Saturday, August 19, 2017

Comments by Slaying_the_Dragon_of_Psychiatry

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  • Does anyone ever wonder where the term “psychosis” came from? If we took the time to study the history of psychiatry, we would begin to see that such psychiatric gobbledygook was tainted from the outset. But it’s a bit ridiculous to watch “science” try to catch up to the reality that psychotropic drugs cause the very “psychosis” that they are purported to cure. If it weren’t so tragic, it would be comedy.

  • Placebo schmeebo. Psychotropic drugs INFLICT terrible suffering on unsuspecting victims of psychiatry. I’ve read Kirsch’s book, and he does a good job in demonstrating that the SSRI emperor has no clothes. But let’s not pretend that the effects of psychotropic drugs are “side effects.” Nonsense. Psychotropic drugs were created to inflict the damage that they inflict and to cause the symptoms that they cause. A “side effect” implies that there is some primary beneficial purpose to the drugs, which is simply not the case. And by the way, when we talk about psychotropic drugs “working,” what on earth can we possibly mean? If by “work” we mean inflict brain damage, then that is a troubling, but accurate definition.

    “And isn’t blaming the worsening of antidepressant users on chemical imbalances caused by these drugs similar to blaming depression on chemical imbalances in the first place?”

    NO. It’s true that we should altogether refrain from the use of the phrase “chemical imbalances,” but there is a substantial difference between the illusory “chemical imbalance” that is the purported cause of mythical “mental illness,” and the “chemical imbalance” qua brain damage that is caused by psychotropic drugging and psychiatric abuse. But it’s true that we should dispense with “chemical imbalance” jargon altogether.

    There is some merit to your article, however, because the placebo effect is not negligible, only secondary to the real damage that is directly caused by psychotropic drugs. And your article does highlight a deeper problem in psychiatry and in medicine in general, namely, the problem that Szasz identified long ago: doctors and psychiatrists have, in essence, replaced priests and clergymen in a power dynamic that subjects naive patients to the alleged authority and erudition of health care professionals… “experts.” There was a time when patients retained authority over their minds and bodies, and doctors acquiesced to the requests of patients. Those days are long gone. Now people eagerly relinquish their liberties and entrust their health and safety to medical “experts” who hardly understand what health or a human being is.

    Medical training often impedes clear reasoning and prevents doctors from understanding basic truths. At least this article shows some signs of progress toward understanding the myth of mental illness and the hoax of chemical imbalances. But any defense of psychotropic, brain damaging, toxic chemicals is inhumane.

  • The conclusion of this article makes sense, because it is true that psychiatry is tricking people. But the premise requires more thorough examination:

    “After all, we are made of nothing but chemicals. Every feeling, thought, or behavior is merely a series of chemical processes.”

    This is precisely the kind of reductionist thinking that allowed psychiatry to flourish in the first place. If every feeling, thought, or behavior is merely a series of chemical processes then there is no way to defend the logic of this piece because logic is nothing more than the product of a series of chemical processes. Modern materialism and reductionism have caused a great amount of confusion, and psychiatry has capitalized on this confusion. The remedy is to study the ancients, or to discover the truth concerning the soul. Modern medicine, neuroscience, and biology simply cannot answer the questions that truly matter.

  • Great work Dr. Breggin. The question that very few people bother to ask, and that even fewer people know how to answer, is “What is the mind?” Psychiatry has no good answer to this question, just as it has no good answer to the question “What is the brain?” Think of the absurdity of the very term “psychiatry,” the “medical treatment of the soul.”

  • What is science? What is medicine? What is progress? We need to think a little more deeply and articulate more precisely the meaning of these words. This isn’t just an exercise in semantics. There are fundamental differences between that which the word “science” originally signified, and it’s modern counterpart. And medicine? What is that? I suggest that it is something different than that which it is commonly supposed to be. Monsieur Jean-Jacques Rousseau had some great insights on medicine, for example.

    As far as “progress,” it may be the most misunderstood and misused term of all. In fact, as David Wootton has suggested, the boasted “progress” of medicine is much less significant than is commonly supposed.

    Is Thomas Szasz right? Is medicine, like science, actually a form of false religion?

    In any case, one thing is clear. Psychiatry has nothing to do with healing. It has even less to do with truth. Heck, it’s not even what it’s name implies, namely, the medical treatment of the soul. What is psychiatry? Consult the following website in order to better understand the truth about psychiatry:

  • How about this for a headline:

    “Research now confirms that repeatedly bashing your head against a brick wall can damage the brain.”

    Let’s get real. Articles like this are several decades behind the scientific studies and the historical realities that prove that psychotropic drugs are harmful to the human brain. Consult Peter Breggin. Read Bonnie Burstow. Study Thomas Szasz. One might even consider reading Robert Whitaker’s books, since, if I’m not mistaken, he has some connection to Mad in America.

    Look. Terms like “antidepressant” or “antipsychotic” or “medications” are euphemisms for poisonous, brain-altering, noxious chemicals. There is no such thing as a “side-effect.” These drugs do not have “side-effects” because that would mean that they produce some health benefit in the first place. Some people who take psychotropic drugs appear to benefit from a placebo effect, but most of them appear to improve because of what Dr. Peter Breggin describes as “medication spellbinding.” Some people think that they feel better when they drink beer, smoke cigarettes, or snort cocaine. But no one pretends that alcohol, nicotine and street drugs are “medications” that have “side-effects.” It’s time to start telling the truth about psychiatry and psychotropic drugs. It’s time to slay the dragon of psychiatry.

  • Interesting article. Thank you. Let’s think about this for a minute. Why is there all of a sudden a need for “evidence-based medicine” and “empathy-based medicine”? What might these terms suggest to the thinking individual? At first glance, they suggest that medicine, as is now practiced, is lacking a basis in either evidence or empathy. How can this be? Isn’t medicine the art of healing? What is medicine?

