Showing 67 of 67 comments.
It’s comments like this one, that make me wish there were “like” buttons on this site. Spot on.
Good article, thank you.
In my experience, those who were most blatantly prejudiced towards me, were (ironically) MH practitioners, Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Nurses, Social Worker, Assistants and Cleaners in hospital settings. Examples being:
– telling someone that all and any traumatic events they have been through, are not relevant, what’s wrong with me, is my brain chemistry;
– to add insult to injury of the above, the only reason i can’t see this is because I am “ill” (“poor insight”)
– telling someone they have a (fictitious) physiological illness for which they have to take drugs for the long term if not the rest of their life (i.e. hopelessness…you are permanently broken)
– oh, not to mention the taking away of their human rights, and terrifying people inpatient…
If that’s not stigma, I don’t know what is…and these are the people who are there to “help”….
In stark contrast, friends and colleagues I have generally found to be extremely sympathetic and kind.
Thank you for a very honest account of your experience.
This is a topic of much interest to me, I’ve been the person on the receiving end of the “chemical imbalance”, “take this medication for life”, “just like diabetes” message – except I received it in an involuntary inpatient setting which is infinitely more confronting.
I’m genuinely keen to understand – in your experience when you did counsel people on the “chemical imbalance” model (which it sounds like you never truly believed in) – why did you do this? What were the factors for thinking that this was a good/appropriate explanation to provide? Was it because you thought they would be more ready to accept medication if they thought this was true?
Not trying to be confrontational – I found it very damaging to find out that it wasn’t true, and am really interested to understand why clinicians or other MH practitioners would tell someone something that they themselves don’t think is true…
In terms of “why” I think these frameworks exist…in relation to risk to self, I think it’s seen by most people as legitimate to lock someone up who poses a suicide risk for the following reasons:
– Most people have no experience of such states, and find the idea really frightening. In this situation, I think most “normal” people look to “someone to DO something.” What that thing is I don’t think really matters…ultimately involuntary hospitalisation is essentially custodial, they sure as hell don’t provide any form of meaningful treatment. But I think it gives comfort to other people (like family members) that someone is doing something. Reality, no one cares if the “help” does nothing other than “hurt.” I think psychiatry as a profession are the ones who market themselves as the people who know what to do, even though in reality, I don’t think they have much of a clue.
– Part of it I think is also a legacy of historical attitudes to suicide (largely originating from religious doctrine) that used to literally criminalise suicide. This is where the idea of “badness” comes from.
In relation to risk of “harm to others” – easy…if people are afraid of someone potentially hurting someone, they don’t give a damn about due process, human rights or anything.
Personally, I am not holding my breath for society to repeal involuntary hospitalisation provisions…it’s not going to happen. I just can’t see that society and lawmakers are ever going to care enough about “those people.” With this in mind, all I ask is can they at the very least *try* to have a radical overhaul of what they consider treatment(!). Though apparently even this is asking too much.
Hmm…good video (though part of me always cringes when watching that style of journalistic “phony” questioning)…
The thing I don’t like about it is, comments made like, “I’m not crazy” as if to imply that it’s so unfair for veterans with PTSD diagnoses to be lumped in with the “genuinely crazy people” with the “genuine mental illnesses” – they’ve missed the wood for the trees – that vast majority of the so-called “genuinely crazy people” are likely also traumatised themselves…!!!
Thank you for your reply, that’s interesting.
I’d like to get your take on why they do this:
a. Do they literally know that they’re lying? Or are they simply ignorant?
b. If they know that it’s not true, is it misguided paternalism? What do you think is driving this message?
This message is so damaging. I always knew what it was that upset me so much – I just didn’t understand “why”. What I took to be a normal childhood, apparently really isn’t. I thought it was my fault because I was too emotional/sensitive/soft. To demand that a complete stranger, who you do not know, deny all and everything that has happened to her, on the premise that you “know better” takes a very special kind of arrogance.
Why do they do this?
Yikes, I just read Earley’s post on medication… and then went onto read his post on “chemical imbalances”
Relates to another post on MIA, (the book review on the Depression Delusion) – these people…do they have no appreciation of the inherent damage they do to people who’ve been to hell and back (multiple times) and then have the audacity to cast that aside and tell them fairy tales about chemical imbalances….?
Words fail me.
I agree it is important to keep banging on about this message.
