Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Comments by registeredforthissite

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  • I find this business of making kids who come from “high risk backgrounds” be “made better at sustaining attention, delaying gratification, and following rules—to help them think and act more like children and youth from low-risk backgrounds” nauseating.

    It’s ludicrous. In other words, this system will do nothing to destroy the people who put them in those high-risk situations in the first place. It will not get these kids justice. In fact, by labelling them, it will provide the creators of those “high-risk” backgrounds even more impetus to gaslight these kids.

    Not to mention, it will trap these kids in an endless loop of therapy, which will do nothing for those kids, except destroy them further whilst allowing those therapists to happily bolster their therapy and research career.

    And this is what happens in psychiatry all the time. It is effectively, “excusing the guilty and accusing the innocent”.

    How much longer will this happen?

  • So much stress is laid on poverty. Not that it is not an important thing, and I’m not trying to disrespect the struggle of those with lesser means (hell it seems I am moving that way too).

    What about kids who come from middle class, upper middle class, and hell even upper class families in terms of socio-economic status, but grow up in high stress, highly abusive situations created by highly abusive parenting and dysfunctional family dynamics? Crazy psychopathic fathers/mothers, scapegoating spouses etc. The same thing happens to those kids. Constantly living in fight or flight mode.

    At least, people have some charitable understanding towards the poor.

    But, if you come from a modicum of wealth, not only do you get screwed over, but after being screwed over, you get doubly screwed over because you come from “privilege”, and people would easily label you a rich kid and disregard what you have been through.

    And keep in mind, these aren’t “rich kids”. They’re kids of rich parents or families.

  • Though “beating down psychiatrists’ doors” is bit of a literary exaggeration, it’s both. That is, both desperation/lack of options, and some portion find it helpful, and other cases where the dynamics are different. Varies from person to person.

    But mostly, that people do not know what they are getting into, and once into it, do not know how to undo some of the consequences.

    Being well-informed is important. It’s usually worse when the people who go there are young people, who still do not have power in their hands and can easily be overridden.

  • This is a very good reason to stay away from large institutions like John Hopkins or their equivalents anywhere in the world. With their overly biological garbage, and the subsequent fear-mongering, coercion (which can range from subtle to extreme) and all the other psychiatric protocols that come with it, one can never realise their full potential as a human being.

    1.) As mentioned, family dynamics plays a role. Once a single person in the family is labelled with any DSM label, the corresponding protocols of biology based views will filter down environmentally to other members of the family, because those initially labelled members will become a “family history” to them.

    2.) They are labelling people as manic depressives due to mania caused by psychiatric drugs like SSRIs and Ritalin. Once one member X is labelled bipolar this way, another member Y who is one generation down, to whom X may be a second degree relative will also be labelled similarly if they respond similarly to psychiatric drugs. Here, the actual correlation may not be “bipolar”, but just a disposition to experiencing mania due to those specific drugs.

    In cases where X and Y have totally different psychiatrists, the psychiatrist of Y will not even know that X was labelled bipolar due to drug induced mania, but will simply count the label of X as a family history of Y.

    3.) “Bipolar” is a descriptive behavioral label indicating a person has experienced two mood states with no explanation of etiology (unlike single gene disorders). Being a criminal or a doctor is as genetic as anything else in the DSM.

    4.) If a person has a disposition to depression, he may have a counteractive disposition to other things which positively counteract it. Unfortunately, getting labelled would inevitably result in a supression of the positives and an excessive focus on the negatives.

    5.) Once a person is labelled bipolar for any reason, all adverse events in life will simply be “factors in the course of the illness”, and nothing in and of themselves (as prime factors in the life of the person). The person will subsequently experience mistreatment which would end up becoming a self-fulfilling prohecy, thereby adding credence to the initial diagnosis of “illness” , and also subsequent diagnoses to other family members.

    Genetics can’t account for many of these things. Best to stay away from these Johns Hopkins types. All that will happen to people with these guys is that they’d be prevented from ever reaching their full potential. Even if, in some individuals, genetics was a modest causal factor, it would still be imprudent to have to do anything with these people due to point 4.

    If someone is really desperate for pills, they may rather go to someone in private practice.

  • “I think this viewpoint comes from spending too much time around critics and victims of psychiatry – such as on this website. In the real world psychiatry is booming; its willing customers are everywhere. However please keep up the good fight.”– Sally

    Sally makes a very good point, and I think it is very true that many people who post here are in a state of self-assurance by staying in a comfortable environment with agreeing voices. The world is larger than that.

    People here completely fail to ignore that there are large swathes of people, internet forums, blogs etc…all dedicated to their liking of psychiatry. And most people here are not equipped to make any cohesive arguments against those people with their little arsenal of half-baked Szasz quotes, and the same old “there are no tests, scans” arguments.

    One can never abolish psychiatry for how can you abolish something which a fair share of people like and find useful? One can only educate others of the dangers of it, and perhaps in their own lives, seek some remedies for what happened to them. The choice of getting into psychiatry is to be left to the individual.

    Now, where I disagree with is, “psychiatry is booming”. Yes, it is booming in the sense that helpless and desperate people (which are large in number) seeking any source of refuge in times of need go to psychiatry out of a lack of options without knowing what they are getting into. Society also tells them that this is the right way.

    What does need to happen is that people need to have full knowledge of the dangers of stepping foot into psychiatry. For without that knowledge, many of them will simply end up on here again. Not now. Maybe not next year. But 10 years, 15 years down the line….some of those “willing customers” will realise the same follies that countless others realised before them, when they were “willing customers” too…

    Perhaps even some psychiatrists will change after the pressure of these places catches up to them, and then act like these occurrences never happened and were just some “bad experiences” of a few people.

    The numbers in this place too are steadily booming.

  • SF,
    Whatever one’s opinions may be, telling someone “get rid of the shrink, get off the drugs (I don’t think you need them)” is simply a bad idea. That is a choice the person must make for themselves. Do you want yourself, or the creators and maintainers of this website, to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit? What if such advice causes something horrible? It will destroy this place.

  • @mepat:

    Many of the psychiatrists I have come across…they weren’t “evil” like the devil. Just that they simply did not fully understand the consequences of what they were doing and of their profession.

    The problems with psychiatry do not start and end with drugs. There are socio-legal consequences, obfuscating truths using labels, misguided statistics being published, disease-mongering, injustice towards abuse victims etc.

    To take drugs or not is your choice.

    The fact that you found a human being in the position of psychiatrist who has allowed you to see whether tapering off of drugs is good for you or not is great. Many would not afford that privilege to their patients.

    There was a time, not too long ago, that I found a “wonderful” psychiatrist too. But it took me some time to realise, that their niceness does not matter. They are not your friends (trust me, even your own psychiatrist will change colours when the need arises). They are bound by one and only one adage. “Do no harm to oneself or to others”. And they will follow that (even if they do harm in the process) irrespective of whether they are being nice to you or not.

    Also, not for a moment am I going to place myself in a position of moral superiority to the psychiatrist. I know that I, or in fact anyone else on this site, would pretty much do what they do if I were in their position, and if I did not have the experiences I have had. But I (we) am not in their position. And they (the psychiatrists) are not in our position.

    And thus, the snakes and the mongooses will do battle.

    P.S. My reply was to your original comment (about how your Dr. looks like Liz Phair etc.) before you edited it.

  • I don’t weigh in much on the abolition issue. There are more practical things than that.

    However, even if they did abolish it, why would that prevent you from getting whatever drugs you want? If anything, it would prevent it from being forced down your throat.

    The “wonderfulness” of your doctor doesn’t mean much. Their intentions and niceness does not factor into the consequences of what they do (which may have been good for you). While your doctor may have been nice to you, it is not necessary that she has not caused harm to other people by the nature of what she does.

    With regards to the specific advice about going to a store for sex toys, anyone could have given you that advice. That MD in Psych is irrelevant to give that advice.

    Your psychiatrist does not need to be a psychiatrist for you to love her.

    There are many things that people should know about psychiatry before they ever step into it.

  • Well, if you say “mental illness” does not exist, they will say “fine, we will not use the term ‘mental illness’, we will use the term brain disorder”, for which there will again be protests. Then they will say “these antipsychiatry people are incorrigible and senseless. What about the man who believes there’s an alien implant in his skull and he’s trying to pull it out? What do you call that? How do you help him?”.

  • Oldhead,

    I know you are very militant about this and I completely understand your position. Only that it will never work except in loud proclamations on MIA.

    The public will NEVER accept that there is no such thing as mental illness. They will laugh in your face, and show you the “schizophrenic” that thinks that aliens are communicating to him via radio waves.

    Try these arguments on the sites of people like Steven Novella. You will be shot down immediately.

    I know you will respond in a militant manner to me again, and be harsh. But I’m just the messenger.

    P.S. Does anyone know what happened to Ted Chabasinski? He used to write here. Is he alive?

  • Let us see them do this in clinical practice. This brain imaging crap is brought on here all too often. If any psychiatric label is such a discrete entity, let us see them do this imaging in clinical practice for diagnosis and discard checklists of all sorts.

    Also, please explain why long timers in psychiatry end up having up to 10 labels. For example, why one single person has the following labels:”schizophrenia, borderline personality, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, panic disorder, ADHD”. What does the brain of the “10-label disorder” person look like?

    Since there is no mind without a brain, even “Internet Gaming Disorder” (which is also a real label describing a real problem) will have neural correlates. So what?

    It sounds so smart and scientific, this “neurological imaging research”. It is worthless information in the setting of real life, and a simple conman tactic that obfuscates the truth of real-life clinical psychiatry and is something used by psychiatrists to give credence to their views and authority in real life, even though they will never check a person’s brain for anything.

    It would be just as truthful if they said, “look, you have a brain, which is why you have thoughts, and if you don’t like your thoughts, here’s a drug which may help you”

    P.S. I’m responding to the comment, and have nothing to say about the article.

  • @Momof:

    People of all kinds write here. But I think, one generally accepts that the behaviours associated with all psychiatric labels, be it ADHD or Internet Gaming Disorder, or schizophrenia are very real. And they could be problematic to the person with those behaviours or their care-takers.

    Many of us who post here have been severely negatively impacted by the labels we were labelled with. Some of us were even labelled with disorders for side effects of drugs we were prescribed. We have had labels used to abuse us and gaslight us and to obfuscate our truths. So, keep that in mind.

    One empathises with your situation and I will give you the benefit of doubt and assume that you are indeed a good mother.

    Just one thing. You mention the feeling of it being a “lifeline” when you “found out” that your child “had ADHD”. I felt the same way when I received my first label when I was 16. It was many years down the line that I realised that nothing came to me from it, and not only did it not explain any behaviour, but by rewording and quasi-medicalising my behaviour, it created even more severe problems and made me susceptible to even more labelling.

