Hi Rossa, I’m a parent and I READ and LOVED your book. So happy to see your post, and I wish you would do a regular MIA column! ‘Lived-experience’ parents who are neither followers of NAMI nor followers of so-called ‘social justice’ have no community. I raised my child away from ‘experts’ who wanted to diagnose and drug him, and he grew and flourished (but it was very lonely for me as an outlier parent). I have ZERO interest in the natterings of MSWs, MDs, and PhDs unless they’ve really somehow earned their stripes. No paternalistic ‘expert’ doling out ‘helpful tips’ knows what we know, and lived what our families lived. ‘Lived experience’ needs to rule now for parents and families. I loved how you wound your way through the crowd of professionals and emerged to tell the tale! Your son is so lucky to have you as his mother. Liz Sydney
I’m a parent and I READ and LOVED your book. So happy to see your post, and I wish you would do a regular MIA column!
‘Lived-experience’ parents who are neither followers of NAMI nor followers of so-called ‘social justice’ have no community. I raised my child away from ‘experts’ who wanted to diagnose and drug him, and he grew and flourished (but it was very lonely for me as an outlier parent). I have ZERO interest in the natterings of MSWs, MDs, and PhDs unless they’ve really somehow earned their stripes. No paternalistic ‘expert’ doling out ‘helpful tips’ knows what we know, and lived what our families lived.
‘Lived experience’ needs to rule now for parents and families. I loved how you wound your way through the crowd of professionals and emerged to tell the tale! Your son is so lucky to have you as his mother.
Hear! Hear! @madmother13! Couldn’t agree more, “…the role of the mother is downplayed in all forums including this site…”
Your comments are a breath of fresh air, as are those of the other family members who have commented. Julia26, you hit one of MIA’s Achilles heels. In MY experience, anti-psychiatry (psychiatry-critical, anti-pharma, or what-have-you) family members have never had a voice here, which is fine, but which is unhelpful in the ‘big picture’ sense of advancing change. It might have been productive if MIA had carved out a small space for MIA-friendly family members (an ‘anti-NAMI’ spot, if you will) when the website was relaunched. It didn’t do that, and instead took a much different direction (again, fine for MIA). Some might say, ‘Build your own site/community,’ but I daresay we’re all too exhausted (…) to take on more commitments. Julia26, Cheers to you, your clear common sense, and your energy! I’m not commenting again, but if you (or any family member) would like to continue a chat I can be found at [email protected]. Best to all.
(Meant to comment directly below Julia26 comment. Program doesn’t allow me to delete this.)
Yes, great comment. This is a big issue. If I won the lottery I would run, not walk to my favorite Integrative neurologist and have him do a whole Cyrex lab on my child. Like you said, everyone’s different and requires different levels of different things; and plus their bodies are reacting to their environments all the time as well. As it is, I have to read and read and read and hope I’m delivering efficient levels of the correct things. Fingers crossed all the time. At least what we know about diet now (ideas first promoted over 10 years ago) helps a lot.
Yes, it’s a VERY expensive product. And I have no way to know its efficacy for my child – it’s impossible to identify a single food, supplement, vitamin, or protocol when you are using many at a time – but it didn’t clearly help in any way that warranted its cost for us with a limited family budget. So, like @bcharris I pick and choose for the supplements that have the best profiles for my child’s issues (Bs, D, zinc, magnesium, omega-3s, sometimes the ‘calming’ ready-made supplements, and others peripherally) and meet my budget. But a crap-free, gut-healthy diet is VERY important for kids’ brains-guts.
Great points @truth. I even purchased a Truhope product AFTER I already knew of Natasha Tracy’s complaints, but BEFORE the baby’s meningitis death and the trial/conviction. I had an open mind to the products but we found them unremarkable. A ‘mentally’ healthy kid requires more than a single product. I was also gobsmacked that a highly trained gastroenterologist allowed her child to be psych-diagnosed, psych-drugged, and had never heard of the gut-brain issues that us mere laypeople had been reading about for years. Speaks volumes about the abject failure of conventional medicine to teach its MDs to think for themselves.
The elephant in the room is the baby’s meningitis death after the family refused to get it conventional medical treatment and tried to treat it with ‘natural’ remedies. Seeing as the family and business are closely related, it’s impossible for consumers to not connect the company, the natural-health products, and the baby’s death. Maybe this anonymous, unnamed push-back the authors allude to and that they complain is about ‘brand-naming’ is actually concern about a company that’s had years of negative online and mainstream press?
Regardless, there is nothing exceptional about any single product. The tone of this post is puzzling. This supplement won’t be found to be a magic bullet any more than any other single thing in a vacuum. Integrative/Functional medicine has been pointing the way for years now to the importance of nutrition in ‘mental’ health, so there’s nothing new there. More importantly, Integrative/Functional practitioners have been showing the way in the larger picture of a healthy, ‘integrated’ human.
( I tried a Truhope product for my child. We found it unremarkable. I have no complaints about it, but didn’t purchase it again.)
Not the family’s only brush with the law. More tragic is that the company is a family company, and a son of the owner and his wife (closely associated with the company) were charged and convicted after their baby died of meningitis because they refused to get it conventional medical care (tried to treat it ‘naturally’…).
Great points that go a long way to explaining the groupthink mentality that makes it so difficult to communicate with an MD. An MD literally can’t ‘hear’ patients beyond certain keywords because his/her mind has been shut down to what it considers ‘outside’ (‘lay’) information. And yet, the MD’s mind is trained to remain open to pharma rep information. Crazy system.
It’s a Canadian company and has been in the news a lot in Canada over the years.
Integrative/Functional clinicians have long been treating children’s behavioural issues by cutting gluten, dairy, sugar, and processed foods; and by increasing the intake of ‘behaviourally’ friendlier foods. Vitamins (especially Bs, zinc, magnesium, D) are always highly recommended, but the jury is still out on amino acids (which ones and for how long). Parents need to do due diligence on ‘recommended’ products of specific companies. (I’m well aware of this product/family company.)
But, here as elsewhere, conventional medicine has been far behind the gut-brain work of Integrative and Functional professionals. Noted Integrative neurologist Datis Kharrazian doesn’t take the amino acid route but makes other more practical recommendations to support the brain. There are many high-profile Integrative practitioners working on children’s issues, and they all come to the table with a whole-child view that conventional medicine lacks.
