but is very institutional bureaucratic, and something someone might, if that someone could at all do so, strive to avoid. I think there is a place for safe houses and that kind of thing, but even there, mostly outside of the conventional mental health system entirely, even if that mental health system is in the community.

  • When class struggle can actually be conceived as an identity politics conflict, I have my doubts about your way of perceiving this matter, OH. All politics, and especially all identity politics, in other words, is not a matter of white privilege. And I don’t think the self-indulgence argument flies where we are talking about assemblies of oppressed people, identifying as such, collectively seeking redress.

  • I have a big problem with the notion of the world as a minimum security prison. It just doesn’t sit well with me at all. I prefer prisons you can bust out of. Outmate as the obverse of inmate doesn’t take us far enough out of that confined and suffocating environment. I think I would prefer freedman rather than some modification, as I take outmate to be, of prisoner. I’d have much the same reaction if it were a modification of the word slave that we were using. When my shackles are gone, I like for them to be gone, thank you very much. Even a shackled mind is a little too much of a burden, that is, fettering, to suit me. You can keep to your cell if you prefer, me, I making my way unto some kind of more spontaneous situation. I’m not in favor of imprisoning myself, and when I’m at liberty, well, I’d rather remain at liberty than punish, in one fashion or another, as an innocent party, myself.

    Community “mental health” is BS, too, isn’t it? The outpatient system? Now there’s another word that is too close to psychiatric prisoner for comfort. I’d skip the patient business instead. Let somebody else pretend to be “sick” for the length of their time on this planet. For my part, I’m well (Dig the pun!) over it.

  • I don’t have any more faith in the God of the Christians than I do in “mental illness”, the God of the “mental health” religion and the church of psychiatry. Superstition, last time I looked, was still superstition, and disputed by the empirical evidence as revealed through logic, the scientific method of research, and plain common sense. This quarrel between reason and folly, between faith and philosophy, between skepticism and devotion, has been going on a long time. You stick to your side and I will stick to mine, and we will see where we end up eventually…with the worms, or with the angels. Or maybe we won’t see, as the borg moves in mysterious ways.

  • A quick internet search gives me two definitions for outmate, neither one of which I have much use for.

    First the slang, or urban dictionary, definition.

    A technical term used by homeless shelters and social services to refer to homeless in their day service programs, that avoids euphemism such as “guest” in order to sound tough. inmates, outmates, just like inpatient and outpatient.

    attention b-ms. all outmates must report to the intake officer before being admitted to the feeding facility.

    As if people were stuck in social services for a lifetime. I suppose you could put on a tombstone Wayoutmate, presuming, of course, one attained heavenly services rather than damnation services.

    Hmm. Would that make the opposite conclusion, Wayinmate? I really don’t know.

    I don’t like social services, inpatient or outpatient, preferring good old self-reliance and wily resourcefulness, or human ingenuity instead. Middle finger somebody else, thank you.

    Second definition.


    Uh, perhaps, or, as with heavenly versus damnation services, perhaps not. Especially not if you meet someone even more proficient at whatever game it is you happen to be playing, and quadrupal especially not if that game happens to be the game of living a life.

    I don’t mind psychiatric survivor. I use it as one would the word holocaust, or the word rape, coupled with the word survivor. It contrasts sharply with non-survivor, casualty, or, in plain English, cadaver. Some people don’t seem to realize that certain other people are not cadavers without a little bit of reminding.

  • Generally I think identity politics has more to do with the identity of the group having the discussion than with that of any individual. Definitions are out there, no need for Richard to fabricate one, but if he does come up with something, okay.

    I haven’t wanted to enter the fray on this issue because of the flack identity politics has received of late coming from at least two directions that I know about. 1. The right of the Democratic party has used identity politics as a scapegoat for the Trump victory. Laughable, perhaps. 2. Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white Supremacist groups, have appropriated the term to suit their own nefarious purposes, agendas, and designs.

    Those right-wing groups aren’t doing so well. They are a minority group even in the area of identity politics. I guess that gives identity politics of other groups some clout, and an edge.