    First of all, anyone who knows anything about the history of medicine understands that although it poses as the healer’s art, medicine has been causing harm since its inception. Such is the claim of David Wootton in his book Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm Since Hippocrates.

    Second, does anyone else recognize the irony in the attempt to train doctors and medical workers in empathy?

    In the 18th century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that medicine is a “lying art,” that is worse than useless. In the 20th century, Thomas Szasz rightly discerned the dangers of the therapeutic state, or the unholy alliance between medicine and politics. In his book “The Theology of Medicine,” Szasz shows that modern medical hegemony – and medical tyranny – is a natural result of man’s propensity to worship the false gods of “science” and “medicine.” Whereas in medieval times laymen were subject to the authority and the erudition of priests, in modern times, patients are subject to the authority and the erudition of doctors. To simplify Szasz’s major thesis, the paradigm of religious authority under priests has been replaced by the paradigm of quasi-religious authority of doctors over patients. Instead of dazzling peasants with Latin phrases and convoluted creeds as did the priests of yore, doctors now dazzle their patients with abstruse medical terminology and jargon. The result is that very few people have thought to question the authority of the new state-sponsored religion of medicine.

    Now there is a movement to make the state sponsored religion of medicine more “empathetic” and “evidence-based.” That sounds like a dangerous combination indeed. The paradigm shift that is needed is for “patients” to educate themselves so that they no longer relinquish their liberties and their health to the purveyors of the state sponsored religion of medicine. Only then can empathy flourish.

  • “I’m afraid most of the people I am in close contact with worship at the alter of science and medicine…”
    That’s exactly right kindredspirit. “Science” and “medicine” are branches of a false religion in which doctors and particularly psychiatrists are the false priests. Szasz has written a lot about this phenomenon:

  • “innocent people are being rendered homeless and friendless because they can’t get a valid diagnosis or get on disability for their condition, as BAD is so misunderstood and disbelieved”

    Jocelyn, thank you for your article. I understand that benzos are destroying peoples’ lives and causing iatrogenic illness. The part that I find confusing is that a diagnosis is needed. After all, it is the false diagnosis and the fake “medication” that caused the problem in the first place. Isn’t the solution to get as far away from psychiatry as possible? What good would a diagnosis of iatrogenic illness do? More drugs will be prescribed to “fix” the iatrogenic problem, creating more iatrogenesis. Thank you for your response.

  • Exactly. All this talk of reform, change, and alternatives assumes that people know what psychiatry IS. What is psychiatry? Let’s have that conversation. Until people know the truth about psychiatry, we are just talking past each other. When the truth about psychiatry becomes common knowledge, psychiatry will take its place next to Naziism and slavery in the annals of history.

  • Exactly Kindredspirit. Most people who drink alcohol or smoke cannabis know that they are harming themselves and may harm others as a result of their choice (e.g. drunk driving, etc.). On the other hand, most people who ingest psychotropic drugs believe that they are taking “medication” to cure a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. People don’t drink beer thinking that it is carrot juice, and they don’t smoke weed thinking that they are eating celery.

    As far as radical change concerning how we respond to human suffering, Jesus brought that radical change long ago, but very few people pay any attention to that. It’s time to quote C.S. Lewis again, until people begin to understand:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

  • We need to think a little more carefully about what the term “antipsychiatry” means. In her article, Bonnie explained the term beautifully and clearly. Of course true antipsychiatrists welcome even those who are critical of psychiatry to enter the fray. Those who are merely critical of psychiatry may be helpful even though they haven’t fully grasped the reality of the problem. But pragmatism follows clear thinking. Once the conversation turns from the abolition or the eradication of psychiatry to “how best we might harness this array of dissent so as to realize radical change,” we need to recognize that we are talking about two completely different things. If it is true – and I submit to you that it is – that psychiatry is inherently a system of torture, abuse, involuntary incarceration, drugging, electroshock, coercion and slavery, then the only reasonable position is that of abolition. It’s not simply a matter of “radical change.” Imagine if Lincoln, instead of issuing the emancipation proclamation, called for a reform proclamation or a paradigm shift based on a critical approach to southern slavery. That probably wouldn’t have gone over too well with Frederick Douglass, for example. We can learn much from Lincoln, however, in contrast to radical abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison, because Lincoln understood that the deracination of slavery was a complex matter that would cost the Union dearly.

    “Many argue that the inherent inadequacies of Western psychiatry are so deeply ingrained as to render the current system beyond repair.”

    It’s not really a matter of deeply ingrained inadequacies. For example, with the advantage of historical hindsight, no one in their right mind argues that Naziism was inadequate, or that Hitler and the Gestapo should have taken a more critical stance toward Jews, Gypsies and other minority groups. No enlightened individual argues that Churchill and the Allied Forces should have attempted to repair the Third Reich. It may sound extreme to compare psychiatry to Naziism or slavery, but those who are familiar with the history of psychiatry understand the direct connections (think of Dr Imfried Eberl and drapetomania).

    The only “meaningful change” is abolition. Abolitionists do not lament the “gross overuse of psychotropic drugs.” Dr. Phil Hickey has demonstrated with great clarity why notions such as “overprescription” or “overdiagnosis” are misleading (see, e.g. One can no more “overuse” psychotropic drugs than one can “overuse” poison. Imagine if someone objected to a police officer’s overuse of shotgun blasts to the abdomen, thorax, and cranium of an innocent pedestrian. Would the solution be to moderate the shotgun blasts?