    Yes, this is my experience and also the experience of some others here. I won’t generalise it.

    But, if indeed your daughter is happy with whatever her treatment is, and life is better, why not? But it remains to be seen what she will feel like, 10 years down the line, 15 years down the line….

  • Please don’t refer to your kid as an ADHDSuperstar. Wouldn’t calling him a superstar be enough? Anyway, that’s up to the kid. Is he okay with being referred to that way? Even if he is, not all are, because such labels obfuscate truths about people.

    Why even bring up the notion of “my ADHD child”. The simple truth is, that this is (supposedly) a kid who has difficulty being focused. And you say drugs help him. While, it would be a lot better to hear from the kid himself, I will assume that what you are saying is true. So the truth of the matter is “my child is a whirlwind, unfocused and drugs help him be focused”. Period. The term ADHD is pointless to describe this simple truth.

    “then that is between the parent, the child and the doctor!”

    Actually, it is not, since it is the kid that is being labelled and taking drugs. It’s solely up to how the kid feels about it. But of course, if the kid is very young, I can understand.

    “No parent of a child with ADHD is trying to control them…NONE”

    Don’t be too sure of that. Psychiatric labels of all kinds have been used by abusive parents to perpetrate further abuses on children, cover up their own mental problems/abusive nature and invalidate their kids’ protests and pleas for help since time immemorial. This place is replete with such cases.

    Take up a few legal cases in psychiatry and you will understand it better.

    You may not be such a parent. But don’t generalise it.

  • You say it is a heterogeneous problem, but at the same time you also say it is discrete and specific. Which is it?

    You’re right, the labels aren’t useless. They have great use in truth obfuscation and making already vulnerable people doubly endangered (which is not, in some eyes, their intended use, but those intentions don’t matter at all).

    Doesn’t matter if the labelling is rapid or done over 20 years. Once done, and once a person has 10 labels, he is left with little standing as a person.

    If only we could put psychiatrists on the other end of
    the same practices.

    “You can’t do a scan in an individual to come up with a specific label because the labels are based on clusters of behaviours. So a syndrome like ADHD is always going to be heterogenous and there will be great variations between individuals.”

    Which is also my point. It is a rewording of behaviour.

    “finding neural correlates is important and helpful as it allows us to tailor interventions down to specific rehab exercises”

    Interesting. Tell me a few rehab exercises which have been based on scans in clinical practice.

  • I’m sure that a significant group of the kids who experienced many adverse childhood events would be classifiable as having ADHD if they were fully assessed.

    And what will then happen? The people who caused those adverse events will use the label to claim that the “adverse events” and the kid’s agitation are due to a brain disorder in the kid. It happens all the time. This site is replete with those cases. And neither psychiatry/psychiatrists, nor the law will be able to truly help those kids from being re-abused (but will, in fact, unintentionally retraumatise the individual).

    “Having” “ADHD”, “having” “bipolar disorder” is just a quasi-medical rewording of things like not being able to focus, being depressed etc.

    It is simpler and more importantly, truer, to avoid truth-obfuscating labels and call things what they are.

    “I remember a paediatrician commenting that an ADHD diagnosis should be the start of investigation- not the end.”

    And how will that help, when the label screws over the kid and makes him susceptible to even more labelling?

    As I have already said (your notions on rehab and little use of medication are another thing), everyday, many of those kids are being prescribed stimulants (which if the kid benefits from, is fine), which in a subset of kids will cause mania, which will be used as “proof” of a “latent bipolar disorder”. The “start” of the investigation will be ADHD, and the end will be “co-morbid ADHD and bipolar disorder”.

  • They have been labelling people with “bipolar disorder” due to SSRI/Ritalin induced mania for quite sometime now, even though such episodes would never likely have occurred without the drugs in the first place.

    The comparisons to diabetes miss out key points.. You cannot be harassed or abused into getting diabetes. However, I could lock you up in a room and torture you to the point that you exhibit all the features of a “paranoid schizophrenic”.

    Also, labelling a person as a diabetic will not influence the diabetes itself. Labelling a person with a DSM label will influence the person’s mental state in various ways, in terms of self-image and how people treat them as well, thereby becoming a causal factor in the behaviours that compile the very label itself (which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy)

    Behavioural labels, in theory, are far more susceptible to creation than non-psychiatric labels, because there is a massive set of behaviours someone may want to pathologise.

    At the level of family, it may be a spouse accusing their significant other of being insane, and at the global level, it may be coming up with treatments for “Internet Gaming Disorder”, all of which will have neural correlates because there is no mind without a brain.

  • “While I maintain that mental illnesses do not exist, I obviously do not imply or mean that the social and psychological occurrences to which this label is attached do not exist.

    Like the personal and social troubles that people had in the Middle Ages, contemporary human problems are real enough. It is the labels we give them that concern me, and, having labelled them, what we do about them.

    The demonological concept of problems in living gave rise to therapy along theological lines. Today,
    a belief in mental illness implies – nay, requires – therapy along medical or psychotherapeutic lines.”

  • @Feelin:

    Not an uncommon story. I too have endured massive harassment and gaslighting from an abusive father (a surgeon) because of being psychiatrically labelled.

    He harasses me to the point that it disturbs my mental equilibrium and then uses my agitation as proof of “mental illness”.

    The funny thing is, the man himself is a total psychopath, criminally and morally insane, and someone who should be locked up, but he gets away with it because he is a surgeon. You could make out his aberrant behaviours and his psychopathic (and slightly psychotic) nature if you heard some of the recordings I have (which are in a language which you will not understand).

    I have spent the last 10 years running around from place to place to escape him, and am also seeking some legal counsel. I cannot even adequately represent myself in a court of law because of this “psychiatric history”, a lot of which was created by abuse.

    I was also labelled bipolar because SSRIs prescribed for depression and anxiety caused mania (something which would never have happened without the drugs). The label is also something the man conveniently uses against me.

    I have recordings, photographs, so much evidence against him, and it is STILL difficult to get justice. I am hoping something good will come my way soon. Laypeople and even most lawyers cannot understand the depths of psychiatry very well, and such cases require specialised lawyers.

    The person who should have been on the end of “treatment” never received it, but I sure did. And this is happening over and over again, the world over.

  • @The_cat, Fiachra: I do not understand why some people on this website quote the same old crap that the opposition will expect and easily counter?

    I mean if you want to quote Szasz, there is much better stuff to quote instead of that line which people will not understand in the context that it is implied in. Most people who quote Szasz haven’t even read him, it seems. For example:

    “We can influence others in two radically different ways-with the sword or the pen, the stick or the carrot. Coercion is the threat or use of force to compel the other’s submission. If it is legally authorized, we call it “law enforcement”; if it is not, we call it “crime.” Shunning coercion,we can employ verbal, sexual, financial, and other enticements to secure the other’s cooperation. We call these modes of influence by a variety of names, such as advertising, persuasion, psychotherapy, treatment, brainwashing, seduction, payment for services, and so forth.

    We assume that people influence others to improve their own lives.The self-interest of the person who coerces is manifest: He compels the other to do his bidding. The self-interest of the person who eschews coercion is more subtle: Albeit the merchant’s business is to satisfy his customers’ needs, his basic motivation, as Adam Smith acknowledged, is still self-interest.

    Nevertheless, people often claim that they are coercing the other to satisfy his needs. Parents, priests, politicians, and psychiatrists typically assume this paternalistic posture vis-a-vis their beneficiaries. As the term implies, the prototype of avowedly altruistic domination-coercion is the relationship between parent and young child. Acknowledging that parents must sometimes use force to control and protect their children, and that the use of such force is therefore morally justified, does not compel us to believe that parents act this way solely in the best interest of their children. In the first place, they might be satisfying their own needs (as well). Or the interests of parent and child may be so intertwined that the distinction is irrelevant. Indeed, ideally the child’s dependence on his parents, and the parents’ attachment to him, mesh so well that their interests largely coincide. If the child suffers, the parents suffer by proxy. However, if the child misbehaves, he may enjoy his rebellion, whereas the parents are likely to be angered and embarrassed by it. Thus, what appears to be the parents’ altruistic behavior must, in part, be based on self-interest.”

    “Oh, there is no test or scan” blah blah. Yes, that makes a difference. But not in the way people here write.

    If you have a fever, there is no “test” except the fact that you put a thermometer in your mouth and measure your temperature, and then take Tylenol if you are too hot. You will not wait till you find out which infection is causing the fever in every case.

    Similarly, if a man is psychotic or delusional and believes that aliens are communicating with him through radio waves, that behaviour itself (analogous to your body being too hot itself) will make most people want him to take drugs.

    If you want to argue, at least do it more sensibly, because all it does is give this site a shitty rep and make it totally vulnerable with same old “no test” crap.

    “Mental illness” is a truth-obfuscating term. There are plainer and truer words to describe people’s behaviour.

  • Of course, the ADHD label is real and the behaviours that it encompasses like not being attentive etc. are real.

    “I am saying that the ADHD label is a real label describing a discrete problem, that does have distinct features that can be linked to particular areas of the brain.”

    Then why can a psychiatrist not do a brain scan in a specific individual (not statistical studies) in clinical practice to prove this so-called “discrete” problem. After all, if it is so discrete (like a hematoma in the brain), one does not need checklists. Do a scan, end of story.

    There are long timers in psychiatry who end up with 10 labels. For example, one individual will have the labels of “schizophrenia, borderline personality, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, panic disorder, ADHD” etc.

    These individuals have all these “discrete problems” in one brain?

    Since there is no mind without a brain, even “Internet Gaming Disorder” (which is also a real label describing a real problem) will have neural correlates. So what?

  • Barliman,

    This is a seemingly neatly and rationally written comment.

    But let us cut out the mental masturbation for a moment.

    You have written “My ADHD was diagnosed 9 years ago”

    How does one get an ADHD label? Let us see some criteria from the Vanderbilt’s scale:

    a.)Has difficulty keeping attention on what needs to be done
    b.)Does not listen when spoken to directly
    c.)Has difficulty organising tasks and activities
    d.)Is forgetful in daily activities

    And so on, the list goes on.

    Practically by “my ADHD was found x years ago”, you mean you had difficulty doing some of these tasks and taking drugs called stimulants helps you.

    “I have X behaviours which I find distressing and taking Y drugs helps me” is all it ultimately boils down to in practicality (it is your choice to use drugs in a responsible manner which benefits you and no one should stop you from doing so). There is no need for the “sub-cortical this and that” and yada yada.

    Fine, that’s great. Take what you want to and move on with life. No one here has a problem with it.

    Telling people that they have broken brains and labelling them for a set of behaviours (which will cause other problems further on), and then telling them that they need to be on drugs for the rest of their life for a set of behaviours in that specific individual is massively dangerous. Not to mention, if those drugs cause side effects (for example mania caused by stimulants) they will be re-labelled with another label like “bipolar disorder” (if the drug indeed does cause mania) and the person will then be someone who has “comorbid ADHD and bipolar disorder”. What then? Next will be imaging for co-morbid “conditions”?

