Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Comments by yeah_I_survived

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  • hi. I always enjoy Dr.Steingard’s posts.

    I take an “atypical” neuroleptic. Probably sort of like taking a low dose of Haldol, but with less muscle stiffness. I also take a lot of vitamins (Orthomolecular). I’ve taken benzodiazepines in the past, and they only suppressed voices to a point. Same thing with neurontin, sedating antihistamines, even a number of anti-seizure drugs. sedation only goes so far.

    am I a “voluntary” patient? Not exactly. If I don’t take the tranquilizer and I relapse, I could end up hospitalized, which would mean costs and (in all likelihood) a more noxious, densely sedating drug. Do I have “Schizophrenia” ? I doubt there is any such entity as a disease, in the same sense as say…lung cancer or arthritis.

    I’d like to taper off the neuroleptic, eventually. How? I don’t know. My dose is moderate in “atypical”-land, and that beats a high dose or (worse yet) a massive dose of the older stuff, state hospital-style. and yet..

    there is 0 support around here for tapering. everything and everyone reinforces the need for “medication.” I have a remarkably supportive family and yet…they too tell me “take the medicine.” The clinic is worse. All meds, all the time. And then if you’re on too many meds, that’s regarded with suspicion. And if you manage to get a psychiatrist to reduce the neuroleptic…that raises eyebrows, and…

    yeah, OK. Let’s just say…based on my “real life experiences,” I find Dr.Steingard’s approach appealing, far more humane, and…just more acceptable, from a moral standpoint.


  • this is well-written and I find it interesting. having said that…

    I think many of us who have survived various forms of mental health would be well served to find meaning thru spirituality, good literature, social causes, genuine relationships…

    not surprisingly, the “professionals” I’ve dealt with tried to tell me what to believe, what books to read, what causes were acceptable for me to care about, and that I wasn’t “good enough” for good friends and such. and so…

    I’m thinking there’s more hope for me and ohters than I had thought, but not in Mental Healht, Inc….no matter how “progressive” or enlightened a “professional” is…or acts, anyway…

    better to exit and move on, I think.

  • I don’t think anyone can change the core of what mental health, inc. is all about. Szasz writes that coercive or involuntary “acts of psychiatry” should be banned outright, declared illegal. I’ll go a couple steps further and argue that -all- “acts of psychiatry,” and “acts of psychotherapy,” too, should be banned. The whole industry is based on lies…not to mention force, fraud, and coercion. This industry cannot be reformed. Personally, I think the best any of us can do is to walk away and warn the others. What else is there to do, really?

  • im thinking its partially rooted in growing inequality, austerity measures, and (of course…) the overall “medicalization of deviance (and everyday life…)” and slaying the dragon is correct, too, of course; there’s a very real “epidemic of psychiatry,” one that seems to grow every passing year.

    what to do? I’m thinking those of us who have survived should find a way to exit, as best we can, and warn those on their way in, or in but not deeply inside “the system.” save pre-patients and those who haven’t been so damaged and slathered in stigma that escape will require a miracle. other than that…

    pray. seriously. I’m a Christian, so I recommend Jesus, but…pray. Please.

  • a growing number of people in America…

    DO NOT MATTER. Its so strange, we’re becoming this sick culture in which most people are essentially invisible, especially in situations like this.

    Female, “mentally ill,”
    probably working class or poor…


    Maybe they’ll do something about it. Kind of helps that they were female and seeking “help” (women are usually rewarded for voluntarily seeking mental health ‘treatment,’ or so it seems), vs non-white and male vs an aggressive, impoverished male ‘mental patient’…

    but still. i kind of doubt much will come of this case, but I could very well (hopefully…) be wrong.

  • this is just sad. I”m not a big fan of the medical establishment, but I’m not gung ho against the whole industry, either. Plus…I hate to see -anyone- pushed so far that they need psychotropics on a regular basis. I agree that reviving interest in Orthomolecular–not that it ever was incredibly popular, but it did get a lot more press say, in the 70s, than it does now–would help a lot of people, “experts” included.

    if the elites and elites-in-training of our society are drugged up, what does that say about everyone else? what hope is there for “the rest of us” if our leaders and experts need their chemical fixes, too?

