Friday, December 9, 2022

Comments by Karen Adler

Showing 38 of 38 comments.

  • Beautifully answered. Thank you. It’s rare to find such clarity of thought and expression in this arena. And it’s that clarity and solidity in ourselves of what we’ve come to know without a shadow of a doubt re the misdiagnosing and medicating of these states which gives me hope that the tide is turning. Enjoy yr day.

  • I would say that you need to be very careful who u speak to re these matters. It’s that very real, potentially tragic, thing of who you trust with yr deepest, most vulnerable, most precious parts of yrself. If you present them to someone who will listen to u from that DSM, symptom identification, let’s-medicate-this-out-of-existence perspective, chances r you’ll lose yr life for the rest of yr life.

    This happens. It didn’t happen in my case but only because I lucked out and did my own research and knew abt Jung and Campbell and other bits and pieces from psychology and anthropology that made sense to me so I cld use them to put all the little bits and pieces of me back together again. But that took decades.

    Good luck. Ask other people who u trust what worked for them, who they trusted to help them.

    **And yes, meds can be useful and essential at crisis moments to help you through and stabilise you but you need to be aware of potential adverse impacts and the possibility of addiction/withdrawal.

  • No-one i know, myself included, who has been through the experiences described by the author, would ever ‘glorify or romanticize’ what they’ve been through. It’s not something i’d wish upon my worst enemy … oh, ok, maybe her.

    But regardless, the point which has been made, i think very well, as opposed to containing ‘some grains of truth’, is that these experiences are often MISdiagnosed as ‘traditional concepts of psychosis’ by professionals who’ve been ill-educated and misinformed and who do far more harm than good in this area.

    Experiences such as these are not for the faint-hearted, and given the opportunity to choose, no, i certainly wld never have consented to this happening in/to my life. But often the ‘extreme psychological distress’ which is often part of these experiences – it’s definitely not all joy and light and ‘expansive feelings of love’, dammit – pale in comparison to the consequences of being misdiagnosed and medicated and ‘cared for’ by the mental health system.

    For many people who are ‘helped’ in this way, who have to fight their way out of the system which has so badly treated them, where any ‘post-traumatic growth’ thereby caused is hard fought for and hard won, it’s safer to educate yourself, do your own research and thereby protect yrself from professionals who truly do not ‘get’ this and possibly never will.

  • Thank you so much for this beautifully written piece. It makes my heart sing to know that there are so many others who’ve navigated their way through these experiences and, in many cases, out of the mental health system.

    And yes, it’s a very great good to be offering the world alternative ways of dealing with this aspect of our humanity. Ideally, no one will ever end up misdiagnosed, medicated, dehumanised by a system which continues to do such extreme harm, all in the guise of helping.

    Thank you, again.

  • ‘But corporate self-interest and practitioner self-deception aren’t limited to America; they are insufficient explanations for American dosages. Perhaps, then, American culture is especially prone to a faith in cures and a belief that aggressive methods will prove to be remedies, even panacea.’

    Everything abt this article horrifies me. That there is such an easy acceptance that experimenting in this way, on rats and alcoholics, in the interests of science, is OK. That this is the basis of knowledge in psychiatry. That those who speak out against it, will be silenced. That America, of all nations, has this arrogance and misuse and abuse of power at its core. That it plays out in its influence and power over the rest of the world. That regardless of articles such as this and documentaries and enquiries and public awareness campaigns, I know that I need to protect myself against the inhumanity and blind stupidity of the mental health system and those who see this as business as usual. And no, not in that paranoid way, just in that normal healthy way of hopefully never needing help from a system which is machine-like in its responses to human suffering. And no also, in that none of this detracts from the wonderful and worthwhile individuals who continue to work in this system and attempt to deal with and undo some of the harm done by these systemic responses.

  • Why on earth does time and money continue to be wasted on proving the self evident? Taking into account that there is absolutely *nothing* in this research that hasn’t been said ad infinitum before, why do new researchers continue to prove the obvious? Why is there not a switch to providing solutions rather than restating what we already know to be true?

    And if the answers to those questions aren’t just that it’s about power and money and greed and wilful ignorance and maintaining the status quo and holding on to old reputations and building new reputations based on same old/same old, then I’m interested. But otherwise, I’ve lost all respect for research in this area.

