Thursday, December 13, 2018

Comments by Slaying_the_Dragon_of_Psychiatry

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  • “Too painful to reply.”

    This was one of the best comments.

    Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as medicine. This stuff is not new, although most of the human race has yet to discover the truth about psychiatry. Psychiatry is, as Szasz so eloquently articulated long ago, the science of lies. It is founded on coercion, deception, and torture, but it hides behind the facade of “treatment” and “compassion.”

    Psychiatry is not something that can be reformed or criticized. Like slavery, it must be abolished.

  • Mental illness is a myth. It always has been. Karl Kraus understood the charlatanry inherent in psychiatry before any of us were born. But no one reads Kraus, or Szasz. Hence, pervasive ignorance reigns, and the myth of mental illness dominates the collective consciousness. These aren’t new insights. It’s just that, like most truth, the insights are perpetually ignored, rejected, or ridiculed. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery. The sooner it is abolished, the better.

  • Dr. Breggin is certainly one of the great heroes in the ongoing battle against psychiatry. His work is indispensable. “Toxic Psychiatry” is a masterpiece that belongs in the antipsychiatry canon. “Medication Madness” and “Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal” are also great. Moreover, Dr. Breggin’s numerous articles are, for the most part, right on the money.

    This particular article makes a few good points, and the intention behind it is good. However, as Oldhead pointed out, there are some pretty serious problems with it as well, problems that cannot be overlooked. While it is true that we might want to read Darwin and Adam Smith more closely, we also might want to read the Bible and everything else a little more carefully.

    If we set aside the Biblical, literary, and scientific references for a moment, perhaps we can begin to think clearly about the topic at hand. The title of this article alone is more than a little bit problematic. I’m not sure if Dr. Breggin really believes that there is such a thing as an “emotional disorder,” but if he does, that is the first problem to address. Before we can ask the question “Are all emotional disorders really disorders of love?” we first need to ask: “What is an emotional disorder?” or “Is there any such thing as an emotional disorder?” After that, we need to ask another important question: “What is love?”

    This is not just an exercise in philosophy or a semantic struggle. As soon as we assume that there is any such thing as an emotional disorder, we also need to assume that there is such a thing as emotional order, and a standard by which that emotional order is measured. This, in turn, requires that we define what emotions are. Thomas Szasz put the matter succinctly: “In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.” Unfortunately, and as Breggin often acknowledges in his books, the sufferers are very rarely the same people who provide the definitions. Many of the definitions that we have inherited have been handed down to us by those whose job it was to inflict suffering in the name of “medicine.”

    Furthermore, much of the suffering that has been caused by psychiatry – and by those who wield the power of pseudo-medical terminology – has been caused in the name of “love.” I will probably never tire of quoting C.S. Lewis on this point because the truth never gets old:

    “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. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This 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.”

    From this frame of reference, the greater the “love,” the greater the tyranny. Sometimes the most truly charitable thing to do is to know how to mind one’s own business. From the perspective of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the first commandment is to love God, or to have no other gods before God. Many people understand the truth that God is love, but it takes a bit more discernment to understand the problems inherent in the perversion of this truth. C.S. Lewis put it this way:

    “St. John’s saying that God is love has long been balanced in my mind against the remark of a modern author (M. Denis de Rougemont) that ‘love ceases to be a demon only when he ceases to be a god’; which of course can be re-stated in the form ‘begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god’. This balance seems to me an indispensable safeguard. If we ignore it the truth that God is love may slyly come to mean for us the converse, that love is God.”

    This is precisely the most insidious danger of psychiatry. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession based on “love,” or “compassion.” Probably without meaning to do so, Dr. Breggin has introduced a formula for the kind of tyranny that C.S. Lewis descried. Psychiatry thrives on inventing or introducing non-existent diseases or disorders. It grows in strength by setting for solutions to the very problems that it creates. In an ever growing cycle, psychiatry creates the problems that it claims to resolve, and the problems are exacerbated by the solutions that are set forth.

    In brief, there is no such thing as an emotional disorder. The attempt to heal non-existent disorders often creates the very problems that psychiatry claims to remedy. Certainly people suffer, and pain is an unavoidable physical reality. But the pain caused by psychiatry is pain that can be avoided. If we truly desire to relieve the suffering of others, a step in the right direction would be to work toward removing the cause of that pain. A step in the right direction is a step toward the abolition of psychiatry.

  • “We like to say in this movement that we are ‘experts by experience.’ This is true. Many of us are experts by knowledge and research as well, and the combination of these facets brings the wisdom to connect with, inspire and mentor one another.”

    This is one of the best things ever written on Mad in America. Well done. For those who may be interested, here is a compilation of reviews of some of the best books ever written to expose the truth about psychiatry:

  • Yes. Great book. Very insightful. A great exercise is to read Huxley along with Orwell and C.S. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength.” Another great book in this category is Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” These books help to explain why Thomas Szasz’ criticism of the “Therapeutic State” was so prescient. I would also recommend Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West” to provide some context for the kinds of things that we are seeing today.

  • Great work as usual Dr. Breggin. Electroshock ought to be banned.

    In reality, psychiatry itself ought to be abolished completely, and survivors of psychiatric torture everywhere ought to be compensated for their suffering. It is great that the evils of electroshock are coming to light. The same protection and compensation ought to be afforded to survivors of any kind of psychiatric abuse, including involuntary incarceration, drugging, polypharmacy, labeling, and general psychiatric torture in all of its forms.

    Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, and the sooner it is abolished, the better off we will be.

    Thank you for your great work Dr. Breggin. I wish that you would respond to emails to your website, but in the mean time, I commend you for the great work that you are doing.

  • Hang in there Rachel777. The best is yet to be. You are a warrior. You are more than a survivor. It may be a difficult process, and healing takes time, but things will get better. I believe you, and I believe in you. Hold on. Be strong. The best is yet to be.

  • As long as critical psychiatrists continue to argue that drugs can be helpful sometimes for some patients, they still haven’t really grasped that which Thomas Szasz, and Karl Kraus before him, understood so clearly: Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that must be abolished.

  • Whitaker and Peter Gøtzsche may be heretics compared to psychiatry in general, but that’s not really much of a heresy. Any sober minded person can see that there are problems with psychiatry and psychotropic drugs. Unfortunately, the critical psychiatry “heretics” still argue for the logical equivalent of a geocentric universe in which “some drugs can be helpful sometimes for some patients.” Don’t get me wrong. Whitaker and Gøtzsche have done excellent and essential work in exposing the truth about psychiatry. But the real Copernicuses and Semmelweises are those who tell the full truth about psychiatry, namely, that it is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that must be abolished. Thomas Szasz is still eons ahead of the conversation, and he died in 2012.

    As long as critical psychiatrists continue to argue that

  • I’ve read Irving Kirsch’s book “The Emperor’s New Drugs”

    It’s a good book, and it’s great that people are exposing the flaws in so-called “antidepressant” studies.

    But let’s be honest. As bean counters and number crunchers do these studies in the comfort of their offices, there are millions of people whose brains are being DESTROYED by psychotropic drugs and who suffer in ways that these bean counters and number crunchers can’t even begin to fathom. Not only that, but the people who suffer as guinea pigs, if they survive the ordeal, are made to pay for their own suffering.

    As Peter Breggin and others have so eloquently shown, there is no such thing as an “antidepressant.” These brain destroying chemicals are not “meds” or “medication.” They are brain-DESTROYING drugs. The term “antidepressants” is a misleading euphemism for dangerous and toxic chemical compounds. All of these studies are useless in the face of the myth of mental illness. As long as the myth of mental illness reigns supreme, it doesn’t matter what kind of “remedies” or “treatments” are studied.