  • ugh. this is good…in the sense that important people with credentials are asking basic, important questions and MIA is kind enough to share it with us (thanks, btw). However…

    the pills. drop them too fast, go truly crazy–crazy that only happens when psychiatry has been involved. stay on them, get fat and damaged all over–again, in a way that only psychiatry can really do.

    ugh. at least important people are asking the basic, important questions. 🙂

  • I think Szasz wrote about an emerging Pharmacracy (I may have misspelled that, btw), a rule by and for those involved with drugs–prescription drugs, street drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs!. And…here we are…

    2018. I read a shrink’s blog once, he says psychiatry is really society’s “pressure valve” or something…by taking care of outliers and deviants, psychiatry is supposed to help maintain order. but…in the current “epidemic of psychiatry” (yes, Szasz), it appears that the attempts to patch up a hyper-competitive, disintegrating society result in…

    more chaos, more violence, more disintegration and alienation. So, the vast majority of human beings would probably be better off without psychiatry, not just “mental patients” and their families. But with less upward mobility, more inequality, and increasingly cut throat competition for what’s left for the 99%…

    I think perhaps society needs psychiatry more than ever.

  • from what I’ve seen, college counselling centers take “weeding out the riff raff” and/or “dealing with weaklings” to a whole other level.

    my experiences weren’t at an elite school, but…looking back, it was like this: the more working class or middle-middle class riff raff ended up there, one way or another. now and then you’d get a (usually female) person from a more affluent family, but…whatever…they usually got lots of Ativan. and then…

    some of them got more “breathing room” in their classes because of the counseling center. others ended up dropping out because they were doped up, labeled, and denied any sort of meaningful help in life challenges as a college student. so….

    just another example of one of the many faces of Mental Health, Inc. reinforcing the social order. come from an upper class family…sure kiddo, we’ll “help” (especially females…). Middle-middle class or below…yawn…here’s your Seroquel, maybe you should be a factory worker.

    I seem recall reading a bit of Breggin on college counseling. His piece was focused on the misogyny and the brain damage, if I remember correctly. Those are valid points, too…how does a late teens to early 20something go forth and do much of anything if the college psychiatrist has scrambled the neurons, already?

  • -sigh- i do think social class is the big thing here, sadly. eating well boosts mood…unless you’re somehow eating well in oppression, low status, poverty, and social isolation. then…ya know…I would imagine the effects are minimal, at best.

    having said that, i do find Orthomolecular supplements help me, personally. I think the “trick,” if one can call it that, is to boost some vitamin+antioxidant levels well above what even the best diet could possibly provide. I think of it as a less expensive, more readily available, potentially healthful way of achieving some of what the psych drugs are billed as doing. and yet…

    even there, im thinking that once nutrition is good enough and one is cleared of major physical health problems, this “mental illness” business (and it is a business…a lucrative one, at that…) is pretty much as Szasz writes about…its pseudoscience on a good day, more like…a state-sponsored, godless religion that also functions as social control.

  • I think amphetamines are the top choices in the US. Elsewhere, its Ritalin. Ritalin was long regarded as milder than amphetamines, good for some forms of depression, sedation from other prescribed drugs, etc., which I guess is still how doctors who aren’t based in the US view things. So…

    I’m thankful for this study, to a point. On the one hand, its sorta like…”thank you, Captain Obvious, for pointing out that uppers can cause psychosis!,” but on the other hand…

    at least people are asking the questions. I mean…people with credentials, of course. The next step would be to fully investigate why, suddenly, everybody has “ADD/ADHD”. My vote goes for the problems with capitalism, but…

    there’s been some convincing research on beneficial impacts of supplements on “ADHD,” which…to me…still doesn’t -prove- a biological basis. Orthomolecular was getting a lot of press at one point during Szasz’s (long) career, and he compared the vitamin treatment to one USSR method, which was forced fasting. Basically, he pointed out that if the same “disease”–in that case, “Schizophrenia”–can be “treated” by stuffing people full of nutrients and also by depriving people of food for extended periods of time, then it is probably not an actual disease that is being “treated.” Valid point, I think.

  • therapy is a waste. counseling is a dead end. I don’t doubt that there are some high quality people in mental health…but they’re the exceptions to the rule, sadly enough.

    its all about control, usually. labels, stigma, making more money for themselves or the psychiatrists who will galdly drug up their patients to make us/them more “amenable to treatment,” etc.

    people need people, of course. people need guidance, real compassion, real friends. i think we’d all be quite alright without therapists, counselors, etc.

  • personally, i do find that fairly high (some would say “massive”) doses of vitamins do more for more than any number of herbals ever did. Maybe I had long standing deficiencies?

    If they feel so inclined, the “professionals” of Mental Health, Inc. can get you the “medicine you need,” at little or no cost for you. Its…well…crazy. Herbs, vitamins, etc.? Hell no. They don’t even like seeing me meandering in wearing quality shoes, why on earth would they want me all hopped up on antioxidants?

