Showing 175 of 175 comments.
Kindred Spirit – brilliant analysis, as always. Thank you.
@JanCarol – this effect is exploited in clinical trials to rig the results in favour of the drug. A classic example is the trial for “Invega Trinza” which is now being heavily promoted by Janssen. Do psychiatrists ever take a close look (or even a cursory look) at the design of these phoney Randomised Controlled Trials? I guess not – they must have to keep their eyes tight shut to avoid seeing the enormous hoax they have been conned into believing. If any of you are reading this, I’d love you to take a look at my cartoon version of the Invega Trinza trial – here is the link…
@Oldhead – I have tracked down the footage of Prof Sir Simon grandstanding to the crowd and plugging the original “pill-shaming” bingo card. He’s very good at this, I have to say – it is a textbook example of a PR stunt designed to manipulate emotion and shut down rational thought. Nice move!
Sandra, you ask: “How could my colleagues do a better job of addressing these problems?”
I have two suggestions. The first is to contemplate the words of Phil Hickey… “Psychiatry is a destructive, disempowering, self-serving, drug-pushing HOAX.”
The second is to share this video of a patient describing her experience of forced depot injections. Not long after this was filmed, she took her own life.
“They diagnosed her, drugged her, ignored and neglected her. They did not appreciate her as an artist or a person as they did not bother to find out or treat her with respect.”
@Oldhead (to Steve McCrea): “you are falling into the trap of taking the “pill-shaming” trope far too seriously […] I’m sure it’s a corporate-generated term, meant to guilt trip people who see their friends being destroyed by pharmacology. It should be mocked, as well as the mentality behind it.”
Yes, this sums up my queasiness about the whole thing. When I researched the “pill shaming” trope for my latest cartoon, I found out that it was first coined by a UK patient in 2013 who put together a Buzzword Bingo card of “pill-shaming” words and phrases. This was very quickly picked up and popularised by none other than Professor Sir Simon Wessely and his gang, and if you look at the Bingo card you’ll see why – it’s a psych/pharma-industry dream. It spread rapidly via Twitter (the favoured propaganda vehicle for Psychiatry Inc), and before you know it everyone is accusing everyone else of “pill-shaming” in that shrill, censorious Twitter way. Then, late last year, the Royal College of Psychiatrists went one step further and roped in BBC News to bring the phrase “pill shaming” to greater public awareness. This really made me shudder because they used a patient to make a “video story” promoting their agenda – see for yourself, I have put the link on my website.
Anyway, try as I might I couldn’t find a humorous angle on “pill-shaming”, and the cartoon evolved into “Shill Shaming.” Here is the link…
Sera: “Do you mean the really small group of people who do seem to actually go after the people taking the pills in pretty relentless ways?”
If that’s how you define “pill shamers”, then yes.
The reason I ask is because of the paragraph beginning: “Now, to be clear, there are some for-reals pill shaming folk out there.”
The description that follows of these “pill shaming folk” sounds to me like people expressing their deep feelings and concerns about neurotoxins, and indeed I have come across plenty of that, but I wouldn’t call them “pill-shamers”. To my mind, a “pill shamer” would be someone who sets out with the deliberate intent of triggering a shame response in their chosen target. I’ve never actually come across this in the real world, which is why I ask.
Sera, can you point me to a genuine example of “pill shaming”? I have asked this question of several people who write about this subject, and they never reply.
You’re probably thinking of Thomas Insel who co-founded “Mindstrong”. Check out the website, it’s seriously creepy. For example, there’s the “smartphone app that can tell you’re depressed before you know it yourself.”
Jyl Ion – The first thing I noticed on MiA today was your artwork “Healing”. There is something about it that resonates with me – I can’t put my finger on it, but I sense a connection and I like the feeling. Then I read your story…
“Free flow had characterized my creative process — an art practice that had come naturally since my childhood was extinguished. Not only were my reproductive capabilities shut down on psychiatric drugs, my ability to create art had been effectively disabled.”
“Extinguish” is a powerful word, and the right word for what Psychiatry can do. I went through it too. But there will always be a spark, a smouldering ember – creativity and life-force can never be fully extinguished.
I would like to contact you privately, but I can’t find an email address. If you want to contact me, please do. My email address is [email protected]
Rachel777: “Rejecting psychiatry’s lies and drugs cured my desire to kill myself.”
Same here. It took full rejection of “gloomy, hopeless labels” and the insidious “illness like any other” conditioning before I could let go of the deep despair and tentatively start to live.
I really miss Matt.
Oldhead: Yes, that’s him… “award winning psychiatrist” Steven Moffic MD. Let’s remind ourselves of the trolling comment he left on Matt Stevenson’s “In Memoriam” page…
“Maybe if he and many here would be more optimistic about psychiatry, he would have recovered more. It is also crucial to know that appearing much better, as Kermit Cole wrote, can be a clue that someone has decided to commit suicide and is relieved by that. This is a tragedy that perhaps could have had a different outcome with a different view of psychiatry.
@LeeColeman In your reply to Oldhead, you say “anti-psychiatry” is a meaningless label, but the vehemence of your tone suggests you feel otherwise. I’d be very interested to know how you define anti-psychiatry – it is powerful word, eliciting strong reactions, I have never known it to be a “meaningless label”. And it has been hijacked by high-profile psychiatrists – they bandy it about as a code-word everyone recognises: Anti-psychiatry = anti-science, flaky, bizarre, deviant. It is used to insult fellow professionals who step out of line… and, in their hands, it is a very effective weapon. I am fighting to reclaim this word, and it’s power.
@Rasselas.Redux: “Since the murder of Jo Cox MP, by a mental health service user, the forensic profiling of mental health patients is now a routine matter and essentially the blanket reason given to justify the intrusive digital intelligence-gathering.”
Thomas Mair is the “mental health service user” convicted of killing Jo Cox. He is now serving life as a Category A prisoner, but is he really the perpetrator? From start to finish, this case stinks to high heaven. Here is a meticulous analysis of the evidence – a documentary by Richard D Hall…
@ConcernedCarer: “Professor David Taylor, lead author of the Maudsley Guidelines, said “much more effective than placebo”. I’m putting that down to a colossal gaff, but still I would steer clear of those guidelines with that level of delusion.”
Not a gaff, or delusion – it’s bare-faced, calculated deception. David Taylor is a pharma-shill, along with his eminent professor chums Allan Young, David Baldwin, David Nutt, Carmine Pariante et al. Time to start ‘Shill Shaming’…?
The authors fail to understand that the “much-discussed antidepressant meta-analysis from Cipriani” was a deliberate campaign of misinformation, orchestrated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and spread by the clinicians themselves.
“Many major publications overstated the results of the study, with headlines such as ‘Antidepressants do work, and many more people should take them”
But this was NOT “media-hype” – science journalists accurately reported the words of the experts. They sourced their copy from the Science Media Centre, the trusted UK charity set up to provide “accurate and evidence-based” information on science to the media. Psychiatry makes full use of the SMC to promote whatever falsehoods they like to the general public – Professor Sir Simon Wessely is on the board of Trustees. A year ago, it was the antidepressant meta-analysis, now they are pushing ECT…
“The evidence for ECT being beneficial is good and withstands scrutiny. The case against seems based on a very odd reading of the evidence base, or a very personal and idiosyncratic point of view.” Prof Allan Young.
Here’s the rest…
Oldhead: “The turmoil the term “anti-psychiatry” creates among the ranks of the “pros” is testimony to its power.”
Yes, and we need all the power we can get! I have sent a message to Will Hall via his website to make him aware of this conversation because I would like his input… but I’m not sure he’s keen to join the fray.
Oh yes! Although I don’t see the “Scientology” slur all that often in the UK. The top-dog psychiatrists here tend to stick to snide remarks and put-downs. For instance, “flat-earth types with odd ideas about health” (Prof Allan Young). The Royal College of Psychiatrists has strong links to the mainstream media, particularly the BBC, which is a powerful platform.
It seems that Will Hall doesn’t want to discuss his article here, but I’m puzzled by something he said and I have a question for him…
WH: “When I write about “our movement” I immediate face our lack of such a clear name. “Mad movement”? “Critical psychiatry?” “Psychiatric survivor movement?”… [We] moved away from “anti-psychiatry” for (in part) good reasons, but what about on a more fundamental level? When we lost a grip on our language we lost a grip on our power.”
Why did “we” move away from using “anti-psychiatry”? What are the “good reasons”? I ask because in 2015, I consciously adopted the word for my cartoon alter ego. At the time I didn’t know it was particularly controversial, I just thought it meant “against Psychiatry”.
Since then, I have come to realise that “anti-psychiatry” has been successfully weaponised by senior players in Psychiatry – it is used as a powerful code-word meaning “anti-science, flaky, bizarre, deviant.” They target fellow professionals, academics and authors, and anyone else with a vested interest in the MH system, who truly fear the dreaded “anti-psychiatry” slur. Maybe this is the “good reason” Will Hall alludes to…? If so, I am now happier than ever that I chose it. I agree with Will that when we lose a grip on our language, we lose a grip on our power… so why hand “our language” on a plate to guild Psychiatry for them to use against us?
@Oldhead “Here we go again with the “madness” stuff. Basically a mystification and romanticization of pain and social ostracizing … “Mad Pride” is an acceptance of and glorification of the oppressive labels put upon us by the system.”
Why the animosity? Mad Pride turned my life around and Ekaterina’s blog resonates loudly with me.
Thank you Ekaterina, I’m looking forward to more.
@Rachel777: “a giant tapeworm enjoying its own tail…” You said it! That’s a very vivid image.
BTW, it’s worth listening to the introductory guy at this conference (link below)…
“I do want to thank Lundbeck Otsuka for sponsoring today’s lunch… ermm, of course they brought to us Brexpiprozole for the treatment of schizophrenia, which is now available, something I’m sure you’re all looking forward to trying soon.”
Yes, indeed. I have Allan Young in my sights for my next cartoon: “Shill Shaming”.
ConcernedCarer: “And what is the point of that eerie joke about ECT? Beats me!”
Professor Young is a powerful man with an international reputation at the top of his profession. His joke is a nod and a wink to the rank and file that if a patient proves particularly difficult, it’s OK to crank up the juice and zap ’em good.
“Terror acts powerfully upon the body, through the medium of the mind, and should be employed in the cure of madness.”
Benjamin Rush 1746-1813
Top UK psychiatrist Professor Allan Young shares a laugh with colleagues about electro-shock…
@ConcernedCarer: “To try and make care better, more evidence based, honest and less damaging?”