    There is a tension between abolitionists and reformers because abolitionists understand the history of psychiatry, whereas reformers generally do not. If we are to create unity in the antipsychiatry movement, we need to get clear on what “psychiatry” is. What is psychiatry? One simple thought experiment is to take a look at the word itself. What is the etymology of the word “psychiatry”? “Psyche” meaning “soul,” and “iatros,” meaning “medical treatment.” Does the word even make sense? “Medical treatment of the soul”? The medical treatment of the soul would require, first of all, that psychiatrists have special knowledge of the nature of the human soul, and secondly, that the medical treatment of a human soul is possible. Psychiatry is false on both counts. Psychiatrists don’t treat the human soul. They abuse, coerce, torture, label, drug, confine, enslave and shock their victims into submission. And psychiatry certainly has nothing to do with medicine, since there is nothing remotely scientific or medical about poisoning, shocking, and subjugating innocent people.

    Another helpful exercise is to research the work of some of the major founders of psychiatry and to determine whether or not they were legitimate scientists and doctors, or merely con-artists. It is difficult to ignore the fraudulence of Freud, the quackery of Kraeplin, the mendacity of Mesmer, the charlatanry of Charcot, and so forth. The array of modern phonies is also staggering: Frances, Spitzer, Lieberman… and thousands more.

    As Frank correctly observes, the term “service-user” is nonsensical. Since when is it a service to confine, poison, label, coerce, shock and abuse innocent people? Those who “use” the “services” of psychiatry usually have no idea what the “services” entail. We don’t speak of the “services” of Nazi guards or of slave owners, nor do we consider that their victims were “users.” It’s time to stop pretending that psychiatry renders any kind of useful service to the afflicted.

    “Unifying goal 1: More frugal use of psychotropic drugs”

    Again, with all due respect, this is nonsense. Should we be more frugal in our use of hammer blows to the skulls of children, adults, the elderly and the homeless? We need to understand that psychotropic drugs are not “medication.”

    “Unifying goal 2: The reform of mental health legislation”

    Frank’s statement on this topic is sufficient for now.

    “Unifying goal 3: Abolition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) classification system and an end to disease-mongering”

    This is good. It would be like chopping of one of the heads of the hydra, but it is a big, ugly head. By all means, chop it off.

    Any discussion of “alternatives” to psychiatry takes for granted that we have achieved a consensus on what psychiatry is. We don’t discuss alternatives to Naziism or southern slavery. In other words, the natural alternative to psychiatry is the abolition of psychiatry, or in other words, the promotion of freedom and responsibility.

  • “You’re taking care of people’s minds, but you don’t want to know anything about the mind.”

    Let’s pause for a moment to consider the audacity of such a blatantly false assertion. Neurologists don’t take care of people’s minds. Szasz was right. Read his book “The Theology of Medicine.”

    “Trying to find the biological origins of psychiatric disease is much more difficult than for a stroke, hypertension or A.L.S. But it’s there.”

    Bogus. Balderdash. Absolute poppycock. Articles like this prove that neuroscience is almost as backward as pseudo-scientific psychiatry. Why do psychiatrists and neuroscientists continue to follow the lead of corrupt pharmaceutical companies in the quest for the ever elusive biological markers for fictitious diseases? $$$

  • Niall, thank you for the book and article recommendations. I will check them out. What is a mental disorder? I’m sure that you treat theories of mental disorders in your articles and books, but what evidence do you have that there is such a thing as a “mental disorder”? What do you mean that it is a “real thing”? Certainly you know that there never has been, and never will be a biological marker for so-called “mental illness,” and that “mental illness,” or “mental disorder” is a metaphor. Certainly you understand that psychiatrists do not really diagnose disease, rather, they stigmatize behaviors and dispense labels in order to control and coerce. Szasz correctly demonstrated that there is no such thing as a “mental disorder” because it is not a scientific or a medical measurement that corresponds to reality. It is a myth, and a metaphor. The entire DSM is a work of fiction. Szasz’s contention was not that people “who claim to be disturbed are pretending,” but he did recognize the reality of malingering. Of course there are people who are disturbed – psychiatrists are often foremost among the disturbed – but the difference is that psychiatrists exert their power to label, drug, involuntarily incarcerate, electroshock, torture, and abuse their “patients.” I’m glad that you are different, and that you don’t do these things. There is no question that people suffer from a variety of problems in this life. There is no question that people experience affliction and symptoms of psychological and emotional anguish. But the attempt to medicalize every aspect of human suffering has produced more human suffering. In fact, psychiatry produces the very problems that it alleges to cure. You mentioned “terrible states.” Of course people get trapped in terrible states. Psychiatry does precisely that. It traps people in terrible states. The biocognitive model of psychiatry has been proven to be false time and time again, and yet psychiatry and pharmaceutical companies perpetuate the lies in order to profit from drugs and “therapy.” It is good that you are opposed to drugs and electroshock torture, but why pretend that psychiatrists fix fictitious diseases? Thanks for your response.

  • Good idea. It’s amazing to consider that this simple proposal could save the federal government and local governments billions of dollars in mental health care spending, and that once pharmaceutical companies and psychiatry relinquish the profits that they have accumulated by harming innocent people, many billions of dollars could be put back in the taxpayers’ pockets. It’s a simple five point proposal, and it’s guaranteed to work. The only problem left to solve after that would be to find honest work for the unemployed psychiatrists, mental health busybodies, and pharmaceutical representatives, or at least for those who don’t go to prison for their crimes. Perhaps some of the funds could be invested in a program to help educate and train former psychiatrists, mental health busybodies, and pharma reps to become productive members of society.