  • the “personality disorders” are the worst. if they label someone with one, especially a “severe personality disorder,” they treat them worse than many of the “Bipolar” or “Schizophrenic” people, and then they say “well, patient xyz has a -personality disorder-, not -mental illness-. there’s only so much we can do…”

    ive come to believe that many of those labeled with “personality disorders” are people who are being punished by their shrinks. a big part of psychiatry is punishment for pissing your shrink off, then rewards for being a “good patient.” there is no winning within Mental Health, Inc…the best “solution” is to try to get out, when and if possible.

  • Psychiatry is a system of social control. It is also a system of destroying people. The drugs, the shock “treatments,” the occasional operation (I hear psychosurgery is making a comeback…), plus…

    even if a person/”patient” is given innocuous placebos, being psychiatry-ized is an effective way in which to silence people. I’ve seen this happen even in non-drug “treatment,” with counselors and psychotherapists.

    I’d also like to point out that Mental Health, Inc. -hates- “weaklings.” I use the ” ” because…I don’t consider any human being a “weakling.” I think+believe -all- people are created in God’s image, and therefore are to be afforded respect and dignity. Psychiatry, on the other hand…

    is cruel enough to the relatively “high functioning” with good insurance. As one looks further down the totem pole, the cruelty and nastiness of Mental Health, Inc. becomes more and more obvious. When one starts out disabled or differently abled–a “weakling,” from the psychiatric standpoint–the situation will be far, far worse (for the person/”patient”). And then…there are the many people who start “treatment” healthy and “normal”(ish), who are then ripped to shreds, destroyed, and cast aside. The shrinks hate “weaklings,” and they also destroy people, thereby creating “weaklings.” I’m fairly certain psychiatry has always been this way, or at least they have been since the brain crippling “treatments” became the “standard of care.”

  • blah. I had -serious- problems from psych “treatment” until fairly recently, so I can definitely relate. The benzodiazepines were a key player in destroying me. severe anxiety, tics, cognitive problems…and the shrinks would only help -if- I played by their rules and -if- I took the “right medicines” (read: high doses of -other- drugs, to mask the damage from the 1st round of treatment). I refused, and I suffered mightily, as do many (Most? all?) “uppity mental patients” and/or “non-compliant patients.” And yet…

    I encountered Christians who were kind and supportive. Conservative? way, way too conservative for me, but they were also questioning psychiatry, with Scripture to back up their criticisms. I ended up “getting saved,” as many on the more conservative, Arminian side of Christendom call it. And…

    I don’t have tics. My anxiety–really, primal, brain damaged fear that did not ever subside–is largely gone. I’m remarkably healthy. Orthomolecular (high dose vitamins) has helped, too, but…I now believe that God still does supernatural “stuff” in this world, largely because of His work in my life.

    But many people remain damaged, even destroyed. Not everyone has family able and willing to support and even protect them. Staying in the economy often means one -must- take the “new medicines,” one must play the “experts'” rules, one must “remain in treatment,” often indefinitely (or…until retirement, I suppose…). Truth be told, if God had not moved so mightily in my body and in my life, my family would have probably discarded me. That’s how rough it is for people destroyed by psychiatry…even the nearest and dearest get tired, get ashamed, get angry, and the person/”patient” ends up…away, out of mainstream society, destroyed and discarded.

  • I don’t know. I don’t think survivors really can reconcile with “treatment providers.” I thought…for a season…that I’d found a good (whatever kind of treatment provider), and then it dawned on me…

    same monster, different face. Its like…Janus, only extra-frightening. There is no real help or hope or even truth in Mental Health, Inc.

    Mental Health, Inc. needs to set the captives free, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Truth? ha! What -is- truth, anyway? The state sponsored religion will -probably- continue shredding individuals, families, whole segments of the population…

    with ever increasing mendacity and ferocity. Some may walk away, some may find miraculous healing…

    They will be the exceptions that prove the rule: psychiatry–much like satan himself–roams society, seeking whom it may devour.

  • i don’t think most people are -permitted- to have the same emotional range as in years, generations past. obey authority at school–or else! suffering is for losers! know your place! who, in this day and age, has time to cry? time to reflect? i mean…i do, which…oddly enough, is one of the “perks” of being a “mental patient” (under very limited circumstances…”play the hand you’re dealt,” basically…).

    its also worth noting that psychiatry has been thoroughly deconstructed, debunked, the works. Mental Health, Inc. is not growing and taking over our schools, our homes, our minds because its “treatments” are effective or even all that tolerable…

    society needs psychiatry, especially in an era in which inequality has grown internationally, the costs of any sort of education that -might- lead to job stability and upward mobility have sky rocketed, and religions have lost their hold over our spirits and souls…which might explain the incredible number of M.Divinity people in secular mental health, inc. and the booming industry that is “Christian counseling.”

