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And elephant of psychiatry, meet elephant gun… at your service.
Psychiatry is a branch of medicine in the same way as slavery is a branch of productive labor, in the same way as Nazism is a branch of legitimate government, or in the same way as priestcraft is a branch of religion. In other words, psychiatry is a rotten branch that needs to be extirpated from the tree and cast into the ash heap of history.
Psychiatry works wonderfully. It accomplishes exactly what it was designed to do, namely, subjugating, torturing, and annihilating untold numbers of innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly. It accomplishes its goal all too effectively, and it does so while masquerading as a medical profession.
Oldhead writes sensibly, and hopefully Whitaker is coming to the realization that Oldhead has been writing sensibly all along. This elephant of psychiatry, to expand the metaphor, doesn’t just need gnats buzzing around its ears. It needs a few rounds from the elephant gun. It needs heavy dose of its own medicine. In any case, what’s the point of remaking a fraudulent, pseudo-scientific system of slavery? Not many people are interested in remaking Nazi prison camps or chattel slave plantations. Why should anyone be interested in remaking psychiatry?
Again, oldhead sees clearly. Nonsense such as “mad pride” threatens the real work of antipsychiatry, namely the abolition of psychiatry. What next, idiot pride? Stupidity pride? Foolishness pride? We already have enough of that, and it’s not something to be proud of.
Oldhead is great, and he understands the inherent absurdity of psychiatry and so-called “mental illness.” Unfortunately, like Efrat and many others, he conflates antipsychiatry with the radical leftist notions that will ultimately undermine the cause of liberty that he genuinely aspires to promote. Bonnie Burstow and her group of antipsychiatrists also fall into this trap. It is very unfortunate because they are absolutely right about psychiatry. Thomas Szasz must be rolling over in his grave because of the ideological and utopian fantasies that threaten to obscure the cause of abolition for which he so valiantly contended.
The word “psychiatry” is one of the most misleading and unnecessary words that has ever been invented. Think of it for a moment. Just pause to think. What is psychiatry? Etymologically, the word psychiatry means the medical treatment of the soul. Yes. Let me repeat that to see if anyone else is paying attention. The medical treatment of the soul.
Now pause to think of the implications of such a ridiculous word. First of all, a person would have to know what a soul is, and psychiatrists are the most ill equipped of all people to understand such a thing. Second of all, how on earth can medical treatment be applied to the soul? What utter nonsense. Religious believers understand that the healing of the soul is something only God can accomplish, and yet the word “psychiatry” has been invented to signify that somehow a doctor, or at least a person who aspires to be a doctor, can take the place of God and “treat” the soul medically. What complete and utter nonsense.
Yet, here we are, debating with psychiatrists and hoards of other people who actually believe that such a thing as “psychiatry” is somehow necessary and useful, instead of what it actually is, namely, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that is bent on destroying the lives of innocent people, including the elderly, the homeless, and helpless little children. Thus the term “antipsychiatry” is the most necessary and useful term because it is synonymous with truth, common sense, and justice.
Efrat, are you from Israel?
Congratulations on receiving the scholarship, and thank you for this article.
It’s really too bad, however, that so many people conflate antipsychiatry with radical leftist ideologies. They really are, and ought to be, two completely separate things.
Ekaterina, great article. Thank you. You are exactly right that the problem lies in the term “mental illness.” The problem is psychiatry itself.
Congratulations on your great accomplishments as well. Which languages do you speak? Which countries have you lived in?
Also, what do you think of Thomas Szasz’s book “The Myth of Mental Illness”?
“Do you now agree that biological psychiatry is a ridiculous farce that’s really about shutting people up, by dismissing (invalidating) their complaints as mere ‘symptoms’ to be drugged away?”
No. As you well know, Lawrence, so-called “biological psychiatry” is just a euphemistic term that is used to cover up the whole nasty history of psychiatry itself. Psychiatry must be abolished. It is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that wreaks havoc and destroys the lives of many innocent people, including children, the elderly, and the homeless.
I applaud your efforts to expose some of the obviously fraudulent aspects of psychiatry, But I invite you and your readers to consider why the whole rotten system must be abolished not simply reformed or criticized.
There is a distinct difference between so-called “hate speech” and the hate-filled things that people might say: https://www.heritage.org/civil-society/commentary/the-origins-hate-speech
Nope. That is like saying that so-called “mental illness” is illness. As with so-called “mental illness,” there is a history behind the erroneous concept of “hate speech.”
Oldhead, when it comes to psychiatry, you see many things very clearly. But it’s disappointing that you would so ardently resist the myth of “mental illness” only to fall prey to the myth of “hate speech.”
Rachel777, you are a wonderful, courageous, and beautiful soul. In the Lord’s way and time, you will have your family, and the compensatory blessings that come to those all those who put their trust the Lord. Keep up the good fight!
Mr. Whitaker, thank you for your courage in addressing this very controversial topic. There is much that is praiseworthy in your assessment of the controversy surrounding so-called “mental illness,” and mass shootings. For example, it is clearly wrong to blame a supposed group of people for the nefarious deeds of one disturbed individual. And Torrey is clearly wrong to attribute the tragedies of violence to people with so-called “serious mental illness.” Thank you for pointing out what ought to be obvious.
I would also like to commend you on the great work that you have already done on your books, particularly “Psychiatry Under the Influence,” “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and “Mad in America.” These books are an invaluable resource and ought to be required reading for all first-year medical students, among other people.
However, there are a few ideas in this blog post that don’t stand up to scrutiny. First of all, the notion of so-called “hate speech” is almost as problematic as the false notion of so-called “mental illness.” The Marxist origins of the notion of “hate speech” have long been recognized, but this is not something that a dictionary will explain. (See, e.g. https://www.heritage.org/civil-society/commentary/the-origins-hate-speech)
Furthermore, the problem isn’t just that Trump or anyone else might blame an entire group of people, but that to pin the blame on so-called “mental illness” is to pin the blame on something that doesn’t exist in the first place. While it is courageous to defend people who have been labeled as “mentally ill’ against the attacks of those who would blame them for the tragedies of mass shootings, it is more courageous to defend people against the label of so-called “mental illness” itself. Your work has accomplished much by way of demonstrating that which Thomas Szasz understood best of all, namely, that so-called “mental illness” is a myth. There is no way to blame the so-called “mentally ill” for any tragedy because in reality there is no such thing as “mental illness.” Until this basic reality is recognized by the general public, there will continue to be so-called “hate speech” directed toward a mythical group of people who are “mentally ill.”
Although there are furious debates between Democrats and Republicans on a wide variety of issues, the reality is that the myth of so-called “mental illness” has confused most everyone on both sides of the political fence. The problem has nothing to do with Republicans, Democrats, or gun control. The problem is that the vast majority of people in the United States and elsewhere has been deceived by the myth of so-called “mental illness.” As soon as people begin to understand that “mental illness” is a myth, and that psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession, there will be no need to worry about so-called “hate speech.”
Furthermore, there are several studies of the connection between psychiatry, psychotropic drugs, involuntary incarceration, and acts of violence. Our own Peter Breggin has written eloquently and at length on this topic. (See, e.g. “Medication Madness,” https://breggin.com/medication-madness/ and https://ssristories.org/) The truth is that psychiatry CAUSES the very problems that it purports to remedy. It is such a clever system because the myth of mental illness and the continued drugging of the innocent is creating an increasing population of drug-damaged individuals who may be chemically incited to violence. When the violence occurs, everyone is ready to point the finger at the so-called “mentally ill” and call for more psychiatric “treatment,” or more psychiatric interventions. The truth is that the rise in the power of psychiatry corresponds directly with the rise in psychiatrically induced acts of violence.
The more people are subjected to psychotropic drugging and psychiatric violence, the more we should expect an increase in these terrible and tragic acts of violence. Not everyone who commits these murders has been subjected to psychiatric torture, but many of them have been. The reality, as you well know, is that psychotropic drugs can CAUSE otherwise innocent people to perpetrate terrible acts of violence, and they can surely promote violence in those who are already so inclined. It is a well known military tactic to drug soldiers into a chemical craze in order to numb them and incite them to maniacal violence. Just imagine the millions of innocent children, for example, who have been subjected to this kind of psychiatric torture. When they try to withdraw from the drugs, the result is often even more devastating than going on the drugs in the first place. These things have been thoroughly documented even in your own works.
The attempt to silence opposition by labeling their utterances as “hate speech” is almost as bad as the attempt to stigmatize and ostracize people by labeling them as “mentally ill.” Until the general public becomes aware of the myth of mental illness and the nefarious nature of psychiatry, these acts of violence will continue to increase and politicians will continue to pin the blame anywhere except where the blame belongs, namely, with psychiatry itself.
Ok. This issue is starting to come out into plain view…
Good article. Rousseau was one of the earliest purveyors of the false notion of human “perfectibility,” but there is seemingly no end to the litany of utopian schemes that have arisen from modern political philosophy. Following Rousseau, Marx attempted to transform philosophy itself: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” It is natural and necessary to focus on the path of eugenics through Nazi Germany, but if we really hope to learn from history we can’t ignore the role that Marxist ideologies had in the creation of the Russian Gulags. Neither can we ignore the work of the most articulate and courageous psychiatric abolitionist of the 20th century, namely Thomas Szasz. Of course, a single blog post can’t cover every important topic, but it is worth remembering that in addition to the fictitious disease of “schizophrenia,” the myth of “autism” also arose in the context of Nazi Germany and Austria. https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/the-myth-of-autism/
It is refreshing to read such crystal clear statements of truth in such straightforward and simple language. It should be obvious to every honest and reasonable mind and to every compassionate and loving heart that the “chemical imbalance” hoax has been one of the most destructive tools of the pseudo-scientific system of slavery that is more commonly known as “psychiatry.” The myth of “mental illness” and the attendant “chemical imbalance” hoax have caused the suffering and death of untold numbers of innocent people, including helpless children, the homeless, and the elderly. What makes psychiatry more evil than the most blatant of evils is that it masquerades as a medical profession and purports to heal, care for, or treat its unsuspecting victims.
Dr. Hickey hits the nail so squarely on the head that even the most unfeeling and retrograde reader cannot help but be moved by the force and lucidity of his logic. Thank you Dr. Hickey. May you be blessed with long life, good health, and joyful increase for your relentless efforts to bring to light the truth about, and to defend the innocent victims of, psychiatry.
Grazie, ma non ho una posizione ideologica. Infatti, mi oppongo alle ideologie della psychiatria.
Il mito della malattia mentale e il libro piu famoso di Szasz, ma purtroppo, i suoi libri piu’ importanti non vengono letti.
La psychiatria distrugge le vite di innumerevoli persone innocenti, incluso i bambini, gli anziani, ed i senzatetto. Come Szasz spiega, la psychiatria e’ una forma di schiavitu’, paragonabile allo schiavismo che dominava negli stati del Sud negli Stati Uniti. Quindi, la psychiatria non e’ qualcosa che si puo’ cambiare o trasformare. Bisogna abolire la psychiatria proprio come e’ stata abolita lo schiavismo negli Stati Uniti.
Forse tu puoi aiutare ad abolire questo systema di schiavismo in Italia, come Szasz si e’ sforzato di fare qui negli Stati Uniti.
Psychiatry is directly responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people, and many of those deaths include psychiatrically induced suicides.
There are lots of books on Amazon. Whether or not people have read or understood them is an entirely different question.
Too few people have read the works of Thomas Szasz, whether in the United States or elsewhere, and too few of those who have read his works have really understood them.
The best thing that Mad in Italy could possibly do would be to disseminate the works of Thomas Szasz more widely, and to promote his ideas on liberty and responsibility, and the abolition of psychiatry.
Interesting article. Thank you.
I agree that it is important to rally around common principles, and that the idea of “cognitive liberty” may hold some potential for that purpose. However, there is something even more fundamental than “cognitive liberty,” and that is liberty itself. Unfortunately, in the modern world there is rampant confusion regarding the principle of liberty, some of which confusion we owe to the likes of John Stuart Mill and other modern political philosophers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx.
Nevertheless, the concept that you describe as “cognitive liberty” may have more solid origins in the thought of American founders such as Thomas Jefferson: “…I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” The irony is that too many proponents of antipsychiatry, critical psychiatry, etc. also tend to side with the very originators of tyranny, cognitive and otherwise, in political matters. Nowhere is tyranny over the mind of man more prevalent than in the communist regimes who owe their practice to Marxist theory. The Orwellian thought control that was present in Soviet Gulags, for example, ought to inspire antipsychiatrists and any lover of liberty to resist the ideologies that gave rise to such tyranny.
Although he was much too libertarian for my taste, Thomas Szasz labored incessantly to promote the twin principles of liberty and responsibility. Liberty and responsibility are two sides of the same coin, and Szasz correctly demonstrated that psychiatry is inherently antithetical to both liberty and responsibility. The term “cognitive liberty,” therefore, may unnecessarily obscure the true meaning of liberty in a way that is similar to the obfuscation of justice by other names such as “social justice.”
To answer your questions:
Do you believe in the inviolable right of individuals to think what they think? People are free to think and to choose as they will, but no one can control the consequences or the results of thoughts and choices.
Is cognitive self-determination important to you? Liberty and responsibility are important. “Cognitive self-determination” sounds a bit too much like the psychiatric doublespeak that many of us are trying to resist.
Do you view the privacy of thought as sacrosanct? People are free to choose what they think, and that freedom to choose is a sacred gift.
Is cognitive liberty a term, a principle, a bottom-line that you can imagine yourself rallying around? As I hope to have made clear, liberty is something even more basic and fundamental than “cognitive liberty,” and since liberty itself is misunderstood, it is not likely that the principle of “cognitive liberty” will remedy the problems that are posed by psychiatry. Nevertheless, I rally behind the principle of liberty that I believe is being aimed at in this discussion of “cognitive liberty.”
Meno male. Quindi, lo sai che Szasz cercava di abolire la psychiatria? Lui sapeva che la psichiatria non poteva essere trasformata o criticata. Come la schiavitù, deve essere abolita. Quale dei libri di Szasz è il tuo preferito? Grazie. A presto.
Ciao Marcello. Vorrei sapere se la gente d’Italia conosce le opere di Thomas Szasz. Tu sai se i suoi libri sono stati tradotti dall’Inglese all’Italiano? E i libri di Signor Whitaker? Si leggono i suoi libri in Italia? Grazie.
Probably not. 🙂
Oldhead… It looks like your oppositional defiance disorder is re-surfacing. (LOL emoji)
Hopefully Mr. Whitaker will carefully consider and implement this good counsel from Dr. Caplan. If you know the truth, why not tell the truth? In fact, one who knows the truth has a moral obligation to speak, to write, and to promote the truth.
One major problem… there is no such thing as an “antidepressant.”
Psychiatry is the opposite of Christianity, and Paine and his contemporaries, even those with whom he disagreed, would understand this if they were alive today.
“Psychiatrists are seen as hard-working, caring, understanding healers, but they’re really snake-oil salesmen, drug-dealers, and master-sedaters. What they do should be illegal. Someday everyone will realize that not only do psychiatrists not heal anything, they’re a major contributor to the recent rise in suicides and overdoses.”
Excellent. This is one of Lawrence’s best articles thus far.
I don’t care if you eat broccoli and salmon for dinner and probiotics and every other thing that can constitute a good diet… there’s no such thing as “ADHD”. It is impossible to “cure” a fictitious “disease.” Psychiatry’s purported “remedies” are often the root cause of the problem.
“Are Mental Health Screenings for Youth Worth the Risk?”
Let me ask a similar question. Is riding a bullet bike full speed into a concrete barricade worth the risk?
Szasz was a human being, but a thorough and charitable reading of his works reveals that he was as merciful as he was just. He spent his entire life working to expose psychiatry for the sham that it is, and to have it abolished. He spent his entire life working to support liberty and responsibility, principles that benefit all of mankind, rich or poor.
The works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn are a good antidote to Marxist pretensions to legitimacy.
These are important aspects of Szasz’s thinking, but there is so much more to his works than most of his critics, and even many of his supporters are ready to acknowledge and articulate.
True religion and the True God have largely been opposed, neglected, or set aside in our culture to make way for the idols of modernity.
It’s good to have other witnesses though. There is so much to learn from Szasz and his real legacy, and not just because he was the most effective critic of psychiatry and a psychiatric abolitionist. We can also learn from the way his work was received, and how he was treated. Furthermore, the continuing jealousy of Szasz shows us a bit what the uphill battle will be for present and future psychiatric abolitionists. In this way we can celebrate Szasz’s work and his legacy while also learning to be wiser than he was.
Although I would add, in order to clarify, that psychiatry is a false religion.
Bingo, Steve. Bingo.
Szasz’s excoriation of psychiatry is more accurate than the vagaries of post-modern sophists such as Foucault, Laing, Deleuze, Guattari, and Badiou.
Amen, and amen. This is exactly right. A tribute to Szasz is much more in order than any so-called “appraisal” by his envious opponents. Just as Socrates outlives the Athenian assembly, Szasz will outlive his critics.
Excellent comment. Thank you Bradford. I would recommend that people read Szasz’s works before they read interpretations of his works. Szasz is far superior to his critics. Those who still feel like they need to read Szasz’s critics ought to read “Szasz Under Fire: The Psychiatric Abolitionist Faces His Critics,” because at least this book contains Szasz’s own responses to his critics. Appraisals of Szasz’s legacy are worth much less than Szasz’s actual legacy. In fact, appraisals usually do more to obscure and obfuscate a legacy than to clarify. Naturally, I champion any effort to expose more people to the works of Thomas Szasz, but this blog post invites skepticism for a variety of reasons. https://www.amazon.com/Szasz-Under-Fire-Psychiatric-Abolitionist/dp/0812695682
First of all, many of Szasz’s colleagues had an axe to grind because Szasz exposed their chicanery with such relentless, Socratic precision. Second, psychiatry is not a hybrid profession of clinical science and humanities. That is sheer nonsense, and Szasz knew it. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. There is nothing scientific about it, unless you wish to call it what it is, and what Szasz so aptly described, namely “The Science of Lies.” https://www.amazon.com/Psychiatry-Science-Lies-Thomas-Szasz/dp/0815609108
Third, although it is true that Szasz was an able philosopher, his works are best read how he intended them to be read, and not merely as philosophy rather than psychiatry. Like Karl Kraus before him, Szasz considered himself to be a noble rhetorician, that is, he used language correctly in defense of truth. The truth is that psychiatry is neither medical nor a profession. Szasz exposed psychiatry for the sham that it is, and he exposed its founders for the frauds and the charlatans that they were.
Szasz’s legacy is so much greater than the six points that he included in his 1998 manifesto. Szasz was a psychiatric abolitionist, not merely a critic of psychiatry. A serious appraisal of Szasz’s legacy would mention this fact clearly from the outset. The list of the authors who composed “Thomas Szasz: an appraisal of his legacy” invites even greater skepticism. As if the mention of Allen Frances weren’t enough to discourage a person from reading the book, add to that the names of Pies and Torrey, and you have a certain recipe for what Szasz would have recognized as base rhetoric or pseudo-science. Dr. Phil Hickey has exposed the mendacity of these and other psychiatric apologists. (See, e.g., https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/04/in-defense-of-anti-psychiatry/ or https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/11/my-response-to-dr-pies/ )
Furthermore, although Szasz’s libertarianism was too extreme for my taste, his commitments were to freedom and responsibility, commitments to counteract the real utopian schemes of the socialist and communist ideologies that inhere in what Szasz called “The Therapeutic State.”
“The Theology of Medicine,” “The Manufacture of Madness,” and “Coercion as Cure” are indeed great books.
But Szasz’s wrote many great books, and any list of his great books that fails to mention “Psychiatric Slavery” or “Liberation by Oppression” is incomplete. And as far as Szasz’s connections to Scientology are concerned, Bradford’s comment above hits the mark. The attempt to discredit Szasz by emphasizing his connections to Scientology, especially by citing Torrey as an authority, is yet another reason to be skeptical of this so-called “appraisal.”
Szasz already gave himself enough tough love. It’s Szasz’s critics and appraisers that need the tough love that Szasz already gave them. The problem is that instead of reading and understanding, his critics continue to obscure and obfuscate Szasz’s works to the detriment of his legacy and to the detriment of others who would benefit from it.
In other words, begin by reading Szasz, and not his critics or his “appraisers.”
Jennifer, thank you. Keep up the fight. You are winning.
As I’m sure that you are well aware by this point, there is really no such thing as “bipolar disorder,” and psychiatry is a sham. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. It is simply criminal what psychiatrists have done to you, and what they are doing to millions of innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly.
I believe that your artistic talents will flourish now more than ever, and that you will be able to help many other people who are suffering as a result of psychiatric abuse. Along the way, if you are looking for some good reading on the topic, I highly recommend the work of Thomas Szasz, Peter Breggin, and Robert Whitaker.
Keep up the good fight, and all the best. – DS
“Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the medical term for a disorder, or malfunction in thinking, in which a person suffers from obsessions, which are often linked to compulsions.”
Nonsense. There is not one single shred of evidence that there is any such thing as “OCD” or any other fictitious “disease” that is listed in the Bible of psychiatry.
Even though I disagree with Szasz about many things, including religion and politics, I share his interpretation of the myth of “mental illness” and his well-founded distaste for Laing’s antics.
The “device” that these pseudo-scientists at NeuroSigma created should be hooked up to parts of their own anatomy that I will not mention, and then turned up to full blast.
The explanation is in Szasz’s book “Anti-psychiatry: Quackery Squared.”
The irony, of course, is that there’s really no such thing as “Autism.”
Alan, I am very sorry about what psychiatry has done to your son. I feel compassion for you both, but I also want to express the hope that there is life after survival. I sincerely hope that your son can extricate himself from the shackles, and shed the false labels of psychiatry. It may be difficult, but it can be done.
You mentioned Laing several times. While I sympathize with your perspective, and while I understand why Laing’s influence is important to you, I would recommend that readers of this post consider Thomas Szasz’s critique of Laing, as well as Thomas Szasz’s critique of the concept of so-called “schizophrenia” in his book “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry.” https://www.amazon.com/Schizophrenia-Sacred-Psychiatry-Thomas-Szasz/dp/0815602243
The truth is that there is no such thing as “mental illness,” and “schizophrenia” in particular is a terrible hoax. Psychiatry, as I’m sure that you are now aware, is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. Psychiatry, from its inception, is rotten to the core, and it thrives on the suffering of the innocent. The purpose of psychiatry is to cause the very harm that it purports to remedy. All this psychiatry accomplishes under the guise of “treatment” and “care.”
For these and other reasons many who frequent the Mad in America website advocate for the abolition of psychiatry, and they do so with truth and justice on their side.
The problem of authority doesn’t go away merely by wishing. When legitimate authority is dismissed, rejected, or opposed, something else inevitably sweeps in to fill the vacuum. Tocqueville foresaw the tyranny of the majority or the soft despotism that is now rampant. Anarchy is not a viable solution to the problem, and neutrality is an illusion.
It is important to remember that there is no such thing as “ADHD” or “ADHD drugs” or “antidepressants.” These are all euphemistic and misleading terms. The euphemism “antidepressants” is used to describe thanatophoric, or death inducing drugs.
Of course this ignores the fact that there is no such thing as “first episode psychosis,” and that “treatment” is a euphemism for coercion, force, torture, drugging, involuntary incarceration and other forms of psychiatric abuse. “Early intervention” is a method of subjugating the innocent to psychiatric torture and abuse, in a sort of Minority Report style. Under this tyrannical system, a person is automatically and preemptively declared guilty with no avenues to prove his or her innocence.
There is also no such thing as an “antipsychotic.” A more appropriate name for these dangerous, brain destroying chemical compounds might be “thanatophoric drugs,” or death inducing drugs.
A novel concept that members of the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex ought to consider is one of the ancient definitions of justice: mind your own business.
Not quite. The two are bound up together. So-called “psychotherapy” is an integral part of the overarching problem that Szasz identified as the thereapeutic state.
Exactly. There is no such thing as “mental health,” and no such thing as “mental illness.” These are fabrications, dangerous figments of the psychiatric imagination.
Good point. More people ought to read and understand the works of Thomas Szasz.
The irony in all of this, of course, is that Marxism is its own kind of fundamentalist religion, and Marx himself knew it. The further irony is that Marxism, like psychiatry, caused and still causes the kinds of problems that it purports to resolve. No sober person can examine the real fallout from the Marxist fundamentalist religion and still consider that it has any redeeming value.
“The second idea is that people may not have to change to be OK and valuable — that people can even be proud of what has been called madness!”
This dichotomy leaves out the most important idea, namely, that so-called “mental illness” itself is a myth. There is no reason to be proud or ashamed of fictitious “diseases.” The only real madness is psychiatry’s obsession with promoting and promulgating the myth of “mental illness” in order to cover up it’s own illegitimacy.
Please read Edith Sheffer’s book “Asperger’s Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna” to learn the truth about so-called “Autism.”
So-called “schizophrenia” is a figment of the psychiatric imagination. Please read Thomas Szasz’ “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry” before posting anything else about this fictitious “disease.”
“but as Aristotle points out, these ‘goods’ are the product of society, at least to some extent, not something that is inherent in us.”
Citation please. Are you suggesting that Aristotle thought that the good, the true, and the beautiful were merely conventional? Perhaps I have misunderstood.
“but we should not forget that our sense of ourselves as indivisuals, with some power to influence events ourselves, is associated with the shaking up of centuries of unchallenged social heirarchy.”
“But I don’t think we can resolve modern existential problems simply by returning to ancient philosophy or medieval Christianity”
I didn’t mean to suggest that we can resolve modern existential problems simply by returning to ancient philosophy or to medieval Christianity, but I was suggesting that unless we have at least some grasp of both of those things, we will make very little progress in fully understanding modern existential problems in the first place.
“On the question of mental illness/disorder, I think it is too simplictic to just blame psychiatry. I recognise that psychiatry does create many of the problems it is supposedly there to address, but there is a historical record of something that was widely recognised as ‘madness’ (lunacy, insanity etc) long before psychiatry came into existence, which caused problems for many different sorts of communities.”
Your point is well taken, but there is something different about the modern manufacture of madness for which psychiatry is directly responsible. Although he is too libertarian for my taste, Szasz writes eloquently on this point. Oldhead has it right. It is a far cry from the “village idiot,” or ritual ostracism, or even a few so-called “lunatics,” to the mass production of “mental illness,” the mass persecution of the “mentally ill,” and the medicalization of everyday life. Szasz often referred to the problem as the “therapeutic state.” The therapeutic state is unique to our time, and psychiatry has played a major role in the growth of this therapeutic state.
“I am not making a plea for psychiatry, but I am trying to work out how we, as a society, can respond to these problems without pretending they are medical conditions, with all the worrying implications that go along with that view.”
The first and most obvious step is to understand what the “problem,” or really, the lack of a problem, is. By positing that there are “problems” (a euphemism for “mental illness”) to which society can respond, you are making a plea for psychiatry. Psychiatry, the so-called “mental health” industry, and the pharmaceutical industry, thrive by promoting and propagating the myth of “mental illness.”
I do not wish to imply that all psychiatrists are inherently evil. Most are probably good, but egregiously misinformed people. One may recall that a certain man with an ugly mustache was very eager to take care of what he regarded as “the Jewish problem.” Many good people were drawn in by his propaganda.
Listen to T.S. Eliot:
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”
Then listen to Henry Grady Weaver:
“Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own. The harm done by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional do-gooders, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.”
Finally (and this is the most perceptive comment), listen to C.S. Lewis:
“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.”
This is a PERFECT description of psychiatry.
In answer to your question, the way to address the problem of Big Pharma and Big Government corruption is not to adopt utopian Marxist, communist, or socialist fantasies. Did we learn nothing from the 20th century?
How has evil been defeated in the past? If we are intent on resisting and defeating evil, should we look to Lenin, Stalin, or Brezhnev as examples? Should we look to Mao, Chiang Kai-shek, Ho Chi Minh, or Pol Pot? Should we look to Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-Il, Hideki Tojo, or Saddam Hussein? I think not.
The history of the triumph of liberty cannot be traced to these communist dictators, spawn of Karl Marx. No. The history of the triumph of liberty can be traced through those who opposed such men and the evil that they wielded, men like Churchill. The history of the triumph of liberty can also be traced through men like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers. They were not perfect men, and they would have been the first to admit as much. But they loved liberty, and they opposed evil.
If we are to resist and defeat evil, we need to consider carefully the sources of our inspiration. So to answer your question, how do we reduce the vast influence of Big Pharma? In the same way that evil has always been resisted and defeated. A wise man once put it this way: “overcome evil with good.”
Not quite. The irony of course is that the Founders of the United States were instrumental in forming a system of government that has helped to produce the greatest breadth and depth of political and individual liberty for its citizens that the world has ever known, whereas Marxist ideologies produced misery and death on a scale that makes even these increasing suicide rates look like a picnic in the park.
This is not to suggest that suicide isn’t a problem, or that there aren’t evil people who turn a profit from the suffering of others. It is simply to point out that much of the misery that is described in this article is the direct result, not of capitalism, but of the progressive ideologies inherited from Marxist predecessors. Psychiatry is also a direct cause of much of this misery.
In fact, psychiatry CAUSES the very suicides that it purports to prevent. Psychotropic drugging and psychiatric torture CAUSE many otherwise healthy and robust (and also vulnerable) people to do things that they would never otherwise do. In this sense, there has not been an increase in the suicide rate, but an increase in the murder rate. “Suicide” is sometimes a euphemism for psychiatrically-induced death. Once psychiatry has been abolished, this “suicide” rate (really murder rate), will decline or disappear.
Mr. Whitaker has written at length, in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” and “Psychiatry Under the Influence” about how the increase in fake psychiatric “diagnoses” and psychotropic drugging has created the very epidemic that psychiatry purports to remedy. Capitalism is not the problem. Psychiatry is the problem.
Thank goodness for a system of government and a capitalist economic system that allows for the hard work of people such as Robert Whitaker to help create a forum in which to expose the chicanery of psychiatry.
Yes. This is very unfortunate, but true.
Exactly Frank. No amount of rationalization can turn evil into good or wrong into right. Even if you piled up every philosopher and brilliant rhetorician in the history of the world on the side of psychiatry, psychiatry would still remain a pseudo-scientific system of slavery.
Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom applies here: “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” Saying that psychiatry is medicine doesn’t make it so. Saying that there is such a thing as “mental illness” or “mental disorder” doesn’t make it so.
I could enjoy these discussions regarding communism and Marxism as a form of entertainment if the historical record of the unlearned lessons of the 20th century weren’t so crystal clear. I suppose that it is only in a free country that was founded on principles that are diametrically opposed to communism and Marxism that such utopian fantasies can be so freely entertained. Besides the millions of innocent victims of communism, those who survive and labor under the real constraints imposed by communism don’t have time to entertain such utopian fantasies.
Joanna, I appreciate your attempts to grapple with the difficult philosophical problems that have led up to our post-modern confusion regarding what a human being is, what the mind is, and particularly whether or not there is any such thing as a “mental illness” or a “mental disorder.”
Of course you, Hacker, and Wittgenstein are correct to debunk neuroscientific, or more accurately, neuroscientistic reductionism. You are also correct that if we are going to discuss human nature, or the nature of life, a good place to start is with Aristotle. It would be interesting to contrast Wittgenstein’s or Hacker’s conception of the connection between language and the kinds of beings we are with that of Aristotle, but as the internet sensation Sweet Brown wisely put it: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waEC-8GFTP4
You and Hacker are correct that psychology and neuroscience lead us astray. But Hacker’s attempt to describe human beings or the nature of life is also reductionist, albeit not to the same extent as the reductionism of psychology and neuroscience. In Aristotle’s teleology, human beings aren’t just unique in their physical or intellectual capabilities. You only allude to the deeper truth that was understood by the ancients, namely, that human purposes are connected to goods that are pursued because of three main motivations: the pleasant, the useful, and the noble.
As you point out, many modern and post-modern philosophers rejected the wisdom of Aristotle, the ancients, and teleology. Beginning primarily with Machiavelli, they also rejected Christianity. This led to much of the confusion that was inherited and exacerbated by thinkers such as Hobbes, Descartes, Bacon, Locke, and others.
Although Hacker posits a conception of mind that might resemble Aristotle’s “psuche” in some ways, the comparison breaks down as soon as he loses track of the ancient motivations grounded in the pleasant, the useful, and the noble, or the longing for a better world as articulated throughout the medieval Christian era. Hope and regret, for example, are not just complex emotions, and one’s sense of right and wrong cannot be severed from these ancient or Christian sources without falling prey to the same modern influences that produced the scientism and reductionism inherent in neuroscience, psychology, and especially psychiatry.