On the parenting and family side, Ross Greene, a clinical psychologist, wrote the first of several editions of ‘The Explosive Child’ in 1998 (most recent is 2014), and there has been no need to seek or accept psychiatric diagnoses or to drug a child for these issues since. Parents can see his excellent non-profit site (information, news, radio shows, and even training): http://www.livesinthebalance.org/
Always enjoy Kelly Brogan’s pieces in MIA. MIA needs more posts coming from ‘spiritual’ perspectives. Materialism lacks critical parts of the puzzle of what keeps us well, what heals us, and what takes our ‘minds’ apart. MIA needs to be bringing in more people doing work in these fields.
I work with my son on his ‘chakras’ and on his energy fields. I’ve felt quite strongly for years that he came into this life working issues out from a previous life. He still says things daily that remind me that his anger has nothing to do with this incarnation; and although he doesn’t need to ‘believe’ what I do (reincarnation made sense to me as far back as I recall), he can only benefit by knowing that there is more to life than what the material world indicates.
I look forward to MIA publishing some classic excerpts of Solzhenitsyn’s experiences of psychiatry under Soviet communism, and some accounts of communist China’s very current misuse of psychiatry, or of Cuba’s.
Does MIA speak for everyone harmed by psychiatry, or just those of certain ideological stripes? There’s no indication from the history of the globe that any ideology can deal with ‘mental health’ responsibly or compassionately.
Yes, @bcharris, it’s exactly what the Soviets did and what China does today, ‘…turning the dissident into a pliable mental incompetent.’ No indication in the history of communism/marxism/’the left’ that ANY communist state will ever treat people any better. To the contrary, apart from the failures of communism around the world, the regressive-left currently engages in social control by trying to shut all free speech and engage in thought-control through authoritarian political means (current examples in USA, Canada). Not an ideal manner of making people ‘mentally’ healthier, haha.
Additionally (to my comment above), the reader comments on the ‘BuzzFeed’ original were very interesting and informative. Without knowing why MIA reprinted a poor copy of the ‘BuzzFeed’ original, this makes MIA’s editorial look haphazard, unprofessional, and lacking basic journalistic principles.
Please hire a proofreader. Girls’, not Girls’s. Better yet: An Insight on Trauma from TV Show, ‘Girls’
Reminds me of the old joke, ‘How many shrinks does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Only one, but the lightbulb has got to really want to change.’ Except the shrinks here are the studies, and the lightbulb here is the field of psychiatry. And psychiatry really, really does not want to change.
Puzzled about why, when the story very clearly originated from BuzzFeed News in December 2016 with an original byline (Rosalind Adams), that MIA chose to link instead to a poorly written rewrite on an obscure site a month after the original story was published. Was there an editorial reason for this?
Additionally, BuzzFeed News evidently investigated the psych hospital chain, UHS, which is of interest to MIA readers. MIA should have cited BuzzFeed and not linked to a rewrite.
That the story itself is beyond shocking goes without saying. Defies anything you could make up. But the beginning of the slippery slope was with the child’s parents, who accepted psych diagnoses from idiot MDs for a SIX-YEAR-OLD child in the first place.
This ship has sailed. Mindless (and highly stressed) parents are compelled to mindlessly drug their kids because it’s the only thing that satisfies the mindless school and workforce systems. Mindless MDs mindlessly scrawl out the prescriptions. Done and done. A massive social shift in thinking would have to occur for the system to stop drugging children. And the pharma wheels are in high gear now that public policy bureaucrats place what is euphemistically called ‘mental health information’ directly inside the schools.
NO, ALL psychiatric symptoms DO NOT come from deprivation/abuse/trauma. That is simply a sweeping, overreaching, dangerous generalization.
Also, Integrative nutrition and neurology show that that many ‘moods’, behaviours, and states of mind are indeed based in body biochemistry. There are issues that we have previously called ‘psychiatric’ that can be helped or remedied through diet, herbal/vitamin ‘therapy’, exercise, mind/body work (eg. yoga, qigong), a change in gut and intestinal flora, ‘energy medicine’, and even sometimes antibiotics.
Talk therapy is great in theory, but in my experience – and regrettably – it’s too expensive for most, and not effectively delivered by most practitioners.
Excellent raw information if you can find it beneath the astonishingly bad writing and nonexistent editing (forget entirely about proofreading). It reads as though it was Google-translated back and forth a few times. But I’m forced to be grateful that the info is out there. Sad trade-off of the tech age.
@Stephen Gilbert, No, to the best of my knowledge this is NOT the same guy. The Ross Greene, PhD I’m referring to was a psych prof with a private practice in family therapy somewhere near Boston. He discovered through his practice with violent kids that the fault wasn’t the family in most cases [nobody is denying the terrible prevalence of child abuse but it’s not the issue here] and realized that there was a developmental component going completely unnoticed. Completely different from the otherwise popular notion that the kids are choosing to be rotten or are in rotten homes. He wrote a couple books on these kids, and now has a busy non-profit devoted to furthering his methods.
Disagree. I think there are extremely few psychiatrists with the compassion, intelligence, insight, or interest to look beyond the obscenely simple-minded medical pathologies (ADD, IED, ODD…) that their guild invented. All you have to do is look to the astronomical rate at which children are being psych-drugged (and without informed consent) to see how little genuine interest there really is in these children and their futures.
The issue of violent children and teens is very complex. I doubt very much if anyone has parsed out the real statistics of how many of these kids are coming from which issues. Violent kids by no means all come from ‘dysfunctional’/abusive families and shouldn’t be lumped together as such (either literally or figuratively).
Violence emerges from: developmental issues; family violence that develops AS A RESULT of the violent child’s violence; pregnancy or birth issues; head trauma; and more.
I had the good fortune to be exposed to Ross Greene’s ‘The Explosive Child’ and discovered early that my child was experiencing developmental (prefrontal cortex) issues. I was then able to tailor my parenting accordingly. These kids will represent a huge percentage of kids who act out behaviourally. However, since nobody has the time, insight, or energy to deal with them properly they do all end up in the same place, and are all brutalized one way or another.
But I must disagree with the author who suggests that psychiatrists want to do better by them. Psychiatry bears responsibility for their brutalization by having invented medical pathologies (ODD, IED) for them, which lead directly to them being medicalized and drugged. And then, as you mention, they get more and more labels and drugs (all without informed consent) tacked on as time progresses.
