Sunday, June 16, 2019

Comments by madmom

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  • So true! We helped my daughter plant a garden behind her cottage and she has been planting-watering and weeding consistently this year-and we can tell the benefits to her clarity of mind are discernible. Some of it is simple pride. Six years in the backwards-she was not only deprived of all wilderness and organic beds–there was no purpose given to the inmate-patients. Just from the savings on expensive brand name antipsychotics if we drugged people less-hospitals could use the savings to build greenhouses and beds

  • The blatantly racist quote cited by the author of the paper is very disturbing. It is from a senior psychiatrist and is grounds for dismissal or disciplinary action. This is a violent blatantly racist statement; it is documented from a credible source. I’m sure the author would have no reason to slander someone or use hyperbole to make a point. Therefore, wouldn’t the senior psychiatrist who is quoted as saying a ‘bomb’ should be dropped on an entire community of people of color be subject to some disciplinary action or licensing review for unprofessional conduct at the very least? I know a civil rights attorney who may have some suggestions for actions if someone could verify the facts in this paper? Logically, even without the advice of an attorney, it seems like if this psychiatrist is working for a hospital that is accredited by Medicare, then this would violate some basic civil rights standards and a grievance or human rights complaint should be lodged against this facility that could employ such a monster. I’m assuming the comments were made ‘on the clock’ and surely there are standards of professional conduct that a licensing board that this person could hold its members to.

  • Dear Elizabeth- im thankful your son is doing well now that he is out of the clutches of Mcpsychiatry and Mctherapy. Do you know where your sons original anxiety develooed? Sensitive, smart children face so much adversity from climate change, school drills for mass shootings, bullying, etc. Adverse drug reactions are common but they go unreported. I am the mother of a daughter who has become habituated to a powerful antipsychotic drug and traumatized by years of forced drugging in institutions. Because of the powerful lobby of big Pharma and the domination of the disease model of mental illness–no alternatives exist for people when they experience extreme states-even those that are directly linked to an adverse drug reaction. I hope your sons former psychiatrist reads this letter. I also believe that you can report his failure to report an adverse drug reaction. I urge you to stay involved and continue to tell your story. Until NAMI rejects all funding from drug companies and accurately prioritizes trauma as the number one way to combat ‘mental illnesses’ we need all dissatisfied parents to push back and demand better for our family members.

  • The author of this article impressed me by getting this published on Pete Earleys blog. That is surprising. In this article she question AOT and the odious Family to Family curriculum by NAMI (FtoF states clearly on the cover that it is funded by a drug company) I dont agree with her support of the clubhouse model–i think clubhouses have been co-opted by medical model practitioners with the result that they ate not friendly to people who want to organize, protest, revolutionalize, innovate, or make waves.

  • Thank God for this legal decision- perhaps other European nations will follow and then perhaps Canada and the US-if only my daughter had the law behind her when she tried to resist (futilely) and was forcibly medicated many times-she might be better today. Her rebound psychosis was not recognized and she was polydrugged to cover up the iatrogenic harm-now her brain is habituated to neurpleptics and her dad and I dont know if she can ever safely titrate off them to deal with her original emotional wounds and live an independent life-we try to remain hopeful and resist despair but these kind of protections are important to give the next generation of young people a shot at true healing.

  • I posted the following comment on the original Medscape article; doubt it will get published

    The former editor of the New England School of Medicine resigned because she claimed that over 50% of the medical literature is junk science funded by industry.. According to ProPublica, MedScape receives HUGE funding from industries that profit from pharmceuticals and medical technology companies so I’m skeptical of everything on this site.What I would like to know is if the author would have brought attention to this major mistake without outside pressure? In other words, was her mistake outed by another scientist? At least Medscape published the retraction which probably won’t happen with the other downstream fake news articles that cited this terrible study. At least this author took responsibility for the error unlike the author of 329 the ghost written article written by SmithKline downplaying the adverse effects of paroxetine on adolescents, a study with glaring conflicts of interest which was never retracted by the journal (JAACAP) to my knowledge. The thing that slays me is even though I hate Trump, he is right. A lot of news is fake news. Everywhere gullible readers are exposed to media stories cut and pasted from PR firms press releases about miraculous new advances in neurobiology and psychiatry and most of it is JUNK. Researchers like this one give credence to claims of people like Trump. and his claims of fake news

  • Dr. Moncrieff:

    I am increasingly of the belief that doctors should not be able to prescribe these pills any longer and parents should not give them to their children unless they have first taken a course on the risks which is developed and/or informed 100% by psychiatric survivors. I think this would go a long way in solving the problem of reckless prescribing and failure to conduct research that could inform clinical practices as it concerns de-prescribing.

    I would go even further and require that prescribers and parents be legally REQUIRED take a ‘sample’ of what they are dishing out. I took one of my son’s pills once and it took me three days to recover cognitively and physically. Taking even a small bit of another’s prescription medication may be illegal but I did it to find out what it would do to my brain and it reinforced in me the belief that psychiatry lies and kills and it had the effect of radicalizing me. I now feel that our society urgently needs to correct the power imbalance between doctors and patients before more lives are lost.

    Thankfully, my son withdrew cold turkey from Seroqel without any major withdrawal difficulties (he had only been on it for one month during a crisis) and with the help of yoga, friendship, cross fit, ballet, kickboxing, free counseling from the Returning Veterans Project, and hobbies such as harp playing he is med free and gainfully employed.

    Now our family is focusing on supporting our others adult child’s withdrawal from Clozoril.

    How can one find an expert in tardive dyskinisia? I don’t think she has tardive psychosis, thankfully. She still experiences long periods of daily clarity that we build on. But several years of clozoril usage have made a noticeable cognitive impairment around her focus and memory which prohibit her from successfully making goals, and following through. It is hard for her to hold onto a thought longer than a minute. David Oaks described Thorazine as a ‘wrecking ball to the cathedral of his mind’ and this comes close to describing what I observe in her.

    I think many younger survivors are starting to articulate a widespread common drug induced impairment that has often been blamed on the progressive nature of ‘schizophrenia’, inability to simply THINK. Executive functioning is a spectrum of different functions such as focus, memory, and organizing. These functions are impaired by long term neuroleptic use, I’m convinced. Just as there is a lack of research around withdrawal, there is a lack of research around cognitive impairments that are drug induced. Can you refer us to any studies where this link is established?

    I also believe that my daughter is experiencing a less common form of dyskinisia that affects her respiratory tract so that many times, within about twenty minutes of taking her daily dose (at night) she feels that she is suffocating. It is very scary and unpleasant and causes her to panic. It is scary side effects like this that caused her to be med compliant on many occasions which gave the state it rational to lock her up for years and drug her by force.

    I believe that past trauma of psychiatric interventions coupled with cognitive impairment impacts her ability to talk cogently and honestly about side effects with her prescriber and I am afraid to get involved with her psychiatrist for several reasons:
    1) intruding on her privacy and independence.
    2) My own past failed attempts to influence a prescriber to de-prescribe which sometimes backfired
    3) The fear that the prescriber will simply give her another med to counter the side effects, the prescription cascade, so to speak
    4) Being forbidden to be a part of her life due to ‘parental lack of insight’

    Any suggestions as to an expert that we could take her to to sort out the side effects from the trauma? Especially someone who is an expert on dyskinisia?

  • This article is consistent with the work of Dr. Pamela Wible. When I complained to Dr. Wible about psychiatric abuse, she claimed that psychiatric abuse is a part of the cycle of abuse starting with the way medical students are treated. While I sympathize with doctors who have their hands tied and cannot adequately treat their patients in the current system, this article takes the issue to a new level by claiming that doctors who must work in a profit driven business model are ‘morally injured’. I am skeptical of portraying doctors as victims. Studies show that most doctors enter the field to enjoy the good life. Check. When my dad was the Dean of Students at Portland State University in the seventies, he risked everything to supported his student’s first amendment right to protest the Vietnam War for which he was later blacklisted/dismissed. Our family experienced poverty after that but I have only admiration for my dad’s moral stand. My uncle, a physician, volunteered on the weekend to treat patients for free at a clinic founded by the Black Panthers for which his phone was tapped, even though my uncle was a pacifist Quaker and didn’t have a violent bone in his body. I think that doctors suffer less from moral ‘injury’ and more from lack of moral backbone.