    There is too much of “brain brain brain” crap everywhere in psychiatry, which in practice does nothing except imbibe a scientistic view of thinking of everything through the prism of “malfunctioning brain” in people who are so labelled (and also taking away power from their hands with regards to their own lives). And the broken brain messages being pumped into the media make things worse.

    In practice, psychiatry is never going to check anyone’s brain for anything.It is nothing more than truth-obfuscation at its finest of what practical psychiatry is like.

    The end all and be all is finally “I feel like X1 which is hampering my performance and I want to feel like X2. Taking drug Y may help me go from X1 to X2”.

  • Dr. Hickey,

    Completely unrelated to this article, I wish to ask you:

    1.) You are so old now, that your loss will soon be inevitable. This would be a loss for many of us. Do you have youngsters who have been trained in your school of thought?

    2.) What do you think of the increasing support of pro-psychiatry in the “skeptic’s movement” and how the resistance of psychiatric BS is slowly being pushed into the same corner as the belief in tooth fairies?

  • LOL. “FFS” was not the spammer. By FFS, I meant “For f’s sake”. The spammer was a user by the name of SomeoneElse, who consistently writes “DSM, fad, fraud”, “scientifically invalid”, “anticholinergic toxidrome” in every goddamn comment.

  • You will quote the kind of data and stats in this article. People on the pro-psychiatry side (check out some of these “skeptic” “science” blogs) will “debunk” this data, quote their own data and hammer into people’s heads that “psychiatry is a scientific field”, “psychiatrists are medical doctors and experts” (because they underwent medical training prior to psychiatry), “DSM labels are medical diagnoses” (even if a some of the stuff that goes on in those places has nothing to do with medicine or science at all, and even whatever does seem like medicine and science, are things which, the consequences of, one can only realise when it is too late and they are neck deep in it, with a barrage of labels, drugs, and their identities altered forever).

    There are some things you can only learn from practical experience and not even if you read all the published journal papers in psychiatry and know the most advanced stats in the world.

    To me, all this data and these words (“science”, “medicine”) associated with psychiatry have become simple argumentation tactics between the pro and anti psychiatry sides. There are very few people doing actual groundwork, but many endlessly debating “data, data, data” and whether or not “psychiatry is a science”. This “data” game is a never ending game. And who cares about the words in the end? It’s the consequences on the lives of individuals that matters.

    There are plenty of these men with knowledge of stats, but with dilettante knowledge of googling things, going through journal papers and crunching numbers who write blogs, post comments etc.; and then other men (even psychiatrists) who take part in these Cochrane Collaboration dramas, who will improve their own research profiles, but never do a practical thing in their lives to truly help someone.

    Are these people going to rescue kids from abusive homes? Prevent gaslighting of individuals? Fight legal cases on behalf of people who have been screwed over by DSM labels? No. It would put their lives and careers in jeopardy.

    People are much more concerned about what happens to individuals in real life practice in those places, and these things you can only find out from the real life practical experiences of people. Such experiences can be substantiated in a legal sense too, in terms of audio-visual recordings, documentation etc.

  • The biological argument and “family history” argument is also frequently used to abuse people.

    In my life, I, since childhood (and even now) was constantly held to be insane and gaslighted by my horribly abusive biological father (who is also a surgeon, and who also uses his medical credentials to give authority to his arguments), because of this “family history of aunt” (the truth of which he knows nothing about).

    For the longest time, I internalised the biological argument, even being very pro-psychiatry at a point in time, talking about “X&Y brain structures being involved in depression, obsessional thoughts”, “neurotransmitter abnormalities”, yada yada. The Charlie Rose Brain Series, medical lectures on psychiatry…seen a lot of it.

    The biological argument and family history has also been used to invalidate the abuse meted out to me, because it can easily be covered up with “this boy is behaving this way because he has bad genes”. This was done more directly by my father (with ill-intentions), and less directly by psychiatry (with good intentions).

    PS: In my earlier comment, it was kindred’s post I agreed with, not FD’s. It was a reading error on my part. Also in the part where I write “Much like FeelinDiscouraged…”, I actually mean kindred not FD.

  • LaurenAnderson,

    FeelinDiscouraged had sort of used my question as ammo for his/her own statement, which it was not meant to be (however, I agree with FD’s latest post).

    Since you said you have a gene for depression, I asked you outright to name what the gene is.

    You have mentioned the genetic basis of mental illness. Leaving aside the semantics of “‘mental illness’ does not exist” (however I would say that “mental illness” is a horribly truth obfuscating term), I would presume that by mental illness, you are talking of a human being as experiencing one or more of the following: depression, anxiety, delusions, mania etc. These are more straightforward terms than “mental illness”.

    From your later posts, I can presume that you have no particular gene for depression but that you think it has a genetic basis because many people in your family have been depressed at some point.

    I (like 99.9% of people on this planet) have the genes required to feel physical pain. But I do not experience it for no reason. I experience it if I am hurt, if someone hits me, if I stub a toe, put my fingers on a burning hot cup of coffee etc.

    Since human beings are biological creatures, everything we feel or do has some trivial relation to our genes because we would not exist without genes. But that is irrelevant in real life psychiatric practice. No psychiatrist or mental health worker will ever do genetic tests or a brain scan in real life practice, which in anyway will be useful to a patient.

    You will find opposition for the “genetic basis of mental illness” here because that notion is commonly used for disease mongering, coercion, infantilisation etc. despite having no testable proof in a specific individual except “family history”. However, “depression” (or DSM labels like “bipolar disorder” etc) is not a family history. A family history is a family history. That is, the descriptive life of the people in your family and the reasons for why people in your family felt depressed. We do not know the reasons why or what happened to them, except your statement that they were so. If you wish to talk of the biological basis for depression, we may as well speak of the biological basis of laughing, crying, eating, pooping etc. So, it is rather pointless to even go there.

    Also, family histories can be altered by psychiatric drugs themselves. There was never any history in my maternal family of “bipolar disorder” until that diagnosis was iatrogenically created in my aunt, when SSRIs which were prescribed to her for depression, caused mania.

    One is more concerned with the reality of everyday practice than the mental masturbation of hypotheses and the usual nature-nurture argument.

    And much like, FeelinDiscouraged has pointed out, I too relate to the scientistic thinking of my younger days, of constantly thinking of my thoughts and feelings through the prism of biology (something which psychiatric disease-mongering and also the pro-psychiatry sites on the internet foster). That crap just prevents a person from ever reaching their full potential, on the basis of poor evidence in that specific individual.

  • Congrats on your first article on MIA and your much needed community service in India.

    India lacks any critical examination of the judgements of psychiatrists, the effects of psychiatric drugs, the socio-legal and medical implications of DSM labelling (and the disease-mongering, gaslighting and obfuscation of truths which may come with it), and given the widespread ignorance related to matters of psychiatry, and the practically unquestioned authority of the medical (wo)man, this would undoubtedly be at the peril (in the long term, if not the short term) of at least a subset of the millions of people that end up, desperate and helpless, in their offices every year.

  • Okay, I have had to delete my comment due to spam from a member of this site.

    FFS, please do not spam the man’s YouTube channel with ranty stuff calling him names. Keep the comment section clean. All it does is give this site a horrible rep.

    And don’t do the same “scientifically invalid” crap, especially on YouTube where people will simply not be able to understand where you are coming from and will throw you in the same bucket as Flat Earthers.

  • To the author and all the commenters on this article:

    Youtube “educational” videos on psychiatric disorders are becoming more and more common these days. While I use a lot of educational material online to learn various things, these psychiatry related educational videos are a cause for concern because they teach things to laymen (and medical students too) with a heavy biological viewpoint. Many (not all) of these creators and content-watchers are people that have bare minimum practical experience with psychiatry, its drugs and the socio-legal and medical implications of psychiatric labels (at least not on the client side).

    The following are a series of video published by a man named Ben Garside (who I must say has some excellent videos on Mathematics):

    Bipolar Disorder Part 1:

    Part 2:

    Part 3:

    I left a comment on the 3rd part of the video stating:

    “I really liked your Maths videos on Cardano’s solution (given that it was useful to me as a Maths learner). It was a surprise for me to find videos on this topic here, but I have since learnt that you are actually a medical student. However, I have to say something here.

    These days people are being labelled bipolar due to side effects of psychiatric drugs prescribed for anxiety and depression. For example, people with anxiety or depression are commonly prescribed antidepressants, which are usually SSRIs (but sometimes non-SSRIs like bupropion too). A subset of the people who are placed on an SSRI will subsequently experience a manic episode caused by the drug and be labelled bipolar, despite the fact that such a manic episode never occurred and likely would never have occurred without the drug in the first place (to know more, you can see the paper “Age Effects on Antidepressant Induced Manic Conversion” by Martin A et al, which was the largest such study conducted on this phenomenon) . This is not just limited to SSRIs but also to stimulants like Ritalin. This is an iatrogenically created diagnosis in these cases (when the mania is not spontaneous).

    I think such heavily biologically based videos do a big disservice to the people labelled with DSM labels, who sometimes go through great traumatic things and abuse (not always, but sometimes). This seems to only show a “broken brain” viewpoint (though I admit, I have skimmed through your videos). Also, I will note that, some people who have spent long times in psych wards. can sometimes have up to 10 labels attached to them. For example, a single person will be labelled with the following: Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder etc. Are medical students now going to learn and teach about the biological basis of “multiple disordered people”?

    I would guide you to the website MadInAmerica to see how people have suffered through these things, leaving them only more traumatised than they began with. I have published your videos on the website on the article “Mad Psychologist speaks out”. With the heavy biological focus, comes disease mongering, a pathologising of problems in living, having social and moral decisions cast on people etc. Clinical psychiatry is very very different to what it is portrayed in such explanations. No one in practice is going to do any scans or neurotransmitter-level-checking tests in practice.

    Three things happen in actual real life practice: Talking, labelling and prescribing (sometimes forcefully[compassionate coercion]) drugs. If you’re particularly unlucky, having your autonomy taken away in varying degrees.

    Another thing has been missed out is that DSM labels are re-wordings of behaviour, and are not explanatory. Having a bipolar label only says (and is another way of saying) that a person may have experienced depression and mania, and not why those occurrences took place. For example, a man’s father dies, the stress precipitates a manic episode and he is thus labelled bipolar. In another instance, a person is prescribed an SSRI for anxiety which causes a manic episode and he is again labelled bipolar. These are very different circumstances. But, explanations like this give people the impression that there is something specific called “bipolar disorder” and the things explained in these videos are aberrations found in all people with the label.”