    This is…I believe the phrase is “disenchantment of the world,” what happens when modernization saps us of our humanity, one way or another.

  • I can’t even imagine. sounds like they went out of their way to -create- “Schizophrenia” or…whatever…in your case. I’ve never had all that, Praise God.

    I had a cousin, on the other hand…she got uppity, and her shrink (private practice) sent her off to the state hospital. Her parents went thru hell trying to get her out. Thankfully, where I live, they’re not big on the state hospital…usually, its the very far gone people who have been thru way too much “treatment” already and women from “good families,” especially in criminal cases. Most of it has been shut down. Even the criminal cases are often in and out in under 6 months, then “treated in the community.” ahhh, the asylum without walls. what progress.

    sorry about what you were subjected to. Just goes to show how ridiculous psychiatry is…one shrink will call it “personality disorder,” another “Schizoffective.” A shrink in one state has the authority to commit to the state hospital, so the person needs “long term treatment.” A shrink in, say, my state doesn’t want to use tax payer $$$ without justification, so the person needs “treatment in the community.”

  • I am pleasantly surprised that a sociologist is finally applying “the sociological imagination” (and common sense) to the wild world of Mental Health, Inc. The sociology instructors and professor I remember from years past never questioned the concept of mental illness or psychiatry or…anything, really. All I learned back then was that the “severely mentally ill” had a rough run of things, and it’d be nice if we could reduce stigma and spend more $$$ on disability benefits. Actually, now that I think of it, I do remember 1 younger Sociology professor encouraging a female student to seek out “professional help,” telling her that “there are prescription medications that might help you.”

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that serious sociological inquiry into psychiatry and friends has only recently become “cool.” From what little I know about these things, once it becomes “cool,” a select group will jump on it, then when the “cool” factor goes down a couple notches, one might see a trickle down to lower tier schools. Wait a couple decades…and the process will probably repeat…

    meanwhile, those of us who are in, have been in, or are trying to exit Mental Health, Inc. will only find “help” from the MDs, PhDs, etc. when our suffering furthers careers and/or advances a cause.

  • Anonymous sources seem to be targeting her for destruction. given how vicious human beings can be to each other in general…especially in an academic setting, when someone gets media attention, moves up the totem pole…

    it would be…well…considerate of Science to think about how this sort of coverage might ruin this individual’s career. Having said that… as someone who survived Mental Health, Inc. — which is filled with “empaths” who turn out to be vicious bullies and occasionally criminals, too (fraud, for instance) — I obviously suspect that these anonymous tipsters are simply seizing an opportunity to tell the truth, at long last.

  • I think the most viable alternative to psychiatry is religion. I choose Jesus, so I go for Christianity. Even though I believe that Jesus is -the- Ultimate Answer, I recognize that people find meaning, purpose, and community in any number of other faiths. For those who do not believe in God or a Higher Power, I don’t know…maybe strong commitment to social movements, volunteering, etc. could be of help. As Szasz and numerous others have noted, one of psychiatry’s functions is a state-sponsored religion (death cult, if you ask me). Its a fake religion that undermines real religions, and –“paranoid” as this may sound to some– I highly doubt the shrinks’ work in weakening real religions is simply “secularization…” I sense an actual concerted effort to damage the competition.

  • Maybe its because I’m a Christian, but…I think+believe that -ALL- human beings need empathy and compassion. Punishment and shunning are clearly not only counterproductive but, to my Christian mind, immoral.

    My own experience in the realm of “drug abuse” was hellish, and it only got worse once private, for profit hospitals got involved (I see now…that’s to be expected). Vulnerable youngster with good insurance? Hey, let’s destroy him! On the plus side…

    now that I’ve “recovered” (read: miraculously been made whole…happens, now and then), the “treatment” I received is useful in the sense that I’ve seen what Mental Health, Inc. is -really- about…and it isn’t compassion or even “helping people.”