    Way back when there was this thing about ‘the personal’ being seen as ‘political’. So long as ‘the personal’ is ‘political’, I think there will be a place for identity politics. Also, I don’t see how identity politics doesn’t relate when it comes to the matter of gender identity. For some groups, where is the political action, as a group anyway, without identification? I’ve seen the psychiatric survivor movement as a matter of identity politics, too. Cease to identify with that movement, and either you’ve found a “cure” (for the illusion of “illness”, not “the illness”, of course), or you must be perfectly content in the “patient/consumer/user” (obedient submissive) role. I think that, beyond class warfare, there is something to be said for standing up and fighting back beside ones compeers.

  • I don’t think anyone wants to exclude psychiatric survivors from any antipsychiatry organizing efforts, nor do I think it would be possible to organize without confronting issues concerning power disparities, and, ultimately, social justice issues. We need both psychiatric survivors and professionals on board if we’re ever going to get anywhere as a movement. I think Richard understands this, OldHead, but returning the psychiatric survivor movement to the positions it took in the days before the government funding Alternatives debacle, I don’t think that is going to happen. The movement we once had is kaput, dead. It has been co-opted, totally hijacked, and so that leaves forging an entirely new one among the holdouts from the days before that usurpation took place with their allies and potential allies as our only viable option.

  • If the movement is the opposite of itself, we’ve got a contradiction, maybe hypocrisy, certainly dishonesty. I think we’ve got more than one movement here anyway, and I’m picking sides. I don’t know who YKW is unless you’re blaming everything on Joseph Rogers, and that has got to be a joke. I’m focused on fighting medicalization, medicalizatin borne of the “mental health” movement (and industry). I don’t see psychiatry as a power without the “mental health” movement. As I’ve said, there’s a whole psy-complex out there, and to blame EVERYTHING on psychiatry is to wear blinders, but, perhaps, in this instance, stylish blinders of your own design.

  • Then you see no purpose in most patient advocacy groups. (Me, too. I’m certainly not advocating bondage to the “mental patient” role.) My point, among people impacted by the system, we’re the minority, but then there are others out there among the general public that we can appeal to, and that see the absurdity of the system. 75 – 80 % of the population needs no long term “mental health” “care”. It doesn’t seem to me that most of those people are pro-psychiatry, not when the mental health system threatens to upset their particular apple-carts. If they were, why, then they’d be “in treatment”, wouldn’t they?

  • Exhaustion, OldHead, I think the steam just ran out. Otherwise there would have been an International Conference on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression in 1986. I think there was a little bit of a betrayal on the leadership end, too, but you’re talking about the people who had been doing all the work, and so too much can really get to be too much.

    Also, the government knew what it was doing in buying off the movement. Trade conferences we paid for with those financed by the federal government, and what have you got? No, not traders. Traitors is more the word I had in mind.

    As I’ve said, I think we need to oppose the “mental health” movement. It is not a “mental health” movement at all, it is a “mental health” treatment promotion movement. Alternative medicine is still medicine, or rather, quackery. Whatever the movement became has made a heavy investment in medicalization in recent years. We need to realize that we’re back at square one, and that we should start over again clean, as I was saying, like in 1969/1970. We need a movement against what the movement has become.

    More to the point, there is that distinction to be made between the psychiatric survivor movement and the antipsychiatry movement. Overlap occurs, sure, and that is good, but we can only expect so much from those who are weak (or perhaps the more precise term is dishonest), and determined to err.

  • Perhaps I need to clarify. If the slogan went abolish institutional psychiatry! I’d be totally on board. I have no use for medical facilities designed to serve people without medical conditions. If that’s what is meant by abolish psychiatry then I’m with you, however go beyond that, and I think it is matter of coming up with another stupid law with which to infringe on peoples’ basic freedoms, and I have a real problem with that. I can’t see maintaining psychiatric prisons pretending to be hospitals. If a person wants counseling (or fellowship), that’s another matter. Etymologically shrinks are “soul doctors”, and in my book, that’s not science, that’s religion, and you know the kind of trouble governments get into when they try to prohibit religious practices.

  • Abolishing slavery was a much simpler matter than abolishing psychiatry ever will be. Psychiatry is not only what’s in the hospital system, or the public “mental health” system, it’s also psychoanalysis and private practice. All psychiatry is not coercive. I don’t say abolish psychiatry because I think you’ve got the revenge motive at play there, and it can become a matter of overkill. Infringe on the freedoms that we all share at the world’s peril. I do say abolish coercive non-consensual psychiatry, abolish forced treatment. I don’t say treatment must be forced on psychiatrists.

