Showing 62 of 62 comments.
I was avidly following your reporting of the trial. It was a great public service.
Thanks Bob, it sounds like a great conference. You are no doubt too hard on yourself.
I wonder if the message that the selective use of psych drugs approach can achieve an 80% recovery rate, while the current medical model achieves a 5% recovery rate might resonate with the general population and policy makers. I pulled 97 seconds on this out of a talk I gave in October and posted it on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Ts17LI77BUo
The Treatment Advocacy Center has a list that purports to describe commitment state by state. The Treatment Advocacy Center, of course, is a big proponent of involuntary commitment and forced drugging.
You might also be interested in my law review article, Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a Matter of Course. http://psychrights.org/Research/Legal/25AkLRev51Gottstein2008.pdf
NARPA, the National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy is the best one I know of. http://narpa.org/ It is composed mainly of psychiatric survivors and lawyers and has an annual rights conference.
My take away at looking at Open Dialogue results and comparing them with Harrow & Jobe’s study is that once people are put on the drugs for any length of time, the chances of recovery go down from 80% to 40%, i.e., they are halved.
I think you are missing the big picture. Open Dialogue, which tries to avoid neuroleptic use and does for 80% of people experiencing what is considered a psychotic break, achieves an 80% recovery rate. This contrasts to other parts of Finland using the standard “neuroleptics for everyone” approach which sees the same virtually non-existent recovery rates as the U.S. and the rest of the West. I wanted to have a very short video that had the potential of gaining some traction outside of the choir and the nuances you bring up could not be included. It was meant to be provocative. However, the argument is valid.
Open Dialogue achieves an 80% recovery rate for first episode people by avoiding neuroleptics if it can. The Harrow & Jobe naturalistic study shows that 40% of people who have been on neuroleptics and get off recover and 5% if they don’t. The argument is as simple as that. Of course, Open Dialogue has its own psychosocial/community approach, but the point I am making is that avoiding the use of neuroleptics achieves an 80% recovery rate, while using them the way we do in the U.S., achieves a 5% rate.
The point that doesn’t seem to have come through as clearly as I would have liked, though, is that once people have been on the neuroleptics for a while only 40% who get off of them recover, which is half the rate of those who were never put on them in the first place.
I wish I did.
PsychRights has published a Forced Drugging Defense package. http://psychrights.org/Litigation/ForcedDruggingDefensePkg.pdf It hasn’t been modified yet to incorporate Dr. Gøtzsche’s affidavit, though. http://psychrights.org/Litigation/160601PGotzscheAffidavit.pdf
The short answer is it is not a fair process.
I recently read Mad Science, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1412849764/lawprojectfor-20 and I am currently reading Bonnie Burstow’s book, Psychiatry and the Business of Madness, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/113750384X/lawprojectfor-20.
They are both excellent books and especially Psychiatry and the Business of Madness goes into the process of turning well-meaning people into instruments of oppression.
More could have been done with Dr. Gøtzsche and his affidavit. PsychRights is hoping to see if better use will work better.
The hospital has a huge advantage with testimony since the psychiatrist is already there and has easy access to the “patient.”
How to make the public realize what is going on is the big question. Right now things are going in the wrong direction with this witch hunt environment we are in as a result of scapegoating people diagnosed with mental illness for mass shootings. There are many credentialed people who have debunked the medical model and its so-called “treatments.”
I couldn’t agree with you more. When Dr. Gøtzsche was in Anchorage he signed an affidavit to that effect, which can be downloaded from http://psychrights.org/Litigation/160601PGotzscheAffidavit.pdf. I was also able to arrange for him to testify in a case where the person was represented by the public defenders. The patient lost. Dr. Gøtzsche talks about his experience a little bit in the question and answer period of his talk, which is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/iTQ4t7RmyfM
I think your experience is typical. My estimate is no more than 10% of the people involuntarily committed actually meet commitment criteria and that the government can never or virtually never truthfully satisfy the criteria for forced drugging because it has to prove it is in the person’s best interests and there are no less intrusive alternatives. In Alaska that has to be by clear and convincing evidence. Whether it is by a preponderance of the evidence (more than 50/50) or by clear and convincing evidence I just don’t think it can be truthfully proven that forced drugging is in the person’s best interest and there are no less intrusive alternatives.
Super work, Serafina. You and other people might be interested in the law review article I wrote, Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a Matter of Course. http://psychrights.org/Research/Legal/25AkLRev51Gottstein2008.pdf.
The way things are looking, especially in the 2nd Circuit, it seems that “truthful, non-misleading” off-label promotion is allowed. While we know the promotion will be false and misleading, the government having to prove that is a whole other level of difficulty. And, of course, the drug companies will point to their bogus studies to show that they are being truthful.
