Sunday, September 27, 2020

Comments by Vegwellian

Showing 48 of 48 comments.

  • Yeah, no poster children for recovery here. Sad. It’s clear you reject everything that works for most people, and have huge anger towards that entire field, but embrace every bit of nuttery out there with no anger for the scam that most of it is. The proof should be in the pudding. If I was this evil transgressor come to force drugs down your throat and you were the people who had found recovery through other means, wouldn’t you be the calm ones, and I be the rant and raver spewing bile? What ever you think you have found that works for you…maybe you could think about what recovery looks like and if your behavior fits with that.

  • Also Nijinsky, I am not at all sure you know what peer support is, as a concept. It’s not a self confirming feedback loop on the internet. It is trained people with lived experience providing unbiased support and assistance. You could not work in peer support if you dismiss nearly all of the options available to people and then somehow expect them to get better and if they don’t get better, assume it is their fault. This entire outlook you are propagating is built on the notion that brain disorders don’t exist, therefore, people who continue to have symptoms are choosing to do so. Maybe you aren’t aware of that. But if that’s not stigmatizing, I don’t know what is.

  • It is one thing to be concerned about some of the problems that anyone might observe in the world and quite another to become convinced that a huge group of people are in cahoots to do everybody else in. Do you not agree? Any thinking person has concerns about many of the things he mentioned. Only conspiracy theorists think they are all somehow related. It is not impolite to call a conspiracy theory a conspiracy theory. It is only a bad thing if you think conspiracy theories are bad. The people who believe them do not think they are bad, however they also hold absolutely no room for the possibility that they are wrong. Conspiracy theories also, while sometimes containing a grain of truth, are usually indiscriminate about facts. How can that framework ever yield anything truly useful if it doesn’t weed out fact from conjecture?

    I thought I was coming to like this group but there is too much group think. If I get one thing across, let it be this: Googling is not research. Research involves an objective weighing of evidence.

  • Discover and Recover – I realize you are not going to respond but let me throw this out here…first of all Google isn’t research. That word gets used inaccurately all the time. No matter how often you look up something, unless you are seeking counter evidence, you are going to get a boatload of links confirming your own beliefs. So unless you have actually designed and carried out studies, please do not refer to reading alt med sites as research. I told you your site was nicely put together even if I don’t agree with it. Apparently you want me to fall at your feet and tell you’ve convinced me to stop being a skeptic. Not going to happen. Frankly, the hostility is coming from you. I have asked questions, politely, but instead of answering them rationally, you freak out. The most defensive and entrenched people on this site will never impact the system, or policy, because you are too darn angry and project that anger on to a relatively small group of people, psychiatrists, whom you demonize in a way that is going to put off anyone in the position of changing things.

  • Nijinky…there is no correlation between the spike in violence and medications. Most of the people claimed to have been on a psych meds when they committed the violent act, actually were not. Millions of people find relief from psychiatric medications. I am sorry you don’t. Stick with what works for you.

  • Anothervoice, you have an excellent point about not segregating people. Unfortunately, human kind has yet to develop a society where people’s individual needs are assessed and they are provided with the exact supports and degree of supports, that they need. Pragmatically, and I am a pragmatist, in order to provide services to people, including peer support, housing, medical care, etc., you have to have funding. To get funding you have to identify a problem. I’d love to see that change but things seem to be getting worse and not better in that department.

  • Duane, looking at your blog, which is very nicely put together, even if i don’t agree with all of it, I have a question about one of the entries. “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments in Psychiatry – Chapter Two – Addressing Head Injuries, Thyroid Issues, Sleep Disorders and Other Medical Conditions” Since when are head injuries, thyroid issues, and sleep disorders alternative or complementary medicine? Those are pretty standard medical issues as far as I know.

  • Duane, Vitasearch seems to be a much more science based source. Most of those studies appear, superficially, to be legitimate. Thanks for that link. But that site is not making wild claims, either. Things like Vitamin D deficiency are very well established. I never said that nutrition has nothing to do with mental or physical health but you have to admit that nutrition is an area in which many extravagant claims are made and a lot of dubious practitioners reside. Literally anybody can hang up a shingle and call themselves a nutritionist. Chiropractors famously present themselves as experts on nutrition when they actually simply supplement their income by selling supplements. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly seeing Facebook memes about all of the things that can be cured with some herb or another that have no basis in reality. The organic food industry is an excellent example of exploiting people’s fears to sell them things that evidence shows is not significantly better than conventionally grown food. The organic food industry is not satisfied to simply market products and let the public decide. They are behind a flood of crappy accusations about the danger of the food supply that just are not based in reality. This makes me highly skeptical of any nutritional claims about treating disease, especially when they include negative messages about proven treatments and statements like “The secret cure for cancer THEY don’t want you to know.

  • Chiropractic works for some people, for back and neck or other similar issues, in the same way that physical therapy works. In that respect it is fine, but the profession does not limit itself to that.

    But, if you said that a chiropractor cured someone or pneumonia, I would say that there is no possible mechanism that chiropractic could ever, possibly, cure someone of pneumonia.

    Ambien is a drug. It is a hypnotic medication. It has the chemical properties that could be predicted to make someone sleep. While it is true that trials have not supported ongoing use as effective, every “body” is different. Many people have horrible next day drowsiness with Ambien, but I don’t.

    I agree that on the face of it, my statement seems contradictory, but I think we’re talking about apples and oranges here.

  • They work for me. That’s all I can say. Most doctors would give the same argument that you do when refusing to prescribe them. However, I’ve taken that dose for years, and haven’t developed tolerance.