  • I am angered by Dr. Horowitz’disclosure of his ephiphany as it relates to the challenges of withdrawing from psych drugs. He mentions that most of his information on the subject was from medical school training and was not helpful.Are pre med students not taught to think critically? Dont young medical students ever question why their training is not informed by service recipients- especially in the practice of psychiatry? Dont they have any common sense thinking skills that allows them to smell the corruption? Good Lord- what a bunch of zombies med students are becoming! No wonder the doctor suicide rate is exploding: disconnection-putting career and financial security above the interests of their own and their patients spiritual mental physical and emotional health-the lack of moral compass to speak out against the colonization of health care by industrial interests.

  • By the way, I should mention what a wonderful person my daughter is! She doesn’t give up and just the fact that she gets up every day and tries to live life on her own terms, despite the years of psychiatric abuse she has endured is a tribute to her wonderful spirit and grit. She is my teacher everyday and I just hope that someday, her tenacity and optimism will be rewarded with an opportunity to enjoy regular, genuine conversations with a psychiatrist, one who is open minded, compassionate, not someone with an eye on the clock and a pipeline of patients outside the door, someone who will treat her like a human being with strengths and abilities and take professional risks to stand in solidarity with her desire to live a med free existence

  • How do I feel about advocating for my loved one’s right to taper off her medications with her psychiatrist? Terrified. If a loved one has been involuntarily committed, forcibly drugged, and institutionalized for nearly a decade, the psychiatrist has all the power in that situation. He/She has the power to fire your loved one. That means your loved one will have her drug supply disrupted. Since her brain is highly habituated to the poisonous cocktail she has been taking for years, disruption of your loved one’s drug supply puts him/her at high risk of a rebound psychosis which is commonly called ‘relapse’ by clinicians.

    Your loved one will end up in a hospital where every progress he/she has made deprogramming the internalized messages of hopelessness fed to people in locked wards, will be set back yet again. Any progress he/she has made tapering down in cooperation with his/her shrink, will be reversed. At the hospital, they will once again be drugged to the gills.

    You must perform and instruct your loved one to perform and get through the med check interview by being as cogent as possible, cheerful, on point, etc.

    You and your loved one must find, at your own expense the one in a thousand psychiatrist who is open to the possibility that your loved one’s best shot at long term recovery may be attainable only by getting off meds. This search can take years. This person must be in private practice and willing to treat someone who they may consider a ‘severe’ case. Most shrinks in private practice want to treat only the worried well who have good insurance.

    As a parent, I have witnessed first-hand the way that my loved has slowly deteriorated while being ‘med compliant’ but neither she nor I can open the conversation in these 20 minute med checks by ‘educating’ the psychiatrist about the psychiatric abuse and horrors that my daughter has experienced in a host of locked back wards. In twenty minutes, I can’t begin to describe to the shrink in front of us why I or my daughter have zero trust in his judgement. There is never enough time in a med check to recount the horrors that are routinely meted out with inpunity by members of his profession.

    And side effects, you can’t dwell on those either. You cannot open the conversation by describing in detail the times you have held the vomit bowl for your loved one because of the clozoril, the number of times you changed the sheets because of the incontinence caused by the lithium, the neuropathic pain and the labored breathing and feeling of being choked by respiratory akasthisia. You cannot describe the cognitive damage, the memory issues, the inability to read, write, comprehend speech, the lack of focus, desire, or motivation and the chronic fatigue. They will just say you are crazy. The whole family is crazy. They are ‘anti-med.’

    You cannot dwell on the side effects because to that psychiatrist, they only care about one thing, that you are not ‘floridly psychotic’ and you are not suicidal. You also don’t have dystonia or tardive dyskinisia yet! Wow, you are med compliant and you are living at home or in the community! You must be stable, therefore you are doing great! Stability is the holy grail of psychiatrists who treat the ‘SMI’ even though underlying that ‘stability’ is the reality that people labeled with ‘SMI’ who are polydrugged are only ghosts of their former selves.

    Most parents of children who have been labeled ‘SMI’ know that their child is slowly being destroyed by the drugs but they are in denial, a state of mind reinforced by organizations like NAMI which programs people to believe that their children’s ‘mental illness’ is a chronic brain disease caused by faulty genes and a neurochemical imbalance and that the only way to manage ‘disease’ is by taking debilitating, poisonous drugs for life.

    There is absolutely no talking to these shrinks as long as they are unwilling to support their clients in undoing the damage their colleagues have done. While there is a noticeable shift taking place, and the false chemical imbalance narrative is starting to fall apart, we with loved ones in the trenches who are still heavily drugged and holding onto life by their fingernails have to approach each and every day as if they are climbing Mount Everest. My daughter wakes up each day to climb Mount Everest, then goes to bed, only to wake up and have to start climbing Mt. Everest all over again.

  • I am glad this article inspired comments from people on both sides of the spectrum. Father John’s article resonated with me. If psychiatry were to disappear tomorrow as a result of track record of harming millions by falsely framing all people’s problems as biological in origin and coming up with deadly and addictive ‘treatments’ then what would fill the place of psychiatry? Cognitive behavioral practitioners belief that everyone who receives talk therapy can talk and ‘think’ their way through their problems. Integrative medical practitioners think that we could all benefit from a colon cleanse and remove the environmental toxins from our organs. Practitioners of mindfulness, think that we become more at peace with our problems through meditation and yoga. Art therapists think we can dance, paint, sing, or act our way to sanity if we can express our emotions and receive validation. Spiritual solutions work best for me but I realize that they don’t work for everyone. But training in spiritual discernment and pastoral counseling is one possible pathway to healing and resolution for trauma, grief, and other things that usually get pathologized. It is one of many things that could fill the void if psychiatry is rightfully abolished or is given a buzz cut. As long as religious leaders are respectful and not ideological, ,abusive, or cult like, their views are very welcome here as far as I am concerned. I am just very grateful that some religious leaders/practitioners are willing to have a different perspective as it concerns their fellow ‘mad’ human beings. Most religious practitioners walk past mad people like the person on the road who was robbed and was finally assisted by the Good Samaritan. Most religious absolutely wash their hands of mad people, so great is their fear of liability. When mad people show up to the free breakfast at a typical inner city church, what should be a sanctuary for lost souls turns out to be very unsafe for mad folk. For example, if a person started shouting to him/herself, most parishioners wouldn’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 and have the police come and pick up someone for disruptive behavior. Learning to calm others, and learning to distinguish between violent and disturbing behavior, and learning how to de-escalate distressed people is a skill that can be learned but church leaders don’t seem to interested in modeling and training parishioner in the power of being present in this way. So much easier to use threats, wield authority, ultimatums, etc. So much easier to be influenced by all the media hype about those violent ‘psychotic’ people who need to be locked up.

  • Stephen:

    Thanks for validating my despair of generally not finding solace for despair within the institution I belong to! I like your term: ministry of presence. Being present is not something only priests should be trained in. Lay people can and should be trained to be spiritually present and help individuals with spiritual discernment. I am suggesting is that they be trained by people with training in theology or sacred texts and not be associated with cults and ideologically rigid institutions known for their human rights abuses

    Priests, rabbis, guru’s, shaman’s etc. are all human and have bad days. I remember when I was in my twenties, I made an hour long appointment with the priest of a large, urban church. I conveyed my litany of troubles to him as he sat directly across from me. At the end of a particularly long and weepy confession, I looked up and to my chagrin, I observed that his head was bent over, touching his chest, and he was snoring, in a deep sleep.

  • Thank you for sharing this! I hope you write regularly on this blog. I’m very relieved that someone with theology is not afraid to point to the rich heritage of healing within the Christian teachings. The leaders in my Protestant -Episcopalian Church have outsourced the care of those of us with broken hearts, disturbances of the mind, existential despair, trauma, etc. to secular psychiatry only to have nearly all of our suffering medicalized and secularized. Who is teaching the next generation of spiritual guides how to discern the spiritual aspects of what I am experiencing? Who can I and my family members turn to? I know my church has a rich heritage of ministering to people in psychological distress, using the healing power of prayer, ritual, and touch (laying on of hands). But I know of this generally from reading about it. It is not widely practiced in my church. If religious leaders don’t reclaim this rich heritage, and use it to meet the huge demand, the only practitioners of spiritual healing will be those with very limited education, superstitious, pious, dogmatic, ideological, cult-like, and harmful.