    Almost daily I learn of yet another “mentally ill” person who took his or her own life. Many people assume that these poor “mentally ill” people commit suicide because they don’t get the right “treatment” or they don’t take their “meds.” NONSENSE! The brain-DESTROYING drugs are CAUSING these innocent people to commit suicide in ever increasing numbers, and no one is doing anything about it except call for more psychiatry, more drugs, more involuntary incarceration.

    Enough is enough. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.

  • In the absence of the primacy of faith in God and the rule of just law, many things rush in to fill the vacuum, including psychiatry and the therapeutic state. The abolition of psychiatry, though necessary, cannot stop other things from rushing in to fill the void. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery and a false religion that aims to be one of society’s supervisors, and therefore it must be abolished. But even after it is abolished, hopefully sooner than later, there will still be a vacuum, or a void, that new supervisors of society will be eager to fill.

  • “…a large percentage of students entering college experience significant emotional distress while juggling social, professional, and school-related pressures.”

    “Studies” such as this serve only to spread psychiatric propaganda in order to drag more innocent victims into the web of psychiatry. Life is pain. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.

  • I was responding to Frank, not to you Richard. But it’s good to know that you don’t want to overthrow capitalism. That’s a step in the right direction.

    Like Szasz, I am an advocate for freedom and responsibility as opposed to slavery. I support the dignity of each individual and the unalienable rights that are so eloquently enumerated and protected in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The modern Rawlsian conception of “rights” runs counter to the Founders original articulation of the term and its meaning.

  • Sorry Steve. That was my mistake. My comment was meant mostly as a reply to the original post, not your stance. So yes, I agree with you completely that proper nutrition is important for all of us, and that proper diet and nutrition, exercise and sleep will positively impact overall health and fitness.

    In reality, I am pro-liberty and pro-responsibility. As a result of my pro-liberty and pro-responsibility viewpoint, I reject psychiatry which is inherently anti-liberty and anti-responsibility.

    “I’m countering the implied or stated criticism, which is pretty common, that people who identify as “antipsychiatry” are denying that nutrition or any other physical body variable affects mental/emotional state.”

    Thank you for countering that false notion. No one denies that nutrition, etc. influences how a person feels. If this is being used as a straw man argument to attack antipsychiatry, then I’m glad that you are exposing it for what it is. It is like the tactic of those who try to dismiss antipsychiatry by tying it to scientology, etc.

    In any case, I apologize if I made it seem that my comment was directed toward you, when in fact I meant to respond to the original post.

  • I’m not opposed to creating alliances with other people beset by oppression. That’s a gross misunderstanding and mischaracterization of my critique of Bustow’s, and Richard’s style of antipsychiatry. I’m not trying to weaken antipsychiatry. I’m trying to strengthen it against what is making it weak. I hope that it’s clear that I agree with most everyone here, as far as I can tell, that there is a dire need to educate the masses, both liberal and conservative, about psychiatry. But I agree with you Frank that it is completely unnecessary to tie antipsychiatry to the overthrow of the capitalistic system. In fact, it is the attempt to overthrow the capitalistic system that has led, and will continue to lead to the flourishing of psychiatry.

  • “However, despite this ‘ballooning use of stimulants,’ Sibley goes on to suggest that those with ‘legitimate’ ADHD fail to receive ‘treatment’ due to stigma and ‘problems with stimulant acceptability’—presumably referring to adverse effects of stimulants.”

    Let’s clarify a few points. First of all, there is no such thing as “ADHD.” Second, it is impossible to “diagnose” something that is not real in the first place. Third, as long as the myth of mental illness continues its reign of terror, and as long as psychiatry, pharmaceutical companies, and others continue to disseminate “mental health” propaganda, the destruction of innocent lives will continue.

    Naturally, rates of so-called “diagnoses” will continue to rise, because psychiatry manufactures “mental illness” and pharmaceutical companies tap into the market. There is no such thing as a “legitimate” diagnoses of “ADHD.” The rate of leprechaun sightings may also be increasing, but at least this would bring good luck as opposed to psychiatry’s deceptions. It is the definition of evil to harm the innocent, particularly innocent little children, for a profit.

  • “I don’t think that an ‘antipsychiatry’ position in any way prevents one from believing that nutritional variables affect one’s mental/emotional state.”

    Oldhead, get over here. It looks like we need to explain again why all of this nutritional stuff plays into the hands of psychiatry. Let me just put it simply. Eat well. Be healthy. Take vitamins. But for heaven’s sake, stop pretending that there is any such thing as “mental health” or “mental illness” and that nutrition is somehow the salvation of the “mentally ill.” I’m the greatest advocate in the world for proper diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep, etc. In fact, it is also clear that proper diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep, etc. can help a person to remain free from the clutches of psychiatry.

    But when psychiatry, and the language of psychiatry, is combined with the language of nutrition, there is a big problem. It is interesting to consider that Hitler and his Nazi goons were obsessed with nutrition and health. Hitler was a fanatical vegetarian. Goebbels was a fanatical animal rights activist. Nazism and nutrition went hand in hand. Ironically, the Nazis championed nutrition, health, and animal rights while simultaneously experimenting upon Jews and gassing them to death.

    This doesn’t mean that all nutritionalists are Nazis. The point is that the effort to join nutrition to psychiatry is every bit as pernicious as psychotropic psychiatry. The coercion and the dominion are the same. It is the same therapeutic state and tyranny of the omnipotent moral busybodies, albeit less harmful only in the sense that the busybodies use vitamins instead of brain destroying chemical compounds.

    Again, let me be clear. It is good to have a healthy diet, proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and so forth. Vitamins may also help people to withdraw from psychotropic drugs. But when these same vitamins or nutrition are used as part of the psychiatric regime, the “patient” will continue to suffer under the false impression that he or she is “mentally ill” and therefore in need of “care” by “therapists” or in this case, nutritionists.

    “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

  • Bush’s “compassionate” conservatism was closer to liberal fascism than, say, Reagan’s patriotism. In any case, I’m sure you see the problem inherent in calling 1990-1999 the “decade of the brain.” These are the kinds of things that show the direct connection between psychiatry and the therapeutic state.

  • “In a true totalitarian system we would not be posting this. Big Brother would not allow it.”

    Perhaps in a truly masculine totalitarian system. That’s not the problem that we currently face. We live in the nanny state, the therapeutic state, a feminine-styled tyranny that smothers freedom with “care” and “therapy.” Vigilance is still required. Big Brother is still a threat. But Big Sister is more of a threat because her tyranny is less obvious.

  • “I’d say there might be a real danger of totalitarianism lurking about, but the danger is more pronounced from the right than it is from the left.”

    Benign totalitarianism has been a part of the progressive, therapeutic state since Woodrow Wilson. Wilson and his cohort were great promoters of the therapeutic state, as was JFK. The Clinton dynasty was no different. Bush declared 1990-1999 the “decade of the brain.” Obama launched the “Brain Initiative” in 2013. It’s not the in your face, masculine totalitarianism of Hitler or Stalin. It’s a “compassionate” totalitarianism that smothers freedom in the name of “care” and “treatment.” In other words, psychiatry and the progressive, therapeutic state go hand in hand. C.S. Lewis was clairvoyant:

    “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.”

  • I’m not confused about the differences, but I posed the question in order to provide an opportunity for people to clarify their positions. I found out that Richard believes that conservatives can’t be 100% antipsychiatry. I agree that MIA is a mostly a liberal, pro-psychiatry or critical psychiatry forum. I reject the pro-psychiatry and critical psychiatry positions on the one hand (whether from the left or the right), and the liberal, Marxist, anarchist positions on the other. That doesn’t make me popular here, but I don’t care. It’s truth that I’m after.

  • “Btw I doubt many who consider themselves ‘progressive’ would agree with your definition. On the other hand I don’t think they would agree on any other, which is why it is not a useful term in a discussion.”

