Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Comments by deeeo42

Showing 379 of 379 comments.

  • 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.

  • I am a child raised under an official government funded infant management system that insisted on the mother being detached from the child from birth, the `Truby King’ method.
    My mother was an anxious first time mother, (the youngest by a long way in her family so she never saw babies being raised) and eager to do the right thing. She embraced the `wisdom’ of the time without question. The baby was to sleep in a different room, only picked up for feeding every four hours regardless of its crying, sometimes for hours. It was fed and put back to bed, playing with the infant was restricted to 10 minutes per day. Failure to adhere to this regime was heavily discouraged by the infant welfare nurses, making the mothers feel guilty if they transgressed as they would be “turning their babies into self indulgent, weak people”. This, of course amounted to a failure to attach for both and serious emotional deprivation for thousands of children over a 50 year period. I did not become psychotic because there were not enough other adverse experiences in my childhood to tip the balance. But there were enough to badly effect my ability to make trusting, meaningful relationships for my entire life.
    Without understanding why, (at that time), as a parent I made absolutely sure I was a hands on, touchy, feely Mum. Did I get it right? My kids have their issues, so not all the time. Do I feel guilty? Yes, sometimes. Does it consume me? No.
    Parents often don’t get it right. When their child disintegrates into psychosis/extreme states/emotiona/spiritual crises, whatever you want to call it, there has to be a reckoning, at least inside a parent’s heart. BUT most don’t do the wrong thing on purpose, my mother didn’t, she was trying very hard to do the RIGHT thing. She didn’t know how much harm she did to our relationship, but it was done, and it was hard for her, too.
    Having talked to many people in these crises, the worst thing that can happen is for people to deny their reality. I knew a girl who heard voices telling her to kill her mother because her mother wanted to kill her. In many talks with her worried, very caring mother, it emerged that she had protected her daughter from every adverse event in her life, that she had done so much for her child that it was so hard to see her “like this”, but she would be prepared to care for her for the rest of her life, just the same.
    I doubt I need to interpret this too much. The girl was swamped, controlled by a mother who considered any independence a threat, plied her child with guilt, and the “extreme state” was a desperate plea to be allowed to grow up. It didn’t end well for the girl.
    My point is that we all, as parents come with our own baggage and a psychotic child is just one expression of a chance to fix things, not to deny it. Open Dialogue does this, NAMI and psychiatry don’t. Maybe courage is one of the most important factors in the quest for inner peace?

  • CBT is vastly overrated. But it is the one of the few, if not the only, kind of psychotherapy that most psychiatrists have ever heard of – anything else they consider useless w**king. This may be because they tend to be fairly `straight up and down’ people and CBT has nice ordered things like pages to be filled out, and standardised protocols. Most don’t know how to use it properly and/or when to abandon or alter it to fit the person they’re actually talking to. They aren’t interested in the messy, `people are all different’ approach found in some other methods – like Schema and Formulation. Also, since the major factor is the relationship between the person and the therapist, it’s not easy to establish this in 10 minute bites.

  • Similar experience – admitted for an overdose – suicidal impulse overcome by me but told I would be admitted to the psych ward voluntarily or not – ok, I said. An hour later nurse came and said there were no beds as there’d been a fire, and gave me a taxi voucher. LOL!

  • I refuse to go to any hospital where I have been admitted as a psychiatric patient, even in an emergency. One time I collapsed with an unknown condition and was taken to hospital by my sister who was amazed at how rude and dismissive the staff were. I realised that I had been there before, as a psych patient. I avoid doctors as much as I can now.

  • Actually Hamilton, of the HRSD doesn’t consider his own scale to be much good. Of course he keeps the royalties. I thought there wasn’t much reliable evidence anyway – particularly if we’re talking about actual observable clinical changes such as returning to work, improved family/personal relations etc. And, in the end isn’t everything subjective? If someone says I don’t feel better, it doesn’t matter what the test says, or an observer sees. I’ve seen a person told by staff they they are much better, and the person says but I’m not, but the record shows that they’re much better. How can any of it be reliable if there is so much reporting bias?

  • They know, whether they say it or not, whether they warn or not, PSYCHIATRISTS KNOW! Back in 1973 we virtually stopped giving the major tranquillisers, (because that’s what they are, they DO NOT affect psychosis, they just shut people down), because the senior psychiatrist in the unit I worked in had a horror of giving tardive dyskinesia to anyone. We therefore had to actually TALK to our patients and their families and sort out what the problems were that way. We also never prescribed benzos because they were too addictive. I only recall one person getting valium, for alcohol withdrawal, to prevent the DTs. We never used shackles either, in fact I never even saw any in a storeroom, much less on a bed or patient. What has happened? All these new drugs/treatments and we’re back to ancient times, using drugs and chains (sorry, they’re Velcro now) to tie loonies to the wall/bed. Psychiatry is the only part of medicine to go back to the middle ages or can we expect to see the return of leeches, bleeding, purging and mercury across the rest of medicine. Maybe the drug companies can come up with some scientific names for those procedures, too. Of course we’ve kept Electroshock and lobotomy’s making a comeback, under the radar as cingulotomy & capsulotomy (to the horror of neurologists when they find out). As Peter Breggin says, the days of the brain disabling theories of treatment for mental `illness’ haven’t gone, they’re just not spoken of. If we look at history, the `moral treatments’ of the Quakers 180+ years ago where the `insane’ were offered a clean comfortable place to stay while they got their act together, and produced a 50% discharge rate, the others stayed on, working to run the place, and they kept the DOCTORS out because they knew the DOCTORS would harm their residents. Sadly the gentle Quakers were no match for the aggression and market savvy of those DOCTORS and the `insane’ have been harmed ever since, with no end in sight.

  • Apparently it’s in the ocean as well and having an effect on fish. In the affected areas the fish are more isolated, and more aggressive than those in less affected areas. What are we doing with this stuff? We’ve got increased suicide – homicide – aggression – depression – manic reactions – psychosis – sexual dysfunction – birth defects – heart problems – what more do we need to have these drugs banned?

  • You’re right of course, no one has found a biological markers for any `mental illness’ despite millions of dollars being spent on the search for at least 50 years. This despite the fact that genetic research is now so advanced that even a gene for predicting lung cancer if the person smokes, has been identified. Despite the fact that even where genes are identified as having direct links like Huntington’d disease and Cystic fibrosis, nothing can actually be done. So I query whether finding the `science’ is of any real benefit anyway. Perhaps some of those millions might be better spent in alleviating the poverty and socila deprivation whnce much mental `illness’ arises. As I’ve said I respect your beliefs, and recognise that you’re suffering, but insulting those who disagree does your position no credit. If you find it “insulting and dismissive” when people disagree with you, and extend that to suggest this as “the exact reason so many of us choose to end our lives” you are implying that those who disagree are pushing you and some unnamed others to suicide, I think you go too far. That is a bullying tactic, and as a fellow sufferer, is beneath you.

  • I know someone who had to go to a psychiatrist for a year to get her ridiculous;aous diagnosis removed but it worked. My problem is a) affording it, b) overcoming my stress at being in the same room as one, and c) fear of being unable to restrain myself in the face of their stupidity and venalit,y and getting a fresh diagnosis to go on with.

  • Love it – but sadly some are so stupid that even crying out the you’re seeing big white rabbits and a little girl in a blue dress running around the walls will get you seclusion and an injection.

  • Luke, diagnosis is a curious thing in psychiatry isn’t it? Since the DSM has little, some might say NO validity, as it’s categories are a matter of opinion and consensus, a show of hands by members of a committee, the arrival of a diagnosis may well be a matter of chance. That so many professionals came to the same conclusion over a protracted period in one case may also be chance. Sure there are things that cluster in certain behaviour groups, in bipolar for instance, an increase in `goal directed behaviour’, followed by periods of `low mood’ when the person has little interest in life. However, there can be many ways a professional may try to establish that this is a pathological state. First, there is a desire to find a DIAGNOSIS and this can lead to loaded questions, often with yes/no answers, for instance, `have you ever felt life was not worth living?, Yes or No.’ Many people may have had a thought like that and it was fleeting and inconsequential but honesty impels them to answer `yes’, with no room for qualification. This is then added to a list. I’m sure you are right that you withheld information but as a former psychiatric professional we were trained to look beyond the words, seeking pathology to support one or other diagnosis. One sees the same phenomenon with people visiting clairvoyents. The lay person is no match for the professional.
    But I wasn’t just a fairly skilled interviewer, I too, was diagnosed with bipolar, after a sudden suicidal crash, like you, a week or so after taking Prozac, immediately followed by ECT. I don’t remember much of the interview after 14 ECT treatments, but I suspect the vague euphoria from the Traumatic Brain Injury that was ECT, the `history’ of the suicidal collapse, a couple of suicides in my grandfather’s family and my own behaviour as an artist and writer, all contributed to a diagnosis from a psychiatrist who always diagnosed bipolar. What happens is that every incident in one’s life can be pathologised in psychiatry. For instance, as an artist and writer, I had on occasion worked long into the night pursuing an idea. This was rare but with questions designed to find symptoms of `mania’ it came up as positive. It is in fact a very normal occurrence with creative people and in my case was quite mild. A depressive episode 30 years earlier due to severe workplace bullying was a `sign’ of long term `instability’, though that too, could be seen as a normal response.
    My point is that because psychiatrists have little training in `normal’ behaviour and a lot in abnormal behaviour, they see `illness’ where there is nothing but a person in some emotional difficulty for whatever reason. Today’s psychiatrists and many counsellors, actually believe in the biological/genetic paradigm and their view is biased towards it such that they cannot see anything else. THAT is the problem. I’m not saying you DON’T have bipolar, or that you have to pull yourself together, or that you don’t suffer, just that maybe, if you have a bipolar 2 diagnosis, which was made up by the APA, you might need to be very critical of the criteria and why you have been given it.
    As for child abuse, this does not just include sexual and overt emotional abuse, beatings, bullying, starvation and neglect. There are many subtle sources of stress in childhood. Things like the threat of divorce, moving house a lot, having to start again at different schools, temporary loss of a parent, especially of the mother particularly if she is ill and the child thinks she might die, very early emotional deprivation for any reason, anything in fact that makes a child feel unsafe. Even though parents may love their children, nobody gets everything right, and for some, given enough of these things, the balance can be tipped. I personally believe that almost all `mental illness’ is a) not `illness; b) is caused by childhood and environmental conflicts, and c) should not be treated by medical practitioners AT ALL. If there is a physiological problem that manifests with behavioural problems that IS a physical illness, it should be treated by the appropriate specialty, e.g. thyroid issues see an endocrinologist, temporal lobe epilepsy see a neurologist etc.

  • “They claim the success of the course is that on average 60 -70% of people who participate in the course, take themselves to the doctor after realising they have anxiety or depression. Yet before the course they were working full time, raising a family, socialising with friends, etc., etc., without issues!!” You know why doctors traditionally didn’t want to give people a list of the adverse effects of the medicines they were giving them? Because if they knew about them too many would complain that they HAD them! It’s a variation of the placebo effect. Then there are those who used to be called hypochondriacs, isn’t that a disorder now with a new `scientific’ name. Since the drug companies fund these disease fests, they have probably used some very expensive psychologists to devise a system that encourages people to believe they `have’ something. It disgusts and demoralises me that so many people fall into the trap, then I remember that I did too.

  • Nursing homes are run for profit. Staff cost money. Shareholders want dividends. The government subsidises the drugs, so nice quiet residents = fewer staff = little interaction required = nice profit. Who cares about quality of life – after all Hitler would have gassed them as useless lives. This is the same thing, early deaths from strokes, cardiac events and falls = bigger turnover, there’s plenty more where they came from. Of course a little more money spent on activities staff might mean active, hornery residents might be amused and busy instead of bored and confrontational; an iPod each with the resident’s favourite music recorded on it might cause less agitation and reduce need for drugs OR staff involvement, but HEY, that’s not what the business is all about. It’s about MONEY!

  • I believe there are thousands of such reactions that have never been recognised and/or reported. I was given Prozac for stress in 2000. Within two weeks of taking it I had an overnight acute suicidal reaction that had me confined to locked unit in a private hospital the following morning, and two days later was given the first of 30 ECT treatments in 16 weeks. I was diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder, previously never seen, treated with a heavy drug regime and ended up with a stress disorder from being coerced, bullied and threatened in consenting to a further 36 ECT treatments in 20 months. I WAS 57 YEARS OLD! Ten years later I again was given an SSRI (Lexapro). This time I was mildly depressed but was hospitalised as the doctor was fearful of a manic reaction, so it was recorded in my file that after 2 weeks I had a severe mood slump with suicidal thinking. Again I received ECT. I was now 67 YEARS OLD! Obviously NOT a child, adolescent or young adult. Neither reaction was EVER recorded as an adverse reaction to the DRUGS. How many others have to DIE because the information is not recognised or recognised but suppressed? I’m lucky to have survived suicidal reactions to other drugs too, including Lithium, Quetiapine, and Ability, especially Lithium.
    PS I’ve been drug, bipolar, psychiatry and suicidal thinking free since 2013.

  • Madcat, You’re very wise to keep away from the biopsychiatrist because, if it’s who I think it is, you would almost certainly have been referred to ECT, which could have meant goodbye to your `high level of concentration and dexterity’. Unfortunately this man and his colleagues are virtually unassailable legally or morally and the trail of destroyed lives they have left behind them is long and wide. They have set up a new group called ENSIG (The Electroconvulsive Therapy and Neurostimulation Special Interest Group (ENSIG) [which] is an RANZCP group that promotes the highest standards in clinical practice, training and research pertaining to electroconvulsive therapy and neurostimulation.
) This in spite of the fact that well over 60% of their colleagues NEVER prescribe ECT. They are the butchers of Australia.

  • Oldhead, Check out Ken Robinson’s, (educator and speaker par excellent,) evaluation of the western education system! `If you expect children to sit down for hours doing low grade clerical work, you can hardly be surprised if they get fidgety.’ Our education system is designed by government departments to train children for employment that means their taxes will pay the wages of the government officials that design the education..
    A camel is a horse designed by a (apologies) government department.
    80% of Americans (see Western cultures generally) hate their jobs…Most people endure their lives…industry wants creativity and people quick to adapt to change but the education system produces conformity…society needs outspoken innovators and leaders but we call children with these qualities, `oppositional’, `disruptive’, `brain disordered’ and set out to crush them. I think if we don’t value these attributes we cannot be surprised when those who do supercede us. I also suggest that the world leaders of today, who are the major corporations including big pharma, were nearly all kids like that but without meds or morals.
    We ignore history at our peril, short sighted grasping for money, bad memories and lack of historical perspective, as well as the suppression of outrage, WILL bring us down. I won’t be here to see it, but within 50 years I believe it will all be over and chaos will rule until the next tyrant, promising order, takes over.

  • Is this website acceptable only if you agree? Or is it a forum for discussion? I don’t know if the French are better parents than others, I don’t know whether ADHD is or isn’t CAUSED by poor parenting, trauma in the family or in society in general but I do question a society where partnerships formed to do that parenting are discarded in over 50% of cases, where people run from taking responsibility for their own well-being to grab at spurious pseudoscience marketing, where schoolteachers recommend drugs to keep bored, restless children quiet instead of examining the education process itself. I am concerned that my grandchildren need a parent to go to bed with them so they will sleep, that they dictate their menu at mealtimes, that any correction of bad behaviour constitutes oppression. I worry that little children are offered choices they are not competent to make, leaving them anxious and afraid because they don’t feel safe. And I hear these worries from other grandparents all the time. My children, as I did before them, went to bed and went to sleep, ate what was put in front of them, and had boundaries within which they could make choices but nonetheless the major decisions were made by the grownups to keep the kids safe.
    As for trauma, it doesn’t have to even be seen by others but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there and destructive. As a child, my parents threatened to divorce over the entire period of my late childhood and adolescence. For that entire period I was afraid, I was NOT SAFE. I agonised about how I would choose which parent, would they both hate me, would I stay near my friends etc etc. And my parents weren’t abusive or violent and didn’t actually do it. Most didn’t then, they had a responsibility and they lived with it, worked it through and lived happily enough together for the rest of their long lives. 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. In fact 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 activity, in a huge class (normal then) of 50 children and I was bored.
    I believe we, as parents DON’T always get it right, we DO, despite meaning well, sometimes harm our kids, teachers DO too often opt for the easy way, education systems DON’T take enough care of what kids really need, but service the status quo because it’s easy – and we MUST take responsibility for it. Denial won’t do! There is no shame in getting something wrong, there is enormous shame in continuing be wrong when we know, and there is enormous shame in acting like an ostrich and allowing harm to continue, to protect our self esteem over the welfare of the next generation.
    That our society uses drugs instead of discipline for a condition that was manufactured by a group of people who agreed on a market for selling dangerous drugs is to me an indication of the disintegration of that society.

  • You’re absolutely right & Lord Acton’s old saw remains – “All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, hence tyranny, “which is usually thought of as cruel and oppressive, and it often is, but the original definition of the term was rule by persons who lack legitimacy, whether they be malign or benevolent. Historically, benign tyrannies have tended to be insecure, and to try to maintain their power by becoming increasingly oppressive.”
    From Sorokin and Lunden:
    1.” When the morality and mentality of rulers and the ruled are measured by the same moral and mental yardstick then the rulers’ morality and minds appear to be marked by a much stronger dualism –
    2.The ruling ,groups contain a larger proportion of the extreme mental types of the gifted and the mentally sick than the rank and file of the ruled population
    3. The moral behaviour of ruling groups tends to be more criminal and sub-moral than that of the ruled strata of the same society.
    4. The greater, more absolute, and coercive the power of rulers, political leaders, and big executives of business, labour and other organizations, and the less freely this power is approved by the ruled population, the more corrupt and criminal such ruling groups and executives tend to be.
    5. With a progressive limitation of their power, criminality of rulers and executives tends to decrease qualitatively (by becoming less grave and murderous) and quantitatively (by decreasing the rate of criminal actions)
    There is no doubt that the occupational functions of rulers contain several morally ennobling activities such as: the protection of life, security, freedom and other rights of the citizens;…As a rule, this moral excellence is confined within a limited portion of rulers’ mentality and behaviour, beyond which they may remain immoral, even criminal… activities of rulers deaden their moral sensitivity, and harden their souls and hearts towards the lives and values of human beings…. eliminating possible competitors; suppressing disorders, riots and revolts; punishing the violators of law; sacrificing many an “expendable” human life… activities are sometimes performed for the protection and expansion of selfish interests…organized spying, skilful lies, hypocritical assurances, false promises, threats and bribes, semi-rational persuasions, limited coercion, cloak and dagger actions, cynical machinations, and other morally doubtful procedures.
    power generates in them (and in others, too), a belief that they are the chosen and anointed who are far above the ruled population and its common-herd moral and legal precepts of right and wrong, good and evil…In brief, they see themselves as essentially free from the limitations of unpleasant legal obligations and moral imperatives. Such a freedom amounts to a moral and legal nihilism.”
    BUT – from Dr Mohammad Omar Farooq:
    Whether it is the world’s court of justice or not, history does record rather consistently that tyranny and abusive powers don’t last. It is just as true for individual tyrants as it is for tyrannical regimes.
     Empirically speaking, all the empires of the past that were based on tyranny or the abuse of power, subverting the common bond of humanity, have fallen from their heights – sometimes to their nadir or became extinct.”
    BUT , in avoiding tyranny people must never acquiesce…Failure to take corrective action early will only mean that more severe measures will have to be taken later, perhaps with the loss of life and the disruption of the society in ways from which recovery may take centuries.”
    Have we let psychiatry go too far for too long? Is there so much money and power that it will take `centuries’ to bring it down? The attack on our children is getting more and more evident – is this incidental or…?
    I’m glad I’m old because the thought of the world in 50 years terrifies me. The Brave New World is already happening.

  • I found it very interesting that `Jim’ preferred the enormous risks of this extreme procedure rather than try ECT again. “I didn’t want to go through that again – the memory loss and cognitive issues were too high of a price. I had 26 ECT treatments and the result was significant memory loss; I don’t remember my wedding.”
    This in spite of the insistence of many psychiatrists in the current and ongoing PR campaign that ECT is benign and the `Gold Standard’, optimal treatment for `treatment resistant depression which includes applying to the FDA to grant a reduction of its `danger’ status in 2016. and THIS treatment adversely affects over 100,000 people a year in the US alone, many against their will.
    Another point, as a retired mental health professional I worked with people with very severe depression for many years – I never met ONE who did NOT have some reason in their lives to suffer from it. There is plenty of evidence that the experience of trauma, and abuse of ALL kinds alters brain function so it is currently impossible to claim that the changes where there are any that can be seen in the brains of depressed (or any mental `illness’) are the CAUSES of anything at all. But we certainly know that interference by substance or assault with radiation, knives, electrodes, electrical currents, WILL cause serious and permanent `changes’ to brain structure and therefore FUNCTION. Given the current miniscule understanding of how the brain actually works perhaps we really are better off talking people through their pain, those changes are probably reversible.

  • Whist I don’t want to trivialise your loved one’s experience, I have to point out that the return of her depression a week after the VNS was de-activated and its disappearance shortly after re-activation does not mean that her response was not a placebo response. Placebo involves hope, expectation and belief. People can climb mountains without oxygen if they believe they have it – a medical condition can clear up and stay better even after the person KNOWS their pills are only placebo. (In one case the illness returned only after the sugar pills were used up long after she knew that’s what they were). if a person believes that their condition will return if they don’t have the treatment, in a placebo response, it will, and when the treatment is resumed, it will go away again – that IS a placebo response. But does it really matter, in your spouse’s case, since the device is already present, so long as she has relief. My problem is that for others an invasive potentially very damaging procedure might be avoided if it is known that the major effect is that of placebo.

  • “Participants seemed quite shaken at hearing this patient had actually passed away, because the ‘real life’ doctors had made the same mistakes as they did,” writes van Geene Nonetheless, participants continued to misdiagnose their patients in the experiment.
    What do you have to do? Is it arrogance, that they believe they are immune from making mistakes? That being `doctors’ confers some kind if `infallibility cloak’ and/or that their patients aren’t as important because they don’t know as much about the human body? Is it that they know they will be protected by the courts and their colleagues even in quite extreme cases? Have we endowed the medical profession with `miraculous’ status? I don’t know as much about my car as my mechanic does either, but I don’t accept that he can get away with `killing’ my car. As far as I’m concerned medical doctors (`doctor’ being a courtesy title in this case), are no more or less than a car mechanic, they are our servants, NOT our masters.

  • Dr Opton, those who died after venipuncture not only can’t complain but clearly died from the illness not the treatment, which is why it continued for so long. I’m sure that it was the colic that killed the babies who died after receiving opium as a treatment for it, and how sad it was about all those deadly illnesses that people succumbed to even when treated with mercury.

  • Forgive me Dr Hassman, I’m confused. Are you saying that the safety of citalopram was an issue to the degree that there was a dose limit applied to it, and that the reduction in dose for SAFETY reasons resulted in people becoming more seriously ill, to the point of being hospitalised? And are you implying that this was a bad thing to do? That to reduce a drug dose because it, I assume. caused unreasonable harm, did itself cause harm? My confusion is that if the drug at high levels causes harm, and at lower levels also causes harm, why do we use it at all?

  • THAT’S likely to amend her opinion of psychiatrists, and/or to offer her `therapy’ for the `illness’ that prompted her behavour, isn’t it? If a head-injured football player lashes out as a consequence of his concussion (quite common), is he shackled and confined this way? Does a person with a high fever who curses and throws things at hospital staff cop this? Of course not.
    Here in Melbourne Australia in 2015-16 a man’s father instigated an action against the illegal use of electroshock on his son, and the consequences to the son for the next 9 months were, 4 point shackles to a bed on a daily basis, 100 consecutive ECT treatments (3 per week), sanctioned and ordered by the government tribunal and 2 hospital systems, court removal of the father’s custody, total isolation from all but 2 relatives who were never spoken to by staff. This man had never committed any crime but, when goaded, had yelled at staff. He was, at another time, shackled to a bed for 60 days, emerging subdued but unable to walk. (He was in his 30s at the time.) At another time he was confined to a solitary cell with a tray of cat litter for a toilet. He was eventually kidnapped by his friends and family and removed to a state far away where an ETHICAL psychiatrist took his case. Had this not happened I believe he would be dead.
    What is happening in our `civilised’ society, that such appalling abuse can happen? What sort of people devise and sanction this? Is mental `health’ run by psychopaths? Was Dostoyevsky right? `When a man has unlimited power over the flesh and blood of his fellow men, when a man is in a position to degrade another human being to the limit of degradation, he is unable to resist the temptation to do wrong. Tyranny is a habit. In the end it becomes a disease. The best man in the world becomes so brutalized as to be indistinguishable from a wild beast’.
    That these two eminent self-appointed scientists can see elephant in the room and still say, `I don’t believe it’ confirms my believe that human suffering is the last thing that concerns psychiatry.

  • Dear me, Ron’s done it again. Set himself up for another demolishing.
    “There is no such documented “withdrawal” syndrome associated with discontinuation of antipsychotic medications—even sudden discontinuation–except for generally mild and transient cholinergic rebound symptoms, such as hypersalivation, cramps, or diarrhea.” So much for “many years of experience in treating patients suffering with schizophrenia, our views on antipsychotic medication are shaped not only by our understanding of the scientific literature, but also by our personal care of many hundreds of patients, over several decades.” As I said, they ain’t looking or listening.

  • Dostoyevsky:
    `When a man has unlimited power over the flesh and blood of his fellow men, when a man is in a position to degrade another human being to the limit of degradation, he is unable to resist the temptation to do wrong. Tyranny is a habit. In the end it becomes a disease. The best man in the world becomes so brutalized as to be undistinguishable from a wild beast’

  • Back in June Ron wrote this piece -How Antipsychotic Medication May Save Lives
    June 01, 2016 | Couch in Crisis, Major Depressive Disorder, Psychopharmacology, Schizophrenia
    By Ronald W. Pies, MD
    One way anti-psychiatry groups trivialize psychosis and marginalize psychiatry is by emphasizing the adverse effects of antipsychotic medications while denying or minimizing their benefits.1 To be sure, the well-recognized metabolic, neurological, and cardiovascular risks associated with many antipsychotic medications must be taken very seriously. Moreover, antipsychotics (APs) are often used when they are not needed; eg, for the treatment of anxiety disorders2; for “agitation” in nursing home patients; and for “acting out” in adolescent populations. (I spent many years as a psychopharmacology consultant trying to get doctors to reduce their over-reliance on antipsychotics.) On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that in patients with chronic schizophrenia, APs play a crucial role in maintaining remission, averting relapse, improving quality of life, and—importantly—reducing overall mortality.3-5
    But even many psychiatrists may not realize that APs reduce the risk of suicide in patients with schizophrenia.To back up a bit: an estimated 20% to 40% of those with schizophrenia attempt6—and 5% complete—suicide7—a risk at least 10 times that of the general public. Suicides are concentrated early in the illness course and are associated with a number of risk factors.
    (Here he doesn’t mention being told your future is over, it’s drugs for now and always, with all that implies.)
    The only consistent protective factor for suicide was delivery of and adherence to effective treatment.”8 [italics added].
    (As usual he hedges his bets with claims of magnanimity then immediately finds reasons to qualify that with the REAL message.)
    My response appeared VERY briefly then disappeared leaving the usual gushing praise from his loving disciples. Dissent on David Healy’s blog receives similar treatment. Both seem to love their name in lights.
    Here it is now:
    “You open with a rather defensive comment about anti-psychiatry. This is really a attempt to demonise your critics and is beneath any honest scientist whose aim should be to welcome criticism as a means of doing better.
    Antipsychiatrists? Or observant scientists?
    Medication Madness – Peter Breggin 2008
    Anatomy of an Epidemic – Robert Whitaker 2011
    Pharmageddon – Healy 2012
    Depression Delusion Volume One- The myth of Brain Chemical Imbalance – Terry Lynch 2015
    The Myth of the Chemical Cure – Joanna Moncrieff 2008
    The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Anti-psychotic drugs – Joanna Moncrieff 2013

    The people I’m quoting below, Antipsychiatrists? Possibly, now, after they asked for help from psychiatry, – you’ll never get all the truth from the surveys, the studies, the `literature’ because none of those include the voices of the people most affected.
    If anti psychiatry exists as an `evil conspiracy setting out to down psychiatry’, one must ask why? Is there an anti-oncologist movement? They fail many people and the treatments can be diabolical. Is there an anti dermatologist movement? They also fail to help many. Is there an “anti” any other part of the medical profession? Many practitioners are hauled up for corruption, incompetence, and sometimes criminal behaviour, but there is NO “anti”.
    Of course none of them can force treatment on their patients so that might be a factor, and most have a fairly firm basis in science as a fall back position which, of course, psychiatry doesn’t.

    So let’s look at some of these “anti-psychiatrists”. Perhaps, in hearing their real live voices, you might understand why the dissatification and thereby be able to negotiate some kind of dialogue instead of dismissing dissent, which every authority does at its peril. These things are NEVER one sided.
    Some voices:
    “They were neuroprotective because they protected you from thought, at the minor cost of getting you addicted and giving you dyskinesia.”

    “Any review of the medical literature will be incomplete because it misses those people who stop their meds against advice, and then vow to stay the hell away from psychiatrists for the rest of their born days. Dr Frances paints a scary picture of these poor unfortunates  “shamefully neglected in prison dungeons or living on the street”, but is that really true? My own hunch is that most of them successfully make their way in life, seamlessly blending in with the rest of us.”

    “Six years ago, against medical advice, I weaned myself off of my medications. My ” time in dungeons and on the streets” occurred while I was on medication. Since going off of my medication, I have been able to go back to school, work full time, and become a productive member of society. I am one of those who will never see a psychiatrist again.”

    “I call it a robbery only because anti psychotics, dopamine blockers, neuroleptics what every you want to call them rob the ability to feel any pleasure from things in life. It just blunts it out.”

    “I was given anti-psychotics for anxiety when I was 17 years old. I am now 43 and still can’t get off them. Every time I try I become severely psychotic. Then I end up hospitalized and the doctors force me to get back on them. They see the withdrawal as proof that I need them. I was never psychotic in my life until I had been on them for a few years and tried to stop them. I was never mentally ill until I took them. I was just a troubled teenager who needed someone to talk to. I never should have been prescribed anti psychotics.”

    “Prior to going on medication, I was miserable, but at least I could hold down a job, socialize and sustain housing.  Once I went on drugs, I felt so awful that maintaining a “normal” lifestyle was impossible.  The three times I attempted suicide were when I was under the influence of psychotropics.  Is that psychiatry’s idea of a “better” outcome?”

    27 year old – “I’ve had over 90 different prescriptions go through my young, still-developing brain… the doctors decided my “schizophrenia” was so medication-resistant, that they opted for a tri-weekly injection of the 1st gen major antipsychotic perphenizine. This took only 2 months to give me an Addison’s crisis…I was so ill, my scans and blood tests were off the charts, many 5x the normal levels…my entire endocrine system was shutting down. I had developed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My scans showed changes in my pituitary gland…I had to take hormone replacement medication for the rest of my life.”

    “Torture, inquisition, Nazi camps, slavery are consistent themes across decades of service user reviews. If by some miracle (political ties, monopoly power), [an industry with such reviews] managed to persist, everybody – consumers, parents, public interest groups – would be clammering [sic] for consumer protection legislation.”

    Of course…calling questions and criticisms “anti-psychiatry” may be somewhat effective now, but…my best guess is that the stigma attached to “anti-psychiatry” has lessened, and is lessening, which means that the psychiatrists will eventually have to deal with people and groups who question their practices, tools, beliefs, etc.
    Antipsychiatry? Yes. Evil, vindictive and unjustified? I don’t think so.”
    Dr Pies sees the writing on the wall and is well aware that people like Robert Whitaker, Phil Hickey and increasingly the public, have his measure so is trying to play both sides why he loses the plot so often? Or is it that Psychiatry has spent so long using PR to bolster its IMAGE instead of critically examining its BASE, that he just doesn’t know what to do?

  • Psychiatric Times have deleted a couple of my comments too, both involving Pies. Others have also disagreed, very respectfully, and some are permitted to stand, but they are usually academics or one of the very few `dissident’ psychiatrists. One that was deleted involved mentioning the money being made by ECT. This has happened on every site advertising the virtues of ECT – they tolerate dissatisfaction with the procedure but the minute you mention that perhaps there is a major financial benefit and a possible conflict of interest you get shut down. That obviously hits a nerve.
    As I mentioned above Pies is nothing if not inconsistent.

  • In another legal case. Tarasoff vs. Regents of the University of California, the CA Supreme Court held that if a therapist’s client made specific and believable threats to kill a particular person, the therapist had a duty to warn the potential victim. During the litigation, the American Psychiatric Association filed an amicus brief, saying in no uncertain terms that psychiatrists had absolutely no ability to predict dangerousness and should never be held liable for anything like the Tarasoff situation.”) A nice little legal disclaimer.
    Ted Chabasinski put this up in 2013 – I don’t know if it was in an MIA article, it may have been and would be in the archives

  • Another example of Pies’ muddy thinking where he touts, and produces, `scientific evidence’ to support his case then, in almost the same paragraph tells us that it is experience and observation that is the key. He so often tries to play all hands at once but seems incapable of seeing it.
    Re LOBOTOMY “- psychosurgery is back with a new name—neurosurgery for mental disorders—and with renewed confidence in its benefits.” (now Cingulotomy and capsulotomy or even more respectable, “small lesions”)
    Two technologies are now available that produce small lesions in the brain:
    1. Stereotactic microablation (late 1960s)
    2. The gamma knife (no burr holes necessary) irradiates small intracranial targets (brain tissue) with gamma ray photons. Instead of burning or freezing brain particles, gamma radiation deranges molecules in the target cells so that they can no longer survive.
    !!!! This, plus the ongoing and increasing PR campaign to change the image of ECT might be a worrying consequence of discrediting the drugs. They’ve got to have SOME miracles, it seems.

  • This is the path we need to follow but I fear it isn’t available for most people. The cost, the availability, the quality of private therapists is beyond the reach of many, particularly those whose difficulties came about as a result of poverty and disadvantage. The entire system mitigates against those with severe states.

  • Ron Pies doesn’t indulge in clear thinking. Have a look at some of his attacks on Phil Hickey as well, when Phil took him apart for his famous 2012 claim that `the chemical imbalance’ was an `urban myth’ that nobody important had ever really supported. Of course Phil and many others demolished that, but the most telling thing was that he set himself up AGAIN and was demolished again. This is a thought leader of psychiatry?

  • .`..he claimed a superior ability to judge the effects of psychiatric medication because of his work with patients. So apparently anecdotal evidence is important, but only if it doesn’t contradict Dr. Pies. SPOT ON!
    Another problem is that psychiatrists will DIAGNOSE the `schizophrenia’ etc but since they spend no more 10 minutes at a time with most of their patients, it could be said that that SEE them but they don’t actually KNOW them at all. I wonder how many times Dr Pies has sat with a patient over a period of hours per day for several weeks? I have, and they were some of the most wonderful, insightful and courageous, `severely impaired,’ `profound[ly] suffering’, `the ravages of schizophrenia’, people I have ever known. `Critics of psychiatry who have never spent time with patients and families coping with the simply do not grasp the human tragedy of this illness.—in which antipsychotic medication usually plays an important role’ in maintaining a dreadful QOL. I suggest most psychiatrists belong more to those who never spent time with these suffering people partly because they write them of as incurable, chronic uninteresting detritus to be drugged to a standstill and not bother anyone, particuar
    ly them.