But Psychiatry is not evidence-based science, it is simply a hoax. You already know this, you said it yourself on Mad in the UK when you referenced the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. How does the tale end? Not with everyone seeing the light and laughing, but with the naked Emperor saying “The Procession Must Go On!” – which it does…
“And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.”
Psychiatry is a hoax, psychiatrists have a vested interest in staying loyal to the hoax – they are the lords of the bedchamber taking great pains to hold up the non-existent train.
Streetphotobeing: “Don’t be fooled by the word critical, in this context it really means hypocritical.”
Too true! All psychiatrists are mainstream psychiatrists, and they know well enough not stray too far from the party line, now more than ever in light of how Peter Gotzsche was targeted. Just listen to him…
“If you get some influence, and if some people think that you have too much influence, you are a target all of the year round.”
“Headline: Mad in the UK “collective” Snubs Mad People”
@Oldhead: “Your mistake is in believing there is a “thing” to define, not the words you use. I must be doing something wrong if so few people get this by now.”
You’ll have to help us out Oldhead…. what don’t we “get”? What are we actually talking about?
@streetphotobeing Absolutely true! Thanks for the link – I am keeping tabs on what is being spread in the media by members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – this bit is of particular interest…
Theodosiou said she did not think there was overprescribing of antidepressants. “The debate about the use of antidepressants is good but … it’s really important that people are not frightened of the prospect of medication. What we wouldn’t want is a situation where people thought these medications were inherently dangerous.”
Ekaterina – No, you don’t look like an idiot! Far from it – this is the best thing I’ve seen and heard for ages! Please believe me. I am going to spend some time reading your blog, and I will be in touch. Thank you so much!
Oldhead – Ekaterina puts it very well in her video (btw, the link to this is not working at the moment….?) but I agree with you about the word “psychosis” and I try very hard not to use it. However, I can’t think of a suitable one-word (or even one sentence) alternative because it is such a complex, profound and capricious thing to define. So I do sometimes use the word “psychosis” in quotes as a lazy shortcut. Not good, I know.
@Ekaterina: “Yes it is an altered state of consciousness which is a normal human experience that some people are blessed to enjoy!”
That’s it exactly! Thank you.
“I learned that psychosis is a positive experience for me and part of who I am, therefore I need to learn how to have the state of altered consciousness without loosing it totally and still enjoy my life.”
Yes. That’s the elusive “sweet spot”. If you do manage to attain this state, the danger is being swept along too far and being unable to let go… then you are in big trouble.
“I am positive that a new drug can be developed which can make psychosis as a daily experience to be enjoyed not to be feared.”
No, no, this is wishful thinking! There will never be any such drug. Streetphotobeing is right – the best way to achieve stability and still enjoy this “normal human experience” is to work towards a psych-drug free lifestyle and learn about what you need for healthy brain functioning and natural quality sleep. This means making sacrifices – alcohol and caffeine are psych-drugs too.
I watched your video – it’s terrific! Really looking forward to the next one.
@Ekaterina: “So, Ekaterina, how are you doing today?” she asks in a pleasant voice, while a nurse types the entire conversation.
Don’t fall for it! You can bet that a weirdly twisted version of the conversation will stay forever in your notes to be used in evidence against you at any point in the future. That ‘pleasant voice’ is your cue to be on your guard and choose your words with care.
Here is “Escape from the Psych-ward”, a fun board-game version of the real deal. Hint: The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play.
From the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen… “The Procession Must Go On!” (And so it does.)
“But the Emperor has nothing at all on!” said a little child.
“Listen to the voice of innocence!” exclaimed his father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another.
“But he has nothing at all on!” at last cried out all the people. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.
@Oldhead: “Hope you didn’t choke on your scone!”
No, but I did splutter on my morning cup of tea… an event detected and logged at GCHQ, no doubt!
@rasselas.redux Well, thanks for that. Looks like I should’ve been listening more closely to Oldhead…
“…psychiatry IS such a police force, and its purpose IS to keep people suppressed if it first fails at turning them into automatons. So there’s no mystery here; police agencies and the military ALWAYS get full support from the system before any social concerns are tended to.”
@rasselas.redux “Mental health patients in the UK are subjected to special provisions under UK surveillance law. This extends to new powers given to mental health teams nationwide who have new, and very close relationships with the secret services.”
What?? This has totally passed me by. What “new powers” do MH teams have?
Oh, and I just thought of the perfect song for Allen Frances, thanks to the genius of Madness…
Rosalee, Don’t be fooled – Allen Frances is a devious wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is the public face of guild Psychiatry, and has a powerful platform in the mainstream media which he is using to save his “profession” from sinking into the mire. This interview is a classic example. He captures the public mood of outrage at being misled about “antidepressants” whilst neatly deflecting all responsibility for the current situation away from Psychiatry. His tricks are easy to spot once you know them…
1. Allege scarcity of data: “There’s almost no research on the withdrawal syndrome.”
2. Bring in a bigger villain: “The pharmaceutical industry is only marginally less ruthless than the drug cartels, and it’s not in their interest to advertise this, so there’s been very, very little research.”
3. Pass the blame on: “80% of the antidepressants are prescribed by primary care doctors.”
4. Re-assert Psychiatry’s ultimate authority in these matters: “There’s a cruel paradox that we’re over-treating the worried well and we’re terribly neglecting the really ill…”
5. Big-up the drugs as ‘life-saving medication’: “the medications are absolutely essential for people with severe depression.”
In the UK, our top psychiatrists are already following his lead and spinning these very same lines to the press…
“Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said antidepressants are ‘a life-saver’ for many people but ‘not enough research has been done into what happens when you stop taking them’.” (Independent 2 Oct 2018)
Journalists will buy it, and the message will filter down through blogs and social media to the public at large. Psychiatry, as always, will come up smelling of roses.
“I suggest, in all sincerity, that Dr. Frances abandon his attempt to absolve psychiatry from blame in these matters, and that he join the anti-psychiatry movement.”
LOL! Nice one, Phil. You almost had me there…
@ConcernedCarer: “As a matter of interest, the main drug class that affects gaba is (gasp) benzos, is it not?”
Yes. Also alcohol.
“I think Peter Goetsch said that short term crisis use of benzos has been undervalued. What do you think of that?”
I know this was directed at SPB, but I have an opinion on this… In the early 90s I vowed to myself that I would avoid “antipsychotics” at all costs. Since then, in times of crisis, I have managed to persuade GPs to prescribe either Valium, or latterly, Zopiclone. It always “worked” in that it effectively shut down my brain in a way I desperately needed at the time. So, I would agree with Gotzsche… except to say that now that I am taking Magnesium supplements, I’m confident that I will never again have to run the gauntlet of a GP appointment for any more neurotoxins.
SPB: “Ask Aunite, I’ve just spent the last year engaging with her on this precise matter.”
Yes, and it has been quite a revelation.
Oldhead says… “[SPB] still tends to “diagnose” people, and ascribe their feelings to biochemical causes, and seemingly hasn’t grasped the idea that “mental illness” is impossible, instead focusing on “alternate” ways to cure it. I think he should focus on helping people withdraw from neurotoxins instead of contributing to the same myth that psychiatry is based on”
You couldn’t be more wrong – SPB is NOT “contributing to the same myth that psychiatry is based on” – far from it. His knowledge is pivotal to exposing psychiatry as a pseudoscience and helping people withdraw to neurotoxins.
Up until December 2017, I had spent over 20 years frequently pole-axed by migraines. My GP provided me with repeat prescriptions for sumatriptan, a powerful serotonin agonist. I was effectively hooked on the sumatriptan, reaching for it every time a migraine threatened to develop. This drug “saved my life!!”… it was like magic. Before I started taking it, I would spend several days each month completely incapacitated by crippling full-blown migraine – sumatriptan, taken in the early stages, stops it in its tracks by constricting the blood vessels in the brain and damping down the inflammation. But after a couple of years, the frequency of migraines increased and I was relying more and more on the sumatriptan. I didn’t realise this was due to rebound from the drug until SPB pointed it out. I had deliberately avoided researching sumatriptan because I didn’t want to face up to having to stop taking it (spellbinding), I was scared of the return of full-blown migraine. I was kidding myself that migraine drugs were not psych-drugs, and I fell for the medical industry propaganda that “there is no cure for migraines.” But by the end of 2017, I was spending nearly all my life either drugged up and “spaced out” on sumatriptan, or in pain because of migraine. I was also taking daily propranolol (80mg sustained release), and even occasional tramadol – all courtesy of my GP. I later found out that he was following NICE guidelines to the letter. The drugs were only just keeping the migraines at bay, I was on a hellish treadmill.
SPB has guided me to a migraine-free, drug-free life. I took my last dose of sumatriptan on 5th May, and I am successfully tapering off propranolol. The thought of taking tramadol horrifies me, I won’t be doing that again.
SPB has opened my eyes and mind to the importance of understanding basic neurochemistry – in particular the role of intracellular Magnesium – I have most certainly had a deficiency of this all my adult life. Doctors do not have this basic knowledge, and that’s partly what makes them so dangerous – they are intelligent and intensively educated, but susceptible to being manipulated and falling for the ultimate hoax… Psychiatry.
Brilliant idea – he’d be torn to pieces!
Do you think Siobhan Sharpe will be head-hunted to rebrand the GMC? She’s a shoo-in…
ICE Creates Ltd: Make Better Happen.
“We’ve been making better happen for individuals, communities and organisations since 1999. Operating around the UK, our team of over 40 full-time expert practitioners work through our people-shaped approach – Insight, Co-create and Engage – to create positive and sustained behaviour change.”
Uncanny parallels with PR agency “Perfect Curve” from the spoof documentary W1A. Should be laughing, but public money is going to waste here… not funny!
Yes, this documentary is a must. Peter Gotzsche neatly sums it up with this line…
“Your venture into psychiatry has been a disaster”
Here he is… https://youtu.be/T4kVpNmYzBU?t=1152
Steve: I recommend the book “Chasing the Scream” by Johann Hari. It is about exactly this.
streetphotobeing: “btw has anyone seen a bar tender deck a punter and jab a gin and tonic in their arse ?”
lol! I think that’s something for shaun f to contemplate…
This blog post reminds me of a BBC documentary from 2016 following a patient who had severe chronic pain and was taking frightening amounts of opioids and led a severely restricted life. The programme was called “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs”, the presenter is Dr Chris van Tulleken. I found the youtube clip of this patient’s story – it’s worth watching to the end…
@streetphotobeing: “In this piece by Will Self, what he is really doing is promoting the acceptance of “supported accommodation” I’ve experienced this and it is what – I believe – Sir Wessely will be promoting in his review of the UK MH law.”