To his great credit, Ross Greene resisted any diagnoses and labels (his weakness is in not condemning psychotropic drugs). He concentrated on helping them develop impulse control, flexibility, and such. But the post author is correct in that the dedication required to raise children like this is beyond what anyone imagines who has not done it themselves, which is why positions can’t be filled. Not surprising. Woe be the fate of the violent child without a genuinely caring guardian for a decade at least.
THANKS @BetterLife These are FABULOUS links and I urge readers to read both!! Great links!
Hi @AA, Here’s a link I’ve plucked at random:
The only system conventional dermatology has for ‘treating’ skin issues is to ‘clear’ it cosmetically: scalpel or pharma. Can’t ‘remove’ eczema, so the only way to ‘clear’ it is to stop the immune system from overreacting in its cell production, ie suppress its function in that area. Topical or oral: same target, which is to stop the immune system from running in high gear. But the pharma carries terrible side effects, doesn’t address why the immune system is overreacting, or help it stop.
Yes, good vitamin C was in our arsenal. Vitamin C has amazing efficacy, but conventional MDs will never prescribe it. Your MD-prescribed steroid might have been too low-dose to clear the eczema before you ran out of patience. There are lots of doses since they prescribe it to newborns, believe it or not (instead of addressing underlying gut issues). Good for you for getting off of it.
Agree @AntiP, The diet they show is only barely better than the average conventional North American diet and the authors are glib in their defense of it. People looking to significantly alter their mind/body health would do better to look to Functional and Integrative nutrition, which speak/s directly and forcefully to how food affects the gut-brain system.
Agree, @AA on grains and fruit. The authors come across glibly when they write, ‘…everyone has an opinion of what might be the ideal diet…’, when Integrative and Functional nutrition has clear evidence on what constitutes a better diet than the really mediocre diet shown above for the study.
A lot of children’s behaviour issues would lessen or disappear if families quit sugar (and sugar substitutes) and colourings; quit conventionally grown food in favour of organic; quit gluten and most dairy; and supplemented with good fats (coconut, grapeseed, some fish oils except that’s suspect now with ocean contaminants). But it’s a lot to ask a time-stressed family of limited means, so pharma wins the day because it’s quick, available, and convenient…just like the crap food they’re eating. And dumb health professionals are clueless about nutrition and quick with the prescribing pen, which exacerbates the problem.
No easy answers.
Spot-on post by Healy and also comment by @anothervoice.
The comparison to dermatology is apt as well (any medical specialty would have been, sadly), as I learned. When one of my children had a sudden, extreme flare of eczema I knew that the only thing at the dermatologists’ disposal was steroidal cream, which suppresses immune function and creates serious side effects. It’s all they know, and their science is 17 years old (google the statistic: all info at the average MD’s disposal is 17 years old at any given moment).
We researched through the information from Integrative and Functional science and medicine and cleared the eczema through radical change in diet and attitude, plus supplementation (vitamins, herbs, natural oils). They call it ‘root cause resolution’.
Similarly, if I had run for the advice of dumb MDs when my other child demonstrated serious behavioural issues, we would have been prescribed one or more harmful drugs (by either a partialist or generalist) that treat and heal nothing. We chose an alternate route and are happy we did. A difficult, complex, and long-term project? Yes. People need to stop abdicating responsibility for their health to these experts goats or nothing will change.
@Bean, Absolutely! I remember #medicatedandmighty since I fell into some Twitter spats opposing it. I remember following links and finding that it appeared to be a small, new private company (wasn’t it originally crowd-funded?).
Now, to me, ‘The Mighty’ looks very much like the baby born from a shotgun marriage between BigEntrepreneurship and the regressive left’s obsession with victim-identityhood. Post after post after post of, ‘I AM this disorder…’; ‘I HAVE that disease…’; ‘Poor me…’; and ‘I suffer…’, which is all music to the ears of pharma and prescribing MDs. Darkly funny.
‘Mighty about my victimhood status…and my meds are my badges of honour’ is what I hear.
I’ve got a dog in this race (two teens) so was interested to read. ‘Active Minds’ is clearly not going to change its own ‘mind’ or anyone’s ‘conversation’ because it depends on industry dollars. I’ll make sure my kids stay away from it just as I counsel them to give a wide berth to anything like that in the schools.
One of my kids announced today that his school will be hosting a compulsory psychosis ‘information’ film this week, so I clicked all over (loads of ‘mental health’ so-called ‘non-profits’) to see what’s behind it. Looks like the same old sewage pipeline from pharma-to-government-health-policy-to-national-physican-guild-to-family-physicians and in this case straight from government into schools.
I explain to my kids about the doublespeak of the now-ubiquitous ‘no stigma’ message, and tell them to avoid ‘mental health’ hotlines, message boards, and teen ‘peer helpers’ they have at schools now.
It’s a BigPharma jungle out there since they’re hunting for new markets!
Yes, @truth, I was confused by all this as well. None of those people further[ed] a psychiatry-critical perspective. To the contrary, they perpetuate all the industry narratives, and pharma is thrilled that they either purposely or inadvertently use themselves as industry spokespeople.
The media photo of the oversized Prozac pill that Carrie Fisher’s ashes were apparently buried in said it all: A joke for Fisher, I guess, but the message to anti-psychiatry people was that it was a fitting urn since her psych pharma likely led to her early death.
“Unfortunately, recent research finds that 75% of children between ages 2 and 5 are being prescribed drugs for ‘ADHD” without receiving the recommended therapy.”
MIA means to say, “…75% of children who are being prescribed drugs for ADHD and are between ages…”
And of course. People allow kids to be prescribed pharma drugs do it in exactly the same way they pick up ‘fast food’ for supper. Requires no effort and they delude themselves into thinking it effects the end they wish. Sadly, both ‘fast food’ and pharma drugs are destructive both short- and long-term. And even then only a tiny fraction of these kids require ‘therapy’. It’s the homes and schools that need to be doing the changing.
But the adults are all popping pharma drugs, too, so they’re not motivated to question anything.
Which pharma manufacturer was desperate enough about ‘future market pipelines’ to have funded this study? [Answer: All of them…] Not to mention the lack of safety guidelines on doing MRIs (requiring anesthetic?) on infant brains. That this garbage is the product of expensive science educations is beyond ludicrous. Who and how and where did these researchers manipulate parents or caregivers into participating in a bizarre study like this? Did they pay very poor new parents very well? Who in their right mind would put their baby into a half-baked scheme like this? The whole thing is so weird I can’t begin to get my head around it.