    Richard connects psychiatric treatment with the capitalistic system, and says you have to get rid of capitalism to get rid of psychiatry. I see a connection in that capitalism can make survival difficult, and thereby contributes to the “mental health” morass we currently have to contend with. I don’t think ending psychiatry would bring down capitalism, nor do I think we must wait for a socialist revolution to abolish coercive psychiatry because that is unlikely to happen. Connecting both these matters is a way to complicate bringing about either.

    I think equality and social justice are important issues that we will all eventually have to deal with. I’m a left-winger. I think it is up to us to influence the left on the matter of doing something about psychiatric oppression, and not the other way around. I do see the struggle of people impacted by the “mental health” system as being connected with the struggle of oppressed people everywhere against their oppressors, and for a meaningful place in the world.

  • I don’t think medical model psychiatry is entirely an invention of capitalism, and I don’t think the end of capitalism would mean the end of psychiatry, and vice versa. I do however agree that we can and should “move forward in some kind of political unity”.

    I think your political approach, Richard, is, in some regards, doctrinaire and dogmatic. I also feel that the antipsychiatry OldHead envisions would itself be doctrinaire and dogmatic. I myself am out of the box, and I’ve scrapped the book. I would like to see us working together for those ends in which we are in favor.

    The reference to # 369 is merely a reference to anyone who is not an authority figure or a big name bozo in the system, say, someone who has a physical deformity, or someone who is of a minority race, or perhaps someone who doesn’t conduct him or herself in what is thought to be a proper manner. # 369 is just a number from among the many in the crowd. You could have a Q and A sometime, but intentionally or not, cut it off before # 369 is even heard. Get me right, # 369 is not Everyman, # 369 is # 369. # 369 could even be a mailbox number. Sometimes that happens.

  • I think Bonnie has got something there about maintaining this distinction between the antipsychiatry movement and the psychiatric survivor movement. There is cross-over, but these movements are never going to be identical. When it comes to leadership roles, I’m wouldn’t make any assumption not borne of practice.

    Basically, Richard, I don’t think the fall of capitalism means the fall of psychiatry, nor vice versa. That ‘problems in living’ are connected with the economic system goes without saying. I think though we can agree in desiring and working for the fall of both psychiatry and capitalism. Your position itself is a little too authoritarian for my tastes. Sure, Marx and Engels stacked the deck in favor of their own philosophical system, however, # 639 has got a lot to say, too, if only we’d listen. I think leftist radicals need to work together, and that’s the only thing that gets to the heart of the matter here as far as I’m concerned.

  • If you look at the lists of pseudo-sciences online at Wikipedia you will not find Chemical Imbalance Theory among those listed, however you will find Alternative Medicine and Psychoanalysis have made the list. Could it be that we have an example of pseudo-science versus pseudo-science here? There is even, among those listed, a place for parody pseudo-science, but at no point does it mention pataphysics. I guess it’s official then, pataphysics is science.'Pataphysics

  • We’ve basically got a non-anti-psychiatry survivors’ movement as is, in the states, the question is how to make an anti-psychiatry movement out of parts of it. I think that’s a big problem. Right now, psychiatric survivor movement, “peer” movement, “consumer” movement, recovery movement, “disability” movement, etc., are thought of as the same thing. Do we need a psychiatric survivors’ movement against the psychiatric survivors’ movement? I think, indeed, yes, in a sense, we do.

    Libertarian and capitalism don’t of necessity go together. Some people value liberty AND social justice. I don’t, in other words, equate libertarian with leissez faire “free” market capitalism, nor do I equate it with multi-national corporate imperialism.

    Those of us who are left-wing could see a more organized anti-psychiatry movement as a way of influencing the left as well. When you have leftist anti-psychiatry organizations, well, the left is more likely to consider you part of its own, and out of that comes cross-pollination.

    A movement should involve many organizations–left, right, and center–but you know where you stand politically, and so do I. If we want to have an influence on the left, one way of doing so is by being friendly with it, and not trying to alienate that left-wing from us any more than it already is, as we could, in that matter, actually succeed.