  • I agree with kindredspirit: Pushing back against the trainers and the mental health ‘authorities’ and ‘experts’ is hard enough but to do so publicly in a way that could put you at risk of being defamed, blacklisted, or fired by your colleagues is very commendable. By going public, the rest of us don’t feel so all alone in our individual battles. Each of us must come out of the closet a little bit more and exhibit just a little bit more courage to do what we know is right. Speaking truth to power is like a muscle that gets atrophied for individuals and family members who get ensnared in the mental health system but the more people exercise that muscle the more people can protect themselves and their loved ones from harm. The more they can protect themselves, the more people they can shield with their example, Eventually, a small army of well conditioned people will be able to shield themselves and others.

  • Hi Krista:

    I want you to be a guest at our home in Oregon and dine with our family so we can toast to your success, revel in your new life, and bask in your light. Inspired is an understatement of how I feel after reading your blog. I know many people who, like me, are at risk of having their wavering, tiny candle snuffed out by the mental health disease industry. We are forced to observe our daughter’s health deteriorate every year due to her psychiatric ‘treatment’ and we are very keen to support her safely titrating off Clozoril and lithium before her brain, esophagus, thyroid, stomach and kidneys are permanently damaged, yet we, her parents are terrified that if she ends up in a drug-withdrawal induced stupor, she could end up yet again for the zillionth time, in a hospital where she will be subjected to yet more torture, blame, labeling, and personal disruption. Your experience needs to be sung from the rooftops and printed in the New York Times. Thanks for sharing! My friend is going through the same thing with her son; she believes that all psychiatrists that have treated her son are ‘psychotic’ themselves and detached from reality. Maybe she is right. Most psychiatrists secretly admit to their colleagues the toxicity of their cocktails, sometimes, they drop hints that they know that what they are prescribing is sh*t but they can’t deal with the liability issues. Some brave prescribers, having supported a client’s unsuccessful drug withdrawal ending up in front of a review board.

  • I agree with Frank Blankenship that people have the right to decent employment. I would love for our movement to focus as much on poverty and the right to a decent standard of living in ADDITION to treatment by force. Poverty is a part of a wider conversation and I’m assuming that Universal Guaranteed Income is only one of many poverty alleviation strategies and since I know very little on the topic, i don’t know if Guaranteed Universal income can go hand in hand with economic development, job development job training, vocational rehabilitation, subsidized housing, supported employment, etc., I would love to have a discussion about job discrimination and how this may prevent full inclusion in the formal economy among those who have been psychiatrized.

    If we are talking about a guaranteed universal income as a pathway out of permanent poverty that is one thing. Currently, not enough focus is put on poverty alleviation for those who have been psychaitrized. Supported employment for the ‘mentally ill’ should be under scrutiny because if the work is tedious, dead-end work, such work would be counterproductive to mental and emotional wellness.

    In this sense, we should talk less about employment and talk more about purpose. Everyone needs a purpose. It is empowering to know that one is important and needed. I don’t think the Highlander 30 Statement of Principles listed meaningful employment as a human right (I’ll check) but if it was not listed there, I think the movement needs to expand as Will suggested by enlarging the scope of what we ask for in ADDITION to ending force and coercion in the mental health system because I agree with Frank that employment is a right.

  • One underdeveloped piece of your argument is the universal guaranteed income could potentially pit individuals against one another, some individuals need greater supports, such as those with complex medical needs, therefore there couldn’t possibly be a one size fits all guarantee universal income that would eliminate are the need for medical diagnoses, of course if people with psycho social disabilities had fruitful dialogues with people with physical disabilities and there could be flexible systems for evaluating people’s physical, mental and needs under the umbrella of estblishing dignified yet pragmatic universal guaranteed income , I guess anything is possible

  • Thank you Adrian for all your dedication and love and commitment. This is a beautiful and moving description of the successful effort to save 2nd Story. I look forward to the Third Story, the Fourth Story, etc until we have peer respites in every community. I was speaking with peer activists in Seattle who explained their strategy to seeking system funding to launch two peer respites in Seattle. One strategy that they may use to to obtain the same license that owner of a B and B must obtain! There are many ways to skin a cat apparently and just a reminder that every community must find their own solutions/strategies! The important thing, as you point out is love. There must be alternatives to locking up people and drugging them. This is not love, not by a long shot. People deserve kindness, compassion, choices and options, warm places to sleep, peace and quiet, privacy, community and social opportunities, warm meals, etc. Peer respites is one way to provide these things and more. Go Santa Cruz! The challenge is on for other communities including mine to unite around human rights and alternatives, no matter how many barriers we encounter. (Glad NAMI supported this in Santa Cruz!)

  • If you get caught with a camera, as I did once in the same state hospital that Stephen Gilbert works at, you stand the risk of being blacklisted. I’ve smuggled in a smart phone twice so my daughter could access her email. Both times we were caught resulting in a warning. Failure to heed a warning can result in being forbidden to enter the facility again. Think about that. If you have a loved one in a facility, you will not be able to see them for what could be an entire year or even longer.

  • Your experiences mirrors my own. I logged hundreds of hours as a visitor and I witnessed ‘bum rushes’ I witnessed one male patient being stalked by three male staff members in a manner that was incomprehensible and irrational. Have you ever been in a line at a grocery story and there is a mom swatting her kid for misbehavior in a manner that could be called compulsive, as if she is in a trance? And everyone in the store who witnesses this abusive behavior knows that it is not only mean but its irrational because the kid keeps acting up and the mom keep reacting as if both are locked in a vicious cycle? And everyone in the store is embarrassed but no one will say anything? This is how I feel about psychiatric abuse and oppression. Family members and allies of feel cowed by the prospect of relating authentically what they observe at these places.

    My loved one was hospitalized more times than I can remember. The conditions are what you describe everywhere I visited her, including a the private hospital called Sacred Heart hospital in Eugene, Oregon and Oregon State Hospital. Yes, as my husband reminds me constantly, there were staff members who were kind and had their humanity in tact, but these single people could not make up for the cruelty that is baked into the system.

    I know from experience that criticism from an outsider can result in even worse treatment and ‘retaliation’ against a patient, leading to progressively more serious labels, more forced drugging, more restraints, and the likelihood that they will be moved to a more restrictive facility or their discharge date will prolonged indefinitely, until individuals lose all sense of personal agency and hope . The mental health system in my community successfully cowed my daughter and our entire family into a type of hopelessness that we are trying to heal from together as a family.

    Treatment by force in big box institutions needs to be called out and named for what it is: abuse, pure and simple. Psychologists and counselors, including those in private practice cannot treat victims of psychiatric fraud and abuse. The treatment for victims of treatment by force isn’t medical, its called restorative justice. My daughter has a complicated relationship with hospitals now. She thinks that she needs to be in a hospital anytime she experiences uncomfortable feelings, voices, or conflict. After years of hospitalizations and treatment by force, it is hard for individuals and families to break free of this co dependency and regain a healthy sense of outrage for how they were harmed, let alone get to a place where they can organize and advocate for change without fear of retaliation.

    Restorative justice will help individuals and families tap into the inner voice that never went away, the voices that are silienced but never stopped saying ‘This is wrong!” “This is a horrible way to support people in distress!” “Labeling and forcibly drugging people is wrong!” “Isolating people even more who are already marginalized in society by secluding them in cells and restraining then is idiotic and cruel!”

  • I have a lot of problems with this essay. I appreciate the author’s descriptions of iatrogenic harm, for instance, her Zoloft induced mania that landed her in a locked ward. The author however, assumes that the unfavorable behavior displayed by other psychiatric inmates is the fault of character flaws or addiction (“personality disorders”) blaming individuals who may also be suffering from drug induced behavior and psychiatric harm and abuse that manifests itself differently.

    Besides, addiction doesn’t just relate to street drugs or recreational drugs. It also relates to the use of and withdrawal from legally prescribed psychotropic drugs that were/are taken voluntarily or involuntarily. Psychiatrists habituate their patients to all kinds of psychiatric drugs, then gaslight them to believe that their psychiatric symptoms can’t possibly be related to intolerance to the meds they hook people on. They willfully ignore the existence of withdrawal symptoms, rebound psychosis as well as the paradoxical effects these drugs can have on many people, they rarely recognize, let alone know how to reverse, drug induced violence and akathisia. Institutionalization can result in people’s personalities changing dramatically for the worse.

    The back ward of the hospitals in which the author was describing contain the individuals who have arguably been treated the most poorly, who are chemically straight-jacketed to deal with the drug induced paradoxical reactions they experienced, such as compulsive behavior, dis inhibition, akasthisia, violence, and other reactions to drugs. This is ableism at its worst. People who cannot physically tolerate their torture and forced drugging get blamed by other patients for not being ideal patients.

