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A psychiatrist criticises the psychiatric publishing industry

Posts Tagged ‘A.J. Mahari’

SSRI DRUG PROBLEM IN CANADA

Psychiatric medication in Canada, like elsewhere in the world, is killing people and causing them to do violent things. How is that helpful to anyone? What is wrong with psychiatry? Every mental health consumer needs to know more about the junk science of psychiatry and its made up mental illnesses and its use of drugs that are killing people and causing people to kill each other.

Biopsychiatry is Pathologizing Human Experience

Biopsychiatry, the so-called medical model of psychiatry, which is pseudo-science, junk science, massively marketed but not scientifically proven at all is pathologizing human experience. People are being unethically treated. People are being abused. There is increasing abuse of power on the part of many psychiatrists who continue to follow the blind leading them with this supposed “medical model” of “treatment” and continue to schedule 10-15 minute appoinments for the purpose of prescribing dangerous medication. Where’s the help in that? Where’s the best interest of patients in that? Fitting 4 people into every hour is lucrative for a biopsychiatrist. Does biopsychiatry care that it is exploiting the very people it is mandated to help and to serve? It can be argued that biopsychiatry serves no one except the biopsychiatrist and the pharmaceutical industry.

The over-lap between many biopsychiatrists and drug money from Big Pharma is increasing at an alarming rate. How can patients be served by psychiatrists in the back pocket of Big Pharma? It’s a money grab, it’s not ethical medical/psychiatric treatment at all.

Psychiatric drugs have many adverse side-effects. On top of that, many are not even properly studied before being mass-marketed to mental health consumers. Many of the known side-effects of these drugs aren’t adequately communicated to patients, if communicated at all.

Psychiatric oppression is growing in leaps and bounds as more and more people seeking help, support, and treatment are being “treated” as a market to market drugs to and are be “treated” like they do not have the right to “informed consent.”

Biopsychiatry is about social control now. It is not treatment. There is no such thing as normal. In fact, biopsychiatry justifies itself by the money it makes not anything to do with actually helping people or even demonstrating compassion for people. Biopsychiatry is an unethical money-grab.

There is no such thing as normal. Ask yourself, how then, can biopsychiatry truly even begin to perfect the “art” of categorizing what is so abnormal?

Biopsychiatry is pathologizing the human experience. A small number of psychiatrists are the actual authors of the Diagnositc Statistical Manual (DSM) that is known as the bible of psychiatry. It is the book from which all labels, categories, and diagnoseable disorders come. It is something that has a process whereby a select group of professionals write and organize all of the disorders and classifications of “mental disorder” or “mental illness”. And then, get this, they (who “they” are in numbers is again, not a large group) then vote on what gets included and what doesn’t. That’s right, they vote. Does that sound scientific to you?

If you go to a psychiatrist for yourself, a loved one or a child of yours is seeing a biopsychiatrist, be armed with questions and information. Today’s brand of psychiatrist is not some demi-God to just be believed. He or she may well not have your best interests at the forefront of their “treatment”. They may well be in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry and you will/your loved one or your child may be prescribed psychiatric medication, most of which has never been proven to actually do what they claim it does. It is this very medication that is actually the only proven and known cause of any chemical imbalance in the brain. That is to say, mental illness, or having trouble coping, or being in distress, does not, I repeat, DOES NOT mean you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. Read more about the professionals who disagree with the “party line” of psychiatry (biopsychiatry today).

Biopsychiatrists don’t see you. They don’t hear you. They have been indoctrinated into believing that mental illness is a brain disease and that the pills they give you are “treatment”. Biopsychiatrists are pathologizing human experience to hold onto and/or increase their own importance, power, and ability to make money. That’s not about you. That’s not going to help you.

Biopsychiatrists are not listenting to you or to your experience. They are more concerned with getting you on medication that can and will make you a “mental health consumer” for life. That’s lucrative for the entire system. How does that benefit you?

Are you surprised to read this? Do you feel shocked that many of these biopsychiatrists aren’t ethical? Have you just believed them without questioning them? Do you believe that medication is the answer to your distress? It really isn’t, you know.

Biopsychiatrists, by the very nature of their belief in a) almost anything and everything felt by people as being a mental illness – a brain disorder – b) their not taking the time to actually hear you, talk with you, understand and actually evalute the context of what you tell them, are pathologizing and dehumanizing human experience.