    The doctor wasn’t a quack. 20 mg of Ambien is quite high, and without talking to me and knowing my history, it would alarm most doctors. They might think it was a mistake that I was prescribed that in the first place. They might think I hadn’t been tried on anything else.

    Many people cannot communicate their history effectively. I can. He didn’t take me off the meds entirely, he just reduced it to the standard dosage of 10 mg. I attribute the problem to the fact that I was in the ER all day waiting for a bed and so he wrote those orders without talking to me. If he had spoken to me first, I would have explained to him why I was on that dose. He also cut back my pain meds. I was furious. The answer to the problem is not to change people’s med without talking to them. He also added Abilfy, which I refused to take. If he had talked to me first, he would have known that too. Part of the problem was that I was new to them, new to the area, and my providers were some distance away, because I lived in a very rural community.

    By all means, people need to be very vocal and empowered in dealing with professionals. Like I said before, they probably don’t ever want to see me coming again, though I didn’t rant and rave or throw a fit. But I gave them a very hard time.

  • Duane – if evidence isn’t that important to you, and you have some other criteria on which you decide what to believe and what not to believe, then more power to you. But, can you identify that criteria? Or it is just a “gut feeling.” In many cases, what you or or believe doesn’t really matter. But claiming, for example, that vitamin C works better than chemo, is an outrageous and false claim that could convince someone to forgo appropriate treatment for cancer (a la Steve Jobs) and delay treatment long enough to kill them. That sh*t makes me angry. I am not arguing with anyone, we are debating. If you don’t feel like debating, that’s fine. But I suspect, as it often is with other alt med people I run into, as well as anti-vaxxers or anti-GMOer, you simply do not have anything of substance to say to defend the illogical.

  • Cannotsay-

    Yes, I am a defender of the Murphy bill. Absolutely. I agree with Gabe Howard that it is hard to determine which people are potentially dangerous, but that is not a reason to make it all but impossible to involuntarily commit people. That Elliot whatshisname kid that killed those 7 people (and himself) in Santa Barbara is a good example. He refused medication. His parents thought he was dangerous and tried to alert authorities. But existing criteria for involuntary admission, based on his statements to the police officers who talked to hm, there was nothing there to hold him on. Because our mental health system is full of holes big enough to drive a hole through, there was no way to put that kid somewhere where he couldn’t hurt anybody. I would prefer that he, and the people he killed, still be alive today.

    Gabe Howard’s make a decent argument, and I would love to meet him and have a discussion face to face because it sounds like he and I have some very similar experiences. But many of his points strike me as distinctions with out differences. For example, he talks about the inadequacy of the term “serious mental illness.” Serious mental illness has long been used by treatment providers to refer to the major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar and major depression. But that doesn’t mean that someone presenting with a different diagnosis, who nonetheless is in serious trouble, is not seen as needing help. True, when people with dysthymia become suicidal, it is very serious. However, at that point, they have probably moved out of dysthymia and into a major depressive episode. In general, besides providing for involuntary treatment, the Murphy bill also expands services. Of course people need more that to be stuck in a hospital during crises. Of course they need housing and peer support and transportation and all of those things. To the best of my understanding, the Murphy bill does not argue against those things.

    Far too often, family members know that a loved one is in serious danger of hurting themselves or others. Aging parents of adults with mental illness end up dead, as happened in a notable case in Missouri. On the other side of the coin, because our mental health system is so broken, when people call the police because a friend or family member is in crisis, they get untrained officers who sometimes kill the person unnecessarily. That is tragic. Police aren’t social workers. They shouldn’t have to handle those kinds of emergencies. Look at Jared Laughner..there were plenty of reasons to know that young man needed help and some people noticed, but did nothing. If he had been able to be hospitalized in time, all those people would still be alive and he wouldn’t be spending his life in prison.

    AOT is favored because it is less restrictive than hospitalization. If a person does not recognize they are ill, and they refuse treatment, you can either court order outpatient treatment, or put them in the hospital. Assisted treatment keeps some people out of the hospital and out of jail. But that should also include all of the supportive services which the same people also tend to reject. Most of these horrible incidents do not involve informed mental health consumers who consciously choose to treat their illness without medication. In fact, I have never heard of one that did. Maybe others have. They are almost entirely people who will not accept that they are sick.

  • AA – I completely agree. Insomnia sucks and I am glad there are dependable medications that work for it. One of the worst nights I had in recent memory was in a psych ward when the doctor cut my sleep meds on admission, without even ever talking to me, and I was awake all night. And the (imho) outdated notion of not allowing people to have TVs in their rooms or some way of listening to radio or music, to me is demeaning and insulting. I try to stay out of those places.

  • I meant to say people do *not* have trouble sleeping because there are drugs available.

    And what do you mean by the idea that people didn’t sleep according to a uniform schedule ever before in history. That’s patently absurd. People have been mostly working during the day and sleeping at night throughout recorded history. Not everyone, but most people. That is why businesses where traditionally only open during the day. It’s only been in recent times that social and community and businesses have started being open very late, or all night.

  • First of all, are you then admitting that depression and/or bipolar exists in order to be a symptom of it?

    It is interesting you should bring this up because I have suffered from chronic insomnia for about 15 years after a stint of working overnights. I do not sleep more than a couple of hours a night unless I take 20 mg of Ambien, which is a high dose.

    Contrary to what you describe, most doctors are loathe to prescribe sleep meds, and when they do it’s usually only for a short time. Insomnia is not a scam. People get have trouble sleeping because there are sleeping pills available. Sleeping pills, from barbiturates on, were developed because so many people complained of not being able to sleep.