  • The answer to your final question is, in my view, medical negligence, malpractice, wilful stupidity, criminal behaviour, murder, manslaughter etc … all of which should be brought before a court of law. I am continually gobsmacked by the horror stories of violence enacted upon innocent people who end up in the wrong hands, and no punishment of the wrongdoer is sought, no accountability demanded.

  • Beautifully written, Karin. And yes, having walked a similar path to you – albeit without the diagnosis/misdiagnosis, and alleluia for that – it’s such a very great win to understand what happened to you and to get your life back. Many things make me happy these days – one of them is reading or hearing a story by someone such as yrself who has managed to wrest their life back from psych misdiagnoses. Well done you, it’s a phenomenally hard but powerful thing to do. Welcome home.

  • Yes. It’s the lack of consequences suffered by those who are in power and abusing that power that ultimately prompted me to finally write this piece. Every single person I was dealing with, from the case worker to the psychologist to the paediatrician who gave the diagnosis, to the foster parents, the CEO, the bishop, had access to the same info, the same research that I did. There’s no excuse for ignorance in these matters, not when lives are at stake. And yet, it goes on… and on… and on. Bad enough that it happens to adults, inexcusable when it happens to children.

  • Yes, it’s that horrible knock-on effect that happens with a diagnosis/misdiagnosis, that change in identity, how people come to perceive you, how they treat you, all that you have to fight against when you become part of the system. And at least, if you’ve not succumbed to that, then I think you’ve won in not having had yr sense of self stolen from you. And if your children see the wrongs that have been perpetrated against you, then that’s a double win. But yes, snookering and endless mindf*ckery at the hands of people and a system tht ultimately doesn’t care, is quite often the order of the day. It sounds to me like you’ve escaped that fate as much as you could. I wish you well.

  • How wonderful that you were taught, as an artist, to ‘record history’. I haven’t met an artist yet, of whichever medium, who doesn’t have this deeper understanding of emotions, how our psyches work, at least an inkling into the inner realms of our humanity. I think it comes with the territory of making art.

    And yes, there’s a wilful ignorance of the sheer stupidity of the MH system, how it’s designed, all the ways in which it allows such a disconnect between beliefs, teaching, and consequences. Very similar to how religion works. And yet, some of the best people i know work as counsellors etc. Regardless, yes, there need to be consequences for the perpetrators rather than the victims.

  • Yes. Those working in child welfare would get this more clearly than most. You see it every day, and if you think as you and I do, it’s heartbreaking to see the horrendous damage done on a constant and continual basis. And it’s soooooo unnecessary and just plain wrong.

  • Thank you for getting both the depth and the complexity of this issue and its repercussions in society. I don’t know anything as powerful as the arts to give us a picture of our internal worlds and enable us to navigate what can be very tricky waters indeed. Words alone don’t and diagnoses and long-term use of medications, in my view, merely trap a person in what is often the worst moments of their lives.

  • Such a great relief and a delight to read your story of escaping both your diagnosis and the mental health system. A truly great gift to have your life back and to continue with a very different life than you had under that phenomenally stupid and irresponsible system. Well done, I wish you health and happiness.

  • The truly horrible thing is that that way of thinking, of being, like cruel little boys doing awful experiments in the name of ‘science’, isn’t so very far removed from reality, not when you constantly read and hear stories of people being horrendously damaged by both the system and also by individuals. And yet, each and every one of us know that it continues to happen regardless of… pretty much anything.

    (Replying to the comment above this one, seeing as I can’t figure out a way to delete this.)

  • I wish you strength and courage in your fight for your son.

    I compare your fight for Sidd to those parents who fight for their children to be actually *given* a diagnosis because there’s more money, support in the mental health/foster care system for a diagnosis to those who fight to the death for the validity of their own diagnoses and medications, regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

    Either way, as you’re no doubt more aware than most, there are consequences – the negative consequences usually fall to those with the diagnoses and medications, especially if they’re long-term; positive consequences such as repeat clients/customers, increase in professional status, usually go to those who are doing the diagnosing.

    Good luck and may you be reunited with Sidd, this monstrous system brought to its knees and a far better, more compassionate one to take its place. With love from Australia.