During inpatient involuntary hospitalisation in NYC in 2011, me and my family were given the “chemical imbalance”; “just like insulin for diabetes”; “you need to be on this medication for the long term if not the rest of your life” spiel.
In fact every single morning, when doing round the “Doctor” asked me if I believed this story. She was obviously unhappy whenever I expressed any form of skepticism.
Eventually after 2 weeks, I realised that literally the only way out of there was to pretend that I agreed with them.
Telling “little white lies” in a GP office is a breach of medical ethics in its own right, but making someone who’s rights you have taken away, and who is extremely frightened already profess belief in something you know to be false, as a condition of their release is, well, it’s insane frankly.
I don’t understand how this isn’t illegal. i don’t understand how these people sleep at night.
One of the worst things is, upon my release, when I started looking into all this, and found out that it really is complete BS…I was so angry, but when I tried to talk to friends about it, I couldn’t because they believe it’s true…and that I’m just being a “crazy person”. This just added to the isolation.
So the more people who know this. The better.
I’m attempting to write one that is along those lines…
Not a pure graphic novel, a book with lots of pictures though documenting things.
Appreciate your point re: not biting the hand that feeds you…
On the “holes” you point to e.g. that trauma relies on “self-reporting” and the assumption that the information is therefore unreliable…surely it’s no more or less reliable than the inherent self-reporting of the symptoms in a DSM checklist is it??? Where else does either camp get their data from – us!!
Thanks for responding.
I do want to do something…earlier this year I wrote a book setting out *everything* – but in reality, people do not want to hear about this sort of stuff…
I was reading an article by Jeffrey Liebermann in the NYT on the latest spate of shootings in the U.S. – and quell surprise his argument is that AOT frameworks need to be put more aggressively to use…it’s the most insidious scare-mongering…but most scary was the number of ‘comments’ to the article which cheered him on!
It’s easy for the APA, Congress (e.g. Murphy & co) to dismiss people like ‘me’ – because who cares what some random
“crazy woman” thinks, eh?
If a letter goes out, it would be great coming from either MIA itself or Bob…as he’s not so easy to silence 🙂
I just want someone with appropriate credibility and muscle to “call out” people like Congressman Murphy; to connect the dots and put these people in a room together once and for all. I’m happy to write it; I’m more than happy to append my personal history – but the sender needs to be someone with whom they will actually engage.
Thanks for your note and the links.
Sorry, didn’t express myself very clearly in my post – I know Van Der Kolk and co aren’t linked to MIA – my point was more why are they not also co-testifying to Congress when people like Torrey, Murray and Liberman are lying their little socks off?
From an ethical standpoint, if they know the Emperor has no clothes, why are they not speaking out in the forums where they propose yet more erosion of our human rights?
Thank you for this thought provoking piece. I can’t help but imagine sometimes how different things may have been for me, if inpatient experience had focussed on these things rather than imposing the chemical imbalance dogma on me.
It’s deeply concerning to me, when I see things like the Murphy Bill, and the corresponding testimony of Murphy and the other hacks such as Torrey, Lieberman etc harping on about “brain diseases” – I don’t understand why Anda/Felitti and Van Der Kolk etc are not also giving their views in these sort of forums…? The idea that an as-yet-to-be-proven “disease” model forms the foundation of lawmakers decision making, to further erode the human rights of people seen as “other” is so disturbing. These two conversations need to come together:
1. On one hand is the ACE Study which actually has evidence showing a drastic correlation between “trauma”/adverse experience and mental illness such as depression and suicide attempts. Many of these adverse life experiences relate to the psychological impacts of violence; coercion; force and intimidation. One of the desired outcomes of the study is for the findings to influence policy and law-makers to take such data into account; and yet
2. On the other hand there is a dialogue which has disease and pathology at its foundation, and despite not having produced evidence for any such pathology – is actively influencing law-makers to develop frameworks that revolve around imposing actual or implied violence; coercion; force and intimidation on the same people in (1) above.
Found this, which may be of interest:
What “brain disorder” is Murphy on about I wonder…
One thing I don’t get about this legislation, is that its supporters seem to be feeding the fire on people’s (unjustified) fear of people who are in acute states of “psychosis” e.g. Torrey and co claim that the bill is targeting an extremely small population of those:
– deemed “psychotic”
– a harm to others.