That is to say, so much of human experience that can be distressing or that people come to experience without the skills to cope effectively does not mean there is a diagnostic label that fits all or that everyone in distress is even mentally ill at all.

Empower yourself. Research this more. Keep an open mind and know that the quality of your life, should you need help from the Mental Health System, depends upon it. You need to be an advocate for yourself, your loved one, or your child.

© A.J. Mahari, August 31, 2010 – All rights reserved.

 

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Humane Psychiatry – Dr. Dan L. Edmunds

Life Coach, and author, A.J. Mahari, interviewed Dr. Dan L. Edmunds on the Psyche Whisperer Radio Show Monday August 30 at 7pm EST. Biopsychiatry violates the first oath and ethic of medicine for all doctors, including psychiatrists, “first do no harm”. Dr. Dan L. Edmunds views biopsychiatry as “supposed treatment” and doesn’t believe in the common pratice of using toxic psychiatric drugs and especially when it come to children who are then made life-time psychiatric patients. He maintains it is cheaper to “treat” with drugs rather than actually address the reasons for patient’s distress. He believes that science and ethics must become consistent and that the entire mental health system needs to be deconstructed. The medical model needs to replaced with a model of compassion. Maybe then, we can have a humane system wherein abused of the past and current abuses could become things of the past.

This episode is now available below

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Dr. Dan L. Edmunds

Professor Dr. Dan L. Edmunds is a radical psychotherapist, a friend and advocate of psychiatric survivors, and a critic of the mental health establishment.

Dr. Edmunds is a voice for the marginalized and for the many who lack a voice within the psychiatric system. A person of deep compassion and principle, Dr. Edmunds is a noted psychotherapist, child development/behavioral specialist, Comparative Religion scholar, sociologist and counselor working with both children and adults.

Dr. Edmunds speaks truthfully and directly and has posed critical questions to the psychiatric establishment and to society as a whole. He has developed approaches towards helping distressed individuals that are compassionate and empowering and encourage self-determination and autonomy. He has been an advocate for social justice, informed consent, and for human rights in the mental health system.

Dr. Edmunds has become deeply concerned with the medicalization of human experience and how mental health services have often become ‘mechanical’, not seeking to truly be caring and empathic, limiting consumer choice, and often not providing informed consent. He has sought for care that is recognizes people’s experience and treats them as people, care that is holistic,which recognizes the mind-body-spirit connection, and which takes into account issues of social injustice and how they impact our emotional well being and often shape our possibilities and who we become. Dr. Edmunds has challenged the mental health system establishment to respect persons experience and once again a common healing ground betwen the therapist and client. His writings have often focused on the need for building of community, holistic approaches, and the role of the family as well as social and political processes that lead towards emotional distress. He has challenged stigmatizing labels and exposed the violence that is often inflicted upon individuals by those who claim to be in the role of ‘helper’. He encouraged a mental health system which does not force people into treatments that they do not want, which respects their dignity, and which allows their experience to be heard and validated.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds has a blog at: danledmunds.blogspot.com

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds is the author of the following books available at: His Site Storefront and more books at his Lulu.com Storefront

DRUG FREE APPROACH TO ADHD – COMPREHENSIVE STUDY DRUG FREE APPROACH TO ADHD- COMPREHENSIVE STUDY – Study of the efficacy of a drug free approach to ADHD

 

 

 

 

 

 

POST PSYCHIATRY JOURNAL – Center for Meaning and Relationship POST PSYCHIATRY JOURNAL – Center for Meaning and Relationship. A compilation of articles from mental health professionals and psychiatric survivors challenging the bio-psychiatric paradigm.

 

 

 

 

 

CHILDREN OUR TREASURE: Meeting Our Children’s True Needs Outside of the Bio-Psychiatric Paradigm CHILDREN OUR TREASURE: Meeting Our Children’s True Needs Outside of the Bio-Psychiatric Paradigm (book) – History of psychiatry, exploring psychiatric human rights abuses and the impact of psychiatry on children. Offers way to create a more humane mental health system.

 

 

 

EXPERIENCE: THE SOUL OF THERAPY EXPERIENCE: THE SOUL OF THERAPY – Exploring the the importance of experience in the therapeutic process.

Dr. Edmunds has been interviewed on local and nationally syndicated radio programs in regards to these important issues.