  • Sadly Dr Pies, a leader in `thought’ in the profession, appears to have a talent for self delusion and an untidy mind. I read many of his articles in the Psychiatric Times and often comment. In a similar earlier support for Antipsychotics piece, Dr Pies claimed (Feb 2016) `Recently, the blogosphere has been buzzing with controversy regarding the use of maintenance antipsychotic treatment.’ and goes on to say, `I would argue that interpreting these complex studies requires an in-depth understanding of medical research design, psychopharmacology, and the numerous confounds that can affect treatment outcome. Unfortunately, A LACK OF MEDICAL TRAINING has not stopped a few critics from confidently charging that psychiatrists are harming their patients by prescribing long-term AP treatment.’
    My response was, `Surely you’re not suggesting, Dr Pies, that people without medical training do not have an understanding of research design, psychopharmacology and confounds. Research design is a major part and dare I say, proportionately greater percentage of many disciplines other than traditional medicine… there is a large group of highly scientifically trained researchers who might be surprised to be told that their observations are inadequate because they have not qualified as medical doctors. I’m not sure but appears to be a tiny whiff of a suggestion that there is a conspiracy by these inadequate critics to undermine psychiatry?” Of course he ignores that there is araft of work coming from doctors and psychiatrists that expose all the neuroleptics.
    His writing is littered with contradictions, unfounded assertions and poor research and he sets himself up to be knocked off all the time, BUT he is highly influential in that he has The Psychiatric Times as a personal forum and it is very popular among his colleagues, many of whom appear to have similar problems with criticism and clear thinking.
    It is essential that this man and other muddy thinking psychiatric leaders with their shoddy/fraudulent “research” be exposed for the pseudoscience it is, continuously, without respite, by everyone, including `renegade’ journalists. Thank you Robert!

  • Perhaps we could remind the good senators that “The American Psychiatric Association {said] in no uncertain terms that psychiatrists had absolutely no ability to predict dangerousness .
    The Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK has also denied responsibility in predicting dangerousness.
    In 1983, Alex Pokorny conducted a large study of the prediction of suicide of 4,800 individuals who were being admitted for psychiatric services in a United States hospital. He was unable to find any combination of clinical or other factors that could be used in practice, concluding that there were no methods to predict particular suicides “before the fact”…
    It is also difficult to predict who will be at risk of harming others because of the low rate of violence among those with severe mental health problems, compared with other groups. MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment research suggested that a diagnosis of severe mental illness, in particular a diagnosis of schizophrenia, was associated with a lower rate of violence…
    So on what grounds does the Murphy Bill base its claim that Compulsory Treatment in the community is required to keep the public and the `mentally ill’, safe?
    Does the Bill plan to extend compulsory supervision of ALL past patients under what sounds awfully like PAROLE for extended periods or permanently because there MIGHT be an incident? Even a convicted felon has a finite term of supervision and in Australia, e.g. while there is a desire to keep pedophiles locked up/down forever because they MIGHT re-offend, there is a significant Human Rights legal challenge to this and it won’t happen. But our Mental Health system (Australia) which already has a Murphy type Bill in place, can keep ex-patients forever tied to medication and `treatment’, and if people decide to challenge this they are imprisoned, often via the police breaking down the door, or snatching them off the streets, in a mental hospital and the drugs resumed and compliance restored. Consequently a large sub group of our population live in constant fear, is that what they want?

  • So did the new hero, Alan Frances! He preceded Biederman but seems to have very conveniently forgotten his very early endorsement of Risperidone then a new drug. He was paid a lot of money by Johnson & Johnson to develop their market. All this was happening DURING the writing of the DSM IV – conflict of interest? Corruption at the top?
    He also seems to have developed amnesia regarding the expansion of the diagnosis of ADHD whilst leader of the DSM IV team, which saw an incredible rise in the incidence and income relating to it. He re-endorsed it again in 2001 (I think) with the consequences we see now. Of course the use of the stimulants which so often induce psychosis has led to the explosion of bipolar – something that didn’t exist in children before the drugs. Then there’s Nemeroff! It is simply not possible to trust psychiatry, ever.

  • It is interesting that when David Healy talks about ECT he produces the exact same pseudoscience reasoning he deplores in those who support psychotropic drugs. Confirmation bias, True Believer Syndrome and denial as a defense of Cognitive Dissonance. I must point out that when one bad thing thing is worse than another, it just means that there are two bad things, not that the lesser evil is no longer an evil.
    Healy also points out that drug harm is far more common than ECT harm (which he also denies). Does this mean that we should judge damage by numbers? Let’s look at an analogy: sexual abuse in children is less common than physical abuse which is less common than emotional abuse. So sexual abuse goes onto the back burner while we tackle the greater numbers?
    In asking what we owe the warriors like Sue and Leonard, I suggest a practical campaign, in their name, perhaps “The Sue Clark-Wittenberg/Leonard Frank Foundation” dedicated to raising funds to abolish ECT. If a million ECT survivors and/or their families send $1, that is a million dollars. This is the sort of money that’s needed to pay for MRI scans and neuropsychological tests that expose the damage in the living. Also, when an ECT survivor dies, from any cause, at any age, the foundation would support the family in its demands for an autopsy of their brain. The evidence so graphically seen in Hartelius’ cats in 1952 would be proved in 2016 in humans.
    In doing this we could build a body of PROOF of the damage that is so glibly denied by the psychiatric establishment.
    Because ECT damage can now be seen in scans in many cases, psychiatry has mounted a series of studies that show definite `changes’ in the brain following ECT but they are attempting to claim that this is a GOOD thing, that too many connections between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain is a cause of depression (see Moniz 1938 AND Perrin 2012) – (and `schizophrenia’ & `mania’ & catatonia, too?). They are quick on their feet when $5 billion a year is threatened. This campaign must be exposed before this becomes folklore.
    Since we are not getting past the current PR campaign (I know a press release when I see one) lording the benefits of ECT as the “best treatment available”, the “gold standard of treatment for depression”, by presenting the plethora of science that disagrees, we need another strategy. Maybe straight physical facts, in large indisputable numbers, measurable by existing science is one.

  • Ok you return mainly to the one source, Eliade, but you drop in others, McKenna’s books? Or Michael Harner’s…” all the while suggesting that the other person hasn’t read them or has done it for `entertainment’, and that to disagree with you he/she could be a…then you label, again with references to support your inferences.
    Do you think it possible that you are doing exactly what psychiatry does? Pulling out labels to categorise, putting the person into boxes where it is safe to ascribe to them a set of values, behaviours, and beliefs – in this case ethnocentric, secular humanist, atheist, none meant kindly. This would appear to be designed to give far more weight to your position by denigrating the personality and beliefs of the person who disagrees with you. That his/her opinions are less valuable than yours because he/she picked them up in far less erudite publications than you did, e.g. the National Enquirer, and that he/she is somehow lesser – “probably don’t believe in spiritual traditions anyway”. Why you should assume that someone who doesn’t believe in `spiritual traditions’ should be so, I don’t know.
    I suspect the two of you are coming from different positions. Rasselas seems to be talking about the reality of Shamans as they function in today’s world, you about the scholarly examination of an ancient phenomenon. As such it is possible that neither of you is right or wrong.
    As a person who IS an atheist and not of a spiritual disposition, (my right), it seems to me that so often the `scholarly approach’ to `spirituality’ is often a taking of the high ground in an intellectual justification of a set of beliefs that are, a) not disprovable, and b) exist beyond the on-the-ground experience of the people, and are used to control.
    For instance those who questioned the Christian faith were heretics, devil worshippers, witches, blasphemers, idolaters and, yes, atheists, all labels that distanced dissenters from the `good’. I’m not saying this is what you are doing but it does look a bit like it.
    I find what you’re saying about Shamanism very interesting, but what jars and annoys me is the way you’re doing it. I once had a similar experience with the editor of the Psychiatric Time who wrote a critique of a movie about a man’s psychological journey to `wellness’ which, interestingly, included a shaman connection. The critique said that the film was well made, then set out to attempt to discredit its content by devaluing the man who made it. The response I got avoided any reference to that and suggested that my comments were because I couldn’t have seen the movie. (A lovely straw man argument.)
    Please educate us Seth, but, both of you, keep it cool.

  • I’m afraid this discussion about shamanism and who is right or who is wrong has deteriorated in to a slanging, one-upmanship that is beneath this site. Rasselas. Redux you are abrasive and insulting and you, Seth, are pompous and insulting, and I doubt you are ever humble. Your ability to put down with a plethora of references assures us that you are well read. Surely you don’t have to continually blind us with your exalted intellect to make your case whilst insulting your critic’s sources.
    “I would be humble dealing with an authority, but you know a little of “shamanism” which you probably picked up in The National Enquirer and you present yourself as an authority–thus potentially leading people to avoid reading about an important spiritual tradition. You probably don’t believe in spiritual traditions anywayr.” This is totally unnecessary and I think, beneath you.
    You have fairly successfully alienated me at least.

  • Perhaps they are concerned about the bad publicity of seeing their SSRI `treated’ depressed running amok and murdering people. They have guns after all. And you know the fear all those who exercise power authorities have of finding themselves powerless, especially amongst the very people they abused? What does a policeman, psychiatrist, psych nurse feel when faced with the knowledge they need psychiatric `help’ and know full well what that `help’ looks like, and who they’ll meet? Suicidal?
    I knew a doctor who found herself a psych patient – the admitting nurse leaned across the desk into her face and said, “you’re not a doctor here.”

  • There was a time when I could engage in philosophical, intellectual discussions with ease, but 87 ECT treatments took care of that. My thinking is far more concrete, less subtle and ordered now compared with how I was before 2000. It took 3 years for me to realise that I could no longer follow an argument for more than a few minutes. Writing is better because I can back-track and see what I’ve said but even then…So I apologise if what I say is simplistic. It is yet another black mark against this `treatment’ that dropped a `gifted’ individual to `high average’, and was the result of an overnight suicidal reaction to Prozac (Rx for stress)- also got 13 years of antipsychotics etc for the bipolar I never had, when I never had a psychotic episode on my life. Now drug and psychiatry free x 3 years.

  • Hi Seth,
    We don’t disagree – I was taught everything you were, I just didn’t believe it, ever, any more than you do. I worked with people with “schizophrenia”, to a man with horror stories of their lives, who despite their being drugged to the eyeballs, produced a worthwhile program when nobody believed they could. I watched them flower in the program of theatre and art that I worked in, where they were valued and respected, and I watched 2 of the most talented of them kill themselves when that program stopped. I’ve spent the last 45 years saddened by the fate of the others, many of whom I counted my friends, including one of the most inspiring and courageous young women I have ever met, abandoned to the system to destroy. I will always carry some guilt for that.
    I had then and now NO RESPECT whatsoever for psychiatry – it is a brutal, destructive profession come down from the oppression of the patriarchal church and all the underlying savagery that went with that still exists today.
    How do we change it?
    A saleswoman told me of a woman who walked around the shopping centre. Everyone was afraid of – her stumbling walk, her facial twitches and blank stare and labelled her `mad’, turning, moving away and whispering. The salewoman proudly said she asked her once if she’d like a cup of tea. The woman sat with her and they talked, briefly. She was surprised that the woman seemed quite lucid, `for a sick person.’ I told her that ALL the `mad’ symptoms were almost certainly the results of the drugs the woman was taking. The Parkinson’s walk, expression, the Tardive Dyskinesia, the restlessness, Akathesia. I asked her to judge the woman on her lucid conversation, not her strange looks. She will spread that around the gossip spots. That is how we `get’ psychiatry. Tell people. That is all I can do.

  • Where I worked, Freud was comprehensively defrocked by the few psychiatrists who’d ever read his work by 1970- possibly because few of them had sufficient intellectual skills to actually read it. Many had not read much from any other psychotherapy source either. They dismissed philosophical discussions on just about anything and you didn’t have to be a psychoanalyst to dismiss the patients, everyone did. The drugs were already routine and while there were a few vague gestures made towards “rehabilitation” for “schizophrenia”, it wasn’t taken seriously. The more cynical called these efforts “institutionalisation training”.
    I have to say though, we believed that the drugs would help. We thought we were doing the right thing, at least, at first. But from 1973-1975 when I walked away, I worked in a unit where we realised how nasty they were and reduced or withheld them altogether. We also worked with families, social interventions and PSYCHOTHERAPY (the eclectic kind), but were hamstrung by the administration.
    As for half the mad getting better, I based that on the 19th century moral treatment records, on WHO’s surveys in Nigeria, Colombia and India, Robert Whitaker’s figures taken from records before neuroleptics 1945-55, Harrow’s and Wunderink’s studies and Open Dialogue records. I think Soteria House predicted similar outcomes. And none of the figures on recovery include those who have had a psychotic break and somehow steered clear of psychiatrists AND psychologists, ((who traditionally don’t want to deal with psychosis either, so pass them on to the system), and recovered by themselves. We just don’t know but figures coming out through Hearing Voices suggest quite large numbers of people who live normal productive lives could fit the criteria for “madness”.
    But I don’t think we can blame “madness” on psychiatrists. Something had to go wrong first. That they make it worse and create more of it after the initial events, certainly. I want to go on record that I have absolutely NO TIME for psychiatry, I desperately want to see the entire profession shut down as the amoral, venal, close-minded, pseudoscientific criminal organisation that it is, and would like to see some sort of organised alternative in place.

  • Please don’t apologise for your passion. There’s a lot of esoteric, philosophising around that sounds great and is interesting but it doesn’t go anywhere. Discussing the attributes, defintions etc of anti- psychiatry can be, to me, at least, much the same as the psychiatrists who sit around devising one `study’ after another to prove that they can. A group stroking session.
    I, too, am a bullshit hater. I have come up with one suggestion after another here and in other places, about practical ways of `getting’ psychiatry – every one has been ignored. I’m not even told to forget it, it won’t work, or that it’s a stupid idea – nothing. I wonder if these sites don’t want practical solutions/suggestions because if we actually DID stop psychiatry, the forum wouldn’t be needed any more and then what would people do?

  • Okay Seth. I think you’ve established you know far more about Freudianism than I do. I don’t have a doctorate, I never had years of theoretical discussion before finding myself in front of terribly distressed people, armed with a few books and a whole lot of colleagues telling me you couldn’t talk to “schizos”, just drug “em and hand them over to the social worker. I found you could talk to “schizos” and a lot of what they said made sense.
    But here I was guilty of using a label, “Analysis”, to describe something without really knowing all the details – a common failing in psychiatry I think – so I thank you for pointing that out, as well as clarifying your position, and educating me on Freudianism, What I really meant was intensive, one to one, long term psychotherapy as a possibility pathway for people diagnosed with “schizophrenia”. It would not be an option for everyone, or even suitable for everyone, but maybe for some. (Thanks also for the update on Sullivan – some of that was forgotten knowledge and again I was careless.)
    As for the blaming of parents, as I saw it in the late 60s that was the basis for the rise of bio-psychiatry. All those upset parents saying, “but I loved him/her, so don’t blame me,” got to the doctors who maybe had issues of their own, and it all became, “of course it’s not your fault, it’s the `chemical imbalance and`in the genes”. So it was easy to expand that because the people wanted to hear it.
    Mt experience in talking to the “sick” one and their families, was that very often it WAS the parents, and we seem to be returning to that, at least to some degree. The issue now seems to be how to blame, not whether to blame. We are the product of our childhoods after all so maybe they got that right.
    Indeed, were they worse than the alternative which has condemned “the mad to the eternal hell” of being at the mercy of their genes and brain chemicals, and being forced to take crippling drugs, face early death and a hopelessness so profound that it makes “not being able to form intimate relationships” look like a good outcome? The Freudians may have confirmed the “predestined” nature of “schizophrenia” but didn’t they essentially leave them alone? This at least allowed about half of them to get better. Today’s “treatment” stops them getting better. So now we have a “predestined” condition which is iatrogenically exacerbated by the “treatment”.
    As I’ve said, those who did embark on long term, one on one, intensive psychotherapy may or may not have considered themselves Freudian, but what they actually said and did inside their sessions could be labelled anything – as we agreed, the relationship is the vital element.

  • I’m sorry, I didn’t say I supported Freudianism, though of course that was the basis of psychoanalysis. My mistake, I was referring to the long term intense therapy that was used at times for psychosis by people like Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and Harry Stack Sullivan. Whether it was in practice, in the room, strictly Freudian, or even analysis, I don’t know.
    I absolutely agree that the relationship is the core factor, but why should such a relationship not occur during psychoanalysis any less often than with any other type of therapy. Surely this would depend on the individual therapist’s performance and whilst, as you say, many analysts have a lot to answer for, maybe some did a good job, at least from time to time. The answer must lie with what the client got out of it. That is the only way success and failure in the `talk’ therapies can be judged.
    I was working in the 1970s when Freud was being very thoroughly de-frocked, and our approach was eclectic to put it mildly – I’m not even sure we bothered much about labeling our `techniques’ at all – it was `just whatever helped’. The `body of evidence’ was the wrong way of putting it, I agree. I was really referring to mostly personal anecdotal testimony, God forbid that should be a `body’ of anything, but I understand that a few analysts DID support psychotherapy for psychosis, or, unlike today’s genetic/organic paradigm, looked at it as a maladjustment due to psychological issues.
    I was speaking to my own psychologist a few years ago wondering if I had ever done any good for all the people I saw, and he replied that the best any of us can hope for is that we don’t do too much harm.
    But perhaps I was too simplistic, I just think that we need any `port in a storm’ and that means we don’t shut anything out.

  • They already are. I know Seroquel is `Quell’ and the ADHD stuff does a roaring trade on the streets. I suspect not a few of the more entrepreneurial kids are now very well behaved in class because they’re working on their marketing strategies. My school teacher sister reckons that a lot of Ritalin/Dex etc are often being taken (or marketed) by the parents.

  • Actuallyy dopamine has a lot to do with sleep. It is involved in regulating the sleep/wake cycle, as people who go off drugs that have interfered with dopamine soon find out. It is also involved in the immune system and almost everything else. 2 years after finally ceasing quetiapine (a dopamine antogonist) I still have dreadful insomnia, though my immune system has mostly come back up. Good luck all ye who embark on this voyage.

  • Has the revolution begun? How might it progress? That’s what we’re talking about here, isn’t it? I agree that we really have to look to history to see how it worked in the past and how to sustain uit when the overthrow eventually happens.
    Machiavelli is one source – he looked at how the `tyrant’ set himself up, as well as how he fell down.
    Here’s a few: “,,,a thing rare and almost without example…but the conspiracy may make the tyrant afraid and his excessive reaction may make him even more hated which will spell the end of his illegitimate rule.” Not a lot going for threats –
    He suggests re conspiracies… “caution the over throw of the tyrant – do most people want this group to make the decision on their behalf? Do they trust them to make a better order than the existing one.” Warning here, too. Significant education required.
    BUT “Organised popular uprising – `conspiracies conducted by a handful of men acting secretly invariably meet tragic ends, Open revolts involving large numbers of people do not…
    The overthrow of the Duke of Athens involved the `great, the people, the artisans’ – they may begin as secret conspiracies [until] the secret is shared.”
    Let’s go and see if we can get the lawyers involved – big time legal cases (if they’re won or if a clear injustice is done which might be even more important) get publicity. Drugs being withdrawn for safety reasons get big publicity. etc, etc.

  • The `talk therapies’ could include some psychoanalytic approaches,though they’re currently discredited. I wonder if that’s because hardly any psychiatrists can do it and very few psychologist want to because it takes a long time, a lot of emotional investment (if you’re serious), so you don’t get paid much if you make it affordable to clients. But there is a body of evidence that showed quite spectacular results on occasion.

  • Actually, apologies to Ron Pies for any suggestion that he might support Physician Assisted Dying, for anyone, he doesn’t.
    There is a reference in the above piece from a Swedish team, ” Tiihonen and associates13 carried out a large observational study (N = 21,492) of patients with schizophrenia. The study found that antipsychotic use was associated with substantially lower overall mortality and very significantly reduced rates of completed suicide across the entire dosage range (low to moderate to high) when compared with no antipsychotic drug use (10% of the entire sample). Maximum anti-suicide benefit was seen with the higher antipsychotic doses.”
    I’m not a subscriber so can’t access the full text. Does anyone lknow anything about this, and how it might impact on the `early death’ figures?

  • Actually I’m leaving a list of comments from PLUs and saying exactly that, and this: If anti-psychiatry exists as an `evil conspiracy setting out to `get at’ psychiatry’, one must ask why? Is there an anti-oncologist movement? They fail many people and the treatments can be diabolical. Is there an anti dermatologist movement? They also fail to help many. Is there an anti any other part of the medical profession? Many practitioners are being hauled up for corruption, incompetence, and other, sometimes criminal behaviour, but there is NO “anti”.
    Of course none of them can force treatment on their patients so that might be a factor, and most have a fairly firm basis in science as a fall back position which, of course, psychiatry doesn’t.
    The beauty of the Psych Times site is that they publish first THEN pull it, so sometimes my more aggressive stuff gets out there for a little while at least. So some of those smug cretins just might get a twinge before they shut the door against their cognitive dissonance. But then, maybe one or two might have a bad dream. You never know.

  • This just appeared in my emails from the Psychiatric Times:
    “How Antipsychotic Medication May Save Lives
    June 01, 2016 | Couch in Crisis, Major Depressive Disorder, Psychopharmacology, Schizophrenia
    By Ronald W. Pies, MD
    How Antipsychotic Medication May Save Lives
    Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Rise of the Consumer Movement
    One way anti-psychiatry groups trivialize psychosis and marginalize psychiatry is by emphasizing the adverse effects of antipsychotic medications while denying or minimizing their benefits.1 To be sure, the well-recognized metabolic, neurological, and cardiovascular risks associated with many antipsychotic medications must be taken very seriously. Moreover, antipsychotics (APs) are often used when they are not needed; eg, for the treatment of anxiety disorders2; for “agitation” in nursing home patients; and for “acting out” in adolescent populations. (I spent many years as a psychopharmacology consultant trying to get doctors to reduce their over-reliance on antipsychotics.) On the other hand, there is convincing evidence that in patients with chronic schizophrenia, APs play a crucial role in maintaining remission, averting relapse, improving quality of life, and—importantly—reducing overall mortality.”

    Again the pseudoscientist’s hostilty to criticism via the invocation of the conspiracy against the beleaguered hero as he opens with an attack on the messenger, the straw man argument -that the anti psychiatrists `trivialise psychosis’ – the little dodge sideways AP’s used `when not needed’ as he attempts to be the voice of reason and fails completely in the last sentence.
    As Tavris and Aronson, 2007; Lilienfeld, 2010 say.. “one can conceptualize science as a toolbox of finely honed tools designed to minimize mistakes, especially confirmation bias – the ubiquitous propensity to seek out and selectively interpret evidence consistent with our hypotheses and to deny, dismiss, and distort evidence that does not”. Dr Pies’ `confirmation bias’ is showing and he appears to have little insight, and is fast losing all credibility as a man of science and moderation. His stance looks more and more like a sop the big pharma and does him no credit whatsoever. But despite his constant invitations to be exposed, this is a very influential man as he continues to prop up the delusional, quasi religious organisation called psychiatry.
    (These are other questionable pieces – Ron loves being in print)
    Linked Articles
    Depression: A 5-Minute Seminar for Patients –
    Physician-Assisted Dying for Adolescents With Intractable Mental Illness? (WOW! Is Ron losing it?)

  • And I will continue to feed that dog with as many ones as possible by repeating all of your work over and over and over again to everyone I know and as just as many that I don’t know. I do it even more about ECT, which is my particular bone, and will continue until the end of my life which I hope is a long time away.
    In the face of ALL the evidence those supporting psychotropic drugs of ALL kinds, and Electroshock, have such an ability to suspend disbelief to a delusional degree that I guess must it be admired. I have at times listened to a mad person or two who has strange beliefs resistant to reason, and to religious people who also are resistant to reason and/or other ideas, and not a few astrologists and paranormal believers, but I think psychiatrists, with the “ubiquitous propensity to seek out and selectively interpret evidence consistent with our hypotheses and to deny, dismiss, and distort evidence that does not,” take the cake. The Pies and Frances’ of this world cannot maintain a reasoned discussion, and almost invariably descend to using at least a few if not all the criteria for pseudoscience, including conspiracy theories and attacks on the messenger. But they have the ear of the establishment, at least that part of it that isn’t completely buried, not in sand, but in concrete, so the message has to be repeated, repeated, repeated. Thank you Robert Whitaker and PLEASE keep on going!
    Pseudoscience: The aim of pseudoscience is to rationalize strongly held beliefs, rather than to investigate and find out what’s actually going on, or to test various possibilities.
    1 – Hostile to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction

    2 – Works backward from desired results through motivated reasoning
    (`Schizophrenia’ must be caused by dopamine issues because the drugs affect dopamine issues.)
    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
    (Discussions involving lots of anatomical terms with vague references to neuroscientific processes and attempting to link the two without support.)
    7 – Has the trappings of science, but lacks the true methods of science
    (Lots of anatomical jargon and `science speak’, but no control groups, vague or no standardised reporting procedures, poor if any control of significant variables, manipulated or no statistics, small numbers etc.
8 – Invokes conspiracy arguments to explain lack of mainstream acceptance (Galileo syndrome)
    (i.e. media misinformation. the hostile Anti-psychiatry movement and Scientologists.
    9 – Lacks caution and humility by making grandiose claims from flimsy evidence
    (“The schizophrenia gene”)
    10 – .base their claims on incompleteness of information, rather than on what is known at present.
    11. – often pretends to be one side of a legitimate scientific controversy…to pretend that “the jury is still out,” and that “further research” is needed to clarify the validity of their beliefs. This is essentially never the case…
    12. Makes extraordinary claims and advances fantastic theories that are in contradiction to what is known about nature. e.g. Neurological evidence proves ECT causes significant brain injury, and this is denied.
    The degree of denial is directly and proportionately linked to the threat of loss of income, power and prestige, so psychiatry will never yield any more than the church did.

  • Both Dr Frances and Ronald Pies have a talent for contradicting themselves and in their attempts to run with the hounds and the hares both have very convenient memories. Do they really want to reform psychiatry, or is their love affair with publishing filibuster and apologia.
    This from Ron Pies in The Psychiatric Times, his old stamping ground, a journal read by their account, nearly every psychiatrist in America, and by MY account a publisher of spurious pseudoscience, sponsored by every drug company in the world.

    Depression: A 5-Minute Seminar for Patients
    January 28, 2016 | Major Depressive Disorder, Couch in Crisis
    By Ronald W. Pies, MD
    In this he holds a mock interview with a depressed patient, “Joe”. Early in the piece he firmly states..The mythological “chemical imbalance theory of mental illness”—which was never a full-fledged theory propounded in the highest echelon s of American psychiatry…and a few paragraphs later, this crops up…most psychiatrists believe that depression has biological, psychological, and social causes…which sounds lovely, modern and reasonable but when Joe asks,
    “Is it that chemical imbalance idea, or some Freudian thing? And what do you mean by “social”?, Pies replies, “It’s way too simple to speak of a “chemical imbalance,”…That said, we have good evidence that in severe depression, the internal environment in the brain is often abnormal, compared with the brains of folks who aren’t depressed…you know that the brain is made up of billions of cells called neurons, right? We think that for many people with severe depression, the neurons in some parts of the brain may not be communicating properly with neurons in other brain regions—some brain “circuits” may be too active while others may not be active enough…THAT COULD BE DUE TO A PROBLEM WITH BRAIN CHEMICAL—neurotransmitters—released by the neurons, but it could also mean there’s a problem with the RECEPTORS FOR THESE CHEMICALS—those little slots where the neurotransmitters land.
    Then he goes on…”We also have evidence that growth of new brain cells and the little branches that connect them may be reduced in major depression….We don’t know exactly how antidepressants work, but they may boost brain cell growth and enhance the branching process. This takes some time, which may be why antidepressants take a few weeks to work.”
    This is a case of “Let’s just step slightly sideways and keep the big pharma dollars rolling in.”
    So “The mythological “chemical imbalance theory of mental illness”—which was never a full-fledged theory propounded in the highest echelon s of American psychiatry.”!!!???
    Pies thrashes about producing all kinds of speculative nonsense, all supporting the bio position. Sadly the article was applauded by most commenters, and happily a very polite psychology professor, Dr Jeremy Jackson
PhD, Psychometrics, took him apart.
    In response to my comments he replied, “I must also respectfully disagree with your position that antidepressants “don’t work for most people, that an active placebo would probably help…just as much without the risk of suicide, mania, sexual dysfunction, addiction etc.” In my view, there is no scientific basis for that claim, particularly when we are talking about severe major depression.”

    Are these two very prominent and influential men so arrogant that they don’t believe anyone could question their authority no matter how poor their reasoning, or are they unaware that they are inconsistent and dishonest?
    If these hypocrites represented the `new wave’, DUCK!

  • This kind of scientific dishonesty abounds in psychiatry. A classic example that cannot possibly be ascribed to confirmation bias or the true believer syndrome where clear subconscious factors are at work, is the 1956 `sham’ (placebo) ECT study by Ulett as revisited by Paul Janicek in a mega review that found ECT to be superior to placebo.
    In this case 4 groups of 21 subjects, (84) only 2 of which were treated with ECT and `Sham’ ECT, (42) became 2 groups of 43 & 40 respectively (they appear to have mislaid a subject). I won’t go into the rest of the manipulations of the results here but suffice to say the findings could NOT have been accidental. This review is constantly trotted out by establishment psychiatry as evidence that ECT is superior to placebo. Because few people actually read more than the summary, they are believed and as a consequence hundreds of thousands of people are being damaged by ECT, for no honest reason, every year.
    How much longer are people prepared to allow the perpetrators of this dishonest pseudo rubbish to be a) paid for (from the public coffers), b) published, and c) permitted to be taught as fact to students and professionals?
    In almost every other discipline, if a scientist is caught faking results, he/she will be stripped of research rights and funding, humiliated, and possibly (except for the tenured) sacked from teaching and/or admin positions.
    How come psychiatrists continue to get away with it?

  • The healers were women too. But seeing how powerful they were, the church stepped in, called them witches, heretics etc and killed them, along with the knowledge of millennia. Thus began the purge, mutilate and burn, ultimately patriachal approach to medicine, so eloquently described by David Healy in his response to my queries about his attitude to ECT, to drive out, to defeat, to fight, and battle `illness’, intrinsic male attributes (the fight to survive and procreate) that remains with us today.
    The nurturing was done by nurses (females), but the TREATMENT, the important stuff was done, almost exclusively by males and still, positions of power in medicine today are mostly taken by men.
    With the fall of the all powerful church, physicians stepped in and with the`miracle’ of antibiotics medicine in the mid 20th century, were able to take on the mantle as the new all powerful religion. `Medical Science’ became the catechism and very lucrative it is too. There was some thought that with women being permitted to study medicine the more brutal treatments (such as ECT) might subside, but as men still hold the power and the women who want it must behave like men, they are able to suspend disbelief and plough on.
    Medicine today is no more or less than it has been in our western society since the slaughter of the women healers began nearly a thousand years ago. It will take a monumental change of attitude to re-align it to something that is Patient not Physician driven. Psychiatry is just the worst of a bad lot.
    Needless to say there are many, many good people who practice medicine, it is the system that is the problem.

  • I’d like to hope ECT victims could be included in this group. In case anyone has lingering doubts, or hasn’t connected ECT with Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury…
    1.Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when an external force to the head causes disruption to normal brain function.
    2. ECT is the application of an external force (450 volts for 8 second to the head that causes a convulsion and coma), disruption to normal brain function, therefore…
    ECT causes a Traumatic Brain Injury.
    To understand the aftermath of ECT it is necessary to check out the aftermath of Traumatic Brain Injury. The two are one.
    The claim of 100,000 is probably more like 200,000 and GROWING, as ECT is surging as the `best treatment’ available for severe, treatment resistant depression, i.e. that which the drugs have failed to help or have, in fact, caused, (Tardive Dysphoria).
    This means that at least a 100,000 people in the US alone are being given a Repetitive TBI every year. When are people going to recognise this? Perhaps when a lot of them stand up and have MRI and fMRI scans (not all will show anything as many TBIs don’t, though this doesn’t mean a thing if you’re a footballer or a `normal’ person); neuropsychological tests which WILL show deficits; get autopsies done on their loved ones who have ECT in the past and have died for any reason, and ask for Neurological rehab. 100,000 people asking their insurance companies and the government to pay for treatment for the consequences of injuries caused by psychiatrists (who DO know, why else are they dodging the required safety tests), for which the insurance companies and the government also pay, questions might be asked. Just talking about it won’t stop it, action might.
    Only pro ECT `researchers’ have access to people actually having ECT and we know how they fudge results, so we must use the aftermath as evidence. Your working with recognised brain injured people will alert you to the same injuries in ECT recipients who are NOT recognised, if you LOOK.
    I actually did this, and involved a neurologist, He diagnosed the brain injury before I told him how I got it and this is what MUST be done, remember, they stick together and f**k the patient.

  • You reckon? How can we know, it’s never happened that women have ever ruled anything unless they behaved like men? Remember, Elizabeth I, `I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a Prince.’ And Margaret Thatcher, as fierce or fiercer than most men, because she couldn’t command any respect whatsoever if she wasn’t.
    Here in Australia we had a female Prime Minister, she was white-anted constantly by her male colleagues, the press and the public, including other women. Her clothes, her hair, makeup, voice, accent, you name it were attacked, and as soon as they could do it, she was toppled.
    Why can we only female count heads of state on our fingers? Why do we have to make rules to include women on the ballot paper?
    So often, in business when you see a woman at the helm it’s where the company is in some kind of trouble and it’s felt that a woman might a) gain a little more sympathy because if her perceived `femininity’ and lack of aggression, and b) she is more expendable if it goes pear shaped.
    Come on, I say again, how can we know?
    The only way women can rule is to do it by stealth, like the small business women you see in the back blocks of the world, and as soon as they make a success of it, the men take over. Not human nature – animal nature- the spoils are to the strong.

  • You seem to be starting from a position of reason, which is fine but it’s not what I’m talking about. You may not believe in “human nature”, but you have to acknowledge it because,whether we like it or not, we are animals My point is that at the deepest levels we respond to the most basic need to survive and perpetuate ourselves, and we deny it at our peril. In that we are no more or less than any other organism on this planet. I believe that this underlies all our behaviour, and there are plenty of examples to support me, particularly in the formation of power groups. That we can be better than JUST this is the measure of our difference from other animals, which is our ability to make choices. However without awareness we are at the mercy of these instincts as much as a mollusc or a chimpanzee.

  • Thank you Bonnie, I appreciate your response. I would love to think we could have truly democratic institutions but maybe I miss-labelled myself, not pragmatist but cynicist. Even if we could start such organisations and I accept that this is what we would like to do, how long would it take for the strong to overcome the weak, the `robber baron’ is ever present? Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean we shouldn’t try. But we would have to be extremely vigilant as even the most benign can be corrupted by even a very little power. I remember working out, aged about 12, that the best, most efficient form of government would be a benign dictator who cared for everyone, my father quickly disabused me, citing the power corrupts argument and told me to research a bit more. I did. Democracy, for instance, in its purest form has to be the ideal system, but there are always some people more equal than others.
    Still, societies can change, but it takes a long time and its directions may not be predictable.

  • Maybe we need to look to biology. The adult male must always be on guard lest he lose his chance to pass on his genes, and spread his influence as far and wide as possible, therefore he must be vilgilant and prepared to defend himself against attack from stronger individuals at all times. Thus the ever present power struggles at all levels in a patriarchal society. Females however, whilst also competitive for sustenance and general comfort, do not have the same pressure of competing with other females to pass on their genes. (Of course we have managed to introduce that as a social issue, but as a basic biological drive, aggression and competitiveness are not as powerful in females. (The one female, one male mating system in humans is male devised anyway). Therefore, might a better world be one where females run the place?

  • “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” – Plato
    Thank you Bonnie for your clear and critical thinking – a rare commodity.
    But what to do? You note that “in all movements, the infighting can be terrible. Also the power dynamics are often highly compromised. And it is a shame when this happens, for it is hardly the world that we are trying to build together, and if we should all be trying to prefigure that in how we treat one another.”
    It’s a lovely idea that we can change society so that we all care for each other etc, but won’t we need an institution, a collection of like minded individuals with a well defined program of some sort, to organise the resistance? And inside such an organisation/institution power is power is power, the struggle for dominance is inbuilt in our organism for obvious reasons. There’s nothing we can really do about it except recognise when it threatens to become destructive and attempt to control it. Machiavelli, among others, recognised that the individual who opposes the system will meet a sticky end, but a mass uprising will not. I believe that what we are seeing today is the beginnings of the uprising against psychiatry, or possibly the medical institution of which psychiatry is the most oppressive and least viable, but so far it is just a fragmented group of malcontents, albeit with a just cause and growing support. But every revolution begins with a just cause, and every last one fails unless it has an alternative structure to offer. That will be an `institution’, and though sometimes the new Caesar may be better than the old, for a time at least, more often he just has a different name.
    I would love some discussion on how to circumvent history and human nature, or maybe how to contain it. People are always drawn to that which gives them an advantage, how do we replace the `system’ that sells itself as our `protector’ with another `protector’ the people might like better, and that suits US?
    PS: I have been an anti-institution iconoclast all my life, but I am also a pragmatist.