In a funny little ‘twist of fate’ irony, I edited a NAMI newsletter for a couple of years. I was a working, professional medical editor and fell into it as a volunteering-in-my-community gig. I had no personal connection to the organization and had never heard of it.
Fast-forward, two cities and over ten years later I had a child who was poised to be diagnosed as ‘IED’ and ‘ODD’ (I don’t even think those so-called ‘disorders’ existed when I was editing for NAMI). Knowing what I did about NAMI and its families – a sort of pay-for-play organization, hand-in-glove with psychiatry, with some well-intentioned people and some less so – sent me running the OTHER way.
Every single intervention I’ve used to help my child develop over the past ten years has been non-drug and outside the purview of the medical and psych establishments. Many are listed above, some not, and some age-appropriate ones I concocted as I went along. I never once considered using pharma drugs. (On a child’s developing brain? Obscene.)
It’s by no means easy to go the no-drug route in a society where families like mine have no support, but it’s the only responsible and conscious choice.
Hi bcharris, How much B3 were/are you taking and talking about? (I read and listen to a lot of Integrative/Functional medicine people and there’s very interesting stuff in nutrition and behaviour.)
Excellent, meaty interview. A pleasure to read whether or not I agree with everything (what he said about post-partum issues is dangerously simplified). Also really happy to see Rossa Forbes commenting because I was also chewing on the ‘family’ stuff. Very much agree that ‘trauma’ is everywhere in life from birth (or before birth if you believe epigenetics and/or Buddhism) and some individuals are just more susceptible to the storm that is life than others. But great, none the less, to read the words of a truly thinking therapist who was able to separate himself from the herd from the beginning and give back lives that would otherwise have been stolen by conventional systems. Wow.
Indeed, there must be something wrong with us, making light of a major institution harnessing [cue Hollywood ‘hero journey’ music score] “…the power of modern research approaches in genetics, neuroscience, and behavioral science…”! Hahaha!
Hahaha, Steve! You beat me to it, I was logging in to remark EXACTLY the same thing. Hilarious. So it takes PhDs, neuroscientists, and far-flung, space-and-time bending ‘frontiers of neuroscience’ to make kids do what any common-sense-thinking parent teaches their kid to do. DUH! The prescription pad looms so gargantuan over anyone who utters the word ‘depressed’ that, like you say, this is what it takes. Incredible.
Yes, I wish MIA would address the findings of Integrative/Functional medicine on treating depression with nutrition. There’s some info buried in a video series, but MIA needs much more info on a regular basis on the home page, where it’s more accessible and updated.
I find this piece confusing. Healy seems to be coming down on both sides of the anti-depressant fence. I fail to see why, with everything we know about these drugs and how they are/were promoted, why anyone would take them. At all. For anything. Ever. I would exercise, start to load up on supplements as has been mentioned (Bs and D appear very significant, try the amino acids, St. John’s Wort…), do laughter yoga… in short do ANYTHING EXCEPT pop these drugs. Even IF they work, they only do so for a limited period (see Dr. Datis Kharrazian and his work) and then there’s the job of getting off of them. And I’m just thinking of myself as an adult here. I would NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allow my CHILDREN to take them (!!). So I’m baffled here.
Hi Steve, Always enjoy seeing your comments. Yes, all articles on drugging kids are upsetting because somewhere at the bottom is the default notion that delivering these insane pharma cocktails to kids is acceptable. Want to tear my hair out right there. And I have to show your chemistry ABC to my own kids, just to underline the insanity of the systems they face.
[Only one personal correction to your reply to me above: I wish my child HAD merely been garden-variety, so-called ‘ADHD-type’ obnoxious. Unfortunately, he was WAAAY beyond that, which is what forced me down this whole road in the first place.]
Hi Christopher Page,
Interesting to hear. We’ll see. Material relating to children has been very spotty on MIA, and the people who write on them as well. Virtually all the psych professionals here equivocate on drugs, which is disappointing. MIA psych pros need to explain precisely when and where they drug children, and why. And how they get through the issue of informed consent (!) when they do. For my part as a parent and reader, I had a post accepted and then passively rejected because my child is not a so-called ‘survivor’ or ‘consumer’, which was ridiculous. I went to hell and back in order to NOT psych drug my child or make him a psych-system ‘consumer’, so it was ironic was that our experience was only acceptable/interesting to MIA if I was dumb enough to have drugged him. Bizarre judgment on the part of MIA.
If parents had the analysis, time, money, and energy to ‘organize’ and ‘protest’, then they wouldn’t feel utterly pressured into drugging their kids in the first place. That ship has sailed. Good parents are absolutely overwhelmed. Having a difficult or ‘disruptive’ kid is just the cherry on top. Enter: Solutions by your caring pharma manufacturer, delivered by your caring family physician, advocated by your caring school…
A problem with MIA is that there is no space and no writing (anymore; there has been some in the past) on children. (And agenda-driven writing by people inside and outside MIA who have no actual, longterm experience with very difficult children is useless.) By all means make sweeping generalizations and bash parents you don’t know, but it means MIA will never be a place for great, thinking parents to go who have parented well and have children with issues. MANY kids who were NEVER abused or traumatized develop symptoms/behaviours; and great, thinking parents have to deal with it in a pharma-crazy environment. The vast majority of drugging parents should not be drugging their kids, but I don’t blame them because to NOT drug a difficult kid means adults losing their livelihoods, and untenable pressure by schools. Nobody is treating behaviour problems (or the perception of ‘bad’ behaviour) as a systemic problem, so desperate parents are left to their own devices. At any rate this is a big and complex issue that MIA doesn’t address. Big weakness on MIA’s part. NAMI does address it, and makes parents feel good about drugging, so I guess that’s how it sweeps parents into its fold.
“Steven V. Faraone, PhD…states, ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if sometimes a psychiatrist doesn’t want to make another diagnosis, like pediatric bipolar disorder, because, one they’re not comfortable; two, they don’t want to stigmatize; or three, they’re not sure, but they know that this kid is really disturbed and very aggressive and possibly having some psychosis.”
There are SO many things SO wrong on SO many levels with everything coming out of that PhD’s mouth in that one sentence. It almost sums up the problem. We’ll see in the future that there was no ‘pediatric bipolar disorder’, and that it was another wholesale invention to fatten the DSM. Unless it’s a group of symptoms created by a first one or two prescribed pharma drugs (antidepressants, probably).