    There are people who believe that the moon landing was fake and 9/11 was an inside job. So what? If you have a better definition, let’s hear it.

  • Calling a person “racist” is an ad hominem attack devoid of substance. Claiming that a statement is “racist” is not analysis or engaging in debate. It’s a way of silencing dissent and avoiding civil discourse. I’ve opposed moderation of debate and civil discourse, but when it comes to ad hominem attacks and slander, such comments ought to be moderated. If you have an argument to make, make it. Calling someone a “racist” or claiming that his or her comments are “racist” is not an argument.

  • OH, here’s a working definition of progressivism: the liberal religion of faith in “progress” that can be traced back to Hegel through Woodrow Wilson. For the record, I’m not fighting some vague notion of “oppression.” I’ll leave that to the social justice warriors. My beef is with psychiatry. I don’t glorify Frederick Douglass, but he is certainly a hero of the cause of liberty whose life and writings ought to be studied and are rightly revered by any freedom loving individual. I reject the false notion that chattel slavery and the so-called “racism” of today have anything at all to do with each other. Frederick Douglass is rolling over in his grave, not to mention Martin Luther King, Jr., to witness that now, more than ever, the content of one’s character plays a subordinate role to the color of one’s skin.

    In brief, Bustow’s brand of antipsychiatric social justice utopianism isn’t just untenable, it’s a boon to psychiatry itself.

  • I’m not opposed to coalitions. I’m just not persuaded that the abolition of psychiatry and antipsychiatry require the potpourri approach that Bonnie outlines. Psychiatry is the problem, not some nebulous notions of “oppression.” But you make a good point OH. Psychiatry preys on all kinds of people. The dragon of psychiatry doesn’t care if you’re black or white, male or female, rich or poor, young or old. While it’s true that psychiatry preys on the most vulnerable, children, the elderly, the homeless, and so forth, it will find ways to prey upon anyone in any way it can. The only reason I proclaim my own political perspectives so frequently is because someone needs to push back against the predominantly progressive approach to antipsychiatry. If I don’t, who will? Psychiatry must be abolished. I agree. I just think that the cause of liberty and responsibility will advance as it always has, and not in the way that Bonnie prescribes.

  • Perhaps you can clarify this point a bit in a future post, because I’m still not persuaded that antipsychiatry necessarily entails attacking oppression, whatever that might mean. I’m on board with most of your assessment of the history of psychiatry, and I’m on board with the need to abolish psychiatry. But I’m still not persuaded that antipsychiatry or the abolition of psychiatry requires adherence to any number of social justice causes.

    Szasz advocated for the abolition of psychiatry, for example, and he was even sympathetic to the plight of women, minority groups, and homosexuals. But he was wary of the liberal, progressive, therapeutic state as well. Szasz wasn’t right about everything, but he understood the need to abolish psychiatry.

    I respect your opinion Bonnie, and I appreciate the great work that you have done in exposing the truth about psychiatry. I’ve been reading “Psychiatry Disrupted.” I agree wholeheartedly with the following statements:

    “The goal of antipsychiatry is quite simple – nothing less than the abolition or end of the psychiatric system. Herein lies its ultimate distinction. While people critical of psychiatry but not fully antipsychiatry may take certain kinds of changes as sufficient – the advent of informed consent; less use of drugs; a kind, gentler industry; or diagnostic categories that are less overlapping, for example – as clarified in documents like the Coalition against Psychiatric Assault’s (CAPA) fact sheet, antipsychiatry holds that no changes will be sufficient, for the institution is too flawed and dangerous simply to be tinkered with.” (p. 37)

    and “The point is that we are up against a very complex system, with huge vested interests, with the complicity of the state, and with the blessings of a fearful general public. We are also up against thousands of years of prejudice against people whose ways of thinking and processing differ from those of folk deemed ‘normal’ – prejudice that…. predates the medical model and predates psychiatry, but has been made far more formidable by the veneer of science.” (p. 37)

    and “Besides that they have the lion’s share of the power, people who successfully make this world a living hell for others – who rob others of their freedom, who subject them to torturous treatments – tend to be very good at what they do. We need to be equally good.” (p. 50)

    I agree with this overall assessment of the situation. I’m just not persuaded that antipsychiatry and the abolition of psychiatry requires “attacking oppression” or espousing various social justice causes. Perhaps in a future post you can clarify what you mean by “attacking oppression,” or how these “oppressions” relate to psychiatry.

  • Not quite Oldhead. Progressivism has brought us closer to the kind of totalitarian regimes that ravaged Europe and Asia, particularly in the 20th century, but we’re not quite there yet. Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and JFK were benign dictators, as were Bush, Clinton, and Obama, but they weren’t Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. Even Trump is more of a benign, progressive demagogue than most people realize. Progressives have been paving the way towards a new totalitarianism for quite some time. Fortunately there are still those who stand athwart history, and the history of psychiatry, yelling “stop.”

  • “Sorry, but Marxists are very, very rare in the US of A, including on MIA.”

    Hopefully conscious Marxists are becoming more rare. It’s just strange how so many of them ended up here on MIA. Unwitting Marxists are a dime a dozen.

    Thankfully, Richard has answered my question. His tirade demonstrates exactly what is wrong with the Bonnie Burstow school of antipsychiatry. Richard’s definition of “conservative” reveals the many blind spots in the progressive liberal paradigm. He goes so far as to brandish the worn out trope of “fascism.” Even those with the most cursory training in history and the most basic powers of reasoning comprehend that modern liberal progressives are the direct inheritors of Mussolini styled fascism and the very philosophies of eugenics that antipsychiatrists should most vehemently oppose.

    But Richard’s theories don’t hold water. I am more opposed to psychiatry than anyone on this planet, and I also understand the philosophical, political, economic, and social origins of psychiatry better than anyone on this planet. I am 100% antipsychiatry BECAUSE I am a genuine conservative (not one of these straw men conservatives that Richard likes to beat up).

    Therefore, Steve answers “yes,” and Richard answers “no.” Which is it? Can genuine conservatives be 100% antipsychiatry? Bonnie Burstow’s utopian vision of antipsychiatry and Richard’s anti-capitalist diatribes almost persuade me to be pro-psychiatry. Almost.

  • Very well. Let’s work this out. Steve claims that there is a very big difference between Marxist and liberal. He also claims that there are definitely conservative folks who post here. Let’s examine these claims. What is the difference between Marxism and modern liberalism? Are Richard and Bonnie Burstow Marxists or liberals or neither or both? Also, who are the conservatives that post comments here? What is a conservative? And to return to my original question, is it possible for a person to be 100% antipsychiatry and also a genuine conservative?

  • “The oppression that is psychiatry has to be integrated into our understanding of other oppressions…”

    Why? Define oppression. I’m not buying this argument at all.

    “It is not good enough to ghettoize concerns about psychiatry, allowing them to enter in only when the focus is explicitly on psychiatry… In short, tunnel vision or failing to integrate, common though this is, is a mistake that those of us trying to rein in psychiatry can ill afford to make.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. Bonnie is right that psychiatry ought to be abolished. She is also right that there are various and atrocious injustices in the world. But the real tunnel vision consists in the assumption that the abolition of psychiatry must necessarily include any number of social justice projects. It doesn’t. In fact, just the opposite is true.

    By all means, abolish psychiatry. By all means, help Indigenous women, or any kind of women. But let’s stop pretending that antipsychiatry and the abolition of psychiatry necessarily depends on some larger, ill-defined battle against oppression. Let antipsychiatry be what it is, namely, the battle against psychiatry. What is psychiatry? Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as medicine. What, therefore, is antipsychiatry? It is the defense of freedom and responsibility against the tyranny of psychiatry.