    I’m not such an apologist for our current head of state as you, OH, seem to be. If you wanted, you know, you could always go alt right, but that’s not a direction that I would recommend. Of course, you are your own person, and you are going to go in whatever direction you see fit.

  • Where have you been? SAMHSA was funding Alternatives until the Murphy bill became law and took care of that. Now its funding is coming from the NEC. I didn’t say Alternatives had bitten the dust, it hasn’t done so. Alternatives is still around, it just isn’t funded any longer by the federal government. How long can this continue? No idea. Not my problem.

    I’m not as optimistic as you are regarding the movement we used to have. I don’t think it was killed by any conscious decision to do so. Pulling off those International Conferences on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression was a lot of work that fell on the shoulders of a very few people. Also, they weren’t paying for themselves, they were finding themselves in the black, somebodies pocketbooks must have been hurting. Some raging radicals way back when aging into toothless moderates might have had something to do with it, too. When the NIMH started funding Alternatives, somebody must have been thinking, I don’t have to knock my brains out to make this other conference happen any more, this represents my retirement pension.

    Okay, here we are, and the only way to patch things up, more or less, is to fashion a movement against the movement that exists, that movement which has replaced the movement we used to know. As I see it, we’re at the point where the movement was before 1969/1970 when the Insane Liberation Front got off the ground.

    Of course, I think the “mental health” movement is a problem, and nothing but a problem, and there are all these people who think the “mental health” movement is everything. I see it as the enemy. No way to change that, and if they see it as their friend, we can’t be on the same page.

  • In part, perhaps, but there was this matter of exhaustion, too. I think there were people who actually thought that now that they’re taking government money, bribes, the struggle was over, the war had been won.

    In 1985, you still had a Conference on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression. There was every expectation that another conference was going to take place in 1986. It didn’t happen. Then there was only “Alternatives”.

    At this point it is similar to a math equation. Now that you’ve got the corrupt, collusive, and compromised “Alternatives” movement, protecting human rights and ending psychiatric oppression are no longer the priorities they once were. It’s, like you say, a different movement.

    Now “Alternatives”, the conference, has been “unfunded”. Why? Too many antipsychiatry types is one excuse given. The other excuse is that money needs to be allocated to the theoretically under served “seriously mentally ill” the government is killing off with such rapidity and regularity. The “alternatives” conference was seen as a sanctuary for people with “minor mental illnesses” and thus a contributing factor in medicalization.

    Yeah, I know, without the discovery of any underlying physical “disease”, it’s ALL medicalization.

  • “Reformism” is “pragmatic”!? OH, I’m not knocking pragmatism, and I’m not attributing it to “reformers”.

    “A relatively small and easily manipulable clique”?

    Cynical, aren’t you?

    Manipulable, I don’t think is the appropriate adjective, unless, of course, you recommend psychiatry, otherwise, it is only a matter of simple realism. You start somewhere, and you don’t start ‘large’.

    I suppose one could add that there’s always Scientology.

    It looks like we’ve got a little gulf between the psychiatric survivor antipsychiatry movement and the antipsychiatry movement, but I’m not going to call it unbridgeable. The co-opted psychiatric survivor movement (mental patients’ liberation movement), morphed into the C/S/X (consumer/survivor/ex-patient) movement (mental patients’ movement), is not what it used to be. Ditto the antipsychiatry movement after much die off in the 80s and 90s. Most of the people in the sell out “peer” “alternatives” etc., movement are not antipsychiatry at all. They are exploitative “mental health” treatment hucksters. This is our reality, and the place I think we need to be starting from.

  • I’m not excusing capitalism, nor bypassing the establishment and development of socialism as a goal to be achieved.

    Szasz opposed collectivism, including communal living, to individualism. Individualism, and the market, don’t really go together. It takes a certain skill-set, and a social skill-set at that, to master the game of Monopoly. Monopolies are part of our present problem when anti-trust laws are no longer being enforced. Collective is not an antonym of freedom and/or responsibility, even if Szasz chose to treat it as such.

    Human rights are the other side of human wrongs. Inalienable, applied to rights, is overly optimistic. America’s “founding fathers” were in the main eighteenth century men, and children of the enlightenment. I’ve never read John Rawls, and I will probably never get around to doing so. All the same, his views look interesting, and maybe there is something to them.