  • The therapy culture is and has always been garbage that prevents people from getting real and tangible solutions to their problems.

    You want to help people? Stop doing degrees in psychology and handing out useless sessions of listening and talking.

    Give money or a job to those who are suicidal due to a lack of employment or money. Get kids out of abusive homes and get them justice etc.

  • “Assessment reveals that nothing positive has ever resulted from any of these different diagnoses and drugs over the years. Unsurprisingly, after more than 15 years, she is still, like so many others, going round and round the system, no better off than she was when she first entered it — in fact much worse off than she was in the first place. No mention is made in her file of the fact that she had an extremely abusive and traumatic childhood, during which time she suffered severe torture, cruelty and neglect on a scale most of us could not even bear to imagine.”

    The scenarios laid out in this article are very relatable. Thank you for writing this.

    There was a time when I gave X and Y benefit of doubt to psychiatry. But the repeated occurrences of similar scenarios the world over is alarming.

    I do not believe in silent protests and education. One needs to have a strong opposition which will cause real world tangible consequences to psychiatrists and mental health workers that engage in the present day human brothel of psychiatry, which is effectively just re-abusing already abused people (which is not their intention of course).

    Now, of course, their intentions may be good. They are just “men/women following orders” and what they have learnt. But that does not matter anymore.

    Kids who enter psychiatry at young ages, must be aware of what the consequences may be later in life. Often, when they express skepticism, they will simply be told “Let us read the literature”, “don’t read that negative stuff against psychiatry online” etc. etc.

    It is a simple fact of life that people who are initially vulnerable become doubly endangered because of their initial vulnerability and are easy targets for exploitative practices.

  • Bonnie Burstow,

    I read an article about your scholarship on Now Toronto.

    The comments on the article were expected and nothing new.

    Psychrx writes: “So you don’t believe in X-rays, MRIs or CAT scans or PET studies? Um ok. All are heavily analyzed and validated over years of study. Read a textbook.”

    W Wood writes: “I’m so sick of hearing that there is no biological basis for psychiatry. There is plentiful evidence of neurotransmitter dysfunction fron Positron Emission Tomography studies as well as genetics and epigenetics, not to mention a plethora of clinical studies. Environment including stigma perpetuated by Burstow and others obviously has an effect. This is where the study of epigenetics seeks to find more answers. As a psychopharmacologist and clinics pharmacist I’m deeply offended by the denigration of my work and others. As a former MEd student in Health Professionals Education I’m appalled at this “scholarship”.”

    I remember in the late 2000s, I was in a psychiatrist’s office, and when I expressed skepticism about psychiatry, I was told the same thing. “So, you don’t believe in MRIs, scans etc? Let us read the literature”.

    This is a standard psychiatry part line. The scans and studies. The fact is, this is practically worthless in real life. In real life, all that happens are 3 things: labelling, prescribing drugs, and if your unlucky enough, having social and moral decisions made on you.

    This “deeply offended” “psychopharmacologist” does not have to bear the brunt of his and his colleagues’ work. Easy for him to sit back and be offended. People whose lives have been screwed over….”offence” is a euphemism for how they feel.

    The scans and studies party line, and also TV shows like the Charlie Rose Brain Series etc., completely remove the focus from what psychiatry and psychiatrists do to people in real life, and what having DSM labels attached to you entails (obfuscating truths with tautological labels, disease-mongering etc.)

    All that stuff is pure mental masturbation, and only good for internet argumentation.

    I have talked to people with 8 labels. They’re now going to show us scans of people with “schizophenia-ADHD-Bipolar Disorder-Schizoaffective disorder-borderline personality disorder-OCD” ? Give me a break.

    A piece from the article: “Since Burstow announced the fund, it was swiftly criticized by a mental health advocate in the Huffington Post, who noted that the Canadian wing of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a non-profit founded by the Church of Scientology, has praised the scholarship.”

    A related comment; James Jamadi comments: “Did I just read a recruitment article for Scientology?”

    The Scientology angle is so goddamn disruptive. The pro-psychiatry crowd have done a good job of associating contempt towards psychiatry with the nonsense of Scientology.

    Brennan comments: “Without SSRIs and other modern mental health medications, which are methodically prescribed to me by my psychiatrist, I would be a complete burden on society. No one (medical professional or layman) has even questioned my need for pharmaceuticals for my physical ailment but, very few understand the importance of my need for my other medication.

    Purposely using atrocious abuses and ignorance of the medical system as meaningful examples from decades ago to justify her current stance is pretty low (and I do mean building a wall low). Just because she shamelessly cites examples of a system that targeted and forced treatment upon on “gays” and “women” is reason enough to kick the soap box from under her. Personally, I do not see how her stance on mental health is the least bit progressive. She is, at best akin to Ann Coulter participating in an open panel discussion on Bill Maher’s show. If she can teach antipsychiartry, why can’t Eugenics be brought back; calipers and all.”

    One of those “psychiatrists saved my lives”, “I need my pills” comments. To this, I just point out in the following comment:

    “You’re happy taking your prescription drugs. Your prescriber is happy prescribing your prescription drugs. Good for you. You don’t have a problem, he doesn’t have a problem, no one else has a problem. So there is no problem.

    But when you get to practical real life cases, things like the following (a passage from a book of hers) happen in the lives of other people in which the mental health profession has caused problems:

    ‘These two case studies illustrate how labels of ‘mental illness’ can be used to silence those who speak out against oppression and pathologization within those professions where such interventions are sorely needed. In one case, violence and bullying was dismissed, ignored, and perpetuated by labeling the victim as ‘mentally ill.’ In doing so, her accusations of bullying and her competency regarding her job became discredited and disbelieved. Her actions and words were constantly interpreted and viewed through the lens of sanism and used as further justification for abuse.’

    These are the things she stands against.”

    Clearly, this man, as of writing this comment, has never been through gaslighting (by making use of psychiatric labels), had psychiatric labels used against him as weapons, been forcefully drugged, fought a legal case with psychiatric labels used against him etc.

    He cites, that there were abuses long ago, and this isn’t justification to take an antipsychiatry stance, but has no idea about the abuses happening even today.

    As far as SSRIs go, what about people who are being labelled bipolar due to mania caused by SSRIs? An atrocious practice to label people with disorders for the side effects of prescription psychotropic drugs.

    Some of these comments aren’t very different from what I would have written myself 6-7 years ago. But from all of this, I have realised, that the only way these people will ever truly learn, is when they go through what many of us have been through, themselves. Till then, it’s all fine and dandy. They will keep thinking they are on the side of “science” because psychiatry appears in journal papers with stats and jargon. Many of them have zero practical experience of the ugly side of this profession, and all the associated garbage that come with it.

    I know that some of the people who are on the side of what they think is “science”, will be here tomorrow, on sites like MIA, on the doorsteps of people like you (Bonnie Burstow), because they will run into similar problems. Till then, they can have their fun comparing those of us here to scientologists, psychics, shamans or whatever else they think we are.

  • I have not read this article, and I am going straight to the comments. I know this article is about some imaging study (a commonplace tactic to sell the “scientificness” of psychiatry).

    People should know a few things when they step into the offices of these psych. people. You will never have any imaging done on you. As an individual, it is practically irrelevant to you.

    3 things happen when you enter into the offices of mental health workers:

    1.) You may be labelled (along with it may come years of disease mongering and internalisation of labels)

    2.) You may be prescribed drugs (along with it may come debilitating effects)

    3.) You may have social and moral judgements cast on you (this may not apply much to “outpatients”, but more so if you stay in one of these places for an extended duration for any purpose), and family members (who may or may not have your best interests in mind) and mental health workers together may end up making decisions for you.

    These are the 3 things people should always be aware of. And these are the only things that will happen to you in there.

    The imaging garbage is nonsense. It is practically irrelevant to the common man (except in the sense that sometimes it may be extremely practically relevant when the psych people use them to justify their methods and tell you “So, you don’t believe in scans and MRIs etc.”, in which case the appropriate response is to say “Do you do any imaging in clinical practice? No, right? Then let us not even go there). Behind psychiatry, there is a legal system, there are social systems of everyday life, there is a prison system, and the medical system. Be aware of these things, and of how psychiatry and its associated labels, laws, drugs etc. may be used against you directly or indirectly, whether by close ones or strangers.

  • Next stop, a place where they will not use any DSM labels. That’s as important as the option of choosing not to have drugs.

    When I see people with 10 different labels, it makes me sick. Young kids and middle aged people with such monstrosities attached to their name. How can you ever help anyone, when what you do ends up having consequences which keep them in the illness role forever.

  • “And since there is nothing we can do about genetics, and there is LOTS we can do about childhood abuse, it appears the conversation has been badly, badly skewed in the direction of biological causation. This site provides the rest of the story. You can call it biased, but it is vital for you and others to understand that the standard viewpoint on “mental health” is badly biased in the other direction. It is an absolutely vital counter-narrative to the constant droning on about how it’s all biological and antidepressants are the only answer.”

    Well said. I know how much harassment, trauma and gaslighting I endured from by sociopathic biological father. The man never entered psychiatry, but I did (and I ended up heavily psychiatrising my own life and viewed everything from the view point of the labels I had). I also ended up getting labeled bipolar due to SSRI induced mania, which I strongly protested, and which angered quite a few psychiatrists, till I eventually shut them up.

    And though the standard argument is “just because environmental factors play a role, doesn’t mean biological factors are not important”, it doesn’t pan out that way in real life practice. These things end up getting medicalised.

    Victimis (though I hate calling myself that) get re-victimised (the labels contribute to even more gaslighting). All done with the best of intentions and with kindness of course.

  • Well, depression can be a response to very traumatic things in life, which can be events, losses or actions perpetrated by a human(s) on another. And of course, since there is no “mind” without a brain, all feelings and thoughts have biological mediators.

    Also, I take a low dose SSRI. That’s personal drug use. But those aren’t my reasons for being here.

    However, simply modifying brain chemistry or “biological mediators” with drugs does not solve problems in living.

    A man beaten up on a day to day basis, may get relief from an opiod or an anaesthetic (which work on the biological mediators). But in the long run, he must stop getting beaten up.

  • “We all have frustrations and feel that we’ve been fucked over from time to time. We don’t all scream and flail and throw things.”

    Everybody’s problems are not of the same intensity.

    If you’ve never screamed or flailed things it’s because you haven’t been pushed far enough. There are things an abusive human being can do to you (and associated things), that can push you way past the edge.

    Psychiatry won’t make the victims of abusive people any better. It’ll enrage them even more and lead them down an even darker path, as it has in so many people’s lives.

    Getting fucked over by a boss, and enduring years of gaslighting and psychopathic abuse from a psychopathic parent, and realising that nothing has happened to the abuser but you ended up in psychiatry….well, they’re two very different circumstances.