  • These drugs are actually the worst we have now. `Nothing’ would be better for most people. See the UN survey of Nigeria, India and Colombia where the full recovery rate was about 60% where there were NO DRUGS, 16% where there were! Open Dialogue in North Finland uses few drugs = 80% recovery and demographically, NO schizophrenia, (diagnosis is established after 6 months of symptoms), wards closed because there are no patients. Harrow’s and Wunderink’s studies – those who stopped the drugs do far better. Plus an unknown number of recovered and/or living normal lives, ex `schizophrenics’ who are out of the system and who will never let on they ever had a psychosis in the past, all testaments to the fact that less or nothing is better than the drugs, long term.
    I don’t deny that acute situations where extreme anxiety/terror is a factor the tranquilising effects of these drugs can help in the very short term, but, even then, the benzos are better. We actually called them tranquillizers before the PR push of the 1980s re-named them anti psychotics. They’re not anti anything except agitation which they also produce.

  • “I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. If we shut down those whose opinions we don’t like we are as bad as our enemies. We, of all people should respect that.

  • And some are so aware that they pay lip service to reform. People like Ron Pies and Allen Frances for instance, who appear at such diverse places as universities and ISEPP conferences, speaking and writing conciliatory pieces about `involving the patient’, the `value of the psychosocial approach’, decrying the chemical imbalance as a nonsense and castigating their fellows for corruption by big pharma. (These two have very bad memories) BUT, they blame big pharma, duck and weave around the drug issues, eventually coming out in favour, support ECT, attempt to discredit and/or downplay any evidence that exposes the medical paradigm (PIes actually wrote, `Unfortunately, a lack of medical training has not stopped a few critics from confidently charging that psychiatrists are harming their patients by prescribing long-term AP treatment.’ then went on to attempt (forlorn) to discredit studies that showed it.)
    Even the sainted David Healy claims psychiatrists as victims, defending their excesses saying, `other disciplines do it too, and some are worse.’ A childish defense, as if it’s okay to be a bad boy because someone is a worse boy.
    I can understand, if not excuse, why they have such difficulty. Firstly, if they have indeed entered the profession with a desire to help their fellow man, the anxiety (cognitive dissonance) produced by admitting that they’ve spent a lifetime hurting people is intolerable. Second, the investment in time and effort to achieve a medical degree has to be justified. Third, the money, prestige and POWER must be maintained, they do have commitments after all. If they speak out for change they’ll lose it all. (Of course if they don’t the whole ship will go down and only a few will survive.) The smart ones are quietly leaving already, the Critical Psychiatry movement with Pat Bracken, and the Council for Evidence Based Medicine?psychiatry in the UK are moving away from the mainstream, and in Melbourne there are at least 12 psychiatrists who advertise that they don’t prescribe psychotropic drugs.
    But in the meantime, ECT is on the rise and rise, , the NIMH, NICE etc still funding expensive, non-performing `research’ that continues to search for proof of the medical model, the mainstream media and magazines like the Psychiatric Times, Ron Pies old stamping ground, report every sensationalist claim of `breakthroughs’, medical journals publish spurious `research’ that should never see the light of day, and the public are encouraged to fear the `mentally ill’ as threats to their safety.
    But, as Machiavelli observed, tyrannical regimes become more tyrannical as they face more threat, “the conspiracy may make the tyrant afraid and his excessive reaction may make him even more hated which will spell the end of his illegitimate rule”, so don’t despair.

  • Maybe genetics are not your strong point but reason is. Psychiatric labels seem nearly all based on subjective assessments. I call it `three bears’ science. For instance a study in 2012 re ECT said that since ECT `altered’, (reduced) connections between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain, and the subjects (all 9, or didn’t they include the ones who didn’t) recovered from their depression, so depression must be caused by `too many’ connections. Apart from this silly backwards reasoning, what does `too many’ mean? What are few? What are just right?
    In fact David Healy came up with a rationale for ECT by saying that, `all convulsions are bad, except for necessary ones, and Ron Pies said that the chemical imbalance is an `urban myth’ but disturbances in the synapses (chemical messengers) cause depression. Don’t you just love it?
    Do they not know what they say or do they think we won’t notice?

  • Indeed Steve – a friend of mine was at a psychiatric conference recently and one of the speakers said, `We have no idea what these drugs do so we just flood the brain with them and hope for the best.’ !!! So much for the `evidence based’, scientific understanding of psychiatric `disorders’. You could say that the greatest `disorder’ is in the psychiatric approach itself.
    This study only looks at Haloperidol and Closapine. They appear to believe that Closapine is representative of all the atypicals when it is completely different from them. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t Hapoperidol and Closapine the two different ones? The main two are the phenothiazines, Chlorpromazine etc, and the atypicals that include Olanzapine, Quetiapine and Risperodone. Closapine is used BECAUSE it doesn’t have the Parkinsonian side effects (it has plenty of others), and the others all do, (though less than the phenothiazines), especially Risperodone. Both Hapoperidol and Closapine are used sparingly BECAUSE they are so toxic.
    Does anyone know if these people are psychiatrists or neurologists/neuroscientists? If they’re psychiatrists the study’s suggestion that OTHER drugs may be better is understandable, if they’re not they are surely naive. Either way the study is very limited in its potential application, and probably irrelevant except for the lovely group pleasuring such research engenders in the researchers.

  • This letter was posted by an anonymous Australian nurse just this year:
    I wanted to add a slightly different perspective… I’m a nurse and have worked in inpatient psychiatric wards for several years. I’ve also more recently been working in emergency departments doing the initial assessments (which in effect determine whether people are admitted or not; voluntarily or involuntarily).
    I’ll never work in inpatient wards ever again. It was through and through a horrible experience. NOT because of the patients- they are by and large the kindest, most patient, funny and down to earth people you will meet. Obviously there are exceptions to this but overall, the patients are what get you out of bed and off to work everyday.
    Inpatient wards are a horror because of the burnt out, poorly trained and often disinterested staff. I work in Australia (not going to say where specifically, what I’ll describe below took place in 3 different wards). The training I received was a general nursing degree, followed by some brief intro level training about psych meds, basic symptoms and how to ‘safely’ restrain an aggressive patient. Many of my colleagues, to be frank, couldn’t give two s**ts about what the patients needed or wanted.
    Anyone with a substance use issue was “scum”. Anyone with a personality disorder was “just a f**king PD” who had to be made “as uncomfortable as possible” otherwise they’ll “get to enjoy being here and never leave”.
    There was effectively zero consideration of the social, financial, employment, accommodation etc pressures which pushed these patients into illness in the first place. This was in a very tough socio-economic part of a major city – no help was offered with any of those issues.
    “Seclusion” – locking patients into a windowless cell- often with the added joy of IM sedation, was regularly used as a punitive measure and called “behavior modification”. This ranged from 5min ‘time out’ to actual physical assault.
    Beyond the 3 meals provided, getting access to snacks otherwise was typically denied. Again, in a punitive fashion.
    There were no activities, group sessions or outings. The one occupational therapist eventually quit, in tears. Nursing staff just flatly refused to get any sort of program going.
    Illicit drugs were rampant amongst the patients and sexual safety was a joke- nurses sat in their office all shift, female patients were regularly assaulted.
    I recall being told that the idea of ‘recovery’ was “a joke”, “the patients don’t respect us, why should we do anything for them?”
    The result of course was constant violence, frequent self harm and suicide attempts; continuous re-admissions. It was 19th century standards, at best. My colleagues scratched their heads and wondered at all the hostility.
    I did what I could. I spent as much time as I could talking to, counseling, laughing and crying with the patients. As a junior nurse I was admonished several times for ‘wasting time’ in this fashion.
    I’m sure I was also guilty of poor practices, poor decisions, insensitive treatment. I know I was, I just fumbled through trying to figure out what to do.
    Eventually I took on a senior position working with management and trying to set up both some activities and to change some staff attitudes. Colleagues above and below me sabotaged these efforts. I also just struggled to know where to start, to be honest. There was zero support from management. I was bullied and threatened by ‘old school’ staffers.
    In the end, I quit and moved interstate. Now I’m working in emergency, doing assessments. ED is a nasty place at times for mental health patients, but at least we can intervene and make it a bit better. The inpatient wards where I am now are by all accounts the same. I was told “if you ever do a shift there, watch your back, the staff are all in cliques. They’ll let their colleagues cop a beating if they’re annoyed with them” etc.
    I’m not gonna claim to be the best nurse in the world, but I’ve got a heart and I’ve tried my best for the people in my care, who as I said above have been some of the finest human beings I’ve ever met. It’s been an honor.
    I’ll also say that not all of the nurses I’ve worked with were awful. The system is broken.
    In one word: terrifying.
    The worst thing about the psychiatric system is really not that the professional are suffering, it’s the appalling damage, physically and emotionally that’s being done, with apparent impunity, to the patients. I’ve been on both sides and the level of the potential for violence in the wards today is palpable. People, patients AND workers know they have to tread carefully or `solitary’, shackles and heavy drugging await. Anyone who has been shackled will know the dreadful helplessness, powerlessness, and panic this evokes. It happened to me, a sheltered, middle class, non-violent, elderly woman, and I still feel, after 13 years and complete recovery, that I would not survive if it happened again. There is an overwhelming fear and mistrust that even the most compassionate professional will have to fight to overcome.The toll on the workers who must suspend any compassion to justify the force they use is also huge. Alcoholism, depression, burnout and suicide are high amongst them. THAT is why people like you, Michael and Pauline, and people like I was as a therapist, MUST win this.

  • This is, of course why the `chemical imbalance’ became so very entrenched. You can’t be blamed for your kid’s pathology. And back in the early poart of last century with Anna Freud, Melanie Klein among others, parenting DID cop it. Probably justifiably but terribly distressing, particularly mothers, who believed that they loved their children and did everything they knew how to make them happy and fulfilled.
    They didn’t know that some popular child-rearing practices were destructive, the Truby King baby clinics insitutionalised emotional deprivation in the first 50 years of the 20th century, the boarding school system in the UK brutalised children for generations and so on. This is what happened as part of society and the psychologists who castigated the `schizophrogenic mother’ for instance, who failed to see the contributing continuum, has led to the embracing of bio-psychiatry.
    My mother used the Truby King program from birth and under no circumstances could anyone have called my childhood abusive. We were well fed, well clothed, well educated and outwardly a `lovely’ family. Inside there was tension, verbal violence and the constant threats of disintegration! But there was no divorce, no physical or sexual abuse. But when I had a severe depressive episode as a consequence of severe bullying at work, I was told by the psychiatrist that I should contact my parents. I told him that that would be fruitless because my mother would just say, `don’t you blame me for this.’ I complied, however, and the first thing my mother said was, you guessed it, `Don;’t you blame me for this.’ I don’t. Not now. She was as much a victim of her own upbringing as I was of hers.
    But I do blame the mental `illness’ system – they don’t have to continue the way they are – as I wrote further down – we tried to do better.

  • I think I’m in love. To see this kind of thing gives me hope that there really ARE alternatives possible. How to make them count is another matter, however.
    The saddest thing about the system is the complacency, the acceptance of the status quo as the RIGHT way. I worked in an old mental hospital in the 1970s. It had enthusiastically embraced the new meds, and was incredibly optimistic about the future because of them. BUT, the unit I worked in was `experimental’ and was aimed at `crisis intervention’ with limited or no drugs and the hope that with social and psychological interventions we could get people over the trauma/crisis and hopefully never see them again. We were carefully selected and trained in counseling and psychotherapy, 1:1 and group, with an emphasis on forming relationships. The patients were not selected as it was a public hospital acute admission unit and we took all comers, but treated them all on the same basis. We didn’t win them all but we, and therefore the patients had hope, and as you said, Erin, an expectation that all would be well.
    When I fell under the psychiatric bus, courtesy of a Prozac reaction, in 2000, there was no such hope. There was no expectation, no communication of anything much, including hope, just drugs and more drugs and in my case 87 Electroshock `treatments’ as well. Gone were long talk sessions with distressed people and their families, gone were the dynamic groups, large and small where everyone had a say every day, gone was anything that even remotely resembled psychotherapy. Nurses stayed in the office for their entire shift coming out to dispense meds or hold down angry patients, there were few groups, just didactic instruction sessions on `discharge planning’ & occasional handouts on depression & anxiety. There were no psychologists, few if any occupational therapists, a few social workers dedicated to keeping everything under control with drugs, shock and threats of admission for non compliance.
    Every now and then I gave the staff a serve, telling them that they would have been transferred out of my unit for laziness, and non-performance in a heart beat had they worked with me. That generally got me some extra meds and a diagnosis by ill-trained, ignorant and arrogant staff, of `elevated’ mood, consolidating, in their eyes, my diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
    The doctors appeared distracted and 10 minutes was a long consult. Once, foolishly I ticked one off and she promptly sectioned me, ordered a heavy drug and diagnosed me with one of three different diagnoses I gained at the time, none of which were valid, but which I still have to wear despite never having had it, before or since. My family and friends were never contacted, and it took me 13 years to escape.
    When we ask why these people behave as they do, a) there is a fear of repercussions such as what happened to you, Mike; b) the early learning that this is the system therefore it must be right (the Milgram phenomenon), with its rationalisation, denial and conformity; the institutionalisation and corruption of the staff as a result of the power they have; d) fear of losing authority, thus the `them and us’ syndrome which is a way to deny their own issues and inadequacies; and e) the number of disturbed people who are attracted to the profession in the first place BECAUSE of opportunities to exercise their pathology with impunity. (we used to say the place was full of psychopaths and lunatics – and that was the staff.)
    That’s all I can think of right now, there are others. It is a destructive system to both staff and patients and it needs to be shut down. The only way to do that is to avoid the professional mental health and build alternatives. Without them we cannot go forward.

  • Another issue is that many people diagnoses with bipolar actually embrace it. First it takes responsibility from them, `It’s not my/my parents/my upbringing’s fault, it’s in my genes.’ Second, there’s a support community, always helpful even if they do perpetuate a myth. Third, there is a certain kudos, club mentality, because some extraordinary historical figures, particularly artists, musicians and authors have been identified as bipolar, e.g. van Gogh, Virginia Woolfe, Lord Byron etc. Many of these retro diagnoses are questionable but what the Hell, people can identify and maybe feel proud to have it, and if it makes people feel better and keep taking the drugs, so be it. What these claims DON’T say is that these greats achieved what they did IN SPITE of their condition, and the the vast majority of high achievers did NOT have any clear cut mental problems. Fourth, for many people it makes some sort of sense to have a label to explain the chaos in your life. Fifth. it’s easier, and cheaper to take pills for life than have to find a therapist, few and far between, if you want to use a psychiatrist, and pay for maybe a couple of years of talking that has no guarantees and could be difficult.
    So just being a bit miserable is nowhere near as glamorous as joining Stephen Fry, Ernest Hemingway, Carrie Fisher and Vincent van Gogh et al as a bipolar sufferer. That the pills your doctor will give you for the condition the pills she gave you, has given you, that will rob you of joy for life, may not be an issue.

  • I’m not saying manic depression/bipolar doesn’t exist but we still have to account for the huge increase SINCE the drugs. The evolution of a well documented illness severetenough to seriously disrupt people’s lives, so pretty obvious to all, does not usually escalate without something changing. Environmental toxins, smoking, medical poisoning (e.g. mercury for what ails you), were all deemed benign if not good for you until proven otherwise. It would be very interesting to see if the incidence of bipolar/manic depression DECREASES in a population where SSRIs are removed as an option. It might be possible to take a population of depressed people who have never received drugs e.g. Peter Breggin’s, or some other non-prescriber’s patients, and check the incidence of bipolar in them. It might at least be a pointer to further investigation. The chronicity of `real’ manic depression is another change. On the drugs there seems to be no return to `normal’ between episodes in many cases. Take them away and let’s see. There is also the situation when the person who stops the SSRIs and all other drugs, never has another episode. Of course the criteria is used here in that only one episode of mania is required for a diagnosis and in many cases before the drugs this was the case anyway. But again it would be a pointer. No drugs, no mania.

  • Re `Advocacy Groups” – check this out…
    Methods of Silencing a Group of Activists
    Ron Duchin, research analyst at Mongoven, Biscoe & Duchin Inc., in Washington DC, devised and used specific methods to break up activists groups who were fighting for social justice such as environmental groups, animal right groups and consumer affairs groups. His famous legacy was breaking up civil right activists group fighting the tobacco industry. He then went on to advise other industry giants of how to fight any dissent.
    Duchin explained that activists fall into four categories: radicals, opportunists, idealists and realists, and that a three-step strategy was needed to bring them down.
    First, you isolate the radicals: those who want to change the system and promote social justice. Use methods of character assassination to discredit them – such as exaggerations, lies, trumped up charges in order to marginalize them.
    Second, you carefully ‘cultivate’ the idealists: those who are altruistic, don’t stand to gain from their activism, and are not as extreme in their methods and objectives as the radicals. You do this by gently persuading them that their advocacy has negative consequences for some groups, thus transforming them into realists.
    Finally, you co-opt the realists (the pragmatic incrementalists willing to work within the system) into compromise. “The realists should always receive the highest priority in any strategy dealing with a public policy issue . . . If your industry can successfully bring about these relationships, the credibility of the radicals will be lost and opportunists can be counted on to share in the final policy solution.” Opportunists, those who are motivated by power, success, or a sense of their own celebrity, will be satisfied merely by a sense of partial victory.
    Who does the APA use?

  • Look to history BEFORE the drugs. Manic depression was rare and episodic. People would have perhaps, 1 episode of mania in their lives, and/or one or two episodes of depression. Yes, they looked for help for the depression more often. So why the change? Did people manage the `illness’ better? Did they suffer in silence? Or is the huge increase not because more are `coming out’ or being diagnosed, but because more are being created? Manic depression has always been with us so massive (5 fold +) increases are unlikely to happen over the 40 years that just happens to coincide with the introduction of drugs.
    If a physical condition that was at a baseline level for millenia, for example, stomach ulcers, or asthma, increased 5 fold over a period of 40 years, investigations would be aimed at finding out `what changed ‘? For manic depression, drugs changed!

  • And the public are outraged when they hear about it. Australia has just withdrawn exports of live animals to some places in Asia because of cruelty. The sales of `free range’ eggs is continuing to rise, etc etc but in psychiatric `cages’, the Garth Daniels case, the brutality of forced meds, seclusion and restraints, the rapes, the verbal and physiacl abuse and the failure of the law to protect, continues unchecked.

  • `conspiracies conducted by a handful of men acting secretly invariably meet tragic ends, Open revolts involving large numbers of people do not.’
    The overthrow of the Duke of Athens involved the `great, the people, the artisans’ – they may begin as secret conspiracies [until] the secret is shared’ –

  • I believe personal experiences are far better than legal arguments, treatises about human rights, even lengthy scientific exposes on the evils of drugs and shock, at getting to people. I’ve been collecting stories for some time now with the aim of publishing them as VOICES. The woman who posed as a mental patient then wrote about her experience in the 1890s(?) got things changed as the public were outraged. Rosenhan in 1972 caused a big stir. Neither changed much in the long term because people forget so we must remind them. Everyone I tell about the Garth Daniels case, is appalled, people I tell my story to, are horrified but the media are bound by advertisers, the medical profession by self preservation and the law, well, by the law.

  • There are a thousand stories like yours but the public don’t know. Australians are traditionally hard to move, we’re lazy and complacent until someone stirs the pot and that takes decades. Outrages like child sexual assault, the forcing of young women to adopt their babies out, and the `stolen generation’ have finally been outed but plenty is still going on, including those, in fact. Aboriginal health is making it into the papers, Land rights, happening but still contentious. Even drugging of children is getting a little time, but the rights of the `disabled’ are way on the back burner, and `mental patients’ are at the bottom of that list. As long as psychiatry and the press demonise people as raving, delusional homicidal, maniacs ready to run amok striking out at innocent passersby, it ain’t gonna change. The fact that alcohol and street drugs are by far the most dangerous substances around is constantly obscured by the press looking for a good headline. They sell papers and that’s all that matters. $$$$ will keep the status quo.

  • The problem is that psychiatrists are near enough to teflon coated when it comes to retribution. Their claims are based on opinion only so they get a coterie of mates around to support their opinions about why they did what they did and no one can say nay. Judges respect the professional status of the `doctor’, the law supports that the opinion of a professionally trained psychiatrist is to be taken over that of others, including defense lawyers and human rights groups/advocates who `don’t understand’ the medical details of the matter. A prominent US psychiatrist, often quoted here, Dr Ron Pies recently wrote re the value of antipsychotic drugs `…a commentary on some recent studies and their sometimes controversial interpretation. I would argue that interpreting these complex studies requires an in-depth understanding of medical research design, psychopharmacology, and the numerous confounds that can affect treatment outcome. Unfortunately, a lack of medical training has not stopped a few critics from confidently charging that psychiatrists are harming their patients by prescribing long-term AP treatment.’ This is, of course filibuster and rubbish but it’s what the powers that be, hear. (Phil Hickey tackled THIS piece)
    Earlier this year, Professor John Read wrote 3 linked articles for MIA about this case and explained how the authorities shut down all attempts to expose/control these doctors for what was, I agree, criminal behaviour. THAT is why it is almost impossible to get justice, to control or even challenge rogue behaviour, and most of all, to change the status quo.
    The medical profession protects its own as well, so outrage from other disciplines e.g. neurology, isn’t forthcoming either. We’re talking about power and money, something that few will ever give up willingly, and the medical profession, having taken over from the church, is in the box seat for both. So unless there is a huge revolution, nothing’s going to change soon.

    What I tried to do was set up a precedent to establish that ECT caused brain injury in order to force governments to pay for rehab for victims, thus embarrassing them (they pay for the ECT), and costing the taxpayer even more money, and to set the scene for a class action. I, at considerable personal cost, got my very cooperative GP to schedule an MRI brain scan and neuropsychological tests. These are not covered by Medicare (Australia). The results showed brain damage as I knew they would. I then got her to refer me to a neurologist. I did not tell him that I’d had ECT because I knew I’d be dismissed. He confirmed brain damage and I asked him to refer me to neurological rehab which he did. Then I told him that the only brain injury I’d ever had was from ECT. He knew almost nothing about it but that’s OK, neither did the doc who prescribed it. He also was appalled that psychiatrists use cingulatomy etc for behaviour as this was developed as a last resort for recalcitrant epilepsy.
    My aim was to set a precedent where the medical profession outside psychiatry, recognises that ECT causes lasting brain trauma requiring rehab. Few if any are warned of this so there should be a case for litigation. Can you imagine the impact of hundreds if not thousands of people lining up for help for their Acquired Brain Injury? How embarrassing would it be for psychiatrists to please explain why all the patients they treated are injured? How disturbed the doctors’ insurance companies will be when the damages bills start coming in? How happy the lawyers will be to have huge class actions to conduct and win?
    As long as we try to sue psychiatrists with just our results we’ll get nowhere, but with confirmation by neurologists, maybe there’s a chance.
    I’ve posted this suggestion for over a year now in an attempt to get people to organise a movement with a distinct aim, and a set of procedures to DO IT. I even attempted to set up a group myself. I got 3 responses, one a Scientologist.
    I live in Melbourne Australia, I am getting old, I have never been a committee type person and couldn’t organise myself out of a plastic bag. I am also just getting my life back after 15 years and don’t have too many left. I’ve shown it can be done and I want to hand the idea over to someone a) more central, numbers are important, b) younger, stronger and more dynamic, c) with greater legal expertise and d) without significant brain damage, maybe a friend, relative or activist who would have more credibility than an ex `patient’.
    People on this site and many others complain, and bitch about how awful it all is but when someone comes up with a practical suggestion, it is shunted aside in a sea of rhetoric, or ignored. Is complaining so cathartic and pleasurable that solutions are seen as interfering with the fun? Are we just as much wankers as the psychiatric `researchers’?
    I still believe it can be done but one person at a time will achieve nothing.

  • Deirdre Oliver here, Jim…Yes, that chapter is excellent and so true. I worked in a large mental hospital in the 1970s and was considered a bit `radical’. When I refused to wear a uniform, I was told that my authority would be lost, that I would be taken advantage of, but worst of all that I would be mistaken for a patient. When I pointed out that we were all human beings, some of the senior nurses became very angry with me, but because they needed my expertise I was indulged. It took many months before people began to realise that there were no issues and gradually more and more nurses took off their uniforms, if not all their attitude.
    30 years later, as a patient, I noted the uniforms were back, prominent ID cards separated patient and staff, some even said `DOCTOR’ in large letters. I asked one of them if that was to reassure him or the patients? He looked confused and scurried away.
    Unlike during my time where I spent most of my day talking to patients, the staff had withdrawn to the office, their only contact being at a patient’s request, occasionally, often briefly and reluctantly, and to administer meds. Everything Rosenhan described in the 1970s about avoidance, no eye contact, etc is still true today.
    As I recall, where I worked in the 70s there was an air of hope for change, we were excited by what was a kind of approach to treatment that Open Dialogue later ran with. I left in 1975 when it was clear that we were going to be shut down;
    we were, the system won.

  • We also need to understand that those who work in an instuitutional system are as much prisoners of it as their charges and sadly I doubt very many psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and attendants have read Irving Goffman’s `Asylums’. As Dostoyevsky among others has said,
    `When a man has unlimited power over the flesh and blood of his fellow men, when a man is in a position to degrade another human being to the limit of degradation, he is unable to resist the temptation to do wrong. Tyranny is a habit. In the end it becomes a disease. The best man in the world becomes so brutalized as to be undistinguishable from a wild beast’.
    Who is sicker here?
    Without insight, honour, honesty and morality have left the building.

  • Can I ask WHY the hospitals are so eager to fight so hard for the right to take people from their homes and lock them up? That they are prepared to lie and dissemble to basically CAPTURE people into their system? Is it fear of litigation e.g. if the individual dies or is damaged because they WEREN’T locked up? Surely they should perhaps spend more effort in finding alternatives to highly restrictive, aggressive and expensive interventions that the people don’t want or need. There seems to be a rather pathological power issue here – a need to WIN. This is the pathology of the authorities who perhaps feel their control and thereby self esteem, will be threatened by showing `weakness’.

  • Yes Fiachra, you’re absolutely right. If you look up the descriptions the old psychoanalysts used, many of them mention anxiety as a core factor.
    Freud – a withdrawal of emotional investment in external or internal objects secondary to what we would today call a narcissistic injury – positive symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions were restitutional, i.e., attempts at self-cure.
    Edith Jacobson – lack of differentiation between self and other.
    Jung – feeling-toned pathogenic complexes and trauma
    Harry Stack Sullivan – severe and dissociative warping of the personality and self-esteem – severe anxiety and loneliness.
    Melanie Klein – projective identification, a feeling of falling into bits –
    Bion – terror: a fear of being eaten up not just by the therapist or hospital, but by her or himself as well –
    Herbert Rosenfeld – paranoid reaction of being colonized and invaded because of pathological projective identification – a defense around unthinkable, primitive agonies.
    Elvin Semrad, and David Garfield – the result of ego breakdown triggered by unbearable anxiety and other affects
    Margaret Mahler – a derailment in separation-individuation with symbiotic deficits
    Frieda Fromm-Reichmann – strong conflicts between dependency and hostility.
    Kohut – paranoid delusions as a psychologically meaningful way of expressing emotional states).
    Lacan – imaginary and symbiotic entanglements with the primary caregiver
    Gaetano Benedetti and Maurizio Peciccia – always self-loss – at the poles of autonomy or relatedness.
    And when I worked in psychiatry in the 1970s we ALWAYS called the drugs `tranquillizers’, minor – Valium, which we didn’t use because it was addictive, and major – Largactil etc. I didn’t hear the term `anti-psychotics’ until well after I fell under the psych bus in 2000. In fact I was given them for sleeping! And then for the `bipolar’ I never had. After 13 years I got away and am now perfectly well and totally drug free.

  • I was writing in response to Jill Littrell, PhD’s search for bio psych -iatry or -ology as an aim for…what? Unlike her I don’t think they’ll stop when they get an alternative because the only alternative that they’ll recognise is another drug. There ARE alternatives but psychiatrists don’t want them because they’ll lose too much. Status, power, and MONEY. The big three. Hitler stayed put, long after it was clear that his resignation and negotiation might have saved his people a lot more grief. Louis XVI, the Duke of Athens, Nicholas II and Napoleon stayed put, subjecting their people to the chaos of a revolution and even worse tyranny. No, psychiatry will never relinquish control – willingly. It must be a bit nerve wracking for the rank and file who may well be seeing the tide coming in, but then cognitive dissonance responds quite well to denial, for a time.

  • Why would they? Without medications to prescribe their entire ethos is under question. `Real’ doctors write prescriptions, that’s what they do. And why is hearing voices such an issue anyway? If you listen to the Hearing Voices network, many perfectly functional people in the community hear `voices’, and many of them thoroughly enjoy the experience. The only problem appears to be when the voices are offensive, abusive and frightening, and when understood as an expression of the individual’s life experience, may be therapeutic. We really need to look towards functional therapies as the major goal in helping distressed people. I have serious reservations about the amount of time and money being poured into the search for biological causes of the distress where little is gained, in place of effective treatments such as psychotherapy. Perhaps equal amounts might serve the sufferers far better. It’s lovely to know what happens in dementia, it might eventually be useful to know WHY it happens, but in the meantime we have to deal with the outcomes right NOW anyway.
    If I was hallucinating and the voices were abusive and frightening, I would much rather learn to deal with that via support and psychotherapy so I can live a normal life.
    Before you call me a shortsighted Luddite, I agree that if we can find causes we should, but I believe it is very shortsighted to break down the causes of emotional suffering into component parts. Does it matter whether the dopamine system is responsible for auditory hallucinations? Does it matter what bit is not working properly when WHY it isn’t is related to the awful abuse this person suffered as a small child? Do all those malfunctioning bits come together when the individual goes through the Open Dialogue process and recovers after just talking it all through, anyway? Instead of always looking for DISorders, maybe we should search for why people get well and how THAT happens.

  • We don’t need to hunt them down, we know who they are. The problem is that psychiatrists are near enough to teflon coated when it comes to retribution. Their claims are based on opinion only so they get a coterie of mates around to support their opinions about why they did what they did and no one can say nay. Judges respect the professional status of the `doctor’, the law supports that the opinion of a professionally trained psychiatrist is to be taken over that of others, including defense lawyers and human rights groups/advocates who `don’t understand’ the medical details of the matter. A prominent US psychiatrist, often quoted here, Dr Ron Pies recently wrote re the value of antipsychotic drugs `…a commentary on some recent studies and their sometimes controversial interpretation. I would argue that interpreting these complex studies requires an in-depth understanding of medical research design, psychopharmacology, and the numerous confounds that can affect treatment outcome. Unfortunately, a lack of medical training has not stopped a few critics from confidently charging that psychiatrists are harming their patients by prescribing long-term AP treatment.’ This is, of course filibuster and rubbish but it’s what the powers that be, hear. (Phil Hickey tackled THIS piece)
    Earlier this year, Professor John Read wrote 3 linked articles for MIA about this case and explained how the authorities shut down all attempts to expose/control these doctors for what was, I agree, criminal behaviour. THAT is why it is almost impossible to get justice, to control or even challenge rogue behaviour, and most of all, to change the status quo.
    The medical profession protects its own as well, so outrage from other disciplines e.g. neurology, isn’t forthcoming either. We’re talking about power and money, something that few will ever give up willingly, and the medical profession, having taken over from the church, is in the box seat for both. So unless there is a huge revolution, nothing’s going to change soon and Dostoyevsky’s – `When a man has unlimited power over the flesh and blood of his fellow men, when a man is in a position to degrade another human being to the limit of degradation, he is unable to resist the temptation to do wrong. Tyranny is a habit. In the end it becomes a disease. The best man in the world becomes so brutalized as to be indistinguishable from a wild beast’, will continue to reign.

  • He was locked in, often shackled, had a `special’ nurse at his side, was escorted for his cigarette breaks (10 minutes) AND after 20 -30 ECT treatments then 40 -50 – 60 -70 – 80 – 90, he was so brain injured that simply didn’t have the ability to PLAN anything. I set up an interview with a legal service after he’d had 30 or so ECT treatments but he was unable to initiate the contact by himself, and since this service required him to personally request help, none was forthcoming. In fact I had to put the words into his mouth for the in ital contact but a few hours later he didn’t remember what to do. I suggest you check information on Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury to see exactly why Garth wasn’t able to help himself.

  • Unfortunately the corrupt system is the government, its powerful allies and a propensity to suppress any publicity that might embarrass it. Cognitive dissonance is not exclusive. “[A] criminalizing ingredient of governing consists in the incessant bombardment of government by a multitude of contradictory interests of various persons and groups. The. government is the focal point of the relentless pressures of clashing interests which the rulers, as legislators, judges, or executives, have incessantly to resolve. These pressures generate inner conflicts in the minds and conduct of the rulers. When one is subjected continuously to the contradictory stimuli of this sort, ones moral integrity and mental sanity tend to become fragmented, confused, and often self-contradictory.” Sorokin & Lunden
    Dostoyevsky said, `When a man has unlimited power over the flesh and blood of his fellow men, when a man is in a position to degrade another human being to the limit of degradation, he is unable to resist the temptation to do wrong. Tyranny is a habit. In the end it becomes a disease. The best man in the world becomes so brutalized as to be undistinguishable from a wild beast’.
    The resolutions of one man, or a few men, or large organisations of people without power or money are unlikely to overturn the institutions of establishment power, are they?
    To overthrow the tyrant, Machiavelli points out that…`conspiracies conducted by a handful of men acting secretly invariably meet tragic ends, Open revolts involving large numbers of people do not.’
    The overthrow of the Duke of Athens involved the `great, the people, the artisans’ – they may begin as secret conspiracies [until] the secret is shared’ .
    We are ALL responsible.

  • A major initial problem was legal pressure from Garth’s father exposing illegalities in the involuntary use of ECT during his last admission. I was present when, following a tribunal on 28/9/15 where the issue had come up and was deflected by the lawyer on the panel, the psychiatrist in charge, J S, made a threat directly to Mr Daniels senior’s face that he would apply again and again for ECT as he saw fit. It was an aggressive, unnecessary and chilling thing to do. During the next 6 months Garth’s treating doctor, S M, frequently behaved in a vindictive, spiteful way such as giving Garth ECT on Xmas day.
    I believe Garth was being punished for his family’s attempts to protect him. The family was eventually legally overwhelmed by the deep legal pockets and systematic corruption of the Government of Victoria. It was a frightening abuse of the power of the state supported psychiatric lobby and augers ill for anyone attempting to question it.
    PS The draft for the new Mental Health Act of Victoria, July 2014, had a clause that banned ECT for children under 14 as a result of 6 years of consensus by various relevant parties. The draft that was presented to parliament did not contain that clause. The change was not known to parties involved other than the RANZCP until a few days before the act was tabled and it was too late to discuss the matter.
    This matter has exposed the mental health system as corrupt, dishonest and frighteningly powerful.

  • Some issues.
    1. Why is there a need for forced treatment at all? People who are emotionally overwhelmed are usually aware that they need help. Even the most disturbed, out of touch person might accept treatment if what was offered was helpful.
    2. Why is psychiatry the only `medical discipline’ permitted to force people to accept its singular form of treatment? If a diabetic refuses to take insulin, his doctors may not force him to take it even if death is the result. If a religious individual refuses blood transfusions, that is considered his right.
    3. Why is psychiatry the only medical discipline with a large and growing movement dedicated to destroying it?
    4. Trust in the therapist is known to be the major factor in helping people in overwhelmed states of mind. How is it possible to trust someone who forces his/her opinions and will on you whether you like it or not? Without trust the doctor will do no better than control.