I fear you are right. Wessely will be looking to leave his legacy, and what better opportunity than to stamp his mark on the Mental Health Act? He’s already pushing the “importance of supported housing in reducing MHA detentions” via Twitter. https://twitter.com/WesselyS/status/1030504458936115201
To innocent ears this sounds humane and benevolent, but your vivid description says it all – the one thing you can guarantee is that coercive drugging will be involved. It makes my blood run cold. I sincerely hope we’re both wrong about this, but let’s wait and see…
I’ve been thinking about Matt a lot recently – it’s a year since his death.
When I was an undergraduate in Pharmacology in the late 1980s, the word “neuroleptic” was defined in the text book as “nerve seizing”. The alternative term for this class of drugs was “major tranquillizer”. The word “antipsychotic” was not used – it is a recent invention. I wish I’d kept my text books from that time because they illustrate the evolution, but I got rid of them years ago.
Interestingly, when I Google the word “neuroleptic”, the very first listing is Wikipedia, but the word is automatically switched to “antipsychotic”. I would expect Wikipedia to have a standalone page for the word “neuroleptic”, but it doesn’t.
@ConcernedCarer: “Beautiful fake science from Stephen Soumerai (Professor of population medicine, Harvard).”
They will stoop to anything to get that ‘black box’ warning removed.
“Professor Soumerai, the increase in youth suicide you cite is correlated with MORE antidepressants, not less.”
Here are his contact details to put this to him directly…
A dark day…
This week in Stat News – yet more calculated misinformation being circulated by eminent academics… how can they live with themselves?
“FDA’s continuing use of ‘black box’ for antidepressants ignores the harms of this warning”
“suppose that psychiatric treatments in fact do NOTHING but harm? Is there any merit in this profession then at all?”
Well, I think your question answers itself. You also have to factor in the vast amount of public money being pumped in to sustain the hoax – the figures are eye-watering, and they are always begging for more…
Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s director of mental health:
“We’re indisputably spending more on mental health services than ever before. We’ve invested an extra £1.4bn in the past three years, including on early intervention, and there’s a whole range of services which didn’t exist before that we are now delivering across the country.”
Fantastic! I’d love to see it- how about sending a jpg to the artwork page?
How can he be stopped? Any ideas?
Rosalee – thank you so much for your powerful testimony. You learnt the hard way, but by sharing your experience, others might be spared.
Thought you might appreciate this – it is Phil Hickey’s vision for a Psychiatry-free future…
“Imagine if, twenty years from now, dictionary entries for the word “psychiatry” were along the lines:
…1. a medical specialty, now defunct, whose primary tenet was that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving were best conceptualized as illnesses, and best treated with mood-altering drugs and electric shocks to the brain. 2. (informal) an enormous hoax. 3. (informal) a shameful abuse of power and position.”
Thank you so much Martin Plöderl & Michael P. Hengartner – this is superb!
And yet, will it make a scrap of difference? Mainstream Psychiatry’s refusal to accept the years of data on this goes well beyond “evidence-resistance.” To this day, lead psychiatrists use Gibbons et al to justify spreading out-and-out fiction to the media. For instance, in July 2017 Prof Carmine Pariante put out a statement that… “we know very well that every time an alarm reduces the rates of prescription for antidepressants, suicide rates increase, including in adolescent and young adults.”
Prof Pariante is fully supported and endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and he is trusted by journalists because of his expert status and reputable credentials bestowed on him by the Science Media Centre. Last year I pursued a serious official complaint against the SMC about Pariante’s statement. Here’s what happened…
Julie – Too right! All we have to do is turn the tables…
Oldhead: This is the sort of dismissive comment which reveals the contemptuous attitudes towards anti-psychiatry activists many professionals take behind our backs, and when conversing with one another.
Yes, but I don’t think professionals like Brett realise that guild Psychiatry has successfully weaponized the word “anti-psychiatry” to use against them. Vocal senior psychiatrists such as Lieberman, Wessely and Pies have very powerful platforms via blogs, social media and mainstream media to make sure everyone understands that anti-psychiatry = anti-science, flaky, bizarre, deviant. Then they can (and do) target anyone they perceive as a threat with the dreaded “anti-psychiatry” slur, and they have an army of dutiful medics, academics and journalists to assist.
Sami Timimi says “At heart we are dealing with a potential problem of deep-rooted institutional corruption.”
Thank you so much for keeping the shady practices of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the public eye. I look forward to the next instalment…
Me too, but I’m not holding my breath.
I agree that we need to keep this issue alive for them. The email address for ‘the TEDx Team’ is: [email protected]
I have just sent them this reply…
“Thank you for getting back to me. I am re-sending my question because this response does not provide an answer. I have studied the TEDx curatorial guidelines carefully, and I do not see how this talk is in breach of any of them. Please could you point me to the specific guideline this talk has violated?”
Julia – I contacted the ‘TED team’ to ask this question…
“I am concerned about the “flag” TED has posted on the talk by Julia Rucklidge – “The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health.” The flag does not give any details about why it falls outside TEDx curatorial guidelines. Please could you point me to the specific guidelines which this talk has violated?”
Eventually I received a reply. They didn’t answer the question, but here’s what they said…
“Thank you for reaching out to us about Julia Rucklidge’s talk. TED’s curation team is currently in conversation with the speaker and the TEDxChristchurch organizer about this flag. Given that the intersection of nutrition and mental health is an emerging field of study, TED has been actively reviewing the claims put forward in this talk. TED is not considering any removal of the video and it will remain available on YouTube. Please monitor the YouTube watch page for any updates:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dqXHHCc5lA
@ Steve McCrea – Does MiA have a formal Complaints Procedure? If so, could you point me to it?
@ConcernedCarer: You are right to be cautious. Auntie Psychiatry is my campaigning alter ego through which I can give full vent to my anti-psychiatry feelings. In front of a member of the Mental Health team I am always meek and acquiescent – it is very dangerous to express any dissent at all, let alone let slip that I am anti-psychiatry. If you feel that you can be critical in the psych’s office, then you are doing a lot better than me, but please have your wits about you – things can turn very quickly if you push things too far.
out says: “How can we change this into something else?”
My conversion to anti-psychiatry happened gradually, but it was Phil Hickey writing here on MiA who finally persuaded me that Psychiatry is a hoax. And how is it possible to change a hoax into something else?
ConcernedCarer says: “There’s an interesting argument developing here about whether you should be tactically anti psychiatry or critical psychiatry.”
The lively debate around the distinction between critical psychiatry and anti-psychiatry has been running here on MiA for several years, but guild Psychiatry does not concern itself with such niceties. Vocal senior psychiatrists such as Lieberman, Wessely and Pies have weaponized the word “anti-psychiatry” via blogs, social media and mainstream media to make sure everyone understands that anti-psychiatry = anti-science, flaky, bizarre, deviant. Then they can (and do) target anyone they perceive as a threat with the dreaded “anti-psychiatry” slur, and they have an army of dutiful medics, academics and journalists to assist. That is why I decided to embrace and reclaim the word anti-psychiatry – it has been a very liberating move!
All I want to say about this article is that the publicity shot depicting an unhappy/sad/miserable child is the best I’ve ever seen.
@Brett Deacon – could you at least strongly encourage them to carefully read the patient information leaflet and take the warnings seriously? No-one ever does, of course, unless they have a problem by which time it’s too late… but there’s a lot of useful information in there which would be better known in advance. For instance, I just looked at the PIL for sumatriptan (a migraine drug I took frequently for several years) and found this: “If you use sumatriptan frequently: Using sumatriptan too often may make your headache worse.”
Well, that happened to me, and I should’ve been on my guard because it was there in black and white from the start.
Julia – you are right to take pride in your TEDx talk – the standing ovation and cheers at the end say it all. Fabulous!
The actions of TED’s ‘curation team’ are shameful, and I believe intended to silence other scientists who feel inspired to do likewise. You put it very well yourself with this…
“It’s very disturbing to me that they have put that flag on because it’s questioning my integrity as a scientist, and that is probably the worst thing that can happen to you in terms of your reputation.”
“I wonder whether or not I have gotten lumped together alongside people who deny climate change, or deny vaccines work… that I’m anti-psychiatry which is not what I am. I’m just saying “hold on, let’s look at other ways, lets see if we can help those people who aren’t being helped by medications.”
And yet that’s all it takes to be tarred with the anti-psychiatry brush. Bear in mind that guild Psychiatry controls the definition of anti-psychiatry. Vocal lead psychiatrists such as Lieberman, Wessely and Pies are skilled at using blogs, social media and mainstream media to make sure that everyone understands that anti-psychiatry = anti-science, flaky, bizarre, deviant. Then they can (and do) target anyone they perceive as a threat with the dreaded “anti-psychiatry” slur, and they have an army of dutiful medics, academics and journalists to assist. That is why I decided to embrace and reclaim the word anti-psychiatry – it has been a very liberating move!
@ConcernedCarer: “If it was me I’d go through the law in your area and any guidelines you can find, fight them at their own game.”
“Fighting them at their own game” is a dangerous strategy, and not something to contemplate unless you have a lot of support. Watch this:
Removed at commenter’s request.
@streetphotobeing: I’m afraid Oldhead isn’t posting at the moment – see this message:
You might have noticed that Oldhead is very silent at the moment – it is because all his posts are being diverted for “pre-emptive moderation.” Because of this, Oldhead is not posting comments at all for the time being. He says he is discussing with MIA the conditions under which he would be comfortable “returning” without compromising the integrity of survivors in future discussions with “professionals.” He asks that people not badger the moderators about this and hopes to be back shortly, and that he appreciates your support.
I would like to contact you by email about something – could you drop me a quick line? My address is: [email protected]
And here’s my website… http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com
More BBC coverage on this today… “Antidepressant prescriptions for children on the rise”
The steepest increase was seen in the youngest patients, those aged 12 and under, where the number of prescriptions rose on average by 24%, from 14,500 to almost 18,000.
Dr Bernadka Dubicka, who chairs the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Currently only one in four children and young people are treated for their mental health problems. The fact that prescriptions for antidepressants are rising could reflect a slow but steady move towards treating everyone who is unwell.”
Same old same old from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
This might be interesting, but will they mention akathisia?
File on 4: Counting the Cost: Anti-depressant Use in Children is on BBC Radio 4 at 20:00 BST on 24 July.