    While I appreciate calls to show compassion, I don’t think one should have to play up previous trauma, abuse, etc. to be given compassion. The tone of the quoted ‘experts’ in this article make it seem as if the junkies need to provide a real -reason- to be shown the least bit of kindness. Again, as a Christian, I believe that even the most wretched human being, -ever- is still a human being, created in God’s image, and therefore deserving of respect and proper care, comapssion, even pity (I’m not only one of those who finds “pity” unacceptable…I think it is a valid human emotion…).

  • I find it interesting that so much new research (which…pretty much validates what people in both the “critical psychiatry” and antipsychiatry camps have been saying, all along) is coming out of the UK. I live in the US, and I think perhaps society (and…the economy…) lean more heavily on the mental health industry here than in the UK, which might explain why a “professional” talked to me about “chemical imbalances” about 1 week ago. My best guess is that its partly the economy and…honestly…something about a damaged, over-extended empire…would drive many of us to some sort of chemical escape. Some go for Vodka, others Vicodin, still others…Valium.

    I do hope research like this makes waves in the US. I think it might, but it will probably be yet another blue state vs red state situation, in terms of what areas actually do something about it.

  • ive come to similar conclusions. the most “progressive” people I’ve known are also sometimes some of the worst human beings, while the “conservative” people turn out being better for and to me, on a 1-on-1 basis.

    one reason I lean more towards seriously wanting Mental Health, Inc. abolished is because…force, fraud, and coercion are the very core of the industry+its dogma. I think abolishing the massive, false, state religion of psychiatry would also benefit the -real- religions out there, and make for more clear thinking in the general population (I stole this form Szasz, btw…not my ideal human being, but an excellent writer and critic of all things mental health).

    Of course…the way society+the economy, the legal system are going…I’m thinking we’re all stuck with Mental Health, Inc. in some form. At this point, they’ve got big name celebrities pushing their agenda and encouraging the masses to “seek treatment,” all that junk.

    anyway…thanks for your post. im trying, personally, to free my mind from all the mental health venom that’s been put there, over the years, and…move forward, at long last.

  • as a Christian, I believe each human life matters to God and that suicide is not a viable option. as someone who has survived the mental health system, I think (know) there must be better ways of dealing with intense distress. That is…of course…if the mental health system was actually about effectively helping those of us with distress and/or madness. my experiences and reading have led me to the conclusion that, sadly, mental health, inc. is not now and never was, never will be, about empathy, compassion, helping the oppressed and distressed. far from it.

    given that the “standard interventions” result in more suicides, I think the practical and humane approach is to acknowledge suicide as a civil right, much like Szasz writes about in his work. As a Christian, I find much of mental health, inc. far too immoral and dishonest to recommend it, much less demand that the suicidal amongst us be “treated” by “professionals” who often do far more harm than good.

  • I think this is yet another example of (in my mind…) the need to de-couple the psych -drugs- from Mental Health, Inc. Benzodiazepines became a big deal because they’re so much safer than the barbiturates and the various non-barbiturate anxiolytics and sedatives floating around in the 50-70s. They’re awesome for occasional use for agitation, “psychosis,” what have you…just to simmer down, basically. Thing is…

    I suspect a former shrink deliberately created a dependence on benzodiazepines in my case, when I was in my late teens. sounds paranoid, I know, but…it lines up with what I’ve learned about psychiatry, even what I’ve read in psych studies. 1st: prescribe benzodiazepine to foster good rapport. Then…rapid taper benzodiazepine, to “punish” the person/”patient” for…I don’t know. Any number of “sins,” non-compliance probably being the big one. Point is…

    even though I -hate- the human costs of drug abuse, I think legalization of all fun drugs is the answer, I really do. If someone is on edge and they need an Ativan, they should be able to buy one without dealing with a nefarious shrink or an over worked family doctor. If someone is in pain and they want a Vicodin, they should be able to get one without a permission slip from a doctor worried about the DEA breathing down his neck.

    Giving people easy access to drugs would reduce Mental Health, Inc.’s power considerably. If they cannot control the drugs we take, they cannot force drugs on us, and they cannot play the name game of calling some drugs “medicines” and other drugs “addictive drugs,” then perhaps they’ll be forced to get real jobs, as their industry withers and dies.

  • i certainly hope not. these drug “crises” are clearly social problems with a number of contributing factors, very few of which get as much coverage as the “crisis” itself.

    its also worth noting that while benzodiazepines are far from ideal, people prone to “psychosis” (I guess…a particularly distressing and socially unacceptable form of misery and/or madness…) often do well with benzodiazpeines. Here and there, from the 60s-80s, there were studies that showed that standard doses of benzodiazepines could calm people down and reduce “symptoms” with far less misery than the neuroleptics. Speaking as a “patient” whose experienced this…I’d say that careful use of benzodiazepines can reduce or sometimes even eliminate the need for a neuroleptic (assuming, of course, one has the option…).