  • And should be prosecuted. Unfortunately most jurisdictions have Statutes of Limitations. By the time the bad effects appear, if they are recognised and accepted as the results of the drugs at all, the envelope of time for litigation has passed.
    Here in Australia, the Statute of Limitations was changed (to admit reptrospective evidence from 40+ years ago) to allow prosecution for the sexual abuse of children in schools and institutions by the churches and other organsations. BUT, while everyone is outraged by sexual abuse in children, who is outraged by medical abuse of children? For generations people said, no, that couldn’t have happened, he was a PRIEST!’ Now they’re saying it can’t be abuse, `he is a DOCTOR!’
    And doctors get off on that so, even in the face of rogue behaviour, they mount an almost impregnable solid front, for guild and financial reasons, which will be very difficult to surmount,
    If they admit they’re wrong about ADHD, the whole edifice could come tumbling down, so they won’t. Cognitive dissonance rules.

  • I guess, the supply of Ritalin, Adderall etc to the more entrepreneurial kids will work. They won’t take it but they’ll be concentrating in class okay as they develop their business plan to market it. Another success is among the kids whose parents take and sell the meds. The kids get happy parents off their backs and/or buckle down and work because Mum and Dad will beat the living crap out of them if they tell.

  • Machiavelli: “…the conspiracy may make the tyrant afraid and his excessive reaction may make him even more hated which will spell the end of his illegitimate rule –
    BUT… “do most people want this group to make the decision on their behalf? Do they trust them to make a better order than the existing one?”
    Alternatively – Organised popular uprising – `conspiracies conducted by a handful of men acting secretly invariably meet tragic ends, Open revolts involving large numbers of people do not.’
    The overthrow of the Duke of Athens involved the `great, the people, the artisans’ – they may begin as secret conspiracies [until] the secret is shared.’
    There IS momentum. The UK parliament is entertaining the possibility that psychotropic drugs are making matter worse and more EXPENSIVE. Whitaker, Critical Psychiatry and Evidenced Based Psychiatry are being heard in PUBLIC. There is public outcry at the drugging of foster children in parts of the US, the value of drugs in ADHD is being questioned in the major media in Australia, drug rep access to doctors is being restricted also in Australia, The Lancet and BMJ have published Study 329 (the Paxil fraud) – the Cochrane Collaboration exposure of SSRIs and suicide – The Maudsley debated psychotropics (2015)-
    The press is just beginning to publish a mix now, not just establishment unquestioned. Wait until the birth defects from SSRIs gets about – THAT could be the catalyst. That’s what got rid of Thalidomide and started a protocol, somewhat buried right now, probably because of $$$, but damaged babies is a huge and very emotional issue. Perhaps we should push this – scientific conservatism by authorities may well be seen as cover-ups and denial by worried people, so the impact of suggestion could be enormous.

  • For the poor little sods whose only chance to say NO was, `unable to swallow pills’, all hope is now gone! What about putting ALL psychoactive substances in nice colourful, tasty, `chewy’ form and we can have everyone under drug control just like `1984′! An obedient, unquestioning, SANE population, eager to get their thrills from meds that come in many flavours, sweet, savoury, BBQ, Tangy and happy to pay, pay, PAY. My, what will the drug companies DO with all that money? If they buy a few countries, as they can already afford to do, they’ll have complete captive, sorry, eager, populations of volunteers all of their own to do their testing, and there’ll be no NEED to worry about those occasionally pesky regulators, the ones they haven’t paid off. Since they can make their own laws it could be a capital crime to dissent. Lovely, George Orwell was spot on, wasn’t he?
    Can you imagine the possibilities here? Kid leaves lunch box lying about, smaller kid finds it, finds `sweets’… Teenager leaves bedroom door open. baby wanders in…Kid hands out `sweets’ to mates as `sharing exercise…tastes nice, I’ll just have another one…
    Have the marketing people AND the regulatory bodies lost not just their imagination but their REASON? Is money so important that they have surrendered their intelligence? How many deaths will it take for OOPS! to happen?
    This is a tragedy and a crime against our children. I can only hope that one day the perpetrators of this holocaust will be brought down and forced to answer for it, but I fear that an entire generation will be destroyed first. After all it was only AFTER 6 million Jews were dead that anyone did anything. The difference is that we KNOW so if we do nothing, we are as guilty as the PPA (Psychiatry Pharm Alliance).

    There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. Nelson Mandela

  • I agree with the evidence against the medical drug culture, the press support for big business and the fears for our society’s future, Dr Healy, but I question your suggestion for a resolution. The revolution has begun and you are at the forefront, but the risk is always – `the king is dead, long live the king’, the fear that the new order may exceed the old in its oppression. Your suggestion that `the only kind of business that will be sustainable in the longer run…is one that is science-based, which means data-based’, may seem reasonable and rational, but we must remember history and how we got here – “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” – Plato
    There are many, including practitioners, who would exclude medicine from science in its entirety anyway. There are many more who would consider a science based `Promised Land’ a place not worth living in. The richest of human experience includes spirituality, the arts, music, literature and science, possibly in that order. Can there be a `data base’ for the experience of grief? Can there be a `data base’ for for the madness that is being `in love’? How do we `assess’ those people who think in spiritual flights of fancy against a `data base’? Should we?
    One of the major problems our society faces is the huge increase in the power of the medical profession. It seems that, fully supported by the media, and fueled by the various medical guilds and big business, it is pushing health, illness, health, as the foremost aspect of our existence, often, it seems to me, to the exclusion of all else. A medical story will get priority over almost anything short of murder, mayhem and/or major disaster. Television is swamped by fictional and real life medical programs, the news is full of medical `breakthroughs’ and tragic/inspiring medical outcomes.
    This is understandable because of course we all want to be healthy and live long lives, but the stated aim and claim that medicine will rid us of cancer, heart disease, and all else that ails us including emotional stress, by `evidence based science’ if we only throw enough money and worship at it, misses the point. We will all die. It is living that we need to deal with. What benefit is long life in a society without love, respect, caring, or hope? These are social issues not medical ones. We can’t say that all our problems will be solved if we are well and live long lives any more than we can say money makes happiness. Good health, and money, might make misery less onerous but it is still misery.
    The aim at long life, at protracted medical intervention that might make our lives unspeakably miserable surely distorts what surely could be our true aim to live as fulfilled and meaningful a life as possible. Why did I as the guardian of my 93 year old mother who had Alzheimer’s, have to ask the doctors NOT to intervene if she became ill? What happened the the `old man’s friend’, pneumonia? Why did my friend with advanced ovarian cancer endure hell on earth from chemotherapy for her last 6 months of life when it was clear that death would be the outcome? Why was I supposed to cause pain and misery for an old lady with something that would not have prolonged her life and would have made her dying so much worse, on the orders of a young doctor who hadn’t understood that everyone dies?
    No, David Healy, the Promised Land will not happen as a consequence of data bases and science, that is only a very small section of our understanding of life.
    And, by the way, have you re-considered ECT yet?

  • Clearly invented by men FOR men. They don’t like it when a lady says no – it must be her not them.

    “one-half additional satisfying sexual event per month while statistically and clinically significantly increasing the risk of dizziness, somnolence, nausea, and fatigue.” Yeah, give ‘em, a half an orgasm a month and all the reasons not to want to bother.

    “ women not in a stable, communicative, heterosexual relationship were excluded from participation.” “persistently or recurrently deficient or absent sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity,” leading to distress and interpersonal difficulties.” Were they? Maybe the others were doing just fine?
    These were probably the women most likely to not want sex with the boring, fat, smelly old fart they’d lived with for 20 years. The sexual fantasies they probably didn’t mention were the ones they didn’t want their husbands/partners to maybe find out about, like the fit, handsome young man who does the mowing, or maybe the young interviewer.

    “flibanserin targets the brain, and must be taken daily”. – well we know that unlike men, a women’s sexuality is more in her mind than her ****, but this is ridiculous.

    Of course another major factor just MIGHT be the antidepressants women are on three times as often as men!

  • I agree that psychiatry must and will fall down. My fear is that we won’t have anything to replace it that will be strong enough to resist the force of a new tyrant pouring into the vaccuum. Revolutions have a great history of tearing the oppressor down, not so much with what replaces him. Robespierre was worse than Louis, Stalin even more oppressive than the Tsars.
    As Plato said “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” That is how psychiatry got its feet in the door, how do we make sure that whatever takes its place isn’t worse?
    I work hard to destroy the appalling tyrant that is the PAA (Psychiatry Pharma Alliance) but I want to build something in its place, too.
    Remember, the robber barons will always exist. and will always step up to the plate.

  • THANK YOU! I’m sorry but most of this `discussion has been almost, if not more of a w**k than a smug, group of `research’ psychiatrists working out how to get yet another grant from the government. At least they’re thinking of ways to get something. I’m out of it. Come up with solutions or shut up!

  • Unfortunately there will always be the low grade graduates with few options for a high paying specialty that requires little academic ability and less work, along with those with psychopathic tendencies and/or a desire for power and few other options because of their own inadequacies, who will fill the breeches. As long as the law supports the involuntary treatment of people, this will lead/is leading to a concentration of poor quality, and aggressively defensive people in positions of power that they will almost certainly abuse. It will be much worse for the patient as these inadequates struggle to maintain their position in the face of changes they are incapable, for many reasons, of adjusting to.

  • Peer X – You are my hero. You are the new way – except it is the old way, too. There have always been people like you, even amongst the trained professionals, but they have so often been shut down, bullied, and moved on or kicked out that, for self preservation, most have given up and joined the enemy (see Bonnie Burstow’s book ‘Psychiatry and the Business of Madness’). Somehow the principles you espouse, which I might add are those of maturity and insight, need to be packaged and taught. But it could be difficult to find enough people with the required attributes to teach such things to. First there has to be a desire to learn it, an acceptance of humility (surely in a Christian society this shouldn’t be too hard to find -LOL), and the deregulation of the power differential. Not too many will like that! I’m scrambling a but here but I think it’s always going to mean the few. I think Open Dialogue has managed to reduce the effects of hierarchy based on qualifications to a degree, and Soteria House did/does. It CAN happen as a movement but mostly, like you, it’s going to be one at a time. I was more a friend than a `therapist’ when I worked way back, and I constantly worried that someone would find out and my academic reputation would suffer. Luckily on a couple of occasions I was put to good use and we had a marvellous time, the `patients’ and me. It can be so frustrating to see the bad guys get the credit, but if even one of these arrogant, insightless sods DOES by osmosis, get it, you’ve succeeded in a huge way, because they just might pass it on. Meanwhile one by one is good enough for God…so…Please keep going, and every part of me wishes you well. Maybe someone, one of your `patients’, could recommend you for an award? The recommendations can be anonymous can’t they? Perhaps we here could do it? Imagine?

  • Oh and Peter Breggin appeared before a Senate committee in 2010 regarding antidepressants, suicide and violence in veterans. 2010! His case was unassailable I thought, but NOTHING has changed. Instead they’ve now added ECT SHOCK to treat the suicidal effects of antidepressants! These people will do anything, sacrifice anything and anyone, lie, cheat and kill to keep their place. They have to GO.

  • Absolutely. I believe the only thing that will turn the tide is MONEY. If governments = tax payers, realise they paying out huge amounts of money to keep people a) in hospitals and b) on welfare, as well as forking out for the drugs and shock that CAUSE people to NEED to go on welfare, they might start asking questions. (This is already starting in the UK with the government inquiry into antidepressant use – and a small article in the Australian Medical Journal). These moves are very tentative but governments are sensitive to taxpayers asking questions. The problem of course is that politicians are beholden to donations and I suspect the APA is VERY supportive in this. Sadly, corruption breeds corruption.
    Bring up the cost to the taxpayer of these screening programs as they stand now and estimate the cost of putting vastly more numbers of people on expensive drugs that will ultimately prevent them from working etc etc. I estimated on figures from 2010 in Australia that a single patient receiving ECT alone would cost the government approximately $75,000 in a single year + plus future welfare payments, and the same patient receiving no ECT, on full support for psychotherapy would cost $17,000 in a single year. Of course we have government funded universal health insurance as does the UK, but you get the idea.
    I know that the insurance companies are anxious about the chronic nature of psychiatric treatment as one attempted to implement a therapy program to keep people out of hospitals, so they could benefit from a comprehensive run down of what is happening, and the rorts perpetrated by psychiatrists. (There are plenty but they’re not getting caught because neither the patient nor the insurance clerks know what is being billed.) Are they aware that they are paying far and away more costs than they need to for `illnesses that should not be chronic, lifetime sentences? Okay, they just up their premiums, but more and more people are winging it without insurance because of this.
    Cutting off funding for psychiatry is the best way to stop them.
    As for the legal/human rights issues, do law students do doctorates? Could a thesis involve investigating the legal/ethical/moral issues surrounding compulsory medical care? Only a very young person would attempt this as ideals disappear as incomes increase, but maybe there are still SOME revolutionaries around. Bring back the 1960s, Gay Rights, Women’s Lib, Make Love not War.
    Jim Gottstein has tried, surely there are others amongst your 250 million people, our 24 million and the UKs 80(?) million, as well as the Europeans and others who value ideals more than money?
    India had Ghandi, South Africa had Mandela, can we find NO ONE?

  • ` Hostile to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction.’ The first tenet of pseudioscience is also a clear indication that concern for the patient is secondary to self interest, i.e. money, status, and power. Cognitive dissonance is created by the conflict between one’s actual performance and the TRUTH. `Cognitive dissonance’ the more one invests in a belief, the more value one will place in this belief and, as a consequence, be more resistant to facts, evidence or reality that contradict this belief.
    Then we have the `True-believer syndrome’, the phenomenon whereby no amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary…No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie.”(Witness `Creationism’)
    And, `Confirmation bias’ which contributes to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain beliefs after the evidence for them is shown to be false. This is contrary to scientific thinking which is the search for falsifying as well as confirming evidence.
    The prerequisite psychological (delete logical), profile for candidates for psychiatry must include these forms of self-deception. Of course some may come to maturity via a critical mind, and the only ways to deal with the accompanying cognitive dissonance is a) denial; b) keep quiet and take the money i.e. the psychopath’s way; c) have a breakdown/drink/take drugs; d) change your ways; e) become a reformer. The last 2 happen but are rare. See Critical Psychiatry, Peter Breggin et al, Council for Evidence Based Medicine (are they doctors).

  • There’s not a lot of incentive to overcome ignorance when your livelihood depends on it. But they must be getting anxious because Ron Pies keeps on writing ambiguous pieces for the Psychiatric Times where he attempts to play on the bio team and the `psychosocial’ team at the same time. In doing this he treads on his own feet so often that it’s becoming clear he has a ridicule wish. His contradictions invite people like Robert Whitaker and Phil Hickey to take him apart again and again, and what gets me is that he still can’t see it! Frances also has denial down to a fine art. He decries the DSM V and its embracing of ADHD and seems to have forgotten that he almost singlehandedly INVENTED it in the DSM IV. Do these people think everyone is stupid or is it their stupidity that stops them seeing how truly stupid they look?

  • This is what I wrote when I first read Pies’ piece in the Psychiatric Times in February…I didn’t send it because I knew Robert would write something.
    “Dr Pies: “I would argue that interpreting these complex studies requires an in-depth understanding of medical research design, psychopharmacology, and the numerous confounds that can affect treatment outcome. Unfortunately, a lack of medical training has not stopped a few critics from confidently charging that psychiatrists are harming their patients by prescribing long-term AP treatment.”
    Surely you’re not suggesting, Dr Pies, that people without medical training do not have an understanding of research design, psychopharmacology and confounds. Research design is a major part and dare I say, proportionately greater percentage of many disciplines other than traditional medicine. Also there are many critics of long term psychiatric drug use who are highly medically trained, e.g. Dr Peter Goetzsche founder of the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration (quoted below but ascribed to Robert Whitaker), Dr Joanna Moncrieff, Dr Pat Bracken, Dr Terry Lynch, Dr Peter Breggin, Dr David Healy, Dr. Marcia Angell, among many, and increasingly, more.
    Then there is a large group of highly scientifically trained researchers who might be surprised to be told that their observations are inadequate because they have not qualified as medical doctors. I’m not sure but appears to be a tiny whiff of a suggestion that there is a conspiracy by these inadequate critics to undermine psychiatry?
    – And perhaps it is bit disingenuous to suggest that if a person gets well without antipsychotic medication they didn’t have the disease? Here you appear to take as read that schizophrenia is a discrete and `very chronic illness’ and therefore if people recover, it can’t be schizophrenia. Given that current diagnostic constructs fail to reach even minimal scientific reliability levels, is it really possible to make such a claim? This might question the validity of the use of antipsychotics, not only in the long term, but at all.
    – Whilst you have given us an extremely detailed analysis of the Harrow, Wunderink and Sohler studies, we don’t seem to have a similarly rigorous examination of the studies from China and India. Perhaps at another time.
    I’d like to take issue with your emphasis that the Sohler study found that while, `these data were also inadequate to conclusively evaluate whether long-term antipsychotic medication treatment results in better outcomes on average’;…The authors explicitly state, “Our study did not support the hypothesis that long-term treatment with antipsychotic medication causes harm.”
    First, even if the were no evidence of physiological damage caused by along term AP use, and that `schizophrenic’ symptoms are not made worse, we have to consider whether it is harmful to spend year after year taking drugs that provide little or no benefit, have a plethora of, at best, uncomfortable, at worst, debilitating, isolating and potentially deadly side effects such as Tardive Dyskinesia, chronic akathesia, emotional and intellectual dulling, obesity, diabetes and death 20-25 years earlier than the population average. Is is `harmful’ to be a marginalised welfare `patient’, stigmatised, hopeless, depressed and socially disadvantaged for life, with no hope of recovery and no help from the `so-called’ treatment? In any illness, particularly a `mental illness’ surely the psychological effects of the medications are least as important as the physiological effects.
    – Could we also have definition of `outcomes’? This seems to be assessed by psychiatrists as a reduction of symptoms, a clear illustration of the medical model at work. However for the person, an acceptable outcome might be the ability to work, to have a family and friends, i.e. live a `normal’ life. This may be, and often is, achieved despite having often quite substantial residual and/or recurring, `symptoms’, as the Hearing Voices movement so graphically demonstrates.
    – I find it interesting that you have omitted the surveys done in India, Nigeria and Colombia by WHO in the 1990s, where the recovery rate from schizophrenia was approximately 60% in those without drug treatment but 16% with it. The severity of the illness was not an issue, poverty and unavailability of medication was. It is also interesting to note that more recent surveys, where western psychiatric practices have increased, indicate that the recovery rate in these countries is declining.
    – More interesting is your failure to mention programs such as Open Dialogue, the Soteria House Project and Hearing Voices. All of these initiatives involve minimal or no psychotropic drug use and all appear to have extremely good outcomes for psychosis. Open Dialogue and Soteria have been operating for over 30 years with a success rate of over 80% functional recovery rate, and whilst Hearing Voices is relatively new, its success rate for allowing people to live meaningful lives in the community is promising. None of these decry the total use of antipsychotic drugs but use them very sparingly and with the full involvement of the individual. Most only take them in the short term and many never do.
    – Finally, we should remember that the public, in other words, “users of mental health services, have a strong preference for psycho-social explanations and treatments. In 24 of 25 countries where surveys have been conducted the public believes that social factors play a much greater role than genes or chemical imbalances in the etiology of mental health problems, with the only exception being the USA. Similarly, in 14 out of 15 countries the public prefers talking therapies and social support to drugs or electroshock.” (Professor John Read 2016)
    The fact that a program providing psychotherapy training for psychiatrists has recently been closed down because of a lack of interest indicates that psychiatry is not in sync with what the public wants. Where more and more the evidence supports that social and psychological intervention produces the most successful outcomes for even very severe psychological distress, the constant pursuit of expensive, but to date relatively fruitless scientific activity will not sustain the medical model indefinitely. Maybe the fact the nothing genetic or organic as a cause of mental illness has surfaced after 100 years of searching suggests we should turn to Einstein, `To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.’

    `Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

  • The defense against the very uncomfortable experience of cognitive dissonance is clearly seated in the principles of 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.
    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’
    Pies and Frances are only the most public psychiatric apologists, but those standing on the highest ramparts will be the last to see the tide washing the psychiatry sandcastle away.

  • Jack, he lives at home with his family since he was first admitted 20 years ago. This man, who is one of thousands, most of whom don’t use the `service’ with it’s restrictive environment, forced medication, terrible food, unpleasant staff, coupled with the utter boredom where the most interesting thing on offer is the anticipation of mealtimes, to avoid paying RENT. If you have ever been an inpatient in a mental health institution, and I have, (I was also a psychiatric nurse some 30 years earlier) now, or in the past, you would know that there are much better ways of conning the welfare system than that.

  • Exactly. There is a choice. As I’ve said the drug companies and ECT manufacturers have the aim of selling a product, it’s business, but nobody is forcing psychiatrists to use their products. Surgeons have developed a procedure for controlling previously uncontrolled epilepsy, no one is forcing psychiatrists to use it, and I quote, `for the purpose of altering… thoughts, emotions or behaviour’. To choose to remove the rights of their fellow citizens indicates that they are capable of denial to a pathological degree in their daily lives. Never let it be said that many have disturbed sleep, or suffer pangs of conscience, but what do they say when their own politicised and passionate child questions their actions? Smile sadly and medicate them? Or do the children of psychiatrists learn denial at their parent’s knee. They are the masters of it after all. Is there ANY other profession that has these powers? The law requires evidence and procedures, the police may not arbitarily lock someone up on a suspicion without some regard to proof of action for 72 hours, incommunicado. Only a person accused of a `mental illness’ can be incarcerated on a prediction that he or she MIGHT do something. Nobody else can be locked up unless something has actually HAPPENED! Psychiatrists admit they can’t predict violence. In both the US and UK, the APA & the RCP have said in writing that they cannot take responsibility for violence/suicide because they CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO ABLE TO PREDICT IT! So why do they still have the power to DO IT? Is it only fear of litigation? If that’s the case, then why don’t the police lock up every loitering ex con seen on the streets – in case they DO something? Surely the police are afrasid of litigation of one of their `loiterers’ commits a crime and they knew he/she’d done it before. No, he’she gets the benefit of the doubt? Why is this basic logic unseen by the authorities? Psychiatry has no logic associated with it at all but because they are DOCTORS, nobody is noticing.

  • When I worked at a large old mental hospital back in the 1970s we used to say the place was full of lunatics and psychopaths, the staff. Back then, before the bio takeover was complete, we were trying an Open Dialogue type approach with follow up social intervention. We admitted it was trial and error but really hoped and believed we were on to something. It was shut down. A theatre program set up by a charge nurse who believed his `schizophrenic’ kids (16 – 24) would benefit from music and the performing arts, that he and I ran, very successfully (nobody had a psychotic episode during the 6 months it ran – everyone had one when it ended), was never repeated.
    When I fell under the psychiatric bus 30 years later, the hope had gone. Where we did away with drugs and ECT, now everyone KNEW that drugs and ECT were the real answer. Where we were encouraged to `engage’ with the `patients’, to find out how they felt, now this is considered unhelpful!? It wasn’t brilliant, there were always issues as in any institution with a power imbalance, but where once there was hope for something better, now there is a belief that they, the professionals have got it right and it is the patient’s fault if it doesn’t work. This attitude as well as the poor quality of education in ALL psychiatric workers prevents empathy, insight and most of all humility. “There but for the grace of god go I” has not permeated the psychiatric system at all. It has to reform or go.

  • Sadly this means that the `elated’ psychiatrist will continue to believe that his intervention was successful and will continue to drug all comers, smugly claiming success. It would be far better if this individual tells the doctor that his recovery was in spite of and without the drugs and suggest that the doctor RETHINK.
    THis is why they continue to poison thousands of people and call the naysayers, liars.

  • Why can I not reply directly, Jack Daniels? “Every single welfare system in Western Society has regularly scheduled check ups in order to continue to receive welfare for a mental disability. They don’t get welfare if their able to work, so being treated is the how they prove their disabled. He voluntarily goes to these ECT and medication treatments so that he can get his government money for survival like it or not.” Sadly you don’t seem to have got onto this. Garth Daniels does NOT go voluntarily to anything. Garth has begged the ECT staff not to do it every time. He spends protracted time shackled to his bed. He has had his `privileges’ e.g. having a 10 minute smoko, severely restricted. He is kept isolated from friends and family, and he has NO SAY whatsoever in what happens to him as he is a ward of the state. He lives in the institution, has no social contacts, no life. Maybe his social security income is accumulating in a bank account somewhere but as a person without rights he has no access to it, now or for the last 9 months. His treatment is totally against his will, though he has acquiesced to drugs in the hope that this would stop the ECT (now well over 90). It has not. Oh, and he now has a severe ABI (acquired brain injury) which will probably mean he will never be able to exist as an independent adult human being again. What a price to pay for about $450.00 a week. Maybe there are SS cheats out there but I can assure you there aren’t many who would willing subject themselves to the mental health system in Victoria to get it. Not after the first encounter at least. Please look up the testimonies of those who have fallen under the mantal health bus, or better yet try it, try it out yourself. It’s easy to con a psychiatrist (see Rosenhan), so you too could live happily on a mental health disability pension. Good luck!

  • I wrote this 2 days ago when I first heard of this –
    Re Dutch giving lethal injection to 20 something year old woman with history of child abuse:
    This is MURDER. If she chose suicide that is her right. But for a doctor to administer an injection is to put her down like an animal. I thought psychiatry had reached its zenith but I was wrong. How long will it be before they kill ALL their failures? How often will a person who might have had a chance to heal AWAY from medicine, die because their plea for help cost them their lives? How often will a person be persuaded that their situation was absolutely hopeless and there was no chance of anything helping by one group of people, who offer death as a solution to their pain? How long will it be before a society wherein this can happen becomes inured to death dealing intervention and sees `for the good of the patient’ become `for the good of our society’? Well, it’s been done before. In Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. Half a million mental patients and 6 million Jews – by PSYCHIATRISTS.

    And for you who go along with euthanasia, `assisted suicide’ or whatever euphemism you want to call `putting to death’, who administers the injection? What does this make them? There should be very few doctors who would be willing to actually do it and I would have serious questions about the psychological profile of those who do.
    Is this the ultimate `furore therapeuticus’, the last desperate NEED of the doctor to DO something, regardless if the outcome. It’s all about him/her – an arrogance with dire results for all of us if it’s allowed to gain momentum.

  • Machievelli found that `conspiracies conducted by a handful of men acting secretly invariably meet tragic ends, Open revolts involving large numbers of people do not.’
    The overthrow of the Duke of Athens involved the `great, the people, the artisans’ – they may begin as secret conspiracies [until] the secret is shared’ – which is what Is happening now.., and must continue.
    The UK parliament is entertaining the possibility that psychotropic drugs are making matter worse and more EXPENSIVE. Whitaker, Critical Psychiatry and Evidenced Based Psychiatry are being heard in PUBLIC. The Lancet and BMJ have published Study 329 (the Paxil fraud) – the Cochrane Collaboration expose on SSRIs and suicide – The Maudsley debated psychotropics – THESE are the places whence legitimacy comes.
    The press is publishing a mix now, not just establishment unquestioned. There IS momentum.
    Practically I suggest: Exposure of crimes in media
    Circulate all adverse drug findings with comments on social media – repeatedly.
    Circulate all stories of human rights abuses – repeatedly. Every story no matter how terrible becomes yesterday’s story very quickly.
    Get to know a list of journalists who have shown even the slightest interest in the the past. Many are hungry for bylines and even the most cautious (of offending drug companies) editors may let the occasional story slip through, particularly human interest stories.
    2. Politics.
    Write to your local member, members in marginal seats and the opposition.
    Find out which, if any, politician, has any sympathies in the mental health field – and why.
    Forward every adverse drug story with the reminder of how much this all COSTS- MONEY is what might bring the pollies in. Philosophical arguments won’t.
    Forward all info on alternative projects like Open Dialogue and Soteria = COST benefits – produce real figures. If we do the work for them and give them a concrete proposal, they can force the psychiatrists to `please explain’.
    Currently litigation (mainly in the US) is settled out of court and gagged. In the interests of public safety this has to stop. Lobby to make it mandatory for ALL settlements to be on the public record.
    3. Legal
    Litigation – class actions +++ no gags. Currently litigation is sparse except in the US. The rest of us have to increase our efforts, no matter how distasteful.
    Report every anomaly in billing, prescribing, unethical behaviour, to appropriate authorities.
    4. Personal
    Get every case file from every psychiatrist and hospital – go through it for ANY anomaly – in billing, clinical relevance (e.g. threats, obvious poor clinical decisions such as ECT for punishment), breaches of confidentiality and ethics, poor record keeping etc.
    Get government printouts (where possible) of all transactions during your treatment periods – you can pick up fraud here.
    Read the Medical Codes of Ethics and spot breaches. A psychiatrist who sits on your bed and massages your toes is assaulting you. If a psychiatrist discusses your case with ANY colleague outside your primary care team and mentions your name without your permission, he/she is breaching confidentiality. If a psychiatrist threatens to discharge you if you don’t do whatever he/she tells you, without arranging for alternative care, he/she is abandoning you and that is illegal. If the doctor you have reported has altered a file, that is illegal.
    Inform private insurance companies of rorts by psychiatrists. Again case notes and gov files may expose doctors and hospitals. Insurance companies could make great allies, they are paying out millions for unsuccessful and/or harmful treatments, for life in many cases. Also litigation for ECT might not get it banned up front, but might increase the premiums to unacceptable levels for those who do it.
    If you believe you have damage as a result of treatment get independent assessments. E.g. ECT and brain damage. I set up an MRI and a neuropsychological assessment to evaluate brain damage. With these results I consulted a neurologist and asked for and got a referral to a neurological rehabilitation unit. I did it to set a precedent. The neurologist agreed I had an Acquired Brain Injury, I had had no other head injury in my life so it had to have come from ECT. I was never informed that this was a possible outcome therefore I now have a case for litigation. Unfortunately I didn’t think of it before the limitation period of 3 years was up. BUT I have been suggesting to others that this be done since May 2015. I believe a few people have done this. Unfortunately the tests are expensive and not covered by Medicare or private insurance. However rather than protests and marches could groups hold fundraisers for specifics like this with a clear aim. The aim is to get help for the individual, get an independent opinion based on concrete evidence i.e. cognitive and structural brain damage,
    gather evidence to set up a class action. to educate another area of medicine as to what is really happening in psychiatry. The neurologist knew virtually nothing about ECT and was totally unaware and shocked that psychiatrists were using Cingulotomy (lobotomy) for psychiatric purposes as it was designed for severe epilepsy.
    All of this requires a lot of effort but if a reform group could produce formulated letters for politicians, insurance companies and law firms, how to apply for personal case files (varies but make a form letter available), a collection of all the incoming science, lists of legal info (e.g. what is required and `how to’ instructions), what constitutes breaches of ethics, fraud etc, and put it all in one place, it might provide focus for a uniform front.
    I think we have to understand that those of us who write here find it easy to express ourselves in writing, most don’t and don’t know where to begin. But, whilst we don’t have the money we do have the numbers. Maybe I’m naive and this is too simplistic, so if anyone has more ideas let’s hear them!

  • Did the Lancet editor, Niall Boyce or Allen Young produce any systematic review that said it DIDN’T happen? Why does the evidence always have to be one way? Easy to fix – check numbers on welfare for psychiatric disability, present them with a questionnaire asking for drug history. Simple. Will they? Not if the psychiatry/pharma alliance (PPA) have anything to do with it. Don’t you just love the way they attack the messenger, 1st tenet of pseudoscience – hostility to criticism. If the psychiatric industry had its patients best interests at heart they should embrace the chance to prove the drugs are NOT causing harm, shouldn’t they?

  • Absolutely! I’ve been on about this for ages. Just writing, picking huge holes in every aspect of psychiatry’s lack of science, and even basic logic, has NO effect whatsoever. I used to write to a psychiatrist I know who is actually a fairly honourable man who means well, that his use of drug company money to fuel his research and his colleagues assertions based on appalling scientific standards, are fundamentally unacceptable- his response, `I’m glad you’re doing well.’ This is a man who claims to respect my intelligence and he believes he does. How much worse is it with most of the rest? Unfortunately I have all but given up. I think it’s all bad but ECT is my field and I don’t know what to do other than burn down the ECT factories and physically destroy all the machines. However, I don’t want to spend my declining years in jail. ALL the research, ALL the history, ALL the people KNOW, but still it goes on and is INCREASING!
    Human right organisations are fond of spouting `motherhood’ statements but don’t achieve anything, as witness the appalling abuse of Garth Daniels in Melbourne. The law is expensive and psychiatry/pharma (PP) have money. The media is owned by advertisers i.e. pharma. Movies cost lots and funding is hard to find (how much movie funding comes from big pharma (?) e.g. `A Beautiful Mind’ had John Nash on drugs.) Debates and publications that expose the harm being done? Ignored and countered by more of the same rhetoric and lies and, as you say, Bruce, by destroyed careers and financial ruin. Governments believe power based authorities, especially doctors, and have huge financial commitments to the status quo. Politicians? Elections are expensive. The public? PP hires the best PR and advertising firms in the world. So HOW? Social media? Word of mouth? Exposing the harm and corruption done? Telling people to stay away? But what else is there they say? Not much that grabs ya, that’s for sure.
    It took a long time to bring down Rome, the Borgias, the Bourbons and the Romanovs, all by force, but even then because they were imploding anyway. Is psychiatry at this point yet? Have we got the necessary `force’ available?

  • I wish they had a branch here. I tried to organise an ECT support group but only got 3 replies in 6 months, one a scientologist. I sent out a call to set up Mindfreedom but got no response. About 10 people came to the world wide protest to ban ECT last May, (see MIA Peter Breggin) – One person who didn’t want to be directly involved, and John Read who offered support re my Press release and talked to a journalist I knew, helped me. Australians are complacent, laid back and will accept almost anything until it directly affects them. I guess it’s being part of belonging to God’s own country and so far away from the mainstream that apathy is the core attribute of my country. I am elderly, tired and a poor organiser, particularly after the brain damage from ECT. Where are the young, active people I knew in my youth as a femininst, and anti Vietnam supporter? Did we get it so right that everything’s OK now? Somebody please step up.

  • A major problem in the Mental `health’ system, along with the prison service and anywhere there is a huge power imbalance sanctioned by the state. As the availability of children attracts pedophiles, those who enjoy power are attracted to institutions full of powerless people. Arguably the most enjoyable thing to most psychopaths is the power they have over others. Their lack of empathy, conscience and compassion coupled with their disdain for the “weakness” of those who DO have these things, enables them to do well in such places. It might be interesting to do a personality survey of staff, including doctors, who work in the public Mental `health’ system, as opposed to the private system where money is a more motivating factor. I suggest we might find a disproportionate number of people on the sociopathic/psychopathic continuum.

  • Thank you for trying. This is almost word for word what I and John Read got from them. The much vaunted `protection’ afforded by the government in the 2014 new Mental Health Act LOOKS good but is a paper tiger. I wonder if anyone’s had any help from them at all? I also pointed out that people are too afraid of repercussions from the staff to complain so that even some dreadful abuse goes unreported. In one case 10 people DID complain about a couple of nurses, it was dismissed because “there was no record of the abuse in the case files”! Like, they’re going to write down `oh, yeah, and I beat up 3 patients today, raped a couple more, and removed leave and privileges from another 5. A great day!” THAT’S what REALLY goes on where the power imbalance is so huge.