The first video is shocking. A posse of “Mental Health professionals” and police officers turn up at this guy’s door in the dead of night with a “warrant to engage in a mental health act assessment”. He lives alone. They demand entry to his home, and he has little choice but to let them in and “engage”. It has to be seen to be believed.
@ConcernedCarer: “Alice in Wonderland medicine!”
No, it’s calculated misinformation, trickery and corruption.
Three cheers! Keep it up.
“The researchers write that future studies on brain differences should take care to include medication use as a potential confounding factor.”
But this has been well established for decades, do these authors really think they are the first point it out? Psychiatry is a hoax, no amount of data and evidence from scientific studies will make a jot of difference.
“They suggest that this could be a contributing factor to why even after several hundred studies of cortical thickness and surface area in schizophrenia, no consensus has yet emerged.”
This brings to mind the infamous Big Tobacco memo of 1969 carrying the words “Doubt is our product.” It applies equally well to guild Psychiatry in 2018.
SPB says: “People – outside of this context – see us as being extreme, we are not, we ask for justice and in the clear view of the terrible harm and history of killing by psychiatry. Psychiatry needs to be abolished and the psychiatrists who have destroyed lives need to go before a court of law.”
Couldn’t put it better myself.
In 1988, I was an undergraduate studying Pharmacology at Cardiff University. I remember a lecture about the strict new rules from the Committee on Safety of Medicines about Benzodiazepine prescription: “Benzodiazepines are indicated for the short-term relief (two to four weeks only) of anxiety that is severe, disabling or subjecting the individual to unacceptable distress…”
At the time there was a lot of awareness amongst the public about the dangers of benzos, through press articles, women’s magazines, daytime TV and so on. People knew them to be powerful drugs with risks of addiction, they understood the reasons for those restrictive guidelines. What happened between then and now? Thirty years on, why do we even need World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day? It’s a question that has been bugging me, but thanks to Bob Whitaker I have the answer – the Xanax story.
“At the heart of the Xanax story is a complete betrayal of the public… It was noted at the time, quietly, that “this is completely corrupt.” The corrupt science around Xanax rebuilt the market.”
The story of Xanax is the story of Psychiatry. Corruption and trickery which is whispered about at the time, but never called out for what it really is. Years down the line when the damage becomes too huge to hide, the trick falls apart and the con-men have long since made a swift getaway. It happens time and again, but until the perpetrators are called to account and face justice, they’ll always be back with the same old con-trick.
Psychiatry is a hoax which needs to be exposed and abolished. What’s the good in fighting to “reform” a hoax?
Oh yeah, I remember those. Seem to remember enjoying them. OK, this could be fun, I’ll e-mail you some time, see if we can kick something off.
“American kids are being indoctrinated with psychiatry’s medicalization of all unpleasant feelings and experiences, via websites, movies, school, government, medical authorities, etc.”
Same here, I fear. Millennials do not seem to question this at all, or even think to question it – I find this really quite disturbing. Generation Z is going the same way. Yes, I’ve had ideas about animating Auntie for YouTube- at first I considered short cartoons, but then I came across the RPG game “Undertale” and started thinking along those lines. Trouble is, I’m a bit mystified by the appeal of Undertale, all I know is that it’s very popular with Gen Z. Here’s how it starts…
Here is my cartoon take on this… http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com/red.aspx?ha=microchipmeds
“For many of us, leaving psych saved our lives. We need to say this loudly also, and those of us who have immensely more stable and happy lives need to make themselves visible.”
I am now in my late 40s, and can truthfully say that I really do have an immensely stable, happy and healthy life. I know damn well this would not be the case had I faithfully followed doctor’s orders and swilled down the daily neurotoxins. But making myself visible is a big ask, especially in my real-life world. I like that I am invisible, normal, a trusted employee – I have never said a word to my colleagues about my stint as a psych-patient or my phoney-baloney “severe mental illness” diagnosis, and I never would because I know they’d see me differently from that moment on. My guess is that there are many other people of my generation who tangled with the system in their 20s, managed to struggle free, and got on with their lives without breathing a word about it. You are right – it would definitely help our cause if these people were more visible – but I absolutely don’t blame them for keeping quiet.
“Furthermore, Slater stated that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had started the antipsychiatry movement. Oops! She portrays the antipsychiatry movement as a bunch of evil and disruptive rebels, a bygone movement that barely exists anymore.”
Interesting – this is exactly the line put out by lead psychiatrists via blogs, articles and social media. Looks like they are successfully setting the agenda by swaying the opinion of influential commentators like Lauren. How do we kick back?
@Steve and @Whatuser
There was more to it than simple press releases. This story made such a big splash because they used the Science Media Centre (SMC) to disseminate their message to journalists. What is the SMC? It is a UK registered charity, trusted by journalists as an independent source for science-based stories. Or, in the words of the SMC itself:
“an independent press office helping to ensure that the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines”
Last year I made a concerted attempt to challenge the SMC for distributing misleading information about antidepressants to journalists. I got nowhere, but the experience did provide inspiration for this cartoon:
On a good day, I believe that too… but Hell will freeze over before any of them step aside or are called to account. My only hope is that if we keep chipping away at the foundations, the whole rotten facade will eventually come crashing down on all their silly heads. That I’d like to see!
“I see a shift in the face of a barrage of evidence that has already severely damaged the reputations of Pariante & Co. And it won’t stop until key people step aside.”
I see no such shift. And in what way is Prof Pariante’s reputation damaged? He is riding higher than ever, with the full backing of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Science Media Centre who will continue to push him forward as a spokesperson for the “profession”. Most disturbing of all, he is now gaining a foothold on the “critical Psychiatry” scene – that friendly youtube double-act with Joanna Moncrieff did him no harm at all.
And just to remind you, here is a flavour of classic Pariante, in full flow, giving “evidence” to the UK parliament for a Suicide Prevention Inquiry:
“Clear evidence from studies and meta-analyses over the last 20 years confirm that antidepressants decrease the numbers of suicides… of people dying of suicide. It does it within clinical study settings, the ecological studies show that usually an increase in the prescriptions of antidepressants is mirrored by a reduction in the number of suicides.
More worryingly, as has been shown in the past few years, a decrease in the prescription of antidepressants, especially in children and adolescents, is actually mirrored by and increase in the suicide rate. So, both the direct head to head clinical evidence, and the historical epidemiological evidence points to the fact that antidepressants are beneficial in reducing suicides. There’s no doubt about it.”
Where is all this “evidence”? Such a strong statement to Parliament, he better have it at his fingertips, right? Try asking him. Here’s his e-mail address… [email protected]
Pariante is back pedalling and is so confused he thinks he said “final answer” when it was Cipriani, so clearly in the bunker the scripts are getting muddled up
Yes, Professor Pariante got his knickers in a twist about being reported as saying this when, in fact, his own words were accurately reported from the SMC briefing. So he even managed to spread misinformation about himself! I can see why he’s such an asset to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
“Kate Adlington, suggests that much of the media coverage of The Lancet’s antidepressant network meta-analysis was insufficiently nuanced…”
This makes me so angry! There can be no doubt that all media coverage was very carefully orchestrated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists via the Science Media Centre. Professor Sir Simon Wessely is conveniently on the Board of Trustees of this shady “charity”.
In fact, the journalists in the mainstream media did a pretty good job of accurately reporting what was fed to them by the lead authors of the study and other high-profile, media savvy psychiatrists. They were out in force and all dutifully on message with the line “antidepressants work, and more people would benefit from treatment for depression…”
Here it is again…
1. Lead researcher Dr Andrea Cipriani, from the University of Oxford, told the BBC: “This study is the final answer to a long-standing controversy about whether anti-depressants work for depression… I think this is very good news for patients and clinicians.”
2. Andrea Cipriani in The Metro: “Under-treated depression is a huge problem and we need to be aware of that. We tend to focus on over-treatment but we need to focus on this.”
3. Carmine Pariante was another one on our screens:
“This meta-analysis finally puts to bed the controversy on antidepressants, clearly showing that these drugs do work in lifting mood and helping most people with depression.”
4. “Good news… antidepressants do work and, for most people, the side-effects are worth it.” Allan Young
5. “It puts to bed the idea that antidepressants don’t work – all 21 antidepressants were more effective than placebo at treating depression”. Prof Anthony Cleare
Then there was the “million more” claim:
6. John Geddes, professor of epidemiological psychiatry at Oxford University, who worked on the study, told The Guardian: ‘It is likely that at least one million more people per year should have access to effective treatment for depression, either drugs or psychotherapy.’
This was accurately reported via the Press Association as…
“It has been suggested a million more people per year in the UK should be given access to treatment for depression, through either drugs or talking therapies, with scientists saying the study proves drugs do work.”
7. The Raconteur:
John Geddes: Only one in six people with depression receive effective treatment with GPs “squeamish” to prescribe medication for mental health conditions.
Pariante: We have a wealth of evidence that antidepressants do a good job for some people, and there are a lot of people who could benefit from them and now will.
…and I haven’t even got onto the Burn & Baldwin letter to The Times.
“Such broad-brush headlines and content do not accurately reflect the study’s scope and results, Adlington contends…”
But this was NOT media spin – it was deliberately put out there by Psychiatry’s PR machine.
“those of us who are “out” might sometimes get a little cranky about being trashed for being naive, tautological, etc., on the grounds that our work does not live up to the ideological standards of those still in hiding”
Guess you’re referring to Oldhead here? Tell me if I’ve got that wrong.
The trouble with all this back and forth on MiA is that the written word gives little space for nuance or subtlety or tone of voice. Irit – do you remember the Madness e-community set up by Sylvia Caras in the mid-1990s? That was my first taste of anti-psychiatry activism, and it saved my life!! But it pains me to realise that over 20 years later, we are still covering the same old ground in the same old way. As far as I can tell, there is no anti-psychiatry movement for psychiatric survivors – in fact the word “movement” is a hollow joke. The very phrase “Anti-psychiatry” is defined and controlled by the likes of Lieberman, Pies and Wessely – it has been weaponised and is used very effectively to bludgeon anyone who gets in their way – Bob Whitaker, Lucy Johnstone, David Healy to name just a few.
You say that “no one is listening outside our cozy little circle, so we can complain forever without changing anything,” and I agree. The most frustrating thing for me is seeing so much energy, strength and potential going to waste here. How do we break out of this habit of fighting each other and hollering into the void? I am at a loss.
Irit – I advocate for the abolition of psychiatry, and I made the decision early on to do so via an alter ego. As time goes on, I’m more and more convinced I made the right decision. Just this week, Julie Greene posted about her experience of being removed as a speaker at a conference as a result of someone flagging her (link below).
