Saturday, December 3, 2022

Comments by yeah_I_survived

Showing 392 of 393 comments. Show all.

  • substances that alter brain chemistry — drugs, specifically psychoactive drugs — all “work,” from someone’s perspective. lots of people swear various opioids “work” because of euphoria, reduced pain, reduced anxiety and agitation. Others say those are “bad drugs” because they are “addictive” and/or “dangerous.” Powerful people have decided that those “bad drugs” don’t “work” in ways they find appropriate (or profitable, etc. etc. etc.).

    Szasz writes (somewhere…) about an early test of Thorazine. Because Thorazine was first used in pre-operative sedation mixes (a use that continues, apparently), extensive trials were undertaken to find the dosages that would really “work.” Question is: “work” for whom? In one early test, a drug user was injected with Thorazine. He was then asked what he thought of it, and he said something to the effect that “that junk will never sell!,” and in a very real sense he was (and is) correct. Thorazine and most other “antipsychotic” drugs have minimal street value, and I don’t think any are controlled substances. And yet…

    Thorazine was a blockbuster! Several of the -zines that followed did quite well, both on their own and in combo with other drugs (sedatives, uppers, antidepressants). Even in the 21st century, various “atypical” neuroleptics have generated billion$ for their patent holders. These drugs do “work!” Right? Yeah…

    Those drugs don’t “correct chemical imbalances” anymore than “antidepressants” do, and they tend to have more severe adverse effects. Psychiatrists knew from -day 1- that the neuroleptics could lead to serious brain damage. TD cases started showing up in the literature in the late 50s. Some psychiatrists spoke of a “tranquilizer psychosis,” a condition caused -by- the neuroleptics marked by apathy, indifference, tremor, varying degrees of sedation and emotional blunting…

    and the “tranquilizer psychosis” is -how- the drugs “work.”

    So…the “chemical imbalance” fraud/lie is maybe, perhaps (?) losing traction. So, what? States all over the US have passed legislation giving shrinks the right to pump drugs into people even if (often -especially- if…) the people involved would rather -not- have the drugs (or…those drugs, at least).

    My take on it? The “chemical imbalance” lie was just a means to an end. We’ve gone from those animated SSRI commercials of the 00s, with soothing voices assuring us that this new drug “works” by “correcting imbalances…”

    to just telling people that such and such is “medication for (dsm-code HERE),” and sometimes not even that, just “it helps.”

    I don’t think most doctors ever really “believed” in the “chemical imbalance” theory. For a time, it made sense…they could pretend that the person/”patient” was “correcting imbalances,” and that psychiatry was a valid branch of medicine…

    -shrug- now? drugs.into.people! that’s all “treatment” for poor people ever involved, anyway, and it’s increasingly the treatment most people — from all strata — get, even when they want to talk about life and such. none of that! 🙁

    blah. Another concept from Szasz I find relevant today, right now: Pharmacracy. People/”patients” get the pills they/we “deserve,” based on any number of variables. Haldol and cogentin for the low castes, all the way up to “the good stuff” for the affluent classes.

  • “severe mental illness” means…

    at best, an object of “cruel compassion” (Szasz). “oh, he’s -schizophrenic- ” or perhaps “too bad; she’s got -severe bipolar- …” on and on. the faux compassion only makes the cruelty worse…colder, more merciless.

    I don’t know the people who work in the psych guilds, but I do think that diagnosis is a political decision is a concept worth revisiting. To say: “this individual is a sick person with “Schizophrenia” and needs treatment…” vs “this pathetic weakling needs to get over it, toughen up…personality disorder if I’ve ever seen it!” and every dsm-label in between speaks volumes to the dynamics of the situation, the people in power and their objectives, and the larger social backdrop. and so…

    I do think some in the psych guilds are well-intentioned or at least…start out that way. I knew one who seemed to be sticking with it just because he had to bring home the bacon, somehow, and…with a family and a graduate degree in psych stuff, what else was he to do? At some point, he came to his senses and realized: the problem wasn’t a couple of bad apples here and there. it was the guild, itself. but…what to -do- about it?

    using stigma, combined with coercion+force+confinement, is a core function of the psych guilds, especially psychiatry. deliberate? Especially with the “experienced professionals,” I’d argue yes. Definitely with those who have a PhD or MD/DO…the higher ups, high priests and priestesses. And…

    I will say that the “real doctors” in the medical establishment now strike me as…generally similar to psychiatrists. For the longest time, I wanted to believe — perhaps I made myself believe? — that “real” doctors were a different breed. I don’t think so, now. Plus, in the US at least, lots and lots of “real doctors” engage in acts of psychiatry on a regular basis. The expert-level witch doctors get called in when it suits the referring physicians’ purposes, in many cases.

    ugh. Back to Szasz…

    Psychiatry is The art of -Lies- . Calling the lowest caste of psychiatrized individuals “severely mentally ill” is a rather clever way of sterilizing and sugar coating “Schizophrenia,” which is psychiatry’s sacred symbol, the ultimate justification for it’s ongoing existence and state-sanctioned powers (again; Szasz). Truth? about that…

    its all lies. why define “severe mental illness” when “Schizophrenia” was and is only vaguely described, and then in ways that magically contracted or expanded, depending on the guild’s aims?

  • I think “radically enlightened” would probably include Szasz. And yet…Szasz waited until after getting tenure to debunk psychiatry, so I suppose he was only “radically enlightened” after damaging scores of people/patients and their families, communities…

    and then he embarked on a career as a “radical,” while maintaining a private practice and teaching up and coming psychiatrists. ugh. reality, bites.

    I think…especially for those of us here at MIA…”radically enlightened” would mean trying to find a way out and doing whatever possible to stay out of mental health, inc. The road out will probably vary considerably, from person to person; my own observation — and this has been pointed out by others, too — is that many current “recovered” people/”patients” are essentially post-psychiatry in terms of self-identification and such, but…

    again: reality, bites. Especially now that “mental illness” is declared to be a never ending struggle and such (this vs the “nervous breakdown” mentality of the 50s), escaping the labels and social damage caused by psychiatry and friends seems — to me, someone too young to have actually experienced the witch doctoring of yesteryear — more difficult, not less difficult.

    so…yeah. interesting concept. I think the idea of being “radically enlightened” is probably more appealing to the younger set and also to those who have not been so thoroughly psychiatrized that a more practical, “ok, now what?” – approach is probably…if not more appealing, then at least more realistic.

    Having said that, I do hope that those who have never been directly affected by the system and/or have only had minimal, less damaging experiences will become “radically enlightened.” 🙂

  • at a personal level, I benefit from Orthomolecular psychiatry. Orthomolecular psychiatry seems to have helped mitigate, possible un-do, damage done to me by standard issue (read: chemical warfare on “patient” and “illness”) psychiatry. Would I need the mega-dose vitamins if I hadn’t existed as a psychiatric casualty for years? I kind of doubt it. And yet…I do rather enjoy my vitamins’ side -benefits-, so…there’s that.

    at a larger, macro-level…what is needed is -not- yet another “new, exciting” approach to “(severe) mental illness,” but rather a less toxic, more viable approach to life and society and the economy. dare I say…socialism with a side dish of utilitarianism? at the very least…an end to the -especially- draconian and merciless neoliberalism of today’s USA. To me, it seems that things have gone from “trickle down economics” to “stomp ’em down economics,” and the growing numbers of “mentally ill” on disability, in jails and prisons, on the streets, and the suicides and other “deaths of despair” demand change…but who will listen?

    and to return to the personal end of things…I think of my own vitamin popping, Bible thumping approach as a sort of…meaningful life, -after- psychiatry, despite the labels. Other have their own “formulas” for making a live-able life, post-psychiatrization. 🙂

  • Szasz writes extensively on psychiatry as a (rather dangerous) religion. I -would- say “cult,” but cults tend to have tension with the state and also surrounding communities. Psychiatry is a tool of the state and seems to be perfectly at ease within most communities in the 21st century.

    Szasz also writes extensively about “Schizophrenia” as psychiatry’s “sacred symbol.” Without “Schizophrenia,” psychiatry would probably not be able to justify it’s ongoing existence.

    I do find it absolutely horrifying that so many mainstream religions embrace psychiatry. And those that don’t often choose instead to punish the distressed (and, admittedly, often distressing) individual, rather than take a look at the “bigger picture” and try to make life better for the distressed and those around them. The religious approaches seem to be: “take your meds, see you in church next Sunday!” or “you’re a sinful weakling and those pills are sinful, too. shape up or ship out.”

  • Shootings — especially in the US, where they have happened and continue to happen with alarming regularity and what seems to be (?) increasing frequency, since COVID — are social problems, not “personal (“mental health”) issues.”

    Part of the problem is the neoliberalism-on-‘roids that has taken over the US, at all strata and also has permeated all professions, especially the psych-guilds (because — per Szasz — the psych guilds follow power, and the powers that be are deep into reductionism and the never ending inward gaze of psychobabble). I seem to recall reading some material here on MIA that indicates a noticeable shift since Reagan in the US and Thatcher in the UK, with self-help and the professional psych guilds all turning more towards individualistic, sometimes bio-reductionist, explanations of stress, distress, and madness.

    so, no; I do not think that “mental health awareness” and “more treatment!” will put a damper on the killing sprees. Now, it seems that many (most? all?) community mental health clinics in the US have some sort of “crisis mobilization unit,” which as best I can tell involves loading counselors up and sending them out to…

    talk? -shrug- Its 21st century America. Compassion, a real listener…these are now commodities, another set of goods and services. My “problem” with this is that the psych guild’s “help” is a deceptive trap, one that ensnares troubled (and/or troubling) individuals, their families, communities…

    and, really and truly, society -as a whole- . This is especially problematic in societies that have a democratic ideal and/or a concept of legal rights and responsibilities for their citizens. Again: Szasz, rehashing in the AM because I’m caffeinated and…why not?

    I do not think “mental health” will reduce school shooting or do much to address any social problems. I do not think “mental health” is designed to improve society or deal with social problems. At best — where I live, anyway — every once in a while some poor, distressed person gets “pushed over the edge,” the case gets handled as psych case (“treatment”), and the papers run the story with the implication: see, justice and compassion (the “cruel compassion” Szasz writes about, undoubtedly) can and do coexist. The system works.

    Other than that…the US is so gun-saturated that I don’t see how gun control laws would have that much of an effect now, anyway. Not that such laws are -doomed- , just…wow, way to wait till it is 15 minutes past “too late.” Perhaps focusing on inequality and finding ways to offer higher quality K-12 public schools, make upward mobility a reality and not a faded recollection of an increasingly distant “back then…”

    maybe? Perhaps? At most, I would think a stepped up “mental health” policy would eventually have to include giving some of the perpetrators of various crimes — including intense acts of violence — some sort of “treatment,” not the standard off to prison run. Not because “treatment” is effective in the long run or even humane, just…

    At best, I think perhaps an occasional case of a sad, desperate, angry, broken human being given the mercy of insanity (Szasz) could perhaps soften up the rest of us? not to “mental illness” so much as the harsh realities of life in the 21st century, and the understanding that people can and do “snap.” something like that, anyway. 🙂

  • good points, rebel.

    I’m doing a DIY Orthomolecular protocol, so the lithium reference sort of…affirms what Hoffer and other OM “experts” have written, for decades and decades. Except…OM tends to be remarkably non-toxic, so..there’s that. I think some “alternative” practitioners recommend very, very, very low doses of some forms of lithium for distressed people, now and then. Never had much interest because of my lithium=destruction of kidney function association, based on what I’ve observed in others.

  • very helpful. thank you. best, psychiatry is offering dozens of palliatives? and…the only substance psychiatry offers that has data proving a genuine benefit on the afflicted (possibly the affliction, too?) is lithium? -lithium- ?

    oh man. that’s…well, its sort of what I’d gleaned from my own misadventures and reading, but…wow. that’s billions upon billions of dollars, from tax payers and “patients” and families and insurance companies…

    for what, really? not to mention the untold agony of lives destroyed by the labels and the “treatments” and the confinements and…

    what is the point, again?

    on the plus side…the relative success (compared to everything else, it seems) of lithium makes me wonder if there is more substance to Orthomolecular treatment of various ailments than I had originally thought. Time to restock the C and B3 and read some more Hoffer and Pauling. 🙂

    thanks again.

  • yes! the talking section of the guild is often -worse- than the witchdoctors at pushing “treatment for ‘imbalances, ‘ ” etc. I think…its supposed to be some sort of “no-fault” approach to “treatment…”

    its an “imbalance,” because apparently the person/patient’s brain just broke one day, which the “miracle meds” can correct (hooray!), not a result of personal failings, social problems, economic issues, personal history, abuse and/or mistreatment, or…you know, life hitting an individual, in any number of different ways. no, no…not that, not that -at all- . definitely an “imbalance.” definitely.

    thing is…without going deep into “bitter ex-patient” territory, here…the talking ones are often just as prone to fraud and deliberate destruction as the pill and shock docs, and they also seem to be more threatened by people with resources or access to resources, any sort of education or intellectual ability, on and on. Personal experience: counselors, in particular, seem to be taking over the talking section in droves. I guess its sort of like the equivalent of using highly trained nurses instead of doctors? sufficient credentials, lower costs…something like that, anyway.

    problem? especially in the psych guild, which in the US is (of course…and yes, this is Szasz material, yet again) a pseudoscientific, religious control system operating to maintain the current neoliberal capitalist system…

    the “professionals” who are, themselves, on the very edge of the middle-middle class and profiteering and defrauding the vulnerable…

    have — in my own, limited experience — proven even more dangerous than some of the higher status professionals. Some critiques of the industry I’ve skimmed over point that the mass produced master’s level counselors a) are not given the “correct training” or…something and b) that the training programs, themselves, leave much to be desired. I suppose that if I thought that any of the psych guild could be reformed and possibly made “helpful,” I might (?) buy into that line of thought, but…

    as society continues to modernize and such, people are required to obtain more and more credentials. Seems to be more pronounced in some nations, some economies than in others. Some European nations, for instance, wisely track their students into skilled vocational training (which I would assume involves obtaining credentials, too…) rather than telling people to go to college and get a 4 year degree and live the (dying, largely fictional from the beginning…) American Dream, etc. Point there is…there’s lots of people, in lots of fields, who have mass produced degrees that they obtain without developing much in the way of critical thinking or analytical skills, writing skills, etc., because…

    that’s what is bound to happen when the economy demands more and more credentials, and when society places more value on a masters level counselor than a well trained HVAC technician who probably makes more per year (and actually benefits the common good!). 🙂

    but…yeah…worse troubles with counselors than psychologists or nurse practitioners. psychiatrists…hellish, but that’s to be expected.

    The “imbalance theory” was, at best, a fun lie masquerading as a necessary over-simplification. Dig a little deeper, and…

    lies, lies, lies. fraud, fraud, fraud. The deception is deliberate, the destruction is expected. Welcome to Mental Health, Inc. 🙁

  • what is the title of Szasz’s final book…Psychiatry: the science of lies, or…something like that, anyway. and so…

    yeah. lies. lying liars turned their craft into a -science-, complete with MD/DO degrees and real pills for fake diseases.

    and, now? now and then, out of…I suppose curiosity mixed with a touch of boredom…I check out the mainstream, health information sites to see what these sites have about the various psych drugs. and…

    even now, I see “correct…imbalances…natural brain chemicals…” sort of psych-lies pop up. and…then one has the more honest sites (not that it matters much, but I think WebMD is still bigger with the debunked lies, other sites have taken a more honest, less sugar coated approach…) will have a more correct take on it, for instance emphasizing the “tranquilizing effect” of “antipsychotics” (not -quite- to the point at which these pills are referred to correctly, as neuroleptics or major tranquilizers…but OK…), which is a a result of blocking dopamine and often serotonin, blah blah blah.

    the truly sad, honestly…to me, frightening…lingering result of the lies about “imbalances” and the magical meds that “correct” them? now, the pills are so ubiquitous, the lies so obvious, the options so generally non-existent…

    “ugh, take your medicine.” odd, add, adhd, sad…mix n match from the alphabet soup of lies and lingo…

    take your pills, asap. 🙁

  • Quality post, Miranda Spencer. 🙂

    I agree. And I think…as usual…that I hear Szasz (or at least a good enough paraphrase) in my ear: the industry/guild is -not- a valid branch of medicine. This is social control. If the state did not need (and want!) the psych guild, other “professionals” would not be attempting regulatory acrobatics to make psychiatry “fit” into a medical profession that is increasingly expected to perform to some rather basic standards to justify ongoing government funding through Medicare, etc.

    If Medicare-funded primary care doctors performed as poorly as psychiatrists, my semi-educated guess is that at least some “heads would roll,” and some attempts at “shaping up,” or at least…giving the appearance of providing adequate care…would be fairly automatic. I’m picturing committees, perhaps some (over)hyped new regulations, on and on. actual…change? -shrug- no idea. but I do think some professionals would at least attempt -the appearance- of “accountability” (” ” because…buzz word…) and such. and then…

    psychiatry. Following Szasz…what is it anyone expects, anyway? drugs into people. labels onto people. people into some sort of confinement, and social invisibility and medicalized slavery. done, done, done. I think the -big- reason other “experts” are doing their very, very best to accommodate (obviously, fraudulent, dangerous, sub-standard, often lethal) “psychiatric care” on the government coffers is because…

    they -are- doing their jobs. And that’s what scares the living hell out of me, personally. 🙁

  • thank you, Krista Hartmann. 🙂

    I’m fairly certain all doctors who play their hand at acts of psychiatry know what they’re doing, just as Krista Hartmann pointed out.

    Notice: the “antidepressants” are “safe, effective treatment” for “depression…” and also “help” with: “ODD,” “anger management,” vexing “patients” labeled with some flavor “personality disorder…”

    on and on and on. Its hard to argue that MD/DO providers (and the vast majority of the underlings, too) are unaware of all this when they openly talk about giving people antidepressants for “head pressure” and something like 2/3 of antidepressant prescriptions from the general practitioner/family doctor realms are handed out -without even bothering to establish a dsm-label- to justify ongoing treatment.

    Szasz writes of a Pharmacracy, in which we the “patients” get the pills “we deserve.” The pills one “deserves” depends upon a number of variables that themselves change based on location, the providers’ demographics, on and on….but…

    it -does- appear that the lower status one is, the more noxious and downright poisonous the “treatment” becomes. And that’s just the pills. That doesn’t include the non-stop lies and labels from the talking sections of the guild, the periodic confinement in “hospitals” and then often in jails, even prison (Szasz–yes, again– writes of prisons as the place to best truly see what psychiatry is really all about…), and…

    rambling, sorry. The mental health industry is itself so damaging and wicked that it should simply be abolished. “Antipsychotics” — the best selling “medications” that are so toxic and unpleasant that the industry is now putting them in LAI (long acting injections), just like the old Haldol and Prolixin drug-induced Parkinsonism depot shots — are not even “antipsychotics,” as many articles on MIA and various posters here have pointed out, already. They are neuroleptics, tranquilizers with such unpleasant effects on mood, outlook, and behavior that they are routinely used as -punishment- by all those “experts” who engage in acts of psychiatry, both “voluntary” (really? is there such a thing?) and (truly, openly, obviously) “involuntary.”

    the whole thing is truly ridiculous and infuriating. Today’s “mental health treatment” — drugs into people, talk is optional — is the sort of “treatment” that poor and/or low(er) status people/”patients” have -always- received. My growing, personal concern — and I’ve heard this from other people, at different strata of society — is that the label-drug-out the door approach to “mental health…”

    is also the standard approach to -most- healthcare in these united states. and Pharmacracy is bad enough dealing with real pills for fake diseases…

    what is happening when the “pills one deserves” means that only “good patients” can get quality, truly helpful, healthcare for -valid- health conditions? -shudder-

  • Both the pill (and shock…and tms…and occasionally, operations…) pushing branch of “mental health” and the “talking” sections (counselors, psychologists) seem to be focused on sort of “care” that Szasz terms “cruel compassion.”

    One needs the pills because of the labels the “experts” have decided upon. The lower one’s status, the more “severe” the label/”diagnosis,” the more damaging the pills, especially over the long haul. That is not only acceptable to the “experts.” it is…

    to be accepted by the psychiatrized, too, as part of his/her slow-motion march towards destruction, destitution, and (based on data…) early death. Clozapine, for instance, is ridiculously toxic, but even now is heralded as something of a modern day “miracle med.” Clozapine patients are lauded for “adhering to treatment,” with the implication that these suffering souls endure all sorts of toxic ill effects to control their “severe illness,” blah blah blah. This is an extreme example of telling the (often, understandably miserable) “depressed” patient to “wait it out” on the latest wave of “antidepressants.” Apparently, “treatment is effective…,” but also often (quite) unpleasant. Beating back the evil monster of “depression” is worth the often dangerous adverse effects, especially in the first 1-4+/- weeks, because…”they” say so. 🙁

    but yeah, shutting up the “sick” and dehumanizing and often destroying the “sick” is what (often never ending) “treatment” is all about, even with the branches of the industry that claim to focus on psychotherapy, counseling, all that.

