Friday, June 22, 2018

Comments by yeah_I_survived

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  • I enjoyed the article. Maybe its because I’m a fairly traditional Christian, but I don’t hold out too much hope for society. Human nature is bad enough; add in deregulated capitalism, destruction of the family and communities, and the rise of the great death cult, Mental Health, Inc., and…

    its a massive recipe for disaster. No where to run, no where to hide. I do believe that Jesus saves, of course, but I’m now thoroughly disappointed by the church. 12-step programs right in the sanctuary, leading the faithful straight to Hell. Awesome.

    So…where to go? What to do? With the whole world headed towards annihilation, no wonder so many people end up killing themselves. No, no; Zoloft/Abili-Quel will -not- “help,” it may very well harm, quite possibly destroy you and maybe even some of those around you, but…

    try, just try telling the Truth in today’s world. I cannot prove to anyone’s satisfaction that God exists or that Jesus saves, but…want proof of Satan’s existence? Look at psychiatry, past and present.

  • social class is a major issue in psychotherapy. in my experience, if one has more resources, there’s an attempt to drag one down…for control and power and profit. the low status, of course, are easily labeled and destroyed. next!

    at a personal level, my “solution” is to make real friends. that’s difficult in modern America, but its happened, for me, and I’m thankful. i find that real friends have real conversations for no payment, no insurance required. they then expect the same of me (reciprocity), and the cycle continues.

  • file this one under “bad idea.” I guess a certain segment of America’s elite thinks locking up more and more of the (growing…and growing…) under-class is the way to go? Obviously, the absolute -last- thing I want (or anyone on MIA, I would imagine) is to give Mental Health, Inc. -more- resources, -more- power, etc. As with all bullies…”give an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

  • hi. I’m so thankful you’re at a point where you can move forward with your life and look to a future outside of Mental Health, Inc. I’m getting there. Getting off the drugs was (surprisingly…) the easy part, possibly because of high dose supplementation. The difficult part that I’m facing now is trying to transition out of labels that have been applied not just “in treatment,” but also in the community. Read: I may end up having to move, also.

    I vaguely remember something Szasz wrote about Woolf…”my madness saved me,” as in she used her “manic depression” to further her own interests, which seems to be fairly common among upper crust “mental patients.”

  • I’m not all that well-versed in Marxist theory, but I do recall reading that, in late stage capitalism, there’s a whole lot of “alienation of the worker” going on. I think MIA had a brief piece on this just a little while ago. We also have (I’m speaking of the 21st century US here) a huge and growing under-class, those with criminal convictions and/or mental health histories. I think the growing underclass, the loss of upward mobility, the never-ending war on whomever, plus the alienation of those fortunate enough to remain in what is left of the middle-middle class is fueling a good bit of these “epidemics of addiction.”

    of course, rich people love drugs, too. and shrinks love treating rich people, which explains why the higher status drug users end up with various labels/diagnoses…usually some flavor “Bipolar,” but not always. The issue with the rich seems to be more of having ample resources, status, power, and the anomie that strikes at the upper and lower ends of the social class system. Of course, American culture as a whole has largely disintegrated, probably because of our version of capitalism, so anomie is part of the American experience, overall.

    I don’t see an end in sight to the “medicalization of deviance” that Szasz and numerous others write about. That’s the other thing…”experts” are taking over -all- aspects of our lives. Mental Health “experts” are an obvious example, but there are other “experts,” too…”experts” on the right way to eat, the right way to exercise, even “experts” on the best ways to organize and decorate one’s home. Honestly, I’m sometimes afraid for US culture, because there is no longer any room more meaningful conversation, reflection, dissent, redemption, or…anything, really. Perhaps part of the “drug epidemics” is also a search for identity, meaning, and escape from a cold, controlling, demanding, impossible world?

  • I think this latest round in America’s on again/off again love affair with Rx uppers is going to (wait for it, wait for it….) crash. Ha!

    Seriously. This time around, the pills are already in Schedule II, so its not as if the docs can plead ignorance. I just don’t know what will replace Adderall and friends…I guess that’s Big Pharma’s job?

  • “antidepressants” not only do not “improve” misery and suffering, they often cause additional misery suffering. Just as a suffering individual who turns to street drugs for escape eventually finds the need to increase their dose, so too do pill pushers/shrinks often need to ramp up the dose of their emotional novocaine pills.

    I suppose knowing that there’s some mainstream criticism of “antidepressants” coming out is somewhat comforting, but…not really. There’s plenty of on-patent “antidepressants,” which means decades more of lies, control, oppression, and…well…psychiatry.

  • I think its probably largely rooted in the woes of late stage capitalism, American-style. Psychiatrists seem to destroy pretty much anyone they can–rich people, poor people, “rinky dink middle class” people–but they have always “had it in” for poor people and working class people, in particular. And…

    these days, we have more and more “have nots” whose problems are “treated” by shrinks working for the 1%-ers. Add in the shrinking range of emotions allowed to most of us, and…one can see how and why psychiatry has become such a powerful, massive industry, almost 60 years after The Myth of Mental Illness.

  • my experience with psychiatrists has been that they knowingly create addiction in their patients. I imagine a lot of it is about income. I also think (honestly…) a lot of psychiatrists use it as a power chip. A misbehaving patient finds her xanax reduced sharply, for instance. And of course…its -psychiatry-, so when things go wrong, its always that patient’s fault, somehow.

    My experience with family doctors has been that they’re cautious about benzodiazepines, a bit too liberal with the stimulants. Of course, now I don’t take or want either one, but…I do find it interesting that amphetamines are Schedule II, but stopping an amphetamine is relatively simple, whereas the benzodiazepines are Schedule IV, but stopping a Mother’s Little Helper can sometimes prove fatal. What’s that about?

  • I honestly think its time to see about abolishing Mental Health, Inc. I am a Szasz fan, but I’m not a Szasz follower. I -get- that Szasz was a-OK with consentual acts of psychiatry, etc., but…c’mon. This industry is draining the coffers, ruining lives, and warping our minds. Enough is enough!

    As for “informed consent” for “psychotherapy…” my concept of what this would involve would look a little something like this: “There is no solid evidence that any ‘mental ilness’ exists. “Psychotherapy” is a very expensive conversation in which the patient pays the psychotherapist to be heard and told what to think, who they are, and what their problems in life really are. The data on the benefits of these expensive conversations is mixed, at best. Some people report fabulous results, others end up labeled, stigmatized, impoverished, and sometimes suicidal. The labels attached to those who pay for these conversations are not scientifically valid, but are permanent, nonetheless. BUYER BEWARE.”

    in all likelihood, Mental Health, Inc. is going to become far -worse- in the US, not better, softer, more humane, etc. And yet…one can dream, right? Right.

  • Now, with the “stigma reduction” campaigns, people are encouraged to identify -with- the labels applied to them, and that is somehow “liberating” or “progressive” or…I don’t know. Its never ending, and I get the sense its bad enough in many other developed, affluent, 21st century nations, but the US is really an outlier in a lot of respects. We have 0 tolerance schools, high rates of incarceration, lots of people “in treatment,” on and on it goes…and I think things are only going to get worse, not better. In “The New Economy,” scraping to get by is often as good as it gets. Even the well-educated have lowered expectations. Inequality has been growing by leaps and bounds since the 80s, and now the 1% is all hopped up on Ayn Rand and they want the rest of us hopped up on Abili-Quel or whatever.

    I guess try to warn those who you can. Thing is…a lot of people will not listen, or they will say “well, you just had a “bad experience,” or…whatever.

  • my take on it is that psychiatry tends to victimize those who are stigmatized, with less power, fewer resources, etc. thing is…in 21st century America, the middle class has been decimated, the working class is heavily controlled, and there’s lots of varying degrees of poverty. so…that alone provides fertile ground for Mental Health, Inc. to work their destructive magic on the populace.

    its worse in any kind of institution. thing there is….lots of people are in jail, prison, juvenile facilities, nursing homes, etc. The more toxic psychiatric drugs are especially popular in those settings, and…with economic and social factors taken into account, plus the aging of the overall population, I think things are going to get a lot worse, at least in the US….not better.

  • Mental Health, Inc. destroys pretty much anyone and everyone they can. Too old, too young, too bright, too slow, too short, too tall, too average, too middle class, too upper clas, too…too…human, basically.

    The talking people in Mental Health, Inc. mostly believe in the same pseudoscientific, state-sponsored religion that psychiatrists lead, basically as high priests. I had -1- talking person who basically told me that the big deal with “talk therapy” is forging a connection with another human being, especially at a time of needs. These days…thankfully, I have connections with real, genuine, caring human beings outside of the mental health kingdom, and that’s a huge part of my “recovery.”

  • as much as I appreciate some groups and professionals doing what they can to shed light on this serious problem, I doubt things will get better, not in the US, at least. With social and economic conditions the way they are, I think life for the 99% in America (well…definitely 80-90%, anyway…) is on course to get worse, not better. That goes 2x, 3x for those in any sort of institution, from juvenile facilities to nursing homes. I’ve even heard horror stories about hospice care.