    Very disappointing. I have learned to expect this from the staff of most psychiatric hospitals, but coming from a victim of psychiatric harm and abuse, its demoralizing.

  • Shaun:

    You are the exception not the norm. Are you in private practice? My husband was informed by a social worker at a hospital that my daughter’s ‘mental illness’ was like diabetes and that she would have to take medication for the rest of her life. Social workers, counselor workers, psychologists, and peer specialists at hospitals and secure facilities nearly always espouse the medical model. If they didn’t, they would get fired. Most choose to keep their jobs and espouse nonsense. People in private practice may be more at liberty to take a different tack but most people considered to have ‘severe persistent mental illness’ are receiving public services populated by professionals who espouse the medical model exclusively.

  • Robertj: My heart goes out to you and your son for not receiving supportive services in your time of need. I totally get where you are coming from. It is very painful to seek help and not be able to find help for a loved one in distress. You say that your son spent six months in a hospital and ‘did not get any better’. Your son probably did not get better because treating someone for a bioiogically based ‘disease’ when in actuality they have a lot of problems in life, social and psychological and spiritual in nature is the elephant in the room that Sera courageously addresses but NAMUI avoids. I took took the Family to Family class and it is horrid!

    NAMI absoutely must be held to account for their one-size-fits-all embrace of the medical ‘disease’ model of ‘mental illness at the expense of every other, credible model out there.

    My daughter, like yours spent time in a hospital. She spent about ten times the amount of time in a hospital that your son spent in a hospital. Like your son, my daughter did not get better. The treatment by force and institutionalization made her far worse. What parents like us have to realize is that any kind of treatment by force, especially treatment involving powerful drugs which reduce a person’s cognition, make them fat and sleep sixteen hours a day is degrading and dehumanizing for 99.9% of the individuals involved. NAMI advocated for treatment by force when it was presented to Congress in the form of the Murphy Bill. NAMI applauded when the Murphy Bill was rolled into the Cures Bill and signed into law by President Obama, despite hundreds of psychiatric survivors and organizations opposing it. This bill dangerously expands the use of force and coercion against our children.
    Sera Davidow and many other ex patients work tirelessly to pressure lawmakers and policy makers to create supportive services for our children. When they are critical of NAMI,, they do so for very good reason. NAMI does not advocates for more force/non drug alternatives that are proven effective and humane.

  • Sera:

    I agree with you on most points however people who may experience disturbing voices on a daily basis may get blamed for being lazy and unproductive. Dealing with negative voices or intrusive thoughts/perceptions may require a lot of intense work and the work may appear to others as a character deficit because it takes away from a person’s ability to focus on activities that are group related. I’m sympathetic to the folks who claim that these simulations are ‘better than nothing’ Although I don’t completely agree with this statement, one of the points of the simulation is to elicit empathy from the general public. It would be better if your criticism came with an alternative public education plan. It’s not very practical to suggest that people supporting loved ones who hear voices in a home=based environment, enroll every household member in a four day IPS training. These trainings are financially beyond the reach families like ours. I think the point of the simulation is to create something that is within reach of most famlies.

  • Dear Megan:

    I liked this article. Thank you for contributing. As a cradle to grave Episcopalian, I am particularly keen to see religious leaders calling for a more honest dialogue about this topic, rather than the usual call for ‘more treatment’ I read your article entitled: “My first guest post for Women in Theology: An Introduction to Mental Illness in a Theological Context” and I really liked it. Any chance you might contribute a piece to Mad in America about the failure of liberal Protestant churches to deal honesty with mental and emotional pain? Church leaders (with the exception of Evangelical or charismatic churches) have been basically outsourcing all spiritual emergencies and distress to medical professionals for half a century with dismal outcomes.

  • I was recently offered an opiate derivative pumped directly into my bloodstream during prep for a colonoscopy. I refused due to being allergic to opium derivatives. The coloscopy procedure ended up painless. The pain treatment for colonoscopies is opt out rather than opt in. It costs $ 1,200. I’m confused why the default assumption is that everyone will need a pain killer for what was, at least for me, a painless procedure. Drug company influence? Hospitals padding their billing?

  • Cheri:

    NAMI had no right to silence your voice. NAMI silences a lot of voices out of fear. Thank you for bringing up the topic of reproductive rights as it concerns people with mental health labels. This is an important topic that needs to come out of the closet. When my daughter was in hospital, she harbored a belief that she was pregnant (she wasn’t). To me, this belief though dismissed as a ‘delusion’ by the medical authorities, was something she was working through, it had to have meaning even though I didn’t understand it. Unlike ‘experts’ and other family members I didn’t see any point trying to convince her that she wasn’t pregnant, even when she cradled and refused to be parted from a silly wadded up ball of plastic and fabric ‘baby’. Later, over the course of many years of conversations, (she sometimes swings between the extremes of mutism and a stream of unfiltered thoughts) sometimes the shards of meaning became illuminated from the ‘static’ and began to present itself with greater clarity. I began to see she had many challenges establishing the difference between sexuality and intimacy and she needed to establish trust in at least one person before this could take place. I now believe that her biggest problem, is not a genetic or chemical imbalance but a broken heart that has been coloring her life for some time and the hospitalizations, forced medication, restraints, seclusion were distractions at best, and a compounding of trauma and erosion of trust at worst. When one acquires a mental health label, one may be condemned to a life of extreme isolation. My daughter who I now know is capable of loving very deeply, was stripped of her freedom and ability to explore her sexuality at what is considered the ‘prime’ of one’s life. After her diagnosis and many years of being locked up, she harbored a terrible fear of never being able to experience intimacy, even though she was beginning to understand her issues with greater clarity. So, by the time she began to take responsibility for her issues around sexuality and love (she no longer believes she is pregnant but is seeking an outlet for her maternal love as well as a healthy and safe outlet for her sexual desire) a secondary trauma presented itself: The fear of unrequited love due to mental health stigma (who would want to date a crazy person) not to mention the neuroleptic induced sexual dysfunction which i pray is not permanent. You see, people who are on heavy drugs, cannot often enjoy orgasms and then there is the dilemma, if someone who IS on neuroleptics wants to have a baby, how does one safely wean off the neuroleptics during the pregnancy to protect the brain development of the fetus? There are many issues that NAMI won’t deal with but we must talk about these issues honestly to help our children who have been labeled fulfill their greatest potential, not just as potential artists, healers, leaders activists, etc but as potential lovers. After all, they should be afforded the same rights of ‘normal’ people to express their sexuality, bear children and receive and give love.

  • Many plants contain linalool not just lavender: hops, cinnamon tamala, mugwort, Cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, etc. Some linalool containing plants are overharvested such as rosewood which grows in Brazilian rainforests. To preserve rosewood, tiny amounts of real rosewood essential oil are mixed with other linalool containing essential oils for a remarkably high quality imitation oil.

    Avoid artificial lavender and look for scents that are naturally derived or plant-based. Febreeze and other products containing artificial fragrances are bad for your health. 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil) and include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene, and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous problems, etc.

    Most candles are artificially scented. To enjoy a scented candle, put a drop of essential oil in the well of molten wax when burning a candle

  • Oh happy day! My gratitude goes out to each and everyone who helped to attain this groundbreaking settlement! From the early pioneers who spoke out such as Dr. Breggin, to MindFreedom members and other activists like Leonard Roy Frank, Ted Chabasinski, David Oaks, Celia Brown, and Mary and Jim Maddock (as well as other members of the international ‘shock committee’) and more recently, activists like Deborah SCHWARTZKOPFF , founder of ECT Justice. Well done!

  • Slaying the Dragon of Psychiatry:

    I agree with you that we urgently need to take action and that there is a social justice aspect to the problem of unbiased data trickling out through back channels that may never see the light of day as it concerns the general public. One gets a sense that this is a part of a systemic problem that is not limited to psychiatric and pharmaceutical corruption. One gets a sense that this is related to a larger problem of lack of morality and ethics in business and the lack of connectedness of wealthy business owners to their customers. A parallel can be found in mining companies that capitalize the short term gains and socialize the clean-up costs (Noam Chomsky).

    The vast majority of people are taking anti-depressants voluntarily. If people who are depressed were offered different options such as support rebuilding their lost social connections, help spending time in nature, etc. they may not always go for the ‘magic bullet’ solutions. But whose job is it to educate people about the wealth of unfunded alternatives? Whose job is it to pay for them? Is it my job to educate my neighbors? Is it the government’s job? We certainly can no longer rely on professionals.