    Honestly, I think the talking parts of the guild are sometimes -more dangerous- , because their labels are then used by the psychiatrists, psych hospitals to create a never ending cycle of labels, stigma, fraud, and destruction. And then…

    -social class- many of the counselors and psychologists I’ve encountered seem to be in somewhat less than secure positions. The counselors are often at the fringes of what’s left of the respectable middle-class, and that seems to be a -huge- problem, at times. Psychologists tend to have more advanced degrees, more resources…

    which often makes them even more dangerous (upper class, not as solidly upper class as psychiatrists), as their toxic labels and pseudoscientific “wisdom” is regarded as especially “insightful,” etc. blah. 🙁

  • psychiatrists…tend to view little things, such as “democracy,” “human rights,” and “quality of life” as rather….inconvenient. 🙁

    I really don’t understand it, at all. Most shrinks do med checks, now. What’s the incentive to push people to pop major tranquilizers, especially since now many of the “atypicals” are generic or not far from going off patent? hmmm…

    worth noting that -most- psych drugs dampen emotions, reduce cognitive abilities, and overall…impair the aspects of our being that we need the most when suffering. the neuroleptics are on the extreme end.

    maybe its because to be psychiatrized is to no longer matter (socially), if one ever mattered, at all? label-drug-done. I think the social function of the psych guild is more about the labeling and invalidating. the drugs, talk, what have you…not the real “point” of society permitting psychiatry free reign, from my perspective.

    ugh. “informed consent” hard enough with those practicing in valid branches of medicine. psychiatry? pshaw. 🙁

  • orthomolecular seems to have resolved my TD. Permanently? -prayers going up- My DIY vitamin cocktail focused on mega-doses of the usual suspects (B3, vitamin C, E, b-complex several times daily, selenium, zinc, beta carotene), plus additional natural antioxidants that I’d add, drop, adjust the dosages periodically, as needed (astaxanthin, green tea extract, grape seed extract, alpha lipoic acid, on and on and on…). and now…

    “Are you -still- taking the vitamins?!!” funny, how such a profoundly helpful “alternative” treatment is regarded as…”crazy…” now that I’m tic-free and lucid. whaaaa???

    I hope (wish?) that, somehow, the growing number of psychiatric casalties will lead to less psychiatry, or at least a less lethal psychiatry. and…

    -sigh- the signs of such change seem to be popping up…in lots of places -except- for the USA. I think its…more because of an incredibly sick culture, a culture that has become so sick that the institutions are fueling more sickness, not maintaining any sort of stability. Also worth noting…

    even “liberals” (“what does that -mean- ?) in the US seem to think that a return to the older versions of the state hospital system is somehow…”humane,” possibly even “progressive.” ugh. sick culture…not everyone, all over, just…

    far, far too many of us. Maybe its the (possibly intended?) result of Reagan-omics? -eek-

  • this…honestly, is somewhat painful for me.

    Reading things like this…from well-intentioned psychiatrists…makes me realize: the system really is the problem. That is -not- to excuse the many, many sinister individuals I have encountered (and I imagine many, many others have, too) over the years. However…

    this sort of material humanizes “the other side” of the guild vs psychiatrized divide.

    I cannot imagine why someone would complete an MD or DO, and then go into psychiatry. I’ll write that here, because…its true. Honestly. Other specialties seem to provide decent care without the non-stop destruction that the mental health industry unleashes, all over the world. And yet…

    -some- people in the mental health industry are well-intentioned. Sometimes, I think others start out well-intentioned, young-ish and perhaps idealistic or…something…

    and then…the system gets them, too. That’s the best, most compassionate explanation my survivor mind has been able to come up with. And then, what? masters degree, phd…in the talking section…DO/MD plus residency for the shrinks…

    money and time and years and years and…what to do? where to go? Can’t escape the industry, try to revamp it? speak out against the worst crimes, sometimes? of course…

    again, speaking as a survivor…I do my best to extend compassion to the human beings who are in a position to label, drug, shock, and destroy human beings and families…

    the system is -far- worse for the labeled, for the drugged, for those who survive only to find a world turned ever more hostile towards them/us…

    -because- of the mental health industry. so, there’s that.

    Perhaps going into family medicine would be a good option? Honestly, I think just about any and every specialty -except- for psychiatry contributes to the common good.

  • a licensed doctor who has her own understanding of the current medical literature is told to undergo a psych evaluation because she applies her understanding to prescribe some (legal) prescription medications “off label,” which is a legal practice in the US. what does this mean, really? well, let’s ask Captain Obvious…

    the issue at hand is controlling behavior. her behavior is -not- criminal, and it seems no one has even pursued a lawsuit or anything. This (apparently, brilliant) doctor’s behavior is unwanted and/or unacceptable to those with more power than her, to those with authority over her…

    bring in the shrinks. going back to Szasz (who else is there to turn to, in cases such as this?), one is reminded: psychiatry is an -antidemocratic- form of social control. “Medicalization of deviance,” etc.

    ugh. and so it goes… 🙁

  • shock “treatment” is just…deliberately inflicted brain damage masquerading as “medical treatment.” Problem? the same is true of psychiatric “treatment,” in general (Szasz, of course).

    I do find it rather…horrifying, honestly…to see the shrinks’ reactions to anyone daring to question any aspect of their profession. As a former “patient,” I remember seeing a shrink’s face turn bright, bright red…then he started muttering, under his breath, wrote an Rx in record speed, had me out the door…because I brought up an incident in which I had a seizure from rapid benzodiazepine discontinuation. that’s…established in the medical literature basically from day 1, with Librium. But OK. OK.

    Even other professionals within the guild face all kinds of hell on earth for daring to dissent. If I recall correctly, Szasz didn’t become the outspoken, brilliant critic of psychiatry until he had secured tenure. Bills to pay, same as everybody else.

    I am thankful that the shock guidelines in the UK are facing scrutiny, thankful for the conflict and controversy. and yet…

    “where the rubber hits the road…,” something tells me that nothing short of the abolition of psychiatry — both involuntary (again, Szasz) and what passes for “voluntary” — will bring about true, lasting “progress” for humanity. 🙂

  • good information, thank you 🙂 .

    my own experience has been that social class is a -huge- issue in all aspects of the mental health industry. in the talking section, one has to be “good enough” for talking treatments. “Good enough” is based on a number of predictable variables (social class, education level, age, gender, race, sexual orientation), but also on some factors that I think are harder to discern in large studies, such as…

    level of vulnerability. an affluent individual who wants some sort of talking treatment, has resources and good insurance is far less vulnerable than an affluent individual with a history of…drug use, hospitalizations, labels, any criminal/legal entanglements, facing divorce, that sort of thing. basically…

    my personal, limited experience has been that the talking experts will rip vulnerable people to shreds, given the chance. labels, gaslighting, over-billing, fraud, referrals to prescribers..

    and the ones they cannot rip to shreds are often simply coddled and over-billed. 🙂

  • ugh. Psychiatrists are bad enough, all by themselves. Add in the work a day “real” (?) doctors who commit acts of psychiatry, usually with no repercussions, and…

    ugh. done. stick a fork in me, done. I -am- thankful that the “antidepressants,” in particular, are being targeted for serious review and debunking. On the one hand, one can argue (as I do) that the various neuroleptics — “atypical,” doesn’t matter — are more damaging. This is true. But…

    the 31 flavors of “antidepressants” are doled out, left and right, to all sorts of people for any and every “problem” imaginable. one problem I have, now? looking back…the family doctors, in particular, know what the “antidepressants” are all about. they’re also the worst offenders on pushing them on vulnerable and/or low status people (read: “weaklings”) and if things don’t pan out…

    refer to some noxious “mental health professional” who gives them kick backs and regular updates on the destruction of the “patient.” ugh.

    also worth noting: the “antidepressants” are often step 1 to the total and complete destruction of individuals and families. 16-20 years old, some flavor “antidepressant.” labels, additional pills, labels, incapacitation…

    5-10 years later, the individual — if alive — may very well be an impoverished psychiatric casualty. thanks, doc. 🙁

  • as a survivor/”trouble maker” (the shrinks’ term, not mine…), I have seen and heard how very well aware the psychiatrists and lower level members of the psych guild are of “social determinants” of distress and such…

    and I’ve seen and heard, first hand, how -very- little they…care. at all. at the time, young as I was, I found it…horrifying, I suppose? I had this sickening sense that I’d been conned in with smiling faces and repeat prescriptions for mother’s little helpers and uppers…

    only to be laughed at and ridiculed by the “helping professions” after they had ripped me to shreds. and now…

    I find that there is no worldly escape from 21st century psychiatry, in my situation. my life is meaningful and good, but that’s all despite the mental health industry, not because of their cynical death trap con game. what’s left, in my situation, seems to be an oddly similar…corresponding?…version of the med check money hungry shrink’s story the author quoted in parts of this (well-written, excellent) article…

    play the game. my situation is somewhat unique, at least…for the psychiatrized/”mental patients” in my area, at this time. so, I engage in DSM theater on a “voluntary outpatient” basis, as infrequently as I can. for a time, I felt…despite my previous experiences, despite my everything…”bad” or…something. I chose to ignore the “bad/non-compliant” junk and…move forward. and now…

    I do think “non-compliance” is often the best “treatment” for the psychiatrized. In many respects, I think it can also be the most…genuinely saddening, truly disillusioning. None of the guild who wield the prescription pad genuinely “care,” and even the cursory smiles and light weight conversation at med checks can become…worrisome, because of my understanding of who these “professionals” really are, what they do, what they have done to other “patients,” what they would likely do to me, given the chance. nothing personal, etc.

    excellent article, as always. on a personal note, as I pray and reflect upon the possibility of a true, genuine exit, and mull my options over doing my best in life, right now…

    I find Dr.Hickey’s materials especially helpful.

  • i found that very high dose supplementation (in my case, modified, DIY Orthomolecular) helped facilitate my path to freedom, with a surprising side benefit of improved overall physical health. others prefer herbs, amino acids, on and on and on…

    just a random suggestion. i enjoy your writing. 🙂

  • jumping in too late to say anything brilliant and/or unique, but…

    Psychiatry is evil. I think because I am a Christian, I feel more comfortable saying that now than I did in years pre-faith. Not that others cannot say it and mean it, not that people in other belief systems cannot call psychiatry evil with the same level of clarity and such, just…

    yeah. for me, church-free Christianity has freed my mind to see the evil in all things mental health-related. pop psychology, self help, personality tests, counseling, “Biblical” counseling, psychotherapy, and of course…

    Psychiatry. ugh. I find it difficult to understand how a sociologist could, somehow, view over 3 decades of rampant, socially- and legally-enforced wholesale destruction as a “failure.” Clearly, if psychiatry has been on a nationwide killing spree for 3 decades, this is not a “failure,” it is — as other posters have rightly pointed out, already — quite the success story. ugh.

    Reagan was called by some a “friendly fascist,” something similar…and they were -not- wrong. My best guess (keep in mind; I’m only 2 cups of coffee in, lol) is that the “trickle down,” no such thing as “society,” up by your boot straps! – mentality did not radically change psychiatry, so much as it took off the softer, more seemingly humane fuzzy edges that had been put in place in decades past, back when the psychiatric guild thought it best to pretend to care about the common good and individuals caught in their clutches. and then…

    yeah, Reagan, apparently. Thatcher, too. Clinton’s Orwellian “welfare reform,” etc. Thing is…

    Psychiatry was already evil. Psychiatry has been evil since day -1- . Psychiatry cannot be “reformed” because it is -evil- . I once thought that the talking people in the mental health industry were not evil, possibly even occasionally good, mostly just useless. No…no, no, no. The whole industry is -evil- , and psychiatry is so unbelievably, nauseatingly -evil- that the latest epidemic of mental health is probably going to end -very badly- , not just for the US, but for the whole, wide world. Starts out with the psych guilds gaining popularity as a band aid for faltering, sometimes failing societies…

    predictably, the psych guilds will then use their power to damage the individuals, families, communities, and whole societies they claim to “help.” ugh. 🙁

  • I think…honestly, my -own personal- approach has been to do my best to build a life as a human being who happens to be burdened by a serious psych label. ever read Stigma, by Goffman? brilliant stuff, really. in all likelihood, my labels and lies, etc. will outlive me. I choose not to engage the “mad” vs “severely mentally ill,” etc. so much as…

    do what I can, with the resources I have at my disposal, despite the labels. Each individual is different, to some extent. In my own situation — and I also think my outlook as a fairly traditional (but not “conservative”) Christian plays a strong role in this — I choose to see the psych labels/lies as more lies from a fallen world that is filled with lying liars, anyway.

    on a day to day basis, I guess I can say…I see the social and legal fiction of “mental illness” at play around me, every day. And yet…

    In large part because of my faith, I do believe in absolute truth. To that end, I do not and cannot “believe” in psychiatry anymore than I can believe in any other false religion. 🙂

  • this ties in nicely with Szasz’s characterization of psychiatry (maybe the talking parts of the mental health guild, too?) as a religion. Not only is psychiatry a religion, in Szasz’s view, it is a “false religion” that both competes with and undermines real religions (I’m thinking those would be the ones that actually contribute to the common good for the masses). and so…

    I do think limiting the scope of the “debunking” to psychiatry and friends’ roles in -capitalist- (especially neoliberal) economies very much…misses the point, as another poster has already explained. The USSR had notorious “psycho-prisons” for dissidents labeled with whatever flavor of “schizophrenia” (I seem to recall reading that “sluggish schizophrenia” was a USSR specialty, but I could be mistaken) and then confined and drugged. China currently uses their psychiatric establishment to further oppress minority groups, when the powers that be feel so inclined. Cuba’s health system has an extensive mental health component, as well.

    Psychiatry is all about slavery and social control. The religious aspects are secondary, but significant, nonetheless. The pills-a-go go approach to “mental health” that is apparently the norm all over the world in the 21st century drives up costs, risks, and results in death from all sorts of causes on a regular basis. My hope is that at the -obvious- damage that “mental health treatment” causes individuals, families, and entire societies will one day lead to the abolition of psychiatry. to paraphrase Szasz, once again: psychiatry cannot be reformed. It must be abolished. 🙂

  • thanks so much for this…a quality mix of direct quotes and some thoughtful analysis. much appreciated.

    and yet…not to play the part of Debbie Downer and/or Bummer Bob, but…I do hope and think that these changes may very well be implemented all over, in places…that are -not- the United States. 🙁

    I don’t know what the “deal” with US psychiatry is, honestly. I’m not one to complain lots about “US culture,” per se, its just…wow. wow. FDA says “please put a warning label on ‘antidepressants’ about a possible suicide risk,” and organized US psychiatry says “you’re killing them! you’re killing the children!”

    that’s just -1- example. maybe its the neoliberalism that’s taken over since the 70s or so…and is now threating to turn fascist? sick societies=sick people, and neoliberalism has definitely sickened US culture, at all strata. Plus…now that the only people who really “matter” are those in the top 20% or so…why even bother pretending to be the least bit compassionate? -nobody cares-

    and yet…”keep hope alive,” etc. 🙂

  • i don’t see how pursuing a career in the mental health industry as a psychiatric survivor could be beneficial. I suppose having a salaried position with job stability is the only real perk I can think of…admittedly, that’s a huge one. Other than that…

    the industry itself is dedicated to enslaving anyone they can. to top it off, the entire industry — from the prominent psychiatrists who write books and offer their lies/”expert opinions” on TV on down to the counselors barely scraping by working in public/community mental health clinics — is based in fraud, deception, control, and violence. and yet…

    one can see the appeal of wanting to change/reform a system, I suppose. Obviously, it does not help that the stigma of psych labels and “treatment” are difficult to escape, and I think the level of difficulty is actually greater, now, than it was in decades past. Neoliberalism, maybe?

    To paraphrase Szasz, once again: the mental health industry cannot be reformed. It must be abolished. 🙂

  • thanks for this and all your other work. seriously. I live in the US, where direc to consumer drug ads have been legal for a while (maybe 20 years, now?), and the (highly profitable) pill for every ill outlook is more or less inescapable. Your work is…not to be cliche or anything, but…truly, a breath of fresh air (and much needed honesty, of course).

    I just wanted to jump in and say that psych drug discontinuation is a tricky business, indeed. What strikes me, having somehow survived it in years past, is the cruelty of psychiatrists. I don’t doubt that family doctors make mistakes, but with the psychiatrists, it is truly cruel, sometimes to the point of true sadism. rapid tapers of high potency benzodiazepines, for instance. My own opinion is that this is not any sort of ignorance on the psychiatrist’s part, it is, rather, yet another example of deliberately inflicted pain and harm by pseudo-doctors.

    as a side note: I have personally found high dose supplementation (inspired by old school Orthomolecular) quite helpful in facilitating psych drug discontinuation. In the older literature, one reads about MDs prescribing (often surprisingly low, given the era) doses of neuroleptics alongside vitamin therapy. The more modern literature I have come across is surprisingly honest in their assessment of neuroleptics (in particular) as damaging and the potential for careful supplementation to save people/’patients’ from an early grave, ongoing disability, etc.

    Thanks, yet again. 🙂

  • the mental health industry is destructive and deadly, on both individual and social levels. to that end, I personally do not care to talk to a “professional,” nor do I care to take their neurotoxins. Having survived “treatment,” by the grace of God, my personal approach is to avoid mental health, inc. and also encourage others to do the same. and then…

    as many other posters have pointed out, suicide is a social problem, not a psychological or psychiatric one. This has been evident since the 19th century, when Durkheim did a (now classic) study on suicide. and yet…

    perhaps -not- surprisingly, mental health, inc. demands more and more funding to “treat” more and more individuals suffering from the fall out of social and economic problems…

    and instead of dealing with the core problems — the woes of neoliberalism, social disintegration, the collapse of many families and communities, on and on and on — the powers that be are all too happy to jump on the “mental health awareness” bandwagon. and why shouldn’t they be?

    providing daily bread, adequate housing, health care, legal rights, and fostering the (re)development of community are all potentially do-able…

    but not under the current neoliberal nightmare, not even under a patched up neoliberal system. some data has indicated that the level of inequality and stratification in the US, in particular, is damaging to people all over the socioeconomic spectrum. how could it not be? perhaps, one day this society — and others, too — will see real, meaningful change towards a society that is more humane, less sick and sickening. in the meantime…

    mental health, inc. is providing a band-aid, I guess. not for the people “in treatment,” but we/they are not the problem, after all. my concern is that the latest epidemic of “mental health” will never be stopped, not even contained; rather, this ‘epidemic’ seems to have the potential to grow and grow, ensnaring more and more people in psych slavery. 🙁

  • thank you for your work. The thing about psychiatry is…

    they know what they’re doing. I’m not arguing for a bunch of evil geniuses, cackling with glee over all their victims’, but…

    they know what they’re doing. the same drugs that a shrink pushed on you (and so many others, so generalized ‘you,’ of course) for ‘depression’ or perhaps ‘anxiety’ the same psychiatrist (or a colleague, blah blah blah) pushed on a working class kid with an attitude for ‘oppositional defiant disorder,’ or perhaps a poor non-white kid in juvenile detention, foster care…for ‘conduct disorder,’ or simply to make them more manageable.’

    the same psychiatrist who smiles and has the warmth and professionalism for a respectable person/patient with good insurance or the means to go to a self-pay/cash-pay doctor has, in all likelihood, deliberately destroyed low(er) status people. drugged them, ignored TD, toxic cocktails, over billing, on and on and on…

    and that’s just the pills. shock ‘treatments…’ how many victims of shock did my previous psych have a hand in destroying? operations? those are supposed to be rare, now…I”m not so sure, honestly.

    on and on and on it goes. Mental Health, Inc. is a dangerous industry filled with dangerous, deceptive individuals. I highly doubt most ‘professionals’ in the industry (the talking ones, the pill pushing ones…doesn’t matter, really…) have any interest in the truth, except in cases where they can bend the truth and make more money, get more power, etc. at a larger level, this leads me back to Szasz (again) who writes that psychiatry cannot be reformed; it must be abolished. some things never change….

  • my best guess (?) is that ‘patients’ who come in with sufficient leverage (education, social class, overall clout…probably helps to be male, heterosexual, and white…) can ‘haggle’ with the shrinks. before I managed to get over it (and get over myself, to be perfectly honest), I was able to haggle. To my credit, I wasn’t haggling for anything amazing or euphoric, just…fewer drugs, lower doses, less toxic pills. ok. that’s where I was, not too long ago, so…I sort of ‘get’ your position, to a certain extent. and yet…

    personally…where I am now…I don’t want to ‘haggle’ or ‘be my own psychiatrist’ any more than I want to cooperate in any other form of oppression, slavery (Szasz), or slow-motion (self) destruction. over it, thanks.

  • to basically steal from Szasz, yet again…

    psych ‘treatment’ changes more based on…dogma, funding, social factors, economic factors, and…did I mention funding?

    I think this includes the doctors who engage in acts of psychiatry, while (thankfully…) contributing to society by specializing in…wait for it, wait for it…-real medicine- .

    i highly doubt educating affluent, well-educated, powerful guild members in an effort to encourage restraint will do…much, of anything, at all. based on the history of uppers by prescription…and quaaludes…and barbiturates…and the neuroleptics…

    expensive, publicized lawsuits, license revocations, perhaps putting Dr.Speedy McSpeedball in prison (and televising it) -might- help…

    with controlled substances — especially with the mental health guild– legislation is crucial. the US love affair (middle class and up, mostly white) with ‘pep pills’ and ‘goof balls’ and…on and on and on…didn’t start to truly fade until ritalin and the amphetamines were put in Schedule II in 1970. even then…

    the decade of coke and downers for those with sufficient means and inclination had -already begun- . I’m guessing that, with the myth of ‘ADD/ADHD’ firmly entrenched, even in the real medical specialties that do, in fact, -know better- , one might expect a drop in prescribed uppers…

    when some new, ‘safe! effective!’ treatments come out, preferably on patent and with a glitzy marketing campaign. then, expect to hear that Speed Kills! (again), till…

    next time. 🙁

  • how wonderful to see more honesty about tapering arguably the -worst- class of psych drugs…

    from way over in the UK, lol. I am thankful that slow, gradual, steady tapering of the neuroleptics/major tranquilizers is -finally- gaining traction, in ‘expert’ circles, as a possible maneuver…

    i live in the us. if thy psych drug doth offend thee…ask about another one! add on, switch, something just as needed, maybe you were misdiagnosed and need a different 3-5 drug cocktail? on and and on and on..

    meanwhile, the ‘recovery model’ has been incredibly ’empowering…’ to all the -wrong- people. i don’t know if it is the nature of the mental health industry, or if its the mix of mental health + US socioeconomic factors, but…

    ‘the asylum without walls’ is here, and it is frightening. 🙁

  • Szasz writes — probably in The myth of mental illness — that psychiatric ‘treatment’ is deliberately inflicted brain damage. drugs, shock, operations, what have you…brain damage is -the core- of ‘somatic treatments’ in psychiatry.

    factor in medicare payouts for elderly ladies, the money to be made by everyone involved in the ‘treatment team,’ and the short-term ‘benefits’ (read: confused, compliant people…perfect, by psych standards…), and it becomes abundantly clear that psychiatry is psychiatry is psychiatry…

    and psychiatry cannot be reformed; it must be abolished (again, Szasz). 🙂

  • I’d be interested to know what kind of support networks the different groups had going, income and social class measures, etc. thing is…

    a “Schizophrenic” with extensive support from a family in the top 20% or above may very well be able to taper off the tranquilizer and find an ‘exit’ from mental health, inc…

    while a person with ‘psychotic depression’ with no outside support and few resources may very well be stuck in the ‘sick role,’ indefinitely. and at a personal level, someone with few resources, no outside support may not be able to drop the tranquilizer as easily (at all?).