Online-world campaigning is a risky business for us, it can have extremely serious real-world consequences. Choosing a pseudonym and sticking to it offers a little bit of protection and freedom to risk speaking out. Do you feel strongly that we should all be using our real names? If so, why?
“But specifically, this “mental health/illness/disability” system is the hub of hypocrisy and fraud. From my experience, I honestly do not feel it is redeemable. It is a toxic beast and needs to be put to rest, for everyone’s sake.”
Brilliantly well put! It took me nearly 30 years to reach this very same conclusion, but I got there in the end. Now that I know it, there is no going back – it’s impossible to “unknow” something as profound as this.
Annette – I am very interested in all you’ve said here. Your experience of “psychosis” echoes my own. I wrote about it on MiA – here is the link…
I have read about Open Dialogue and listened to the MiA podcast with Russell Razzaque about it. Pretty sure it’s not available in my locality yet, but I hold onto a scrap of hope that this will spread across the UK. Bet if I mentioned it to my GP, I’d be met with a blank look.
“Is it that we here are the hard core non-compliant that I pointed out?”
Yep. There is truth and power in the Mad Movement slogan “Recovery begins with non-compliance.” When I first heard this, I instinctively understood its significance -the innate urge to reassert autonomy and reclaim that which Psychiatry has stolen. For people who simply do not get this, their future is just as you describe – placid pawns in a game they cannot control.
Here is my cartoon take on “non-compliance” http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com/red.aspx?ha=Rebel
Stephen – I would very much like you to drop me a line by e-mail at: [email protected]
I’ve noticed that too. And here is something interesting from David Healy…
“Since about 2005 in North West Wales new cases of schizophrenia have been drying up. We have had almost no new cases for a decade. What we have lots of instead are drug induced psychoses, severe personality problems and some strange motor disorders we’ve never seen before – but not classic schizophrenia.”
LCJ said: “UK residents can order a hard copy of the shorter Overview document from the British Psychological Society – you do not have to be a BPS member. Email [email protected]”
Thanks for that! I just e-mailed for a copy and am delighted to find out that it is free of charge. Some light summer reading for me…
Registered said: “These kids won’t realise the damage of these labels, the medicalisation and pathologisation of their own behaviour until it is too late.”
Oh dear – this makes me think of little lambs driving themselves to slaughter.
I too had a reverence for the wonders of science, and I wanted to know more about what went wrong in the brains of people who lost touch with reality through insanity or psychotropic drugs. At university I studied Pharmacology, but it soon became clear to me that those lofty professors knew very little and were mostly faking it – I was very disappointed. It took another 30 years for the penny to drop that Psychiatry is not a science at all, but a pernicious hoax. Since then I have identified fully as Anti-Psychiatry and joined the fight for the abolition of Psychiatry.
LK said: “…identities which though some despise, others wear proudly like a badge of honor/courage.”
Yes, one thing I’ve noticed is how it tends to be younger people (millennials) who wear their labels with pride – they will happily rattle off their list of “diagnoses” without thought to who they are sharing it with. This always amazes and horrifies me. I guess it’s the power of all those “anti-stigma” campaigns on young minds – as they were growing up, they learnt as a group how to incorporate these labels into their identity. Creepy.
Yes, I follow you – maybe this is what the mini-retreat is all about.
Sunday, May 20th ~2-5pm EST
Power, Threat and the Meanings of “Mania”
What is a “mini-retreat?”
“I agree with others who see psychologists pretty much as handmaidens to psychiatry.”
Hah! I can’t see Lucy Johnstone as a handmaiden to anyone – least of all Psychiatry.
“This is because psychiatrists and MH nurses who prescribe, enforce and administer these drugs will be the very last people to acknowledge they are responsible and hence are unable – and frankly do not care – to know the difference between iatrogenic and any true condition.”
This describes the full tragedy of the Psychiatry hoax in a nutshell. I sincerely believe that the majority of students are attracted to these professions because they are caring by nature and have a strong desire to relieve suffering and distress. Some of them even see it as a calling. Their training is a process of indoctrination into an ideology and belief system from which they quickly learn it is unwise to stray. By the time they graduate, they will have learnt to dismiss and ridicule without hesitation anyone who threatens their world view – “Anti-science, Flat-earther, Scientologist.” These once caring people have become so invested in this rotten ideology that they will be incapable of acknowledging to themselves the massive harm they are doing to their patients.
Here is a heartbreaking illustration of this…
When this patient took her own life, I imagine that all the staff involved were consoled by the thought that they had done “everything they could” for her.
Yes, and have you noticed how it is always the ones with the most power who spin the line that it’s in everyone’s best interests to set aside differences and work together? It’s a favourite of Professor Sir Simon. There is no doubt that he absolutely needs the input of “user stakeholders” to validate whatever “reforms” he has in mind for the MHA, but a “dialogue of equals”? Dream on.
“It is positive that there has been an attempt to reach out to service users and note their experiences and concerns and the wide range of views which people have about the MHA.”
No, it’s not. The only reason for involving “user stakeholders” is to legitimise the whole process so that they can sell it to “carers” and the public. They do it in a way that keeps them in full control. Already they have managed to get across to the media that… “Many people interviewed by Wessely’s team believe that being detained was the best thing for them; some said it saved their life and prevented suicide.” I can’t tell you how much that makes me shudder.
Re the Guardian article –
“Many people interviewed by Wessely’s team believe that being detained was the best thing for them; some said it saved their life and prevented suicide.”
I can’t tell you how much this makes me shudder. It’s the kind of thing I said myself in the weeks and months after my own hospital experience. The best argument I’ve heard against compulsory treatment is this from Ryan in Australia…
Julie – you are right. Another big thing is travel and insurance. You have to declare everything up front, even something as innocuous as “depression”. All these Guardian readers taken in by the “antidepressants work!!” baloney don’t realise that a visit to the GP for those “little lifesavers” might cost them dear next time they book a holiday.
Fiachra,I think I’m going to try to get my name off that register, starting with a letter to my GP practice. If they are difficult about it, I might try to find an advocate to help. I don’t know about contacting the MP – I think that would put me well and truly on the radar as a awkward customer.
Fiachra – did you manage to get your name off the register? If so, how? I’m considering writing a letter to the practice manager to ask for my name to be removed – it’s supposed to be voluntary, so I guess that might do it.
Julie – you’ve reminded of something – there’s a new system in the UK in which you can register for an online NHS service. This is a legitimate alternative to registering with a bricks and mortar practice. It seems like a possible option for me because I could still get healthcare, but without all the Mental Health monitoring bull which my current practice has a financial incentive to do. I’ll have to look into it more…
Well, I kind-of get your point. My guess is that my name was added to the register because the GP surgery gets extra funding, and they are more than happy for me to stay the hell away and do my own thing as long as I show up for the annual checks. Trouble is, being branded SMI in this way has completely destroyed the tiny bit of trust I had in them. Having my name on this register was not part of the deal when I agreed to see a psych-nurse 10 years ago, and I have no idea how it might affect my life further down the line. That’s what makes me nervous.
No, you wouldn’t. You would never have trusted them in the first place – that was my big mistake. Now that I’m in this situation, I’m not sure what I can do. Challenging them would be a big deal – anyone with any sense acts placid and compliant no matter what. If you try to push it, the NHS can go from zero to sectioned-with-police-escort in a heartbeat. Psychiatrists bitch to the press all the time about how their “profession” is short-changed by the skinflint government, despite the billions in public money shovelled their way every year. And yet it’s amazing how quickly they can find the resources for doctors, social workers, police, lawyers and a nice long stay in a secure unit for anyone who steps out of line.
Does anyone know if “Pharmacist tattling” could happen in the UK? I have noticed a creeping trend towards more monitoring and scrutiny. I’m trying to stay cool about it because up until now I’ve been able access medical services in a way that suits me. Mostly I would go for 2 or 3 years without seeing anyone, but they were there for me on the rare occasions I needed their help. There was a cautious trust between us – as long as I didn’t deliberately draw attention to myself, they left well alone. But from around 2014 I’ve been called in for annual “reviews” where they check my weight and blood pressure, take blood, and ask me questions about what I’m doing with my life, that sort of thing. Then they put it all on my electronic record and send me a copy of a kind-of care plan through the post. I wondered why this was happening, and did a Google search – I worked out that my name had been added to the Severe Mental Illness register. This sounds super-creepy – in theory this register is simply about “Improving physical healthcare for people living with Severe Mental Illness”, but it means that I’m definitively tagged as SMI for all to see. I hadn’t been told any of this, but here’s what is says in the NHS England document about it…
“Unless the patient actively disagrees, assessment and actions are to be shared with relevant healthcare professionals in line with information sharing and information governance protocols.”
Needless to say, I haven’t been given the option to “actively disagree,” and even if I was, I wouldn’t dare.
So, now I’m wondering what to do if I am ever pressured into accepting prescriptions for regular neurotoxins – I would probably have the sense to nod dumbly and take the script from the doctor, then tear it up when I got home. But now I’m wondering if I would have to buy the damn drugs from the pharmacy and find some way to dispose of them, like Rachel777.
How long a time? Good question! You say…
Psychiatry has “always been oppressive, but it has grown exponentially in power and in the depth to which it has penetrated every pore of our society.”
But I’m starting to see how this will be its Achilles heel. In the UK, eminent professors of Psychiatry are all over the mainstream media making outlandish claims about “antidepressants” such as…
– Under-treated depression is a huge problem. Only one in six people with depression receive effective treatment with GPs “squeamish” to prescribe medication for mental health conditions.
– At least one million more people per year should have access to effective treatment for depression
– ‘We know that in the vast majority of patients, any unpleasant symptoms experienced on discontinuing antidepressants have resolved within two weeks of stopping treatment’
The more they dominate the press with this stuff, the more ridiculous they sound. People know when they are being given the hard sell – they can smell the bullshit, and their own experiences tell them something different. The more people Psychiatry tries to ensnare, the bigger the backlash will be. Sooner or later, Psychiatry’s own PR machine will bring the whole rotten facade tumbling down.
Love the song! “Damn all their lies. God Damn Psychiatry.” Thank you so much for that – you made my day!
I’ve had to count to several million before leaving this comment. The Raconteur article (thanks Bramble!) has both Pariante and Geddes shifting gear – they are now going all-out to land those unsuspecting million extra people a year who need ‘treatment.’
Geddes: Only one in six people with depression receive effective treatment with GPs “squeamish” to prescribe medication for mental health conditions.
