Sunday, December 4, 2022

Comments by deeeo42

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  • Just a suggestion…have you looked at the `Life Traps’ (Schema Therapy) concept? A very good psychotherapist, in fact, one of the ONLY good psychotherapists I’ve met pointed me at that simple questionnaire and it opened a whole new set of possibilities for me.
    Also, another suggested that all mental illness is really grief, unrecognised and unvalidated –
    If you haven’t already looked at these, it might be an option.
    Sadly, today’s psychiatrists have very limited training in psychotherapy, whilst clinical psychologists have several years of specialising in it – mind you, most have now embraced the DSM, to the detriment of their profession.
    Truly good psychotherapy is dependent on the insight, empathy, compassion and humility of the therapist themselves. The value, no matter what is done, comes from the trusting relationship between the two people involved.
    I hope you find peace of mind in the future.

  • Stephen – In the 1970s, everything was groups, groups, groups. I was the `therapist’ for these groups, thrown in at the deep end, often with little knowledge of the members of the group, why they were there or what they thought about the whole process. As a rookie, I’d read a lot of the theory, but because of other experiences I would use the groups to basically `meet and greet’. I had a slightly different orientation from my fellow `therapists’, I didn’t see any real difference between my `patients’ and myself, and they knew that. I don’t know if I ever did any good, but I hope I didn’t do too much harm. THEN
    30 years later, I found myself a member of groups. The experience was extraordinary. Almost without exception the `therapist’, usually a psychologist, ran these as if they were following a list of instructions from a manual. They had little control, frequently allowed people to become very distressed, and didn’t have a clue how to disarm situations and keep the group members safe, a cardinal rule. At first, disgusted by their incompetence, I abdicated and didn’t go, but since there was nothing else to do in these places, I started going again. I often took over if things got stressful, and felt I was rescuing the `therapist’ more often that the `patients’.
    I know it’s fatal to state the old person’s mantra, “It was better in the olden days” as one looks through misty lens at the past, but really, it sometimes seems to me that the old `loony bins’ were, in many ways, better places to be than the modern psychiatric facilities.

  • Speaking of psychiatric `science’, an oxymoron in fact I’m reminded of a comment by one of the researchers into ECT back in 1980, the so-called best of the ECT placebo studies where they found that the `sham’ ECT, the placebo, had worked just as well for patients with `endogenous’ depression, a `biological’ depression that was not expected to respond to placebos. The reason they proposed was the “extra CARE the subjects experienced during the trial.’
    No one saw anything significant in that statement. It echoes what I was taught about Insulin Coma treatment, gone by the time I was trained, where any good results were assumed to be because of “all the extra attention the patients got during treatment”.
    Nobody then or now hears what they are actually saying – that CARING is what is actually HELPING in SPITE of the treatment.
    Psychiatry’s own words tell us what they can’t hear.

  • Absolutely, Julie. When I was called bipolar, I spent most of the time during that first consultation with a psychiatrist who, I later found out, diagnosed everyone with it, raking through my life to try to come up with episodes that might have resembled what I knew, from being a psychiatric professional, might support it. I found one period of 3 weeks in which I was deeply in lust, trotted it out as, query, a manic episode. `Aha!’ the psychiatrist almost shouted in delight. He was so thrilled that I, in my ECT fog, was so happy for him that I dug around even further and found a `depressive episode’ as well. A bad reaction to severe workplace bullying that ended as suddenly as it began when the source was removed. This man almost thanked me for making him feel warm and right, while I went on to carry a false and stigmatising diagnosis for the rest of my life.
    For 13 years I was treated for what I increasingly knew and often queried, was simply not true. After I quit psychiatry, with not a single symptom of bipolar, I got myself some help for the severe stress problems I had accumulated – I had 24 of the 34 listed symptoms of that and my psychiatrist, who called herself a `PTSD’ specialist, never once followed up on my suggestion that that was what I was suffering from. The reason as I see it was because the issue had been created by psychiatry, an iatrogenic PTSD, and the anxiety created by her cognitive dissonance could not allow her to acknowledge that.
    That is not entirely her fault. We, as a society, have put doctors on a pedestal, as the miracle workers and healers they are not. In an increasingly secular society we need heroes. The discovery of the miracle drug, penicillin, gave doctors that role. They have stayed up there by promising basically to save us from death – the cure for cancer is just around the corner, they will eradicate heart disease and heal our broken bodies with science. Of course this is not true, we will all die no matter what they do but too often the doctor believes he/she is miraculous.
    I found this small article though I didn’t record the author..
    `Do we want to believe in a “magical” treatment for our worst times? Is the generalized loss of “God” being displaced onto the “doctor” to cure us all with pills, or worse? This then places a huge burden on the doctor because he/she is not God and therefore cannot make us better, but must try. After all he/she belongs to the same beliefs as everybody else in our society. As a “healer” the doctor places a huge expectation on him/herself therefore forever pushing more and more extremes of treatments. Needless to say the more ephemeral “illnesses” will attract the “furore therapeuticus” making it possible for even the most benign and gentle ”healers” to do terrible things in order to “help”. From there the path is not going to be very good for the “sick” person. Nonetheless, aren’t we all complicit.’
    Psychiatry, as a belief system, a pseudoscience, without empathy, humility or insight, cashes in on this.

  • I do too, or I did until ECT wrecked my brain. But I found life the best source of character and situation – I hope you don’t get too tied up with the psychological stuff and just let your characters do the talking. An example of a psychiatrist writing `fiction’ is a book by a professor of Psychiatry, Gordon Parker, called “In Two Minds”.. It is one of the worst books I have ever even attempted to read. He has no real engagement with either of his characters, seeming to view them both from a psychological framework, with some hilariously bad attempts at emotional encounters. The only part of the book that rings true is his description of life in a psych ward. A man truly out of touch with the real world.
    It is not surprising that psychiatrists, and all doctors in fact, are not in touch. At university I belonged, as we all did, to a social group. We had law, arts, science, commerce students and a couple of fringe dweller med students. They were on the fringe because we rarely saw them. While we were spending time together in the cafe, or the pub discussing the world and our place in it, developing personal and social relationships as we passed from childhood to adulthood, our med students were in the library alone with technical books. They did not study any history, philosophy or literature, science, or even the practical world of money and the law, it was all the human body. They missed out on all that socialisation that is essential for understanding the human condition, not just its body parts.
    In psychiatry, they make up for this by using text books to try to explain people’s inner workings which could explain their desperate need to cling to the biological causes for behaviour – they don’t really have any other source of reference. This man’s book is an absolute testament to a sad lack of a human core whilst believing that his profession, rather than himself, can tell him how people think and feel.
    Of course, people who create really are in touch with that lost world so they can do nothing other than disparage it as an aberration. The creative process, which can be at the far end of the `normal’ curve at times, therefore must be seen as `sick’ or abnormal to someone whose experience of it is so limited.

  • But Insulin Coma WAS abandoned – in the early 1970s in the hospital where I worked, ECT WAS on the way out – a 1000 bed hospital rarely had more than 6-8 ECT patients a week and by 1974, the ECT unit was sometimes closed for weeks at a time. The COMEBACK was when the private hospitals opened in the late 70s + ECT was cheap to use (unlike Insulin Coma), the government subsidised it so they could charge more, brain damaged people don’t complain much, and they always came back for more because it did nothing for their depression. That was when the PR began in earnest. The NEW IMPROVED ECT no longer caused brain damage etc etc. In fact NOTHING new has occurred since the 1960s, FIFTY years ago. The ULTRA BRIEF PULSE ECT was introduced in the 1960s and abandoned because it was no good – it was RE-introduced in the 1990s as the NEW ECT. They’d moved the deck chairs on the Titanic and said, “see doesn’t that look better?”
    Like everything in psychiatry, it’s a scam and somehow this MUST be exposed.
    I once replied to a cynical touting for ECT business by an Irish psychiatrist, presented as information, and suggested that the amount of money ECT would be making for his hospital might be his motivation – within half an hour the comments section was closed a day before normal. !!!! THAT is what we have to do.

  • I recall, as a young trainee psychiatric nurse 45 years ago, being told that so and so was “just a bloody borderline who’s attention seeking, ignore her.” My thought and I said so was, “If she needs attention that much, maybe we should give her some.” And I did. The stories I heard were so horrific that I struggled to believe that such dreadful things could have happened. When I told my superiors and the psychiatrists, they said, “the girls are lying, they’re terrible liars, all of them, that’s what they do.” I believed the girls and lost most respect for the staff, especially the psychiatrists. Those young doctors became the next generation of teachers – clearly nothing’s changed. These people need to be thrown out of the helping professions and an entirely new education system needs to be designed.
    Yes Kat, I believe you, and I believe my friend who has never been able to escape her abusive childhood. Though she has mostly managed to keep out of the hands of psychiatry, she has never been able to find any real help even now after 30 years of looking. And Steve, the domestic abuse program (after a 30 year abusive relationship) has not been very helpful and she has never found a CSA group. They completely lost her when a social worker therapist suggested drugs as a treatment for her very severe distress (she’s just been diagnosed with cancer as well) after she’d told the woman how she felt about psychotropic drugs – she is a long time activist against psychiatry and drugs.
    The possibilities are VERY limited for people who need a lot of care – I looked at Schema therapy for my friend which is based on working with early childhood abuse particularly BPD – but it’s expensive even if you can find it.

  • Here we have a cult: I found this list on how cults fail/implode. It’s based on Nazi Germany but many points may be relevant here and may suggest where psychiatry sits on a timeline.
    The factors that led to the fall and destruction of destructive cults:
    1. Unstable psychotic leader(s) ? There have been a few but are well disguised right now –
    2. Slavery or slave-like entrapments causing governments to unite against them – not yet- UN is reaching out
    3. Themes that justify violence; mental, physical and financial abuses – Yes
    4. Continued proliferation of grandiose lies – YES
    5. Constant orders to subordinate members that violate basic fundamental morality and natural law – ??
    6. Violence, harassment and abuse to members and dissenters – Yes
    7. Wage wars for real or fancied reasons – War on truth
    8. Members living under constant threat – patients are
    9. Estrange allies – other medical disciplines see them as `dregs’ of the profession – can’t get recruits.
    10. Spying internally and externally
    11. Common distrust and reporting on its own members – ridicule of those like Breggin, Moncrieff etc
    12. False reporting statistics and achievements to their own members and the world – OH YES
    13. Elimination of leisure pursuits and fun – only for patients
    14. Extravagant ceremonies that create zeal and hysteria resulting in the loss of individual and group rationality – many, MANY conferences and wa*k fests
    15. A belief in destiny, “We are children of the Gods” or “Only we can save the planet” OH YES
    16. An inability to say no to leader(s), “We must!” – RPA, APA, RANZCP, etc
    17. Disintegration of conscience by creating a “wolf” or attack mentality – Yes
    18. Outlawing bad reports, bad PR, and critical thought about the group or leader – OH YES
    19. Withholding vital information and reports from members – Yes
    20. Older generation of valued members is eliminated leaving the organization to idealistic, robotic youth – No
    21. Eliminate youth’s education on other than group doctrine – trying to
    22. Attack a too powerful foe setting up an unwinnable scenario – not yet but info is coming out
    23. No acceptance of change or failure along with no realization when the war is over – yes
    25. No surrender – yes
    26. No funds or time to rebuild due to inability to admit errors and correct them until it is too late – yes
    27. Inability to confront crimes and abuse against members and mankind in general – OH YES
    28. Blame failure on cowardice and lack of member’s purpose – ?
    29. Preach “Final Victory” despite failures or no progress as the walls crumble all around – YES
    30. Collective guilt and shame – NONE
    31. Suicide or abdication of the leader(s) who steal the amassed wealth – Hopefully

  • Have you, Dr Hickey, submitted this to any University Magazines? Perhaps to those with the largest medical schools? I suggest this might be better for the education of medical undergraduates than anything the RCP or any other psychiatric establishment might circulate, and might have the added advantage of further starving this appalling `professional’ body.
    I’m particularly concerned that these, the leaders of their `profession’, want to indoctrinate their patients rather than helping them improve their lives. To indoctrinate them and send them out with SLOGANS shows a total lack of respect for those they are tasked with helping is outrageous. I thought psychiatry had already reached the bottom of the swamp, I was wrong.