I agreed with you right until the end. While the laws could no doubt be WAY improved, fundamentally I don’t think that is the problem in the U.S. The problem is that people’s rights are ignored as a matter of course. In the The Illegality of Forced Drugging and Electroshock, https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/03/the-illegality-of-forced-drugging-and-electroshock/, I go through the analysis, concluding that no more than 10% of the people psychiatrically imprisoned actually meet the legal standard for involuntary commitment. As to forced drugging, since it has to be in the person’s best interests and there are no less intrusive alternatives, forced drugging is never constitutional.
The problem is these rights are not enforced. Again, I put the blame squarely on the lawyers assigned to represent people facing these horrors.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982 after a manic episode and had another one in 1985. I have learned strategies to keep out of trouble. I have written about it at http://akmhcweb.org/recovery/jgrec.htm and talked about it at https://youtu.be/Q-ancdxr268.
Yes, the 80% recovery rate comes from the Open Dialogue Approach Results. Five-year experience of first-episode nonaffective psychosis in open-dialogue approach: Treatment principles, follow-up outcomes, and two case studies, which can be downloaded from PsychRights’ website at http://www.psychrights.org/Research/Digest/Effective/fiveyarocpsychotherapyresearch.pdf.
The 5% recovery rate comes from Martin Harrow & Thomas H. Jobe, Factors Involved in Outcome and Recovery in Schizophrenia Patients Not on Antipsychotic Medications: A 15-Year Multifollow-Up Study, 195 J. NERVOUS & MENTAL DISEASE 406 (2007), which can be downloaded from PsychRights’ website at http://www.psychrights.org/Research/Digest/NLPs/OutcomeFactors.pdf
The enforceability of advance directives depends on state law, but in the main, they are legally binding if the person was competent at the time it was signed. The whole idea of competence is pretty bogus in this context, but I suggest that people include right on their advance directive someone signing that they were competent when they signed because it is hard for the psychiatrist to come back later and say that the person wasn’t. The better the credentials of the person certifying the person is competent the better. MD, outranks PhD, etc., but even a lay person is better than nothing.
In the end, though, even though the advance directive is legally binding, they are often ignored in practice. Of course, the docs don’t know what to do if they can’t drug people into submission, but it is the lawyers assigned to represent people who are not zealously advocating for their clients. This is the key place the legal part of the system is broken. The legal system in the United States is based on zealous advocacy on both sides and people facing the horror of forced drugging (and commitment) are assigned lawyers whose main purpose is so the system can say people have a lawyer.
I wrote a law review article about how people’s rights are ignored in Involuntary Commitment and Forced Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a matter of course. http://psychrights.org/Research/Legal/25AkLRev51Gottstein2008.pdf
Thanks for your comments Jasna. The Runaway House was an inspiration for me.
I agree it is better to close Soteria-Alaska down than have it subverted into a harmful program. Also, even if it is providing a good, non-coercive environment, I don’t think it should be called Soteria if it isn’t following the Soteria Critical Elements. Dr. Mosher and Luc Ciompi wrote what these are and PsychRights has them posted at http://psychrights.org/education/SoteriaCriticalElements.pdf
Please e-mail me at [email protected].
I think Robert Whitaker’s and Lisa Cosgrove’s new book, Psychiatry Under the Influence give a good explanation of why and how organized psychiatry have adopted a paradigm of care that is so counter-productive and harmful–even lethal.
There is no real evidence that psychosis causes brain damage. PsychRights has compiled some studies on this at http://psychrights.org/Research/Digest/NLPs/neuroleptics.htm#Failure
My view is that there are plenty of first break people 18 or over to fill Soteria-Alaska. After all only 5 or 6 people could live there at a time. There should be a different program(s) for people wanting to get off the drugs in my view.
Thank you Michael for your very helpful observations! You have been doing incredible work.
Thanks Foster. I almost put in something about the great work you did there, too.
Thanks Bruce. As you can imagine, it is profoundly disappointing.
My sense is the FDA is not influenced by more protective measures in Europe.
A lot of people responded to my call to submit comments when the FDA was considering the petition and that was good. Of course, it didn’t matter to the FDA. I think seeing what can be done with educating Bernie Sanders would be good. In fact, educating the general public is the most important thing.
Once it is in the courts it is pretty hard to influence things. Of course, the Department of Justice should be ashamed for supporting the FDA in this, but it is its job.
On a day in day out basis, I would say Ed Silverman of the Pharmalot Blog, now at the Wall Street Journal.
