Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • If the increased use of the Baker Act on young people in Florida is any indication, I would say that there is little to deter forced mental health treatment from seeking young people. I mean if you have a quota to be reached, you’ve got the unwilling subjects to be victimized right at hand. Need I say more?

    Wrongs are going to occur so long as young people are not granted rights, and as with older people, the right to refuse dangerous, damaging and unwanted treatments is chief among them.

  • Your last lockup was in ’74! Geez, what are you scared of when it comes to using your own name? My first lockup was in ’73. Don’t think they want me any more though, and I’m happy for that. I’m not doing my best impersonation of Borat either though. Of course, I always got prescriptions, too. The secret is to ignore them. For appearance sake alone though, there is that matter of, uh, if anybody asks, yeah, putting on a good show. I know there are people who are pressured into taking drugs, when somebody is not spiking their food, but, to paraphrase, what they don’t know, won’t hurt you.

  • As far as titles go, Recovery Rate Six Times Higher For Those Who Stop Antipsychotics Within Two Years seems weak to me. How about something more along the lines of Mental Illness Synonymous With Antipsychotic Drug Use? Next question, whatever would recovery rates be like among people never started on antipsychotics in the first place? Unfortunately, it seems few professionals are brave enough to seriously consider the matter from that prospective yet.

  • I am in complete agreement with the conclusion of your article.

    “While the genetic difference between individual humans today is minuscule – about 0.1%, on average – study of the same aspects of the chimpanzee genome indicates a difference of about 1.2%. The bonobo (Pan paniscus), which is the close cousin of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), differs from humans to the same degree. The DNA difference with gorillas, another of the African apes, is about 1.6%. Most importantly, chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans all show this same amount of difference from gorillas. A difference of 3.1% distinguishes us and the African apes from the Asian great ape, the orangutan. How do the monkeys stack up? All of the great apes and humans differ from rhesus monkeys, for example, by about 7% in their DNA.”


    However different people are, the differences between any two of them are not so great as that between any one human and a chimpanzee, and as you can see, the genetic divide there is not so gargantuan as one might suppose. The respective talent or brilliance in one human compared to another is dependent on less than 0.1 % of one’s genome. Is that to say that it’s the development of acting skills, alternatively one might say diplomacy, that really matter? Yeah, that’s what I think.

  • I consider the “bio-psycho-social” model of psychiatry merely a rationalizing of the “biological” model of psychiatry that is so prevalent today. If psychiatrists didn’t believe in some version of the “chemical imbalance theory” they wouldn’t be damaging their client/patients by giving them harmful psychotropic drugs. One thing psychiatrists within the public mental health system seldom do, and I figure it would be done if they weren’t so thoroughly under the spell of the drug industry, is to allow client/patients the option of going without psychiatric drugs. Even the arguments Dr. Ronald Pies is trying to make that we doctors don’t really say that sort of flies in the face of the fact that regardless of what they say they really do that sort of thing (strive to control behaviors with drugs) all the time.

    I feel that the so-called “bio-psycho-social” model of treatment, in the main, is just more “bio-bio-bio” psychiatry trying to cover for itself.

    Thanks for disputing Dr. Pies claims and for generating discussion on the issue.

  • Psychiatry was my path to antipsychiatry, if by psychiatry you mean confinement, drugging, and torture. First it begins with this notion that a person needs “help” whether the so targeted person wants “help” or not. Then that more or less innocent person, seen as needing “help”, gets assaulted by swarms of toxic “helpers”. If by psychiatry you mean force, oppression, numbed minds, etc., then antipsychiatry must mean liberation, joy, and clarity. If madness, the thing the mental health overlords want to suppress, were to resemble a slave rebellion, I stand with Spartacus, I stand with Nat Turner, and I stand with Toussaint Louverture, give me madness any day of the week over slavery.

  • Although I’m not so optimistic all told, great article. The fight goes on.

    Celebrate Anti-Psychiatry? You betcha! Psychiatry has done a great deal of harm, and the sooner people wise up to it the better.

    The struggle against psychiatry is actually older than the profession proper, and it continues. I see celebrating this struggle as a very good thing indeed.

    I would never wish psychiatry on a friend. I don’t think anybody else would either. Psychiatry is one of those things you do to people you don’t like as a rule. Personally, I think the world needs more love, and less drugging, labeling, and imprisonment in the name of “medicine”.

    People who care for people don’t psychiatrize them. I wish the practice was going to end tomorrow, however, I don’t think it will end that easily. Conceiving of it’s end is a first step to getting there. I think eventually we might be able to pull the money rug out from under the feet of the psychiatric establishment, and when the oppressor is not paid, he (and/or she) is going to move onto something else.

    Boycott psychiatry and eventually it will dry up and die. Such a death will mean a better world for all, and with nothing “other worldly” about it.

  • Well, I believe there could be professional snake-oil salesmen, you know, only psychiatric drugs, the prime “treatment” provided by psychiatry, is worse than snake-oil. Psychiatric drugs, especially those for the most so-called severe of conditions, are harmful, and someone would qualify the matter by calling them potentially harmful, a relative statement, there are some substances you shouldn’t be taking over a long period of time on a regular basis. There must be a knack to drumming up business by making certain gullible people progressively sicker and sicker, and if they literally aren’t sick to begin with, well, they end up that way. I suppose someone should be slapping someone in the face with a bladder bag, but who do you slap? The tricksters or the tricked? Perhaps both. That’s the way I see it. Certainly there are better ways to be spending one’s time than in a fruitless pursuit of run-away trains. Some wrecks might be prevented, sure, but some are going to happen regardless. Wising up though is bound to beat dumbing down, especially when the present “mental ill health” industry is dumb to the core. It is…How do you say? Oh, yeah! Stupid.

  • Generally speaking, I was thinking that disease theory was chemical imbalance theory, but here Dr. Pies seems to be suggesting that there is another disease theory besides the chemical imbalance one. If psych drugs don’t “correct chemical imbalances”, what is it that they do correct, because bad life styles are a matter of ethics, not medicine, and of evasion. Bad decisions are bad decisions, and no amount of “treatment” is likely to magically transform them into good decisions. Suspecting a lack of control at the level of biology, with no chemical imbalance behind it, eh? Okay, what is behind this lack of control if not a “chemical imbalance”? Bad genes? And are they not another expression for “chemical imbalance”? I tend to see conscious decisions there, even if the conscious decision is a matter of wearing blinders.

  • Yes, Autism is over-diagnosed. We hardly know what it is, if anything.

    The “mental illness” identity? Really? I don’t identify as “mentally ill”, let alone with any particular brand of “off” labeling. The “sickness” (i.e. scapegoating) industry , unfortunately, will continue to operate regardless.

    The thing being sold is “treatment”, the diagnostic label goes along with the “treatment”, like love and marriage, or, perhaps, better, crime and prison. The “cure” is realism. While disease may be a social problem, social problems are not diseases.

  • Dorothy Dix’s reforms only came rather late within the context of reforms that actually drove the expansion of imprisonment in the name of “mental health”. I tend to think the real problem began with early privatization, that is, an effort to profit off the scapegraces of the rich and aristocratic coupled with additional opportunities to extend treatment, mistreatment really, of the poor and disenfranchised. Although the aim was more compassionate treatment the reality inevitably became something else entirely.

    I tend to agree with OldHead on this one. You need to be selling “distressed states of mind” if you’re going to get anywhere with selling “compassionate listening”, and the “distressed states of mind” industry, as ever, is booming.

  • This is where the idea that only psychiatrists should be writing the history of their profession is so ludicrous and vulnerable. Edward Shorter says as much, only psychiatrists should write the history of their profession, but we know objectivity comes from those with some emotional distance from the subject of any study. Not only, in other words, should we be talking back to power, we should be using science and history to expose the wrong actions taken by people in power. History as cover up is not good history.

  • We should be looking at the power and wealth disparities between different people in the country. Improvements would be seen in lessening these disparities I’m sure.

    It is easy for those “in power” to make snap judgments about those deprived of such power. Children are innocent, and by innocent I mean that they are even innocent of the illusion of “meritocracy”, and that they are therefor relatively innocent of the myriad deceptions that help maintain imbalanced and unfair social relationships.

  • Yeah, and I was talking about this “peer specialist” business as a “sick” form of careerism. I’ve got nothing against kindergarten teachers either. I just think that, at one point or another, it’s time to leave the rubber nipple behind. “Peer specialism” can, and is, in some circumstances, what one might refer to as a “serious attachment disorder”.

  • Invent a disease and you’ve got a fictive ailment (schizophrenia). For this fictive ailment, a very real drug induced disease (Parkinsons) can be seen as the “cure”, replete with further and more devastating damage in the form of Tardive Dyskinesia, and now they’ve got drugs for the disease created by the drugs. For a get rich scheme, these big pHarma exes really knew what they were doing, didn’t they?

    The real dope is, maybe you’d be better off thinking about doing something besides…dope.

  • How about the difference in health between patients prior to 65 years ago and patients today? For one thing, there had to be a great deal less chemically induced brain damage back then, and heart damage, etc. Of course, perhaps they made up for a little of it with lobotomies, radical brain surgery.

    I hope people begin to get the idea that if they are going to be treating people for “mental ill health conditions”, they shouldn’t be treating them to brain damage, or other and further impediments to good overall physical health. Degenerative ailments are, duh, not likely to improve “mental health” one iota.

  • Since when has the mandated imperative of “patients” become to become “nurses” rather than to “get well”, or, rather, since we are so bogged down in the “mental health” quagmire, to “get over it”. I personally feel that there are many of us who would be better off if there was no “mental health” quagmire to begin with.

    I have ethical qualms about the “peer support” survival strategy but for an entirely different reason. I would compare the “peer support para-profession” to the prison trustee system that rightly was dispensed with a few years back.

    “The “trusty system” (sometimes incorrectly called “trustee system”) was a penitentiary system of discipline and security enforced in parts of the United States until the 1980s, in which designated inmates were used by prison staff to control and administer physical punishment to other inmates according to a strict, prison-determined, inmate hierarchy of power.”


    The idea of becoming a lifer in the “mental health” quagmire just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I would like to think that it was possible, indeed permissible, for people to exit the “mental health” quagmire, at one time or another, if they so chose. If fortunes, or rather, misfortunes, can’t change, well, we’re lost anyway, aren’t we? I’d prefer to think that fortunes can, do, and will change instead.

  • The new normal goes something like this: We are selling psychiatric conditions via their treatments (i.e. you need a diagnosis for a treatment). These treatments to manage the psychiatric conditions that go along with the treatments are drug treatments. Long term psychiatric drug use (our sole form of treatment) causes brain damage. Not to worry, we have more drugs to help you manage the brain damage you received from taking our pharmaceuticals. Come off pharmaceuticals? Perish the thought!