Next, I hope the ‘stop the stigma’ crowd sees that its ridiculous efforts have resulted in kids being prescribed even worse pharma drugs. Next, I know that the professionals are clueless about what constitutes a ‘really disturbed’ and ‘aggressive’ child, about why that child may be so, and about how to think about it. And I love the ‘possibly having psychosis’, so let’s throw a long-term antipsychotic drug at a developing brain of an unhappy child, likely leading to worse thinking in ten different ways.
But it’s not just that particular clueless PhD (they mostly all are), it’s an entire ecosystem of sorts that has made parents believe that drugging is somehow a treatment and a solution… to a problem very few are interested in actually understanding.
Agree absolutely the fault lies with pharma. The lying narrative starts there. Then mediocre professionals in public education, medicine, psychology, and teaching carry that narrative without ever sparking a single neuron of their own until it’s stuffed by parents into children’s mouths.
it would be useful to see a study of the parents who do or do not allow their children to be pharma-drugged. We’ve seen that foster children are certainly pharma-drugged disproportionately (not surprising), but uninformed guesses that heap scorn go nowhere. I know personally of families of all socioeconomic groups allowing their children to be pharma-drugged, and none of them are ‘abusive’. This is a problem of a pharma-drugged society and world, not of ‘abusive’ parenting. Or else call ALL pharma, conventional medicine, public schooling, and government education departments (these are all the groups who push drugs on families) ‘abusive’ and call it a day. ALL parents want to tranquilize their unruly children, or else this would not be a billion-dollar business.
I lionized Miller, too, til I read about how she parented her own two children. Her work stands, but has to be taken in a context and with a grain of salt.
Hi oldhead, Good question. I’m NOT looking for any discussion on vaccines here, but will just offer this: It was reported that Trump supports some very credible, vaccine-critical (critical of their ingredients and schedules) science and research. He’s apparently setting up a commission on it, headed by RFK Jr. Vaccines are run in tandem by Big Government public health policy bureaucrats and Big Pharma. Even though vaccine injury is common (paid out by a private court system so the stats are out of public sight), the vaccine issue has been sacrosanct. Question it and you’re branded as an ‘anti-vaxxer weirdo’. NOBODY in any position of power would dare question anything connected to vaccines, least of all a head of state (!). My long-winded point is that if for some reason Trump had personal reason to question psychiatry or psychiatric pharma, then ‘mental health’ issues might budge in a different direction under his administration.
Without a doubt, propaganda about ‘mental health wellness’ and ‘mental illness’ is everywhere in the schools now. The schools are now flooded with it.
Some of it is a product of the ‘Social Justice Warrior’ ‘no-stigma’ crowd meant to ’empower’ ‘marginalized’ kids (this message carried by the teachers’ unions); and some is driven by the pharma-driven public policy crowd (this message carried by government). Both groups — one from the political left and the other from the free market — end up driving families straight to psychiatric drugs.
Independent-thinking parents have to teach their kids to listen for the buzzwords of BOTH these groups at schools and avoid all the groupthink like the Plague. My kids are taught at home to NOT discuss their ’emotional’ or ‘mental’ issues at school because they will receive misinformation at best, and we will be forced into the medical/psychiatric system at worst.
Hi amnesia, Your comments remind me a little of Dabney Alix (spiritual healer who I believe also experienced ‘mental health’ ‘treatment’) in California. I first heard of her through an online summit she put together, Shades of Awakening, that included an interview with a psychologist who has written for MIA. Energy healing, spiritual healing, and such is amazing stuff. I haven’t had first-hand experience but I don’t doubt its efficacy in the hands of authentic practitioners. I wish you health and courage!
Great post! Seems like a good thing if this business/clinic was bothered enough to need to spit out its argument. Keep up the good work, Philip!
Interview was a breath of fresh air. MIA needs more mind-expanding material like this. I feel like I haven’t read anyone with interesting, original ideas in MIA for a LONG time. Funny, I was just reading about Hillman yesterday and he pops up here today. Synchronicity? I hadn’t known of Harrod-Buhner and will follow up on him. Thanks!
Good to read about push-back on this. I hear and read everywhere: ‘I AM [fill in the manufactured psych diagnosis]’, and ‘I HAVE [fill in the manufactured psych diagnosis]’. It’s the psychological equal of Identity Politics, which is terrible because it’s the death of critical thinking. This is Identity Psychology, and it stops people from thinking critically about their own lives, thoughts, and feelings. Pharma and psychiatry tapped into the human need to categorize, and the labels come with their own drugs. No more independent thought required.
However, I hope the people involved are arriving from all political worldviews, otherwise it will devolve into just another groupthink, echo-chamber community. Good luck with the events.
@Frank Blankenship, Yes, that’s the thing: There are ‘better causes to champion’ for famous people with a huge platform than psychiatric diagnosis and pharma drugs. A lot of waste all round.
It’s a funny thing that people don’t put two and two together when someone with psychiatric diagnoses and on a LOAD of psychiatric drugs dies at sixty. As for Fisher and reading her quotes, maybe her greatest role wasn’t as the Star Wars Princess but as Queen of de Nile.
@Princess Aurora, It’s fair to say that nobody clearly understands anything about the things now called ‘mental illnesses’. Nobody knows why some people develop terrible issues and some do not, and why past experiences affect some and not others. Have you read Robert Whitaker’s books? Check them out here: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Whitaker/e/B001ILKGW2
Fisher was set up/set herself up to be used later by opportunistic shrinks like Satel. Fisher says this to a ‘bipolar victim’ in the Guardian piece: “You’re lucky to have been diagnosed as bipolar and accepted that diagnosis at such a young age.” Fisher accepted conventional psychiatry’s views and drugs, and will be forever seen as part of the ‘anti-stigma’ crowd that pharma loves and is served by. She was a smart person and could have informed herself otherwise.
Actor Jim Carey, and Robert Kennedy, Jr, have both been skewered for openly questioning the accepted lines on vaccination. Those of us who are informed on the vaccination issues really admired their public stands. I’m looking forward to the courageous famous person with a public platform who comes out against psychiatric diagnoses and drugs.