That’s bad enough, but Pariante’s “evidence” to the Parliamentary Health committee about Suicide Prevention left me dumbstruck. Everything you say is true, Concerned Carer, but “spin” is too kind a word for it. Listen to the bit from 4 mins to 5mins30secs – when I challenged him for the evidence on this last year, all he had was the debunked paper by Gibbons et al 2007!! He speaks with authority, and he speaks for his profession to the UK Parliament, and all he has to back it up is thoroughly discredited junk-science. That is something else!
My main hope now is that Pariante and Geddes will go too far and bring the whole of the Royal College of Psychiatrists tumbling down on all their silly heads. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Bramble – you are reflecting back all my own thoughts about this – thanks, it is very reassuring! Pariante masterfully puts out seductive lines to the press – he speaks with authority and confidence – who would stop to question him? For instance, in the DM piece he says…
“Research shows between 50 and 60 per cent of patients respond well; for them, the drugs really are life-changing and they can get back to normal over the space of a few months”
Sounds very plausible, but what is this “research”? I’m going to e-mail him to ask for the evidence – I doubt he’ll reply to me, but if he is going to make definitive statements like this to the press, he better have the studies on hand to back it up.
Interesting that you mention Helen Mayberg. She’s still around, there was a press release issued in January… “Helen S. Mayberg, MD, Appointed Director of Newly Established Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai”
Also, if you have the time (it’s long), read this…
Bramble – that is very interesting. So, what is Pariante saying? He claims to be “widely quoted” as saying this, but where do these misquotes appear? Did a newspaper or journalist mistakenly attribute those words to Pariante rather than Cipriani? I can’t find an example of it anywhere… am I missing something?
Pariante is on the panel of experts for the UK Science Media Centre, a Registered Charity where reputable mainstream journalists source their information about science. Professor Simon Wessely is on the board of Trustees. The mission of the SMC is… “To provide, for the benefit of the public and policymakers, accurate and evidence-based information about science and engineering through the media…”
Here are Pariante’s words, taken from the SMC website:
“This meta-analysis finally puts to bed the controversy on antidepressants, clearly showing that these drugs do work in lifting mood and helping most people with depression.”
I’d say that “final answer on the subject” was taken from this, and that it is an accurate paraphrase.
Pariante is a gift to Psychiatry, he is an extrovert who enjoys a high media profile. I have been following his antics for a while – it’s hard to know if he genuinely believes the things he says to the press, or if he’s just playing games. Either way, journalists use him because of his expert status and reputable credentials bestowed on him by the Science Media Centre. Last year I pursued a serious official complaint against the SMC about an untrue statement of Pariante’s which they had issued to the media. Here’s what happened…
Dr Benjamin, you say: “we have at least some solid incontrovertible evidence available to all that the claims in the press do not directly match the text of the source article.”
Yes, but the way I see it, the journalists in the mainstream media did a pretty good job of accurately reporting what was fed to them by lead psychiatrists, including Cipriani. They were out in force that day, and all dutifully on message with the line “antidepressants work, and more people would benefit from treatment for depression…”
A cursory Google search turned up these:
2. Andrea Cipriani in The Metro: “Under-treated depression is a huge problem and we need to be aware of that. We tend to focus on over-treatment but we need to focus on this.”
John Geddes, professor of epidemiological psychiatry at Oxford University, who worked on the study, told The Guardian: ‘It is likely that at least one million more people per year should have access to effective treatment for depression, either drugs or psychotherapy.’
This was accurately reported in the Metro as…
…and I haven’t even got onto the Burns & Baldwin letter to The Times.
You talk of the “jingoistic media”, but all I see is Psychiatry’s PR machine doing its thing.
Spot on! Body and soul – they even took away this poor guy’s legs! I listened again to the voice-over to count how many euphemisms for “withdrawal” the RCPsych has squeezed in.
1. Uncomfortable symptoms
2. Depression returns (x3)
3. Troublesome side effects (Anxiety, Stomach upsets, Flu-like symptoms, Dizziness, Vivid dreams)
4. Physical symptoms
Of course, ‘depression returns’ carries the subtext that you are still ‘ill’ and in need of more ‘treatment’.
Brilliant! Thank you so much for this, I will be sending the link out to people who heard the hoopla and wondered what to make of it all.
Just a couple questions, Joanna. You said… (about people choosing to take antidepressants)
“That’s fine as long as people are aware of what the research evidence actually says and can make up their own minds […] I think what’s really important is that people know that the story that’s being told us by the institutions that created those headlines on Thursday is not the only view…”
1. All well and good in theory… but when the institutions that feed such press releases to the mainstream media also write the official guidelines on antidepressant prescribing for GPs*, what chance does anyone really have of making an informed choice?
2. Your situation applies only to adults who are able to make their own decisions and reject medical advice if they choose. What about children, or patients on Community Treatment Orders? How do parents of children who have been prescibed antidepressants go about challenging doctors and official medical advice?
My feeling is that Psychiatry’s PR juggernaut is only just warming up its engine. Plenty more in the pipeline, I fear.
*perfectly explained by Dr Andrew Green in this youtube clip at 1hr19mins30secs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vejVt1fNYQk
James, glad you asked! The letter is fantastic – I’d love to think there’s a chance they might ‘publicly retract, explain and apologise for the statement,’ but this Never Happens.
Good job you saved the “Coming off Antidepressants” leaflet.
Have you seen the youtube animation “Coming off antidepressants”? It’s quite something. I guess since they withdrew the leaflet, this is currently the RCPsych official guidance on the matter. I won’t spoil it for you, but watch out for the bit about “How long do symptoms last?” at 1 minute. By “symptoms” they mean “withdrawal”. The comments underneath are also revealing.
Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJo3Ur4zB9E
I notice that there’s a News Update on this story, but it is not open for comments…
To fill people in, this letter came about as a result of an exchange between James Moore and Wendy Burn on Twitter. There is an excellent account of what happened on Bob Fiddaman’s blog here:
Thank you James and Bramble! My hope is that a curious journalist will see my cartoon and start turning over a few stones to find out what’s really going on with Psychiatry and the Science Media Centre.
James said… “I stress that this is purely my personal view, but it feels like this study is being used as a weapon, rather than evidence-based science, designed to firmly establish the superiority of antidepressant treatment and to disempower and undermine the critics.”
Go with your instincts, James. When the BBC is spoonfed this headline…
“A major study of antidepressants has concluded that they work, and many more people should take them.”
…you know something stinks. I awoke on Thursday to those exact words, and I heard it repeated several times throughout the day. My immediate thought was “sounds like a Science Media Centre* job.” Sure enough, http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-largest-review-of-antidepressants/
So, a broadside launched by The Royal College of Psychiatrists, but what provoked it? Andre Tomlin at The Mental Elf provides the answer…
“It’s been a rough few months for people taking antidepressants. We’ve been bombarded with information that insists our medication is ineffective and harmful, that any benefit we gain from taking these pills is simply a placebo effect, and that by accepting a prescription of antidepressants we are joining an ever-growing zombified mass of morons.
From Peter Gøtzsche’s ‘evidence’ that antidepressants don’t just have side-effects but actually kill the people who take them, to the BBC Panorama programme “A Prescription for Murder?” which linked taking antidepressants to violent crime, to Johan Hari’s recent book questioning everything about depression “Lost Connections”, the anti-antidepressants voices have really hit the mainstream.”
This made me smile. Confirmation that our “voices have really hit the mainstream”. Happy day!
*The SMC is a UK registered charity, which makes it untouchable. Professor Sir Simon Wessely is a trustee. Here’s a cartoon about how they operate: http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com/red.aspx?ha=smc
Judi – Sorry, I’ve only just seen this comment. I admit to having a soft spot for Johann Hari. I’ve followed his career since the early 2000s when he was very young, and a rapidly rising star in the UK. At that time he wrote compelling polemics for the Independent newspapaer, including furious bullshit in defence of SSRIs (documented here…
Even at the time, I knew he was protesting too much and I waited for the about-turn. It started to happen in 2006 when the tone of his rhetoric about psych-drugs began to change. Then came his spectacular fall from grace, and in one massive self-inflicted blow, he was gone. I never expected him to get back up again, but he did a few years later with “Chasing the Scream.” As I read this book, I remembered why I’d followed his writing all those years ago. He really does have something.
When I heard about “Lost Connections” I was nervous to read it – I thought Hari might make too many concessions to mainstream psychiatry and that they would endorse his book and co-opt him as one of their puppets. You say:
“He’s pro shrink and pro “crazy” labels. How is that not a shrinks dream voice?”
And yet UK psychiatrists, far from endorsing him, immediately launched a shameful and cruel campaign to discredit him and feed him to the trolls. Here’s Alex Langford, well and truly stirring the sh*t…
“Marketing your paperback as a solution for suicide due to childhood abuse? I will tell you where you can stick it.”
Professor Sir Simon Wessely was a little more circumspect, but still managed to stick the boot in…
Then the eminent professor Carmine Pariante with a full length piece for the Independent…
“As a psychiatrist, I know that Johann Hari is wrong to cast doubt on antidepressants”
All this and more, circulating amongst UK Psychiatry’s elite opinion leaders on Twitter. This is particularly sticky mud thrown by “experts.” The trolls soon piled in…
“Why The Rehabilitation Of Plagiarist Johann Hari Is Irresponsible & Dangerous”
I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that!
Hari has come a long way. It’s true that he still has some way to go, particulaly in recognising and investigating the antipsychiatry movement, but you have to read the book to fully understand his message – and BTW, I’m not even suggesting you buy a copy, you could borrow it from the library. Trust me, it’s worth the effort.
Zoe -Try this new website… http://www.theinnercompass.org
I’ve already found it useful for connecting with others.
Yes, that’s exactly what is happening. Crazy money going into NHS Psychiatry and still the Royal College of Psychiatrists begs for more. Where does it all go? Here’s another clue…
“While the Priory Group has become a byword for celebrity rehab, its corporate publicity reveals the key role that private healthcare now plays in the NHS – 85% of the Priory’s income is from the public sector. … The Priory is the main recipient and all of its child and adolescent mental health beds are taken by the NHS. The average cost to the NHS of each private bed is £800 a night.”
Also, see this…
“If antidepressants indeed resolve depression and prevent suicide… suicide rates would decrease as antidepressant prescriptions increased.”