But all of this philosophizing serves as your preface to the question of the nature of health and disease, ostensibly to support the conclusion that “health can be understood as a state of the body that enables the organism to undertake the activities typical of its kind,” and disease “is a state that interferes with this.” You also use this preface to bolster your conclusion that “our mental attributes are more central to our identity than our physical or corporeal properties.” But these things only beg the questions that Aristotle and Christianity answered more completely than any subsequent thinkers, namely, what is a human being, and what is human identity?
The attempt to associate identity merely with personality is far from the definitions of a human being that were set forth by Aristotle or by Christianity, and hence much closer to the definitions set forth by Descartes and Locke. Furthermore, the attempt to connect enigmatic notions of a “mental disorder” with personality breaks down on many levels when we consider that fictitious “diseases” such as “schizophrenia” or “depression” have nothing to do with beliefs, actions, or sense of self, and everything to do with labels that are imposed from the outside by the very scientistic reductionists that you criticize.
Not only is it madness to suppose that so-called “mental disorders” constitute disease, it is madness to suppose that there is any such thing as a “mental disorder” that corresponds with an underlying biological, psychological or personal phenomenon. Of course medically disguised social engineering is abhorrent, but so too is philosophically disguised social engineering. Psychiatry’s obsession isn’t just to view “mental disorder” as disease. Psychiatry’s obsession is to view everyone other than oneself as the problem. Instead of relentlessly seeking to change other people, whether through pseudo-medical or behavioral interventions, wouldn’t it be more pleasant, useful, and noble to engage our human faculties in the exercise of improving ourselves?
I suppose it is only human nature to attempt to create or define a “mental disorder” where no such thing exists, instead of working toward those ends that the ancients and the medieval Christians saw more clearly than we do.
That’s right oldhead. In some ways psychiatry is worse than chattel slavery because at least most honest people understood and recognized that chattel slavery was wrong. Unfortunately there are many good and honest people who wrongly suppose that psychiatry is a genuine medical profession that helps people. This is one reason why psychiatry is so pernicious. It is a worse kind of tyranny because the tyrants exercise their tyranny with the approval of their conscience.
Opinions are a dime a dozen. It’s truth that we’re after. The attempt to reform or rehabilitate psychiatry is tantamount to the attempt to reform chattel slavery in the South or to rehabilitate Nazi prison camps. I’m content to leave it in the Lord’s hands because truth and justice will prevail in the end, and psychiatry will be exposed for what it is, namely, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession.
Yes. There must be fair trials. Then there is the problem of prison space. Where would we keep all of these guys? Where would we find the space? Maybe there would be a use for the vacated psychiatric edifices after all.
Good point OH. Psychiatrists don’t diagnose. They impose labels. A diagnosis implies that there is some real illness or disease to identify. That’s not what psychiatrists do. So called “mental illnesses” are not discovered. They are invented. The entire DSM V and every other edition of the DSM is a work of fiction. It is a very dangerous and harmful fiction, but still fiction.
Impressive! Keep beating that drum because it also reminds us just how resilient the human spirit and mind can be, even after enduring psychiatric torture. It gives hope to those who are now emerging from the psychiatric haze and the chemical fog.
No need to imagine. It’s happening right now. Many of those who comment on MIA are psychiatric survivors, escaped slaves. Why should they not discuss reparations? Why wait?
This is a topic that needs to be addressed more thoroughly and in more detail. Psychiatry causes irreparable harm to untold millions of innocent people, and yet next to nothing is being done to rectify the problem or to assist psychiatric survivors. If a person is lucky enough to escape the foul clutches of psychiatry, he or she still has an uphill battle to fight because there is no legal or social support for victims of psychiatry.
By all means, abolish psychiatry. But where is the legal and social support for psychiatric survivors. If Stella Liebeck can sue McDonald’s for almost $3 million when she spills coffee on her lap, why can’t a psychiatric survivor obtain any compensation whatsoever when his or her entire life is destroyed?
“Most readers of this blog would probably agree that the paradigm of care that grows out of the medical model is the biggest challenge to confront.”
Nope. That’s not even close.
One of the biggest problems to confront is the proliferation of articles like this one that advocate for critical or reform psychiatry. Critical or reform psychiatry perpetuates and reinforces too many of the false notions of psychiatry. Critical or reform psychiatry, like psychiatry, is a major part of the problem. There is no sense in talking about solutions to problems that a person hasn’t even begun to understand.
The so-called “paradigm of care that grows out of the medical model” is not even remotely the problem. In fact, it is an obfuscation of the problem. The problem is psychiatry itself.
Oldhead gets credit for doing his homework, and guinea pigs figure prominently in the story.
An A+ paper on the topic would have included a description of the work of John Frederick Joseph Cade. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cade)
“Since he had no sophisticated analytical equipment these experiments mostly consisted of injecting urine from mentally ill patients into the abdomen of guinea pigs.”
Say what? Yes. You read that correctly.
To quote wikipedia again:
“Cade found that in the guinea pigs injected with lithium carbonate solution, as a control solution, the guinea pigs were more restful. His use of careful controls in his experiments revealed that the lithium ion had a calming effect by itself, but even this finding may have been caused by the toxic effects of an excessive dose of Lithium.”
LOL! This guy was nuts. Completely wacko. No wonder the entire psychiatric industry still relies on his lithium “experiments” and subjugates human “guinea pigs.”
There’s nothing fast and loose about the reality that I described.
Reconstruction and Jim Crow are further evidence that the abolition of slavery and emancipation were not simple matters of letting people go.
To return to the topic at hand, namely psychiatry, we might imagine that psychiatry is abolished, but as long as people continue to believe in the myth of “mental illness” or to hunt for cures to “chemical imbalances” in the brain, there will always be something that sweeps in to fill the vacuum that psychiatry leaves behind.
That’s right. There is nothing to name.
There is no “mental illness.” The name and the myth, however, are pervasive enough that most people behave AS IF there were some entity that “mental illness” describes. Myths are powerful, and human beings are imaginative creatures. That is why I have set out to slay the dragon of psychiatry.
But you’re right. There is no such thing as “mental illness,” and the myth of “mental illness” does not describe or point to any underlying reality. Hence my frequent comments regarding the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc.
Removed for moderation.
Even though it is impossible to adequately compensate for the destruction of so many lives and the unfathomable harm that has been caused to so many innocent people, reparations is a serious question to consider.
Think of it. The average income of a psychiatrist is approximately $200,000 per year. Then think of Big Pharma profits. Think of the APA, and their accumulated wealth. Think of the profits from sales of the DSM-V. Add to that all of the money that is wasted on “mental health” and other such nonsense. There is an astronomical amount of money that is poured into the deliberate harm of the innocent through psychiatry.
As part of the abolition of psychiatry, that money needs to be redirected toward the victims of psychiatry. If a psychiatrist makes $200,000 per year harming innocent people, it seems that the bare minimum compensation for a single psychiatric survivor ought at least to exceed that amount.
Then, what to do with all of the wasted space of psychiatric wards, pharmaceutical companies, departments of psychiatry in universities, and so forth. Bull-doze them and erect useful edifices?
If only psychiatrists would educate themselves and then find honest employment, perhaps by seeking to repair the damage that they have done during their “careers.”
I agree with you oldhead, but there are a couple things to consider regarding slavery and concentration camps. Obviously, no one in their right mind would dream of replacing slavery or concentration camps with reformed or critical slavery or concentration camps. However, the abolition of American slavery required more than an emancipation proclamation.
In many ways it would have been cruel to emancipate slaves and set them loose in a society where they would be immediately killed or pressed into worse forms of slavery. Some provisions had to be made. Those who survived the concentration camps also needed somewhere to go. This doesn’t mean that slavery wasn’t wrong, or that the Nazi’s weren’t evil. It just means that the process of the abolition of psychiatry might take much longer and cost more than one might initially anticipate.
Thus, no alternative for psychiatry is needed, but the ever augmenting numbers of psychiatric survivors will struggle to reintegrate into society. There is also the question of how justice is to be administered to the perpetrators.
True. There is no such thing as “mental illness.” The typical response to this assertion is to wonder about all of the people who suffer or who manifest symptoms of some sort of a problem. Again, the answer is simple, whatever problems a person may have, they do not constitute some mythical “mental illness.” Every one of the fictitious “diseases” is a figment of the psychiatric imagination and a fabrication of the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. “Mental illness,” therefore, is a pernicious myth that has been adopted by psychiatry and Big Pharma in order to “manufacturing madness,” as Thomas Szasz put it. Even though there is no such thing as “mental illness,” pervasive ignorance about this fact causes many people to behave as if it were something real. Children wait upon the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus for their treats. Meanwhile, those who have been deceived by psychiatry wait upon the magical solutions to their non-existent chemical imbalances and mythical “mental illness.”
Does anyone here know the history of lithium “treatment”? Testimonials of the terrible effects of lithium are great, but if people actually read books, they could discover how absurd it was to “treat” human beings with lithium in the first place. Psychiatry goes to great lengths to obfuscate or suppress its own sordid history. Think about it for a minute. How on earth did anyone think that lithium was something that a human being should ingest? Now, go research the story. If you can still tell me with a straight face that lithium “treatment” was a good idea, then I have a bridge to sell you.
Just a reminder to the uninformed: there is no such thing as schizophrenia. It is a figment of the psychiatric imagination.
I need to second this motion by oldhead because it is critical for people to understand. Why don’t people pause to ask themselves “What is mental illness?” Those who pursue this line of questioning might be led to Szasz who posed and answered this question better than anyone to date. It used to be a question of real interest, as Szasz points out, among philosophers, politicians, and laymen alike. Now, as Szasz also points out, the myth of “mental illness” has become a lying fact. The myth is so pervasive and held so dearly that few dare to pose the question “What is mental illness?”
Let me pose the question, and answer it. What is “mental illness”? Mental illness is no more real than the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Claus. Fortunately, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus don’t go around labeling, drugging, incarcerating, and murdering innocent people. The Easter Bunny delivers treats or Easter eggs or chocolate, the Tooth Fairy delivers money in exchange for a tooth, and Santa Claus delivers gifts to good girls and boys. Psychiatry, on the other hand, in the guise of medicine and wielding the myth of mental illness, delivers destruction. It deprives innocent people of everything that is dear, their lives, their liberty, and their pursuit of happiness. Unlike benign or beneficial myths, the myth of mental illness wrecks havoc upon innocent men, women, and even children.
In fact, a good definition of evil is anything that intentionally causes harm to innocent little children. By this or any other measure, psychiatry, along with it’s pernicious myth of “mental illness,” is and always has been evil. Therefore, to resist the evil of psychiatry is only natural for those who possess any scintilla of a conscience or any particle of common sense.
Yes. If you recall, I composed an essay on that very topic, with that very title: “What is Psychiatry?” My essay was rejected by Mad in America.
I had exactly the same thought oldhead. I even used a similar phrase, “irrefutably true,” before I read your comment about “irrefutable logic.” That’s it. Phil’s irrefutable logic. He just hits the nail so squarely on the head that no other hammers are needed.
No kidding. In a way, Dr. Hickey’s articles are so clear, straightforward, and irrefutably true that not many comments are needed. But this article should be one of the most, if not THE most popular article on Mad in America.
That ought to be the case. It is true that most are harmed too severely to be able to retaliate. Even those who recover enough to retaliate have no recourse through the legal system to any kind of justice or compensation. In any case, how do you compensate monetarily or legally for destroyed lives or even death?
Excellent article. Well done, and thank you Dr. Hickey.
I hope that by this point it is sufficiently clear that Dr. Hickey is the most articulate and effective author on the Mad in America team. As far as I’m concerned, his articles demonstrate unsurpassed clarity of vision and expression. He has done his homework, and Mad in America would be wise to promote his work more vigorously.
Dr. Hickey is correct that opposition to psychiatry pre-dates Szasz, even though Szasz was one of the most articulate and effective opponents of psychiatry in his time. More people ought to read the works of Thomas Szasz. More people also ought to read the works of one of the men who inspired Szasz and who also saw through the deceptions of psychiatry, namely Karl Kraus. In fact, Thomas Szasz wrote an excellent book entitled “Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry.” I commend it to your attention.
What Kraus, Szasz, and now Dr. Hickey reveal is that psychiatry has been rotten since its inception. It is, as I have frequently written, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. Let me echo Dr. Hickey’s powerful concluding statement: “Psychiatry is not something good that needs minor adjustments. Rather, it is something fundamentally flawed and rotten. Based on spurious premises, and devoid of even a semblance of critical self-scrutiny, it is utterly and totally irremediable.” Amen.
This. Is. The. Truth. About. Psychiatry. The truth will prevail. For those who would like to expand and deepen their understanding of the true history of psychiatry, I also recommend the following resource:
– Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry
If the moderator removes this comment, it will stand as proof of a extreme liberal bias. If he or she chooses to let it stand, then it will stand as proof that the liberal bias is still moderate enough to allow for differences of opinion.
Perhaps you haven’t mention Foucault, but it is common knowledge that Foucault is one of the foundational thinkers and representatives of the left. I shouldn’t have to define this for you. Of course you are right that the meaning of the term “left” has changed over time, just as the meaning of many other terms has changed over time, terms such as “liberal,” and especially “equality.”
You really have a thing for Hannity, a sort of man-crush it seems. I don’t even care for the guy or pay any attention to him. I have no problem whatsoever with anyone who wants to define for themselves what they think “left” or “leftism” means. But that doesn’t change the origin and the history of the term. If you don’t like “radical leftist,” I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t like that label either. Radical Marxist hardly seems any more appealing.
I prefer to think of my fellow anti-psychiatry colleagues as friends, even though many of them wrongly associate psychiatry with some bogeyman called “capitalism.”
Marx is a hydra, like psychiatry. In another forum, I could focus on cutting off the hydra heads of Marx. In this forum I’ll focus on defeating the hydra of psychiatry. In the meantime, you might enjoy this:
Assuming that there is such a thing as world peace. Isn’t this the kind of thing that beauty pageant contestants opine about? LOL. Irrational anti-American self-loathing needs to be kept separate and distinct from what is reasonable, namely, informed opposition to psychiatry.
The correspondence you mentioned was Marx to Lincoln, and no two characters or their ideas could be more different. Consider where Marxism led. Now consider Lincoln’s role in preserving the union. Polar opposites.
It’s a good thing that you’re not a proclaimed progressive, although most moderns are unwitting progressives. If you look at the real, practical results of revolutionary socialism, and compare them to the real, practical benefits of capitalism, there is simply no contest. We can argue all day about utopian fantasies, but the facts on the ground are that the former leads inevitably to destruction and chaos, and the later has the potential to lift nations out of poverty. Capitalism is not the enemy. But enough of that. Let’s get back to exposing the truth about psychiatry.
Of course, this assumes that there is such a thing as a measurable “bourgeoisie” and a measurable “proletariat” and that the “bourgeoisie” is in power. Think of the people who seized power in the communist revolutions in Russia or in China, for example. Were they the “proletariate”? I don’t think so. A good antidote to a lot of this Marxist indoctrination is to listen to a few Jordan Peterson talks. He doesn’t get everything right, but at least he sees through Marxist mendacity.
So no one is allowed to disagree with Rousseau or Marx? LOL. The categories of “left” and “right” emerged directly from the French Revolution, and those of the left, if you will recall, supported the revolution. Pinel sympathized with the French Revolution. The connection to psychiatry is not at all remote from this history, as even one of your own, Foucault, has pointed out.
“Its primary contribution to humankind was in terms of ideals.”
I don’t know if it is possible to come up with a more nonsensical statement. If you were talking about the French Revolution, maybe. In many ways, modern progressivism is the polar opposite of everything that the founders accomplished, and Karl Marx is one of the major culprits.
I didn’t think that it was possible to come up with a more nonsensical statement than your previous statement, but then I noticed that you believe that the U.S. is the greatest threat to world peace. Amazing.
You and I had better stick to discussing anti-psychiatry.
There’s nothing convoluted about the common sense and clear reasoning that informed the American revolution, the Founding, and the new birth of freedom under Lincoln’s leadership. In fact, the sacrifices made in defense of such principles benefit even those who would choose to revel Marxist utopian delusions.
The abolition of slavery issued from the principles of the founding as restored and revitalized by Lincoln. Rush will be held accountable for his psychiatric atrocities, but he also endorsed the principles that led to the abolition of slavery, and he signed the Declaration of Independence. Many of the founders were slave holders, including Washington and Jefferson. Should we therefore reject the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? No. The abolition of psychiatry will also be brought about by adherence to, and reverence for the same principles that the founders cherished.
Hannity doesn’t know any of it. My anti-psychiatry skills are sharpened by the historical perspective that comes with understanding the history of ideas, and how psychiatry fits into that history.
We can chatter all day long about current events, or even speculate about the last forty years or so. But one of the greatest reasons for the success of psychiatry is the vast and pervasive ignorance of the masses. As terrible as psychiatry is, and it is a modern form of slavery that must be abolished, it still pales in comparison to the totalitarian atrocities of the 20th century.
That’s not rhetoric, just a simple description of reality.
Again, oldhead is closer to the truth here. In fact, if we really want to think clearly about the origins of a “medical model,” we need to think more clearly about the origins of psychiatry, and the origins, not only of modern medicine, but of modernity itself. Psychiatric tyranny is the natural outgrowth of the modernist rejection of classical philosophy and Christianity, beginning with Machiavelli and Hobbes, and continuing through the fathers of scientism, namely Descartes and Bacon.
A civilization that rejects the principles of the American founding, principles rooted in classical virtue as well as Christianity and Englightenment self-interest, rightly understood, will naturally embrace the despotism of the therapeutic state. When self-government rooted in virtue has been almost universally eschewed, what sweeps in to fill the vacuum? To quote Burke:
“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
The counsels of the wise and good having been ignored or rejected for so long, it is only natural that the flattery of knaves, many of whom wear white coats and promote psychiatry, reigns supreme.
Again, oldhead is right. These facts about the fraudulence of psychiatry were understood many decades before Whitaker appeared on the scene. This is not to say that Whitaker’s efforts are not heroic, or that they are not appreciated. It is simply to acknowledge the fact that Szasz recognized and recorded the truth about psychiatry long before Whitaker was even born, and Karl Kraus did the same before Szasz was born. One thing that we, along with Whitaker, can learn from these facts is that the media gave the silent treatment to Kraus and to Szasz. This is why hardly anyone has heard of them or read their books. This is the same reason why Whitaker’s research is so blithely dismissed by the media. The historical record is very clear: the reason why the general public knows next to nothing regarding the truth about psychiatry is simply because the truth about psychiatry has routinely been ignored and dismissed since psychiatry’s inception.
oldhead is right about this. Not a few of us could see this coming from miles away. As if it weren’t sickening enough already to watch psychiatry destroy the lives of so many innocent people. Now we watch psychiatry appropriate its victims for its own ends. This may be a second awakening for Laura and for psychiatric survivors in general.
Oldhead makes good points here. The naivete of “critical” psychiatry rivals the naivete that leads many victims into the gory tentacles of psychiatry.
… just like Szasz recorded in so many of his books many decades ago.
… more evidence that psychiatric survivors ought to be permitted to publish anonymously on MIA.
Just as I and many others predicted, Laura’s story has been appropriated by psychiatry and by “critical” psychiatry.
That’s good news. 🙂
Psychiatry and the Bible of Psychiatry, as harmful as they are, have done relatively little harm in comparison to the leftist utopian schemes, issuing from the thought of Rosseau and Marx, that have wreaked havoc upon the earth from the time of the French Revolution to the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. When sober minds consider the destruction and terror that began in 1789 or the massacred millions under the tyranny of Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot, the tyranny of psychiatry looks like a trip to the circus by comparison. In fact, psychiatry’s lineage can be traced back to the French Revolution, to the likes of Philippe Pinel. Psychiatry’s heritage is the heritage of the left.
But that shouldn’t stop intelligent people on every part of the political spectrum from rallying together to abolish psychiatry.
Exactly. This outcome was utterly predictable.
Oldhead, accusations of white supremacy do not arguments make.
If you don’t think that the Founders almost unanimously opposed slavery, I would suggest that you do some reading. Of course I’m not a big fan of Benjamin Rush, for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t erase the importance of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, for example.
And as far as your interpretations of MLK, Jr. and Malcolm X, I would also suggest that you do some more reading.
In any case, the important thing is that we agree that psychiatry must be abolished. The question of how to accomplish that is certainly open to debate.
And Rachel777, I agree with you mostly, except for the notion that there is such a thing as “involuntary psychiatry” which supposedly would contrast with some sort of a “voluntary” psychiatry. “Voluntary” psychiatry is a chimera, just like Marxist utopianism is a chimera.
With all due respect, I don’t think that this is quite accurate.
Why? The question still remains: By what standard do we measure what is offensive or hostile or makes an unsafe place for people to express their views? As long as that question remains ambiguous, the standard remains arbitrary. By such an arbitrary standard, it will be easy to censure viewpoints with which a moderator or some other participant may disagree.
No. Abolition is still necessary. I’m not conceding anything to psychiatry or even critical psychiatry. This is just a comment on the reality that anti-psychiatry must confront.
Slavery was not abolished in a day. Even though almost all of the Founders opposed slavery, they also understood that something more than emancipation was necessary. A foundation for freedom was necessary. Anti-psychiatry can help to re-establish that foundation by exposing the truth about psychiatry.
Prudence simply means the application of true and correct principles to particular circumstances. Courage, moderation, wisdom, justice, and prudence are among the ancient virtues that will be required. For those who embrace the truth about God and faith in Christ, the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity will also be necessary.
As vehemently and as ardently as I oppose the evils of psychiatry, I advocate for a MLK, jr.-type of approach more than a Malcolm-X kind of approach. I advocate for a Lincoln-type approach, or even a Frederick Douglass-type approach more than a William Lloyd Garrison-type of approach. In each case the former is more effective in the long run, and the latter is detrimental to the cause of civil rights or of the abolition of slavery.
Good to see that some people are beginning to think a little more seriously about the abolition of psychiatry.
Robert Whitaker’s books Mad in America, Anatomy of an Epidemic, and Psychiatry Under the Influence are among the best in the anti-psychiatry canon. Critical psychiatry is not a sustainable response to the atrocities that are perpetrated under the aegis of psychiatry, but it is in some ways a step in the right direction. Just as slavery could not be abolished immediately at the founding, it will take much prudence to abolish psychiatry. Hopefully it won’t take the kind of conflict that was necessary to end slavery.
Good point Oldhead.
I read the title, and then I thought, wait a minute…
What is really needed is the abolition of psychiatry and all of its nefarious accomplices. So many MIA articles focus too far downstream from the source of the problems. Downstream from psychiatry there are all kinds of bandaids to apply. Go to the source, namely, psychiatry itself and the pernicious myth of “mental illness.” Until the false religious of psychiatry is eliminated and until the pervasive myth of “mental illness” is debunked, individuals will continue to suffer from the noxious products that are distributed under the aegis of these tyrannical systems and ideologies.
Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry, and there won’t be any more need to manage “antidepressant” (a euphemism for a dangerous psychotropic – brain-altering – chemical) discontinuation.
It’s Breggin’s terminology: https://breggin.com/intoxication-anosognosia-medication-spellbinding/
But one way to account for it is that people put such implicit trust in “doctors” and in “medicine,” in part because of the perceived prestige of both, and in part because human beings naturally like to feel like they have found a solution to a problem.
“In SOME people, SOMETIMES, SOME low dose of SOME drug MIGHT actually be helpful, in the short-term.”
Nope. Here’s the distinction. Many people may be deceived into thinking that drugs help them, it is true. This is what Dr. Breggin calls “medication spellbinding.” Lots of people “like” their drugs, but that doesn’t mean that the drugs are “helping them.” Lots of people like cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine, lsd, heroin, and so forth. Lots of people like a lot of things.
But you’re right that psychiatry is a pseudo-science and that “mental illness” is a myth.
Nonsense. Psychotropic drugs CAUSE the damage that is then misinterpreted as “mental illness.” Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession, and psychotropic drugs are not in any way, shape, or form medications. They are dangerous, brain-destroying chemicals. The mendacity of modern medicine combined with pervasive ignorance in the general public leads to studies such as the one mentioned in this article.
But we do agree that psychiatry is a false religion.
“What enabled religion to arise? The foundation of nearly all religions is faith in God(s) — fixed illogical belief in things with no basis in reality.”
Complete and utter nonsense. Dr. K has really outdone himself with this one. The only society in which such a false and misleading definition of faith would gain any traction is in a society like our own, namely, a society in which blind faith in secularism and the religion of secularism creates hostility toward the truth that it attempts to mimic. In fact, blind faith in secularism produces hostility toward reality, a reality to which many of the world’s religions are much more in tune.
In turn, it is this blind faith in the religion of secularism that enables ideologies, false philosophies, and pseudo-religions such as psychiatry to thrive. Faith is not a fixed illogical belief in things with no basis in reality. On the contrary, faith in God or a higher power is the most reasonable approach to things as they really are.
Good article, for the most part.
But the notion that so-called “anti-depressants” or neuroleptics are sometimes helpful is just not true. Such assertions rest on the erroneous notion that there is such a thing as “mental illness” or “psychosis.” Are the drugs bad? Yes. Does Moncrieff do great work to show why the drugs are bad? Yes. But as long as the prevailing myth of “mental illness” remains unaddressed, people will continue to produce and distribute drugs in the vain hope that some mysterious “chemical imbalances” in the brains of unwitting victims of psychiatry will be fixed.
Of course Joanna has seen how drugs “help” the “psychotic.” This is always the perception from the outside. Someone who has been labeled as “psychotic” gets drugged into a chemical stupor and stops acting “psychotic.”
This is how she puts it: “I also believe that neuroleptics, despite their many noxious effects, are sometimes preferable to a severe and intractable psychosis.”
Rachel. Be strong. You have survived psychiatry. You can do anything! Your hopes and dreams… you will still accomplish, and better than you can imagine. Just hang in there, and keep moving forward. With God, all things are possible.
Doctors don’t know more than the average person. In fact, many doctors, if not most, know a great deal less than the average person because all of their time has been consumed by imbibing the propaganda of medical school and the pharmaceutical industry.
This is my ongoing list of books that reveal the truth about psychiatry. I’m sure that there are others, but my main recommendation is to read Szasz:
And most doctors have been indoctrinated with so many falsehoods in medical school that their natural tendency is to perpetuate those falsehoods. It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
Yes. USD. It’s a terrible mental illness. It’s genetic. Don’t worry though, it can be cured by electroshock.
And for those who don’t think that psychiatry has any connection to attempts at mind-control, the following interviews with Breggin might be of interest: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdo601sRKNc5Agew196iOy7uYKgvcqtPQ
Besides the misleading comments about privilege and capitalism, Richard makes many good points.
Sad but true.
Szasz is music to my ears in a thread like this. If only more people would read and understand his work, and the work of one of his greatest influences, namely Karl Kraus.
Fortunately a few of you have already pointed out the absurdity of Lawrence’s reply to my comment, but let me reinforce their main points.
“The role of psychiatry has always been to stifle free will: It denies its existence in saying people’s minds are controlled by involuntary illnesses.”
Not quite. Psychiatry is the science of lies. It is evil. It is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession. Psychiatry doesn’t just stifle free will. It seeks to eliminate liberty. How? Not simply by the propaganda of the DSM and fictitious “mental illness,” but by actual force and fraud. Innocent victims of psychiatry do not choose psychiatry as it really is. They chose what they imagine it to be, namely, some sort of a “medical” solution to a mysterious “mental illness.” Thus, the average victim of psychiatry enters the system through deception, but also by force.
“You also deny free will, by saying voluntary clients’ minds are controlled by psychiatry’s propaganda. So you are on the same side as psychiatry, and furthering its cause/power.”
Complete and utter nonsense. I champion both liberty (properly understood) and responsibility. Were the Jews “clients” of the Nazis? Were chattel slaves “clients” of plantation owners? Are flies “clients” of Venus fly traps? No. There are no “clients” of psychiatry, except euphemistically. Psychiatry begins and ends with deception. Its “medications” are dangerous psychotropic, brain-destroying chemicals, its “doctors” are jailers and torturers, its “mental illnesses” are fictitious diseases.
“I’m on the opposite side, since I see free will as determining human behavior: I believe propaganda only succeeds because it condones people doing what they really want to do anyway.”
Clever, but no cigar. People are certainly free to choose. But why does psychiatric propaganda succeed? Because psychiatric propaganda has become a lying fact. The myth of “mental illness” is so deeply entrenched in our society that the average person accepts it as reality. No one wants to be involuntarily incarcerated, drugged into a chemical stupor, and sometimes killed. No one wants to be ostracized, stigmatized, tortured and abused. People want to be healthy, happy, and successful. Most people who “choose” psychiatry sincerely believe that they are taking responsible steps to remedy whatever distress that they may be experiencing. In fact, many victims of psychiatry, if not most, are encouraged to “get help” from “professionals” who can offer them “therapy.”
“I believe that people who turn their free will over to psychiatry knowingly choose to do so because it’s convenient for them in many ways, such as enabling them to evade responsibility.”
Not quite. Hardly anyone “knowingly chooses” to relinquish their liberty to psychiatry because hardly anyone knows the truth about psychiatry. The truth about psychiatry even seems to have escaped you.
“Why else would clients continue to see psychiatrists year after year if the whole scam wasn’t benefiting them somehow?”
Bogus. This obscures the fact that the vast majority of victims of psychiatry have no idea about that to which they have fallen prey. There are malingerers, from time to time, and Thomas Szasz has written eloquently and profusely on this topic. I would recommend his works to you. But many people “choose” to see psychiatrists year after year, not because it benefits them, but because they labor under the false notion that they are “mentally ill,” that the psychiatrist is a “doctor,” and that psychotropic drugs are “medications.” Besides, who really benefits, the victim who pays, or the perpetrator who collects the payment?
“They could have walked away at any time.”
Tell that to the man who is incarcerated in your psychiatric prison at this very moment.
“Here at MIA, we’ve shown how biological psychiatry is a harmful scam.”
Lawrence is on the right track, but this introduction is not quite entirely accurate. First of all, psychiatry itself is, and always has been, as Thomas Szasz so eloquently wrote, the science of lies. As oldhead also points out, the attempt to divide psychiatry into good, non-biological psychiatry and bad, biological psychiatry is an exercise in futility. Second, although Whitaker has done excellent work in exposing the lies inherent in psychiatry, the harmful scam of psychiatry was exposed long before any of us were alive. (see e.g. Karl Kraus)
“Psychiatry understandably used to be a feared, avoided profession…”
This is an interesting way to frame the problem, and there is some truth to Lawrence’s thesis. However, psychiatry is still feared and avoided, and it is not, nor ever has been a “profession,” unless by “profession” we mean other fraudulent activities such as organized crime or prostitution.
“But then it began to have voluntary clients…”
This is where Lawrence’s argument becomes a bit fuzzier and more misleading. There are certainly many people who choose to label themselves, drug themselves, and even incarcerate themselves. But the vast majority of these people do so on the basis of the fraudulent information that has been so cunningly disseminated by psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, even those who “voluntarily” choose to submit themselves to psychiatric torture most often do so without understanding the true nature of psychiatry. Most people would not even chose to touch psychiatry with a ten foot pole if the truth about psychiatry were readily available to them.
“Isn’t it this huge rise in demand for medicine for distress that created and fed this giant monster?”
Not quite. This is part of the problem perhaps, but in reality, psychiatry has cleverly created the demand. Psychiatric propaganda is so entrenched in our society that many, if not most people sincerely believe that psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with “mental illness.” As long as the myth of mental illness continues to pervade the collective consciousness, there will be “voluntary” psychiatric “patients” (which is simply a euphemism for victims of abuse)
Of course Lawrence is right about psychiatry’s invention of fake diseases. He is also right about the problem of ease and prosperity that makes people weak and complacent. He is even right that many people foolishly relinquish their liberties. But all of this takes for granted the nature of the therapeutic state. Lawrence is right that soft despotism or tyranny must be resisted as much as more blatant forms of despotism, but there is more to the history of psychiatry than he lets on.
Is it foolish for people to trust in the authority of “medicine” and “doctors” and especially psychiatrists? Of course. Is psychiatry innocent of promoting and enlarging this foolishness? No.
“Psychiatry feeds off people surrendering their free will and abdicating their personal responsibility; it’s time to starve it to death.”
This is a partial truth. Psychiatry robs people of their liberty and responsibility in any way it can. The dragon of psychiatry may sometimes feed off of the sloth and ignorance of the masses, but it has no compunction against flying out in open, fiery fury against any victim that it can clutch in its loathsome claws.