  • I’m all in favor of fielding a variety of viewpoints and hashing out political differences, but it is disingenuous to pretend that MIA is a completely neutral forum for discussion. There are few, if any, genuine conservatives who comment here, and those who dare to question the dominant liberal paradigm are anathematized, at least by Richard.

    Steve writes: “If you are honest with yourself, the vast majority of comments don’t even vaguely reflect a Marxist viewpoint, and very few truly do.”

    Do Richard’s comments not reflect a Marxist viewpoint? Please correct me if I’m wrong. As a moderator, you need to be honest with yourself. If a Marxist or a liberal paradigm is a minority or less empowered viewpoint that doesn’t get a full hearing in MIA, then I’m captain Jack Sparrow.

  • No. I was constrained to refute Richard’s socialist diatribe because he was trying to pressure Lawrence into blaming psychiatry and drug-dealing doctors on capitalism. The lack of historical perspective in some of these conversations would be laughable if it weren’t so appalling. Are psychiatry and big pharma all about profit, wealth, and power? Of course. Does this mean that we should try to transform the United States into a socialist utopia? Not remotely. In any case, these things are a distraction from the main point, namely, that Lawrence’s article is spot on: doctors are prolific drug dealers.

  • Profit, wealth, and power are the bedrocks of all the inane socialist doctrines that have somehow managed to linger even after the terrible destruction that they caused during the last century. A little healthy capitalism keeps such nonsense at bay.

    But that is beside the point. Excellent article Lawrence. You hit the nail right on the head. I would add that drug dealer doctors represent just one of the many snares that draw the innocent into the foul clutches and the bloody maw of psychiatry.

  • Human agency is always a factor. Most people can understand that. What most people don’t understand is that psychotropic drugs can CAUSE a person who would otherwise have no inclination to commit suicide to do so. Psychotropic drugs are CAUSING people to commit suicide. This doesn’t just happen with celebrities. Of course there are varying degrees of choice involved depending on the person and the strength to resist the effects of drugging. But I’m willing to bet that the effects of psychotropic drugs are the MAIN CAUSE behind many suicides and violent rampages. Of course there are all kinds of people with all kinds of problems. No one denies that. But psychiatry is the direct CAUSE of many if not most so-called “psychiatric diseases” or “mental illness.” I can’t be certain that this was the case with Mr. Williams, but I have a hunch that psychiatry and psychotropic drugs played a major role, if not the primary role in his demise, just as they have in the demise of untold numbers of innocent people.

  • Good point oldhead. Psychiatry is the furthest thing from medicine or healing. In fact, it stands on the opposite side of the spectrum. Even law enforcement is too gentle a term for psychiatry. There are appropriate reasons for law enforcement, and there are police officers who do good. Not true of psychiatry. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery. The whole purpose its existence is to coerce, oppress, torture, and abuse innocent people under the guise of “medical treatment.” The poor medical students who are indoctrinated with psychiatric lies should be aware that their chosen field of study is as far removed from medicine as night is from day.

  • How about this: STOP “diagnosing” people with “mental illness,” and then those people will be free to do whatever physical activity they like instead of rolling around on the ground in agony in a psychiatric prison. STOP labeling, drugging, incarcerating, and killing innocent people. Psychiatry is state sponsored torture and a pseudo-scientific system of slavery. If you want people to exercise, a good place to start is to allow them to make that choice for themselves instead of enslaving them through psychiatric “treatments.”

    In any case, an article in a publication called “Schizophrenia Research” might as well be published in other great scientific journals such as “Santa Claus Sightings,” “Easter Bunny Quarterly,” or “The Journal of Tooth Fairy Studies.”

  • I suggest that psychiatry be abolished. That’s the only way that anyone will be safe in the long run. If survivors could post stories with a pseudonym, that would be great. Even then, however, safety is not assured. Psychiatry preys on all classes and types of people, including the weak, vulnerable, aged, homeless, and children. It also preys upon former victims, namely survivors.

    There are oodles of survivor stories that have already been told, but the problem is that very few people take these stories seriously and many people assume that victims of psychiatry need more “treatment.” Psychiatry is CAUSING the damage and then the victims of psychiatry are either forced to keep silent or to report their experiences to people who don’t believe them or who manipulate their stories for their own psychiatric interests.

    “What would you suggest could be done to make it feel more safe for survivors to post?”

    Allow survivors to write what has actually happened to them, and if desired, to do so under a pseudonym to protect them. Of course survivors should feel safe to express their feelings about the very real harm that they have endured, but most survivors still need to learn the truth about psychiatry. Most survivors, like most “professionals,” don’t really know the truth about psychiatry. They haven’t read Szasz or Breggin or Whitaker or Burstow. All they know is that they were dragged through a living hell and then blamed for it. All they know is that they were drugged, imprisoned, labeled, tortured, abused, and coerced. More often than not they don’t know why.

    It is important to let survivors’ voices be heard, but not all voices are equally informed. I would even suggest that survivors do a great deal of listening and reading while they figure out the truth about psychiatry. I would also suggest that “professionals” read more before writing articles. There is rampant ignorance in our society regarding psychiatry, and some of the greatest ignorance is propagated by psychiatry itself.

    Whatever can be done toward the abolition of psychiatry will be a step in the right direction, a step toward truth, and a step toward justice.

  • “If you just want psychiatric survivors telling their stories to each other, that’s fine and understandable. But our goal was to give that voice a place in a wider societal discussion, and to reach beyond the choir.”

    As well intentioned as this is, the problem with this line of reasoning is that as long as “psychiatric survivors” are telling their stories, those same stories are being appropriated by psychiatry, for psychiatric purposes. A survivor who understands the true nature of psychiatry can’t tell his or her story openly or without a pseudonym without dangerous consequences.

    “So it rather irks me when I read of how we are somehow silencing the psychiatric survivor voice, etc.”

    It’s not a matter of silencing the “psychiatric survivor” voice. It is true that there are many survivors whose voices have been moderated away or silenced. That is normal in society at large as well as on MIA. In any case, it’s not always a good thing for survivors to tell their stories, particularly in a public forum such as this. Psychiatry profits from the narratives of the “mentally ill” as well as the narratives of “survivors” or others who want to “rethink” psychiatry. Unfortunately, most “psychiatric survivors” know next to nothing about the true history of psychiatry, hence their narratives play right into the hands of psychiatric propaganda. There are a few rare exceptions to this rule.

    Of course civility is imperative. Truth is on the side of psychiatric survivors and abolitionists, so there is no reason not to be civil.

    “One of the things we realized from the survey is that so many people just avoid the comments altogether because of a sense that it can be a hostile place. We are TRYING TO ENLARGE THE AUDIENCE for those contributing through their comments, not diminish the audience. We are just asking everyone to engage in a way that help create an environment where people can listen to each other.”

    This is strange, since others seem to have remarked that they actually enjoy the comments section more than the articles themselves, or that they learn more from the comments section than the articles themselves. Again, civility is imperative, and I commend any move toward greater civility. I also commend any move toward greater truth and clarity. As painful as it may be, the move toward greater truth and clarity will also be a move toward abolition, and a move away from “rethinking” psychiatry.

  • Ah, if symbolism were only that simple. Wayne and Gregory Peck made a big mistake by turning down the lead role. Cooper did a great job, and it’s a great film. In any case, someone has got to stand up to the Frank Miller of psychiatry whilst other townspeople run around like chickens with their heads cut off.

  • This is a great article.

    Those who understand the true history of psychiatry know that psychiatry has been causing casualties ever since its inception. Psychiatry produces homicides and suicides while pretending to offer the cure. It is a nefarious and pseudo-scientific system of slavery. The abolition of psychiatry, like the abolition of chattel slavery, or the defeat of Naziism, is a moral imperative.