    The FDA put a black box warning on Ambien that makes it hard for me to find a doctor that will prescribe it in the doses I need. I have tried every sleep hygiene program known to man. Ambien works and helps me keep my life on track. When my sleep goes haywire, everything goes down the toilet.

    Insomnia is caused by a lot of things, including depression and mania, and anxiety,as well as overnight shifts over a period of time, age, stress, noise, even circadian rhythm disturbances. It is all very well and good to say that people should be able sleep when it is natural for them to sleep (which for me is between 5 am and 12 pm) and be awake when it’s natural for them to be awake. However, you might have noticed that the world decidedly does not work that way. Being unable to conform to the sleep schedule that is kept by the majority of the people can be incredibly impairing to someone’s work and social life. I vehemently believe that taking medication should be an option for anyone who absolutely needs it. All controlled substances are getting to be harder and harder to get. Docs don’t want to prescribe any of them because they are afraid of the DEA or because of the stigma those medications have, and unrealistic fears about addiction (and the fact that a certain number of the people who ask for them abuse them). That is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The whole “Big Pharma” thing is conspiracy thinking. Sure, those companies need reining in at times, and because we live in a capitalistic economy, money is the driving factor behind any corporation. But to dismiss all pharmaceuticals because of some belief that they are nothing but a plot by Big Pharma to make you sick or get you hooked is simply irrational. Again, be an informed consumer. Be in charge of your own treatment. Look at doctors as people you consult with because they have an expertise that you don’t have.

  • I never said that it can do no wrong. Nowhere did I ever say that. I said evidence is the best thing we have.

    The evidence on statins is still inconclusive. I, personally, refuse to take them. But, I am glad I can go to my doctor and get a cholesterol test so that I know I have high cholesterol and can attempt to modify it through diet and exercise. I have never seen a conventional MD or PA or CRNP who did not first suggest diet and exercise. Statins are considered by some to be a better alternative to nothing at all, when patients do not seem to be able to lower their cholesterol on their own. Just because a medication is offered to you, does not mean you have to take it. There is plenty of evidence that still compelling enough that statins are worthwhile. When and if the preponderance of the evidence says otherwise, they will fall out of use.

    If you really read SBM you would see that one of their criticisms of EBM is an over-reliance on random controlled trials.

    Also, if you read further on SBM you would see that there is much in depth information on why Chiropractic is a useless hoax. It is a blog, so the latest articles are not meant to be all inclusive. Chiropractic is based on the fraudulent notion that all disease is caused by subluxation. There is nothing to support that belief. Historically, the profession has claimed to be able to treat virtually anything through manipulation. Not only does chiropractic not cure anything, it can kill people. The subluxation cranks that are referred to in that SBM blog post are actually being true to the teachings of Chiropractic. As of late, some chiropractors have been backing off the subluxation theory because they know that rational people know it is a scam. But in the end, they have less training than most physical therapists, many of them sell supplements for which there is no evidence, they rely on “practice building techniques” that keep patients coming back and back and back. They may help some people with back pain, but then, most people get better with no treatment at all. Any profession that includes people who would perform spinal manipulation on babies is suspect. Any profession of which at least half of which reject vaccination is suspect. There is no underlying thread of anything in Chiropractic that is based on fact. Whatever people start doing when they practice, such as incorporating physical therapy techniques or TENS or whatever is another story and none of that is even derived from Chiropractic.

    Just because modern medicine is flawed and we have all come to realize that doctors are not gods and are not omniscient does not mean that the next logical step is to embrace unproven baloney. What it means is that each individual needs to adopt critical thinking skills, learn as much as they can about science and medicine, evaluate treatments for themselves to the extent that they are able, and make informed choices based on cost/benefit (as in will this help more than it hurts, not actual $$).

  • “Holistic medicine” when involves useless and unproven treatment is not really medicine, regardless of what their practitioners call it. You may be aware that the alt med department at NIH has found absolutely nothing of value despite all of the money that has been spent over the years of it’s existence. Andrew Weill first conceived of his brand of integrated medicine whilst on hallucinogenic drugs. He has become rich off of supplements and other crap, but there is no evidence that the things he spouts are really effective.

    I have never, personally, run across a D.O. that actually practices osteopathy. I once saw an orthopedic surgeon that was a D.O. and had to beg him to do some of what he learned in Osteopathic school on my neck, because I was at the beginning of my experience with chronic pain and there was nothing surgical that could be done to help me. He did so reluctantly, and only once. Every D.O. I have ever met attended Osteopathy school because they couldn’t get into med school and discarded the Osteopathy as soon as they graduated. Which is not to say that they aren’t fine doctors. The medical training they get is fine, the added stuff is crap. The fact that they couldn’t get into medical school is only a reflection on the ridiculously competitive nature of med school.

    Again, holistic and integrative medicine really has no evidence behind it. Environmental “medicine” is bogus also. These people are not years beyond conventional doctors…they simply cater to people who read about SCAM (supplements, complementary and alternative medicine) and are attached to the naturalistic fallacy. And naturalism IS a fallacy. Nothing is inherently benign or helpful because it is natural and the fact that something is synthetic does not mean that it is in any way inferior or harmful.

    I went to Andrew Saul’s site and it is about as impressive as Mercola’s. It is hucksterism of the lowest order. Vitamin C works better than chemo, my ass.

  • Of course life is not easy for anybody. But if you are struggling to carry out everyday tasks while hearing voices, or if you suffer from delusions that prevent you from being able to act in the world to further your own interests, or you are prone to periods of such severe depression that you can not take care of the most basic chores of life, or make any decisions, or you are plagued by periods of mania in which you do things that you ordinarily wouldn’t do, that get you into legal trouble or devastating debt, life is much more difficult, don’t you agree?

