Sunday, October 22, 2017

Comments by Slaying_the_Dragon_of_Psychiatry

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  • Ok, this is a good article. There are many good points. All of this supports the conclusion that psychiatry is coercion and force masquerading as medicine. I won’t use the term “slavery,” because the moderators will not let me use that term. But psychiatry has always been about coercion and force. The “medications” of which you write are not medications. They are toxic, brain altering chemicals. They are drugs. We don’t talk about PCP, LSD, cocaine or heroin as if they were “medications.” Furthermore, there is no such thing as “mental health,” just as there is no such thing as “mental illness.” These myths drive the psychiatric enterprise and are the engine for the therapeutic state. The last thing that is needed is to pour more money into the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. The sooner that psychiatry is abolished, the sooner people begin to recover and to flourish. The sooner that the dragon of psychiatry is slain, the sooner peace and wellness will reign.

  • When delusional rationalizations for psychiatric abuse begin to assume the mantle of philosophical authority, we know that we are in trouble. Let’s not forget which regime Heidegger supported. Is that really a path that we want to travel? In many ways, psychiatry and psychiatric abuse are the legacy of Nazi Germany and the philosophers whose ideas undergirded the work of Hitler.

    “Having said all this, I think there are some circumstances in which we need to measure aspects of human behaviour in a ‘positivist’ manner. When we modify the way the body works through the use of drugs or other means, we had better assess whether we get the intended result.”

    This is all very clever and subtle, but as soon as we start “measuring aspects of human behaviour in a ‘positivist’ manner” or as soon as we try to “modify the way the body works through the use of drugs or other means,” we fall right back into the modernist conundrum of mastery over nature. C.S. Lewis saw this clearly and articulated the problem in “That Hideous Strength” as well as in “The Abolition of Man.” In sum, man’s mastery over nature ends up in man’s mastery over man, or in the abolition of man. The legacy of modern political philosophy, from Machiavelli and Hobbes, to Rousseau (think French Revolution), to Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger (think Nazi Germany), is precisely the conquest of nature that results in the conquest of man. Psychiatry is the pseudo-scientific rationalization for man’s conquest over man, or the abolition of man. Let’s not try to lend philosophical authority to these pseudo-scientific rationalizations for man’s conquest over man.

    To be clear, we do NOT need to measure aspects of human behaviour in a ‘positivist’ manner. If we are being honest with ourselves and with others, drugs do not ‘modify’ the way that the body works. Drugs inflict damage on the human brain, and those who wield these weapons most often do so in order to control their subjects (mastery over nature and man) or to sedate them (think of Huxley’s “Brave New World” – and Soma). Psychiatric rationalizations for the modernist mastery over nature that results in mastery over human beings may be rooted in the projects of modern philosophers, but this no more grants psychiatry the authority to do so than the philosophy of Nietzsche or Heidegger authorized the Nazi’s to exterminate Jews or others with unwanted behaviours or backgrounds. Just because Robespierre found justification for terror in Rousseau does not mean that psychiatrists can justify psychotropic drugging, involuntary incarceration, stigmatization, torture, and even murder in the name of Heidegger or any other supposed philosophical authority.

    Thomas Szasz understood the problem more clearly than anyone in our time, and he fought relentlessly against psychiatric slavery. He fought valiantly to preserve both liberty and responsibility. Enough of this madness. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.

  • Why limit drugging to humans and animals? Where’s the creativity people? What about SSRI’s for plants or even inanimate objects? Heck. Why don’t we drug drugs? Drug the air. Drug water. Drug everything.
    – Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry

  • Interesting. Let me simplify. A group of conniving and greedy psychiatrists gathers to invent fictitious “diseases,” and they receive funding for their scheme from Big Pharma. They invent the fictitious “disease” called ADHD, and add it to the DSM, the Bible of Psychiatry. Millions of normal, active children are then turned into robot zombies and damaged for life while psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical companies rake in the cash. Brilliant? Maybe. Evil? Yes. Psychiatry is slavery masquerading as medicine. Enough is enough. Abolish psychiatric slavery. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.