  • Robert, two years ago you wrote a piece about a revolution in psychiatry. My response then still stands:

    “Here’s a way to simplify the problem. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry. Psychiatry is like a great dragon. It cannot be ‘changed’ or ‘tamed’ or ‘reformed’ or even ‘revolutionized.’ It must simply be slain. Do you think that Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and the people of Laketown would have been safer with a top-down or grassroots approach to Smaug? Do you think that World War II would have ended if Churchill had joined sides with Chamberlain and sought a top-down or grassroots approach to Hitler? Enough of the lies. Slay the dragon of psychiatry.”

    Instead of the five C’s, I recommend the five S’s:

    1. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry
    2. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry
    3. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry
    4. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry
    5. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry

  • Great work Bonnie. Thank you. Sadly, much of the legal system, like political institutions, medical institutions, and academic institutions, are corrupt. But it never hurts to inject a little truth where falsehood and corruption prevail. I recommend the following blog post to anyone who would like to better understand the truth about psychiatry:

  • “People are sometimes surprised to learn that medical students and trainees in psychiatry (residents) are not taught the history of psychiatry, but this is because it’s so bad it would probably put them off completely…”

    Is the true history of psychiatry taught anywhere except in the books of Szasz, Breggin, Whitaker, and Burstow (to name a few)? Shorter has his fictional history, and there are a variety of other fake histories and primers on psychiatry. But the true history of psychiatry is not common knowledge. If the true history of psychiatry were common knowledge, psychiatry would be abolished. No one in their right mind would study psychiatry if they knew that psychiatry is, as Szasz so clearly showed, the science of lies.

    “At night, I write troublesome papers on the application of the philosophy of science to psychiatry.”

    In other words, you write science fiction? With all due respect any accurate philosophy of science would demonstrate that there is nothing remotely scientific about psychiatry. The truth is that psychiatry is, and has always been, the science of lies. The very word “psychiatry” reveals its erroneous and nefarious nature. “The medical treatment of the soul”? How is such a thing even possible unless psychiatrists have somehow made a scientific discovery concerning the human soul. Of course it is great to oppose psychiatric mendacity and fraudulence from within. Szasz and Breggin have done a wonderful job in that regard, and anyone who can build upon their work may do some good.

    “When it comes to the theoretical status of psychiatry, I don’t defer to anybody.”

    What is the theoretical status of psychiatry? Does it really have a theoretical status? Why? The theoretical truth about psychiatry is that it is a pseudo-scientific justification for abuse, torture, drugging, shocking, involuntary incarceration… in short, it is a pseudo-scientific justification for slavery and oppression. But I would certainly welcome a civil debate about what constitutes the “theory” of psychiatry, especially from a psychiatrist.

    “My conclusions are radical but that’s not my problem.”

    That is good. However, if you are still practicing psychiatry, your conclusions may not be radical enough. Knowing what you know about the history of psychiatry, I would be curious to understand why you continue to practice psychiatry. Thank you.

  • “Ignorance” might be a better word than “stupidity.” Ignorance facilitates psychiatric atrocities. Ignorance drives people into psychiatry, whether as perpetrators or as victims. Hence it is crucial that the truth about psychiatry reach a wide audience. Truth begets freedom. Ignorance begets slavery, or in other words, ignorance begets psychiatry.

  • “Violence is a huge problem not only in prisons. In Christchurch where Julia lives, there has been an increasing problem of violence towards staff in psychiatric inpatient units.”

    Good grief. Here is an analogy. Let’s go back to the time of slavery in the antebellum South. Now, imagine that researchers notice an increase in violence of slaves toward masters. Then imagine that these researches propose to feed the slaves better food. Brilliant!

    Can we please be honest here. Psychiatry is systematic slavery and oppression. The drugs are poisons. The “treatments” are torture. The “hospitalizations” are involuntary incarcerations of innocent people against their will. Who cares if we feed the victims vitamins? For goodness sakes people. By all means, take your vitamins and study and recommend good nutrition. But let’s stop pretending that nutrition is a solution to violent and coercive psychiatry. If anything, there should be an increase in violence of psychiatric prisoners against their overlords and oppressors. Liberate the captives, and then let them choose which vitamins they want to take.

    – Slaying the Dragon of Psychiatry

  • Three cheers for Dr. Hickey! Dr. Hickey does it again! Thank you. Dr. Hickey’s analysis is simple and straightforward, clear and cogent. He declares the truth. The fact of the matter is that psychiatry, not antipsychiatry, is based on false philosophy, false ideology, and false science. Psychiatry is anti-truth, anti-science, anti-reason, and anti-liberty. Antipsychiatrists oppose psychiatry because they are pro-truth, pro-science, pro-reason, and pro-liberty. Just as it was moral and reasonable to oppose Great Britain in the American Revolution, to oppose slavery in the Civil War, and to oppose the Nazi’s in WWII, it is moral and reasonable to oppose psychiatry. Anyone who knows anything about the history of psychiatry understands that its founders and its foundations are corrupt. Anyone who knows anything about psychiatry understands that its history is riddled with stories of abuse, torture, drugging, and murder. Does it really make any sense to be merely critical of abuse, torture, drugging, and murder? Of course not. It’s probably better to be critical of these crimes than to endorse them. But reason and conscience demand that decent and honorable citizens embrace justice and truth while eschewing injustice and deception. In other words, to turn a common phrase on its head, Phil Hickey and the “antipsychiatrists” are on the right side of history. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Dr. Hickey is at the same time very merciful toward psychiatrists who, for the most part, simply do not understand the harm that they cause. There is nothing preventing psychiatrists or mental health workers from finding decent, honest work, perhaps laboring to repair the damage that they have caused. For instance, the could donate their means to Mad in America, or better yet, to survivors of psychiatry. Of course the general public currently responds better to critical psychiatry than it does to antipsychiatry, because the truth about psychiatry is hard to come by. Even after slavery was abolished it took many years for the Civil Rights movement to coalesce. But speaking the truth in love, and writing the truth without malice, is more important than pleasing a crowd. Great work Dr. Hickey. In the future, survivors of psychiatry and their posterity will pay tribute to those who dared to tell the truth about psychiatry. The names of Thomas Szasz, Phil Hickey, and perhaps a few others, will be had in remembrance and honored among those who love liberty, justice, and truth. Fortunately, there is still time for the villains of psychiatry to repent, and to reform themselves. Three cheers for Dr. Hickey! Hip hip, hoorah! Hip, hip, hoorah! Hip, hip, hoorah!