  • AA – I don’t know why some comments allow direct replies and other’s don’t. Yours didn’t.

    Fish oil and Vitamin D are not alternative treatments. There is a lot of evidence for fish oil and it is used in evidence based medicine. Vitamin D deficiency is easily measured. I have Vitamin D deficiency and have been prescribed high doses of Vitamin D by my gp several times.

    Your statement about sometimes evidence based practices are later disproved, if I am paraphrasing correctly, may be true, I don’t know without seeing specific examples. But that’s the thing about evidence based practice. If it turns out that the studies providing the evidence were faulty and new research contradicts it, evidence based practice changes to accommodate that. It’s not static.

    Since alternative med relies entirely on subjective results that cannot ever be duplicated in controlled settings there is no standardization, there is no proof that it actually does anything at all, that if it appears to work for one person it will work for another. With herbal remedies, yes, it is recognized that some herbs do have definite effects on the human body. However, each batch of herbs that is grown has a different strength. Herbs are not without side effects. There are numerous chinese herbs that have been found to cause serious liver damage. People depended on herbs for thousands of years because that is all they had. When it comes to something like homeopathy…that is just absurd. In homeopathy, certain substances are identified that would be seen to cause symptoms similar to what the ill person is reporting. Then those substances are diluted and shaken, and diluted again, and shaken some more, and diluted again, until there is no microscopic presence of the substance left in the water. Even more ridiculous, the more diluted something is, the stronger it is purported to be. The explanation for how a remedy that has no physical presence of the original substance could possibly work is that the water molecules retain a vibrational memory of the substance. It’s utter and complete nonsense.

    As Tim Minchin says, there is no such thing as “alternative medicine.” If it worked, they’d call it medicine.
    Thank you for your suggestion of KevinMD. I will check that out. In turn, I recommend sciencebasedmedicine.org.

  • I have described my background elsewhere. I come from a family with much mental illness. Other than delving into covert family systems bullshit, the family was basically as healthy as any family…never terribly disadvantaged…by grandfather worked as an electrician throughout the depression so the family did OK. There are a few alcoholics sprinkled around but the most striking feature is that of the 4 children my grandparents had, two of those had one child, among many, who developed severe mental illness.

    I did have a trauma early in life. My father was killed in a car crash on his way to work one day when I was two and my mother was 8 months pregnant with my sister. I developed life long depression that has clear ties to that trauma. However, my grandmother had no serious trauma and had depression so severe in her later life that she had shock treatments. So it is fairly reasonable to conclude that something runs through my family that creates a vulnerability to persistent and disabling brain symptoms.

    My son’s father came from a family in which his paternal grandmother displayed symptoms of psychosis and committed suicide in his home when he was 15. Our son displayed serious problems from a very early age that have hindered him throughout life. It was because of him that I became involved in the “consumer” movement back in the 90’s, and advocated for improved services for children and an end to stigma towards families.

    At the same time I have worked in social work and mental health at the bachelor’s level, my entire career. I have worked in child abuse and neglect. I have worked with kids who had been adopted out of foster care and were now in residential treatment because their behaviors were too destructive to be dealt with at home. I agree that prescribing multiple anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers to these children is not really helping. However, I also know and have worked with foster parents and adoptive parents who have selectively found that some of the medications do help some of the children.

    I have worked as a case manager for adults with what is called, as shorthand, I guess, “mental illness”. I have had close working relationships over many years with some of the same people and advocated for them and supported them in advocating for themselves.

    I have dealt with my own illness throughout my life, which at time has become disabling. I love my Prozac and Wellbutrin combination. You could never pry my mouth open wide enough to shovel in SNRIs or antipsychotics ever again. I definitely advocate for healthy skepticism when it comes to medications. Don’t just take something because it is prescribed for you.

    You all keep stressing the fact that there is no objective testing for mental illness and so you say that is evidence that it doesn’t exist. Do you know what else there is no objective evidence for? Pain. For the past 14 years, I have also been living with moderate to severe chronic pain. Naysayers claim it’s all in people’s heads. That it is a form of malingering. Just like with brain diseases, it is implied that people continue to have pain because of secondary gain. I take pain medications. They mostly work to the point of allowing me to live a reasonably full life. Some people dismiss me as an addict, even though I have never displayed any of the typical signs of addictive behaviors. Pain is as stigmatized and as poorly understood as is “mental illness”. Perhaps my chronic pain is a result of the early trauma I experienced and the chronic stress of raising a seriously impaired child with inadequate resources and inadequate supports. It really doesn’t matter. It’s here. I have have tried all manner of things and, you know what, pain meds work. So does exercise, etc. It’s all a matter of discerning management of a condition. Try to tell me that chronic pain doesn’t exist because it can’t be objectively seen or measured, and I might punch you in the nose on a bad day.

    Now that I am in my 50’s and on disability, I have taken the combination of my professional experience and my lived experienced and put it to work in peer support. This is the most rewarding and the most useful thing I have ever done.

    I was also in the midst of earning a Master’s in Social Work when the combination of the physical and emotional symptoms just became too much and I had to withdraw from most of my activities for several years.