    Those who are interested in discovering the truth about psychiatry will benefit from the following web site:

  • Hi Sheriff McCrea. Have you seen High Noon? It’s a classic. If so, you will understand that my role is like that of Marshal Kane (played by Gary Cooper) who protects the citizens of Hadleyville from the outlaw Frank Miller. In case it’s not already obvious, psychiatry itself is the Frank Miller of our Hadleyville.

    Now for the classic song “Do not Forsake Me My Darling”

  • kindredspirit and Frank are right. This is a disaster for MIA. If MIA is a “forum for rethinking the current paradigm of psychiatric care,” this new policy will drive the conversation even further into the “reform” echo chamber. Psychiatry cannot be “rethought” any more than slavery can be “rethought.” Most people don’t waste time trying to “rethink” the 3rd Reich.

    As for the commenting policy, of course only 10% said that they “enjoyed participating in the lively discussions.” Most people know next to nothing about the inner workings or the history of psychiatry. Of course most people observe and read. Why would MIA be concerned about this? The pretense about representing the broadest range of views and experiences can hardly be understated. This new policy will greatly inhibit a broad range of views and it will narrow the discussion even more.

  • “Can Children Have Bipolar Disorder?”

    I didn’t bother to read this article or the comments, because the question it poses is inane. Of course children can’t have “Bipolar Disorder.” No one can “have” “Bipolar Disorder” because there is no such thing as “Bipolar Disorder.” “Bipolar Disorder,” like every other fictitious “disease” that has been invented by psychiatry, is BOGUS. A person can no more “have” “Bipolar Disorder” than he or she can “have” a personal relationship with Santa Claus.

    Those who spread these fake diseases that cause unspeakable suffering to innocent people, including children, the elderly, and the homeless, will be held accountable before God. They also ought to be held accountable before just laws.

  • Szasz’s works are still light years ahead of most articles and commentary on the topic of psychiatry. Reading helps us understand that it takes a lot of hard work, and deep study, to have an original thought. Here’s a morsel to chew on from Szasz’s “The Theology of Medicine”:

    “In the Age of Faith, men and women had to, and wanted to, call their spiritual problems sins and their spiritual authorities fathers, who, in turn, called them children. In the Age of Medicine, men and women have to, and want to, call their spiritual problems sicknesses and their spiritual authorities doctors, who, in turn, call them patients.” (p. 143)

    Here’s another:

    “To be sure, people do suffer. And that fact — according to doctors and patients, lawyers and laymen — is now enough to justify calling and considering them patients. As in an earlier age through the universality of sin, so now through the universality of suffering, men, women, and children become — whether they like it or not, whether they want to or not — the patient-penitents of their physician-priests. And over both patient and doctor now stands the Church of Medicine, its theology defining their roles and the rules of the games they must play, and its canon laws, now called public health and mental health laws, enforcing conformity to the dominant medical ethic.” (p. xxii)

  • No one is recruiting Cruise as a leader or a spokesperson. He is a celebrity. Millions of people watch his movies. He is an outspoken critic of psychiatry. In his interview with Lauer he speaks the truth as he sees it passionately, but also clearly and calmly. What if someone could educate him about the problems associated with scientology? What if Cruise understood how adherence to scientology is antithetical to his opposition to psychiatry? What if he and Whitaker and those of us who understand the truth about psychiatry teamed up to create the blockbuster film of the century: “The Truth about Psychiatry”?

  • I agree Lawrence. If Cruise could be further educated on the truth about psychiatry, and weened away from scientology, why not? If he could read Whitaker’s books, why not? Psychiatry uses so many celebrities to promote its lies (think Carrie Fisher, etc.). Cruise is already an outspoken critic of psychiatry, and his interview with Matt Lauer many years ago was well done.

  • Interesting post Lawrence. I like the general outline of the idea, even though the Lion King is already old. I would definitely encourage any endeavors to reach a wider and more receptive audience. However, it seems to me that the clear, undiluted truth about psychiatry must be published in as many venues and in as many ways as possible. I like the movie idea. What we need is a movie version of all of the research that has been done by Szasz, Breggin, Whitaker, Burstow, and others. A simple title would suffice: The Truth about Psychiatry, or The History of Psychiatry. If it were accurate and well made, we wouldn’t need any gimmicks. Those who would like to understand the truth about psychiatry would have their interest piqued.

    The research is there. The truth is available to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. I may need to write a book, and some articles. But since no one reads books anymore, and many people would rather watch a movie than read articles, there has to be a way to get the truth about psychiatry on the big screen.

    It may sound funny, but has anyone reached out to Tom Cruise with this idea? Of course the obstacle there is that he is a scientologist. But he has done some fantastic interviews on the topic of psychiatry, and he’s not a fan of psychiatry. Would there be any way to persuade a passionate opponent of psychiatry, and someone with the financial means and wherewithal to start creating the blockbuster film of the century? Can you imagine the uproar?

  • “Early Attention to Life Circumstances and Relationships Improves Outcomes for Psychosis”

    All of this seemingly sophisticated gobbledygook can never prove that there is such a thing as “psychosis” in the first place. People take it for granted that there is such a thing as “mental illness” and “mania” and “psychosis,” as if we were discussing concrete reality. Several decades ago, people used to be interested in the real questions: “What is mental illness?” “What is psychosis?” “Who came up with these notions?” “Why did they come up with these notions?” “Where the people who developed these notions honorable and trustworthy individuals or charlatans?” “Do these notions correspond in any way with reality?” A bit of careful study reveals that so-called “mental illness” with all of its attendant psycho-babble, is a myth, and that psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that thrives on the perpetuation of these myths.

    Wake up people. You’ve all been had.

  • “I believe we need a concept called ‘mental illness’ because a careful philosophical inquiry into the meaning of ‘disease’ reveals, in my opinion, that a person can be ill in the literal sense in the realm of “mental”–Szasz’s interpretation of Virchow notwithstanding.”

    No. The opposite is true. A careful philosophical inquiry into the meaning of “disease” reveals precisely what Szasz foresaw: the medicalization of everyday life is a powerful weapon in the hand of the therapeutic state. Szasz was right. In former ages, false priests oppressed the ignorant masses under the assumed authority of false religious tenets, bedazzling them with recondite Latinisms. In modern times, psychiatrists and doctors, the new false priests, oppress the ignorant masses under the assumed authority of “medicine,” wielding “treatments” for “mental illness.” In former ages, the ignorant were beholden to the false priests for their supposed religious power and authority. The new false religion of psychiatry imposes its fake diseases upon its victims in order that they flock to the new false priests, psychiatrists and psychotherapists, for their magical “remedies,” namely drugs or psychotherapy.

    The only people who “need” a concept of “mental illness” are psychiatrists and psychotherapists, because “mental illness” is the terrible myth that sustains the pseudo-scientific enterprise of psychiatry. “Mental illness” is the wind beneath the wings of the dragon of psychiatry. It is also the fiery stench that reeks from her filthy maw. We no more need “mental illness” than the people of Laketown needed Smaug.

  • Don’t forget that dainty dental delight, the beloved Tooth Fairy. Unlike the myths of the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy, however, the myth of “mental illness” has injured, impaired, incapacitated and led to the untimely deaths of untold numbers of innocent people.

    It’s time to quote C.S. Lewis again, before the inherent therapeutic zealotry of psychiatry gets too far out of hand. Ponder this:

    “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.”

  • “Despite what you have insisted, I have read nearly every book Szasz ever wrote, from ‘Pain and Pleasure’ and his early psychoanalytic work, to ‘Psychiatry: The Science of Lies.’ Whether you feel that I understand them is a different matter, of course.”

    And yet you show absolutely no evidence of having read or understood any of them, nor do you respond to any of the direct quotes from Szasz that I shared.

    “I believe a careful reading of Szasz–as well as listening to him lecture and interview–reveals pervasively his game-theoretical approach to the problems called mental illness.”