  • In 2010 while organising the May 2015 anti-ECT protest in Melbourne, Australia – I met 10 people, none of whom knew each other, who had relatives, friends or acquaintances who had received ECT. Here are their details:
    1. A saleswoman at the art shop where I purchased material for posters – when I told her what they were for she offered to pay for all the materials – her 21 year old son, an honours university student, had had ECT and some months later he killed himself – the reason “I can no longer learn anything”.
    2. A friend I played tennis with – her brother killed himself between ECT#3 and ECT#4, while in a private hospital – he had begged them to stop, but was threatened with an Involuntary Treatment Order that he feared would destroy his career. (Hobson’s Choice.)
    3. An acquaintance from another tennis club – her mother had killed herself following ECT at a well known private hospital where it was common for physical and emotional coercion to occur.
    4. My GP – her mother died within a few months of ECT, the doctor was sure it contributed to her death as she became a virtual `zombie’.
    5. A saleswoman in a bookshop, where I asked if I could put a pamphlet in her window. – Her mother’s life had been ruined by ECT, she’d been very creative and has `lost all of that’.
    6. The sound engineer I hired equipment from for the protest – A close friend’s life was ruined by ECT
    7. A saleswoman where I bought equipment for the Protest – a colleague’s sister’s life had been ruined by ECT
    8. A very old man at a BBQ – his wife had been ruined by ECT
    9. My neighbour – a good friend who had been an outgoing, life of the party woman, had become a recluse and saw no one.
    10. A man in a shop – a good friend had done really well following ECT.
    Of 10: 4 dead – 5 wrecked lives – 1 good outcome. 9:1 Not the best odds, I’d say.
    What to do – I’ve said over and over again – prove the brain damage, get the neurologists onside – cost the government money by demanding rehab – once you establish the brain damage you can SUE in class actions – without this – we’re preaching to the choir.
    They have MONEY and they use it for protracted PR campaigns – we don’t and don’t. We’re just a protest movement of radical ratbags, they’re PROFESSIONALS, DOCTORS, the nouveau saints with the government’s ear.
    The other problem is the victims themselves. a) the injury causes apathy, and disability; b) some families like the quiet, uncomplaining zombie; c) education and culture say the `doctor knows best’ and he wouldn’t hurt me. Then we have a) institutional denial by the authorities, financial & cognitive dissonance for psychiatrists & hospitals, ignorance for government officials; and b) lack of awareness from the rest of the medical profession and the public.
    Maybe history can help, e.g. How did Insulin Coma get stopped? It killed people and was EXPENSIVE. Just possibly making it expensive, by alerting the authorities to the scam, flooding the rehab facilities, and ltigation of the government for allowing it, and the doctors for prescribing it. Make it PRACTICAL not emotional. But remember ECT is what keeps many of those small psych hospitals in the black- so good luck.

  • The establishment medical profession drove Semmelweis, the man who identified the cause of maternal deaths from infections, to suicide. This still happens when one stands up against any standard dogma including ECT. The majority accept that ECT causes harm and over 70% rarely or never prescribe it, but if they stand up against it, they are likely to lose admission privileges to private hospitals, their job and/or place in group practices where ECT is the foundation of wealth, not get promotions etc, or may just be ostracised, and excluded professionally. Not many are willing to take this road.
    My own doctor was actually listening to me about the harm, and was jolted when I suggested how she would feel about her own teenaged daughters getting it. But with pressure from the leader of the consulting rooms, a major and public advocate of ECT, she began using it again, and resumed her delusional stance that she was `giving people back their lives’.
    The problem is that ECT is VERY lucrative – One patient will generate around $70,000 for a single course of ECT. A single small hospital I know has around 30 patients receiving ECT at any one time. If we assume that there will be 30 new patients every 3 months, that’s 120 per year = $8.4 million. There are many hospitals who boast of 1000 ECT patients per year = $70+ million. That doesn’t include what individual doctors make, which can be $25,000+ per week. And then there are the `researchers’ who get millions in grants from Universities and manufacturers to play silly b*ggers with pseudoscientific claptrap to justify causing wholesale brain damage to vulnerable people.
    Their PR campaign continues apace, with wide eyed journalists trying for a byline presenting PR handouts with a bit of scientific jargon in them, as scientific fact, because after all, a DOCTOR said it.
    One highly respected newspaper presented one of these, and my comment suggesting the learned doctor seemed to be touting for business (which he was), the entire comment section shut down. Apart from using a similarly good and very expensive PR campaign, I have no idea how we combat that.

  • `Do we want to believe in a “magical” treatment for our worst times? Is the generalized loss of “God” being displaced onto the “doctor” to cure us all with pills, or worse? This then places a huge burden on the doctor because he/she is not God and therefore cannot make us better, but must try. After all he/she belongs to the same beliefs as everybody else in our society. As a “healer” the doctor places a huge expectation on him/herself therefore forever pushing more and more extremes of treatments. Needless to say the more ephemeral “illnesses” will attract the “furore therapeuticus” making it possible for even the most benign and gentle ”healers” to do terrible things in order to “help”. From there the path is not going to be very good for the “sick” person. Nonetheless, aren’t we all complicit.’
    I can’t remember who wrote this but it’s spot on. As religion’s power waned the medical profession gleefully took up its position, on the back of the miracle of penicillin, and is happily raking in the shekels ever since.
    We have to remember too, that the medical profession as we know it is based on the cut, burn and purge treatment style of the monks of 1000 years ago. This took over from the healers, mostly women, with thousands of years of accumulated knowledge passed from mother to daughter, whom they murdered in order to take away the power these women had in their communities. The physicians quickly saw that they could make a buck out of it and spent the next thousand years killing far more than they saved. We are not so far from that even today. People are made so sick from the treatment, that even when one illness succumbs, the one caused by the treatment will kill them, albeit more slowly.
    As long as the worship of the `doctor’ continues, we’re all in trouble.

  • A long ago psychiatrist once said that Electroshock was not much good for the patient but kept the families and the staff happy. A docile, apathetic, brain injured relative is far more acceptable to families and staff. The stories out there are mind blowing as they describe social control, not `treatment’.
    In 1973, the inmates of South 6, the old `burnt out’ remnants of shock, lobotomy and Insulin coma, were literally the waking dead. The quietest ward in the place. the greatest tragedy in the place. I was never so horrified as when I worked in that place,, seeing the total acceptance by the staff, that this was `normal’.
    And still they do it.

  • It’s okay, Larry. Our entire society uses words and phrases that become institutionalised. Psychiatry has peppered us with them to maintain its position as arbiters of `mental health’, i.e. conventional behaviour. `Off your meds’, you have a chemical imbalance’, `mentally ill’, `mental’, schizophrenic’…all cement difference as `illness’. Then we have the public response to unusual people, `screwy’, `nuts’, `mad’, `loopy’ – etc etc. `Paranoid’ is just one more.

  • Actually Julie, some of them ARE harming people, those who don’t believe their story or believe it differently. And they have been doing it for 2000 years. Christianity has probably been the most destructive ideology in the history of mankind – it’s ironic that another destructive ideology is rising as theirs wanes.
    Interesting that a vast number of very peaceful people believe in all kinds of weird things, but if its a group thing it’s okay.
    We punish the creative among us, who develop their own set of weird beliefs, unless they record them in well written books. Badly written books are just considered the words of madmen.
    How arbitrary it all is, this mad thing.

  • And many of us do argue that the treatment causes the despair and hopelessness which are the basis for suicide. When I began to discover, during the year after the last one, the degree of damage I suffered from the first 66 ECT treatments, I took my first steps down the road to suicide. You cannot imagine the pain of realising I could no longer remember my children’s lives, my artistic skills, or recognise my friends. When I suddenly realised during an intellectual discussion with my best friend and realise I had no idea what I was talking about, when the doctor told me my brain was 10 years older than I was, when I realised that I had lost my publishing contract, my movie writing deal and the ability to read a book, much less write one. All it needed was for one more major loss, the death of that best friend and bingo, massive suicide attempt, which I only survived by chance.
    Was it the treatment? Yes, feelinDiscouraged, because the consequences of the treatment had loaded the gun, the loss of my friend was just the trigger.

  • “Thank you Bonnie for your perseverance. I have spent so many years writing and fighting but have fallen away over the last year or so, mostly in frustration that nothing I said or did had any real impact, that I was preaching to the choir. I have written to newspapers, the governments of 3 countries, had bitter arguments on line with proponents like the entire readership of the Psychiatric Times, argued my case in the face of abuse from David Healy and his followers, and suggested strategies to survivors that no one took up.
    In 2015, at great financial cost, and a very sympathetic GP (whose mother died following ECT), I organised an independent assessment from a neurologist to show that I did indeed have brain damage and was referred to a neurological rehab unit. My theory was that if large numbers did this we would have a case, plus that the cost to the government of a lot of taxpayer money for rehab might move a few politicians to question the psychiatrist’s claims. I spread this across the web – NOTHING.
    I ran the only Australian protest against ECT in 2015 – and had to scramble for contributors. My work for this cost me even more of my relationship with my son who never wanted to think about what happened to the mother he used to have but who is different now, because of the brain injury from 87 ECT treatments for a bad reactions to Prozac and Lexapro.
    ECT cost me my career as a novelist, a sculptor, and even eventually as a writer of fiction entirely. It did give me a long lasting disorder though, a stress disorder, which lingers, even after quite good help from a psychologist. Part of my withdrawal from the cause was a way to minimise this.
    At 75, having lost so much I felt I had to conserve what time I have left and make something else of my life, so right now I’m writing and illustrating kid’s books.
    But perhaps, Bonnie, I should keep going, but where? I am in tears as I write this, at my own grief and that of the thousands who cannot fight, whose injuries are so great that they are trapped in the apathy and disability of traumatic brain injury that was sold to them as `help’.
    My belief is still that people have to front up to the neurologists with their ECT induced Chronic Brain Syndromes, and force the medical profession to regulate their peers. If you add that to other litigation, go for compensation, force the courts to disallow the `gagging’ that the medical profession routinely applies when they settle, and push countries that have public health services to believe that their best interests lie with stopping the injuries happening. The answer eventually will be money – it’s what’s driving the push for ECT by psychiatrists, it might be what stops them. If their insurance premiums spike, if the government makes them pay for the rehab of their patients, the bulk of them may turn away.
    Just a few thoughts – thank you again Bonnie, I’ll get the book but might find it very harrowing to read. In fact one of the things that, as a friend put it, was stolen from me, was the joy of reading books. I have gone from reading 4 books a week before ECT, to 3 years reading none, to one every 3-6 months now. And I used to write them.”

  • Thanks Larry, I’m a trifle technically challenged as you may now realise- and my son calls me the antichrist of electronics – I can manage to stuff up, or the machinery around me manages to stuff up, in ways that leaves experts baffled.
    And thanks Julie, and most of all thanks Bonnie Burstow for her long, and dedicated campaign against ECT, a scourge that should have been confined to a museum for people to wonder at the inhumanity of man, 50 years ago.

  • What we have been watching for 40 years now is the collapse of Western culture at the hands of an ever growing greedy alliance between the richest corporations in history and their agents who move among the people, the doctors. Not just psychiatrists either. I was in America recently and was assailed by continual and aggressive advertisements for drugs every time the TV was turned on. Drugs for gripes, aches and pains, feelings, everything. They appeared to far outweigh ads for cars, clothes and other goods. This costs big bucks and the pharmaceutical companies have them.
    I watched the medicalisation of everything – no suggestions of lifestyle changes, of diet changes, just take our product, a pill. It is a mad consequence of unfettered capitalism and unless checked will be the end of our civilisation as we know it.
    If the brightest, most energetic, most enquiring and questioning children are the first targeted by sedation, where will the leaders come from?