  • The justification that Garth Daniels is dangerous does not hold water. ECT is supposed to be a `treatment’, it is to be used to relieve the symptoms of illness, to alleviate distress and to save lives. It is NOT behaviour control. The 3 witnesses to the assault charge against Garth came up with 3 different stories. This has yet to be played out in court but I suggest a good barrister would take the nursing staff apart. I believe the `aggression’ excuse is completely fake. Dr Sarah MacKay’s physical withdrawal from Garth as if she was `afraid’ of him was a very poor performance and I really think she should steer clear of acting as she has no talent for it. I sat with Garth on several occasions and hab=ve absolutely no fear of him at all, but this has been the only symptom put forward for the continued use of ECT. Even if Garth was aggressive, this is NOT a symptom of ANY mental illness. I want to get the nurses under oath with the treat of perjury charges if they lie and see how long it would be before the whole thing falls apart. Sadly these doctors are protected, arrogant and teflon coated.

  • I don’t know but I have thought of it. AHPRA consists of various professional bodies, one of which is the Medical Board of Australia. The problem is that in the eyes of the medical profession ECT is seen as a safe and effective treatment that is being legally prescribed, and there is no legal or professional limit to the number that can be used. The Chief Psychiatrist has, in fact, altered the rules recently, possibly to allow this extreme use. Therefore the Medical Board will not take the opinion of `lesser’ medicos, like Jock McLaren, or any lay person over the authorities. There is also the problem of the `I won’t s**t in your nest if you don’t s**t in mine attitude that pervades all of medicine. The only chance would be a concerted effort by one or more doctors with significant authority, such as neurologists who have examined the patient and found him to be injured by his treatment. First, we can’t get Garth to an independent neurologist for assessment (I’ve tried), and second, even if we did, where would we find one with the guts, morals and ethics to dob the bastards in? Apart from the medical profession, it’s un-Australian to dob on your mates. I have written to the Nursing Board, the RANZCP, the board of the hospital where Garth is now, suggesting that the whole thing is becoming an embarrassment, and that to keep their reputations they might try to control their clearly out of control, possibly unwell, colleagues.
    In my letters to Garth, I put messages to the nurses, because I know they’ll open them. I talk about nursing code of ethics, morals, responsibilities and conscience. Maybe I’ll get to one. Maybe some will have bad dreams, I hope so. Perhaps we can all do that.

  • I think perhaps Jock McLaren didn’t make it clear when he says that `he leaves for a week at a time and returns.’ This refers to what happens after Garth is discharged from a PERIOD in hospital. It does not mean a week at a time, going in and out for ECT and regular restraints. This is NOT `maintenance’ ECT, it is 3 times a week for 9 months. Over 20 years of institutionalisation, debiltated by heavy psychotropic drugs, and with his basically passive personality (there may be psychological reasons there too, about which we can only speculate), he has so few resources, and no ongoing therapy to teach him to cope in his life outside the institution, that he may, at times see it as a sanctuary, even `home’. See Goffman’s “Institutions”. In Australia it doesn’t matter if he is in or out of the institution, or in treatment, he will still get his welfare payments. I actually know Garth Daniels and he does not use the system for welfare. I am having trouble believing you are being serious, Jack.

  • There seems to be some confusion here. Garth has been continuously an inpatient since 20/8/2015. His only leave has been a few hours at a time during the day. For the last few months this has been denied him and since a 2 week hiatus (due to a tribunal halt of ECT) even his time out to have a cigarette was reduced to 10 minutes, if a nurse was available. After that the psychiatrists cut his drugs by half (? withdrawals), effectively gave him nicotine withdrawals, refused him leave to attend his photography course (which he had been allowed to enrol in 2 weeks earlier), removed his father’s guardianship (and disallowed all contact), and refused to tell visitors where he had been transferred to. I don’t know where you got the impression that ANY of this is with Garth’s compliance. Although his serious brain injury and hopelessness may have rendered him compliant in a physical sense. Garth has an Advance Directive refusing ECT under any circumstances, (trashed by the government and psychiatrists), he has NEVER agreed to it and I can’t imagine anyone, except perhaps a dedicated `bondage’ masochist, EVER agreeing to being shackled. If you haven’t been strapped down to a bed you should try it. It happened to me once and it is TORTURE.
    I’d also like to add that even if a person agreed to have ECT it is still barbaric to fire 450 volts through someone’s brain for 8 seconds, and it’s still barbaric to use poisonous substances to control behaviour when the science is proving that they destroy the brain, take 25 years off a person’s life span, and produce a quality of life that if you did it to a feral animal you’d be pilloried, fined and possibly jailed.
    I think you’re missing more than `part of’ an article.

  • It isn’t, it’s about winning. Garth’s father attempted to take them to court re illegal use of ECT. He was right but messed up the legalities. The government has deep pockets.
    On September 28 I attended the Tribunal where Drs Jose Segal and Sarah McKay requested a further course of 12 ECT(to 30+) for Garth against his legally expressed wishes, via an Advance Directive. Mr Daniel had just had 4 ECT treatments in 6 days (recommended 3 in 7 days) including one that morning that prevented him being there. No explanation was asked for by the Tribunal members, or given as to why that was necessary. In fact no justification for the continued treatment was requested and the application was passed.
    As I left the room, Dr Jose Segal told Mr Bernard Daniels, Garth’s father, that, “when this course is over, I will get another, then another, then another.” He then walked on. His general demeanor was threatening and aggressive. When I caught the eye of Dr Sarah McKay, she said, `Don’t you talk to me.” I had said nothing.
    This meant that, including the 12 just approved, at least 48 further ECT treatments were planned. Thus it was decided in advance to give Mr Garth Daniels an unprecedented number of ECT treatment completely disregarding the guidelines of the Victorian Mental Health Act, the RANZCP, the Royal College of Psychiatry (UK), The World Psychiatric Association et al, which state quite clearly that a set number of treatments should not be prescribed at the start of a course of ECT.

  • From what I can gather his admission in August 2015 was following an abrupt withdrawal for high dose benzos! And was voluntary. He was made involuntary when he disagreed with ECT and Closapine. His refusal to take Closapine is the excuse for using ECT. It seems he doesn’t have capacity to refuse ECT but he does for Closapine. There is some thought that he is an experiment. 92 ECT treatments is so far beyond ANY accepted use of the treatment, the inconsistencies re consent and the extraordinarily insistent aggression on the part of the doctors make one wonder. But they will not be able to publish, will they?

  • Regarding Garth’s `dangerousness’ _ He was under a charge for assault of a nurse with 3 witnesses. One said he had kicked the nurse in the head. My question is how? Where was the nurse? Has Garth developed an high kick to rival that of an athletic ballet dancer, hard to believe as he has become quite debilitated by being shackled to a bed for days/weeks/months on end? Or was the nurse sitting on the floor, or perhaps bending over a bed fastening shackles to a foot?
    The second witness stated that Garth had pushed the nurse? More believable. The third witness claimed he had merely yelled at the nurse. So two people were lying! I have written to the Nursing board and to the nurses in the case as well re the Code of Ethics of their profession. Worth reading.

  • Months ago I suggested the family take Garth and seek sanctuary in the church, Even if the church could, or would not, hold out, the spectacle of the police or CAT team dragging Garth from the protection of the church in front of press cameras wouldn’t look too good in the public’s eyes. John Read thought it was a good idea but nobody did anything. The problem too, is that there are extradition laws between states, Garth has had a skin full of drugs that cannot be stopped suddenly and there are few (other than Jock McLaren) with the guts to help out. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
- Edmund Burke

  • I have been closely involved with this case since 28/8/16 when I was asked to `take a look’. I was the Australian organiser of the International Day to ban ECT on May16, 2015 and had acted as an advocate for mental health patients. I am also an ex-psychiatric nurse (1970s), a psychiatry and ECT survivor in the 2000s and a published writer. I suggested to the Daniels family that they might contact John Read and Niall McLaren back in October 2015. On the 25/4/16 (ANZAC day, a significant national day in Australia) I sent this out across the internet: `I am going on record as saying – I believe Garth Daniels will die within a very short period and that the medical staff are expecting it. I believe that’s why he has been transferred from Upton House, Eastern Health,to a different service. That way Drs Katz and McKay believe that they will have distanced themselves from the consequences of their actions. This was what Chelmsford hospital in Sydney did so that the deaths would occur in other hospitals and not appear on their records. 25 people died under those circumstances, though a further 24 died in Chelmsford. 24 deaths looks a whole lot better than 49.
    The fact that nobody, including external medical people are permitted to see Garth, no staff member including Garth’s doctors, will communicate ANY information re his state or treatment, present or future, even to his family, is an indication of a cover-up of monumental proportions. The state must be forced to answer for this. The treatment has been sanctioned by them from the beginning, they have ignored evidence, warnings, offers of alternative care, and independent advice, preferring to support the unsupportable, so must wear the consequences.
    I also believe that Garth Daniels’ current condition is solely due to the brain damage he has inevitably suffered from the application of ECT 96+ times in 8 months. This includes any aggressive and unpredictable behaviour which would, under specialist neurological assessment, be considered highly likely to be the result of injuries sustained. (see aggression and disihibition as a consequence of temporal/frontal lobe injury). Therefore continuing to use ECT constitutes a reckless abandonment of normal clinical and ethical medical standards, which, if it leads to Garth Daniels’ death should be called culpable homicide. How is a one punch `king hit’ in a brawl that kills someone any more criminal than the continued use of a procedure, known to be risking death, until it actually kills someone?
    Please record this as I believe the government of Victoria should be legally answerable to a) the damage already caused, b) any future damage and c) Garths’ death (which I believe to be imminent. I am ashamed to be a Victorian.’
    Yes, I, and others, have tried every human rights, legal, media, influential individuals avenue possible. NO ONE has responded except to say, `it’s not within our power’…`we can’t intervene’…etc, if they respond at all. Mental patients are not as sexy as refugees, native Australians, battered wives, or sexually abused children, so our stalwarts of human rights don’t get international brownie points for standing up for THEM, so they don’t. Nobody seems to understand that if it can happen to this man, it can and is happening to many, many others who don’t have aggressively supportive families, and that might mean YOU. Our system is corrupt to the core, systemic abuse is institutionalised and the victims are not just the PBP (Poor Bloody Patients), but those who perpetuate it as well. There will come a reckoning, and it may well be the psychological collapse of the perpetrators. Denial will not support Cognitive Dissonance forever.
    This will not end well, for anyone.

  • Here in Melbourne they cut out smoking in a prison after a short warning period. They too offered patches that people ate then there was a riot. The place was locked down for days, millions of $ damage, but the prisoners took the blame. Talk about stupid! Smoking bans are fine if you can get away from the banned area, they’re cruel oppression if you can’t. It’s bad enough to be shut away without rights but it’s wicked to add avoidable pain.

  • Anything. I have been asked to advocate for people to get them out of the institutions, away from ECT etc but always my stumbling block has been where to send them. Few can walk away and stand alone. People DO have issues, and need often very serious ongoing help and support as do their families. I have looked around for Australian involvement in Mindfreedom, Icarus, Open Dialogue etc but found a small amount of lip service and no action. I need somewhere to send people. I’m old and a bit tired and can’t do it alone.

  • As Phil Hickey says> “Pharma-psychiatry’s tentacles are everywhere, always masquerading as something helpful and benign.’ Well Plato said it too:
    “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” – Plato
    And Martin Luther King Jr: `Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” A succinct version of C.S. Lewis’ “Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under the omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience…Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states that we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have never reached the age of reason and those who never will’ (C.S. Lewis, 1970
    It’s about creating fear of the `other’ by manipulating these ignorant, trusting people in order to increase power and money of the select few.

  • What I find interesting is the way Frances and Ron Pies keep setting themselves up to be demolished every time. Both seem to either have very bad memories or believe that everyone who disagrees with them is stupid, blind and illiterate. Both are wolves who seem to think that everyone around them is Red Riding Hood. I’m confused, do they really believe their BS, do they really think we can’t possibly recognise the lies they tell? Do they perhaps believe they’re invincible, untouchable, free to lie and dissemble at will? Do they really think an MD and a public persona of earnest goodwill will get them over the line forever?

  • Let’s be very wary here. Do they really believe it or is it lip service because they see that the people, the real scientists, the evidence, is painting them in a very bad light. A slight move towards conciliation, e.g. REDUCE drugs, suggest rather rigidly defined procedures that sort of look like the real thing but since they don’t have the skills to implement them are actually sops to keep psychiatrists at the very well paid top. Given the secrecy of institutions, will what actually happens even remotely resemble what they SAY is happening. I see a situation where the status quo will be maintained when they say, “but, there are people who are just too sick to do this with” and the whole thing will disappear. Call me cynical but I was one of the team in a program like Open Dialogue back in the 1970s – it was killed stone dead by psychiatrists in charge with no skills, no compassion, no brains, or foresight, just greed, laziness and arrogance. Like Soteria House where you don’t need psychiatrists, psychologists OR social workers, just empathetic people who could be psychiatrists, psychologists or social workers or not. They crushed it then, they will again unless others take it away from them and offer better. Others, who won’t get their name in the papers, who won’t get grants and big fees, or rooms in hospitals, but to whom the people who want help will turn to. Of course that happened 1000 years ago and most of them were burnt at the stake or hanged. I wish us all GOOD LUCK. (this is a bit scrambled but I get emotional and lose a bit of coherence now and then)

  • This lady is a rarity. She has COURAGE, not to just speak out but to face her own pain at seeing her beliefs trashed. How long did it take? How many people did she listen to with a closed mind before she opened it? It is terribly hard to face the fact that you have hurt so many people when you thought you were helping them. BUT she is one of, how many, who have the guts to fess up. VERY, VERY few. I wonder how her change of heart has affected her income? Someone said, `It’s very hard to know the truth about something when your livelihood depends on your NOT knowing it.’ or words to that effect. I say again, too – nobody is holding a gun to the doctors’ heads to prescribe these drugs, big pharma bribes and corrupts but you cannot bribe or corrupt someone who is unwilling to be bribed and corrupted. It is pandying to the doctors’ cognitive dissonance by blaming the drug companies – it is the Nuremberg defense – “I was just following orders, that’s why I tortured and killed men, women and children, even when there wasn’t a gun to my head.” Good for you Dr Amber Gum, you are now an outsider like the rest of us. But the tide is coming in on psychiatry’s sand castle, and we WILL see it collapse. Happily new ideas are really beginning to surface, we just have to keep the destroyers, the psychiatrists OUT.

  • “…your intellectual rigour, fastidious attention to detail and determined adherence to defined scientific methodology. This crucially important re-introduction of academic integrity into clinical trial data analysis (via such objective and extensive re-analysis) is so greatly needed, and it is of unquestionable value for patient safety in psycho-pharmacology. Those compelled to dismiss and denigrate your vital work may perhaps be less focused on issues of safety? Deeply interested doctors outside your field who, in increasing numbers record their profound professional discomfort and concern regarding the apparently cavalier use of prescription drugs with life threatening and very serious ADR’s, recognise and applaud your courage and integrity.”
    Absolutely, BUT what a pity that none of this scientific rigor is applied to Dr Healy’s position on ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY. That those who query this position, who present compelling scientific evidence against it are denigrated, dismissed and censored.

  • Basically, like so many mental health projects from `social’, psychological and neuro`science in psychiatry the name of the game is WA*K. All these earnest, insightless wa***rs sit around congratulating themselves on all they’re doing for `those poor people out there’. Marie Antoinette , `Let them eat cake” had as much understanding and empathy as these people. And it’s not just a difference in social class, education, income – some of the greatest reformers came from privileged backgrounds, e.g. Wilbur Wilberforce, a very `upper’ class man, fought tooth and claw for the slaves, Florence Nightingale got her hands very dirty. It’s basic snobbery, `we are better than those people and we will make ourselves feel good by offering alms, alms that WE feel THEY need’. C.S. Lewis got it right, “Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive… [for] those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

  • Of course without ECT many private psychiatric institutions would have to close their doors. This puts even those psychiatrists who never use ECT, some 70%, in a quandary. They too have financial interests in these places and will not support anything that threatens the bottom line. Understandably, if not morally acceptably, they will allow a procedure that causes great harm to continue as nauseum to protect their $$$.

  • I forgot to mention the government subsidised psychiatrist’s fees and hospital treatments including ECT, at least in Australia, New Zealand, UK and other publicly funded health systems. A program that gets people back to work will also cut welfare payments, reduce government subsidised housing and the need for staff, or may re-educate and direct those staff into open dialogue type programs instead of just acting as supervisors of drug compliance. (Increased job satisfaction = lower burn-out & work cover payments). What about the insurance companies that pay psychiatrists and ongoing hospital costs? Psychiatric patients are an enormous drag on them because under current practices they are virtually `sick for life’. One company here tried to organise a kind of support system to stop the constant re-admissions to psych hospitals. They might be interested in funding open dialogue and other similar support programs if better outcomes could be forecast. The government might be interested in encouraging that because if costs were lowered, insurance companies might be able to lower premiums (?) and more people would be able to afford cover, which in turn would take some of the pressure off public funds. The rationale to the insurance companies would be that lower premiums = more customers,and healthier, reduced numbers of chronically sick people means overall profits would probably increase. Overall, doing away with expensive doctors who create more problems than they ever solve is the cheapest and most effective way to sort out the mental health debacle. Vale psychiatry.

  • Perhaps the chance for these approaches and there are many pockets, including the Soteria house movement, around that have quietly gone about their business for along time, is that they all `come out’. If the public, advocates, friends, and families know about them they can go there and cut out the psychiatrists. This could have the effect of people beginning to demand financial support for alternative programs. Well researched cost effectiveness documentation could have an impact if politicians hear about it. There are serious problems in health funding and while drugs are at the forefront of this, assisted housing, welfare for life, hospital beds all cost a fortune. If we can point out financial benefits, we’ll have some chance of getting around the likely frenzied attacks of organised psychiatry who will then have to explain WHY they want to keep the expensive, low-performing staus quo.

  • My sincere apologies to the rat, but we all fight to survive, even psychiatrists and they will destroy more and more people in that fight, to prove they were right, if nothing else. How else will they keep the power they have, pay the college fees, the new house, car and the travel? – oops! Big pharma will pay for that. They’ve had 40 years to get it together, they’re VERY strong and they’re smart, not intelligent in the true sense but devious. The crash will be huge let’s hope it doesn’t bury us.

  • Again, whatever establishment psychiatry is saying about open dialogue, their leaders are still pushing long term use of psychotropic drugs and appear to be embarked on a campaign to vastly increase the use of Electroshock across ALL diagnoses across the world. They are also pushing for greater power and facilities to force treatment because of the `dangerousness’ of psychiatric patients. Nowhere, in everyday psychiatric circles, is there any dialogue apart from this. That psychiatry is an elaborate sand castle is well known, that the tide is coming in is also well known, but it remains a formidable,powerful and unrelenting force, at least until it collapses and will do almost anything to maintain itself. Like Ron Pies and Allen Frances, it will pay lip service to innovation while undermining everything that even remotely threatens it. Remember a cornered rat will fight as dirty as it needs to, to survive, because it must stay a rat to the end.

  • Remember psychiatry is an extremely lucrative `profession’. Here is a conservative estimate for one reasonably successful psychiatrist, Check it out: 2 patients per hour @ $400 each = $800 per hour; 6 hour day = $4,800 per day; 4 day week = $19,200 per week; 40 week year -= $768,000 per year. Add ECT fees for 20 treatments per week @ $500 each = $10,000 per week; ECT engagement for 30 weeks per year = $300,000; speaker/research fees from big pharma = $50,000 per year; TOTAL: $1,118,000 per annum. Do you really think psychiatry will let this go? The reason open dialogue happened in the remote North is because establishment Finnish psychiatry banished it! If psychiatry are talking about embracing it now, there are certain to be very good reasons that don’t necessarily anything to do with the open dialogue team’s or the patient’s best interests. Some other major factors. There is a huge industry of private psychiatric hospitals across the world, all aimed at profit. The aim and achievement of open dialogue is to make people well so that they don’t NEED hospitals. Hospitals NEED sick people for profit. Private and public hospitals employ large numbers of specialist psychiatric and auxiliary staff. Governments are answerable to the electorate for employment rates. Losing large numbers of jobs, particularly in government facilities, is not good for politicians. Psychiatrists are aware enough of human fears and close enough to politicians to encourage discomfort and create at least ambivalence in public officials and politicians whose jobs might be threatened if too many people get well. It also goes without saying that drug companies, whose aim is to at least maintain `illness’ and, wherever possible, to encourage it, will be less than impressed with programs such as open dialogue. Remember Germany and Sweden refused to authorise Prozac? It’s amazing, or is it, what a few billion dollars can achieve. Not every man has his price, but most do. Please forgive my cynicism but as I said, I’ve been through this already. Good, even great, programs have disappeared again and again. Maybe the answer would have been for everyone to move to West Lapland and just get well. For I’ll bet open dialogue will sink beneath the $$$$ of Big Psychiatry, unless we are VERY, VERY careful.

  • Over 40 years ago, in an old mental hospital in Melbourne Australia, we set up a program to attempt just this. We worked with families, kept the drugs low to non -existent, spent hours in 1:1 talking and listening. We called it Crisis Intervention. It was killed by institutional psychiatry, (very few were permitted to work there), drugs and ECT. I believe that movements like Open Dialogue grow from existing sources. That this kind of thing grows normally from society where people are not overwhelmed by `glory, power, “efficiency,” “effectiveness,” and “certainty”, (status), and that there have always been people doing this, quietly, out of the public eye, a kind of `village’ care, if you like. But when powerful institutions such as the church, medicine intervened, this `pastoral’ care was lost. I guess I call it caring. I think we must be very careful that a) Open Dialogue does not become corrupted by psychiatry wanting to control it; b) psychiatry doesn’t shut it down (as in Soteria House). Because right now it is a threat – where the leader of a team could be non-medical, one can see trouble ahead. Already one such program has been corrupted by the continued use of medication as the core of treatment, and the doctor as head of the team brooking no true negotiation. It will be very hard for them to let go for the sake of the patient, because the patient has, traditionally, held the lowest place on the totem pole. Still, we can hope.

  • BUT THEY DON’T WORK! I think it is a treat and who are the `mental health professionals going to be anyway? Psychiatrists have few, often NO `talk therapy’ skills, funding for psychologists is almost non existent, and they are medicalised too, now. So WHO? Plus, we’re well aware that the therapeutic benefit comes from the relationship with the therapist, so even a GP, taking time could establish that, as the old family doctor did when he/she took a bit of time and wasn’t pushing people through the door at a rate of knots. Our entire siciety must take the blame here. We put pressure on kids than abandon them to pharmaceuticals where they succumb to it. Shame on all of us.

  • Another point is the constant claim of Garth’s violence. As far as I know the only incident that has been reported is an alleged assault of someone (a nurse?) which is before the court. There is some confusion about this as the 3 witnesses don’t agree on what happened. One says he kicked the person in the head (how?), another says he pushed the person, and the third says he yelled at the person. At the tribunal hearing I went to, a nurse described him as `spitting into her face as he yelled at her.’ At another time, the police were called and Garth climbed onto his bed to be shackled, docile and acquiescent. His doctor claimed, at the tribunal, that she was afraid of him and cringed away. I visited Garth 3 times and at no time felt any apprehension, there was no feeling of suppressed anger, the nurses were relaxed and affable around him, so I think something else is going on. This entire situation is so strange that I believe the experiment idea may be true, or the doctors have gone mad, or both.

  • No Belinda, ECT is not decreasing rapidly anywhere. It is increasing across Europe, except for Italy and Sicily (which banned it), especially in the private system. Profits depend on it. Since the private psychiatric hospitals divested themselves of any government supervision ECT has increased exponentially. I know a pharmacist who works at one hospital who, after the new Act (July 2014), said they could not keep up with supplying the paralysing drug because of the massive increase in demand. `What are they DOING over there?’ was her comment. At least one other private hospital now operates its ECT unit 5 days a week to cope with the `maintenance’ patients. The used to fit them in within the 3 days of operation. At least 30% of their patients get ECT. (30 every Mon. Wed. Fri – where I worked, in the bad old days in a 1000 bed hospital = 6-8 every Mon, Wed, Fri). Interestingly that the Chief Psychiatrist works for a private hospital. The clause on the consent form requiring the prescribing and administering (not permitted to be the same person) ECT doctors to declare any financial conflict of interests was removed in the new Act. And so was the ban on children under 12, just before the draft was tabled. Too late for anyone to do anything. How might that have happened? So, yes, the psychiatrists DO make the legislature. It’s marvelous what money can do to morality isn’t it. ECT administering doctors = $25,000 a week; ECT anaesthetists = $30,000 a week; Hospital = $75,000 per patient = !!!!!!! Worth losing a few ethics?

  • Hi boans, I second everything you’ve said. I’ve been involved in this since 28/9/15, the tribunal I went to (same issues as John said). Over 6 months I contacted John and Jock McLaren, every human rights lawyer/company I could find, Legal Aid, the Mental Health Legal Centre (I even organised it with them and sat with Garth while he rang them but it failed to happen), the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs personally, Mental Health Complaints Commission (my response was almost word for word the same as John’s), the press – NOTHING! I even pointed out on several occasions that everyone’s name seemed to be Pontius Pilate, a vague demurral and the phone put down. Apart from Cheryl Prax at SOAP and other web folk, only 3 people came to the party, John Read, Jock McLaren (a oxymoron – an ethical and competent psychiatrist) and Farrah Tomazin (the Sunday Age page 13). John has been superb and Jock (down from Queensland for the 3rd time) visited Garth yesterday and is trying to get him out. He is also attempting to get some media exposure via ? the 4 Corners program. I don’t like his chances but…One major question mentioned by John a couple of times – that Garth seems to be deemed competent to agree to some treatment but not ECT. An oddity is that Garth (and family) have always refused Closapine. This was given as a reason for continuing ECT almost from the beginning. BUT, since they can force him to have ECT (Advance Directive notwithstanding) why can’t they force him to have Closapine? They do to many others. Ginger Breggin asked if Garth was part of an experiment as the Dr, Paul Katz, has been involved in ECT research in the recent past? I said that would be impossible because no ethics panel in the world would pass such an experiment and certainly never on an involuntary patient. But, could it be? The last time I heard of anything like this was during the 1950s with the Cameron experiments where vast numbers of ECT were given to `depattern’ i.e. destroy the person’s personality in order to re-build it in a more acceptable form (the CIA interested at the time ion behaviour/mind control funded the program). It was completely discredited but not for quite some time. Recently there was a very small study in South Africa where they suggested large numbers of ECT coupled WITH Closapine. Paul Katz and his 2IC, Jose Segal, are both South African, as is Garth, (he is `non-white’). Is Eastern Health doing something that the Nazi psychiatrists might embrace, on the quiet?
    Jock McLaren offered to take Garth into his program in Queensland last December but Katz wasn’t having it. Maybe it’s not only about winning.
    Of course, one might be forgiven for thinking that this team of doctors are all mad or maybe have a foli a deux going on, i.e. one is mad and the rest have been swept up. Whatever, it seems that even with the amount of pressure being applied, protection even against mad doctors is not forthcoming. Somebody once said, `in order for psychiatrists to admit ECT is bad for you, the patient would have to die on the table in front of a full committee of the UN and the president of the AMA.’ I add, `in order to successfully sue a psychiatrist you would have to be raped in front of the Medical Board and the Queen.’ Going legal ain’t gonna happen – I tried. Maybe politicians?

  • Garth Daniels was subjected to seclusion in a Melbourne HOSPITAL where the toileting arrangement was a tray of CAT LITTER. ECT has always been 3 time a week in Australia. In 6 years of working in acute admission units in a large public mental hospital in the 1970s, I NEVER saw ANYONE, EVER, in restraints. I never even saw restraints attached to beds anticipating their use and I was, at times, in charge of medication, and the ward. NOT EVER!

  • “The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
    This I refer to all involved, the 3 doctors, the officials, the `guardians of public decency’ and I include the nurses and other doctors. I once saw a case where a young woman was treated almost to death by a very aggressive, cold doctor who believed his ideas were more important than her life. She survived because the nursing staff refused to continue. They, too, have an ethics code of practice and they exercised it. They did not lose their jobs, the girl survived and the doctor? Well, he got promoted. Away from direct patient care admittedly but nothing that could impact on his CV. Do they really think we don’t notice? This should be and will be forwarded to every politician in the land. Here in Australia we are heading up to an election. Start writing, people.

  • No matter how low key Dr Steingard is, compare the latest article by Dr Ronald Pies, apologist for psychiatry, via what seems like his own public forum, The Psychiatric Times. Dr Pies has been refuted on several occasions here in MIA by Robert Whitaker and Phil Hickey, but he keeps coming back. This time he has filled 4 pages with an ambiguous appraisal of anti-psychotics. On one hand he follows his line where he appears to be the voice of the reasonable `new’ psychiatry, but loses more and more of this as he goes along. Link- It seems that the major establishment is just not having it. It’s drugs now and will remain so. A lot of pseudoscience in here – Hostile to criticism; conspiracy arguments; motivated reasoning; cherry picked evidence; presenting low grade and dismissing more rigorous evidence; untested core principles; vague, imprecise, technical jargon; LOOKS like science but lacks the true methods of science; makes grandiose claims from flimsy evidence – all this is embraced by the rank and file, so the fact that Sandra is stepping out of the zone suggests tow things – her personal courage and the underlying effect of the crumbling of the sandcastle that is psychiatry. Ron Pies and sundry other like Daniel Carlat are trying to hold it together but the tide is coming in and they know it. I wonder how long it will take?

  • They are tranquillizers, no more, no less. And that’s what we called them, way back when the first group came in. `Anti-psychotics’ was a marketing term when Big Pharma saw $$$. There were always drugs, barbiturates, Chloral Hydrate etc. The only use for them is that they can reduce the extreme agitation and fear people can feel in the grip of a psychotic episode. They are NOT anti-anything except that. The Open Dialogue program in North Finland use them, but also the anxiety reducing benzodiazepines for the very acute stages only, if absolutely necessary. And in most people they are not.

  • Re that David Healy blog: Interestingly, I wrote a response to his final claim and was able to refute every one of his claims item by item. It never made it to publication. Surprised? The first tenet of Pseudoscience is: `Hostility to criticism, rather than embracing criticism as a mechanism of self-correction.’ Another is invoking conspiracy arguments to avoid facing questions e.g. it’s those destructive anti-psychiatrists, the Scientologists. The `kill the messenger’ tactic. But psychiatry is doomed unless they realise that not everyone is as stupid as they’d like to think, that the `rabble’ will have power in numbers and understanding because the communication of knowledge is no longer privileged. I suggest they read Machievelli who documented just how to get power and how to lose it. `Know your enemy’, we know ours, does it know us?

  • Jon Ronnquist says, `I think the fact that anyone… [who] can make the leap from “triggering an epileptic seizure by electrocution of the brain” to “which helps relieve depression” without stopping to ask some seriously detailed questions, pretty much sums up the monopoly modern psychiatry has over not only the field of mental health, but the critical eye and credulity of otherwise intelligent people the world over.’
    My answer is, I no longer have faith that there are many intelligent people around. In the recent/current Garth Daniels ECT debacle (Melbourne, Australia) the doctor stated that the reason Daniels was given ECT against his will was because he was rendered incompetent by ECT. When I was at school there was a subject called `clear thinking”, is that on the curriculum any more, anywhere? I have collated a list of Logic Lapses in psychiatry – I’m up to 103 and I stopped, disgusted, a year ago.
    The devious attempt to bypass the testing requirements for medical devices in class III illustrates that psychiatrists KNOW the consequences of ECT, and KNOW that if tested as other devices are, it will clearly show the damage it causes and will be banned. Perhaps we should be writing to all the other manufacturers who are being forced to test and re-test their products at great expense, how the psychiatrists get away with it? Can someone find out who they are? Is there a list somewhere?

  • Forensics? Good place for him, maybe he could have look at a few ECT-fried brains along the way. We had one who almost killed an 18 year old university student with furore therapeuticus. The nurses eventually refused to continue. Yes, there used to be some with morals. He was promoted. Away from patient contact, yes, but, promoted so it looked good on his CV.
    Oh, and the guy I’ve been supporting (see John Read’s MIA reports coming up) often got up to 4 shocks per session because his brain, after 40 ECTs in a row damaged brain had attempted to protect itself by raising the seizure threshhold – theoretically 12 per week. See Ewan Cameron and ask serious questions about whether these people shoul;d be practicing medicine at all.

  • Hi Truth,
    They don’t know. My neurologist was horrified to hear the psychiatrists use Cingulotomies. But they’re for really terrible epilepsy, he said. Well, the psychiatrists will give them that too, with ECT, I said. No, no, he said, it’s a safe and effective treatment for depression, he said. And it’s not very much electricity either, he said. It’s 450 volts for 8 seconds I said. He took him a while to push that to the back of his mind. He believed that, like his own professors and teachers, psychiatric equivalents would tell the truth. The neuropsychologist also assured me that ECT `helped some people’ – I’m not sure if she still believes that but she doesn’t say it to me any more. My GP has it right though, `psychiatrists are the dregs of the profession’. We used to say in the bad old mental hospital that I worked in all those years ago, that the place was full of psychopaths and lunatics, the staff. Nothing’s changed. But still as these challenged keep on proliferating the industry is looking worse and worse, when a psychiatrist is murdered by a patient and most people ask what did the psychiatrist do to him, thequestions are mounting. It took time to overthrow the Court of France and the Romanovs but it happened. The smug, self satisfaction and belief in their own infallibility will sure be their downfall and their children and grandchildren will ask, did you do that grandfather? Did you electrocute people’s brains and call it THERAPY?’

  • As Jon Ronnquist says, `I think the fact that anyone, journalists very much included, [who] can make the leap from “triggering an epileptic seizure by electrocution of the brain” to “which helps relieve depression” without stopping to ask some seriously detailed questions, pretty much sums up the monopoly modern psychiatry has over not only the field of mental health, but the critical eye and credulity of otherwise intelligent people the world over.’
    How, in all of history, has anyone known what helps someone without asking them? Whilst we can see spots disappear and measure fevers as they fade, how do we know when a pain has gone? Can we see or measure a pain? If we didn’t ask someone where it hurts, how would we know where to look to find something we might be able to see or measure? We can look at a blue face and hazard a guess that this person has an oxygen problem but we still have to ask if his chest hurts, or is it hard to breathe, or is he feeling especially anxious? Doctors can use `scientific’ data to diagnose an abdominal pain, i.e. go through every possiblility including scans, xrays, even exploratory surgery and eventually find that there’s a kidney stone. How much quicker to ask the patient to point to where it hurts. Anecdotal evidence is the name of the game in medicine. Why do psychiatrists think they can, in the face of the least measurable, least scientific of conditions, feel they can ignore it? ECT is a scourge, a blot on all of medicine. It is a procedure that grew out of a desire to break down the brains of undesirable people to render them `manageable’, it still does. SHAME on all of medicine for allowing it to continue.

  • Oh and that’s not counting the rest of the world, where females are covered up in all weather because their society doesn’t expect men to be responsible for their own behaviour involving women. Where a girl can be set upon and raped and killed because she is there, or wearing something that provokes them. Where women are mutilated so they won’t want sex, where religion insists that they bear a child every year, where they are not permitted to walk the streets without a male, even a male child, with them, to drive, to read, to speak without invitation, to vote, to work except in the most menial of jobs. Yet, when a charity wants to improve a society, it turns to the women knowing that with support they will feed their community and educate their children. If the aid is given to the men it goes on alcohol and toys. What a world!

  • Yes, back in the first half of the 1970s, some of us DID listen. I worked in a big `old mental hospital’ and we had a unit (granted, only one) where we talked to our patients, their families and friends and attempted to figure out what had happened and how to fix it. Crisis intervention we called it. Not always possible but we tried, and we kept drugs to a minimum. The sort of precursor to the Open Dialogue approach which I recognised when I first read of it.
    Minority includes women? Half the human race? And the disadvantaged? Women and children among others! Are the only advantaged people in this world those with a Y chromosome? You’d think so when you look around. Girls: not educated, parceled out to the highest bidder in marriage, used for sexual adventures and profit, bringing up children alone, paid significantly less for the same work, kept out of major decision-making organisations like governments and big business, beaten and killed by angry, jealous men with impunity, living in poverty, and on and on. Most likely to be depressed and treated with Electroshock and drugs, you bet! 85% of psychiatrist who prescribe shock are men! 95% of psychiatrists who perform shock are men. You guys talk about it but you cannot image how patronising so many `helpful’ men are, especially doctors. How many of you have been asked by the doctor, “could I have a look at your `tummy'”, when you’re a 70 year old university professor, or a lawyer, or a physicist and you’re not female? Aarrgh! I look at my little grandsons and I think, how lucky you are to be born with balls. Sad, isn’t it, because my great nieces are at least as capable, but probably won’t get the same chances, even in my so-called equal opportunity society. Equal opportunity exists for white European males excluding `minority’ males and WOMEN!