Dr. Edmunds was born in Tampa, Florida and spent much of adolescent years in Fort Collins, Colorado where he graduated from Fort Collins High School. From his youth, he became active in community and civic affairs and social and political change. Dr. Edmunds seeks for a society that places people before profits and treats all with compassion and equanimity. He served as a director of the Students for Peace and Justice and was involved in various political campaigns as a teen. In 1991, he served as the youngest legislative aide in the Colorado State Senate, serving in the office of State Senator (later U.S. Representative) Robert W. Schaffer. He later became the youngest registered professional lobbyist, being registered in the States of Colorado, Wyoming, and Arizona. He was a volunteer for the Larimer County, Colorado Office of Veterans Affairs. In 1992, he obtained the permission of then Mayor Nicholas Fortunato to develop the Ormond Beach, Florida Youth Commission. He served as a county campaign coordinator for U.S. Representative Corrine Brown’s campaign in 1992. This accorded him the opportunity to transport Martin Luther King III, the son of the slain civil rights leader, to an event at Bethune Cookman College and exposed him to diversity, civil rights, and social justice concerns. As a public intellectual and left libertarian, Dr. Edmunds continues to remain active in political and civic affairs and encouraging a society that is based on equality, peace, and justice. In 2008, Dr. Edmunds organized the Humanist Center for Freethought and Social Activism in order to encourage an end to oppression, ecological responsibility, freedom, equality, and respect for diversity.

Dr. Edmunds is on the Board of Advisors for the Society for Laingian Studies. The Society for Laingian Studies is directed by Dr. Brent Potter and includes advisors who had direct collaboration with Dr. R.D. Laing such as Andrew Feldmar and Theodore Itten. The Society for Laingian Studies seeks to further the humane approaches towards understanding and helping distressed persons that was begun by Dr. R.D. Laing. Society for Laingian Studies

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.,B.C.S.A.
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, USA
DoctorEdmunds@DrDanEdmunds.com

PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR CHILDREN, TEENS, AND ADULTS ***DRUG FREE RELATIONAL APPROACHES TO ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)***CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE FOR EXTREME STATES OF MIND (SCHIZOPHRENIA, SCHIZOAFFECTIVE, BIPOLAR)***ASSISTANCE WITH POST TRAUMATIC STRESS***AUTISM/DEVELOPMENTAL DIFFERENCES SERVICES***LECTURES/SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS FOR SCHOOLS AND PARENT ORGANIZATIONS***PSYCHO-SOCIAL ASSESSMENTS***FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENTS***FORENSIC ASSESSMENTS***FAMILY THERAPY/MARITAL COUNSELING

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Mind Control, Biological Psychology & Psychiatry Limitation

This video is an introduction to biological mind control through psychoactive drugs, electroshock therapy, brain operations and electrical implants into the brain. This type of mind control was experimented with by the CIA in their mind control project Mk Ultra. This video points out the main limitation of biological mind control and psychiatric therapy.

 

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What’s Wrong with the psychiatric publishing industry?

Dr. Niall (Jock) McLaren is an Australian psychiatrist who criticises the psychiatric publishing industry. He knows what it is  like. He has many valid and important opinions that he’s like to contribute to psychiatric journals and they refuse to publish his papers because he doesn’t agree with the current ways in which psychiatry – even more specifically biopsychiatry – is forwarding the claim that mental disorder (or mental illness) is a brain disorder. A claim that the biopsychiatric “profession” is making without any actual scientific proof whatsoever. What’s wrong with the psychiatric and general publishing industries when they won’t publish differing points of view?

© A.J. Mahari, August 22, 2010 – All rights reserved.


“Psychiatric publishing is a huge, vastly influential industry controlled by a select group of insiders. However, it fails to meet any of the criteria for scientific publishing. In the first place, there is no agreed model of mental disorder which the research must address. Secondly, the main criterion by which editors choose papers is whether they like them. Finally, the industry is antagonistic to criticism, whereas criticism is the essence of science: if there is no criticism, there is no progress, and if there is no progress, there is no science.
The relationship between the drug industry and the psychiatric publishing industry is another topic.

As it is presently constituted, the psychiatric publishing industry exists only to bolster the current, biological approach to mental disorder. It offers no guarantee whatsoever that the material being published is either valid or reliable.”