    Suggested reading:

  • This is a good step forward, but why is the legal profession still at least 50 years behind in terms of justice? There are thousands upon thousands of psychiatric survivors who have been pleading for justice, crying out for help, and yet there is no solid legal basis by which to hold psychiatry accountable for its crimes. History books will one day tell of the atrocities of psychiatry and the retrograde practices of the legal profession with regards to survivors.

    Of course there is no clinically established mechanism of action by which ECT treats mental illness… because MENTAL ILLNESS IS A MYTH! When will the general public get it through it’s thick skull that so-called mental illness is no more real than the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy?

  • Exactly. The question is whether or not the disease of psychiatry can actually be cured. Is psychiatry a terminal illness? It seems to infect so many brains. I still hold on to the hope that there is a cure for the disease of psychiatry. There are plagues that have been terminated, and other diseases that have been extirpated from the earth. What will it take to eliminate the terrible plague of psychiatry?

  • Noel Hunter, you are on the right track. Well done. However, there are a few things that need to be corrected.

    “Plus, aspects of mental health treatment can be very helpful for many.” No. Psychiatry and all so-called “mental health treatment” must be abolished in order to foster true human flourishing. Some people may think that mental health treatment is helpful, but that is because they don’t know the history of psychiatry.

    “In addition, rates of diagnosed mental illness and suicide continue to increase, despite record-breaking spending on mental health care.” As Frank rightly points out, rates of so-called “mental illness” and suicide continue to increase BECAUSE OF, and not in spite of, record-breaking spending on so-called “mental health care.” It is psychiatry and the madness industry, with all of its “mental health” and “mental illness” mongering that CAUSES most of the problems. The more money that is funneled into the “mental health” machine, the more people will suffer.

    The chemical imbalance hypothesis is a hoax, but more importantly, the notion of “mental illness” is itself a myth. This requires further explanation and elucidation.

    The part about indoctrination was spot on. Excellent.

    You’re right. Psychiatry is a religion. Szasz has written clearly and extensively on this topic. See e.g.

    This article could do without the whole “privilege” thing. It is a delusion of left-wing victimization culture that equates any human achievement with “privilege.” There is indoctrination in psychiatry, but there is also indoctrination in modern progressivism. This also applies to the false notion that a profit motive in psychiatry must mean that socialism is the answer. It’s sloppy thinking.

    Other than that, great article. Keep up the good work.

  • Does a Psychiatric Diagnosis Have the Impact of a Medical Curse? I hope that this is a rhetorical question.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. 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.” – C.S. Lewis

  • Logic and science are two methods by which we arrive at truth, but any able epistemologist or metaphysician can show you that they are by no means exclusive. However, it is true that good philosophy ought to suffice to dissect and dissolve the lies inherent in psychiatry. Your point about Szasz is spot on. “Mental disorder” is hardly an improvement over “mental illness,” and Szasz would have recognized that. I too am concerned that it will be difficult for a psychiatrist to get behind the conventional language of the so-called “profession,” but I think that Joanna is making a concerted effort to do that very thing. Szasz paved the way. It will take a lot of work, but more importantly, it will take a lot of courage.

  • Szasz is unquestionably the greatest modern critic of psychiatry. Too few read his work, and sadly, even fewer understand it. His arguments are so clear and straightforward, and most importantly, they are true. (Most of them, at least). I’ve read many of Szasz’s books, and I hope to read more of them, but one of my favorite Szasz encounters is his interview with conservative intellectual icon William F. Buckley, Jr. on “Firing Line.” Buckley was no fool, but like most people, he failed to understand the truth about psychiatry. See here:

    Szasz was right. Psychiatry is the science of lies.