  • This spurious pseudoscience is being used to prop up the ECT industry as well as big pharma. It smacks of attempts to shore up and find new markets for failed drugs (Prozac for menopause and Impulsivity?), and an old-fashioned destructive procedure that should have joined its contemporaries in the museum 40 years ago. Consequently there is a constant stream of jargon-filled, problematic nonsense masquerading as `science’ that can be taken apart by a 15 year old high school student, defending its use. What is concerning is that the perpetrators manage to publish without question. Surely this reflects on the publications as much as on the authors. It is one thing to offer questionable, if not overtly fraudulent, work to a publisher, but the publisher is then responsible for offering this to the public. Of course there are many who can critique this stuff but unless the publications present that too, the critics are merely `ratbag anti-psychiatrists’, sadly misinformed, non-scientific, ignorant, raving mad, sick and/or those with other vested interests. So, critical thinking not being a common attribute, the public at large believe what they see in the `reputable’ journals presented uncritically by DOCTORS, who have a reputation of being not only scientists, but intrinsically honest, well educated, ethical, morally sound pillars of the community. Mad in America is not seen in that light by the man in the street. Mainstream psychiatry constantly maligns MIA and publishes articles and rebuttals with impunity. How to overcome this? I wish I knew. I want establishment psychiatry to agree to a face to face debate like the Mausdsley Debate, about the proliferating use of ECT, but of course they won’t because, like the recent one on drugs, they will lose, and they know it. I would be ashamed to be a psychiatrist right now, but as Mary Maddock quoted: `It is difficult to understand something when one’s livelihood depends on not understanding it.’

  • Well, Dr Hassman,
    You state categorically that this is not a personal attack yet you have managed to insult a fellow contributor, BPDT, Mad in America, the author, Dr B, MIA readers and all those who disagree with you. You have leapt to conclusions based on little evidence, that those who disagree with you are anti-psychiatry extremists, and `do not serve the people’, invoked a conspiracy argument that there is a campaign to `end medication interventions’ and that you, and those who agree with you are being victimised because of your beliefs.
    You also seem to be putting Krystl in her place when you say there is no difference between pain and suffering. There is. Pain is a phenomenon, suffering is how you feel about it. A subtle difference but a real one. To call them synonymous is to miss the point. However you seem to allow her credence because she supports your position.
    Shall we look at this. Even in this very restricted forum you appear hostile to criticism, The use of low grade evidence/assumptions making grandiose claims from very flimsy evidence regarding the motivations of others and invoke conspiracy arguments to explain a perceived lack of acceptance are some of the features of pseudoscience which is a pursuit of confirmation not truth. As you say, true discussion/debate should be an examination of the facts, it does not include insults, claims of persecution, denial and patronising of other debaters.

  • Has anyone heard of this in Australia – home of the so-called `enlightened’ programs for schizophrenia? I keep hearing these stories but never the `enlightened’ ones. When I try to find somewhere to send people, there are no `enlightened’ programs on offer. The government has cut funding to psychologists to 10 sessions a year, but you can go to a psychiatrist as many times as you like, and the government pays. No wonder they are such a powerful lobby that they can get legislation changed to suit themselves and their pockets.

  • Sadly, logic, commonsense, and clear and critical thinking are not sufficient to overcome the defensive denial that psychiatrists use to deal with their cognitive dissonance. One could feel for their anxiety if it wasn’t for the continued destruction of their patients. How do we accept even one ruined life over the self esteem of the perpetrator?

  • Let’s look at these. Basically the underlying core premise here is that depression is a physiological, neurological brain disorder despite the fact that there is not and NEVER has been a shred of evidence that this is the case! Deleting everything before 2011, so we’re starting from an unproven, untested base. So what have we?
    Baldinger P, Lotan A, Frey R, et al. Neurotransmitters and electroconvulsive therapy. J ECT. 2014
    -There is no evidence that neurotransmitters have anything to do with depression.
    Merkl A, Schubert F, Quante A, et al. Abnormal cingulate and prefrontal cortical neurochemistry in major depression after electroconvulsive therapy. Biol Psychiatry. 2011.
    -This just says that abnormal neurochemistry is a consequence of trauma to neural tissues.
    Haskett RF. Electroconvulsive therapy’s mechanism of action: neuroendocrine hypotheses. J ECT. 2014
    -Have there been large sample, replicated, randomised, placebo, trials to support this?
    Farzan F, Boutros NN, Blumberger DM, Daskalakis ZJ. What does the electroencephalogram tell us about the mechanisms of action of ECT in major depressive disorders? J ECT. 2014
    -Not much. The EEG can only record the electrical activity in the brain. It cannot specify activity directly linked to depression or any other emotional condition.
    Bouckaert F, Sienaert P, Obbels J, et al. ECT: its brain-enabling effects: a review of electroconvulsive therapy–induced structural brain plasticity. J ECT. 2014;30:143-151.
    – It is a truism that ECT has structural effects on the brain. The assumption that this is brain enabling is conjecture. What other effects are at play here?
    Dukart, Regen F, Kherif F, et al. Electroconvulsive therapy-induced brain plasticity determines therapeutic outcome in mood disorders. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111:1156-1161.
    -Plasticity & links to depression? ECT induced plasticity may be the result of many variables including the placebo effect.
    Tendolkar I, van Beek M, van Oostrom I, et al. Electroconvulsive therapy increases hippocampal and amygdala volume in therapy refractory depression: a longitudinal pilot study. Psychiatry Res. 2013;214:197-203.
    -This may indeed be true, however there is scant, if any, evidence that increased hippocampal volume is involved in depression. Is there a control group of non medicated depressed people or others with reduced/increased Hippocampal Volume? If it IS a therapeutic response what happens to this increased volume after a few weeks when the patient relapses?
    Joshi SH, Espinoza RT, Pirnia R, et al. Structural plasticity of the hippocampus and amygdala induced by electroconvulsive therapy in major depression. 2015 Mar 5; [Epub ahead of print].(I.e. BEFORE chance of review)
    -Again, evidence of ECT induced structural damage.
    Abbott CC, Gallegos P, Rediske N, et al. A review of longitudinal electroconvulsive therapy: neuroimaging investigations. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2014;27:33-46.
    -What happened to claims that neuroimaging has never shown structural damage?
    (old) 14. Michael N, Erfurth A, Ohrmann P, et al. Neurotrophic effects of electroconvulsive therapy: a proton magnetic resonance study of the left amygdalar region in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003;28:720-725.
    -There are serious limits to using MRI and fMRI to predict behaviour based on any observations found in such examinations. Changes in structure and activity may be observed but interpretations are extremely speculative.
    Perrin JS, Merz S, Bennett DM, et al. Electroconvulsive therapy reduces frontal cortical connectivity in severe depressive disorder. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:5464-5468.
    -First we have to establish that cortical connectivity is directly related to, let alone causal in depression. This was the idea behind ALL the `brain disabling therapies’ of the 1930s. All this says is that is causes gross brain damage.
    Abbott CC, Lemke NT, Gopal S, et al. Electroconvulsive therapy response in major depressive disorder: a pilot functional network connectivity resting state fMRI investigation. Front Psychiatry. 2013;4:10.
    -Again the assumption that `connectivity’ is a factor in depression. The `theory’ behind lobotomy.
    Beall EB, Malone DA, Dale RM, et al. Effects of electroconvulsive therapy on brain functional activation and connectivity in depression. J ECT. 2012; 28:234-241.
    – `Connectivity’ again?.
    Andrade C. A primer for the conceptualization of the mechanism of action of electroconvulsive therapy, 1: defining the question. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014;75:e410-e412.
    -Now THAT would be a good idea!
    Andrade C. A primer for the conceptualization of the mechanism of action of electroconvulsive therapy, 2: organizing the information. J Clin Psychiatry. 2014;75:e548-e551.
    -Don’t bother.
    Of all 15 studies, 13 are published only in specialist psychiatric magazines, 5 in the Journal of ECT, – only 2 were published in open company. i.e. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. NONE have been peer reviewed & the J ECT, Biol Psychiatry, Neuropharmapsychology and J Geriatric Psychiatry magazines/publications are not even listed with Pub Peer.
    With the collapse of the `chemical imbalance’ idea and the realisation that brain damage can now be seen on scans, there had to be another rationalisation for the continued use of a lucrative but brain damaging procedure. Two years ago when I saw the Perrin study (2012) followed by a number of fairly tentative small studies on `connectivity’, I realised that the hunt was on. Find something that sounds scientific, no matter how vague or far fetched, or get sued. What better than to say that the brain damage that ECT was designed to cause in 1938, is really a GOOD THING.
    To the best of my knowledge nobody knows what `connections’ do what to what, what are too many, not enough or just right `connections’? This is `three bears’ science, exactly the same as `chemical imbalance’ was. What was too much, too little, or just right, serotonin. And of course how does the blunt instrument that is ECT tease out which connections might be cut, and which ones you need or don’t need to function properly?
    Then there’s the `pathway’ theory, just a step away, but wide open to lots of lovely anatomical jargon that very few readers can, or would bother to read, but that looks VERY impressive. “See what I know, aren’t I clever?”.
    Oh, and the `inflammation’ idea of depression, that maybe ECT’s `neurogenesis/neuroplasticity’ (embrace the jargon) effect, which is the result of trauma anyway, is able to overcome this? Working `backwards from desired results through motivated reasoning’. The old, `aspirin cures headaches so headaches must be caused by a lack of aspirin’ thingy.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I would suggest that none of the above have used a control group of any kind, much less placebo ECT, none have weeded out the placebo effect, of `real’ ECT none are randomised controlled, or double blind or have any other real science method including a NULL hypothesis.
    They really DO have to come up with SOME evidence that the `connections’ and `pathways’ have anything to do with depression before they expect us to take any of this seriously.
    Thus ALL of these fit snugly into pseudoscience, which is the search, NOT for the TRUTH, but for support for an idea. It smacks of creationism, astrology, phrenology, parapsychology, clairvoyance etc. And some of those are true believers as no doubt are some of these. But it ain’t science.
    `Robert T. Carroll stated, in part, “Pseudoscientists claim to base their theories on empirical evidence, and they may even use some scientific methods, though often their understanding of a controlled experiment is inadequate. Many pseudoscientists relish being able to point out the consistency of their ideas with known facts or with predicted consequences, but they do not recognize that such consistency is not proof of anything. It is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition that a good scientific theory be consistent with the facts.’

  • It’s interesting how the `rats’ are leaving the Titanic. Allen Francis, Ron Pies, Dan Carlat, and now, heavens above, Jeffrey Lieberman, have stepped sideways. Tom Insell did too, briefly, but ducked sideways when he got more money, and where is Harry Sackheim? Maybe the drying up of pharma money grants have forced the smart guys to reach around for other sources. Even the Psychiatric Times is occasionally allowing dissident `points of view”, without undue censorship and publishing articles that present the bioPSYCHOSOCIAL `new’ view of the `path forward’ in psychiatry. I wonder how their pharma advertisers are taking that? Of course its lip service. When you see the `biotype’ = EUGENICS, research from the heavily government funded NIMH you know that the old guard still hold the money. But the tide is coming in and sandcastles are sandcastles.

  • The Mayo Clinic are still into the `chemical imbalance’, despite Ron Pies claim that NO reputable institution really says it any more! I wonder where they get their funding from? Have a look at: “5 Things Every TBI Survivor Wants You to Understand – October 19, 2015 SCOTT TAMARKIN Brain Injury.” This article might help us explain what has happened to us. We MUST get ECT brain damage seen for what it is, an Acquired Brain Injury. The ECT machine applies a force to the brain that disrupts its normal function. FACT. It renders the person unconscious with sufficient force to cause a convulsion. FACT. Therefore it causes concussion. FACT. Concussion is a brain injury. Fact. ECT is used as a COURSE of treatments. FACT. Therefore it causes repetitive brain injury. FACT. The consequences of concussion can be found in neurological literature. All the claims about decreased `connections’. altering brain chemistry, stimulating neurogenesis, are, in fact, true. All are a consequence of BRAIN INJURY! Any claim that brain injury can be therapeutic must be held up against the data on whether brain injury is therapeutic for non psychiatric patients. Basic scientific method. Is this too logical for the FDA do you think? I intend to suggest to the FDA that owing to advances in technology (fMRI etc) brain injury will be easy to prove, and since diagnosis is at best, chancy, people may consider the FDA to have been irresponsible in allowing an untested, unsafe machine to be used in ANY circumstances, and litigation in the future might be a significant issue.

  • Oh, and this just appeared amongst my emails…” ****, one of the…greatest psychics in the world. She received a gift from the heavens when she was just a small child. Her aim is: to put her powers at the disposal of those with real difficulties and who call upon them to find harmony, love and happiness.
    Change your Destiny for a much richer life. By grabbing the chance a lifetime, you could finally make your wildest dreams come true. Revelations await you to satisfy all your desires.
    Fight the decrease in purchasing power; find a solution to your most serious problems and to all the daily worries that are ruining your life. Escape the negative vibrations that are stopping you living the wonderful life you deserve. Your free reading will set you on the right path.” It just reminded me of psychiatric claims generally with about the same degree of scientific credibility.

  • There can be a bit of GENUINE research done that would probably support the anti ECT cause that doesn’t require direct access to ECT patients. This is always a difficulty, all research into ECT is done by those who support it. These are 1) animal studies; 2) random testing of post ECT people using MRI, fMRI scans and extensive neuropsychological tests ; 3) psychological assessments for emotional difficulties; 4) full neurological assessment. All of this can be done using CORRECT scientific method (with CONTRLOL groups etc) and even without before and after pictures we could get a good overview. BUT it would cost $$$, ($1,000,000+) and the only money around for ECT research is coming from its SUPPORTERS. maybe there is a wealthy person out there who has been hurt by ECT? Or is just interested in the truth.

  • First, doctors seem to have a pact that says, `I won’t poo in your nest, if you don’t poo in mine.” Surgeons have been known to have killed several people before authorities stepped in. Here in Aus an obstetrician was reported over a 20 year period for a high number of deaths, and a psychiatric hospital killed 50 people+ over a 24 year period. Everyone knew but no one did anything. Life-threatening events happen all the time during and after ECT, but they’re not reported. I personally know of 2 cardiac arrests and one stroke -not reported. (Maybe we should flood David Healy’s RxISK site reporting ECT adverse effects.) A problem of course, is that it takes time to discover the memory/cognitive deficits (some never do) which gives the perpetrators the opportunity to say that, a) it’s all in your mind, b) it’s your illness, c) it’s the drugs etc, and they’re relatively vague and expensive to even assess. Another one is that when these cardiac events, strokes, excessive seizures, respiratory complications occur DURING or shortly after ECT you are unconscious/unaware. You have to rely on those `caring’ for you to tell you and, sure as hell, they won’t. Again, the nursing staff, the only `medical’ contact you have directly after ECT may not consider your post ECT `fit’ or your stroke symptoms worthy of mentioning because they are NORMAL. That means they happen all the time. I would like to set up a Rosanhan type survey, place independent nurses into ECT units to record what actually happens, to expose the intentional and unintentional cover-ups. (Any takers?)
    Second, non-ECT doctors are not necessarily anti-establishment, may well believe all the other garbage they’ve been taught and may well have patients that need hospital beds at times. A public stance against ECT means they might lose their admission rights to the private hospitals that make serious profits from ECT.
    Third, neurologists know nothing about ECT. It’s barely mentioned in their text books and what there is comes directly from people like Richard Abrams, owner of Somatics Inc of Thymatron fame. They have no reason to think that the `leaders’ of psychiatry are lying any more than they think their own teachers are. An example of this is the group led by Richard Kast searching for a way to help his terminal brain cancer patients (ECT as Used in Psychiatry Temporarily Opens the Blood‐Brain Barrier: Could This be Used to Better Deliver Chemotherapy for Glioblastoma). They believe ECT is safe as a psychiatric treatment. Despite this he vividly describes what damage is being done, then says,…`these reports indicate that a certain amount of post‐ECT edema is occurring and should be of concern for our intended use of ECT in opening the BBB…” So even in the face of their own observations, they stick to the claim it is safe and effective for `mental ‘patients, though not for their dying ones.. A cultural discrimination, I think.
    All this means that getting anyone to believe ECT causes an ABI is like pushing sh*t uphill with a pointed stick. So the ABI and rehab people DON’T KNOW. I’VE done it but I’m the only one I know about and there is still an air of disbelief even after all the evidence is in, all the story is told. How can a patient possibly be right when the profession say they’re wrong? Institutions don’t lie! Well tell that to the Holocaust survivors.
    As for the anti ECT reviewers like John Read, Peter Breggin, Jock McLaren, Phil Hickey, Bob Johnson, Ivior Browne et al? Yes , I think they do write and speak out but they’re howled down by vested interests with BIG names and no morals. Do I think ECT will go? Yes, I do, but it will go only as the rest of psychiatry collapses. This has begun and is gathering momentum almost daily. Even Jeffrey Biederman (yes, THAT Jeffrey Biederman) has come out as saying that drugs are not the answer!!! For PTSD that is, BUT….every little nail into the side of the bucket…(Has Jeffrey, too, seen that the ship is sinking?) see recent MIA article). So, stick around, Truth, and keep up the great work, you need to be here when the citadel falls.

  • Well, Tom Insell will be mortified. This is part of his whole new thing isn’t it? Sadly they still won’t accept that the brain damage they cause might be seen on scans as well? But then who’s looking? And I’ve told my family that if I exhibit any unusual behaviours they are to take me to a neurologist, NOT a psychiatrist. If I have a brain condition I want the people who actually KNOW about the brain to check it out. And if they can’t find anything, I want to go to a commune where there are lots of hugs.

  • Where is the rest of the medical profession? Where are the “ethicists”? Where are the churches? How long are these greedy, pseudoscientists who Loren Mosher, 18 years ago, a president of the APA, called scientifically dishonest and corrupt, going to be allowed to continue to abuse and attack defenceless people? Do we have NO morally conscientious psychiatrists? Is everyone’s name Pontius Pilate? Does the American Medical Association, or any other medical authority, in ANY country, have the guts to stand up and say NO MORE? Why do so-called learned publications publish this rubbish? Where is THEIR scientific integrity? A 12 year presenting this kind of junk to the science teacher would have it ripped up and be told to start again, with a comment, `read the book on scientific method BEFORE you do it again.’ In 15 years I have yet to find a rigorously well designed SCIENTIFIC study done by a psychiatrist.

  • Is Jeffrey Lieberman joining the exodus from biopsych??? Is he linking hands with Ron Pies and Daniel Carlat and Allan Frances and the others? “It wasn’t me, I never did it, well not really, just a little bit, it was those big bad drug companies that just happened to throw money at me and I had to just catch some of it, didn’t I, but I didn’t really mean it?” Certainly we’re seeing a lot more articles in places like the Psychiatric Times that are SEEMINGLY starting to distance themselves from the total bio scene. Lots more “psychosocial” epistles and they’re even letting a few “dissident” voices through! There a lot of fear out there I think. The smart guys are finally seeing the discontent and the smart `rats’ are leaving. Like Bonnie Burstow, I used to think it wouldn’t happen in my lifetime, but now…? We just have to be VERY careful of the rise of the new dictator. No tyrant wants to lose power, but smart ones who spot the inevitable, go underground then emerge in the chaos after the revolution wearing a new coat and offer their services. Then after a period someone says , `hang on, wasn’t that the same…” But then it’s too late. Look at France and Russia, there were many who wanted the old ones back because the new ones were worse. Always remember, a dictatorship, whatever it says, has to operate the same way as every other dictatorship to survive.

  • No it won’t let non-members in, but I’m an ex professional. But I’ll tell you most of it’s coming from Charles Kellner, ECT GURU extraordinaire. He has, at times, been employed by manufacturers, he’s a mate of Max Fink’s, convener of CORE ECT research group from Duke University, head of ECT at Mt Sinai in New York, PROLIFIC publisher of “research”. Gets a heap of funding, maybe more now that Harry Sackheim has faded a bit. He can fill 3-4 pages with anatomical jargon that says that ECT impacts on all this and one day we’ll find out why that works. This is the kind of pseudoscience that makes an assumption/claim, that it works, then sets out to try to prove that. The reverse of real science that poses an idea, then sets out to disprove it. Here’s a list of 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, 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’
    See: Mesmerism, parapsychology, astrology, etc, all far more benign than psychiatry.

  • Shall we ask the FDA?
    1. Can the FDA please explain how they can re-classify these machines, that in 2011 were found to cause an `unreasonable risk of harm’ (Class lll) to safe and effective (Classes I and II) without testing them to verify this?
    2. Can the FDA explain why a medical device, Class III, (presenting an unreasonable risk of harm) has been permitted for use, including that listed in this submission, for 5 years after receiving that classification, when ALL other medical devices so designated are required to conform to testing and safety protocols without fear or favour, before being permitted for re-submission, let alone use?
    3. Does the FDA plan to qualify that some, or all, ECT machines must be restricted for “severe treatment resistant depression…requiring a rapid response” use only? How does the FDA plan to differentiate machines to be used for these conditions from the machines used for all other diagnoses?
    4. Can the FDA explain how the machines can pose an `unreasonable risk of harm’ for one diagnosis but not for another?
    5. Is the FDA aware that there are very serious reservations about the validity of psychiatric diagnoses particularly in relation to the DSM? Should a person be subjected to a procedure that offers an `unreasonable risk of harm’ based on questionable and controversial criteria for its use? Given this issue, at what point in a diagnosed condition does an `unreasonable risk of harm’ become `reasonable’, and what tests, checks and balances might be put in place to guarantee that the harm is not `unreasonable’?
    6. Is the FDA aware that studies show that fewer than 50% of people respond at ALL to ECT? Therefore does the FDA consider it acceptable to expose even a small number of specially selected people to an `unreasonable risk of harm’ on the under 50% chance that ANY therapeutic benefit, even in the very short term, will occur?
    7. Can the FDA predict which people in this sub-group will benefit? If not does the FDA accept that this risk of harm vs benefit is completely at random? If this statistic was presented to a potential recipient of a cardiac device would the FDA consider this acceptable?
    8. Does the FDA intend to accept that because one type of treatment (pharmaceuticals) has failed to help a person, they may then be treated with a procedure that offers an `unreasonable risk of harm’?
    9. Does the FDA intend to set out a strict, standardised series of tests and criteria that will restrict the use of this procedure that offers an `unreasonable risk of harm’ to this small, specific group of people? If so, how will this be phrased? For instance, will the psychiatrist have to produce detailed, comprehensive data that the patient has, in fact, not been helped by treatments that have been found to be effective in most (specify) other people? Will this criteria be standardised and policed? Will the patient’s wishes be honoured, e.g. will Advance Directives be upheld or will the individual be forced to receive this treatment based solely on the opinion of a psychiatrist at a given time?
    10. Given that, in normal psychiatric practice, one person may have several concurrent diagnoses, will there be a well defined, validated set of criteria that will definitely determine that an individual can be finally treated with a procedure that offers an `unreasonable risk of harm’? If so, will there be strict independent supervision of the use of the procedure, such that if a person no longer fits the criteria, or there is any ambiguity in the diagnostic process whereby ANY question can exist as to the validity of the diagnosis? Will the individual have the right to litigation for being subjected inappropriately to a treatment that offers an `unreasonable risk of harm’?
    11. Does the FDA intend to devise a set of protective criteria, including prosecution and other litigation, that will protect people from reckless, unwarranted, aggressive, or ignorant use of a treatment that offers an `unreasonable risk of harm’? There is a great deal of evidence that the unregulated use of ECT and even banned machines, is common.
    12. Will the FDA take into consideration ALL evidence that examines the degree of harm, rather than selecting the evidence that supports this submission? In 2011 many studies, including the largest study into memory/cognitive effects form ECT, which clearly indicated significant, permanent harm from the procedure, was missing from the list of relevant studies. Perhaps this oversight can now be addressed and other studies indicating poor responses, and recording significant, permanent damage be included in the current assessment.
    13. Is the FDA aware that claims of ECT being a `life saving’, `suicide intervention’ procedure, have little or no scientific support, that in fact, suicide may be a consequence of ECT?
    14. Has the FDA considered, at any time, the evidence that ECT produces considerable psychological suffering in many people? It has been likened to rape, assault, torture, bullying, de-personalisation, involving deception, helplessness, hopelessness, terror and despair.
    15. In considering the claims for faster response from ECT, particularly in the elderly, will the FDA consider the emerging evidence of ongoing harm associated with anaesthesia, particularly in older people? ECT requires the use of multiple anaesthetics over a period of weeks or months and the highest use of ECT is in elderly females (approx 40%).
    16. Will the FDA consider the considerable data indicating more severe damage occurs in females and the elderly when considering whether there exists an “unreasonable risk of harm”?
    17. Will the FDA review the data ion the risk of death from ECT? There is currently considerable data to suggest this far below stated levels of 1:10,000. The available data indicate a risk of between 1:200 (elderly) to 1:1000. For instance, recent statistics from Texas (2013-14) record a 1:400 death rate.
    18. Would the FDA consider asking the industry to provide new placebo trial data, animal studies and given recent documentation of structural brain damage (Perrin 2012), comprehensive examination including fMRI scans, longitudinal, standardised, neuropsychological and psychological assessment of a broad cross-section of past and current patients?
    19. Will the FDA consider the emerging data on the placebo effect from Harvard University when the efficacy of ECT is being considered?
    20. Will the FDA consider that the current ECT machines are only similar to those “grandfathered” in the 1980s, in that they deliver an electric shock to the brain? The type of electrical current is different, the duration of the application of the electricity is much longer, and the power used in that delivered is markedly increased. Usually, I suggest, the fact that a device has the same aim is not sufficient to allow it to be used without prior rigorous testing. A stent made of nylon and one made of titanium may be very similar in design, and have the same aim (to dilate an artery) but I cannot imagine the FDA would allow one to be used untested because of this.
    Whew! Can people think of more, or tidy this up, please.

  • It was a sad loss for many when Thalidomide was withdrawn, too. IT helped many people including the women whose infants were so shockingly damaged. The male population and post menopausal women must still be in mourning after such a precipitate reaction on the part of the government. There were a couple of stents (for arterial expansion) that only killed a few people, and so many other slightly dangerous devices helped SOME people, that are sadly missed as well. It was just bad luck if you were one of the ones they hurt or killed. And then there were breast implants. They were mostly okay, and anyway, getting bigger boobs is a choice isn’t it, so serves you right if you were the one they messed up.

  • Thank you for bringing up this case. I have been involved with this man since he had received 11 ECT treatments. He was obviousl;y cognitively impaired then and now they are applying for the next 12, leading to 54 treatments in 24 weeks. We have appealed to all government agencies that are in place to protect patients from this kind of recklessly aggressive treatment without success. The doctor ios so sure she will get approval to go to FIFTY FOUR that she scheduled the next one that day directly after the tribunal hearing. I am hoping that international pressure might be brought to bear as MindFreedom have done in the past, but I fear this 40 year old man will die before help arrives. Yes, it is enormously distressing and completely frustrating for those of us who know the situation first hand. After going to human rights lawyers, the Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid etc etc I threw my hands in the air and cried, “Is everyone’s name Pontius Pilate?” That was in October nearly 30 ECT treatments ago.

  • That’s the push from psychiatry. The drugs are under fire – In Australia, ECT capital of the world, a very respected medical reporter, a DOCTOR no less, has said publicly that ADHD drugs are no good, the government is putting serious controls on Drug Companies access to doctors. The entire house of cards is falling, so ECT with its `unknown’, `miraculous’ action has to be the only cab in the rank! It’s the SAME as MESMERISM was, BOGUS! Wrap it in jargon as much as you like, it’s BOGUS!

  • What is so chilling about the Perrin study is the attitude of the researchers. There seems to be no appreciation of what they have actually done. Which is to permanently damage healthy brains in pursuit of an idea based on assumptions that are completely unproven. I.e. that ECT is an effective treatment for depression. They even complain that there is a paucity of volunteers. Why were these studies not done on animals first? This is not to mention the complete disregard for even normal scientific method All this has shown is that ECT causes brain damage. There is no placebo control group or any other control group. There appears to be an assumption that depression is caused by a brain condition that was not demonstrated in the pre-treatment scans- the `improvement’ seen may or may not have been the consequence of the damage i.e. the reduced connections, but may equally be due to the placebo effect or other influences such as the drugs before during and after. This compounded by the earnest, `scientific’ attitude that most resembles the `studiously rigorous’ scientific examination of mesmerism over 200 years ago. It too, was completely bogus. Pseudoscience often presents very well and when critical examination is coming from supporters, it will get away with it, but not forever. There was a bit of embarrassment over this too because the APA et al categorically state that there is NO EVIDENCE OF `LASTING EFFECTS ON THE FUNCTIONAL ARCHITECTURE OF THE BRAIN’. In plainspeak, no structural brain damage! So what do they do? The PR machine moves in to say that this is a GOOD THING! WOW! The connections idea was what the 1930s school of Disabling the Brain as treatment said!

  • I believe this entire process is a back door attempt to overturn the FDA’s 2011 ruling. I suggest that the APA realises that the FDA may be forced to act on the Class III ruling and insist that the routine testing required BEFORE use of Class III devices be carried out. The machines would have to be withdrawn pending animal studies, placebo trials, proper independent RCTs etc. This would spell disaster.. The back door = the thin end of the wedge? I think the APA believe this. They are operating in the past, where opposition was seen as belonging to `ratbag’, extremist rabble, religious `nutters’ and disgruntled patients.” This is the kind of thinking that permeates the psychiatric profession. They still hold a lot of power but have real problems with cognitive dissonance and insight. That even the somewhat frantic attempts to alert the profession by people like Ron Pies and Allan Frances are being ignored, shows that they can’t/won’t see that their world is collapsing. Psychiatric drug treatments are now exposed as failing and more and more evidence of corruption, misrepresentation and dishonest claims is surfacing.
    The current rush to ECT as a treatment is a last ditch stand to maintain a disintegrating profession in its artificially gained place of power, money and position. Understandable, yes, acceptable, NO.
    There is a general scrambling to find alternatives to the crumbling “chemical imbalance” to keep the biopsych sandcastle in place. These involve ECT which still claims this, but has veered off to the latest wild speculation on the causes of depression to prove that it’s a “modern” treatment.
    Depression is an inflammatory process and ECT’s “mild insult” activates the brain’s neuroprotective response, the brain’s built-in response to repair any damage”. This implies that the neurogenesis set off by the trauma of ECT will be used to repair some existing pathological condition rather than as a response to the damage caused by the treatment. (most of these new cells will die and the effect of the rest is `poorly understood’ , except by psychiatrists, but may be pathological).
    Depression is the result of “too many connections” in the brain. (see Moniz1938 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 Perrin 2012, “investigated this by performing brain scans on patients with severe depression before and after their ECT sessions. It found that, after treatment there was a reduction in the connections in an area of the brain previously linked to both depression and cognitive function.” (This is 3 bears science of course. What is “too many”, what is “too few” and what is “just right”?)
    All of this unsubstantiated rubbish is what the `new’ information is on about but the old…
    “…It is thought that the seizure `resets’ the brain.”
    “ECT is also known to adjust the levels of brain chemicals which are involved in mood regulation, such as serotonin and noradrenaline” 2012
    “The brain functions through complex electrical and chemical processes, which may be impaired by certain types of mental illness. It is believed ECT acts by temporarily altering some of these processes, thereby returning function towards normal.” Information for Patients, April 2003. © Professor JWG Tiller)
    …is still at the CORE (Kellner et al) of this push.
    The rationale behind this is an insult to our intelligence and to that of the non-psychiatrists on the FDA panel.
    Nothing proposed in the docket is new, everything recommended is or should be in place already and none of it is relevant to the safety of the machines.
    It’s ridiculous to suggest that one can classify a machine offering an “unreasonable risk of harm” as acceptable for some conditions but not others. This is a true “curate’s egg” situation. It either is or it is not.
    The claims of RCTs etc have not changed since 2011, the relevant studies re harm & suicide are still excluded and history is denied as usual.
    I think this move was planned after 2011’s failure, which I suspect was completely unexpected. The attempt to sneak it in in the “off season” is an example of the duplicity for which they are now famous. This will be exposed and hopefully serve them very ill indeed.
    Even if they succeed in this, and I don’t think they will, the momentum for collapse is in place. This push may well discredit the FDA/APA more than they can imagine. The fact that they are completely underestimating their opposition is further evidence that they are out of touch.
    This are my 1st questions to the FDA:
    1. Can the FDA please explain how they can re-classify these machines that in 2011 were found to cause an `unreasonable risk of harm’ (class lll) to safe and effective (Classes I and II) without testing the machines to verify this?
    Can the FDA explain why a medical device, Class III, (presenting an unreasonable risk of harm) has been permitted for use, including that listed in this submission, for 5 years after receiving that classification, when ALL other medical devices so designated are required to conform to testing and safety protocols without fear or favour, before being permitted for re-submission let alone use?
    Can the FDA explain how the machines can pose an `unreasonable risk of harm’ for one diagnosis but not for another?
    Given the serious questions regarding diagnosis in psychiatry generally, at what point does an `unreasonable risk of harm’ become `reasonable’, and what tests, checks and balances might be put in place to guarantee that harm is not `unreasonable’?
    There will be many more.
    A thought – they have specified that the DIAGNOSIS rationale should be the basis for objection = opportunity to use Tom Insell, Director of NIMH & Allen Frances Chair DSM VI. Both canned it! A Melbourne professor also said it was written for the drug companies and the courts and his university would not use or teach it.

  • And these results would be the best available. Who is going to fill in a questionnaire that makes them look sloppy and incompetent? The fact that so many admitted poor performance indicates that they don’t know what good practice is, and this is what’s terrifying. One angle is just this – what controls would the FDA put in place to monitor the use of ECT? Of course they can’t. Most of these life threatening events are never reported to anyone. Many, of not most, aren’t even recorded in the patient files. Some aren’t recognised by staff as being `adverse’. I personally know of 2 cardiac arrests, an episode of extreme confusion (? ongoing seizures, or stroke) where a young girl was bedridden for 3 days, and a stroke, all directly related to ECT but never recorded or reported. The stroke was mine. I lost language, was unable to sit up, feed myself, eat or control my bladder for over 12 hours as a consequence of `titration’ during the 1st of 6 ECTs. The nurses recognised something was wrong but accepted it as `normal’ following `titration’ and did nothing. The `small infarct deep in the brain’ was found on a CT scan 18 months later. These episodes must occur in their thousands every day but are covered up/ignored in the general attitude of `who cares’ they’re just loonies. Here is some more stuff to send to the FDA re anaesthetics,…/HRBo…/CRPD/GC/GuidelinesArticle14.doc
    `Exposure to general anaesthesia could increase the risk of dementia in elderly by 35 percent’
    ESA (EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF ANAESTHESIOLOGY) and “vidan et al. J Alzheimers Dis 2011; 24: 201-16. (2) André D et al. Ann Fr Anesth Reanim 2011; 30: 37-46.General Anesthesia And The Human Brain: How Going Under May Impact Cognitive Function”. 30% of all recipients of ECT are elderly women. The elderly WILL be targeted under this push because a) they “cannot tolerate the (useless) meds”, b) they are more compliant, c) they are “more likely to be depressed than men” (the highest suicide rate is men over 70) and d)THEY ARE ON MEDICARE (US).
    As for deaths, Texas 2013-14 6 deaths in 2400 within 2 weeks of completing ECT = 1:400 NOT 1:12,000.
    Suicide prevention: 4 of these deaths were suicides = 1:600 – population suicide rate – 1:11,000. Can ECT actually CAUSE suicide? Munk-Olsen et al., 2007 and Sharma 1999 say YES. So does anecdotal evidence. I know of 3, people who, as far as I knew, were not associated with psychiatry at all. 1st, a tennis teammate’s brother, 2nd, another woman at the tennis club’s mother, and 3rd, a woman shop assistant’s 21 year old son. All were mentioned in passing, unsolicited. They don’t figure in the stats anywhere because the doctor’s all claimed it was the DEPRESSION that made them do it. Except the depression was caused by the consequences of ECT in all 3!
    It has to be stopped.