    As long as people aren’t screaming at those that have nothing to do with their situation and not spoiling public places, that’s fine. But if they’re screaming and inflicting violence at their abusers and their supporters, I will give them my wholehearted support, and if people stop them, I will give them my whole hearted support to be violent against the obstructors of justice as well. Hell, I might even join them in doing so.

  • “Have any of you people ever suffered thru being raised by a mentally challenged parent? Or a mentally ill, abusive one?”

    I just read this comment here and it’s interesting. I did get raised by a psychopathically abusive parent. But because he is a surgeon, useful to people, supported by his own family and wealthy, he never got into the psychiatric system. But I ended up there, which only gave him more tools to gaslight me as always did even before.

    This happens fairly frequently. The abusive ones escape and their victims end up in psychiatry.

  • Some characteristics which I can think of:

    1.) Lack of excessively dysfunctional relationships and confrontation between spouses, and between spouses and kids.

    2.) Not inflicting unwarranted psychological or physical harm etc. towards children, spouse etc. I’m also assuming there are families where it may be the other way around, with decent parents and destructive children. It’s on a case by case basis.

    Now, if you ask me to go deeper and define “excessively”, “unwarranted” etc., we could be at it for days. But, the general idea is clear.

    Of course, there are other factors. But I’ve listed a few.

    As an other example:

    Escape From an Emotionally and Verbally Abusive Father

    Showing examples of what it isn’t can make it easier to understand what it should be.

  • I think the only people who can have a positive impact on the life of future kids who will end up in such situations is the intervention of those of us who have been through it in the first place.

    We need to help each other. No one, no government or institution is going to do that. This will happen only at the level of individuals. For that, some of us need to be wealthy and powerful enough to fight the good fight.

  • Somewhere a decent parent is reading this and cringing, and thinking “I have never abused my kid, why is it always abuse?”. We aren’t talking about you, decent parent. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    “We need programmes that educate potential parents, and allow them to learn to manage their possibly distorted and destructive ideas about who they are in relation to their children.”

    I think there are a few categories categories of parents who will go to those programmes.

    a.) Good parents that don’t need those programs, and would be good irrespective of the existence of such programmes.

    b.) Those who will not have the mental maturity to grasp anything from these programmes.

    c.) Psychopaths who will get through those programs with flying colours and still end up hurting their children, and then blame and gaslight the children themselves.

    I used to have these ideas too….”we need programmes” and all that. I fear those programmes will do nothing but waste tax-payer money.

  • Suicide is a big problem in this world. It is something around which the entire psychiatric industry is based. People feel puzzled over why someone would choose to kill themselves. Of course, there are suicide helplines. People aren’t helped. They are stopped from dying. That’s something that benefits social order more than just the person trying to kill themselves.

    Human beings created a role for people, people who are actually just like you and me, and christened them as psychiatrists/psychologists and mental health workers. People assume that these individuals have some sort of a secret ingredient that can fix lives, and the problems people have had since there have been people.

    It’s something that keeps the myths of therapy alive.

    And yes, I can’t generalise this to all cases.

    But when people in the public at large say things like “Oh, you have daddy issues, spousal issues, children issues…then you should consult a mental health worker”, they are simply perpetuating the myth of the “professional who fixes lives”.

    There are specific instances where I think certain information and drugs which aren’t worse than what they’re treating can be beneficial.

    But the myth of the “doctor of society” is just that. A myth. And it’s a myth that has had such terrible consequences.

  • This reliance on psychotherapy, and favouring it to drugs is funny to me. To me, it’s even worse than drugs. I would rather take side effectless drugs independent of the psychiatric system, than either go to them for drugs or therapy.

    Truly helping people requires putting your hand in the shit and cleaning it.

    If a man beats the living crap out of his son, or gaslights him, or isolates him or anything else, how will therapy help the kid.

    If you truly wanted to help the kid, you would get out of your office (if you were a mental health worker) and bring the man to justice.

    But nope, instead the when the kid gets into psychiatry, he will get labels, providing only more fodder for the man to gaslight his kid.

    It happens all the time….

    The world needs a Batman like figure. You may find it funny or facetious to read that statement. But to me, it’s true.

    The law doesn’t always bring justice. Sometimes, it imprisons people who were already screwed over to begin with.

  • To date, I have escaped the horrendous labels of “personality disorders”, and I will make all hell break loose if I’m ever labelled with such tripe. What I would like to know is, and I would like a perspective from various countries, is it possible for a person to sue psychiatrists/psychologists for defamation if such labels are applied to the person by them? What are the chances of winning such a case?

  • The weaponisation of DSM labels is interesting and terrible.

    Since I am not from the US, I couldn’t care less about who won the election. I have no personal opinions on Trump, Sanders or Clinton.

    But people’s mentality not difficult to miss. If the other candidate that people like, let’s say Bernie Sanders, had a DSM label like ADHD and won the election, they’d all be talking about how they are stigmatising the man due to their poor knowledge and ignorance about those conditions. If they were labelled themselves, they would speak the other way as well.

    It’s not like the rest of us have not been on the other end of “people with personality illnesses” the above person has written about in multiple posts. We simply try to have a more truthful view of these things than casting the person aside with labels and illness rhetoric.

  • This guy has been dragging his personal anger towards his “ex” over a number of discussions

    Nothing wrong with personal anger. All of us come here with issues that have affected us personally.

    it has a clearly misogynistic tone.

    IMHO, it did not have a misogynistic tone, and accusing a man of misogyny because he speaks out against a harmful woman is improper.

    Although his posts are illustrative of how psych “diagnoses” are used as weapons.


    These things being said, I strongly disagree with his interpretation and understanding of these issues.

  • Violent kids by no means all come from ‘dysfunctional’/abusive families and shouldn’t be lumped together as such (either literally or figuratively).”


    Violence emerges from: *other reasons*, family violence that develops AS A RESULT of the violent child’s violence

    I disagree with this blanket statement. While violent children (who come from decent families with caring parents) can make family dynamics go awry, trust me when I say children from violent and abusive homes can become extremely distraught and sometimes engage in violent behaviour. Some in relatively milder ways and some in harsher ways.

    I understand what you have written is from your experiences, and I am offering you a different view (which does not invalidate your own, but only adds to the reasons (which are in some cases applicable) you have stated for violent behaviour).

  • You weren’t harmed by someone who “suffers from BPD” (irrespective of whether such a label was given by a licensed professional). You were harmed by someone who “conducted a distortion campaign against me, including false accusations of violence and stalking“. Saying that the lady did these things because she has BPD is like saying your head hurts because you have a headache.

    How does “she made false accusations against me due to her BPD” infuse any more truth than “she made false accusations against me”?

    I see in your comment history that you’ve been writing a lot about “personality disorders”, about your ex and Trump (his personality “illness”).

    I will not disrespect your experiences and pain. But I will refute your explanation of it.

    How often have we not noticed people make statements like “X person behaves this way because he probably has Y personality disorder”. As if that somehow explains why the person behaves that way. People think that using medical disorder terminology somehow fortifies an intrinsic flaw as a result of which the person in question behaves the way he/she does. They don’t understand that it’s because he/she behaves that way that they label him/her as such in the first place, and that such labelling is largely descriptive and not explanatory.

    As far as your ex goes, well, I have also been seriously harmed by an abusive psychopathic biological father who would fit “the criteria” for several “personality disorders”. But I won’t medicalise his personality. I just call the behaviour out on what it is. Not by wrapping it around in quasi-medical rewording.

    And no, this doesn’t invalidate or undermine anyone’s distressing experiences with people labelled with “personality disorders”.

  • The medicalisation of a human being’s personality is not treatment. It is defamation and libel. A mental health professional must be put behind bars for such labelling. 6 months per label.

    As far as people who have dated “borderline personalities”, give me a break. Bad behaviour can be called just that. Bad behaviour. Dump them if you don’t like them. Call them out on their trashy behaviour.

    But don’t medicalise the issue. Using the term “personality disorder” does nothing to explain someone’s behaviour. It doesn’t truly help those hurt by people who fit the criteria for such “personality disorders” and harms even people who were on the other end of abuses in their lives (who will then go on to be labelled with “personality disorders”). It’s a lose-lose situation.

    Everything you can do by labelling people with such tripe, you can do without labelling them by noting down behaviours in a descriptive manner.

  • This is a tricky issue. If a person not in his/her right state of mind were brandishing a knife or doing something outright dangerous to those around him/her, you would want to seclude the person at least for a while.

    While you don’t know with 100% certainty, you can roughly assess the probability of such an occurrence and would rather take the side of caution.

    Put yourself on the other side of such a situation.

  • Dr. Steingard,

    It is not very rare that children or youth (say <26 years of age) who come from dysfunctional families with an abusive parent(s) end up in psychiatric wards, sometimes forcibly. This is because either they start lashing out due to helplessness or may be self-harming due to helplessness.

    What bothers me is, do psychiatrists understand the pain these people may feel when they end up in psych. facilities while the people who've done these things to them escape?

    How can a morally upright psychiatrist exclude himself/herself from true therapy (which is criminal justice proceedings on behalf of the harmed individual) in this situation? The psychiatrist would simply have to refuse to take up such cases or draw attention to the fact that it happens and he/she cannot engage in such practices.

    Also, what about the fact that such youth sometimes get labels which can make things even worse for them (bipolar, borderline etc.)?

  • Lieberman’s thought process is interesting.

    To say that people criticise psychiatry only because they are seriously mentally ill and in denial is something that delegitimises criticism and protects his image.

    He also states that SSRIs do not contribute to violent behaviour. This is an absolute lie which is dangerous. He fails to mention that SSRIs cause mania (which is not some crank theory but an incontrovertible fact) in a subset of the population to which they are prescribed which certainly can make people violent (when they are in that drug induced manic state of mind).

  • This focus on whether psychiatry is an “actual science” seems to have become a sort of pseudo-problem.

    I am far more interested in what people in the field of psychiatry do, and how their actions affect other people’s individual lives.

    I also want to see a book which consists of various individual cases from a legal point of view, and gives us an overarching view of the life of people, one individual at a time, and how psychiatry affected it.

    Once we get into the debate about whether it is a science or not, people in the pro-psychiatry camp will cite studies like this on topics. For example, the particular topic in the publication I listed (on the topic of “Cognitive Bias Modification”) reads as follows:

    “There are a number of efficacious treatments available for anxiety disorders. Pharmacologic treatments, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors/serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, alleviate anxiety symptoms in the majority of patients. However, effect sizes are small-to-medium, and approximately 40% of patients do not achieve remission with pharmacotherapy [10,11]. Psychosocial treatments, particularly cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT), have also demonstrated efficacy. Meta-analyses suggest that CBT alleviates anxiety with medium-to-large effect sizes, depending on the disorder and study characteristics [12,13]. Although effective treatments exist, many patients with anxiety disorders do not access these treatments for a variety of reasons.”