    If you’ve seen the recent ads on television promoting TD management, you know we’ve got a problem. How does one get TD? By taking psychiatric drugs. Whether consciously or not, the promotion of TD (brain damage) management drugs is not likely to cause any decrease in psychiatric labeling and the drugging that goes along with it. Quite the reverse. This phenomenon is likely to cause an increase in labeling, drugging, and the brain damage that goes along with them. We have to sell our brain damage management drugs after all, too.

    I’d say that perhaps we need to reconsider the old normal sometime, huh? Is selling a drug to treat the brain damage you got from taking a drug for some psychiatric condition of a dubious authenticity and nature really progress? I think not.

    Thank you for writing this piece. I cringe every time I see the advertisements advertising TD management drugs on television which is about every day of the week now. I’d say, given the massive impending tragedies that are certain to occur as a result, we need to do whatever we might to return ourselves to a more life form compatible, and less harmful, normal.

  • I had a professor object to me talking before the classroom once because what I had to say was seen by him, of course, as anecdotal. I feel certain that if we could have a few of these academics thrown into the loony bin for an extended period of time, they might begin to change their tunes. This kind of science, however, presents us with a complicated challenge. The elite knows, of course, designing the studies, while everybody else is talking through both sides of their mouths. I look up the nostrils that say see my importance and your own utter insignificance. I don’t see it though. In the somebody versus nobody dispute, any big number is made up of a lot of smaller numbers. I really don’t think the guy was as big and powerful (shades of Oz) as apparently he thought he was. Oh, well, such is hubris. I’d call it a variation on a theme, “Everything about you, without you.”

  • “Us” (psychiatrists) versus “them” (critics of psychiatry), huh? Ronald Pies is anything but impartial. He has made it his task to defend his profession. Doing so, he ends up defending the indefensible. He and his are so implicated in the excessive drugging of psychiatric inmates it’s not, if it ever was, funny. Certainly non-psychiatrists might be able to develop a more balanced view of this phenomenon than it’s most virulent adherents and converts. Pies wants us to excuse psychiatry and blame the drug companies, but we know what’s going on here. The drug companies would be nowhere without their # 1 pill pushers, in a nutshell, psychiatrists.

    The theological arguments are also a bit distressing. Science under the rule of religion? Really?! Do your “soul healers” actually have any “soul”? I dunno…What is the fraction of an ounce or so change between life and death? Not much. Captain Kirk and crew are still in the dark when it comes to meeting any supreme deity in their travels. We’ve got, nonetheless, metaphysical physicians, certainly a contradiction in terms, to do his bidding here on earth. If they aren’t, as so many people are, out to deceive as many people as possible about their real aims in the process.

    Great article, Dr. Hickey. Keep ’em coming.

  • 22 states out of 50! This dearth of knowledge is appalling. Psychiatric power and secrecy must walk hand in hand. When people’s lives are, as they so often are in commitment cases, at stake, there should be more accountability for sure.

    If we weren’t dealing with a basically unwanted population, we wouldn’t be having this problem. The power disparity is great, and the control factor intimidating.

    Thank you for this report. Certainly conditions cannot be improving substantially when the commitment rates are increasing with such rapidity.

  • I don’t like the term “insane medicine” in a title. For one, “insane” is derived from the Latin for “unhealthy”. “Sick medicine” is an oxymoron. It’s much like the term “mental illness”, something of an abstraction.

    Scientism though certainly deserves criticism, and the “mental disease” industry itself is definitely a result of scientism. By scientism I mean the religion of science. Science begins with skepticism, and it ends where that skepticism is discarded. Belief in science? Science isn’t a belief, it’s a method for getting at the truth. Indifferent truth that doesn’t rely on belief.

  • Peer services are a double standard and a deception at the same time. I didn’t sign on to be a “sick fuck”, nor a “sick fuck helper”, and I especially didn’t sign on for a life term of doing such. Suspend “the age of consent” as much as you wish to, there is a problem with doing so. For one, it is preferable simply to grow up. Suspending weaning is indicative of attachment issues. This eternal ward of the state business is not to my liking one iota. Peerless services, there you go, only you’re not going to get nannie state services for non-wusses. Toughen up, and you’ve got everybody thinking, why didn’t I think of that.

  • Soteria could be considered the successor to Kingsley Hall. Sometime before I’d ever entered an institution as a “patient” in quotation marks, I was blown away by R. D. Laing’s book The Politics of Experience (1967). I’d always had the idea that I would have preferred to have had the option of residending in a place like Kingsley Hall or Soteria House, call it a therapeutic community, or a commune, or what you will, to that of being tortured and imprisoned in a conventional psychiatric setting, or worse, say, a state institution, and having experienced both of the latter to excess, I still feel that way.

    The Laing and Cooper experiments did have their casualties, and it was very good that Loren Mosher saw the virtue in applying a few corrective measures. I guess that’s why the effort persists to this day. Hopefully it can meet with more and greater success in the future.

    I am looking forward to hearing this talk.

  • If the counter cultural revolution has ended, we are now engaged in, if not actively struggling against, the counter revolution, a moment of political and social stagnation and regression.

    “I do not see myself as an anti-psychiatrist, either. Anti-psychiatry is [a] label used against critics as an easy way to silence them and ignore uncomfortable facts.”

    I do see myself as an antipsychiatrist. I don’t see antipsychiatry as a label. I see it as an attitude or a position. The “cure” for “mental illness” is the cessation of treatment services, treatment services occurring under the governing auspices of the profession of psychiatry.

    “I’m not anti-psychiatry; I am anti-bad-psychiatry and believe it’s my responsibility to call it out wherever I see it.”

    I recognize that some approaches work better than others, and that psychiatrists are not, to put it bluntly, the root of all evil or the offspring of the devil. I’m also not going to tell people how to spend their money if they want to spend it on a visit to the psychiatrist. Maybe it is something that will serve this or that individual. I personally have no stake in the “mental ill health” world, and so I have no stake in “buying and selling” therapies.

    On aspect 5 of your central philosophical franework: “How a problem once established perpetuates itself in a process I call “the problem becomes the problem.””

    This established problem is perpetuated, not because it remains a problem, but because the problem no longer remains the problem. The problem, in other words, has become the product.

    Where would all the “people fixers” be without “broken people”? Out of business I would imagine.

  • Rather than perpetually bitch about one’s fate. I think it’s a good idea to celebrate one’s fate, too. All is not bad, all is not lost, not so long as we don’t want it to be anyway. We could throw a big party. Why not? Certainly not because there are all these party poopers, slackers, and such sorts out there. They can do what they want. We could call such a celebration Unique Human Being Pride Day if you want, but it’s one way of doing something, and saying I’m alright at the same time. Libeled or not (the cuter way of saying labeled), I’m alright. How about you?

  • Proper English, OldHead. It isn’t everybody who has your personal history, nor is it everybody who has an inkling of what you’re talking about. I wouldn’t use the expression psychiatry survivors of antipsychiatry either. We say psychiatric survivors for the same reasons that you’ve got rape survivors and disaster survivors, and I don’t, by the way, equate antipsychiatry with rape or disaster.

    Destroying the institution and saving people, particularly children, from it IS a big concern for today, and something we definitely need to be doing everything in our power to bring about.

  • People are treated differently for being different. If everybody were the same what a boring world we would have. Some people have been put in institutions for being different. “Mad” is a term I use for these people, such as yours truly, who have been perceived as different. One could call it proud of being different, often in the face immense odds and opposition. That would work. So does Mad Pride.

  • Anti-psychiatry survivors? There you go again! That’s an expression I would never use. I’ve had no problem surviving antipsychiatry, even if I hope it survives me. I don’t feel threatened by it in the slightest. (E. Fuller Torrey, of course, feels differently. Reagan and antipsychiatry, specifically, deinstitutionalization, shutting down the big state asylums, being in his eyes perceived as very damaging to the system, and its minions.) Psychiatry, on the other hand, is a little more problematic.

  • Rather than opposing disease centred to drug centred treatments, I’d like to see more non-drug-centred treatments.

    You say, “I am not opposed, in principle, to the use of psychiatric drugs. I believe, as I say in the book, that “some psychiatric drugs do help some people in some situations.””

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. I would however say, “I am absolutely opposed, in principle, to the use of psychiatric drugs on this particular person.”

    When I first found myself in the psychiatric prison pretending to be hospital that I found myself in, I wasn’t given a choice in the matter. I took their drugs because otherwise I’d get the same drugs through a syringe, under more constricting conditions.

    I learned to submit, and, eventually, I got out. I don’t think the choice, when it comes to dangerous substances, should ever be taken away from the person, or persons, being so substance abused. We’ve had non-drug treatments for some time now. Witness the Soteria Project approach to first time freak outs. I’d like to see more non-drug centred approaches to treatment, even if they occurred within the context of the traditionally oppressive “hospital” environment. At least, it would be something beyond a perpetually drug numbing daze, and the possibility of a drug induced “mental ill health chronicity”. The idea that anyone should be put on these substances for 20, 30, 40, etc., years, and more, without relief, is ludicrous.

  • Great point about the D in PTSD. I think the same applies to GAD, and all the so-called neuroses as well. Disorder, like disease, goes with the labeling, or rather, the insulting process. In fact, the more serious the disorder, the more serious the insult, which may go some ways to explaining something fundamental about the difficulties in recovering the so-called “seriously affected” face. Sure, words are used to communicate, the same words that are used to intimidate, isolate and destroy. Once you get pushed to the wrong side of the counter so-to-speak, the question becomes how do you return to, how do the doctors phrase it? Oh, yeah. Functionality.

  • Society is going to react where someone puts their rational logical self on hold, or in suspense. It’s not always a good just society that does so you know. I like the word mad because it’s a pre-medical-model word. When mad becomes “sick”, it’s kind of difficult to avoid the fact that you’re dealing with a mixed metaphor, an abstraction, nonsense, unreality. Uh, an actual decision. However, no amount of reasoning is going to make everybody reasonable all the time. People have flaws, and sometimes they are better off for them. For all the praise given to reason, it would be unreasonable to outlaw madness AKA folly altogether. Folly, after all, is something we are all innocent of on one occasion or another. In other words, I don’t think it’s an us and them dichotomy that the word mad feeds.

  • Powerful article, Ted. People give a lot of lip service to caring about kids, and then, whoops, that big communication gap, the nut house. So much for that concern. Destruction happens, and even death. Thanks for writing this piece. I hope it does some good.