Pretty sure Torrey’s website talks about this being 4.6% or something…(as if that in itself makes it ok)
And yet when you read the definition of “eligible patient” – I could have very easily been put into that bucket, despite the fact I’ve:
– never been “psychotic”
– never been diagnosed with “schizophrenia” or “bi-polar” (which seem to be the primary “diseases” these guys claim need serious attention;
– never harmed or even threatened to harm, anyone…just myself.
The conversation is framed in a completely disingenuous way, that feeds off people’s prejudice, fear and ignorance, but when you actually read the bill as drafted it is infinitely wider.
Reading this legislation makes me so terribly sad. It makes me feel worthless from a societal perspective.
Well Boans, looks like I won’t be visiting WA anytime soon…though no doubt the rules in NSW equally frightening.
My heart just literally froze reading some of those provisions.
Interesting Article, I think that part of the reason why an army of “Doctors” were so dogmatically insistent that I profess believe in the monoamine hypothesis of depression is because they thought “If she “buys it” then she might get better” (I mean what else can they tell themselves..’this woman’s doomed, and we have no idea what to do’?!)…
Some sort of enforced Placebo effect…this strikes me as spectacularly misguided and cynical paternalism on their part – and flies in the face of informed consent. Telling your patients ‘fairy stories’ doesn’t = treatment.
I watched the talk also, to be honest, much of the message sounded as reductionistic as the “serotonin” theory. Just replace the word “serotonin” with “inflammation”? Perhaps I’m just too cynical these days (very real possibility) it just sounds a bit like the ‘shiny new fad’.
Also, don’t you think there’s a potential for confirmation bias here e.g.:
– per the Whitaker and Kirsch analysis “all trial studies that purport to show efficacy of psychotropics are badly designed and bias”; but
– somewhat conveniently…trials that show tumeric is an effective anti-depressant…are, so much better?
Like I say, maybe just been burned too badly here…
Actually, you know what would be amazing/hilarious…
Dr Pies (who says this chemical imbalance stuff is BS);
E. Fuller Torrey (who says it’s categorically ‘true’ and justifies incarceration of, well, people like me);
That Murphy Bill maniac; and
Juan Mendez (who’s the guy at the UN who apparently gets to decide whether a ‘little bit of torture’ on the basis of “treatment” is ok or not)
Into a room, and sitting back with a big box of popcorn…and just watching them go for it…
These views which Pies says are not taken seriously…are taken seriously at a practitioners level. This apparent falsehood is also the underpinning of all legal justification (O’Connor v. Donaldson onwards) and hawks like Torrey, for stripping us of our rights, and reducing us to the status of second class citizens. All of which is sanctified as “ok” by the UN…all because they’ve been led to believe this is treatment of a real “thing”.
Sorry, it’s late in Sydney…I’m ranting…
Thank you for this brilliant rebuttal.
Some very interesting comments also above.
Well, if Dr Pies is right, and no serious member of his profession has ever *really* promoted this – can he possibly give the staff at Beth Israel Medical Centre a call, as they clearly must have:
1. Missed the ‘Memo’ and are spectacularly ill-informed people, who shouldn’t be licensed medical practitioners (least of all the type of MD’s that can imprison people against their will!); or
2. Got the Memo, but they just don’t think the lawyers were serious when they talked about that whole pesky “informed consent” nonsense, and they reckon it’s for their patients’ own good to believe (or profess to believe in fairy tales, urban legends and little white lies) – er, in which case, they probably should be licensed medical practitioners either…
Prior to ever even knowing about MIA, or reading anything remotely contrary to mainstream psychiatry, I was told in this Beth Israel Medical Centre in 2011:
– “Your depression is caused by a physiological illness”
– “You have a chemical imbalance in your brain. This is what causes your depression”
– “Just like a diabetic needs to take insulin, you have to take this medication for the long term, if not the rest of your life”.
– “For a diabetic, they wouldn’t think to treat diabetes without medication, how could you think you could do the same without antidepressants?”
– My family was told the same thing.
When I made any expression of skepticism “don’t you think that sounds a bit facile?” – I got shot down, along the lines of “the science is proven beyond a doubt” – and labelled in my file as having poor insight…
Looks like I wasn’t the one with the poor insight after all…
There was no value whatever in going through the multiple interrogations by literally dozens of staff at a hospital in NYC on “what brought me here” – it was so painful (despite continuing to hold out certain events)…and for what…
So that a bunch of zealots who don’t know me at all, can push it all to one side, and tell me that all of what I’d been going through, and why, was irrelevant, as actually the *real* reason is because I have a chemical imbalance in my brain…which must be treated by medication “for the long term if not the rest of (my) life.”