© Dr. Niall (Jock) McLaren

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Psychiatric Drugs Replacing Talk Therapy

As drugs move in, talk therapy moves out

By Erica Westly   

In the 1960s, the heyday of psychoanalysis, psychiatrists often saw their patients five days a week. But the number of psychiatrists today who focus on talk therapy is dwindling, according to a recent study that analyzed trends in psychiatry offices across the U.S. The study’s authors determined that between 1996 and 2005 the percentage of psychiatry office visits involving psychotherapy decreased from about 44.4 percent—already a significant decline from the 1980s—to 28.9 percent.

One of the main causes for this 35 percent reduction in psychotherapy, the study’s authors say, is the increasing availability of psychiatric medications with few adverse effects. As patient demand for these medications has increased over the years, they argue, many psychiatrists have had their hands full managing patients’ prescriptions, leaving the talk therapy—if it happens at all—to nonmedical therapists, such as psychologists and social workers. The authors suggest that insurance companies may encourage this arrangement by reimbursing less for psychotherapy sessions and more for medication management sessions, which tend to be shorter.

All these changes, the authors point out, have left psychiatrists wondering what their place is in the mental health field. “I think what these data show is a profession in transition,” says Mark Olfson, a psychiatrist and public health researcher at Columbia University and co-author of the study. “The role of the psychiatrist is changing, and the impact of that on patient outcomes is really an open question.”

Historically, psychiatrists have managed all aspects of patients’ care, and many psychiatrists who trained heavily in psychoanalytical techniques contend that such an all-­inclusive care model works best for patients. Others favor a split-care model, preferring to handle the medical side of patient care and delegating psychotherapy to nonmedical professionals. “We find there are really two kinds of psychiatrists now,” says Ramin Mojtabai, the study’s other author and a researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It is not yet clear whether one care model benefits patients more than the other does, although some studies indicate, at least for disorders such as depression, that a combination of both psychotherapy and medication works better than either treatment alone. So psychiatrists who want to be involved in their patients’ psychotherapy need to make some changes to keep treatment financially feasible for patients, Olfson says. Many psychiatrists have started forming group practices with psychologists, which allows them to play a role in their patients’ therapy with fewer reimbursement issues from insurance companies.

Both patients and clinicians stand to gain from an office environment that integrates the biomedical perspective of psychiatrists with the more behavioral perspective of psychologists, says Mojtabai, who holds degrees in both disciplines. “Psychologists and psychiatrists look at problems somewhat differently and can work well together to help the patient,” he notes.

Note: This article was originally printed with the title, “Psychiatry in Flux”.

Source: Scientific American

 

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Psychiatry & Big Pharma Influencing Universities


Dr. John Breeding, Ph.D. talk about major money flows from pharmaceutical companies and ethics conflicts of many professors at United States Universities. Professors in universities, who are paid consultants for drug companies are allowing these paid affiliations with Big Pharma to influence what they are teaching students.

Students are entering university at the age of 18 or so having already been put on psychiatric medication. What are the effects of this? How can this hinder education? For those who are students taking courses to become psychiatrists there is documented proof about the kinds of ways they are being taught to march to the drum of the big pharma agenda of biopsychiatry. There are test and exam questions that students are asked for grades that require students to compromise what they may believe and/or to compromise their ethical standards in order to provide the “right” answer – the answer that they need to give in order to pass these tests and exams. It gives a whole new twisted kind of meaning to what is “right” and what is “wrong”. Education, at the university level, may well, for those seeking to be doctors and psychiatrists, already be controlled by big pharma. Where does it end? Does it end? Will it end? Can an end be put to these practices?

 

Anatomy of an Epidemic – Psychiatric Drugs are Dangerous


Dr. John Breeding talks about the importance of that talks about what is happening with psychiatric drugs today. The marketing of biological psychology, that the problems of living are due to mental illness, that has all to do with chemical imbalances in the brain. The problem is that biopsychiatry and big pharma’s marketing to the public is put forth as science. That’s the story. They say that they understand mental illnesses and that they are brain disorders. This is what is being talked about and presented to students now. It is what is being marketed in mainstream media. Biopsychiatry’s putting forward psychiatric drugs as harmless and/or helpful is utter propaganda. These drugs are dangerous and debilitating.