    BTW, 1% of 7 billion people is still a lot of people. But in addition to those symptoms that we call schizophrenia, for lack of a better word, there is also depression, anxiety, Bipolar disorder, ADHD….whatever you call those things, they are real, they cause distress, and psychiatrists are called upon to help. Part of the reason that psychiatric treatment has been so ineffective is that is is just not enough. People need considerably more support than that. Our health care system is inadequate..it only supplies funding for certain things, it only allows psychiatrists a few short minutes a month to work with people. It only pays for therapists and social workers who sit in offices and people come to see them once a week. There is public funding now for case management and peer support, mostly in the form of Medicaid. But as many of you know, peer support is also seem by some as a cheap treatment option. I am fortunate that I don’t have do depend of peer support work for a living, since I am on disability. I could, and would, do it for free. I barely get paid for it as it is.

    This is why I asked how many of you actually do peer support, are out there working with people other than yourselves, in the real world of people struggling to cope with ongoing problems?

  • It sounds like you are saying that alternative medicine is Ok because evidence based medicine doesn’t work. Alternative medicine does not work. Homeopathy is a crock. Reiki, Chiropracty, all of it. Evidence based medicine does work. Look at the life expectancy today now that people aren’t dying of so many treatable illnesses. I’ve heard the “wake up sheeple” spiel before. All doctors and scientists are in the pockets of Big Pharma or Big Ag, etc. They all obtained advanced education and immediately threw their integrity out the door in order to join the corporate conspiracy to make people sick and then sell them a temporary remedy that they have to keep buying, yada yada yada. That stuff only works if you don’t know any doctors or any scientists and you are able to put everyone one in a monolithic group called “other” and see them as nefarious and sinister. Instead, the world is a fascinating, complex place where every breakthrough has unintended consequences, where those things that work to keep the gears turning for the masses (and from which some people make money) also have drawbacks and need to be constantly evaluated and challenged. In the real world, there is power and there is lack of power. There is wealth and there is poverty. Rather than viewing it all as one big conspiracy, I find it much more interesting and intriguing to look at as a long, unfolding of human knowledge and human progress that is fraught will problems exactly because it is from humans and humans are complex creatures.

  • Nijinsky – for some reason I can’t reply to your comment.

    Mercola is a quack for much the same reasons that Mike Adams is a quack, only Mercola has a medical license. They both further every conspiracy story that comes along, and are general woo meisters. There are so many reasons that Mercola is a crank and a quack, that frankly, though I would like to learn from you about the things you are saying about the twin studies, when I see you defend Mercola my faith in your judgement goes underwater and starts holding up fingers.

    You are apparently into Alt Med, so you live in a world where nothing really ever has to be proven, and if it can’t be proven is someone else’s fault, and the damn FDA is just persecuting this saintly scam artist.

    Later you talk about GMOs and that is the foam on my latte of disappointment. I am a pro-science hobbyist, and my area of expertise is GMOs. I obviously love debating, and learning from debates, and GMOs are a subject I have debated pretty frequently. Let me know if you want to throw down. I am actually enjoying the debates over here. Rebecca

  • What post did this debate take place on, I would be interested in reading it. Do not assume that just because I am new to this site that I am not aware of the views you are espousing. I am aware of them. I am saying they may have been useful at one time but that time has passed. There are other, more important considerations. One of those is that by insisting that mental illness does not exist, you are providing fodder for the very people who would like to cut all of the funding that helps people with brain illnesses. Debating about whether schizophrenia exists or not is pointless. There is a collection of symptoms that occur in about 1% of the population, across all cultures, that we call schizophrenia. To deny that is just mental masturbation. It’s just semantics. I may misunderstand Szasz, you may be an apologist and just think I d0n’t understand Szasz. But a world view, or hypothesis, that remains unchanged for 60 years despite all the change around it, sounds like rigid ideology to me, which is not surprising since Szasz was a Libertarian. Just like any ideology based group, if someone new comes in and disagrees you claim they just don’t know certain things…like conspiracy theorists call people sheeple. Wake up everyone! This is really an old fashioned ideology that is not the least bit useful in helping to advocate for better policies and services. Just curious, how many here do Peer Support work?

  • Do you know many psychiatrists? My psychiatrist is just someone I see every 3 months. He is not a god or a savior, but I do look to him to have more expertise than I do. I present questions to him that occur to me between visits. The mind set you are describing is really outdated. It assumes that the “consumer” is helpless and not in charge of their own treatment.

    I have have also collaborated with psychiatrists alongside others “consumers” and seen the interactions and the nature of the relationships. I have never seen anything like you describe.

    Psychiatrists are just people who went into the field of medicine and then chose a speciality they were interested in. In my experience, they sincerely want to understand their field and to be helpful to those who come to them for treatment. They come in all shapes and sizes and with varying ideologies. Just like with physical health the patient needs to be as informed as possible, and, to the extent possible, choose a doctor that they find to reasonably accept their own ideas about treatment. However, it is not worth going to any doctor if they just let you run the show. They do know more than the patient about medicine, but not about the individual patient’s own experience.

    When all this anti-psychiatry stuff started, with Szasz in the late 50’s, psychiatrists did have a fair amount of power over people’s lives because there were still mass institutions where people were held indefinitely. A psychiatric diagnosis could ruin someone’s career. People viewed all doctors as gods and there was nowhere near the amount of information available about any illnesses and it was not considered the purview of patients to question doctors. All medicine was viewed as mysterious and unknowable by lay persons.

    The world changed, the field changed, but Szasz never updated his view. There is a shortage of psychiatrists today because people aren’t going into those residencies because of the lack of resources available to help people and the nebulous nature of the results. A psychiatrist today has very little power, which they are reminded of every time they are confronted with a seriously ill, seriously suffering person, but cannot get the insurance company to agree to admitting the person to a hospital, or cannot get them to cover the medication that works for that person, or having gotten insurance approval, cannot find a bed because the number of psychiatric beds has been reduced to the point that there simply are not enough.