  • This comments section is long, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to respond to replies to comments. But let me just clarify a few things. Old Head is right. The voices of survivors, and particularly survivors who know the truth about psychiatry, ought to be heard above all else. The voices of “professionals” who know the truth about psychiatry ought also to be heard, especially and particularly when these voices are in support of survivors, and not for their own professional advancement. But all antipsychiatry voices can be united in a common purpose. Regarding Szasz’s rejection of Laing and Cooper’s so-called “anti-psychiatry” and Szasz’s libertarianism: Bonnie has made it clear that Laing and Cooper’s so-called “anti-psychiatry” was not really antipsychiatry properly understood, and that therefore Szasz was not rejecting true antipsychiatry, but the fake “anti-psychiatry” of Laing and Cooper. Szasz probably would have embraced Bonnie’s efforts to reclaim the term “antipsychiatry.” Furthermore, Szasz was mostly right about most things, particularly that human beings are free and responsible agents, and that psychiatry works contrary to both freedom and responsibility. But Szasz was confused about a couple of things as well, as his ultra-libertarianism and atheism show. Even so, he can be pardoned for such misunderstanding because he saw more clearly and understood more deeply than anyone why psychiatry is fraudulent, and how psychiatric deception is connected to philosophy, history, politics, medicine and so forth. The attempt to dismiss Szasz because of Scientology is also fraudulent. Someone brought up this problem earlier, and it is a valid concern since many seek to use the term “antipsychiatry” as a label to dismiss the truths that antipsychiatrists set forth. In some ways I would prefer to call the antipsychiatry movement the pro-liberty and pro-responsibility movement, or simply, the pro-freedom movement… because that’s the basic principle that unites us. We are all pro-freedom. Psychiatry is anti-freedom. There is no part of psychiatry that is in any way non-coercive because psychiatry is by definition the art of coercion and force. Szasz was somewhat confused about this because of his extreme libertarianism. He did not articulate as clearly as he could have that freedom is inextricably connected with truth as well as with responsibility. There is no freedom in ignorance.

  • OldHead, Bonnie, FeelinDiscouraged, Julie, and KindredSpirit are right… Perhaps it would be helpful to take a closer look at the word “psychiatry” and ask the simple question “Does it make sense?” In other words, what does the word “psychiatry” mean? It means “the medical treatment of the soul.” Is such a thing possible? No. Of course not. First of all, psychiatrists generally don’t know what a soul is, as defined by the Ancient Greeks, by Christians, or Jews, or even by non-religious people. How can they then claim to provide “treatments” for something that they can’t even define? Even if a psychiatrist could be found who knew what a soul was, how could he or she claim to “treat” the soul? As Szasz points out, psychiatrists and so-called medical professionals have simply replaced the clergy. Psychiatry is the false priesthood… read Szasz to find out more about that.

  • Yes. Of course the term “antipsychiatry” must be defined correctly, and reclaimed. That is true. And if we want to start thinking a little more broadly and deeply about medicine in general, and psychiatry’s ostensible connection to it, we may be getting closer to the roots.

  • As Szasz said, “define, or be defined.” Cooper and Laing really hijacked the term “anti-psychiatry,” so Szasz was right at the time to call it “Quackery Squared.” Bonnie, you have done an excellent job in this article to reclaim the term, and to rescue it from the dustbin of history. Well done. Now antipsychiatry can be what it was meant to be all along.

  • We’re getting closer to the truth. Good. Psychiatry, as Szasz so clearly articulated, is the “science of lies.” Psychiatry is anti-truth. Bringing the truth to light and exposing the lies of psychiatry is an essential element in the abolition of psychiatry and in antipsychiatry in general. It would be a blessing to humanity to abolish the institution of psychiatry and to do away with the entire therapeutic state or the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. But this would just remove the superstructure. It is worth our time to put out all the fires that the dragon of psychiatry has ignited… but what more noble quest could there be than to slay the dragon of psychiatry?

  • Yes. This point is crucial. Those who are “voluntarily” choosing psychiatry are doing so because they have no idea what psychiatry really is. Once psychiatry is exposed for what it is, namely false philosophy and pseudo-scientific pseudo-medicine, then people will have a real choice in the matter. There is no freedom in ignorance.

  • I wonder if Szasz’s position on psychiatry has anything to do with Frank’s position. Szasz was right about most things, and he was light years ahead of his time, and if Frank is drawing from Szasz, then perhaps we need to listen a little more closely. Szasz was correct that the underlying principles against which psychiatry operates are liberty and responsibility. But Bonnie and Richard are absolutely correct that there are both blatant and more subtle forms of coercion at work in psychiatry. Psychiatry is composed of false philosophy and pseudo-scientific pseudo-medicine. The two are intertwined, and the false philosophy precedes, and facilitates, the pseudo-scientific pseudo-medicine. Unless we uproot the false philosophy, we are still hacking at the branches. We need to be more thoughtfully radical in this sense, and more radically thoughtful. Great discussion.