 

 

In his book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker examines, “Why are so many more people disabled by mental illness than ever before?  Why are those so diagnosed dying 10-25 years earlier than others?  In Anatomy of an Epidemic investigative reporter Robert Whitaker cuts through flawed science, greed and outright lies to reveal that the drugs hailed as the cure for mental disorders instead worsen them over the long term.  But Whitaker’s investigation also offers hope for the future: solid science backs nature’s way of healing our mental ills through time and human relationships.  Whitaker tenderly interviews children and adults who bear witness to the ravages of mental illness, and testify to their newly found “aliveness” when freed from the prison of mind-numbing drugs.”—Daniel Dorman, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine and author of Dante’s Cure: A Journey Out of Madness

 

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What is Biopsychiatry actually treating?


There is no such thing as normal. How can abnormal be judged in any meaningful way when normal isn’t well-defined. What is biopsychiatry actually treating? The method of treatment is medication. But, what is the medication actually treating? Dispensing psychiatric medication to patients – mental health consumers – is treating the very diagnostic pathology whose criteria are defined and categorized in the DSM by a very select group from the very same profession. Who is regulating this? Any governing body other than the psychiatric profession supposedly regulating itself? Biopsychiatry is in bed with Big Pharma. Who can this possibly benefit? How can it be more about the well-being of patients than about the making of money?

Blowing a hole in the purported “science” of biopsychiatry is simple. The first premise you need to re-frame is that of mental illness and mental health. If they are constructs that don’t actually translate the way that psychiatry claims they do, then how do all of these categories of pathological mental illnesses even hold water?

There is no such thing as normal. Mental Illness is not the opposite of mental health or visa versa. All human experience is on a spectrum. There is balance toward the center of that spectrum and lack of balance at either end of it. The rest is arbitrary really. In the up-coming next version of the bible of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) psychiatry is adding some 20 new disorders. Everything will soon be thought to be a disorder, that guess what, Big Pharma will pass along their funded studies to biopsychiatry to market its pathology to the public in the name of selling more and more medications.

This is not treatment. It is abuse. Abuse of power. It is self-serving. It is “treatment” in the guise of the making of money off the backs of people who do need real human solutions to their real human problems and challenges.

 

 

 

If you’ve been treated by a psychiatrist where therapy is absent but prescriptions are routinely given I’d be interested in hearing from you as to whether you think you are getting any help or not. Are you feeling better? Are you making progress? Are you getting well? Can you feel anything with the meds you are on?

 

You can email me by clicking  on the link in the footer below this post at the bottom of the site.

 

 

© A.J. Mahari, August 9, 2010 – All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Ideas of Normalcy vs Mental Illness, Psychiatric Oppression, Big Pharma – Interview with Dr. John Breeding Ph.D.

Are you normal? Do the concepts of Mental Health and Mental Illness serve any purpose other than to divide people arbitrarily and cause people shame that alienates them from themselves? Does psychiatry today, and more specifically biopsychiatry even believe that anyone is or can be normal? What is normal? Many argue that biopsychiatry – the direction the psychiatric profession is taking in defining mental illlness as “brain disorder” or “brain disease” and then seeking to treat it with all kinds of medications, many that do way more harm than good, is predicated on labeling almost everyone with something which calls into question just what disordered means. Dr. John Breeding Ph.D. was my guest on The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show, Wednesday August 4th, live at 3pm EST. You can now listen to the archived interview here. Dr. Breeding talked about, among other things, psychiatric oppression and what mental health consumers really do need to know and think more about when it comes to what mental illness is and how it can be most effectively treated and coped with if it even is what it is thought by so many people to be.

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John Breeding PhD is a counselling psychologist from Austin, Texas USA. John is director of ‘Texans For Safe Education’, a citizen’s group dedicated to challenging the ever-increasing role of psychiatry, especially psychiatric drugs, in schools. He is also active on other challenges of psychiatric oppression, and is a steering committee member of the Coalition for the Abolition of Electroshock in Texas (CAEST), whose website is endofshock.com . His personal website, wildestcolts.com, is a great resource on parenting, psychology and psychiatry. Dr. Breeding obtained his doctorate in School Psychology from the University of Texas.

Dr. Breeding believes in empowering natural human development, especially in children and he disagrees with biopsychiatry and its over-diagnosing and over-medicating, people generally, but even moreso children, specifically.

LISTEN HERE either to the show live or the achive of the show after it has been recorded.