  • szasz, of course, is correct; involuntary acts of psychiatry must be outlawed

    as a side note, the for profit confinement centers are notorious for whole new levels of fraud and deception. the cchr has been involved in a number of cases in the US, one of which shuttered a number of for profit ‘facilities.’

    until psychiatry — ‘voluntary’ and involuntary — can be abolished, educating the public is probably the best way to protect more people. educating people on the enormous costs of psychiatry and friends, along with the incredible amounts of suffering caused by the industry, would probably be a good step. 🙂

  • at a practical level, this might be…”progress” ? professional manipulators using a softer form of social control vs the open, honest brutality one often gets from cops?

    either way, curbing unwanted behavior, controlling unwanted people is the goal…maybe this is cheaper, over the long haul? and yet…

    jail, prison, mental ‘hospitals…’ are places of punitive confinement, but their purpose is (fairly) clear, obvious. the ‘expert’ abuse of language is a (potentially) less punitive means to the same end, but then the bars, the locks…are placed -within- the individual. strikes me as dangerous, personally.

  • interesting article. it reminds me of some Szasz, in which he compares psychiatry to both religions (a false religion that infiltrates and undermines real, established religions, if I recall correctly) and to the Inquisition.

    I don’t know that “cult” is the best term…perhaps dangerous form of slavery and social control, masquerading as medicine while using pseudo-spiritual terminology (“healing” — how often do we hear -that one- , in today’s society?) to entrap and destroy…well, these days, it would seem pretty much anyone the industry can grab a hold of, at all. 🙁 but what to call it? false religion is good. cult sort of implies that there’s a charismatic leader at the center of all this, and I don’t see one. And yet…

    psychiatry is more dangerous than any cult I can think of, just off the top of my head. Don’t want to “drink the Kool-Aid” ? too bad. they’ll get a judge to sign an order permitting a nurse to inject you with the Kool Aid. 🙁

  • “informed psychiatric care without stigma” ?

    what else do people want? world peace? an end to poverty? not to be snarky (OK, maybe a bit…), but…not going to happen. ever.

    as sam plover already posted, “informed psychiatric care without stigma,” for -anyone- , is not only a pipe dream, such “care” runs counter to what the mental health industry is really about. stigma is a huge weapon in psychiatry’s arsenal (I’d argue the same goes for counseling, psychotherapy…any sort of ‘mental health treatment,’ really). stigmatizing people for power and profit is a core part of psychiatry’s function in society, -any- society, anywhere. always has been, always will be.

  • I think it is Szasz who writes something to the effect that psychiatry (Szasz being…Szasz…he, of course, means involuntary psychiatry) cannot be reformed. It must be abolished.

    I do not have any sort of “problem” with this psychiatrist, but…I don’t think psychiatry, as a field, can be made into anything genuinely “helpful,” much less meaningful…and definitely, never ever, in any way shape or form, can psychiatry somehow magically re-work itself into becoming a valid branch of medicine.

    At an individual level, I am glad that this particular psychiatrist has chosen what seems to be a less toxic, less dangerous way of doing business. However, at best, that is harm reduction, and this individual psychiatrist’s pursuit of a less abusive, less damaging sort of psychiatry makes her and those like her in the field…

    exceptions who prove the rule. 🙁

  • thank you for the contribution.

    having said that, i do wonder…why bother with psychiatry, as a career? family medicine/general practice, maybe? dermatology? pain management, even? options…lots of them…

    nothing against this retired psychiatrist, btw. i can see being young and thinking that this is somehow a way to improve lives, maybe even help society, especially in the 50s and 60s (you know, back when society was a “thing,” before it became just individuals, all at each others’ throats…).

    i’ve seen how even the same clinic, the same talking person, the same psychiatrist…can put on a song and dance when one has leverage, good insurance, ‘good family…’

    and then when the insurance is out, the family is estranged, no leverage…the mask comes off.

    and then when the mask goes back on…some social theater, just suspend your disbelief…forget what came before…

    at a larger level, the many guises of psychiatry…tea and sympathy for the troubled; compassion for the suffering; confinement for the ‘dangerous and ill,’ etc…

    cover up the 2 core functions: social control and slavery. 🙂

  • ugh. psychiatry is the same, perhaps just sneakier, and there’s more and more of it in today’s epidemic of psychiatry.

    critics of psychiatry are always criticized (at the very least), often punished, because psychiatry is an enforcement arm for society, above all else. the power vested in the hacks and their ideology is immense, and victims and dissidents are silenced and demonized.

  • thank you for this, Dr.Moncrieff. well-written, succinct, and well-researched. 🙂

    as a “consumer” / “client” / “mental patient,” I find there are times when I yearn for a real, honest to goodness asylum. A place of respite, of protection…from a hostile, cut throat society. Is there such a place, now? Was there ever, really and truly?

    The asylum system Dr.Moncrieff describes seems to stem from a genuine sort of noblesse oblige, and I would assume also from a value system of a bygone era, one marked by far more cohesion and stability than the anomic, disintegrating world that neoliberalism has brought us.

    I am thankful that Dr.Moncrieff and her colleagues have taken the time to do thorough research and offer a more nuanced, thoughtful perspective on the asylum than those of their predecessors.

    Could modern society revive the asylum system, most likely in a modified form? Perhaps. Where I live, all the ‘experts’ emphasize ‘recovery’ and ‘the recovery model.’ Truth? I don’t think the US will throw the poor and working classes crumbs at this point, much less a clean, safe, quiet place of retreat from the neoliberal nightmare. Should an asylum system take hold in these United States, it will, in all likelihood simply mirror an increasingly unjust, harsh, inhumane society. No, thank you.

    I appreciate Dr.Moncrieff’s disillusioned reflection upon the rather dismal rates of recovery from Schizophrenia. Is “Schizophrenia” even…real? Honestly, at a personal level, I don’t care. Sometimes, the mind breaks. The mind can break towards what they call ‘mania,’ and then the chances of (re)joining mainstream society are favorable. When the mind breaks in the way that they call “Schizophrenia,” then one’s chances of such a (re)integration are low. Perhaps a humane, livable asylum would prove an ideal situation, both for those in the asylum and for society, as a whole.

  • more quality research out of the UK. 🙂

    what I like (personally) : the ill effects of poverty are being taken more seriously by those in power, those with resources, those with credentials.

    what I don’t like (personally) : its the damn psych establishment, again. poverty is bad because now the ‘experts’ say so, and they’ve run their fancy tests to make it a health issue.

    I’d really like to see poverty presented (again) as a moral issue, and also a social problem. If the end results are more and better anti-poverty programs and maybe, just maybe a thorough analysis of the horrors of neoliberalism, then…perhaps, as a practical matter, getting the psych-brigade involved will prove to be beneficial. having said that…

    what’s wrong with society, now, that people cannot just say poverty is morally repugnant and unacceptable, especially in affluent nations?

  • thank you for this, Leah Harris. Seriously. 🙂

    to me, remembering this former candidate’s mental health plan is important because…it shows what the elites want, really. not just the psych industry, not just the families, but those higher up, those who make big, big decisions for the 99+/- % of us in the USA, day in+day out.

    so, apparently, draconian and ineffective measures– by ‘ineffective’ I mean policies that further damage the quality of life for ‘the least of these’ in these United States– have broad support in DC. E. Fuller Torrey and friends are helping frame the discussion, so common sense and the voices of those actually affected are effectively silenced.

    I hope+pray the psych laws swing towards something more humane, less…oppressive and cruel. But then again, Szasz pointed out (in one of his many, many books on the subject…) that the psych guilds are pseudo-medical specialties that deal in lies, stigma, and–here’s the big one– social control.

    my best -guess- is that this oppression, couched in self-serving jargon and mystification, is not limited to the psychiatrized or the disabled, and unless something is done about out of control inequality, pockets of deep poverty, wage stagnation, the decimation of the middle-middle class and the concentration of inordinate amounts of wealth into ever fewer hands…

    more and more people will find themselves in some sort of under-class, kept under control by increasingly harsh, even violent, methods. again, my best -guess- is that the psych guilds will be there, drugs and lies and labels and all, to ‘help’ the under-classes, no matter the official category (felons, probationers, welfare recipients, drug users, etc.). power is power, after all.

    the current epidemic of psychiatry seems to be the most frightening one, yet. 🙁

  • i beg to differ. ‘antidepressants’ -are- amazingly effective!

    Prescribing real drugs to treat faux disorders is profitable for professionals and drug companies. Society as a whole benefits by pretending that perfectly understandable reactions to unbearable conditions is a “treatable disorder,” and therefore the answer is more emphasis on ‘treatment,’ not figuring out what the hell is going wrong, with everybody (and their mama) on ‘antidepressants.’

    oh, and…the pills shut people up. If that doesn’t work…add more pills. Even if they ditch the pills, they’ve been silenced by psych ‘treatment,’ since the records will -never- be destroyed.

  • psych-guilds…

    manifest functions — ‘treatment of mental illness,’ especially ‘severe mental illness.’ (re)integrating the afflicted/’sick’ person into society, or perhaps providing ‘long term care,’ when appropriate.

    latent functions — control. punishing outliers, misfits, the poor and working classes, non-whites, non-males. creation+control of a (growing) under-class. profit. infiltrating and subverting the major social institutions (education, family, religion, etc.).

    this is mostly lifted from Szasz, of course. I think his last book is Psychiatry: the science of lies, or something to that affect. An industry built upon lies might be expected to flourish–with enough gov’t cash infusions, social support, etc.– in ‘sick’ (anomic, violent, disintegrating) societies. Societies that are not as ‘sick’ probably have less use for such an industry.

  • Psychology and psychiatry are more powerful, and therefore more damaging to more people, than when The Myth of Mental Illness was first published. Some random thoughts from me…

    1) religions are designed to deal with distress, provide guidance, now and then tangible assistance to followers. I suppose in a postmodern, highly secularized era Mental Health, Inc. is the state-sponsored religion all are expected to follow (?), and…

    2) this doesn’t sound so much like a “revolution in mental health” as it does a shift in the methods of control Mental Health, Inc. uses to keep the misfits+outliers+troubled+just about anybody under control. Fewer pills, more talk. so, I’m thinking…

    3) this is probably also something of a power grab, disguised as a “revolution.” Mental Health, Inc. in charge of ‘education provision,’ handling the financial needs of the poor and working classes…

    with the goal, it seems, of taking the current Therapeutic State up several notches.

    Ideally, Mental Health, Inc. should be somehow put out of business. At a practical level, the industry seems to grow ever more powerful, year by year. Perhaps a softer touch is the best that one can realistically expect, at this point, at least for society as a whole.

    ‘within the velvet glove lies the iron fist’ 🙁

  • I honestly sometimes wonder if psychiatry is straight up evil. I seem to recall reading that Dr.Breggin came to the conclusion that it may very well be evil, so its not just me. deal is…

    I’m a Christian, right? Right. I don’t vote GOP or hate people, so a lot of people don’t think I’m a Christian. But…deal is…a part of traditional Christianity (you know, before the shrinks infiltrated) is a belief that there is also an evil one, and he has lots of underlings. I don’t get too into all that, because I’m focused on forgiveness and love, but…

    psychiatry strikes me as evil, or at least…wicked, filled with people who lie, lie, lie all the time…they lie. The whole industry is based on lies and destruction of anyone and anything they come into contact with, and that’s been the case since -day 1- . the affluent could pay for their ne’er do wells to be kept at Bedlam, for instance. Remember “drapetomania,” the “disease” that made slaves desire freedom? It isn’t just the US and it isn’t even just capitalist societies, either…psychiatry in China is wicked and cruel, psychiatry in the USSR was notoriously sinister…

    wicked. wicked, sometimes evil, almost always mediocre, at best…that, I think, describes most of the worker bees in mental health, inc. the industry itself is downright diabolical.

  • to be fair to psychiatry, the medical establishment as a whole is rather authoritarian. i don’t know what goes on in other developed nations, but here in the US, there’s been some research on violence within the medical system–apparently, physical aggression towards people lower on the totem pole is an issue. and…

    for all this talk of care and compassion, profit is the name of the game. just look at the rise of ‘concierge medicine.’

    but with psychiatry–which is not real medicine, although they do make heavy use of real drugs– I have come to think that the answer is abolition, honestly. the costs, the damage to human beings, the damage to the legal system and even education and religion…

    too, too much. I do not think voluntary psychiatry should even be allowed. i do not think the talking guilds that usually work with psychiatry should be allowed to continue, either.

  • i agree with PD. No doubt, Open Dialogue may prove less harmful, to some people, in some respects…

    that’s not saying much. I think of it as applying the ‘harm reduction model’ to Mental Health, Inc. perhaps better in some respects, for some people…

    not a viable long term solution. I also think this is dangerous, because one speaks of a “democratic atmosphere” in Mental Health, Inc., and…

    that is not possible. It’d be like a Jewish Eucharist or an atheist mass. psychiatry -is- a human rights abuse, after all.

    I do (obviously) think the distressed need “help.” “Help” often means…real healthcare, money, freedom, a voice. Real “help” scares the “helping professions…”

    because they’re really just in existence to “help” the powers that be. 🙂

  • as much as I’d love to disagree with this…

    I cannot.

    “Healing” and “recovery” are part of the secular faith that I’m beginning to realize most people believe in, even when their own experiences and those of people close to them run counter to dogma drilled into us from all angles. Even what remains of the old religious institutions have been largely infiltrated by Mental Health, Inc.

    A journey out of and away from Mental Health, Inc. is a lonely experience, indeed.

  • i enjoyed reading this…the author’s perspective should be valued. debated, perhaps, but…valued, nonetheless.

    I’m torn between thinking that many (most? all?) stories of ‘recovery’ are really psych survivor stories, edited and retold by the same Mental Health, Inc. that caused much (sometimes all…) of the troubles in the first place….and then thinking…

    well, people have always gone batshit crazy insane. Some people could come to function in their communities, some got new jobs, such as shaman or witch or…anyway, others were disposed of, left to wander the streets in never ending pain and social rejection. so…

    for now, is reforming Mental Health, inc. perhaps the best step, for most of the mad? if they say ‘hooray! you’re in recovery!,’ is it best to stop and debunk, or is it actually best to…go along with this rather absurd social theater?

    i really don’t know. and if recovery and the recovery segment of Mental Health, inc.=jobs/careers for some and also=more humane experiences in Mental Health, Inc…

    that’s a worthwhile use of time and resources, right?

  • I am thankful for your work in this area. 🙂

    Having said that…oppression and control are the name of the game at community mental health centers all over the nation. where I live…well, funding for hospitalization has been shredded, so the emphasis on outpatient treatment -can- mean the person/patient/consumer/? has more bargaining power, sometimes. other times, it just means…more olanzapine, depakote, trazadone cocktails, with the threat of court orders lingering over many peoples’ heads.

    i guess im just…not convinced that mental health, inc. can be reformed. i think in some places, where the variables are in alignment, it can happen (less rabidly ‘conservative,’ funding for alternatives, legal aid to the people/patients/consumers, a vocal subgroup interested in reform…), but…

    speaking for many of the “Severely mentally ill” in 21st century America…

    on a day to day basis, the best I can do is to just…do me, and pray+plan for a quiet, graceful exit.

  • im so happy she’s running. seriously. no, she won’t win. but as long as she’s in the race…she gets media attention, and what she says piques interest in a good % of people. Now, she’s widely regarded as “crazy,” “stay on your meds, hahaha,” but who knows? 10, 20 years from now…her ideas might be implemented, with a “respectable” candidate behind putting “kooky” ideas into practice. or not. for all I know, the US might be a neo-fascist rogue state 20 years from now, run by psychiatrists, corporations, and the Southern Baptist Convention. Time will tell…

    she is correct, of course. there are some people who swear up and down that ‘antidepressants’ (the term is ridiculous, btw) make life…(more) live-able. and large, the pills are thrown out there to shut people up and to give the ‘cruel compassion’ of ‘treatment’ to more and more (and more…) people. it is worth noting, of course, that the ‘antidepressants’ are the current ‘quick fix,’ I guess kind of like Librium or Valium back in the day, but on a wider scale (and with so many new flavors!), but…

    remember Szasz…Psychiatry is the science of -lies- , and any MD, DO, or nurse practitioner who dishes out psych drugs is trying their hand at psychiatry, and is therefore…lying. “atypical antipsychotics” are also used to shut people up, especially lower status, more vulnerable populations. I’ve seen controlled substances used both to shut people up and to keep people/’patients’ coming back (private practice), and then used as a tool of control (bad behavior: bye bye, xanax…less often: good behavior…hello, Adderall).

    i dont expect Marianne Williamson to destroy psychiatry, or even…try. I’m just delighted that she’s gotten this far, complete with media attention. 🙂

  • Pope John Paul II wrote a good bit about what he termed “The Culture of Death,” and the way this death culture was taking over and destroying much of modern culture. I read some of what he wrote, then I visited the cchr website, where they discuss psychiatry as “the Industry of Death,” or something similar, and…

    I see overlap, obviously. Psychiatrists start patients off on a downward spiral and then see them off to death itself on a regular basis. Sometimes, the death is “natural causes,” but hastened by psych drugging. Other times, the death is suicide, often with prescribed drugs or in part because of altered states induced by Rx treatment. And then…

    the unfortunate ones who end up destitute, broken, severely brain damaged -but still alive- often seem to end up homeless, in jail, or in prison. Maybe more ‘progressive’ states use the state hospital, but where I live, the state hospital has somehow become a place where only extreme cases go, unless there’s a good lawyer involved…and I think my state is fairly typical in that regard.

    we do live in a sick society (I’m speaking of the US here). But…the witch doctors are making us all ever more sick and truly destroyed, for filthy lucre’s sake.

    When does it stop? Will it stop?

    I think one reason I have difficulty imagining myself organizing with other ex-patients/survivors, etc. is because…we’re a silenced bunch, already. Especially for those of us who have survived and overcome severe treatment and all that junk, the powers that be get angry when we use our voices, raise our voices, God forbid yell…

    because the whole point is to shut us up, isn’t it?

  • well written, thorough, and…well done, is what I’m getting at, Dr.Burstow.

    i read, somewhere, that the word “radical” originally dealt with roots (I hope I didn’t pick that up from some of your previous articles, obviously). and…in today’s ‘post-truth,’ (probably deliberately) dumbed down and drugged up world…

    getting to the root of just about any issue, institution, belief system, etc. is…”radical,” indeed.

    thanks for the ‘radical’ examination of eugenics and psychiatry, Dr.Burstow. 🙂

  • i managed to duck and dodge depot injections, thank goodness. i remember going into a nurse’s office, at a clinic…she had the Haloperidol vial, in a box, on her desk…she was chatting me up, she was supposed to do an AIMS test, didn’t happen. seeing the long acting vitamin H vial on her desk kind of…made me realize how cruel psychiatry can be, how harsh and controlling.

    my problem with advocating minimal use of neuroleptics is -not- that it is ‘bad advice.’ the ‘issue’ i have with such advice is that…in psychiatry, there always seem to be ’emergencies,’ ‘unusual situations,’ etc. there was always a reason to do a lobotomy (‘better to operate than to wait!’), always a reason to push the dosage higher (‘dosage optimization,’ is the going term, I believe), always a reason to disregard whatever common sense recommendations are/were in place…

    ‘give an inch, they’ll take a mile.’ Dr.Steingard and psychiatrists like her are rare…and I kind of sense that the younger generations of psychiatrists lack the thoughtfulness, the nuance, the finesse, of some of the older set. of course…the elites in today’s America have thrown noblesse obllige out the window, now its all about Ayn Rand…maybe that’s why psychiatrists now are so much more dogmatic, controlling, and cruel? class warfare, playing out in clinics all over America? maybe that explains this growing interest in depot injections, the hi-tech Abilify that tattles on the ‘non-compliant,’ etc…

    control of the growing under class, the alienated, the unemployed and/or under-productive. something like that, anyway. 🙂

  • a problem with not using the labels is that the lables have power, social meaning, and I thnk not using them, oddly enough, disempowers us (again, for a lot of us). example…

    ‘schizophrenia’ drugs tied to reduced lifespan

    what’s the alternative? the ‘ ‘ allows the critics and survivors to engage the mental health industry using its own vocabulary. the ‘ ‘ is a quick way to start the debunking from the headline, onwards. of course…one could try

    neuroleptics reduce lifespan

    which is true, but even medical articles often use the term ‘antipsychotics’…its a thing, now. and for people just dropping into mia, the 1st title makes the information more accessible.