  • if szasz and others are correct about psychiatry…in the sense that psychiatry, on top of all its other nefarious attributes, is a state-sponsored religion…then studies like this make me wonder if, perhaps, the shrinks are attempting to label and control -real- religions, in particular the ones (especially Christianity) that actually contribute to the world and provide guidance, forgiveness, redemption, etc. to their followers.

  • I’ve experienced fraud both in psychiatry and counseling, psychology. Mental Health, Inc. as a whole seems to be centered on force, fraud, coercion, even violence, towards people/”patients” they claim to “help.”

    Anybody can talk to another human being about their problems, life in general. Specialized training is not only not necessary, I’m beginning to think that such training does more to boost the egos and incomes of the “specialists” than it does to “help” anyone under their “care.”

    As much as I’d like to view talking “Treatments” as a viable alternative to psychiatry, the two work hand in hand, defrauding people left and right, all the way, all the time. Mental Health, Inc. as a whole should be abolished.

  • making people poor and/or keeping people poor is a big part of what Mental Health, Inc. is all about. I’m happy for the people who were in this study, and maybe this will end up changing the way -some- “mental health professionals” approach people and their problems, but I doubt this will make a lasting change in “standard treatment,” especially in the US.

  • yeah, I’m with everybody else. Torture and punishment are the core of psychiatry. To be a “mental patient” is to be subjected to torture under the guise of “treatment.” “Good patients” are rewarded with less toxic drugs, perhaps controlled substances, now and then disability. “Bad patients,” especially “trouble makers,” are severely punished with toxic drugs (often administered by force), shock ‘treatments,’ and more stigmatizing labels.

    If psychiatrists care for the human race, as a whole, perhaps they should consider doing real medicine for a living, and leave the pseudoscientific belief system behind. The world would certainly be a much better place without psychiatry, that’s for sure.

  • 🙂 Happy 60th Birthday, Julie!

    Society is so cruel. Mean-spirited, too. Odd, isn’t it? Media tells us things are so much better, the economy’s back in business, etc., but there’s -so- much senseless bullying and general nastiness. Why are so many people–poor people, middle-middle class people, even affluent people–so angry and mean? I think the Sociologists are calling “micro-aggression.”

    Anyway…happy 60th Birthday. I wish you well. 🙂

  • Hi, Dr.Burstow….

    I was just trying to point that, in the world of Mental Health, Inc., there’s remarkable equality between the sexes when it comes to cruelty and destruction. Female psychiatrists destroy their (mostly female) patients just as surely as the male psychiatrists destroy theirs. I assume that rape and other acts of sexual violence towards mental patients are more common w/ the male psychiatrists, but…the core values of Mental Health, Inc (force, fraud, violence, and coercion) are the fundamental values of psych “professionals” all over, of any and all races, sexual orientations, religious backgrounds, and gender.

  • I dealt with my own nurse Hatchet. I had been attacked and raped, then sedated and put into a “well-regarded” mental hospital. All I remember is her calling me “disgusting,” saying “you should be a vegetable,” and then ordering the burly male nurse to turn up the AC. Then…nothing, until I woke up, screaming, in a hospital gown. My head hurt, I could not concentrate. An orderly was staring at me, looking a bit frightened.

    The shrink later said I tried to hit that nurse. What he didn’t tell me, or my parents–those would be the people paying for all this, btw–was that he seized upon the opportunity to hit me, electroshock me, and “break me,” because “he tried to hit a woman.”

    And so…an upper-class, heterosexual psychiatrist justified destroying an impoverished, homosexual “mental patient” by pointing to “chivalry,” or…something.


  • thank you, Dr.Burstow. I think I will read the novel, once I get to the point at which I’m a little more grounded in my new life, as who I am now. I’m not trying to sound wishy-washy, nor am I making a false promise, its just…well, reading cold, hard, impersonal statistics on shock and other “treatments” is one thing. I can do that, I have done that. Novels, personal accounts…that’s far more difficult, for me.

    Maybe (probably…) each shock survivor is different. I don’t think “recovery” was in the cards for me, ever. I am now: healthy, bright eyed, surprisingly intelligent, and I even developed a voice of my own, but I did not recover and I never will recover, not really. I was who I was, and I was destroyed. I am a different person now, and I cannot go back. Mental Health, Inc. absolutely annihilated the old me, before I was even 25 years old. I wonder where that dude went off to, now and then, and what could have been, might have been, etc. Not to sound overly sentimental or anything, but…hey, I’ll never know, will I?

    Seriously…I mean this, I do…thank you for your work, the new novel included. 🙂

  • ugh. i wrote a bunch of material, now i’ve changed my mind. I’m glad Dr.Burstow’s novel is bringing attention to the subject. my shock ‘treatments’ were…well, basically the end of who i was. nothing ‘therapeutic’ about the junk, but i guess that’s one of the fun things about psychiatry…once you’ve gone thru treatment, no one will listen to you. “but after the lobotomy, who will listen?”


  • Having been through Mental Health, Inc., I am sad to say…a kinder, gentler, more humane psychiatry is still…psychiatry. There was a time when I thought Orthomolecular, maybe Orthomolecular plus psych drugs in low doses, maybe “talking treatments,” etc. might be the way (or at least…a way) forward. I was wrong.

    Give Mental Health, Inc. an inch, they’ll take a mile. Not only do I agree with Szasz and other critics that psychiatry is a belief system, I think psychiatry is such a dreadful, destructive belief system that one could quite accurately call it a modern day death cult.

    So…while a part of me still admires those who do intensive research on “mental illness” and Mental Health, Inc. and offer up humane ways of dealing with “psychosis,” etc…the bigger part of who I am simply wants to see more people work towards the abolition of psychiatry and everything else Mental Health, Inc. is selling us. The pills are toxic, the talk is nothing more than poisonous lies, and the entire industry is filled with prideful, mediocre, dangerous people who seem hell bent on lobotomizing the whole damn world.

  • psychology is just as adept at creating victims and labeling people as psychiatry. their talk isn’t cheap and it is often dangerous, both to individuals and society as a whole.

    people need people, not “professionals.” as much as id like to believe that “special training” will make a difference, I can’t. Obfuscation, mystification, jargon and lies are the core of psychology.

  • this is a nightmare. Mental Health, Inc. is a huge death trap. I don’t live in Illinois, but some of the problems you’ve described Marci having…seem to be common, in state hospital settings. Here, when the state shut down a lot of the big hospital, many people/patients who -should- have been released were instead kept indefinitely, because the psychiatrists added “untreatable” conditions to their diagnoses, such as “antisocial personality disorder,” and the claimed that they -had- to keep the person/patient in the state hospital, to protect the community.

    I hope you and her other contacts will be able to get her out of the state hospital, sooner rather than later. Thanks for this update.

  • I think its economically and socially rooted. increasing inequality, stagnant wages (assuming one can get a job), no room for growth, reflection, etc., a 0 tolerance culture that won’t show anyone but the elites compassion, but will provide a bit of pity in the form of “treatment,” that kind of thing.

    Lots of people on disability for mental problems could not possibly support themselves, not necesssarily because of an “illness,” but rather because of low wages, job insecurity, high costs of living, and…honestly…would you rather work a demeaning, low wage, unstable job, or just chill out and collect benefits for “severe mental illness” with your pill pusher’s approval?

    A lot of people who -would- have been on welfare, had Clinton not revamped it and driven so many into inescapable deep poverty, are now on some form of disability. Since “Welfare Reform” 20 years ago, inequality has gotten worse, education costs have sky rocketed, and a lot of the “good jobs” are gone, forever. Enter Mental Health, Inc…

    the new welfare case managers of America, circa 2018.

  • my personal guess is that we’re swinging back towards a more careful use of uppers by prescription, and this study is part of a shift from viewing speed as “necessary medication” back towards “Schedule II controlled substance with high abuse potential.”

    I do not think this means psychiatry, as a whole, or psychiatrists, individually, have suddenly developed a conscience. Far from it. Psychiatric diagnoses, treatment, outlook, etc. shift based on dogma, social changes, economic changes, and this is probably just a result of the anti-fun pills (for -most- people…) environment that we now live in. If you’ll notice, pain killers are now regarded with suspicion, and Xanax is being scrutinized, also. My guess is that this sort of study helps psychiatry seem “scientific,” and also puts Mental Health, Inc. in a position in which they can look as if they’re somehow “helping,” rather than facing judgment as ruthless, pseudoscientific drug pushers.

  • i don’t hold out great hope for making American culture more live-able, humane, etc. even the churches are largely bought out by mega-corporations and the military industrial complex. a part of me hope that Trump is the product of a dying worldview, a sort of last hurrah for some of the uglier parts of American culture, but…I’m not so sure.

    its profit, its ideology, its a toxic, decaying culture that shuts up those who dissent, one way or another.

  • with growing inequality and mass incarceration and a mean spirited, 0 tolerance culture, American society is fertile soil for the most oppressive sort of psychiatry imaginable. if anything, my best guess is that this case and others will be used by spin doctors to demand more funding for the “cruel compassion” of psychiatric “treatment,” for more and more people (voluntarily and involuntarily).

    of course…I don’t think its all doom and gloom. on and individual basis, even in small groups, families, etc., i think more people are waking up and will wake up to the truth. i just don’t expect anything good or worthwhile to come out of this at the higher levels.