  • I don’t think mania is a valid concept. I did, for a time…I thought the best thing to do, as an individual (“patient”) would be to work with Mental Health, Inc. and their concepts. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

    Talking about “appreciation for healthy mania” sounds warm and accepting, until one realizes: there’s nothing warm, accepting, or even remotely humane about Mental Health, Inc. I think the very title of this article also reinforces the position of the “expert” as the one who decides what is moral and immoral, OK and forbidden…using terms such as “healthy” and “sick,” of course.

  • sorry about your experience. As a Christian, I thought for a while that my path out of Schizophrenia would mean simply repent and push forward, allow God to put off the old, put on the new. While there is much more forward-focus in my faith than in, say, mainstream mental health, based on memories that have returned to me, years after heavy, involuntary shock ‘treatments,’ I’m beginning to think that God is at least blessing me with enough chunks of my past to string together a good narrative, possibly even enough to make sense of the so-called ‘symptoms’ that remain in my life.

    Based on that–because for me to remember anything is a miracle, I was blasted into oblivion–I’ve come to see the value in seeing the past, if only to see the shadows lingering in the present, so I can see, understand, know how to pray, etc. I also find Orthomolecular quite helpful.

  • they’ll drill that into people/”patients,” too. happened to me. “You are (),” “You do (),” “DO NOT QUESTION MY AUTHORITY!,” etc.

    I think one reason I converted to Christianity and hold Jesus so dear is because Christianity teaches that -every- human being is created in God’s image and -every- life matters, even if the person in question is wretched, ugly, stigmatized, rejected, etc. in this (fallen) world. Of course…

    I am coming to think (note: not believe, not feel…think…) that Mental Health, Inc. is a godless, possibly anti-Christ industry. Oh, and the “Christian” mental health people are (sadly…) sometimes some of the worst offenders. The talking ones…the counselors, psychotherapists…are numerous, often mediocre and just as terrible as the non-believers…

    but its really the Christian psychiatrists who straight up scare me. They somehow combined the aboslute worst organized religion has to offer with psychiatry, and the result is…not of God, possibly evil. OK…probably evil. But..profitable, no doubt.

  • im fairly convinced that mental hospitals create patients. ive only been in 2 hospitals, 1 stint in each. both are ‘well-regarded,’ and both set out to destroy me (no…really). happens. “rinky dink middle class loser” with good insurance = 50s state hospital treatment, in a private, for profit setting.

    now, of course…im regarded as a “mental patient, from a good family,” so different rules apply. 0 hospitalizations, I get to “recover,” etc. My experience of “treatment” is one reason why I’ve dusted off the old Kate Millet and Shulamith Firestone…social class is a huge issue, “the personal is political,” etc.

    Anyway…thanks for sharing your experiences. You write well. I do hope things get better for you. Supplements help some people taper or discontinue psych drugs. I personally recommend Orthomolecular, but some people swear by well-formulated herbals and such.

  • honestly, I don’t think there’s much to add to Szasz, unless one chooses to approach psychiatry from a sociological angle. The sociologists are better at putting psychiatry and the rest of mental health into a broader context, and some of them even provide data to back up their ideas. Oh, and the economic angle. Szasz was capitalist to the core, but I do find Marxist analysis of mental health intriguing. Of course, then one could just go back to Firestone, which overlaps with Kate Millet, etc., so…”nothing new under the sun,” etc.

  • As a Christian, I believe in good and I believe in evil. Truth, moral absolutes, all that jazz. Psychiatry as an -industry- is Evil. Psychiatrists as -individuals- are mostly wicked, though there are some rather evil characters in Mental Health, Inc. Some of their wickedness, I think, is rooted in mediocrity. Affluent family, not good enough for real medicine…psychiatry! This, to me, explains why the -male psychiatrists- , in particular, are so dangerous and vicious…they don’t ‘measure up’ to the men in -real medicine-. The female shrinks…well, whatever. From what little I’ve seen, they tend to marry -real doctors-, anyway.

    Also, as a Christian…I think Jesus saves. Antipsychiatry…may or may not be useful, it depends on the individual, her circumstances, his outlook, etc. Since psychiatry is, in fact, a (false…dangerous…) religion, it stands to reason that (genuine) Christianity would provide a solution. Honestly, I’m old school in that I think Jesus is Truth and I believe that Jesus is -the- way to God, but…

    from a practical standpoint, I think the vast majority of religions out there could be helpful. At the very least, most of them are far less deadly and dangerous than psychiatry.