    Nonsense. A careful reading of Szasz would include a careful reading of more than just his worst book. In any case, Szasz got a lot of things wrong, and this game theory stuff was just one of them.

    “Slaying, you have stated here a few times that ‘Ethics of Psychoanalysis’ was one of Szasz’s worst books.”

    Yes. That’s right. It is probably his worst book, and yet it is the only book that you care to reference because you think that it supports your narrow reading of Szasz. Please read Szasz’s works before making any further attempts to recruit Szasz as a psychiatric apologist.

    “But did you know that Szasz ranked it as his favorite book? He says so explicity in the preface of the Syracuse University Press edition released in the 1980s.”

    Szasz book “The Ethics of Psychoanalysis” is full of contradictions, and he wrote many things after 1980.

  • “whereas Slaying seems to be most familiar with Szasz’s later works–which admittedly did become much more radical and ‘anti-psychiatry.'”

    Not quite. I’m very familiar with this early work by Szasz, and it is not representative of his works as a whole. In fact, it is probably his worst book. His later works are not more radical. They are more reasonable, straightforward, and accurate. I imagine that Szasz was wrestling with the implication of the so-called “profession” in which he found himself. Whatever the case, the inordinate focus on one bad book gives a distorted idea of Szasz’ work as a whole.

    “One could leave room for the existence of a category of disease called ‘mental illness’ and still believe that the only ethical approach to these problems is to assist the patient in becoming more autonomous and free.” Not really. The entire myth of “mental illness” exists as a justification to enslave, torture, abuse, and otherwise molest people who were formerly free. The entire psychiatric system of slavery rests on the false premise of so-called “mental illness.” If you believe in the autonomy, freedom, and responsibility of individuals, then the way to contribute to the expansion of such autonomy, freedom, and responsibility is to refrain from labeling and burdening people with the unjust and untenable epithets of so-called “mental illness.” Psychiatry is the antithesis of freedom and responsibility, and “mental illness” is the myth that sustains the psychiatric enterprise.

  • “Since Slaying’s comment is mostly filled with the typical anti-psychiatry rhetoric, I will address what I see as his (or her) main errors in critique.”

    Szasz saw himself as a noble rhetorician, like Kraus, and he wrote as much in his books. While I don’t agree with everything that Szasz wrote, he was a noble rhetorician because he used language in defense of the truth as he saw it. Much of what Szasz wrote, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Ruffalo, was critical of both psychiatry and psychotherapy. Any summary of Szasz that intentionally omits his straightforward denunciations of both psychiatry and psychotherapy is simply an inaccurate summary.

    Szasz’ book “The Ethics of Psychoanalysis” was published in 1965, which was still very early in his career. It is one of his worst books. Szasz was a prolific author, and he denounced Freud in the majority of his works. Psychiatric apologists like to focus on this early work by Szasz because they believe that it lends credence to the psychiatric enterprise. It is a half-truth that Szasz praised Freud and drew from his theories. The full truth about Szasz cannot be gleaned from the narrow reading of one of his early books, and one of his worst books at that.

    “Slaying seems to allege that Szasz completely rejected ‘psychotherapy’ (as in human conversation). This is blatantly false. He practiced it for half a century.” Nonsense. No one who has read Szasz’ book “The Myth of Psychotherapy” can claim that Szasz simply championed and practiced “psychotherapy.” Like Kraus before him, he was unfailingly and unflinchingly critical of both psychiatry and so-called “psychotherapy.” Do I need to quote Szasz again? Evidently I do, because either Mr. Ruffalo has not read Szasz thoroughly enough, or else he has not understood him. Try this one out, for example:

    “My aim in this enterprise has been to unmask the medical and therapeutic pretensions of psychiatry and psychotherapy. I have done so not because I think that medicine and treatment are bad things, but rather because, in the so-called mental health field, I know that the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic mythology is now used to disguise deception and conceal coercion – by psychiatrists, patients, politicians, jurists, journalists, and people in general.” (“The Myth of Psychotherapy,” p. xviii)

    Freud is one of the main culprits in this book, and in many of Szasz’ other books. Szasz’ book “The Ethics of Psychoanalysis” pre-dates his more lucid and mature reflexions on the true nature of psychiatry. If that isn’t enough, consider the following rebukes that Szasz gave to psychotherapy:

    Szasz referred to psychotherapy as “a fake religion” that “seeks to destroy true religion.” (“The Myth of Psychotherapy,” p. 28)

    “In His repeated attacks on the scribes and Pharisees,” Szasz also writes, “Jesus’ role as reformer could not be clearer. ‘Beware of the scribes, He warns, ‘who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers.’ Similarly, He might now warn people to beware of psychiatrists who like to go about in the white coat of doctors, and to receive government grants and the best seats in the theater. Naturally, the Jewish priesthood did not relish being denounced in such terms by Jesus, any more than contemporary pillars of society relish such criticism.” (“The Myth of Psychotherapy,” p. 31)

    Either Mr. Ruffalo has not understood Szasz, or he has not really read Szasz. This would not be a problem, except that Ruffalo attempts to appropriate Szasz for psychiatric apologetics. There are many other ways in which Szasz denounced both psychiatry and psychotherapy, but just for the record, perhaps we should include this gem as well:

    “What, then, are psychotherapists and what do they sell to or impose on their clients? Insofar as they use force, psychotherapists are judges and jailers, inquisitors and torturers; insofar as they eschew it, they are secular priests and pseudomedical rhetoricians. Their services consist of coercions and constraints imposed on individuals on behalf of other persons or social groups, or they consist of contracts and conversations entered into by individuals on their own behalf.” (“The Myth of Psychotherapy,” p. 206)

    “Szasz would routinely comment on the fact that if schizophrenia were found to be brain disease, it would leave the domain of psychiatry.” So what? Have you even read “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry”? Allow me to quote Szasz again:

    “The claim that some people have a disease called schizophrenia (and that some, presumably, do not) was based not on any medical discovery but only on medical authority; that it was, in other words, the result not of empirical or scientific work, but of ethical and political decision making.” (“Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry,” p. 3)

    That’s already on page 3 of his book. Read the rest to discover what Szasz really thought about so-called “Schizophrenia.”

    “It has been alleged that Szasz’s views on schizophrenia were much more nuanced in private conversations than in his necessarily polemical writings.” It has also been alleged that the moon landings were fake and that the earth is flat.

    “The idea that what is called ‘schizophrenia’ is simply the result of institutional psychiatry has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked by historians of psychiatry.” Nonsense. As I mentioned earlier, psychiatric apologists have written apologetic defenses of psychiatry in the form of pseudo-history. Such pseudo-historians include Edward Shorter and Tom Burns. More accurate histories of psychiatry have been composed by Szasz himself, as well as by Peter Breggin, Robert Whitaker, and Bonnie Burstow.

    “It is like saying ‘congestive heart failure’ wouldn’t exist without cardiologists. Perhaps the term would not exist, but people would still be dying of heart failure. ‘Schizophrenia’ has an ontological reference that would exist regardless of psychiatry.” Nonsense. But this is also beside the point because contrary to Mr. Ruffalo’s claims, Szasz clearly wrote otherwise. The point is that Mr. Ruffalo has misquoted and mischaracterized Szasz. As far as the myth of “Schizophrenia,” there is more ontological reality for Santa Claus and the Easter bunny than there is for so-called “Schizophrenia.”

    I’m not sure why Mr. Ruffalo keeps referring to the charlatan Pies. Hopefully it is clear enough by now that Pies cannot be taken serious because he has repeatedly attempted to defend the “chemical imbalance” hoax and other psychiatric pseudologies.