    Should alternative professionals (the people who ‘first do no harm’) such as naturopathic doctors, somatic practitioners, music therapists, art therapists, peer specialists, massage therapists, life coaches, process psychologists, cognitive behavioral therapists, personal trainers, yoga instructors, nutritional counselors, etc. be offering their services for free to accommodate the high number of people who can’t afford such services?

    Special interest groups are waiting in the wings to fill the void with other magic bullet solutions but most people know deep down inside that personal mental and physical wellness is achieved by de-cluttering the mind and de-toxifying the body, ridding oneself of the myriad of bad habits acquired by dealing ineffectively with pain and trauma which everyone experiences. This is a personal process that everyone must make, rich or poor.

  • And by the way, what I want is a full fledged revolution of the mental health system and a thriving underground railroad for psychiatric escapees, non-violently achieved, with psychiatric survivors forming the vanguard of the revolution, forming a broad coalition of stakeholder organizations that includes allies and family members

  • Thanks for responding to my comment. Your friend’s response sounded optimistic. I am wondering how widespread this desire is to create an independent manifesto is among peers. Will it be as radical as I hope?

    Success can create its own momentum. When organic farmers created their own markets, it created new avenues for farmers to increase their income which in turn inspired a new generation of farmers to go organic and even some old timers started to convert their farms to the more lucrative products. Then the conventional food industry started to take notice. They wanted in on the action when organically grown became the fastest growing market in the food industry and tried to change the labeling standards. It took a powerful pushback by the organic movement to resist the food lobby.

    It sounds as if your movement will not only need an independent funding source to take care of its own, just as farmers went directly to the consumers in each communmity, but you will need a long term plan to handle success. I have often heard activists like Penny Darbey talk about co-optation as if it led to a permanent state of corruption and a veering away from a set of original ideals from which there is no redemption. According to your friend, this is not true and that the peer movement is moving in a positive direction. If I understand your friend correctly, the peer recovery movement which had it roots in the psychiatric survivor consciousness raising groups like the one started by Judy Chamerlin is not dead, only in a state of reform. I will sit with that for a while and hope you and your friend are right!

  • Sascha: You say “the mental health system is failing Peer Workers on so many fronts” but what about the people you represent, the people under forced treatment orders who are slowly dying from their treatment, who are sleeping sixteen hours a day, and have no friends? I hear you are frustrated by the way your employers treat you. I didn’t hear you mention the people you serve under ACT. Your objectives sound really positive, but what about organizing those 25,000 to prohibit treatment by force and demand alternatives and choices?

  • Thank you. This is a beautiful reminder to listen to our children and grandchildren and talk to them about sadness. My son, when he was little would go into crying rages and tantrums that I would sometimes dread going into public. He didn’t get diagnosed or drugged though and although he continued to have mental and emotional issues well into early adulthood, (including a failed suicide attempt five years ago) he did a phenomenal job finding appropriate ways to handle his sadness (diet, exercise, meaningful employment, hobbies, volunteer work, spirituality, friendship, etc.) and is now doing very well overall. His son (my eight year old grandson) has a much different way of expressing sadness. Friday, I was exhausted and didn’t play with him and he had to go to bed at 8:30. He cried himself to sleep saying that I had broken my promise but it was a gentle weeping sadness. On other occasions, hears voices and although I haven’t figured out what triggers them, they can be angry and hostile, and he doesn’t like to talk about them. We are very keen to avoid him ever getting psychiatrized. It can be a very difficult task protecting children from psychiatrization. The issue of whether to seek ‘professional’ help for a child can divide families and cause the system to initiate extraordinarily draconian measures which one would only expect in a totalitarian society. Not only to we need to educate parents about creative alternative ways of handling sadness, we need to legislatively protect humans from psychiatrization and forced treatment.

  • When I worked for a Catholic Charity, one of our programs was getting unhoused families into decent affordable, housing. Social workers in this program would advice program participants to look at every available option for increasing their household income. Frequently, the heads of household are either disabled or lack the necessary job skills to obtain employment that puts them above the poverty level which endangers their ability to stay housed. When a child is labeled with a psychiatric disability, the parents and/or guardians can apply for SSI, which substantially raises the household income by $500/$600 per month. Social workers in these charitable programs are serving as cheer leaders for parents so they can get their children diagnosed and treated. The extra income from one or more children receiving SSI benefits can mean the difference between housing or the street. It is far easier to obtain SSI for a child, if the child is taking prescription drugs. It serves as ‘proof’. Part (but not all) of the explosion of the prescribing of heavy duty drugs for children is due to socio-economic incentives. Before middle class professionals judge parents as ‘abusers’ for allowing their children to be drugged, consider some of the horrors faced by low-income or single parent households and the related incentives based on how our government safety nets for children are set up.

  • Two compare/contrast stories do not present enough material from which to make the conclusion of gender bias, but even if you are right that the author is biased, what of it? Some counselors may be more suited for young men, and some more suited for young women and judging by the epidemic of medicating exuberant male children with clean meth to get them to thrive in highly conformative settings, we don’t have nearly enough role models for young males in the helping professions.

    My son, husband, father, and grandfather all all war veterans and I can tell you that the emotional layering of people with military conditioning is very different than that of non military people and specialization is a good thing! Bias seen from another perspective is not preferring one style or culture or gender over another, merely spending more time with one so as to render ones services more effective!

    If the author indentifies with the young man, not the young woman, and therefore weights the first with greater detail, why is that a bad thing? I see that as a positive thing as counselor being able to meet can client where he is at. We have a generation raised on paintball and violent video games. What is the solution? Medication and sedation?

    Our society is sending mixed messages to young men. These young men need role models.

    Their families need access to psychologists who identify with behavior that is considered warrior-like. Like it or not 1% of every American households has at least one post 9-11 veteran. Vietnam era households, the rate is higher.

    Returning veterans and their families need counselors who understand military culture to help individuals transition to civilian roles without the use of harmful medications to dull painful memories or they need the ability to help their adolescent clients deal with the mixed signals in the media as it concerns agressive behavior. Those who identify with the warriorrotector archetypes need to find non-violent outlets for their energy. This counselor may well have offered hope to a frightened family members who may well have sujected their son to drugging to handle his obsessive or ‘manic’ behavior.

    The epidemic of school shootings may cause many frightened family members to seek chemical restraints for their male children who are neuro divergent. There are very few talk counselors who can establish rapport with young men who influenced by the media’s sometimes frightening potrayal of ‘manly’ behavior. Some young men are very vulnerable to the powerful mixed messages in the media around issues of gender and masculinity.They deserve special attention

  • This was an excellent article by Bob Nikkel. I’m surprised the Lund Report gave Mr. Nikkel a chance to say such critical things about psychiatry. He actually mentions the fallacy of the chemical imbalance theory. This is sure to rock a few boats at OHA! My comment is awaiting moderation approval. I hope that people respond not by mindlessly defending the the current paradigm of mental health care in Oregon with the usual rhetoric but with real facts and real evidence. Mr. Nikkel certainly gave people something to think about. We shall see what follows.

  • I guess what I’m asking for is for social workers and counselors and psychologists to adopt to the reality represented by tens of thousands of psychiatric survivors who are out of the closet and who identify with having been harmed and silenced by mental health care professionals and ‘experts.’ Why not immediately improve the mental health system experience from the perspective of clients by adding the following question – or one like it – to your current intake interviews: “Do you identify with having been harmed by psychiatric treatment either forced or voluntary?”

  • I’m glad that the challenges that counselors deal with such as their clients poverty and homelessness, came up as well as the issue of ethnicity, these are important issues. But I’m disappointed that this issue wasn’t raised: psychiatric abuse. What about the difficulty of working with people whose trust in the mental health system was destroyed due to forced psychiatric interventions? My daughter endured nearly eight frickin years of back to back involuntary treatment orders and being told where she could live and what treatment she had to accept at threat of going back to the hospital. She is basically institutionalized and programmed to fear mental health professionals She is also well versed into how to ‘hide symptoms’ or act ‘normal’ and otherwise hide the frightening chaos that often consumes her internal world. She knows better than anyone that you don’t disclose information to your counselor that could put you at risk of increased drugging.