  • I’m not against forming a left anti-psychiatry organization at all, Richard. I can agree with you on that. I just don’t think any anti-psychiatry organization need be leftist to have an impact. I’m saying I could see myself becoming involved in such a matter, but you have other people coming from different places who would, of course, see things differently. Any organization? I don’t know? If there were a left-wing antipsychiatry organization or grouping, yeah, sure, I’d want to participate. As for connecting ‘problems in living’ to capitalism…They are connected anyway, aren’t they? I’m saying though, that if you want a coalition, a mix of groups and organizations, you don’t want to exclude those people who sit on the opposite side of the issues seeing that, in this matter in some instances, the matter of toppling psychiatric tyranny, we are in agreement anyway. A left organization or group, sure, why not? All the same, I wouldn’t want to cripple our own efforts to overthrow that system by refusing to develop alliances with people with whom we might differ on other issues politically.

  • Why alienate potential allies when you don’t have to do so? I think making the overthrow of psychiatric oppression dependent upon the overthrow of the capitalistic economic system, and vice versa, throws in a completely unnecessary complication into the equation. If Slaying the Dragon of Psychiatry would weaken our movement by descrying alliances with other people beset by oppression, you do the same when you would tie getting rid of psychiatric oppression to economic and social revolution. I would be very wary of becoming too inflexibly rigid, and ideologically myopic. Were there a tunnel to be traveled through, we wouldn’t want it to become a living grave, would we? That which “the other world” and “the classless society” have in common is going to be with us for some time to come.

  • Elsewhere I read that O’Connor v. Donaldson fell short of being a “right to treatment” case in that it protected the non-violent from treatment, but it didn’t go so far as to force treatment on those thought to be violent.

    Note above, what it ruled was not that his “right to treatment” had been violated, what had been violated was his ‘right to liberty’.

  • Actually, if you look, the Donaldson case was about the ‘dangerousness standard’ more than “right to treatment”.

    “‘Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975), was a landmark decision in mental health law. The United States Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot constitutionally confine a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends. Since the trial court jury found, upon ample evidence, that petitioner did so confine respondent, the Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s conclusion that petitioner had violated respondent’s right to liberty.”'Connor_v._Donaldson

    “In terms of impact, Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563(1975) is probably the single most important decision in mental health law. It has been used by opponents of involuntary commitment (like the ACLU) to argue that it is unconstitutional to commit an individual involuntarily who is not (imminently) dangerous to himself or others.”
    The DJ Jaffe Channel

  • I’m not saying he was antipsychiatry, whatever that means.

    “While this book is primarily concerned with the overwhelming majority of state-hospital inmates who are not sick, the question always arises at my interviews and lectures what to do for the disturbed person, the so-called mentally ill.”

    Emphasis added.

    I’d say it was a little more than “right to treatment”, although that was involved, too.

    “The jury found that Donaldson was neither dangerous to himself nor dangerous to others, and also found that, if mentally ill, Donaldson had not received treatment”

    The “right to treatment” part worries me because that can become an excuse to administer neuroleptics, and, like I said, he wasn’t taking any of those.

  • Except for a short period, Donaldson had some sort of sweet heart deal with the hospital where he didn’t have to take neuroleptic drugs. I guess maybe this had something to do with his strength of character or the force of his will. There was never any indication, when I was confined, that not taking drugs was any sort of an option at all. (Maybe they thought I was dangerous.) I managed to tongue pills in the university hospital, but in the state hospital, they’d always check. I don’t imagine that anybody could have emerged from a hospital stay of 15 years relatively intact, and have taken neuroleptics consistently throughout. I’d say, if it was bad sitting it out for that much time, he was awfully lucky in that regard.

  • Some of my feelings about this matter have been influenced by my reading of Kenneth Donaldson’s Insanity Inside Out (1976). Donaldson weathered some 15 years confined to the hospital from the mid 1950s to early 1970s, challenging the system until he won his court case. His issue: the hospital wouldn’t release him because he refused to admit to having a “mental illness”. He was, in their view, not a danger to himself or others, but he wouldn’t admit to having a “mental illness”, and, therefore, the Mexican standoff. It took a landmark court-case to get him out of Florida State Hospital. Now I ask you. what does it take to stop playing the role of “mental patient”, and by “mental patient” I mean “mental patient”, “service consumer”, “service user”, “peer” and “psychiatric casualty” or victim? I’m really not one to excuse “chronic” mental health professionalism (adopting the oppressor role) in this matter either. “Liberation” or “cure”, you don’t get there by caving in. You can buy this notion that you’ve got a “disease”, and use it to get a job, treating other people for their “diseases”, or you can get over it (slander, abduction, incarceration, torture), and get on with the business of living. I just can’t see myself, in this instance, buying into the parasite paramid I see developing as a part of the infectiously expanding “mental health” treatment system–a system that can’t help but be medical model even when it denies being medical model.