    “The claim that Szasz would support ‘modern anti-psychiatry’ is not supported by any evidence and is debunked by virtue of the fact that he wanted nothing to do with the movement in the years preceding his death.” Again, this completely avoids the real question. Szasz distanced himself from the “anti-psychiatry” of Laing and his cohorts early on, because people attempted to brand Szasz as an “anti-psychiatrist.” Szasz considered that psychiatry was the science of lies, and that so-called “anti-psychiatry” was “quackery squared.” Why? Because the “anti-psychiatry” of Laing was psychiatry by another name. He rejected both as forms of coercion and state-sponsored abuse. Szasz’ works give ample support to those who oppose psychiatry and even to those who argue for the abolition of psychiatry. But one would have to actually read Szasz’ works in order to know that.

    Szasz’ defense of the twin principles of liberty and responsibility naturally led him to oppose psychiatry because psychiatry stands in direct opposition to both liberty and responsibility. Szasz was one of the most thoughtful and articulate critics of psychiatry, and those who have read and understood Szasz are beneficiaries of his defense of liberty and responsibility. As much as those who oppose psychiatry are indebted to Szasz, however, his was not the last word.

    Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that thrives on the oppression of innocent men, women, and even children. The history of psychiatry is riddled with stories of abuse, torture, drugging, involuntary incarceration, shock, insulin coma “therapy,” lobotomy, and other coercive measures. Psychiatry has destroyed the lives of millions of innocent people, and it continues to do so to this day. For this, and many other reasons, psychiatry ought to be abolished.

  • Ruffalo’s attempt to appropriate Szasz for psychiatric purposes is so off base that it hardly merits a response except to disabuse other readers of Ruffalo’s misinterpretations of Szasz. Ruffalo is right about one thing, however, no figure in the history of American psychiatry has proven to be more misunderstood than the late Thomas Szasz. In fact, Ruffalo’s article gives further evidence of the pervasiveness of misunderstandings of Szasz’ work.

    Rather than elucidate Szasz, Ruffalo does what most psychiatrists and psychotherapists do, and what Szasz ardently opposed: he obfuscates Szasz’ arguments through misuse of language. Ruffalo claims that Szasz’ views on psychiatry were influence by his libertarian ideology. This isn’t quite right. More accurately, Szasz’ views on everything, including libertarianism and psychiatry, were influenced by his commitment to the twin principles of freedom and responsibility. From a young age, Szasz understood that psychiatry directly opposed the twin principles of freedom and responsibility, but he wisely managed to obtain his credentials in psychiatry before publishing his views more widely. Furthermore, Szasz’ views regarding so-called “psychotherapy” are much more nuanced than Ruffalo claims. Even his book “The Myth of Psychotherapy” was not his last word on the matter.

    Historians of psychiatry are notoriously wrong about psychiatry. Most of them would more accurately be called apologists of psychiatry. Accurate histories of psychiatry have been written by Szasz, Breggin, Whitaker, Burstow, and a few others. Psychiatric apologists, on the other hand, frequently attempt to appropriate Szasz in order to bolster their own erroneous opinions on the nature of psychiatry. Such attempts to appropriate Szasz would be laughable if they weren’t so destructive.

    Ruffalo begins his article by praising certain aspects of Szasz’ work. But as soon as he attempts to correct Szasz, he shows his hand as yet another iteration of the false rhetoricians that Szasz so ardently and consistently opposed. Ruffalo claims that most people misinterpret Szasz by supposing that Szasz denied the reality of mental symptoms. In reality, most misinterpretations of Szasz are more closely tied to Ruffalo’s own misinterpretation of Szasz, namely, and in Ruffalo’s own words, that Szasz “ideas in this sense were actually quite similar to Freud’s.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

    In the tradition of Karl Kraus, a man whom Szasz admired greatly, Szasz frequently exposed Freud as the fraud that he was. This is not to say that Szasz was not influenced in any way by Freud, but that those who conflate Szasz with Freud simply have not read or understood most of Szasz’ writings. Szasz was a prolific writer. His views on Freud and psychotherapy developed over the course of his career, and the more they developed, the more clearly he denounces Freud, his teacher Charcot, and others, as the imposters they were.

    Consider, for example, the following statement by Szasz on page 35 of his book “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry”:

    “The gist of my argument is that men like Kraepelin, Bleuler, and Freud were not what they claimed or seem to be – namely, physicians or medical investigators; they were, in fact, religious-political leaders and conquerors. Instead of discovering new diseases, they extended, through psychiatry, the imagery, vocabulary, jurisdiction, and hence the territory of medicine to what were not, and are not, diseases in the original Virchowian, sense.”

    Ruffalo claims that “Szasz (1965) contended that his ‘autonomous psychotherapy’ was an expansion and refinement of Freud’s original vision for psychoanalysis.” This is a half-truth. Read Szasz’ book “The Myth of Psychotherapy.” In that book, and in no uncertain terms, Szasz reveals the mendacity of Mesmer, the hoaxes of Heinroth, the errors of Erb and Wagner-Jauregg, and the fraudulence of Freud and Jung. Ruffalo claims that Szasz was led to “conceptualize mental illness as resulting from unacknowledged internal motivations.” Again, Ruffalo’s rhetoric is misleading. No one who has read Szasz’ books “The Myth of Mental Illness,” “Psychiatry: The Science of Lies,” “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry,” “Coercion as Cure,” “The Theology of Medicine,” “The Myth of Psychotherapy,” “The Therapeutic State,” “Psychiatric Justice,” “Psychiatric Slavery,” “Liberation by Oppression,” or any number of his other works can in honesty claim that Szasz conceptualized so-called “mental illness” in the way that Ruffalo supposes. In fact, I would recommend a close reading of Thomas’ Szasz excellent book “Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry,” in order to gain a better understanding of Szasz’ stance on all things psychiatric, including his ideas on “psychotherapy.”

    Ruffalo bases his arguments on a very narrow reading of Szasz’ ideas regarding psychotherapy. While it is true that Szasz contended vigorously on behalf of the twin principles of freedom and responsibility, in many of Szasz’ writings, he called into question not only the notion of “mental illness,” but the notions of “doctor” and “patient” as well. Szasz saw himself as a noble rhetorician, like Kraus, who was burdened with the task of exposing the errors of the false rhetoricians. Like Kraus, he was often rejected, ignored, or misinterpreted. Unfortunately, Szasz continues to be rejected, ignored, or in the case of Ruffalo’s article, misinterpreted.

    One of the most glaring falsehoods in Ruffalo’s article is contained in the following statement: “While Szasz asserted that mental disorders are only metaphorical diseases, he never closed the door entirely on the possibility that one day the biological origin of a mental disorder will become known.” In reality, Szasz traced the search for the biological and physical causes of so-called psychopathological phenomena to the investigator’s “craving for prestige and power” rather than his desire for “understanding and clarity.” (see “The Myth of Mental Illness, chapters four and five) Allow me to quote Szasz again:

    “Modern psychiatry rests on the false premise that mental illnesses are brain diseases treatable with drugs. Political correctness requires that we accept this premise and the practices it entails as the products of modern neuroscience and the procedures of humane social control. As science, this is bunk, because it confuses personal conduct with biological condition. As social control, it is despotism, subjecting innocent individuals to incarceration.” (Szasz, Liberation by Oppression, p. 57)

    Szasz’s summary statement and manifesto begins with this clear insight:

    1. “‘Myth of mental illness.’ Mental illness is a metaphor (metaphorical disease). The word ‘disease’ denotes a demonstrable biological process that affects the bodies of living organisms (plants, animals, and humans). The term ‘mental illness’ refers to the undesirable thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of persons. Classifying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying the whale as a fish. As the whale is not a fish, mental illness is not a disease. Individuals with brain diseases (bad brains) or kidney diseases (bad kidneys) are literally sick. Individuals with mental diseases (bad behaviors), like societies with economic diseases (bad fiscal policies), are metaphorically sick. The classification of (mis)behavior as illness provides an ideological justification for state-sponsored social control as medical treatment.”