  • ugh. at best, the tranquilizers suppress paranoia and agitation, to a point. more often…they’re used to shut people up, control people (hence their widespread use in “ODD”). sounds to me like yet another case in which the psych drugs end up creating more problems than they (temporarily…) suppress.

    personally, ive found tapering off the neuroleptics -quite- difficult, even more so than ditching the benzodiazepines. even at low doses, they cause such a profound alteration in brain function that dosage reductions are about all I can handle at this point, rather than full on discontinuation. lame.

  • I think a lot of people need drugs. I don’t mean because they’re “weaklings” or whatever, just…human have always done drugs, and now there’s this ridiculous situation in which a lot of the better drugs are illegal and/or heavily restricted, stigmatized, etc.

    Back when I was involved in substance use, it was more immaturity and curiosity than anything else. I got labeled and destroyed by Mental Health, Inc. “Nothing personal.” I was just some middle class loser with good insurance. Happens.

    My -personal- opinion, as someon who’s seen many parts of Mental Health, Inc. (when I think of Mental Health, Inc., I often think of that Roman deity…Janus…), is that -all- drugs should be legalized. I know…that’s Szasz…but I think all drugs should be legalized and then at least somewhat regulated, plus taxed a bit. I’m not anti-gov’t regulation as Szasz is, but I am anti-misery. Because I’m anti-misery, I find that I’m against “The War on Drugs” and against a lot of what the mental health industry is forcing on people.

    If the prescription system could be largely scrapped, desirable drugs could be obtained w/ low costs…then I think a whole lot of misery–from the drugs, drug culture, and Mental Health, Inc.–could be avoided. Of course..if one could purchase uppers, downers, and pain killers at reasonable costs from a local pharmacy, then I imagine pain management and psychiatry would both cease to exist, because direct access would end the need for an MD/DO middle man. I doubt that will ever happen, but…it certainly would be a rational, humane, and potentially lucrative (for the gov’t coffers…) approach.

  • I can see your point. I didn’t mean to upset or belittle you. I’m stuck on a psych drug right now. turns out…tapering completely just isn’t in the cards at this moment. and…while this may not be the ideal place to write this, i will say: the way society looks at actions, behavior, etc., I do “better” on a certain psych drug than not on it, or (gasp…) drug-free, etc. So…there’s that.

    I just…regret my ‘treatment,’ and i am beginning to think+suspect that there is no definite exit in sight, not for me. Not that its all doom-and-gloom; far from it. I think of it more like an ongoing play, I have a role to play. This role is not who I -really- am, but it is the role assigned to me. “Play the hand you’re dealt,” etc.

  • what is “depression” ? I have no problem with people taking anything that might help their distress, madness, etc., and….

    I don’t have a problem with people talking openly about being miserable, or very sad, or slowed down, or hearing voices…

    its when we/they are forced to speak in DSM-speak that I have a problem. So, basically…

    I’d like to have an open dialogue about what it means to be pushed over the edge, to be on the edge, to be trapped inside one’s pain…

    that’d actually be amazing, now that I think about it. What the shrinks and their celeb poster children for 21st century Mental Hygiene are giving us is…

    not that. not at all. just more distance between the labeled and the “normal,” reinforced with pseudoscientific jargon.

  • I was reading…back in the day, psychiatry was openly based upon “non-injurious torture,” along with strong elements of -fear-. Of course, now its all “Evidence-based,” blah blah blah, but I got to thinking about it, and…

    given how even the high profile police brutality (and straight up murder, manslaughter) cases only rarely result in the “swift, certain, and severe” punishment that follows, say…hurting a cop…could one come to the conclusion that one of 21st century American police forces’ “latent functions” is, in fact, to instill fear in the masses, to keep us all in line?

    Just thinking (well…typing…) out loud.

  • ugh. it just doesn’t get better, does it? Szasz wrote a book that I Have yet to read…before he left this world of toil…about psychiatry as The Science of Lies, or something like that, anyway. Since I know my Szasz, I get it already…

    and he is correct, of course. Lies, 1/2 truths, convenient un-truths…that’s the core of psychiatry and pretty much all of Mental Health, Inc. And..

    this goes 2x, 3x for these “anti-stigma” campaigns. Remember 1984? Yeah, I don’t remember the whole thing, but I do remember something along the lines of….”Slavery is Freedom.” I’m seeing an element of Orwell here, with high dollar celebs and clever marketing…

  • every now and then, as the economy and society change, masculinity (in particular…) comes up for redefinition. actually…now that I think about it…at least in America, masculinity is forever subject to revision, redefinition, retooling, re-branding.