  • The Mental Health establishment is a softer, more subtle form of control and straight up oppression. The minority kids are more likely to face the punitive, draconian aspect of society, while the white kids are drugged and re-programmed into docility. Either way…

    labels, stigma, control and reduced life opportunities invariably result. While I acknowledge that race is an important factor, I would very much like to see future research that focused more on social class (not that anyone listens to me, lol).

    Another thought…with both medicalization and criminalization, you end up with massive tax payer costs and all sorts of misery. Both those with criminal convictions and the “severely mentally ill” seem to function as a sort of permanent under-class. More and more people are in jail, in prison, on probation, on parole…or “in treatment,” somewhere, for some reason(s)…

    why is American society so harsh, punitive, authoritarian, and…well…sick?!?!

  • thanks for this. I am sorry about your son’s untimely death. Many “mental patients” I know are on ever-expanding cocktails of psych drugs, plus other prescriptions as they get older (statins, blood pressure meds, etc.). My own combination of 2 prescriptions seems to be the exception to the rule. All too often, it seems that those labeled with “severe mental illness” are given more and more drugs as time goes on, often at ever increasing doses, also.

    I’m blessed that my parents “take good care” of me and also that they keep on an eye on my treatment. Not to sound too Marxist, but I’m also fortunate in that my parents are now “well-to-do” (for this area), and I think their status has allowed me to have more of a voice in my treatment (and in general). I’ve seen how poor, vulnerable people/”patients” are treated, especially at community mental health clinics, and I find it disturbing. Even though I get reasonably humane treatment, I’m still considering just going to a family medicine doctor, instead of dealing with the clinics.

    Thanks again for this well-written article.

  • I’m hoping that as health care costs go up, psychiatry will be further examined, especially in nations where the government provides much of the health care. Clearly, one reason for this study is the rising costs of care for “Schizophrenics,” in places with nationalized health care (in particular). Who knows…maybe, as the population continues aging, costs continue going up, and psychiatry is seen for the extraordinary fraud and massive waste that it is, the psychiatric establishment will shrivel, not because of determined activists or shifts in ideology, but simply because there’s no justification for such out of control costs with no benefits.

    One can dream, anyway…

  • mainstream US psychiatry will -not- acknowledge this, in all likelihood. They are still selling the myth that “Schizophrenia” can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. I guess they want us to believe that people can be a-OK, and then one day, their brain malfunctions.

    Even if one questions the validity of the diagnosis, it is worth noting that some areas are more “crazy-making,” for a lot of people, than others. Low status, poor social integration, poverty, isolation…these are the factors that go into creating “Schizophrenics.”

    Again, I doubt most US mental health people will even give this information a cursory glance. This data does not fit their dogma, so they will choose to ignore it (my best guess, anyway). Hopefully, the mental health people in other areas are (or will be…) less dogmatic and take a moment to reflect upon their profession, how they treat people, etc.

  • Excellent article, filled good with important information. One point to ponder: Szasz also wrote a less well-known, less appreciated book, The Myth of Psychotherapy. I agree w/ Slaying the Dragon and others that the “talking treatments” are dangerous, too.

    People need people. I do not think anyone “needs” counseling or therapy or psych drugs. I find it interesting that in 21st century America, everybody (and their mama) is in some sort of “treatment,” psychological jargon has entered everyday conversation, and we’re dealing with mass incarceration, high suicide rates, family and social disintegration, and Mental Health, Inc. has chosen to respond to this by expanding the DSM, creating more and more counselors and therapists, and screaming about the need for more public funds for “treatment.”

    As a Christian, I’m especially concerned about the unholy alliance between much of Christendom and Mental Health, Inc. Here locally, a mainline church hosts monthly NAMI meetings, in the church building itself.

    I do hope more people will be able to walk away from –all– of Mental Health, Inc., and share their stories with others before they enter “the system.”

  • I think one problem with many analyses of psychiatry is that its easy to neglect putting psychiatry in proper social context. The issue isn’t simply psychiatrists, individually and as a group, pushing various ailments as “brain diseases,” obviously to their benefit. Psychiatry operates within a social framework, and I think one reason the pseudoscientific, “Bio-Bio-bio” (as opposed to bio-psycho-social) approach is so popular is because of the nature of 21st century, capitalist societies.

    Especially in the US, there’s been a strong denial of the very existence of society and social factors since the Reagan era. Much of Mental Health, Inc. (predictably…) has profited by reinforcing this focus on the individual, defective “coping mechanisms,” defective brains, etc., while also gaining more and more power as “experts” on everything, from parenting to “healthy” relationships to “healthy” eating habits.

    “Schizophrenia” is, in all likelihood, -not- a “brain disease,” as E. Fuller Torrey and friends want us all to believe. However, the psychiatrists pushing this pseudoscientific belief system on us are able to do so, and profiting by doing so, because of social and economic factors.

  • destroying the brain to save the mind seems to be psychiatrists’ modus operandi. I am thankful for your work, Dr.Breggin. Psychiatry is a dangerous form of social control masquerading as a valid form of medicine. As much as I would like to see psychiatry abolished, one must wonder–especially in a punitive, unusually violent culture, as in the US–what would take its place.

  • at long last, an honest psychiatrist. this must be frustrating, for those in the mental health field who actually (gasp) want the best for those in their care.

    Not to sound (too, too) bitter, but my impression of Mental Health, Inc. is that dogma and self-serving lies rule the day. Social class and overall social standing seem to play a bigger role in “treatment” than one’s level of need or severity of distress.

    My last psychiatrist wrote a prescription for a reduced dosage of an “atypical” tranquilizer. I’m happy about that, of course, but I get the sense that his gesture was more about giving me an “attaboy” on his way out to private practice than anything else (it helps that I come from a “good family”).

    Dr.Steingard’s honest review of the literature gives me hope that there are at least a few “mental health professionals” who are trying to use their expertise (and status and authority…) to improve peoples’ lives. Of course, thanks to decades of low quality research and pseudoscientific dogma, it doesn’t seem the “professionals” who actually care have much to work with.

  • you know what would really help a lot of “depressed” people with health problems? curing their health problems.

    similarly…what would help a lot of “depressed” people with financial problems? money. low status? higher status. On and on it goes…

    from what I understand, Francesca Simpson is correct. the data, such as it is, indicates a greater response in more severe depressive states. I think some critics have even called that into question, also.

  • good article. I do not completely agree with some of the statements and conclusions. When the author wrote about psychiatrists “coddling” people, etc., plus his view of parenting, it became clear to me: not only is the author a psychiatrist, he’s never been a low-status, poor, “mental patient.”

    I think the author also ignores a number of larger, social issues that help fuel psychiatry’s growth and fill its coffers. Social and family disintegration, anomie, growing inequality, the “disenchantment of the world” that comes with modernization, plus the medicalization of deviance.

    I do agree that drugs are not the answer. Depending on the situation, drugs might be part of the solution (pain killers for pain while doing physical therapy, for instance), but drugs are not a good long-term solution, especially for problems in living.

  • give an inch, they’ll take a mile. true of a lot of people and groups…definitely true of psychiatry.

    low quality research seems to dominate the field. is drug x any better for schizophrenia than drug y? wait…wait…what is ‘schizophrenia,’ again?

    the use of shock on people labeled w/ ‘personality disorders’ is disturbing. equally disturbing is using shock before any psychological treatments had been utilized. for all my qualms about mental health, inc. as a whole–and i’ve seen the fall out from horrible ‘talking treatments,’ too–id much rather see people try talking about their problems with someone, even if that someone isn’t actually all that interested in them or their lives (seems to be fairly common in mental health, inc.).

    psychiatric ‘treatment’ often simply boils down to: shut ’em up! low-status and/or stigmatized people, ‘uppity’ women, on and on it goes…there’s plenty of people shrinks enjoy ‘shutting up,’ depriving of their/our voice, one way or another (shock, stigma, labels, drugs, even operations now and then…).

    shock ‘treatment’ is one especially effective method to shut people up, often permanently. can any of us here at mia really claim to be particularly shocked, or even surprised, that shrinks flagrantly disregard established guidelines regarding the use of one of the most potentially damaging ‘treatments’ at their disposal?

  • i think white people, because we/they are white, are more likely to go along with the 1%-ers “American Dream,” pick yourself up your boot straps, life is what you make of it, etc…all those myths that make up the American secular religion.

    being low(er) status and white can make for a rough time, because you’re technically in the (still) dominant group, but..odds are fairly certain you’ll never “make it big,” etc. w/ the “middle class slide” and the downward mobility of so many…well, no wonder drug overdoses and suicides are on the increase.