He is the author of three Chipmunka books which can be purchased on their site or also from amazon.com

He has written several other books on a variety of subjects. John is the father of two teenagers, Eric and Vanessa. Dr. Breeding does Public Speaking and Educational Workshops. He is available to speak or lead trainings and workshops on a variety of issues related to psychology and psychiatry. My fees are negotiable. Topics include but are not limited to: ¦Parenting and working with challenging young people -The Labeling and Psychiatric Drugging of Children – Human Growth and Transformation Psychological Distress and Natural Recovery, Psychiatric Oppression, including issues of coercion, psychiatric drugs and electroshock. You can find more information about psychiatric oppression on Dr. Breeding’s website at: Psychiatric Oppression

LISTEN HERE either to the show live or the achive of the show after it has been recorded.

LISTEN HERE either to the show live or the achive of the show after it has been recorded.

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Drug Withdrawal and Emotional Recovery

 

drjohnbreeding4.jpg

(The Rights Tenet: Winter 1998, published by NARPA (National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy).

Part of the big lie of biopsychiatry, and of our pill culture in general, is that you can avoid the basics of self-care by taking a drug. It is so tempting to embrace the illusion that you can escape responsibility for altering your lifestyle, that you can avoid the ruthless discipline that is necessary to live a decent life in a society which is so alienated and distressed. You have to sacrifice the fantasy that someone, or some doctor, or some drug is going to mate anything all better for you. The truth is that life is, in many ways, an arduous journey. And coming off psychiatric drugs can be a particularly intense part of that journey.

My own experience leads me to conclude that, as vital as is accurate information and common sense, emotional factors are what really holds people back from this crucial step toward self-empowerment. I will emphasize three particular qualities of attitude which are necessary to challenge and overcome forms of emotional distress that interfere with successful withdrawal from drugs and reclaiming of your power.

These three qualities are Hope, Courage, and Complete Self-Appreciation; they are specific antidotes to hopelessness, fear and shame. As I discuss this process of what might be most aptly called emotional recovery, I will be referring to and recommending that you receive the good attention of another safe, caring human being as you do this work. I will use the terms counseling and counselor, but please know that I mean this in a generic sense. A counselor is someone who sacrifices his or her own concerns for a little while to pay attention and listen to you. It can be a professional; it can also be a friend. I personally recommend the grassroots peer counseling organization called Re-Evaluation Counseling as one great source of theory and counseling support. Please know, however, that RC sometimes will not accept people who are on psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric survivor groups are another great resource. The important point here is that you don’t have to go through this alone; you need and deserve good counseling support.

 

Hope: We begin by facing our feelings of hopelessness. Disillusionment is absolutely necessary for recovery and well-being. Disillusionment of our fantasies about a magic rescuer or a magic pill hits us hard. It feels so often like hopelessness. Chronic hopelessness is pervasive in our society; it is a root cause of our whole scale abdication to the bankrupt theory of biopsychiatry, and the despair which leads millions upon millions of us to turn to drugs for ourselves and for our children as a solution to life. (See my book, The Wildest Colts Make The Best Horses, as a challenge to the mass psychiatric drugging of our children). Those of us who hurt enough to turn to psychiatry for help, and who were then hurt further by being labeled as biologically and/or genetically defective, and “treated’ with toxic drugs, understandably feel hopeless much of the time.

Within the framework of biopsychiatry, hopelessness is a rational response; after all, your condition is essentially incurable and you do need drugs to manage any decent kind of life at all. The good news, once again, is that it is a lie that you are defective, and it is a lie that you need drugs to treat your defect. Your condition is not hopeless.

It can get better: This simple sentence forms the basis of your recovery, any recovery in fact. Hope is the building block, and a necessary contradiction for times when we are overwhelmed with feelings of chronic hopelessness. It really can get better. We really do have natural, built-in ways of psychological healing. With good attention and adequate resource, anyone can reemerge from even the greatest distress and most extreme states of mind. On a practical level, it is a fact that, due to lack of understanding, there are times when we cannot gather enough resource to adequately help individuals in crisis in our society. Our current inability to help people in extreme states of mind is not because they have a psychiatric disease; it is simply because of the unavailability of sufficient resource.

It is helpful to know that, although in times of distress, it almost always feels like you can’t get enough, the truth is most of the time you can. The feeling is called a frozen need; it is a memory from childhood when we really did not get what we needed to thrive and develop as well as possible; our survival then truly was at stake. So even though it may and probably does feel like it’s never enough, you usually can get what you need. On a practical level, a key is to find support people who are relaxed and confident about your ability to recover, who trust in the goodness and wholeness of your inherent nature, and who see through the lies and illusions of biopsychiatry. It can get better, and you can get off the drugs.