I’ve spoken with parents with “Autistic” children about this very topic, and as much as I empathize with them, I empathize more with the children, and I would encourage the parents, and everyone else, to read Sheffer’s book. 🙂
Finally someone else has read Edith Sheffer’s Asperger’s Children. It is the definitive book on the topic of so-called “Autism.” If you haven’t read this book, there is no way of understanding what “Autism” might even mean. The truth is that “Autism,” like “Schizophrenia,” is a myth… a very dangerous and destructive myth.
What? Autism a myth? Yes. It’s time for this myth to be dispelled: https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/the-myth-of-autism/
It looks like MIA is still at it. They still haven’t caught on to the sad reality that psychiatry cannot be reformed, rethought, or criticized. Psychiatry IS the problem.
I said nothing at all about Kelly, and I’m sure that she is a wonderful person.
I won’t bother to read the article right now, because it begins with the false assumption that there is any such thing as an “antidepressant” in the first place. MIA authors ought to know better than to publish articles that propagate psychiatric propaganda so recklessly. There are mountains of research that demonstrate why the term “antidepressant” is a euphemism and a misnomer. Even Moncrieff, in her book “The Bitterest Pills,” shows why it is wrong to call toxic and brain disabling psychotropic drugs by any kind of name that implies healing.
“How Long Does Antidepressant Withdrawal Last?” The question ought to be, “How long does withdrawal from toxic and brain disabling psychotropic drugs last?” The answer to this question varies for each individual. Some of these individuals are dead as a result of psychotropic drugging. Others are maimed. Others continue to suffer many years after the drugging and the withdrawal. Think of neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Think of tardive dyskenesia. Think of a thousand other terrible problems that result from psychotropic drugging. These are not “side-effects.” These are the primary intended effects of the drugs, drugs that cause what Breggin has so aptly named “medication spellbinding.” These dangerous chemicals were invented with one purpose in mind: profit at the expense of human suffering. Just because psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies try to cover up the harm with euphemistic terms such as “antidepressant” or “emotional lability” doesn’t mean that the rest of us should perpetuate such psychiatric nonsense as “antidepressants.”
Enough is enough. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
Happy new year.
Growth is wisdom naturally nudges a person toward conservatism. For some it takes longer than for others.
Exactly. I would push this philosophical exercise a step further. Is there any such thing as psychiatry? In other words, is the medical treatment of the soul really a viable enterprise? Psyche, soul, and iatros, medical treatment… can those two things really be combined? I don’t think so. In the first place, a psychiatrist doesn’t know anything about the soul. In the second place, he doesn’t know anything about medical treatment. The answer to the question is, sadly, that there are psychiatrists. There are “soul doctors.” But their work has nothing to do with medicine or healing. Psychiatry is the pseudo-scientific system of slavery that wrecks havoc upon the innocent, camouflaged by the prestige of “medicine.”
I agree with you oldhead, although it must be difficult to deal with the cognitive dissonance of working on the inside of psychiatry. Breggin is a good man, a great man even, and has done much good, and continues to do much good. It is true that only love will persuade. But sometimes tough love is necessary too. The tough love that it is time to offer to psychiatry is the kind of tough love that tells the truth. It is the kind of tough love that is willing to say that the emperor has no clothes, and not to make any excuses for the emperor or the fawning crowd. If we truly wish to love those whose lives are being destroyed by psychiatry, we might start by telling the truth about psychiatry. The most loving thing to do is to abolish the pseudo-scientific system of slavery that is psychiatry.
Peter Breggin is a good man, and this is sound advice. The problem, as Oldhead wryly pointed out, is that psychiatry is the antithesis of love. This is not to say that love is not crucial to healing or to living an abundant and fulfilling life. Rather, it is to point out what should be obvious by now. Psychiatry is the polar opposite of God, love, and every good thing.
Although I agree with the thrust of Breggin’s arguments here and in many of his books, I need to point out the error in this statement:
“Nearly everything we call emotional distress or ‘psychiatric disorders,’ regardless of how severe they are, involve a failure to give and to receive love.”
This is simply false. Much of what is called emotional distress or “psychiatric disorders” is provoked directly by psychiatry upon loving and innocent people. Think of all the tender, loving, innocent children whose lives are being destroyed by psychiatry. Think of the loving grandparents who are being drugged into a chemical stupor in rest homes. Think of the millions of other people who give and receive love, and yet their lives are devastated by psychiatric labeling, involuntary incarceration, forced shock and drugging, torture, abuse, and drug-induced suicide. Psychiatry is the CAUSE of these problems.
Love is the solution, I agree. MLK, jr. took the high road, at least in his rhetoric and his political leadership, in terms of loving his enemies. But truth must always accompany love, otherwise we are left with the empty “altruism” and secular “compassion” that is actually the antithesis of true charity.
By all means let us love one another. Love begets love. But let’s also tell the truth.
Agreed Oldhead. Polishing turds is a more worthwhile activity than “rethinking” psychiatry, but at least MIA can help clear some ground for the more urgent work of antipsychiatry. Not too many people that I know of are trying to rethink chattel slavery or Nazi medical experiments. But it is true that Whitaker and MIA have done great work in exposing many of the lies that are inherent in the psychiatric regime. For this they are to be commended.
Covert mind control is evil, and psychiatry is implicated in this evil. However, the evil of psychiatry extends even further. Why? Because in addition to covert mind control, psychiatry has managed to market overt mind control in the guise of “medicine” and “mental health.” In other words, the tyranny of psychiatry is at least two-fold. It is a masculine tyranny that dominates by force, compulsion and coercion. It is also a feminine tyranny that exerts its despotic power gently and almost imperceptibly.
I hope that those who read this article and this thread are at least somewhat familiar with the history of electroshock torture, euphemistically called therapy. Does the name Ugo Cerletti ring a bell? How does a person transform the butchering of pigs into a “medical” technique? Those who wish to discover the truth about psychiatry might first consider the origins of psychiatric practices. In many instances, investigating the sources of the practices reveals the shocking (pun intended) truth about psychiatry.
Let’s not forget the infamous “twin studies” that were conducted under the auspices of Nazi doctors.
“Growing Evidence for the Link Between ADHD Diagnosis and Birth Month”
In other news, there is growing evidence for the link between the Easter Bunny’s hopping patterns and the phases of the moon.
“Researchers Ask, ‘Why Do Antidepressants Stop Working?’”
I’m not going to even bother to read this nonsense. Let me just point out that there is no such thing as an “antidepressant.” It is a misleading misnomer for dangerous, brain-destroying drugs. In fact, these drugs do exactly what they were intended to do, namely, destroy the brains of the innocent while fooling them into believing that they are taking “medicine” for non-existent “mental illness.”
“Childhood Bipolar Disorder, Deconstructed”
How is it possible to deconstruct something that doesn’t even exist? One might as well deconstruct the Easter Bunny’s dietary habits or the Tooth Fairy’s flight patterns.
“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.
Exactly. Truth and love are two sides of the same coin. Ultimately, truth and love will triumph over falsehood and enmity. Light will triumph over darkness. Joy will triumph over sorrow. We will triumph over psychiatry.
Love motivated Christ, the Founders, Lincoln, MLK, jr. and others. It can also motivate us to help secure the liberty of those whose lives are being destroyed by psychiatry.
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.
Good points, Oldhead and Rachel777.
“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:
Good point Rachell777.
Autism is a myth, just like every other so-called “mental illness.” The book to read on this topic is Edith Sheffer’s “Asperger’s Children.” Read it. You’ll never think of “Autism” in the same way again.
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.
“New Report Points to Reasons Why Psychiatry is a Crock”
These are the kinds of titles, and articles, that we need more of.
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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.
And yes, Torrey is a charlatan of the highest (or lowest) order. His book “American Psychosis” is the epitome of psychiatric deception.
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” https://www.amazon.com/Emperors-New-Drugs-Exploding-Antidepressant/dp/0465022006
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.
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.
I’m all in favor of Bonnie and Breggin attacking psychiatry from two different angles. Whatever it takes to get the truth about psychiatry out in the open. Bridging the gap between psychiatric survivors and “professionals” may be just as difficult as reconciling political positions for a common cause, but it is also a valuable exercise.
“…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.
Here’s an article that helps to explain why OH’s accusations of “racism” are groundless and not worthy of discussion:
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.
Excellent point Steve.
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.
That’s only one reason to be scared of Hillary. There are many other legitimate reasons.
The nanny state is one of the reasons WHY there are so many homeless, poor, etc.
There are some human rights causes that are admirable. That’s not the point. The point is that antipsychiatry doesn’t necessarily require a person to embrace leftist activism or Marxism. One of the greatest opponents of psychiatry in our time was neither a left-wing activist or a Marxist. In fact, he saw through both charades.
What discussion? You still haven’t made an actual argument. If you would make an argument, I could respond to it. I would prefer to discuss psychiatry, and the abolition thereof, but I would happily respond to an argument if you would like to make one.
“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:
If I didn’t know for certain that psychiatry is an evil, pseudo-scientific system of slavery, these tactics would almost persuade me to be pro-psychiatry.
“It is true that claiming ‘racism’ can sometimes be used to shut down discussion.”
And that’s precisely the tactic that OH resorts to.
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.
Progressivism: the liberal religion of faith in “progress” that can be traced back to Hegel through Woodrow Wilson.
“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.
Paul Keith, thanks for clarifying. Your prose is exceedingly difficult to understand.
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.
Why the scare quotes around narrow? Who has she included?
I agree that we need allies. Unfortunately, Bonnie, your project makes room for only a narrow group of allies to the exclusion of the vast majority of the world’s population.
Paul Keith, I’m sorry but your comment was mostly incomprehensible.
Comment removed for moderation.
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.
Right. Not buying it. The attempt to turn antipsychiatry into yet another social justice cause will not only dilute its effectiveness, but ultimately contribute to the success of 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.
The opposite is true. And as always, the question is, progress toward what?
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.
Perhaps this question will help clarify our discussion: Is it possible for a person to be 100% antipsychiatry and a genuine conservative at the same time? If not, please feel free to explain.
By all means, let’s discuss the ideas. I have nothing against anyone here personally, no matter how silly the ideas may be.
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.
Mad in America is fast becoming a Marxist echo chamber. Thank goodness for people like Lawrence who refuse to kowtow to the comrades.
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 article, thank you. More people need to know the truth about psychiatry:
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.
Robin Williams didn’t commit suicide. He, like many others, was murdered through psychiatric interventions.
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.
This is true.
“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.
P.S. There ought to be a way to post gifs and memes in MIA.
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” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4a_1UhwgFU
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.
No time to read these articles. Let me just point out that “mania” is a bogus concept.
“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)
“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)
Other studies have shown that water is wet, and that the sky is blue.
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?
Yes. Freud is to blame for many things in ways that we have yet to discover. Szasz’ critique of Freud is good and accurate. But there are other, more profound critiques of Freud as well.
The drugging of anyone is awful, and causes immense suffering. The drugging of innocent little children belongs in the category of pure evil. It is time to abolish psychiatry, along with all of its nefarious practices. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
“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.
Thanks oldhead, and Steve. It’s tiresome to have to correct people who claim to have read and understood Szasz, but someone’s gotta do it.
“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:
Frank is right: “Thomas Szasz once authored a book titled The Myth of Psychotherapy. This is a good place to post a reminder to myself. It’s now a must read on my To Do list.”
Here is a preview:
“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.
“Scientific values” sounds like a code phrase for insular opinion. Nothing truly scientific can arise from an echo chamber of people who remain cloistered in their “scientific values.”
Which also begs the question, what are “scientific values”? And who can possibly qualify as a person who adheres to “scientific values”? If “scientific values” prevent a person from engaging with others who might disagree or challenge opinions, then “scientific values” is just a code phrase for insularity. The echo chamber of “scientific values” will produce more of the same, and nothing scientific can result from such an endeavor.
It seems like such a fascinating “psychological phenomenon,” whatever that might mean, to consider that a person can simultaneously adhere to a belief in “science” and “mental health.” It’s even more fascinating that there are people who consider themselves to be “professionals” in these matters. It is a very interesting phenomenon. Perhaps someone could do a study regarding this peculiar behavior.
Rachel777, I think you’ve basically begun to write the 1984 or the Brave New World of the 21st Century. This actually sounds like a great novel, and / or play / movie.
Dr. Deacon, no need to feel excluded. We’re all scientists here.
Dr. Deacon, thank you for your reply. Yes, you wrote that “science is a method of inquiry, not the product of this method.” What is this “method of inquiry” of which you write? How did you come upon it?
“Psychology is the realm of thoughts/feelings/behaviours, so a psychological phenomenon would be something in that realm.”
What evidence do you have for the assertion that psychology is the realm of thoughts/feelings/behaviours? Of course its a tautology to state that psychology is this realm, and that therefore a psychological phenomenon exists in this realm. What is a psychological phenomenon? It’s still not very clear. Thank you.
No problem Richard. Apology accepted. My apologies as well for any of my intemperate remarks. And I appreciate the thrust of your argument here. I agree with you that we need to broaden our perspectives, and to uproot psychiatry from the actual material conditions in the REAL world. Those of us who believe in the REALITY of good and evil, and the authors of both, will continue to fight for the good and resist evil as best we can. All the best,
“One day, perhaps, outsiders will be able to hear and believe our own psychiatric horror stories, told in our own words. Meanwhile, however, we need all the help we can get from people who have sufficient status to be taken seriously.”
The fact that these true stories most often go unheard and unheeded is one of the greatest tragedies that results from psychiatric deception and oppression. Psychiatric slavery is enforced right before our eyes, yet very few are willing to do anything at all about it. It is an injustice of astronomical proportions. I feel to repeat Thomas Jefferson’s bold statement regarding chattel slavery in connection to the need to abolish psychiatric slavery:
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!”
“You will also read a proposal for a new psychiatric diagnosis — aphorismomania, or definition-madness: a condition suffered by psychiatrists, whose symptoms include the impulse to “join random nouns derived from Ancient Greek in order pass them off as medical terms” (e.g., “schizophrenia”) and to “diagnose hypothetical physiological abnormalities … for which there is no scientific evidence.”
The next DSM, the DSM-VI, should have only one “diagnosis”: aphorismomania. But what will be the “cure”?
But oldhead, didn’t you read his comment. It’s science. That’s all there is to it. 😉
What is “science”? Is your reasoning within the scope of “science,” Dr. Deacon? Or is it outside the purview of “science”? What is a “psychological phenomenon”? Actually, what is “psychology”? I’m curious.
“Figures Reveal ‘Alarming’ Rise in Injuries at Mental Health Units”
There should be nothing “alarming” about “injuries” in “Mental Health Units.” “Mental Health Units” exist for the express purpose of injuring people. That’s what psychiatry is all about, namely, causing harm under the pretense of “therapy.”
Good points oldhead. MIA has the opportunity to be or to become the Copernicus, so to speak, or the Semmelweis, of the current era. When future generations look back toward the time in which we now live, they will wonder what was done to expose the truth about psychiatry, and to liberate the captives from psychiatric slavery. They will wonder why it took so long for psychiatry to be abolished, just like we now wonder why it took so long, and why it took a Civil War, for chattel slavery to be abolished. They will also wonder why so few had the courage to stand up against the therapeutic state. The choice is ours.
“Researchers Explore Sexuality and Gender in the Context of Psychosis”
MIA is really scraping the barrel to find articles these days. LOL.
“one of the key ways they have defended that narrative is to delegitimize critics in the eyes of the conventional media…”
This is exactly what was done to Karl Kraus, and later, to Thomas Szasz. Kraus called the technique Totschweigetaktik, the “silent treatment.” And it is exactly what is done to psychiatric survivors and opponents of psychiatry today, even in forums that are ostensibly “critical” of psychiatry.
“In fact, in my view, your total focus on the surface phenomena of psychiatry tends toward leading people away from finding the solutions to the problems of suicide and human alienation.”
In my view, a statement such as this causes me to wonder if Richard has read or understood any of my comments. The reason we focus on the “surface phenomena of psychiatry,” as Richard puts it, is because that is our major point of agreement. As for “leading people away from finding the solutions to the problems of suicide and human alienation,” that is precisely what liberal ideological hegemony has the tendency to do, and that is one reason why I reject it.
For the record, let me answer your questions very briefly:
“1) How did psychiatry come to gain its pervasive power in our society over the past 4 decades, and whose class interests does it serve?”
The power of psychiatry goes hand in hand with the rise of modern liberalism and progressivism, and it serves the progressive elite. The therapeutic state is another manifestation of modern liberal ideological hegemony, and that modern liberal ideological hegemony is connected to a rejection of classical liberalism, Judeo-Christian faith, and the wisdom of the founding generation.
“2) What is the origin and ultimate source of this obsessive focus on INDIVIDUAL success and achievement in society (that is so alienating), and how does it connect to the nature of our economic and political system?”
The origin and ultimate source of what you call this “obsessive focus on INDIVIDUAL success and achievement in society” goes back to Locke and other influential modern political philosophers, but Marx’s radicalization of these earlier moderns has been much more devastating, not just alienating. The devastation produced by communism includes the death of millions of innocent people. Selfishness is not just a problem among those with whom a person may disagree on political matters.
“3) AND what systemic economic, political, and cultural changes need to take place in society to reduce emotional trauma and alienation, and give people more of a reason to live and contribute to making the world a better place?”
The fundamental problem is the disintegration of the family, which is the fundamental unit of society. The disintegration of the family will bring about calamities. The way to reduce trauma and alienation is to strengthen marriage and families, and thus strengthen the very fabric of society. The utopian schemes that aim to regenerate the world through external means, and thus by force, will continue to have catastrophic consequences just as they have in the past, as anyone who has studied and understood history can tell you.
“Psychiatry and their paradigm of so-called “treatment” exists in a certain environment (type of society)…”
Psychiatry and their paradigm of so-called “treatment” has existed in many different environments and types of societies, including our own society in which liberal ideological hegemony runs rampant. The therapeutic state is directly connected to modern progressivist and radical ideologies that reject the wisdom of the founding generation and the new birth of freedom during the time of Lincoln. Richard’s characterization of my arguments, therefore, is not just wrong, but it applies more accurately to his own ideological commitments.
Let me put it plainly for all to understand: psychiatry flourishes in the therapeutic state, and the therapeutic state thrives because of modern progressive ideological hegemony.
No laughing allowed Steve. But even if you’re not laughing, it could be that your lack of insight into your own condition is what is causing your failure to laugh, which is an obvious indication of your disordered state. Perhaps Lawrence or someone else can involuntarily incarcerate you and administer your meds.
Excellent points Rachel777. Spot on.
Those are good points oldhead. I agree. And congratulations on the cold turkey withdrawal from Kools. Well done.
Given a choice between cigarettes and psychotropic drugs (both bad choices), cigarettes are the lesser of two evils. Rachel777 also makes excellent points.
In any case, many people believe that psychotropic drugs are “medication,” which is simply not true.
Rachel777, that’s exactly right. I’m glad that you see it.
The difference, of course, is that true religion seeks to inspire people toward proper self-government by persuasion, love, and truth, whereas psychiatry, or in other words false religion, seeks to enforce and coerce people into submission through deceit and abuse.
Good point OH.
Try this to start:
But there’s a huge difference between cigarettes and psychotropic drugs. There are many differences, actually. The first is that psychotropic drugs produce suffering and death in ways (sometimes violent ways) that cigarettes never could. The second is that people smoke cigarettes for different reasons. There was a time when cigarettes were cool. It was a social, recreational thing. Some people might try to make “recreational” use of psychotropic drugs, but for the most part, these drugs are pushed upon innocent people who are labeled as “mentally ill” or otherwise “disordered.” There ARE black box warnings on drugs. But even if people were warned against AKATHISIA, TARDIVE DISKYNESIA, or NEUROLEPTIC MALIGNANT SYNDROME, these same people might still take the drugs because they wrongfully suppose that there is some possibility of “therepeutic” benefit to the drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth. A warning against AKATHISIA or anything else is not enough. These drugs are more dangerous than cigarettes, for one reason because at least with cigarettes, people did not think that they were some sort of medication. I hope that makes sense.
No! Not smiley faces! Noooo!
The exclamation point in your reaction suggests that you may be suffering from an incurable case of ECD. I recommend immediate treatment. Does MIA have an official psychiatrist to deal with such disorders?
That’s an excellent point yeah_I_survived. Some antipsychiatrists and psychiatric survivors fail to fully comprehend the insidious nature of psychiatry because they fail to acknowledge that its founder is quite literally the devil, the prince of darkness. Some consider such things to be superstitious nonsense, which is exactly what the devil himself devises. He whispers in their ears that there is no devil. Those who fail to understand their enemy will have a difficult time defeating him.
Fortunately, as you also acknowledged, Jesus saves. Not only that, He overcame the world, the devil, evil, death, and every obstacle to our salvation and eternal life. Because of Jesus Christ, there is hope. Because He overcame the world, so can we. And that includes overcoming psychiatry. Satan is the dragon of psychiatry, but he will be slain. He was defeated once in the war in heaven, and ultimately truth will prevail and he will be defeated again, finally, and for the last time. The victory is the Lord’s, and to Him belongs all glory.
I don’t know. The word “people” may even be a stretch.
The difference between Plato’s Academy or Aristotle’s Lyceum and modern academic institutions of “higher learning” is so great that almost no one even perceives or understands the difference anymore.
On the whole, Noel’s article is good, and demonstrates an acceptable level of skepticism toward psychiatry. But there are a few things that need to be emphatically restated or clarified. First of all, the rise in presumed suicides – tragedies that psychiatry has euphemistically termed “emotional lability” – is more often than not a direct result of psychiatric intervention. In other words, many of these “suicides” and mass shootings are not merely manifestations of troubled lives that finally bubble to the surface, they are the direct and predictable result of psychotropic drugging, involuntary incarceration, labeling, abuse, and torture. These “suicides” would more accurately be called manslaughter. But who is to be held accountable for these murders?
Psychiatrists are in one way or another implicated in these crimes, although many of them are woefully ignorant of the harm that they are causing. By now it should be obvious that the pharmaceutical industry, combined with psychiatric hegemony, is responsible for untold numbers of deaths and unfathomable suffering. Psychiatry, backed by pharmaceutical hegemony, is CAUSING the deaths and misery of untold numbers of innocent people. It is destroying families and individual lives. Psychiatry preys upon the weak, innocent children, the homeless, the elderly, and the vulnerable. It is a pseudo-scientific system of abuse and torture that masquerades as medicine. In short, psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry have blood on their hands, and the blood of the innocent cries out from the ground against them. God’s justice cannot sleep forever.
Another point needs to be made. Although it may seem comforting to have “professionals” and suicide hotlines readily available, these presumed resources act as funnels into the psychiatric system. There are many lures that draw people into the nefarious web of psychiatry. Hotlines, surveys, screenings, and other methods convince many people that they are “mentally ill” and need “therapy,” which “therapy” then results in labeling, drugging, iatrogenic harm, and sometimes death. These deaths are then used to bolster the same psychiatric selling points, namely, that there is an increase in “mental illness” and that more “treatment” and psychiatric interventions are needed to prevent the tragedies. It is a brilliant business model.
In other words, psychiatry creates the very problems that it purports to cure, and then it “cures” these problems in such a way as to exacerbate them and produce a great market for its “treatments.” The cycle will continue until the myth of mental illness is fully exposed, along with the chemical imbalance hoax. The cycle will continue until the general public understands the true history of psychiatry. Psychiatrists have been harming and killing people in the name of “medical treatment” since its inception, and its tactics have become ever more subtle, and ever more harmful.
Noel’s article is good, but in reality, many of these so-called “suicides” are not suicides at all. It is psychiatric murder, and there is no better way to cover up for murder than to make people think that the person who has been murdered has committed suicide. There is an ever growing list of “suicides” and mass shootings that belongs in the category of psychiatric murder. That is why psychiatry is not just a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, but a thanatophoric (death inducing) regime. How many more psychiatric murders will it take before psychiatry is held accountable for its crimes? How many more innocent men, women, and children must be sacrificed on the altars of the pharmaceutical industry before lovers of liberty and truth rise up in rebellion? What will it take to slay the dragon of psychiatry?
Did you know that the FDA has approved a drug for the annoyingly cheerful?
Churchill was actually one of the first British politicians to abandon eugenics. Without Churchill and the Allied forces, Hitler and his Nazis may have had their way. Were it not for Churchill and the Allied forces, we might not be discussing a eugenics of the past.
The irony of Churchill bashing among psychiatric survivors and antipsychiatrists would be laughable if it weren’t so sickening. Churchill is not an “antipsychiatry hero,” but he wasn’t an unrepentant eugenicist either. I would suggest that people actually read books before making such sweeping and ignorant generalizations. https://winstonchurchill.hillsdale.edu/fake-news-from-the-huffington-post/
There’s still no such thing as “bipolar.” There’s no such thing as “mental illness.” Psychiatry prides itself on “diagnosing” major figures in world history as if that lends legitimacy to the so-called “profession.” Churchill initially bought into some of the lies about eugenics, but he was also instrumental in defeating a despot and a regime that actually implemented eugenics. That is something to keep in mind. Furthermore, Churchill had his reservations about psychiatry and psychiatrists:
“I am sure it would be sensible to restrict as much as possible the work of these gentleman [i.e. psychiatrists], who are capable of doing an immense amount of harm with what may very easily degenerate into charlatanry. The tightest hand should be kept over them, and they should not be allowed to quarter themselves in large numbers upon the Fighting Services at the public expense. There are no doubt easily recognisable cases which may benefit from treatment of this kind, but it is wrong to disturb large numbers of healthy, normal men and women by asking the kind of odd questions in which the psychiatrists specialise. There are quite enough hangers-on and camp followers already.” 1942 – Sir Winston Churchill
Apparently MIA will not allow a person to defend himself against baseless accusations of “racism” and “homophobia,” but he will immediately be censored for daring to stand up to such nonsense. No matter. The accusations remain baseless and utterly absurd.
What is more disturbing is that now MIA is censoring away humor: no joking allowed about psychiatrists or psychiatry. In this way, MIA is beginning to resemble psychiatry.
“The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” – Martin Luther
“The devil…that proud spirit…cannot endure to be mocked.” – Sir Thomas More
Thanks. But please, it’s Dragon Slayer. 🙂
You are more beautiful and wiser now Rachel777. Your experience and your voice are needed now more than ever. Be strong, and be courageous. There are so many people that you will be able to help.
oldhead is right about psychiatry and antipsychiatry, but on this particular topic, i.e. racism, I’m afraid that his arguments are unpersuasive at best
streetphotobeing is absolutely right. Think about this process for a moment. First psychiatrists and professionals get paid, often in excess of 200K per year, to label, drug, shock, involuntarily incarcerate, coerce, and torture innocent men, women, and children. Then other “professionals” get paid to teach innocent victims of psychiatry how to withdraw from the dangerous psychotropic chemicals that have been forced upon them. Those who have survived psychiatry have most often done so on their own, without any “professional” help. It is the “profession” itself that is the problem, not the victims of the “profession.”
If we truly wish to help psychiatric survivors, and particularly those who are suffering immensely in the chemical haze of psychotropic drugging, the first step is to work towards the abolition of psychiatry. Once psychiatry has been abolished, and psychotropic drugs become a thing of the past, it will be even more clear that there is absolutely no need for a “professional” class to “cure” its victims of the very “remedies” that psychiatry itself has imposed upon them.
Stop the madness. Stop the drugging. Stop the labeling. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
It looks like my work is done here. Thanks everyone for a good discussion, and thanks especially to those who understand what psychiatry is and why it must be abolished. In spite of our differences of opinion, or maybe even because of them, I wish you all the best, and good luck in your future endeavors, including any endeavors to slay the dragon of psychiatry. For any who are still confused, and are seeking to understand the truth about psychiatry, I recommend the following:
I see that my truth telling has gone too far, and the powers that be have decided to silence it. No matter. Truth triumphs in the end.
Good point oldhead. Survivors are at a considerable risk if they are not allowed to publish under a pseudonym. And Steve, you can watch all day long for antipsychiatry articles, but good luck finding any… since no one will publish them, not even MIA!
So much for uprising’s rap song. Oh well.
I’m glad that people are starting to consider Szasz more closely. I agree, in part, with some of the assessments, because he was too libertarian for my taste. But he was right about Laing. He was a psychiatrist, but only in the best way, which is to say, he saw through the deception of psychiatry and opposed psychiatry from within. He was also an abolitionist (see, for example, “Psychiatric Slavery” and “Liberation by Oppression”) In some of his early works he attempted to reconcile his profession with his commitment to liberty and responsibility, but as is clear in his later works, his commitment to liberty and responsibility won out in the end. It may be that Szasz ideological commitments pushed him too far to the left.
Should psychiatric survivors start calling psychiatrists, “professionals,” and others “people without lived experience.” LOL!
Once upon a time, academic institutions were organized according to a commitment to pursue truth. With rare exception, this is no longer the case. The proliferation of “studies” departments in institutions of higher learning is producing mass ignorance through conformity to ideologies that masquerade as learning and sophistication. In this way, institutions of higher learning resemble psychiatry. As Szasz was fond of showing, in former ages false priests oppressed the masses and exercised authority over them through recourse to recondite phrases, Latinisms, and distortions of the word of God. Nowadays, psychiatrists and professors (although not all of them) operate in a similar way. Psychiatrists derive their supposed authority from the “Bible of psychiatry,” psychiatric jargon, and medical self-aggrandizement, and professors derive their supposed authority from institutions of higher learning and the honors that accrue to them from their adherence to state honored ideologies. In this way, the pursuit of truth often runs counter to both psychiatry and the classroom.
Furthermore, although Bonnie Burstow has done great work in exposing the truth about psychiatry, in books such as “Psychiatry Interrogated” and “Psychiatry and the Business of Madness,” her approach is severely limited by her ideological commitments. This is unfortunate, because she gets so much right about the history of psychiatry and the harm that is being caused in the name of “medicine.”
Her “myths” and “facts” about antipsychiatry form an important part of the conversation, but they also manifest serious limitations because of prior ideological commitments. But she is right about many things, including the importance of working towards the abolition of psychiatry. Like those who fought against chattel slavery in the South from a variety of positions, there are opportunities to come together and set aside ideological differences in order to work toward the abolition of psychiatry, since psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific form of slavery.
I am glad that Bonnie recognizes Szasz as a pivotal figure in antipsychiatry. But like most people, she misinterprets Szasz and assumes that he was not an abolitionist. No one who has read his books “Psychiatric Slavery” or “Liberation by Oppression” can honestly claim that Szasz was not an abolitionist.
In short, her’s is not the final word on what constitutes either psychiatry or antipsychiatry. In fact, in the on going conversation, it may be helpful to articulate more clearly what psychiatry is. No one to date has articulated more clearly the truth about psychiatry than Karl Kraus and Thomas Szasz. This is one reason why both were also able to clearly articulate the truth about antipsychiatry. The problem, of course, is that both Kraus and Szasz were silenced by the media for telling the truth. This is nothing new. Many of my comments have been moderated away because I articulated a simple truth. Even my article “The Truth about Psychiatry” was refused publication by Mad in America.
In sum, there is a growing, natural, and powerful component of antipsychiatry that consists of psychiatric survivors and abolitionists who don’t give a fig for “professional” opinion. Of course it is possible to work together with anyone who understands the justice of the cause of abolition. But even this growing component of antipsychiatry is woefully ignorant of some of the best arguments that have already been clearly articulated by Szasz and Kraus. This is not to say that there aren’t other good arguments, or that we simply need to resurrect Szasz and Kraus (although that might be a good start), but that moving forward, those who are truly antipsychiatry and abolitionists would do well to at least familiarize themselves with the spade work that has already been done.
“It really depends how you define antipsychiatry. A lot of antipsychiatry efforts focus on dismantling the coercive system of psychiatry (institutional psychiatry) rather than taking away people’s rights to access voluntary treatment or use substances.”
These are the kinds of subtle attacks on true antipsychiatry that need to be answered by those who really oppose psychiatry and understand why psychiatry ought to be abolished. The so-called “right to access voluntary treatment” is exactly in line with all the psychiatric jargon that is used to force people into compliance with psychiatric torture. In reality, there is no such thing as voluntary treatment. To break it down and simplify it, the word “voluntary” suggests that a person has a choice and the word “treatment” suggests that psychiatry offers something of therapeutic value, whatever that might mean. But neither of these things pertain to psychiatry. It is never voluntary because hardly anyone knows what he or she will be getting him or herself into by “voluntarily” subjecting themselves to psychiatric “treatment.” If people knew the history of psychiatry, and what psychiatry really is, no one in his or her right mind would touch it with a ten foot pole. Similarly, the euphemistic term “treatment” is bandied about as if the so-called “voluntary” patients are in some way bettered by psychiatric torture, abuse, drugging, shocking, involuntary incarceration, labeling, and so forth.
Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that deceives even those who fancy themselves to be “antipsychiatrists” or “psychiatric survivors.” One of the most subtle forms of deception, one that Emily has brought to our attention, is that there is a “right” to “voluntary” “treatment.” Szasz has written eloquently and at length on this topic, and those who claim to represent antipsychiatry or psychiatric survivors in any way should be familiar with his arguments.
Yes. My article was rejected from MIA for telling the truth about psychiatry.
Where’s uprising when we need him? “Eyes on the prize of psychiatry’s demise…” sounds like a great verse from an antipsychiatry rap song.
“Madness” is an undesirable aberration. It is abnormal. That is why it is called “madness.” Furthermore, “diversity” is a bogus concept that is used to support all kinds of false assumptions. What is “diversity?” How did the concept of “diversity” become the highest virtue in our society? Not many people have thought about the answers to these questions.
The why and the how are intertwined. The cause of abolition will not be helped by flimsy reasoning regarding the why or the how. But I agree that the question of how to abolish psychiatry is an important one. 🙂
Meaning actually reading and understanding Szasz, Kraus, etc. I reject many of Szasz’ ideas, but I’ve read enough of Szasz to know that he knew more, and argued more clearly, than almost anyone writing today. We would do well to learn from Szasz for other reasons as well. If we better understood why Kraus was rejected during the era of Freud, and why Szasz was rejected during the era of Laing, we would be better prepared to further the cause of abolition. I don’t embrace Szasz as a reigning deity, but he was an intelligent man who argued persuasively for the abolition of psychiatry. I don’t embrace Marx as a reigning deity either, but we can also learn from him, mostly what not to think.
That was my impression as well. But thanks for the reminder Frank, and the more true antipsychiatrists and abolitionists, the merrier. 🙂
Actually, oldhead, even though I agree with you on most antipsychiatry essentials, I would push back against your argument a little bit more by suggesting that even most “conservatives” today are unknowing leftists. Real conservatives, or classical liberals, are mostly a thing of the past. Modern liberalism and Marxism go hand in hand. But I’m open to hearing you out on your definitions of “left” and “right” and how liberalism and Marxism are diametrically opposed. I don’t imagine that I’ll agree, but I’m still open to civil discourse.
Variety is wonderful. We need variety. “Diversity” is a bogus concept, as Peter Wood has so thoroughly and eloquently proved: https://aetherparticles.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/what-is-diversity/
Bingo. Getting closer to the roots of the myth of mental illness from which all the fake “diagnoses” are drawn. The DSM-V is just the tip of the iceberg. The massive, filthy underbelly of this iceberg has Charcot, Freud, Kraeplin, Bleuler, and other pathologizers of human behavior written all over it.
This assumes that the administration hasn’t decided ahead of time what is published. It does, and it has. MIA is decidedly a “critical psychiatry” website that doesn’t really host antipsychiatry articles. It is better to be honest and upfront about its position than to feign neutrality. The closest that MIA has come to hosting antipsychiatry blog posts or articles is Bonnie Burstow, Phil Hickey, and sometimes Lawrence. But even these opponents of psychiatry have not fully reasoned out the best cases for antipsychiatry. Were it not for the comments section (for which I am grateful), MIA would still lean mostly towards indoctrination, and not education.
Oldhead, as you can see, my comment is not totally off base. It is spot on. Feel free to define the various nuances of the left as you see fit. It may be helpful. My main point is that the more that the psychiatric survivors movement or antipsychiatry aligns itself with liberal, progressive, Marxist ideology, the more it is destined to fail. The more that antipsychiatry and psychiatric survivors reject Szasz’ mostly sound thinking regarding the connection between liberty and responsibility, the more that it will end up like most intellectual fads… defunct, relegated to the ash-bin of history.
“And I’m pretty sure this all goes back to the Left’s uncritical acceptance of ‘diversity’ ”
“…and so we are right back to the intractable culture wars, sigh, which on this site have been won by the Left.”
However, I disagree with this defeatist comment. Truth and common sense will win out in the end, and there is no reason to concede victory to ignorance.
Here’s the rub: For every outlier case of a Gandhi or an Eleanor Roosevelt, there are 1 million cases of normal people who have been drugged, labeled, and psychiatrized into a “state of mind” that manifests “odd beliefs” or “extreme states.” On this topic I recommend Dr. Thomas Szasz’ debate with William F. Buckley, Jr. William F. Buckley, Jr. poses almost the same question that you pose above, and Szasz’ response to his question is spot on.
No. I’m saying that “mad pride” and other such nonsense has been, is, and always will be detrimental to survivors of psychiatry and the antipsychiatry movement.
The alphabet soup movement has not succeeded in redefining anything. It has succeeded in obfuscating reality to the detriment of many people. If the purpose of “mad pride” is to obfuscate reality in a similar fashion, then such attempts at obfuscation border on legitimate madness.
I’m afraid that the conclusions that you’ve reached don’t necessarily follow from the premises that you begin with. In other words, the celebration of “madness,” whatever that may mean, could very well have the opposite effect of what you intend. If “madness” is somehow widely celebrated, what is to prevent the forcible curing or incarceration of those who refuse to celebrate “madness”?
Again, I admire your enthusiasm and your persistence in the face of very difficult circumstances. But antipsychiatry and the psychiatric survivors movement would be wise to distance themselves as far away as possible from anything that even hints at “mad pride.”
I agree with oldhead on this point. With all due respect to Mr. Whitaker, and with immense gratitude for the work that he has already done, the illusion of neutrality won’t last very long. Of course we can all work to build bridges and to create as much unity as possible, but the fact that MIA hosts some things and rejects others manifests the unavoidable reality that there is no such thing as perfect objectivity. By hosting a “Mad Studies” webinar, MIA is teaching “Mad Studies.” Of course, MIA has every right to host whatever seminars or articles it wishes to host, and to reject whatever seminars and articles it wishes to reject. Oldhead’s assessment of MIA as a decidedly “critical psychiatry” website seems correct.
Another point that needs to be made… the phrase “people with lived experience” is a really awful euphemism. I’m sure that Mr. Whitaker means well by it, and on its surface it is relatively innocuous, but it bears too much resemblance to the awful euphemisms of psychiatry, i.e. “hospitalization” instead of involuntary incarceration, “treatment” instead of torture, “medication” instead of drugging, “diagnosis” instead of labeling, and “emotional lability” instead of suicide. No survivor of psychiatry in his or her right mind would ever refer to him or herself as a “person with lived experience.” That’s the kind of rhetoric that might please “professionals.” But imagine if someone were to call an escaped slave a “person with lived experience,” or a holocaust survivor a “person with lived experience.” Why not just call things as they are? A “person with lived experience” is really a survivor of psychiatric abuse and coercion. It may seem like a quibble about semantics, but as Thomas Szasz and Karl Kraus before him so admirably demonstrated, a lot is at stake in the language that we use.
There is a lot of enthusiasm and well intentioned effort that exudes from this article. I am certainly optimistic that people are beginning to think a little more clearly about psychiatry and psychiatric force and oppression. I am also sympathetic towards anyone who has endured any kind of psychiatric abuse whatsoever.
However, these kinds of initiatives simply have nothing to do with antipsychiatry properly understood. This article demonstrates why the left (cue oldhead’s response) has destroyed the psychiatric survivors movement and antipsychiatry in the past, and will continue to do so, unless and until some clear thinking leftists (cue oldhead’s reaction again) come forward to straighten things out.
Although Foucault and others of his ilk raised some important questions, they have also generated a lot of confusion. The modern academy itself is a cesspool of intellectual confusion. Perhaps its victims are not to be blamed, just as the victims of psychiatry are not to be blamed. But please take a moment to consider the obvious:
Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that must be abolished. Psychiatric survivors are not mad. They are not crazy. It is psychiatry itself that is mad. It is psychiatry itself that is crazy. Psychiatric survivors don’t need to join forces with fanatical utopian schemers in order to reveal the truth about psychiatry. Furthermore, antipsychiatry really has nothing to do with anything that is even remotely connected to “mad studies” or any other such nonsense.
Again, I understand why certain survivors or antipsychiatry activists might be drawn into such currents, and this well meaning enthusiasm is not the real problem. The real problem is that psychiatry is destroying the lives of millions of innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly, and something must be done to stop it. All of this confusion about “mad studies” and “mad pride” and so forth plays right into the hands of psychiatry. When psychiatry comes along and labels everyone and their dog as “mentally ill” and therefore “mad,” the proper response is to resist such absurdities, not to embrace it as if psychiatry has any connection to some underlying biological or even metaphysical reality.
No… antipsychiatry and the psychiatric survivors movement have nothing to do with “madness.” In fact, precisely the opposite is true. Truth, reason, common sense, and sound judgment are on the side of antipsychiatry and psychiatric survivors. All “madness” belongs within the realm of psychiatry itself.
Rachel777 makes some excellent points, and I am grateful that there is someone else to push back against some of the “liberal” nonsense that is so rampant. I also agree with oldhead that we need to be more clear about explanations of principles on “left” and “right,” and any “isms.” For my part, I am a proponent of thoughtful conservatism, properly understood, and many people will understand my position to be “right” leaning. But I have definite sympathies for some “leftist” concerns such as the care of the poor and the disadvantaged in society, and resistance to the so-called “alt-right.” But most importantly for this site, I am pro-liberty and pro-responsibility, a position which is naturally anti-psychiatry, since psychiatry is anti-liberty and anti-responsibility. But I am not a libertarian like Szasz, even though Szasz got most things right about psychiatry.
Conversations like this serve to remind us how much more Thomas Szasz knew than almost anyone alive today, and that Karl Kraus knew just as much during the time when “mental illness” was popularized. Mad in America is generating a lot of garbage recently because there is such gross historical illiteracy. By all means, people should be free to express themselves and to write as many articles as they like. But reading is a good prerequisite to writing.
Someone would have to define “function” and “disorder.” Such assumes that there is some ideal standard of “functioning” against which other types of “functioning” could be measured. It also assumes that those who don’t “function” in a way that is approved of those who define “functioning” are “dysfunctional.” It’s all nonsense. Human beings are not machines. They are not functions that can be disordered. Psychiatry attempts to reverse the teachings of Jesus. Instead of removing a beam in the eye to observe a mote, psychiatry attempts to place a beam in the eye of those it targets for domination. If there is anything functionally disordered among human beings it is psychiatry itself.
There is no such thing as a “mental illness.” The myth of “mental illness” or the metaphor of “mental illness” has caused people to believe that there is such a thing as “mental illness” to such a degree that people now assume that it is something real. A real disease is made up of scientifically observable biological and physical phenomena such as a cancer or a virus. The term “mental illness” attempts to medicalize something that isn’t even there. Some suppose that “mental illness” describes a medical condition that is manifested in certain unwanted behaviors, but it is no more medical than the dietary habits of the Easter Bunny or the hygiene habits of the Tooth Fairy. “Mental illness,” therefore, is a very powerful myth that has deceived almost the entire world. Behind this deception, psychiatry claims to offer remedies to “mental illness.” But these “remedies” are just as mythical and even more harmful than the fictitious diseases that psychiatry invents. The entire DSM-V is a clever work of fiction. The labels in the anti-Bible of psychiatry don’t describe any actual diseases, but they sure fool people into thinking that “mental illness” is a real thing.
“More Evidence That Physical Activity Prevents Depression”
A title like this = more evidence that MIA is scraping the barrel for articles
“Increasing Antidepressant Dose Does Not Improve Outcomes”
You can’t make this stuff up folks. No, this is not The Onion. This is not satire. This is an actual title from an article on Mad in America.
Psychiatry is by definition harmful. Therefore, the best way to help people is to abolish psychiatry.
Thanks Mischa. This is great stuff.
As soon as you make a point, I’m sure that people reading your posts would be happy to consider what it might be. But thus far you have simply thrown around insults and made ad hominem attacks without presenting any actual arguments or supplying any evidence for your conclusions. I don’t think anyone has the time or the inclination to insult you, nor does anyone on MIA care about genuflection. Many people express a wide variety of views on these issues (and I would add that for the most part they do so civilly).
As for “this shrink Kelmenson,” he’s received plenty of push back from plenty of people. But by all means, feel free to jump back in and throw around accusations and insult everyone. It’s comical. If you have a point to make, I’m sure that everyone would be willing to hear you out. But if not, I’m sure that everyone will at least be entertained by your diatribes.
I agree oldhead. This guy is hilarious. It’s sort of entertaining.
Exactly oldhead. Mischa’s comment reminds me that Szasz’ works have not been universally considered by critics as books that must be read in order to have an opinion of them.
Mischa, is that your line of cologne?
Mischa, you’ve been online too long. It’s time to read some books instead. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt since you seem to be new here.
And now Mischa confounds the notion of “mentally disturbed” with “mental illness.” How dare anyone question psychiatric dogma! It’s “science.” 🙂 Mischa, you might want to support your pontifications with some evidence. If you’ve discovered a real “mental illness,” please inform the rest of us, because yours would be the first discovery of its kind, and a scientific breakthrough.
The false notion of “mental illness” is actually a product of post-modernism, and Old Head is perfectly capable of thinking for himself. The problem is that the myth of mental illness is so pervasive that the slightest amount of skepticism is often counted as heresy. No, there is no such thing as “mental illness,” and no, that reality has not been debunked. That’s the difficult thing about reality… it’s hard to debunk.
Lawrence still calls these kinds of things voluntary. That’s the half-truth. In order for an act to be truly voluntary, the person making the decision must have clear knowledge of the decision that he or she is making. Psychiatry obfuscates and deceives in such a way as to manipulate people into thinking that they are making voluntary decisions for their “mental health” when in reality they are being sucked into a pseudo-scientific system of slavery. Therefore, it is false to claim that there is any such thing as voluntary psychiatry, just as it would be false to claim that chattel slaves voluntarily worked on the plantations or that Jews voluntarily trod to the gas chambers. Psychiatry is all about coercion, force, deception, and abuse. It is, as Szasz rightly understood (and entitled one of his books), the science of lies.s
True. Of course the difference is that Santa Claus “brings” us presents; the Tooth Fairy “brings” us money; The Easter Bunny “brings” us chocolate and eggs; but what does mental illness “bring” us? Involuntary incarceration, torture, drugging, labeling, abuse, iatrogenic harm, and sometimes death. That is why I came up with a good myth to slay the bad myth. – Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry
Excellent. People who are willing to modify their views in order to better align them with truth demonstrate integrity and humility. I hope to be like that as well. Thanks Lawrence.
“Psychiatry is not THE problem, it is a tool of the system, which is the ultimate problem. Though I suspect Dragon Slayer will disagree with that part.”
I would be willing to entertain the notion that psychiatry itself is not the whole problem at the deepest level, although I probably disagree about the source of the problem of psychiatry and how that is connected to other problems in society. That’s ok though. We agree that psychiatry itself IS a problem, and that’s a good start.
As far as “the system,” I also agree that there are problems on a very basic level, but getting at the roots of these problems requires a lot of intense study and historical perspective. In short, I’m not exactly sure where we disagree, but wherever it is, it is secondary to our agreement regarding the destructive nature of psychiatry.
Thank you. Perhaps there ought to be antipsychiatry courses taught in other universities, and even online. I can envision a great YouTube series, for example. Even better would be a blockbuster documentary on the real history of psychiatry.
Yes. I get it. Suffering does exist, like registeredforthissite writes, but psychiatry CAUSES a major portion of that suffering. It is also true that people want to help, but very few people understand that one of the best ways to help is to abolish psychiatry. The abolition of psychiatry will bring about more human flourishing and help more people than anything psychiatry could ever devise. Slavery, torture, abuse, drugging, shocking, labeling, incarceration, coercion, force, and oppression do not help people. But this is what psychiatry is all about, from top to bottom, from the beginning to the end, which end will hopefully come soon. Why not go to the source? To the root of the problem? Why all the dancing and tiptoeing around the real issue? The dragon of psychiatry sits in her filthy lair, with piles of wealth that have been amassed from the suffering of innocent children, the homeless, the elderly, and others – and there she rolls around on her bloated belly and laughs. She breathes the fiery myths of “mental illness” until the smoke deceives almost the entire world into a horribly complacency and docility. Enough is enough. The time has come to slay the dragon of psychiatry.
Clearly Steve lacks insight into his condition. He is a danger to himself and others. I recommend immediate psychiatric intervention. 😉
all psychiatrists should voluntarily resign from their destructive work
please, it’s dragon slayer
Yes. Edible. They cure “mental illness.”
Bonnie, how does one apply to the graduate program in Anti-psychiatry? How does one apply for the scholarship? Thank you.
Oldhead makes an important point here. We need to be careful when discussing the myth of mental illness – or any of the psychiatric myths – that we don’t pretend that the myth corresponds to some underlying reality. In other words, we need to make it perfectly clear that there is no such thing as mental illness, or mental health. There is no underlying “it” to argue about. When this is clear, all the nonsense about so-called “bipolar,” “schizophrenia,” “ADHD,” “OCD,” etc. can be eliminated. But it is certainly helpful for doctors to expose the myth for what it is, since many people rely on professional medical opinions as a substitute for thinking.
No. Physical illness and physical health are real. Mental illness and mental health are myths. Thomas Szasz explains this very clearly, and I recommend his work to you, and to everyone.
Good point Rachel777.
A wooden nickel! Yes. That’s right. I would simply add that it is a poisonous wooden nickel. The dragon of psychiatry thrives on the corresponding myths of so-called “mental illness” and “mental health,” as well as the “chemical imbalance” hoax. Thomas Szasz’ timeless classic “The Myth of Mental Illness” is still the best book that has ever been written on this topic. https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/the-myth-of-mental-illness/
“For the residue of my estate, I instruct my executor as follows: To pay the Governing Council at University of Toronto one hundred per cent (100%) of the residue of my estate to be used to augment the Dr. Bonnie Burstow Scholarship in Antipsychiatry at the University of Toronto at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.”
Amazing. This is incredible. Thank you.
“How does one bestow credibility and legitimacy on an area or a perspective when in the public eye, it has almost none?”
Your books and your scholarship and will are as good a start as anything that I have observed in recent years. Truth should already have credibility and legitimacy, but sadly, so few people understand the truth about psychiatry. The wonder is that psychiatry has any credibility and legitimacy in the public eye, when precisely the opposite should be the case.
“How does one turn antipsychiatry into a respected area of study and practice in the face of psychiatric hegemony?”
That is an excellent question, and I’m grateful for the great work that you have already done. The rest of the questions and answers are also excellent. Thank you.
I’m ready to teach courses in antipsychiatry 101 all the way up to graduate level courses in antipsychiatry. I certainly have enough material for an excellent dissertation right now.
Exciting news. Thank you. 🙂
More accurate visuals for psychiatry might include a hammer and nails on a human brain, a jackhammer, or simply a boot stomping on a human brain. Such images would be closer to “science” than any of these silly scientistic brain scans.
Maybe someone can draw this up: a brain scan that reveals an empty skull of a person performing a brain scan.
Laura, you do great work. I’m wondering where you stand with regards to antipsychiatry and the abolition of psychiatry? Thank you.
Did someone say “schizophrenia”? Is MIA still so backward as to believe that “schizophrenia” is a psychiatric “disease”? Please, please, please. “Schizophrenia” is nothing more than the sacred symbol of psychiatry. https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/schizophrenia-the-sacred-symbol-of-psychiatry/
“So what do you suggest for people that are so distressed they seek help?”
I suggest that psychiatry be abolished so that it stops causing people so much distress. For the rest, I suggest that people seek help from God, family, friends, and others who won’t extort you, rob you, drug you, and possibly kill you.
No! No. No. No. No. This is very disappointing. Phil is one of the best writers for MIA, but this is just wrong. I’m very disappointed. Psychiatry must be ABOLISHED, along with all of the pseudo-scientific subsidiaries. Anti-psychiatry has nothing to do with finding replacements or criticizing psychiatry or the so-called medical model. Anti-psychiatry means ABOLISHING psychiatry and everything that reeks of psychiatry. Usually Phil is spot on with his articles, but I’m very concerned about this trend toward critical psychiatry that attempts to usurp the name of anti-psychiatry.
Frank is absolutely right. “Mental distress” will become yet another psychiatric euphemism. For HEAVEN’S SAKE people! Just mind your own business. If you think someone else has “mental distress,” then go look in the mirror and consider the ways in which you might be causing it. Good grief. I’m so sick of psychiatry. Come hell or high water, I will find a way to slay the dragon of psychiatry.
Bipolar is FICTION. Irritability is too mild a response to such psychiatric lies.
Amen sister! As you pursue your journey, and read the articles in the link that I shared, you will discover why even the notion of “mental health” is misleading. Best wishes.
Drugging the elderly… absolutely SICKENING. Psychiatry killed my grandmother, and it is doing the same to countless other helpless elderly people. Absolutely sickening.
I recommend Thomas Szasz’ The Myth of Psychotherapy as an antidote to such nonsense. https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/the-myth-of-psychotherapy/
Thanks for this article Michele. Your story provides more evidence that psychiatry does not spare even the highly successful, intelligent, and attractive members of society. Of course psychiatry preys upon the vulnerable of society most of all, but no one is immune.
It sounds like you have begun to discover the truth about psychiatry by reading Whitaker and Brogan. This is a good start. If you would like to learn more, the truth goes even deeper than that: https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/the-truth-about-psychiatry/
Thanks Chaya. Good point. Since psychotropic drugs are so obviously not “medicine” or “medication,” someone must have thought that a more subtle euphemism would be “meds.” What on earth are “meds”? Are they “medications”? No. Are they “medicine”? No. They’re “meds,” or in other words, brain destroying, neurotoxic, psychotropic, thanatophoric chemicals. It’s still dishonest and misleading, just like everything else in psychiatry. But we’re talking about a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that is so deceptive that euphemisms like “emotional lability” are used to cover up murder.
I see your point Eric. Thank you. In reality, the language is already there. As Szasz has eloquently articulated, like Kraus before him, it is psychiatry that has distorted the language. There is no need to create a new language. All that is necessary is to reject the false language that psychiatry has invented to promote its false concepts.
Eric, thanks. Of course one can sympathize with your sincere account. The only quibble that I have is that you seem to grant too much to psychiatry by using terms like “psychosis” and “mad.” You are not “mad” or “psychotic” or “mentally ill.” No one is any one of these things, no matter how much psychiatric myth-makers would have us believe it.
Good article. Thanks.
The question, of course, is what on earth is meant by the phrase “saved your life.” Imagine a world in which there never had been any psychotropic drugs. What would people say about persevering through challenging times? One might say that a good friend “save my life.” Another might say that improving my diet “saved my life.” Yet another might say that more consistent and better exercise “saved my life.” Instead, we live in a world in which Big Pharma and psychiatry have colluded to create and distribute neurotoxic drugs to which people then ignorantly ascribe their happiness and well-being: Neurotoxic drugs “saved my life.” Damaging psychiatric labels and involuntary incarceration “saved my life.” A pseudo-scientific, drug dealing psychiatrist “saved my life.” Give. Me. A. Break.
This is the key sentence in your article: “What we do know is that once someone’s life is destroyed or killed by psychiatry, they no longer have the voice to testify.” There are many reasons for this. A couple of these reasons, as you mentioned, are that a person may be killed or maimed in such a way as to render them unable to testify. Nevertheless, the blood of the innocent cries out from the ground for justice, and the groans of the wounded ascend to heaven where God in His mercy groans with them. It may be, however, that the more prevalent problem is that psychiatric survivors DO have a voice, and they DO speak… but NO ONE LISTENS. Even Mad in America, a supposedly “critical psychiatry” organization, is not really listening.
Why is this? Because only psychiatric survivors really know what is going on from the inside. If psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that is destroying the lives of millions of innocent people (AND IT IS), but the vast majority of people still believe that psychiatry is a field of medicine that helps the “mentally ill” or “saves peoples lives,” how will this racket ever be exposed for what it is? It is more nefarious than chattel slavery in this way, because at least it was apparent to all that slavery in the South was wrong. Southern slave owners might even be stung by their own consciences from time to time. Not so with psychiatry. Under psychiatric slavery, many of the slaves believe that the slavery is saving their lives, and many slave masters are praised for their benevolence – assuaged by their own conscience that they are providing a needed service for humanity:
Of course, there is nothing remotely “medical” about “meds.” The word “meds” is a euphemism for a dangerous neurotoxic drug. Just because hoards of people have been deceived by psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry does not mean that their lives have been saved by these “meds.” In fact, the best way to destroy lives and make people slaves is to fool them into believing that they are free. Psychiatry either forcibly removes liberty from people or it deceives people into willingly surrendering their liberty. Many people willingly surrender their liberty with a belief in the false notion that psychiatric “meds” will heal them. Either way, psychiatry robs them of their liberty.
Psychiatric “meds” DO NOT save lives. They fool people into believing that their lives are being saved while simultaneously robbing them of the liberty and the means to persevere through difficult times. This is just one of the many reasons why the dragon of psychiatry must be slain.
Text book knowledge in psychiatry = canonized fiction and delusion.
Nothing against you personally Steffen. I’m sure that you’re a decent person. I’m merely pointing out that this “program” is an offense to thinking individuals. Please familiarize yourself with the history of psychiatry, including the writings of Karl Kraus and Thomas Szasz. The notion of “psychosis” is part of psychiatric myth making. “Psychosis,” like mental illness, is a myth. Danke schoen.
“Rather, we depend fully on federal grants and donations for the development and dissemination of MCT materials.”
This article is helpful, in a sense, because it provides more evidence for the myriad ways in which tax dollars may be wasted. Psychiatry itself is a colossal delusion. It is the epitome of error, bias, false beliefs, delusions, and fixed false beliefs. Any thinking person understands that psychiatry is, as Szasz rightly understood, the science of lies. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, and no amount of fictional “therapy” can justify the atrocities that are carried out under its supposed authority.
Unlike Bugs Bunny, the myth of mental illness leaves nothing but destruction in its wake. Fictional “diseases” such as those listed in this article (i.e. geriatric depression, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) do more harm than any fictional “cure” could ever resolve. This is not thinking about thinking. That’s what philosophy is for. This is just one more manifestation of the delusional thinking that is characteristic of psychiatry.
Rather than attempt to treat such psychiatric delusions, I would simply recommend that people read more, and better books.
Bingo. rawSienna, where do you stand with regards to the abolition of psychiatry and anti-psychiatry?
I just read the title of this article and thought that bright light therapy might also be more effective in treating Santa Claus’s depression, the Easter Bunny’s ADHD, and the Tooth Fairy’s Schizophrenia.
Good grief people. There’s no such thing as “bipolar disorder.” It’s a figment of the psychiatric imagination, just like every other bit of the myth of “mental illness.” There’s no such thing as an “antidepressant” either.
It’s simply sickening to considering how much money is being wasted on “studies” such as these. Nietzsche mocked the modern scholar who would become an expert on the brain of a leech, but he could never have foreseen the extent of the stupidity of the modern psychiatric researcher.
According to this CVS document, “non-adherence” can lead to “hospitalization” or death. Of course, precisely the opposite is true. “Adherence” to psychotropic drugging is what leads to “hospitalization” (involuntary incarceration), and sometimes death.
The CVS document refers to neurotoxic psychotropic drugs as “medication.” “Medication” is a euphemism. There is nothing remotely medical in nature about these drugs. Unless we are willing to call cocaine, heroine, and LSD “medication,” there is no reason to call these drugs “medication.” Unless we are willing to call jumping off a 200 foot cliff onto jagged rocks or driving a bullet bike 200 mph into a brick wall “medication,” there is no reason to call neurotoxic psychotropic drugs “medication.” Perhaps the Athenians medicated Socrates with hemlock? Perhaps chattel slaves were medicated with whips and chains? Perhaps Nazis medicated Jews and others with hydrogen cyanide? Is Bashar al-Assad medicating Syrians with chlorine bombs and sulfur mustard?
Another obvious psychiatric euphemism in this CVS document is the word “therapy.” There is nothing remotely therapeutic about psychiatry. Unless we are willing to call torture, abuse, labeling, involuntary incarceration, and drugging “therapy,” which is exactly what psychiatry does. Psychiatry is an insidious branch of what Szasz called the therapeutic state. This CVS document is just one vivid example of how psychiatry, under the aegis of the therapeutic state, attempts to coerce and oppress its victims.
Benjamin Franklin proposed the following slogan for the seal of the United States: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Sanctioned by the therapeutic state, psychiatry is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific system of tyranny. Psychiatry is tyranny in blatant and subtle ways. There are blatant tyrannical measures that are promoted by psychiatry, such as this CVS mandate. Psychiatry also uses more subtle methods of tyranny.
“Isn’t this still America—where you have a right to stop taking your medication with or without your doctor’s approval?” No. This is America where innocent children, youth, adults, the elderly and even the homeless are subjected to psychiatric force, labeling, abuse, drugging, involuntary incarceration, shock, torture, and even death. This is America where the therapeutic state seeks to dominated the original constitutional democratic republic. This is America where brain destroying chemicals are called “medication,” and pseudo-scientific jailers and drug dealers are called “doctors.” This is America where psychiatry, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, is considered to be a field of “medicine.” This is America where the myth of mental illness rules, and the chemical imbalance hoax prevails. This is America, the home of the therapeutic state.
CVS provides the ammunition for the psychiatric branch of the therapeutic state. Like the SOMA drug in the brave new world of which Huxley so presciently wrote, CVS prescriptions are designed to keep the once vigilant citizens of the United States drugged into a chemical stupor. A fearful and sedated citizenry is the joy of a tyrannical government. Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty. And where the government supports psychiatric oppression, you have a new form of tyranny that Szasz rightly called the therapeutic state.
C.S. Lewis foresaw this kind of tyranny long ago:
“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely 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 with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
The time has come to slay the dragon of psychiatry.
Yum! Mermaids’ scales! 🙂
Thanks for this review.
No such thing as mental illness either. There’s the rub.
I’m glad that at least oldhead, Deacon, and a few others get it. Meanwhile, thanks to a large government grant, I’ve been conducting some very important scientific research on the Easter bunny and the Tooth-Fairy. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the technology to accurately measure the genetic makeup and the metabolic rates of these amazing creatures. Thus, I’m sorry to report that as yet our studies remain inconclusive. I am happy to report, however, that Santa Claus’s brain scans show that frequent movement up and down chimneys produces an increase of serotonin and dopamine levels, particularly in the hippocampus and cortex. Therefore, in the not too distant future I feel confident that we will be able to prove that Santa Claus’s schizophrenia will be curable thanks to a new milk and cookie flavored psychotropic drug.
Rachel777, I agree with you that selfishness and lack of love and compassion from neighbors and family members is at the root of the problem. Thank you for your reply. What distinction do you make between “involuntary” and “voluntary” psychiatry? I’m not sure that there is a real distinction, but I would be interested to know what you think. Thanks again.
Rachel777, I can tell by your comments that you are a very intelligent and articulate young lady. What do you think of antipsychiatry and the cause of psychiatric abolition?
EXACTLY! Thank you Mr. Timimi. Finally someone is making the connection between the psychiatric myths of “mental illness” and the myth of “Autism.” Bleuler did not diagnose his “patients.” He invented a concept, a label. That invention, like the invention of “Schizophrenia,” has had disastrous consequences. This is a very well written and measured article. It may be that you concede too much to psychiatry. Even Kanner did not really “diagnose” his “patients.” Categorizations of behaviors do not constitute diagnoses of diseases. The resultant medicalization and proliferation of false diagnoses has terrible consequences in the lives of innocent children.
The myth of “Autism” has rarely been investigated so well and so thoroughly. Well done. The so-called “twin studies,” genetic studies, and brain scans are all part of the pseudo-scientific charlatanry of psychiatry. The key, as Mr. Timimi has shown, is to go back to Bleuler to discover an answer to the question “What is Autism?” Even Bleuler didn’t know. That is the shocking truth of the matter. What does the term “Autism” even mean? Bleuler coined the term that he derived from the Greek “autos,” meaning self, as if to show that “Autism” is a disease of morbid self-admiration. What utter nonsense! Only a morbidly self-admiring psychiatrist could concoct such absurdities. Bleuler is also responsible for inventing the false diagnosis of “schizophrenia.” And wouldn’t you know it, Bleuler was a eugenicist. If we do a little research, it is easy to see the connection between Nazi eugenicism, which also included horrific “twin studies,” and modern psychiatry as it is traced through “Autism” and “Schizophrenia.”