  • Thank you Joanna for your response, your article, and your great book. Perhaps I mistook your position on conventional language for acquiescence to psychiatric doublespeak. As I recall in the preface to your book, you use terms like “mental disorder” and “schizophrenia” because other books address the problems with such terms at length, and the purpose of your book was to critique the drugs. It is good that you never use the fallacious term “mental illness,” but even the use of conventional language, terms such as “mental disorders” and “schizophrenia,” AS IF those terms represent some concrete reality, is part of the problem. I suppose that the purpose of your blog series on philosophy is to use Wittgenstein to clean up the language problem. However, from what I gathered in your book “The Bitterest Pills,” your position on Szasz is somewhat ambiguous. I don’t agree with everything Szasz wrote, but he was certainly right that “mental illness” is a myth, and terms such as “mental disorder” and “schizophrenia” are part of that myth. In your book, you mention that there are some cases in which psychosis requires psychiatric intervention and so-called “antipsychotics.” In other words, it seems as though you begin questioning the psychiatric paradigm, but that you concede that psychiatry serves some good function in society. Perhaps I am mistaken in my analysis, but where do you stand on the topic of abolishing psychiatry? Szasz wrote that “In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.” Words matter. Ideas matter. I commend you for your work and especially for opening up a discussion regarding the philosophical underpinnings of psychiatry. That is precisely the discussion that needs to take place. Thank you.

  • This is a good start. Good article. Like most philosophers, Ludwig was a troubled man, but he was also an early critic of scientism.

    Why not start with Socrates? The Socrates of psychiatry, Thomas Szasz, wrote a book called “The Meaning of Mind” that is worth reading. See here:

    Wittgenstein and Szasz come at the tail end of a very long discussion concerning the human “mind.” You might need to get back to Heidegger and Nietzsche to discover why human beings are frequently regarded as objects rather than autonomous agents, or to Hobbes and Machiavelli to understand why life as we know it is merely matter in motion. Or maybe we moderns are all Lucretians. Are Plato and Aristotle too quaint?

    It is good to resurrect Szasz, so to speak, but he would certainly take exception to assumptions that there is any such a thing as a “mental disorder” that is connected to observable biological reality. Szasz was right. “Mental illness” IS a myth. One criticism that I have of your excellent book about “The Bitterest Pills” is that you still seem to cling doggedly to the false notion that psychotropic drugs help certain people who suffer with a “mental illness.” Perhaps Wittgenstein will help you to see through that lie, although Szsasz and Socrates could also help. See here:

    You make an important point, however, about the “fundamental aspects of western society” that “depend on the equation of certain social problems with bodily conditions or illnesses.” This was a very important topic in 18th century France, particularly in the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

    All of this is simply to agree with your point that philosophy matters, and that we need to ask the right questions in the right way.

  • Great article. Thank you. It is interesting, however, when people are surprised by the corruption of psychiatry. Psychiatry has been corrupt since its inception. The drugs are just a more recent symptom of that corruption. What next? More pseudo-scientific tinkering with the human brain in the name of “medicine” and “treatment”? More brain scans? More so-called “early prevention”? Every psychiatric “treatment” that has gone into disuse was once considered to be on the cutting edge of innovation. The same is true of the poisonous psychotropic drugs. As the truth about psychotropic drugs comes to light, which “innovations” will psychiatry come up with to replace them? O brave new world!

  • Thanks Dr. Gøtzsche. Anyone who knows anything about the history of psychiatry will understand why psychotropic drugs, or in other words toxic brain poisons, cause suicides, death, disease and suffering. Unfortunately, hardly anyone has the time or the inclination to study the true history of psychiatry. It should be noted that in addition to the crimes committed through “medication,” it is criminal to label innocent people with fictitious diseases in the first place. What is “schizophrenia”? No one knows, because the person who invented “schizophrenia” has long since gone the way of all the earth. What is “schizophrenia”? It is, in the words of Dr. Thomas Szasz, the sacred symbol of psychiatry.

    Furthermore, psychiatry seeks to impose this sacred symbol upon the diverse populations of the world. It attempts to make everyone crazy like us.

    The elephant in the room isn’t just the drugs, although the drugs constitute a major portion of that pernicious pachyderm. The elephant in the room is psychiatry itself.

  • I didn’t bother to read this article because the title give it away. The assumption that any drugs have any therapeutic value is precisely the problem. It takes a lot of nerve to publish these kind of articles on Mad in America when hundreds of survivors, if not more, click on the links. Please educate yourselves. It is important to study and to read before writing or publishing nonsense. Perhaps it is good for people to be aware of the nonsense that is out there, but no one in their right mind should make the claim that psychotropic drugs have “therapeutic” value. Does catapulting people into concrete walls have therapeutic value? Does throwing people into a den of lions have therapeutic value? Does bloodletting have therapeutic value? No. Enough of the nonsense. Slay the dragon of psychiatry.