    Mental Health, Inc. of course is society’s pseudoscientific, quasi-religious enforcement arm. they’ll label you and prop you up (“help”) if you come in with sufficient status and they can make $$$ off your “problems.” if you come in stigmatized, low status, etc…buh bye. Homeless shelters, “treatment” in prison and jail, maybe a group home, perhaps a state hospital in some areas. maybe minorities are just less indoctrinated into the BS, so they don’t get screwed quite as much (on the whole) ?

    it doesn’t help that we live in an increasingly isolated, anomic culture…and Mental Health, Inc. is telling us that its –our– problem, –our– defective brain cells, etc.

  • so…at this point in American culture…”whiteness” comes w/ a price? interesting. given that the vast majority of -all- Americans, of all races, are amongst the 99% in a society w/ out of control (and growing…) inequality, one must wonder if the issue is “whiteness” per se, or rather…the increasingly high costs associated with false consciousness.

  • obviously, it shows that Mental Health, Inc. is about values and control. Mental Health, Inc. is a tool to shut people up and get rid of unwanted people, uppity people, etc. Thing is…

    …does anyone in America, circa 2017, care? Psychologists and psychiatrists are the high priests and priestesses of our society. The Medicalization of everything, and everyone, is so entrenched…I often wonder if there’s any way to turn back, at all.

  • This is a frustrating situation for anyone who has been thru “treatment” to witness. So much time and money is being wasted on dehumanizing, degrading, often dangerous “treatment,” while actual solutions to what ails humans today are regarded as “anti-science” or (God forbid…) “anti-psychiatry,” which I suppose is the modern day equivalent of blasphemy.

    Xanax can be more problematic than some other benzodiazepines, sometimes, in some people. Problem there? All benzodiazepines can be dangerous, especially since they’re only safe when used for short periods of time, in limited situations, in some people.

    Honestly, I think one reason so many “experts” are gunning for xanax is because it make some people feel good, for a whlie, plus…there are plenty of other equally dangerous, somewhat less fun pills out there that can do the same thing (“appropriate medical treatment for severe anxiety”). Kind of like…back in the day, Seconal was demonized, then Quaaludes. Quaaludes, of course, have been banned in the US since the mid-80s. Seconal, for whatever reason, has made a comeback recently.

    On and on it goes. It wouldn’t surprise me if Xanax ends up being moved to Schedule II or III in the federal, DEA classification system…once a new, “safe” drug pops up. Benzodiazepines exploded once the barbiturates were demonized. The “atypicals” hit it big time once psychiatrists became honest about how terrible the tranquilizers often were/are, especially the high dose Haldol so popular for way too long.

    As things are going now, its total mind-fuckery. Xanax is being singled out, but our friendly media will, of course, have “experts” telling us that benzodiazepines are “safe and effective, when taken as prescribed…” just not that horrible, awful, no good, very bad, demon pill, Xanax. My wild guess is that overall benzodiazepine prescribing rates won’t even drop all that much, if at all…and, before too long, Big Pharma will rescue us all with a shiny new pill (and then several shinier, newer, “me-too” pills, also) that will soothe the afflicted, safely. You know…a real “medicine,” not a “drug” like that satanic pill, xanax.

    Maybe Szasz was right? Psychiatry needs to be abolished, for the good of humanity….

  • I don’t quite know what to make of this. On the one hand, it kind of makes sense, intuitively. Neuroleptics are highly toxic. The faster a person can drop a highly toxic drug, the better. On the other hand, there’s lots of other data, plus personal experiences, that contradict this latest “development” in the land of Mental Health, Inc.

    My personal opinion–cearly, as a “mental patient,” I won’t find many people who will listen, except perhaps here on MIA–is that there’s tremendous heterogeneity here. If a person is living comfortably, safely, not being oppressed and abused, etc., and they’re also physically more or less healthy and they have some psychosocial support, stuff to do, perhaps some spiritual beliefs+practices, then I could easily see how suddeen discontinuation of a neuroleptic might be a viable option.

    On the other hand, if a personal has been drugged for years upon years, they’re stressed, they have physical problems, they live in isolation, oppression, and poverty (clearly, these factors are interrelated), then suddenly stopping the tranquilizer/neuroleptic might prove to be a hellish experience.

    I think its worth noting that psychiatrists often go out of their way to break people/”patients,” to make us/them more “manageable.” It happened to me, at a young age. Truth be told, I didn’t so much “recover” as I was transformed by a so-called “spiritual awakening” (don’t let the “Christians” on the TV fool you; Jesus loves the least of these, “mental patients” included).

    Once a psychiatrist has broken a person, the torment usually gets worse. I know this from personal experience. Many (most? all?) of them find destroying human beings quite amusing, actually. Maybe that’s why they settle for a field that pays less than other branches of medicine?

    In my own life, I’ve found that once one is healed, transformed, etc., from being broken by Mental Health, Inc., then it becomes much, much easier to get on with things. Of course, the absolute last thing the people of Mental Health, Inc. want, or really what much of society wants, either, is for a broken “mental patient” to be healed and transformed.

  • i now consider myself antipsychiatry. my spiritual beliefs (I’m a Christian), my personal experiences, my reading, my observations…these factors combined lead me to think that psychiatry and psychology harm human beings all the time, and human kind would be be healthier, happier, safer, more genuinely free, and think more clearly if Mental Health, Inc. could be put out of business.

    Having said that, I personally welcome any critical, questioning, skeptical voices, any serious reflection, any serious analysis. The way I see it, Mental Health, Inc. cannot sustain very much analysis, criticism, or really…truth, of any sort…so unleashing a flood of questions and criticism from any and all angles might lead to a sort of death by 1,000 paper cuts. Something like that, anyway.

    I enjoyed the article, btw. Thanks for writing+posting this.

  • I read somewhere that, in psychiatry, drugs are often perceived as more “effective” when they cause the person/”patient” more suffering. Thus, now, the older neuroleptics/tranquilizers are considered “very effective, but can cause more “side effects,” and clozapine is regarded as the “gold standard” in neuroleptic/tranquilizers. This drug actually kills people often enough–or can, anyway– that there’s all kinds of red tape in most nations (I’ve read that China has dispensed with a lot of these regulations…). Instead of looking at the horrible adverse effects of this drug and looking elsewhere, it seems that psychiatrists have chosen instead to look at the pain inflicted upon the people/”patients” as some sort of “proof” that clozapine is some sort of wonder drug.

    I think this clearly shows that psychiatry is about control and punishment, especially when one starts dealing with those labeled with the more “severe mental illnesses,” especially Schizophrenia. The very label of “Schizophrenia,” in and of itself, is a tool psychiatry uses to invalidate, dehumanize, and control people.

  • excellent article. thank you for this. i’ve been doing my own version of Orthomolecular for about 7 years now. My first 6 months I focused on detox, by adding in alpha lipoic acid, NAC, and green tea extract on top of the standard Orthomolecular protocol. Over time, I’ve cobbled together a more or less stable “line up” of supplements. 6 grams niacinamide is the core at this point. 20 grams vitamin C. 3 b-100 tablets. 1,000 IU natural form E w/ mixed tocopherols. add ons are in there, of course…astaxanthin, green tea extract, grape seed extract, biotin, lately large doses of l-theanine.

    I am now remarkably healthy. I’m intelligent. I’m even bright eyed (long story, but a particularly nefarious psychiatrist at a private, for-profit hell hole deliberately left me dead eyed, age 20). My communtiy has now voted me “Schizophrenic,” where before I was labeled with personality disorders and other “defects.” This has taught me a valuable lesson. Madness is real. Very, very, painfully real (indeed). “Mental illness,” on the other hand, is a dangerous, destructive myth.

    Thank you for sharing your story about being “outed” at grad school. I’ve had some similar experiences. The delightful “professionals” of Mental Health, Inc. often go out of their way to keep “patients IN LINE,” from what I’ve experiened+observed.

    Congratulations on your ongoing Orthomolecular treatment and on your new life. I find you and your story inspirational, at many levels.

  • excellent article. psychiatry most certainly cannot be reformed. at the same time, I do not think psychiatry will ever die unless society changes, at a number of levels. My hope is that as the costs associated with all things Mental Health, Inc. continue to increase–the costs of disability, of the drugs, of “treatment” that is never, ever supposed to end, as long as the “patient” is alive–perhaps that alone might be enough to begin destroying psychiatry (and other parts of Mental Health, Inc., too; all of it tends to be oppressive and is based in lies…).

    Honestly, my concern right now and for the near future is that Mental Health, Inc. will respond in a reactionary manner and emphasize more drugs, more “diagnosis,” more of what lies at the core of Mental Health, Inc.–that is, force, fraud, and coercion.

    Again, I enjoyed the article.

  • This is absolutely ridiculous. And yet, I am not the least bit surprised. “Depression” is still a very lucrative market, even though it seems that the emphasis until recently was on expanding “Bipolar Disorder” to include more and more people, who could then be prescribe more and more psychiatric drugs.

    I don’t think the psychiatrists alone are to blame for this. I forget the exact percentage, but the bulk of psych drug prescriptions are written by non-specialists. Family doctors, general practitioners, etc. certainly know that neuroleptics are very serious drugs with very serious adverse effect profiles, but many of them have chosen to dispense Latuda and friends to their patients as “treatment.” My best guess is that a lot of these unfortunate patients are female. A number of people who are given the neuroleptics have their “treatment” covered by Medicare or Medicaid, which brings in race and social class issues, also.