    So, it consists of many bells and whistles. Statistics, collection of data etc.

    How are the people on which the data was collected doing? What were their individual lives like then? What are they like now? These are unknowns which such studies will not tell us.

    The word “science” has become troublesome in the context of psychiatry. It leads us to a dead end and endless debate. I would rather use the terms “truth” and “proper investigation of the truth”, “aspects of the truths”, “contexts of truths” etc. If you have better terms, tell me.

  • @Cohenbrian1

    I will assume your experiences are true and they happened as you say they did. I use the word “assume” because I cannot believe or disbelieve what someone writes here (without evidence), neither do I expect anyone to believe or disbelieve anything I write here myself (without evidence).

    The funny thing is, no one can allege you have malaria or chicken pox. Well they can allege, but they can be easily proven or disproven.

    But when someone alleges aspects of behaviour and moods etc., it’s a different ball game. It may become even harder when the people making the allegations are family members. Of course, a few of the professionals I interacted with knew of such cases of fraudulent allegations. One told me that such things happen sometimes.

    Did the mental health workers you were assigned take into consideration your version of events and your parents’ behaviour/mistreatment towards you?

  • PhoenixRising writes:

    I was mentally ill for 67 years. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2, OCD, PTSD, & Anxiety disorder. Three years ago I got onto an orthomolecular site and have been taking the supplements. As a recovering alcoholic I read Bill W’s article Emotional Sobriety and related to it. I read Wayne Dyer’s book There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem and used his meditation CD I AM. I cut sugar out of my diet using kefir. I have been free of mental illness for three years now. I had 35 years of thereapy including analysis. After a suicide attempt 7 years ago I got a new psychiatrist who saw me for 30 minutes a month untill I stabilized. he was kind and supportive, treated me like a peer rather than a patient and now I don’t see him at all as I’m well. It’s like a whole, new, wonderful world.”

    All those labels and mentally ill for 67 years huh. Looks like they did a good job of keeping you in the disease role (with the best and kindest of intentions of course) and you had to play along.

    And as for that kind and supportive peer-treating psychiatrist, I’ve seen a few like them before. Their kindness is limited to being nice to you. They never ask “Why the hell did you have to do this for 67 goddamn years?”. That’s something that puts them in professional jeopardy.

    I also wonder if they prescribed you SSRIs for “OCD” due to which you experienced mania and were subsequently labelled bipolar. I may be wrong about the last 2 lines though.

  • Dr. Steingard,

    1.) A certain question has always puzzled me. Psychiatrists and mental health workers often talk about the stigma associated with mental illness. However, in my view, part of the stigma is caused by the very labelling itself.

    Let me give you a few examples. I have met people labelled as schizophrenics, who are otherwise, quite smart, articulate, some even have Ph.Ds, others are graduates etc., who at some point in their lives may have had certain problems of thinking, feeling and living. On the other hand, there is the perception of a “schizophrenic” as that homeless, paranoid man that talks to things in the air, is psychotic etc.

    When you give both classes of people the same label, naturally, stigma will follow even the smart, articulate ones, even if undeservedly. Also, it need not be that the paranoid, delusional, homeless man may be that way forever.

    Why don’t some of you actually engage in explaining to people the dangers of labelling, myths etc. during your talks?

    2.) As a legal example, think of a man labelled as a schizophrenic at some point in life, let’s say because he had some sort of a delusion that the CIA was following him everywhere, and there were tracking devices everywhere in his home or that aliens abducted him. This was at a point in life. Now, he has them no more, and realises the irrationality of those past thoughts. But, the label remains. OR he may even still have some thoughts that way.

    However, during a legal dispute with a family member who knows about the label, the family member uses it, reads up all the worst possible behaviours, delusions etc. associated with the label, and alleges that the labelled man has all those. How does the labelled man disprove it? He has to rely on the charity of his psychiatrist, who may or may not act in his best interests, but will first keep his own professional interests in mind.

    These are some things to think about, and more importantly things for some of you to do.

    In fact, I do not specifically see articles on these topics on MIA either. They are usually pretty long biographical articles or vignettes about research findings.

    There are always talks of stats, and studies full of terminology, effect-sizes, confidence intervals etc., but the more practical issues like the points I’ve raised get left out in talks/presentations given to the public which are sometimes uploaded to social media websites like YouTube.

    Why do no psychiatrists give talks on these matters? It would do a lot more for people who bear these burdensome labels, than some study which finds that X-drug is over used in population type Z.

  • Man, when the hell are they going to improve the writing features? It’s become a pain to write, not to mention the paragraph spaces etc., are all going haywire. The way I write gets displayed completely differently and in a bad way.

  • Frank Blankenship writes: “You’re got Assertive Community Treatment teams to make sure treatment/harrassment doesn’t end at discharge. It used to be one had freedom to look forward to, not so any more.”

    This is interesting to know.

    This website talks of ACT as follows:

    ” Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is an Evidence-Based Practice Model designed to provide treatment, rehabilitation and support services to individuals who are diagnosed with a severe mental illness and whose needs have not been well met by more traditional mental health services. The ACT team provides services directly to an individual that are tailored to meet his or her specific needs. ACT teams are multi-disciplinary and include members from the fields of psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, substance abuse and vocational rehabilitation. Based on their respective areas of expertise, the team members collaborate to deliver integrated services of the recipients’ choice, assist in making progress towards goals, and adjust services over time to meet recipients’ changing needs and goals. The staff-to-recipient ratio is small (one clinician for every ten recipients), and services are provided 24-hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as they are needed.

    ACT teams deliver comprehensive and flexible treatment, support, and rehabilitation services to individuals in their natural living settings rather than in hospital or clinic settings. This means that interventions and skills teaching are carried out at the locations where individuals live, work, and socialize and where support is needed. ACT teams share responsibility for the people they serve and use assertive engagement to proactively engage individuals in treatment.

    ACT improves recipient outcomes. When comparing recipients before and after receiving ACT services, studies have shown ACT recipients experience greater reductions in psychiatric hospitalization rates, emergency room visits and higher levels of housing stability after receiving ACT services. Research has also shown that ACT is more satisfactory to recipients and their families and is no more expensive than other types of community-based care (Phillips et al., 2001). Evidence of ACT’s effectiveness has led mental health advocacy groups, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), to endorse ACT as a key service with proven positive outcomes.”

    Those of us who have seen enough garbage from psychiatry are familiar with quasi-smart, quasi-medical and quasi-scientific sounding terms, statements, documents and articles (and I use the word “quasi”, because these writings obfuscate the realities of what these ACT experiences actually involve in real life) like:

    1.) “Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is an Evidence-Based Practice Model designed to provide treatment, rehabilitation and support services to individuals who are diagnosed with a severe mental illness and whose needs have not been well met by more traditional mental health services.”

    2.) When comparing recipients before and after receiving ACT services, studies have shown ACT recipients experience greater reductions in psychiatric hospitalization rates, emergency room visits and higher levels of housing stability after receiving ACT services. Research has also shown that ACT is more satisfactory to recipients and their families and is no more expensive than other types of community-based care (Phillips et al., 2001). Evidence of ACT’s effectiveness has led mental health advocacy groups, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), to endorse ACT as a key service with proven positive outcomes.”

    As you are aware (from another thread), I am not from the US, and I have had the privilege of not being through such rubbish.

    But can you tell me in reality what this so called “ACT” actually involves in real life?

    All I read is “evidence-based, research based, positive outcomes, improves X and Y” and all that fancy jazz. But what do they actually do and how do their “subjects” actually feel?

    Honestly, when I read these things, I feel scared to come to these countries.

  • There’s a certain thing I’ve noticed. And I may be wrong, both due to selection and confirmation bias.

    What I’ve noticed is, the experiences of people who underwent the psychiatry phase in their lives prior to the internet age, especially in the 70s,80s etc. tends to be a lot worse.

    Am I wrong?

  • Dr. Steingard, understandably, the nit-picking of every word that you write on this platform (even if your intentions were something else when using certain words) can become draining (I found this to be the case for myself on another topic here). There is a reason why we nit-pick them or re-frame sentences. It’s because we have seen where the thought process of thinking that way goes.

    Hopefully, these tendencies amongst us will not discourage you too much from making positive contributions here.

  • There is a lot of emphasis on studies, and receptors and this and that.

    Which is why, to me, it is the real life experiences of people that matter, and a resolution of cases in a case-by-case, individual-by-individual manner that is important.

    We do not see enough posts here by lawyers and attorneys who have dealt with individual cases involving psychiatry, DSM labels, drug effects etc. Having those cases, and the knowledge of how respite was provided to an individual negatively affected (directly or indirectly) by the psychiatric paradigm, would be very beneficial.

    MIA is a hodge-podge of people variously affected by the mental health field. Every case is different and unique in its own right, with there being some overlap in themes among different cases.

    Edit: I wrote this before I saw Dr.Steingard’s follow-up comment.

  • In my humble opinion, I think people have a problem with drugs for a few of the following reasons:

    a.)The drugs had side effects worse than the condition they were purported to treat.

    b.)They caused irreparable damage to the person who took them.

    c.)They were improperly prescribed to the person, either in terms of being given drugs they did not need, or in dosages which were an overkill.

    d.) They were prescribed drugs for problems in living which had nothing to do with being prescribed drugs, or there was misplaced emphasis on drugs “making the person better”, when the “becoming better” part would not be solved by drug use.

    e.) They were forcibly given drugs.

    f.)They did not have pre-existing information about the dangers of the drugs and were not given proper information about it.

    g.) It didn’t just end at the drugs, but they got involved in the whole psychiatric paradigm which goes beyond simply prescriptions, which caused trouble. This psychiatric paradigm involves being labelled, an addiction to appointments, playing the indignant patient role, being disease mongered on, surrendering power over to the labellers and their organisations, social and legal problems like abusive parents, spouses, children, divorce cases etc. all of which made worse by psychiatry and in some of the cases we find here, forced treatment.

    After all, drugs don’t take themselves, just like knives don’t kill people by themselves.

    Human beings have been ingesting various drugs in the form of nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, ayahuasca etc. for centuries. Today there are drugs which are termed “medications”. The fundamental principle is the same. A human being ingests any drug, whether prescription or illicit, because it makes him feel better in some way. *Of course, this is when it is voluntary, not forced. And not drugs which have terrible side effects, which I as an individual have already faced in the past*

    Now, if the additional psychiatric junk (labelling, power structure, dependence etc.) did not exist, and people had full awareness of the long term dangers of these drugs (and there are long term dangers with street drugs too), their side effects, how to mitigate them etc., I presume some people would buy them over the counter without any psychiatrists at all (just like they do alcohol or anything else), just to ease mental distress like a low mood, or anxiety or whatever else it is, caused by whatever problems, just like some people engage in “substance use”.