    I don’t doubt that men who are taught to be that -sort- of manly will end up having more problems when the real world hits. I imagine its also something of a social class and education issue. Speaking as a white male, I’ve observed that working class men are raised to be more “tough” and all that. Once one hits the middle-middle class, men get more leeway in all respects, including emotions and such. Get to the “well-to-do” realm, there’s more freedom and -space- from social norms. I’m wondering how much of the suicidality is rooted in larger socio-economic realities. The white, working class men who would have been labor activists or military men or…well, who would also have had upward mobility, so they might not have remained working class, in years past…

    are now stuck in a position with little hope, 0 tolerance schools, 0 tolerance society, disintegrating families, widespread misery and pain, and…anomie, basically. No upward mobility, plenty of potential for poverty, prison, etc., so there’s an element of intense alienation, which lines up with Marx’s writing about late stage capitalism.

    One’s “mode” of masculinity is undoubtedly an issue, yes, but I think that the form of masculinity one is taught is probably a reflection of larger social and economic issues, and those larger issues are probably where one can find more solid, meaningful answers to the high (and rising…) suicide rate.

  • at least they’re talking about poverty in health care…especially in the world of mental health, inc., social class is a -huge- issue. In American culture, of course, social class is not discussed as openly or as frequently as in many other societies, so that (to me…) gives the mental health, inc. people more power, because its an issue but no one talks about it, which leads to more obfuscation and such in the mental health realm.

    when I was -poor-, i had -1- shrink discuss resources, social class, etc. with me, and that was in the context of making sure i wasn’t going to flip out. to be fair…at least that shrink brought it up. its worth noting that particular shrink was trained in Europe, so that might have been part of it. Now, I’m no longer living in poverty, etc., so…social class is once again -off the table- , in terms of talking points w/ the shrinks.

    Szasz sharpens my mind and thinking, but I agree that he wasn’t the best human being. Maybe its because I”m a Christian that I don’t find Szasz worth emulating or idolizing? I do, however, find his analysis of psychiatry helpful, as I try to exit Mental Health, Inc. (if possible…).

    I think the drugs can take the edge off distress and madness, for a season, for some people. I don’t think psychiatrists or psychiatry are necessary, though. A family doctor could provide benzodiazepines, low dose neuroleptics, etc., and they’re usually better about monitoring overall health and dealing with low-income people than the shrinks.

    I get the sense that some shrinks do have a sense of human decency, compassion, etc., which kind of makes me wonder…why didn’t they become real doctors?

  • The neuroleptics, in particular, are more commonly used among minorities and lower social class groups. these groups have difficulty enough staying cool when the weather turns hot (or…warm, when the weather turns cold…). add in heavy tranquilizers and a shredded safety net, and one gets a “heat wave,” which is a social problem framed as some sort of “natural disaster” and/or “extreme weather,” etc.

  • its worth noting that the legal system and the psychiatric system work together, as systems of control and punishment. shrinks “make examples” out of wayward patients, too, and they seem to be able to do so with even less fear of punishment than your average cop.

    maybe the fear, the violence, the sense of powerlessness…is not a dysfunction, but an integral part of how our system “really works” ?

  • I think the police state exists in part because of inequality. If you’ll notice, South Africa and the former USSR nations have high incarceration rates, too. Inequality, social disintegration, deep pockets of intergenerational poverty and oppression…when these factors combine, one gets a police+prison state.

    What scares me about American culture right now is how defeated just about everyone has become. We have -male- celebrities “getting treatment” for whatever, often as part of plea deals. I mean…its bad enough for women, but when the shrinks have even gotten the high status, white men…

    no one is safe from Mental Health, Inc.

    Reducing inequality and expanding (recreating? building?) a safety net would help tremendously. Look at the 50s-70s, maybe even into the 80s. sure, the US had a much more extensive state hospital system, but…

    holy mother of god…look at what Mental Health, Inc. is up to now, in 2018. And its so much more dangerous, insidious, than in years past…

    more people “in treatment,” higher suicide rates, more people on disability. Fewer people in state hospitals…plenty more in prisons, on various forms of Mental Health, Inc.-supervised “Treatment” thru probation parole, conditional discharge, etc…

    I don’t think its going to get better in the US, honestly. The 1%-ers these days make the Gilded Age upper crust look like amateurs.

  • 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.