Courage: Fear and shame are emotional qualities which pull us into victim-like attitude. These two emotions arc, I think, the most loyal forces of the opposition, acting as obstacles to liberation from the role of psychiatric patients in general, and freedom from psychiatric drug addiction in specific. Let’s take a look at fear. For many of us, certainly for those who have experienced the effects of coercive treatment or incarceration by psychiatry, terror is a more appropriate word. In any event, fear acts as a most potent force in decision-making for most of us.

I would venture to say that fear is the one greatest obstacle to successful withdrawal from psychiatric drugs. There is the fear of losing control, of going mad, that they might be right about me, that I’ll lose my job, that I won’t be able to function, that I’II end up back in the hospital, etc. This list goes on and on; the fear is enormous. My strong recommendation is that, if at all possible, you counsel extensively on your fear as a first step in making and acting on the decision to withdraw from psychiatric drugs. The next few paragraphs will help clarify why I so strongly advise you to do this.

Accurate information is, as always, a good place to start. First of all, it is important to validate the reality that many of these fears are not “paranoid delusions;” many of you do know that interface with our Mental Health System can be dangerous. You have been incarcerated, forcibly drugged, electroshocked, etc. A good place to start in counseling on fear about coming off drugs is to tell your story to a relaxed, confident and sympathetic listener. Tell your story many times, and really emphasize the details of your experiences with psychiatry and with drugs. Make a point of noticing the attention you are receiving from your counselor or friend; it is so important to know you are safe and that you are not alone in your courageous decision to work on this.

Secondly, just as with other types of emotional expression, release of fear is usually interpreted by psychiatry not as a healing process but as a disease symptom, evidence of the need for intervention and treatment of drugs. Once again, you’ve been given some bad information. Most people think of fear as a mental phenomenon having to do with irrational or unrealistic expectations about the future.

When psychiatry is not entirely biological in emphasis, the cognitive domain is often emphasized. Undoubtedly, there is some truth to it, and cognitive behavior modification (i.e., working on your self-talk) can be helpful. When it fails, however, I encourage you not to jump to the biopsychiatric conclusion that it’s because you really do have a genetic defect. What I’ve learned about fear is that it is less about our thoughts than our emotions, and less about anticipation of the future than memory of the past. Fear is a tension held in the body, a memory of past situations when we felt that our survival was in danger, and we were not allowed to release the fear in the way that is natural to us. When we are in danger, we get tense and we feel fear. This tension and this emotion stay with us until we are safe enough to let down our guard; then we release the fear. Fear is released in a specific way.

Light fear is often released by laughing and shaking. Heavy fear is discharged by shaking, trembling, cold sweat, and sometimes screaming. Many so-called psychiatric symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, night terrors, panic attacks, etc.) may be more helpfully viewed as spontaneous efforts of an overloaded body/mind to do what it is naturally designed to do; restore calm and equanimity by discharging fear from traumatic experiences. Some fear can be discharged alone, but experience shows that we usually need a supportive ally to help us work through fear. After all, our instinctual survival nature is geared to protect us from being overwhelmed.

Another useful direction is to talk about the upside of what your life will be like without drugs. Talk about how your body will feel, how clear your thinking will be, how you won’t have a dry mouth anymore, or of how great sex will be, or whatever. Allow yourself to imagine and share with your counselor all the wonderful benefits of being drug-free. At some point, you will want to go beyond this point and imagine and dream out loud about the very highest goals and visions you have for yourself.

As you talk about and remember your experiences of fear in the presence of a safe counselor, you will at some point find your body responding with its own natural ways of discharging the physical and emotional tensions of fear. You now know that you are safe to come out of numbing terror and release fear from your system. Focusing on the benign reality of your present situation is a most helpful direction: “now I’m safe,” “they can’t touch me now,” etc. One of the greatest contradictions to fear is closeness with another safe, warm human being.

Complete Self-Appreciation: Alongside fear, it seems that our greatest emotional obstacle to spiritual marturity and authentic power is this feeling we call shame. Shame is a word for the emotional experience that goes with thoughts that “I’m no good, inadequate, incompetent, not enough, stupid, unworthy, inferior, defective,” etc. In distinction from guilt, it is not that. I did something bad, but that “I am bad.” Shame feels awful and we are often most eager and willing to go to great lengths to avoid feeling shame; we prop ourselves up however we can, often by projecting contempt we’d rather not feel for ourselves onto some other person we can judge, scorn, criticize, or deem inferior. (The so-called “mentally ill” fill this scapegoat role to a great extent in our society). Another characteristic of shame is that it feels unbearable to be exposed. We want to hide and will go to great lengths to keep hidden those parts of ourselves which we reject and despise.