  • i would like to gently disagree.

    yes, it’s a systemic issue. and yes, i doubt that many people go into psychiatry and psychology with the intention to do harm. but if the information is out there, available to all, stories of the harm done, articles, websites proliferating left right and centre, and if you and i can work this out, but if it continues to happen, as documented above, all these ‘professionals’ who, regardless of their intent, did harm, exacerbated harm.

    and if there’s no accountability or responsibility taken by anyone – what will stop the next child or adolescent or adult walking out of their doctor’s office with a diagnosis and a prescription that, for some, will totally ruin their life? i keep wondering why on earth should this abomination be allowed to continue and what will stop it.

  • Beautifully written. thank you.

    mind you, i don’t know that seeking help from a ‘professional’ will automatically fix things or even help the person. it might keep them quiet via a [mis]diagnosis and meds, which will no doubt ‘fix’ the problem – for someone. so often, for a person who’s traumatised in some way, living a nightmare life, being enraged is a perfectly appropriate response to what’s happening either around them or inside them. i read a very insightful piece here yesterday … ‘Jody Chan/Midnight Sun: “before madness meant rage, it meant insanity. before that, a Latin verb: to change, to go, to move. anger comes from old English, meaning grief, sorrow, distress, affliction. before it was a word, anger bloomed around the rooms within us that needed protection. someone powerful became afraid of anger, and then it was given the same name as disease.’

    as per the above, poetry is often more insightful than prose because it’s both chunkier but also more spare. i imagine Hana to be a 21st century Bertha, Mr Rochester’s wife, in Wuthering Heights. i look back on my own strange days indeed as the mad woman in the attic, with a great deal of mystification – but also now, a great deal of understanding for how horrendously wounded i was way back then and gratitude that i survived and for those who helped me survive. if a ‘professional’ had got hold of me back then, my life wld have been well and truly f*cked, not to put too fine a point on it.

    i am/was a transpersonal art therapist. if i’d not discovered and used the arts to the n’th degree in my own recovery even before i knew what recovery was, i’d be Hana. or Bertha. luck luck lucky me, i’m not. but it shouldn’t be a matter of luck. those ‘professionals’ who do such horrendous damage to lives in the face of clear evidence of the harm they cause, should be held accountable and responsible for their actions.

    … and no, i’m not saying that meds aren’t beneficial at crisis points, and i’m never too sure if i believe in mental ‘illness’ or not but i *am* sure that if the person who’s listening to my story of madness doesn’t have alternative lenses other than the biomedical one with which to view/hear my story, then chances are i’ll walk out with a diagnosis and meds. oops. there goes my life.

  • The only reason I wasn’t misdiagnosed with bipolar or one of the schizophrenia’s is that after my mother died, I saw a psychologist who had heard of spiritual crisis. She didn’t really understand it – who does, unless it be those who’ve been through it and even *then* it’s pretty gobsmackingly weird to imagine that at one time I truly believed myself to be Eve and the Chosen One, here on Earth to bring about world peace – but when she listened to my story, she sent me down a path of research that lead to Jung, Assagioli, transpersonal psychology etc. If I’d not travelled that path, I would have been taking my meds every day for the past 30-odd years of my life. Every day, I give thanks for Jocelyn Clayton, who was my Jennifer Kinzie. I find it criminal that so many others aren’t so lucky and that people’s lives are continually ruined by arrogant, wilfully ignorant fools in power.

  • This is beautiful. and powerful. and frightening. even terrifying – the thought of staying there, the possibility of staying there for too long, making madness yr home out of some ideological naivety that imagines your self-sacrifice will be honoured and will bring about change. collectively and over time, yes, and if you take the word, ‘mad’ and go back to its original meaning [as you tell me] of being to change, to go, to move, then best perhaps to go in and out and draw breath and breathe and rest, lest madness become that place of romantics and idealists who think they can return, who play with fire, who dive into the vortex, descend to the abyss, believing they won’t drown, that they can breath under water. but who can’t return, who get burned, burn-out, and drown, and never re-surface.

    and no, that doesn’t mean becoming helpless and hopeless and powerless and disempowered or even un-angry, it just means – as one wise counsellor told me many moons ago – to rest and let others take the lead and go to the back of the pack, to slipstream each other, as a flock of geese do. stay well, jody chan.