The Inspector General wrote a report in 2011 that half of the prescriptions of neuroleptics to nursing home residents are not for medically accepted indications and therefore not covered under Medicare. See, http://psychrights.org/Issues/MedicareFraud/oei-07-08-00150.pdf. Amazingly Medicare says it has no authority to prevent payment.
Most of this is Medicare Fraud for the same reason it is in children and youth. See, http://psychrights.org/Education/ModelQuiTam/ModelQuiTam.htm.
Ron, this is a wonderful piece. I hope a lot of people also read your excellent book, A Fight to Be: A Psychologist’s Experience from Both Sides of the Locked Door.
Dr. Grace Jackson published probably the definitive book on this topic 6 years ago, Drug Induced Dementia. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1438972318/lawprojectfor-20 It is good for there to be some mainstream recognition of the problem.
sleves, you live in a different universe than I. My experience is that people’s rights are uniformly ignored to be locked up and drugged against their will. I wrote a law review article about it that you can find at http://psychrights.org/Research/Legal/25AkLRev51Gottstein2008.pdf There is also a video where I talk about it at http://youtu.be/19ER-rgYNuM
The same goes for children being taken away from their homes and drugged.
I used to give mental health workers the benefit of the doubt for not knowing the great harm they are causing. Now, though they have to be hiding their heads in the sand not to know. The picture at http://psychrights.org/Market/LucyTShirtOrderPage.htm I think says it all. Are they fooled or are they complicit.
One can come up with a number of explanations for this behavior, but I think it is mostly the banality of evil.
I am devastated by Leonard Roy Frank’s passing. I hope he didn’t suffer. We have lost another great advocate. We have lost a great person, but we can take solace that his teaching will remain. We can take solace in having known this great man.
There is no way I can equal the eloquence of the remembrances by David Oaks, Don Weitz, Bonnie Burstow, Laura Delano and Ron Bassman, great people all, so I won’t try. I will just say we all would be better people to live by our highest principles as Leonard did.
It was my great pleasure to have gotten to know Leonard a bit. I was honored to be entrusted by Leonard to scan and post historic articles and other writings about the psychiatric resistance movement at http://psychiatrized.org/LeonardRoyFrank/FromTheFilesOfLeonardRoyFrank.htm. I am extremely glad that the Open Paradigm Project was able to video this incredible man for posterity.
When we wanted to change the Facebook Group Occupy Psychiatry to Network Against Psychiatric Assault, I called Leonard (& Ted Chabasinski) to see if it was alright with him. He was pleased to have the name resurrected to resist psychiatric force.
Rest In Peace, Leonard. You have left a great legacy. We shall continue to work to end the darkness of psychiatric oppression using your wisdom to light the way.
No. The hospital pretended this was a malpractice case, which requires such an affidavit. The court saw through the argument.
You might read the decision, but the most important protection is that the hospital has to file a further petition if they want to hold the person more than 96 hours and then the person gets a court hearing where she can present her side. The hospital’s holding Ms. Pierce for months without such a hearing is what Ms. Pierce sued over.
This decision just allowed her to go forward. There is a jury trial set for November, but it might be put off.
I agree it is hard to impossible to get lawyers to take these cases. If Ms. Pierce wins a large amount that could help.
In this case, the battery allegation is civil not criminal. Ms. Pierce is seeking money damages. My experience is prosecutors will not bring civil charges.
It is a state by state thing, but if someone is determined to be incompetent they don’t have the right to refuse. Someone generally is appointed to make the decision.
This is a civil case, not criminal so the battery is civil battery. Ms. Pierce is seeking money damages. The court held there was no assault because assault requires intent to harm.
Missouri is in the 8th Circuit.
Thanks for your comments. I do think we need to address the public pretender issue. The petition asking the Supreme Court to take the case is a lot of work. I am used to that.
I REALLY appreciate your comments. I had the same concern and expressed them to a very experienced and highly regarded U.S. Supreme Court practitioner this morning. He basically said one has to take the shot when you have it. One can’t wait for better conditions that may never come.
One of the things we are looking at is how we can make these kinds of of points in a petition to the Supreme Court.
I talked to an expert on the U.S. Supreme Court today and one of the things he said is that these opportunities don’t come around all the time and you need to take your shot when you have a chance. That you can’t wait until you feel the conditions are better because you are likely to never get there (my paraphrase).
Thanks for your thoughts Someone Else. One consideration is that having the chance to potentially obtain a U.S. Supreme Court precedent is very important. The chance of them taking the case is the big question mark.
I wasn’t offended at all. You are right on the money. The problem is the lack of attorney power to address them. Being just one person, I have to conduct kind of a guerrilla litigation, or maybe more accurately, to try and not take on something I can’t see through. We just really need more legal firepower.