  • Old Head is right. Psychiatry must be abolished. People will still be free to do whatever they like… in fact they will be even more free. The point is that psychiatry is by its very nature coercive, even as it poses as “medical” and “voluntary.” The problem is that those who “voluntarily” choose to drug themselves or to subject themselves to psychiatric imprisonment and torture really have no clue about the so-called “medications” or the history of psychiatry. Anyone who knows anything about the history of psychiatry understands that, like slavery, psychiatry must be abolished. After its abolition, if people still wish to drug themselves, so be it.

  • Great work Dr. Hickey. Keep it up. Have you been privy to the recent debacle over comments for MIA? And Mr. Whitaker, if you are reading this, please know that the work you have done is very valuable, and MIA has the potential to do great good. But if MIA kowtows to psychiatry, what good is it? If this is an open forum for honest debate, it will be a great disservice to everyone to silence the voices of those whose voices most need to be heard. If MIA continues to acquiesce to the pressure of the so-called “professionals” it will end up as part of the rotten barrel that Whitaker so justly criticizes in his recent book “Psychiatry Under the Influence.” Dr. Hickey, do you have a sense of who the clear thinking individuals are in MIA? If MIA enforces the suppression of dissent, who can we count on to help organize a community of free and civil debate? Anyone who knows anything about the real history of psychiatry understands that the abolition of psychiatry would be a great service to mankind. This ought to be accomplished in a peaceful, civil way, with malice toward none and charity for all… even and especially for the psychiatrists and “professionals” who are so often unwittingly causing great harm while under the delusion that they are helping people. The southern slave owners had similar delusions. What is to be done?

  • Let me just add one thing. If we were to conduct an experiment, if every Mad in America pundit, writer, commentator, and reader would start his or her own daily regimen of psychotropic drugging in order to understand what is truly at stake, I submit to you that the whole tenor of this organization would change. What becomes abundantly clear as I read these articles is that there is an complete disconnect between reality on the one hand, and the detached, academic, sophisticated approach to understanding so-called “mental illness” and psychiatry on the other. The suffering inflicted by psychiatry is massive and real. The cost of human life and suffering is real. We are talking about real people, with real lives, with real hopes and dreams. Please do not try the experiment, because if you do, you could end up in a variety of places (the morgue, the psychiatric prison system, the streets, etc.), and you would not be able to do the work of exposing psychiatry for what it is… an insidious hoax of colossal proportions. If, after ingesting a portion of so-called “anti-psychotics” (which, by the way, Breggin and others have clearly indicated is a misnomer), one was still able to write articles, he or she would advocate the abolition of psychiatry.

  • I realize that Joanna has done a lot of great work, and that Mad in America is generally doing great work. But allow me to respond briefly to the following statement:

    “I still think antipsychotics can be useful, and that the benefits of treatment can sometimes outweigh the disadvantages, even in the long-term for some people.”

    This is simply not true. I could say that the benefits of running full tilt into a brick wall can sometime outweigh the disadvantages, even in the long-term for some people, but those people – who are real people by the way – would be people other than myself. How easy it is to see the benefits of people smashing into a brick wall from the outside.

  • I grasped that with the brain in my stomach. What I hope that people will grasp is that the notion of “biochemical individuality” plays right into the hands of psychiatry and is a result of post-modern reductionist thinking that fails to take into consideration that a human being is more than a conglomeration of molecules. And to be frank, nothing is more important than combating the false notions of “mental illness” and “mental health,” because such false notions lead to the abuse, torture, stigmatization, suffering and death of millions of innocent people. In other words, let’s stop quibbling over food and start talking about substantive issues, such as how to combat the psychiatric fiction of notions such as “mental illness” and “mental health.”

  • There are many rude awakenings in the realm of psychiatric fiction. The first shock is to emerge from the myth of “mental illness.” It may be just as much of a shock to emerge from the myth of “mental health.”

  • Equally terrible things are being conducted under the name of “nutrition.” That is something to consider. I know that you are not guilty of this personally, but imagine the suffering of the innocent people who have been labelled as “mentally ill” or with poor “mental health” who are then subjected to strange diets and countless vitamins and holistic remedies to fix their supposedly broken brains. Psychotropic drugs are more harmful, in many ways, but it’s hardly any better to label a person and then throw vitamins at him or her. People need to be educated that they are children of a loving God, and that laws of health can be learned and applied in individual situations without the imposition of psychiatric overlords or even well-meaning nutritionists. It is fine to be healthy, and to teach people what we think health means, but the moment we insert the word “mentally” we have entered the realm of psychiatric fiction.

  • The amazing thing is that I have over 100 brains. Most people only have only one brain – their stomach. Some have two: their brain and their stomach. The third brain I need not mention. If you allow me to call forth my 98 other brains to help with this question… and if we must begin to think holistically… then we need to think what “holistically” means. When we are talking about a human being, what are we talking about? Is a human being a mass of atoms, molecules, and cells that function on a biological level in a random universe for no apparent reason? What is man? This takes us back to classical Greece, to the time when Socrates called forth philosophy from the heavens, and began to interrogate the “wise” of Athens. There were some atomists among the ancients, such as Epicurus and Lucretius and Democritus, but Socrates was skeptical of most everything. Plato and Aristotle understood that man is a teleological, or purposeful being. How did we get to the point in post-modern times when human beings are considered merely as a conglomeration of particles? I will let my other 99 brains rest while I eat a Snickers bar that I bought at Walmart.

  • Now I’m going to go eat a Snickers bar and some ice cream after a meal of pizza and soda. FREEEEEDDDDDOOOOOMMMM!

    If people were as passionate about liberty as they were about nutrition, perhaps the nutrition would take care of itself.