  • the ” ” around so much gets cumbersome, but…what’s the alternative, really? to be fair to the many contributors to MIA, this place represents ideology and positions running the spectrum from ‘reform mental health, inc.’ to ‘abolish mental health, inc.,’ with (predictably) a whole lot at various points between those two poles. and yet…

    with all due respect to the ‘reform’ camp, callling distress and reactions to oppression, poverty, anomie, etc. ‘depression’ or other sorts of ‘(severe) mental illness’ is not bad or wrong because it ‘rubs me the wrong way,’ or even because it ‘doesn’t fit in’ the new(er) discourse, but rather…

    the dsm/icd classifications are not based on fact. how’s that for ‘reality testing,’ y’all? 🙂

  • that’s my problem, right there. in some of his writings, Szasz shows such callous disregard for the poor and the marginalized…

    its obvious, he’s a psychiatrist. 🙂

    controlling the poor, the under-employed, the unemployed, and the occasional ne’er do well is one part of psychiatry’s core mission. what concerns me is that now their power and influence have reached into the upper strata of our world, and it strongly intersects with the legal system. entertainers regularly “come out” as whatever flavor Bipolar and encourage the masses to ‘seek help.’ now and then, wealthy people manage to obtain favorable outcomes for legal problems–provided they pursue “treatment,” of course. i dont usually care for entertainment news and such, but my take on it is…

    once they’ve gotten their claws on the 1%-ers, they’ve basically got all of society in their clutches. factor in the successful infiltration of the established church in the US and “TeenScreen” and other projects, and…

    its just overwhelming, ridiculously intimidating. I do not see much in the way of critical analysis coming out of the US, which…makes sense, but again, scares me a bit. 🙁

  • The CCHR is funded by The Church of Scientology. I personally do not have a problem with that arrangement, as long as the CCHR has adequate funding to pursue its mission.

    Szasz’s libertarianism has long been a problem for me, a “bleeding heart liberal” who otherwise agrees with his analysis of psychiatry and all things “mental health,” based upon my own experiences and also on the writing of others (Kate Millet, Foucault, Whitaker, etc.) that have influenced my outlook. I have found it is not only possible, but necessary, to appreciate Szasz’s deconstruction of psychiatry and friends without buying into his elitist libertarianism.

    My perception of the current situation is that the therapeutic state is not only very much still with us, its powers have grown exponentially since The Myth of Mental Illness was first published. From a position of power and privilege, some mental health professionals can now pick and choose from Szasz’s writings that which they accept, that which they reject, that which they will accept with modifications. Because the mental health industry is now so incredibly powerful, so deeply rooted in all aspects of life in modern culture…

    “business as usual” will remain unchanged, and the religion of psychiatry and related field will continue to grow in power and size, growing ever more oppressive and inescapable (“give an inch, they’ll take a mile”).

  • I think Dr.Cohen’s comment about force is best put into context. My take on it is that force simple…is, it exists and is used to maintain social cohesion. I interpreted his statement as simply an observation, a statement of fact. now…

    I think the US is leaning more on mental health, inc. precisely because this society now requires more coercion and straight up force than in years past, largely due to social disintegration. Mass incarceration and the police state are (apparently) not quite enough to maintain the status quo, and so…

    Mental Health, Inc. has now taken over the schools, the churches and other places of worship, the mass media, the courts, the family. Basically…the false religion of ‘mental health’ has now successfully infiltrated all important social institutions.

    Not that I want to (or should) single out the US. Other, more ‘progressive’ nations make heavy use of mental health, inc. as well, a fact Dr.Cohen rightly pointed out in the interview. In fact, many of them are far more adept at using -state funded- psychiatry as a form of medicalized control, masquerading as “treatment,” “help,” etc. The mental health industry, of course, reflects the surrounding culture. One sees this in the efforts to rename and thereby ‘de-stigmatize’ the ‘psychotic disorders’ in some nations, while in the US one sees regular advertisements for long acting injections (depot shots) of various ‘atypical’ neuroleptics for “Schizophrenia.”

    Szasz, of course, is correct in pointing out that abolishing psychiatry would lead to more freedom and far greater clarity of thought+communication (this is a so so paraphrase, btw). Perhaps one day, this shall come to pass.

  • wow…amazing. miraculous, even. I am–speaking as someone who has also been thru “the system,” and was completely destroyed by my own behavior and also by “treatment”– incredibly proud of you and the new life you’ve worked so hard to create for yourself. I hope that doesn’t come across as condescending…its The Internet, so all anyone has to go on is what’s typed out…I just mean that I’ve experienced much of the same, not quite as extreme, but similar themes, and…

    your story, your new life, your efforts…really made my day. I really enjoyed reading this, and your writing style is hi-quality, too.

    I wish you well in your new life, and as you journey on, take on new challenges, make a new way forward, day by day. We probably have different belief systems, but no matter…my prayers are with you. 🙂

  • “Schizophrenia” was once a middle(ish) class white woman’s disease…in the 50s. Then, it became more of an antiauthoritarian, even just misfit “disorder…”

    non-whites, people involved in the counterculture or youth culture, women who didn’t know their place, drop outs…

    and, of course, now…the same profession that once labeled enslaved human beings with ‘drapetomania’ when they tried to flee to freedom, is labeling those who are low status with ‘schizophrenia,’ which is basically a way of turning distressed human beings in psychiatric slaves. and then those who question the labels are burdened with additional labels, more force, more toxic drugs, more confinement…

    “Schizophrenia”=invalidation=psychiatric slavery. The rare exceptions to the rule–Elyn Saks, I think is her name, comes to mind…-prove- the rule.

  • I think a lot of people in the “recovery movement” have been so thoroughly destroyed, it seems a logical solution to play nice with the oppressors, even sing their praises, than to fight back. and…

    it depends on location, too. in 21st century America…ha! good luck! the “progressive” states will ship uppity “mental patients” off to their progressive hospitals. I don’t know what they do their. Maybe…drum circles in between smoke breaks and sips of Thorazine punch? The red states…no. just…no. prison is a distinct possibility.

    keep in mind that a big part of psychiatry’s “treatment plan” for the “patients” is poverty, which renders the psychiatrized effectively silenced. Find a way to deal with the poverty of the psychiatrized, then one can start talking about restoration of civil rights, etc.

  • that’s one thing that -gets to me- , when i see psych “professionals,” especially psychiatrists, defending their industry. as a psychiatrized individual, i know that they have plenty of victims, each and every one of them…and because of “the way the world works,” the victims are effectively silenced, few people (it seems..) would care that much, anyway, if they did somehow get to raise their voices. and…

    i agree with you, that being in a position of authority and control obvioulsy affects how they deal with criticism, even simple questions. as a psychiatrized individual, i only wish the world at large could see the victims, see the fraud and coercion and, at times, even violence that goes on in the world of mental health, inc.

    but…i’ll settle for people simply deciding to do something else with their time and resources, find better ways of dealing with their lives and problems, etc. 🙂

  • thanks for this. I’ve sometimes thought that psychiatry will eventually prove its own worst enemy, and it is helpful to see an expert explaining and articulating that…although I do kind of fear that whatever might replace psychiatry will be worse–more punitive, more draconian–than the current mental health industry. I think this is because I live in a more “conservative” part of the US, and I’ve seen how psychiatry and psychiatric labels work in the culture. My concern is that if the (admittedly, dangerous) Myth of Mental Illness dies, people in these areas will be faced with more pain, not less, especially as the safety net has been further shredded and both family and community bonds continue to disintegrate. And yet…

    I still long for the day psychiatry withers away, somehow. Honestly, enough is enough. 🙂

  • i believe the “professional” jargon/euphemism is “dosage optimization,” as in…ramp it up! I was bored one day, and I read a pubmed article about it, dealing with dosing ‘atypicals’ above the fda approved dosage range. Not surprisingly, it is…according to what I remember of that brief paper…the most brilliant idea, ever.

    When psychiatry is given more leeway, high(er) dosages become common. One reason the so-called “Golden Age of Psychopharmacology” from the 50s to 70s or so came to an end was an increase in regulations on barbiturates, amphetamines, and more regulations to give people/’patients’ some voice in ‘treatment,’ including informed consent laws. and now…

    The Myth of Mental Illness, as Szasz called it, is more firmly entrenched than -ever-. And now…everything is somehow a brain abnormality, that is fully expected to respond to the Miracle Meds.

    The last time psychiatry got this out of control, there was something of a pushback. I don’t know, honestly, if it is possible for an organized pushback, this time around. Perhaps the best we–as disillusioned, well-informed people–can really hope for is that enough people with the correct credentials will speak up, or at least offer some alternatives….

    thereby sparing at least -some- people -some- pain and destruction. 🙁

  • I’d disagree with this. Breggin points out a number of cases that were clearly at least negatively influenced by psych drugs, often heavy, long term drugging. The mainstream media… this, usually. When the issue of psych ‘treatment’ comes up, it either becomes: ‘wow, they needed treatment…sad’ or ‘crazy, dangerous mental patient should’ve been locked up a long time ago…why did we shut down the state hospitals, again?’

  • there’s also the use of stigma to control people/”patients,” and the use of drugs to reward or punish the psychiatrized. “Schizophrenia” is more commonly diagnosed in the poor, non-white, lower status. The softer landing of “Bipolar I” is a mixed bag, from what I’ve observed. When thrust upon someone, it is best seen as control, punishment. On the other hand, I’ve seen more affluent people use the Bipolar I label in their social networks (including school, work, family) to further their own ends. and then…

    the drugs. well-behaved, “making progress”=reduction in neuroleptic; discontinue neuroleptic or other toxic drugs (“maybe depakote isn’t the best thing for you, after all”). misbehavin’ (or ‘uppity’) patient: higher dose neuroleptic. introduce neuroelptic. rapid taper of controlled substances. add “personality disorder,” which also helps explain “treatment failure,” and justify referral to other “experts,” etc.

    Psych ‘professionals’ rarely tell the truth. obviously, truth-telling puts their entire industry at risk. 🙁

  • hi. i think you’re correct, of course. Szasz wrote in a different time, a different place. These days…the not guilty by reason of insanity (or whatever each state chooses to call it) verdicts are a dead end, even more so (usually…) than prison or jail time.

    The not guilty by reason of insanity pleas in my area are rare and, generally, ill advised. “guilty, but mentally ill” is also ill advised, because it is essentially 2x, even 3x the punishment, when one looks at the time spent incarcerated and the ‘treatment’ people receive.

    For people who can afford quality legal representation, it seems that using psych labels+history as a sort of mitigating factor is a far, far more desirable route. I kept tabs on one such case, and it seems the now convicted (guilty plea) individual ended up with a less severe felony and the possibility of parole, whereas his initial charge was essentially a death sentence.

    In psychiatry, one gets the “treatment you deserve,” often based on social class and overall status, leverage (or lack thereof). The legal system is notoriously biased towards those who have resources, higher overall status. Where the two intersect, I think the disparities become even more apparent.

  • Mental Health, Inc. takes on a higher level of authoritarianism and punishment in many red states. -some- red states are still gung ho about the state hospitals, for instance. southern culture+Trump culture+psychiatry=Hell on earth.

    to be fair, not all red states are the same, even in the Trump era. Some are shredding the state hospital system down to the bare minimum…that way, rich people in their states don’t have to pay as much $$$ to confine poor people. Prisons do it for far less, anwyay.

  • i really appreciate Orthomolecular, at a number of levels. I doubt it will ever find mainstream acceptance because…

    Psychiatry is about control. Psychiatry is about the creation and control of an ever growing (in the US, at least) under-class. Psychiatry is not medicine. The rest of medicine chooses to tolerate psychiatry for their own reasons, none of which have anything to do with treating, curing, or preventing any bona fide diseases or improving the quality of life for ‘mental patients.’

    the vitamins are awesome, though…I’m pushing my way up to 18 grams vitamin C per day. 🙂

  • “diagnosis is a political decision”
    -I think either Kate Millet or Shulamith Firestone.

    Mental Health, Inc. should be abolished, somehow. even with reforms and such, peoples’ lives end up ruined, often at a high co$t to the person/”patient,” the families involved, and..given how more “treatment”=more problems, often a lifetime on disability, the gov’t coffers end up supporting those destroyed by Mental Health, Inc. (which includes the psychology/counseling branches)…

    and then the destroyed person is labeled both a “mental patient” and a “welfare queen” or “welfare bum.”

  • i think psychosocial solutions have more probability of lasting success in places -other than- the US. I see this research came out of the UK. I’ve noticed that a lot of “critical psychiatry,” psychosocial research, etc. come out of the UK. In the US…

    obviously, psychiatry and psychology reflect the society (as a whole) and also the community. God help you if you’re in a ‘red state’ seeking a real solution; no ‘professional’ will, in all likelihood. Not that the ‘blue states’ are always all that ‘progressive…’

    some of them seem to simply use the state hospital system more frequently, since that is “treatment,” not “punishment,” etc.

    anyway…thanks for the summary of the new research. While I’ve long feared that because of ‘austerity measures,’ the UK might end up like the US…it appears there’s hope “over there,” yet. In the US…

    we have TV ads for Rexulti, usually right before adverstisements for disability lawyers (where I live). Trump is not only still in office, he’s planning a 2020 run. And while the psychosocial treatments are all about talking and communicating and reflecting…

    most ‘treatment’ available for ‘severe mental illness’ in the US is really about shutting people/”patients” up, one way or another. 🙁

  • as punitive and draconian as US culture is…I think its worth noting that 1984 and Brave New World are both set -in England-, some notorious shrinks of yesteryear came out of the UK (Ewan Cameron, Sargeant), and…

    -shudder- I saw on the “news” that Oprah and Prince…Harry, I think, the redheaded one…are teaming up to do a documentary about “mental health.” -eek-

    this is what neoliberal propaganda is, circa 2019…now, we’re all being encouraged to scrutinize our inner-lives for conformity to a “healthy” norm…

    and then seek “expert help” if we don’t measure up. all this, decades after “Schizophrenia” was effectively deconstructed (by psychiatrists, no less!) and in the face of a massive body of evidence that the psych guilds ruin lives and drain the coffers for their fraudulent ‘treatments.’

    im also kinda bummed that there won’t be a Huxleyian Soma-type drug to keep us all in a chemically induced cheerful mood…

    for most of us, its looking more and more like its going to be “antidepressants” and/or neuroleptics…the mind numbing junk…and they have the neuroleptic depot injections, and that abilify pill that digitally tells on you for ‘non-compliance.’

  • “the personal is political.” I agree, wholeheartedly…and I also agree that the mental health industry, by its very nature, narrows the focus to self, perhaps family and social networks, rarely the community.

    as a side note, what bother me now is how they–the psych people–know what they’re doing. they see: middle class (good insurance), upper class (bust out the deepak chopra), working class (all drugs, all the time), etc., and they -are- aware of how socioeconomic factors shape peoples’ lives…

    and they use this knowledge to further their own interests, all while lying about ‘mental illnesses’ and…it seems…most everything, really.

  • “un-scientific” ? OK. silly me…I thought psychiatrists -knew- that their industry was a destructive con. blame it on my borderline misanthropic view of human nature. this…this delusional thinking, deeply entrenched, irrational beliefs that psychiatry has any sort of valid scientific underpinnings and that “standard treatment” is somehow necessary and/or “life saving…”

    that is actually far more frightening than my mental image, which was that of an industry full of mediucre hacks who happened upon psychiatry to feed both their egos+their families (and, quite often, their own drug habits).

    so…who is going to protect “patients” from the deranged “professionals” ?

  • the whole industry is largely destructive bullshit. its not just the psychiatrists, either. honestly…psychiatrists are dangerous and all, but other patients can be, too. especially in a hospital or even some clinic settings. patients who diagnose other patients and encourage others to ‘get help!,’ etc. back to the article at hand…

    a young person from a dysfunctional family is labeled ‘bipolar i-iii,’ whatever. -you- only see the individual’s excitement and relief. what the shrink doesn’t see is an entire messed up system that gets to run a bit more smoothly.
    a stressed out, abused, working class woman is diagnosed w/ “Schizophrenia.” the psych wonders why she’s ok with it, even kind of…happy. what the psychiatrist does not see, ignores if it comes into his or her mind, is the relief it offers. husband bails, there’s ssdi. kids mess up, she’s the Schizophrenic martyr of a mother. if there is an extended family system in place, they might rev up and help her and her family out.

    im also reminded of something i read…maybe it was betty friedan, maybe someone else…about why, oh why, do so many people end up psychiatrized voluntarily…at least, voluntarily at the start of the misadventures? answer: aside from psychiatrists, who else will -listen- (or…pretend to, until the person/patient is destroyed and/or low status enough to be drugged and ignored) ?

    the whole thing is a dirty, rotten, no good, very bad, possibly evil industry.

  • in the 50s and 60s (in particular…) “Schizophrenia” was -the- diagnosis in both the US and the USSR. mild “Schizophrenia,” “hebephrenia,” “residual Schizophrenia,” on and on it went. In the US, the meaninglessness of “Schizophrenia” became so obvious, and the shrinks were arrogant enough to apply it to people who could (and did) escape their clutches, that it was thoroughly deconstructed. Think…Szasz, even E. Fuller Torrey (“what do you think happened with Torrey?” “FUNDING”), Kate Millet, on and on it went. And now…

    there’s 31 flavors “Bipolar” and then there’s “autism.” I’ve seen people use the “autism” diagnosis/label for their own purposes…because they think they will “understand themselves better” (pop psych, plus an alienating culture=lots of this BS exploitation mischaracterized as “self-actualization), but I’ve also seen–thankfully, at a distance–kids labeled and ‘treated…’

    and that, to me, says something not only about the families I’ve observed such labels being used in, but (I think…) society as a whole, in the 21st century US.

    I’ve read on psych forums, “concerned parents” writing in about “autistic” child+teenage off spring, the pills, the hospitalizations, and….yeah. I imagine the exact benefits and drawbacks of the label vary by social location (education levels, income, overall social standing come to mind as top factors), but the overall theme I personally get from many (but not all) of this is…

    abuse. abuse and control and sometimes, I suspect…the same impulse that led everyday citizens to sacrifice their kids to Molech and other deities way back when are at work in parents (and other family caregivers) who give their kids over to psychiatry.

    of course, even the under 18 set can have a purpose in engaing the psych professions. attention, stress, loneliness, perhaps the parents are mean-spirited and the psych labels can offer a buffer against their cruelty…myriad possible reasons/motivations, all leading to psychiatrization and labeling.

  • if family, “experts,” etc. apply the label early enough…and the label is drilled into the ‘autistic’ individuals’ mind, combined with drugs and whatever non-drug ‘treatments’ are out there…

    I would think it would take a lot for them to move forward in life, anyway, so the label might then be…just a role they found themselves thrust into, one they play as best they can.

  • ive sometimes wondered if -in some cases- “autism” is a medically-sanctioned form of child abuse. Even many mainstream people doubt ADD/ADHD, or did when I was in my late teens (been a while…), but “autism” has this air of “bona fide science” about it…

    and yet, it seems to be more DSM bullshit, too. funny, that.

    but, yeah. ADD/ADHD is useful in some families (and foster care, obviously), but it can also be useful for more afluent kids dealing with the pressures of growing up and also excelling at school, extra-curriculars, etc. and…after a certain age, the uppers go from being force fed to the kiddies to being requested, by name…often so they can share them with friends. but autism?

    autism, to me, is sort of like “Schizophrenia” was in, say, the 50s and 60s…its a convenient label for the people in power, not so much the person so labeled, and the younger a person is when labeled…

    the more I wonder…

    and yet, I see families struggling with obviously suffering kids, and the parents don’t like the psychiatrists, either. what’s that about, you think?

  • just jumping back in here…

    a poster above did make an incredibly interesting point…if a psychiatrist realize that his or her profession is damaging to individuals, families, society as a whole (and the economy, btw)…

    why not do something else? because…while I do appreciate the body of work the ‘critical psychiatrists’ have put together, it does seem…

    they’re still in psychiatry, actively ‘diagnosing’ and drugging and/or shocking people. lower doses? hooray! wait a minute…how about no dose and some honesty?

  • hi. thank you for this, Dr.Moncrieff.

    speaking as an increasingly disillusioned “patient,” this is ridiculous. and the level of dogma that is passed off as “fact,” “truth,” etc. within the mental health industry regarding psych drugs is appalling.

    not to make all psychiatrists sound evil, but I do think they use drugs as a punsihment and reward system. Having experienced the “punishment” end– which, in my case involved rapid benzodiazepine tapers and being coerced into taking dangerous psych drugs– far more than any “reward” end, I must say: people/”patients” need quality information -before- the first prescription, the first psychotherapy session, the first melt-in-your mouth Mother’s Little Helper…

    but I doubt it wil ever happen, because psychiatry thrives on force, fraud, and coercion (I think that’s Szasz, btw). And…

    as much as I appreciate -your- honesty, your transparency, etc., you are one of very few psychiatrists who are willing to share what they -really- know about the drugs with people/”patients.” That, of course, raises another important question: if psychiatrists start respecting the people who come to them for help, provide honest and accurate information, and explain the limitations of their field with the people/”patients” they deal with…

    would psychiatry, as a profession, wither and die?

    Thanks again 🙂

  • personally, im all about Orthomolecular. psychotherapy…far less so. the best ‘therapy’ i ever received was a man with 3 masters, working on the phd (at long last, am i right?) telling me: you so much as drive by a clinic or a psyhciatrist’s office, they’ll call you bipolar. and..

    the meds just contain strong emotions. they don’t fix anything. and…

    ideally, therapy should have an end point, and people should get on with life.

    We’re both Christian, though. I think that’s an ‘issue’ that sometimes comes up in ‘treatment…’

    mental health, inc. is pretty much a state sponsored, socially accepted form of social control. its also (yes, I’m stealing from szasz left and right here) a religion, and i think…a rather dangerous, expen$ive one, at that.

    its worth noting that new forms of psychotherapy sound fun and exciting…

    its still conversation. on a good day, psychotherapy is a conversation that engages the client/consumer/patient/PERSON in meaningful, constructive ways. thing is…

    there aren’t many good days, and good days are essentially unheard of if you are: poor, working class, stigmatized, low status, disabled, too old, too intelligent, ask too many questions, question authority, refuse ‘meds,’ terminate ‘treatment,’ have limited insurance, have medicaid, are uninsured, even if one is too ‘middle class’ to benefit from the wisdom of the guru/therapist/whatever.

    i see that there are, in fact, well-intentioned people in mental health, inc. and i remember..

    ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’

  • try not to focus on that. when i was at my lowest points, i read over people who moved on from psychiatry at its absolute worst…the people who’d been operated ona nd moved on, that kinda thing…

    even before I became a Christian, i was convinced that there’s a spirit and even a mind that exists outside of the body, brain included. ‘where there’s life there’s hope.’