    Whereas there were serious abuses in the past, in terms of people receiving treatment that was WAY more restrictive than necessary, in the 1980’s Reagan shut down the hospitals under the pretense of empowering patients, but it was really just to save money. Now those people make all their own decisions, and many of them are living on the streets and addicted to various substances in an attempt to self medicate.

    There is a lot or room in between the extremes of lifetime hospitalization and society having no way to force a sick person who doesn’t believe they are sick to accept treatment, even when they are a danger to others. The long string of mass murders in the past decade or more should indicate that something needs to give. Most of these killers were prescribed medications but refused to take them. If the anti-psychiatry movement has it’s way, the very restrictive involuntary treatment laws we have today would become even more restrictive….even non-existent. That simply does not make sense in light of what we know now and what we are seeing happening to people all over the country.

    Gods help the psychiatrist who tries to impose a treatment on me that I do not agree with. I was in that situation close to a year ago when my functioning deteriorated to the point that I wasn’t taking my anti-depressants and admitted myself to the hospital. Believe me, that place doesn’t want to see me coming again. But instead of rejecting all psychiatrists and all hospitals, I reject certain policies and certain approaches. And I work with others to do the same. Empowerment is the answer….not this extreme disgruntlement that pretends that brains do not get sick and that people with sick brains do not need help.

  • I hate to tell you Mr. Abbe but all of the paranoid nonsense you described in your earlier comment sounds far more pseudoscientific that any psychiatry. You are, obviously, a conspiracy theorist. Own it proudly, but don’t try to present it as something other than what it is.

  • I am not green, I have been around the lived experience movement for years. Please provide some evidence for your claims. To say that psychiatry is pure social control is a mighty big and unprovable claim that betrays a lot of bias. Just so you know. You do not come across as objective either. Your beliefs about psychiatry are not new. Thomas Szasz was writing about this stuff back in the 60’s! At any rate, I will always go back to the fact that etiology and treatment are two different things and there is no question that treatment needs a massive upheaval and update. However, evidence is the only guiding light that we really have. And, while it may not answer enough questions, and be a painfully slow process, this angry rejection that is typical of people I have run into that espouse your views, is only constructive to the degree that it motivates them – which is no small thing, but it, by no means, defines reality. Sorry if I come across as condescending. I just like to stick with facts and I do not, as I have repeatedly said, appreciate people peddling any unproven treatments, for anything, presenting those treatments as more proven than they are, at the same time implying that those things that are at least partly evidence based are no good. It really does not matter if it is physical or mental illness because the same dismissive tone you are using is also constantly used by alternative med adherents who feel that every evidence based treatment is a conspiracy of Big Pharma.

  • Regardless of the relative crudeness of today’s psychiatric treatments (medication, basically) that is not a reason to completely discard the notion of a genetic or biological basis to mental illness, or to claim that mental illness does not exist, which I see a lot of here. There is a difference between etiology and treatment. I completely agree that psychiatry is in crisis because is it dependent upon medication, which is simply not enough for most people. Most people need support that is there for them in all areas of their lives. That is why peer support is so important. Plus, there is no question in my mind that when medications work, which is by no means always, they really make a a difference in people’s lives. So I simply caution against throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • First of all, though I use my personal experience because I am very open about my status as someone with lived experience, please do not assume that is the only experience I have. I have worked in the field for many years, and in a number of different settings. I have walked along beside a lot of people on their journey, heard their stories and observed what has happened to them.

    I am also the parent of someone who is now an adult, but who exhibited very difficult behavior and emotional problems from a very early age and I have also walked along with many others who have had the same experience. Strangely enough, they don’t like being blamed for their children’s condition, which is what it ultimately comes down to if you completely reject the genetic and biological basis of mental/behavioral problems.

    I had two first cousins with very severe and persistent mental illness, and having grown up with them, I know they were not subjected to any untoward trauma. Both of them had multiple siblings who exhibit no mental health diagnoses at all. They came from particularly loving and supportive families. Both of them were unable to work, unable to live independently, suffered greatly, and died at a relatively early age.

    Please give me a link to any credible research that supports the inflammation hypothesis. You’re just saying that doctors are accepting it, or studies are showing it is not enough because it counters what I know to be true. Many people read alternative medicine publications and hear that “studies have shown”, but more often or not, the actual studies are not cited.

    Wise doctors base their treatments on evidence. I have heard that old canard about doctors not knowing much about nutrition. However, doctor do not exist in a vacuum, they have access to all the information you do, plus some. I don’t know any doctors, in person or online, who think themselves particularly ignorant on nutrition.

    However, good doctors demand evidence. Please provide some evidence for your claims. Furthermore, there is a massive difference between measure nutritional deficiencies and supposed deficiencies which do not show up under testing. Most of the claims being made regarding nutritional treatments for most things (not all, there are definitely diseases that are caused by nutritional deficiencies) are based on the latter, not the former.

  • There may very well be problems that have not yet been identified. But don’t confuse the fact that the specific gene or genes that cause serious mental illness has not yet been identified with the idea that there is no evidence that mental illness is genetic. There is a well established statistical correlation of these illnesses within families. Even with children whose parents were seriously mentally ill, but who were given up for adoption. The exact mechanism of causation has not been found, however, the field of genetics is relatively young and frankly, there isn’t that much money going into research on mental illness. Most of the money that is going into brain science is going into Alzheimers.