  • I think it’s fairly clear that though Kline appeared at the beginning of the drug era, he was not totally responsible for the disaster of today’s somatic psychiatry. I was working in psychiatry from 1969, and the `tranquillisers’ were seen as the saviour of the` mental patient’. The tormented back ward patient, locked up, restrained, at the mercy of his/her hallucinations and delusions was able to go home for weekends, walk the grounds, go shopping or even to the races. They even meant that ECT was used far less to the point where it was being phased out altogether. We all, including many patients looked on them with great hope.
    But before long the nasty side of them appeared, the horrible movement disorders, the suppression of emotion etc, and some of us began to try to work without them. These social, psychological interventions were possibly the forerunners to programs like Open Dialogue.
    Sadly with the psychiatric pharmaceutical alliance that really gathered pace in the mid to late 1970s, this approach was abandoned. The other push towards bio-psychiatry was the fact that they were no match for psychologists, mostly women, in their training and ability to use psychotherapy techniques. As a result, when they set up in private practice they were not the preferred source for patients. The resultant threat to their income and the fact that they were not respected as `doctors’ by the rest of the profession meant they doubled down and with the help of the pharmaceutical industry, very good PR and the DSM 3 – somatic psychiatry as we know it today was built.
    I believe psychiatry from 1965 on will be marked in history as one of the great tragedies of humanity.

  • The residual effects from ECT are mostly irreversible, that’s certain, and with the increasing neurological research into the long term effects of even mild brain injury, there are indications that the initial injury is merely the start of a process that can end in dementia. With the recent heavy PR campaigns to popularise this barbarism, are we going to see a major increase in neurological disfunction and early dementia which will probably not be linked to psychiatric practice, as suicides & homicides are not linked to psychotropic drugs?
    Perhaps if the profession is forced to acknowledge and PAY for the harm they produce…? Silly me.

  • I had an overnight acute suicidal reaction to Prozac, after 2 weeks ingestion, the psychiatrist’s response was 66 ECT treatments. a diagnosis of bipolar, with drugs +++, serious brain damage and a ruined life. A second venture into an SSRI produced the same reaction after 2 weeks = another 20 ECT treatments – 2 years of zombie land THEN AWAKENING – ditched psychiatry & drugs – now well and certainly NOT bipolar or depressed but have a lingering Stress disorder. But launching a new career in my old age.
    So many still believe the hype, `you have a chemical imbalance’, the best PR slogan since `God is Love’.

  • Generics are exactly the same as the `real deal’. That’s why they only appear AFTER the patent has expired. And they ARE regulated. If you found yourself relapsing after years on a SSRI without a drug company label, that was the result of the drug – back to Prozac that you believed in meant your belief was what did it for you. That’s called placebo – there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact several universities are doing major research into the action of placebos, it’s just that a good placebo would be harmless and Prozac is not.
    I don;t know where you got the information that Prozac or exercise can increase the number of brain cells, but I suggest you take another look.

  • Do you know of anyone in Australia who has taken up the baton? I’m pretty sure we signed, but as others have said, the threat of legal force means that people sign up `voluntarily’. Even the removal of that threat legally will take a long time to filter down to the highly distressed `patient’ and the determined staff. Still, it’s a start though I wonder how the general population will respond, indoctrinated as they are by the `murderous madman’ fallacy? As long as the `chemical imbalance’ theory of mental illness, or, if you’re upset or angry, `he’s off his meds’ concepts now buried deep in the public mindset, I expect. The psychiatric guild has done VERY well for itself.

  • Madmom, Your daughter would have heard every word – as one very severely withdrawn person said in a quiet lucid moment, `sick, not dead.’ She would have the memory of that fight and your courage, stored deep in her memory. Good for you.
    A couple of years ago, a woman who’d read something I wrote asked my for help to stop her daughter being given ECT. I flew to her state, 100 miles away and together we got her out of it, a new doctor and off a court order. This was a girl with all the potential for a full recovery from her psychotic episode but the help she really needed was just not available. There is only one psychiatrist in Australia whom I would trust in a case like that and he is overstretched. That is Jock McLaren, a long time anti ECT psychiatrist who writes here and is ostracised by establishment psychiatry in his own country. The two countries with the equal highest rate of ECT in the world, Australia & Sweden. Money is the driving force in Australia with the private hospitals far exceeding public hospital rates. It make $millions for them and in my own state, with regulations lifted since 2014, the rate has increased exponentially – but no one cares.
    I feel sick when I think of it.

  • A friend with a 30 year history of psychotropic drugs, developed a bowel disorder, ? iatrogenic, requiring a colostomy which became infected and failed to heal. Hospitalised for this, she had a cardiac arrest and died 3 days later, brain dead. She was 59. Carrie Fisher, a cardiac arrest at 60. Documented average age of death for psychiatric patients, up to 25 years earlier than the general population. Everyone tut, tuts, when this is found in indigenous populations who have extreme poverty, poor nutrition and health care, but psychiatric patients, who cares?
    In the `me first’ culture of western society, more extreme perhaps in America, simple `caring’ is a dirty word – it’s all about the science of making money.
    Re caring – why did Insulin Coma `work’? By the 1960s it was clear that its action had no beneficial effect yet some people did well. The answer was, “because they got extra attention.” The `best’ Placebo/ECT `study’, the Northwick Park study in 1980 found that people who had an `organic’ depression and were unlikely to experience placebo effects, did. Why, “perhaps it was that they got extra care.”
    Interesting that the cure/alleviation for even severe emotional distress has always been under our noses, but no one wants to know. Of course there’s no money in it and you don’t need to be a doctor to do it.
    Maybe after the collapse of Western society over the next century, things might change, but not before, I suspect.

  • Ho hum…
    Pseudoscience principles:
    1 – Hostile to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction

    2 – Works backward from desired results through motivated reasoning
3 – Cherry picks evidence
4 – Relies on low grade evidence when it supports their belief, but will dismiss rigorous evidence if it is inconvenient

    5 – Core principles untested or unproven,
    6 – Utilizes vague, imprecise, or ambiguous terminology, often to mimic technical jargon

    7 – Has the trappings of science, but lacks the true methods of science
8 – Invokes conspiracy arguments to explain lack of mainstream acceptance (Galileo syndrome)
    9 – Lacks caution and humility by making grandiose claims from flimsy evidence
    10 – Practitioners often lack proper training and present that as a virtue as it makes them more ‘open’
    We could perhaps add – desire to mislead for financial purposes.

  • Actually the `chemical imbalance’ was a fraudulent scientific justification for what had been going on for a very long time. When I was a `mental health’ professional starting back in 1969, valium was the drug of choice to keep the little woman in her place, and there was another one before that, and before that, and contemporaneously, there was a `cup of tea, a Bex and a nice lie down’ (Bex being an analgesic at the time), and before that, Laudanum (an opiate) – They were all addictive and all were used to control women. A firmly patriarchic society couldn’t, and still can’t, afford women to become assertive and challenge the privilege and power of men.
    The `chemical imbalance’ was merely an extension of that, and has to be one of the greatest PR campaigns in history, only rivalled by `God is Love’. Even `the Jews did it’ pales before it.
    Now, the situation exists where the poor and children are targeted as well, as Aldous Huxley predicted. He was tongue in cheek but here it is, `The Brave New World.’

  • Actually I think we do. Life experience is what causes mental distress. And `science’ is proving it. Even then, does it really matter? We know that a gene causes Huntington’s Chorea, but knowing that does squat for the who have it. What we need to know is how to fix it, so we work towards finding a way – so it must be with emotional distress, we have to work towards fixing it by helping people who are overwhelmed find better ways to live their lives. And it doesn’t need to be a doctor.

  • Not just `mental illness’ but behaviour violating the rigid control and values of the Christian Church, and social norms, particularly for women and minorities who stepped beyond their place, were destined for the asylum. And still are.

  • First we have to ask, should `psychiatry’ as a discipline even exist? Is it necessary to have a medical degree to practice `psychotherapy’? Is it plausible to expect a person with a medical degree not to be `medical’? Is it possible that having studied medicine is a hindrance to being a psychotherapist? Does spending 6 years or more studying the workings of the human body have any relevance whatsoever to plumbing the vagaries of the MIND? For some people, their hairdresser offers more help than any medically trained practitioner, who has lear ned a whole lot about diagnosis but little about the soul. Even psychology degrees, now steeped in the DSM, lean towards the SCIENCE of the human condition, in order to legitimise their profession.
    Rarely in our so objective society, is anyone taught that the ART of listening, empathy and simple caring which is arguably the most valuable ART of all, and deserves its own legitimacy. In crisis centres, where it is likely that on one has a degree in any science, but does have people with skills in relating to a fellow human being in trouble. They aren’t paid much, they can’t boast to their family and friends, `look at me, I’ve got this degree, aren’t I clever, haven’t I got status, aren’t I important because of this qualification,’ but they have the one thing that someone who has spent 6 years+ buried in books while they have been finding out about how the world and they work, hasn’t.
    As a university student many years ago I was struck by the fact that while my group of young men and women were in the cafe and the pub learning to be grown-ups, our med student friends were very rarely there – they were in the library, alone with books about the human body. Of course we too read books, but on a myriad of subjects,
    The old adage my father used to say was:
    That he learned less and less until he knew nothing about everything, which he believed was better that learning more an more until one knew everything about nothing. He was a renaissance man with a bit of knowledge about an awful lot of things.
    I really believe that medicine has no place in treating people who happen to be overwhelmed in their lives.

  • What really gets to me is the lack of accountability in psychiatry. Because the whole sand castle is based on opinion, all they have to do, even in the face of severe malpractice is to say, `4 of my colleagues agree with me’, and they’re in the clear. I’ve seen sexual assault, overdosing to the point of death, physical assault, bullying, physical and mental, false imprisonment, often leading to life threatening and life destroying outcomes, but as soon as the lawyers hear `mental’ or psychiatry, they flee. So abuse not only continues but escalates where there are so few check and balances. There is a tendency for people to go as far as the law will allow but there is no law in psychiatry and the power imbalance is leading to a point where the patient is without protection. This has always been a problem and in its worst manifestation led to the murder of nearly half a million people in Nazi Germany. This is unlikely to happen now in any formal sense because there is too much money in cowed patients but the potential is there.

  • maradel
    You might be interested in reading, and/or seeing this woman speak on You tube
    Breaking Through the Wall of Schizophrenia – Mad In America
    Jun 14, 2017 – Danish psychologist Olga Runciman’s webinar on July 7, 2017.
    I read a book by called “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” by Hannah Green (a nom du plume) – It was an inspiring and autobiographical story of a young girl’s recovery from severe psychosis back in the 1940s or 50s. The author became a well known writer, Joanna Greenberg. More than half of all those who suffer a psychotic break never have a recurrence – some who do, have rare episodes and manage them without having to fall under the psychiatric bus. I wish you well.

  • Yeah, one guy said he was busted in school for having speed, and found it ironic that all he’d have to now is be a bit of a pest in class and they’d give it to him. My sister’s a primary school teacher in a fairly rough area and she was fairly confident that some of the kids’ meds were finding their way into the parents and/or being sold on the streets.
    I’ve sometimes postulated that for some kids who became better behaved in class, it was because they were developing a business plan on how to get rich flogging their meds. No longer bored but motivated.

  • The one’s who are really creaming it are the ECT docs. In Australia, a little (by population) country, they, and their complicit anaesthetists can make $30,000 per WEEK each. They keep membership of this team very carefully restricted by marking courses as exclusive and high tech. They’re not. Any registrar can do it and always used to before it became so lucrative. The anaesthetist has to be on the ball though as life threatening complications occur in about 1:6 treatments. E.g. cardiac arrests, respiratory complications and extended fitting. The cynicism of these people, 85% men, is beyond belief as they knowingly cause brain damage in almost universally ill-informed and unwitting people.