    I find it strange that the neuroleptics–which have long been known to cause intense misery (“neuroleptic-induced dysphoria,” akathisia, etc.)–are now being pushed on people who are so sad that they have been labaled with “depression.” It seems that these modern marvels don’t work all that well, either, which goes to show (once again…) the power of Big Pharma $$$ and “experts” to drive up drug costs, expose lots of people to unnecessary risks, and damage peoples’ lives, all to treat an “illness” that has yet to show up on brain scans, blood work, or even careful inspection at autopsy.

  • Thank you for this. I mean that. I’m beginning the process of genuine, bona fide recovery. Once the psychosocial stuff was taken care of, I made the decision to drop the tranquilizer . I find that I’m doing better, physically, and being transformed into a new human being, one who isn’t “sick” 24/7. Perhaps not at all surprisingly, I find that much of my “progress” has occurred and is happening –despite– Mental Health, Inc. I am blessed, though. Because of social class issues, etc., I get a little more “breathing room” than many of the “patients” I see at the clinic. In fact, my (obviously…) trauam-induced madness isn’t even offically called “Schizophrenia,” because people from “good families” aren’t “Schizophrenic;” we’re “Bipolar I.”

    Thanks again. I don’t think I’ll ever find a “professional” in the land of Mental Health, Inc. who will do a whole lot to help me on my journey , but God has put a genuine, caring, older, wiser, friend+mentor in my life. She helps tremendously. The people of Mental Health, Inc. definitely did not help, don’t help much now, but at least with a “good family” behind me, they seem to mostly stay out of my way.

  • I live in the US. My best guess is that many “experts” here will not only refuse to listen, there may well be a period of active opposition against real and perceived threats to their power and dominance. Ever read about “hippy-phrenia” ? I haven’t read a whole lot, but it was like this…upper-middle and upper-class families sent their wayward offspring to the psychiatrists for “treatment” because they were…well…questioning the status quo, dropping out, etc. Labels varied, but from what little I know of it,various forms of “Schizophrenia” were applied to the ne’er-do-wells, and they were “treated” accordingly (of course, “Schizophrenia” was even more meaningless and vague in the US back then than it is now, so…who knows what “treatment” involved…).

    I think I see some of this reactionary behavior now, even. In the US, polls show people shifting left, which is to say…society as a whole is becoming a lot more rational about life issues. OK. Good times. One also sees some growing skepticism towards Mental Health, Inc., now and then even the mainstream News starts asking questions, etc. And Mental Health, Inc.’s respoonse? The Murphy Law. Treatment Advocacy Center. More states pushing for involuntary “treatment” and/or expansion of such “treatment.” Considering the way the GOP is now doing their absolute best to rip what remains of the safety net to shreds and also the continuing disappearance of the middle-middle class, the growing numbers of poor people, the “war on terror,” the further developing police state, etc…I don’t think most “mental patients” in the US will be getting any sort of genuine compassion, respect, actual–gasp–“help” anytime soon.

  • thank you so very much for this article. NAMI is a big threat to people with labels and distress, especially those of us who would very much like to decline all the “help” the so-called “helping professions” have to offer, often based on horrible personal experiences.

    Your mention of the “Murphy Bill” got me to thinking a bit. Isn’t it interesting how there’s a growing number of people who are absolutely disgusted by Mental Health, Inc., society as a whole seems to be shifting back towards a degree of skepticism towards all thing Mental Health, and yet…the politicians who oh-so clearly work for the 1% want everybody (and their mama) on “the miracle meds” ?

    Thanks again for the informative, well-written article.

  • I enjoyed this article. Based on my personal experiences, I agree with one essay I read a while back, in which the writer identified the 3 key components at the core of psychiatry: force, fraud, and coercion.

    Psychiatric force can take many forms, but forcing people/”patients” to accept the “experts” view of reality is one major form of psychiatric force. In my own life, I’ve been called first a patholigcal liar because I told the truth about my background, and then I was labeled with “delusions of grandeur.” I thought about it, and the problem is that psychiatrists aren’t simply an enforcement arm of society (which they are, of course), but rather they have their own (limited, dogmatic, self-serving) ideology and “reality” that they–the ‘experts’ with $$$ and power granted to them by the state–gleefully force on those of us who end up in their clutches.

    Not to turn all Marxist and everything, but let’s also talk social class in this situation. If you’re upper class and you think you’re Jesus, you might end up in a posh hospital. The staff will fawn over you. The drugs won’t be as terrible as what they give the commoners.

    Now, if you’re anywhere from poor to working class, maybe even somewhere in the middle class, its party over. Rich people are eccentric (sometimes Bipolar I); the masses are Schizophrenic, often with additional problems (personality disorders, substance abuse disorders, etc.).

    I do think “professionals” sometimes help people. Thing is, genuinely helping the disressed requires open communication, honesty, trust, and a more egalitarian sort of relationship than what 99+/-% of us will find in mental health, inc. Whether its “severe depression” or believing that one is Jesus, human kindness and genuine, open conversation with someone who cares can clear a way forward towards wholeness and growth. Thing is…having a real talk with “patients,” especially those who are female, ugly, old, unemployed, poor or working class, or minorities, is not something most ‘experts’–from the counselors up to the psychiatrists–are all that interested in. For most of us, genuine “help” will only come from non-experts who retain enough compassion and humanity to take the time to have a real talk now and then.

  • My best bet is that the kids given the neuroleptics are from lower socioeconomic status groups and/or minorities. My other guess is that more of the parents of the neuroleptic kids are more abusive than the kids given the uppers. I’m sure there’s family problems and straight up abuse in both groups, but I’m going to guess and say that more hardcore abusive parents would be interested in tranquilizing their offspring.

  • I don’t think Big Pharma is losing any sleep over all this. They’ll get their $$$, especially with the GOP in control.

    The issue, as I see it, is that there’s lots of rage towards “the other” in American society, and “mental patients” and former “patients” (“uppity mental patients,” if you will) are probably not going to do so well over the next 4 years. Its not just Trump, its the way society is going in the US at this point. Try to reduce racism, sexism, stigma, and a whole lotta people react angrily to “liberal PC stuff,” because they’re suddenly expected to simmer down and maybe, just maybe, try civil communication and treating their fellow Americans with some respect.

    Maybe the next 4 years will see a lot of us American change our minds as we see the disastrous effects of social darwninism and xenophobia? Maybe. Maybe not.

  • I think Szasz is/was right…its time to abolish psychiatry. You can’t exactly blame voluntary people/patients when the culture as a whole is feeding us the lies of psychiatry from a young age. Besides, lots of voluntary patients end up disabled and dependent upon the tax payers because of a mix of the drugs and other “treatments” and stigma (which the psychiatrists can and will gleefully use to their advantage, especially against “trouble makers”).

    Psychiatry is draining the coffers and damaging society, and has been for some time. The rational solution would be to get rid of it and use the $$$ for something, anything, more productive and useful. If there are people whose problems–whatever the nature of the problems, whatever the root cause–are made more bearable by the use of psychiatric drugs, then let general practitioners handle those cases. At least the costs will be lower and the people/patients will get proper health care along with the psych drugs.

  • good post, Dr.Steingard.

    Speaking as a current “mental patient” who is (Praise God!) “in recovery” from what is now termed “severe Bipolar I” (please forgive the heavy handed use of ” “), I find this sort of work exciting and encouraging.

    Where I go for treatment, the emphasis is on the medications. I’m blessed in that I have ongoing, easy breezy counseling along with the med checks. I’ve been encouraged to look at my anti-madness cocktail as necessary maintenance meds, similar to people who are on cocktails for hypertension, heart issues, etc.

    Since I’m currently a “mental patient,” albeit one with people with some prestige and resources behind me, I go along with this–for now (I mention my people because I’ve found that social status has been a huge factor in my treatment, even though its not generally openly acknowledged). That’s one thing I like about this approach to madness and severe distress. You and your colleagues are not staunchly anti-psych drugs, but there is more transparency, as you put it, more honesty about the limitations of current knowledge and existing treatments.

    I find that in my own life I’m reflecting on what it means to “recover.” I realize now it is not, for me, a return to baseline, nor can it be such.

    For a season, I reflected on the labels; am I “severely Bipolar I” because of my people? If I was a poor, minority woman, would I be on involuntary Haldol shots? Then I decided to play the hand I’ve been dealt and move forward, as best I can.

    The research on nutritional approaches to these problems is fascinating. I’m on the psych drugs for a while yet, so I’ve also been doing a DIY Orthomolecular cocktail with the drugs. I don’t know about “improvement in symptoms,” but I do tolerate the tranquilizer much better than I did before and I feel the vitamins and antioxidants have made a positive impact on how I react to stress. I also sleep better and my overall physical health seems to have improved, gradually.

    Your posts make me realize that psychiatrists aren’t all sinister, controlling elitists, nor are you all third rate “professionals” who simply couldn’t make a go of things in any other branch of medicine. The situation is more complicated and nuanced, just like the world of madness itself. Basically, the work you and your colleagues are doing gives me hope that psychiatry and the mental health industry in general can, in fact, facilitate a way forward.