  • yes. you’re absolutely right. comments like that have been made for decades. and nothing changes. the only thing that will change what happens, i believe, is if individual doctors, mental health practitioners, are sued for malpractice. preferably for gazillions. and the only ray of hope i can see in regard to that happening, are the ruinous law suits that have been brought against the pharmaceutical companies in regard to the opioid epidemic.

  • This article goes to the heart of all that is so disgustingly wrong with the mental health system/industry … the education of medical/mental health practitioners which discount lived experience [and here I’m speaking about lived experience which actually *contradicts* the mental health/illness narrative, not those select few who have been accepted by the system because their story backs up diagnosis/misdiagnosis and leaves out all the shadowy, scary bits re. adverse effects of the meds etc, of which, in Australia at least, there are many such lived experience practitioners]; the sidelining and negating of alternative views and alternative practices which actually question the dominant paradigm right at its basis – i.e. is mental illness real or is it possibly a social construct? – and which, more importantly, actually work to allow a person to work through their experiences and come out the other side; the blind acceptance and lack of intelligence of practitioners who refuse to do their own research in these matters and therefore do endless amounts of harm to those who are unlucky enough to walk into a doctor’s office with grief or sadness or frustration or high levels of stress that they’re momentarily incapable of dealing with and walk out with a diagnosis and a prescription or a referral to someone else who is likely to interpret their symptoms via the lens of the DSM and oops, there goes your life, welcome to that endlessssssss treadmill of the mental health system.

    and yes, some good is done. sometimes. but that’s not good enough, not when the consequences for misdiagnoses/meds are so life and soul-destroying. it’s nowhere *near* good enough. and accountability and responsibility needs to be taken and heads should roll.

  • i chuckled when i read your example of anosognosia … ‘For instance, if a person heard voices that no one else heard, he might conclude that he was communicating with dead relatives.’ Especially in the Australian aboriginal context, and no doubt in other indigenous cultures as well, communicating with one’s ancestors [aka ‘dead relatives’] is pretty much what one does on a constant basis, especially at moments of transition or crisis. That it is labelled as indicative of mental illness horrifies me. And goes a long way to explaining why indigenous people are harmed in far greater numbers by the mental health system.

    I arrived at this article from the Treatment Advocacy Centre’s article on anosognosia, trying to check their reasoning. Endlessly and mindlessly conflating symptoms of physical illness with mental illness just gets silly after a while, as demonstrated by your example of brain scans of anosognosia caused by stroke.

    The TAC’s byline – Eliminating Barriers to the Treatment of Mental Illness – horrifies me as well. Having seen way too up close and personal the results of ‘treatment of mental illness’, i’m all for leaving the barriers there. My opinion of anyone such as the TAC who advocates that people get treatment by a profession and an industry that’s mired so deeply in misinformation and just plain mindf*ckery, is not very high. Then again, perhaps I, myself, am deeply mired in anosognosia. … nuh, just checked. Am doing fine. Mainly because I’m not in the mental health system receiving treatment for some variety of mindf*ckery. Phew. Am a very lucky human being indeed.

  • Even when i try and go back to that place in my life and my learning when i had any respect for quantitative research being applied to human behaviour – which is a very big ask indeed these days – i get to that place where it just all seems stupid and the best such research has to offer as a result is ‘this applies to some people sometimes, sometimes yes, sometimes no.’ Especially, when i get to a statement such as this – ‘Francey et al. reported their conclusions very conservatively, noting that “this finding can only be generalized to a very small proportion of FEP cases at this stage, and a larger trial is required to clarify whether antipsychotic-free treatment can be recommended for specific subgroups of those with FEP.” ‘ – which pretty much means ‘if we get more people into the study and then do a lots of rats and stats analysis on the results, then it will be more true for more people than if we only have this small number that we started with.’ As opposed to being honest in the 1st place and saying, ‘What we’ve shown here is that this applies to some people some times, sometimes yes, sometimes no.’

    Why is it seemingly impossible to admit that you were wrong in the first place, there are ample numbers of people speaking about the vast amount of harm done by misdiagnoses and antipsychotics and the ‘accepted wisdom’ is actually ‘accepted stupidity’ handed down – and accepted – despite all the evidence to the contrary.

  • Who wrote this article? Is it Depaware? i’m interested in finding out from the perspective of these sentences: ‘One contributory factor to these deaths is coroners. I have been writing to UK coroners for 15 years making the case that they should note where people have been on antidepressant or other drugs at the time of death.’

    for those of us who clearly see the link between psych drugs and suicide, it needs to be mandatory that with all suicides, there should be testing for which drugs are in the body. and if not, why not?