Thanks to the author for this illuminating post. Psychiatry itself became ‘schizophrenic’ when it hitched its wagon to pharma and launched the DSM. Now it’s just the Discipline of the Absurd. Liz Sydney
@Nwwell.com, I find your comment disingenuous in this venue of all places. “Difficult to convince” people to not pop magic pills for themselves, their family members, their children? Possibly because the profession to which you belong, and its pharma partners, have spent billions of dollars and a few decades convincing people that they have brain diseases that will absolutely be repaired and rebalanced by little pills, perhaps? A little professional humility is in order. Maybe you’re one of the good guys, and maybe you’re not, but psychiatrists who take a removed, above-it-all tone like that give me serious pause. Liz Sydney
To respond to items in the comment above:
“…that is the reason for administration…”: No. The reason for stuffing children with off-label adult psych-drugs is to tranquilize them into obedience because adults are too preoccupied to deal with unruly kids in any humane and intelligent way. The overwhelming majority of kids being stuffed with drugs don’t require mind-altering drug cocktails.
Kids require more exercise, better curricula, better teachers, and help learning to self-regulate. The people who benefit from these drugs in the short term are incompetent doctors, bad teachers, and ineffective parents. Benefits in the long-term to go pharma corporations and their stockholders. No child benefits.
On side effects: The side effects are short and long term (stunted growth being a bad one among many), and none of these drugs were ever tested on children before being administered like candy to entire generations. Permanent brain changes are now being seen in the first generation of child guinea pigs. “Unethical” to test children on adult psych drugs; but A-OK to drug populations of children with them “off-label” for years at a time.
“…long acting preparations have largely resolved this issue…” Long-acting psych drugs resolve NO issues for any child. They resolve issues for lazy or preoccupied parents, for bad teachers, bad school administrators, and incompetent medical professionals.
“You can’t just counsel someone’s frontal lobes into maturity”: You can’t just DRUG someone’s frontal lobes into maturity, either.
Clearly, drugging behaviour is the WORST way of managing a child who needs more space, exercise, and adult support. These drugs are the worst of all choices. I have taken the time and effort to raise my difficult child, realizing that frontal lobe/executive function takes years to develop. Are people such as the commenter responsible adults guiding children into their future? Or are they just drug dealers following the lazy, profiteering pharma line?
“Also check for…”: How about STARTING there? How about avoiding off-label psychiatric drugs completely? START with ALL nutrition, vitamins, amino acids, sugar consumption, exercise (martial arts and yoga are great for focus, and avoid sports that risk head hits), child-friendly ‘meditation’, and age-appropriate behaviour awareness and AVOID drugging entirely? How about “checking for” the multiple problems behind societies very suddenly wishing to psych-drug entire populations of children?
Good luck to the young people who try and withdraw from the monstrous drugs that thoughtless, incompetent, greedy adults foisted on them and stuffed them with. Good luck to young people left with permanent brain changes and an inability to self-regulate, focus, or concentrate.
A current, working psychologist with a spouse who was an MD (author’s mention) isn’t an ‘outsider’. It’s the definition of an ‘insider’. Bizarre mistitle. Only the rarest MIA reader will be surprised at any of this or disagree with any of it. Always nice to see another practicing therapist on board against mass drugging of society, but none of it comes from ‘outside’ MIA’s purview.
I say this an an actual ‘outsider’. I’m not in the psych profession and have no ties to it; I have purposefully avoided any psych diagnosis or drugging; and I have gone far out of my way to avoid having my very difficult child psych-diagnosed or drugged. I have beliefs, opinions, and experiences as an actual outsider. I point this out because language is important and words matter.
An MIA ‘outsider’ is either someone like me (dealing with issues from outside the mainstream system), or someone who is published here who supports mainstream ‘mental health’, its views, and its ‘treatments’. Again, language matters.
‘Study Finds That Post-Modern Marxist Ideologues in Academic Social Sciences Confirm All Their Own Preconceived Notions In Studies Where They Ask And Answer Their Own Questions Ad Nauseum’
No different from the studies done by psychiatry and paid for by pharmaceutical giants. Identify the preferred outcome and finesse the language and numbers to ‘prove’ your agenda. For pharma it’s to make more money; for Marxist ideologues it’s to overthrow the system. And turn it into what, exactly?
MIA needs to reprint some chapters by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn so readers can reacquaint themselves with ‘mental health’ and psychiatry under Soviet-Marxist rule.
@Iden Campbell McCollum, Must disagree here. MIA is very weak on parent voices. It prefers professionals who paternalistically talk ABOUT and TO parents. MIA also prefers parents who needlessly drugged their children for minor issues and regret it, although the information has been available for a long time to have avoided such experiences in the first place. I’ve been dealing with a serious issue for a decade and avoided diagnosis and drugs (simply because I did the reading), but for MIA I’m neither fish nor fowl even though my experience represents something important for other parents. (Incidentally, I submitted a ‘Personal’ piece that they evidently liked and accepted but bounced from one editor/category to another til they dropped it with no word. That’s OK, but signifies that, no, they don’t necessarily love hearing from ‘outside’ voices, or are just confused by them.) Best to you, Liz Sydney
Good post, thanks to author. Seventh branch, as or more important than the others: the most healthful diet a person can afford. It nourishes the brain and body. Integrative medicine is doing a great job of demonstrating how critical vitamins, minerals, and healthful fats are for the brain and gut, which then translate into feelings, emotions, and behaviour.
@Matt Stevenson: Good comment. Lots of didactic, ‘SJW’ ‘thought policing’ on MIA of late, which disappoints on a few levels. These days I mostly look at MIA for ‘On The Web’ curation of articles from elsewhere. Staff and visiting authors appear to be mostly coming from the same ideological perspective and largely the same demographic, which isn’t healthy or interesting. As a ‘non-survivor’ parent of a young, non-drugged child there already isn’t too much for me here, but now it’s really losing me as a reader. Best to you, Liz Sydney
Thanks for the heads-up on the [free] course. I hadn’t realized it was on the site.
There are many, many problems with personally aggrieved social scientists pretending planet Earth’s biology away in favour of wishful thinking. If only the issue was truly about ‘being nice’ and calling people the names they prefer. But sorry, people, Authoritarian Social Justice Warriors don’t actually want ‘nice’; they demand legislated control over everyone’s speech and actions, which is ‘1984’ and ‘Brave New World’. Legislation already passed (NY State and elsewhere) will end up being challenged up to Supreme Courts, and will end up being proven unconstitutional. Or else we will fall to totalitarianism, which happens with regularity around the world.