Mr. Timimi has made a major break through in this article. Szasz wrote extensively about the myth of mental illness, but who will expose the myth of Autism more particularly? Mr. Timimi has made a good start.
Oh no. Not him again. Brain scans… quackery. Your first impression was right: charlatan.
Government grant dollars down the drain.
As good as Whitaker is at what he does, I hope that I’m not the only person on here who is skeptical of something called a “mad movement.” Such a title also plays right into the hands of psychiatry.
Thank Richard. To keep it simple, I will just respond the best way that I know how, which is first to emphasize the truth that we share, namely eternally hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. I also sense that we share a truth in a certain hope that human nature can be transformed for the better and that cooperation at the highest level is possible. I can appreciate that. Where we differ, I believe, is in how that human nature is transformed for the better and how that cooperation at the highest level is possible. I can jive with your song, and your article, and with the idea that there are yet great discoveries and advances to be made. I can even separate the desire for cooperation on the highest level that you call socialism from what I think socialism really entails. In other words, I believe that the truth that we share is greater than our differences. Rock on! Slay the dragon of psychiatry.
Great song Richard! Thank you. I appreciate your music and your creative endeavors, as well as your implacable opposition to psychiatry. I also oppose the hegemony of the therapeutic state, psychiatry and Big Pharma, and I can understand the justifiable concerns regarding the love of filthy lucre that is the root of all evil. Frank and mi raise the right questions in response. Socialism and communism are not the answer. But I greatly appreciate the work that went into the song and this article. Well done.
Bingo. A diagnosis can only pertain to an actual disease. Psychiatry does not diagnose. It labels. It invents fake “diagnoses” to apply to fake “diseases.” This works perfectly in a system in which fake “doctors” apply fake “remedies” to fake “patients.” It’s all a fraud. Even “malpractice” is putting it lightly, because the term “malpractice” assumes that there would be such a thing as good practice of psychiatry, which is simply not the case. Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery. It is a purely fraudulent endeavor that harms millions of innocent people. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
Interesting, although it seems to me that all of this would just play right into the hands of psychiatry anyhow. When will someone write about how psychotropic drugs CAUSE so-called “bipolar disorder.” That would be interesting, and also accurate.
Time to read Karl Kraus, a contemporary of Freud who understood what he was up to.
Ditto to that ditto.
Good points Rachell777.
Exactly. But I really hope that none of our disagreements will encourage Lawrence to go on a wild goose chase after “scientific data” for such a poorly conceived hypothesis. That wild goose chase would lead nowhere, and be even less fruitful than the hopeless psychiatric witch hunt for so-called “biological markers” for mythical “mental illness.” I’m sure that those of us who are truly antipsychiatry would still be happy to have Lawrence come back to the side of the truth in defense of victims of psychiatry.
“Sedating” is a euphemism for causing severe damage to the brain. Psychiatry revels in euphemisms.
I’ve been testing my hypothesis: reading Lawrence’s speculative article and comments causes cognitive decline. There seems to be much evidence thus far to support the conclusion that Lawrence’s writing of this speculative article and comments was a result of cognitive decline, but thus far, miraculously, Steve and others do not seem to have experienced the same cognitive decline while reading them.
Joking aside, allow me to lay to rest the false and damaging notion that “adults who are on drugs can’t use their cognitive skills since their brains are too sedated to do so, so their cognitive skills will expectably gradually decline from continual disuse.” First of all, Lawrence would need to define what it means to be “on drugs.” Is this a person who takes who takes an Ambien every so often, or a is this someone who has been riddled with ritalin, adderall, or subjected to polypharmacy and forced injections? Then he would have to define “cognitive skills.” Even drugged up human beings use plenty of “cognitive skills,” and as I mentioned earlier, it might take more brain power just to operate on a basic level. What is meant by “too sedated.” A person’s brain cannot be “sedated” unless something is “sedating” it, and that “sedation” is the result of a real interaction between a chemical compound and the brain. Next, I think that the word that Lawrence was looking for was “expectedly.”
In any case, the simple truth that can’t be avoided is that psychiatry CAUSES damage to the brain’s of its victims, first by the direct impact of psychotropic, neurotoxic drugs, and secondly by convincing its victims that the natural responses to the drugging is just a manifestation of some mysterious, underlying “mental illness.” Even worse, psychiatry then blames the victims of psychotropic drugging and psychiatric labeling for the suffering that they experience as a result of psychiatric interventions.
“How could a chemically-impaired brain learn or remember anything?” Lawrence, I thought that you didn’t believe that drugs can chemically impair the brain. At least that’s what your article and previous comments seem to imply. Do drugs chemically impair the brain or not? Yes. They do.
Lawrence’s speculations are not only tenuous at best, but they are also an affront to the victims of psychotropic drugging. Victims of psychotropic drugging come from all walks of life. I would venture to argue that if psychiatry had developed its arsenal of brain damaging drugs much earlier, many of the great minds of the past might have been destroyed. Actually, many great minds were destroyed by psychiatry in the past anyhow, and many more are being destroyed in the present. There are young Lincolns, Einsteins, Mozarts, Rembrandts, and Miltons whose brains have been assaulted by psychiatrists, and who may never recover or live long enough to fully overcome psychiatric abuse. This is a travesty of colossal proportions.
One last thing. Just as a personal testimony, I can guarantee our MIA audience that when I was forced to drop out of school, not just once, but twice, and when the suffering caused by the drugs was so severe that death would have seemed sweet to me at the time – I can guarantee you that what I experienced was not “cognitive decline due to disuse.” It was torture, abuse, and drugging. I didn’t have difficulty reading because I had stopped trying to read. For a time, the drugs made it next to impossible to read, to sleep, to have normal emotions, and good relationships. Like many victims of psychotropic drugging, I struggled with all my might just to survive and finally to escape the foul clutches of psychiatry. Thus my brain, along with the rest of me, grew stronger under the shackles of psychiatry. If we want to talk about disuse and atrophy, we might want to consider the disuse and atrophy of the brains and consciences of psychiatrists and mental health workers. It may still be possible for psychiatrists to recover from the disuse and atrophy of their brains and their consciences, but since their salary depends on such disuse and atrophy, recovery can be very difficult.
“And the last thing I want to do is seem like I am minimizing how chronic sedative use ruins people’s lives.” But that’s precisely what your article did, which is why there was such a pronounced reaction to your claims.
“I’m just suggesting that they ruin lives via a different mechanism than is widely thought, one that may be at least somewhat recoverable from with patience and hard work.” And what is this elusive “mechanism” of which you write? We really ought to begin with what is already known, much of which has been outlined in the work of Burstow, Moncrieff, and Breggin. We can also begin with the testimonies of victims of psychiatry. When they tell you about their experiences, they are not making them up. It is an insult to the immense suffering of psychiatric survivors to claim that recovery is simply a matter of patience and hard work, as if the drugs were just a little glitch to get through. Perhaps you didn’t mean it that way, but that’s how many commenters seemed to understand your arguments.
No one who has not experienced psychotropic drugging first hand can possibly begin to fathom the intensity of the suffering that that results from such psychiatric abuse. That is why there is such a terrible disconnect between so-called “professionals,” even the best of them, and actual victims of psychiatry.
Phoenix. I have empathy and sympathy for your dilemma. I would recommend reading anything written by Robert Whitaker or Peter Breggin. After that, read Thomas Szasz’ “The Myth of Mental Illness.” That is a good starting point.
I don’t know why you avoid all the substantive questions Lawrence. A lot depends on what you mean by “permanent” damage. It is quite possible, and even likely, that the brain damage caused by drugs may be permanent in some respects, but that a person may still fully recover from the trauma and even develop new strengths. Sadly, Phoenix, like many victims of psychiatric abuse, still adheres to a pro-psychiatry paradigm, a paradigm that your present theory fully supports.
“Of course the shutting down of all thoughts/feelings/initiative/behaviors, or oppression, is the purpose of these drugs.” Not quite. These are the RESULTS of the drugging. The immediate EFFECTS are to DAMAGE receptors, neurons, and various parts of the human brain. The virus analogy doesn’t hold. The hammer analogy is more appropriate.
Of course you are free to launch your very tenuous hypothesis. But your case is made worse by the attempt to connect such a tenuous, pro-psychiatry hypothesis with anything that is truly antipsychiatry.
Lawrence, this theory of yours, which has no evidence to support it, is as pro-psychiatry as they come. There is a vast chasm between pyschiatry’s false claim that “mental illness” requires “treatment” because biologically defective brains don’t function normally, and the universally recognized and incontrovertible fact that psychotropic drugs alter the brain and CAUSE the very symptoms that they are purported to cure. Moreover, your theory plays right into the hands of psychiatry because you continue to use psychiatric terminology such as “antipsychotics” and “antidepressants.” There is no such thing as an “antipsychotric” or an “antidepressant.” These neurotoxic drugs would more aptly be named “psychotics” or “depressants.”
You claim that the “cognitive functioning” of “sedated people” declines over time. This is precisely what psychiatrists would like the general public to believe. What can possibly be meant by “sedated people”? Some substance was prescribed, or forced upon these victims of psychiatry, and that substance clearly does something to the brains of victims of psychiatry to “sedate” them. The fact is that psychotropic, neurotoxic drugs DAMAGE the brain in ways that have yet to be fully understood, because, as you mentioned, the human brain is infinitely more complex than anyone can possibly begin to understand.
Your theory that victims of psychotropic drugging lose capacities because of disuse is simply unfounded. If I smack you on the head with a sledge-hammer, and you forget all the Spanish that you learned in high school, should I assume that your enfeebled memory is a result of disuse? Of course sadness is a normal human experience. Even drug-induced despair and suicidal ideation is a reasonable, though painful, response to psychotropic drugging. But psychiatry, through its poisonous chemical compounds that masquerade as “medicine,” CAUSES many, if not most of these symptoms.
I oppose the medical model more than anyone on this planet because I oppose psychiatry itself. There is a difference between the psychiatric claim that “abnormal anatomy” causes “abnormal functioning” and the scientific fact that psychotropic drugs damage the brain and the rest of the body in ways that have yet to be fully explained. These drugs are not “placebos.” They are drugs. You know that as well as anyone. Are drugs good for the brain? No. Do they damage the brain? Yes. Is that brain damage a psychiatric disease? No. Is psychiatry responsible for these crimes? Yes.
You claim that ECT is different because it clearly fries the brain. In a different, though similarly painful way, drugs CLEARLY fry the brain. An electrical current is different from chemical interventions, but that doesn’t mean that chemical interventions are harmless. And just as a side note, if you buy into the “Autism” myth, you have already bought into the psychiatric paradigm that you so ardently claim to oppose.
Brain damage isn’t measured merely by the symptoms that you mention, such as tics, etc. We may not fully understand how psychotropic, neurotoxic drugs damage the brain, but unless we admit that the drugs were designed to do just that, namely, damage the brain, then we are already taking the side of psychiatry.
Another point. Any use of the term “side-effects” demonstrates a lack of understanding concerning psychotropic drugs. The term “side-effects” is a misnomer because it assumes that psychotropic drugs have some primary therapeutic value, which is simply false. These drugs are not “medications” with “side-effects.” The so-called “side-effects” ARE THE INTENDED EFFECTS of the drugs, but they are called “side-effects” in order to create the illusion that the other effects of the drugs, such as sedation or stimulation, are the primary, intended effects of the drugs.
Interesting. I agree that he wasn’t really antipsychiatry… but that’s an interesting thesis for a book… and it really happens, so Laing may have correctly figured out a thing or two.
oldhead, we’re on the same team – for antipsychiatry – the ad hominem was the Hannity stuff – and as far as making generalized ideological pronouncements, that’s a good description of what most of the political commentary on MIA is all about – I just try to question all that. I question the vast array of ideological political assertions that are made on this website. Someone’s gotta do it. 🙂
Thanks man. 😉
Good point Frank. The arguments are much more complex than a simple dichotomy between Szasz and Laing. However, in my opinion, Szasz was right about Laing. In this reading, I wouldn’t call Soteria houses antipsychiatry, but I can certainly see why they would be better than the run of the mill psychiatric torture.
Lawrence, you’re not being positive about the possibility of recovery when you deny that from which victims of psychiatry are actually recovering. The damage is real, though not always irreversible. If your goal is to help people to reach their potential, the first step is to stop drugging them.
However, I believe that you may be onto something in terms of the way in which psychiatry aims to blame the victims of psychiatry or to create a sense that brains are defective, either before or after drugging. The solution is to abolish psychiatry, not to blame the victims of psychiatry. Even though a brain may be harmed terribly by psychiatry, that brain is not defective or “broken.” First psychiatry harms people, and then it attempts to harm the people it has harmed by medicalizing the very torture that they have imposed. It’s as if psychiatry takes a club to a person’s head, or a sledge hammer, and then looks at the damage caused and calls it a “disease” that requires “treatment” by psychiatrists.
Of course none of this is true. Psychiatry causes the harm in the first place, and it causes more harm by trying to fix the harm that it causes. I’m afraid that to deny any of these facts puts you squarely in the pro-psychiatry corner.
“First psychiatry told them that they have permanently defective brain chemistry and hard-wiring, which make them incapable of managing their lives.” And we AGREE that this is nonsense.
“Then they’re told this was a lie, and that in actuality their brains were fine before the drugging, but now the drugs have permanently damaged their brain chemicals and structure, suggesting once again that they’re incapable of managing their lives.” Ok, who is making this claim? You’re putting two things together that don’t fit. The first part of the sentence is almost true, i.e. psychiatry disseminates lies to people to convince them that their brains are defective or that they have “mental illness.” But I’m not aware of many psychiatrists or pro-psychiatry people who claim that, in actuality, the brains of their victims were fine before drugging.
Also, a distinction needs to be made between the fact that psychotropic drugs CAUSE damage to the human brain, and the notion that people with damaged brains cannot recover. I’m not sure whose claims you are setting forth here. The truth is that even though psychotropic drugs are known to CAUSE damage to the brain, there is no reason to suppose that such damage is permanent or irreparable, although in many cases it might be.
You seem to claim that a person’s brain is not effected by psychotropic drugging. This is simply not true. Then in the same breath you claim that victims of psychotropic drugging experience “brain atrophy” from lack of use. You claim that zombified peoples’ brains atrophy from lack of use, when the opposite is probably the case. These are brains working overtime and without adequate pay.
Again, recovery is possible, but the question is, recovery from what? Victims of psychotropic drugging are not recovering from lack of brain use or reviving dormant brain skills. They are recovering from severe trauma that has been inflicted upon them by psychiatrists. You are not going against the grain here. Such arguments fall right in line with the psychiatric methods that lead to drugging in the first place.
Uprising is actually, in this rare occasion, correct. The only way that you are going against the grain is by downplaying the real effects of psychotropic drugs.
For the record, I agree with you that psychiatry attempts to infantilize its victims, and it imposes a sense of learned helplessness on everyone, including victims of psychotropic drugging. The difference is that a person’s brain may incur real harm from drugs. Of course a person may recover from this harm… many commenters in this thread have done so. But if you want to give people hope, you let them know that recovery is possible, even though it might be difficult, and that the damage that they sustained because of psychotropic drugging will eventually heal. A person’s brain may be damaged, but that doesn’t mean that he or she can’t fight back and grow stronger from the experience. Any denial of the danger and harm caused by psychotropic drugs falls squarely into the category of pro-psychiatry.
Good point. I believe that most prescribers don’t really know what they have done, just like most victims of drugging hardly realize what has happened to them. The best thing for a former prescriber to do is to recognize the harm that he or she has caused, whether unwittingly or not, and to renounce psychiatry. In fact, a penitent former drugger and jailer may become a great ally to his former victims as well as to many future survivors of psychiatric abuse.
Ok. Thanks for clarifying. This helps me to understand your arguments much better. What do you mean that neuroleptics shut down peoples’ brains? Could you please elaborate on what you mean by “shut down”? I’m sorry that you chose to ingest a psychotropic drug or two. Which drug did you test out? Have you ever tried polypharmacy… maybe 7 or 8 drugs at a time? I appreciate your attempt to empathize with those who were labeled as “mentally ill,” but three days of unconsciousness would seem like a pleasant dream compared to years of torture, abuse, drugging, involuntary incarceration, ostracism, and false diagnoses.
I’m still struggling to understand how you consider that neuroleptic-drugged people don’t suffer from long term damage to their brains. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “chemical” damage, because, like you said, that plays into the hands of psychiatry. But there is ample evidence that psychotropic, neurotoxic drugs damage the brain, both short term and long term. You can’t ingest these poisons without causing damage to the brain, just like you can’t be a heavy drinker or smoker without causing some damage to your brain and lungs. These are drugs, chemically similar to many street drugs, some like cocaine or speed.
Another problem with your argument is that many people who have been drugged are using their brains much more than the average person. Many doctors are on these drugs. Also, the brains of people who are drugged or who drug themselves are working over-time to compensate for the damage that is being done. Just because a person has been labeled as “mentally ill” and drugged doesn’t mean that he or she stops using his or her brain. In fact, it takes an intense amount of perseverance, concentration, effort and brain power just to withstand the terrible effects of the drugs, and even more so to withdraw and to heal from the damage that they cause. This is not conjecture. It’s scientific fact.
Porque quedaste de estudiar el español? Verguenza! I’m not sure what your Spanish example proves since you weren’t drugged while studying Spanish or thereafter. If you had been taking 5 or 6 psychotropic drugs at the time, I would be impressed if you could remember “Yo me llamo Lawrence” in Spanish. I’m reading Dante, Virgil, Plato, Tocqueville, and other authors now, but there was a time when I could barely read a sentence from a Dr. Seuss book, and it wasn’t because I had stopped trying. I had to drop out of school because the suffering became so intense. Does that mean my brain was damaged by chemicals? It depends on what you mean by damage, and what you mean by chemicals. Since these drugs are chemicals, and since they do cause damage, I might respond yes to that question. But that would not make me pro-psychiatry at all. Have I recovered? Yes, after 20 years of suffering that you can’t even begin to fathom.
“But someone who was basically unconscious due to neuroleptics for 30 years never had a chance to use any of their abilities, so all their abilities will of course become lost over time. Doesn’t that make sense?” I think that I see where you are coming from, but no, it doesn’t make sense. These drugs don’t just make people unconscious. I would venture to argue that most people who have been drugged and labeled as “mentally ill” still fight through the pain and try to live decent lives. They might be using more of their abilities than ever while their brains are saturated in neurotoxins. It’s something terrible to contemplate, even for those who imposed this kind of suffering on others without knowing it. They may loose some abilities for a time, maybe even a long time, but that is not due merely to lack of use but to the action of the drugs themselves. There is ample evidence that these neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs alter brain structure and functioning. I like to entertain the notion that since my brain was forced to bear an exceedingly heavy load of toxic chemicals for so long that it actually grew stronger in the process, with more neurons, dendrites, synapses, etc., which is one reason why I’m so smart. But then again, I receive frequent reminders, whether in the form of nightmares or other suffering, that the healing process is much longer and much more tedious than anyone who hasn’t experienced can possibly imagine.
“You’re willing to question so many myths which authorities proclaimed to be facts, so why not consider that the neurotoxic permanent brain damage claim, despite being promoted by most supposedly anti-psychiatry people, may also be a myth?”
I don’t just question the myths and hoaxes of psychiatry. I expose them and reject them. I’m afraid that I will have to do the same thing with the theory that you present, as an authority, because akathisia, tardive dyskinesia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome are real. I wouldn’t necessarily argue that the brain damage is insuperable, but I guarantee you that it is real, and very difficult to overcome. When a person’s hair turns all white, they bloat up like a balloon, their hands shake uncontrollably, and they look like zombies… something is happening in their brains, and it isn’t pretty.
Of course I agree with you that psychiatry has no business trying to “heal” the people that it tortures and abuses, but the fact that neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs inflict terrible harm on the brains of innocent human beings cannot be wished away as just another psychiatric myth. There are too many people who stand as living, or dead, witness of this sad truth.
Ultimately, your argument that psychotropic, neurotoxic drugs don’t cause damage is very helpful to the cause of psychiatry, which is just one reason why those who oppose psychiatry must reject it.
Excellent point. Most tragedies are not so visible. Most tragedies will not be reported. But these tragedies are many and terrible.
Yes, it takes a long time to educate oneself on the truth about psychiatry. Even most of the people who post articles on MIA are still in the process of discovering the truth about psychiatry. Most authors know that there is something terribly wrong with psychiatry, but they haven’t quite grasped why psychiatry ought to be abolished.
This is such a terrible tragedy… par for the course for psychiatry. The difficulty, of course, is that no one who has not experience psychotropic drugging first hand can really understand how these neurotoxic drugs alter the brain, and in turn distort thoughts and behaviors.
This tragic case of drug-induced murder has caused terrible harm to the perpetrator of the crime as well as the victim. Psychiatry destroys the lives of innocent people, and then in turn it blames the victims. While murder is never justified, and while the insanity plea is another psychiatric lie, it must be acknowledged that there are very real cases of drug induced violence.
Although the perpetrator of the crime has to live with the awful consequences of the actions, as in this case, he or she is completely innocent. There is a difference between the psychiatric insanity plea that seeks to exculpate the guilty and cases such as this. I am convinced that David, as well as many other victims of psychotropic drugging, including school shooters and Andrea Lubitz of Germanwings infamy, are innocent. Psychiatry and Big Pharma are directly responsible for these horrendous crimes. Psychiatry and Big Pharma try to hide their nefarious deeds, but truth eventually prevail, and justice will eventually be served.
However, victims of such awful tragedies need to educate themselves on the truth about psychiatry. Victims of psychiatry should not use the jargon of psychiatry to explain their suffering. These neurotoxic drugs are not “antidepressants.” The drug-induced violence is not “psychosis.” There is no such thing as “mental health” or “mental illness.” Drug-induced violence and murder does not constitute a “mental disorder.” These drugs are not “medications.” GSK is just one of the many putrid parts of the dragon of psychiatry.
I hope that you will make these facts clear to Dr. Oz who seems to have had trouble understanding Dr. Breggin’s eloquent explanations.
Sorry Lawrence, but MIA is not an anti-psychiatry website. It is a “reform” or “critical” psychiatry website. There is a world of difference between antipsychiatry and reform or critical psychiatry.
Even Szasz failed to fully comprehend the damage that is caused by psychotropic drugs. But the biomedical model is not the only culprit here. Long before the rise of the so-called bio-medical model, psychiatry had been inflicting harm on the brains of innocent human beings. Szasz did understand correctly, however, that Laing was not really anti-psychiatry. That is why Szasz wrote an entire book called “Anti-psychiatry: Quackery Squared.” Even though Szasz called for the abolition of psychiatry, he opposed the fake anti-psychiatry of Laing. Thus far I haven’t been able to discern any truly anti-psychiatry arguments in Lawrence’s article either, except for his opposition to the bio-medical model, which is at least a start.
Ok. Finally we’re getting to the heart of the matter, and I can see more clearly now. Basically, Lawrence is simply mistaken in his assumptions about the effects, both short term and long term, of psychotropic drugs. Having never been drugged himself, he just doesn’t know what he is talking about. Of course it is true that people can and do recover from the damage that is inflicted by psychotropic drugs, but it is false that psychotropic drugs don’t cause damage. Psychotropic drugs cause severe damage to the human brain. These injuries can heal, but it is a much more difficult and painful process than simply turning on a lamp. The attempt to claim a status as an “antipsychiatrist” while blaming victims of psychotropic drugging for apathy or weak will is disingenuous at best.
Thank you for your reply Lawrence. I appreciate it. I am trying very hard to understand, but I confess that this argument is becoming even more confusing. First of all, as I’m sure that you’re already aware, even the use of the term “antidepressant” indicates a pro-psychiatry position. Dr. Breggin’s use of the word “neurotoxins” is a more appropriate appellation for psychotropic drugs.
In reality, there is no such thing as an “antidepressant.” The word “antidepressant” is a euphemism for a neurotoxic, psychotropic (and what I like to call thanatophoric) drug. As I’m sure that you’re also already aware, the use of the term “mania” indicates a pro-psychiatry position.
But I’m still having difficulty understanding your point. The fact is that neurotoxic, psychotropic, thanatophoric drugs CAUSE a great deal of suffering and may provoke symptoms that lead to violence and even death. This is just a fact. How exactly this happens is a complex matter, but the simple truth is that these poisonous chemical compounds were DESIGNED, with the approval and backing of psychiatry, to do just that. Even though these drugs were DESIGNED to harm the human brain, they were also DESIGNED to do so while hiding behind the claim that such drugs are a type of “medication.” By this same reasoning we might believe that alcohol, nicotine, or cocaine are types of “medication.” Psychiatry is the driving force behind psychotropic drugging, and psychotropic drugging is one of the main mechanisms whereby innocent people are dragged into the web of psychiatric torture and abuse.
I understand your point that many people, including innocent children, are being told lies about these drugs. That is true. But the underlying assumption in your argument, if I understand it correctly, is that these kids have real problems, what psychiatry likes to call “mental illness,” that must be addressed in other ways, and not chemically. Did I understand you correctly? If so, I object to this characterization of the vast majority of the victims of psychiatry. Many victims of psychiatry begin as relatively healthy and competent human beings, who, after they are drugged, begin to experience a wide variety of terrible symptoms that are then interpreted as “mental illness.” Of course there are others who experience problems before encountering psychiatry, but psychiatry produces the vast majority of problems either through drugging or by convincing people that they are “mentally ill.” Escape is always possible, but as I mentioned above, it can be very difficult as well.
I agree with you 100% that all of this talk about so-called “brain disease” or “broken brains” is absolute nonsense. Psychiatry markets madness in many ways. It attempts to convince people that they have “broken brains” or “brain diseases” or “mental illnesses” that are incurable and that must be “treated” with drugs. Sadly, many fall prey to these deceptions.
If I understand you correctly, you claim that kids are given the false hope that drugs will cure their “broken brains,” and when the drugs fail to accomplish this, the same kids crash because of dashed expectations. This is not quite true, but close to the truth. It is close to the truth because the “broken brain” bit is a lie, and because psychotropic drugs don’t “cure” anything. But it is not quite true because psychotropic drugs inflict REAL damage on the human brain in ways that we have yet to fully understand. The reason why victims of psychiatry crash is not just because of dashed hopes or unrealized expectations. Psychotropic drugs CAUSE severe damage to the brain, and may even lead a victim of drugging to suicide or horrendous acts of violence. Dr. Breggin is actually right about this, although I agree with you that drug induced brain damage does not constitute a psychiatric “disease.”
If I have understood your argument correctly, you oppose biological psychiatry and the so-called medical model, not only in its original form, but as it applies to post-drug victims of psychiatry. The point that I believe that you need to clarify regards the effects of the drugs themselves. While it is true that there is no such thing as a “chemical imbalance” in the brain or a “broken brain,” it is also true that psychotropic drugs CAUSE terrible suffering that may manifest itself in a variety of ways, including unwanted thoughts and feelings. This should not be interpreted as “faulty wiring” or bad “brain chemistry,” but psychotropic drugs do act on the human brain in terrible ways that have yet to be fully understood.
I’m still not quite sure what you mean by your “latter theory,” or by “anti-psychiatry.” It would be a very pro-psychiatry position to claim that psychotropic drugs do not cause harm. I hope that is not your position, but I’m having difficulty discerning what you mean. Thank you in advance for your efforts to clarify your meaning.
Thanks knowledgeispower. Hopefully Lawrence will respond with some clarifications.
Ad hominem attacks are not arguments.
Lawrence, with all due respect, I don’t think that anyone is really arguing with the idea that people can overcome their circumstances or that they are capable of healing. Yes. People are resilient. Yes. There are many people who have overcome adverse circumstances. There are even a few people who have managed to escape the foul clutches of psychiatry, and to heal from the traumatic abuse that was forced upon them, including neurotoxic drugging. I also don’t think that there has been a negative reaction to different, non-socially accepted ideas.
If I understand your arguments correctly, Lawrence, biological psychiatry profits from a culture in which learned helplessness is pervasive. Correct me if I am wrong. If I am interpreting your arguments correctly, it appears that you claim that biological psychiatry, or the medical model, is simply capitalizing on the passivity and weakness of the vulnerable in society, including those who are rendered vulnerable by psychotropic drugging and psychiatric labeling. If my understanding of your arguments is correct, there may be some truth to them, but it’s just one small fraction of the problem. The menace of psychiatry is much greater than the biological or medical model, and victims of psychiatry come from all walks of life, not only the docile and subservient, whether drugged or otherwise.
If I understand your arguments about drugs and so-called “chemical imbalances,” you seem to claim that there are “anti-psychiatrists” who promote the “chemical imbalance” hoax, not in its original form, but in a new, supposedly iatrogenic form. I’m not doubting that you have encountered such imposters, but I would be curious to know just who these supposed “anti-psychiatrists” are. They certainly don’t represent antipsychiatry properly understood.
Furthermore, a distinction needs to be made between the false assertion that a iatrogenic “chemical imbalance” in the brain constitutes a psychiatric disease, and the true statement that neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs inflict terrible harm on innocent individuals, harm that causes horrendous suffering, and sometimes even death. We can reject the false notion that there is some iatrogenic “chemical imbalance” that resembles the original “chemical imbalance” hoax while still recognizing the reality that many have been tortured, maimed, and even killed in the name of psychiatric “medicine” and “treatment.”
If I understand your arguments correctly, you oppose biological psychiatry and some cohort of self-proclaimed “anti-psychiatrists” because they facilitate the learned helplessness of vulnerable members of society, including those who have been drugged and led to believe that their psychiatric abuse and torture is indicative of some supposedly real psychiatric “disease.” Am I reading you right? If so, I applaud you for your opposition to biological psychiatry, and for correctly pointing out that even iatrogenic harm caused by drugs cannot be resolved under the purview of psychiatry.
However, it is simply untrue that biological psychiatry or fake “anti-psychiatrists” are the only culprits. Those who truly oppose psychiatry reject psychiatry as a whole. They don’t hold on to some fantasy that there is a way to reform or rethink psychiatry, neither do they entertain the illusion that iatrogenic harm produces psychiatric “disease.”
Are people capable of healing? Of course. Can people overcome their circumstances? Naturally. Frederick Douglass and a fortunate few escaped chattel slavery. Victor Frankl and other resilient souls survived the Holocaust. But does that mean that there was a good form of slavery or Naziism that ought to have been preserved? I don’t think so. Psychiatry, a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, like chattel slavery and Naziism, must be eliminated. Biological psychiatry is just one particularly pernicious manifestation of an entirely corrupt enterprise. The whole dragon of psychiatry must be slain. If we attempt to amputate a limb or to scrape off a few scales, there is always the danger that such appendages will grow back.
Again, there are no real antipsychiatrists that promote any such medicalization, and it is not helpful to dignify such imposters with the title “antipsychiatry.”
“I have no strong views on how best to prevent this.”
One of the best ways to prevent this is to abolish psychiatry.
Nah. I’ll stick to truth, and let the truth cut it’s own path. My political analysis is actually just as sharp, if not sharper than my AP analysis. Truth is troubling to psychiatrists for reasons that are obvious to both you and me. Truth can also be troubling to political ideologues, be they liberals, conservatives, or libertarians.
Lawrence, there are many things about the more liberal leaning antipsychiatrists that I can appreciate, including their concern for the poor and the vulnerable of society. These are definitely issues that need to be addressed. However, I am reject the progressive ideologies that feed into the psychiatric system. Thanks in advance for your response.
“I am rebelling against psychiatry’s medical model, which is society’s way of suppressing such free/independent thought by blaming everything on ‘bad brains’.”
This is very close to the truth. But it isn’t just psychiatry’s medical model that suppresses free/independent thought by blaming everything on “bad” or “broken” brains. It’s psychiatry itself. I agree with you completely that the “bad” or “broken” brain narrative is absolute nonsense. However, these notions come to us directly, or indirectly, from psychiatry itself, and not just from the “medical model.”
“The ‘anti-psychiatry’ movement of the past 25 years is actually pro-psychiatry since it also blames brain chemistry, so of course it’s failing.” This is a caricature of “anti-psychiatry.” Whoever these people are who blame “brain chemistry” are not truly anti-psychiatry. The truth is that neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs cause great damage the brain. The brain damage that is caused by neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs is not a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. The “chemical imbalance” hoax was proved to be false almost as soon as it was concocted, but pharmaceutical companies have marketed this hoax very effectively. In other words, no one who is truly anti-psychiatry blames brain chemistry for anything. However, neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs damage the brain and cause a variety of terrible symptoms from which it may be very difficult to recover.