    But to me, this is similar to some people choosing to drink alcohol every night to relax.

    So, I would rephrase your comment as “Listen to your patients, and stop prescribing them psychotropics or make some changes when they tell you the points above.”

    Because if some find them beneficial, it is their choice to take them, and her (unfortunate) duty to prescribe them.

  • maradel writes: “In my view, the fact that this site exists is incredibly positive. Through all those painful decades of my life, nothing like this existed.”

    Very true.

    Julie Green writes: “Just live. Don’t even think about it. Get up on that stage and sing like hell.”

    At first I was afraid, I was petrified,
    Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
    But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong,
    And I grew strong, and I learned how to get along.

    And so you’re back from outer space.
    I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
    I should have changed that stupid lock
    I should have made you leave your key
    If I had known for just one second you’d be back to bother me

    Go on now, go. Walk out the door
    Just turn around now ’cause you’re not welcome anymore
    Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
    Did you think I’d crumble?
    Did you think I’d lay down and die?

    Oh, no, not I!
    I will survive.
    Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive.
    I’ve got all my life to live.
    I’ve got all my love to give.
    And I’ll survive,
    I will survive, hey, hey.


  • I do not state this to disrespect the author or commenters. I can empathise with her/them as I have had some horrible life-damaging experiences associated both directly and indirectly with the mental health profession, it’s drugs, it’s labels and their misuse, myself.

    I want to know if there are any positive stories out there. These days I have been frequenting this site often, and reading only accounts of lives gone awry makes me hopeless.

    Are there people who went through this psychiatry debacle and came out reasonably clean on the other end? Anyone have good careers and successful and reasonably happy lives?

  • maradel writes: “I am now nearly 63 and retired on disability after trying for over 40 years to have a career as a neuroscientist and veterinarian”

    You tried for 40 years?! Did you achieve anything in those fields? I am not asking this disrespectfully. I am asking this to know if there is any silver lining to this story.

    Did they fire you from jobs simply for having these silly labels?

    Also, to live on disability where you are given a disability amount on the basis of those same labels that screwed you over, is the most cruel turn of events possible.

  • The sickening part of this whole thing is, a lot of the people who fall into these mental health institution traps end up wanting to do careers in the same institutions to “change them”.

    These people, before they ended up in these largely useless institutions, may have wanted to be engineers, doctors, programmers and what not. Instead those desires and dreams, which are the desires of ordinary everyday people, get replaced by hopeless desires to change garbage. If you, who were a subject of the system, end up trying to be reformer of the system, you will always be consumed by the system and what happened to you in there.

    I don’t want to see that anymore. Instead, I want to see people achieve the dreams they had before all this junk took place. I don’t want to see them reform the system. I want to see them get rich as hell and if anything, perhaps take vengeance. All the vengeance that money can buy from outside the system.

    The existence of friends who grew up with you before you went through the whole psychiatry garbage is a very good thing. They (at least some of them) see you for who you are. Not the crap you became or were labelled with later in life.

    If you confront most people in the MH field about what it does to people, all you get is denial, defensiveness and dismissiveness. They simply change the topic or insist that they wouldn’t be doing it if it didn’t help people. Sure it helps some people in specific situations. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t harm people. And psychiatry and everything that comes along with it harms people in very insidious ways. It doesn’t matter that the intentions of some in the MH field are good. Intentions mean nothing. Actions and their consequences actualise intentions.

    Katie writes: “The deep grief I experienced in this system was watching people with talent and heart and intact souls buy the label, build a distorted identity off it, become a professional patient and thereby lose the beautiful contribution they could have made to their world.”

    I did this to myself for many years. I saw me, only through the prism of labels. I forgot what I was like before the whole fiasco.

  • “These two case studies illustrate how labels of ‘mental illness’ can be used to silence those who speak out against oppression and pathologization within those professions where such interventions are sorely needed. In one case, violence and bullying was dismissed, ignored, and perpetuated by labeling the victim as ‘mentally ill.’ In doing so, her accusations of bullying and her competency regarding her job became discredited and disbelieved. Her actions and words were constantly interpreted and viewed through the lens of sanism and used as further justification for abuse.”

    I know this so so well. My biological father did this to me my whole life.

    I should also state that psychiatric labels are deceptive jargon that can be used to obfuscate truths, give power to the labeller’s motives, whether pernicious or well-intended.

    Also, many psychiatrists and doctors simply do not like their authority being challenged. You can get some pretty irritated responses, and a few insults too if you do so. It is also easy for them to justify interventions by using deceptive DSM jargon, and pseudo-medical rhetoric. Websites on “mental health” are full of DSM labels. Again, I cannot stress the importance of how harmful it is.

    I am glad to have read this article, and I’m glad that people are taking note of these things like the author of this book.

    My parents are currently in a court case where my father has used all sorts of DSM labels against me and my mother to cover up and justify his disgusting actions and to perpetuate horrible lies against us. It hinders the process of even getting justice. Unfortunately most lawyers do not know how to handle such cases either.

    And psychiatric labelling and pathologisation…I do not know if it ever ends. The more of these people you go to, the more the labels increase, further adding to the misery of the person.

    It is a vicious cycle in which the condition being treated needs intervention, and the intervention then becomes a causal factor contributing negatively to the condition being treated (due to labelling, their social and legal consequences, effects of drugs etc.), thereby perpetuating the need for even more treatment/intervention, till you end up becoming a revolving door patient.

    I know that I’m making accusations in this post. I do not expect a random reader to believe me. Rest assured, in real life, I have plenty of evidence to back up these “accusations” because they aren’t accusations. They’re truths.

    People who are skeptical of these truths about psychiatry and how it is (mis)used, demand studies. Studies with confidence intervals, effect sizes, and all sorts of stats. But all those dry studies miss out the crucial experiences of real life cases.

    I hate being in the victim role. And it isn’t the desire for sympathy I feel. It is a thirst for vengeance. I do not know how I will do it. But I will. I will not give in to my pain, even though there are moments when I want to. Giving in would mean losing the fight against absolute cockroaches that must squashed.

    “Psychiatry’s core concepts are embedded formally and informally in our legal, social, educational, and workplace institutions in ways that the other medical specialties are not.”

    True. Very true. And this must be fought and challenged.

  • SSRIs cause mania in a subset of the people put on them, and such SSRI induced manic states can cause people to want to engage in violence and substance use.

    Dr. Healy, do you agree with psychiatrists who label people with “bipolar disorder” when SSRIs cause mania, even though such an episode never occurred prior to such use, and might never have occurred without them? What if some of these patients also have a relative who experienced SSRI induced mania?

    P.S. I have a lot of experience with SSRI highs. They DO have a stimulant high in people like me. “High” to me, “hypomania/mania” in your jargon.

  • Unfortunately, “psychological psychotherapy” can still end up causing damage depending on the case at hand, especially in the case of minors or youngsters. This is because the implicit relationship between the “therapist” and “patient” is still that of between a stronger, more authoritative individual and a weaker, more vulnerable individual. One also has to remember the relationships between the caretakers/family members of the youngsters and these therapists (“therapist” could be a “psychiatrist” or a “psychologist”).

    After all, “family education” is thought to be a big thing in these professions, which can actually be quite damaging to the vulnerable individual at hand.

    Drugs have their place. If however, one could obtain drugs VOLUNTARILY, knowing full well the full list of effects they have, without ending up on the charity of the mental health system and its high priests and workers, who will label people with disorders even for side effects of drugs they prescribe, it would be a lot better.

    The system is even worse in countries where people need to be labelled because otherwise insurance won’t cover them.

    It is not necessary that Psychotherapy>Drugs or Drugs>Psychotherapy.

    They both have their place. But in strict limits. In my experience, most “Psychotherapy” is as useless and harmful as most “chemical psychotherapy”.

    “Many mental disorders involve the patient responding inappropriately to traumas and emotional swings.”

    Right, and how is a therapist going to make the “patient” “respond appropriately”, to let’s say, the trauma of a parent that bludgeons their child (these kinds of cases are common in these professions)?

    He can’t. What he may do, is then create a dependence of the child onto a system that can do nothing for the child (but it may provide initial solace in the form of a consoling voice), cannot do anything to actually deal with the creator of that trauma, but can go on to label and prescribe drugs to the child creating further problems. If not drugs, then labelling and an addiction to repeated appointments for pointless sessions of listening and talking.

    True therapy would require the vulnerable individual to have bucket loads of money (to hire lawyers etc). Not psychotherapy, nor psychiatry.

    A few lines from an old friend, Thomas Szasz:

    Everywhere, children, and even many adults, take it for granted not only that there is a god but that he can understand their prayers because he speaks their language. Likewise, children assume that their parents are good, and if their experiences are unbearably inconsistent with that image, they prefer to believe that they themselves are bad rather than that their parents are. The belief that doctors are their patients’ agents-serving their patients’ interests and needs above all others–seems to me to be of a piece with mankind’s basic religious and familial myths. Nor are its roots particularly mysterious: when a person is young, old, or sick, he is handicapped compared with those who are mature and healthy; in the struggle for survival, he will thus inevitably come to depend on his fellows who are relatively unhandicapped.

    Such a relationship of dependency is implicit in all situations where clients and experts interact. Because in the case of illness the client fears for his health and for his life, it is especially dramatic and troublesome in medicine. In general, the more dependent a person is on another, the greater will be his need to aggrandize his helper, and the more he aggrandizes his helper, the more dependent he will be on him. The result is that the weak person easily becomes doubly endangered: first, by his weakness and, second, by his dependence on a protector who may choose to harm him. These are the brutal but basic facts of human relationships of which we must never lose sight in considering the ethical problems of biology, medicine, and the healing professions. As helplessness engenders belief in the goodness of the helper, and as utter helplessness engenders belief in his unlimited goodness, those thrust into the roles of helpers whether as deities or doctors, as priests or politicians have been only too willing to assent to these characterizations of themselves.

    This imagery of total virtue and impartial goodness serves not only to mitigate the helplessness of the weak, but also to obscure the conflicts of loyalty to which the protector is subject. Hence, the perennial appeal of the selfless, disinterested helper professing to be the impartial servant of mankind’s needs and interests.

  • Studies, studies and studies. Studies this and studies that. P-values, effects sizes, confidence intervals etc. etc.

    I, personally, am far more interested in individual cases. How such diagnoses, drugs etc. have helped or harmed the lives of an individual, which is what such fields are about. Helping one individual at a time.

    Which is why, we cannot ignore legal cases and the effects of these systems on particular individuals.

    Let me give you some examples from my country of India. You should just look at the way some of these psych. doctors write.