Certainly within inpatient contexts, I simply don’t know why they bothered asking me to repeat what had happened ad nauseam. They apparently, were just waiting for me to stop talking, so that they can just get started on telling me what I’m wrong, and that they know better.
Thank you for this initiative, certainly sounds like a step in the right direction to getting law/policy makers to receive a balanced view for once…and I’ll be very interested to hear what MP’s etc have to say in reaction.
My only additional point that I think needs to be stressed at a political level – if psychiatry’s claims are essentially false, and its primary “treatments” harmful – then politicians needs to seriously claw back the spectacular legal powers they have afforded to this branch of “medicine” (and no other).
You could only remotely justify involuntary treatment, and hospitalisation if you’re actually offering something genuine, which works…presently, all they’re essentially doing is identifying people’s who’s behaviour society disapproves of; locking them up for a bit; drugging them and then releasing them. If the “treatment” part is bogus, and harmful…how can such practices continue to be justified?
Oh, actually, upon reading the full report of the UN special rapporteur (not just the text of his statement):
“Deprivation of liberty on grounds of mental illness is unjustified if its basis is discrimination or prejudice against persons with disabilities. Under the European Convention on Human Rights, mental disorder must be of a certain severity in order to justify detention.87 The Special Rapporteur believes that the severity of the mental illness is not by itself sufficient to justify detention; the State must also show that detention is necessary to protect the safety of the person or of others. Except in emergency cases, the individual concerned should not be deprived of his liberty unless he has been reliably shown to be of “unsound mind”.88 As detention in a psychiatric context may lead to non- consensual psychiatric treatment,89 the mandate has stated that deprivation of liberty that is based on the grounds of a disability and that inflicts severe pain or suffering could fall under the scope of the Convention against Torture (A/63/175, para. 65). ”
The language above seems to contradict what was written in his statement, where he said that involuntary treatment cannot be justified even on the basis of preventing harm to “self or others”…
What is the UN’s actual view? Did I completely misread it?
“Although US federal law prohibits nonconsensual treatment, it can be provided without consent for life threatening interventions”.
Therein lies the problem.
As positive sounding at her closing remarks were…I remain skeptical that they will ever implement the full recommendations made by the UN Special Rapporteur – because I think the general public (and most lawmakers) simply don’t know what else to do…locking people up, and drugging them up to the eyeballs, is always so much easier than having to come up with something genuinely helpful.
Hi there, for what it’s worth, I’d like to submit my “story” of the experience I had in the U.S., are MiA members allowed to submit stories, and can they be done on an anonymous/incomplete names’ basis?
Oh boy indeed…why does there never seem to be even an inkling of the idea that none of this may be about “the brain – the genes, the molecules, the circuits…”
Because just maybe, there’s no “disease” in the true sense to begin with…
” …the secret is out, and people are upset. People have been misled, lied to, in some cases to justify coercive treatment, in other cases resulting in suicide, homicide, or years wasted while enduring ineffective and aversive treatment. THIS is the debate”.
Thank you Brett, absolutely spot on.
Sorry perhaps not the best idea to type things in the middle of the night Australia time…
The info I found interesting in his book was that the purported explanation by Pharma and Practitioners of “why” these drugs “work” was a chemical imbalance, which is a biological explanation.
The section in the book that looked into the fact they have never found any definitive evidence of this, e.g. when they reduce serotonin levels in depressed patients (through reserpine) it produced an “anti-depressant” effect. Likewise the commentary (somewhere in the book) about when they measure neurotransmitter levels in depressed/normal and medicated/unmedicated people, the information from there also indicated that the biological explanation doesn’t stack up e.g. some depressed people have ‘high’ or ‘normal’ levels of serotonin, some non-depressed people had ‘low’ levels.
In this sense, I thought his book took apart the “chemical imbalance” explanation that I was told (diabetes for insulin).
In contrast, I found the explanation of a potential “enhanced placebo effect” persuasive, interesting and a more plausible explanation.
I take your point that just because there’s a placebo effect doesn’t mean that there was nothing wrong to begin with. But, when i reviewed the data he presented relating to the chemical/biological argument, that has clearly not been proven either. Do you disagree?