  • Apparently there is so much SSRI residue being excreted into open water that the fish are absorbing it. There is some evidence that their behaviour is being influenced, e.g. that they no longer recognise predators. Oops. Certainly there is plenty of evidence that PEOPLE aren’t recognising the predators that prescribe SSRIs, doctors.
    I was watching a popular TV series the other night and the doctor character was extolling the virtues of these drugs. Could it be time for those of us who know the truth to get some of this information to script writers and producers. My fear is, however, that they currently get their info, and possibly significant funding from the Psychiatry/Pharma Alliance. Another way to reinforce the BIG LIE – the bio-psychiatry myth.
    Unless the media is involved in exposing this, the consequences for the future are frightening. `Brave new world, that has such people in it.’ is upon us. (These old authors are sure hitting the mark – Orwell, `1984′; Huxley, and Sinclair’s `It Can’t Happen Here’.)
    And don’t worry, Lawrence, ADHD might get the boys, but sure as sunrise, SSRIs will get the girls.

  • Interesting you mention the sleep apnoea thing – I had sleep issues as withdrawal from 13 years of dopamine-disturbing psych drugs. Dopamine is involved in the sleep/wake cycle and though I was careful in withdrawing from the drugs I still couldn’t stay asleep for longer than 2 hours. They diagnosed sleep apnoea and prescribed a machine. Expensive and difficult to use if you’re fully awake every 2 hours or less, so I ditched it. That was nearly 4 years ago.
    I still see one of the consultants at that practise for the Restless Leg Syndrome (which was made much worse by the same drugs) and now that my sleep cycle s back to normal, I asked about the apnoea. He said it was so mild that he would’t recommend any treatment and not to worry about it. So what about his partner? Why did he? They were both looking at the same results. Money and constant contact at specialist prices is required when those machines are used-$$$
    Vale medicine, now one of the most venal and corrupt professions in the lexicon.

  • MEDICAL RAPE! That is so tragic and I weep for you. I can also totally relate to it.
    FOR ME – 2 weeks of an SSRI, for stress, recommended by a friend = an overnight acute suicidal reaction, – incarceration and 30 electroshocks in 12 weeks (66 in 20 months) – a diagnosis of bipolar – extensive poly pharmacy – suicidal, among other reactions to those – a total of 87 electroshock treatments – I feel I was RAPED for 13 years! (I was raped when young and the feeling is exactly the same, the abuse of power.)
    LOST – memory of my children growing up – relationship with my children – my career as a sculptor – my career as a writer. (now on welfare) – part of my intellect – my personality – my friends – my self respect and 15 years of my life.
    GAINED – PTSD – brain damage – 3 years of withdrawal symptoms –
    Now drug and psych symptom free, but still outraged by what this appalling profession is getting away with.

  • Unfortunately I’ve lost the name of the writer of this but he has certainly hit a chord that might explain the extreme drug push in Iceland and other countries with socialised medicine. In Western cultures we seem to expect a right to happiness and demand that we achieve it with as little input and effort as possible from us. Therefore…
    `Do we want to believe in a “magical” treatment for our worst times? Is the generalized loss of “God” being displaced onto the “doctor” to cure us all with pills, or worse? This then places a huge burden on the doctor because he/she is not God and therefore cannot make us better, but must try. After all he/she belongs to the same beliefs as everybody else in our society. As a “healer” the doctor places a huge expectation on him/herself therefore forever pushing more and more extremes of treatments. Needless to say the more ephemeral “illnesses” will attract the “furore therapeuticus” making it possible for even the most benign and gentle ”healers” to do terrible things in order to “help”. From there the path is not going to be very good for the “sick” person. Nonetheless, aren’t we all complicit.’
    It is hard for a busy doctor, who has little training in psychology, even less in how to critically examine the information thrust at him by enterprising drug representatives, to deny a patient who has also succumbed to the myth of the the chemical imbalance, and who is sitting demanding what they both see as an instant fix for his/her misery. (A GP I met said to me when I asked if she prescribed anti-depressants and why, `they work.’ She was unconvinced when I told her that they `worked’ because her patients trusted HER. Her psychological knowledge consisted of some 40 hours in total and she admitted she had no idea what questions to ask these patients about how their life circumstances might be contributing to their distress. I wrote her l list.)
    However, it is also inexcusable for doctors to fail to investigate all possibilities without prejudice, to fail to educate themselves in recognising that they don’t know everything, and to fail to know what others in a broad professional range actually do. It’s this arrogant, self serving, insightless ignorance that is bringing misery and often literally destroying the lives of thousands of people every day.

  • “But psychiatrists are very smart and are well-educated in genetics, pharmacology, biochemistry, and physiology. They also rule out physical causes and refer to other MDs if a physical cause is found, proving they know their domain is non-physical issues.”
    They may be very smart, but they are singularly lacking in critical thinking. A glaring contradiction is at the core of the profession – Psychiatrists claim that psychiatric disorders are diseases of the BRAIN, then go on, in the DSM of all places, to distinguish THEIR `diseases’ FROM `real’ disorders of the brain which they defer to those who treat disorders of the brain.
    I have complied a list of logic lapses in psychiatry that now has well over 100 entries – this is just one. Sadly, the neurotoxic drug treatments are tied to this massive contradiction and create untold misery.
    Also, doctors are not well EDUCATED, they are highly TRAINED. There is a difference. A mechanic is highly trained to understand the workings of your car, but you would not necessarily assume that that training constituted an `education’. He may have extended himself and become `educated’ but that is incidental to his training. So it is with medical training. The course is so intensive and narrow that there is little time to gather an education even if the student is so motivated. Those who are tend to leave medicine.
    It is possible that psychiatry, with its alliance and dependence on big Pharma, in drugging a generation, will seriously compromise the future of our culture by taking out the most intellectually curious, and exciting potential leaders of tomorrow. The restless, enquiring, energetic kids who don’t want to sit quietly doing the low grade clerical work, the ones who will bring the ideas and solutions of tomorrow’s issues are the very ones targeted. I suspect Einstein would have been diagnosed with ADD, and Florence Nightingale, one of the great actuaries and mathematicians of her day, would probably have been sedated with SSRIs. Who will WE lose?
    Maybe we should look to Rwanda instead in our pursuit of happiness – where a western psychiatric team, sent to help the survivors from the appalling brutality there, was summarily rejected because, as these traumatised people put it, “Why would you want to sit on a small dim room and talk about our problems, we prefer to sing, to dance and to weep together to help us through terrible times.” Maybe we could try it.

  • `Do we want to believe in a “magical” treatment for our worst times? Is the generalized loss of “God” being displaced onto the “doctor” to cure us all with pills, or worse? This then places a huge burden on the doctor because he/she is not God and therefore cannot make us better, but must try. After all he/she belongs to the same beliefs as everybody else in our society. As a “healer” the doctor places a huge expectation on him/herself therefore forever pushing more and more extremes of treatments. Needless to say the more ephemeral “illnesses” will attract the “furore therapeuticus” making it possible for even the most benign and gentle ”healers” to do terrible things in order to “help”. From there the path is not going to be very good for the “sick” person. Nonetheless, aren’t we all complicit.’
    Not just psychiatry. It seems that the entire medical profession is running rogue. A friend who has cancer has been researching the treatments and coming up with coverups, poor research, and even outright fraud in both conventional and medically recommended `alternative’ methods. In 1946 a `miracle’ drug, penicillin, appeared and with that the entire profession gained almost holy status. The struggle now seems to be to keep that status (and the money) whatever that might take and the patients be damned.
    Those who initially embrace the `noble’ cause with sincerity and idealism must deal with terrible cognitive dissonance as they become embroiled and few will be able to deal with that.

  • Yeah, everyone is attracted for something `free’ – but really nothing is. The organisations that offer these `freebies’ are actually recruiting customers and profiting as a result. That way they justify their existence.
    Way to go – the incidence of manic depression, rare in my days in the mental `health’ business, is now, 5%? In a generation? Some of that increase is, of course one of the effects of these very drugs SSRIs. What a bonanza! First give someone a drug that causes the symptoms of another illness, then give them more drugs to treat that illness, for LIFE, because they now have a `chronic’ incurable severe mental `illness’ – Again, way to go.
    A thought, was that a happy accident or did they do it on purpose?
    The rest is the gathering of a bunch of normal behaviours and calling them pathological. A pathology that can only be controlled by drugs and shock for all of life!
    How sad that one of the richest, most exciting times in all of history, is being trashed for money, but then, I guess that was always the way for the peasants, i.e. most of us.

  • in fact such studies have been done – The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Anti-depressant Myth – Irving Kirsch 2011 – The Myth of the Chemical Cure – Joanna Moncrieff 2008 – Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial – Peter Goetzsche 2015 – Interesting how more and more studies like this are being done is spite of the existence of those that expose the anti-depressants as neurotoxic substances that really only do harm. I guess these guys have to justify their grants somehow, and big pharma’s profits must be protected no matter the misery their products continue to cause.

  • Thank you Chet…but I think we agree that what constitutes `normal’ levels of dopamine remains debatable, particularly in the brain. Tests to measure it must include the ability to define which of these metabolites found in serum belong to which dopamine.
    Outside the central nervous system, dopamine acts on blood vessels, kidneys pancreas, digestive system, the sleep/wake cycle, and the immune system. Most of the dopamine in each of these peripheral systems is synthesized locally and exerts its effects near the cells that release it, e.g. dopamine sulfate is produced in the gut and plasma levels can rise more than fifty-fold after a meal.
    As someone whose dopamine levels were severely out of `balance’ due to antipsychotics, I can attest to the involvement of all these systems, particularly sleep/wake and immune system malfunction. Despite being very careful, in the first 2 years I was prey to almost every opportunistic bug around, and it took 3 years before my sleep cycle became normal.
    My problem, however is not whether, or how any neurotransmitter may `cause any mental `illness’.The myths persist in spite of evidence. For instance “Psychiatrists in the early 1950s discovered that a class of drugs known as typical antipsychotics were often effective at reducing the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia”…This disinformation is published everywhere and is indicates the extraordinary success of the `chemical imbalance’ theory of mental `illness’. I was working in the field at the time and I can assure you that these drugs did not, then or now, act on the symptoms of psychosis, they were & are TRANQUILLISERS, and that what we called them. The name `anti-psychotic’ came later with drug company advertising and PR. All the web sites also claim that these drug WORK, when in fact we know that they don’t, and that they are simply neurotoxins that shut the brain down.
    Then we have to establish what ADHD or any other diagnosis actually IS – and what we find is a vague set of unquantifiable descriptions of behaviour, which when normal standards of validity are applied register little more than chance. Here they are for ADHD
    ◦ Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, or with other activities.
    ◦ Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
    ◦ Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
    ◦ Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
    ◦ Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
    ◦ Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
    ◦ Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
    ◦ Is often easily distracted
    ◦ Is often forgetful in daily activities.

    Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
    ◦ Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
    ◦ Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
    ◦ Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
    ◦ Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”.
    ◦ Often talks excessively.
    ◦ Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
    ◦ Often has trouble waiting his/her turn.
    ◦ Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
    By this criteria I would have been heavily medicated in 3 of the 4 primary schools I attended. In the one where I was free to work at my own level which was years above my designated level, I would not.
    I recently saw a child at an outdoor excursion, who seemed a natural leader, enterprising, exploring and clearly very intelligent. I said so and was told he had been diagnosed with ADHD and was about to be medicated. The hours of sitting still doing low grade clerical work was not for him and rather than attend to his needs, to correct the system to accommodate these bright kids, they shut him down. There are of course other reasons for kids to be restless and even dysfunctional in the social/educational system of today but I’ll guarantee they’re not caused by dopamine disturbances.
    I fear for the next generation when so many of the brightest and best are being lost to the Psychiatric Pharmaceutical Alliance, a dysfunctional, underfunded, static, education system, and the unreasonable expectations of an uninformed, and/or brainwashed population. Perhaps the greatest and most far reaching tragedy of Western culture.