  • I don’t have a problem supporting movements. Progressive movements, that is, and I see Mad Pride as progressive. I can see working in and with the Mad Pride Movement easily. I don’t, however, want to have anything to do with the Mental Health Movement. To people involved in such a movement, all I can say is, “mental” this.

    You go sell you maltreatments elsewhere. I don’t want any.

  • Don’t get “mad” but I wouldn’t say “Mad Pride” substitutes the term “mad” for “mentally ill”, quite the reverse. People have been calling people “mad” for a few centuries now. They only got around to calling the same sort of people “mentally ill” (i.e. “medicalization”) fairly recently.

    I haven’t heard of any “Mad Superiority” movement, but if there were one, I’d be all for it. Certainly, there are people suffering from a surfeit of what could be described as “normality”, or “ordinariness”, or “average-ness”, or drabness, take your pick. Boringly normal is, if nothing else, bo-ring.

    I don’t know that it would be reactionary to recognize people who experience difficulties in life. If I remember correctly, reaction often becomes a matter of prejudging, dismissing, and killing such people. Such mistreatment is taking place even when that reaction is trying to confuse people by employing the rhetoric of revolution.

  • Caution suggested when using. A tab of LSD may result in a relapse of psychedelic experience. However, I digress.

    I worry about people being too slow in their tapering. I know of a few people now who aren’t tapering, probably because they think they can’t. Instead their answer to “sleep disorder” AKA insomnia, drug or stress induced, has become Seroquel.

    The best treatment for psych-drug damage is not to put people on them in the first place. Obviously, drugs are not going to deal with whatever problem it is that a person may be having living life, striving, thriving, jiving, or whatever.

    You can’t get it, maybe, sure, but you CAN get a drug.

  • Institutional psychiatry, the so-called public “mental health” system, needs abolition. Getting people out of jails and prisons was the same lame excuse which brought on the psychiatric prison system, and expanded it, in an infinitely chronic direction, in the first place. People tend to be, however, freer in punitive institutions than in “medical” ones–so long as force is the order of the day. The poor houses and work shops of yesterday are long gone, but not so the psychiatric plantation system. Tear the fake hospital/real prisons down, and let people be. Tolerance begins at home.

  • Changing the state means changing the people in it, and, sure, if you can.

    You seem to think you can convince everyone to disregard psychiatry. I have serious doubts about your power of persuasion in that case. This social agreement that you look for (to scrap the psychiatric) hasn’t taken place in 300 years or thereabouts. I’m all for getting rid of institutional psychiatry, and institutional as opposed to private practice. I don’t think we can get rid of it without enacting legislation against it. In other words, without some kind of decree, I don’t see it happening.

  • I’d like to think we were evolving in the same direction, OldHead, but I still have a problem with any call to “abolish psychiatry”. My call would rather be for the abolition of forced treatment. Psychiatry and forced treatment are not synonymous. They are not synonyms. I see forced treatment as the real problem, and not psychiatry so much, by definition.

    I think that any call to abolish psychiatry confuses the issue and creates a red herring. I’m not saying, by any means, that psychiatry isn’t a false science. I’m saying that, false or not, I wouldn’t be legislating away one’s freedom of practice it. Again, the problem for me is not quack doctors, the problem is force, coercion.

    Get rid of the force, to put it more simply, and psychiatry has not the power that it has today, a power to force itself on people who don’t want it and would choose not to be so insulted, abused and humiliated.

    I don’t see my position as pro-psychiatry. It’s just the slant is different. I’m not selling psychiatry, but I’m not outlawing it either. I think that’s the only way you’re going to get rid of it. By outlawing it. Coercive treatments (mistreatments really), on the other hand, those I would outlaw. One has to bend the law to indulge in them in the first place, in my view anyway.

  • The snake oil salesmen are at it again. Their snake oil, regrettably, consists of toxic substances, imprisonment and talk. No. I’m not buying.

    I get increasingly disgusted with a corruption that supports a chronic imaginary disease industry as time advances. I don’t think anyone need waste their life as a professional mental patient. People have better things to be doing with their time. Conversion to the “mental illness” faith does not represent a viable worthwhile direction for the country, or a significant proportion of it, to be taking as far as I’m concerned.

    Dr. Shedler had some good points to make. Not so, Pies and Ruffalo. Gratefully Phil Hickey is there to set matters straight. The best defense being a good offense, lets hear a big cheer for anti-psychiatry go up around the world. Black Lives Matter. So do mad lives. Should Trump send federal forces in, our position can only improve.

  • Radical psychiatry is a contradiction in terms. Only anti-psychiatry is radical. Ditto, anti-fascism and anti-racism.

    Psychiatry is mentalist/sanist by definition. Small wonder that it is racist to boot.

    “Mental illness” is a metaphor, not a fact. The “cure” is, was, and always will be cessation of “treatment”, especially when that “treatment” consists primarily of pretense, confinement, injury, and torture.

    Drugs are drugs and, to one degree or another, toxic substances. Drugs include psychiatric so-called medications. Drugs are not medicine.

    Acting under the assumption that thinking clearly is as important as reading, writing and arithmatic, the way out of our current “mental health crisis” is through mandating courses in logic for all students in the public education system. When people are taught to think logically, they will be less prone to think illogically.

  • Corruption in psychiatry starts with the mother tongue. Bodily organs develop illnesses, minds don’t develop illnesses. I caught a cold, in other words, is more correct than I caught a fear of other people (i.e. agoraphobia). People don’t choose to catch a common cold, however, there must be more choice involved in the contagious quality of agoraphobia. Evasions of personal responsibility, hmm, I think we’ve got an out here that psychiatry, “mental health” policing authorities anyway, have been responsible, in an irresponsible manner of course, for promoting.

    Just imagine, thinking one has a disease when one doesn’t have a disease has become an excuse for the prescription of toxic, and often addictive, chemicals. I don’t imagine taking such chemicals is going to make anybody think they don’t have an imaginary disease, if such thinking be “health”.

  • I recently ran into someone with a conspiracy theory to explain corona-virus. I generally think in the opposite direction, that is, “mental illness” = fictive (i.e. fraudulent) illness, corona-virus = real (i.e. authentic) illness. Another way to put it is to say that either illness is physical or it is not illness. The idea that people panicking over corona virus have some kind of “mental illness” doesn’t appeal to me so much. Hypochondria may be encouraged by the “mental health” coppers on “normality” patrol, but one ought to know better than to go along with such nonsense. Tolerance is the word. We’re waiting for black people mattering, and then maybe we can make mad people matter a little bit more, too.

  • Frantz Fanon was a victim of his own time, in the sense that any man of his time is also a victim of that time, a time that believed mutilating brains with ice picks was a healing treatment. The confusion that came of brain damaging treatments was thought to be beneficial in sort of fashioning new beginnings. *cough, cough* Beyond that aspect of the matter, I think he also helped come up with a solution.

  • I wouldn’t call decolonialism a non-answer however you want to translate it. I think he was just trying to be realistic concerning some of the complexities in throwing off the yoke of western imperialistic rule. Tribalism, after all, helped fuel the slave-trade in its day. Fanon’s treatment, as I understood it, was to direct that anger outward against the source of it that had been directed inwardly at the victim of such exploitation.

  • I’m not against caring, the problem is that some people are going to do some things that will get them in trouble. Then what? Then “therapy”? You get my drift…There are probably some people who shouldn’t be handed over to the police. Once they are, well, the cycle is complete, isn’t it? Now how do we ware out the cycle so-to-speak. They weren’t handed over to the police because somebody cared, and then they get “therapy”, but not because somebody cared enough to prevent it. Where does it end? All too often it doesn’t.

  • “Therapy” or “technique”, it’s still part of the “treatment” industry. If it weren’t “therapy”, why would it have “therapy” in its acronym, its moniker? So now we have these two “treatment” modes, doing incredible business, more damaging “treatments” and less damaging “treatments”. I would suggest a third venue is also available, and that is non-treatment. Early or late, some people find non-treatment most “helpful” of all, and reason enough for retirement from the career “mental patient”, or career “mental patient” minder, business.

  • We need more collective actions! Duh!

    We are the 100,000 %. I really enjoyed normality screening, David. I’d like to see more of that kind of thing taking place. I think the red nose suits me. I wouldn’t mind donning a wig to match. Perhaps if we opened a Non-Normal Academy we could engineer the kind of world we want to see. Normality is a symptom of intolerance, and that is certainly something that the world doesn’t need an excess of.

    That’s a fine looking support team you have there. If the rest of us had something like that, how could we lose? I’d like to see more resistance to the system organized on a massive scale, and for that kind of thing to take off, we’re going to have to work together as a team.

    The turtle and the hare, yeah, that sort of thing. With the right strategy, the future is ours. We could work on applying strategy a little.

  • Diagnosis shifter, eh? That’s a good one. Are you a wereschizophrenic, or a dual genus lifeform (AKA bi-polar)? Or are you just an amorphous diagnosis shifter? And, no, medical doctors don’t have anything to do with that sort of thing whatsoever. It’s all *cough, cough* about the “science”.

  • There is this long running false narrative that I have to applaud you for punching holes in. I remember this soviet dissident in the news, a while back of course, complaining about the TD he got while in a special psychiatric unit. He thought it was OK to give the stuff (psych drugs) to people who were “sick” but “normal” people like himself should have been spared. (Um, curious. Did he mean that antipsychotics, so-called, aren’t good for non-psychotics?) Eventually the laundry has to be aired. There’s a reason intelligent, non-disturbed, people don’t take neuroleptic drugs as a rule. I’m not sure there’s a real reason why silly and confused people stomach them, except perhaps, under the duress of non-peer pressure. Our ability to suffer fools, officially designated fools anyway, has not increased appreciably over time. Neuroleptic drugs kill, and you want to be a little discrete about whom you choose to off in such a fashion.

  • “The article is called The lure of “cool” brain research is stifling psychotherapy. The central theme is that prior to 1990, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) “appreciated the need for a well-rounded approach [to mental health] and maintained a balanced research budget that covered an extraordinarily wide range of topics and techniques.” However, since 1990, the opening year of the Decade of the Brain, the NIMH has “increasingly narrowed its focus almost exclusively to brain biology—leaving out everything else that makes us human, both in sickness and in health.””

    The premise mentioned above is false. Absolute nonsense.

    Allen Frances, architect of the disastrous DSM 1V, has managed to keep his name in the spotlights by pretending to be the chief critic of the DSM V. Allen Frances however is still very much more a part of the problem than he ever will be part of the solution. There were critics of the system prior to Allen Frances even if those critics had nothing whatsoever to do with the DSM IV.