    How are counselors going to establish honesty and trust in the current environment? Community mental health agencies should not ask their underpaid counselors and social workers to go into the trenches and deal with the ramifications caused by the other people they may never meet. Clients need a safe place to process the grief and trauma of having their liberties taken away, maybe even scream a bit. They need justice and the recognition of harm and for someone in the system to stand up and APOLOGIZE

  • Way to go Amy! I’m glad to hear you are in charge of your meds and you aren’t subject to forced psychiatric treatment as my daughter was for so many years! Talk about disempowering and traumatic! I agree with your posts on other threads that sometimes it is better to get help with drug tapers from psychiatrists in lieu of going it alone (cold turkey can be a recipe for disaster) I think some people on Europe are working on a project to demand that drug companies produce tapering strips. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kirsten:
    What a gift to wake up this morning, with my cup of coffee in hand and begin my day by reading your incredible story. Wow! I got so much hope and comfort by reading this, words can’t convey my gratitude. We are supporting our beautiful daughter through something similar. Like you, she experienced catatonia, jail cells, forced injections, isolation, restraints, more hospitalizations that I can remember. This is really a hope injection!

    This site offers so much encouragement. When my finances improve I will definitely contribute to MadinAmerica!

  • Bravo! This article is like a beacon or a proud flag flown on the battlefield of ideas, even as the opposition lines up on the horizon, outnumbering us as usual, with their usual mercenaries: bought and paid for media ‘journalists’ and other propaganda specialists, discombobulated family members, sold out scientists, brain dead faculty members, and saavy pill pushers. This time, we are wise to the tactics of the opposition, like the way it co-opted the rhetoric of the recovery movement, begrudgingly throwing a bone to the existence of trauma and childhood abuse, while failing to acknowledge the huge elephant in the room, the stigma of having a permanent label, the trauma of being diagnosed and cared for by uncaring, cynical, time-pressed, uncommitted, overpaid, and burn-out professionals, the trauma of having the ‘treatment’ ruins one’s lives, and having no one believe in that fact, the trauma of having one’s person hood, privacy, dignity, and civil rights taken away, all of which constitutes harm and abuse.

  • Gabi: I’m slow to forgive and quick to anger, not the best person to advice you in this matter but my two cents worth:

    Maybe forgiveness is a muscle that needs to be used on a regular basis or it becomes ‘atrophied.’ Why don’t you practice forgiveness on a small scale like forgiving the person in front of you in the express line who has fifty grocery items in his cart instead of fifteen? Or the person who cuts you off in traffic?

    It stands to reason that when you forgive people frequently for smaller things, one could work one’s way up to forgiving people and institutions for larger things. I have always found it difficult to forgive people who are oblivious to the pain they caused others. Perhaps, if one waits long enough karma catches up to one’s abuser in one’s lifetime in which case one has to decide whether or not to feel pleasure or pity for one’s abuser. Maybe I’m naive. Best of luck. Thanks for sharing

  • Congratulations Bonnie on an incredible victory. Sylvain brought up a similar fear that I deal with on a near daily basis in my own little activism here in Oregon, “They have more power” and “They have more money!” “We are so powerless” and “We are so penniless”. In every other movement for social justice (or the environment) in which I have been active, I have never been so consumed by such fear of failure, as I have with this movement for human rights in the mental health system. Your victory ignites me and gives me inspiration I need to carry on in my own little universe to continue to knock on doors and speak truth to power, and write letters, and go to town hall meetings and challenge the prevailing authorities that have spread lies for far too long.

    The insidious means by which a big cartel of pharma companies, colluding with the APA and pseudo consumer organizations like NAMI could shape our entire culture’s view of human distress and twist it to their advantage, is nothing short of breathtaking.

    In your work, to educate people in institutions in which not only the institutions themselves have become corrupted, but whose academic programs cater to millions of otherwise bright students who routinely suspend their intellectual capacities in the promise of a ‘magic bullet’ solutions to human distress, is a gargantuan task. I tip my hat to you for your steel will power, vision, and clarity of purpose as you forded through very dangerous waters and came out the other side.

  • Congratulations! This is a wonderful, well-written piece and I truly enjoyed reading it. I appreciate your down-to-earth humor, somewhat self-deprecating style. While poignantly describing the degradation and futility of forced/coerced treatment you managed to avoid the minefield of traps that so many of us fall into when recounting stories involving psychiatric fraud and abuse

    Last year or the year before, I can’t remember when, I started to develop some insight into my own daughter’s ‘psychosis’ insofar as she finally made me understand that it wasn’t all awful. In fact, she finds it entertaining at times. At times, the imaginative scenes playing in her mind are often pleasant and even erotic. I can see where such an imagination can really yield benefits while dealing with the daily tedium of being locked up in an institution without access to literature, the arts, sex, romance, humanity, and well, diversity of opinion.

    When contemplating psychiatric fraud and abuse, I need a repertoire emotional responses that is more diverse than anger, anger, anger for my life to have some balance and fun. Humor is the best pill sometimes.

    While I will probably continue to advocate for ending all all force and coercion in the mental health system, or for that matter, any ‘treatment’ which is degrading, humiliating, futile, harmful, even fatal, I would like to see humanity develop greater bandwidth, tolerance, imagination, insight, and less toxic reactivity when fellow human beings display behavior that is outside the narrow confines of ‘normality’

    As David Oaks says, “Normal behavior is killing the planet” . ‘Creative maladjustment is needed to eradicate normal behavior when ‘normal’ behavior is destructive. If we teach our children that ‘conformity and ‘normality’ are the highest ideals to which they must strive we are not giving our children the skills they need to confront and address injustice. It is also not very fun.

    at this point I could use less eye witness reports of psychiatric abuse, less evidence of psychiatric corruption, and stories like this which show humanity at its maddest and brightest.

    Peace

  • Steve and Yeah I Survived are both right. We should not be breaking out the champagne bottles because of this one critical study. Primary care physicians are still the number one on-ramp for receiving an ADHD diagnosis. For that reason alone, The Journal of Psychiatry can afford to publish this study because, after all, psychiatry can point fingers and say, “We did not create this over-prescribing problem, pediatricians and primary care providers did!” In fact, one could argue, the publication of this study in a journal dedicated to PSYCHIATRY is likely to have far less impact on prescribing for ADHD than if it had been published in a journal for pediatricians. Still, some readers of this article may be start to develop a healthy skepticism. Maybe some parents, upon reading this article may be more inclined to ask their doctors some tough questions, such as do they tend to believe or be influenced by the rubbish in the medical literature that passes for ‘science’? After all, readers can’t help but wonder what kind of marketing went into this epidemic of getting children hooked on clean meth?

  • Knowledge is Power..
    One of the stakeholder groups you mentioned, insurance companies present low yielding fruit in terms of strategic reform legislation. My daughter’s multiple ineffective and inhumane involuntary incarcerations at a private hospital cost our private insurance company several hundred thousand dollars. It took us years to pay off the co-pays. Where is the outrage insofar as many people are being forced to pay for the torture of a loved one or that insurers and taxpayers are asked to foot the bill for torture, fraud, and iatrogenic harm. I have since learned that consumers can ask for an internal or external review of all insurance decisions. Insurance companies in many states have been forced to implement parity laws which gives mental health disorders equal status. We need to extend the benefits of insurance to cover other more effective humane alternatives outside the medical model

  • I am wondering about the word work too. Shouldn’t helping people be a pleasurable pursuit? I equate work with chopping wood and cleaning the hair out of the shower drain. Sad to think of giving another human being emotional support the same status as the thousand details I procrastinate and avoid everyday because it is work

  • I am wondering about the word work too. Shouldn’t helping people be a pleasurable pursuit? I equate work with chopping wood and cleaning the hair out of the shower drain. Sad to think of giving another human being emotional support the same status as the thousand details I procrastinate and avoid everyday because it is work

  • I’m surprised this got published. Do I detect a little integrity at an academic institution? Let’s watch the push back. Florida International University will not get future federal funding. Margaret H. Sibley will get sacked. If she has tenure, she will not be asked to serve as a keynote speaker at future APA conferences or present her paper at gala events sponsored by big Pharma companies.

  • Diana:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. To me, this reinforces everything I have come to learn about and lament per the failures of the western approach to ‘psychosis’.

    You wrote: “Mental health providers should be respectful, compassionate and understanding, but they are too busy “fighting psychosis” and hence, they do not see their “patients” as who they really are — as whole people. They keep people sick with their unhealthy approach and their suppressing drugs.”

    As a parent, i realize that this applies to family members, friends, and caregivers too. A hard take away but very true.