Kelly, do you remember the notorious paper by Gibbons et al (2007) purporting to show just this correlation? In the UK, there is an eminent professor of Psychiatry, Carmine Pariante, who still uses this paper to spread out-and-out fiction in the British media about antidepressant prescriptions and suicide rates. He is fully supported and endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and enabled by the questionable ‘Science Media Centre’ who puts him forward as a trustworthy expert source. Here’s my cartoon take on the shenanigans… http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com/red.aspx?ha=smc
FeelinDiscouraged: I’m so pleased to hear this – you are an inspiration! And your experience is extremely valuable, you can share it with others who are facing the same struggle. Have you heard of the Inner Compass website? It is brand new, and it is different from most other websites because it’s designed to encourage positive, caring connection with other people rather than the usual bickering and baiting. Take a look and see what you think… here it is: https://www.theinnercompass.org/
Joanna Moncrieff says: “I don’t know what things are like in the States, but in the UK resources are far too thin to be locking up anyone who is not pretty badly disturbed.”
Oh dear, if only that were true. Where do I start? How about with the profit motive…
“Private providers of NHS mental health care lock patients in more often than NHS trusts… That may fuel suspicions among NHS mental health staff that private operators hold on to some patients longer than necessary in order to maximise profits.”
Then there’s straightforward, shameless abuse of power…
And, most heart-breaking of all, a callous, inhuman inability to empathise, compromise or heed pleas for mercy…
Any more for anymore?
“A young man went to a police station to report that intruders had entered his house and injected him with poison.”
Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?
Streetphotobeing – I am reading Lost Connections now – it is a genuinely powerful and compelling read, as is his previous book Chasing the Scream. Johann is an extremely talented writer and communicator who has an audience of millions around the world. This makes him a threat to psych/pharma in a way that not many have managed to date. Have you noticed how he is being roundly trashed in the liberal media? Led by UK Psychiatry, the “experts” are falling over each other to discredit him, and this message is filtering down to the masses via Twiiter and blogs. Now, by and large, Psychiatry’s first line strategy is to ignore/refuse to be drawn – only a real threat is met with an offensive like this – they are running scared. Their tactics will backfire – there is nothing like controversy to promote a book. More power to Johann Hari and Lost Connections!
ReprisOwl says… “Cheryl Prax is corrupt.” Strong words. What’s happened?
Thank you so much – that is music to my ears! No worries about fire ants… I eat them for breakfast.
Is he on a lot of psych drugs?
Fry is a model psych-patient, so yeah, no doubt he faithfully washes down the daily neurotoxins. He’s also a willing PR pawn for UK Psychiatry, although he is becoming less important to them since they hooked and reeled in the Royals, William and Harry. A couple of years ago, Fry was given star billing in a creepy BBC documentary. It’s worth watching, if only for the sinister voice-over and ominous background music which nicely sets the tone for Psychiatry’s oppressive, no-hope message. Here’s the link (see mins 42-45 for Fry in conversation with his imperious psych-doc) https://vimeo.com/155524243
Erin said: “Stevie, IMO, was respectfully voicing a different point of view.”
I don’t think so. To me, Dr Moffic’s comment is neither respectful nor courageous. In fact, it looks very much like he deliberately posted an inflammatory message at the top of Matt’s ‘In Memoriam’ page, knowing it would provoke exactly this reaction.
From Wikipedia – INTERNET TROLL:
“a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages… with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.”
I find Dr Moffic’s (‘Stevie’) comment to Matt’s ‘In Memoriam’ page staggeringly crass and insensitive – and what does he mean ‘hey-hey’? What is that? I clicked on ‘report comment’ a couple of days ago – I guess the moderators took a look and decided it complies with all MiA’s convoluted posting guidelines. So… their site, their rules.
Sure thing! Art, music, poetry, humour… bring it all on and let’s see what we can do!
Thanks, Dragon Slayer! This means so much to me. It took a long time and a lot of thought to put the book together, so hearing this is music to my ears, and I am thrilled with the review.
Don, I absolutely relate to what you are saying. Listening to my inner voice and learning to TRUST it was crucial to regaining my self belief, balance and confidence, all of which had been lost in the psych-hospital. It was the anti-psychiatry activists I met on the early Internet who helped me turn things around, and I will never forget how important they were in my life at that time. That’s why after 20 years I have returned to anti-psychiatry activism… I want to be able to do the same for others who are in the place I was all those years ago.
Cheers, Bramble! You can read the first 10% for free on Amazon, which should give you some idea.
Fred- A humour spot on MiA? Good idea! I seem to remember there was a cartoon slot when the site was re-vamped, but it fizzled out. Maybe the remit was too narrow – I like your idea of jokes, memes, reflections, songs, short films – there’s loads of good stuff out there, and a call for fresh material would bring in all sorts.
BTW, thanks so much for buying my book – you have made my day.
Aria, It was only when writing this article that I relived this experience and realised what a truly dark time it was for me. No surprise that recent release from hospital is such a massive risk factor for suicide. My grim determination to turn my back on psychiatry brought with it the dawning realisation that I would have nowhere safe to go in a crisis – it’s either their way or stay away – a cruel dilemma.
Lawrence, Those are great images, especially the crystal ball. One thing I have discovered is that ideas and images frequently bubble to the surface, but the tricky bit is working them into a coherent cartoon narrative – it can be very frustrating and a lot of promising material falls by the wayside – the thing that drives me is the burning need to get my message across.
I’m taking a break from cartooning right now, but my biggest wish is to encourage others to find their own creative way to get the message across… not just through cartooning, but all kinds of art. Fancy giving it a whirl? If you want to know more about the way I put my cartoons together, please feel free to drop me an e-mail.
Alishia, Thank you so much for this. You write beautifully, and you are an inspiration.
Halcion – sounds blissful! No wonder it was the “The most popular and profitable sedative hypnotic in the world” in 1991. http://www.benzo.org.uk/halcion.htm
I looked into the story behind it, here’s what I found.
The BBC broadcast a Panorama documentary “The Halcion Nightmare” in Oct 1991. British regulators suspended its licence. The drug company Upjohn fought back with libel action against the BBC and the Scottish psychiatrist Prof Ian Oswald…
From Newsweek 1994…
“When Oswald showed up on the front page of The New York Times on Jan. 20 describing the Halcion affair as “one long fraud”-Upjohn’s lawyers were ready to pounce. Within days they filed a libel suit in Britain, seeking unspecified damages and an injunction against further charges.”
The Pharmaletter reported…
“Some of the most serious allegations against Upjohn involved Protocol 321, a clinical trial conducted in the early 1970s, and the judge ruled that omissions of data “were not made intentionally and dishonestly…” by Upjohn, as Prof Oswald had alleged. He said that Upjohn’s key witnesses were “honest people who gave honest evidence.”
The BBC said it would appeal against the ruling, and said the decision was “a blow to investigative journalism.”
“Upjohn has admitted to making “human errors,” but company president and chief operating officer Ley Smith said “this is a resounding victory for the people who rely on Upjohn’s products.” The company has said it will donate its damage awards to two international charities, Save the Children and Help the Aged.”
Yes it’s a real eye-opener. This “business intelligence” report makes chilling reading. For instance:
“The neurology drugs market is expanding at a significant rate due to increasing prevalence of neurological disorders or injuries.”
Note the spin towards ‘neurological’ rather than psychiatric or psychological. I see that a lot nowadays.
“China and India are likely to be the fastest growing markets for antipsychotics in Asia. Key factors driving the antipsychotics market in emerging countries include presence of a large pool of patients, and rise in government funding.”
Puts me in mind of “The mega-marketing of Depression in Japan” chapter from the book Crazy Like Us by Ethan Watters.
“growing awareness regarding different neurological disorders and their available treatment are driving the global antipsychotics market.”
Growing awareness? You bet! All those anti-stigma campaigns really paying dividends now.
I fear this monstrous gravy train is unstoppable.
Yes, that’s me! I’ll be at the Manchester event “A disorder for everyone” later this year. Hope to see you there.
Loved it! Makes me feel sad though, I guess the clue is in the title. Music is such a powerful weapon, it breaches the defences and gets into the soul like nothing else – exactly what we need right now. Encore!
Hi Gary – I really enjoyed your book ‘Tales from the Madhouse,’ and I took another look at it after reading this piece. Here are your own words from the blurb… “Current psychiatric practices are based on pseudo-scientific assumptions that are barely more valid than the claims of witchcraft and demonic possession which dominated society’s approach to madness in bygone times.” Agreed. My abolitionist viewpoint has been shaped in part by reading books like yours – how on earth is it possible to ‘reform’ a pseudoscience? It makes no sense.
You say… “it is imperative that the various strands of the antipsychiatry movement unite,” but I don’t see this as a priority. Public awareness of psychiatry-as-pseudoscience is so pitiful that I am more concerned with raising the profile and credibility of antipsychiatry in the minds of the public by any means possible. If people have heard the word at all, they will almost certainly equate it with Scientology or Flat-earth anti-science conspiracy theorists. For me, turning this around is the crucial first step.
Thanks for the update. Well done for pursuing it this far – I know how much time and energy it takes, and I’m impressed by your tenacity. I hope you get some answers from them, and I have my fingers crossed for you. Be prepared for the long haul (I guess you know that already!) Please feel free to contact me privately by e-mail if you like, you can find my contact details at http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com
streetphotobeing – you said… “I’ll ask the Ombudsman next week how much I can talk about my case.” In addition to this, you might want to ask what action they would take if you do discuss it. I can understand restrictions due to confidentiality if the case is about someone else, but what can they do about you discussing your own case?
Best of luck!
Streetphotobeing – do you have someone you can trust to help you with this complaint? I used to work as a volunteer advocate for a brilliantly run local advocacy group, and this was just the kind of thing we were able to help with. Unfortunately the shoestring funding we had from the council was pulled and handed over to MIND, so it has folded… but maybe there is a similar setup near to where you live…?
Bob – Jeffrey Lieberman may indeed be a “ridiculous person”, but his global reach and influence is something else. Last year, Professor Sir Simon Wessely of the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists announced news of “substantial funding” from the Wellcome Trust and the Gatsby Foundation…
“With this funding, we will be setting up a Commission that will review the current teaching of neuroscience in the specialist training of psychiatrists and will make recommendations for a new curriculum incorporating modern developments in clinical neuroscience. In so doing we are consciously following in the footsteps of the US National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative (NNCI).”
And who happened to be on hand to kick-start this venture? A very special guest indeed!
“We are delighted to announce that this project will begin with a lecture by Dr Jeff Lieberman who will fly over from the United States especially to talk at the College on Wednesday 20 April 2016 at 6:00pm. Please join us for Jeff’s lecture, ‘The Notorious Past and Bright Future of Psychiatry.'”