  • let’s see…the US leads the way in “ADD/ADHD” labels, and not just for kids…adults, even older adults get the label and the pills. In many other nations, -when- an upper is used, its some flavor ritalin. in the US, amphetamines dominate the market…in fact, the US is one of few nations to still offer prescription methamphetmaine (Desoxyn). good ole benzedrine has even made a comeback…it is now Evekeo. oh, wait…

    “Bipolar I disorder” has gone from being strictly defined and far less commonly diagnosed than, say, the 31 flavors o Schizophrenia found in the 50s and 60s, to being far more loosely defined (“Bipolar spectrum”) and it is now, fairly recently, “on the upwsing.” Interestingly enough…

    the increasingly “Bipolar I-V” masses can be “effectively treated” with “atypical” neuroleptics, the same drugs used on “Schizophrenic/Schizoaffective” people, “ODD,” “severe depression,” “personality disorder,” and those with “anger managment.” these shiny, new pills are $$$, but fret not…

    the gov’t ends up paying for something like 60-75% of ongoing ‘atypical’ neuroleptic prescriptions. for those whose insurance provider “lacks insight” into the “need for treatment,” NAMI can help! there is probably a ‘patient assistance program,’ too!

    its just…so…ridiculously cruel, the whole damned thing, isn’t it? 🙁

  • i remember reading an antipsychiatry website once…about how patient abc’s ‘depression’ resolved after receiving a large inheritance…

    concur. anti-poverty programs, anti-hunger programs, something…anything…to curb the police state and mass incarceration…affordable housing…

    these are but a few powerful “antidepressants” that could help the 99%+/-…

    or I suppose we could just shut up and take our (un)happy pills.

  • you’re brave! a ‘professional’ i deal with was talking about ‘chemical imbalances,’ and i asked…are they genetic? environmental? does anyone know? she shrugged, faking a look of bewilderment.

    i had -1- counselor who told me the truth: you so much as drive by a shrink’s office, they’ll label/diagnose you with something. its…what they do. and…

    thanks. that’s about all i can say…thanks. you came thru, you’re doing well now, and…thanks 🙂

  • szasz was right wing libertarian, to the core…and he provided such cogent analysis+deconstruction of ‘mental illness’ and all things psyc-related…

    well, even tho i lean towards new deal type ‘progressivism’ (read: contain conflict by building the middle class, upward mobility, gov’t programs, reducing but not eliminating inequality and crazy insane concentration of wealth…), I ‘get’ where Dr.Szasz is ‘coming from,’ in some of his essays, books, etc., and…

    -sigh- one must make room for dissenting, challening voices, especially when the dissenting, challenging voices belong to brilliant people. agree, disagree, shrug it off and go think about something, anything else…whatever…

    one must at least let the ideas, concepts, voices have some space in the inner-dialogue, inner-analysis.

  • MD/DOs in the US make 2x as much as their peers in many nations w/ universal coverage. this is done thru limiting the # of MD/DOs produced by US medical schools, and then restricting the immigrant medical pros to keep compensation crazy high. this is imporant, in my view, because…

    the medical guild has a vested interest in the status quo. the current status quo is xenobiotic ‘treatment.’ no cures, no healing, no breakthroughs…

    survival, maintenance, ‘adjunct medication’ for adverse effects, etc. its a high dollar highway to hell, my friend. 🙁

  • 21st century America’s overlaps with Rome in its downward spiral are…frightening, albeit cliche. for all the right wing talk about excess $pending on the ‘welfare state,’ its really the war machine that’s consuming the tax dollars. for all this talk of a sterilized, ‘politically correct’ culture (which, btw, i thought had been discussed thoroughly and then found boring around ’98 or so), ultra-right wing terrorism is on the upswing, while the gov’t gets in on the act with militarized police and mass incarceration. and…

    the old ‘haves vs have nots’ has given way to something more like ‘have nearly everything vs has a degree of affluence vs ha! you’re broke as a joke, loser.’ couple that with the decimation of the once vibrant (although mostly white, admittedly) middle-middle class and the decline of upward mobility, and…

    holy anomie batman, what the hell do the kids have to look foward to?

  • i do wonder…what gives with the sadism, at all levels of mental health, inc.? it isn’t one or two ‘bad apples,’ and it isn’t even limited to, say, the lobotomy years or the shock- and drug-heavy ‘treatment’ of the 60s state hospitals…

    i think it was Breggin who pointed out: even the most seemingly compassionate, warm, “caring” psychiatrist has victims. their latest victim could be booked on the same day as you, the well-treated person/’patient.’ in fact, it is entirely possible…

    the Dr.Nice Dude (or Dr.Kind Lady) mask will come off for you, too, once: the insurance runs dry, you lose your job, you’re trapped, you’re poor, your brain is scrambled, they get sufficient leverage.

  • thanks for this. it is…unsettling, though not really surprising, to see many ‘liberals’ taking the pills, playing the patient game (as I call it…), pushing ‘mental health’ ideology on others…

    i can think of a few people i am acquainted with (thankfully, no one i am truly close to…) who have fallen for the friendly fascism of private practice psychiatry (for themselves) and are going down a death spiral. no one dares say ‘stop!,’ least of all the ‘experts’ at the private facilities doing shock ‘treatments,’ the outpatient psychiatrists. until i read this, i was somewhat surprised that the PhD psychotherapists weren’t doing…something, anything, to put an end to the madness…

    but your article confirms what i saw in my own misadventures and what ive long suspected about the psych guild, as a whole. the masters level lpc and the phd specialists have their roles to play in drugging and destroying and labeling outliers and the distressed, the alienated…

    and woe unto those who dare question them, any of them. ever. 🙁

  • page not found. LOL. kind of like…

    biological basis for any dsm/icd label not found. real help in improving lives, families, communities, society not found. justification for crazy insane cost of ‘treatment’ not found. compassion not found. honesty not found. transparency not found. proper monitoring not found.

    given the psych industry’s role as a pseudoscientific, religious form of control…this (in the United States, at least) in the context of a crumbling, alienated and alienating, increasingly oppressive society in which even what remains of real, transcendent religions has declined…maybe they just have so much power and influence that they don’t need to find any of the things mentioned above?

  • real religions, not lucrative pseudoscientific cults masquerading as “treatment,” etc., are great for discovering the meaning of life or at least…providing some guidance. philosophy, sociology, connecting with others, creative pursuits…

    these are good ways to move forward in life, at least for me (and people I know). Psychotherapy, counseling, self-help, etc. are worse than useless.

  • student counseling service= weed out the riff raff. its worse when a professor or instructor gets a student to go for ‘help,’ but it seems there’s often someone, somewhere using coercion tactics to psychiatrize vulnerable just plays out differently, in different segments of society.

    i remember…comparing prescriptions (i was on benzodiazepine abc…she got ativan…), being brainwashed into the bullshit…

    and then the terrifying Great Reveal. Long story…I survived, I am doing remarkably well, I am healthy…

    and now I find that their bullshit is never ending–this is their meal ticket, after all– but i can play my role, they play their’s…

    the play is ongoing. i manage to somehow contain my boredom and disgust. sometimes, when they talk, i see their lips moving…

    but i dont hear a damn word they’re saying. having said that, i know damn well what they’d do to me, given the opportunity.

    and the beat goes on…

  • i -want- psychiatry and the rest of the lying professions abolished, but right now…

    i do me, and that’s often challenging enough. not that im against collective action–far from it– but the psychiatrized in society are, I’m thinking, kind of like the skilled slaves in the South, before The Civil War…

    some freedoms, less obvious torture…but “Know your place, damnit!” don’t rattle them chains, basically. and that I think is why a 21st century “antipsychiatry movement” might have to rely more on 21st century technologies…

    because no one really gets to march and protest without police brutality and/or criminal charges, at least not in the US…

    and those are people who -are not psychiatrized- . so, as I “do me,” as best I can…I’m thinking maybe a 21st century movement will be done more or less in stealth mode…

    the old models aren’t going to do much, I’m afraid. Uniting with other oppressed groups would be an ideal step–solidarity is an underused word in today’s world–but I find that even the sociologists, the activists, the muckracking writer and journalists…

    speak in DSM/ICD-code. Personally, reading up on stigma and how to manage a stigmatized identity, “play the hand you’re dealt,” basically…has been quite helpful. Each individual’s circumstances, each person’s role(s) are somewhat unique (“the personal is political” applies, always, but also: “Your mileage may vary”), so person-to-person support and networking are probably going to be vital.

    I’m not any sort of expert..this is all off the top of my head, as they say.

  • that’s why I consider my position more one of full on antipsychiatry (just…abolish it, please…) vs “critical psychiatry.” I wouldn’t say that the “critical psychiatry” people aren’t “radical enough,” its that…

    As Szasz pointed out, Mental Health, Inc. is The Science of Lies. He mostly targeted psychiatry, but I think psychoanalysis, counseling, etc. etc. etc. are also massive frauds, staffed by lying liars who lie, for fun and for profit (and control).

    Healy is a trained psychiatrist. If he wanted to, he could give up his lucrative career of “critical psychiatry” and do…something else. Anything else, really. Analyzing and dissecting lies is an exercise in futility for most of those who have been labeled, drugged, shocked, operated on, etc…

    and I am beginning to think that pointing out the “excesses” of psychiatry and “reforming” the industry is the equivalent of a New Deal for Mental Health, Inc…it effectively silences the pissed off people and stabilizes the industry, as a whole.

    Honestly, given the massive cost$ and suffering, damage even to the freedom of (and clarity of) -thought- Mental Health, Inc. (which includes the electroSHOCKtreatments, EST “specialists,” etc.) has inflicted upon society as a whole…

    I do think abolishing the industry is probably the only truly humane, rational solution.

  • i believe people should be free to kill themselves. i say that as a Christian, btw…basically, I hope and pray for more people to find hope and meaning and purpose in life, but I also recognize the individual’s -right- to suicide.

    personally, my problem is that the suicide is handled by the medical establishment, which on the practical end is kind of helpful, because it makes effective means of suicide available…

    but it also gives more power to the medical establishment and the therapeutic state, and it does so while claiming that this is some sort of “progress” or…something.

    I do not have faith in mental illness, but because I am a Christian, I now have a belief system that calls some bad actions, some individuals “wicked” and then on the more extreme end of the spectrum one finds “evil.” I am starting to believe that psychiatry and much of the rest of the Mental health industry is actually quite evil. The psych guilds function as evil forms of social control in a fallen, wicked world, basically. and…

    this Liev Thienpont individual strikes me as quite wicked, possibly evil. she’s an especially adept liar and con artist in an industry devoted to big lies and massive frauds…

    but maybe she’s just, in an odd way, more honest about things? she apparently uses her position, her authority, to facilitate the deaths of misfits, “mental patients,” etc. I find that reprehensible, but is it really that much worse than providing “treatment” that ends in suicide, a premature death in poverty, homelessness, incarceration? This woman is obviously pushing death, but isn’t that true of the entire industry?

  • psychiatrists know what they’re doing. i don’t know how the current psychiatric text books are written, but the older ones–you know, the ones from -before- Google made it important to keep up the appearances of “providing compassion and help to the severely mentally ill”–were pretty ridiculously nihilistic and blunt. The neuroleptics were noted to cause “deactivation,” which included varying degrees of apathy, indifference, sedation, and a -loss of interest- in “symptoms,” but no real “help,” just…a chemical lobotomy, basically. Oh, or…”tranquilizer psychosis,” as some have called it…tremor, apathy, indifference, passivity, etc.

    kinda rambling, but…my point, and I think this is a point raised in the book version of Mad in America, is that -they knew- then and -they know- now that they’re inflicting torment and suffering upon people who are under the impression this is somehow going to help them be “normal” and/or lead a productive, meaningful life, by getting their “illness” under control.

    Truth? Even now, some psychiatrists will ramp up the neuroleptic dose to deliberately inflict a degree of obvious Parkinson’s – type symptoms. That’s an old technique that never had anything to do with helping the person/”patient”; it was and is an example of medical torture and putting patients into a mind-numbing chemical straitjacket, while charging $$$ for said punishment.

    im just…disgusted. then as now, the shock docs know they’re inflicting brain damage on people, they know full well that many will never make a meaningful ‘recovery from treatment’, and they’ll openly laugh about ‘breaking’ low status people/’patients’ (poor, stigmatized, effectively silenced individuals who have survived ‘treatment’), and yet…

    these -same- individuals will lie to insurance companies, medicare/medicaid, lie in court to commit another victim, lie to individuals and families about “treatment for mental illness…”

    and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Iowa, I think, is the 1 state that has -0- “insanity pleas” or what have you, and a lot of it is just because in the few cases where the pleas came up, the lies from both sides (“insane” vs “responsible,” I’m guessing) made a mockery of an already flawed legal system.

    lies. Szasz’s last book is entitled Psychiatry: The Science of Lies. This EST (“ECT” is pure marketing genius, and its also another lie…electroSHOCK is what it really is, thank you Max Fink for your candor) situation is just another example of the mental health industry lying, lying, lying…

    for profit, for control, for status, for…fun? I find this sickening.

  • don’t feel bad about taking disability, Rachel. I personally believe in a fundamental human right to live and -not- be in misery and oppression, probably because I’m a Christian. Psychiatrists make more off the gov’t in one month than several “patients” do annually.

    I do kind of wonder…if Universal Basic Income somehow magically went into effect tomorrow…would “mental illness” take a big hit? I think so…who would really need shrinks, anyway? the upper classes who deman psychotherapy?

  • As much as I appreciate psych professionals who are more willing to admit the limits of current knowledge and are also attempting to make life for the psychiatry-ized more bearable…

    “schizophrenia” is a necessary fiction in psychiatry. I seem to recall Szasz writing an entire book about it, calling it The sacred symbol of psychiatry, something to that effect. My best guess is that the professionals in other nations have renamed their sacred symbol to protect their profession from further scrutiny and deconstruction, while (re)building a pretty facade of scientifically-informed “care” and compassion. Another personal guess, right off the top my head, is that the psych professions in those nations are operating in cultures that are less punitive, more tolerant, not as anomic as, say…

    much of 21st century America.

  • to be a “mental patient” is to be a “weakling” of some degree, in the psych “professionals’ ” eyes, at least. one comes in with problems and leaves with a stigmatized identity, plus bill$.

    my best guess is that psychiatry attracts not only the more authoritarian MDs, but also the mediocre and more potentially dangerous ones, as well. they completed 4 years of undergraduate study, medical school, and now they’re going into a specialty that treats faux “diseases” with real pills, real shocks, now and then real brain operations. factor in the relatively low compensation psychiatrists receive (too much for my tastes, but considerably less than, say, dermatologists) and their incredible power, in society as a whole and within the legal realm, and…

    it is a proven recipe for absolute disaster.

  • Since Reagan, American society has moved towards the right and also towards utter and complete denial of society. I don’t think -all- of us here in America are so brainwashed, and the rise of New Deal Democrats posing as “Socialists” makes one hope that maybe, just maybe, things will tilt left or towards something less reactionary and vicious, but the point remains…

    in a society in which -all- problems are “personal problems,” and even family dynamics are willfully ignored by overapid “professionals,” -of course psychiatry will flourish- . I think it is also worth noting that while your clients/patients/distressed people who end up in your office may suffer from varying degrees of affluenza, 1 in 5 (roughly) Americans deal with –food insecurity– . Add to this…

    upward mobility is dead in America, the middle-middle class has been decimated, the working class has gone from being free spirited, anti-authoritarian, and a consistent source of muckraking and high quality intellectuals (pre-WWII) to being…

    punitive, authoritarian, over-worked, underpaid, and -angry-. False consciousness reigns supreme in The United States, and the psych “professions” are working overtime, doping up all strata of society and filling their heads with pseudoscientific, self-serving jibber jabber…

    much to the delight of…well, just about everyone. Doping up the distressed, the awkward, the under-performing, “uppity women,” and just about anybody else who so much as drives by the office or clinic…

    helps put a big, over-priced Band Aid on a broken society.

    I do think one should also take note of the crazy insane levels of anomie in modern US society. Lack of meaningful social interaction, guidance, community bonds, and family breakdown can all lead to a state of a normless self-focus that leads to despair. “Despair,” of course, is for losers, so many opt instead for “Depression” or perhaps “Bipolar II.”

  • wow. 1 in 3 receive shocks involuntarily? “Informed consent” is a sick joke, anyway, but…1 in 3 have 0 input into this? on the tax payers’ money, no less.

    at least someone is keeping high quality records on this in the UK. That’s a lot better than the situation in the US. With the exception of Texas, I don’t think most states keep tabs on shock victims, even cases that result in death or serious injury.

    I don’t know that I’m that big a fan of psychotherapy, either. When dealing with the private practice sector, my experience has been that the counselors, psychotherapists, etc. work hand-in-hand with psychiatrists, private mental hospitals, etc., to make money and destroy people. In the public/community mental health settings, the talking treatments are often short term and focused on “recovery,” as in: take your pills and shut up. Having said that…

    obviously, people need people. Sometimes a psychotherapist who actually gives a shit can make a tremendous, positive, even life changing difference in a suffering individual’s life. but such ‘professionals’ are rare. they seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule, honestly.

  • by “psychiatry did OK,” I meant that psychiatry was still in busines, even though they tried their hand at the Quaker-inspired “moral treatment” for a season. For a time, being committed to -some- asylums meant a softer, gentler, more human sort of confinement and “treatment. Even then, some former patients wrote books exposing the whole system…

    and it just got worse. 🙁

  • this is surprisingly (or…not so surprisingly, now that I think about it…) common in psychiatry. The cynical manipulation of the vulnerable is a big part of psychiatry’s “mission.” What sets this situation apart from the many, many cases that are never brought out into the open is probably (I’m going to guess…) the status of the women involved.

    Poor, working class, even middle-middle class “mental patients” are routinely exploited and destroyed by psychiatry. My guess is that some of the victims in this case have enough status, resources, and overall clout to at least get media attention. Of course, should these claims be proven, etc., we will all be reassured that this was/is “an isolated incident,” “a bad apple,” etc.

    Psychiatry -is- a human rights abuse, at all levels. Sexual exploitation and rape are just some of the more demeaning and damaging ways in which psychiatric abuse manifests.

  • Stigma…is an excellent book by a wonderful sociologist…Goffman, who helped debunk psychiatry in the 50s and 60s. The Mental Health Industry (Mental Health, Inc.) knows all about stigma, because stigma is one of the primary weapons in their arsenal, right up there with brain damage and the economic terrorism of poverty, which they inflict on people largely thru stigma. Anyway…

    their job, really, is to stigmatize distress, madness, alienation, poverty, having the “wrong” skin color, the “wrong” gender, being…an outlier, a misfit…

    by slapping on pseudoscientific labels. While the brain damage, death, destruction, etc. -are- massive problems, too…

    Psychiatry did OK, back in, say, the 19th century, without resorting to such violence. Society needs psychiatry to keep people in line. The drugs, the shocks, the operations…bring in status and profit, plus there’s obviously a strong sadistic element to psychiatry, too, but…

    society can function a-OK with healthy, intelligent “mental patients…” as long as they/we are thoroughly stigmatized, discredited, and controlled.

    Psychiatric “Stigma Reduction Campaigns” are cynical, Orwellian campaigns to stigmatize, discredit, and destroy more human beings.

  • so sorry. i really am. it appears that just as I entered the world of Mental Health, Inc. thinking they could “help” and that they did “important work…”

    so did you. My personal advice, which only echoes that of several other posters, would be to get out. You’re intelligent, you’re compassionate, you’re well-eduated, and you’re driven. Speaking as a “patient” doing what I can to make a quiet, unnoticed exit from The System, I -do- appreciate your efforts to provide real human kindness to those in need. Having said that…

    at the end of this novel I read way back when…I think it was The Women’s Room…a character says something like “the institutions get you in the end.”

    get out while you still can. 🙂

  • I think there’s something to that, especially when looking at Hoffer and other psychiatrists of that era. Although they were still very much psychiatrists–Hoffer did shock ‘treatments,’ Osmond apparently got involved in using LSD during research on prisoners–they -were- considerably less sadistic, more humane and thoughtful than the typical psychiatrist of their era. From what I’ve read, they were also a whole lot more honest and transparent about the nature of what they termed “mental illness” and also “treatment.” Some material I’ve skimmed over is almost brutally honest in describing the ill effects of multiple hospitalizations on people, for instance. and yet…

    I still take the vitamins, but I don’t think of the vitamins as “treatment for severe mental illness” at this point. Orthomolecular practitioners and fans speak of “side benefits” from the protocols, as opposed to “side effects” (adverse effects) from any Rx available, -especially- the psych drugs. and so…

    honestly, the “side benefits” are what have convinced me to continue loading up on basic vitamins, minerals, etc. The “positive effects on mental state” or what have you are a definite plus, but there’s also: lowered blood pressure, improved sleep and anxiety without sedatives, far less trouble with allergies, and an overall improvement in health status and a reduction in healthcare costs. I do think the sense of agency is important, too, especially for me and people like me who whip up a DIY protocol, largely due to the paucity of reputable practitioners available in many places.

  • speaking of Orthomolecular, I got to thinking the other day…what if, over the long haul (years of “treatment,” which often involves both Rx and the vitamins), a big part of what makes Orthomolecular so effective in bringing about “recovery” is simply reducing psych drug toxicity and improving overall health? That, and…the Orthomolecular doctors were (and are, based on the more modern material I’ve skimmed over) acutely aware of the reality of the “tranquilizer psychosis,” and it seems they do their best to select drugs and dose drugs accordingly.