“So I am trying to form a splinter anti-psychiatry group that instead promotes thinking outside the medical-model box, as not only the great thinkers of the 1900s who I referred to did, but many other psychologists, philosophers, and sociologists since Greek times did as well.”
I appreciate the opposition to the medical model, but frankly, it is rather difficult to form an anti-psychiatry group while still supporting psychiatry in other forms. As I mentioned before, Freud was not a great thinker, and in many ways his false philosophy is part and parcel of psychiatry as a whole, and it is even part of the medical model in particular.
“We can only defeat psychiatry by breaking completely free of its pseudoscience zombiehood which has taken over our culture, and rediscovering our ability to reason logically, as these people did.”
Now I’m confused. It seems as though, in this sentence, you oppose psychiatry as a whole? Is that correct? If so, then you are on the right track. Psychiatry itself IS a pseudoscience. Psychology is not far behind in terms of pseudoscience. Truth, reason, liberty, responsibility, and common sense stand in direct opposition to pseudoscientific psychiatry. Psychiatry, as Szasz noted, is the science of lies. It is based on deception, coercion, fraud, and oppression. It only makes sense to oppose psychiatry in all its viscious forms.
“But helping people think about and face the truth, rather than just telling them what they want to hear (that they bear no responsibility whatsoever for their troubles or for addressing them), will help them take back freedom/power over their lives.” This is exactly right, and this is exactly what I have tried to do with you, Lawrence, since I recognize that you are a free and independent thinker. My hope is to communicate truth directly, rather than telling you what you want to hear. Szasz and Kraus were closer to the truth, and both of them saw Freud for the fraud that he was. It is impossible to support Freud and the long line of psychiatric charlatans while attempting to combat psychiatry.
It is true, as Steve mentioned, that neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs have terrible adverse effects. But these drugs could not be marketed so effectively without the pseudo-scientific myths of psychiatry to promote them. I believe that most of us who truly oppose psychiatry, who are truly antipsychiatry, would especially welcome people like you to join us because, like Szasz, Breggin, and others, you have the perspective of an insider, so to speak. You have the potential to combat psychiatry from the inside as a “professional.” But even Szasz and Breggin run into some major difficulties when they try to preserve some semblance of normalcy in psychiatry.
Lawrence, you make some excellent points in this article, and I can understand your criticism of “learned helplessness.” It’s good that you’ve discovered some truth that has lead you to the anti-biological psychiatry position. There’s much more to the story than that, as I’m sure you’re also aware.
I can appreciate the attempt to think through Whitaker’s arguments, because even Whitaker, as great as he is, hasn’t quite grasped certain things that people like Szasz and Kraus grasped so long ago. In my estimation, it would be a grave mistake to underestimate the severe harm that is caused by neurotoxic drugs. It is possible to recover from psychiatric drugging, torture, abuse, shock, involuntary incarceration, and slavery. It is possible, but it’s not nearly as easy as you make it out to be. For the sake of analogy, imagine Frederick Douglass. It was possible for him to escape from slavery, and he did it. But millions of others were not able to escape. In other words, escape and recovery from psychiatric slavery is possible, but very difficult.
Also, you are critical of biological psychiatry and the medical model. This is good. But why insist on preserving psychiatry at all? It isn’t just biological psychiatry that has caused such atrocious harm, it is psychiatry itself. Yes, people are resilient. Yes, people can and do recover. Yes, the human spirit has an amazing capacity to overcome adverse circumstances. Does this mean that we ought to perpetuate the ideologies and the institutions that impose these adverse circumstances on innocent people? Isn’t life difficult enough for all of us as it is already without the additional trouble of psychiatry?
You claim that “mental illnesses” are “actually reactions to psychosocial issues.” As has been shown many times over, such reasoning ends up supporting psychiatry as a whole, including biological, medical model psychiatry. One of the major problems with your argument, although it may hold true for a fraction of the victims of psychiatry, is that there are many people who are dragged into the nefarious web of psychiatry without seeking out psychiatric “care.” In fact, I would venture to guess that most people get sucked into the psychiatric vortex without even realizing it. Even those who have woken up to the truth about psychiatry may have a very difficult time escaping the tentacles of this horrible monster, or the claws and the fangs of this dragon.
I agree that human beings place too much trust in medicine, in doctors, and in psychiatrists. This is a problem. But the source of the problem is usually ignorance, not necessarily learned helplessness or passivity. This ignorance extends to almost every corner of the globe, and psychiatry has done a great job in perpetuating the kinds of myths that keep people ignorant. Even the myth that there is a good kind of psychiatry and a bad kind of psychiatry keeps people ignorant and facilitates the dominion of psychiatry.
You ask an interesting question: “Why further nourish this harmful myth by teaching that worsening depression is due to a drug-induced chemical imbalance?” The myth, however, is not just the “chemical imbalance” hoax, whether it be the myth of the drug-induced “chemical imbalance” or otherwise. The harmful myth is the myth of mental illness itself, and it isn’t just biological psychiatry that fosters this myth. Neurotoxic drugs cause terrible harm. Psychiatry capitalizes on this harm by pretending to “treat” the problems that it causes. But all of this is only possible because the myth of mental illness reigns supreme. Psychiatry, not just biological psychiatry, sustains the myth of mental illness.
Of course it’s all part of the psychiatric enterprise to add iatrogenic “diseases” to the DSM-V, and this needs to be stopped. Of course people can recover from psychiatric abuse, drugging, incarceration, torture, shock, and slavery… people are powerful. There are people who survived Nazi prison camps, the gulags, and chattel slavery. But does this mean that those who didn’t make it through such horrific experiences were just too weak-willed? I don’t think so.
Lawrence, you come so close to the truth. You ask “Why not discard it (the DSM-V) and its medical model approach altogether?” Yes. Discard these things. But how? By discarding PSYCHIATRY altogether. What makes you wish to hold on to the very system that created these problems in the first place? You take a big step: “Why not become truly anti biological psychiatry?” But why not take the full step? Why not become truly anti-PSYCHIATRY?
And just for the record Freud, Laing, Skinner, and Maslow were not great thinkers. Freud was a fraud, and very cunning and clever, but not a great thinker. Laing was a disaster, as Szasz has so clearly articulated. Skinner was radical behaviorist who believed that free will was an illusion, but he was not a great thinker. Maslow, the prophet of “self-actualization,” and Erikson, were not quite great thinkers either. Even though Maslow was critical of Freud, both he and Erikson were still under his spell. Goffman was also under Freud’s spell, but at least he cofounded of the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization. I wouldn’t even say that Szasz and Kraus were necessarily great thinkers, although they came much closer to being great thinkers than any of the people that you mentioned. In any case, most of these people (perhaps with the exception of Freud), whether almost great thinkers or not, had the advantage of using brains that had not been saturated in neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs.
Those who are fortunate enough to have brains that are free from neurotoxins need to think more deeply and clearly about how we can really help those whose lives have been destroyed by psychiatry. On the other hand, those whose lives have been destroyed by psychiatry can take hope in the assurance that escape and full recovery from psychiatric slavery is possible.
Exactly Frank. Well said.
I just have to point out that this is one of the most ridiculous articles that MIA has published in a while. Psychiatry is inherently a system of slavery, torture, and abuse that uses false diagnoses and harmful labels to stigmatize and ostracize its victims. Psycho-babble, or psychiatric doublespeak, is used to reinforce every insidious practice in psychiatry, thus involuntary incarceration becomes “hospitalization,” unwanted behavior becomes “mental illness,” neurotoxic drugs become “medications,” and stigmatizing labels become “diagnoses.” We’ve even heard of suicide called “emotional lability.”
I realize that this article is meant to report on the Lancet article. The Lancet article is obviously ridiculous. Psychiatry cannot be made better by improving the language. Psychiatry is the CAUSE of the problems that it pretends to cure. Terms such as “mental illness,” “psychosis,” and even the term “patient” are inherently condescending and abusive. Psychiatry cannot be fixed. It must be abolished. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
This is a good article, and of course Mr. Whitaker is doing great work still. Thank you.
As the list of studies and statistics grows ever longer, we might want to pause for a moment to consider that these are human beings we are talking about. Somewhere in those statistics, numbers, and studies, our suffering brothers and sisters cry out, whose brains are damaged by neurotoxins, and whose lives are ruined by psychiatry. It is sickening. Add to these tragedies the untold numbers of deaths that have been caused directly or indirectly by psychiatry. Psychiatry is evil, and it must be abolished. God’s justice cannot sleep forever. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
Great article, as usual Dr. Breggin. Thank you.
I am predicting that we will see many more of these mass shootings in the not too distant future. The casualties will mount even more in the future if psychiatry attempts to drug more and more of the so-called “mentally ill.” Here’s how it works: Psychiatry drugs and labels people, the neurotoxins CAUSE these same people to act out violently, and then psychiatry claims that there is a great problem with “mental illness” in this country. Then psychiatry will claim that more people need to take their “meds.” More people need “hospitalization.” Once these same people are turned loose from the “hospitals” with brains and bodies filled with neurotoxins, they will be more likely to perpetrate horrendous crimes. And the cycle continues… at least until psychiatry is abolished.
“Because of the drastic changes these neurotoxins impose on the brain and mind, many victims require hospitalization and treatment lasting long after the offending drug is out of their system.”
This is one of the only statements in the article that doesn’t quite ring true to me. While it is true that neurotoxic psychotropic drugs damage the brain and CAUSE people to lash out in violence, it is not true that such victims REQUIRE “hospitalization” or “treatment.” I understand that this is the kind of psychiatric jargon that the masses will understand, but it’s simply not true. What these poor souls require is an environment of healing in which to withdraw from the dangerous neurotoxins. “Hospitalization” is a euphemism for involuntary incarceration. “Treatment” is a euphemism for torture, abuse, drugging, and labeling. In fact, many victims of psychiatry are pumped full of neurotoxins during their “hospitalization” and “treatment.”
Considering the astronomical figures of victims of psychiatry, and the millions whose brains are saturated in neurotoxic chemicals… in terms of mass shootings and rampages of violence… we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
“Bipolar Disorder is a chronic condition that involves dangerous behavior, requiring lifelong medication stabilization and optimization. Right?”
No. Bipolar Disorder is a fictitious disease that was invented by psychiatrists and incorporated into the DSM-V in order to mass market dangerous, neurotoxic chemicals and to deceive innocent people into thinking that they are “mentally ill.” Of course these fake diagnoses and dangerous neurotoxins CAUSE they very symptoms that psychiatrists and doctors claim to heal. “Hospitalization” is a euphemism for involuntary incarceration, just like “medications” is a euphemism for neurotoxic drugs.
Naturally, and no thanks to psychiatry, withdrawal from psychotropic, neurotoxic, thanatophoric drugs will eventually produce positive results. But what is this talk of “luteal phase psychosis”? This is the kind of psycho-babble that draws innocent people into the web of psychiatry. This poor soul wasn’t “luteal” or “psychotic.” She had been deceived, drugged, and iatrogenically immobilized by psychiatry.
“As is detailed in the report that follows, this case draws from twenty years of published scientific literature around psychoneuroimmunology and the connection between the gut, immune system, endocrine system, and the brain.” This is the latest trick. Psychiatry is trying to justify its existence by this supposedly new science of gut and brain connections. Should we eat well, take care of our guts and our brains? Of course. But let’s not pretend that psychiatry has anything to do with healing or taking care of health. Psychiatry is the pseudo-scientific system of slavery that subjects innocent people to a regime of drugging, involuntary incarceration, and labeling. It is deception masquerading as medicine.
Once psychiatry has been abolished, “mental illness” will disappear, as will all of the iatrogenic harm that psychiatry causes.
Joanna, thank you for your reply. I’m sorry if my response to your article came across as too acrid. I respect your work and admire much of the research that you have done, and I believe that we can also learn from your experiences and opinions. If I forcefully reject your premises and conclusions it is because I know from both study and personal experience, too terrible to describe in words, the harm that psychiatry inflicts upon untold numbers of innocent people. In fact, I would agree with you that there are a lot of troubling things out there in this crazy world. Nevertheless, it is helpful to hone in on the basis of our disagreement because truth may come to light where the contrast is most salient. You say that there is a social problem. Very well. Let’s talk about this social problem. What is it? Unless we understand very clearly what the problem is, I will remain highly skeptical about any “solutions.” If I understand you correctly, you claim that “mental disorders” are at the root of this social problem, and you use the term “mental disorders” because that is the term that is commonly understood to constitute the root of this social problem, whatever it might be. As far as I can tell, you reject the notion that “mental disorders” are biologically based, but you insist that there is such a thing as a “mental disorder.” Unless I am wrong, it seems that you argue that psychiatry presents some sort of a solution to this social problem, whatever it might be, because the legal system or criminal justice system falls short. Am I understanding correctly?
For the record, as much as I admire Szasz’ work, I’m not a libertarian either. I understand the need for good government, and I am as opposed to anarchy as I am to psychiatry. As I’m sure that you know, and as Szasz often explained, the notion that an individual may be a danger to himself and others is very deeply rooted in psychiatric ideology. I’m sure that you could come up with many more extreme examples of distress that psychiatry allegedly resolves. So could I. But do you agree that such cases are the exceptions? In my mind it is crystal clear that the vast majority of victims of psychiatry are not only innocent and harmless, but that even the rare, bizarre cases that you mentioned are more often than not the result of some previous psychiatric intervention (Peter Breggin’s book “Medication Madness” comes to mind, as do the numerous violent rampages that were provoked to some degree by SSRIs).
What happened to the poor man who was taken to the hospital by his church members? Did psychiatry fix the problem? Whatever was going on with that poor soul, I can guarantee you that his situation is 1,000 times worse if he had any contact with psychiatry after that. What was his experience with psychiatry before that event? These are the kinds of things that the media refuses to report.
“This is a good example of the point that Jeff Coulter makes, that madness or mental illness is defined by the community, not by psychiatrists.” How would the community, whatever that might mean, have any idea of “mental illness” if it weren’t for psychiatry? Communities may stigmatize and ostracize people for behaviors, but psychiatry provides the supposed authority for the stigmatization and ostracism of such individuals. As Szasz often demonstrated, psychiatrists are like the new class of false priests to whom the laity turns for solutions. Psychiatry is a false religion that persecutes dissidents and heretics with more fervor than any inquisition.
“…but as history suggests there have always been situations that ordinary people find difficult, disturbing and perplexing and struggle to deal with.” What sort of history do you have in mind here? Only after the rise of psychiatry have we seen the outright medicalization of every day life. Have there always been problems? Of course. It’s called life. And what do you mean by ordinary people? Do you include psychiatrists within the rubric of ordinary? That alone would be an extraordinary claim.
“Psychiatry responds to deeper social and political needs, it does not create them, but that does not mean to say that it is the right or the best response to these needs.” Can you please provide some evidence for this assertion? What are these deeper social and political needs? How is it possible to claim that psychiatry does not create the problems when you admit that neurotoxic drugs often cause the harm that is interpreted as “mental illness”? How is it possible to claim that psychiatry does not create problems when the DSM-V has a fictitious diagnosis for almost every possible human behavior?
“However, I think there are some situations where actions appear to have been impulsive, or someone is in an altered and confused mental state where we should intervene to protect people’s own safety.” Is it not abundantly clear that neurotoxic drugs, psychiatric interventions, involuntary incarceration, torture, psychiatric abuse, and labeling impel many people to act in the ways that you describe? The recent Florida shooting is just one among many similar examples. On the rare occasion when a person acts in the disturbing ways that you describe without any previous contact with psychiatry, is it not abundantly clear that the same person will be 1,000 times more likely to exhibit even worse behavior after psychiatric interventions? Please help me to understand. If you believe that restraining, drugging, incarcerating, and labeling some odd-ball will do any good, either to him or to society, then I confess that I am baffled by your support for psychiatry.
Perhaps I agree with you that there is a social problem. As I see it, the social problem IS psychiatry itself. I’m not sure that psychiatrists should be arrested and incarcerated just yet, although someone needs to be held accountable for psychiatric crimes. The abolition of psychiatry will help everyone, not just victims of psychiatry. When psychiatry is abolished, psychiatrists will be freed from their supposed “duty of care,” and they will be liberated to pursue honorable employment. The abolition of psychiatry, like the abolition of slavery, may take some time. Nevertheless, society as a whole will benefit. The psychiatric slaves will be set free, and the psychiatric slave masters and wardens will be set free from their imagined duty to resolve what they perceive to be social problems.
Will there still be problems in the world after psychiatry is abolished? Naturally. But at least people will be free to resolve their problems without fear of oppression and coercion by psychiatric overlords.
Now that sounds interesting. I look forward to reading it.
That old Freud was a sneaky fellow. Mr. Double, which of Szasz’s works have you read? Which are your favorite books? Why? What do you think of Freud now?
The term “antidepressant” is a misnomer, and a euphemism for a dangerous, neurotoxic drug. Those who have been drugged and poisoned with these neurotoxins are most often unaware of their predicament. Those who have been fortunate enough to survive drugging often experience the effects of extreme iatrogenic harm. If such survivors are well enough to tell their sad tale, their stories are often appropriated and misused by psychiatrists or even psychiatric reformers. Psychiatry is a system of slavery and coercion. The neurotoxic drugs that are euphemistically referred to as “medication” are worse than physical chains. They rob innocent human beings of their powers of reason and create legions of docile, chemically lobotomized, suffering slaves. The chiefs of pharmaceutical companies that produce and market these neurotoxins are guilty of manslaughter many times over, and must be held accountable for their crimes. The psychiatrists who peddle these neurotoxins know not what they do. If they do know, they are just as guilty as the manufacturers of these thanatophoric, or death inducing drugs. The blood of the innocent cries out from the ground against psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. God’s justice cannot sleep forever. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
Thank you oldhead. How is this not obvious to everyone? It’s the psychiatric jargon and psycho-babble that creates the very stigmas that psychiatry allegedly tries to resolve. It’s as if the dragon of psychiatry spouts fiery flames of stigma with words like “psychosis” and “mental illness,” and then it retreats to its filthy lair to revel in the increased revenue that so-called “anti-stigma” campaigns will bring. Enough is enough. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
Mr. Davies, how are you? Thanks for this article. I would also like to thank you for writing the book “Cracked: The Unhappy Truth about Psychiatry.” “Cracked” was the first book that I read that began to open my eyes to the truth about psychiatry. I’m glad to see that you’re still fighting the good fight. Thank you.
Exactly Frank. Amen.
I can appreciate Au’s analysis, or at least the feeling behind the analysis. Overthrowing the mental health system is a good idea. I also get the sense that much of the antipsychiatry dialogue is a practice in hacking at the branches while missing the root. It is like chopping off heads of the hydra. Psychiatry did not emerge from a vacuum. Psychiatry has a long and sordid history, of theory and of practice, that must be exposed and opposed. Even if pharmaceutical companies, mental health facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and other nefarious institutions were demolished, the core of psychiatry would remain: the false philosophies and the pseudo-scientific hoaxes of “mental illness” and “chemical imbalances” in the brain. I can appreciate the efforts that people make in terms of activism, and I can appreciate the feeling behind Au’s analysis. As we work to abolish psychiatry, we might also want to think about striking at the roots, namely the ideas, such as the myth of “mental illness.” The myth is so pervasive and so entrenched in our society that it may just take a new, good myth to replace it. That is what I mean by slaying the dragon of psychiatry.
To be fair to Moncrieff, I acknowledge that she has written one of the best books on psychotropic drugs that can be found anywhere. She has thoroughly researched and effectively exposed the fraudulence inherent in the pharmaceutical industry. Her book “The Bitterest Pills” belongs on the shelf with the great works in the antipsychiatry canon. My critique of Moncrieff’s arguments is in no way meant to reflect a critique of her person. In fact, Moncrieff has already done a very valuable service for psychiatric survivors by writing “The Bitterest Pills.” Her arguments in this particular article, though fallacious, also render a valuable service to psychiatric survivors by demonstrating just how difficult it is to defend the pseudo-scientific enterprise of psychiatry, along with its hoaxes and deceptive terminology, such as “mental illness” and “mental disorder.”
This article is sickening, truly sickening. What is most sickening is that Moncrieff understands better than most people the terrible harm that is being caused in the name of psychiatry, and yet she still attempts to justify it.
“For Szasz, therefore, mental disorders are patterns of conduct or behaviour that are not just baffling or eccentric, but are identified as problematic by the group or society in which they are embedded.”
This is simply not true. This supposed summary of Szasz’s ideas regarding mythical mental illness run counter to almost everything that he wrote. Moncrieff’s article begins with a misrepresentation of Szasz, and then a misleading question. I suppose that it’s no wonder that she arrives at such erroneous conclusions.
It should probably come as no surprise that psychiatrists and mental health workers either dismiss Szasz or try to dilute his arguments. Szasz saw through the nonsense that is disseminated in the name of psychiatry and the horrors that are perpetrated in the name of so-called “mental illness” and “mental disorders.” Karl Kraus saw through these lies long before Szasz. But too few people take the time to read and understand what Szasz and Kraus actually wrote. What we have instead are caricatures of their ideas that are used to hide the very injustices that they opposed. What is so tricky about Moncrieff’s justifications for psychiatric abuse is that she couches her arguments in half-truths. Szasz recognized that the promulgation of the myth of mental illness was a political weapon and a method of social control that had nothing to do with healing or medicine. But did he endorse this concept? No. Just the opposite. Szasz championed liberty and responsibility in opposition to the coercion and force that masquerade as medicine. Moncrieff writes as if the concept “mental disorder” describes some underlying metaphysical reality, but this contrasts sharply with almost everything that Szasz wrote.
Whether intentionally or not, Moncrieff overlooks the most basic question: “What is mental illness?” Instead, she assumes that “mental disorders” refer to actual social problems, and that there are social functions for “services” for people with “mental disorders.” The tautology ought to be apparent to any reasoning being: mental disorders exist, and services for people with mental disorders fulfill some social function; therefore what social functions do services for people with mental disorders fulfill? And don’t even get me started about the use of the euphemistic term “services.”
As if this weren’t enough, Moncrieff attempts to support her tautological argument with eccentric examples that are meant to lend legitimacy to notion of “mental disorders.” She claims that these are “the sort of situations that occur frequently in mental health services.” This is simply untrue, and Szasz knew as much. And don’t even get me started about the use of the euphemistic term “services.” Are involuntary incarceration, drugging, abuse, torture, shock, labeling, and slavery services?
Moncrieff’s first example is particularly dangerous because it portrays religion in a negative light in the way that C.S. Lewis understood long ago. Consider this statement:
“We know that one school of psychology already regards religion as a neurosis. When this particular neurosis becomes inconvenient to government, what is to hinder government from proceeding to ‘cure’ it? Such ‘cure’ will, of course, be compulsory; but under the Humanitarian theory it will not be called by the shocking name of Persecution. No one will blame us for being Christians, no one will hate us, no one will revile us. The new Nero will approach us with the silky manners of a doctor, and though all will be in fact as compulsory as the tunica molesta or Smithfield or Tyburn, all will go on within the unemotional therapeutic sphere where words like ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or ‘freedom’ and ‘slavery’ are never heard. And thus when the command is given, every prominent Christian in the land may vanish overnight into Institutions for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound, and it will rest with the expert gaolers to say when (if ever) they are to re-emerge. But it will not be persecution. Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident; the intention was purely therapeutic. In ordinary medicine there were painful operations and fatal operations; so in this. But because they are ‘treatment’, not punishment, they can be criticized only by fellow-experts and on technical grounds, never by men as men and on grounds of justice.”
For every 10,000 victims of psychiatric abuse, there may be a case such as is described in Moncrieff’s first example. Even then, such cases are often CAUSED by the effects of psychotropic drugs.
The second case is almost as absurd as the first one. In any case, a poor woman who exhibits such behavior is only at the beginning of her troubles once she is labeled as “schizophrenic.”
The third example is also an outlier, and uncommon. For every 10,000 people who are drugged into oblivion by neurotoxic chemicals, there is one person who thinks that he can drive away evil spirits with fire. Perhaps his method was wrong, but what will psychiatry do with such a case? The man is doomed to some form of psychiatric torture.
Finally, the fourth example is yet another sad demonstration of how psychiatry exacerbates the suffering of innocent people. The man’s wife died! Is anyone so heartless as to believe that mourning and depression might not follow such a difficult experience? Rather than help him through the process of mourning, why did his children dump him off in a “hospital”? Why? Because psychiatry gives people an easy excuse to dispose of inconvenient loved ones.
Moncrieff then suggests that “some forms of mental disorder involve a loss or alteration of normal reasoning processes.” Anyone who is paying attention can see the tautology: Normal reasoning is healthy, therefore abnormal reasoning is a “mental disorder.” How can we be sure that Moncrieff’s reasoning is healthy or normal?
Moncrieff is right about one thing, however. We CAN learn a lot by looking at history. But the lessons to be learned are the precisely the opposite of those that Moncrieff suggests. The history of psychiatry is riddled with lies, deception, coercion, abuse, torture, and even murder. Compared to the suffering that psychiatry has caused, the supposedly abnormal behavior of a few eccentric individuals has done relatively little harm to anyone at all.
I can also appreciate this paragraph: “Like Szasz, Foucault suggests that medical explanations for madness and the medical approach to treatment are grafted onto an older system of social organisation and control. Once medicalisation takes hold, it obscures the underlying functions, but the system remains, in essence, a moral and political enterprise.” But how does medicalization take hold? Szasz explains in many of his works how the old system of persecution by false priests and clergymen has been passed on to the modern false priests of the false religion of psychiatry. Doctors and psychiatrists have taken the place of the clergy. Is this something to celebrate or perpetuate? I think not.
But psychiatry is not just about changing or “managing” the behavior of those who are deemed socially unacceptable. Psychiatry is about DEFINING what is or is not socially acceptable. Furthermore, the tyranny of psychiatry brings almost all human behavior with in its scope and grasp.
The core of psychiatry has everything to do with coercion, force, control, dominion, and torture and nothing to do with “care.” It is not all inherited either. Many innovations and oppressive measures came about during the rise of psychiatry. Moreover, what on earth can possibly be meant by the notion of a “caring society.” “Caring” societies are the most dangerous. After all, it was the Nazi’s who “cared” for the Jews. Slave masters “cared” for their chattel slaves. Is this the kind of “care” that is needed?
“What should be done if someone is unable to sustain themselves?” Please allow me to quote C.S. Lewis once again: “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.” The only “duty of care” that we should be worried about is our duty to take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. We have no duty to torture, abuse, drug, incarcerate and label those whose behavior we find objectionable.
“How muddled do people have to be for it to be legitimate to make decisions on their behalf?” Moncrieff’s arguments in this article are as muddled as anything I have ever read, but she is free to believe and to write as she wishes without intervention from any thought police. As muddled as it is, no one has any right to make decisions on her behalf.
As far as preventing individuals from causing harm… that is supposedly what laws are for. When laws are broken, and crimes committed, there ought to be just penalties attached. But for heavens’ sake, leave innocent, law abiding citizens alone!
“Do we have a right as a society to try to prevent individuals from causing harm, even if they have not yet done anything that could easily be addressed by the criminal law (as some argue that societies have always tried to do)?” NO! What is this? Minority Report? Before the rise of psychiatry, at least in the United States, a person was innocent until proven guilty. Now, under the tyranny of psychiatry, people are guilty until proven innocent. I don’t think that Moncrieff should be arrested for writing this article, so why should other innocent people be presumed guilty?
“How do we stop some of the individuals described above, for example, from causing injury or aggravation to their relatives or neighbours?” A better question might be, how do we stop psychiatrists and mental health mongers from their tyrannical rule over the lives of innocent people? As Szasz often pointed out, psychiatry inculpates the innocent and exculpates the guilty. With the insanity plea and other measures, psychiatry has made it more difficult for people to be held accountable for their actions. Psychiatry is the opposite of freedom and responsibility. Is is slavery and justification for criminal behavior.
“Of course we also need to ask ourselves what it is about the structure and culture of modern society that may foster or contribute to the problems referred to as ‘mental disorder’.” That’s easy. PSYCHIATRY invents and perpetuates the very problems that it purports to resolve or to cure. PSYCHIATRY is responsible for promulgating the myth of mental illness along with all of the train of abuses that follow in its wake. And no amount of utopian speculation will solve the problem. Psychiatry IS the problem. No alternatives are needed. Psychiatry must be abolished. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
Exactly. Good one Rachell777… “ultimate pain killers.” Bingo. Psychotropic drugs are pain killers because they kill people who are in pain.
Do thanatophoric drugs work? Of course! They are lethal. They lead to death.
Yes. Neurotoxic drugs would more accurately be named “depressants.” Since these neurotoxic, depressant drugs also cause a wide variety of terrible symptoms, and may even lead to violence, suicide, and death, maybe the should be called thanatophoric drugs. (Thanatophoric, meaning deadly, lethal, or leading to death). That’s it. Thanatophoric drugs. “Antidepressants”? You mean thanatophoric drugs?
Thank Mr. Whitaker. Great work. I will make a more thorough response tomorrow. In the mean time, the question “Do antidepressants work?” is obviously a loaded question. It implies that there is such a thing as an “antidepressant” and that the neurotoxic drugs that are euphemistically called “antidepressants” were designed to correct some mysterious chemical imbalance in the brain, which we all know is simply untrue.
This is good. But is anyone else out there skeptical of the term “users”? I really dislike that term. I also dislike the euphemism “interventions.” We need to call a spade a spade. Torture is torture. Abuse is abuse. Drugging is drugging. Involuntary incarceration is involuntary incarceration. Shock is shock. In any case, I’m glad that someone understands the need to abolish psychiatric force. Now, if we could only get people to understand the fact that psychiatry is synonymous with coercion and force, and thus, that psychiatry itself must be abolished.
Another great book to read on the topic of the development of the DSM is Gary Greenberg’s “The Book of Woe.” Francesco’s article is a great introduction to this book. The DSM is perhaps psychiatry’s most pernicious sleight of hand. I highly recommend Greenberg’s book for anyone who is seeking to understand the truth about psychiatry: https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/the-book-of-woe/
The “chemical imbalance” hoax is alive and well. The business of “broken brain” deception is booming. (See, for example: https://brokenbrain.com/trailer/) The myth of mental illness continues to thrive. Other justifications, such as the supposedly genetic origins of so-called mental illness, are also growing. These are all reasons why the dragon of psychiatry must be slain, and the myth of mental illness laid to rest.
The title to this article might as well have been “World Psychiatric Association Statement Bans Psychiatrists from Being Psychiatrists.”
Psychiatry is, by definition, torture. It is the pseudo-scientific system of slavery, torture, and abuse. It is deception and coercion masquerading as medicine and therapy. The World Psychiatric Association? More like the World Torture Club. Enough of this nonsense. Slay the Dragon of Psychiatry.
Sad, but true.
True. Psychiatry is, by definition, torture.
Amen, and amen.
Excellent point Rachel.
Good questions Frank.
“Half of the deaths and half of the suicides that occur in randomised trials are not published.” Let that sink in for a moment.
“I no longer call them antidepressants…” Great. This is good. Dr. Breggin has calls these drugs what they are, namely neurotoxins. They might even be called “depressants,” but neurotoxins is perhaps the most accurate way to refer to these drugs that are euphemistically called “medications.”
And yes, Paroxetine is too terrible to describe in words.
Thanks for your reply Dahlia. I appreciate it. Thank you for the good work that you have done. I agree with you. There are many people in difficult situations, and I appreciate the good work that you are doing on their behalf. If only more people could understand that the reason why so many are in these difficult situations, namely, that psychiatry puts them there, it would be easier to gather more support to burn down the club. Todah, ve lilah tov. 🙂
I see. Thank you for being honest. In other words, you take the same position as Whitaker and others who wish to “reform” or “rethink” psychiatry, is that right? It’s very sad to me to see so many stories of psychiatric torture and abuse that are being co-opted by reformers and critical psychiatrists. Your husband’s story makes it perfectly obvious that psychiatry is a coercive and oppressive system of slavery, and yet somehow many people still want to be soft on this slavery. Why? Does that mean that you believe in the myth of mental illness, or that there is such a thing as a mental disorder? Meanwhile, thousands of other people like your husband are being tortured and abused in psychiatric prisons. The necessary changes to be made are to abolish psychiatry by any means possible. If psychiatry is evil, and it is, then the desire to “burn down the club” is like the desire to abolish slavery. This is one of the major reasons why psychiatric survivors have a difficult time speaking the truth openly. Their stories are co-opted by psychiatry. Psychiatrists manipulate survivors’ stories for their own ends. In the long run, critical and reform psychiatry will ensure that psychiatry continues to flourish, and that the torture, abuse, and slavery continue unabated. That is why the dragon of psychiatry cannot be appeased.