  • Good article. Speaking as a current “mental patient,” I agree that multiple factors combine to shorten our lifespans. I think state-subsidized poverty is probably the biggest culprit, personally. Once a person/”patient” is on disability, that’s usually the end of the road. Poverty, shattered dreams, and drugs; lots and lots of psych drugs.

    “Real” doctors don’t much care for us “mental patients.” Part of it is stigma associated with the label, and a lot of it is poverty. Why bother? Doctors generally come from affluent families. The way doctors–psychiatrists and what I consider “real” doctors, too–treat us, the “mental patients,” is a reflection of how society in general treats the weak, vulnerable, the stigmatized. I think it is also a reflection of the values of The Medical Establishment and the elites of society in general. Right now in America, the elites seem to expect the rest of us to work more for less. Those of us who are poor need to stop being poor, and stop feeding off society. There is no sense of obligation to others below them in society, nor is there any sense of obligation to society as a whole. The very concept of “the common good” is increasingly regarded as commie talk. In this environment, one can see the psychiatric drugging and destruction of human beings in the name of “treatment” as a medically-sanctioned act of violence against “undesirables,” often funded by the government.

  • One problem I have is that many of us seem to think that doctors are simply oblivious to some effects of these drugs. I do not think that is the case. I am not suggesting some massive conspiracy, but I am saying that where the rubber hits the roads, the doctors prescribing these drugs have decided that its better to medicalize problems– frustrations, the ill effects of a sick society, etc.– and “treat” these problems with potentially dangerous, often expensive, frequently ineffective “medications” than it is to deal with the problems (and people/”patients”) in a non-drug, possibly non-medical, manner. Power, prestige, profit, etc. all come into play.

    I think, on and individual basis, the popularity of these drugs shows how the elites deal with the problems of the rest of us. A doctor who drugs a lower status person is simply treating the “patient” how many upper class people treat those beneath them.

  • I think there are times when drugs for depression might be helpful. I think too many people are given drugs when non-drug approaches to their problems…maybe no “professional” intervention, at all…might be the better course of action.

    I regret entering Mental Health, Inc. Long story…I think I was going to end up in “the system” for at least a while, because of a lot of comined factors. My intro drug was an SSRI, and it was off to the races from there (common story, I see now).

    These “antidepressants” are serious drugs. Until I miraculously recovered from what was done to me, Mental Health, Inc. had annihilated me, at a young age…and Paxil was the first step on the road to Hell.

  • The drugs create unnatural brain states. This can probably be helpful, for some people, for a season. My best guess is that most people on psychiatric drugs could do OK, possible even better, without them. From personal experience, I also suspect that stigmatized, low status people who could benefit from both a period of treatment with carefully selected drugs and psychosocial assistance are brushed aside. These people often don’t have any medical coverage, minimal or no resources, no status or prestige, and basically “don’t matter” to society, and therefore they “don’t matter” to the people of Mental Health.

    Other times…those who “don’t matter” are pumped full of the most noxious drugs and the psychosocial services are used mostly for control and/or behavior modification, to “keep them in line,” etc.

    My own experiences have led me to believe that psychiatry–at least where I am, in the US–helps create deviants just as surely as society as a whole does. Psychiatry helps create and label “drug addicts,” the “personality disordered,” the “severely mentally ill,” etc. The combined effects of psychoactive drugs, labeling, poverty (for many “patients…”), low status, brain damage, de-humanization, and…overall frustration, which is often present before entering “the system,” is enough to push a lot of people “over the edge.”

    I appreciate the concern about the ill effects of overprescribed drugs. I also think that a number of other factors often combine to send many on a “downward spiral” that may not have happened without the Mental Health System.

  • I’m in a situation in which I must take a neuroleptic “voluntarily” (oral route, at home) or…else. Such is the nature of 21st Century American psychiatry. This is a bad situation, but I’m in a better situation than many other “patients” around here.

    I’ve been doing my own Orthomolecular routine. Its just some basic, high dosed vitamins, with an emphasis on c, e, b-complex, and b3. There’s some limited data from back in the day that indicates these sorts of vitamin mixes can considerably reduce the risk of TD. Orthomolecular protocols have also been used to help those who already have TD, with some success.

    So far, so good. No tics, tremors, stiff gait, akathisia, twitches, and definitely no full on TD. The vitamin mix also seems to help reduce major cognitive problems from the tranquilizer, which is a godsend. The neuroleptics are definitely a dangerous class of drugs, but I don’t think the situation is necessarily all doom and gloom. Mainstream medicine may not have any viable treatments, but I think the alternative health people can help prevent and treat TD. There may be hope for a lot of us “mental patients,” after all.

  • Interesting article. The overall impression I’ve gotten from reading the information provided here + my own experiences and observations is that throwing pills at varying degrees of distress will produce more distress and, all too often, downright misery.

    I’m also struck by how psychiatry seems to be based more on assumptions and dogma than on…I dunno…data. The data that is available for psychiatric “treatment” is often low quality and clearly influenced by drug industry money.

  • thanks so much. I think…well, my life has improved dramatically (not because of Mental Health, Inc.), but I still get…pessimistic, I suppose.

    I’m happy to hear that you have moved beyond the (serious, stigmatizing) labels and on to real life, post-psychiatry.

    I’ve been burned by Mental Health, Inc. at all levels…the counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, even the nurses. Such is life when one is labeled a “trouble maker,” etc.

    I’m beginning to see the fuzzy outlines of a life after psychiatry, and I like what I see. The question is…how do I get from Point A to Point B?

    Thanks again.

  • wow. I really…don’t…have..words.

    Szasz, later on in his career, wrote a book about this sort of thing…Psychiatry The Art of Lies or something like that. There’s also an older book I’ve seen but not read…Whores of the Court, something to that effect.

    On the other hand, shrinks sometimes (often?) go after people dealing with criminal charges. I seem to recall Andrea Yate’s shrink falsely accusing her of making things up based on a Law and Order episode. Something like that, anyway.

    Psychiatrists seem to fancy themselves experts…on everything. Raising children, relationships, morality, etc. They are the High Priests and Priestesses of the secular belief system. Psychologists, counselors, etc. generally function as lesser priests and priestesses serving the same religion.

    I get the impression that a shrink is a shrink is a shrink. The exceptions seem to prove the rule. My best guess is that every psychiatrist has something like this in his or her past. This dude may have just pushed it too far.

  • Mental Health, Inc. exists in a social context. American culture is changing, but even the “progressives” think that the solution is more treatment, maybe even bringing back state hospitals (I seem to recall reading an article in Mother Jones about this…).

    Its strange. More people in America are on pills and open about being on the pills and “in treatment,” etc., but there comes a point at which…you’re done. Because you’re on “those pills” and have “that diagnosis” and, often, because you’re un- or under-employed, maybe on disability. There’s a line in American culture, and once you’ve crossed it…you’re part of the underclass.

    So…we, the truth tellers who are in, were in, or are transitioning out of the underclass…here in the US, we’re so caked in labels and stigma that even the so-called “progressives” don’t want to listen to what we have to say. That leaves “experts” and those with credentials to speak for us…

    …and very few of them choose to do so, at least here in these United States.

  • Wow. This makes a lot of sense to me. People I’ve seen fail on antidepressants often have chaotic lives. The success stories I can think of are in people who have more comfortable, settled lives. As for the drugs making one more “susceptible to environmental effects,” I can easily see that, too, from personal experience.

    I’d love to think that this will mean more psychosocial approaches to various forms of distress, but…I’m not so sure, at least…not so much in the US. Not yet. Society isn’t there yet. Maybe in 10+/- years?

  • I’m torn. For this season of my life, I’m on the pharmaceuticals. I also do my own form of Orthomolecular. The combination seems to keep me going at a higher level than I ever experienced off meds or on just the meds, no Orthomolecular.

    I have experienced docs using the drugs–neuroleptics, in particular–as chemical restraints with me. That was mostly when I was younger, vulnerable, and my people weren’t as high status as they are now. Its funny…when you’re a down and out “loser” from a middle-middle class family, its all meds, all the time, no compassion. When you’re “mentally ill” from a “genteel” family, suddenly you have options, and the “experts” will talk to you about your problems.

    That’s the other thing…these psychologists talk a good game about tackling issues that lead to what is then labeled as “mental illness,” but in practice…most psychologists (and counselors) I’ve dealt with are just as elitist, misogynistic, and hyper-conventional as any psychiatrist. I’ve had counselors demand that I take an “atypical” to continue treatment, and then get angry because I walked out.

    I think the real “answer” is in non-professional people helping other people, no labels or power trips or expensive bills for the insurance company. I’ve got a friend now, an older, wiser woman, who has helped me more than any “professional…” for free. Because she’s an actual friend, and real friends are hard to come by for most of us in 21st century America.