    I mention this because I kind of wonder if part of what’s going on here is that adminstering a calming, relaxing, soothing, perhaps even pleasant to take (I hope so, anyway) substance might also help reduce psych drug toxicity, too. Kind of how benzodiazepines were (and are, at times) used long term in “Schizophrenic” people, and the combination sometimes helps keep the neuroleptic dose lower and “augments treatment,” basically by calming frayed nerves and probably also by helping with neuroleptic induced dysphoria and akathisia, as well. Older data showed that some people with “Schizophrenia” did a-OK taking sufficient quantities of Valium during the “prodromal phase,” which I’m thinking means they took a reasonably pleasant sedative only when things got rough, and their overall results were good.

    at a practical level, it seems that new “treatments for Schizophrenia” will, in fact, be used to “augment standard treatment,” because the neuroleptic=”antipsychotic”=”life saving, necessary, lifelong treatment” dogma is basically part of The Psychiatric Catechism. it is what it is, I suppose. I’m beginning to think that the best many of us who are now so thoroughly disillusioned and disgusted can do is get out, warn those whom we can, and hope that the the next generation of “patients” at least get less toxic drugs and other “treatments.”

  • I’m finding myself agreeing more and more with Szasz, when it comes to the prescription drug system…eliminate it. If the prescription system was eliminated and -all- drugs were available, then costs would go down, the doctor-patient relationship would probably become more humane and ethical, and various “drug epidemics” would become a thing of the past. and yet…


    So, for now, it appears that the “solution” is to further terrorize the poor and working classes by cutting off pain killers and demonizing those who need them to get thru the day, while the “respectable” pain killer users can have their little bit of Lortab, etc., plus hands off Suboxone treatment if needed…

    and the well to do and rich opioid users will mostly continue finding “proper treatment,” perhaps with a small reduction in quantity and/or potency of the drug(s) in question. Nothing wrong with that, btw…I don’t have a problem with the upper classes, I just hate that one needs to be in the top 10-20% in the US (in particular…) to be treated with any basic decency, and not just in the realm of pain management.


  • before the media declared the opioid deaths an “epidemic,” psychiatry was leaning towards bringing opioids back into use for “mood disorders.” I’ve read abostracts on suboxone for depression, bipolar, strong pain killers for add on treatment in psychosis…

    and now opioids are demonized, and so are those who need them, many of whom are already low status, suffering, etc. Psychiatry, Inc. is a-OK, though…have y’all seen the ads for Suboxone long acting injection? once a month shot, apparently keeps cravings at bay. The profiteers are profiting, will profit, no matter what “crisis” hits next…

    meanwhile, law enforcement and the medical establishment (as a whole) get more powerful, Mental Health, Inc. gets -even more- power and profit and funding from all over, and freedom and freedom of thought continue to die a slow, agonizing death.

  • thanks, sera davidow. 🙂

    I, too, pretty much argue that it is, in fact, all NAMIs. Here where I live, in my situation, my “non-compliance” did not sit well with the local NAMI people. They seem to function like an extra layer of brain washing and enforcement, in the “asylum without walls.”

    One could ask–as I have asked myself– “well, what’s the harm? people who have been thru the system need support, and so do their loved ones, right?”–to which I would now reply (yes, to myself, even…crazy, huh?) “there are far better ways of spending time and money” and “if a family aims to suport a psychiatrized individual, NAMI is going to prove detrimental, in potentially catastrophic ways.”

    so, once again, thank you. I actually read over one of your previous articles, on the fabulous Big Pharma funding of NAMI and friends. I vaguely recall seeing something similar in Mother Jones, but then…I kind of lost interest in Mother Jones when they featured an article by a lady whose family member was labelled with “schizophrenia” and ended up dying in her 50s, after receiving “high quality care” that included long acting haloperidol injections for a long, long time. Now, that’s a true blue “progressive” for you, isn’t it? ugh.

  • I think social class issues are important, too. The US has always been far more punitive towards the poor (and therefore the disabled) than many other affluent, developed nations. Now, the middle class has been shredded. The psychiatrists are “haves” who essentially work for the “have everythings.” The bulk of the patients, meanwhile, are “have nots,” and are therefore treated with increasing levels of contempt and cruelty.

    Especially in the US, psychiatry -is- a human rights abuse (Szasz).

  • thanks for writing in, Dr.Fisher.

    as an “informed consumer” (read: disillusioned survivor, trying to haggle for humane ‘treatment’), I cannot help but be more than a little bit…disappointed. while other nations are moving towards a more humane, cost effective, meaningful and progressive mode of handling madness and the severely distressed amongst us…

    i get the sense that the US is moving in a more draconian, punitive direction. they’re tightening the screws, basically. 🙁

    i also find it hard to believe that the powers that be are holding the evidence for, say, forced/involuntary treatment via depot shots to the same standards as they seem to be using to scrutinize OD. if it isn’t about cold, hard $$$ and such…

    what gives? is psychiatry a dogmatic pseudoscience? and if it is…wouldn’t bringing in OD and other psychosocial treatments help stabilize the industry, over time? this just does not seem rational.

  • you do make good points. social disintegration to the point of anomie is pretty much…right about where US culture is located, at this point in time. 🙁

    but should funding really be denied for at least –attempting– this sort of treatment? what’s the alternative? more and more $$$ for the standard drugs, then more and more $$$ for disability, and then $$$ for the Rx pills to fix the ills created by ‘standard treatment’ ? more $$$ for involuntary injections?

    I do see that there are some amazing new treatment$ for tardive dy$kine$ia out there now. The patient info packettes are hot off the presses. Is -that- where $$$ should go?

  • I get the sense that if this was a brand new, shiny, ridiculously expen$ive pill coming out of Western Lapland with comparable results, the reactions would be entirely different. Warm, possibly (probably?) glowing, even. A novel compound, out of Western Lapland…we must do what we can to win FDA approval, bring it to the suffering masses here in the US of A, etc. But…

    this is about psychosocial treatments…talking, compassion, empathy, people, connections, human needs and human growth and human suffering, defined and measured as best the researchers could do, with what resources they had available to them. And so…

    DENIED! Better luck next time, hippies.

    I suppose this is to be expected?

  • I know I am late, but I’ll jump in here…

    remember, Szasz and others have pointed out the -religious- nature of psychiatry. Our 21st century witch doctors dole out ineffective, dangerous drugs to the sinners/witches/penitents/slaves because that is their #1 ritual at this point. Facts do not phase faith, especially faith that is bolstered by society as a whole, the current economic structure, and even the legal system.

    Mental Health, Inc. -is- a religion. I think the industry has morphed into a modern death cult, and has proven to be an extremely wasteful, expensive cult, at that. Szasz points out that abolishing psychiatry will lead to greater clarity of thought. I agree, wholeheartedly. Personally, I think the psychiatrists should be retrained in useful forms of real medicine (or retire and fade into obscurity), and the talking “professionals” should be given vocational training, so they can do something practical, useful. Many counselors/low level enforcers do not make enough per year to qualify as truly middle-middle class (in the US…), anyway, so..

    why not train them to be plumbers, HVAC people, skilled factory laborers? They might earn more income and -contribute to society-. Meanwhile…

    the survivors and dependents of Mental Health, Inc. should be compensated and provided with the freedom and resources to “de-program.” 🙂

  • thanks, slaying the dragon. I mean that.


    as much as I could easily do without Szasz’s elitist, conervative outlook, I -do- acknowledge his absolute brilliance in debunking psychiatry and the rest of the “helping professions.” and so..

    As a Christian, I find the latest Epidemic of Psychiatry aboslutely horrifying. The Huge Lies that Mental Health, Inc. tells us…from the LPC counselors on up to the MD psychiatrists…are, from my Christian perspective, lies straight from the pits of Hell. When tragedy strikes, counselors are mobilized to help people “process their trauma” or whatever. Not only do they seem to make things worse for the individuals affected, but..

    they–the enforcers of Mental Health, Inc.–are spewing useless, often (usually?) damaging lies that are confusing everyone. They’ve colonized the (post)modern mind. I seem to recall Szasz writing that one very good reason to abolish psychiatry is to improve “clarity of thought” or something to that effect. I must say…I agree, wholeheartedly.

    Its slavery for most “mental patients,” an overpriced waste of time for the more privileged people/”patients.” And Mental Health, Inc. has grown ever more powerful, ever more devious, since the days of Szasz, Laing, etc. My -personal solution- has been to pray for restoration (its been granted, Praise God) and now for a graceful, easy, quiet exit (still working on that…). It isn’t enough to taper off the psych drugs; one must be set free from the lies and bondage that are the core and foundation of
    Mental Health, Inc.

  • this…may be part of what eventually destroys psychiatry as we know it. Something as simple as the demand for solid evidence before the next round of lobbying for more funding…sounds basic, right? It is, of course. Most of us (all of us?) here on MIA also know that a call for real evidence could be a very real, very profound leap towards the end game.

    I read somewhere recently…(more) progressive values/morals have taken hold over the masses gradually. Much of this talk of the US “culture wars” is really coming from a reactionary, dogmatic segment of the 1%. Anyway…what if the same forces that have reduced the powers of organized religion in many modern, more affluent 21st century nations are now at work with the state sponsored death cult that is Mental Health, Inc.?

  • abolishing psychiatry is a worthwhile goal. I don’t think I will see it in my lifetime, and I’m young-ish (“old millennial,” I believe is the term for my cohort).

    I just…I don’t know that an antipsychiatry movement will be what ends psychiatry. Maybe? Maybe not. With the high costs and dismal results of psych “care,” nationalized health care might do more to end at least the worst of Mental Health, Inc.’s practices than any movement rooted in shared ideology, even shared experiences.

    “Critical psychiatry,” to me, seems to be a way to acknowledge some of the major problems, make some changes, create careers for those involved, and…in the process…save psychiatry! Its kind of like The New Deal saving capitalism from itself.

    Psychiatry is a state sponsored religion that reflects+serves the interests of those in power. Psych issues are really social and economic and moral issues, not “medical” issues. Therefore…

    I think what I’m thinking and trying to articulate is that -real change-, possibly including the abolition of psychiatry, will probably not come thru an antipsychiatry movement, but rather thru changes in the social and economic and moral roots of psych power.

  • im beginning to think…

    my opinion is that there is no love in psychiatry, psychology, any of it. never was, never will be. even when there’s real human interest in another human being’s life, that’s -despite- the fundamental, core nature of the industry, not because of it.

    Dr.Breggin says that “emotional disorders” are “disorders of love.” Nothing against Dr.Breggin–I’ve found his work exposing psyc drugs quite helpful–but this sounds as if he’s simply -using the power- of his position, rather than further debunking and deconstructing the guild and denouncing the power and authority given him by society, as a psychiatrist. and so…

    maybe “antipsychiatry,” as a movement, is doomed? what was it szasz’s book was entitled…Quackery, Squared? something like that? I personally don’t want an “enlightened” and/or “progressive” psychiatrist, etc. any more than I want the rest of my days to be spent in the clutches of a “humane slave owner.” which makes me think…

    I’m thankful that…yeah, I survived. Thankful to my family, thankful to God. There were no other “survivors” in my journey, and honestly…

    Christians have done more for me than any psychiatrist, counselor, or other survivors. Christ, my family, and Christians.

    maybe we just need to support each other in our efforts to (re)claim whatever is left of our lives, here on earth? I don’t think there are any psych ‘experts’ who are all that interested in letting the captives go free and losing their status and income.

  • what’s…I don’t know if ‘surprised me’ is what i’m trying to say…more like distrubed me, to the core…is that mental health, inc. has only gotten worse over the years. in the 40s+50s, really into the 60s…lobotomies were performed on people who had no way to fight back and rubbed people the wrong way. women, poor people, minorities, and…children, now and then. there are case studies of very young children being lobotomized, teenagers being lobotomized, etc. child abuse w/ an ice pick. awesome. but…

    If I remember correctly, the available data supports 40,000-50,000 lobotomies in the US during its heyday. The “atypical” neuroleptics are top selling drugs in the US, both in terms of profit and sales volume…so, basically, lots of people are being chemically lobotomized by extremely expen$ive drugs, the bulk of which are paid for with gov’t monies. which raises the question…

    where’s the outrage, now? how can people wring their hands over, say, Howard Dully and not ask some obvious questions of the “treatment” most “patients”/”consumers” receive in the 21st century?

  • neuroleptics are tranquilizers with lobotomy-like effects. over the long haul, expect brain damage. if i recall correctly, the very early data on Thorazine is mentioned in Mad in America (the book), and that’s pretty much what the shrinks wrote…”chemical lobotomy,” potential for brain damage. and yet…

    The various drug companies turned neuroleptics into antipsychotics, and now tons of people have tardive dyskinesia and the other other tardive syndromes, and many, many more have brain damage that hasn’t yet manifested in such obvious and frightening ways.

    The story of the neuroleptics is a somewhat extreme case of what seems to happen with all classes of psych drugs. drug comes out, its pushed heavily…then the patents expire, criticisms emerge…thankfully (note sarcasm), a new drug or class of drugs for the same indications is soon released, and the cycle repeats. barbiturates gave way to benzodiazepines…

    Thorazine and Haldol gave way to the ‘atypicals,’ which are being scrutinized…just as some of round 1, olanzapine and quetiapine, etc., are available in generic, and have been for a while now. I think its worth noting that there’s already a new class of non-neuroleptic drugs, starting with Nuplazid, for people with Parkinsons Disease. Hmmm…

  • i appreciate dr.breggin’s work. having said that…

    when psych ‘pofessionals’ aren’t pushing pills, shock, the occasional operation…

    they’re telling the ‘patients,’ people in general, society as a whole…what to think, what to believe, how to (work, live, parent, organize a messy closet). “The Medicalization of Deviance” gave way to Szasz’s The Medicalization of Everyday Life, which now seems to have led us to…

    The Medicalization of Morality, Thought, and Speech. Now -that- my friends is control. 🙂

  • i had a friend, way back when…we were young, his dad was a psychiatrist. the dad has also had electroshock, been thru a messy divorce, and basically…despite his power and affluence..dealt with “stuff.” so, lately, he’s been on my mind…not because his son was that great a friend (he wasn’t) or because I think psychiatrists are really just wounded teddy bears, underneath all the fascism (they’re not, clearly), but…

    we are all human. we share that much, don’t we? having dealt with shrinks as human beings (long, somewhat dramatic story…), I’ve personally found: I’m not impressed. Their earnings put them into the upper middle or upper class, their credentials allow them to act as high priests and priestesses of this society, but…

    as -human beings-, i’ve found they leave much to be desired. self-important, elitist, unimaginative, draconian, and…and…honestly, once one deconstructs the pseudoscience, the religion masquerading as medicine, etc…they’re just not so great. counselors, psychologists…same thing, honestly.

    I’m reminded of CS Lewis, when he writes about the various evil characters, especially the white witch…pretty, all sorts of fancy trappings, etc…but sorely lacking in originality, morality, empathy…the fundamentals of humanity, I believe.

    I think many psych people choose a wicked profession over any number of other constructive, often even more lucrative, fields not because they’re evil geniuses or “have issues” (LOL), but becaue they’re often vapid, mediocre human beings who feel “called” to work as overseers on late stage capitalism’s plantation. 🙂

  • psychiatry feeds on pathologizing the human needs of outliers and misfits, even ‘normals’ who are just at a vulnerable point in life can be preyed upon by the psych guild. the culture as a whole feeds the process, maintains the process, then destroys the damaged souls who end up on the discard heap.

    this may not be the most popular solution, but…I do think it is worth noting that even Szasz writes about psychiatry as a -false religion-, one that infiltrates and destroys -real religions-. Actual, real, meaningful religions can have extraordinary benefits for individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. I seem to recall Lasch and others writing about this…the fundamental importance of family, faith, meaningful social bonds, “life with limits,” etc. 🙂

  • what’s odd…odd isn’t the best word, more like…frightening…about US culture, in particular, is how much we seem to -hate- the poor. Some are enlightened enough to be OK with the poor, as long as they “know their place.” Once they step out of line, its party over. add in the criminalization of poverty, resulting in mass incarceration and the creation of a permanent under-class…and also the widespread psychiatry-ization of poverty, and one can see: the US declared war on the poor decades ago, and the ‘experts’ are just now taking the time to assess the damage.

  • at a strictly practical level, im almost tempted to say…if the psych people can get poor(er) people better food and such, OK. let them spin it to boost their position and importance. but then…is it really worth it, in the long run? In the US, ssi for psych stuff has become the “new welfare,” as the old welfare was shredded and regulated to further punish the poor. the “new welfare” is basically the medicalization of poverty, and it costs a lot more (pills, hospitals, MDs, LPCs, etc.) than the old welfare. so…

    thinking from a moral perspective and a long term social planning perspective, the best approach would be to speak the truth…both to power, and in general…and say: late stage capitalism makes people–me included– angry, sad, alienated, and…at times…physically sick. fix it, for the good of the people. and…along the way, take back power and truth from ‘experts,’ especially the psych ‘experts’ who, it seems, want to run the whole damn world, from top (governments, social programs) down to bottom, telling each individual what to think, believe, etc. Truth? at best, the psych profession’s “concern” for the poor and working classes under their control is maybe a 21st century, medicalized sort of noblesse oblige…or possibly they want to emulate the more “enlightened” and “humane” slave holders of bygone eras. either way, this is more junk “data” from a pseudoscientific death cult.

  • i find it…difficult, to on the one hand acknowledge that there are intelligent, potentially kind and truly “helpful” people in the “helping professions…”

    but the guild as a whole is geared towards human destruction and profit optimization. maybe its because ive seen what the “caring” professionals are really like, when the insurance dries up or one asks too many questions…

    im not interested, no no no. people need people. i now have people who care in my life, not agents of the state pretending to be friends for profit and power.

  • sociology has become much more pro-establishment, at least in the US. so has the academic world, as a whole. i think -that- will make it very hard for any sort of critical psychiatry or antipsychiatry to take hold in the US, probably more so than many other developed, affluent nations. coupled with an authoritarian, punitive culture and a 0 tolerance attitude towards anyone who isn’t in, say, the top 5-10%, and…

    yeah. yeah. not to sound too pessimistic, but I honestly think mental health, inc. –in the US– is just going to become more draconian and dogmatic, and society+the legal system are going to lean on the psych establishment more and more, too. kinda scary, actually.

  • as a stigmatized human being “in recovery,” I must say “Thank you!” for this article. I think…not to sound too, too bitter and angry, but…I think the psych establishment leverages stigma to keep people in line. As in…with insurance and “compliance,” one is “suffering from mental illness” or perhaps “seeking treatment for a substance abuse disorder.” Lower status, fewer $$$, non-compliance enter the scene…you’re a “pathetic weakling,” maybe even a “disgusting junkie.” I know this, because as a “trouble maker,” I’ve encountered it, first hand. I think my own experiences with the mental health system (granted, I’m in the US, so its a different, more punitive ball game) have led me to lean more towards a mix of Shulamith Firestone+Szasz or perhaps Kate Millet+Szasz+Jesus in debunking and exposing Mental Health, Inc., rather than shifting my gaze to dreams of a more humane, progressive, genuinely ‘helpful’ mental health industry.

    i do like your sociological references. here in the US, the psych people aren’t OK with sociologists unless they’re reaffirming the psych ideology+dogma. Many of the sociologists, for their part, seem to have real life -faith- in psychiatry and friends to save those damaged by “sick societies.” I find that…sickening, personally.

  • thanks for this, sera. 🙂

    That last book Szasz wrote…about psychiatry as a system of lies…I think I may have to read it, after all. They abuse language like nobody’s business, its beyond Orwell’s worst nightmares.

    I appreciate your focus on the abuse of language that characterizes Mental Health, Inc. “Recovery from mental illness” is a bland, feel good phrase that could mean anything from “docile, drugged, sufficient remaining abilities to work minimum wage” to “survived psych torture and lived to tell the tale…”

    Szasz, of course, is correct…getting rid of the Myth of Mental Illness would, in fact, lead to much greater clarity of thought…and speech+writing, also. 🙂

  • i think right now psychiatry has become so powerful,and it has so thoroughly permeated all strata of society to such an extent that it seems to be one of the few ‘truths’ Americans can agree on: mental health “helps.”

    facts don’t phase religion. I say that as a Christian, btw…I’ve seen thoughtful Christians, and I’ve seen blind faith-style Christians, and I’d say that the widespread faith in psychiatry is far more dangerous and far more frightening than 99.9% of bind faith Christianity.

    I don’t think anyone in Hollywood will come down hard on psychiatry, not after Tom Cruise’s severe punishment for speaking out. Its an Industry Town…they’re here to make $$$, and pissing off the psychiatrists and their lackeys is not good for business, not at this time in history.

    So, don’t expect actors and actresses to take up our cause. Maybe that’s a good thing? A cause that cannot be completely declawed and sold to us by beautiful people, then forgotten (at best) a couple years later? Save the whales? Free Tibet? Remember that South Park episode, from way back when…Getting gay with kids? Even back then, celebrity radical chic was rubbing people the wrong way.

    At least this film is something of a faltering, imperfect step towards…(re)humanizing those who struggle or have struggled, those who are psychiatry-ized, etc. An imperfect film, or no film at all? The lesser of two evils is often the best one can hope for, especially from Hollywood. 🙂

  • long term neuroleptic treatment can cause tardive dementia and tardive psychosis, both of which are incredibly damaging to the individual and, one would think, damaging to the economy and society as a whole, given how many people are prescribed tranquilizers for any number of (often questionable) reasons. the antidepressants overlap with neuroleptics in some respects (they decrease frontal lobe activity), and with sedatives and stimulants in others, depending on drug in question, dosage, additional drugs, etc.

    If “mental health” was about improving the health of individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole, then the “experts” would have found different ways to deal with problems in living a long time ago. If, on the other hand, the medicalization of deviance and the psychiatry-ization of the masses is more about social stability and control, then…

    Congratulations! The system works like a charm! Time to export this bad boy!

  • thanks for this. i don’t think this could have been more timely and encouraging for me, not to mention the many, many others out there who want our selves and lives on our own terms, free from neuroleptics and everything else the psychiatrists have thrown our way.

    ive noticed that my shrinks rarely tapered most drugs. part of it was that i was low status and didn’t “know my place,” but I had good insurance (this equals: controlled substances, 0 informed consent, 0 real monitoring, and insurance fraud). the other issue, i think, is that psychiatrists are so gung ho about selling us the myths that these are good medicines that help heal sickness, etc. etc. etc., that…with all their knowledge, they refuse to treat the drugs as drugs, even though they’re obviously drugs. oh, that and…i suspect many shrinks play with the drugs to punish and torment the person/patient.

    thanks again for this. i think you just made my day, big time. 🙂

  • I’m so happy for you!