My view is that essentially, no one has found a satisfactory answer to date as to how/why people are depressed. It could be something “biological”, it could be entirely life event based, it could be genetic. All I know is that whilst I don’t know the answer as to why this happens, it’s clear to me that the Practitioners don’t know the answer either.
What makes me livid, is when a practitioner who should know better (like the individuals who purported to treat me) lies to Patients and tells them that the chemical imbalance story HAS been proven “beyond doubt”, and that there is “no question” of its truth. And, that on that basis, I had to “take medication for the long term, if not for the rest of my life. Just like a diabetic has to take insulin”. To me, it is spectacularly unethical to pretend to “know” when they clearly don’t, and even if practitioners think that AD’s could/should be used because of the “placebo effect” – is that not unethical also? Isn’t it better to prescribe an actual placebo – minus the debilitating side-effects?
I find it incredibly ‘rich’ of Preda (and his ilk) to place the responsibility on the media…please can someone send ‘the memo’ of all this apparently ‘old news’ to all the Psychiatrists who are spinning the ‘chemical imbalance’ nonsense to their involuntary captive patients, who are not allowed out of the hospital without claiming that they agree with bio-psychiatry.
The continued misinformation on the part of practitioners is extremely real and has very serious consequences.
For me, the main point of reading Kirsch’s book was the fact that it totally blew the bio-psychiatry argument out of the water. This stuff is not a physiological “disease.”
I long for the day that the APA, NICE, or someone has the courage (and basic medical ethics) to set the record straight once and for all. Until this happens, the blame lies solely with the Doctors, as they’re the ones with the fiduciary duty, which they breach every day that they continue to lie to their Patients. There is no informed consent, if the Doctor is flat out lying to you as to why you “need” the pills.
I think the idea of the lawsuit is quite interesting. They just need to throw in the blatant breach of fiduciary duty by Doctors who peddle the “chemical imbalance” “insulin for diabetes” and “take this for the rest of your life” nonsense…
One item that confuses me though is the reference to anti-depressants working for those with Severe depression…when I read Kirsch’s book I thought he said no real difference there either. Or do people just keep the “very severe” depression as an option because people are too scared to admit they have no idea to help.
I think I can see where you’re coming from…in the treatment you received and provided there was a message of hope. I think that we all agree that’s a positive thing.
The survey was needed to highlight that some other people’s experiences are different. In the “treatment” I received, I basically didn’t get to speak to people…they were not interested in any form of therapy, and the only message was literally verbatim from the survey findings above.
I think the article is designed not to be a “happy” one, it’s not a “happy” situation I and many others, found themselves in and it’s important that such experiences are acknowledged, even if they make people uncomfortable.
I find the silver lining in the “I got better” side of this story, these are the real life experiences of people who didn’t take a message of hopelessness at face value, and fought back – does it get more uplifting than that??
Great letter, be even better if you get a response!
I’m not so convinced that a majority of those labelled as Depressed or Anxious are necessarily anti-authoritarian.
However, I certainly agree that both Psychiatry and Psychology (in particular the inpatient kind) is utterly unable to deal with patients who are anti-authoritarian. In my experience, they seem to really struggle when dealing with a patient that doesn’t accept everything they say on face value. This was perfectly demonstrated by Rosenhan, where he concluded that the only way to “get out” was to pretend to agree with them.
People who do question things are just written off as having “poor insight”. All I can say is that I am so glad that I had not read MIA/Anatomy or the Emperor’s New Drugs before I was hospitalised last year – as then I could (and likely would) have seriously gone to town in disagreeing with them.
I for one would love to see a class action lawsuit against hospitals and their staff for providing false and misleading information to their patients. I’d gladly participate!
How is that not a breach of fiduciary duty?
How scary are the comments attached to the article?!
In relation to the critics response to this guy, the words “pot” “kettle” and “black” spring to mind…
I guess I don’t buy the “medical” model either.
The idea of “personality disorder” just sounds like a more scientific way of saying “we don’t like your personality” or “we think you’re weird”.
It’s all rubbish.
Agree, but the issue I have is that all of these theories are presented to the patient as “undeniable fact”.
And they’ll behave exactly the same way when the next fad comes along.
I think the main reason it won’t go away is that the medical profession and a significant portion of sufferers like the idea of “no-fault” disease. The Doctors think it is good for patients to believe this, because it will encourage them to comply.
Many patients out there (and their families) desperately want to cling to this belief because they think that without it:
– their family/upbringing screwed them up; or
– there’s something wrong with/weak about the sufferer.