It must be slain.
Todah rabah. I can probably read it, but the rest of your audience might be curious to know the answers to my questions as well. 🙂 Thanks.
And just for the record, the image of the Israeli stamp is very disturbing. The Hebrew phrase “briut ha nefesh” might more accurately be translated as “health of the soul.” Perhaps it is more honest than the English phrase “mental health,” since the Greek “psyche” and “iatros” corresponds more precisely to “soul” and “healing.” Medical soul healing? Is anyone out there moderately thoughtful and intellectually curious? Does “medical soul healing” sound like a good thing? Astrology and alchemy have stronger foundations in science than does psychiatry. “Briut ha nefesh” is the perfect psychiatric euphemism for torture and abuse. It is reminiscent of Big Brother’s Ministry of Love in Orwell’s 1984, or the drug Soma in Huxley’s Brave New World. True “briut ha nefesh” is found by distancing oneself as far away from psychiatry as possible.
Shalom Dahlia, after all that you and your husband Tzviel have been through, do you still believe in the myth of mental illness? I’m very sorry for what you and your husband have experienced, and I understand your stories, because I have a story of my own, also in Israel, involving similar torture and abuse. I used to believe the very same myths, the myth of mental illness, the chemical imbalance hoax, and all of the related psychiatric mendacity. That was before I discovered the work of James Davies, Robert Whitaker, and Peter Breggin. That was before I discovered the work of Irving Kirsch, Gary Greenberg, and Peter C. Gøtzsche. That was before I discovered the work of Ann Blake-Tracy, Bonnie Burstow, and Auntie Psychiatry. Most importantly, that was before I discovered the work of Thomas Szasz and Karl Kraus. Do any of these names sound familiar? If so, please help me to understand how it is possible to continue to support the pscyho-pharmaceutical industrial complex and the myths that sustain this dragon. Thank you. Todah rabah ve lehitra’ot.
yeah_I_survived, you are on to something. Trust your instincts. Psychiatry destroys everything in its path. It is particularly egregious what psychiatry does to innocent little children, the elderly, and the homeless, but it preys upon all.
Exactly. ECT is uniquely damaging, but the same sort of deception and coercion is inherent in every aspect of psychiatry.
Great work. Thank you.
Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor, Lithium, Zyprexa, Haldol, Abilify, Clopixol, Geodon… and many, many more. The companies that make these and any other psychotropic, neurotoxic drug must not only be sued, but shut down and held accountable for their crimes. I have all the medical records to prove the fraudulent activity of psychiatrists, and the harmful, near fatal effects of these and other psychotropic drugs. I also have another case in the works. I’m ready to sue Eli-Lilly, GSK, Pfizer, McNeil Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lundbeck, and many, many other companies. Who will help me? Where do we start?
Yes. That actually further proves my point, because slavery continued under another name. This would be the equivalent of criticizing or reforming psychiatry. The abolition of slavery did not put an immediate end to slavery, and slavery continued to be practiced in other ways. This is the same thing that reform and critical psychiatrists seem to wish for. Rather than abolish psychiatric slavery, they want to continue psychiatric slavery in other forms. We do need to think carefully about the abolition of psychiatry, and what we can learn from the abolition of slavery. Of course those who are freed from the tyranny of psychiatry will need help… but that help cannot and should not come from anything that is related to psychiatry, critical, reform, or otherwise, because then it is just psychiatry, or slavery, under another name.
Why do we continue to call neurotoxic chemicals “medications” or “antidepressants” or “antipsychotics”? As Moncrieff well knows, and as Breggin has pointed out, these psychotropic, neurotoxic drugs have nothing to do with medication or healing. They are DRUGS. Why do we continue to use euphemisms such as “medication”? And as Auntie rightly notices, hardly any one will really be able to make an informed choice about psychotropic drugs because hardly anyone knows the real history of these drugs. Even if they did, hardly anyone knows the true history of psychiatry. Thus, no one is making an informed choice about these neurotoxins. They are making choices based on deception and misinformation. They are making choices based on psychiatric propaganda. This is not informed decision making. The information will come later, when in their drug induced, zombie like state, they realize that they have been duped by psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. But even that will be difficult because of what Breggin has shown in his descriptions of “medication spellbinding,” namely, the difficulty of perceiving the iatrogenic harm that is caused by psychotropic drugs.
For those of you who are interested in learning the truth about psychiatry, I recommend the following educational resource: https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/the-truth-about-psychiatry/
“And critics of psychiatry are out of touch with reality when they exaggerate the down side of those treatments to make the issue seem more black and white than it is…”
Nonsense. It is psychiatry that exaggerates. It claims to promote beneficial “treatments” and cures. The reality, as Whitaker, Breggin, and many others have shown, is exactly the opposite. Psychiatrists and mental health workers are so far out of touch with reality that they seek any way possible to justify the abusive, coercive, pseudo-scientific practices of psychiatry. Here is the reality: psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of abuse, torture, drugging, labeling, involuntary incarceration and slavery that masquerades as medicine. Perhaps it is also a reality that most people are completely deceived by psychiatry. But just because most people have been deceived by psychiatry doesn’t mean that this is a good thing. Here is something to consider about a person who is completely in touch with reality. Those who are completely in touch with reality are most often ostracized, rejected, and ridiculed. Szasz and Kraus before him, like Semmelweis, have also been ignored and rejected. Why? Because they told the truth. They saw certain things as they really are. Chesterton put it this way:
“It is indeed, an absurd exaggeration to say that we are all mad, just as it is true that we are none of us perfectly healthy. If there were to appear in the world a perfectly sane man, he would certainly be locked up. The terrible simplicity with which he would walk over our minor morbidities, or sulky vanities and malicious self-righteousness; the elephantine innocence with which he would ignore our fictions or civilization—these would make him a thing more desolating and inscrutable than a thunderbolt or a beast of prey. It may be that the great prophets who appeared to mankind as mad were in reality raving with an impotent sanity.” – G.K. Chesterton, Lunacy and Letters
Those who oppose psychiatry rave with this kind of impotent sanity. The question is whether or not others will begin to listen to reason. The closer one is to sanity, the more clearly he sees psychiatry for what it really is.
People still don’t get it. There is no need to replace psychiatry with anything. Abolish psychiatry. Get rid of it. Would anyone want to replace slavery with something else? Should we try to replace Naziism with something else? Of course not. All this talk of reform, criticize, and replace completely misses the point. Once a person understands what psychiatry is, and why it must be abolished, that person clearly understands that the only need is to abolish it, not to replace it with something else or to reform it or criticize it. If it is true (and it is), that psychiatry is causing (and has always caused) the death and misery of millions of innocent people, why on earth would a person defend it? This is one of most deceptive things about psychiatry. So many people believe that there is something good about psychiatry, that it has something to do with helping or healing, when in reality it is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, torture and drugging. But until people see that fact clearly, there will be endless discussion about how to reform psychiatry, make it better, or replace it with “alternatives.” Szasz saw these things clearly many, many years ago. Karl Kraus saw them clearly many years before Szasz. When will the world wake up to the truth?
Great article Sera. I pray that you can find that psychiatry-free peace and tranquility that you seek in this noisy, tumultuous world.
I know that this article is meant to be helpful, and that the intentions are good.
But the first problem is that there is no such thing as an “antidepressant” or and “antipsychotic.” Neurotoxic drugs might more appropriately be termed “depressants” or “psychotics,” because they induce depression and injuries that are often diagnosed as “psychosis.” I’m really tired of the phrase “more harm than good.” Can we just be honest. These neurotoxic drugs were DESIGNED with the explicit purpose to HARM in ways that people would not recognize. They only do harm, even though many who ingest them think that they “work,” as Breggin has noted in his analysis of neurotoxic “spellbinding.”
These are not “meds,” no matter how many people find them indispensable. People find alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, and street drugs indispensable, but that no more makes them medicine than calling a dog’s tail a leg.
Moreover, we need to honestly consider where the Black Box warning came from and why it is there. Do you think that Pharmaceutical companies were eager to put a Black Box warning on their neurotoxins? Of course not. How did it get there? Perhaps there are only a few people in the MIA audience who know the answer to this question.
Finally, integrative psychiatry, just like the rest of the fraudulent, enslaving enterprise, needs to be abolished. Psychiatry IS the camel, and the whole camel is in the tent, not just the nose. Actually, it’s a dragon that must be slain. Psychiatry CREATES the very problems that it purports to cure, and it EXACERBATES any other problem. It medicalizes every day life, and markets madness. It is the science of lies, and it must be abolished.
The abolition of psychiatry is the best path to recovery, and an even better path to prevention of debilitating iatrogenic harm. This is what needs to be communicated. The truth. As far as remarkable stories of recovery… that is a euphemism for survivors of psychiatry. Psychiatric survivors’ stories, as well as the stories of psychiatric martyrs, are sacred and must not be allowed to be appropriated by the very institution that took the lives of the martyrs and nearly took the lives of survivors.
The best infographic for psychiatry would be the word “psychiatry” with a prohibition sign (circle-backslash symbol). And if you really want to use pictures, I highly recommend Auntie Psychiatry’s excellent drawings in her book “Of Course I’m Anti-Psychiatry, Aren’t You?” https://www.amazon.com/Course-Anti-Psychiatry-Arent-You-Illustrated/dp/0957313721
In other words, a lot of poor and destitute people are being subjected to the false diagnoses and abuses of psychiatry. Psychiatry preys upon all people, but particularly upon the poor and the vulnerable members of society. The fictitious disease “ADHD” is used to oppress the poor. Long ago, the prophet Isaiah prophesied:
“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?” (Isaiah 10:1-3)
Thus Freud continues his reign. The problem is that what most people believe and what is true are not always the same thing. Who coined the term “psychosis”? Why? How did the concept of “psychosis” evolve? Does the word “psychosis” describe an underlying reality, or is it an invention of psychiatry?
Karl Friedrich Constatt is credited with coining the term “psychosis” as an abbreviation of “psychic neurosis,” when neurosis referred to brain disease. The word “psychosis” is derived from the Greek “psyche,” meaning “soul,” and “osis,” meaning “abnormal condition.” Thus psychiatrists did not discover “psychosis,” they invented it. It is a creative term that psychiatrists used to stigmatize others whose souls, so they claimed, were in an abnormal condition. What makes anyone think that he or she has the authority to judge that someone else’s soul is in an abnormal condition? Then, what gives the same people the right to assume that the supposed abnormal condition of the soul can be cured by psychiatry?
The term “psychosis” was also used to distinguish so called “mental illness” from “neurosis,” or supposed disorders of the nervous system. Then Emil Kraepelin and Sigmund Freud added their own spin to “psychosis.” Was any of this enterprise in the least bit true or scientific? Of course not. This is psychiatry we’re talking about. Thus “psychosis” became a catch all term that was used to denote “madness” or “mental illness,” or as Mr. Unger puts it, “being out of touch with important aspects of reality and/or being severely disorganized,” or “states of being.” All of these misnomers could be subsumed under that which Thomas Szasz called “the myth of mental illness.”
Szasz pointed out that “Those who suffer from and complain of their own behavior are usually classified as ‘neurotic’; those whose behavior makes others suffer, and about whom others complain, are usually classified as ‘psychotic.’”
The problem with stigmatizing labels like “psychosis” is that they are often uttered as if they describe an underlying biological or etiological fact, when in reality they are words that psychiatrists coined in order to describe what they perceived as misbehaviors. It is more likely the case that those who coined and popularized the term “psychosis” were out of touch with reality, but it would hardly be just to label even them as “psychotic.”
If, as is claimed, states of being extremely disorganized and out of touch with reality exist, then what is the standard by which these states are measured and who is the authority on these standards? As readers may have guessed, psychiatry sets itself up as the authority on these matters, and the standard by which supposed states of being are measured has nothing to do with science or medicine and everything to do with politics and coercion.
Yes. But the problem is that psychiatry EMPHASIZES and EXAGGERATES the misery in the world in order to justify its own existence. Look at the fake statistics used by NIMH and other organizations. It’s as if they think that 150% of people are mentally ill on any given day, and 200% of those people need to be drugged. Therefore we need a 500% increase in psychiatry to deal with it all. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t suffering in the world, or that there aren’t problems in the world. Of course! That’s life.
“Life is pain highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThDwS79HPhs
The question that needs to be asked is more simple. What is psychosis? We owe such vague and misleading terminology to people like Freud, and it is by no means clear that there is really any such thing as “psychosis.” Freud was a fraud like his teacher, the charlatan Charcot. But their fraudulence and charlatanry continue to influence the way that most people look at the world.
“More Psychiatry Means More Shootings.” Great title. This is exactly right. Spot on.
Now, imagine the converse: “Less Psychiatry Means Less Shootings.” Then imagine the following: “The Abolition of Psychiatry Ends Mass Shootings.” There will always be a few violent people out there, but psychiatry is creating hoards of abnormally violent individuals with its harmful labels, abuse, involuntary incarceration, and neurotoxic drugs. Ann Blake-Tracy tells me that she has worked with you, Dr. Breggin, and that the two of you have known about the effects of psychotropic drugs for many years. Her database SSRI stories contains over 6,000 stories of drug induced nightmares. https://ssristories.org/ Her book on Prozac (with an introduction by Dr. Breggin) was published back in 1994. https://www.amazon.com/Prozac-Panacea-Pandora-Antidepressants-Zoloft/dp/0916095592
I know from first hand experience the harm that Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor can cause. No one who has not taken these neurotoxic drugs can possibly fathom the suffering and the damage that they cause. Dr. Breggin’s book “Medication Madness” demonstrates with great clarity how these neurotoxic drugs can turn the most gentle and peace loving human beings into raving, violent lunatics.
When will the world wake up? How many more shootings do we need before Big Pharma and psychiatry are brought to justice? How much more blood must be spilt? The time has come to slay the dragon of psychiatry.
Good article. And good question: “Why are we not asking why it is that so many people in the modern world feel miserable and stressed?” One of the answers to this question that ought to be considered is how psychiatry and psychotropic drugs actually CAUSE people to feel miserable and stressed. Think of how these neurotoxins are marketed. Pharmaceutical companies try to convince everyone that there is something wrong with them. Psychiatry does the same thing. It markets madness. It medicalizes every day life. Even Joanna’s question makes it seem as though it is simply a fact that many people in the modern world feel miserable and stressed. No one is publishing articles about the masses of people who are happy and relaxed. The media doesn’t promote all the good that there is in the world, because it’s so much harder to medicate happiness and goodness. (Although I heard that the FDA approved a drug to treat people who are annoyingly cheerful: https://www.theonion.com/fda-approves-depressant-drug-for-the-annoyingly-cheerfu-1819594776)
P.S. I don’t want to derail the conversation on this great article, but I wonder if we can gather together everyone from MIA and those who comment who are serious about the abolition of psychiatry. Who are the serious antipsychiatrists out there, and who, in particular, is serious about abolition? Thank you.
Encephiatrics! That’s it! This is the cure! Simply call psychiatry, the pseudo-scientific system of slavery, by a different name… and violà! Legitimacy.
Encephiatrics… what a load of nonsense! Someone better try out some encephiatrics on the brain of Ronald Pies before he invents other justifications for psychiatric torture and abuse. Why don’t we call it psychiatriatry – “the medical treatment of psychiatrists.”
Great article. In large part, the lair of the dragon of psychiatry is filled with Big Pharma’s filthy lucre. Big Pharma has the blood of many innocent people on its hands. The_cat makes a good point about Big Pharma’s control of the media as well. Perhaps someone can write an article about the specific people who are running the Big Pharma show. Someone is back there pulling the strings and raking in the cash. Who is it? Who are they? When will they be brought to justice?
Good to know. It’s a jungle out there.
This is a very sad case, and I sincerely hope that someone can help her out as soon as possible. Although the insanity defense is one of the most heinous lies of psychiatry that is used to exculpate the guilty, there ought to be some way of helping those who have experienced what Dr. Peter Breggin has called “Medication Madness.” These neurotoxic drugs frequently cause people to do things that they would never do without them. The immense suffering that is caused by the drugs themselves, compounded by the suffering of the loss of her daughter and a suicide attempt, and further compounded by her incarceration – all of these things are terrible injustices that the legal system is hardly equipped to deal with. My heart and prayers go out to Marci Webber and her family, and to all those who suffer in like manner.
Oh great. Howard Zinn. No wonder people are so mixed up. Sman1109, stick to primary sources and accurate history.
Allora, si drogano i bambini anche in Italia? Che triste. Signor Timimi dimostra che la diagnosi di ADHD é una favola. Non esiste una malattia vera o uno squilibrio chimico. Forse qualcuno dovrebbe tradurre gli articoli di Mad in America dall’inglese affinché anche gli Italiani possano imparare la verità riguardo alla psichiatria.
“Does trusting such a field make sense?” Of course not. But the problem is that psychiatry does not present itself as it really is. It poses as a field of medicine, and its practitioners claim to be healers. People put much implicit trust in doctors and psychiatrists because they assume that medicine is about healing and health, when the opposite is the case. Medicine is about medicine, and money. We could blame people for their naiveté, or we could consider the source of the deception. Psychiatry is and always has been the science of lies. Do we want to increase freedom and responsibility? Begin by abolishing psychiatry.
What a joker. Thanks for the laughs.
Good article. It is obvious, and it has been obvious for a long time, that ADHD is a fraud. Didn’t the inventor of ADHD admit as much?
“Modern psychiatry is built on scientism, not science.” Excellent observation. The implications of this fact are even broader than can be addressed in one article. The wholesale drugging and brain damaging of almost an entire generation of children will not come without consequences, some of which we have already seen in the Las Vegas shootings and the more recent shootings in Parkland Florida.
However, Mr. Timimi, there is one small problem with your concluding argument. Psychiatry did not get infected with scientism at some later stage in its development. Psychiatry has always been inherently bound up with scientism. It has been a pseudo-scientific endeavor from its inception, as anyone who has studied the history of psychiatry thoroughly will understand. But you are certainly right that psychiatric scientism has caused and will continue to cause untold harm to untold numbers of innocent people.
Good article. Someone needs to report about the connections between Big Pharma and Big Media.
Obviously we disagree about the anti-American, anti-capitalist stuff. The demagoguery is so thick on the anti-American, anti-capitalist side. Someone needs to stand up to it. Lawrence would do well to stand up to it too, or ignore it. I don’t see psychiatry as something manifested out of thin air. I have thought this through very carefully, and will continue to think it through carefully. I am beginning to see how psychiatry fits into the unfolding of intellectual history, and many who oppose psychiatry on the basis of supposedly limitless “rights” would be surprised to learn of their common heritage with psychiatry. Obviously we disagree about the macro-analysis, as you call it. But we agree about the essential need to abolish psychiatry. So I side with Lawrence, I suppose, on certain political matters, although he doesn’t quite seem to see how psychiatry negates freedom in a wide variety of ways, and not just by making people think that they are helpless victims.
Lawrence, this is a good article, but there are a few very obvious problems with your arguments. The first, and most obvious problem is that even though there are many people who willingly relinquish their liberties to doctors and psychiatrists based on naiveté, ignorance, or victim mentality, there are just as many who are lured into the system unwillingly. In fact, in a certain sense, most of the victims of psychiatry are unwilling because they really have no idea what they are getting themselves into. In other words, in order to be a truly willing “patient” of psychiatry, a person would actually have to know what psychiatry is… which hardly anyone does. If the general public understood that psychiatry is a form of slavery, they would think twice before going to see a psychiatrist or taking psychotropic drugs.
Furthermore, psychiatry has always sought to destroy the liberties of anyone possible, and not just so-called outliers. It has become increasingly adept at CREATING outliers. But the crucial point is that those who are lured into psychiatry are not always willing. In fact, I would venture to argue that most victims of psychiatry are unwilling and unwitting because of the deception that is inherent in psychiatry. It is possible to take a very normal, good, hard-working, and decent human being and turn him or her into a raving lunatic through psychotropic drugging, involuntary incarceration, labeling with fictitious “diseases,” and so forth. Think of the millions of children, or the elderly, or even the homeless who are drugged into oblivion without having any idea what psychiatry is all about. There are even several comments in this thread that reveal how easily good people have been and are being duped because of psychiatric mendacity.
You are correct, of course, that there are many parents who would rather think of their kids as defective and “mentally ill,” and drug them into a comatose stupor so that they are more docile and compliant to their own wishes – they would rather do this than the hard work of listening, parenting, and working through complex issues. But there are also many people who do not subscribe to any of these so-called easy solutions who have still been subjected to psychiatric torture and abuse.
You are absolutely correct that psychiatry is based on coercion, force, and the negation of liberty. But psychiatry does this in a variety of ways, not just by convincing people that their brains are “broken” or “mentally ill” or defective in some way. Psychiatry actually BREAKS people down chemically, while claiming to heal them. Psychiatry CAUSES the very problems it purports to cure. The negation of liberty, therefore, also has to do with DECEIVING people. Another way that psychiatry negates liberty is by attempting to remove consequences for actions. Thus the infamous “insanity plea” seeks to exculpate the guilty, while the myth of mental illness seeks to inculpate the innocent. Psychotropic drugs are one of the most effective weapons in psychiatry’s arsenal because these neurotoxins may CAUSE people to act in ways that others will view as symptoms of “mental illness.” We are still waiting to learn more about the Florida killings, and Breggin has revealed the connection between psychiatry and the Las Vegas Shootings. Psychiatry robs people of their liberty, and then robs them again by confining them in the shackles of fictitious diagnoses.
You are absolutely correct that our brain processes don’t control us, but psychiatry is designed to exert control over people’s brains. That is why psychiatry is a form of slavery that ought to be abolished. Finally, Freud’s theories are the exact opposite of the antidote to genetic determinism. Freud and genetic determinism go hand in hand in ways that have yet to be explored.
I think that you can ignore all the anti-American nonsense while still recognizing that psychiatry negates human liberty in more ways than one. This is why Szasz’ writings are so powerful, because he endorses liberty AND responsibility in contrast to psychiatric slavery, coercion, AND deception.
Thanks for the heads up about this episode as well. More gold.
And Frank, thank you for the heads up about Three Stooges episode. That is pure gold.
Lawrence, you are getting closer to the truth about psychiatry. The truth that you rightly acknowledge is that psychiatry wages an all out war against free will. This is absolutely correct. Psychiatry wages an all out war against free will, and its methods are cunning.
You are also correct that many people surrender their free will to psychiatry. You have done a good job of articulating one of the most insidious aspects of psychiatry. But a few corrections and explanations are in order…
Mr. Fontaine makes several good points, and he is certainly not the first person to note that it is a worthwhile endeavor to strive to understand the ancients. Mr. Fontaine has also done a great service by bringing Szasz back into the conversation. But a few corrections and observations are in order.
First of all, the first mention of a “psychiatric ward,” was not found in the library in Alexandria. I understand that it was a tongue in cheek sort of comment, but we need to be clear, as Szasz was, about words and their definitions. The PSYCHES IATREION, or healing place of the soul, is in almost every respect the opposite of a psychiatric ward. I’m sure that Mr. Fontaine understands this, but it is important not to confuse the general public. The word “psychiatry” that we have inherited and as it is commonly understood was coined by Johann Christian Reil in 1808. This word was meant to denote the “medical treatment of the soul.” There is a big difference between a library that is a healing place for the soul, and a psychiatric ward that is for the medical treatment of the soul. As Szasz understood, it is absurd to claim that the soul can be treated medically. Again, I’m sure that Mr. Fontaine understands this, but his audience might not.
Mr. Fontaine makes good points about the connection between the humoral theory of diseases and the chemical imbalance hoax, and he also makes good points about the illusive nature of “schizophrenia.” Szasz wrote an entire book on the topic called “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry.” This ought to be required reading for every aspiring psychiatrist. If more people visited the PSYCHES IATREION to study Thomas Szasz’ works, perhaps there would be no more psychiatry, or psychiatric wards.
It is also important to recall that Szasz wasn’t just an atomist or an Epicurean who relaxed in his garden and philosophized about the myth of mental illness. He was an abolitionist who saw clearly the destruction that is caused by psychiatry. He attempted to resurrect the work of the original antipsychiatrist, Karl Kraus, and like Kraus, he paid a price for his truth telling. Like Kraus, Szasz has mostly been ignored, and when he hasn’t been ignored, he has either been rejected or misunderstood.
For the most part, Mr. Fontaine is right about the decline of philosophy and the rise of “science,” and he is right that microscopes and brain scans don’t tell the real story of what is going on when certain behaviors are diagnosed as “mental illness.” This is something that Szasz understood more clearly than almost anyone, and the reason why he could assert that mental illness is a myth.
In many ways, Szasz was the Socrates of psychiatry, and perhaps his suicide was meant to mimic Socrates in some way. He asked many of the right questions, and he articulated good answers to these questions. He championed liberty and responsibility. As a libertarian, his understanding of liberty was somewhat flawed, but at least he understood that psychiatry is a modern form of slavery that ought to be abolished.
Hopefully it won’t take 100 years for Szasz’ ideas to gain traction, although it might take that long since even after almost 100 years hardly anyone knows who Karl Kraus was.
Obviously, many people have experienced death. Psychiatry has accelerated that process in many cases. Many others have had near death experiences. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. All of these people have actually experienced death, and some have even told us about it. In any case, there is absolutely no evidence for the claim that death leads nowhere or to some sort of annihilation or extinction, so I would be very skeptical of anyone who attempts to make such claims.
Most of the Founders were sincere Christians, many protestants, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Quakers, Lutherans, and even a few Roman Catholics. Washington, Adams, Jefferson and many others were influenced by, and adopted deist perspectives, but they also held strong religious beliefs and defended the first freedom, namely freedom of religion. The founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not holy writ, but they might as well be, since, like the Bible, no one reads them or understands them anymore.
Uprising, your word games don’t work on me. The word “escape” is derived from the vulgar Latin “excappare,” meaning “to get out of one’s cape, or to leave a pursuer with just one’s cape.” An atheist can’t tell you what the cape is, or who the one leaving the cape might be, or where the one leaving the cape goes. The claim that suicide causes a person to no longer exist makes no sense to the vast majority of people, and an atheist has no proof for that assertion. Escaping means leaving one place and going somewhere else. Where is that somewhere else? What if suicide leads to even greater suffering after death? Something to think about. In any case, atheists can’t provide any persuasive evidence one way or another.
Finally, there is nothing twisted in the plain truth that I wrote about people of religious faith who understand that we have only one life to live on earth. Nonsensical is not a strong enough term to describe the claim that atheists appreciate life more than religious people. Absurd might be more appropriate. Is it possible for an atheist to appreciate life? I suppose so. Is it possible for an atheist to articulate the purpose of life? I have yet to hear a persuasive argument for that.
Matt, I would be curious to understand, if you know that psychiatry operates on the basis of coercion, drugging, electroshocking, and so forth, why do you choose to remain so close to it? I couldn’t quite discern the answer in your article. Do you oppose psychiatry or not? Do you oppose drugging or not? Thank you.
If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the elephant in the room, and Susan grabs onto the tail of this elephant, let’s not forget that there are many other parts of the elephant. In any case, it seems to me that the elephant of psychiatry, or the dragon rather, is the issue at hand.
Here’s a good one: https://ssristories.org/
There is a big difference between “self-determination,” whatever that might mean, and self-annihilation, or killing oneself. And for the record, I am not reiterating anything about how irrational you are or how you should be beaten. That’s absurd. If anything, I reiterate the truth that you are free to choose and that I respect your freedom to choose.
Maybe you didn’t get my point either. I AGREE with you that neither I or anyone else can “force” you to live in any way. But I disagree with you that you can force people to believe that self-killing is a civil right or a self-evident truth. Clearly, they are not.
Now the Parkland, Florida shooting… which drugs was he on? How many more shootings will it take? Wake up America.
Lilla, I respect and defend your freedom to choose. I understand the arguments that you have made, and the arguments that those who oppose you have made. Respectfully, I disagree.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Thomas Szasz, but he tried to make similar arguments about a right to suicide. He was one of your fellow Hungarians, and a very smart and good man. It is unfortunate, because he understood very well the truth about psychiatry. I agree with you (and with Szasz) wholeheartedly that psychiatry has no business intervening in the lives of individuals, and that coercion and force are wrong. However, most of your arguments, on a variety of levels, do not hold up to scrutiny. It sounds like you have a lot to live for, including your father, your cats, your writing, your translating, your forklifting, your beautiful smile, and especially your opposition to psychiatry. We need as many opponents of psychiatry as possible, and we need them alive whenever possible.
First of all, the notion that suicide is a civil right is so far from being a “self-evident truth” that its hard to know where to start. This was the furthest thing from the minds of the Founding Fathers, and particularly from the minds of those who created the U.S. Constitution. (By the way, there wasn’t just one author of the Constitution. It was the work of many men, backed by the three authors who defended this work under the pseudonym “Publius.”) When Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence he originally wrote the following: “We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable.” Franklin edited this phrase to read: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” What were these “self-evident truths”?
The first is that all men are created equal. The second is that they are endowed by their Creator (a problem for atheists, since the Founders clearly believed that rights do not emerge from nowhere) with certain unalienable rights. The third self-evident truth is that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The fourth is that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. The fifth is that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government. These are the self-evident truths that the Founders articulated. Nowhere was suicide even implied as a “self-evident truth” or a “right.”
Second, it is a gross misunderstanding of classical Greek philosophy, politics, and culture to claim that suicide was not frowned upon or condemned. In fact, most ancient city states criminalized self-killing. Plato’s discussion of self-killing in his dialogues Phaedo and the Laws is nuanced. Since Plato wrote in dialogue form, it is difficult to discern his own true opinion, but in these works his characters condemn suicide as an act of cowardice and laziness by those who are too weak to deal with life’s problems. He makes certain exceptions, but it is simply inaccurate to claim that suicide was even remotely considered a good thing by the ancient Greeks. Aristotle’s view on self-killing was also nuanced. From his voluminous writings, his only discussion of suicide is found in the Nicomachean Ethics, and the question he poses is whether or not it is possible to commit injustice to oneself. Aristotle’s view was that suicide was harmful to the community. But even these commentaries on self-killing (there was no specific word for our modern conception of suicide in ancient Greek or Latin) make it clear that the ancient Greek idea of self-killing had no connection whatsoever to our modern conception of “rights.”
Third, Christianity is not the only religion to condemn suicide. For good reason, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism… and many other religions also honor the sanctity of life.
Fourth, the Enlightenment was almost the exact opposite of what you describe. Many of the Enlightenment rationalists rejected classical and medieval concepts of nature and natural law as well as the tenets of Christianity.
So why isn’t suicide recognized as a right? Because thankfully there are too many people who still have common sense. I agree with you, however, that people should not be forcibly detained or “treated” against their will for talking about or even attempting suicide. Suicide prevention programs exacerbate the problem.
Another problem with your argument is that you claim that suicide is some sort of an escape, or a “way out.” This is a major problem for atheists especially. A person can only escape from something if that escape leads somewhere else. Furthermore, it is nonsensical to argue that atheists appreciate life more than religious people because they realize that there is only one life, because most religious people also recognize that we have only one life to live on earth, and that it matters very much.
And with all due respect, the argument that suicide is a celebration of individuality is the most irrational of them all. Self-annihilation is hardly a celebration of the self. Even though I’m sure that you are not a selfish person, the celebration of the self over everything else the very definition of selfishness.
Lilla, I don’t deny that you have made these arguments based on rational considerations, and not just emotional whims. The problem is that your rational considerations don’t hold up to scrutiny. I hope that you will reconsider your reasons for self-killing, not just because you are a person of value who makes the world a better place, but also because we need as many opponents of psychiatry to continue to fight the good fight against coercion and psychiatric abuse. Nevertheless, I defend your right to choose.
Good points Mr. Whitaker. Thank you. Israel is a great country with many different and wonderful people. Israel is not the problem. Psychiatry is the problem, and its a problem in whichever country it is found.
What utter nonsense. Because someone subscribes to anti-Israel propaganda, Robert Whitaker shouldn’t write articles about psychiatry in Israel. Complete and utter nonsense.
“Health is part of the general welfare.” Only after the 1950s did people begin to assume that this was the case. But you’re right about so-called “health care.” It’s all part of the therapeutic state.
Success of the movement… eh? Tell me more.
Diana, I’m sorry for what you went through, but glad that you survived. Your story confirms the tragic truth about psychiatry that so many have yet to discover.
Mother’s little helper.
Then this is one of the major mistakes of the early movement. I don’t discount the great work of those who have fought to abolish psychiatry in the past, or even just to resist it, but we can learn from these mistakes now.