    I would contrast with Allen Frances example that of Loren Mosher. Far from showing themselves open to new ways of thinking, the NIMH, way before 1990, shut his Soteria Project down by pulling the money out from under it and, more or less, gave him the pink slip for not pushing psychiatric drugs they way they thought he ought to have done.

    Gee, so the NIMH wasn’t so open minded before 1990 after all?

    Yep, that’s right. The NIHM has always been, it would seem, very close minded.

    Nice illusion, but no blue ribbon. Psychotherapists are widely known for their drug pushing proclivity anyway.

  • I think the forced treatment (psychiatric institution) abolition movement and the chattel slavery abolition movement are intimately connected, and if we got rid of one oppressive system, we certainly haven’t gotten rid of the other…yet.

    In Virginia, Central and Western State Hospitals weren’t integrated until about 1967 or thereabouts, and primarily because of the struggle to integrate the educational system. In the Jim Crow south then, not only were swimming pools, restaurants, and schools segregated, but so were psychiatric hospitals.

    Today you have this epidemic in so called “mental health” issues because locking people up engendered an industry that can’t survive without ‘customers’. Stop locking people up, and maybe we can start “curing” some of the “service providers”, the “treatment” salespeople, the real culprits behind our current epidemic. Of course, in order to do so, it would help if we could do also something about the drug industry, an industry that also benefits from psychiatric slavery, torture and imprisonment.

  • Hospital is perhaps an even less appropriate word to use for psychiatric detention centers than asylums. These people, our prisoners, are, goes conventional wisdom, guilty, in the absence of any crime, of misbehaving, so if we treat them as “sick” eventually we will get them to “behave”. Such is the hope of the mental health (sic) enforcement community anyway.

  • I would not call psychiatric institutions of today asylums. Such was an illusion created way back when, but it never had much to do with reality. People are, as a rule, just as in the case of other prisons, safer outside of their walls. The use of the term asylum is a result of the paternalism behind the effort to expand such institutions, “our imprisonment, torture, etc., of you is for your own good”, a paternalism that is still with us. Institutional confinement, the “asylum” system, would have had a much harder time expanding if it were not couched in the terminology of, as it is today, “care”. The kind of “care” that gives one pause to express such sentiments as “with friends like these who needs enemies”.

  • Yeah, I don’t know about saying Schizophrenia, Depression, and Bipolar are real while ADHD and BPD are, say, imaginary, or not so real. I think the lot of them are pretty much garbage.

    One could say this or that person has more major problems than this or that other person, but then how seriously do we need to “treat” such problems? The more deeply the person is involved in “treatment”, the deeper he or she tends to sink into the trash.

  • I’ve been off psychiatric drugs for the past twenty years

    I wasn’t really on them before that because I wasn’t going to take them “voluntarily”.

    I haven’t taken any psychiatric drug since the last time I was discharged from the “hospital”.

    It can be done. One just needs to register the fact that these chemicals aren’t good for you, and that they are more likely to harm you than to “heal” you, and that they can, in fact, even kill you.

    “Mental health” may be a scam, but dope is still dope, and dope isn’t good for your health.

  • FACT teams in this country (the USA) have been mainly about insuring that “patients” were compliant with treatment plans (i.e. drugged to the gills or institutionalized). I feel sorry for so-called peers that would support that kind of thing however I know that Open Dialogue operates along different lines, and any “alternative” to the current FACT team approach, some kind of policing function, has got to be an improvement. A FACT team that I could work with rather than against in the interests of saving the “patient’s” health from certain detriment, and his or her freedom from certain deprivation? Yeah, that I’d like to see.

  • I think you have a point, Steve. Namely, medicalization, the selling of “mental disorders” and their “treatments” has escalated, as has, what goes along with it, the numbers of “patients”. I figure corporatocracy has a lot to do with it. On the one hand, women can get work in the field, on the other, they’d be working in the wrong field (i.e. the labeling, drugging, and oppression of “mental patients”). Liberation!? Let’s get back to that. Yeah!

    Congratulations on the book, Lucas. This looks like one I could be reading. In recent years there has been a reaction against the movements of the recent past. I’m all for counter cultural revolution. No regrets. It’s high time we rehabilitated the times that made yours truly.

  • No length of imprisonment is going to make people well who weren’t sick in the first place.

    Neither will any amount of federal subsidy provide the basic necessity of, plain and simple, the avenue to financial independence, purposeful labor, a job.

    Nor will any amount of drugging (intoxicating pollutants) produce sobriety (sanity).

    That’s the big three when it comes to what’s been done that shouldn’t have been done. The obverse of the big three shouldn’ts would be the big three shoulds. Something along the lines of liberty, industry, and health–physical health.

  • I find the people who write this kind of thing, that is, rationalizing, if limply, the asylum system, very disturbing. I think such people ought to be confined to an asylum until such a time as they recover from such delusional beliefs, or die, whichever comes first.

    “We found no evidence that people were admitted for “social deviance” such as having illegitimate children, political activity, or petty crime.”

    We found no such evidence of people being admitted for social deviance except in so far as they were “raving,” “incoherent,” “delusional”; singing, shouting or praying inappropriately, or being, given another leap to judgment (and no due process to boot) unable to care for themselves allegedly.

    Social is not, to my way of thinking, a form of disability.

    The successful selling of “mental illness” and it’s “treatment” in the 1990s, over the 1890s, has led to a population explosion of people deemed to be so “afflicted”. This population boom, in combo with the closing of the old places of incarceration, has led to the opening of many mini-institutions, as well as more subtle methods of social coercion, indoctrination, management and control of deviant populations. Who needs a full time staff when you’ve got ankle bracelets and neuroleptic drugs?

    Okay, so maybe we’re not there yet, but given time, robotics is sure to take up the slack. Ready, aim, tazer!

    I disagree, obviously. We’ve in the past seen at least two great increases in the mental patient population. The first came with the development of the huge asylums you speak of, and the second came with the advent of social welfare and psychiatric drugs. If you want sanity, you’re going to have to put things in reverse, and then fast forward to before there were any “great” asylums. Lesson learned, we still don’t need them.

  • As I see it, same thing in the USA, peer support *cough, cough* being seen as the gateway into a job in mental health work, often involving attaining a degree in psychology, the vast majority of these careerists are not, and I must emphasis this point, all that critical of their profession. If they were, their career aims would be different. Career aims that criticism puts at risk, and threatens, on top of which there is that old “peer” pressure to be as obsequious as possible.

  • With psychiatric patient/consumers either clients of or workers in the system, sometimes both, where are the jobs that would give them a life anywhere else? How do we cure people, in other words, of the provision and the procurement of psychiatric bondage in one form or another? This artificial “neediness” and “learned helplessness” that has become so prevalent and burdensome.

    I remember when we were a liberation movement. *sigh*

  • There might be a place for philosophy in psychoanalysis, however, my view is that psychoanalysis represents religion (AKA folly), the old nemesis of philosophy, given its search for truth and wisdom. Will philosophy help you “heal souls”? I dunno. Kinda have to consult a priest on that one.

  • I think we’ve got what one might call a communication problem here. I’m not in any “reform psychiatry movement”. I have no desire to work in, nor for, the mental health police, their thugs, nor their chemical enforcers. I don’t see how anybody can get into that system without becoming tainted, and in negative ways, by it.

    I don’t know if plain English will work, but let me try, please. Mental health is not consuming mental health treatment. Working for the system keeps the nonsense going. It is corrupting by its very nature. You don’t sell mental health treatment without, at the same time, selling mental ill health.

    Perhaps you’ve read or seen a performance of the play No Exit? Mental health, so-called, or perhaps wisdom should be the preferable word, is about taking the exit.

  • Great article. I hope it went over well at Counter Punch. I find myself in complete agreement with the essence and tone of this one. “Sublime madness” it is, was, and will continue to be. I’m very happy to see Harriet Tubman and Emma Goldman enter your pantheon of exemplary people deserving of our praise. That they were, and may many follow in their glorious example. Given the ongoing political dynasty and it’s crises, I think the forces for change could use a few raw recruits. and maybe such an position could help win us a few much needed friends and allies.

  • The closest I found when searching for definitions, if kirist is an anagram on Kristi, Kristi is the female name for a believer in Christ. I see, in this word, the old Achilles heel of psychiatry rearing its head again. I don’t imagine the interest here is in that of seeking truth. This is not about philosophy which might compliment science, but rather it’s about religion that remains at a remove from, and at odds with, science

  • The Edward Shorter quotes leave me speechless. I guess you’d call him an anti-antipsychiatry psychiatrist. His approach to psychiatry is not that critical to his profession, and he is certainly not the person you’d want introducing the public to the work of Bonnie Burstow.

    Thank you for this post. If it’s not the necessary corrective to the New York Times piece, it’s moving in that direction. The Times, obviously, should have been talking with some of Bonnie’s friends.

  • I really can’t blame psychiatry for literally everything, nor can I ignore all the accomplices in crime psychiatry has managed to develop in associated and allied professions. If It were the mental ill health fabrication system that needed to die, I would agree with you. The problem is that some people seem to conflate psychiatry with forced treatment and the two are not synonymous. In other words, get rid of the one, and you still haven’t gotten rid of the other. I think we should get rid of forced psychiatric treatment. I don’t think doing so will relieve the world of fools of any type. Prohibition of psychiatry? I’m really not a prohibition type person. I don’t see how you can get rid of the profession without resorting to some of the same heavy handed tactics used to enforce it’s will. I had rather see more people freed (i.e. liberated), in other words, than enslaved, and I question whether you would be doing so by changing places, in so far as brute force is concerned, with your en slaver (i.e. oppressor).

  • I’ve heard the expression “social disability” used before, and I think it curious, despite stinking of welfare fraud. However, when it’s a matter of survival, if you can’t play the guitar with your teeth maybe you can call your socially manufactured unemployment “disability”. If the government had not basically destroyed the labor movement in this country, you could have united with other people in your position, and sued for another one, position, that is. Hmm. Revive the labor movement, and you still can.

    Given Bernie’s stand against force, if Bernie makes the ticket, I’m voting for him. If not, I will vote Green again. No Regrets.

  • Never liked the term I’ve heard bandied about so much recently (i.e. self-advocacy). Self-advocacy is common sense, but beyond developing that, I’ve not been advocating for myself so much. I don’t take psychiatric drugs. I know they cause harm, and not to myself alone. I see self-advocacy, in this sense, as a misleading and deceptive term. You can take psychiatric drugs if you want to, but presume I’m one to encourage their use, and you presume wrong. Beyond so-called self-advocacy there is solidarity with my struggling brothers and sisters who have experienced and endured oppression from the psychiatric system. That solidarity is not such a selfish matter as one might suppose.