    I’ve been doing Orthomolecular for about 8 years now. I actually just got an “Anniversary” email+discount code from my online vitamin place. I’ve been doing it all these years with the psych drug(s) thrown at me, mostly by community mental health clinics. and now…more and more, I see the potential for full tapering, and a full life…outside of the labels, the clinics, the “side effects” (read: these “side effects” are not accidental; the adverse effects are part of treatment), the self-(Everything), the…

    ongoing “treatment” that will never end, was never going to end, because…its no “treatment,” its bondage, and its not just about the toxic drugs, either. 🙁

    i also see now that I’ve been doing the vitamin thing less than perfectly…the goal isn’t to find the right combination of vitamins and minerals to “treat my (insert DSM code here),” but rather to improve my health and just…move on. Plenty of “mental patients” have walked away…why not me, too?

    thanks again. 🙂

  • what bothers me now is how the rest of the medical establishment covers up for the psychiatrists. and the excuses, justifications, etc. from the -real- doctors not only keep coming…they just keep getting more indepth with their lies and excuses, plus a healthy dose of Orwellian double speak. so…

    they know what hospitals do to people. and they not only do nothing, they refer people…to psychiatrists…on a fairly regular basis. is all of medicine sold out to the 1% and their agenda?

    it is worth noting that the medical establishment is surprisingly authoritarian, materialistic, and at times…dogmatic and violent. psychiatry takes it up several notches, on a daily basis.

    i dont know how relevant this is…its just been on my mind. are doctors, in general, doing more harm than good, in Generation Rx?

  • what strikes me as odd about szasz…one can tell by the way he thinks, his outlook…he was very much a psychiatrist. affluent, worldly, cynical, half amateur philosopher, half witch doctor…

    yup. Pretty much a shrink. 🙂

  • hi. it takes a while. i went off all psych drugs after a horrible hospitalization. the “experts” in my area (small town) decided to make an example out of me, teach me a lesson, etc…basically because I was “non-compliant” and they weren’t making $$$ (private docs, etc.).

    and thus began my saga…a mix of coming of age and getting out of psychiatry. I’m -still- growing and -still- transitioning out of psychiatry, but…

    I am healthy. I am intelligent. I have hope and a future. Church helps. prayer helps. I attribute my good health to Jesus, which…oddly enough…puts me at odds with many “christians,” because…you know…psychiatry is good and Jesus doesn’t heal “mental patients,” etc. 🙁

    1 year is a huge step forward, but…it takes time, especially if there were multi-drug cocktails involved.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Mental Health, Inc. demands docility and compliance. As a “non-compliant patient,” I’ve been subject to the worst sorts of punishment (electroshock against my will, for instance) basically for being a “trouble maker” and “not knowing my place in society” (why the ” “? Because these are, in fact, direct quotes…).

    Mental Health, Inc. is usually more subtle in its control the medicalized…but not always. Trust me. Just “get uppity” and see what happens.

  • To me…”schizophrenia” is a way of saying: you’re not a member of the community. You are the Other. In my own life, I’ve been diagnosed as Bipolar I by doctors who had an interest in seeing me do things. “Schizophrenia” has been slapped on me by doctors who sought only to invalidate me and control me.

    Not that being “Bipolar I” is ideal, but…I read “Bipolar I” as meaning you’re still in the human race, albeit barely. “Schizophrenia…” not so much.

    My personal suspicion is that a lot of this is more social class than race per se. The lower status you are, the worse your diagnosis (and prognosis).

  • Maybe this is the extreme end of what psychiatry offers most people? Pills that numbs the senses, dull the mind…shocks that take that a step further…surgeries to make personal pain more bearable, by destroying perfectly good brain tissue…

    …and now, physician approved, physician assisted suicide, the extreme end of the available “treatments.”

  • I’m glad there are still Mental Health, Inc. people willing to stand up and speak out. My own experience has been that they (Mental Health, Inc. employees I’ve encountered in the US) strive to make good patients, but do not want the people/patients to become good people, good citizens.

    Of course, that was my experience when I was younger and my people were considered “rinky dink middle class” (a former counselor’s exact words). Now, I’m a tad older and my people are well-established and more affluent, and I find that, suddenly, the Mental Health, Inc. employees at least go through the motions of showing compassion and listening to me. Not to get all Marxist on everybody, but my own life experiences have led me to believe that race, gender, and SOCIAL CLASS (screaming caps intentional..sorry) play a huge role in “Treatment.”

    Again, good article.

  • Sometimes, I think madness serves as the only way to exit a harsh reality (I’m thinking of the current US here, btw). Disability comes to mind. How else can most people take a breather and recover from life?

    I’m not saying its intentional, calculated…”I will be diagnosed xyz so I can live off disability and have some time,” although SSI has become the new welfare, so that does happen. I’m saying…well, the role of mental patient/victim of madness isn’t a one size fits all role. Sometimes, its nothing but condemnation. Sometimes, it has perks, both in society as a whole and within smaller communities and within the family. The nature of the patient role will vary based on a bunch of factors, it seems (race, age, gender, social class, education level, diagnosis).

    Oh, and while we’re talking about trauma=mental problems…what about the trauma mental health “professionals” deliberately inflict on people/”patients” ? They do it to make us/them more “manageable” and, I think, create lifelong victims/”consumers” of Mental Health, Inc.

  • I get the sense that many psychiatrists know that the DSM codes don’t describe brain problems, but they use them anyway, both to “help” and to deliberately harm. I’ve had conventional shrinks who don’t do therapy and aren’t trained in psychoanalysis or anything of that nature pull out the Freud on me. The old psychoanalytic theories and labels –are– sometimes used…in a campaign of labeling, shaming, and condemnation. This same shrink now tells people (its a small town, lol) that I’m “schizophrenic.” Again: labels used as weapons, to shame, demean, and invalidate a “trouble maker.”

    Caring, compassionate psychiatrists who will take the time to listen and talk have always been around…for people with money and status. The impoverished, the stigmatized, the low status; for us/them, there’s somatic psychiatry. I think it was Szasz who wrote something to the effect that the psychiatry currently en vogue is the same sort of psychiatry poor people have always received, the somatic psychiatry born of the madhouse.

    I applaud your efforts, but your profession, and Mental Health, Inc. in general, are riddled with problems. How can anyone recover when even the counselors, armed with only a masters degree from 3rd rate schools, think they are superior to the “patient” and focus on making money and keeping the person/patient “in line,” not helping him resolve any issues? When even the lowly LPCs in Mental Health, Inc. are so self-important and elitist (not to mention racist, homophobic, and misogynistic), how does anyone, anywhere, get any meaningful assistance?

    There are some compassionate, creative, insightful people left in mental health, I”m sure. I just don’t think there are that many. When an entire profession is marked by rampant fraud, lies, deception, incompetence, cruelty, and various forms of discrimination, then its probably time for those of us who deal (or have been forced to deal with) that profession to do what we can to get out and find new solutions.

  • What was one of Szasz’s examples to show the ludicrous nature of anti-drug laws…if you have an Rx for amphetamine, you’re a “patient” with a “legitimate need;” if you just happen to have some tablets of some flavor Rx speed, you’re a criminal, and you’ll be treated accordingly (especially if you’re poor and/or a minority).

    Drugs are drugs. What really irks me about the ADD/ADHD, Rx speed thing is that…hey, we’ve been down this road before! Amphetamines were handed out like candy in various forms…methamphetamine, amphetamines mixed with some sort of sedative in one pill, etc. Back then, it was mostly adult women who were targeted. Then the 70s came and suddenly Rx speed was a potentially dangerous substance, prescribe w/ caution, etc. etc. etc. And now, even with the speed in Schedule II, the stuff is prescribed to people of all ages, with minimal (if any) precautions that should be taken w/ controlled substance prescribing.

    Its definitely not just the shrinks. Counselors and the “talky” mental health people are in on it, as are GPs, pediatricians, etc. Oh, and the schools…I’m hoping its mostly the public schools that push parents to medicate.

    Mental Health, Inc. creates victims+lifelong consumers/customers/”patients. Its what they do, apparently. The latest episode in America’s love affair w/ Rx speed is just one more example of how the “helping” professions are creating problems on a personal, family, community, and nation-wide scale.

  • I dunno. I’d take a benzo over long term, high dose SSRI treatment. Benzos are also helpful for extreme emotional states, like mania, hypomania, psychosis, etc. And of course…sleep. Drug sleep isn’t as good as natural sleep, but if you’ve been sleep deprived, a lil bit of Restoril can make a huge difference.

    That said…docs’ behavior needs to change. I’ve had 2 docs do quickie tapers off full dose Klonopin, with absolutely no concern about side effects. These days, I do Orthomolecular. The high dose niacinamide makes life much, much easier over the long haul. Anyway, it shouldn’t be OK for docs to yank people off long term sedatives (or any drugs, for that matter) just because…well, who knows. Shrinks will prescribe like its the 60s and then try to act like a Puritan. Its…well, crazy.

  • This is good stuff. I particularly appreciate the emphasis on *not* allowing sudden tapers and such. I was Rx’d Klonopin as a teenager. At a certain point, my doc decided I needed to stop, so she did a rapid taper. I was miserable; she kept tapering and called me a “drug seeker” and an “addict.” She, of course, was the one who had kept an 18-19 year old on full dose Klonopin, plus Ambien and Sonata, and then abruptly decided to pull the plug. I hear this happens a good bit. Hopefully, this legislation will pass and other states will follow with their own regulations.

  • Psychiatry is a reflection of an increasingly sick society. Poor people, working class people, even middle-class people…their/our problems don’t matter. Shut them up, one way or another. This goes double for unwanted people in families of any social class…always has, now that I think about it. I’ve heard shrinks say that so and so wasn’t “good enough for an atypical,” so they get Haldol. Not “good enough” for Xanax, so its Klonopin.

    I realize that psychiatry has always been about control, but I get the sense that for a while there psychiatry had…I dunno…a softer touch, maybe? We’ve gone from Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity (and, rarely, Temporary Insanity) to having psychoprisons and a growing prison psychiatry industry. I think this reflects an increasing level of inequality and class warfare in American society. Gone are the days of noblesse oblige when the upper classes would at least throw scraps at people below them in social hierarchy. Now the rich have a genuine contempt for the masses, and everybody hates the poor. This shows up in “Treatment.”

    Talk helps…if you can afford it. For most of us..its pills, shock, etc.

  • Terrifying story. And…sadly, your story is not all that uncommon. Well, the torture isn’t. The recovery and rediscovery of your humanity…tragically, I’m finding that part of the story is relatively uncommon.

    My own misadventures in Mental Health, Inc. are somewhat similar. Shock, drugs, more shock, more drugs. I’m blessed that I now have my family behind me, even though psychiatrists set out to keep us apart…and succeeded, for a season. I’ve come to the realization that some of those people chattering to themselves on the street aren’t really “in need of treatment;” they’re the “trouble makers” of yesteryear.

    I’m tempted to ramble on, because I see so much in your writing that articulates what I’ve long thought, and some of what I’m just now coming to realize. I’ll stop here and say simply: Thank you.

  • I’m glad NIDS is getting attention. I seem to recall reading about it when the atypicals were first introduced, and all the professionals were saying that NIDS and the dysphoria that comes from many neuroleptics were both a thing of the past. And now…

    …well, at least these doctors in Tokyo are talking about it. Maybe docs in the US will talk about it in 10, 15 years. Probably whenever Latuda goes off patent.

    I do find it interesting that one reason this is attracting attention, it seems, is because of neuroleptic use in Bipolar Disorder. I think the issue there is that people who are diagnosed with Bipolar I are often white, have more education, and are more affluent than those diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Not always, but..often. I think what it boils down to is that patients who are supposed to be high functioning are having problems from the meds, so docs are willing to admit…yes, its the meds (at least…they are in Tokyo). Schizophrenic/Schizoaffective patients…still don’t matter (we/they apparently still need our AbiliQuel, obviously).

  • I think the problem is…addressing the real causes of “mental illness” on a large scale would mean admitting that 21st century societies tend to be sick, and that these sick societies create sick people. It would also mean looking at family dynamics after decades of NAMI-style dogma that absolves all families of any responsibility for the “mental illness” of its members.

    Blaming the brain, pushing pills…its not just that psychiatry is now ideologically dedicated to somatic treatments. Society as a whole, right now, seems interested in maintaining the illusion that society is a-OK and those who fail to function as expected are “losers,” unless of course they have a label, in which case they are subject to the “cruel compassion” of being a mental defective.

    I think this may explain why many European countries and the UK are more willing to try psychosocial treatments and at least allow people to discuss different ways of understanding and approaching “mental illness.” I think the great myths of American culture–anyone can succeed, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, “personal accountability,” etc.–when combined, create an unwillingness to reflect upon the world around us.

  • I’m glad this issue is getting more attention. At the same time, I can’t help but notice that the discussion about SSRI-induced problems is happening after the SSRI drugs have gone off patent. I think this is similar to how the “atypical” neurolpetics are coming under more scrutiny, just as some of the more popular “atypicals” have gone off patent. And similar to how the benzodiazepines were further examined…once the best-sellers were off patent.

  • Psychiatry is undoubtedly part of the problem. Labels, pills, disempowering people/”patients”. There was a book back in the day, about how psychologists and counselors create victims. I think that is true of Mental Health, Inc. as a whole. Counselors work with shrinks who work with therapists who work with hospitals…the end result is a web of brain damage, lost hope, shattered dreams, lost potential, and wasted money. This, of course, is blamed on an “illness” or, many times, the person/”patient” for any number of reasons…”personality disorder,” manipulative, uncooperative, non-compliant, malingering, etc.

    I think another part of the problem is that the economy has tanked and people are, understandably, checking out of “the system,” whether its a conscious maneuver or not. Jobs now are not steady, wages have fallen, stress levels are higher, worker protections have eroded. Society, of course, does not care. I think “mental illness,” right now at least, is keeping the whole thing (somewhat) steady. The problems are socioeconomic, political in nature–“The personal is political”–but they manifest themselves in individuals, in families, in communities (particularly “sick” communities). Labeling the individual and then blaming the brain and throwing some $$$ towards the “sick” person’s upkeep is an expensive way to maintain stability. If you don’t fit in, if you’re not a good worker bee, if you can’t keep up, if your life seems hopeless and meaningless…you’re “sick.” “Sick” people under-perform or can’t keep up at all, so here’s some $$$. Stay “sick,” you keep getting the money. Have the audacity to get better…you’re on your own. Only the “truly sick” get the bread crumbs.

  • My shock was not voluntary. The shrinks declared it necessary because of an “emergency situation.” I think that’s fairly typical of involuntary shock for poor people, uppity women, trouble makers, etc…its always some sort of psychiatric emergency, the “patient” lacks insight to see how necessary high voltage is to their stability, etc. I think the best course of action would be to ban it outright. As long ECT is available, there will be victims. As long as ECT is profitable, the government and insurance programs will be bilked out of $$$ paying for torture.
    Sort of like…lobotomy was initially used as a last resort, and the early research on it is remarkably straightforward and blunt about the procedure, results, etc. By the 1950s, lobotomy became ever more popular on both an in- and out-patient basis, and the procedure was used on groups of people who were known to derive little, if any, benefit.

    I think shock–wait….ECT…–is pretty much the same. It was once ElectroShockTreatment (EST), and the docs were fairly blunt about what they were doing, the outcome, etc. Now, its ElectroConvulsiveTherapy (ECT), and its supposedly cleaned up, safer, a reasonable option in some cases, etc. I think a ban is probably the best course of action. Give (most) psychiatrists an inch, they’ll take a mile…and charge top $$$ for it, too.

  • Shock is torture. I think shock shows us what psychiatry really offers…amnesia, brain damage, blunted emotions, reduced cognitive abilities. Take the memories away, take the pain away,…something like that, anyway. I guess turning people/”patients” into vegetables is “therapeutic,” right? Right.

    Heavy shock can be worse than a lobotomy, from what I’ve read. Lobotomies were/are terrible, but the brain damage is more targeted. Shock somebody enough and they have fried brain cells all over the place. And then, of course, there’s “maintenance ECT” for the treatment and/or prevention of “relapses.” And ongoing Rx drugs. It just gets better…

  • This is good news. Some people do better on neuroleptics, at least for a season. Some don’t do well, but find themselves coerced or straight up forced to take them (sometimes by injection) for a season. My own limited experience tells me that even for people who respond favorably to neuroleptics, there are probably other drugs that could ease threm through a rough time w/ far fewer problems (and probably lower drug acquisition costs, too). I seem to recall reading some small studies that showed “schizophrenics” benefitting from diazepam and other flavors of benzodiazepines. Not ideal, but I’d rather be on Valium than on Haldol…far more humane.

    Its funny to me…lately, “Narcissism” has been the It disorder. Shrinks are all over the media talking about NPD, writing books, etc. Perhaps…they should start by developing some humility as a profession (?). There’s so much that is not known about severe distress and how to deal with it, different kinds of distress, what “recovery” is and what it involves, so on and so forth. I’m not looking for the shrinks to give up their prescribing privileges and find different jobs, but some honesty and human decency would be most appreciated.

  • In countries that aren’t quite as “sick” as the US, people w/ problems do better. They don’t always get the shiniest new pills (or as many pills), but there seems (from my limited perspective) to be a bit more understanding of the limitations of “treatment” and the fact that, well…life is hard. Not everybody’s a “winner” or an above average worker bee.

    Now, in the US…its crazy. The gov’t will spend more on 1 Rx than on the small disability stipends they give to the masses of “mentally ill.” Not just for cases of “treatment resistance” or whatever, but…all the time. Routinely. Meanwhile, its never enough $$$ for the “compassionate treatment providers.” The level of cruelty is unimaginable.

    If you’re caught with xanax w/o an Rx, you probably go to jail. If you have a huge Rx, your doc shrugs it off, unless something bad happens, and then you’re a “drug seeker,” “manipulative,” etc. The shrinks routinely create “addicts” and then refuse to let us/them truly recover. One can “recover…” on their terms, of course. Otherwise, its not recovery; its ongoing “sickness.”

    I’m proud of the whistleblowers, but…hey…this is how the system works. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…

  • American culture in the 21st century doesn’t value character development. Winning, or at least…avoiding becoming a “loser…” seems to be value #1, above all else. Losers suffer. Losers don’t matter. The only people whose suffering really matters in 21st century America are the affluent and the attractive.

  • My wild ass guess tells me that poor and working class women are over-represented among those who are prescribed ADs during pregnancy. My best guess tells me that there’s less tolerance for “weirdness” the lower on the social status scale you go, so their offspring are more likely to be diagnosed and drugged for any number of reasons, “autism” included.

  • I’m so glad I’m not a kid in this generation. Teachers only teach to test, the economy is terrible, the future is uncertain at best, and economic inequality is growing. Lots of kids live in varying levels of poverty, which certainly can’t be good for “attention span.” Add in…crumbling communities, job insecurity, marital instability, the rising cost of…well, everything, but college, in particular…its a rough time in which to be a kid. Plus, as if giving Rx meds to kids for…well, being kids…wasn’t bad enough, we now have police officers in schools, 0 tolerance policies across the board, social media (now there’s No Escape from those school bullies..thanks, facebook), and a culture that demands strict conformity. No, we don’t have as many state mental hospitals…we now have jails, prisons, boot camps, some private, for profit mental facilities…its a hot mess, really.

    Ever noticed how now that the state mental hospitals are gone, we’re encouraged to check ourselves for signs of disorder? Seroquel wants to know…”Do you have Bipolar I?” Vyvanse wants to know…”Wouldn’t your life be better with a slow release amphetamine?” I mean, who needs the big state mental hospitals if the people/patients/consumers check each other and themselves for signs of disease and disorder?

  • Ugh. Electroshock. 10 years after my first (involuntary) round, nearly 8 years after the second (also involuntary) round…I’ve largely (by the grace of God) recovered.

    My parents “moved up in the world” a bit…well, enough for me to be treated with some compassion and for the “professionals” to pretend to listen to what I have to say. Before, back when they were “rinky dink middle-class” (a former counselor’s words, not mine), I was tormented and dismissed. “Not good enough for…” anything but harsh, inhumane, somatic “treatment.”

    Shock is what they do when you don’t matter, for whatever reason, and nobody cares. And when they’re done with you…well, it just gets worse. “Too smart” becomes “too dumb,” or at least “too average,” and the person/patient’s life gets that much more difficult. My case is somewhat unusual…I started out a bit “too smart,” then I was stupid, now I”m “too smart” again…but because of my parents and a good attorney, I’m mostly beyond the former shrinks’ control. The current docs more or less leave me alone.

    Shock is…terrible. Relapse rates are high, lots of problems pop up that they don’t tell potential customers/patients about…rough stuff, that EST. I do think it should be banned. Give the shrinks an inch, they’ll take a mile (as a group, not all of them individually). Better to take this one out of the tool kit.

  • Psychiatric dogma changes as society changes. In the US, society seems to slowly becoming what the media calls “more liberal,” and what I think most people would call…more humane, or at least more rational. In society where we’re talking about decriminalizing drugs, reducing prison sentences, and we’re even sometimes having open discussions about socioeconomic inqueality in America, it makes sense that psychiatrists would also dust off the old books about psychosocial treatment and try their hand at something a little more…humane, or at least rational.

    Oh, I think also a lot of the major psych meds are now off patent. Whenever that happens, shrinks suddenly get really honest about ill effects of the meds and the limitations of drug treatment. When the drug that goes off patent is a controlled substance, shrinks will all of a sudden open up about dependence, dosage escalation, diversion, etc.

  • Psychiatry runs on trends and dogma, not science. My best bet is that Allen Frances “sees the writing on wall” re: scrutiny of psychiatry. Time to update, re-brand, stay current, etc. Hardcore biological psychiatry is evidently quickly becoming passe.