  • Since the `treatment’ offered i.e. psychotropic medications’ don’t work for nearly everyone except as a placebo, I think it’s fair to say that nearly everyone is `treatment resistant’. The claims that ECT is the best treatment available for depression, the `gold standard’ (Yes, David Healy), the penicillin of treatments (Good one, Max Fink), and the `safest treatment in all psychiatry’, might suggest that, rather than save it for the very few and most `dangerous’ cases, where a machine that causes an `unreasonable risk of harm’ is considered acceptable, we should offer it to everyone who is feeling `down’. If you’re `blue’ enough for a useless drug, maybe your GP could recommend ECT! Outpatient clinics are springing up and people can now have it once a week for the rest of their lives, even after they need full time care for the dementia they’ve got from it. Dementia? What the Hell, you’re not depressed!

  • Yes, see *Read & Bentall – 2010 – `The Effectiveness of electro-convulsive therapy: A literature Review.’ As far as I can tell cognitive function has never been systematically measured by any researchers, bur you have to remember that the only people who have access to ECT patients are those doing it to them. The last thing they want to know, for whatever reasons including their own self delusions, is exactly how much damage they’re doing. That is why I’m asking everyone who has had ECT, who can find, or raise the money, to have a full neuropsychological assessment done asap. If we can get a body of evidence it will go a long way towards stopping this scourge. You sound like you understand scientific method, if you read some of these studies you will be appalled at its lack in most of the work done by psychiatrists. Some is laughable, but not funny as it can destroy lives.

  • I believe this entire process is a back door attempt to overturn the FDA’s 2011 ruling. I suggest that the APA realises that the FDA may be forced to act on the Class III ruling and insist that the routine testing required BEFORE use of Class III devices be carried out. The machines would have to be withdrawn pending animal studies, placebo trials, proper independent RCTs etc. This would spell disaster. The FDA is under increasing scrutiny for corruption and poor performance, so the non psychiatric members might just be happy to scapegoat the increasingly unpopular psychiatrists to make themselves look good.
    The back door = the thin end of the wedge? I think the APA believe this. They are operating in the past, where opposition was seen as belonging to `ratbag’, extremist rabble, religious `nutters’ and disgruntled patients who according to Max Fink, `get together and chatter and say all their troubles are due to ECT.” This is the kind of thinking that permeates the psychiatric profession. They still hold a lot of power but have real problems with cognitive dissonance and insight. That even the somewhat frantic attempts to alert the profession by people like Ron Pies and Allan Frances are being ignored, shows that they can’t/won’t see that their world is collapsing. Psychiatric drug treatments are now exposed as failing and more and more evidence of corruption, misrepresentation and dishonest claims is surfacing.
    The current rush to ECT as a treatment is a last ditch stand to maintain a disintegrating profession in its artificially gained place of power, money and position. Understandable, yes, acceptable, NO.
    There is a general scrambling to find alternatives to the crumbling “chemical imbalance” to keep the biopsych sandcastle in place. These involve ECT which still suggests that, but has veered off to the latest wild speculation on the causes of depression to prove that it’s a “modern” treatment.
    Depression is an infammatory process and ECT’s “mild insult” activates the brain’s neuroprotective response, the brain’s built-in response to repair any damage”. This implies that the neurogenesis set off by the trauma of ECT will be used to repair some existing pathological condition rather than as a response to the damage caused by the treatment. (most of these new cells will die and the effect of the rest is `poorly understood’ , except by psychiatrists, but may be pathological).
    Depression is the result of “too many connections” in the brain. (see Moniz1938 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 Perrin 2012, “investigated this by performing brain scans on patients with severe depression before and after their ECT sessions. It found that, after treatment there was a reduction in the connections in an area of the brain previously linked to both depression and cognitive function.” (This is 3 bears science of course. What is “too many”, what is “too few” and what is “just right”?)
    All of this unsubstantiated rubbish is what the `new’ information is on about but the old…
    “…It is thought that the seizure `resets’ the brain.”
    “The brain functions using electrochemical messages, and it is thought that ECT-induced seizures `interrupt’ these messages”. -Better Health Channel State Government Victoria, Department of Health last updated 2013.
    “ECT works by “turning down” an overactive connection between areas of the brain causing depression.” Professor Ian Reid from the University of Aberdeen, and colleagues 2012.
    “Some scientists have suggested it changes the pattern of blood flow or metabolism in the brain, while others believe it releases certain chemicals in the brain that battle the depression.”
    “ECT is also known to adjust the levels of brain chemicals which are involved in mood regulation, such as serotonin and noradrenaline” 2012
    “The brain functions through complex electrical and chemical processes, which may be impaired by certain types of mental illness. It is believed ECT acts by temporarily altering some of these processes, thereby returning function towards normal.” Information for Patients, April 2003. © Professor JWG Tiller)
    It is thought that ECT acts to correct imbalances in certain brain areas through changes in brain chemistry.
    …is still at the CORE (Kellner et al) of this push.
    The rationale behind this is an insult to our intelligence and to that of the non-psychiatrists on the FDA panel. Nothing is new, everything recommended is or should be in place already and none of it is relevant to the safety of the machines.
    It’s ridiculous to suggest that one can classify a machine offering an “unreasonable risk of harm” as acceptable for some conditions but not others. This is a true “curate’s egg” situation. It either is or it is not.
    The claims of RCTs etc have not changed since 2011, the relevant studies re harm & suicide are still excluded and history is denied as usual.
    I think this move was planned after 2011’s failure, which I suspect was completely unexpected. The attempt to sneak it in in the “off season” is an example of the duplicity for which they are now famous. This will be exposed and hopefully serve them very ill indeed.
    Even if they succeed in this, and I don’t think they will, the momentum for collapse is in place. This push may well discredit the FDA/APA more than they can imagine. The fact that they are completely underestimating their opposition is further evidence that they are out of touch.
    This is my 1st question to the FDA:
    1. Can the FDA please explain how they can re-classify these machines that in 2011 were found to cause an `unreasonable risk of harm’ (class lll) to safe and effective (Classes I and II) without testing the machines to verify this?
    My second is:
    2. Can the FDA explain why a medical device, Class III, (presenting an unreasonable risk of harm) has been permitted for use, including that listed in this submission, for 5 years after receiving that classification, when ALL other medical devices so designated are required to conform to testing and safety protocols without fear or favour, before being permitted for re-submission let alone use?
    There will be many more.

  • I think it’s called fiddling while Rome burns. What are these pseudo-scientists going to do if they admit, which of course they can never do, that what they do is playing with excrement? What will they do in the tea-room if they can’t talk jargon over coffee and cake? How will they keep believing in themselves if they think for one moment that their God doesn’t exist, that the belief system that makes them so important in their own eyes is smoke and mirrors? The doctor’s pathology is showing.
    1. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: This is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individuals confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance-disharmony) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance, in —as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.
 Therefore people will engage in a process called dissonance reduction to bring their cognitions, or understandings, and actions in line with one another, frequently denial…In cognitive dissonance the more one invests in a belief, the more value one will place in this belief and, as a consequence, be more resistant to facts, evidence or reality that contradict this belief.
    2.TRUE BELIEVER SYNDROME: The phenomenon whereby no amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary. No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie.
    3. CONFIRMATION BIAS: The overconfidence in personal beliefs that can maintain beliefs after the evidence for them is shown to be false. This is contrary to scientific thinking which is the search for falsifying as well as confirming evidence.
    I rest my case.

  • What do Terry Lynch, Joanna Moncrieff, Irving Kirsch et al make of this? It seems to me to be a desperate attempt to pacify, encourage and beg BigPharma to stay on board the sinking ship. The search for evidence to support the idea which is, of course, the opposite of true science. Aristotle: the hypothesis is an idea in search of disproof.

  • Is this an argument about gun control or whether the mentally ill are more dangerous than the rest of society? The evidence, world-wide indicates that the `mentally ill’ whatever that is, are far LESS likely to be dangerous than others, and MORE likely to be victims of violence. Plus, both the APA and its UK counterpart the RPA have categorically refused to accept responsibility for predicting violence in the so-callled `mentally ill’, therefore a diagnosis and psychiatric intervention isn’t likely to help. In fact it’s more likely to get a whole lot of innocent people locked up and deprived of their rights, leaving the carnage continuing unabated elsewhere. PLUS, Australia and the UK and every other country has its quota of `mentally ill’ people but they don’t have massacres of what effectively are bystanders, on a regular basis. Indeed, the only regular public group murders elsewhere in the world seem to be by terrorist groups with agendas, not by disenfranchised individuals who are armed to the teeth. PLUS, where is the line drawn between MAD and BAD. Unfortunately we have listened to psychiatrists for the last 30+ years, and have embraced their assertion that we are the victims of our genetically determined
    `chemical imbalances’ and therefore `ill’, and therefore don’t have control over our behaviour, and therefore need their special, and expensive intervention, to the point where our society and I include mine, has raised its children to believe they need medical help for bad behaviour, not discipline and self control. The ` fault lies in our stars (genes/imbalances) not ourselves’, (sorry Will).
    People don’t take cars into a school and mow a dozen people down, and I don’t see too many smokers taking 10 people out at a time so these analogies are ridiculous.
    Another thought, I’m not sure about the constant violence presented to little children as `games’ either. Perhaps in some people real guns and real death is linked to fantasy guns and fantasy death in a way that awareness that people don’t get up/or are back next time you turn on the game is somehow limited. Whatever, if there are no real guns, people don’t really die.

  • Hi Ted, I agree totally, the talk about drugs and even ECT are the leaves on the trees, the form that is the trunk is what allows the abuse to continue. As long as people are seen a lesser, that can be no change.
    I was recently asked to submit a paper to a government inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect re the disabled. This includes mental hospitals. This is some of what I sent:
    VOICES- from the people who live it…
    “You may like to think mental patient abuse is non existent now compared to early psychiatric facilities, but
    the truth of the matter is it has merely taken another form and is more subtle and just as damaging to the mentally ill.”
    “…common courtesy is ignored and patients are treated as nearly invisible by doctors (i.e. five minute interviews with a dr. that then prescribes medications one feels one must take in order to ‘get out’)”
    “…assumption that psychiatric patients are different people, a different class of citizen.”
    “Speaking from a patient’s point of view here. The staff were unnecessarily rude, vindictive and took much joy in upsetting me and other patients. Mental patient abuse is very common, and I have been in private and government facilities, it’s the same everywhere…We want, need, and deserve to be treated like human beings. Many patients don’t know how to exercise and enforce their rights, and this is when problems start.”
    “…in my opinion, the clinicians need both empathy and boundaries.”
    “The “nice” staff all knew who the abusers were, the doctors knew it was happening, and nobody did anything.”
    “The staff know that their word will always be taken over the patient’s word, the patients know this and are reluctant to make things worse for themselves by reporting sadistic behavior of the staff.”
    “They, (psychiatrists & social workers) have other clients who are terrified of the hospital just like I am. It’s an open secret that outright abuse and rights violations are occurring to psych patients, because they have little voice.”
    “I didn’t lie or disrespect and I was treated like crap pretty often, and I saw it happen to lots of sweet people who were crushed by bad events etc. I suspect they were targets of the patient haters because they knew those patients wouldn’t fight back.”
    “…just total disrespect of adults -talk to them like they are children, and geez, this even happens among the people [who were] degreed professionals. Voice an opinion, and get talked to like a 6 year old.”
    “I want to be treated like a human being. An adult, intelligent human being, worthy of respect.”
    “I really don’t think an outsider observing a psych ward is going to learn how things really are. It’s kind of like when [authorities = inspection staff] show up and staff are suddenly on their best behavior. They’re not going to act like an arse in front of them [authorities] unless they know they [authorities] are ok with it. I know it is possible for inpatient psych staff to treat patients respectfully, because I was inpatient once when they were surveyed and they suddenly became “nice” and attentive when they [authorities] showed up. So, I know they can do it if they choose to.”
    “…it makes me cry to experience how kind those treating professionals were, (surgical unit) compared to what I’ve received at times in inpatient mental health.”
    “It’s not about taking away a belt that is the problem. It is the threats, it’s forcibly stripping people, the way they talk to you’re a child or ignorant, and so forth. I dared accidentally step over a black tape line in front of the nurse’s station once, and they bit my head off. If a nurse acted like that on regular med/surg unit they would be let go. It wouldn’t be tolerated.”
    “Because you’re mostly ignored the myriad of ways.”
    “…there is often stigma from nurses or psychiatric nurses. Some residents and nurses can be very judgmental-without realizing about the impact of what they say.”
    “Some psych wards in hospitals are very pushy about their inpatient programs, even when some parts of the programs are not of use to specific patients. I find being with other patients while an inpatient is the most therapeutic thing hospitals can offer.”
    “I did find the stigma and judgmental comments, primarily from nurses, including psychiatric nurses, hard to get out of my mind for years. I think nurses need more training in dealing with psychiatric patients and avoiding hurtful comments.”
    “[the nurses] are in their glass office doing paperwork almost the entire time. I rarely had a hospital psychiatrist who was willing to take 5 minutes to talk to my spouse.”
    “Nothing is offered inpatient nowadays but drugs. I don’t know anyone who got better with drugs, long term.”
    “When no mental health care is provided inpatient anymore, isn’t it just incarceration?”
    “My own doc said do whatever it takes to get the heck out of there ASAP because it is a bad place. I got my medical records before I complained so they couldn’t be altered. I was terrified…I think a lot of people working in mental health must lie to themselves a bit to get through the day, the system is so bad.”
    “Abusers in nursing homes are not dealt with either…They just get fired and go and abuse old people in another nursing home. Nobody prosecutes them. Very similar to my experiences.”
    “Are There Ways To Lessen The Violation That People Feel After Psychiatric Hospitalizations?
Are there ways to lessen the violation that people feel after being kidnapped, raped and tortured?”
    “…the memory of hospitalization that at best was humiliating and difficult and at worst abusive and totally traumatic. My experiences were so bad, sometimes, that I would not willingly return no matter how bad the situation is.”
    “…make it clearer to legislators that if you punish people for getting mental health care, they will avoid it.”
    All these anecdotes attest to the same thing – the entire psychiatric system is systemically abusive.
    The Mental Health Acts in Australia are so vaguely defined that they are open to extreme interpretation so many people end up as Involuntary (forced) patients, deemed incapable, without civil rights, simply because they do not wish to `take their meds’, a right extended to every other citizen in the country even if not `taking their meds’ could lead directly to their death eg cancer drugs.
    It seems extraordinary that a government supported Legal Service formed to protect people from psychiatric misconduct, reckless, inappropriate, or illegal treatment, feels a need to caution people against refusing treatment such as electroshock, because if they do they may be made involuntary, thereby losing almost all human rights. In fact, the same person, at the same time, will be declared incompetent if they say `no’, but deemed competent if they say `yes’. Legally incompetence is incompetence, and cannot be qualified by agreement or disagreement. This reflects a systemic abuse of the law.
    Again, the need to protect the public from “dangerous lunatics” denies the evidence that the mentally ill are are least no more violent than the general public in any risk of “dangerousness”, and are statistically far more likely to be attacked than to attack others.
    In fact, both the American Psychiatric Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) state that they will not accept responsibility for predicting “dangerousness”, and have a very poor record of doing so. In spite of this disclaimer, the law continues to operate, allowing psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to order a person to be apprehended by the police, incarcerated without trial, for a de facto indefinite period on no evidence other that, initially in the opinion of somebody, but later a psychiatrist, that he or she:
    “Appears to be mentally ill;” The potential for abuse here is intrinsic. Anything the authorities don’t like, understand, approve of is grounds for being deprived of liberty.There is no definitive, description as there is in a crime for instance, eg larceny, murder, assault etc. Not too long ago, women were declared mentally sick and incarcerated for adultery, fornication, being `too interested in boys’. Men were locked up for `unnatural behaviour’, lewd and drunken behaviour. How far have we come with this?
    “May be a danger to himself or others;” To deprive someone of their liberty a crime must have been committed and the person apprehended must reasonably be suspected of actually having done it. Under the MHA it is enough for someone to think that a person might, though statistics show that 97% of people who think about suicide never do it.
    The other three basically support these two. I.e. “Refuses treatment; Does not believe they are ill i.e. disagrees with the authorities, (most criminals also disagree with authorities but cannot be retained unless there is SOME evidence of guilt.); Cannot be treated in any other way, i.e. NOT negotiable unless compliant. Of course, if the person agrees that they are ill, agrees to take medication/ECT/treatment, they are no longer considered `incapable’.
    When the law for some people allows them to be deprived of any right to disagree we have the gulag.
    There is no reason to assume that Australian psychiatrists are any more competent than their fellows overseas,which suggests that many people are being unnecessarily incarcerated without rights in our mental health system.
    Regarding the claim of the “dangerousness” of the mental hospital ward, here is a scenario played out regularly in the system. The police, ill-informed over what constitutes `mental illness’ may respond to a call from almost anyone, a neighbour, a relative, or even a passer-by, knock on a door of an unsuspecting member of the public who may understandably object to being told to come with them to a hospital for no apparent reason. This objection may then be called resistance and evidence of `disturbance’ leading to physical force being used to restrain the person, who may object even more strongly. On arrival and handed over to the medical staff at the hospital this `disturbed’ person will then be injected with drugs, often either or both physically restrained and secluded. Up to 72 hours later she, or he, may well be too drugged and/or confused from electroshock to speak to a lawyer, to appear at a tribunal, to hear what charges have been laid against them (ie why they have been declared mentally ill and incompetent, and who may never know who made the first call), or to plead their case. This person may never have done anything, much less committed any crime that should deprive them of his or her liberty, allowing them to be assaulted with drugs and electroshock without recourse, based solely on opinion. There are no objective tests in psychiatry. In fact only 3% of ITOs are overturned at the tribunal in Victoria.
    A barrister I knew regularly was called to represent `recommended’ people at the mental health tribunals. She often referred to me, as a former mental health professional, because she could not converse with her clients as they were almost unconscious from drugs, got unclear, contradictory information from staff so was unable to help her client in any meaningful way. On one occasion, a man due to appear at the tribunal was given electroshock 2 hours before, leaving him extremely confused and unable to communicate. From some of her stories it was clear to me that many people were held without just cause and that this constituted abuse of their civil rights if nothing else.
    Re reporting any abuse, rudeness etc – Patients are regularly threatened, `don’t make waves or it will be the worse for you,’ i.e ECT/seclusion/extra drugs. If people do complain it seems that unless the staff have recorded the abuses no action will be taken. It is highly unlikely that any staff member(s) will write that they are abusing patients, and records may be absent altogether, inaccurate or contain outright lies. As I’ve stated it is not uncommon for case notes to go missing or be altered when issues arise. One major hospital in Melbourne was recently found by the coroner to have altered case notes following a death. Patients are rarely if ever believed.
    In the case where serious and sometimes deadly results of psychiatric interventions occur, the coroner will generally find that the staff, ie doctors and nurses were justified in using the massive doses of drugs that caused the potentially fatal Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, or status epilepticus or stroke from the electroshock, respiratory arrest as a result of a knee in the back, or suicide from fear of seclusion and bullying into electroshock, and the fear of further shackling, because, in somebody’s opinion, not necessarily even that of the most well qualified (see APA, RCP disclaimers), just the most available person, an individual MIGHT have been a danger to himself or others, or APPEARED to be mentally ill.
    This crystal ball approach to managing those who are often only intermittently disabled can and does produce ongoing abuse.
    As institutions where children are freely accessible attract pedophiles, institutions where vulnerable, powerless people are to be found, especially when that powerlessness is supported by the most disenfranchising legislation in the land, will attract people who have a need or desire to exercise power. In both situations the outcome will be abuse.
    In my experience the majority of the violence and abuse comes from staff attitudes and behaviour, and aggressive patient behaviour is often the result of self defense, against unwanted/unwarranted drugging and the physical violence of electroshock, the rudeness, verbal and emotional aggression, unnecessary use of force and avoidance of any therapeutic contact by staff, as a general and expected way of behaving in the institutional setting. Often nurses who attempt to engage with patients are discouraged from doing so by fellow staff members.
    In fact, most violence from patients comes from people who have neurologically toxic conditions from drugs and alcohol. Even if the individual has a psychiatric history, or presents with listed psychiatric symptoms eg hallucinations/delusions, treatment of toxic conditions should be treated in a different facility.

    Below is an article from the psychiatrist in charge of a hospital where abuse, everything from washing patients with the same dirty flannels to abuse of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), in one case leading to a patient’s death, were found to be almost entirely proven…
    “Major hospital inquiries burn up money that is desperately needed to improve the Health Service, disrupt the work of the hospital, and often have a devastating effect on individual and group morale, leaving in their wake a legacy of corrosive bitterness. They should be avoided wherever possible…An inquiry inevitably has an emotionally traumatic effect upon some people (if staff have behaved inhumanly to patients, this may well be deserved, although even here an attempt should be made to discover any mitigating circumstances).”
    What you might hope is that inquiries would leave in their wake a legacy of improved care for patients and redress for victims. But the author of this was concerned only with the impact on psychiatrists and other staff.
    I think we have to recognise that an abusive, intimidatory environment may create, exacerbate and perpetuate disability. (ICIDH… “the recognition that environment not only affects handicap but can also affect disability”). Society attitudes, influenced as they are by inaccurate, biased and often false information, and supported by government-sanctioned human rights abuse, have put the mentally ill at the bottom of the totem pole. The attendant violence, abuse and neglect cements this, leading to a climate of despair with a terrible human toll including high suicide rates and the descent into hopeless, chronic illness and disability. This is a major characteristic in the mental health system in our society that is not mirrored in some others. In Australia the treatment can be far worse than the illness.
    As long as the system is designated solely as a medical problem, the reality of the SOCIAL basis of nearly all psychological difficulties is ignored. Because of lack of understanding(training), facilities, (crowding and inappropriate bedfellows), lack of defined boundaries (power imbalances within the treating team as well as between patient and staff,) and the overall and institutionalised “them and us” ethos, there is obvious and well documented instances of violence, abuse and neglect which has existed for a long time and shows no sign of improving.
    “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
    Mental illness is not a vote winner but, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because conscience tells one it is right.”

  • And not just in America!
    Little brother Australia is happily crawling along behind, not wanting to miss a single dollar. A frightening development I spotted in the newspaper on the 7/9/15 is a `survey’ that has found a `huge undiscovered epidemic of depression and anxiety, lying untreated in our society, leading to serious and unecessary suffering. This untreated, suffering group is children and adolescents. We have earnest comments from the Health minister about the need for more programs (drugs) for these poor kids and more avenues for them to come forward for `treatment’ (drugs). The article also says that ADHD diagnoses appear to be declining…(hopefully that message is getting out)…I don’t know about you but I sense a very smelly professional push behind this. The `altruistic’ and `concerned’ psychiatric profession aided and abetted by an amoral industry which may be responding to the wealth of criticism now about, whose concerns are more likely to be about a loss of customers are seeding anxious people who will do anything for their kids. With the broadening of the criteria (DSM V) they can and will rake in more and more perfectly normal children and `help’ them to become basket cases.
    But our own society has a case to answer. WE set it up. WE want everything solved quickly, without pain. WE want to not look at the social issues behind any rise in children’s emotional difficulties. WE accept that people can walk away from responsibility to their kids, to not stay and work through tough times together. WE blame the government, `why don’t `THEY’ fix it? WE have sown the wind, now WE have to get off out backsides, accept responsibility, take charge and start to control the whirlwind!
    I despair at times but I WILL stand up and try to stop these very bad, cynical people. I will write to ill-educated politicians and public servants who listen to `experts’ who strew pseudoscience about like straw over ice. I HAVE stood up at a Ban ECT rally. I HAVE stood toe to toe with an ECT advocate on his own forum, and on this one, and I believe I won (I’m not posted anymore). I HAVE sent a submission to a government enquiry about violence, abuse and neglect in mental hospitals, and if I can stir up legal proceedings on behalf of the brutalised and sorely injured victims of psychiatry, I WILL. WE ALL MUST.

  • John, I’m confused, I don’t see, in this post that there anything particularly harsh about your comments? For me, offering a critique of the way someone presents a topic is hardly the same as casting aspersions on their character. My experience of Mad in America has always been that the site welcomes such critiques and encourages scientific debate. Has this changed or was there something else, was there another post or has some editing taken place?

  • I’d like to post Dr Healy’s response to this post and my reply to that.
    From David Healy 5/8/15
    What I consistently say – and said recently in at an ISEPP meeting in LA is that what I as a doctor can do for you that your granny or lifestyle coach, priest or guru can’t do is I can poison, mutilate or shock you. That poisoning, mutilation and shocking must be expected to come with problems – none of which should be ignored – and its only when the condition you have warrants taking the risks – with you fully informed of the risks – and both of us monitoring for things going wrong that I as a doctor should treat or you should engage with treatment.
    When it comes to telling you about the risks of ECT – I would tell you and tell anyone that ECT is linked to memory problems but part of the problem is that that no one who gets ECT is drug free and the benzos, antipsychotics and antidepressants you may also be on are likely causing memory problems (memory problems are the commonest complaint I get from people on antidepressants for instance who have never had ECT) so one of the hazards after ECT will be you will almost certainly have memory issues but aside from the short-term problems that no-one has ever denied are linked to ECT, it may be difficult for me or you to work out which of the longer term ones are linked to ECT rather than to any pills you are on. I have talked to many people who are very anti-ECT and when they describe their memory problems, these are much more consistent with antipsychotic or benzo induced problems that with ECT.
    In terms of the research you mention – there are no scan data showing damage and there are no animal or other studies showing brain damage, whereas there are scan and animal studies showing damage on antipsychotics. In the case of scans and ECT this may be partly because it is close to impossible to run a study in which you can isolate out the effects of ECT. I know because I worked on a protocol to do just this and found it was not readily do-able.
    In terms of letting other voices be heard, one of the best books written from an anti-ECT point of view is Linda Andre’s Doctors of Deception – this only got published because of my intervention and support for its publication.
    In the case of the History of Shock Treatment parts of which were written by Ned Shorter and parts by me – the Sections on Informed Consent were written by me and are a paean of praise for the many people damaged by shock who over the years have worked hard to get a recognition or the hazards written into consent forms. I even had nice things to say about CCHR, Thomas Szasz and Peter Breggin en route.
    I have never called for a treatment to be removed. They are all dangerous. But with the right collaborative arrangement good can be done. After my talk at ISEPP, several people in the audience mentioned privately that they had had ECT in the past and it had helped them. I know many other people who have also been helped by it – and have friends and relatives who haven’t been helped in any respect. Finally I’ve done more than anyone else here in N Wales to ensure that people who should not be getting ECT don’t get it.
    My reply 8/8/15
    As a DOCTOR, Dr Healy, you are `licensed’ by the state to be paid to poison, mutilate or shock. You are PERMITTED to do these things which means you have an OBLIGATION to make sure that when you do, the individual, your patient, suffers LESS overall as a result. What you are supposed to do is HEAL (I’m sure you’ve noticed) or try to, without causing HARM. An ancient tenet, too often ignored as you so often point out. What you seem to be saying here is that it’s okay to cause harm if you tell people you’re going to, and if these people choose that, the ball is in their court.
    Isn’t this a bit ingenuous? No lay person can understand all the ramifications of risk and harm, they have to trust the expert to take care of them, therefore the expert must honour that trust.
    THIS is your point in your article. I haven’t queried that, merely that you confine it to one area and abandon it in another.
    As the author of a book on the history of ECT it seems odd that you ignore the fact that memory problems, especially autobiographical retrograde memory loss, were documented from 1938, some 15 to 20 years BEFORE benzos, antipsychotics and antidepressants existed. An excellent study by Janis in 1952, very clearly demonstrated this. Since this was such a definitive study, it was deemed unnecessary by honest researchers to repeat it, and was/is avoided by less rigorous researchers later who didn’t/don’t want those kinds of results to see the light of day.
    I didn’t mention any specific research into brain damage but your claim that there are no animal or other studies showing brain damage astonishes me. There are few if any animal studies that DON’T show significant, definitive and specific brain damage in ALL subjects. Before 1952 there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing about whether the damage every study found was actually caused by the electric shocks, but after Hartelius’ exhaustive and rigorously designed cat study it was accepted that this was the case. There were further studies in the 1970s in Russia that supported Hartelius, and the researchers recommended that ECT be withdrawn as a treatment, so later `modifications’ in the procedure did not avoid the problem.
    I am surprised that you state that there are no scans that indicate ECT specific brain damage. I must believe you aren’t aware of the 2012 study by Perrin et al where all subjects were given an MRI scan before and after ECT and ALL showed `changes’ that could only have the the result of ECT. Second to this, you may not have noticed Dr Charles Kellner’s (Mt Sinai Hospital, New York) article posted in the Psychiatric Times in January 2015 where he suggested that because of the sensitivity of todays MRI scans, a rethink about structural brain `changes’ caused by ECT might be necessary.
    I am aware of your involvement with Linda Andre’s book, `Doctors of Deception’ but I’m not sure that your claim that it `only’ got published because of your intervention is quite as simple as you say. Here is Linda’s feeling about the matter in 2007… “From: “Linda”,INTERNET:[email protected]
    To: “‘David Healy'”, healy_hergest
    Date: 03/12/2007 15:52 PM
    RE: RE: Book blurb
    The book is unlikely to be published. Doreen (the publisher) simply cannot accept that it is true…The only purpose the book contract has served so far is to prevent criticism of your book. (The History of Shock Treatment). You know Doreen, you know a bad review is her worst fear in life.
    Even if the book eventually gets published—and what purpose would that serve for Rutgers at that point?—it has served you well.
    You are too smart not to have known this was what would happen right from the beginning.
    You can deny it, but you are a liar. We’re not pretending any more.
    Regarding your book, one review (of many) sums up the continual confusion people feel about your stance on ECT.
    “The oddest thing about Healy and Shorter is that they appear to accept the conflict-of interest-driven, spun, “research” on ECT, while they excoriate similar psuedo science when applied to other areas of bio-psychiatry…this book stands in stark contrast to the clear-eyed analysis Healy has displayed elsewhere. Peter C Dwyer 2011”
    My point is that very contrast. You appear today to be scrambling to justify both yourself and ECT. I’d like to think you have a subconscious conflict resulting in cognitive dissonance reduction, that your need to continue to believe in yourself as the good guy, the beleaguered messiah, attacked not only by the `establishment’ but by ill-informed people who don’t understand that you only want to do good, allows you to deny facts, evidence or reality that contradict this belief. But I’m afraid I don’t.
    You are too intelligent to have such a large `blind spot’ and be unaware. As a scientist who is rigorous in one field it is reasonable for people to believe you are equally rigorous in others. Therein lies the rub. People come to you, believe in you, trust you. The fact that you, here, in your book and in public places such as ISEPP conferences, avoid and deny any evidence that doesn’t support your position, prevaricate and divert with anecdotes, indicates that when it comes to ECT you behave exactly as those you castigate so eloquently and persistently elsewhere, and that you use the extraordinary respect you have striven so hard to generate to continue to deceive vulnerable people.
    You promote yourself very well, claiming you give credit and help to your enemies, stating you do ECT better than anyone else, but really, up to 80% of psychiatrists NEVER prescribe ECT, many new graduates balk at even having to do it in training, only doing so under threat, several countries, including Italy where it began in 1938, ban or rarely use it, and no one under 18 `needed’ it in Texas in 2013-14, so should anyone get it AT ALL, better or not?
    In `cognitive dissonance’ the more one invests in a belief, the more value one will place in this belief and, as a consequence, be more resistant to facts, evidence or reality that contradict this belief.
    The `true-believer syndrome’ examines the phenomenon whereby no amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary…No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie.”(Witness `Creationism’)
    `Confirmation bias’ which contributes to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain beliefs after the evidence for them is shown to be false. This is contrary to scientific thinking which is the search for falsifying as well as confirming evidence.
    Which one do you use when you talk about ECT, Dr Healy?

  • I have no problem with Dr Healy’s stance on psychotropic drugs. However I do have many questions and not a little confusion over his stance on ECT, Electroshock. Let’s look at this discourse of yours Dr Healy,
 in the light of this, the OTHER main treatment in biopsychiatry.
    Drugs have come lately to psychiatry. What you lay out below existed long ago, has always existed in psychiatry as long as DOCTORS have been involved
    Healy: “We are being told forget our ability to produce knowledge – to produce medicines. (treatments) They have put us through a machine that erases any inconvenient observations we may have. Our only role now is to consume whatever they give us and to swallow without question the information they provide with them. We have been made into consumers; we are no longer seen as producers.
The hypnosis is pretty dense.”
    In psychiatry the inconvenient has always been set aside such that in spite of the fact that in ECT studies placebo is always equal to or superior to `real’; memory/cognitive damage is recorded as serious and permanent; cell death is recorded in scans in ALL subjects; and only16-46% get ANY relief and that for under 4 weeks, there is NO critical analysis from the profession.
 What may not be recorded with drugs IS recorded for ECT, Dr Healy, but this seems to remain unnoticed by you.
    Healy: ”many of these trialists are third raters you wouldn’t want to be treated by. To this day we don’t know how many of us return to normal sexually or emotionally after taking an SSRI even just for the 6 weeks of a trial.”
    But we DO know that nobody returns to normal functioning following ECT as evidenced by neuropsychological testing and current day MRI scans.
    Healy: ”So when your son or daughter (or in ECT, mother, grandmother or child as well) rocks up to a doctor (visiting is too twentieth century) with the disturbing information that they have stopped functioning,” (slowed down, can’t learn, have forgotten years, decades of their lives, their education, their families, skills and talents), will you check the product label (literature including your own books and articles) and not finding anything (you)…”like there,”…will you tell them…”it’s all in the mind, or this is their depression speaking. The more they protest, the firmer the noose of neurosis will tighten around their neck.
 If you were in one of these trials where your attention was diverted away from the effects of this”…(treatment, on your memory for instance), or when you tried to make an observation the doctor didn’t record it, the fact that you took risks in a trial for the benefit of your family and friends and community is now being used to skewer your family and friends, just as surely as your work in a lead smelter for most of the twentieth century poisoned any family or friends you had living nearby.”

    These observations of David Healy’s re drugs are equally true for Electroshock as we can see. As a reviewer of his and E Shorter’s book, `The History of ECT’ said,
    “The oddest thing about Healy and Shorter is that they appear to accept the conflict-of interest-driven, spun, “research” on ECT, while they excoriate similar psuedo science when applied to other areas of bio-psychiatry…this book stands in stark contrast to the clear-eyed analysis Healy has displayed elsewhere. Peter C Dwyer”
    Hippocracy? Cognitive dissonance? The true believer syndrome? Confirmation bias? I remain confused and ambivalent about Dr Healy which is a pity because the rest of his work is very worthy.

  • Hi Ted and all,
    This is something I’ve had in the pipeline since last year. We have to get the medical profession to recognised that ECT causes a permanent Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). To do this I had a neuropsychology test (cost a fortune) and an MRI. I then took the results of these to a specialist neurologist. I did not tell him where the injuries came from until AFTER he agreed that I have a clear cut frontal lobe brain injury and that, yes, I could benefit from neurological rehabilitation. THEN I told him where I got the injury. He did not take back his opinion, but needed some enlightenment on what actually happens in current day ECT. He was surprised at the 450 volts for 8 seconds but managed to keep his face fairly straight. `That’s a lot’ was the comment. So, where from here?