  • “It was built in 1874, and opened in 1878…”

    ‘The entire campus was closed on June 24, 1992 and all patients were either transferred to the community or to other facilities.”

    “Chlorpromazine (CPZ), marketed under the trade names Thorazine and Largactil among others, is an antipsychotic medication.”

    “In December 1950, the chemist Paul Charpentier produced a series of compounds that included RP4560 or chlorpromazine.”

    “By 1954, chlorpromazine was being used in the United States to treat schizophrenia, mania, psychomotor excitement, and other psychotic disorders.”

    1954 to 1992. That adds up to 38 years of potential Thorazine use at Danvers. Thorazine, for a spell, must have been used to help Danvers manage it’s inmates.

  • By way of explanation…

    “Patient Critiques of the Asylum

    Despite numerous positive reports on asylum conditions, many citizens suspected that the new institutions hid terrible abuses behind their walls. First hand accounts published by disgruntled former patients fueled rumors of inhumane practices. Usually committed against their wishes, many patients did not believe they were insane and resented their treatment by relatives and physicians”…

    “Records left by patients describing their asylum experiences vary from letters expressing appreciation for the restoration of their sanity to bitter lawsuits against hospital and family. The complaints often centered around wrongful confinement: to commit a relative in the mid-nineteenth century families needed only to obtain a certificate from one physician (in some states, two) testifying that the individual was insane. Patient advocates, such as Haskell, whose family got their dentist to sign his certificate of insanity, descried the ease with which families could dispose of unwanted kin and take their property.”

    from Madness In America: Cultural And Medical Perceptions Of Mental Illness Before 1914. Lynn Gamwell and Nancy Tomes (1995), pg. 62

  • Oh, she did a lot to help the “disease” alright. She campaigned for more and more asylums. She thereby got more and more people locked up who could, by a slight stretch of the imagination coupled with a twist of phrase, be considered “afflicted”. and labeled “lunatic”. As for the “whoring”, I have absolutely no idea where her private life was at.

  • Alright. You should see some of the bozos who are among “the most honorable and respected men in the medical field” today. It would make one blush with shame.

    Francis Stribling of Western Virginia State Lunatic Asylum was friendly with Dorothea Dix, too. She, after all, is said to have been the inspiration behind the building of some like 40 such institutions. I, on the other hand, don’t care much for either of them.

    There weren’t THAT many institutions throughout the 18th century yet, but with the 19th century, chiefly on account of the moral reform movement, the numbers of patients were multiplied many times over. Just look at the great size of those Kirkbride monstrosities. Early in the 20th century, and riding on the tail-end of moral management, you have the mental hygiene/health movement. a movement that is still with us today in it’s efforts to medicalize every aspect of everyday life. Back up a few centuries. Maybe it was NOT such a good idea to lock up so many people?

    Ending restraints is a big problem for reformism. Two hundred since that began, with the demand to end restraints, and they still haven’t managed to do so. Why is that? I think it has something to do with the matter of not being serious about the matter in the first place. When you’ve got a captive population, if you haven’t got shackles, you’ve still got solitary confinement. Take off the restraints, and you’ve still got a prison inmate. Okay. When do we get around to talking about liberating all of the prisoner/patient/consumers. Seriously!

    I’m not against discussing history, I just want to stress that there is another side to it. Another side that you might miss altogether if you set your sights on doing so.

  • I guess we might have a problem with interpretation from my angle here, nonetheless, I don’t see antipsychiatry as a leftwing rightwing matter, that is, I wouldn’t want to unwittingly support psychiatry by encouraging divisiveness among us. I know Szasz had his issues with the east (and European) version of AP, however, I don’t think either should interfere with any efforts we make to blast that house of cards, institutional psychiatry, to kingdom come.