  • And I also apologize for the angry tone in my comment. I sense from your other comment, you are trying to do the right thing but you are complicit as a professional by working in a broken system that abuses people, pure and simple. When professionals who make money off the broken system lament about how nice it would be if the system were different, I can’t help but ask myself, what is your strategy for resistance? How do you challenge your colleagues when they disparage and dehumanize their clients? How do you own your privilege when working with people who have lost everything? How do you honor your client’s right to choice and autonomy when they have been court ordered to receive McTherapy?

  • Knowledge is Power:

    As the parent of a survivor, a beautiful, intelligent daughter who was court ordered to receive conventional psychiatric treatment for about eight years, I find your comment slightly chilling. You identify as a clinician who is “highly trained never to disclose unless it is in the best interest of the client” is chilling for several reasons.

    “Untrained” psychiatric survivors delivering peer support probably have a lot more discretion and self restraint as it concern ‘self disclosure’ than you think. They probably know a thing or two about what is in a peer’s ‘self interest’ too.

    Survivors know that what they say to a professional will get documented in their medical records permanently and follow them from facility to facility like a ball and chain. What you say or don’t say can get you kicked out of psychiatric facilities without a discharge plan or any support services like housing. What you say or don’t say can be used against you in a hearing to take away all your civil liberties. Survivors know a few things about self disclosure, probably a lot more than you give them credit for. This kind of experience in self disclosure you can’t learn in college.

    What also chills me is the implication that you, the professional always know when self disclosure is in the best interests of your client. Do you always ask your clients before you disclose something if it would be in their best interest? In fact, how do you determine what is in their interests generally ? Do you spend hours reading 1,000 pages of their medical records to find out shocking examples of iagrogenic harm? When doing a client’s ‘history’ in while checking off little checkboxes, do you remember to ask if your client has ever been the victims of psychiatric abuse and harm or institutional betrayal?

    I am concerned about your implication that self restraint and discretion as it concerns self disclosure can be trained in a formal, academic setting. What did this training consist of? Did you give up a weekend to do a CEU on this topic? Did your professor assign a book on the topic of self disclosure and you parroted back the answers on a pop quiz?

    Self restraint and discretion as it relates to self disclosure and when such disclosure is in the interests of someone you care about are character attributes that can evolve naturally as a result of suffering and believe me, if you were court ordered to sit through hours of checklist interviews from pompous trained therapists and other ‘clinicians’ whose compassion ceased the minute the short hand reached ten minutes till the hour, you would understand the importance of self restraint and discretion.

    Peers are less likely than professionals to be thinking of the client in the lobby, the clock on the wall, or the billing paperwork. They are more likely to be authentically with someone, sometimes for hours, tolerating silence, weeping, even catatonic behavior from an acquaintance, friend, or family member.

    Peers are more likely to resist the temptation to blurt out platitudes in response to gut level pain, and less compelled to maintain a professional front (which is more for your protection than the protection of your client)

    Peers are less likely than trained professionals to use invisible teleprompters, spitting out dogma from some theoretical framework they learned in college.

  • I concur with Ron Bassman! If people drop out of the movement now because things are looking bleak who will mentor the next generation of psychiatric survivors? My beautiful daughter is only 28 and she has been institutionalized and forcibly medicated for nearly 10 years, nearly half of her life! Who will teach young adults how to organize and stay the course when things look hopeless? I hope that people with lived experience who retire because of the the restrictions placed on them by their employers, will use the freedom of their retirement to get more involved in the movement for human rights (after a good vacation, of course)

  • Penny:

    Thank you for laying out these issues perfectly! I find it incredibly useful to distinguish between peer-developed peer support and peer staff model. I think you are spot on about the origin and history of peer-developed peer support in the seventies and it makes a lot of sense that this history should not be overlooked.

    Some individuals identify with their mental health diagnosis and identify as being helped by their conventional psychiatric treatment. Do you think that peer developed peer support is dominated by individuals who identify with having been harmed by psychiatric treatment and who are therefore critical of psychiatry in general?

    I occasionally hear complaints in social media sites from individuals who feel that they are being ‘pill shamed’. I have no way of telling if this is an authentic silencing of voices in the peer support movement or if this is a tempest in a teacup being generated by big Pharma trolls, or perhaps a mixture of both.

    Also, I have a question about the degree of harm that a person experiences in the mental health system and whether this is a factor in sizing up whether an individual qualifies as a peer, in the absence of any standardized definition of a peer.

    For example, I am a parent who has receives voluntary mental health counseling. I collaborated with at least two counselors to select a diagnosis of ‘adjustment disorder’ mostly for billing purposes.

    Acquiring a mental health diagnosis allows me to to obtain talk therapy that I would normally not be able to afford and I find it to be empowering. It provides me with insight and inspiration to fight for human rights in the mental health system.

    Does my experience in the mental health system qualify me as a peer or does one have to be a victims of psychiatric torture and abuse? I think there are more distinctions that need to be made in this whole discussion of ‘Who Gets to Define What it Means to Be a Peer.”

    In my mind, I am a peer but not a psychiatric survivor. How important is this distinction when applying for work in the mental health field?

    Is a psychiatric survivor at higher risk of employment related discrimination if he/she is out of the closet about his/her psychiatric abuse? Conversely, is a staff peer who is happy about the psychiatric services he/she received in the past less likely to experience employment-related discrimination?

    Is employment related discrimination likely to result in a migration of peers back to their ‘roots?’ (from the peer staff model to peer led peer support model as characterized by grass-roots groups meeting in church basements as they did in the seventies?

    The fastest growing trends in the movement for human rights in mental health seems to be Hearing Voices Support Groups and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Support Groups. These seem to me to be genuinely inspired by the principles of peer support your identified as peer-led peer supports.

    I am heartened that the Hearing Voices movement is developing some services for family members so there will be alternative ways for family members to get plugged in, besides NAMI which has become depressingly sold out

  • I received several years of outstanding counseling from a Licensed Professional Counselor who was extremely knowledgeable about psychiatric abuse and how it had affected my family. I miss my counselor! He is stupendous! Embarrassingly, I can no longer afford the expense of seeing him.

    I don’t know about others who hope to benefit personally from this framework. To me it sounds wonderful. However, this type of approach would require a lot of work. In my previous two years of counseling I barely touched the surface. It would take time for me to become conscious of the many ways that I responded to threats in the past. It could go all the way back to my childhood and have relevance to my marriage, home-life, parenting style, career, social life, etc. My MO may also be tangled up in my impulsive/compulsive behavior and other bad habits I have acquired along life’s way. Talking about such things elicits shame and embarrassment, and it takes time to build trust. Most private insurance require that a LPC’s and other practitioners diagnose a client using the DSM and come up with a treatment plan in order to be compensated. There is a sense of ‘hurry hurry, hurry’ when dealing with the medical industrial complex in the US.

    In the UK, this model may have a chance to see the light of day. It might win some research grants and have a chance to be implemented in a more ‘outcomes’ based socialist medical system. In the U.S. even if this model were very worthy and had a large evidence base, its proponents would face a steep uphill battle to gain the attention of the guilds and the media and a huge lobbying effort to force insurance companies and government programs to provide access. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

    Also, in this model, there is a sense of providers biting the hand that feeds them.

  • The failure to identify access to healthcare as a contributing factor to bad outcomes without simultaneously identifying the utter lack of choices and alternatives available in the healthcare system, even to privileged people with cadillac insurance makes this training program utterly disingenuous and useless. Rich white people get the same sh*tty treatment in the mental health system as disadvantaged people unless they luck into receiving genuine fully informed, non- coerced treatment up front.

  • Great article and good response to the first comment. I don’t really see why folks who identify with having been harmed by psychiatry are so ready to shoot down the concept of nutrition having a major impact, at times, on ones mental and emotional state, our moods, etc. There are chemicals in food we eat everyday. Environmental toxins play a role too. For XMAS I got an air filter and when I used it, for the first time in months, I had a blessed reprieve from a hacking cough that plagued my sleep for months. Could the air filter have been a placebo? Yes. But maybe it wasn’t. Maybe my cough was a inflammatory response to small particles in the air including airborne dust and woodsmoke. Any new option or alternative we receive with a smaller side effect is a boon. I can’t envision a system in which people are coerced to stop eating junk food and eat leafy greens or take micronutrients, a system in which soda pop is prohibited. Nor would I promote such a system. Empowerment is at the root of all healthy living. People need to learn to make choices that are good for them but having data is huge. Yes, there will be quacks when we move to a system that honors people’s right to choice. We will have to be on guard for all kinds of scams. All the more reason to have research that helps us eliminate fraud and quackery.