  • The salvation of psychiatry? One might as well argue for the salvation of plantation slavery or the salvation of the Third Reich. Why would anyone want to “save” a pseudo-scientific system of oppression and coercion anyhow? Psychiatry has always been the science of lies. It was never grounded in any kind of truth or truth seeking. This is obvious to anyone who knows anything about the true history of psychiatry. Psychiatry has not lost its way. It was rotten from the start. Does anyone really believe that the chicanery of Charcot, the mendacity of Mesmer, the pretense of Pinel, the fraudulence of Freud, the bamboozlement of Bleuler, or the casuistry of Kraepelin have anything to do with truth? This is not a system with inadequacies. It is now, and it always has been, institutionalized deception and torture masquerading as medicine. Fortunately there have been a few genuinely intelligent and honest psychiatrists (e.g. Thomas Szasz and Peter Breggin) who have been brave enough to tell the truth about their own so-called profession.

    Some people are willing to acknowledge that the bio-medical model of psychiatry is based on pure fiction, but fewer people see through the deception inherent in psychotherapy. Study the lives of the founders of psychiatry and psychotherapy. They were charlatans of the highest order. Why protect a guild of quacks and charlatans? What good will that do? If there were no psychiatry or psychotherapy, there would be no patients. Psychiatry and psychotherapy do not fill a need, they create problems in order to offer pretended solutions to unwitting victims. The value of psychotherapy is not provable at all, because there is no value. It has nothing to do with actual scientific analysis or study. Psychiatry is the opposite of respect for human nature. Pause for a minute to think about the word “psychiatry.” It is utter nonsense. “The medical treatment of the soul.” What on earth could that possibly mean? In order to treat the soul medically, one would first have to know what a soul is. Do psychiatrists know what the soul is? Of course not. Is there a medicine that can be applied to the soul? Of course not. There is no easy magic, and yet psychiatry, along with its psychotherapy pretends to offer magical solutions that cause real harm to innocent people.

    Don’t get me wrong. There are very good people, very well-intentioned people, who have been trained in the pseudo-scientific theories of psychiatry, who genuinely want to help and to show compassion to others. All of this zeal to help others could profitably be employed in the quest to abolish psychiatry.

    To learn more about the true history of psychotherapy, consult the following:

  • Ok. This is better than previous articles. This is getting closer to the truth about psychiatry.

    “But psychiatrists are very smart and are well-educated in genetics, pharmacology, biochemistry, and physiology.”

    Education in genetics, pharmacology, biochemistry, and physiology does not make a person smart. Clever, perhaps, but not necessarily smart. What percentage of psychiatrists are duped by the system, in your opinion? It seems as though many, if not most doctors and psychiatrists (and social workers) go into the field of medicine because they want to “help” people, only to discover that medicine is the practice of inflicting harm.

  • Truth writes the truth: “What would be an ‘appropriate’ use for these toxic poisons that shrink the brain and cause brain damage?? There isn’t one.” Bingo.

    There is no “appropriate” use of toxic poisons that shrink the brain and cause brain damage. Where are the courageous people at Mad in America who aren’t afraid to communicate the truth to the general public? I challenge all those at Mad in America or who read these articles, those who know the real history of psychiatry, to stand up and be counted. Enough equivocating. Enough acquiescing to the powers that be. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.

  • Well done Dr. Breggin. The problem is simple and absolutely clear to those who understand the history of psychiatry. Psychotropic drugs alter the brain and cause people to think, say, and do things that they never would think, say, or do under normal circumstances. Michelle is not guilty, and the DA is obviously very conniving. The crux of the matter is that until the world understands the history of psychiatry and the reality of the damage that is caused by psychotropic drugs, people will continue to believe in the myth of mental illness, the hoax of chemical imbalances, and all the other lies of psychiatry. Until the truth about psychiatry comes fully to light, tragedies like this will continue to occur. God bless you, God bless Michelle, and God bless victims of psychiatry everywhere.