This brief Op-Ed in the New York Times today speaks to the large issues involved with North American Liberalism run amok, and speaks to the gender issues raised in this post:
The problems with psychiatry and emotional/behavioural/mental health (the focus of MIA, after all) will not in any way be repaired if and when we start pretending away the facts of biological gender differences.
I regret to see MIA publishing this sort of fuzzy, resentful, agenda-filled ideology. I came to MIA for Robert Whitaker’s critical thinking skills, and for MIA’s ability to cut through the fog and excrement and get to the truth. Disappointing.
Here’s an example of some dangerous gender-pronoun-based legislation, based on ‘social justice’ zealousness and not science:
A lot of MIA is about pushing back against the pseudoscience, omissions, and obfuscation of pharma and psychiatry. This appears to be another area where there’s pseudoscience, omissions, and obfuscation by people based on making a world the way they want it for their own ends. This is dangerous.
I’m not a biologist (neither is the author or the overwhelming majority of people with these views, or any of the people cited in the post), but my understanding of this issue is that it has become a war between ‘social justice warriors’ of academia and irrefutable facts of human biology. The biologists speak to the facts that there are massive differences between men and women (and they are especially emerging where the playing field is deliberately leveled, like in Sweden), while the ‘social justice warriors’ speak to what appears to be wishful thinking and statistical game-playing (ironically, like the type we see in pharma studies…).
I spent a part of my life in the ‘social justice’ camp and I recognize the anger of the people within that camp. But wishing that gender differences don’t exist doesn’t make it so. The facts of biology, and the facts of our planet, say something else entirely. (And @markps2 makes good points in the first comment.)
Wishing on the basis of ideology has led to legislating ‘thought crimes’ and ‘speech crimes’ to that end (apparently passed in New York State and in some Canadian provinces), and will not have the sunny outcome the ‘social justice warriors’ imagine. When facts are quashed in favour of ideology you get the Soviet Gulag, Mao’s China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Remember how the Soviets utilized psychiatry? MIA readers beware. A better idea is to look carefully at the real science, accept its facts, and act accordingly.
Always glad to see Kelly Brogan’s posts on MIA. MIA needs to attract more Integrative/Functional practitioners. There’s undoubtedly a lot that Integrative/Functional medicine can do to help with child and adults issues (‘mental’, behavioural).
But people will only stop swallowing the pills, and stuffing their children with them, when they can stop believing in magical solutions. Beyond psychiatry’s lies and omissions (and beyond where drugs are forced), people themselves need to stop believing that pills of all sorts magically solve problems (NONE do).
A “long-term protective effect on substance abuse” by users of psychiatric stimulant drugs. Thank you for my belly laugh of the day! 😀
@tylerpage “…little or no idea…” about a fungible, malleable concept built by a discipline that makes things up as it goes along? And whose diagnoses are directly tied to one of the biggest profit-making industries of the planet? If I had brought my son (from age three onwards) to psychiatrists he would have been variously diagnosed as ADD, ADHD, IED, ODD, bipolar, or maybe even psychotic (all depending on the psychiatric flavour of the moment). I would have fed him off-label psychotropic drugs whose actions are much less clear and much more dangerous than psychiatry/pharma wants us to know, without his informed consent, and without knowing the effects on his brain decades into the future. Meet my son now, who was successfully raised without diagnoses and psych drugs, and then WE can talk.
If you’re satisfied with your experience, that’s OK. But don’t suggest that because others reject wholesale the lies and omissions of psychiatry, its ridiculous diagnoses, and its deadly chemical cocktails that they somehow know less than you.
Yes, @Jill Littrell, wonderful to see the work being done by Integrative and Functional medicine on the interplay between inflammation, our biological systems (bacteria, gut, hormones,…), and our feelings and behaviours. Advances have been practically helpful for me as a parent feeding and educating kids (one of whom experiences behavioural difficulties). I first encountered Kelly Brogan through her interviews on free, online Integrative ‘summits’ (where I also first heard neurologist David Perlmutter and his experience seeing a child cleared of Tourette’s through fecal transplant, and discovered people like Datis Kharrazian) and was thrilled when she appeared on MIA. It’s great to see these two worlds starting to overlap.
Thanks, Christopher. Glad to be able to bookmark it. MIA should ask the author to write a follow-up. (I don’t think the titles included expanded text portions when I first looked after the new site roll-out. It was just a list of titles/authors.) And, yes, I was one reader who used and enjoyed the ‘Best of MIA’ feature on the old site.
The problem is the nation, not the abortion. Women have had abortions since always, and will continue always. It’s a difficult reality of women’s reproductive lives.
There’s little trouble to women in nations where they can have free or affordable abortions in safe settings. There’s a lot of risk (physically and mentally) to women in places where they’re forced to have abortions in unsafe settings where their lives are at risk and where getting an abortion is a financial hardship.
The notion that women suffer long-term emotional effects from abortions was a straw man fantasy built by the anti-abortion movement to further its misogynist political aims, and was heavily funded by the Catholic Church. Too bad institutions have to waste money on studies to defend against this ridiculous fable.
The topic of how psych drugs interfere with and skew normal emotions and perceptions isn’t talked about enough. The implications are massive and culture-changing.
MIA needs to re-run a ‘Personal Story’ post that ran in the summer by an MIA writer who wrote of how, while under the veil of psych drugs (I don’t recall the drug category), he became an obsessive user of horror-gore. That post woke me up to why and how there is a proliferation of these shows over the past decade or so. They are feeding a huge, drugged audience.
I can’t find the post since the new site was set up. Help, anyone?
Absolutely, @truth. Every part of this story is OBSCENE.
But leave it to CBC (I’m Canadian, and CBC is my taxpayer-funded national media outlet) to miss the critical issue and drill down randomly (haha, “privacy” issues, prescribing mistakes…).
A four-year-old “suffers from ADHD and other behavioural issues”. You were expecting him to be working on his dissertation, Doc? Mom? Dad? CBC? Thanks to CBC “journalism” for parroting conventional medicine and psychiatry without even a nannosecond blink toward critical thinking.
The piece refers to doctors [plural] who saw the child over the course of several MONTHS and NOT ONE questioned a toddler’s Risperidone prescription? ANTIPSYCHOTICS for a FOUR-year-old (a year or two out of diapers…imagine), but everyone’s issue is the pharmacy error. Messenger duly shot.