  • Case not closed. Feeling better, eating well, proper diet, nutrition, exercise and sleep are one thing. The mysterious “mental health” is another. It is wonderful that you understand proper nutrition, and that you help people understand proper nutrition. That is commendable. Why not call that nutrition education? Your claim that “mental health does exist” is highly dubious. Easter bunnies exist, perhaps, and tooth-fairies, and Santa Claus. But what evidence do you have that such a thing as “mental health” exists? The definition that you offer is highly questionable. The ability to form good relationships with oneself, with family, with community and with God… that’s completely in line with psychiatry. Psychiatry is the medicalization of behavior. Why support that, even indirectly? Of course you are perfectly free to make up definitions for inchoate concepts, and I defend your right to do so. As Thomas Szasz once put it “In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.” As soon as a person asserts the category of “mental health,” no one in their right mind would choose to exclude themselves from the category. We are the “mentally healthy” ones, whereas those with poor diet, nutrition and exercise are the “mentally ill” that have “broken brains” that we must fix. If you were just someone who helps people understand what proper nutrition is, you might be a nutritionist. But that’s not what you are claiming. You are claiming to be a nutritionist who knows not only what “mental health” is, but who also has the tools to provide it. It has nothing to do with being a joyful human. There are plenty of joyful humans who help others and who impart joy without labeling others as “mentally ill” or “mentally healthy.” Don’t get me wrong, it is great that you enjoy proper nutrition and that you think that others should enjoy it as well. That is wonderful. But the case is not closed concerning “mental health.” That is still an open question, and there are some very smart people who consider that “mental health,” like “mental illness,” belongs in the same category as Easter Bunny, Tooth-Fairy, and Santa Claus. And Elizabeth, let me make it clear that I mean no offense, and I think that your work in the area of nutrition is very valuable. From your story it seems that you are on the right track, and that you have discovered many valuable things about the fiction of “mental illness.” Perhaps the next step is to question the paradigm of “mental health” that psychiatry advances along with the rest of its propaganda. In any case, no hard feelings, and best of luck, especially in gardening and reading. 🙂

  • No. Please. Just, no. Someone please set the record straight here. How do we make the illogical leap from the myth of “mental illness” to confirming that there is such a thing as a mysterious “mental health” that depends upon nutrition. Once a person understands that “mental illness” is a myth it should go without saying that “mental health” is likewise a myth. The sooner we get rid of “mental illness” and “mental health,” the sooner people start minding their own business instead of going around trying to “cure” people. If we want to talk about the health of the body or the brain, and the importance of healthy nutrition, that is fine. But for heaven’s sake, let’s not pretend that we object to the biological model of psychiatry only to replace it with our own biological model.

    Please people. I beg you. Please read Thomas Szasz. Read Breggin. Read Whitaker. Read. And please discard these silly notions of “broken brains” and “mental health” and all other such nonsense. When will people start minding their own business and leave these poor suffering people alone, or at least show them that their brains are great, their bodies are great, their minds are great, and their souls are great. “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a SOUND MIND.” Everything else is nonsense.

    Of course people suffer. Of course people should eat healthy food and take care of themselves. But that is a choice that people need to make for themselves, through education and not by the tyranny of psychiatry or any of its off-shoot replacements. The sooner that psychiatry and the “mental health” industry go, the sooner health will flourish, and the sooner that well-meaning “health care” workers can put their energy into worthwhile pursuits such as gardening or educating themselves.

    Of course people will feel better if they have proper diet, nutrition, sleep and exercise. But the problem is that there are vast hordes of busybodies who are convincing everyone that their brains are broken. Please. I beg you. Make it stop. Eat good food. Exercise. Sleep. And most of all, Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.

  • “As Robbins and his co-authors write, a movement to recreate diagnostic classification systems has birthed novel ideas and alternative classification system proposals.”

    Here’s a novel idea: STOP MAKING UP FAKE DISEASES TO RAKE IN FILTHY LUCRE AT THE EXPENSE OF REAL HUMAN SUFFERING! It’s just plain evil, and everyone who understands anything about psychiatry knows it. END PSYCHIATRY. The sooner that psychiatry is abolished, and the sooner that the DSM and every idea of an “alternative” is extinguished, the sooner health and freedom and happiness will flourish.

    Here’s an alternative: The alternative to psychiatry is health. Here’s another: The alternative to psychiatry is liberty. Here’s one more: The alternative to psychiatry is happiness. In sum, the alternative to psychiatry is life. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.

  • If a person reads and understands Szasz, he or she will understand that a “mental disorder” does not correspond to any biological reality, but that it is a myth or a metaphor. There is no such thing as an actual “mental disorder” any more than there is such a thing as an Easter bunny. Psychiatry is the very definition of madness. It is antithetical to reason because it is an institution that is based on the pseudo-medical justification of torture, drugging, involuntary incarceration, and the stigmatization of the innocent. This should come as no surprise when a person considers the thinking and the character of the founders of psychiatry. Charcot’s chicanery, Freud’s fraudulence, Jung’s errors, Bleuler’s blunders, Kraeplin’s calumny and the mendacity of Mesmer and many others combined to create the behemoth that now subjugates, oppresses and obliterates millions of innocent people on a daily basis.

    Think of the word “psychiatry.” A simple reflection on the etymology ought to deter anyone from ever exploring the field as a legitimate discipline. What does it mean? From the Greek “psyche,” meaning “mind” or “soul,” and “iatros,” meaning “healing” or “cure.” As Szasz makes clear in many of his books, the role that was once played by false priests and clergymen has assumed a new form in psychiatry. As Szasz also makes clear, psychiatry is comprised of fake physicians who “diagnose” fake diseases in fake patients in a drama that used to belong to priests and laymen. Modern psychiatry has added psychotropic drugs, Electro shock torture, and a fake Bible of fictitious “illnesses” to augment its own authority and prestige, and to line its pockets with that filthy lucre that corrupts. What a great partner has been found in the pharmaceutical industry. It is a match made in Heaven’s counterpart.