  • Absolutely and exposes the enormous gap between psychiatric “science” and genuine science. Unfortunately most people don’t know the tenets of real science, just the words” scientifically proven” sell the idea as well as the product. Hence the enormous sales of relatively useless “alternatives”. For instance, A friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer, and who has been involved in a lot of research into psych drugs, has approached cancer treatment with the same vigour and is finding a very similar picture. The `real’ i.e. establishment ones are extremely toxic with, for her cancer, very poor results, and she has been pointed towards at least 4 other very expensive `alternative’ programs whose research is slim to put it mildly.
    What is happening in medicine today?

    `Do we want to believe in a “magical” treatment for our worst times? Is the generalized loss of “God” being displaced onto the “doctor” to cure us all with pills, or worse? This then places a huge burden on the doctor because he/she is not God and therefore cannot make us better, but must try. After all he/she belongs to the same beliefs as everybody else in our society. As a “healer” the doctor places a huge expectation on him/herself therefore forever pushing more and more extremes of treatments. Needless to say the more ephemeral “illnesses” will attract the “furore therapeuticus” making it possible for even the most benign and gentle ”healers” to do terrible things in order to “help”. From there the path is not going to be very good for the “sick” person. Nonetheless, aren’t we all complicit.’
    And there are always plenty of those who will make money where they can regardless of the misery they cause.

  • Do these programs stigmatise kids – `hey, you’re a loony/mental/loser’? Does the publicising/advertising of them suggest that the otherwise `normal’ feelings of adolescence, such as confusion, issues with identity, relationship turmoil etc, are somehow pathological rather than just developmental? Past generations actually had far fewer `mental’ issues and the claim that this was because people suffered in silence is probably because what was always `normal’ behaviour that was dealt with by friends and families has now been included in descriptions of `disorders’.
    I read once about what happened when a team of western psychiatric workers descended on Rwandan survivors of the genocide there. The people were disgusted by the suggestion that they sit in small rooms and talk about their problems – `No’, they said, `we dance in the sunlight, and sing and weep with each other, that is how we get through these terrible times.’
    I think we should do something similar. Instead of designated `Mental Health’ programs, we could perhaps be teaching all students empathy and compassion. Let’s face it, many kids wouldn’t go near a specialist designated mental health program who maybe do need some help – but there is no stigma in a choir or a drama program, or an outreach social program like helping in a nursing home.
    No matter how you wrap it up, I believe these program are unlikely to help in the long term.

  • Several factors are involved in the continuing increase in anti-depressant use.
    1. The constant advertising of medication – if you `suffer’ ??? see your doctor and take a pill. This perpetuation of magical powers of `medicine’ that got its main push with Penicillin, a truly magical drug, in the 1940s.
    2. The expectation that life should be pain free
    3. The belief that doctors are miracle workers and will make life pain free
    4 The lack of training of first level doctors, particularly in mental health. (approx 40 hours total)
    5. Time pressure in first level doctors
    6. Drug companies direct advertising to doctors, including quasi bribery.
    7. Refusal of government authorities to examine drug trial results, cause, ? bribery.
    I’ve probably left some out, but you see the picture. The application of the name `anti-depressant’ to drugs that are essentially tranquillisers, and to attach them to a fake process (the`chemical imbalance’) was arguably the greatest advertising/marketing/PR stunt in history, except possibly, `the Jews did it’ and `God is love’. Breaking the false belief of an entire generation could take as long as removing a religion.

  • Can you please tell me what the `normal’ levels of dopamine (or any other of the 100 or more neurotransmitters) in the brain are, and how this is measured? Because unless we have some kind of agreement on what is `normal’ we cannot know what is `abnormal’, can we?
    And do we know how to relate any brain activity in the short term to behaviour in the long term?
    And, are responses by the autonomic nervous system, presumably measured during fMRI procedures, a cause or a result of emotion, behaviour etc? (been a little problem with fMRI data interpretation lately)
    And, since the DSM descriptions of ADHD, and nearly everything else, is so vague, and represents variations of normal behaviour making it a totally judgement call, is what is called ADHD anything at all?
    I think not –
    Unfortunately most mental `illness’ or emotional overwhelm is social in nature, but this is particularly true with ADHD – and the cynical drive to ever more riches by the PPA (Psychiatry/Pharmaceutical Alliance) will, or already has, destroyed an entire generation.

  • I question a society where people run from taking responsibility for their own well-being to grab at the marketing of spurious pseudoscience, where medical professionals, parents, schoolteachers and well meaning but misinformed others recommend drugs to keep bored, restless children quiet instead of examining themselves and education process. The instant gratification that somehow we are `entitled’ to be `happy’, to face no pain, has led to a society that looks for the easy way and this has led to a pill for everything including childhood. I did well in school though was often distracted, restless, talkative and, at times, dreamy. Under today’s regime it’s likely I would have been considered to have ADHD and been medicated. I was in fact a `gifted’ kid with a love of sport and stimulating activity and, in school, I was bored.
    Today the media briefed by psychiatry and their allies, the pharmaceutical companies, the richest corporations in the world, brainwashes parents and teachers into treating normal childhood behaviour as pathological. Underfunded education systems increasingly staffed by the lowest, least respected and lowest paid level of undergraduates are too afraid of litigation to allow kids to be kids, so that a quiet class is a good class, and extraordinary achievement and/or potential is discouraged or drugged away to keep the peace.
    That we allow the alliance between the psychiatrists and pharmacuetical companies to target our children, that ADHD and many other “diagnoses” invented to line their pockets are used to subdue the brightest and most energetic of our kids is arguably the greatest tragedy of our time.

  • Well, I guess David, since we’d rather not alter the brain with poisons, as you suggest, we’ll have to we’ll have to turn to Electroconvulsive SHOCK Treatment won’t we, and burn it out. Have you considered a job with CORE, Charles Kellner’s group, at Duke University – the centre for ECT `research’ in 2017 – the centre for delusional psychiatry, at least some are delusional, others are ruled by the profit motive.
    After all this is the treatment so admired by you that you wrote a book extolling its effectiveness and safety. The book that was funded by the Scion Natural Science Association, Dr Max Fink’s (the grandfather of shock) private family foundation funding research favorable to ECT. Dr Fink promoted ECT for over 50 years. He made promotional videos for shock machine company Somatics, and published books and articles denying any adverse effects of ECT, though paradoxically was often quoted describing its brain injuring potential. Guess you missed that.

  • Great article Jock,
    One of the first tenets of pseudoscience is , `hostility to criticism’ so one must assume that if someone is hostile to criticism they are indulging in pseudoscience, and somewhere in their psyche they are aware of it.
    However, doctors are doctors are doctors. The long and arduous education process produces a set of beliefs and expressions that is universal and necessary. If you have chest pain and shortness of breath you want someone who can quickly communicate with fellow professionals. Critical thinking is discouraged even if the student has the time to indulge, while concrete thinking is admired. Most of the people who are drawn to medicine have a mindset that embraces rules and things they can see and measure. Also, at the age when most of their peers are talking to each other about how the world, relationships and their place in it works, the medical student is in the library. This is why the treatment of people who are overwhelmed by circumstance does not fit the medical profession. First everyone is different; second, the person in front of you may disagree with you, someone with chest pain won’t do that; third, the need to label the unlabelable will confuse you…etc. But since the doctor has no other terms of reference, has never been encouraged to think outside a very specific box and has a narrow view of the world, he or she will cling to that safe place or risk the pain of cognitive dissonance. And remember, prestige and financial rewards demand certain loyaties as well.
    Basically, the medical profession has no place in dealing with emotional states, except to rule out neurological and other physical disturbances. So psychiatry is a non-profession.
    But while we rail about the fraud, the pseudoscience of psychiatry our words are rarely if ever seen by the broader public. The mainstream publication feature article after article about this or that new drug, how wonderful the `new’ ECT is, how tragic mental illness can be, the wonder of psychiatric research etc etc etc. But Robert Whitaker’s books are not found in the popular bookshops when Jeff Biederman’s and Allan Frances’ are. Where, other than MIA will you see an article like this, Time Magazine, Washington Post, New York Times, London Times? On TV, too, you will see exposes on prison conditions, orphanages and slums. Occasionally, usually during a `Mental Health Week’ there will be a program about psych wards. The voices will be the psychiatrist, the nurses and a couple of carefully coached patients who aren’t drugged rigid and drooling (they’re hidden behind locked doors), who are so dazed and compliant they look as if they’ve just had ECT. The public nods and says `see, it’s all under control.’ And it is, psychiatry has the ear of government, the press and the people, an MD, DPsych and money will always overcome truth.
    Change from the inside? I don’t think so._

  • But, Julie, though our pens may be powerful they are rarely if ever seen by the broader public. The mainstream publication feature article after article about this or that new drug, how wonderful the `new’ ECT is, how tragic mental illness can be, the wonder of psychiatric research etc etc etc. But Robert Whitaker’s books are not found in the popular bookshops when Jeff Biederman’s and Allan Frances’ are. Our art is seen in `exhibitions by mental patients’ and if someone has a mainstream gallery gig, they are advised not to advertise their `mental illness’ though bipolar might get a mention at a pinch, Van Gogh and all that. Where, other than MIA will you see an article like this, Time Magazine, Washington Post, New York Times, London Times? You will see exposes on prison conditions, orphanages and slums. Occasionally, usually during a `Mental Health Week’ there will be a program about psych wards. The voices will be the psychiatrist, the nurses and a couple of carefully coached patients who aren’t drugged rigid and drooling (they’re hidden behind locked doors), who are so dazed and compliant they look as if they’ve just had ECT. The public nods and says `see, it’s all under control.’ And it is, psychiatry has the ear of government, the press and the people.
    Two days ago I had a medical emergency and had to go the the ER. The only room they has was a cell with a chair in it. It was run down with peeling paint , a TV high on the wall, a fresh gouge in the edge of the door. I must have looked wary or something because the nurse apologised and said, as if that excused it, because it was the `psych room’. When I said that it was a shame that a `psych room’ was so like a cell and it might be a good idea to put a picture or some colour on the wall. He said `that might be too stimulating.’ I did remark that if I was disturbed enough to be here this room would increase my distress, but that was carefully ignored. After a short while they came to take me to a medical CUBICLE divided from the rest of the ward only by a curtain, not a locked door, and said, `we’ll take you somewhere better now.’
    My point is that it was okay to put someone with `a medical illness like any other’ in a cell and a door locking them away from the rest of the ward. The action and attitude was that NO, `mental illness’ is NOT `an illness like any other’, and may not partake of `normal’ treatment in a `normal’ milieu, it must be separated and locked in a cell.
    It was depressing to know that in 2017, nothing has got better than it was in the days of the old loony bin where I worked in the 1970s, separate, different and shameful. Indeed it’s worse now because the separation happens in the middle of normality, emphasising the difference and shame.
    Maybe it IS time for physical action but that will also be seen as the actions of the sick and unlike other protests, ALL the protesters will be locked up. That’s why, Vortex, there is no violent action and probably never will be.
    I’ve taken a break from writing against psychiatry lately, I’m discouraged because protest just disappears into the ether. Psychiatry can buy space in newspapers, in bookstores and on TV, psychiatrists can bribe the government, an MD, DPsych and money will always overcome truth.

  • Liz, Please try to understand that it is not what you (or society) gives that identifies the trauma – it is what the individual themselves takes. My mother was not aware that doing what society expected of her as a mother caused serious harm to her children. The abuse was completely hidden behind the societal norms of the time. That was the infant raising paradigm that the child, from birth was not to be played with for more than 10 minutes a day, that it was to be left alone to cry for hours at a time and only fed every four hours, among other strict restrictions. Mothers who violated these rules were severely castigated and shamed by infant welfare nurses. The outcome of such treatment led to entire generations of emotionally crippled people who have no idea why because it happened before language was available to identify their intense feelings of loss, vulnerability and emotional inadequacy. When such early emotional deprivation was later accompanied by other, more obvious abuse, loss and trauma, serious mental disturbance finds fertile soil. Your own statement is actually another `sweeping, overreaching, dangerous generalization’. Anything with physiological causes actually belongs in general medicine, or alternative medicine/healing, not psychiatry.