  • I was once a candidate, actually taking, human services training. I would describe the experience as a kind of comedy of errors in the making. A classical farce, in other words. How did I get into this biz? I didn’t, but if I had, how did I get into it? How else are you going to earn a paycheck after psychiatric labeling? I was reprimanded for talking about the dangers of using psychiatric drugs with the bus driver, another “product” of the system. The person in charge gave me a dressing down about how I needed to change my attitude, or the job, guaranteed by the program, wouldn’t be mine on completion. There were even special accommodations made for some of the people with Tardive Dyskinesia. Before there was no backing out, that is, before it could mean a possible academic mark for or against me, I backed out. I was telling the lady in charge, sure, I got it, and I was going to, you know, buckle under and do what was expected of me. The best I could have expected out of the program was a gig as a mental health copper on an ACT team making sure resistant “patients” were “compliant” in their drug taking regimen. Happily, I’m not at all suited for that sort of thing.

  • Psychiatrists already get off on labeling clients “incompetent/dysfunctional”. Between themselves, with this in house form of labeling professionals, if anyone of them wants to object, it becomes a gentleman’s (and woman’s) disagreement about terms and approaches. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’re going to see any “conceptually incompetent” psychiatrists locked up (or locked out) anytime soon. If you did, that would be a game changer.

  • Why don’t we have a more “nuanced” history of work shops, poor houses, hard labor and concentration camps? Actually, I think we did ourselves good by getting rid of them. The Victorian monstrosity of the Kirkbride asylum is not really right where it should be, being a ruin and a relic of history. No, these Victorian monstrosities should have never been built in the first place. They represent places where people were swept under the rug so-to-speak, a number on concrete bump or slab, everybody’s shame.

    This is coming up, I imagine, because people like Trump want a return to the old asylums, that is, more people, innocent people, unjustly incarcerated.

    Perhaps we need a more nuanced view of Walter Freeman and ice-pick lobotomies. We could try to bring back those, too. Perhaps clozaril, or you name it, isn’t as effective as we’d like it to be.

    Me, I don’t need a good knock on the head. Do you?

  • “But to rethink the clinical encounter is not to rethink the entirety of mental health practice” unless, of course, you happen to be antipsychiatry or mad movement. I don’t think there is anything these people might do to prevent close encounters of the awkward kind. I don’t think it is this admission on a shrink or twos part that is entirely a bad thing either. They could also, that is, envision a world that excluded us, and/or our input, entirely.

  • Laing took a more rightward (and drunken) turn, post sixties, and Szasz, he was never truly antipsychiatry either, not, anyway, if you don’t equate psychiatry with forced treatment. Szasz was also *cough* what they call an ‘anticommunist’ (i.e. pro-capitalist. How do you say? Oh, yeah. One who often sided with the bosses and robber barons.

    I don’t know about reducing one to the other, but I do know that comparative studies, such as those conducted by Thomas Szasz, have their place, and if one compares, relatively speaking, the one with other, that is psychiatric slavery with chattel slavery, it could be said to be a form of the same. Of course, the degrees of difference, in one from the other, are still quite large, but all in all, the similarities connect them.

  • I don’t think they, the antipsychiatry and the Mad Pride movements, have to be mutually exclusive, OldHead. I don’t see those different animals you see. On the one hand, we celebrate our differences, and on the other hand, we oppose locking people up, and (mis)treating them, on account of those differences.

  • Psychiatric power, the title of one of Michel Foucault’s lectures, is the real culprit here.

    I don’t think one should be so simplistic as to cast psychiatry in the role of the devil’s doctrine. Psychiatry could have done nothing without a whole lot of help from legislators, communities, families and allied professionals.

    R.D. Laing supported deinstitutionalization. Thomas Szasz supported the idea of “adult orphanages”, albeit devoid of force and compulsion. These are too very different positions.

    Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared, in my opinion, is not a book I would laud highly. It puts, as one might note, Szasz squarely in the psychiatry camp. Castigating Laing and leftists professionals, all lumped in the same boat, it allows the enemies of change plenty of fodder, and fodder that could even be turned against Szasz on occasion.

    If the antipsychiatry mantle has passed from psychiatrists, playing the role of antishrink, to psychiatric survivors and other professionals, I don’t think this is a bad thing at all. That point ascertained, it certainly doesn’t displace psychiatry from its lofty position at the head of the quackery department.

  • The Special Rapporteur spoke of “over-medicalization” in the context of labeling and drugging children. I’m not sure there is another way to tackle the subject effectively. At least he was recognizing such treatment for what it is, a form of excess. All medicalization is over-medicalization, when it comes to psychiatric drugs, in the sense that you are treating figurative “illnesses” as if they were physiological illnesses. The labeling and drugging of children on a large scale is a rather recent phenomenon, but look at where it leads. Children grow up, and into such learned conditions as adult ADHD *cough, cough*, or adult bipolar affective disorder. Cease labeling and drugging children, and you’ve got less so-called “mental illness” across the board. That’s another form of learning for you. One might call it learned healthiness, or even self-reliance.

  • Wow. They’re cognizant of our existence. Do you really need a better reason for more, much more, mad activism? Ditto, antipsychiatry? All I can say is, it sure beats wasting away in a total (i.e. totalitarian) institution. We need to do more. We need to do away with all such institutions.

  • I’d rather keep my “civil rights” (and human rights) intact over any “mental condition” supposedly cancelling them out, or superseding them, Dr. Pinsky, all “anosognosia” or “illness denial” aside. Thank you anyway.

    Great article. Keep up the good work.

    We need to rebuild our movement, and the way we to do that is by fighting institutionalization, not by caving into it. Thank you for doing your part.

  • The institutions ARE addicted to pharmaceutical use. The many times that I was held in psychiatric institutions against my will, I was never given a choice when it came to taking psycho-active drugs. Had I been given a choice, I would not have taken them at all. The neuroleptics anyway. I didn’t like what they did to me. If it’s bad in the psychiatric hospital, it’s got to be much worse in prison, or that place where the two systems come together, forensic psychiatry. I like the liberation oriented slant of your interview, and hope something positive might come out of your efforts to do something about the matter. Thank you for what you do.

  • I have a little problem with this idea that the receipt of “mental health” trickment should serve as a gateway to a career in the provision of “mental health” trickment. What was madness again? Wasn’t it something like not learning from experience, and repeating your folly ad nauseum?

  • A great article about a great scholar and a great activist. We’ve lost so many in our movement over the recent years, and this is a loss that it is certainly going to be difficult to recover from. I sincerely hope you’ve got the people in Canada to take up where Bonnie left off, to continue her work, and to strengthen and support her legacy.

    As for the struggle in the USA, maybe we could take a few lessons from Bonnie on behalf of the struggle here. I hope so. Our struggle certainly needs more people with her kind of determination and resolve.

    Thank you, Bonnie, for everything you’ve done. I wish you were still around so that I could say so in person.

  • The abuse excuse saved James Holmes life. All the experts in court claimed he had a “mental illness”, and the jury couldn’t bring itself to execute (sanction state homicide of) such a “damaged” individual. What do we get out of this crime and trial? Certainly, not justice. I feel the Holmes case itself must have been the main inspiration behind the movie Joker. As one might expect, if one were rational, not being too fond of the “insanity defense”, I’m not very fond of the abuse excuse (i.e. trauma informed care) as it is applied outside of the criminal justice system either.

    If I expressed anything in a offensive manner here, then, childhood trauma didn’t make me do so.

  • I agree and disagree in some regards. You’ve got more “mental patients” than ever before (medicalization), in part, because of this expanding “service industry”, that is, in some cases, an expanding bureaucracy employing present or ex-patients. I’m not particularly fond of “mental health” world myself. One solution is to fund it, and another is to defund it. Socialism, the psychiatric institution, well, I have a few problems with the very suggestion. By expanding the human services industry we aren’t exactly getting people out of chronic pseudo-medical model care. I’m not, in this instance, going to be tipping my hat to, and winking at, a certain amount of cynicism and oppression entertained by the paternalistic mob and the newly minted wards of the state of their creation.

  • I’d call the problem here ‘the long reach of those “mental patient” gloves’. The looney bin is, quite literally, where they stash trash people.

    Thanks for trying to do something constructive about the situation. Xmas, on the wards, can sure be a bummer.

  • Or are we supposed to overcome our “sanity” in order to gain pride in our newfound madness? War, environmental degradation, and putting profit over people all along have been equated with “sanity” while our present head of state is about as big “a danger to self and others” as you are likely to run across in several lifetimes.

    Regarding “flawed”, I don’t know about “deeply”, but you find “perfection”, and you’ve just performed an instant lobotomy on yourself.

  • Organizations are what make organizing worthwhile. Organizations that can effect change. The factionalism remains, even with organizations. As is, organization has benefited the more moderate and compromising apologists for the system. Given the great failure of these compromises, as illustrated in the recent passage of the Murphy bill into law of one sort or another, I see hope for the more radical, and less compromising, factions, your milk toast moderate having become his or her own worst enemy.

  • “Schizophrenia” isn’t a disease, it’s an insult. You don’t know how many times I’ve talked to people about “mental illness”, so-called, and have gotten this thing about the hopelessly deteriorated and deteriorating “schizophrenic”. Most people seem to “know” one. This person or that deemed beyond “recovery”. Far be it for me to explain that I once had a “schizophrenic” diagnosis lodged against me. I don’t think confessing would help me one iota. Also, I’d have to admit, I don’t have anything to confess. I would never be one to apply such an insult to myself.

  • Stop labeling and drugging foster children. Okay, if you’ve done that, now stop labeling and drugging children and adolescents. Labeled and drugged children all too often grow into labeled and drugged adults. Note: ADHD, for example, has morphed from a mostly childhood and adolescent affliction into what is now termed adult ADHD. Is there no end to this nonsense? Stop the psychiatrization (throwing away) process early, and what do you know? They have a future again.

    Good suggestions at the end, too. There is no homeless problem in this country although there is an affordable housing problem. Make housing affordable and automatically you do something about all the poor people living in tents on the sidewalk. Children, of course, too.

  • “Mental health treatment” = brainwashing, indoctrination, terror, abduction, imprisonment, assault, torture…

    There is a great deal of paternalism involved in this desire to detain the deemed dangerous while much of the deeming requires a leap to judgment or prejudgment on the part of the deemer. Donald J. Trump claims we need to start locking up dangerous people. At the same time, there are mental health professionals who claim that Donald J. Trump is one of the dangerous ones, and that he himself needs to be locked up, or, at least, “treated”. I’m not sure those mental health professionals quite realize that, were they able to do so, this “treatment” would make them a danger to Donald J. Trump, and, of course, certain other human populations.