  • –sigh–

    I’m concerned that this sort of Puritanical approach might deprive many people of effective care for their pain problems. Plus, a lot of medical “knowledge” seems to be dogma and ideology, not…I dunno…science. In the 50s, docs were so anti-pain killers (but they were cool with uppers and downers, btw) that they’d lobotomize people in severe pain. I seem to recall seeing a couple old Thorazine ads promoting the drug for cancer patients. And then…there’s the industry $$$ to consider…

    It seems that Big Pharma has milked about all the $$$ it can out of pain management with potentially fun drugs, so…time to move on. I guess all the patents on the fancy new “non-abusable” pain killers have expired?

  • —sigh— history repeats itself. I did a small project on America’s on again, off again affair with prescription stimulants. Its frightening, honestly. From day 1, there were some indications that amphetamines could increase hostility and possibly induce psychosis.

    Of course…$$$ makes the world go round. In the early 30s, Smith Kline French (I think that was the grand-daddy of Glaxo Smith Kline) paid a famous psychiatrist to recommend benzedrine tablets for episodes of minor reactive depression characterized by fatigue. This company became “the house that speed built” by introducing benzedrine, dexedrine, and various “goof balls” that mixed an amphetamine (usually dexedrine, but sometimes desoxyn, the prescription version of methamphetamine) with a downer, usually a barbiturate, but sometimes a neuroleptic (ThoraDex, anyone?).

    The FDA didn’t do much of anything until the 70s. Some “goofballs” remained on the market until the early 80s (Eskatrol–one part neuroleptic, one part dexedrine, was still popular when it was taken off the market. It was widely used as a diet pill.).

    So, for a while….many doctors and psychiatrists were more cautious (to a point…). But, once again: $$$ talk. Minor reactive depressive episodes are now reconceptualized as “Adult ADHD,” etc. The practice of uppers for depression never entirely went away, although many prescribers switched to Ritalin, in large part due to the early ad campaigns for Ritalin.

    And now…prescription uppers are once again ridiculously common in America. Even good ole Benzedrine is now back, under the brand name “Evekeo.” New name, same upper (now very $$$, btw). Evekeo retains the approval for 3 conditions the FDA deemed OK for amphetamines: 1) narcolepsy; 2) treatment of “exogenous obesity” when combined with other measures; and 3) treatment of disorders of attention (at the time the FDA handed down these rules, the 3rd indication was understood to be “rare.” Funny how things change…).

    Uppers are often dangerous. “Speed kills,” kiddos. The medical community understood the dangers of uppers….until propaganda and $$$ were pumped into what amounts to a massive disinformation campaign (street meth=bad; expen$ive capsules your shrink prescribed=”medicine”).

    History repeats itself, but I think its far worse this time around.

  • I think now the Bipolar label includes what was once called Schizophrenia and on the less severe end problems that were once given milder diagnoses, or perhaps not even dealt with by Mental Health, Inc. at all.

    I think the growing number of “Bipolar” people/patients is also part of the growing medicalization of life itself, not just psychospiritual issues. Heart burn is acid reflux disease. Twitchy legs at night=restless leg syndrome. Not being able to keep up with insane work schedules qualifies one for a Provigil prescription. On and on it goes…

    …I do think Mental Health, Inc. is particularly terrible about labeling problems and people. Some of it is $$$, some of it is about power and control and class warfare, hiding behind “treatment.” SSI, in particular, has become The New Welfare, especially for people w/ psychiatric labels. The clinics that keep people on SSI have basically become pill pushing, psychiatric welfare case managers.

    I think things are worse in the US than elsewhere because all the $$$ wasted on Mental Health, Inc. aren’t actually wasted; its $$$ well-spent to keep ever increasing numbers of us in line and to stop any serious examination of what it is about our culture that makes so many people sick. I think one reason there’s the beginnings of a shift away from bio-bio-bio explanations of “Mental illness” is because Mental Health, Inc. has burned people with more education and resources. That sort of thing can have consequences.

  • sometimes suffering gets to be too much and drugs can help, for a season. I’m not big on long term drugs or horrible predictions of permanent disability and such, but I’m not anti-drugs, either.

    If a kid is suffering immensely and a pill helps for a while, OK. Stimulants aren’t ideal, but they’re better than,say, neuroleptics. Rx the pills and work on the problems. Oh wait…in the US, the problem isn’t just the family, the school, the community; the problem, for many kids (and adults) is a thoroughly messed up society.

    I think Mental Health, Inc., especially psychiatry, are well-funded because its easier to drug kids and grown ups than it is to take a look at what’s going wrong in 21st century American society and do something about it. ADHD isn’t a brain disease or neurological issue , but treating it as one lets families, schools, communities, and society off the hook and gives the Medical Establishment more power to (re)define “healthy” and “sick” and “treat” the rest of us accordingly.

    So…I guess I”m saying that personal-level and family-level observations, analyses, insights, changes, etc. are valuable and can be quite helpful, but I also think we should remember that “the personal is political” and do what we can to act accordingly.

  • History repeats itself. Even after the BZD drugs were introduced, barbiturates were still prescribed. Quaaludes were a favorite of many shrinks until they were put in Schedule I (because putting them in Schedule II –still– didn’t stop over-prescribing). Other “safe” non-barbiturates that were rather quickly proven not so safe, such as Doriden and Placidyl, remained on the market until government officials intervened. Simply getting the medical establishment to recognize the dangers of the barbiturates was quite a task. Even the notoriously addictive “goof balls,” such as Dexamyl (1 part barbiturate, 1 part Dexedrine) remained on the market until the FDA and DEA stepped in.

    Point is…encouraging the The Medical Establishment, especially Mental Health, Inc., to self-regulate is fairly pointless. Most doctors I’ve known come from upper class families and have serious ego issues. Because of the MD, they have status and prestige that most of us can’t imagine. Add in coming from an affluent background, plus the authoritarian attitude of the Medical Establishment, and one can see why the government has had to intervene.

    I’m not big on government intervention, but…the government (read: tax payers) already pick up the tab for a lot of The Medical Establishment’s “services,” and society has to pick up the tab to take care of the victims of The Medical Establishment (especially Mental Health, Inc.). In the interests of the Common Good–a concept the US needs to revisit, btw–I think the government needs to step in and regulate BZD prescribing and do something constructive about the problems with opiate prescribing. What I can’t understand…many people cannot get proper pain management, but other people happen upon Doctor Feelgoods and end up dead.

    The BZD drugs are horrible, especially over the long haul. My own use of Klonopin (by prescription) in my late teens ended horribly. The worst part? If you get addicted, you (the “patient”) have “an addictive personality.” If the doctor gets called out on giving a 19 year old 3mgs/Klonopin per day, plus Sonata at night (every night), the “patient” is deemed “manipulative.” I don’t hold on to much anger about it these days, but…I get angry when I realize that I ran into just 1 run of the mill psychiatrist who quickly destroyed years of my youth…and I have been blamed not only for the doctor’s prescribing habits, but also for the subsequent fall out….and I’m just –1– “patient” this has happened to.

    By the grace of God, I’ve survived and recovered, but…what of those who aren’t so fortunate? Who don’t have loving parents to nurture them back to health and normalcy? Who don’t regain their intellectual capacity and bounce back enough to build a new identity?

  • drugs affect the brain? drugs affect childrens’ brains in big, big ways?

    Here’s the thing…as another poster has pointed out, that’s fairly obvious. Leave it to psychiatrists to ignore the obvious in favor of dogma and dollar$.

    What’s particularly troubling to me is that Ritalin may be one of the less dangrous drugs that kids these days are exposed to. The “atypicals” are often given to kids, especiallly foster kids, minority kids, low income kids, etc. Those drugs are dangrous in ways that make Ritalin look like…well, child’s play.

    Hopefully, more people with credentials–MDs, PhDs, etc.–will speak up and do something to help people in Mental Health, Inc. Until then…research like this is interesting, but it probably won’t do a whole lot to change prescribing habits.

  • oh man. Another satisfied customer out of Mental Health, Inc. I’ve been there, too. I was punished for getting too many “good” pills. Apparently, “middle class losers” don’t “deserve” amphetamines, benzodiazepines, etc. Its straterra and zoloft all the way, baby. Who knew?

    I’m glad you’re outta there. I’m glad you got into school and moved on. I’m kinda sorta doing the same thing myself, now. At the ripe old age of 32, I’m finishing an undergraduate degree. People–former “patients”–like you provide hope for people like me. I was regarded as “uppity” and such, so the experts put me through it. I only recently genuinely recovered from all that excellent “treatment,” and now I find that reality hits: what are you gonna do now?

    As for drugs from vending machines…if only. I think they’re fairly certain we’d all go for the golden oldies (uppers, downers, etc.), leaving all those Miracle Meds–you know, the ones for “serious conditions”–in the machine.

    Anyway…thanks again. I’m stuck in Mental Health, Inc. for a while yet, planning on a more or less graceful, hopefully very quiet (maybe even silent) exit, hopefully sooner rather than later. Its funny…now, my “genteel” family is behind me, so I get treated better. That’s great. Its also…a bit too late for all that, honestly. I can’t un-see the truth about psychiatry and friends.

    I’ve rambled…thanks, yet again, for sharing your experiences and your progress forward, out of labels, out of Mental Health, Inc., out of the “patient” role. I find your writing helpful and your story inspiring.