  • 8. Invokes conspiracy arguments to explain lack of mainstream acceptance (Galileo syndrome) – “It’s the Scientologists, the Anti-psychiatrists, the Media who are responsible for our lack of respect by the rest of the medical profession and the public.”
    10. Practitioners often lack proper training and present that as a virtue as it makes them more ‘open’ – I agree, the being more `open’ doesn’t cut it, but these are people who postulate all kinds of detailed neurological terminology as involved in behaviour that leaves the real experts, shaking their heads. When I showed the neurologist who confirmed that my cerebral atrophy was very likely due to ECT a psychiatrist’s study published in an in-house magazine, he was totally perplexed. It was `confusing’ he said. When I told him that psychiatrists used cingulotomy (lobotomy with a new name) to control/alter behaviour, he was horrified. “That’s to control epilepsy, and only as a last resort!” he said. They are not highly trained in neurology and they are not trained in psychotherapy and learn little about sociology or normal human behaviour, so the claim of being a broad bio-psycho-social discipline is rubbish. Have a look at the article on this site called `Healing Madness’ to see what is really going on.

  • Pseudoscience:
    1 – Hostile to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction

    2 – Works backward from desired results through motivated reasoning
    3 – Cherry picks evidence
    4 – Relies on low grade evidence when it supports their belief, but will dismiss rigorous evidence if it is inconvenient.
    5 – Core principles untested or unproven, often based on single case or anecdote
    6 – Utilizes vague, imprecise, or ambiguous terminology, often to mimic technical jargon
    7 – Has the trappings of science, but lacks the true methods of science .
8 – Invokes conspiracy arguments to explain lack of mainstream acceptance (Galileo syndrome)
    9 – Lacks caution and humility by making grandiose claims from flimsy evidence
    10 – Practitioners often lack proper training and present that as a virtue as it makes them more ‘open’
    `Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’
    All of the above as usual – the old saying “Psychiatry is to medicine as astrology is to astronomy” but the astonomers know the difference, psychiatrists still fool themselves. I can imagine the lovely group w*nks they enjoy when they discuss all this – it’s a bit pornographic really. I’ll *** yours, then you can *** mine – luvly! I wouldnt care about all this except for the money. It should be going somewhere where some actual good will come from it. Let them w*nk all they like but not on taxpayer’s money.

  • Shook, Re `Efficacy and safety of ECT in depressive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    UK Lancet, 2003.
    Here is a review of the review by another mega review, one that I mentioned above, “The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: A literature review” J Read & R Bengal 2010
    `The UK ECT Review Group (2003) included six studies in their meta-analysis, including three which had
    found a significant difference during treatment. One of the three positive studies was, again, the West (1981)
    study in which ECT was given to some of the SECT group during the treatment period.(therefore invalid). The meta-analysis excluded four…studies…(Brandon et al.,1984; Brill et al., 1959; Fahy et al., 1963; Harris &
    Robin, 1960), three of which had found no benefit for ECT even during the treatment period. They report that
    only one study met their inclusion criteria for follow-up studies and found no significant difference. The study
    (West et al.) (the invalid one) had not, in fact, reported any follow-up data.

    There have been ten studies comparing ECT and SECT for depression . Five found no significant outcome differences. One of these found identical response rates for ECT and SECT and concluded “The results suggest that the ECT pre-treatment procedure has an important therapeutic effect. This casts some doubt on
    current views of the effectiveness of electro-convulsive therapy” (Lambourn & Gill, 1978).
    Of the five studies that did produce some significant findings, two invalidated their work, (see the UK ECT Review Group review above) in terms of any lasting benefits, by giving real ECT to the SECT group after
    the first (Freeman et al., 1978) or third week (West, 1981). What these two studies can reasonably claim is
    that the ECT group improved faster than the SECT group (which also improved) early in the treatment, at least on some measures. In the Freeman et al. study there were no differences on the Beck Depression Inventory…The third was the famous Northwick Park study (Johnstone et al., 1980). A prominent ECT advocate described it as “the most thoroughly designed and extensive trial of ECT’s efficacy ever to be conducted in this country”
    (UK) but conceded that the “modest” difference found was “restricted to patients with delusions” and was “short-lived” (Kendell, 1981). There were no significant differences for two of the three subgroups of depressed patients: ‘agitated’ and ‘retarded’ (Nortwick Park ECT Trial, 1984).
    Furthermore, the positive finding for the ‘deluded’ subgroup was only perceived by psychiatrists. The ratings by nurses and by patients produced no significant differences for any of the three subgroups.’
    The Northwick study was listed much later by an independent research assessment team as being of poor quality and having significant reporting bias.’
    I might add that nowhere do we see any assessment of the placebo effect of REAL ECT itself. Add this to the poor showing and my contention that ECT is merely a brain damaging placebo must be considered.
    Your move I think…
    I don’t expect to change your mind but I do intend to present the science for anyone who might be considering that this useless, destructive procedure has any place in the treatment of anything.

  • Please Shook, hold the insults, it merely shows up your weaknesses. Can you please cite the evidence that ECT is less dangerous than childbirth? Sure it only causes death in 1:200 elderly, 1:400 Texans – an estimated world wide 1:600 – 1000 average, BUT it cause brain injury in 100% of recipients. Amongst my acquaintance, my women friends, I don’t know of ANY who have suffered brain damage as a result of childbirth. Perhaps we differ on what is dangerous in this world.
    I might add that Charles Kellner, ECT proponent extraordinaire, wrote in January, 2015 in the Psychiatric Times, “The amazing structural detail that can now be seen with high magnet-strength MRI has resulted in a re-thinking of the old dictum that ECT (SHOCK) does not cause structural brain changes.” Of course, back in the early 70s when I worked in psychiatry, we knew that. ECT was designed to cause brain damage, which was considered therapy alongside such procedures as lobotomy and insulin coma – Moniz 1938)”…to cure these patients”, it was necessary to “destroy the more or less fixed arrangements of cellular connections that exist in the brain, and particularly those which are related to the frontal lobes” AND IT STILL DOES.

  • Shook, I can describe what is NOT science, that which is epitomised in psychiatric quasi/pseudoscience:
    1 – Hostile to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction

    2 – Works backward from desired results through motivated reasoning
    3 – Cherry picks evidence
4 – Relies on low grade evidence when it supports their belief, but will dismiss rigorous evidence if it is inconvenient.
    5 – Core principles untested or unproven, often based on single case or anecdote
    6 – Utilizes vague, imprecise, or ambiguous terminology, often to mimic technical jargon
    7 – Has the trappings of science, but lacks the true methods of science
8 – Invokes conspiracy arguments to explain lack of mainstream acceptance (Galileo syndrome)
    ( The hostile Anti-psychiatry movement and Scientologists.
    9 – Lacks caution and humility by making grandiose claims from flimsy evidence
    10 – Practitioners often lack proper training and present that as a virtue as it makes them more ‘open’.
    As they say – “psychiatry is to medicine as astrology is to astronomy.”

  • Absolutely AA – in fact please do. Thanks for your concerns but the stroke was the least of my problems – the stress problems of being forced to have the treatment, the loss of my skills as an artist and writer which destroyed my livliehood, and most of all, the loss of my memories of my children were all far worse. But because I had what is known in legal circles as a `high cognitive reserve’ I came out reasonably okay. That means that I started at a high level of functioning so while my loss of capacity was significant I remain relatively competent. If I had been functioning at an average level, as of course most people are, the deficits from the brain injury may have reduced me to being intellectually and cognitively handicapped. These are the people who are silent, not the Carrie Fishers, or the Kitty Dukakis’s, but the vast numbers of severely handicapped people who are the hidden victims of this scourge. They are sitting in rooms, apathetic, without volition, insight, emotions or hope. No dreams, no future, no past.
    While Carrie and Kitty extoll the virtues of ECT here are a few celebs who weren’t quite so happy about it:
    Ernest Hemingway – blew his brains out after ECT destroyed his memory, his `capital’ – `it was a great treatment but we lost the patient’.
    Judy Garland – “I couldn’t learn anything. I couldn’t retain anything; I was just up there making strange noises. Here I was in the middle of a million-dollar property, with a million-dollar wardrobe, with a million eyes on me, and I was in a complete daze. I knew it, and everyone around me knew it.” The studio soon suspended her from the film.
    Gene Tierney – “Pieces of my life just disappeared…[like] what Eve felt, having been created full grown out of somebody’s rib, born without a history. That is exactly how I felt.
    Sylvia Plath – “she really hated to go…sometimes Aurelia [her mother] had to force her to go…glimpse after a treatment…she was uncharacteristically lifeless…it was almost as if the life had been sucked out of her”. (Mother’s friend.)
    Vivien Leigh – “She was not, now that she had been given the treatment, the same girl I had fallen in love with.” (Lawrence Olivier, husband)
    Antonin Arnaud (poet) – “Anyone who has gone through the electric shock… never again rises out of its darkness and his life has been lowered a notch.”
    Janet Frame (author) – I dreamed waking and sleeping dreams more terrible than any I dreamed before – [if] only I had been able to talk about my terror…
    Emil Post (mathematician) – died of heart attack at 57 following ECT –
    The claim that ECT is better now is rubbish. There have been NO new developments for over 40 years. It is cosmetically easier to watch because the body is paralysed by drugs (introduced 1950s and which has its own extra risks) but the seizure in the brain is still the fiercest seizure known in all of medicine, and the power used today is 4 times greater for 8 times as long. In fact with “modern ECT”, a group of ECT anaesthetists (who make as much as $30,000 a week), found that 1:6 ECT patients suffered a life threatening complication during the treatment. SAFER than childbirth? Don’t be ridiculous!

  • Shook, perhaps you could be more precise in your language. “There is a subset of the Mentally Ill that do very well with the procedure. This means you need to choose who you are going to give it to carefully. It is not a panacea.”
    Please define which subset of the Mentally Ill `do very well’ with ECT. What does `very well’ mean? Which subset are you talking about? Severe depression has many manifestations, are some more deserving than others? What would your criteria be? Can you describe the short and long term outcomes statistically? What are the observable manifestations in those who have done `very well’? How long do these last? You imply side effects, what are these?
    I tend to stick to the science and not get involved in personal diatribe but you are tempting me, Shook.