    I don’t think the desire of the community to preserve itself is behind involuntary commitment. I think the real basis for involuntary mistreatment lies in the desire to lay blame on a scapegoat for problems that the community has created for itself, scapegoating made easy by the designating label “mentally ill”. The community is a community that, quite literally, is the community of a species that is not threatened with extinction in the slightest. On the other hand, it is because of this community that certain other species are on the brink of extinction think of it what you will.

  • Okay. I’m not bitching about any drug free hospital going up then. That’s a very rare phenomenon actually. I’m more concerned about protecting people from some of the harm that comes of psychiatric drug use. I never had an option when it came to drugging in the hospitals (sic) to which I was imprisoned. I think it is a very positive thing that this one private facility is going to be doing something different.

  • I have a few issues with the title of this piece. Rather than Is Australia’s Psychiatric System Redeemable, like a sales coupon, or a lottery ticket, or a government bond, how about Is Australia’s Psychiatric System Salvageable, like a scuttled vessel, a scrap of antiquity that we’ve grown too sentimental about to thoroughly trash, or, say, a relic from the Third Reich.

  • Drug therapy versus talk therapy, basically, that’s a big difference in my book. Boring Neo-Freudian or Jungian revisionist talk shrinks aren’t Neo-Kraepelinian drug pushing bio-shrinks. Thing is, they discovered, just the other week, you don’t need a medical degree to administer talk. I guess the idea is…the more cooks the better the stew. A popular saying, of course, folk wisdom, has it the other way around. Most of these talk shrinks dish out a few drugs and most of these bio-shrinks offer you 15 minutes of fame during rounds. It’s the exceptions that are helpful, but the problem is, there are just too darned few of them to make much of a difference. Peer pressure, but not from those peers, I think, is one of the reasons that this is the case.

  • I spent time in a day facility where the man in charge, a psychologist, used to go sailing in the Virgin Isles on his vacations. You think any of the screw ups in his charge got to go sailing in the Caribbean, too? Heck no. Most of them had been robbed blind by the mental health system. Specifically, by people like him. Believe me, I wasn’t shedding any tears when eventually he lost his job.

    I generally don’t go in for such places anymore. I don’t see the benefit in setting people like him up at my own expense. I’ve got better things to be doing. Almost anything you can imagine has got to be a better thing, in the sense of goodness, than what he was doing. I think the unfairness of the world was in a way his expense account, and I’m happy not to be there to foot the bill.

    Am I crying foul as far as his case is concerned? Yeah, I think that’s exactly the way I’d put it.

  • Way beyond force? Like if you choose to be deprived of your liberty? Or if you boarded ship in chains and bound for some colony somewhere? Deception, in my view, complements force because if people were open and honest about it, if it was all open and above board, they wouldn’t be resorting to force in the first place.

    Another matter is that this isn’t completely about “disease”, it’s about morality or something else. People are being punished for some transgression or other, for disobedience, for rule breaking, but not, and this is important, law breaking. Quasi-medical, quasi-legal, in this instance, sort of detours both. All the more reason, in the authorities view, for lies and non-transparency.

  • I don’t know about cannonizing Thomas S. Szasz, nor demonizing R.D. Laing and Michel Foucault, however, labeling all three iconoclasts is rather like demonizing the lot of them. (Rather them than the lot of us conformist pro-shrinkery shrinks perhaps, huh?)

    I don’t think the critical arguments against standard practice have grown any stronger since the exit of the three above mentioned “iconoclasts”. If anything, the matter has degenerated, in the boring department, to the extent that it could put almost anybody to sleep. Maybe they can use them to cool the tempers of people labeled as “suffering” from bi-polar disorder, a disorder that grows more popular with every sales pitch.

    If you’re going to demonize all three, please, I beg you. Let me join the ranks of the condemned.

  • As long as psychiatry is forced on unwilling victims, I have no use for it. When psychiatry is entirely voluntary, I will cease having an issue with it. The biggest “fix”, if ever a “fix” was needed, would be the “fix” that would end forced treatment, and. in the process, restore full citizenship rights to people abused by the psychiatric system in their respective countries. As long as you don’t get rid of forced treatment, mental health treatment is nothing more than an excuse to abuse certain people. Yep, that’s right. Criminals and mental patients are not the only people who routinely use the abuse excuse.

  • “Mental health treatment” is the problem, not the solution. Go imprison, insult, defame, torture somebody else. You want a “cure”? Stop imprisoning, defaming, and torturing people. Once you’ve imprisoned, defamed, and tortured them, then you start talking “recovery”. I’m saying the “recovery” is “recovery” from abduction, imprisonment, defamation, and torture, not “disease”. The “disease” is a fiction, and a convenient way for a person to get rid of people that that person disapproves of, or finds annoying.

  • In realistic terms, OldHead, part of the problem entails treatments that arose out of viewing so-called “mental disorders” as physical conditions requiring physical remedies (shock, drugs). The problem is that the physical remedies invariably involve doing physical harm to the patient/client. Any hospital that doesn’t use drugs, in my opinion, is an improvement for the simple reason that less drug use is going to mean a less physically damaged population. I would think that less or no drug use is, under almost all circumstances, going to mean less iatrogenic disability and, that it is, therefore, something to be desired. As is, everywhere you go, on every hospital ward, it’s always the same drug, drug, drug approach, practice, and mentality. Oh, yeah, everywhere you go besides this private place going up in Norway. Okay. Iatrogenic harm is a separate, but related, issue beside that of physical segregation and imprisonment. Two wrongs certainly don’t make a right, however, a right is definitely to be considered an improvement over any additional wrong. If you were working for many rights, one right is, I imagine, a good place to start.

  • Mental health treatment now being the gateway to mental health work (found jobs?), we’ve got an even more slippery story here. Out of those 50 and 75 %ers respectively, X % of millennials, X % gen zers, used the mental health excuse to swing a career in mental health treatment provision. That’s the kind of research that you might be delving into more deeply. Are there better things they could be doing? You betcha!

    When it comes to mental health treatment and work, I will bet you’ve had drop outs and second timers in both as well. The plot thickens….like fly paper.

  • You have the right to take your own life. Alright. Suicide issue, dealt with, settled, out of the way. Now when you try to prevent a person from committing suicide you are violating that person’s human rights.

    I think the problem started long before there was a medical specialty called psychiatry. In other words, the root of all evil is not psychiatry, nor did evil doing begin with psychiatrists. I think the problem first began with locking people up and forcing treatment on them for being disobedient or unruly, and second, when an expanding profitable enterprise grew out of this imprisoning and torturing of such dissidents (i.e. the violation of their human rights). There was a point in time at which the profit motive, coupled with job stability and careerism, made such an exploitative racket take off. How do you derail a run away freight train? How do you end it? Well, certainly not by making more and more investments in it.

  • “Anxiety” is a natural survival mechanism, not a “mental disease”. Any wall of abstract “suffering” you are facing can completely collapse when you understand that basic fact. Should your “suffering” be caused by toxic chemicals though you will have to withdraw from such chemical abuse to cease “suffering” so much. Drugs, in this instance, are the problem, not the solution. The solution is to trust your instincts and your senses, to be wary of the false promises of pill pushers, and to stay safe by staying healthy.

  • Basically if you get 25 % of the world, if I’m not being too conservative (today’s estimates have risen to 50 % and beyond), to buy your crap, you have job security. I find that there is a limit though to the amount of crap I personally can take. Necessity, it would seem, is a lot less necessary than it should be.

    I’d like to see a campaign directed against mental health treatment addiction. If we could wipe mental health treatment addiction off the map, we might be getting somewhere.

  • Julie was a fighter, and she will be missed greatly.

    We need more people with the strength to reject psychiatric interventions altogether, and in that sense, Julie was one of us.

    In the long list of casualties of treatment, here’s another. People need to know about lithium. I would say it’s a much more dangerous drug than people give it credit for being, and here’s another example of the consequences of putting people on it.

    Julie was, she claimed, gathering material for another anthology. Others should take up the challenge. I can’t help but wonder, if MIA were to publish such a volume, who would be censored, exiled and de-voiced, further victims of a conspiracy of silence (and silencing). We need more collections of the narratives of psychiatric survivors in solidarity against the graveyard making system. Hopefully, the example of Julie, and people like her, might draw more people into the movement for change.

    Anonymous was never so anonymous as he or she who bore a name.

  • I think Rachel777 has got a point here, OldHead. Lewis Carroll was a master of nonsense, a type of sense, not absurdity. His modus operandi was not satire, a severe criticism of what is going on, but rather, if you will, a form of resignation, at least, acceptance of the way things proceed. Nonsense, for the Victorians, of which Carroll was one, was a fact of life, not an exception to it.

  • I like 1 and 2. 3 has created a BIG problem, and it’s growing BIGGER all the time. Now “treatment” is the gateway drug into a career in “mental health” work. Yuck!! “Trauma informed care”, for instance, the abuse excuse carried over from the criminal justice system into the mental health treatment system, and vice versa. “My childhood made me do it.” 4 complements 3, double yuck. Some of us have better ways to make use of our time. (Rather, study the system with the goal and intent of critiquing and destroying the system.) 5 is not an option. Don’t be a victim. Switch gears to instinctual mode. Be a survivor. 6 scrap surveys. How many of youse out there are complete idiots? Don’t we get enough dishonesty from the mental health coppers and the corporate backed politicians? 7 deny the system, it’s going to get tied up in the courts by somebody no matter what you do in particular. 8 move, and further more act, but act in ways to destroy the behavioral intervention system and to save people from it. 9 develop your logical thinking skills, excessive reactive emotionality and stratospheric vacations get people permanent careers in the adult baby sitting business. either as adult babies or as adult baby overlords. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about folly. Wise up!

  • “…we are not monsters, we are mentally ill…”

    Don’t you think psychiatrized is a lot like demonized? The shrink establishment and the cop establishment are totally in cahoots when it comes to slandering people with the “monster” and the “sick” labels. Especially when merged.

    Crazy is not as bad a term as “mentally ill”. Crazy we all are to one degree or another. Silly, anyway. People, on the other hand, are very “serious” about “mental illness”. “Mentally ill” is an expression demanding converts.

    “We believe in your bipolarity.” Etc.

    Nobody is frivolously “mentally ill” except for people who are not “truly” “mentally ill” which says a lot for frivolity.