If people think the above are the only alternative explanations then I understand why they turn to the biological view. For me, I don’t think making some people better by telling fairy stories is a good enough reason to lie to everyone.
I particularly liked the bit where he said that discontinuation of medication may be because the drugs are intolerable after all and not because the patient “lacks insight” or is “suspicious”.
I read that and can’t help but wonder how many people rightly wanted to discontinue but were bullied or legally coerced into taking the medication. The fact that Doctors view any dissenting view by a patient as further evidence of their illness has to be one of the most toxic and dangerous ideas in all of psychiatry.
Isn’t this just Ockham’s razor? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence…
Stuff the fungus, it’s toxic to people!
Hmm. Good that they’re making a stand, and publicly at that.
The main item that made me cringe though, is that they complain this faulty model will significantly impede clinical practice (Doctors will be so confused they will ignore the updated version) or it will impede research capabilities.
So, not one concern about the impact of non evidence based “diagnoses” on the patients???…I assume we’re all just not important in the grand scheme of things.
“Intermittent asshole disorder”…just wait!
“Intermittent Explosive Disorder”…isn’t that called being a teenager? Or equally applicable to Adults, “losing it”?
Honestly, where/how do these people make this stuff up and keep a straight face.
Sorry, I meant “strangely” as if the meds are needed to correct a physiological issue, then how does talking improve that?!
I just want them to follow ethical standards. Stop lying to their patients “for their own good”. I don’t believe that’s even legal….oh, and stop traumatising the hell out of people in inpatient wards.
Re: brainwashing, I think thats one of its most pernicious aspects. Destroying someone’s sense of hope is. “treatment”?
My rudimentary understanding to combine therapy + medication, is ironically not to bolster therapy, but to add support to the efficacy of the medication (?!).
Strangely, medication effects “work better” if combined with therapy. Whereas the effectiveness of therapy is not increased by medication.
To your point, it’s either biological or it’s not. If I have a physiological issue, no amount of talking could fix that…just as therapy won’t fix diabetes!
I agree that the value of life and rights in general is clearly not where it should be.
But frankly, I’d rather we focus discussion about the lives of adults and children who have been born, and work towards improving their lot – clearly for these kids, not many have bothered until now.
No one “likes” abortion, but I’ve always found America quite interesting in the way that people can get so impassioned about the welfare and rights of children that “could have been”, rather than the hungry, tortured, impoverished ones which actually do exist in their own country! i.e. people can get terribly impassioned about the rights and lives of (literally for some people) cluster of cells, but apparently don’t care about these children once they’re born?
As unpleasant as abortion is, I know which children I’d rather be focussing this discussion on.
Good article, though it’s still promulgating the notion of chemical imbalance, and reading the comments section, that myth is still ever present…
My understanding of anosognosia is that it was a term coined to refer to patients who had incurred significant physical injuries, and were not aware of the injury. For example, someone who was in a car crash, and an arm is paralysed may be unaware/unable to recognise the paralysis.
I assume that the above is an extremely rare scenario.
However, this concept of anosognosia appears to have been stretched significantly beyond the scenario above, to basically include any psychiatric patient who disagrees. It’s the best legal/medical defence there is to justify curtailment of anothers’ rights.
In reviewing my medical records, I was described as having “poor insight”. I can only assume this is because I didn’t blindly accept what Doctors told me to be true (which in fact turned out not to be true) and yet I’m the one with poor insight?
The ones with poor insight were the ones who can’t apparently tell the difference between someone who is taking medication and someone who is not…and yet insist that taking the pills is a matter of life or death…
I was talking with a friend about food and eating healthily a little while ago….my friend said “oh and the good thing about that type of food is that it increases serotonin which is good for your depression”….(seriously?!)
To which I pointed out that that entire theory is not true.
But he just dismissed it as me being some sort of borderline conspiracy theorist…I would pay good money to see the APA put their own adverts on TV announcing to the public that the chemical imbalance is not true, never was…and then we can see the public uproar.
I don’t doubt for a minute if you ask the Doctors that thought they were treating me, whether the treatment they gave was “successful” they would say “Yes”.
But it’s not. All it’s done is give a pretence of compliance, so as to avoid further incarceration, and now that I know better, confirmed to me that if I am ever that way again, NEVER to seek help from that profession.
And I never will…
That’s success is it?