    This is a real breakthrough in many ways. I didn’t it do it just to validate me but to open a door. I will be getting rehab at the government’s expense for an injury that is denied by the psychiatric profession. The outcome will be twofold.
    1) I intend to spread the word around that rehab is available to everyone who has an acquired brain injury from ECT so that many who are struggling in their everyday lives will apply for that service. (I had one candidate within 14 hours). You can imagine how questions might be asked when 50 people apply to use a government funded service because of an iatrogenic injury. It could lead to a flood. Then, since there simply aren’t enough places for all these people, politicians/journalists might ask why aren’t there? And psychiatrists might be asked to please explain, after you’ve been saying for 40 years (out of 80) that it doesn’t cause a problem? And the medical insurance companies might say, if you’re going to risk this with your patients we’ll have to charge you higher premiums. And since people have found out what can happen to them, they won’t do it. All this is going to let the public know exactly what is going on and they may say `stop it!’ All up, it won’t be worth continuing it.
    2) With so many people diagnosed with an acquired brain injury as a result of a medical procedure that is known, or should have been known because there is plenty of evidence out there (ignorance is not necessarily an excuse), class actions are bound to be an option. Who to sue? Individual doctors, their teachers, who should have known, the various professional bodies who clearly hid the truth behind a barrier of PR/spin, the machine manufacturers who are well aware (see FDA-2011) of the potential damage their product causes and have NEVER done a safety test, the government bodies bound to protect citizens from dangerous medical products (FDA, (TGA here) and never required safety tests to be done, etc.
    There are several recent scientific studies that support the patient though they didn’t mean to…1) Sackheim 2007 – cognitive damage from ALL types after 6 months; 2) Perrin 2012 – MRI before and after recorded damage in ALL subjects after ECT; 3) Charles Kellner, 2015 – an ECT protagonist admitted in an article for the Psychiatric Times, that `we have to rethink our stand that ECT causes no structural damage’…because the MRI scans show it! He tries to make out that this might be a good thing because maybe depressed people have too many connections so destroying a few is a good idea! See 1938 for confirmation of THIS little idea; lobotomy was for this too; 4) An Irish hospital team Lacey et al 2007- suggested neuro rehab for all ECT patients to help them cope in their everyday lives after the damage done by ECT! And they would tell them this was available BEFORE they did it! LOVE THIS! Plus the usual, Read & Bentall (2010 placebo review) Breggin, Johnstone, Friedberg, Andre, Burstow& testimonies by the 1000s.
    I think a large number of people putting pressure on the system from iatrogenic injury might push this into the public realm. With present day MRI scans this IS POSSIBLE. The damage DOES show up! I have a large number of patches of cell death (like Hartelius’ cats) but because of my age (73) they don’t look like much, however even in me the frontal lobe atrophy is greater than would be expected. How much MORE obvious in younger people. I think we have to go for this.
    And never mind the attempts to justify it – like `depressed people have too many connections’ like lobotomy is a good idea too? The facts are that people have BRAIN DAMAGE, we can SEE it and they were NOT TOLD it could happen. GOTCHA! I think. The only problem is that MRIs and Neuropsych tests are expensive, but maybe we can hold fundraisers to help get these for people, themselves good publicity. It is always good to get public sympathy and `mental patients’ don’t get much chance at that, but a `brain injured’ person is well in.

    I think that to go the whole way with this we have to get the neurologists onside. In the end I think it must be the medical profession itself that will have to strike the final blow. The rampant corruption throughout but especially in psychiatry has to be addressed and they know it.

  • Sadly, the medical training IS narrow. When I was at university a very long time ago, I and my group of friends spent time, probably far too much time in some ways, discussing the world, how it worked, how we fitted into it. We were coming into adulthood, when great changes were happening in and around us and long afternoons in the `caf’ or down at the local bar (when anyone had any money) were the places we worked through it all all. We were arts, economics, law students mostly, with a few med students on the fringes, and where were they most of the time? In the library, in med books, not literature, history, philosophy, just technical books about the human body. They had to be, there was too much to learn and they didn’t have time to THINK! I’ve known many medical graduates over my life and I’ve can only think of about 2 who were well rounded people. And these are the people we are taught to turn to when we have emotional difficulties. People who have never been a part of the real world in a meaningful sense, who are respected way beyond their competence, and who so often believe their own bulls***. No wonder they are threatened by the `mentally ill’. Too many are so often only a step away themselves. One of the ways to deal with this type of vulnerability is to deny and project it. Good old terms for an excuse to throw your weight around, claim the `them and us’ position; from a pompous rejection of the humanity of the `sick’ person to the abuse of the `sick’ person because `they need it’. I have postulated whether psychiatry, with its long and brutal history, brutalises those who take it up, or just attracts a certain type of person. I was wrong about the brutalising effect, you cannot brutalise someone who won’t be brutalised, even the old experiment with the electric shocks and actors showed that there are people who will not be brutalised. Unfortunately then, the other is the case. We see it in the nurses as well. The lower the rank the more likely the abuse. A captive population is very attractive to some. Three things are needed in the profession, insight, empathy and humility. I haven’t seen much of that in the years I worked as a psych nurse or the years I spent being savaged by them and psychiatrists as a patient. Has anyone?

  • Hi all, One thing no one mentioned was that only a very few psychiatrists actually use ECT. He should check out Pat Bracken, Michael Corry, Jock McLaren, Bob Johnson, psychiatrists all who expose the scam that it is. We are facing another crisis here in Australia, our latest state Mental Health Act (Queensland) is trying to make it ok for kids , of any age, deemed competent, to consent to ECT without parental involvement. Just a psychiatrist then a trip to a tribunal for the rubber stamp and away we go. Here in Victoria we had 47 under 14s in the latest stats (very hard to come by, 2009, I think) in our total population of about 4 1/2 million; Texas had none under 18 2013-14, pop 29 million; UK, none under 16, pop 60 million (2008); Australia 205 under 14, 55 under 5 2007-8, pop 23 million. It must be about power, though in our now unregulated private psych system, God alone knows what is going on. Somebody also got rid of criminal penalties for illegal ECT & psychosurgery,(they’re trying to call it `neurosurgery), leaving only civil action available. The rest of medicine still has criminal penalties as far as I know. Perhaps the AMA should know about that and ask a few questions? These are the sort of things that we can bring up, all the time, again and again. Why are you protected? How did that happen? Who changed the legislation? How come the ECT machines are not tested? What about the new Indian machine makers? Are these to be allowed into use without testing? IF not then why are the American ones allowed in? What about the admission that Charles Kellner made in January 2015, that `we have to rethink that ECT doesn’t cause brain `changes’ because of…scans and the Perrin study (2012) – he’s a big wheel ECT advocate – we have to throw out the questions. Of course we’ll be battling the new pseudoscience that ECT cuts `connections’ because that’s necessary because depressives have `too many’! Yup, that’s the new stuff. BUT it was new in 1938, too! We have to stop this one before it becomes folklore like the `chemical imbalance’ did, and the `regulating of `pathways in the brain’ garbage that hung around for years even though it was totally ridiculous. Oh, and there was a placebo study in 2008 where seriously `ill’ patients demonstrated a `robust response to `sham’ ECT’.
    We could push info at medical students who are apparently already showing signs of squeamishness, (we have an extraordinary proliferation of Indian psychiatrists here who all appear to do ECT, a worry), and point out the possibility of very serious litigation with the evidence from MRI scans, to waverers. Of course the new `research’ could well be funded by Insurance companies and it might be a good idea to look in that area to try and track money for `too many connections’ type research. I’d like to hand out Peter Breggin’s little brochure to patients and relatives at the various clinics but I also want to start up an advocacy service for private psych patients who have no representatives at the moment. It will be a long haul, because they have money and power but I think social media is a way to go and I’m going to use that to shame and blame wherever I can. Hopefully we can make the people aware and the psychiatristst afraid.

  • Oh and Stephen I know some Canadian aboriginal people. The amount of psych drug addiction is terrible. Shove a poison into these poor people and shut them up, then we won’t have to think about them. It;s then their fault that they’re `junkies’. Oh, and ECT developed because it was seen to stop pigs bad behaviour by stunning them into docility. Since when did it ever have ANYTHING to do with healing?

  • Such a terrible waste of knowledge, Stephen. Once again an illustration of where money and power step in to crush what should have been embraced, encouraged and learned from. But it echoes the entire history of Western medicine. For thousands of years the healers were the women who handed down their knowledge from mother to daughter. The public turned to them for their herbal remedies, techniques of suturing, binding, delivering babies and they probably even knew of certain moulds that prompted the healing of wounds too. But as the Church rose in power it saw anything that interfered with that power as a threat to be destroyed. Men ran the church, power in women was unacceptable. In a celibate hierarchy women were (and may still be today) seen as the enemy, responsible for the worst conflicts in the priest’s daily life. That the locals turned to them when they needed medical help was intolerable. After all, the church postulated that illness was the result of the devil at work and as such was to be driven out by God’s representatives, not the village anti-Christ WITCH. And so began the systematic murder of the healers with the loss of the accumulated wisdom of millennia. And Western medicine began the aggressive `driving out’ of disease as the enemy pathway, instead of it being a normal part of life to be dealt with on many fronts. Purging and bleeding, violent exorcism, beatings, untried poisons, etc to rid us of the devil, (which may, in the celibate, have been synonymous with his own natural urges). Later, as the church’s influence began to wane, other men figured they could keep up the good work and make a buck out of it. The purging and aggression remained but now they were driving out the humours, and could really only safely use the exorcism routines on the mad. This male dominated medical model lives on today as we read more and more pseudoscientific justifications for ECT and, God forbid, for the return of brain surgery, (the lobotomy is back as Cingulotomy and Capsulotomy), cutting and burning, poisons and electrocution are what psychiatry today offers. There is no healing here.
    Of course they killed/destroyed the medicine men from other cultures, too. The staggering truth is that these people are unable to embrace, or learn. It seems an intrinsic part of the male ethos that everything is a threat, to be pushed aside or destroyed. Surely human beings are better than that. We have choices. What about insight, empathy & humility? Cooperation NOT confrontation. Guys, join the leaders of the herd, the females. In my little cattle herd, one cow aways took everyone to the best feeding spots, the bull huffed and puffed a lot but realised if he wanted the best food, he’d better go too, and he did. Why can’t you have as much sense as my, now long gone, Bimbadeen Star of Venus?

  • I also want to say that I have never met anyone whose `illness’ has no cause. It’s just a matter of finding it and recognising it for the trauma it was to the person, NOT to anyone else. Somebody once said, `it’s not what you gave that’s important, it’s what she/he took.’ Something that hurts me, may be meaningless to you, and if it was only one factor, it might have been for me too. I knew someone from a stable, well to do family, well educated. with everything in place for a `normal’ life. BUT:
    a) She was artistic & very creative
    b) intellectually gifted
    c)emotional and acutely aware of other’s emotions
    a) Her mother was a very reserved, cold and critical woman
    b) The firstborn child, she was raised in the Truby King style of parenting at the time, strict discipline, minimal handling etc
    c) Her mother was ill for most of a year during her 6th year
    d)Due to her father’s job the family moved to 3 different counties, including one isolated community where there were few other children; and 4 schools before she was 9
    e)Her parents were constantly fighting and threatening to divorce. As the eldest she was involved in the fights by both parents demanding she take sides, which continued throughout her adolescence.
    f) At 13 she was sexually assaulted in a cinema by a total stranger. She had defied her mother by being there and was unable to either flee the man, or to later tell her parents.
    g) She was unable to relate to boys, and rejected her mother’s suggestion that she act `dumb’ to attract them….
    h) The family was socially isolated by her mother’s insistence that the local people, her school friends etc were inferior, so she never experienced entertaining as a normal part of everyday life.
    As a young woman, though sexually active, she never enjoyed a regular, satisfactory relationship with any young men, was socially inept and while attracting female friends rarely initiated friendships. She was raped once by her employer in her mid-twenties, but stayed working in her job without mentioning it as the job was worth a lot to her. She eventually married a man she didn’t particularly like in order to have children. She later said that she felt that was the best she could expect and she could always divorce him when her children grew up.
    This lady is vulnerable to depression certainly but, to date, she has lived most of her life successfully. She is in her 50s. She recently became moderately depressed and was told that her depression was endogenous, i.e. without cause. Apart from the 2 sexual assaults, her life appeared without `significant trauma’. ??? This scenario is seen in a lot of people with obvious and often very serious `mental illness’. Psychosis/depression et al are just other ways of trying to cope with events that no one knows about and/or don’t take seriously if they do. There is ALWAYS A CAUSE! Remember too, that maybe most mental `illness’ is grief, unresolved, unrecognised and unvalidated.

  • So many people say, you can’t talk to the mad. Rubbish! I talked to `sick’ `psychotic’ people for years when I was a psych nurse. If you listened they would tell you what was going on and if you believed them, you could work together and it was a rewarding for me as I hope it was for them. As a 3rd year student nurse I worked in an ad hoc theatre program devised by a charge nurse who was a musician. With my years of experience as a professional actress we came up with a concert/panto/music theatre event. Everyone in that unit was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Everyone had had more than one episode, some going back to childhood. Everyone was between 16 & 24. Families got involved in sets and costumes, other staff, and even spouses helped with setting it up. We rehearsed, performed, and toured to other venues for 6 months. Nobody had a psychotic episode, nobody missed a rehearsal or performance, several showed extraordinary talent and even discharged people begged to continue in the show. We sang, laughed, talked, about everything – I was the director but I was one of the crew. I ditched the uniform because I didn’t need or want to be different or set apart. I met people who were seen as jetsam of society and respected them for their courage and strength, some I remember as some of the most impressive people I have ever met. The day the show was over for good, coming back from our last performance everyone became psychotic. I, as a student, long overdue for my next posting, was moved on. 2 months later I heard that my two most talented young guys, a 21 year young man & an 18 year old girl had suicided. It was devastating. I never heard of a similar program again, but my time with these kids made me well aware that psychosis is only another state of mind no more or less than any other. I took that to all the people I saw and knew for the rest of my time as a nurse councellor. That was 40 years ago, I hope I didn’t do too much harm, I hope having at least someone who saw the mad as just other people with different ways of thinking from me helped somehow. I don’t know. But I am totally against the mindless poisoning I see today, and experienced myself after a toxic, suicidal reaction to a small, short-lived experience with Prozac at age 57. For 13 years I was drugged, shocked, stigmatised and sidelined by people I and my team wouldn’t have let near ANY of my patients all those years ago. Two years ago I broke free and have now resumed my life, drug and `illness’ free. The brain damage that wrecked my career still impacts but I can work around a lot of it. Please pass on the message to those with different thoughts, that they are just and only that, different. There is a pace for all of us.

  • I am also trying to contact John Read, who is now here in Melbourne. I want to design a questionnaire similar to Cheryl Van Daarlen-Smith’s and Lucy Johnstone’s. There’s been a lot of study I know but every bit counts. I also want to write a theatre piece exposing the stupidity of psychiatry – the extraordinary logic lapses that abound – I’m up to 103 so far – how can they be taken seriously with their flies undone, I say – passion doesn’t work, reason certainly doesn’t, there’s not enough money to sink them (unless Bill Gates comes to our aid), so maybe ridicule? There again, how do you get to TV, when programs of ECT endorsement are the only ones that hit the air waves (Australia SBS Insight 2013), money for film development comes from the government here, the ABC is not as fearless as we, and they’d like to think – ideas are what I have executive power is what I’ve lost but I’m trying.

  • Thank you Bonnie. I was in touch with you some time ago via Cheryl Van Daarlen Smith re ECT here in Melbourne Australia. I recently found out that our government has abandoned the private psychiatric hospital system here. It is now left to itself to expand its ECT horizons to a new height. Most clinics operate ECT 5 days a week now, have shocking abuse histories including threats, bullying, physical force, coercion to the point of suicide. (a friend’s brother last year). The docs are making more than $20,000 a week, with establishment support. Well, they’re making plenty too. I have just written a long letter to a journalist about this and will follow it up with every other journo I can find. But I’m alone here. I can’t find anyone to help me and I’m old now. (72) I’m frightened by the cynicism, the unparalleled power and money these people have. Their lobby group managed to get significant details of the new Mental Health Act here changed to suit the ECT lobby, days before it was tabled in parliament. We now have NO age restrictions on ECT for children here and a very high profile psych zealot stating it’s no more dangerous for children than adults. Well at least he concedes it’s dangerous. But not really. I’m seeing abuse, assault, destruction of people’s lives at these people’s hands and all I have is, hopefully, the power of the press. But mental health is not SEXY! It’s all very well when there’s nothing else in the news – the German pilot is a focus but a small flood in Eritrea could tip even that off the front page. I have written an info brochure for patients which the Breggins and ISEPP are supporting but I have to edit it to make it accessible to people in crisis. Right now it’s too detailed & scientific. I am about to try and set up a Survivor;s group for victims & loved one’s but one of the problems with ECT is that it robs people of initiative. I have contacted the only viable consumer group here but either they’re afraid of my passion, or of losing their hard won government funding, or both. Can you send me some kind of press kit that I could release to the general public? My family are against my pursuing this as they believe it is unhealthy but I have fought my way clear oif the system, I have NO drugs, No symptoms of ANY mental health issues and believe my experience is wide enough for me to make a difference. I also received 87 ECT Rxs in 2000 for a) a suicidal reaction to Prozac (Prescribed for stress?), the depressive reaction to Lithium (Prescribed for the `bipolar’ Organic brain syndrome I had after 14 ECT Rxs & I was an artist so…), the PTSD from having 66 ECT against my will i n20 months – the other 21 (in 6 weeks 2010 came form being openly derogative about ECT in a shock shop. I never was able to work as a sculptor again, or a novelist 2 books under a publishing contract in 2000, or a screen writer, a sit-com optioned & a movie series to complete with an interested producer. I was shut down by ECT – It scares me to have to start a group, I too, have brain damage & face dementia but, I will not let them keep doing that.

  • Sadly “these days ECT is typically only used on people who are seriously drug damaged” is very, very far from the truth here in Melbourne, Australia. ECT is being used at an exponentially increasing rate as a first stop treatment for a whole lot of people. Mostly females, mostly old but also young children are now permitted to avail themselves of this “Proven Safe and Effective Treatment”, the “safest treatment in Psychiatry, possibly in all of Medicine” and the “best treatment for depression that there is”! All this garbage comes from the Royal New Zealand and Australian College of Psychiatrists, ALL of the government supported “peer run” organisations, e.g.Beyond Blue, Sane Australia and ALL of it is lies, with NO supporting science whatsoever. Our new Mental Health Act, (July 2014) reiterates this specious rubbish, and somehow the years of consensus and discussion to try and get SOME human rights and SOME truth into the thing were subverted by a “lobby group” of some kind, days before the ACT hit parliament. Restrictions on its use for children were removed, required, though never disclosed in fact, declaration of conflict of interest of prescribing psychiatrists etc were removed, the base consent is now for 12 treatments not 6 as before and penalties for illegal use of psychosurgery have gone, too. The Private hospital system here is a for profit system and its use of ECT has risen, last heard, by 70% over a seven year period 2002 – 2009. We’re talking here about bottom line. ECT pays the bills. The so-called therapy programs in these places are virtually non-existent, the last time I was there I, and almost everyone was taking Seroquel. Do Ramsay Health and Seroquel have a “thing” going on? Ramsay’s USA arm has a less than salubrious reputation. Every day, 6 or more young obese people, mostly girls in their 20s, lined up for diabetes monitoring. Few people went to the sparse poorly run “groups” because they were too dopey to participate in anything much until late in the day just before lining up for the next dose. Recently, in a private hospital, a man I knew of died because a doctor and the nursing staff were severely bullying him into having and then continuing ECT. He hanged himself between ECT 3-4. The psychiatric system is corrupt and peopled by psychopaths and cowards. The big guys have a stranglehold on access to private clinic admissions and those with these privileges had better do as they’re told. If a big boss ECT guru says do more ECT, or keep a patient quiet, the doc had better do it. In 2000 I was assaulted by 66 ECTs in 20 months for an overnight suicidal reaction to an SSRI. I have memory loss and documented cognitive damage. My outrage was suppressed by a threatening contract in 2003 at a different private clinic and I kept it down for 6 or so years as I was brought to my knees by anti-psychotics for the ECT induced PTSD I suffered. After that time, I decided that if anyone asked me what ECT did, I would tell them. Unfortunately for me the ECT zealot at this clinic didn’t like this and suddenly, in 2010 I got another 20 in 2010. I have almost no recollection of this but in 2012, I’d had enough. After I quit psychiatry got hold of my ECT file. What went on was extraordinary. Coercion, manipulation, lies, and very questionable legality. But in the Private Psych system the patient has even fewer de facto rights than those in the public system. There is NOWHERE to complain to, except to the medical board. GOOD LUCK. Bullying, coercion, threats, even physical assault are rife in these institutions but there are NO checks and balances. I tried very hard to stop this ECT, and after 12 I attempted to discharge myself. I was threatened with being “sectioned” and confined in a locked unit till I “cooled down”. My point here is that all of you people talk about your experiences but nothing is happening. THESE GUYS ARE GETTING WORSE. THEY BELIEVE WE CAN’T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING. BUT CAN WE? The only way to change the world is to EDUCATE the people! I want a press campaign to tell the true story. I want to face these guys in open debate, make them defend their position in the open, not behind tame journos. I want to complete an ECT information kit that can be handed out to everyone at risk of getting ECT e.g. elderly women AND EVERYONE EVERYWHERE. I want an investigation into the abuse of women in psychiatry. I want them to explain to everyone WHY they won’t let those who disagree with them get funding for research, then claim everyone else’s science is pseudo. I want Breggin’s and Robert Whitaker’s and Linda Andre’s (ECT) and Friedberg’s work OUT THERE, not just here! I know this is a bit of a rave but without passion and PLANS NOTHING WILL CHANGE. So let’s work out a PLAN here in Melbourne and set it all going-the web make us close.
    PS I agree about St David Healy and told him so. He was very defensive. I have a problem with hypocrisy.

  • Side effects of Lithium (from the bottom of the longest list, page 23, very small print:
    Depression – `Psychomotor’ retardation actually `toxic’ motor retardation (i.e. slowed to a standstill mentally & physically – suicide. (Not ideation). I spent 3 years in an almost constant suicidal state (too many times in ICU). Stopped it myself after 3rd year. Did NOT know that it was the cause of all the misery (PTSD from ECT as well). Put back on it 6 years later as a `trial’. Nurses had `never seen me so sick’. Was nearly paralysed but stopped – went home 3 days later, back in ICU that night. Beware Lithium. Kidneys not marvellous either at 72 years old.

  • Re my government and the removal of age restrictions for ECT for the very elderly and children as young as 2 years old. A treatment like punishment, violation & rape for frightened children who have already been punished, violated and raped. Adults too. 87 ECT, often against my will, for a reaction to an SSRI that became PTSD, the treatment for which was ECT. As a twice victim of rape at 13 and 24, ECT was much, much worse.
    That’s why I’m after their hides.
    Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under the omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    So remarked C S Lewis.

  • I am not a Scientologist. I am not a Catholic. I am not a Flat Earther, or a Creationist. I am not a `Holy Roller’ or a Hindu, a Jew or a Muslim. I don’t care what odd beliefs anyone might have but I do respect good solid research when I see it. And, though many people demonise Scientologists they have done their homework, they have dug out the evidence, they have sorted through the dross, the lies and the downright criminal behaviour of large sections of the Psychiatric Industry and they are RIGHT. When our local legislators somehow got steamrollered into removing ALL age restrictions for the use of ECT for children, pregnant women & the very old, it was the CCHR who alerted us. So credit where credit is due. Religious differences are irrelevant in our fight for justice, human rights, and understanding.

  • And then there’s SHOCK!!! That destroyed my life. I lost my past when I no longer remembered my children growing up, and my future as a writer/ film maker and sculptor. I was a pretty fair tennis player, too, before ECT, but after it I couldn’t coordinate well enough to hit a moving ball. For 13 years they had me then one day I said NO MORE! That was in January 2013. In February I got my serve back. It had taken me ten years. I’m still getting off the last bits of Seroquel & Temazepam but am having sleep problems. The only time I will ever speak to a psychiatrist will be in court. I am setting up a series of meet-up groups for ECT survivors for support for each other, to do some research and to present a fool proof case to the people and government of my country, Australia, to send ECT to join the rest of the horrors that represent psychiatric torture in a museum of madness, theirs. I don’t want to be to be a rabid activist, I want to play tennis and play with my little grandchildren; but when our state government recently passed an amended Mental Health Act with the hard won clause on bans for ECT for children under 14 removed just before the Act hit parliament, I have to. We all have to. I would love it if all of the damaged people could send out protests in any way they can. I weep for the children and I weep for the loss of ALL humanity in those who do it. (55 children of 4 and under were given ECT in 2009 – I am searching for those who did it but they are keeping a very low profile, Why?)

  • Yeah, that RLS complication can be hell. I got it from Abilify as well as Seroquel until one night I had to walk around my small house for 5 hours straight. The meds I took for RLS had no effect at all. I could only be stationary for 40 seconds at a time. Once, in hospital, I walked, wheeling a drip pole, from 11.30 pm to 7.30 am. Because I was a `psych’ patient not one nurse spoke to me, not even to answer when I told them I needed the RLS drug. And they wonder why I’m an activist?

  • Hi, There is a heap of evidence that young first episode `schizophrenia’ sufferers may do far better with NO meds in the long term. Look up `Open Dialogue’. This is a 20 year long program in Finland that has had & is having great results when the anti-psychotics if used at all for an acute psychotic episode, are very quickly withdrawn long before there’s any chance of becoming physically dependent. The results are spectacular and have been recognised, publicly by Tom Insell (NMIH?) a long time drug guru. I believe there are a few places in the US where Open Dialogue methods are being trialled. Also look up Martin Harrow’s 20 year study, and Lex Wunderink’s (Holland) 7+ year no drugs work. World Health found, long ago in Nigeria & India, that in well over half those with untreated psychoses become well and remain symptom free for the rest of their lives, living `normal’ lives. A small gem, apparently there are large numbers of people in the general population actually hear voices but are NEVER considered `sick’ & never have any kind of psych history. However sometimes some people find their voices distressing/frightening and may need some help over the hump. BUT IT IS NOT A LIFE SENTENCE! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE DRUGS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! YOU CAN GET BETTER & LIVE A LIFE. PLUS, without the drugs you will get to lead that good life for 25-20 years longer! Orgs: `Hearing Voices’ (for psychoses generally), the `Icarus Project’, `MindFreedom’ are just a few. These kinds of developments are very exciting – Bon Chance!

  • Absolutely. I was a psychiatric nurse way back in the days of the big psych hospitals. I was trained in counselling, none of my patients ever had ECT and we were very sparing of drugs. My supervisor was scared of giving anyone `tardive dyskinesia’. So we talked to people. I don’t know whether I ever really helped people, I hope I did. But I don’t think I harmed anyone too much. People are saying that now we are discarding the `chemical imbalance’ rubbish, and thinking maybe depression and even schizophrenia are socio-psychological issues, we have to re-think psychiatry. I always did believe that, maybe because I too, had had problems. I had some wonderful experiences getting to know some of our `labelled’ people. Across nearly 40 years I still have memories of some extraordinary people who enriched my life with their courage and strength. Tragically, faced with the prognosis of deterioration they were given, involuntary treatment that sapped the life right out of them, at least two of my lovely, talented kids killed themselves. I hope some of the rest got away but I doubt it.
    Some of the psychiatrists from that time are still working. I know who the really bad ones are, they never were allowed near our unit because we cared about our patients. Sadly these bad men have been destroying the unlucky for 40 years. It’s amazing to see that these psychopaths have got themselves into positions of power. These men who destroyed people for all this time, support anything that makes money. For the last 13 years I have been a `patient’. Following a toxic reaction to an unnecessary SSRII I have had 87 ECT treatments and multi-drugs, but last year I walked away. I have now joined up with the anti-psychiatry movement. They have to go. I don’t think many have the ability to change. Like most people who choose to be abusers, the damage done will always be someone else’s fault. If you can blame the patient, go for it.
    Hopefully the web will make a difference and live up to the Age of Information tag.

  • Interestingly Ted, the patients in the Johnstone `Northwick Park’ ECT placebo trial (1980), who were diagnosed with `endogenous depression’ did better with the `sham’ than anyone else. (Read & Bentall 2010). Here in Victoria, Australia, re just amended the Mental Health Act and the psychiatrists managed to get the existing age restrictions, (under 14), for ECT removed, along with pre-existing penalties for misuse, poor outcomes, of `psychosurgery’, removed.
    I despair at times because despite ALL of the evidence, ALL of the science, ECT use is rising exponentially in my country. They are now targeting children & the very old, with it, as well as prescribing anti-depressants as preventative medicine for the elderly. Our Therapeutic Goods Admin (TGA `Aust FDA), have classified ECT machines as equivalent in safety to a condom. Our supposedly protective govt regulating bodies, `the Chief Psychiatrists Office’ refuses to police breaches of the Mental Health Act involving `consent’ for ECT legislation in private hospitals who, commonly, are more `insistent’ & use threats, confinement and sometimes physical force to make people have `voluntary’ ECT than the public ones. If the public guys behave badly, and they do, they are more likely to have consequences. It is far more likely that lawyers, advocates, `Official Visitors’ roaming around there than in private hospitals. Complaints can go to the Chief Pscych Office, the Ombudsman, Mental Health Legal Centre. None of these are available to private patients. Few people can afford to sue even if the law will take an un-winnable case and face public humiliation from the docs’ mates. I believe there is only one way to stop ECT and that is to remove the MONEY. And the only way to do that is to shout from the rafters and even then, the shouts of a madman are the shouts of a madman. But exposing the rorts, the lies, the frauds, telling people that their taxes are paying for brain damage, permanent disability via repeated treatments, and young lives spent on Welfare for 50 years, when alternatives exist. The info now is telling. Schizophrenia sufferers do better in Nigeria & India when they get NO meds or ECT. Did someone forget the old and well known fact that depression will almost always be self-limiting. Unless they take anti-depressants. That refractive, treatment resistant depression is CAUSED by the drugs, tricyclics, SSRIs, SNRIs, Lithium & anti-psychotics. My recommendations to the psychiatric profession is `It’s OVER – learn new skills or go under. Mind you, what sort of person is it that could electroshock a 3 year old. Do the expectations of doing ECT brutalise the doctor, or does the opportunity to be brutal (see History of psychiatry), attract a certain kind of person? Perhaps it’s that they are able to reduce their patients to a sub-human level so they can do anything they like, as has happened so often in human history? Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Cambodia, et al?

  • My experience as a multi suicide attempter, is that rage is a major player. In the entire time I was considered suicidal I never felt sad. There was only empty despair and total hopelessness that it would ever change.
    My experience as a psych nurse was that there were some people we all knew would eventually do it. Most were calm, quietly very angry, with few obvious symptoms of depression, (i.e. sadness.). They had a chilling air about them.
    The distraught, frantic person standing on the parapet seen in the movies exists I’m sure, but for every one of those, the actual `jumper’ does it alone. Suicide can be difficult to identify. Single car accidents, unexplained drownings, accidents with firearms, fatal consequences of extreme sports may be judged as accident or misadventur by the coroner who will always try to find for the family. Historically the estate of a suicide was forfeit to the state. That’s how the `whilst the balance of his/her mind was disturbed’. A difficult issue.

  • I endorse everything you say, B. Just recently I was asked to help a young woman who was being bullied into ECT. She was drugged up, an involuntary patient, told loudly she was `useless in her condition, and publicly humiliated, like the strip. She was petrified over what was happening to her and this doc called it schizophrenia, with `catatonic features’. I pointed out that no one I knew had ever seen catatonia, that her slow movement was drug induced. He yelled and bullied but was moved on. It was OK, no ECT, and allowed out. Disgraceful.
    As a psych nurse from 1969 – 1975 in the most `modern’ of the old mental hospitals here in Melbourne Australia, I was told that the hundreds of `old lags’, `warehoused’ men and women in the back wards were nearly all `burnt out’ schizophrenics who would never leave because chronic schizophrenia caused a dementia. If you look at the history of psychiatry you will see that it was that people with schizophrenia were the most brutalised, terrorised, mutilated, lobotomy among other procedures, see any history of psychiatry), poisoned; long before the anti-psychotics/depressants, there were dreadful `medicines’ including Chloral Hydrate, (universal as a sleep med), the earlier barbiturates like `Thiopental’ given in massive doses for years, the often deadly Metrazol and many others, as behaviour control. Heavily sedated people didn’t make a fuss but they did often lose control over bodily functions and were punished appropriately for making a `mess’. Verbally and physically abused and treated like animals. The attendants would go home and treat their dogs better than their patients. I knew of two attendants who were sacked for brutality. They got caught, drunk in charge. Then there was Insulin Coma `Therapy’, described by many as producing a terrifying sense of absolute doom. The death rate was rather high, too, and the patients knew that. There was a claim that people DID get better from Insulin Coma. This was later put down to the extra attention the patients received on treatment days. Could it be that extra attention is the way to go? The Quakers did it quite well in 1816, but you don’t get $15,000 or more a week for giving extra attention to your patients. Then there were those who said they were well and fled the system. And ECT, quite apart from the intellectual and emotional crippling effects, these `burnt out’ schizophrenic `lags’, lived lives of chronic pain from the fractures caused by ECT. Spinal processes (the little wings at the sides of the vertebrae) were particularly vulnerable, but even long bones fractured sometimes, a femur, a radius (arm) and ligament damage was also a major issue. These guys didn’t get physio and too many complaints were likely to get them back in the ECT room anyway. I saw all this. I saw the row of beds in the ECT `veranda’, no dividing curtains, not even a lowering of the staff voices as the doctor said, `I’m going to wind this (the ECT machine), right up, he’ll be sorry he was even born, by the time I’m finished. He won’t be causing any more trouble.’ And he laughed. I looked at the other men in the room. They were rigid with fear. BURNT OUT? NO. They were savaged by psychopaths. Brutal bullies whose only chance of power was over the most vulnerable, fragile people in our society, and we let them do it. Then and now. That doctor did ECT on me. I too, tried to get away, but I was dragged from my bed, through the ECT room door, shoved onto the table, pleading and crying on many occasions. Once I put my hands over my head and begged them not to do it. The nurses, clearly used to it, pulled my arms down until I was injected. How can subjecting an elderly (aged 58-59, 66 treatments for 20 months), woman be called `therapy’? I tried to kill myself 4 times over that time. That was in a private hospital. Someone said `but you signed’. A large male nurse, another nurse with a pen, a threat of being sent to the public ward where it was `much worse’. Yes, I signed, and I still beat myself up over that. You do that with sexual rape, too. `If I hadn’t been there’, I must have done something’. Yeah, I know about rape.
    The fact that so many of those men and women did NOT commit suicide is a testament to their will to survive, even if it was at a far lesser level than they should. THEY WERE NOT BURNT OUT! THEY WERE BRUTALISED! SCHIZOPHRENIA IS NOT A LIFE SENTENCE – THE TREATMENT WAS! AND IS!
    Psychiatrists still maintain that it is a life sentence. Their patients can read the history, see the `zombies’ on Closapine, SSRIs, Quetiapine, Zyprexa, the apathy, and vacant compliance, the near paralysis from drugs. I can show you an over-drugged person from 100 metres away. I saw their forbears, too, NOTHING has changed in that look. `See how `catatonic’ he/she is,’ they say, `he/she needs more meds for that, he she needs ECT for that,’ they say!
    I once worked with a bunch of kids, all `schizophrenic’, aged 16-24 as we designed and performed a `concert/pantomime/theatrical’ event which we toured around the state for six months. Nobody had any symptoms of schizophrenia at all during that period. Nobody missed a rehearsal, a performance, though I think a few managed to miss a med or two. People chatted together, sang together, laughed together. After the last performance everyone went quiet as we returned to the hospital. There would be no more relief from the dismal, predictable future. I was a student nurse with a background in professional theatre, but I was moved on. It was over. Within 3 months the two most talented kids, aged 19 & 22 killed themselves. My lovely law graduate girl whom I respected as much as anyone I’ve ever known, was abandoned to the system. But one 24 year old man overcame his `schizophrenia’ and became a high ranked advocate for his fellow diagnoses for the next 30 years, as far as I know.
    PS: We are going to have to stop them, somehow.