This looks like a great step forward. The scholarship name alone, being associated with a large and mainstream university, automatically normalizes and legitimatizes the term ‘antipsychiatry’. Language always matters. So nice to have a reason to be optimistic, where so much of the news is otherwise quite depressing.
With all due respect to a touching and sensitively written post, I agree with the comment by Richard D. Lewis regarding usage of ‘mental’ and ‘mental illness’ without quotes. We’re far from knowing where these experiences reside, where they come from, and what they are. Please consider also rethinking the word ‘medication’, since the word strongly implies a property that treats and heals.
Good luck to you. It’s really heartening to see someone like you moving into this field.
Kudos to the author/filmmaker. What a great thing she’s done by getting her story and experience out there. A film is accessible and people can relate to it. Thanks to her children and all the people in the film who obviously agreed to be filmed and be public about this. More people need to know about these drugs, and to know that the medical establishment is in a complete fog about their effects (at best) and/or outright lying about them (at worst).
I wish the film great success.
@Stephen Gilbert Great points, and also about the insidious term ‘side effects’, which I never thought about before. Indeed, if they are a part of the effects, then in what way are they an aside? Also completely agree on informed consent. No child (in particular) should be psych drugged on that point alone! Psych drugs are given to children on off-label basis and none have ever been tested long-term on them. Informed consent doesn’t even exist. Only now some research is popping up on permanent brain changes and such. No child is psych drugged with informed consent. Should be a crime.
Finally, yes, every time I hear of a teen suicide or teen homicide now I wonder if the child was being prescribed psych drugs…
Up top, to the left of author photo.
Wow! Perfect example of the NYT failing spectacularly at health reporting. The entire tiny article for a hugely important problem never veers from the terminology of children “having” “ADD” or whatever “mental disease”. There is NO suggestion or mention of the pharma drugs that any of these children were taking WHEN they killed themselves. There is no critical questioning in the whole sorry piece. It directly implies that suicides are “caused” by the “mental diseases”. Unsaid takeaway for parents who read NYT? Get your sad or overactive kid to a doc quick for drug prescribing or they might kill themselves! The social irresponsibility, or plain uninformed stupidity of NYT health reporting, is incredible.
Interested MIA readers should check out the very active comments for this on AlterNet, where it was first published. Gives a great cross-section of just how confused the mainstream is on the issues.
Seems very courageous on the part of the author to have written and submitted this important post to MIA.
Just saw some companion information on psych drugs in the military here:
Excellent little piece. Thanks for link.
That’s exactly the thing. There are many ‘organic’ issues being discovered to be linked to children’s behaviour issues, just as there are ‘organic’ issues being linked to what we have been told are so-called psychiatric brain disorders. We’re discovering that there are issues that are neither ‘nature’ nor ‘nurture’ but a host of other possibilities.
Case in point, this recent MIA post: http://www.madinamerica.com/2016/08/not-so-rare-but-rarely-diagnosed-from-demonic-possession-to-anti-nmda-receptor-encephalitis/
A lot is being discovered that will eventually and happily leave the bulk of the psych professions back in the dust.
Thanks. I’m unconvinced that ‘ADHD’ exists. I agree that MIA isn’t great on children’s issues. Post authors rarely take a firm stand against drugging even though the evidence is clear. Also, there is a lot of parent-blaming on a lot of comments, which isn’t helpful. I think individuals have a right to their voice on that. I do take issue, however, when a psych professional blames parents offhand, because to do so is deeply troubling on many levels.
‘The Explosive Child’ is the title of Greene’s first book. He apparently came to regret the title, I think in part because it got wedded to psychiatry’s made-up, fantasy DSM ‘disease’ diagnosis of that ridiculous Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), which is as factually based, useful, and explanatory a diagnosis as ‘schizophrenia’ and such. That is to say that IED is another ridiculous label, this time attached to children who exhibit behaviour that adults don’t like.
And, no, single motherhood is not a syndrome. There is no one ‘type’ of child produced by single parents, and two parents don’t necessarily raise their kids any better or worse than one parent.
Thank you, Sa. And I completely agree with you.
I should also have noted that any psych professional who has “never seen” child behaviour issues without also “finding” pathological parents is unable to see beyond his/her own profound biases and agendas. Woe be the children in the “care” of such professionals.
And let’s remember that the labels, diagnoses, and drugs were created by the ‘mental health’ professionals, not by parents. No, parents are not to blame here.
That comment – evidently from a psychotherapist – blames, shames, and pathologizes parents in a single sweep. Isn’t this exactly the opposite of the kind of dialogue that MIA is trying to promote?
My family and I are French citizens. I roll my eyes at this trope (that I see repeatedly in the American press) that idealizes French children and French parenting. It is laudable that the French have avoided the ADHD trap (if in fact they have), but the real French family is as three-dimensionally good and bad as every other family on Earth.
The French rate of psychotropic drug use is alarming (one study cited one in three adults), for example. The French eat a lot of junk food, smoke a lot, drink to excess, and schools are quite brutal for children by other Western standards. French society as a whole tends to be extremely rigid in its views, and French families are absolutely not warmer or more supportive than any other group. And, today, the French family is more culturally diverse than ever, making any generalizations impossible. Also, the French are as happy to pop ‘pills for ills’ as any other group where BigPharma has an important presence.
Maybe it would be more useful and helpful to identify groups of people in any nation who resist the long arm of conventional medicine and ‘mental health’ treatment, and who support their children, and go from there. Cultural stereotypes just aren’t useful today.
My goodness. What a hideous, angry, oversimplified, anti-parent generalization. I am aghast but not surprised to see such a negative, anti-parent, blanket statement come from a ‘mental health’ professional.
I invite interested MIA readers to read the body of work by Ross W. Greene, PhD, originally of ‘The Explosive Child’, who did NOT vilify parents and families but sought instead to genuinely understand why some children experience extreme behavioural issues. He succeeded and his work is a testament to what a psych professional can do with a genuinely open, inquisitive, unbiased mind.
Hi David, I’m a parent of school-age kids and I do have ideas on what you mentioned. I’ll email you at the address you gave above to another commenter.
Thank God you said it. All I read in the original comment was buck-passing and self-imposed blinders.
Was your comment published at all? I couldn’t find it; I may have missed it. What I found instead was a love-in between the author and his “fan base” (his words).