“How many more people must die before this cover up ends and society takes seriously the role of psychiatric drugs in so many of these tragic events?”
This is the question of the decade, if not the century. As long as the media fails to report on the direct connection between neurotoxic psychotropic drugs and the horrendous acts of violence, these tragic events will not only continue, but they will increase. Why? Think of how many more people there are now who are drugged up like Paddock, Harris, and Holmes. Remember Andreas Lubitz of Flight 9525 infamy? There are many others. Dr. Breggin’s book “Medication Madness” is an excellent book on this topic, and it shows how neurotoxic, psychotropic drugs can turn the mildest and most peace loving human beings into raving, violent lunatics. It’s a tragedy not only for the victims, but the perpetrators as well.
Not everyone who takes these drugs turns violent, but the likelihood of violence is much stronger when neurotoxins are involved. Drug induced violence may be limited to oneself. Remember Robin Williams? Or it may extend toward others, as Paddock’s case demonstrates. See also: https://ssristories.org/
Perhaps the pharmaceutical companies’ grip on the media prevents such honest reporting as we have here with Dr. Breggin’s commentary. Whatever the case, unless the media starts to tell the truth about psychotropic drugs, I can predict that we will witness many more of these atrocities.
“How many more people must die before this cover up ends and society takes seriously the role of psychiatric drugs in so many of these tragic events?” Sadly, my guess is that many more people will die before the general public catches on to the truth about psychiatry.
OH, as you have probably already learned through your experience with psychiatry, what most of the world believes does not make something true. Do you prefer the rule of Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS? And Richard, ancient Greece was composed of many types of governments.
OH, Are you quoting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Who knows, it may even help to promote the abolition of psychiatry. This would be the ultimate tribute to Whitaker’s work, and to psychiatric survivors everywhere.
If you have any record of those tales, I would love to hear them. Thanks oldhead.
Yes. Thank you for your kind words. The conclusion is wrong, but even the method is wrong. I’m sure that Belmaker didn’t throw himself onto a gurney, bind himself hand and foot, and forcibly inject needles into his buttock. I highly doubt that Belmaker would be able to administer to himself doses high enough to compare with anything that happens to real life psychiatric prisoners. In any case, this is besides the point because the vast majority of people who advocate for psychotropic drugging don’t try these kinds of “experiments.” It would be folly to do so. The truly open mind will close itself on the endeavor to abolish psychiatry.
And amen to Oldhead’s comment as well.
No one understands Israeli psychiatry as well as I do. I was involuntarily incarcerated, drugged almost to death, and left to rot in an Israeli psychiatric prison about a decade ago. The stories of those who suffered in psychiatric prisons in Israel sound all too familiar to me. It seems like just yesterday I was being thrown onto a gurney in an windowless white room, bound hand and foot, and subjected to repeated psychiatric torture.
The prison? Eitanim Hospital. http://www.psjer.org.il/?CategoryID=255 The psychiatric prison warden? Dr Katsenelson. The neurotoxic drug? Clopixol. In that dank prison cell I was once clobbered in the head and knocked to the ground by a huge Russian speaking inmate. I remember the other drugged up zombies that wandered back and forth through the dirty hallways. I escaped once, but was dragged back into the dungeon by psychiatric enforcers. After more than a month in this prison, a month of drugging, torture, and abuse, I was released, but my recovery, even after a decade, has never been complete.
Miriam’s comment resonates with me: “The pills feel like a Holocaust, and they are like Auschwitz, and they bring the world down upon us. I used to pray to God that He would help me get better without medication.” How ironic that the very country that was established as the new homeland for the Jews, the State of Israel, would become a home to such psychiatric prisons that distribute “pills that feel like a Holocaust” and “like Auschwitz.”
Loren Mosher’s Soteria house may have challenged the psychiatric paradigm to an extent, and Lichtenberg’s new project may challenge the current psychiatric paradigm in Israel in a similar way. Nevertheless, even these more humane institutions do not adequately challenge the underlying false claims of psychiatry. As long as the myth of mental illness runs rampant, including that sacred symbol of psychiatry, namely “schizophrenia,” psychiatry will continue to prosper at the expense of innocent lives.
Psychiatric prisons and even psychiatric stabilizing houses would be obsolete were it not for the pervasive myth of mental illness by which innocent people are labeled with fictitious “diseases” and drugged into oblivion. As the critical psychiatry movement gains momentum in Israel, now is a good time to invigorate the antipsychiatry movement in Israel as well. While I certainly advocate for the humane treatment of all human beings, it should be obvious by now that psychiatry is inherently and diametrically opposed to anything humane. Belmaker and others may still make “a case for selective use of antipsychotics,” but that is because neither Belmaker or most of the others who make this case have ever been on the receiving end of the euphemistically named “antipsychotics.”
In any case, this is an interesting article, and it is certainly a good thing that Mr. Whitaker’s work will be translated into Hebrew. Perhaps the Messiah will return before that time, but we shouldn’t wait until then to get the ball rolling for antipsychiatry in Israel. Yalla!
Then go ahead and do something Julia26. The rest of us are actively involved in slaying the dragon of psychiatry, and not just on the Mad in America site. Furthermore, the people who read these articles and these comments need to be educated and taught the truth about psychiatry. There is no reason why we shouldn’t do that here, as well as in other forums.
Read her book The Bitterest Pills. It’s a great book that unfolds a mostly accurate history of psychotropic drugs. But sadly, she fails to account for some of the most horrendous practices in psychiatry. This is outside the scope of her book, so she claims, but her position is as follows: “antipsychotic drugs can be regarded as implements of social control, but that they can also help individuals gain relief from intense and intrusive psychotic experiences or destructive emotional states.” (p. 18) That’s a very disturbing assessment from one who has studied psychotropic drugs so thoroughly. https://www.amazon.com/Bitterest-Pills-Troubling-Story-Antipsychotic/dp/1137277432
those are real and perplexing symptoms of real problems, but just like any real and perplexing symptoms of real problems, they have nothing to do with fictitious “mental illness.” Furthermore, the symptoms that you describe are very often, though not always, brought about iatrogenically by psychiatry itself. The question is not whether or not there are real problems in the world. There are real problems in the world. But psychiatry is responsible for many of these problems and in no way remedies any of them. In fact, a person with the problems that you described will find his or her problems compounded 100 fold by psychiatric “treatment.”
Good points, all. Szasz entitled one of his books “Psychiatry: the Science of Lies.” That is a great book, and a great title. Perhaps the term “myth” is too congenial, since there are many good myths. Psychiatry is a fraudulent pseudo-science, and the mental illness illusion or chimera forms the base of this pernicious practice. This is one of the reasons why I chose the name Slaying the Dragon of Psychiatry, because it will take a good myth, or true symbols, to conquer the bad myth and false symbols of psychiatry.
Willful ignorance is right. Psychiatry, however, is very deceptive and has managed to lure in many very bright, capable people.
Yes. Exactly Oldhead. This point is crucial. The only sense in which “mental illness” is very real is that “mental illness” is a very real myth. It’s not just that the fictitious diseases in the DSM are not scientifically true. That’s the outgrowth of a larger problem. The fictitious diseases of the DSM-V, for example, would not be so widely accepted if the myth of mental illness itself were not so widely accepted. What is called “mental illness,” therefore, is no more real than the Easter bunny, but it is a lot more dangerous. Szasz liked to refer to mental illness as a myth and a metaphor because he made a distinction between actual brain diseases (i.e. cancer, tumors, etc.), and fictitious “illness” of the mind. “Mental illness” is a metaphor that people who occupy positions of power and authority apply to those whose behaviors they dislike or who simply don’t fit into their preconceived notions of “mental health.” It’s a very powerful and convenient weapon that has been used against political dissidents, and many others. Think of it for a moment. What do people mean when they say “mental illness”? There is no biological marker or blood test or any other proof for the existence of such a thing, and yet millions of people are “diagnosed” as “mentally ill” and subjected to psychiatric “treatments.” It’s a veritable witch hunt. In former times, false priests ostracized and condemned certain people through the use of abstruse Latinisms and labelling people as witches. Nowadays, the pseudo-medical, pseudo-religious priests of psychiatry ostracize and condemn certain people through the use of DSM labels. False priests drew their authority from false religious beliefs and practices, whereas psychiatrists draw their authority from the myth of mental illness. Once the myth of mental illness is exposed, the entire enterprise of psychiatry collapses. This is why it is crucial to expose the myth of mental illness for what it is.
Thanks for clarifying, Frank. This is confusing stuff.
I don’t deny the reality of the thousands of people employed in such work. Thank you for your report. Could you please elaborate on what is meant by “co-opted”? Also, if you have any other insights into why psychiatric survivors would ever voluntarily choose to be a “peer” worker, that would be helpful as well. Thank you.
Can someone please explain all of this psycho-babble? Why on earth are there any psychiatric survivors who consider themselves to be “peers” in the ways explained in this article? It’s utter nonsense. What is meant by the phrase “psychiatric survivors’ experiential knowledge has been co-opted by the system”? Experiential knowledge? Really? Do we refer to those who escaped chattel slavery as having “experiential knowledge”? Do Holocaust survivors have “experiential knowledge”? The ex-patients movement? Who in their right mind would ever invent such a term or wish to be part of such a “movement”? Frank is absolutely right. This is nothing more than the corruption of what ought to be the psychiatric survivor movement. It’s all part of the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex mental illness industry, and survivors want no part in it, at all. I have some Barack Obama toilet paper, but Frank’s idea to create “psychology degree” toilet paper sounds great. Actually, “psychology degree” toilet paper would dignify the psychology degree too much.
Tried him. Several times. Perhaps he was too busy.
Yes. Good luck Bryan. I hope that you will write more about your experience with the law, because your terrible experience with psychiatry is like thousands of others. Thousands upon thousands of lives, like your own, have been and are being destroyed by pseudo-medical quacks who pose as doctors. Psychiatry is a system of slavery that must be abolished, and if there is a way for the legal profession to catch up to this reality, that would be great. In all my research I could never find a lawyer who understood the truth about psychiatry or who was willing to fight these battles. If anyone out there knows of any lawyer, anyone at all, who has the wherewithal and the legal acumen to bring these psychiatrists to justice, please let me know. Thank you.
I’m glad that I got a good grade on my comment, and I’m glad that you got a good laugh. 🙂 There’s a lot more truth speaking to come… so stay tuned. 🙂
Good job Oldhead. It’s certainly a very strange comment. The website curetoschizophrenia.blogspot.com even advertises the “chemical imbalance in the brain” hoax. Quackery.
Oldhead, I completely agree with you that the so-called “health” industry does not heal, and that the “mental health” industry is a police force. These industries actually thrive on making citizens sick and keeping them that way. However, the notion that it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to care for the health of its citizens is relatively new. Szasz was right about this, and it is certainly a question worth pondering. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution makes it quite clear what the aims of the government are and ought to be, namely, to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. Even in the 1950s, as Szasz points out, the notion that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide ‘health care’ to the American people had not yet entered the national consciousness. It’s worth considering why and how this notion entered the national consciousness and whether or not it makes sense. There is a direct connection between the rise of the therapeutic state and the flourishing of psychiatry.
Cognitive impairment is such a clever euphemism for brain damage. It reminds me of many other psychiatric euphemisms:
involuntary incarceration in a prison = hospitalization
neurotoxic drugs = medication, antidepressants, antipsychotics
labeling and stigmatization = diagnosis
fictitious diseases = mental illness
jailer and pseudo-scientific quack = psychiatrist
torture and abuse = treatment
suicide = emotional lability
and the list goes on…
Yes. Study it out for yourself. Read Szasz’s book “The Myth of Psychotherapy.” Mr. Berezin’s reply further proves Szasz’s point. Szasz was not the “expert” or the “intellectual.” He was exposing the “experts” and the “intellectuals” for their fraudulent use of psychiatry and psychotherapy:
“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)
Szasz’s analysis of psychotherapy was just as astute as his analysis of psychiatry. Psychiatry and psychotherapy are connected in ways that most people, including therapists, have yet to discover.
Psychiatry has not lost its way. If anything, psychiatry has come into full bloom. Psychiatry, the science of lies, naturally produces the terrible problems that it purports to cure. As for psychotherapy, Szasz understood it better than anyone:
“There is, properly speaking, no such thing as psychotherapy. Like mental illness, psychotherapy is a metaphor and a myth. Hypnosis, suggestion, psychoanalysis, whatever the so-called psychotherapy might be labeled, are names we give to people speaking and listening to each other in certain ways. By calling some types of human encounters ‘psychotherapy,’ we only impede our capacity to understand them.”
“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)
Stick around waydownunder, and you may discover the truth about psychiatry. Even the notion that neurotoxic drugs produce “side-effects” is false. As yet, no one seems willing to answer my questions about just what constitutes “madness” or “these problems.” That is most likely because people don’t have a real answer. In any case, such speculation does real harm and serves as a major alibi for psychiatrists and other omnipotent moral busybodies. (see the C.S. Lewis quote above). I’ve read Joanna’s great work on psychotropic drugs, and her contribution in that regard is valuable. It’s just unfortunate that she still supports psychiatry and the use of such barbaric “treatments” for the so-called severely “mentally ill.” It will be interesting to see how she tries to work through these contradictions.
Exactly. Critical psychiatry and reform psychiatry are part of the problem.
Hear, hear! The greatest help that a psychiatrist or a mental health worker can offer to anyone is to renounce psychiatry.
“In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.” – Thomas Szasz
I hereby declare that everyone who disagrees with me or whose behavior I find objectionable is unequivocally and categorically insane and must be treated with the harshest psychiatric interventions possible, including involuntary incarceration and drugging.
Reasonably vague, yes. The argument thus far seems to be that…
A. people have problems
B. psychiatrists solve problems
C. therefore more psychiatry
It sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? What it fails to explain is what these “problems” are, what psychiatry is, and how it solves these problems. It is, on all counts, a weak argument and just as vague as psychiatry likes things to be.
How did it ever become the responsibility of the U.S. government to care for the health of its citizens?
“In the 1950’s, when I wrote The Myth of Mental Illness,” Thomas Szasz wrote in a new preface to his book with the same title, “the notion that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide ‘health care’ to the American people had not yet entered the national consciousness.”
Ponder that for a moment.
Szasz continues: “Fifty years ago, the question ‘What is mental illness?’ was of interest to the general public as well as to philosophers, sociologists, and medical professionals. This is no longer the case. The question has been answered – ‘dismissed’ would be more accurate – by the holders of political power: representing the State, they decree that ‘mental illness is a disease like any other.’ Political power and professional self-interest unite in turning a false belief into a ‘lying fact.’”
There you have it. The lying fact of “mental illness” is now combined with political power and is so deeply engrained in our collective consciousness that we no longer question its validity. Furthermore, the notion that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide ‘health care’ to the American people is so deeply engrained in our culture that most people don’t realize that such lying facts have outmaneuvered the truth in a relatively short amount of time.
Therefore, as the director of the aforementioned health insurance company, I would simply pose the same questions that Szasz posed in the new preface to his book “The Myth of Mental Illness.” Then I would look for a new job.
“But there are real problems out there that are not just created by psychiatrists…”
Please elaborate. What are these “real problems”? Thank you.
The approach doesn’t work, because psychiatry continues to justify its atrocities in the name of “caring” for this mysterious and illusive group of people who are referred to as the “mentally ill.” In the real world, thousands upon thousands of innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly, are being labeled with fictitious diseases and subjected to cruel punishments such as involuntary incarceration and psychotropic drugging, all because psychiatry insists upon maintaining the appearance of a legitimate medical practice while it is nothing more than a pseudo-science. These so-called “severe forms of the problems that get called mental disorder” are the exception, and not the rule, and the problems would not be half as severe if they didn’t get labeled as “mental disorder.” In any case, this is psychiatry’s alibi. It is psychiatry that plays “let’s pretend that only psychiatry has the solution to the world’s problems because psychiatrists are the experts.” Perhaps that is how the real world currently works, but that is only because the myth of mental illness has permeated almost every corner of society to the detriment of many, including the most vulnerable.
The notion that there are approaches that “do more harm than good” is one of the great psychiatric myths that keeps the whole psychiatric enterprise cycling through endless loops of “reform” and “rethinking.” Thus psychiatry has reformed and rethought itself from whirling chairs and chains to lobotomies to insulin shock, electroshock, psychotropic drugging, and even brain implants. All this so-called reform in the name of “treating” a mysterious group of people falsely labeled as “schizophrenic” or otherwise is precisely why psychiatry has evolved into the beast that it is today. The iatrogenic harm caused by psychiatry is exponentially higher than any supposed harm that is caused by problems that others, particularly psychiatrists, label as “mental illness.” In fact, it is proven that in countries where psychiatry does not dominate, the rare individuals who might be subjected to psychiatric “care” actually recover and heal in a relatively short amount of time. In the United States, however, once anyone gets dragged into the dark web of psychiatry, it is next to impossible to extricate oneself. Psychiatry has nothing to do with assisting people with problems, and everything to do with exacerbating problems or creating new ones in order to keep the enterprise running and the dollars flowing. The horrendous thing is that psychiatrists and mental health workers continue to do this damage with the approval of their own conscience:
Good article. Philosophy, liberal studies, and theological studies can help a person to understand how to think and write. Good nutrition can certainly help a person to sleep. I’m glad that you survived the Klonopin withdrawal.
There is a 100% chance that 100% of the world’s population is mentally ill. This is science.
The fact that any insanity plea is accepted is just one among many demonstrations of the corruption inherent in psychiatry.
Uprising’s comment is a perfect demonstration why the term “Islamophobia” is problematic at best. Of course it is wrong to single out the actions of a few terrorists and then apply this to an entire religion (as some seem wont to do with Christianity as well). But I’m not sure what any of this has to do with the myth of mental illness or Mad in America.
I’ve lived and traveled in predominantly Muslim countries and interacted with Muslims in other countries and in the United States. I’m an avid student of Islam. I’ve read the Qur’an twice. I’ve visited several mosques. I’ve studied Arabic. Muslims are, by and large, wonderful people. But this is not how the term “Islamophobia” is bandied about today. Like “homophobia,” “Islamophobia” is not a helpful term. It’s a term that is too often used to silence dissenting opinions.
Rebecca, what is Islamophobia? Who coined that term? Why?
Precisely. Many people who think that they are being helped by the neurotoxins are simply suffering from that which Peter Breggin has called “medication spellbinding.” The question of whether or not drugs “work” depends so much upon what we mean by the word “work.” Do drugs sedate or excite the brain in such a way as to produce unnatural outcomes? Of course. If this is what is meant by drugs “working,” then I suggest that we might want to rethink the value of what “works.”
Ok. This is getting closer to the truth. Psychotropic drugs do, indeed, CAUSE suicide. This is an indisputable fact. But what is needed is not informed consent. What is needed is for pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists to be held accountable for their atrocious crimes. Why on earth are such dangerous neurotoxins allowed on the market in the first place, and why on earth are they permitted to be distributed as if they were “medication”? These neurotoxins are not medication any more than a bottle of Kerosene is cough syrup.
There’s another aspect of this problem that too few people understand. It is true that psychotropic drugs CAUSE suicide, but so do suicide prevention campaigns. Suicide awareness and suicide prevention campaigns hook the vulnerable and drag them into the dark web of psychiatry, where they are drugged, involuntarily incarcerated, which trauma may even lead them to terminate their own lives. It’s the same problem with so-called “anti-stigma” campaigns. Here’s how it works: Someone starts an anti-stigma campaign to remove the stigma from so-called “mental illness.” The message is that no one should allow stigma to stop a person from receiving “treatment.” Next, the unsuspecting victim of psychiatry is convinced that “mental illness” is an “illness like any other.” Then the same unsuspecting victim seeks the help of a psychiatrist who then labels said victim as “mentally ill,” thus increasing the stigma, which requires more “anti-stigma” campaigns. You see how clever psychiatry is in drawing people into its dark web?
How is it possible to agree that we ought to jettison the concepts of “mental disorders” and “mental illness” and almost in the same breath to call for ways to reinforce these very concepts? With all due respect, it doesn’t make sense. What exactly are the “problems that we now refer to as mental disorders”? Who is the “we” in this sentence? Do people have problems? Of course. Have people always had problems? Naturally. Are those problems a manifestation of a “mental disorder” or a “mental illness”? Not at all. Does psychiatry have the capacity to address or to resolve such problems? Not remotely. The opposite is true. Psychiatry causes or perpetuates what is sometimes interpreted as “problems in living.”
I did not imply that Szasz did not recognize that people have “problems in living,” or that they do not exhibit behaviors that “bother or disturb people.” My point was that this was not the crux of his argument. Szasz was far more critical of the purveyors of the myth of mental illness than he was of those who struggle in any way. Even so, Szasz didn’t quite comprehend the power of psychiatry to create the very “problems in living” that are so often interpreted as “mental disorders.” Psychotropic drugs, just to name one example, are one of the major causes of the epidemic of that which is perceived to be “psychosis.” Other cases are exceptional, outliers, and even these people ought to be respected, as Szasz was fond of saying, as responsible and free beings.
Could it be that the most disturbing behaviors are actually those manifested by psychiatrists who persistently seek to “diagnose” and drug people? If there is one person in a million who thinks that he or she can fly, why not leave that person alone and go after the hoards of psychiatrists, social workers, and so-called “mental health” experts who think that they have the power and the authority to “diagnose” fictitious diseases, and by so doing, drug people into a state in which they not only think that they can fly, but also carry out their plans (yes, drugs often CAUSE suicide). The truly disturbing behavior is not some random individual who thinks that the CIA is after them or that the TV is broadcasting his or her thoughts. These people are the epitome of sanity compared to those who apply DSM labels to innocent people, including little children, the homeless, and the elderly.
The kinds of problems that are routine in your practice would be much less so if your practice did not exist. Psychiatry causes the vast majority of those problems, and for the rare exceptions, it has been proven over and over again that in societies that are not dominated by psychiatry, people with such “problems in living” find healing and hope in their families and communities, and are eventually reintegrated into society instead of become social pariahs and scapegoats.
And what is this about locking up people? That’s what psychiatry does best. As Szasz frequently pointed out, psychiatry inculpates the innocent (by means of “mental illness” mongering), and it exculpates the guilty (by means of the insanity plea). Under psychiatry, the practice of involuntary incarceration in prisons is euphemistically referred to as “hospitalization.” Drugging is called “medication.” Ostracism is called “diagnosis.” Jailers and wardens are called “doctors.” And so forth. Psychiatry is, as Szasz rightly demonstrated, the “Science of Lies.”
And what are these patterns of behavior of which you write? Of course there are patterns of behavior that can be problematic… psychiatry produces a wide variety of disturbing behaviors, the most disturbing of which are manifest by psychiatrists themselves. But psychiatrists’ behaviors are more than problematic… they are harmful and dangerous. Szasz was very clear that the concept that patients are a “danger to themselves or others” is one of the most deceptive lies of psychiatry, but he was also very clear that psychiatry causes the very harm that it purports to cure.
The most impaired kind of reasoning is the reasoning that produced psychiatry in the first place. Perhaps there can be a democratic debate about how to abolish psychiatry. Perhaps psychiatrists should be subject to trial by jury and held accountable for their crimes. How do you think that the concepts of “mental illness” and “mental disorders” ought to be jettisoned? In what way should psychiatrists be held accountable for their crimes?
I know all too well the cost of telling the truth about so-called “mental illness.” Even Szasz refrained from writing or speaking of this “taboo” subject for many years, until he had the necessary credentials to be heard. Even then, he was mostly rejected or ignored, just like Karl Kraus before him. Of course I can’t possibly share everything that Szasz has written or said in one comment. He also said that cases such as the one that you mentioned, hearing voices or imagining things, or even cases such as the one mentioned by Moncrieff, are RARE and the EXCEPTION when it comes to psychiatry. In other words, psychiatry uses such rare and exceptional cases to justify its broad enterprise of labeling, drugging, and involuntarily incarcerating average people. Furthermore (and this is something that Szasz failed to understand completely), psychotropic drugs CAUSE people to manifest the very symptoms that are then “diagnosed” by psychiatrists as mental illness. If you don’t hear voices or think that you’re a poached egg, just start a regimen of psychotropic drugs and before long hearing voices or thinking that you’re a poached egg will be the least of your worries.
Interesting points. In other words, embracing the myth of mental illness is a way for the morally complacent to soothe their consciences and to confirm their pre-conceived notions of superiority.
Where to begin? Moncrieff presents us with yet another article that attempts to legitimize or to solidify the myth of mental illness. As if this myth weren’t already engrained too deeply in our cultural consciousness.
What is a mental disorder? It is a fabrication. It is psychiatry’s attempt to justify its own existence. It is a figment of the psychiatric imagination that is used as a weapon to destroy the lives of innocent people, including children, the homeless, and the elderly. A mental disorder is, in other words, a lie of egregious proportions.
Of course it is more difficult to set out a positive notion of what a mental disorder consists of, because it is the futile attempt to make concrete something that is absolutely ethereal. To succeed in such a project would be even more disastrous than it was to invent “mental illness” in the first place.
Moncrieff is right, however, that both Szasz and Wittgenstein would suggest that looking for the essence of mental disorder is a mistaken pursuit. But that is beside the point. Why would one wish to pursue such a disastrous course in the first place?
As for Szasz, I don’t know how many times I need to chime in on his behalf before people will actually start to read his books, and to understand them. It is a gross distortion of Szasz’ thinking to propose that he understood so-called “mental disorders” as merely “problems in living.” This ignores entire volumes of his work in which he outlines in no uncertain terms that so-called “mental illness” is a myth. Read, for example, Szasz’ book “Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry.” The thrust of his argument in this and in many other books is that psychiatry is fake medicine that helps fake physicians (psychiatrists) to coerce and control fake patients (the “mentally ill”). So-called “Schizophrenia” is just one of the many fake diseases that psychiatrists use to justify their fake medical interventions.
“The claim that some people have a disease called schizophrenia (and that some, presumably, do not),” Szasz explains, “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.” Thus the only definition of so-called “mental disorders” is the definition that psychiatrists impose upon it in order to justify their practice of fake medicine.
How should we respond to problems that are labeled as mental disorders? Simple. Stop labeling people with fictitious diseases. But this is the wrong question to consider. The real question to ask is the following: “Since so-called ‘mental disorders’ are fictional diseases concocted by fake doctors in order to control fake patients, why are these fake doctors allowed to continue to label people with fake diseases?”
Moncrieff’s confused jumble of Wittgenstein, Hegel, Heidegger, Szasz, Laing and others does nothing but obscure the problem that she seems eager to perpetuate or to exacerbate. This is unfortunate, especially considering her sound understanding of the dangers of psychotropic drugs. In any case, who sets up psychiatrists as authorities as to what constitutes healthy reasoning vs. what should be interpreted as “mental illness”? Who else, but psychiatrists themselves.
What if psychiatrists were to subject their own reasoning to the same critical scrutiny? Is not the practice of psychiatry, the so-called “medical treatment of the soul,” the craziest thing that a person can imagine? Should it be categorized as a disease? Perhaps the propensity toward practicing psychiatry could be called OMD, “obsessive meddling disorder” or IQD “insufferable quackery disorder.”
Who is more detached from the everyday understanding of ourselves and the world than the average psychiatrist? By comparison, the young man in Moncrieff’s example stands out as supremely sane and reasonable.
Again, what is a mental disorder? It is part of the deeply engrained myth of mental illness that is used to justify a system of coercion and slavery that is disguised as a branch of medicine. It is a figment of the psychiatric imagination that psychiatrists employ in order to justify their brain damaging and destructive practices. If there really were such a thing as a mental disorder, psychiatry itself would be the clearest manifestation of it.
Xevious, Szasz has written extensively on the topic of the insanity plea. In almost every one of his books you will find a critique of the insanity plea (which exculpates the guilty), and the myth of mental illness (which inculpates the innocent).
Exactly. Santa Claus brings kids presents. The Easter Bunny may bring chocolate and make for a fun Easter egg hunt. The myth of mental illness, on the other hand… children and others drugged into oblivion, labeled with fictitious diseases, involuntarily incarcerated, ostracized, and sentenced to a life of psychiatric torture and abuse. Maybe we could start a new holiday? Mental illness day, where the mental illness fairy comes visits people with a “diagnosis” from the DSM-V, some syringes full of Haldol, and a few bottles full of psychotropic drugs. Let’s celebrate!
Spot on Frank. Good point. Breggin’s book “Medication Madness” outlines this manufacturing of madness quite clearly. SSRI stories is another good resource on this topic: https://ssristories.org/
Before I read this article, let me just add that there is a lot of great research being conducted on the reasoning and meaning of the Easter Bunny as well.
I articulate and educate. There’s a difference.
Robert, in a professional article you ought to cite your sources.
“These kinds of comments, if taken literally, seem to reflect a form of ‘psychiatric nihilism’—a black and white view in which psychiatry is the dark side of nothingness. No good can possibly come from it, a blot of meaninglessness that is used only to inflict harm and traumatize anyone coming into its dark web.”
As Frank rightly pointed out, psychiatry and nihilism go hand in hand, so antipsychiatry is also anti-nihilism. Moreover, there is a good that will come from psychiatry, and it is this: when it is finally abolished, future history books will contain a chapter on psychiatry that will be read by students alongside chapters on chattel slavery and the holocaust. It will provide future students of history greater perspectives on the nature and scope of tyranny and oppression.
Robert, I like your analogy about the dark web. That is a wonderfully creative description of psychiatry that I can incorporate into future writing. Thank you.
Precisely. Antipsychiatry is less violent than MLK, jr. and Gandhi combined. Darkness cannot drive out psychiatry, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out psychiatry. Only love can do that. Namaste.
True. Psychiatry is not medicine. But not all medicine is really medicine either. Psychiatry has got to go, no question. But doctors have been doing harm since Hippocrates. https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Medicine-Doctors-Doing-Hippocrates/dp/0199212791
This is where Robert’s article may be useful… as a counterbalance to the futile anti-capitalist bloviating.
The tipping point is coming.
I remember the self-indulgent fantasy of abolitionists during the Civil War. They didn’t understand the real world. Frederick Douglass, Lincoln, and the rest were living in a fantasy world. It’s a good thing that Dorothy finally woke up and that the fine institution of slavery was preserved. I also remember the self-indulgent fantasy of Winston Churchill and the allied forces. They didn’t understand the real world either. Fortunately Dorothy woke up, and the Nazis prevailed. Like the Wizard of Oz, Robert Nikkel makes excellent points. We should follow that yellow brick road toward the Emerald City where psychiatry reigns supreme. C’mon toto! If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why o why can’t I?
More people ought to quote Slaying the Dragon of Psychiatry. His ideas are so potent, and he articulates them so clearly. Even when he is quoted out of context, there is a certain je ne sais quoi about his style.
ScottEv raises an interesting point, one that even Szasz was a bit confused about, namely, that there is such a thing as consensual psychiatry. This is one of the most deceptive aspects of psychiatry, the notion that there can be a consensual psychiatry.
Psychiatry is the CAUSE of the very “needs” that it addresses. Psychiatry, as a pseudo-science, supplies itself with the “needs” that it wishes to meet in order to sustain the illusion that it is a field of medicine. I suppose that one could also argue that slavery fills a need, or that Nazi experimentation filled a need. People have needs, it is true, but psychiatry creates “needs” that people would never have in the first place were it not for psychiatry. There is no reasonable sense in which psychiatry fills a need, unless we consider that there is a need for involuntary incarceration, drugging, and torture in order to maintain the power of the therapeutic state, or unless we consider that pharmaceutical companies need psychiatry in order to create and to maintain a market for neurotoxins.
Greensprouts is frothing at the eyes, not just foaming at the mouth. Perhaps Robert can help Greensprouts out with some psychiatric remedies. I suppose that Greensprouts was just venting though, so I’m not sure that it is a diagnosable condition.
It’s just so easy to take a few random quotations out of context and to isolate them for your own purposes. This is essentially what Robert has done in his article. It demonstrates a very shallow understanding of both psychiatry and antipsychiatry. After psychiatry is abolished, I would like to read his articles about what happened.
I agree with Richard that Robert’s post sets up a straw-man argument or a caricature of antipsychiatry. But maybe Robert’s post will begin to establish a necessary counterweight to some of the more radical anti-capitalist and anarchist responses.
“If antipsychiatry is psychiatric nihilism it is only because psychiatry is nihilism to begin with, and so it could be said to be anti-nihilism.”
I agree Oldhead. The attempt to associate antipsychiatry with nihilism shows that he, like most people, has completely misunderstood antipsychiatry.