    My experience with the air filter (placebo or not?) made me realize that in the process of debunking the myths of psychiatry and attacking its corrupt junk science we run the risk of failing to identify even small, environmental triggers and nutritional deficits in ourselves and our loved ones, which if resolved, could make our lives a whole lot better!! Who cares if something is a placebo or not? If it works, it works! I dream of a system where the mental health system is like a buffet. If I arrive at the buffet straight from the desert, starving and thirsty, I may gorge at first but little by little, as my body adjusts to the offerings, I will slow down and become discerning and start partaking of every healthy offering before me!

  • I’m sorry for loss. Thank you for going public.

    On your foundation’s website I found the following:

    “Mental Heatlh First Aid teaches you you how to idenity, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders in your community. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. The training helps you identify, understand and respond to signs of additictions and mental illness. To find a Mental Health First Aid Course close to you, check out this website https//www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/. (I left in the mispellings)

    I wish you would promote emotional CPR instead.

    The problem with mentalhealthfirstaid is it is just another early screening program, the darling child of NAMI, a corrupted organization which promotes the false narrative of psychiatry. Early screening programs, rather than destigmatizing and teaching people about alternatives that ‘first do no harm’ are simply funnels to a faulty treatment paradigm.

    The epistemic authority of mental health system is considered to be the person who is a board certified psychiatrist. Psychiatry holds that all ‘mental illnesses’ are chronic brain diseases with biological origins, namely, an imbalance of neurotransmitters. This is a false narrative of human suffering that is promoted by the industry that benefits from sales of drugs, which sedate and do nothing to ‘correct’ imbalances of neurotransmitters. In fact, neuroleptics like the clozapine which your son was taking causes a shrinking of the brain.

    My daughter was hospitalized in a state hospital several times for schizoaffective. We are desperately trying to help her taper off clozapine because we could see immediately how negatively it has impacted her heath: weight gain, heart burn, lowered cognition, disorganization sedation, fogginess, goiter, labored breathing, incontinence, prone to infections, etc. But there are virtually no psychiatric drug withdrawal support systems in place due to the corruption of the field of mental health. Even the so-called consumer advocacy organizations like NAMI receive corrupt funding from big Pharma. Where is a parent supposed to turn to?

    As a parent I feel that all the cards are stacked against young people with a psychiatric diagnosis trying desperately to live a drug free existence. Our entire culture has bought the false narrative of psychiatry hook, line, and sinker that sedating people with mental and emotional problems is the first line of defense against ‘mental illness.

    Just as young criminals become hardened when they are sent to large prisons and come out career criminals, involuntary treatment and forcing drugging hardens and makes individuals experiencing trauma distress, and grief much, much worse!

    My daughter experienced extreme civil rights violations in the mental health system: restrain, isolation, seclusion, institutionalization, and forced medication. The drugs she was forcibly injected with caused adverse reactions and caused her to become uncharacteristically violent giving her a criminal record. Her forced drugging also caused her to experience new psychiatric symptoms! Instead of removing her from an offending drug, arrogant doctors completely and willfully ignorant, would treat her with contempt, raising her dosage to ever higher levels, nearly killing her!

    There is not a single case of trauma, anxiety, and distress that cannot be made worse by psychiatry, forced drugging and institutionalization.

    Your use of the word voodoo treatment is spot on. These drugs are shotgun approaches that should be used judiciously for very short periods of time but instead psychiatrists are so corrupt they are not willing to admit that patients get chronically dependent and often become much worse after being put on these drugs. Consequently our children are suffer ing great harm when they try desperately to come off these drugs without any support.

    Usually patients like my daughter are stigmatized as ‘non compliant’ and they attempt to secretly coming off their deadly cocktails without any social supports. Consequently, many pf our most iatrogenically harmed children end up relapsing going back to the hospital where they are even more drugged up.

    Drug solutions to emotional and mental problems are nuclear solutions.

  • Dr. Wood,

    I’ve been observing the movement to prevent physician suicide for several years now. One of the biggest drivers of psychiatric abuse (besides the overmedicalization of human suffering in your field generally) is related to a problem faced by doctors in all specialties, not just psychiatry. It is the sadistic practices in place at medical schools and hospitals. These practices are a twisted form of hazing. Residents are forced to work long hours and are treated like sh*t by senior staff. They then turn around and direct the abuse they received onto their patients, thinking it is normal.

    We must reject ‘normality’ in all of its perverse forms. ‘Normal’ behavior is killing the planet. We are demineralizing food, polluting the earth, air, and water, and turning the helping professions into institutions of harm and corruption.. Corporate owned media is dumbing down our society, and institutionalizing people in warehouses is viewed as ‘progress’.

    I’m sorry to say this, but while I am slightly sympathetic if you took out a loan of $200,000 to make it through medical school, making you virtually into an indentured servant for three decades, but there is a huge problem with the status and level of reimbursement afforded to members of your profession. We pay child care providers and care givers for the elderly about 3% of your hourly wages. They lift and transfer patients, massage them, bathe and help with their hygiene, nourish them, take them to appointments, etc. and yet our society values their labor at $10/hr v.s. your $300/hr.

    My brother left the practice of medicine after twenty years doling out pills to his patients and became a landscaper. Now he heals the earth. He has never been happier.

  • This is a biased study and missed the point. How can you use Medicaid records and completely beat around the bush as it concerns child and family poverty? Only a privileged researcher working in an academic bubble would not know that what is referred to as a ‘quick fix’ is a financial life preserver for a family one paycheck away from homelessness. A diagnosis and ‘proof’ in the form of a child needing powerful adult medications is how a desperate mother convinces a doddering old while civil servant that her child should receive SSI income. That extra $500 per month can be a Godsend thanks to Bill Clinton converting welfare into the punative program it is today called TANF

  • Dr. Burstow:

    I am mad as h*ll reading about this problem. I’m all fired up. You are right. We need to organize. I’m going to read your entire blog from start to finish when I get off work, as well as every comment posted on this blog and ask myself, what can I do?

    I am not involved with academia but I am glad you brought this problem to my attention.

    I have an adult daughter who is one of the ‘others’. She has an incredible mind for philosophy and she is tremendously creative when it comes to the arts but she is different. Is there a place for her in a college community? If the university is not accepting of her differences then there is very little hope. After all, the university is supposed to be a tolerant environment and attendees are supposed to be dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. People can learn a lot from talking to my daughter if they truly have a curious nature but she can mutter to herself at times and say and do strange things. Oh my God! I’m sorry if this disturbs you or makes you feel ‘unsafe!’

    Gads, there is a homeless person walking on the university grounds. Someone get out the Lysol and spray the university! Report it to campus security!!

  • i hope your book will sell lots of copies and get on the best seller list so more people of the ‘worried well’ will be advised to steer clear of psychiatry. As my friend Marcia says about living in our times, “If you are not disturbed, there is something wrong with you!” My belief that people experiencing overwhelming distress, anxiety or depression should steer clear of psychiatry is not to make light of people’s pain but only that we need to redouble our efforts to educate people that psychiatry can quickly compound one’s problems and what is needed is a full fledged common movement to create caring, tolerant and compassionate communities and sanctuaries for people whose emotional needs are not met by family members and friends.

  • Dear Tina:
    Thank you for your unpaid, high level work on this important issue!

    What is WGAD stand for? Do you know how we can put pressure on Congress/Senate to ratify CRPD?

    I visited this organization’s website
    https://dredf.org/ and in 2013, in their archives, they announced that a call in day for CRPD on November 12.
    https://dredf.org/2013/11/07/second-crpd-hearing-delayed/

    Do you know of any national campaigns in this area?

    Finally, I read your comment with interest:

    “Their information was limited by the extent to which we were able to provide legislation from particular states (we did not have the capability to inform reliably on each of the 50+ separate legislations) and by their inability to visit any civil-confinement mental health facility”

    What do you think can be done at the grassroots level to obtain the data showing how many people are involuntarily committeed, drugged, shocked, etc. in the U.S.

    Some states may have better options than others for this kind of data, Here in Oregon, we have the Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB) for people who plead guilty, or are convicted of a crime (no matter how minor) but who plead ‘guilty except by insanity’ PSRB is a highly restrictive board that manages forensically committed individuals, many are restricted for life. I think PSRB would have very good data for at least the state of Oregon but does one have to file a FOIA to obtain the data from PSRB? Can an agency use HIPAA to prevent journalists and researchers and activists from obtaining this data?