I just find this whole thing beyond comprehension. I work in Banking, the idea that a company a Bank covers in research could have their employees write any (let alone 90%!) of a research article, and send it to a Bank, which would then stick their logo on it and publish it masquerading as independent research is insane – hence it’s not allowed…it would be ILLEGAL for a Bank to do this.
What I find particularly bizarre, is why this is not illegal for the medical profession. Giving bias finance research is bad, as someone could make a bad investment decision and lose a lot of money…however, if you write bad medical research, Doctors and their patients are misinformed and uh, people could die! Where are those *regulators* when you need them?!?!
SUrely psychiatrists should know they’re doing wrong, when investment banks come off looking like the good guys in comparison!
Thanks for responding, and I do appreciate your candor.
I thought it may have something to do with “convincing” and trying to have a “blame neutral” explanation, but after doing my own research, I’ve just been left angry. I feel like I was lied to, and I don’t see how them making up a fairy tale is reconcilable with the doctrine of informed consent.
I think of the other people who believed their Doctors and don’t know the truth, and it makes me angry.
It leaves me wondering when, if ever, Psychiatry as a profession will start living up to the codes of ethics it claims to follow and just be honest with their patients, we’re not morons.
Perhaps I can ask you a favour, can you please flick an email confirming this to Beth Israel in Manhattan?…clearly they missed “the memo”.
So if they’re not taught this, then why are young Psychiatrists, still actively propagating this myth, and worse still, insisting that patients “agree” and “accept” this explanation? Such as the ones which sought to treat me last year. Surely the teaching in New York can’t be that bad/poor quality?
(Whilst I appreciate you’re not a mind reader, and don’t know what the individual Doctors I dealt with were thinking, I would like your thoughts on why they may have said what they did).
Also, re: your point that chemical imbalance theory is not really related to involuntary hospitalisation, I disagree for the following reasons:
– If the rationale for hospitalisation is to provide treatment; and
– The entire treatment focusses on medication (no other treatment was provided); and
– If the reason for providing medication is that it “fixes” a chemical imbalance in the brain…
– If medication is essentially nonsense, then there is surely no legal justification for involuntary hospitalisation….as if there is no genuine/legitimate treatment being offered…the legal argument goes out the window.
Yeah…I re-read it multiple times…uh, so then these guys are implementing legislative changes that could bar people “just like them” from being an MP “just like them”?
Are they trying to get themselves fired?!
Ah wait, given it’s the Tory party, most likely the prohibitions on MP’s being “mentally ill” will only apply to anyone who is in the Labour party….
No General Practitioner told me about a chemical imbalance.
However, numerous psychiatrists at Beth Israel medical centre (NY, NY) told me the following at the end of 2011:
– “you have very severe depression. This is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain”
– “You need to take medication for your depression, just like a diabetic needs to take insulin”
– “This illness is not a sign of weakness, it is physiological”
– “You have to accept that you need to take this medication for the long term, if not for the rest of your life”.
…this was from Psychiatrists. In 2011.
I was not asked “why” I felt the way I did, I was “told” why…
Worse still, I had to tell them that I agreed and accepted all of the above. If I didn’t there was the ever present threat that I would be kept within the inpatient unit (against my and my family’s wishes) for even longer.
Given that I’m 30, the idea of taking medication for what, the next 50 years?! Thank God I didn’t believe them. And since coming out of the “therapeutic” environment that is their inpatient ward, I now know better, and can make informed decisions about my health.
Dr Datta – do you think the Doctors I was dealing with may actually know that it’s all “BS” or, do you think it’s likely they just make it up because they think it’s a better way for (their presumably thick) patient to understand? Or something else? I.e. are they ignorant (scary in itself) or unethical (lying)?
Sorry if I’m misreading the article, but isn’t it saying:
“Health Minister Paul Burstow said the government supports legislation that PREVENTS some people diagnosed with mental illness from serving on juries, in Parliament or as company directors”.
I.e. people like me/them should NOT be allowed to be a Juror, in Parliament, or Company Directors? Isn’t this a bad thing?
Thank you for your reply. I look forward to reading your future posts.
I agree with all of your points above, however, my concern is that public policy makers will continue to pander to public “fear” (of persons such as myself being “dangerous”) than the rights of alleged “crazy people”.
My family all work in the legal profession, and they were simply stupefied by the facade of the apparent appeals process.