  • Excellent work. Thank you Dr. Breggin for always living up to the title “The Conscience of Psychiatry.” It was your book “Toxic Psychiatry,” among a couple of others that first alerted me to the truth about psychiatry. When I read “Medication Madness,” I knew that I had stumbled upon a gold mine of truth. There are surely thousands upon thousands of tragedies like Michelle’s for which Big pharma and psychiatry are directly responsible, and for which they will be held accountable before God. When will the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex be held accountable before the law of the land? The sooner the better, but be it when it may, the world will one day thank you for your courage in standing up for the truth. If you ever want to get to help prevent a tragedy, I have my own story, complete with medical records and journal entries to prove the culpability of psychiatry, and I am privy to another tragedy in the making that I would love to help prevent. I have also consulted with Ann Blake-Tracy on these matters, but your help would be invaluable. Contact me: [email protected]

    P.S. There are great reviews and introductions / promotions of your books on the following psychiatric survivors blog:

  • Just for the record, I wasn’t taking any pot shots. The pragmatic thing to do is to combine forces against psychiatry as we do the hard work of figuring out which arguments are sound and will contribute to the cause of liberty in opposition to psychiatric slavery. Richard and many others advocate for linking antipsychiatry to other movements, and I understand the reasoning behind that position, even though it has failed in the past and will ultimately dilute the power of our position as antipsychiatrists. Richard believes that conservative viewpoints are a road block to the progress of antipsychiatry, when precisely the opposite is true. But whoever is in favor of liberty and reason will oppose psychiatry once the truth about psychiatry becomes common knowledge. In the mean time, we can all work together on the basis of the truth that we share that is greater than our differences: psychiatry is evil and must be abolished.

  • Richard, it appears as though we disagree about some things. 🙂 No problem. The truth that we share is greater: abolish psychiatry. I respect your opinions and your experience. I was merely trying to point out that sometimes MIA articles take for granted the notion that everyone is on board with the attempt to dilute antipsychiatry by combining it with any number of radical causes. That is unfortunate, but we can certainly work together to combat psychiatry. There are very many smart, reasonable people who disagree with your mischaracterization of the United States as a capitalist, imperialist empire (e.g. The Founding Fathers, Lincoln, etc.). Some people love the United States and are grateful for the freedoms that have come as a result of the sacrifices of those who preceded us.

    The point about Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany was simply that the United States has in many ways strayed from its roots, and it is at least a theory worth considering that in proportion to our country’s deviance from it’s democratic, republican origins, or the increase in socialist tendencies is in some way related to the bourgeoning of psychiatry. The notion that capitalism is to blame for psychiatry is tenuous at best. Is psychiatry corrupt and evil? Of course. Is psychiatry driven by the thirst for power, prestige, and pecuniary advantage? Of course. Does this mean that capitalism is to blame? Of course not.

    Concerning Szasz, he was right about many things, but I too take issue with many of his libertarian assumptions and his ideological commitments. Again, the truth that we share is greater than our differences: abolish psychiatry. Your point about Szasz is well taken however, because we need to understand why Szasz has not gained more traction and why the radical movements of the 60s have proven detrimental to freedom. Again, your point is well taken, and we can learn from the early survivor liberation groups as well. As you mentioned, these provide valuable history lessons. The question is, what did we learn? Why have those movements fallen short? Why don’t more people read Szasz?

    I don’t think that Szasz would have any problem condemning the corruption of Big Pharma or Big Medicine, just as he had no problem condemning the corruption of the Therapeutic State. But I see that we disagree, and that is fine. Good, reasonable people often disagree, and we can learn from each other. All the best.

  • No problem. I strongly disagree with you as well, but the truth that we share is more important: abolish psychiatry. Burstow has done excellent work, and her books are among the best antipsychiatry books ever written. In the long run, the attempt to dilute antipsychiatry will prove detrimental, but I am happy to set that aside for now as we combine forces to combat the evil that is psychiatry. The political questions won’t go away, but certainly we can emphasize the truth that we share: psychiatry, like slavery, is evil and must be abolished.