In terms of Insel’s two recent bombshells they are really quite good for use in litigation. However, the facts have really been on our side for a long time. That is not the problem.
Super piece, Michael.
Occupy Psychiatry on Facebook is a place where people can organize protests against psychiatric diagnosis degradation ceremonies. https://www.facebook.com/OccupyPsychiatry.
You can find out about past events at https://www.facebook.com/OccupyPsychiatry/events
Maria: It is common to be billed for the privilege of being locked up and drugged against one’s will. I was so offended I researched and every single case I found said it was constitutional.
Copy Cat: Most so-called mental health lawyers will say one shouldn’t ask for a jury, but I believe one should unless one has a firm believe one will win before the judge. My experience is judges uniformly grant petitions for commitment and forced drugging orders when the legal criteria don’t exist. In other words, they ignore the legal requirements. I haven’t done that many jury trials, but have won them all, including a patient who had been involuntarily committed over 60 times by judges. The jurors followed the instructions.
I have recently read both of Dr. Shipko’s e-books; the one on anti-depressant withdrawal and the one on benzodiazapine withdrawal. I think they are both very worth having/reading for anyone interested in the topic.
Like Ted, I am outraged. To me reparations are in order for the lives ruined by these drugs.
One should consider that the sponsor of this study is totally invested in the current treatment paradigm and did everything they could to explain away the findings from the drugs. The reality is that this shortened lifespan was not seen before the drugs. “But for” the drugs, to use the legal criteria for causation, we wouldn’t be seeing this decreased lifespan.
The 25 year shorter life span is specifically with respect to people diagnosed with serious mental illness in the public mental health system. It comes from the study, “Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness,” by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, October 2006, which is posted in its entirety at http://psychrights.org/Articles/2006NASMHPDonEarlyDeath.pdf.
In contrast to this, I understand Dr. David Healy compared the outcomes for people diagnosed with serious mental illness around 1900 (before the drugs) and in the modern era (with the drugs) and found that back then they had normal life spans. Healy D, Savage M, Michael P. Harris M, Cattell D, Carter M, McMonagle T, Sohler N, Susser E (2001). Psychiatric service utilisation: 1896 & 1996 compared. Psychological Medicine 31, 779-790. I thought I had this last article, but can’t find it.
There is no question in my mind that almost all, if not all, of the cause of this early death is the drugs.
PsychRights.Org or psychiatrized.org would consider posting it, depending on the content. You can e-mail me at [email protected]
Terrific work Tina! And Maxima.
I know that Michael Moore has been contacted about this issue, but part of the idea is to try and get a lot of tweets going on this topic with the hashtag #BFCquestion. I expect there will be a lot of people not familiar with the connection between psych drugs and gun violence following this hashtag so this is an opportunity to educate them. Also, if we can generate enough tweets that might be newsworthy.
It also seems to me there is a fair chance that he or someone else on the panel will actually address the issue if we generate enough activity in the Twittersphere.
Thank you all for your support. Because of the IRS action, it would not be prudent to donate to the Jim Gottstein Legal Defense Fund and it has been shut down. Donations to the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights®)in support of its mission to mount a strategic litigation campaign against forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock and against the psychiatric drugging of children and youth will be greatly appreciated. There is a PayPal button on its Home Page, http://psychrights.org/, as well as a link to Network for Good’s donation processing website.
In the over-all scheme of things, whatever I have had to pay and may have to pay in the future is well worth it.
I appreciate all of your support.
Something people can do to support the public education effort that doesn’t cost anything is to “like” the brand new Facebook community, Occupy Psychiatry and help spread the word about it. https://www.facebook.com/OccupyPsychiatry
Chris, except for “emergencies” involving imminent severe harm, legally people have the right to decline the drugs unless they are “incompetent,” in which case the government obtains authorization to step in and make the assumed rational decision. In both the guardianship situation and the Advance Directive situation, this legal justification cannot exist. In other words, it is illegal to drug someone on the grounds that the person is crazy and doesn’t know it is good for him, when there is already a guardian in place. So, the authorities will often just ignore it and drug the person anyway.
There may be statutes that take the guardian out of the picture in certain circumstances in some states, but this may also be unconstitutional.
It is perhaps a little more complicated in the Advance Directive situation, because they can say the person was incompetent when they signed the Advance Directive. That is why I recommend people getting someone, preferably a psychologist or psychiatrist, to certify the person is competent right on the Advance Directive at the same time as the person signs it.
Still, this doesn’t mean it won’t be ignored by the authorities.
This is why I think the approach suggested in my Three-Pronged Approach blog is the way to change the system. In advance of that, having zealous legal representation, which is very hard to come by, is what one needs and that might not even be successful.