  • Shook: All of these factors your list may indeed contribute to early death. But it is highly likely that many if not ALL, list the overall consequences of suffering diagnosis and treatment for mental illness in western societies.
    Impaired communication skills and social isolation: Withdrawal and social withdrawal because of being poor and on Welfare, and because of the socially disabling effects of drugs such as Tardive Dyskinesia, drooling, slurred speech, slowed thinking processes, repetitive movement disorders, Akathesia, somnulence etc – ALL effects of the drugs NOT the purported “illness”.
    Paranoia: It is easy to think people are talking about you, avoiding you, laughing at you when they see what you do in the mirror.
    Mood instability: Apart from the physiological brain disabling effects such as cerebral atrophy and disturbance in the neuro-chemical imbalance caused by the neuroleptic drugs, and brain damage from ECT which cause depression and many other disturbances (see psychological effects of Traumatic Brain Injury – TBI, in any neurological resource), it is very easy to become distressed, depressed and want to withdraw when you realise a) how physically debilitated you’ve become. and b) when you’re told over ad infinitum that you have no future but more of the same by those who are supposed to `know’ –
    I suggest you have a look at the raft of information about the organic effects of antipsychotic drugs, which of course are nothing of the kind. They are simply and solely “tranquillisers” and were always called so before the Pharma/Psychiatry Alliance in the mid 1970s PR/marketing campaign. I was a psychiatric professional before that time and watched as progressive sociopsychological programs that did away with drugs were systematically shut down by aggressive, mainly inept and certainly greedy doctors who saw their power being drained by the success of these programs that threatened to do away with them as well.
    Under all these circumstances your list is accurate. Mood instability, social isolation and decreased motivation are a given. Poverty, unemployment, homelessness, illicit drug use, smoking & alcohol consumption have far more to do with the treatment for the diagnosis that has no scientific validity or reliability whatsoever.
    In other words you’ve described the lifestyle of millions of western victims, often forced on them by a venal & corrupt psychiatry that peddles pseudoscientific rubbish as its creed – all of which lead to a stunted, shortened and miserable life. Poor Carrie didn’t stand a chance.
    Now let’s take you up on the ECT issue. Your assumption that because I am against ECT I must therefore be an associate in some way with another anti ECT organisation e.g. Scientology. But this is actually an ad hominem fallacy, and says far more about your critical thinking skills than anything about me. This form of the argument is as follows:
    Source S makes claim C.
    Group G which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient, also makes claim C.
    Therefore, source S is viewed by the recipient of the claim as associated to the group G and inherits how negatively viewed it is.
    An example of this fallacy would be “My opponent for office just received an endorsement from the Puppy Haters Association. Is that the sort of person you would want to vote for?”
    “Shooting the messenger” (an associated reasoning deficiency) may be a time-honored emotional response to unwanted news, but it is not a very effective method of remaining well-informed.”
    ECT is not only not safe it is dangerous. I see that you’ve read David Healy and Ed Shorter’s book that was liberally sprinkled with Max Fink quotes on the History of ECT. Unfortunately you don’t appear to have seen the extremely detailed and well credentialed critiques of that book. A pity you haven’t read the most scientifically applauded, and definitive article by John Read and Richard Bentall in 2010, `The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy:A literature review”. There are many, many books, articles and reviews as well as testaments by highly respected psychiatrists who are among the 70% who NEVER prescribe it. A few names for you to catch up on, Colin Ross, Breggin, Burstow, McLaren, Browne, Johnstone, Johnson.
    Now for a few actual figures where they’re not hidden out of sight. Hard to find because accountability is thin on the ground in ECT. A few instances – Texas 1992-1996 – deaths in the over 60 years olds (the highest single user group) 1:200 within 2 weeks; a 1996 survey of matched elderly, deaths within 12 months, with ECT 25% – non ECT 2%. Texas 2014-15 1:400 within 2 weeks. Suicide prevention, apart from the APA’s outright falsehood of saying the 1976 survey by Avery & Winokur showed ECT prevented suicide when the survey clearly stated it did NOT, has no scientific support whatsoever.
    This death rate in new mothers would raise the roof and I don’t think lightening comes even close. If you’re going to quote from the APA handbook, make sure you say so then we’ll all know that what you’re saying are the words of vested interests dedicated to maintaining their highly lucrative and expansionist views.
    As for the Journal of ECT, I might say that after several years of looking, I have yet to read a single scientifically sound article from it. That more reputable publications rarely publish this junk speaks for itself.
    But let’s put the mortality issue behind us as according to the experience of neurologists electrical injury has a strange effect in that it is rarely fatal but has a very high and permanent post injury morbidity rate closely related to other Traumatic Brain Injury. So perhaps the real fear of ECT isn’t that one will die of it but that one will be permanently disabled.
    Oh and I might say that as a woman of 59, in 2002, I suffered a stroke during ECT. It wasn’t recognised at the time because the aphasia and paralysis were such common reactions to ECT that no one did anything. The scar was found later in a brain scan, along with the patches of dead cells and the marked cerebral atrophy that could not be accounted for by anything else. According to the specialist neurologist, that is. And issues found in the detailed neurophysiological tests include executive cognitive function difficulties, lowered intellectual capacity, `working’ memory disfunction and, of course, the admitted complication of years of retrograde memory loss including major job skills, education and my children growing up, were also attributed to ECT. None of these were ever recovered in the 14 years since.
    NO Shook, I don’t need the bandwagon of Scientology, I have more than enough data without ever having to go to their well.
    Please don’t insult our intelligence with the specious garbage published by people like Charles Kellner and his CORE group, or more dishonest PR releases from the APA. Shall we look at logic again?
    1. A Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when an external force applied to the head causes a disruption in normal brain function
    2. ECT is the application of an electrical force (450 volts for 8 seconds) to the head and causes a grand mal seizure and a coma. Serious disruptions to normal brain function.
    3. Therefore ECT causes a Traumatic Brain Injury. (Check neurological outcomes for Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury)
    For anyone to take your claims seriously they would have to suspend disbelief to a delusional degree and frankly the public don’t buy it when they hear these facts, hence the protracted PR campaign by the APA.
    I will take you on every single point you can bring up on ECT –

  • February 16, 2011 Medscape— The risk for cardiovascular disease in people with psychosis increases after their first exposure to antipsychotic drugs, according to new research published online February 7 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

    “This change in risk is evident early in the course of treatment, within several weeks of continuous use, but may continue over years,” study investigator Debra L. Foley, PhD, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, told Medscape Medical News.
    Schizophrenia is associated with a reduced life expectancy, and most early deaths are due to cardiovascular disease.
    patients with bipolar disorder have a higher prevalence of cardiac risk factors, such as obesity, glucose dysregulation and dyslipidemia.(fats in the blood)
    many of the medications that treat bipolar disorder may have cardiac side effects or toxicity
    lithium toxicity may be associated with sinoatrial block, AV block, AV dissociation, bradyarrhythmias, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation. T-wave flattening or inversion
    – Several antipsychotics have been documented to cause torsade de pointes and sudden death…
    PLUS – cocaine and some prescribed neuroleptics are very chemically similar – so…
    When was Carrie’s last ECT course? – Cardiac complications may exist for a period of weeks or even moths following ECT.
    Another tragic loss to the scandal of the last 60+ years of modern psychiatry.

  • Well Aurora, I became suicidal as a RESULT of the drugs – was on life support 3 times from extremely well planned suicide attempts, as a result of Prozac, Lithium, Quetiapine, Lexapro and Abilify along with PTSD from ECT. Since stopping all of these I have NO COMPULSION TO HARM MYSELF WHATSOEVER. 15 years of ODs, significant brain damage, a life truncated – BUT, now 2 and a half years drug free, symptom free, I too “enjoy every day that I have and live it to the fullest.” I don’t know how old you are, but I’m now 74 and because of psychiatry I lost 15 years of some of the most productive years of my life – I doubt I can make that up. So good for you if that garbage does it for you, it kills and destroys far too many others.

  • My response to the Slate article: Dr Satel states:
    “Fisher spoke publicly and truthfully about her condition and in doing so, offered many lessons from which we can all learn. First, she promoted the best treatments that psychiatry has to offer.”
    The best psychiatry offers is drugs, shock, and brain surgery PERIOD. Unfortunately Fisher didn’t embrace any of the therapies that may have saved her a lifetime of drugs and ECT brain damage.

    “I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital…I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that.”
    No one should ever say that anyone should be ashamed of having a `mental illness’ or of being emotionally overwhelmed, But that she was led to believe that she had a non existent `chemical imbalance’ borders on malpractice on the part of her doctors, and she propagated this probably without understanding that it was a lie. This claim was and is purely a marketing slogan perpetrated by the drug companies to sell product. It has NO substance, NO scientific validity and was publicly discredited years ago and the fact that Dr Satel is also publicly supporting today is scientifically irresponsible. “..when her condition was at its most intense, Fisher turned to electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT…
    ECT is still overshadowed by its One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest reputation as a damaging procedure.”
    I am getting very, very tired off seeing this lame excuse for ECT’s bad reputation being trotted out as a PR statement in every proECT propaganda piece. NO! ECT has a bad reputation because in order to believe that 450 volts pulsing through someone’s head for 8 seconds does NOT cause damage, is suspending disbelief to a delusional degree and the public are NOT that stupid!
    Unfortunately Carrie Fisher (and Kitty Dukakis ,30/12/16 New York Times article) have been constantly used as spokespersons by the $5 billion a year ECT industry for many years. There are NO other celebrity spokespersons because nobody else will say anything other than that it causes serious injury. Both Dukakis and Fisher admit serious memory damage from it, and when I recently saw Carrie Fisher as a guest on a well known panel show in the UK I was appalled. It would have been obvious to anyone who has ever worked with neurologically damaged people that Ms Fisher had serious problems. That she continued to be `open’ about ECT indicates several possibilities; a) she had anosognosia (brain damage that prevents the person being aware that they are damaged); b) that she was apathetic and compliant, (a result of brain damage) saying whatever was asked of her; c) that she made these comments when acutely injured by ECT and possibly suffering from post-ictal and concussion euphoria, both acute symptoms of brain injury; d) that she, and/or her entourage were paid to eulogise ECT.
    I’m afraid that for many years, I saw Carrie Fisher as a dupe in the ECT PR machine.
    Dr Satel’s claim that ECT is an effective, let alone the most effective treatment for anything is not supported by any science whatsoever. The claim that it is a substitute for equally useless drugs has no science behind it all.
    There has never been any evidence that show ECT is anything more than a brain injuring placebo that has a short lived positive effect in less than 50% of people, most of whom would have responded equally well to `sham’ ECT (Placebo) and extra caring and attention, with NO injury.
    “To be sure, a chaotic childhood is not a risk factor for bipolar illness. (There is a genetic factor, of course, and other biological vulnerabilities….)”
    Dear me Dr Satel, what planet do you live on? YES, a chaotic childhood IS a risk factor for all kinds of `mental illness’ including bipolar AND the PSYCHOSIS you mention Carrie Fisher suffered from!
    I agree that “Bipolar illness is devastating. The symptoms can be terrifying: paranoid hallucinations, delusions (she had those), a black abyss of demobilizing depression.”
    But to say that the best one can hope for is `treatment, which can be quite effective at managing symptoms’ is a denial of the possibility of hope for recovery that is, very often, with the right help, achievable.
    Sadly, for Carrie Fisher, in the hands of psychiatry, it wasn’t.
    Oh, and by the way, there are very few psychiatrists who are either trained or inclined to step away from the prevailing bio paradigm – after all that’s where the money is.

  • I’m sorry that you feel that way, there are many people who are mental health professionals and/or have degrees who have, a) been published on MIA and b) comment on articles on MIA. Not all are viewed with a friendly eye but my experience has been that all comers, except those who indulge in personal abuse, get a fair hearing.
    I agree that many successful revolutions, or perhaps, reforms, HAVE come from within systems, but this depends on a degree of willingness to contemplate reform on the part of those within the system. IN the case of psychiatry, however, there is no evidence of any kind of willingness to address reform.
    You say that `blowing up the system’ is rarely effective or successful, but in fact historically, it has very frequently been both. Machiavelli records that, `conspiracies conducted by a handful of men acting secretly invariably meet tragic ends, Open revolts involving large numbers of people do not.’ and cites the overthrow of the Duke of Athens. The Irish, French and Russian revolutions, the Suffragette movement, and the rise of unions all blew up the system, and were `successful’ in creating permanent change. Whether you agree that the change was necessarily for the better is a matter of opinion, but many would claim that the old tyrants were worse than the new ones and in some cases, such as the vote for women, and protection for workers, the consequences are at the core of human rights in our society today.
    So we hope it will be for the anti psychiatry movement.