  • Richard, with all due respect, you called my comment both true and absurd. Which is it? We all have biases, but not everyone is honest with themselves or with others about what those biases are. Sometimes it takes someone who is willing to point out that the emperor has no clothes, not just regarding psychiatry, but regarding political assumptions as well. You claim that conservative leaning people can be antipsychiatry only up to a point. I cordially disagree. Just because psychiatry thrives on deception and lust for filthy lucre doesn’t mean that Marxism is the answer. A brief tour of history reminds us that coercive psychiatry flourished in nations that embraced socialism, communism, and fascism, such as Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Were these capitalist nations? No. The fact that psychiatry flourishes in modern America gives pause for reflection.

    I assure you that I am 100% antipsychiatry, and that the most thoughtful critics of psychiatry, Szasz included, have had a clear vision of the connection between psychiatry and the therapeutic state that is not in the least bit inimical to capitalism.

    As far as your objection to my assertion regarding advancements in the cause of liberty, in your reading of history, were MLK, jr., Churchill, Lincoln, and the Founders progressives? I am simply correcting the distortion of human history that results from indoctrination in revisionist history.

    As for your final comment, the logical fallacy there is Reductio ad Hitlerum.

  • Uprising writes: “Psychiatry can be critiqued from just about any political perspective. You don’t seem shy about connecting anti-psychiatry with right-libertarianism, so don’t you think there’s a little bit of a double standard in what you are saying here?”

    I’ll side with communists, socialists, and progressivists in opposition to psychiatry, but I won’t pretend that antipsychiatry is therefore part and parcel of communism, socialism, or progressivism. It’s not. Psychiatry can be critiqued from just about any political perspective, but that doesn’t mean that all critiques or all political perspectives are equal. In fact, what if the battle against psychiatry from the left is ineffective and incoherent? Should we still adopt it? Again, by all means, oppose psychiatry from any angle possible, because to oppose psychiatry is to oppose slavery, and those who oppose psychiatric slavery do so, I’m guessing, because they favor liberty. I have my reservations about libertarianism as well, but there’s no need to get into that right now. The point is that we all oppose psychiatry. We are antipsychiatry. There’s no need to try to dilute antipsychiatry by trying to merge it with the endless causes of social justice warriors. That seems to be the point of everyone here: anyone who wants to oppose psychiatry is welcome.

  • You can jump on that band wagon if you like, but it sure was not an invitation to do so. Those who favor liberty are equally opposed to evil in all its forms, whether it be the radical ideologies of the left or those of the so-called alt right.

  • Look, it is great that this author is antipsychiatry. That is wonderful. But the following assertion is dubious:

    “This essentially means that we have to acknowledge that antipsychiatry is a part of a bigger social movement and therefore never lose the view on society as a whole. Because isn’t that exactly what we are criticizing?”

    Antipsychiatry is just that, antipsychiatry. It includes all those who favor liberty and oppose slavery (i.e. psychiatry). I sympathize with the author’s points, and I commend her opposition to psychiatry. But this sounds too much like Burstow’s attempts to make antipsychiatry about feminism, sexism, racism, etc. It’s not. It’s about abolishing psychiatry.

  • Who is pro-liberty in this thread? I am. I’m guessing that most human beings are pro-liberty. Of course antipsychiatry includes people from any and all political persuasions and backgrounds, because if you favor liberty or freedom, you oppose coercion and slavery (i.e. psychiatry). But the author of this post does not argue from a point of pure, lofty, objective neutrality.

  • I won’t even bother to read this trash. What on earth is Mad in America doing? Anyone with any ounce of common sense knows that “ADHD” is pure fiction and that the DSM is the nefarious anti-Bible. Psychiatry is a great curse upon the world. Who will stand up to the Goliath of the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex? Who will slay the dragon of psychiatry?

  • Here is an introduction to, and review of “Toxic Psychiatry”:
    Here is an introduction to, and review of “Medication Madness”:
    Here is an introduction to, and review of “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora,” which book contains an introduction by Peter Breggin:
    Learn the truth about psychiatry here:

  • 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.