    Risperdal is rough stuff. I was briefly on it while in a psych ward, following heavy, involuntary shock treatments (hey, psychiatrists in the south…its the 50s down here, y’all!). The akathisia was intense, and I was pretty much left to my own devices, so I paced around the ward for hours upon hours each day. I really didn’t see what was so modern or “atypical” about Risperdal…just another mind numbing tranquilizer that clearly creates problems.

    What’s truly upsetting is how psychiatrists have, as other posters pointed out, used resources that could have helped people recover (with or without meds) to push a bio-bio-bio model of distress (“mental illness”) on both the people they label (“patients”) and society as a whole. Of course, psychiatry reflects society, to a certain extent; perhaps we should also be asking what it is about modern culture, particularly in the US, that allows this sort of abuse of power and outright corruption to flourish.

  • At least shrinks are getting to the point where they’re (once again) admitting that the antipsychotics have very real, sometimes crippling, effects on people. Personally, I think its because many of the atypicals are now off patent, and they didn’t turn out to be such wonder drugs, anyway.

    Antipsychotics aren’t ideal, but I do think low doses can facilitate recovery in some people, if med treatment is mixed with housing, psychosocial programs, vocational help, etc. You know, all the stuff that gets people into society. Without all that, you’re just throwing pills at emotional and social problems and then blaming the “disease” when the person/”patient” fails to become normal and self-supporting.

  • I’m excited. I think, personally, with more and more “wonder drugs” going generic, we’ll see more and more research on psychosocial treatments, nutritional treatments, etc.

    I learned (from a former shrink, no less) that psychiatry cannot be separated from the society in which it exists. This is probably why the Sociologists have a sub-field, “The Sociology of Mental Health.” Many of the problems that we here at MIA and “patients” in general have experienced have more to do with the societies in which we live than with individual psychiatrists, hospitals, etc. For me, that means that a lot of my terrible “treatment” (read: abuse) was because I was/am “different” …in the extremely conservative, class conscious Bible Belt. Predictably, I entered Mental Health, Inc., and predictably…I was promptly destroyed. I’ve only now recovered.

    I guess I’m saying that to point out that these studies are long overdue in the US…because of US culture. These findings will take a good, long while to affect most people/”patients”…because of US culture. This sort of treatment is popular in other places…because their cultures are different, more humane, that 21st century US culture.

  • I enjoyed your post. Nice use of the “goof balls” to illustrate your points. 🙂

    I think there can be good psychiatry, or at least…humane, skilled use of drugs to help people in distress. My question is, though: if psychiatrists give up the disease model, if they start being honest about what is known and is not known about distress, and along the same lines try to work with people rather than control them…will it still be psychiatry, at least as most of us know psychiatry?

    I’m not trying to criticize you or be too harsh towards your profession. I’ve come to the conclusion, personally, that many of my problems with Mental Health, Inc. were really problems with American culture…the shrinks and others just happened to be more conservative and have more power than a lot of other people in the culture.

    I’m just thinking that if psychiatry as a whole–probably starting with shrinks like you, at an individual level–gave up the power to coerce and control and label, the disease model, the hubris…then it wouldn’t be psychiatry anymore, at least not psychiatry as most people have experienced it.

    If psychiatrists start being honest about human distress and such, what would society do? I mean, I go to a shrink. He’s nice enough, probably because I have upper-middle/upper-class people behind me. If he were to drop the diagnoses and say “You have problems, and I think its because….” and let me know, that’d revolutionize our (cordial) relationship. If shrinks started doing it in droves, psychiatry might cease to exist, because I think one reason so much $$$ is pumped into Mental Health, Inc. is because many modern societies–especially the US–use psychiatry to deal with victims of society. What’s American culture going to do when the shrinks get real about mental distress and the social environment in which it occurs? And when “patients” can no longer be silenced under the stigma of “mental illness” ?

    Of course, you’re just one (thoughtful) psychiatrist. I applaud your efforts, honestly. Disease- or drug-centered model, people go through terrible things, and many of them/us end up in Mental Health, Inc. Its good that at least some professionals are re-thinking the status quo.

  • I filed a medical board complaint against an ex-shrink because she got me hooked on Klonopin as a teenager (now 18/19 year old needs 3mgs/day Klonopin, plus Sonata). As part of the investigation, lots of people got subpoenas for my records, and now…retaliation. My recovery has only intensified things, honestly.

    If it wasn’t for my upper-middle/upper-class people behind me, I’d be…somewhere terrible, for sure.

  • Therapy can easily be as harmful as psychiatry. The two often go hand in hand, anyway. I’ve survived some terrible counselors. Even now, as I recover from “treatment,” some counselors in my area are going after me. Bipolar. ODD. OCD. ADHD. NPD. Diagnosis as a weapon…its not just psychiatrists! Actually, come to think of it…here, in my little corner of the world, my recovery seems to be “triggering” terrible (mis)behavior on the part of some “professionals.” Troublemakers…aren’t…supposed…to…recover.

    I find that many MH people are elitist, too, or at least extremely class conscious. Why don’t working class and poor people get good therapy? Because they’re not good enough. Drug em up, send em away, basically. Now, if you’re upper middle class or above (or have people like that behind you), then…well, maybe some compassion is in order…

    I think part of the problem is all these mass-produced masters in counseling people who are paid too much (For what they do) and think too highly of themselves, while failing to deliver anything useful. Not that training is all that important, but…give some of these asinine creatures a masters, they think they can rule other peoples’ lives. It used to be said, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I think now this is true of counseling…”Those who can, do. Those who can’t, counsel.”

    Just my experience, that’s all. 🙂

  • Psychiatry fits a social need. Its stated mission is to “treat mental illness.” Its actual purpose (I believe sociologists call this the “latent function”) is multi-faceted, but is mostly to keep people in line, maintain the status quo, and blind us all to the social factors that make many of us “crazy.” I sometimes think selling pills is really just a side benefit. Even before the bio-bio-bio perspective took hold, shrinks were essentially “blaming the victim.” “Therapy” can be just as damaging as drugs and shock in many respects.

    As Norman pointed out, even is psychiatry is thoroughly debunked, there will emerge new ways of keeping us all in line…that is, unless there is serious social change. But who listens to “psychiatric survivors” ? Its like in Suddenly, Last Summer, when the evil aunt is about to have Catherine lobotomzied. The doc says something like “an operation may not stop the babbling,” and the evil aunt responds “but after the operation, who will listen?” Psychiatry helps discredit and control and silence people.

  • I’m all for this and research into other less expensive, safer, more humane ways of handling distress. Yes, psychosocial programs are important, but I think an exclusive focus on psychosocial factors ignores the fact that severe emotional distress can cause physical problems, and can also be the result of physical problems (at least in part). When I was deeply psychotic, I had major skin problems and hair loss. Part of recovering, for me, was getting these and other physical maladies under control along with my distress. For me, that meant Orthomolecular, which has been absolutely wonderful for me. Other people prefer different forms of healing and health-boosting. I think one wonderful thing about alternative health is that its not as controlled by experts, so there’s a kind of do-it-yourself aspect to the process. For people (“patients”) who have seen and experienced the worst the medical establishment has to offer, that can be very empowering.

  • I don’t think the criminal justice system is much better than Mental Health, Inc. I mean, if you can afford adequate legal representation, then the criminal justice system isn’t so terrible (it also helps to be white, of course). American prisons are torture chambers, and they drug people up in jail and prison just as surely as they do in mental hospitals.

    Having said that…E. Fuller Torrey truly scares me. I’ve dealt with some terrible shrinks over the years, and he shares a lot of the same traits as those shrinks. Force, fraud, coercion, straight up lies, forcing (or trying to force) people into what Szasz calls “Psychiatric Slavery.” shrinks like Torrey are sadistic, power hungry, cruel, and ruthless. They also lie. They lie to the people they turn into patients, they lie to families, they lie to the public, they lie to themselves.

    I’m personally sick of the lies and the sadism. The best you can get when you’re “severely mentally ill” is cruel compassion…”s/he can’t help it….schizophrenia, you know?” that sort of thing. If you disagree you’re in denial or don’t realize how sick you are. If you ask for the fun, good pills you’re a “drug seeker.” If the meds don’t “work” you’re “treatment-resistant” and probably have additional problems, usually a “personality disorder.”

    On and on it goes. I’m looking forward to the day I can exit “The System” and get on with life.

  • Good points. Personally, I’ve found that “mental health professionals” are often more concerned with keeping people “in line” than with helping them/us. That’s certainly true of many I’ve encountered at the clinic I go to. Actually, its true of both private practice and community mental health, now that I think about it. Its hard to be anything more than a “compliant patient” when dealing with “professionals” such as these. I’m blessed because I have upper-middle, maybe upper class people behind me, so I get more leeway (although I still get comments and sneers at the clinic).

    Anyway, society creates deviant individuals and then punishes us/them harshly, especially those who are low on the totem pole to start with. “Personal responsibility,” “accountability,” etc….all those buzzowords that seem so popular in American culture (and often in the mental health arena, too). In the US, social problems are apparently “personal” problems. You’re homeless because of “poor life choices.” Oh, wait…you’re schizophrenic. That’s it… You’re in jail because you deserve to be. You need to be punished. I don’t wanna hear your sob story. On and on it goes, as the mental health and justice systems get bigger and bigger and ever more vicious.

    Again, thanks for the article.

  • Thank you for this post. Usually, those who are victimized by psychiatry die and nobody cares. I chose my screen name because yeah, I survived…2 involuntary rounds of heavy shock before age 25. The first one was done while I was suffering an OD. I didn’t find out about the “treatment” until I had to get a brain scan a couple years later. Awesome.

    Anyway, I think it was Szasz who said that psychiatry is a human rights abuse. Its not a couple bad apples; its the “profession” as a whole. I personally think that electroshock and psychosurgery reveal what psychiatry is really about…destroying minds, destroying lives, making people “more manageable.”

    Thanks again for this post. She was a wonderful woman, and I think its important that her life and her death are noted, that something is said.

  • This is ridiculous. I think it was Szasz who pointed out that pill and shock based psychiatry was always the psychiatry given to poor people. Now that everybody’s on meds, I guess poor people are being given the most noxious, over-priced medications available.

    Class warfare, I think. What do poor people need brain cells for, anyway?

    My own experience has been that docs are elitist. When I was poor, I was shocked and doped and abused. Now my somewhat affluent people take care of me, and I’m given counseling and some compassion, blah blah blah. The medical establishment gives you about as much compassion as you “deserve,” based on you (or your peoples’) social standing. disgusting.

  • I can relate to the “downward spiral” caused by mental health “treatment.” I lost 10 years of my life to “treatment,” stigma, and punitive psychiatry. The only reason I’m “in recovery” now is because of my upper-middle/upper-class family taking care of me after reconciling ( did I mention that the shrinks are part of the reason we were estranged?).

    Its crazy, being locked in the cycle of punishment, pain, and stigma. I feel for this individual, I do, and I hate the way Torrey is always seizing upon tragedy to make his case for controlling and drugging those deemed “severely mentally ill.” Brain disease? As I recall, in the 60s and 70s, Torrey tried his hand at being the next Thomas Szasz. Apparenly, there’s more money and prestige in his current breed of psychiatry than in his old one.

  • Mental health usually = violent control of people who don’t matter, the “expendables.” Even if you start out with enough status, money, prestige, what have you to “matter,” the experts’ use of stigma and diagnosis will invalidate you…and you will be an expendable.

    I’m a Born Again Christian. I’m also increasingly frightened by the number of M.Divinity holders in mental health, fee based pastoral counselors, and the “mental health awareness” that so many churches are engaging in. Locally, a NAMI group meets in a Methodist church just up the road from me.

    The only group I can think of that still speaks out against mental health–because there was a time, not so long ago, when many Christians recognized that mental health treatment and Christ are often, perhaps usually, maybe always, incompatible–are the Pentecostals. Call them “holy rollers” if you want to…they read and teach the whole Bible. My real “counselor” at this point in my life is an elderly Pentecostal woman. Raised Pentecostal, all that. She’s more insightful and wise than anyone I’ve ever met. And, without having ever read Foucault, Szasz, Goffman, etc…she’s decidedly “anti-psychiatry.” I told her my story, of forced shock and violence and docs “making an example” out of me because I was/am a “trouble maker,” and she told me: they torture people. She briefly worked, on weekends, in a pscyh ward. She quit because of the screams of the shock patients and the torture she saw. Most people wouldn’t have quit. Real Christians have a conscience.

  • I too have the dreaded “Bipolar I.” If it wasn’t for my somewhat affluent parents supporting me, it’d be “schizophrenia” and I’d be pumped full of some sort of antipsychotic on an involuntary basis. As is, I’m on a lovely 4 drug cocktail (no lithium or depakote, praise God), chasing the side effects wirh Orthomolecular. My counseling is pleasant convo and talk about meds. Such is the nature of Community Mental Health around this part of the US.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this article. Its crazy, how little evidence is there for any one (often noxicous) pill, much less combinations of little pills. I think maybe the rat race is one reason psychiatry flourishes. Who has the time and resources to step out of society, slow it down for a moment, truly recover? Very few. Factor in how blaming the brain shifts the focus from society and family dynamics to a “sick” individual, plus profts involved, and…you’ve got a hot mess.

    It seems to me that psychiatry sometimes offers “treatment” through penance. Lithium, for instance; “harsh, but effective.” You tolerate it, you suffer for your sin of being crazy, bad, what have you. I would argue that clozapine falls in the same category…”treatment=pain” is also “highly effective treatment=lots of pain.” I don’t get it.

    Me, I’m on coerced “voluntary” treatment. Take your pills, dearie, or you go to either jail or a mental hospital. Definitely better than what your typical Community Health patient gets, but…yeah. The places where law and psychiatry intersect show you the true nature of both.

  • Neuroleptics undoubtedly cause a lot of these problems. I think there’s other issues, as well, such as social isolation and poverty, that are being “diagnosed.” Is there an anti-poor pill? Can I have one?

    Neuroleptics are very powerful drugs. I’m stuck on one…newer one…and its OK. I do hardcore Orthomolecular with it, so at least I can tolerate it and its non-sedating. Still, the Orthomolecular people have a term for the tranquilizer’s effects on people, which they borrowed from some 50s British shrink (back before tranquilizers became required treatment): the “tranquilizer psychosis.” The Orthomolecular shrinks are remarkably honest about how tranquilizers can switch one psychosis–the “positive” symptoms, I suppose–for another one…the so-called “negative symptoms.” Neither form of psychosis lends itself well to…well…living all that well.

    Personally, I think that madness+stigma+social isolation+low status+(usually) poverty=a lot of what experts choose to call “negative symptoms.” Plus, “schizophrenics” can’t really win. Everything about us/them is apparently diseased and disordered. Considering that the label itself is often applied to people already low(er) on the totem pole–poor people, minorities, etc.–and I think you can see what the real problem is. It isn’t just that shrinks don’t listen to “schizophrenics” (although they don’t, trust me), its that shrinks choose to call low status people “schizophrenic” and then there’s a whole new level of stigma and labeling (poor and “schizophrenic.” Minority and “schizophrenic.” Drug addict and “schizophrenic.” Unemployed and “schizophrenic.”)

    A part of me wonders if the “negative symptoms” maybe represents low status people taking a little vacay from their/our lot in life…which shrinks do not allow, of course. Everything about a “schizophrenic” person’s life is apparently supposed to be under control of Mental Health, Inc.

  • The SSRI drugs are off patent. The media is making benzo addiction more of an issue lately. I think we’ll soon see a whole new, patented, expen$ive group of “innovative” psych meds for…everything. Anything. Whatever ails you.

    First we had barbiturates. Then Valium was safe and good. Then Valium was bad, but xanax was good. Then the SSRI drugs were the best thing ever. For a time, everyone was bipolar I-V, so tranquilizers for everyone (hooray!). Now, even the atypicals are going off patent…plus, TD lawsuits are expen$ive, soooo….a whole new generation of Holy Grail pills is coming our way. Get ready!

  • This is good stuff, and it rings true in my own life. When I had my crack up, I had to use cortisone products on both my face and scalp. My hair was thinning rapidly. I had health problems. Ah, but once hospitalized and shocked…my problems were reduced to psychiatric issues. Was something wrong physically? Absolutely. Did the experts care? Hell no.

    I’m just 1 person with a story like this. Its crazy, really. I’ve recovered, praise God, but…here in the US, “recovery” is damn nigh impossible. For a lot of “mental patients,” the only doc they/we’ll ever see is a shrink. Even if they/we go to a real doc, that doc may just ignore the problems. Just a drain on society…

    Thanks for the article. Weirdly enough, I’m starting to think that having more people on psych meds might prove to be a good thing. I mean, when enough people are failed by “standard treatment,” maybe more resources will be allocated to actually helping people.

  • Many of us know how heartless “well trained mental health professionals” are. The quality of their “training” is an issue for another day.

    I OD’d in a mental hospital…a private, for profit, overpriced hell hole. I was left wallowing in my own urine and denied any medical care for the ill effects of a massive Restoril OD. This was part of my “treatment.” I’m just one person who’s been put through Hell on earth by people in the so-called “helping professions.”

    I think taking emotional distress back from the “professionals” is step #1 towards helping more people get better and get on with life. These people, with their often mass-produced degrees and psychobabble…infuriate me. I think, especially in America, and especially since Reagan, psychobabble has had a very mean spirited, blame the victim flavor to it. “Losers” don’t matter in America.

  • When you have a prescription, its medicine. When you don’t, its a drug. Ugh. I’m all for keeping people on safer forms of opiates. I mean, a schedule III Rx pill versus injecting heroin? Yes, Rx the pill. In terms of cost:benefits, I would imagine that maintaining people, rather than focusing on 0 drug use, works better and more cheaply.

    I just wish there was a way to empower people, rather than either maintaining them or punishing them. But then everything would have to change, especially our attitudes (in the US), which are still extremely punitive and harsh, compared to many other countries. We’d have to look at social factors that lead to deviant behavior, including drug abuse, and see about…I dunno…adressing them, lol. I think one big reason the medical establishment has been able to take control over more and more of our lives, I think more so in the US than in a lot of other places (I could be wrong…) is that doing so makes some people a lot of $$$ and also effectively turns widespread, socially rooted problems into individual “issues,” so things just keep on going as usual.

    Until and unless lots of people start taking a deeper, more honest look at our society…I guess the best we can hope for is maintaining people on their chemical(s) of choice.

  • This is sad times. Not only are more people in the US going to be put on depot neuroleptics one way or another (cough–court orders–cough), the practice will persist even when these drugs go off patent. Mental Health, Inc. just gets worse, the more control you give it.

    I’m also wondering…why is it OK to torture “schizophrenics” like this, but not others? Are we that low on the totem pole? (Ohhhh, wait…yeah…yeah, we are). Any antipsychotic will cause changes in the brain. Rapid withdrawal of said drug will cause problems. The problems aren’t actually a disease, and the effects of withdrawing a psych med suddenly can be Hell on earth, especially w/ a heavy hitter like an Antipsychotic.

    Sad times. Stating the obvious–that drugs cause problems, sometimes worse than the original problems–is dangerous. All research, all discussion about “mental illness” has to occur along pre-approved lines. Truth is irrelevant.

    Ugh. I read this abstract of a study from the late 70s, maybe 80s…they compared Valium to Prolixin in prevention of relapse of psychosis. Valium actually did pretty well. See…that’s my other problem…not all drugs are terrible. People would line up for a Xanax depot, lol. But shrinks refuse to give potentially fun drugs to low status people, choosing instead chemical straight jackets. Sometimes, drugs do help severe distress…I just think its a question of which drugs, and who decides….

  • I think supplements as treatment is a good idea, personally. Like I posted above, I do Orthomolecular+meds. No side effects from meds, I’m stable, and…life is better, sometimes even good. I think the problem is that there’s a growing disconnect from those who receive (or have received) treatment of all sorts and the pros who provide treatment.

    Personally, I did OM myself. No alt docs around, so I got some Hoffer books and put together a program. That is, personally, one thing that appealed to me about alt mental health: the ability to adjust things w/o a professional. No Rx required, low up front cost…sort of de-medicalized suffering, for me at least. That I think may be the core of the problem a lot of us have…the medicalization of deviance and suffering.

    Again, I think your work is excellent, and hopefully (probably?) a step in the right direction for others in the field.

  • I like this. I do Orthomolecular along w/ meds to keep an even keel. Works much better than relying solely on the meds ever did. I think one complicating factor is that supplements generally work better in clusters, or at least that’s how Orthomolecular works. I guess w/ the design of double blind studies, its harder to test combinations (?) .

    Anyway, this is really, really good news.

  • fascinating. I’m on a little cocktail that I’d like to reduce. Are some drugs easier to taper than others? I’ve been stuck on high dose Abilify for a while, and I’d like to reduce, maybe one day discontinue.

    What’s your experience with atypicals in mood disorders w/psychosis? Its weird…this area is so class conscious. Back when I was down and out, I was schizo and everybody wanted me on Thorazine. Now, I have somewhat affluent people behind me, and I’m suddenly “Bipolar I, in recovery.” Who knew?

    But..yeah…I’m not anti-meds, I’m really just pro-brain cells, so…have you ever been able to stabilize that sort of disorder on just anticonvulsants (not depakote, please) ? I’m not asking for advice, not really–I have a doc–just…ideas, I suppose.

  • “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

    Seriously, Mental Health, Inc. is getting out of hand. It used to be that we had state mental hospitals to lock us up, now we’re supposed to keep track of ourselves with “mood charting” and “contact a mental health professional” when and if you show any “symptoms.” Oh, yeah, and the rise of counseling. They used to say “Those who do, do; those who can’t, teach.” Now I think that’s true of a lot of people in Mental Health, Inc., especially the counselors.

    I guess once you’re socialized into the patient role, you have to fill your end of the bargain. You get a diagnosis, pills, maybe disability, a role–Bipolar, Schizophrenia, whatever–and you’re “free…” as long as you play by the rules, which apparently includes planning for your next crisis (which assumes you’ll have one, and also points out the reality of the brutal treatment of the distressed among us, especially those with few resources).