  • It’s Frank Blankenship, not -stein, and things could be pretty bad in Canada, but they’re pretty bad throughout the USA as well. Ditto, the world. The old idea about getting people out of the country and into Canada if you’re from the states, or into the USA if you’re from Canada, when you free them from an institution. still apply, as far as I know. We’re talking about outpatient situations here though where the situation is, frankly, not quite so severe. In the USA, lacking a federal mandate, a person is generally out of hot water once transported to another state. If simply moving a person from one province to another doesn’t work, moving them to another country should. I’m not talking strictly legal means. Underground is underground, and there the public record goes blank.

  • Great blog post, Francesca. It is my view that we need a more effective underground network of support, a railroad so-to-speak, to help people escape from forced treatment of all sorts, and even, very much so, the threat of such forced treatment that comes with Assertive Community Treatment teams, another one of those lying acronyms like Assisted Outpatient Treatment for forced drugging. I’ve had first hand experience with ACT teams, and what people need, by and large, is protection from them and the people behind them. Transport a person threatened with forced treatment to another part of the country where that threat doesn’t exist, and where they have the resources and the means to subsist and thrive, and “mental illness”, *cough, cough*, the “mental health treatment” system, death and destruction by another name, have lost that round while independent living and human rights have won the day.

  • Anarchism is a word with a definition. The definition of anarchism is, by the way, NOT disbelief in rules.

    In a Google search, the definition that comes up first, top of the page, is that from the Oxford Dictionary.

    Anarchism is, then, according to Oxford Dictionary…

    belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.

    Given that psychiatric institutions are very much into the use of force and compulsion, it would seem that the existence of such institutions, as they are presently constituted, must be incompatible with Anarchism in theory and practice.

  • Parachute NYC did have difficulty sustaining itself after the grant ran out, and it is now kaput. The story is the same with practically all of the better programs. The original Soteria Project was defunded because it ran counter to the direction charted by the NIMH. I’m pretty cynical about the matter because I know that even new programs manage to expand the “mental health” treatment system, and in that manner contribute to whatever “epidemic” in personal problems we may be experiencing. The demands for additional patient/ex-patient “mental health” workers and paraprofessionals could not be sustained without an inexhaustible reservoir of potential patients to keep the “experts” in business. I can’t wait until archeologists puzzle over the historical role of psychiatrists, unfortunately, I think I’m going to be a rather longer wait than I would like. Nonetheless, I’m already there.

  • We are certainly not arguing “medicine”. People are not imprisoned and tortured for medical reasons. The reasoning is more social, say, we can’t have a coo coo bird like that running around loose. It makes the rest of “us” look bad, therefore, coo coo bird facilities. People are entitled to rights, of course, but the people designation doesn’t include coo coo birds and ex-felons. We’ve sort of trashed the constitution in their particular cases in that regard.

  • Governments need to stop intervening in our thought processes and behavioral options, that is, in our chosen ways of living. To call such interference annoying is to understate the case. One is not “wrong” or “sick” for thinking and acting outside the proverbial box of standardized conformism, somnolence and ignorance. Abduction, segregation, imprisonment, torture, and chemical control are totally uncalled for. If the mental health treatment police state were brought down entirely, we’d be none the worst. Its treatment tends to be all trickment anyway. It is high time we popped the mental health bubble.

  • I agree about any efforts to distance socialism from communism, but I wouldn’t equate communism with Marxism.

    “Capitalism causes bad parenting, “mental illness,” homelessness and poverty.’

    Not to mention, and this is something I would definitely add to your current list, let’s see, bad parenting, medicalization, homelessness, poverty, and, oh, yeah, global warming. Rampant unregulated capitalism is, as anyone should be able to see, hell on the environment.

    To modify the Ursula Le Guin quotation a little, if we don’t start imagining an end to capitalism we might be facing the end of the world.

  • If only Wilhelm Reich had come up with a device that was able to damage the human body instead of his rather innocuous orgone accumulators, maybe then the FDA wouldn’t have been able to prosecute him for fraud. His device was absolutely safe, a claim that can reliably be made neither for deep brain stimulation, nor ECT, despite industry sales blurbs to the contrary. And while I’m on the subject, psych drugs aren’t exactly sugar pills either. Deep brain stimulation has got to make you wonder, it’s so over the top! Isn’t this just another throw of the dice in pursuit of the next big therapeutic sales gimmick? Thanks for tackling the subject.

  • Mental health law allows people to have treatment forced on them against their will and wishes. You do what mental health law allows you to do to a mental patient to anybody who is not so labeled and you’re breaking the law. I would have no problem whatsoever with this discriminatory and oppressive practice being thrown out of the law books. In other words, in clear and no uncertain terms, I think forced mental health treatment should be abolished–ended, scrapped, terminated, kaput.

  • Sticks and stones. The DSM is the mad doctor’s grimoire, but its come under much criticism in recent years for being, essentially, a piece of garbage. Magic spells, to my way of thinking, require a belief element on the part of the accursed in order to work. Phony sickness would be nowhere if not for hypochondriacs. As for the cure for folly…You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

  • Okay, no need to quibble about whether abolish means end or quibble.

    How do you propose we get no psychiatry? By declaring it no more? Forced treatment is the law. Psychiatry isn’t the law. It would seem that you’d need two things to get rid of psychiatry and forced treatment. 1. You’d have to outlaw psychiatry. 2. You’d have to outlaw forced treatment. I have a problem with telling people they can’t be shrinks, and I have a problem with telling people they can’t consult with a shrink if they want to do so. I don’t have any problem whatsoever getting rid of the deprivation of liberty that comes with forced treatment.

  • Regarding your first statement, you get rid of forced psychiatry by outlawing it. Forced sex is rape. Forced sex is illegal. Forced psychiatry has been legislated in. It should be legislated out. Psychiatry is not law. Forced treatment IS law. Forced psychiatry is legal. It should be illegal. Psychologists have the right to administer drugs in some states. Get rid of psychiatrists, and some other profession, psychology, for example, will be performing the same function. Forced treatment is law, bad law. Psychiatry is a profession and a choice, unlike forced treatment.

    I use abolish the way it is used in the dictionary, to put an end to, as in chattel slavery has been abolished in the USA. Forced psychiatric treatment should be abolished.

  • Again, I see involuntary “hospitalization” as the problem, not psychiatry. If we look at the matter historically, psychiatry grew out of forced treatment, forced treatment didn’t grow out of psychiatry. Psychiatry is just a word, and a psychiatrist is little more than a glorified fortune teller. Strip him of the power he has been granted by the state, and he is just like anybody else. Involuntary “hospitalization” involves abduction, imprisonment and torture, that is, state sanctioned violence, all without benefit of a trial by a jury of one’s peers. Treat adults like adults and you don’t involuntarily “hospitalize” them.

    I don’t want the abolition of psychiatry without the abolition of forced “mental health treatment”. If you’re not going to abolish forced treatment, I can’t support you.

  • I think to say “There is no solidarity in this movement, and that is failure,” is a bit of an over generalization. There is solidarity in this movement, and there is success, even if you don’t see it and acknowledge it. The system is like a destructive machine that destroys everything in its path, however, some of us have bucked that system entirely. Outside of the system their labels mean nothing. Before the institution of slavery was abolished in this country, there was an “underground railroad” set up for people fleeing bondage. Today, we have our own “underground” network to help people fleeing psychiatric oppression, and don’t get me wrong, we’ve got our own “success stories” as well.

  • If I can interject a few comments here without appearing to be persona non gratia for the effort let me do so.

    The book sounds like it has a lot of great things in offer, but the price, unless it is not actually populist but addressed to a professional caste and elite is, I would think, for the majority of us, rather prohibitive. I don’t, as a rule, have 60 ready $ to lay down on a single book.

    I have a somewhat different take on matters in that I don’t think forced treatment and the harm that goes along with it grew out of psychiatry, but I think the medical specialty called psychiatry grew out of the imprisonment, forced treatment, harm and segregation that proceeded it. Involuntary hospitalization (forced treatment) then is what needs to be abolished, not the bogus medical profession, aided and abetted by all sorts of other bogus professions, that feed on this socially controlling “legit” drug trade and updated “trade in lunacy”. If psychiatry is forced treatment, sure, abolish it, but if it is anything else, why bother? The palm reader still hangs her sign out from the corner of a street, and she isn’t going anywhere any time soon either.

    One talks about joining the workers movement, okay, but blue collar workers make more money, as a rule, than some of us are used to seeing. Poor people, on the other hand, need to forge a movement of their own, and former “mental patients” after state confinement, defamation, robbery and displacement are by and large poor people. It’s an uphill struggle for simple survival skills, and the economic opportunities that go along with them.

    Would embracing the movement of other oppressed groups lead to incorporation in the movement as a whole, yes, I’m all for dismantling the “mental health” system as a part of dismantling the state. Dismantling the “mental health” system, however, need not be dependent on dismantling the state. I don’t think you need to dismantle the state before you can dismantle the “mental health” system. If your focus is on dismantling the “mental health” system, to suddenly turn your attention to dismantling the state is to change the subject. I support abolishing forced psychiatric treatment, I don’t support changing the subject when it’s going to unnecessarily complicate the simple matter of abolishing involuntary mistreatment. We need to join with other people fighting the undue use of force everywhere, surely, but we don’t need to have that unity slow us down or stop us from following through in so far as abolition is concerned.

  • So, the mental health preachers have made it their task to alleviate human suffering. I think the vastness of this project is one of the things that makes psychiatry a religion rather than a scientific discipline. Disease is one thing, and definitely physical, suffering is another. I’m sure everybody by now knows the adage about ‘the road to hell’.

    “They suggest psychiatric training programs need to promote multiple perspectives of psychiatric research rather than endorsing a linear approach grounded in biologic perspective.”

    Not only do we have behaviorists, and psycho-dynamic counseling, but we’ve also got Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews.

    I’m personally not looking for a savior. Please, don’t pretend to be one.

  • I’m all for practicality, OldHead. I just have an issue with nonsense, not nonsense as nonsense, but rather nonsense taken for sense. Nonsense as nonsense is silly fun. Nonsense taken for sense is a pain for everyone.

    Look up “praxis” sometime. It’s a word that is big in some Marxist circles, and for good reason. Unreason is simply not going to take anyone very far in any direction they should choose to go in.

  • Scapegoating “the mentally ill” (sic) may placate the NRA, but I fail to see how the mass manufacture and sale of weapons of mass destruction makes anybody safe. Right now, what do they do? Blame “mental patients”, and downplay gun control because of the lobbying efforts of the NRA. This doesn’t have so much to do with second amendment rights as it does with a person’s right to gun down a large number of other people, and it’s either blame ‘nuts’ or blame guns. I say spare the ‘nuts’ and trash the guns would be a much better direction for us to go in than the one we’re currently going in.

    Everybody is ‘nuts’ to one degree or another, but every bodies favorite toy is not always a machine gun. When that toy though is a machine gun, watch out, somebody is going to get hurt.