    What difference does it make if the terminology used is later replaced with something more specific? Regardless of how well the concept of the disease “schizophrenia” describes the existence of a certain number of similar symptoms and behaviors that are common across the entire spectrum of human culture. And, people with these symptoms do, to a larger degree than do not, respond to medications that have been developed so far. And the medications we have now will probably turn out to be crude compared with medications that may eventually be developed. I have seen the difference these medications make in people’s functioning and in their lives. It is nothing short of amazing. There are outliers in every field who take a position contrary to the majority of their fellows and make a career out of defending and developing that position. There is nothing wrong with that. But the fact that they interpret research and evidence one way and can make a decent argument for their interpretation no more constitutes proof that they are right than does the correlation of mental illness symptoms among family members prove causation. It’s just a common framework, for now, that allows people to communicate in an understandable and define way.

  • @John Hogget, there have, indeed, been twin studies that show much higher incidence of schizophrenia in people who are genetically linked but were raised separately. Also between blood relatives. I am pretty sure that pretty significant evidence also exist for a genetic link with depression and bi-polar disorder too. In fact, there is even a small amount of evidence that personality disorders, once thought to have no genetic causation, may actually be genetic, too.

    Resilience is a major area of study in the social sciences. Yes, protective factors such as a supportive figure, or many other variables do play into it. Understanding why some people experience horrible trauma and come out of it relatively well adjusted, and others may experience lesser trauma and suffer enormously, is an important realm of study in terms of prevention and treatment.

    Everybody experiences some degree of trauma. You will get no argument from me that our society as a whole is pretty abusive and exploitative and oppressive. That is a meta issue that needs to be addressed on a meta level to bring about change.

    You make it sound like people who experience psychosis in young adult hood and are never able to fully recover are somehow at fault. Perhaps you have never been exposed to some of the more seriously impaired people that I have. I know that victim blaming is not intended here, but in the end, that’s how it comes across to me. Those of us who can regain or simply develop better functionality over time can pat ourselves on the back for our recovery, but what happens to the millions of people for whom that is simply not a reality? Who speaks for them? The idea that everyone can recover could be used to undermine funding for housing, disability payments, things that effect the lives of real human beings.

    Last I knew, the predominant medical theories for mental illness involve the “double blow” hypothesis. That is, a genetic predisposition may exist, but something enviromental, be it exposure to a virus, or child abuse or growing up in a war zone, also has to happen in order tfor that potential to be fully expressed. I don’t think any serious researcher think that trauma plays no part in the development of mental illness. This insistence using the term “mental distress” seems absurd to me. If someone has irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, they could also say that they have digestive distress. The distress is a sign or a symptom of the disease. Again, no one should ever be blamed for having a disease. There is no need to assign fault. What matters is that quality treatment options, including peer support, housing, vocational rehabilitation, all of that, must be made available. Minimizing the serious nature of these illnesses by implying that the are all temporary or don’t really exist, is not going to lead to a good place, policy wise.

  • First of all, regarding my use of the word “blessed” I guess I assumed given my Avatar (The Atheist symbol with the letter “A” front and center, also a symbol for Atheism) it would be obvious that I meant “blessed” in the most secular of way…as in a synonym for “good fortune or good luck”. Some of us are just lucky or unlucky in the genetic makeup we inherited as well as in the environment we grew up in. I do not conflate Science with ultimate truth at all. But I do require evidence for belief…especially when claims are made that seem to contradict the existing evidence but are not well supported with their own evidence.

    In the realm of “alternative medicine” (ie treatments for illness that have not been proven to work) “inflammation” is give an a possible cause for a lot of different diseases. This unmeasurable, invisible, undetectable, inflammation is supposedly able to be eased through everything from homeopathy to reiki. Meanwhile diseases such as arthritis, which demonstrably either cause or are caused by observable inflammation, have had numerous dietary treatments proposed – from avoiding night shade plant foods, to tumeric and every supplement you can buy on line or in a health food store, but those have not managed to make significant differences in pain when studied in a controlled manner and on a consistent basis. So if observable inflammation is not significantly improved by diet (in controlled studies, not anecdotal testimonies, and so far there is no evidence to show that mental illness is caused by inflammation, any claim of cure through reducing inflammation has a pretty steep hill to climb.

    @Fred Abbe, no offense, (but people always do get offended) however the sources you site do not constitute a casual relation between any of the environmental factors mentioned, and mental illness. As far I can see, non of it is actual scientific evidence. When I talk about scientific evidence, I mean controlled studies that have been peer reviewed and published in credible journals. Joseph Mercola is nothing but an internet quack who is against vaccination and most other evidence based medical treatments, and has been cited numerous times by the FDA for making unproven claims for unapproved medical devices. He makes millions hawking supplements on the internet on his wacky website which contains every bit of urban legend and conspiratorial anti-medicine lore known to mankind. And just because someone is or was a neurosurgeon or a any other professional discipline, does not necessarily mean that their ideas, promoted in books or on websites, are scientifically sound. Science means studies…as in experimental or analysis of data. Think of all the useless weight loss books written by doctors over the years.

    Why are people with mental illness so unwilling to accept that they have an illness? It seems to me this is just the old stigma in a new disguise. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having any kind of illness. It is not anyone’s fault to be sick, even if they have something like Diabetes to which their lifestyle has contributed. It seems to me that people who are so keen to reject the medical model for explaining mental illness (not necessarily the medical treatment model, but the etiological model) simply do not want to accept that some part of their body doesn’t work right. That, in my opinion, is the same as buying into the old beliefs that mental illness is “all in your head” and blaming people, or their mother’s, etc., for their illnesses.