  • Concur. The older psychiatric text books are fairly blunt about the effects the neuroleptics. “Patients” lose interest in the “symptoms,” along with life in general. In low doses, the neuroleptics were used, sometimes in combination with other drugs, to treat low mood. ThoraDex, anyone? A lil bit of Thorazine, a lil bit of Dexedrine…a lil bit of apathy, a lil bit of stimulation. Sort of like Prozac, but probably more fun. And faster acting.

    At best, I think psychiatric drugs maintain people at a certain level. Some people may function reasonably well, others not so much…the so-called “symptoms” are suppressed, and the person/”patient” is tranquilized into a steady state, neither actively “crazy” nor growing, making progress towards autonomy and such. That’s probably one of the better outcome scenarios. More often, especially with the working class, poor, and minorities and women…the person/”patient” deteriorates over time, physically as well as mentally, and the deterioration is blamed on an underlying “illness.”

  • Sometimes I think…the problem isn’t all the drugs shrinks use per se; its Mental Health, Inc.

    Some people do find that low dose neuroleptics help them, at least for a season. Antidepressants can take the edge off some forms of distress, at least for a while. My problem is that psychiatrists, counselors, etc. trap people with their labels.

    I’m not saying the drugs are perfect, but…think about it… if someone diagnosed as, say, “Schizophrenic” could take a low dose neuroleptic until he had things sorted out in his life well enough to start tapering, was given psychosocial support, etc., and then given medical assistance should any major problems with tapering the drug(s) pop up…if people were allowed to taper off and exit the sick role…would we have so many problems with the drugs? I used the example of neuroleptics, but the same would definitely go for “antidepressants” and other mood and anxiety drugs.

    Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. I don’t agree with that (not an NRA fan), but couldn’t that line of thinking extend to the drugs psychiatrists prescribe?

  • ugh. more of the same. mental illness is a brain disease, right? the more severe your “mental illness,” the more diseased your brain. This must explain why the “severely mentally ill” are given some of the most noxious drugs –ever– , often against their/our will, many times enforced by the legal system. “Mental patients” apparently don’t need brain cells…

    I hope something good comes of all the $$$ pumped into all this. When you think about it…spending this kind of $$$ to maintain the useful fiction of “mental illness” is probably less expensive than investing in safer, more humane communities and dealing humanely with people who go off the rails, on way or another. But then…low status, labeled, stigmatized, oppressed people would have to be treated…like…PEOPLE. Nah…just spend the billion$ on pseudoscience.

  • I”m glad people are doing this kind of research now. Some people do benefit from “antidepressants,” although I think very long term use, particularly of the SRI drugs, is a bit…troubling, given the lack of long term data and the problems that many have reported since the early days of the next generation “antidepressants.”

    “Antidepressants” are safer than many other options (neuroleptics, for instance), so think they do have some value, at least for some people, for a time. I think there needs to be more research on how to taper and what to do about problem that come up during dosage reduction (and, for some people, after a time on the pills–“Prozac poop-out,” etc.).

    I think it goes without saying that many people are handed an Rx when non-medical solutions could have been used. I know its bad in the US and the UK…I don’t know about other places. I think the only way to “fix” that problem would be to work on taking more and more of our lives back from Mental Health, Inc. and, honestly, the Medical Establishment as a whole. I think that’s probably more do-able in Europe, the UK, etc…more humane, live-able societies. I’m not saying those places are Utopias, but I am saying that the US, right now, is not exactly poised to change its ways dramatically.

    I get the impression that a lot of people are on “antidepressants” because society and the economy don’t give most of us time or space to think, feel, etc. With the “New Normal” taking the place of the American Dream (which never was accessible to many people, anyway), Prozac and friends make life/existence more bearable and keep up the myth that pain is sickness, inability to keep up is illness, and (probably above all else) that these are “brain diseases,” or at most…”personal problems,” etc. I think the truth–“The personal is political”–isn’t all that palatable anywhere, but in the US…stating the obvious is blasphemy against the quasi-religious dogma that’s been engrained in all of us from childhood on up.

  • I think neuroleptics/major tranquilizers/ “antipsychotics,” along with “schizophrenia” are psychiatry’s golden cows (I seem to recall a Szasz book about this same issue…). De-institutionalization was underway in some areas before Thorazine and friends hit the scene, but shrinks insist the miracle pills paved the way for “schizophrenics” to live in the community.

    I think its difficult for psychiatrists–both as individuals and as a group, as a profession– to take a long, hard look at their “life saving” tranquilizers and rethink what they’ve been taught (and assumed) for so long. I think some people do well on neuroleptics long term (probably low dose). Others only take the tranquilizers in times of stress. Others taper and never look back. Some should never, ever be on neuroleptics; the risks and problems far outweigh any benefits.

    Point is…I think admitting that the miracle meds have serious limitations, that much of the supporting data isn’t very high quality, and that standard practice is not always in the best interest of those “treated” requires a level of humility that psychiatry lacks, at least in the US. I think shrinks find it easier to label all serious criticisms (even serious questions) as “anti-psychiatry” than to address the questions and concerns that many people have raised and are raising.

    Of course…calling questions and criticisms “anti-psychiatry” may be somewhat effective now, but…my best guess is that the stigma attached to “anti-psychiatry” has lessened, and is lessening, which means that the psychiatrists will eventually have to deal with people and groups who question their practices, tools, beliefs, etc.

  • I am currently stuck in Mental Health, Inc. I’m planning a gradual, graceful, quiet exit. In the meantime…

    …I can tell you, as a tranquilized “patient,” that these drugs aren’t so great, especially once all the intense, initial problems have calmed down (which can happen for a lot of us with or without meds). For all the talk of “recovery” and such, the treatment for more severe diagnoses is still….meds. Meds. Occasional counseling…to encourage you to stay on your meds.

    I think part of the non-medicated peoples’ success is due to stopping the neuroleptics (obviously), but I do wonder if maybe the non-medicated also found other forms of support, possibly outside Mental Health, Inc.

    To be fair, in the US we have very poor psychosocial programs in most places…plus, the hyper-individualistic culture denies that “illness” occurs in a social context, because in the US…we don’t believe in “society” so much as we tend to emphasize individuals who just happen to live near each other. If you lose it to the point that you can’t bring home the $$$, then you’re given the cruel compassion of “Schizophrenia” and this “illness” is to be aggressively treated, blah blah blah. I’m just sayin’…I don’t think its just Big Pharma or what have you, I think US culture lends itself well to labeling and destroying society’s “rejects.” Problem there is…the way things are going, more and more people are going off the rails, falling into the hands of Mental Health, Inc. and/or the criminal justice system.

    I do think more people could recover with no meds, fewer meds, a shorter duration of use of the neuroleptics, etc. I think the tranquilizers can help some people, for a season, get things together, but…long term use, especially at standard-to-high doses, causes lots of problems. Having said that…creating the sorts of programs that will facilitate long term, genuine recovery+healing with (far) less reliance on heavy meds will require a change in how society deals with low status, stigmatized people.

  • I think psychology can be damaging (not to mention expensive and time consuming) to many of us…and in the US, its more common to have the talking professionals working with the prescribing shrinks, with result of additional costs and ever increasing layers of pseudoscientific jargon and straight up bullshit.

    I don’t think all that many people in Mental Health, Inc. do much good for their “patients,” “clients,” “consumers,” etc. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule; some “professionals” manage to genuinely help the people in their care. Most of the time…from what I’ve seen and experienced…Mental Health, Inc. covers up social problems and genuine problems in living with whatever flavor psychobabble is en vogue at the moment.

    And of course…both the MDs and the PhDs have a power that is denied all “patients”: the power to label, to define, to construct a life story. A doctor who does a 15 minute med check now and then…and psychologist who babbles on for an hour, as long your insurance is shelling out…they are the recognized “experts” on the “patient,” his life, her experiences, his heart of hearts. By the time the “patient” realizes that its overpriced, damaging, often straight up dangerous bullshit…its too late.

  • While I am morally opposed to suicide, I view it as a civil right ((not something I would do, but I think other people should have the right to suicide)). What bothers me about “assisted dying” is that it brings suicide under the control of the medical establishment and government. In addition, I think that such legislation puts all kinds of vulnerable people–both those with and those without psychiatric labels–in a potentially dangerous situation. With the mentally distressed, “assisted dying” gives Mental Health, Inc. an even greater level of power and control over “patients.”

  • Thank you so much for this. I’m currently trapped in psychiatry, but planning an exit. Sometimes, its hard to lose sight of any sort of future, and its also easy to get brainwashed into believing the BS that is Mental Health, Inc.

    I am sorry about your kidney situation. Lithium is a terrible, terrible drug and should not be used on people, especially vulnerable, suffering people. I can kind of relate…I had a tic disorder following “atypical” antipsychotic “treatment” and heavy, involuntary shock “Treatments.” Not fun. My tics went away following high dose Orthomolecular supplementation, but…those couple years were rough as hell.

    I’m glad there are some former patients out there who can be vocal about their past and try to steer others away from Mental Health, Inc. All too often, its a death trap.