  • There are white supremacists and neo-fascists behind Donald J. Trump. He knows who helped put him in office. He can’t dis progressives without, at the same time, tossing a wink to the alt right. I’d say there might be a real danger of totalitarianism lurking about, but the danger is more pronounced from the right than it is from the left.

  • “Even those with the most cursory training in history and the most basic powers of reasoning comprehend that modern liberal progressives are the direct inheritors of Mussolini styled fascism and the very philosophies of eugenics that antipsychiatrists should most vehemently oppose.”

    Kinda don’t think so, Dragon Slayer. Doesn’t pass my smell test. The people who did the state the service of offing Il Duce were resistance fighters and communists, and I’m certain they would be very offended indeed with any effort made to connect them to the policies and actions of Mussolini.

    “On 25 April 1945, allied troops were advancing into northern Italy, and the collapse of the Salò Republic was imminent. Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci set out for Switzerland, intending to board a plane and escape to Spain. Two days later on 27 April, they were stopped near the village of Dongo (Lake Como) by communist partisans Valerio and Bellini and identified by the Political Commissar of the partisans’ 52nd Garibaldi Brigade, Urbano Lazzaro. During this time, Clara’s brother posed as a Spanish consul. After several unsuccessful attempts to take them to Como they were brought to Mezzegra. They spent their last night in the house of the De Maria family.

    The next day, Mussolini and Petacci were both summarily shot, along with most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra and were conducted by a partisan leader who used the nom de guerre of Colonnello Valerio. His real identity is unknown, but conventionally he is thought to have been Walter Audisio, who always claimed to have carried out the execution, though another partisan controversially alleged that Colonnello Valerio was Luigi Longo, subsequently a leading communist politician in post-war Italy. Mussolini was killed two days before Hitler and his wife Eva Braun committed suicide.”

    Emphasis added

  • You want your own blog? Is that it? Or are you and SlayingtheDragonofPsychiatry merely nitpicking? I don’t think you or SlayingtheDragon would be excluded from participation if you were accepted for a scholarship, which would include your qualms and anxieties about this or that. As I read it, you object to the scholarship program being offered though because you think it’s going to have some horrendous aftereffect on the world in general. Personally, I don’t see that happening.

  • I rather see this as part of the struggle to get minority studies and other sensitive issues into the classroom. Blow-back, flack, shrapnel, etc., it all comes with the job. Bonnie mentioned the slanders directed at Peter Breggin, and Thomas Szasz was, of course, very familiar with the same. I don’t see doing so as becoming a real boon for eugenic, or nugenic type programs, but all things, they say, are possible. I rather think there is more danger in not offering such research than there is in pursuing the matter wherever it should lead.

  • What rubbish, Paul Keith. The context is that of slanderous comments made elsewhere from people antagonistic to the introduction of certain topics into the educational sphere, as if these topics should be censored, and thus excluded from academic exchange, examination, and scrutiny. Of course, you have no problem ‘clicking and dragging’ this slander back to MIA. What’s the matter? You don’t have the creativity and originality to develop an argument of your own? The context is the title and subject of the very article you yourself are commenting on. It doesn’t seem to me that you are coming in on the side of academic freedom, quite the reverse, it seems to me that you don’t want these items included on the curriculum. If so, you don’t have send us on such a circuitous journey in making your point. A simple I don’t think mad studies or antipsychiatry or violence directed at indigenous women should be offered as research topics in institutions of higher education will do.

  • Well, not sure what that means, but I will go with what you were saying previously, that is, better do something than do nothing. I wouldn’t really call apathy good for anybody.

    I don’t think people will be taking a course that they can’t back out of if they chose to do so. I also think violence against indigenous women is something we need to look into, and something we really need to do something about, and providing a scholarship on the subject is as good a place as any to start.

  • I think it was Philip Sheridan who said, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead,” twisted in the popular mind into, the only good Indian is a dead Indian. So, in the case of indigenous people, we’re dealing with attempted genocide. (A word related to eugenics if you ever research the term.) Of course, indigenous populations are not the only people suffering oppression. When all those oppressed, marginalized, and disenfranchised people get together, what have you got? Why, then you’ve got a majority. After all, what we are not is the 1 percent.