– If you express a wish to go to Court – this is ‘held against you’;
– If you question their explanations (no matter how politely) this results in you staying longer;
– Even my own advocate confirmed that going to Court may result in me staying longer, as the Judge would be entitled to commit me for 30 days, as opposed to the more likely 15 days. This is not due process.
– My Doctors sought to tell me which country I should live in, that I should quit my job, pack up my apartment and move back to the UK from NYC (in what other part of medicine would Doctors presume to make such decisions on behalf of their adult patients?!).
There is no due process, only the pretense of an appeal system designed to help people sleep a bit better a night, after introducing legislation to lock people up.
my home city…awesome!
This reminds me of the saying “Better 100 guilty men go free, than 1 innocent man go to jail”…
Unfortunately, the Psychiatric profession, in conjunction with the public sector have concluded the opposite to be appropriate with respect to people like us.
Why and how is this justified?
Are there any research reports on the *success* of inpatient emergency treatment? (I’m particularly interested in relation to “harm to self”) does it actually prevent suicides?
They never apologized to me. The arrogant hubris in insisting that they alone are “right”, and refusal to even consider alternative explanations remained. And this was in the context of inpatient treatment, where if you don’t follow the “yes Doctor, no Doctor, three bags full Doctor” mantra, then they can keep you longer until you do.
Despite the shifts in Psychiatry to checklist DSM etc, David Rosenhan’ findings are still there…and they are as spot on today as then.
I’d like to understand whether at med school the textbooks even mention the Rosenhan experiment? Does anyone know if that study is ever taught to med students these days? (FYI, this isn’t sarcasm, I’m genuinely curious).
I am not interested in “attacking” individual Psychiatrists. However, Psychiatry is a profession which (in my experience) feels it’s perfectly fine to lie to their patients, and give them prescriptions for drugs which they have no idea how they actually work, and/or the long term affects.
Directly because of the trauma I experienced at the hands of that profession, I will never seek help from it. Even though I know there is a strong likelihood that an “emergency” situation may arise for me in the future. Sleep on that, if you can.
I am somewhat sympathetic to arguments by professionals that they don’t get all the information about drugs etc. For individual General Practitioners, I can understand how that can happen.
But in my experience, I find that the Psychiatrist I had the misfortune of being treated by either:
a) Was lying; or
b) Was frightfully ignorant of the medication/medical model which is the apparent backbone of her profession; or
c) A combination of the two.
My mind boggles how in the last few months, even I (who definitely isn’t a Doctor) can seemingly learn more about this “bio” facade than professionals who are paid to “know”. If the medical profession wants to continue to belittle the “peasants” that don’t have medical degrees, then may I suggest that they continue to put their degrees to use! Getting a medical degree in your twenties and not keeping up with the changes in science, to me suggests they’ve lost their medical degree.
I’m a lawyer, yet I don’t give advice to individuals because I know I am not up to date on the caselaw developments since getting my degrees…isn’t it worrying if Doctors aren’t doing the same, when there’s people’s well being at stake?
p.s. Dr Moffic, I think some of the confusion may lie in your “bio-psycho-social-spiritual” model may be just “one bio” too many…After listening to Daniel Carlat’s “Grand Confession” (article on this site) I simply don’t know how anyone can still talk about any kind of biological model with a straight face.
Is that really necessary?
The ad hominem comments on any site are a real turn off.
In terms of items I would like to see addressed at some point:
– Doctors cannot tell a patient false/misleading info, e.g an explanation for their illness unless it’s factually correct, (i.e. the “chemical imbalance” metaphor) this does not coincide with informed consent;
– Doctors also should not be allowed to tell patients that they have to accept taking medication for “the long term, if not the rest of their life” unless they can demonstrate this is in fact backed up with research, and balances this with information about the potential long term effects of taking such medication for the long term.
– emergency hospitalization needs to be for the shortest period of time possible. They have to genuinely only take that option if there is no other less restrictive option available. The standard procedure to keep someone in for 15 days (in NY) is not justifiable unless the patient is continuing to actively show threats of harm to self or others.
In short, Doctors cannot “lie” to or use helpful paternalistic metaphors to convince/coax patients into taking medication. This is simply not informed consent.
Perhaps I’m simply too jaded and cynical these days to believe this scale of change could be possible…but won’t the UN Convention signatories still be able to make the argument that with respect to “emergency situations” (harm to self or others) that consent is not required, because the Patient is not capable of giving consent?
(sincerely hoping I’m wrong here, that would truly be amazing).