  • yes to all the above. i showed Generation Rx when it was first released as part of Mental Health Month here in Australia. the FDA footage was particularly heartbreaking.

    i can’t find the link to tom laughren’s retirement. either on pharmalot or its successor, STAT. i don’t understand why he and his ilk have not been sued for malpractice, wrongful death, etc. especially seeing as ADHD diagnoses and medicating for such continues unabated. as do the resultant suicides. surely there must be a way to hold those who are indeed accountable and responsible, to account.

  • Many thanks, Dr. Gøtzsche, for your valuable work in this area. I’m an art therapist with addictions/mental health qualifications working in aged care. i’ve come across several residents who i believe have been misdiagnosed 3o to 50 years ago and have been on antipsychotics ever since with the resulting physical symptoms of tremors, constant physical illness etc. do you or anyone have any info. on people successfully tapering off their meds after such long times on them – preferably [but not necessarily] in aged care as this will carry more weight with the orgainisation who runs these places. many thanks in anticipation.

  • hi bennett – i don’t have the answers to yr question but just scrolling thro these comments it strikes me as disappointing to see yr question totally ignored. particularly taking into account the gravity of yr situation. perhaps it’s worth reposting it so that you actually get an answer? good luck with what yr going through. it sounds horrendous for all concerned.

  • dear Elahe – i’ve just now read an excerpt of your book plus this article and all the comments in order to get an idea as to where you’re coming from in regard to yr daughter’s diagnosis of schizophrenia and all the horrors that have ensue as a result. and i’m left wondering … taking into account that Helia’s troubles began after a ‘major conversion experience’ and ‘an intense religious experience’, i’m surprised that there seems to be no mention at all of spiritual crisis or spiritual emergency or extreme states of consciousness – which are transpersonal psychology terms for the phenomena which so closely mimic the ‘symptoms’ of schizophrenia – visions, hallucinations, voices, being one with God, ecstatic states etc.

    i’ve quite possibly missed it – but did you not come across this phenomenon as an alternative explanation for your daughter’s experience and her subsequent, quite-possibly, more-than-likely MISdiagnosis of schizophrenia? thee is a vast amount of research in the field of transpersonal psychology, specifically by Stanislav and Christina Grof who originated the term, spiritual emergence/y. and there is now a DSM category ‘religious and spiritual problems’ as a result of transpersonal psychologists lobbying over many years.

    the major difference is knowing that a spiritual crisis is transient, not a biological illness, certainly not anything that’s incurable. as a transpersonal art therapist, i’ve attempted to introduce this phenomenon to various Christian ministers – with varying degrees of success.

    I wish you well and i thank you for your work – karen

  • I think it’s worth noting that the article in Slate was written by an ‘resident scholar’ at The American Enterprise Institute, which is described as … ‘an influential right-wing think tank that advocates for lower taxes, fewer protections for consumers and the environment, and cuts to the social safety net.[1] AEI describes itself as “committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise.”[2]
    In 2014 The Washington Post wrote that under CEO Arthur Brooks, AEI had emerged as “the dominant conservative think tank,” becoming more influential than the Heritage Foundation.[1]
    During the George W. Bush administration, AEI was regarded “as the intellectual command post of the neoconservative campaign for regime change in Iraq,” Vanity Fair noted.[3]
    AEI had approximately 225 staff and an annual budget of more than $50 million in 2015.[4]

    … so taking that political stance into account, it’s a wee bit UNsurprising that the author writes as she does. After all, it’s not ALL psychiatrists who believe unquestioningly in the biomedical model but those wth a right-leaning perspective are more likely to,

  • I agree with your point re. information and I’m sure you’re not alone in knowing that the resources now available to people have saved thousands from ever going the psychiatric diagnosis route. Me being one of them. But my luck was determined by seeing a psychologist who sent me in search of research re. Jung, Assagiolli, the Groff’s etc. and I branched out from there. So I also agree with Ron in that there are indeed good psych’s out there who are educating themselves – and/or being educated by people such as myself and many, many others – so that people such as yourself aren’t misdiagnosed and end up on years of psych drugs.