    Ruffalo claims “This leads us to the theoretical possibility that what is called schizophrenia—for instance—is caused by a yet-to-be-discovered physiological disease of the brain.” Nonsense. What did Szasz really have to say about so-called “schizophrenia”?

    “Similarly, if there is not psychiatry, there can be no schizophrenics. In other words, the identity of an individual as a schizophrenic depends on the existence of the social system of (institutional) psychiatry. Hence, if psychiatry is abolished, schizophrenics disappear. This does not mean that certain kinds of persons who might previously have been schizophrenics, or who might like to be schizophrenics, also disappear; there assuredly remain persons who are incompetent, or self-absorbed, or who reject their ‘real’ roles, or who offend others in some other ways. But if there is no psychiatry, none of them can be schizophrenic.” (Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry, p. 136)

    One need not respond to Ruffalo’s references to Ronald Pies, since, as Frank and Richard pointed out, Pies is hardly a reliable source for accurate information. Pies is full of conceptual errors that Szasz would have easily torn apart. Ruffalo writes “If mental illness is indeed a metaphor—and Pies does not think it is—the person said to be mentally ill may still be ill in the literal sense.” Pies has no evidence whatsoever that such a thing as “mental illness” exists, and yet Ruffalo refers to Pies in order to speculate that the “mentally ill” may be ill in the literal sense. I think that Frank has made it clear enough that as soon as a person discovers that he or she has a literal, biological illness, there is no longer any reason (if there were a reason in the first place) to falsely label such a person as “mentally ill.” The myth of “mental illness” and the quest for a biological marker that corresponds with the myth is, as Szasz has repeatedly shown, an effort in futility that springs from the pervasive psychiatric tendency to seek for ways to justify or legitimize a fraudulent “profession.”

    As far as Ruffalo’s point regarding Szasz’ reading of Virchow, even if Virchow didn’t necessarily equate cellular pathology with “disease” in the broader sense, Szasz is still right to conclude that so-called “mental illness” or “mental disorders” are not real diseases, but inventions of psychiatrists. Of course Szasz understood that people may behave in aberrant or irrational ways, and that people may suffer from a variety of problems that manifest themselves in ways that psychiatrists label as “symptoms” of “mental illness.” The problem is that psychiatry, and by extension much of “psychotherapy,” attempts to medicalize human behavior and everyday life to such an extent that there is almost nothing that escapes the purview of the DSM-V.

    Ruffalo gives a back-handed and disingenuous compliment to Dr. Szasz near the conclusion of his article: “No one in the history of psychiatry advocated more tirelessly for the civil liberties of the mentally ill…” This is not what Szasz did. He exposed the myth of “mental illness” for what it was, and he demonstrated with relentless clarity that to categorize people as “mentally ill” is to do them a disservice. He didn’t advocate for the civil liberties of the “mentally ill.” He advocated for the liberty and responsibility of all human beings, particularly those who were labeled as “mentally ill” by exposing the various lies of psychiatry.

    Ruffalo’s article makes it seem as though there are some cases in which “medication” and “psychotherapy” are a necessity. This is simply not true, and Szasz would have exposed this error as well. Ruffalo also attempts to discredit the anti-psychiatry movement with a reference to Szasz. This is a common error among psychiatrists and psychotherapists. The assumption is that since Szasz disapproved of Laing’s version of “anti-psychiatry,” he would have opposed anti-psychiatry today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Szasz grouped Laing and others like him together with other psychiatric frauds. Szasz was often dismissed as an “anti-psychiatrist,” and he rejected the term as “quackery squared” because he didn’t wish to be associated with Laing and his ilk. The difference is that Laing and his ilk were psychiatrists who attempted to perpetuate the abuses of psychiatry under a different name, namely “anti-psychiatry.” Laing’s so-called “anti-psychiatry,” which Szasz rightly rejected, was not anti-psychiatry at all. It was psychiatry by another name.

    Ruffalo claims that “Szasz never sought to ban psychiatry or psychiatric treatment.” This is another half-truth. Although Szasz advocated for liberty and responsibility, he often and persistently argued that psychiatric slavery ought to be abolished. He wrote entire volumes on the subject, volumes that are conspicuously absent from the assessments of Szasz’s work set forth by most psychiatric apologists.

    Perhaps the most egregious error in Ruffalo’s argument comes at the end of his article: “But Szasz’s unwavering focus on the autonomy and self-determination of psychiatric patients may have led paradoxically to the deprivation of their freedom.” Utter nonsense. These are not arguments of someone who has really read and understood Szasz, nor are they arguments of someone who respects Szasz’s work. While Szasz was busy throughout his entire life, working to support the twin principles of liberty and responsibility, Mr. Ruffalo attempts to pin the blame for the horrors that have been perpetrated by psychiatrists on the innocent on the very man who opposed them. For shame. Ruffalo’s article obfuscates Szasz’s real arguments and attempts to discredit his work, but even worse, it employs base rhetoric to blame the very man whose work has been most beneficial to victims of psychiatry. This is nothing new. Like Karl Kraus before him, Szasz suffered the same abuse in his time. Such has always been the case with truth. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Eventually it is accepted as self-evident. Szasz’s defense of self-evident truths will stand the test of time, while his critics will eventually be forgotten.

  • “The treatment of mental disorders with drugs is not the same sort of activity as the use of drugs in medicine.”

    No pun intended, but this is a no-brainer. Why? Because there are no such thing as “mental disorders.” Furthermore, it is impossible to “treat” a “mental disorder.” If anything, drugs CAUSE severe brain damage, in ways that Frank mentions above, also including neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

    “Psychiatric drugs do not target underlying disease or symptom-producing mechanisms; they create an altered state of mental functioning that is superimposed on underlying feelings and behaviours.”

    This is not quite right either. First of all, the term “psychiatric drugs” is a bit misleading in and of itself. Terms like “antidepressant,” “antipsychotic,” “mood stabilizer,” and so forth are misnomers. These drugs are not “medications.” They are dangerous, brain damaging, toxic chemical compounds that are wrecking havoc in the lives of millions of innocent men, women, and children, including helpless infants, the homeless, and the elderly.

    Second, these toxic chemicals don’t simply create an “altered state of mental functioning.” They DAMAGE the physical brain. This has nothing to do with “mental functioning.” That’s what these dangerous drugs are DESIGNED to do… to damage the brain while deceiving people into thinking that they are being healed through “medication.” These drugs produce a type of “medication spellbinding,” as Peter Breggin likes to call it. Thus the innocent victims of psychotropic drugging believe that they are being “treated” when in reality they are being drugged into oblivion.

    Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that ought to be abolished. Discover the truth about psychiatry:

  • “At the present time, psychiatry is under intense scrutiny and criticism. On all sides its ‘mental illnesses’ and ‘brain-correcting’ drugs are being exposed as dangerous, disempowering, and stigmatizing hoaxes. And psychiatry’s only response is denial, PR, cheerleading, and attempted marginalization of its critics.”

    No one says it quite as clearly and succinctly as Dr. Hickey. Excellent article.

  • I’m done with MIA as well. It is next to impossible to have any sort of a conversation with anyone without comments being moderated away because everything is interpreted as a “personal attack” or not politically correct. Time to take my conversation somewhere where people are actually capable of reasoned and civil dialogue. I don’t know where that might be actually… perhaps on Mars.

    Oh, and “science” is not an excuse to avoid substantive questions or to assume some pretended mantle of authority, particularly when very few people seem capable of defining what “science” might even be.

    Thank you everyone. It’s been fun. If you’re interested to learn the truth about psychiatry, please consult the following website:

    Over and out.