Wonder if he wore his immaculate white coat…
Oldhead – My thoughts exactly! No publicity is bad publicity. Get that word out there (with or without a hyphen) and get people talking. Here is a brilliant example – a conversation between Bonnie Burstow and BBC journalist Nick Arnold about her antipsychiatry scholarship. He goes from dismissive and angry, to curious, to cautiously accepting. Here’s the link:
I urge people to read the full article. Am I the only one to find this alarming…?
“If biomarkers can’t diagnose mental health issues, maybe a “digital phenotype” can. In 2015, Insel told Technology Review that this was why he was jumping to Alphabet: the idea that a combination of your medical records (electronically stored, duh) and how you use your gadgets—tracking of activity correlating with depression or future self-harm, let’s say—could be a Big Data bonanza for predicting and treating health issues. “For a bipolar patient whose mania is manifested in rapid, uninterruptible speech or hypergraphia, their disease could be characterized by the frequency, length, and content of participation in social media,”
Ron, This makes so much sense to me, but it is impossible to explain to anyone who has not experienced it, and doubly impossible to explain it to doctors. In 2013, I had a glimmer of hope when I spotted this paragraph in a leaflet about ‘Schizophrenia’ published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists…
“How does it start?
It may suddenly dawn on you that at last you really understand what is going on. This may follow weeks or months when you have felt that there has been something wrong, but that you couldn’t work out what it was.”
This sounded to me like the faintest hint of understanding from psychiatry about the ‘journey into the wilderness’ you so vividly describe. Unfortunately it was listed under the clinical symptom of ‘Delusions’.
I e-mailed the College to suggest they move this paragraph from the “Delusions” section, and add something along the lines of…
“This experience has been described by some as the beginnings of a spiritual awakening or epiphany. Once recovered from the acute psychosis, it is sometimes viewed as a positive aspect of the turmoil, leading to greater insight and personal growth.”
Did they take any notice? Of course not!
BTW, please check out my cartoon “Which Way?” It captures my own experience of the pull towards the wilderness described in your post. Here’s the link:
Brilliant review by Lucy Johnstone! My thoughts exactly. I am immensely grateful to (and in awe of) Jacqui and Rachel for taking part- their openness and strength of spirit shone through and had a profound effect on me, in spite of Horizon’s brand of irritating ‘Pure Science, Sheer Drama’ voiceover and shoe-horned in visual effects.
With regard to the Dopamine Hypothesis: I was taught this laughably simplistic theory as a Pharmacology undergraduate in the 1980s, and it didn’t smell right even then. I can’t believe that the brightest in the field are still trotting it out with such conviction. I found it telling that David was on enough drugs to down an elephant, and yet his hallucinations were as vivid and distressing as ever. So much for the ‘anti-psychotic’ properties of the latest state-of-the-art pharmaceuticals that medicine has to offer.
Lucy ends her review with: “I believe that we will look back on this programme as the moment when the biomedical public narrative finally started to change.”
I really want to believe that too. Here’s hoping…
Ronda said… “My Mental Health Aide took credit for the person I am today, stating that the mistreatment was intentional to motivate change. In a twisted way she is absolutely right. Terror has forever changed me.”
I read this piece a few days ago, and this particular bit has stayed with me. It resonates with my own experience in the 1990s. I was one of those ECT ‘miracle cure’ patients – jolted out of a severe manic ‘psychosis’ (soul emergency) back into my what passes for my right mind. From the outside, it looked like a triumph for psychiatry, but to me it felt like I was ‘cured’ by threat, brutality, coercion and punishment. As Ronda says, in a twisted way I really did experience a ‘miracle cure’ – Terror was the cure… it kept me the hell away from psychiatrists ever since, that’s for certain.
Just recently I came across this quote by Benjamin Rush, one of the founders of American Psychiatry… “Terror acts powerfully upon the body, through the medium of the mind, and should be employed in the cure of madness.”
And I thought – Yes, that’s it! That’s how they ‘cured’ me. Terror works, punishment works. I find it interesting that the early psychiatrists understood this so clearly and had no qualms about telling it like it is. If only they were half as honest in this day and age…
Oldhead- Thanks! That means a lot to me. No, I don’t post as AntiP, and yes I do have an e-mail address. You’ll find it on my website on the ‘About Auntie’ page. I’d love to hear from you – I’m always happy to receive e-mails. Here’s the link: http:\www.auntiepsychiatry.com
If Ruby Wax really did say this… “It’s a disease,” “Your body needs chemicals” and that she should go to her doctor and insist upon getting “The good stuff.” – then DRUG PUSHER isn’t far off the mark.
Oh, that would be so cool…! But as a timid, solitary creature I’m not sure it’s quite my brand of activism. Nice idea though.
Paul: Thanks for the heads up. Ruby Wax is coming to our local theatre this week – think I’ll pass. However, you said:
“I am certain that Ms Wax is motivated by a desire to reduce human suffering” and “I am sure that Ruby Wax is acting in good faith.”
Why so sure? Ruby Wax is riding high on this ticket – pulling in a hefty income from all those bums on seats, not to mention the book deals and, of course, a steady supply of that most potent of drugs: attention. I only hope that Stephen Fry and Alistair Campbell don’t get the same idea…
Rai – Thank you so much for this excellent and thoughtful review.
You said: “This worrying view of mental health ‘care’ was brought to us by a production company (Matchlight) that strives for excellence. It was they, not the unit itself, that were ultimately responsible for bringing us this narrow and worrying view of treatment for postpartum psychosis.”
I contacted ‘Matchlight’ after watching another of their documentaries: Not so Secret life of a Manic Depressive (Stephen Fry ‘Ten Years on’), which presented a similarly ‘narrow and worrying view of treatment’ -to say the least! For instance, the voice-over described the plight of one of the participants (Scott)… “It’s an illness he and the family will have to cope with for the rest of his life. And Scott will have to accept taking medication as a vital part of that. There is no guarantee of the condition easing.”
These programmes were commissioned by the BBC for their 2016 Mental Health season to “help raise public awareness and understanding of issues related to mental health”. I politely requested a copy of the transcript of the Stephen Fry programme from the producer, and asked who had written the voice-over. I was told that “the script is a copyrighted document and cannot be distributed”, and that the director, Ross Wilson, had written the script. I figured that Ross Wilson must have had expert advisers to help him write the script, so I looked at the credits at the end of the programme to see if anyone was listed. No. I e-mailed the producer again to ask which experts had input on the script. He replied that…. “We were in touch with many experts during the research stage of the documentary”, but he would not tell me who they were as… “I feel it is a breach of their confidentiality.”
But why would expert advisers expect anonymity when the whole point of the BBC ‘Mental Health’ season was to “help raise public awareness and understanding of issues relating to mental health”?? Is that normal practice? I didn’t pursue the matter – it was very clear I was getting nowhere.
This blog is very moving for me, especially your account of keeping watch over the patient destined for ECT. It brought back powerful memories of my own experience as a hospital patient, trapped in exactly that situation. Your interpretation of what happened between yourself and the patient rings very true. At a time when I was fractured into a million pieces, hopelessly lost to the world and everyone in it, including myself, these fleeting moments of intense connection punch through, and for a few seconds everything is crystal clear. Then the confusion returns. These moments are few and far between, but they are so important because they are a reminder that you are still in there somewhere and capable of becoming whole once more.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.
“Recent studies have shown surprising and encouraging evidence that many cases of schizophrenia eventually cure themselves.” New York Times 1986.
They would not listen, they’re not listening still. Perhaps they never will…
Any review of the medical literature will be incomplete because it misses those people who stop their meds against advice, and then vow to stay the hell away from psychiatrists for the rest of their born days. Dr Frances paints a scary picture of these poor unfortunates “shamefully neglected in prison dungeons or living on the street”, but is that really true? My own hunch is that most of them successfully make their way in life, seamlessly blending in with the rest of us.
BTW, Bob – if you are looking for illustrations to brighten up your presentations, feel free to make use of any of my cartoons. This one, showing how Psychiatry and the FDA collude with Big Pharma to keep the antipsychotic gravy train on the rails, seems particularly apt…
Well put, Kim.
“We watch as the psychiatrist pulls the proverbial wings off the fly and claims it is “medical” treatment rather than torture”.
The most shameful aspect of this case is the deafening silence from lead psychiatrists around the world who should be speaking out against this blatant abuse of power by one of their own. Where is the outrage? Their silence condones what is being done in the name of their profession.
I’m really at a loss to know what the BBC ‘In the Mind’ season was all about. I have just watched a BBC documentary broadcast in October 2015 “Professor Green: Suicide and Me” – programme making at its very best. This is compelling TV, with not a mention of brain chemistry, medication or trips to the doctor. Prof Green is a natural in front of the camera – interesting how he uses the phrase “open dialogue” at around 12mins 30secs. Highly recommended. Here’s the link…
There’s a very telling piece about Spitzer at… http://www.jonronson.com. Here’s a snippet.
From Jon Ronson’s blog…
“But when I asked Spitzer about the possibility that he’d inadvertently created a world in which some ordinary behaviours were being labeled mental disorders, he fell silent. I waited for him to answer. Finally he said, “I don’t know.”
“Do you ever think about it?” I asked him.
“I guess the answer is I don’t really,” he said. “Maybe I should. But I don’t like the idea of speculating how many of the DSM-III categories are describing normal behavior.”
“Why don’t you like speculating on that?” I asked.
“Because then I’d be speculating on how much of it is a mistake,” he said. There was another long silence.”
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Thank you so much, Eleanor. Let’s hope this goes viral.
Laugh or cry? Laugh, for sure. The Porter Novelli branding video is priceless! And the snake symbol is a gift to satirists. The Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) logo already features crazy snakes to symbolise “wisdom and health”. Now that the APA has adopted the snake too, this cartoon lampooning the RCPsych will work just as well in the US…
In 1992 I had full-on a manic psychotic breakdown and landed in hospital. The mega-doses of Haldol they gave me didn’t even touch the sides, so they tried ECT. The whole experience was brutal.
It put me off seeking help from psychiatry again – I never went back for more. If I’d followed doctor’s orders and stayed on the Haldol long-term I don’t know how I’d be now.
Over time I worked out a way to keep the mania in check. Sleep is the key, and it involves short-term Zopiclone when things start to feel dicey. I use this: Flowchart: Am I going nuts? Link to flowchart: http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com/AuntiePsychiatry/Auntie%20Psychiatry.html#Flowchart1