    Of course “mental disorders” are not diseases. They are no more diseases than Easter bunnies are furry little mammals. They are no more diseases than tooth fairies are dentists. Szasz may be a bit confused in his atheism and his libertarianism, but he is right that liberty and responsibility are foundational to human life, and he is right about the history of psychiatry and all that it entails. If people could read and understand the simple truths that Szasz communicates in his books, then they would no longer be blinded by the inanities and the propaganda of the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex or threat of the therapeutic state. Psychiatry is, as one of the titles of Szasz’s books proclaims, the science of lies. It is like a gargantuan, scaly, fire-breathing monster that cannot be reformed or revolutionized. Just as in the legends and tales, it must be defeated. We must work together to slay the dragon of psychiatry.

  • Once again, Old Head and Bonnie hit the proverbial nail on the head. Fortunately for the world, the Founding Fathers resisted British tyranny. Fortunately for the world, Lincoln abolished slavery. Fortunately for the world, Churchill anticipated the destructive forces of Hitler and the Nazis long before anyone else, and he had the courage not only to speak the truth but to lead the Allied Forces to victory. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am grateful for the great work that Robert Whitaker and others have done and are doing. But we need to speak the truth about psychiatry, and to work toward the abolition of psychiatry because psychiatry is tantamount to slavery. Whether in its blatant forms, such as forced incarceration, drugging and torture, or in its more subtle forms, such as inculpating the innocent and exculpating the guilty, psychiatry is slavery. Moreover, psychiatry is a particularly terrible form of slavery because it carries out its coercion under the guise of medicine. It is oppression masquerading as compassion.

    “Of all tyrannies,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” This modern form of tyranny is in some ways more destructive than the tyrannies of antiquity or even the tyrannies of totalitarianism because when it deprives people of their liberty it does so behind a facade of benevolence. Lewis continues: “It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” In short, it may assuage our conscience for a time to work on behalf of a revolution in psychiatry, and such a course temporarily may appear superior to indifference or to the promotion of psychiatry. But sooner or later we need to come to grips with the reality that human beings are being tortured, drugged and killed by their alleged caregivers, often unbeknownst to either the victim or the perpetrator of the crime. Those who know the truth about psychiatry have a responsibility to speak the truth, and where courage is strong, to lead the way for the victory of liberty over oppression.

    Thank you for the work that you are doing to expose the mendacity of psychiatry, the fraudulence of the psycho-pharmeutical industrial complex, and the threat of the therapeutic state. Szasz understood this threat many decades ago, but sadly his voice has been neglected or rejected. With the advantage of historical hindsight, no one in their right mind would advocate a treaty with the tyrannical King George III, a reformation of slavery in the South, or a revolution in Naziism. How can the truth be told in plainer terms? Psychiatry is slavery, slavery is evil, and evil appeased is not evil opposed. While I certainly do not call for violence, let us labor to set the people free. Let us Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.

  • Once again, Dr. Hickey strikes the bull’s-eye. Well done. Keep up the good work.

    Do Frances and his fraudulent friends fathom the suffering that they are inflicting upon millions of innocent children? Are they aware that the Savior of the world has given a special warning to those who dare to offend his little ones? If not, they should be made aware as soon as humanly possible.

    “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

    The Lord doesn’t mince words, and He invites all men everywhere to repent.

  • Throwing Nietzsche quotes around won’t deter those who have fought the dragon and gazed into the abyss. Of course people want simple answers, but the truth is too simple to bear. The comforting lie that “mental illness” is the cause of human distress may seem simple, but psychiatry does not answer the problem of madness. Psychiatry manufactures madness. Unfortunately it is a hot commodity.

  • The truth is that psychiatry has always been rotten to the core. Psychiatry is not a healing profession, because it doesn’t heal, and because it isn’t a profession. It is a dangerous form of quackery. Sadly, psychiatrists don’t know this, and their victims certainly don’t either. The ignorance is so profound, and the idiocy so pervasive, that the fraudulence of Freud, the chicanery of Charcot, the mendacity of Mesmer, and the jargon of Jung spread rampantly and unabated throughout the country, and throughout the earth. The dragon of psychiatry cannot be fixed, tamed, rethought or reformed. Like all dragons, it must be slain. I am not advocating violence, but justice would be served by placing the dragon of psychiatry on its own proverbial couch, and by administering poisonous drugs through its fanged and bloody maw until it became a lifeless mass of skin and scales. When will the world begin to understand that the surest route to healing, to health, to freedom, to peace, is to slay the dragon of psychiatry? Thank you for resigning. That is a step in the right direction, both for you and for the victims of psychiatry.

  • I would like to volunteer my services to the cause. I can help “rethink” psychiatry.

    Also, when is the feature length film, or the blockbuster movie on the history of psychiatry going to be made?

  • No offense, but it is mind boggling that people can read Whitaker’s books, understand the truth, and still perpetuate the same nonsense that psychiatry has been peddling for decades. Simply. Mind. Boggling. Why is it still unclear that the sooner psychiatry is eradicated from the face of the earth, the sooner health will bloom and grow? Baffling. Just. Baffling. Heaven help us.

  • Psychiatry is like a great, fire-breathing dragon that must be slain. It is good to see the warriors uniting in the cause of freedom, because this is a battle for freedom, and a battle against coercion and slavery. We can learn from the lessons of the past. How did the American colonists gain their independence from the tyranny of Great Britain? How did Abraham Lincoln contribute to the emancipation of the slaves? How did Churchill and the Allied Forces defeat Hitler and the Nazis? How does good triumph over evil, and how does freedom triumph over oppression in any epoch? There is a chink in the dragon’s armored scales, but our aim must be true, our arrow sharp, and our shot precise. Let us with courage go on to slay the dragon of psychiatry. Happy New Year.