  • For so many of us who put our all into that protest – we held a protest but nobody came – I alienated my family who were ashamed, frightened my friends who `would have come but just happened to be…’ spent far more money than I had, and I actually had some powerful allies, like John Read who managed to get the journalist I previously knew and had written the copy for, to actually write a story and get it onto page 3 of a leading newspaper. Without him, my story was a non starter. And that is the problem. Without a physical presence, without handfuls of brochures at ECT clinics, handed out ALL the time for instance, without the press, without the politicians (I found ONE who asked questions), without money and a central organisation and without direct action, this will be a VERY long haul. Peer organisations are being colonised by the establishment via government money, politicians never even SEE the letters we send, their staffers field them. Every time there is a card played, the establishment’s PR and lobby organisation moves in and trumps it. Nobody is game to step up as whistleblowers, the costs are too high. Each time an outrage is exposed, a couple of the perpetrators are scapegoated and the rest walk away relatively unscathed. I write, I expose and forward as much as I can to social media, to friends and acquaintances, I’m now elderly and I need a life, not to be viewed as an outraged crank whose opinions are put aside BECAUSE I’m an outraged crank. I DO tell people who are considering psychiatry not to do it, I DO try to be as cool and scientific as humanly possible and I succeed in that. I DO my homework, I AM well informed and I preach against the excesses of some of my fellow anti-psychiatrists, to my detriment.
    But I am discouraged. My biggest issue is ECT – Yes `what the FUCK?’ But given all of the above I’m leaning towards direct action – DESTROY the FUCKING machines!
    Revolutions typically succeed in the end by direct action – Marx, Engels etc, etc wrote and wrote, the suffragettes wrote and wrote and peacefully demonstrated, but in the end thousands of angry people threatened the peace of the day and WON it.
    At the moment, we are having a quiet revolution and we are being laughed at, sneered at and set aside by a group of pernicious, venal charlatans with huge financial recourses, the ear of politicians, the faith of the people and no morals – that is the stuff of tyrants. And all our suggestions of alternatives, of changes in society, of making everything nice are useless. A revolution is only possible if people COME.

  • I read a `eulogy’ for Carrie Fisher written by a psychiatrist, Sally Satel. It was more a `eulogy’ for psychiatry. Dr Satel states:
    “Fisher spoke publicly and truthfully about her condition and in doing so, offered many lessons from which we can all learn. First, she promoted the best treatments that psychiatry has to offer.” An indictment that reads differently for the informed than it does to the general public. The `best treatments psychiatry had to offer’, drugs and ECT, destroyed her brain (see any interview of Fisher in the last few years and you will see the neurological aftermath of ECT) and ultimately killed her at 60. I’m reminded of a friend who died following a cardiac arrest at 59, after some 30 years on neuroleptics. NO ONE except me, suggested this was possibly the result of the drugs. The woman was ill from an infection that was opportunistic and recalcitrant, but while otherwise healthy 59 years olds may die from infections (organ shut down etc), a cardiac arrest is suspicious. Until the dots are joined, thousands more will die, with authorities doing nothing because the medical profession generally, not just psychiatrists, refuses to jeopardise its covenant with big pharma – and anyway `mental patients’, who cares? That diagnosis on the record is a licence to ignore and despise.

  • I think we have to consider that not everyone enjoys their psychotic experiences. Some people have an appalling time – terrible anxiety and terror because voices are abusive and threatening, beliefs that their being taken over etc come `out of the blue’. I don’t believe that psychiatry has any answers at all for this, that alternatives do exist but people do need help and support to get through the really bad times.

  • I suggest you check out Ron Pies articles/rebuttals etc on Phil Hickey’s, as well as Robert Whitaker’s blogs. Pies has an absolute talent for involving himself in arguments that lead to him being shot down again and again with logic and good research. He appears to be immune to both. BUT he was the executive editor of Psychiatric Times so has a forum where he preaches to the other illogical, poorly educated, delusional members of his profession with, he believes, impunity.

  • Most emotional overwhelm has no medical basis whatsoever, so why go to a doctor when what you really need is a friend. The friend could be your bestie, or a highly trained psychologist, a peer counsellor, a support group, a neighbour, or a family member(s). It’s irrelevant so long as you can trust the person to care about you, has time to listen and hears you. A rushed GP with 40 hours of psychological training and 10 people in the waiting room, a psychiatrist trying to fit in as many $400.00 appointments as possible in an hour, who also has very limited psychological training (despite what he/she says on his/her CV), ain’t your friend.

  • At last. My life was ruined by an overnight severe suicidal reaction to Prozac, for STRESS, not depression. I was 57. The panicked doctor immediately embarked on a course of 14 ECT treatments (eventually 66 in 20 months), that destroyed my career as a sculptor, novelist and screen writer, and led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder with 13 years of drugs and debility. 10 years later another SSRI, Lexapro, (`this one’s different’), also led to a devastating depression and suicidal reaction and more ECT. Neither event was reported as an adverse reaction. How many hundreds of thousands have died or suffered dreadfully because of no one admitting this possibility? Even if you don’t die from it, the stress placed on the individual and their families is immense. For instance my relationship with my children has been badly affected as a consequence of my drug induced behaviour, my being labelled as `sick’ and the stigma associated with it.
    Are psychiatrists ignorant, blind, in denial, or merely unwilling to upset the big pharma gravy train in their continued abuse using these drugs? If GPs remain ignorant surely the responsibility falls on both the specialist profession, psychiatry, and the government that has assured the public that all is well in SSRI land, to EDUCATE them. Neither should have the luxury of standing back and saying ,”well, it’s the GPs fault, they’re the ones doing it.” Passing the buck doesn’t cut it. These studies are merely the tip of the huge iceberg that hopefully one day soon will sink psychiatry and its drug assault forever.

  • Australia ratified it and we have one of the highest rates of compulsory hospitalisations in the world. We also already have your Murphy Bill in compulsory `community care’ where one can be indefinitely on `parole’ for years, with forced hospitalisation for not taking `meds’ a looming threat all the time. We have a 30-60% forced ECT rate as well. (the US is 3%?) Our private hospitals have no government supervision and the Tribunal safeguard system is de facto, a total farce. We also recently had a Senate Enquiry into Abuse, Violence and Neglect of the handicapped including `mental illness’, that, to date, has led nowhere. All the while our Human Rights organisations and government pay lip service, spouting motherhood platitudes to `respect, include and empower’ the handicapped, the mentally ill, all those LESSER people. Patronised in discussions, forums etc, brutalised, incarcerated and injured in fact. We are surrounded by toothless tigers, looking beautiful but achieving NOTHING.

  • Re `blame’ – some therapies actually use the action, at least, of `blame’ as an initial tool to clarify `what happened to you’ approach to understanding why you’re at this point, now. In Schema Therapy for instance, one of the first actions is for the person to write a letter to the person they believe caused them serious pain in their childhood. The letter is never sent but the act of writing it exposes the hurt. As you say, the cover up, the lies, the denial of events in early childhood and the confusion that it led to, expresses itself in psychosis as well as other problems. Is this `blame’? I guess, but who among us parents is perfect? My parents did things that made me vulnerable, and I don’t thank them for that, but it wasn’t deliberate, it was a consequence of their own issues past and present; and I’m sure I didn’t do everything right either, though I tried hard.
    I have a problem with people who need to be `blameless’ – maybe this is a `condition’ in its own right. Many of the parents in the drug company subsidised NAMI seem to suffer from this denial problem. Interestingly, psychiatrists have a very high personal psychological pathology rate as do their children, so maybe that’s part of it.
    Another point, was this document ghost written? When you see that Ron Pies, Daniel Carlatt and other high profile establishment psychiatrists have publicly come out denying the `chemical imbalance’ crap, and it has been removed (at least in this form) from the RCP, RANZCP and APA etc websites, it seems odd to me that it appears as blatantly as this. Maybe the fault lies with the editorial process in NIMH, where clerks have copied from some of the pop websites and big pharma ads and no one has bothered to check. I say this because in a case I know, a doctor did not get legal consent for ECT, the patient later found out and after it was reported to the authorities suddenly the consent form appeared. BUT it was `signed’ by the wrong people on the wrong dates – something the doctors involved would have known but the clerical staff did not. It appears that the document was forged.
    This whole document is yet another dishonest guild publication that must be exposed for the fraud it is. Thank you Ron Unger

  • It’s interesting that so many people are bringing up historical and non US slavery as if to say, me too. NO, not me too. As a sometime visitor to the US Im probably going to be slammed for this, but I saw racism against African Americans all the time. I was constantly uncomfortable around the continued put-downs, hostile looks, deliberately ignoring people, and aware that these good WHITE people, who paid their taxes, never committed crimes, `believed’ in universal education and human rights, never saw that they were doing it. They seemed to me to be blind to their exclusion of the `other’ as routine.
    In including historical slavery I feel people are saying, `What are you whining about? It’s not that bad, my people were conscripted, enslaved, chained to a factory machine etc and I and my family and friends have made good, why can’t you? Look what we’ve done for you etc and still you mess up.’ – Really that’s saying all over again – you’re no good because you are a lesser person. In Australia we don’t have a large minority that’s `different’. (We have the aboriginal people but like yours most were killed off and the same issues exist there but in much smaller numbers and our record stinks, too), so I don’t have the same experience of living in a dichotomised society, but I am A WOMAN. We are put down, objectified, excluded, paid less, pushed aside, discriminated against in so many ways whilst still being told we have equal rights, respect and the vote, so when I see people denying, excusing, justifying, being blind to the inherent privilege of being white skinned and/or male, no matter whether you’re in the same mental hospital or jail, I get discouraged. One thing, if black people think it’s going to change anytime soon, think again – women have always been slaves, and despite lip service, still are.

  • Maybe you could use your experience here to spread the word to other non survivors, and parents of non-drugged young children, that there IS oppression and injustice happening to a lot of people. Turning away is what everyone but the philistine did and what most white people still do.

  • Thank you Judy for your courage and I weep for your loss. Recently I met a woman who, within an hour or two of our meeting, told me about her son who was in a similar position to your Dan. For 15 years he’d been at the mercy of the Mental Health System in Australia and she was devastated. From her story I got the impression that his plight was probably totally iatrogenic. Unfortunately I live in a different state and was only there for a few days so couldn’t source any alternatives for them other than to try to get him to the local Hearing Voices organisation. By this time he is so hostile to the authorities and her as an extension of them, (like you she’s been told the `chemical imbalance’ lie), that without active intervention from a third party it will be unlikely that he’ll ever get there. My fear is that his hopelessness and anger will lead to his death.
    I agree with you, The cat, we need a lot of people to see these stories, but my experience with the ECT issue is that despite the legion of voices telling of ruined lives that are obviously not just isolated incidences, psychiatry still claims those thousands really ARE just the `ranting of ex mental patients. And the government agrees with them because THEY are the `authorities’. `Doctor knows best.’
    The best chance for change will come from the public finding out things like the GSK 329 study with its $3 billion fine against GSK, the $11.7million damages payout for suicide, again GSK, the continued success of damages against Eli Lilly etc, and stopping coverups and gagging of outcomes. Education will eventually seep through to the mental health professionals who are so destructive in their ignorance.
    A movement like yours, Judy, and the offer of a drug company free family support organisation, (unlike NAMI) might offer help to people like the woman I met, to understand and ultimately help her much loved son come in from the cold. I would like to set up something like this here but don’t know where to start.

  • So do I ans so does Olga Runciman but she is the only psychologist in Denmark who actually specialises in working with it. How many others, world wide, are there who do? Considering the need surely there could be a place for a course, some formalised training? Runciman is a peer, so her understanding is personal, but she’s also a trained psychologist. I don’t know if that’s necessary but a set of guidelines might be necessary to make sure there isn’t chaos in the therapist as well as the therapee.

  • I agree Alex, and if that lack of connection or misunderstanding begins before language when emotion is perceived but not in any context, then denied, how easy it must be for the infant or tiny child so see the world as chaotic and unsafe, all of which can resurface under enough, or the ‘right’ kind of stress, that others or even the individual, may not recognise as enough to drive one mad. Hence everybody’s confusion and the need for people without imagination such as most psychiatrists to claim hardware causes. Most people like neat solutions so that the uproar that psychosis can cause is very readily made acceptable to families by doing this. ‘He was such a happy baby and we loved him so much, so how could we have caused this’, the cry of truly distressed families, but we have to remember it was what HIS experience was, what HE took from what the environment as a WHOLE as well as what a parent might think they gave and meant, that is the relevant issue. Most parents mean well, none are perfect, all babies are different, most of us muddle through, some fall over and those of us who have remained intact must say, ‘ there but for the grace of God, go I’ and reach out with understanding and respect for our fellow survivor.