    My anger comes when people pushing completely unproven products or treatments present those products or treatments as though they are proven, to vulnerable people, while denigrating those treatments which, though far from perfect, at least have some evidence behind them. To me, this is both dangerous and cruel. The supplement industry is a $60 BILLION dollar industry and most of what it peddles has no solid evidence behind it, unless some has a testable deficiency. The idea the small amounts of micro-nutrients can mitigate serious mental illness, is such a long way from being proven that it simply should not be presented in such a way that people who are desperate for relief from any physical or mental health problem believe that there is more behind it than there actually is. ESPECIALLY when those suffering people eschew medication that may be working for them, in favor of something they see as more “natural.” That’s how people end up suicidal, sometimes, or so sick they have to be hospitalized. And yes, that makes me angry.

  • “Purposeful heavy metal and chemical and biological poisoning”. Do you have a credible evidence for that whatsoever…other than rants from conspiracy theory websites? There has been evidence of mental illness since long before industrial times.

    Look, people do develop mental illness as a result of trauma, etc. They also develop it out of no known etiology. Young people who had great childhoods, on the cusp of their adult lives, about to go to college – have psychotic breaks. Kids are born into loving families who take good care of them, however it is clear from an early age that their brains just aren’t wired properly. If any of you think that simply dispensing with the biological causes of mental illness is a step forward, you might want to pull back and get a wider view.

    The brain can get sick like any other organ. Often there is a genetic predisposition + an environmental stressor that precipitates the illness. I have seen abused kids who develop mental illnesses that very much do appear to be a result of their experiences. I have also seen abused kids who have some blessed source of resilience that protects them. Please do not reject science just because you are unhappy with the provision of services in this country. Demand change, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • You express yourself very well and I found your article compelling. However, I feel that advocates who completely denounce all involuntary treatment are cherry picking because some people can respond and be supported to a place of accepting treatment or working towards their own recovery. Those situations make for nice stories. But what about the young man who shot and killed so many other young people in California recently? He refused to take his meds. Might those people still be alive today if he had accepted that he had a mental illness rather than projected all his anger out onto others? Could medication have helped him think clearly enough to get through the worst time without acting out and killing people? I just read a story yesterday about a 28 year old man who had ridden a bicycle from Maine to Florida in order to propose to his fiance. Unfortunately he encountered a man who was in a mental health crisis when he stopped at McDonalds to charge his phone. The man in crisis had been brought to the attention of police the evening before because he claimed that the people at the restaurant were trying to kill him. He apparently did not meet the criteria for involuntary treatment, because he was back the next night where he encountered the bicyclist and stabbed him to death. I wish he had been in a hospital. You can also look at Jared Laughner, Adam Lanza and so many others who either weren’t offered, or refused any treatment for their illness. I get very uncomfortable with much that I am reading here in MIA. I strongly believe in peer support and I believe that people can recover, either completely or to varying degrees. But I fear that this complete rejection of psychiatric care, including involuntary care, goes too far in the other direction. I see an attitude that, surprisingly enough, reminds me of the bad old days before mental illness was determined to be a biological condition. Then, the idea was that people could get better if they only wanted to. They needed to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and do any number of things that were thought to be restorative. Those who did not make the efforts others thought necessary were just considered lazy malingerers who wanted to be sick. The recognition of mental illness as a disease freed people of that stigma. Perhaps the medicalization has gone too far, or is simply now at a point where it needs to grow beyond it’s limited form to include peer support and recovery. But having worked with some people with very severe mental health problems over many years, I absolutely think that people who don’t even know they are sick, and who potentially pose a threat to the community or to themselves, must be prevented from hurting anyone. Since life long hospitalization is a terrible option, any help people can get from medication, even temporarily, is a great thing and a medical advancement. I am disturbed by what seems to me to be an “alternative medicine” attitude, rejecting science based medicine for something that really can’t be qualified or quantified.

  • I am sure it was simply that he stopped taking his psych meds too fast and his MD didn’t know what he was doing, and not the lack of evidence for the efficacy of the supplements that had anything to do with his relapse.

    Sorry, I have seen too many people risk their health by taking supplements of various kinds and end up poorer and wiser. Show me some decent evidence, of course, and I could change my mind.

  • I am sorry, but to say you have evaluated and “dispensed with” the widely scientifically accepted evaluation that taking supplements simply creates “expensive urine”, without delineating exactly how you accomplished that, is nothing more than propagating “woo”. As a case manager, an agency I worked for had a very impaired resident who’s parents took him off all medications and paid out of pocket to take him to a prominent “Wholistic” psychiatrist who put him on $300/month of supplements (10 years ago) along with a special diet that these loving parents cooked and delivered to their son daily. His psychosis worsened to the point that he left the group home, became homeless and went who knows were and I never heard what eventually happened to him.

    Does severe poor nutrition impact mental health? I totally believe that. Does my own depression improve when I keep out the junk food and get some exercise? Absolutely. What happens if I stop taking my medication? Time after time, I end up in the hospital.

    Please come back when you have significantly more evidence than what you have linked to above.

  • I partly agree with this. As I have gotten older, and my life coping skills have become more effective, I find that although I don’t really “forget” when someone mistreats me, I do usually forgive. I realize that everybody has their own reality, and in their reality, whatever they did made sense at the time.

    However, I also agree with coreyjwiley that there are things that are better not forgiven. It’s the thin line between forgive and forget that is the problem. For example, I have a sibling with a personality disorder that has created havoc in my life every time I have taken her back into my sphere after one of her stunts or outbursts. I no longer allow her in my life. I try not to dwell on my feelings about the things she has done. Keeping her out of my life allows me to do that.

    So, I think the issue is more complicated that the word “forgiveness” implifes.