    I’m much less concerned about people losing their guns than I am about people being put on this list of people who are not to own guns. Many, if not most, of the people on that list never owned any guns anyway. I don’t see this matter as very fair in the least. Being put on that list is a matter of profiling, but the profiling itself is fiction because you’re talking about a population that doesn’t tend to be violent in the first place, in fact, a population that tends to be less violent than the rest of the general public.

  • Hopefully they won’t get away with passing this bill into law. It doesn’t have bi-partisan support, but such was also the case with the Murphy bill, and what happened? The outgoing Dems used it in a deal-making maneuver with the incoming Repubs. Both parties are just made up of the same old snakes, although their appearance, the colors and patterns on their scales, differ.

    We need to fight this type of oppressive legislation tooth and nail. Thanks for being there, on the alert, and informing people about the continuing danger.

  • If you’re talking about abolition of involuntary “hospitalization”, I think of reform as merely a means of not making your objective. Do you really want a “kinder and gentler” form of slavery? No, thank you. Let’s opt for emancipation instead. What goes for chattel slavery also goes for psychiatric slavery. You don’t get rid of it by putting up with it, and you don’t abolish it by reforming it.

    Reform is all about more or less restrictive “treatment” while abolition is about having no restrictive “treatment” at all. The conservative reformers want more restrictive “treatment”, the liberal reformers want less restrictive “treatment”, and the radical non-reformist abolitionists don’t want any restrictive “treatment”. Reform, in the context of involuntary “hospitalization”, is just a dirty word for more of the same.

  • But it was that long ago. The “sanity” coppers have been imposing treatment on people for a few centuries now (torture, drugging, confinement). “Mental health” is supposed to be an outcome of this treatment. Who buys “mental health” treatment? The so-called “mentally ill”. Why? Because the so-called “mentally healthy” don’t need it.

    “Mental health” is not an ideology as far as I’m concerned. It’s the heaven of the “mental illness” religion. As long as people don’t “get well”, er, ‘act regular’, we’re going to have “consumers”, that is, “mental illness” religion converts. We can’t “fix ’em”, say the would be “sanity” repair people. No. That would bring business to a standstill. As long as people buy “mental health”, the obverse of “mental illness”, somebody is raking in the cash. For what, you might ask, and the answer is basically for doing one’s small part in supporting human misery.

  • “There’s nothing new in dying now
    Though living is no newer.”
    ~ from Goodbye, My Friend, Goodbye
    Sergei Yesenin


    When you become afraid of something necessary for survival, you don’t survive.

    I put a lot more stake in decision making. A brain didn’t do it, a person did.

    If one wants to cut through the crap, not deciding (indecisiveness) is also a decision.

  • The mass of college grads think in more practical terms than to major in art history. If you go there, of course, it’s the old college adage of “publish or perish”. Either one writes or one teaches or…one flips burgers, changes tires, what have you…

    I imagine the blue pill comment is in reference to so-called sex “workers”, and I’m not going there. Blue pill manufacturers, on the other hand, are part of the problem. All sorts of people are getting rich selling drugs of one sort or another while only so many people are saying, whoa, maybe drugs are not the solution.

  • There is something to be said for higher education. I’m not sure what though. Right now you’ve got a professional caste lording it over everybody else. This professionalism, in fact, ends up being more important to some people than the truth. Go to school and get a 5 or 6 digit salary, your other option is complete and utter failure, relatively or socially speaking.

    Aw, I dunno. If it’s alright with you, I’m just going to forgo the blue collar thing. Thanks anyway.

    ….On the other hand, I think there is a place for mad studies and the like in academia. Getting there, if anybody has the strength, stamina and patience to do so, certainly wouldn’t be a matter of falling on your face.

  • Black pride, red pride, gay pride, mad pride, I think it’s all good pride. Pride is not healthy or unhealthy, it’s good or bad. White pride, for example, is bad pride.

    Our present meritocracy isn’t always meritocratic. That’s something you’ve got to realize. A person can take a lot of pride in a very bad thing, and that pride can become an impediment to people doing good things.

    I’d like to see more pride for the good that people have achieved rather than pride for the bad (i.e. selfish) things that they’d accomplished. Pollution, impoverishment, and war pride, for example, we might be more highly critical of those than we currently are. Pride for displaying a little self-control and suppressing one’s hubris? There you go, that’s another one, on the good side.

  • I tend to disagree with what you are saying. I don’t think we’ve experienced any great shift in perspective basically. I think the numbers tell a different story. How do you increase the numbers of people “suffering from a mental illness”? Obviously, you make treatment a consumer product. If there aren’t then more people “suffering from mental illness”, there certainly are more people “suffering” from mental health treatment. Sure, there are some people that have a more health conscious approach to treating people for being caught up in unfortunate situations, but, generally, it’s a matter of the health conscious people striving to compete on the market with more mainstream, and blatantly harmful, approaches. In short, two wrongs don’t make a right, but eventually the wrongs have to add up to an even bigger wrong.

  • Resistance to the unfair power disparity we face is the only strategy that we can take to the “aggressive powers” you mention. The system imposes these unfair power relations on people. As “appeasement” supports the system, a system based on this power disparity, no appeasement is possible. (In other words, appeasement supports the status quo, an unfair, oppressive status quo for many, and the only past the status quo is in opposition to appeasement.)

  • “Time keeps on circling, circling into the future.”

    If it weren’t for inhumane psychiatry there would be no need for humane psychiatry. Problem. When inhumane psychiatry has marginalized and disenfranchized, one might say, subhumanized and decitizenized, a segment of the population, humane psychiatry is going to bring it back into the fold again? Let me say that I have serious doubts about the matter. Once inhumane psychiatry targeted a population, humane psychiatry is still targeting them but in a different way. If you really wanted a humane psychiatry, you would automatically and directly address the need to end forced treatment. Leaning on the potential for international law to do so, you’re first point, is a way of addressing the problem obliquely rather than directly. I get the idea, through this, that you are more interested in promoting your profession than in maintaining and protecting human rights. Here’s more ‘incremental change’ chicken feed. Someday, sometime in the future, perhaps…in a universe far, far away…we will be ready to dispense with forcing unwanted treatments on people. Uh huh. When it comes down to it, in my view, there’s no day like today for doing so.

  • Too bad we don’t have any antipsychiatry journals publishing at this time. If we did, we could give…or not…psychiatry a space to address our objections to interpersonal interventions in the name of that abstraction, “mental health”.

    I think it great that Bonnie Burstow managed to launch an antipsychiatry scholarship. You want ‘mad studies’ in the classroom? Even, perhaps, a ‘mad studies’ scholarship? Then we could use more of that sort of thing.

    Expecting psychiatry (that academic discipline in particular) to listen to our concerns, ironically enough, is expecting a little bit too much.

  • Suicide and institutionalization are symptomatic of “mental illness”? I don’t think so. People have their own reasons for offing themselves, and institutions of detention hold people who have no physical (i.e. no literal) illness whatsoever.

    President Trump though is playing the violence card here as if there was any evidence that treatment, often a violent matter in its own right, prevented violence. People who commit massive acts of violence are only “mentally ill” after the fact, and after the fact, it’s too late to prevent them from having committed their violent crimes. To do so, the mental health treatment system would have to become a pre-crime unit, perhaps it is already, and if all people are “innocent until proven guilty”, doing so is very problematic, especially with regard to constitutional rights, and the right to due process of law in particular.

  • One strategy is to find allies, people we can work with, and one place to find them is in academia. I don’t think we want to shortchange ourselves in the tactic department. Not having people to work with is less conducive to change than having people to work with. We find people to work with, in the process of resisting harm. and fighting for change in the system. The “alternative” is more oppression, and with it, more injury, that is, non-action, or passively ‘aiding and abetting’ the enemy.

  • I’ve often wondered about the potential for Parkinson’s disease to develop out of parkinsonism. I would suspect that the numbers of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder who develop Parkinson’s disease could be showing us just that.

    20 % + 20 % = 40 %, the research in the article above estimates run for the showing of symptoms of parkinsonism. I would suspect that, as neuroleptics are dopamine blockers, the numbers of neuroleptic users experiencing symptoms might be even higher than that, something like around, say, 100 %.

  • I think, in one sense or another, you have to deal with the benefits to psychiatrists of giving shock treatments. This is to say, that they take home more money, and in that sense, are served by the treatments more than their captives and “clients” when they give them. ECT is a “most effective” treatment because there is an industry behind it, and it pays more than other treatments.

    Not towing the mainstream line is heresy as far as some of these psychiatric professionals are concerned. They are very protective of the power that they’ve amassed, and they consider it impolite to be questioned about the science behind it, or lack thereof. I think that there may be ways into academia, I just doubt that those ways are going to be through the conventional psychiatric journal. Typically they are very much funded by big pHarma, and a matter of singing to the choir, that is, telling the converts (evangelicals of the mental illness faith) what they want to hear.

  • Corporate influence has grown in the last few years making an uncorrupted presence, in academia or elsewhere, that much harder to come by. I imagine that in order to keep things less than tainted we will have to get the ‘money out of politics’. When corporations, like mob bosses, buy politicians it has a negative effect on the system as a whole from top to bottom. Changing academia will probably require a changing of the guard in politics as well. I’m a little chagrined that we could elect a president such as Obama just to have him appoint a corporate drug lord head of the FDA. We really need a better grade of statesmen to keep the level of such travesty down.

  • You mention in your article Clifford Beers, the guy who helped turn moral management’s asylum building movement into a mental hygiene/mental health movement. Few people take note of the fact that he died in an asylum.

    “In 1939 Beers’s symptoms of mental illness returned, and he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, where he later died.”


    John Thomas Perceval in Great Britain, too, another actor in the field of sorts, more to my liking, suffered a similar fate.

    “He died in Munster House asylum in 1876 aged 73 and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.”


    Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard, the exception, because she was able to sell subscriptions to the articles advocating change she wrote. was able to stay afloat to the end of her life. One of her daughters, once her mother had passed away, was not so lucky, and died in an institution.

    I see a need for more paying gigs outside of the “mental health” sickness system itself. If you’re going to pack people off to your institutions because they don’t have a paying gig, creating this “trustee” system of “mental health” paid patient/ex-patients paraprofessional employees, becomes a problem in its own right. Surely, there are more ways to make a living besides making your career a matter of compounding the initial problem. IN the “mental health” system is not OUTSIDE of the “mental health” system, and as such, not so securely “healthy”, or supportive of an independent lifestyle, as it might be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Logic, JanCarol.

    “all psychiatry is forced”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Social scapegoating though starts in the home for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.