    In the case of Pankaj Mahajan vs Dimple (30th Septermber 2011)

    Dr. Paramjit Singh of Medical College Amritsar writes: “This disease is Bipolar Affective Disorder. I treated her during this period. She was admitted in Emergency because her disease was in quite serious stage. In this disease, the patient can commit suicide. When she came, she was aggressive and irritable. If the proper treatment is not given to the respondent then her aggressive nature can be prolonged.”

    Bipolar Affective Disorder (primarily a psychiatric label) is mentioned as a disease, with no reasons given as to why she experienced the depression or mania (who knows? It could be trauma that caused depression and iatrogenic reaction as a result of SSRI antidepressants that caused mania) that results in the label of Bipolar Disorder.

    Without such an explanation, the circularity is striking:

    Patient: Why did I experience depression/mania?
    Doctor: Because you have Bipolar Disorder
    Patient: Why do I have bipolar disorder?
    Doctor: Because you experienced depression/mania.

    In other words, it’s like saying a headache caused her head to hurt.

    “Her disease was in a serious stage” makes it sound like she has cancer which has metastasised to different parts of her body. “Suicide is possible in this disease”, however no information is given as to what her reasons for wanting to commit suicide were except a psychiatric label. What her aggressive nature is and her reasons for being aggressive are not mentioned except a psychiatric label which is descriptive.

    Some of the tactics lawyers, doctors or the opposition use are the misuse of psychiatric labels.

    For example “The opposite party suffers from schizophrenia as a result of which she has paranoid thoughts” etc. So, here a label, instead of being used as a description, is instead misleadingly being used imply causation.

    This allows for particularly deceptive tactics. For example, taking a particular label, reading up the worst possible behaviours associated with that label and alleging the opposite party suffers from all those and that it is caused by the label. Since psychiatric labels can be somewhat vague and can refer to various things for which the person has been labelled, it is easy to play around with them and use them against someone to delegitimise what they say and to manipulate and distort facts and/or even lie outright.

    In such cases, having a bipolar diagnosis due to mania caused by SSRIs (like me), and having experienced spontaneous manias makes a difference.

    The patient has to hope and rely on the charity of his/her consulting psychiatrist or head of department to do the right thing. This makes one a beggar.

    And clearly, if you have gone to a number of these fools, you will have more junk and more labels in your files, which will only add to your misery.

    Yet another psychiatrist in the same case writes:

    Dr. Virendra Mohan (PW-3), M.D. Psychiatry writes:

    “She was diagnosed as a Chronic Paranoid Schizophrenic. There is no direct relationship in the stress or strain with the disease. Second time, she was admitted by her father Prem Kumar on 28.09.1999 and was discharged on 05.10.1999.”

    Yet another psychiatric label, this time, it’s schizophrenia. Is she bipolar or schizophrenic? This just confirms my suspicion that the more psychiatrists you go to, the more labels you get and the garbage written down about you in your files increases exponentially. Also, stress and strain has nothing to do with one’s mental state? Ridiculous.

    What would the average lawyer or judge understand of these things? Nothing. They will rely on the words of the “trained professionals” most of whom will not do something against their own interests.


    Individual cases need to be investigated. What these people do in clinical practice to particular individuals and how it affects those individuals needs to be brought to light.

    What the families of these individuals do needs to be brought to light.

    Yes, understanding and open dialogue is important. But that just ends up being debate, and the practices of people continue.

    I will go back to Szasz on this one:

    “A relationship of dependency is implicit in all situations where clients and experts interact. Because in the case of illness the client fears for his health and for his life, it is especially dramatic and troublesome in medicine. In general, the more dependent a person is on another, the greater will be his need to aggrandize his helper, and the more he aggrandizes his helper, the more dependent he will be on him. The result is that the weak person easily becomes doubly endangered: first, by his weakness and, second, by his dependence on a protector who may choose to harm him. These are the brutal but basic facts of human relationships of which we must never lose sight in considering the ethical problems of biology, medicine, and the healing professions. As helplessness engenders belief in the goodness of the helper, and as utter helplessness engenders belief in his unlimited goodness, those thrust into the roles of helpers whether as deities or doctors, as priests or politicians have been only too willing to assent to these characterizations of themselves.

    This imagery of total virtue and impartial goodness serves not only to mitigate the helplessness of the weak, but also to obscure the conflicts of loyalty to which the protector is subject. Hence, the perennial appeal of the selfless, disinterested helper professing to be the impartial servant of mankind’s needs and interests. “

  • Everyone here, including the psychiatrists, psychologists, commenters etc., keep saying “Trauma, trauma, trauma”. What is this “trauma” we are talking about? Car accidents? Floods? I presume we are talking about harmful actions perpetrated by a human on another human.

    In that case, this turns into an issue of criminal justice. How do we do anything to provide these people justice?

    Psychiatric terminology is easily abusable and prevents the implementation of justice.

    For example, if a person A harasses person B to the point where person B starts behaving strangely and ends up being labelled with X disorder by one psychiatrist and Y disorder by another; then it becomes all the more easier for A to get away with what he has done to B by simply saying “B suffers from X and Y disorders”. You can look up court statements in whichever country you are from, which have the aforementioned themes.

    So, how do lawyers learn to defend B? How can we get B justice? How to prevent psychiatrists from making the lives of people like B even worse than they were to begin with?

    The usual themes here are drugs, labels etc. But we need more legal information and legal cases here too.

  • 1.) A psychiatrist once told me that the rates of mania due to SSRIs in the overall population are very low, and that “if you experience mania on SSRIs, you have bipolar disorder, period”.

    When I asked questions like “How do you know if a person who has an episode of SSRI induced mania would have ever gone on to experience such a thing without SSRIs”, the responses I got were like “you will never get answers to the questions you have” etc.

    I always wondered, if a psychiatric drug causes a skin rash (which may also be low, relative to the overall population placed on a particular drug), is it an underlying skin disorder being unmasked or just a side effect of the drug dependent on the particular individual’s biology?

    2.) The other thing that bothers me are things like “personality disorders”. The medicalisation of another human’s personality is not treatment. It is defamation and libel. I do not care (in the context of labeling an individual, not in condoning the actions) if the individual has murdered someone. In such a case, if any “treatment” has to be done, it can be done so by understanding the motivations of the person and noting down details of the person in a descriptive manner. If courts of law must deal with the individual, they can provide appropriate penalties for the actions of the person.

    Of course, they will say “Yes, we write down everything dimensionally”. But they also label. You can do the former and not do the latter. Don’t do both. Just write it down descriptively.

    Such labelling is also easily abusable. If you, for some reason, end up being confrontational with the psychiatrist and have strong disagreements with him/her, he/she can simply label you with a “personality disorder” and cast you aside. You then have to deal with any repercussions of such labelling.

    3.)Labelling people with disorders for the side effects of psychiatric drugs (like bipolar disorder for mania caused by SSRIs, ritalin etc.) is an absolutely deceptive practice. It removes the focus from the prescriber, the effects of the drug, and its usage by the person and points it towards some sort of flaw in the person taking the drug himself.

    The most honest thing to do would be calling it what it is. Drug induced mania. And also telling the patient that you do not know what the implications of such an occurrence are.

    4.) Psychatric labelling is bad by itself. It causes medical errors by doctors which can be damaging to a patient, and they have social and legal implications because they are poorly understood by most people (“He behaves like this because he has a personality disorder”). When I see people labelled with 6 different labels (Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, bipolar, borderline personality etc., all for one single individual), I feel disgust towards the labellers. There must be some safeguards for people with such labels. Do they realise what this does to another human being? You can simply write everything descriptively. Courts should not recognise any DSM/ICD psychiatric labels, and instead get descriptive information on the person.

    5.) Kids with abusive parents, people with abusive spouses etc., sometimes get caught up in psychiatry. And once they’re labelled, the abusers then use those labels against them. They can use them to demean them, to get away with their abuse by saying that the person is insane, to escape justice by means of using psychiatric terminology in legal documents etc; whereas, in fact, part of the distress that contributes to some of the problems the label describes is caused by such mistreatment of the individual. One just has to look at the multitudes of legal cases where this happens in various countries.

    Psychiatry has a social responsibility to stop these practices and misuse of psychiatric terminology. Otherwise, its purported purpose of propagating mental health among people is a farce, because their treatment modalities are causing harm to people. Instead all you will hear from them is, how more psychiatrists are required, how more mental health literacy is required etc.

  • @PrettyPurplePill

    “Most sadly, I knew this person as a child and he was extremely traumatized – every abuse you can imagine, he probably experienced it. Watching his life unfold has been like having a front row seat to a case study in how trauma destroys lives.”

    It’s funny how in this world people who are already victimised end up becoming even more victimised. Nothing happens to the people who did those nasty things to them. Those destroyers-of-others-lives (some of whom may have been screwed over themselves) escape prison and nut houses. Their victims ending up in nut houses or jails isn’t a triumph of the justice system nor of the mental health industry. It’s a failure of both.

    When the partner of a powerful psychopathic spouse kills the abusive spouse out of desperation and a lack of help (because no one else really gives a shit), does he/she deserve to be in jail? I don’t think so.

    Naturally I would protect myself if someone who was badly screwed over and subsequently became violent tried to harm me. But, god knows how many people that don’t really deserve to be in prison OR nut houses are languishing in those places. It makes me boil just thinking about it.

  • Jeffrey “Robert Whitaker is a menace to society” Lieberman’s own son (the older one of his two) was close to being labelled with ADHD, which Mr. Lieberman could undo because of his power as a psychiatrist. In Lieberman’s own words (a transcript from an interview):

    “Absolutely. I had an experience with my own son. I have two sons. My older son was going to nursery school, and they said he’s not paying attention and were concerned. ‘You should have him tested.’ We had him tested. The neuropsychologist said, ‘Well there’s some kind of, you know, information processing problems, you should see a pediatric psychiatrist.’ I said, “Well, I am a psychiatrist, but I’ll take him to see a pediatric psychiatrist.’ We took him to see a pediatric psychiatrist, spent twenty minutes with him, and he started, you know, writing a prescription for Ritalin. I said, ‘Why?’ and he said ‘Well, he’s got ADHD.’ I said, ‘I don’t think so.’

    So, long story short, he ended up graduating from University of Pennsylvania, law school at Columbia, he’s in a top law firm. So, yes, it happens, and part of that is social pressure.”

    I personally have no problem with people taking substances voluntarily that they feel helps them. How do you prevent being labelled and everything else that comes with it? The more of these people you go to, the more labels you get.

  • We have to keep the other side in mind too, to take any steps.

    However, it is just as eroding and exhausting for us to be doing this too. Some of them do not understand that they do not have to be evil at all and may have the best of intentions and still end up causing damage.

    It isn’t as simple as being “good” or “evil” or being a “victim” or a “person with a power trip”.

    One of the service providers I had was unable to understand me telling him why the psychiatric ordeal had damaged my life and instead felt accused. Being a professional and having good intentions isn’t necessarily doing the right thing.