In working with shame, the first step is to give it a name. It is very important to give this feeling a name because it gives you a buffer against taking this lie in so deeply. Then you can say, “Oh, I’m having a shame attack;” that it’s not who you are, but a toxic feeling that you’re carrying. It still feels lousy, but now you’re in a position to work with it.

The next step is to challenge the pull to avoid exposure. Shame thrives in secrecy and cannot sustain itself when exposed to safe people who listen with respect and compassion and are delighted that you are getting free. The voice of shame, similar to the voice of biopsychiatry, will tell you that you are inherently defective in some way; the truth is that your feelings of shame are strictly an add-on. Shame is a feeling that you carry from having been treated shamefully; the feelings have nothing to do with the goodness of your inherent nature; they have everything to do with having been treated badly by someone who was projecting their own denied feelings onto you. When an adult says, “You are a bad child, you deserve to be punished,” what is actually happening is the end stage of the following process: 1)A child is called bad and punished by an adult; 2) the child internalizes both sides in this abuse of power; the message that “I am bad” and the energetic communication that “You are bad;”3) the child “splits off” and denies the experience and the feelings in the interests of self-preservation. The memory is banished into the unconscious mind; 4) the child grows into an adult; 5) the repressed energies of shame and abuse are restimulated around a child; 6) the unconscious feelings of shame are projected onto the child. Again in the interests of self-preservation, the adult will, given the choice, unconsciously identify with the powerful perpetrator of abuse rather than the powerless victim; 7) the child is then punished, “for her own good.” (See Alice Miller’s Banished Knowledge for an excellent description of this process.)

So, in order to recover and get free, you make a decision to expose your shame, to reveal the parts of yourself that you judge as despicable and unworthy. And as you do this with people who are supportive, understanding, and without judgment, the shame will melt away.

As you do this work of exposing shame and healing from its effects, the concept of shame reduction will be useful. Shame is not a part of your essence; it is a toxic add-on, and as with all toxins, the human organism always strives to discharge them from the system. This is equally true of psychological toxins as it is for physical poisons. Shame is not a part of who we really are; it is something we carry as a result of having been treated badly. Shame reduction refers to the process of unloading this carried shame.

Practically speaking, it means:

1) Naming the feeling as shame; 2) identifying the source of the feeling, including the specific individual(s); 3) holding that individual(s) accountable; and 4) returning the carried shame to the individual(s).

Shame reduction work often involves intense feelings of hurt and anger, which are inevitably bound up with shame. John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame that Binds You is one of the better resources for those who are interested in more detailed guidance about the work of shame reduction. I do want to mention that “holding the perpetrator accountable” does not necessarily mean that you have to confront the individual in the flesh. Often that individual is very different, perhaps 30 or more years older, from the individual who hurt you as a child. It is that “ghost” figure inside you.

So most of that work can be done inwardly or through role play. If you do decide that a physical confrontation is necessary, lots of counseling on it first is a good idea. For another perspective, you can check out Brad Blanton’s provocative book, Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life By telling the Truth. The bottom line is to do whatever it takes to reclaim your energy and your power, so that you can release these people from your psyche and not continue draining your energy into thoughts and feelings of victimization and revenge.

The last and most important direction for healing and recovery from shame is called complete self-appreciation. This is all about self-love, and it truly is the way out. Shame absolutely cannot abide residence in the presence of self-love. Singing, “A Song of Myself,’ to borrow the title of Walt Whitman’s epic poem, is the first, best, and last way to overcome shame. (See Dan Jones’ poem, “Shameless,” in my book, The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses, for a modern rendition). Everything from the simplest and most hating baby steps of loving kindness toward yourself to the most exalted and shameless boasting is great for this work. Spend lots of counseling time appreciating yourself.

Forgive yourself again and again for any and all judgments you place on yourself, and keep moving in the direction of loving kindness and compassionate self-care. You were born wonderful, always have been wonderful, and still are completely wonderful.

Guidelines: There really is no formula for doing your life’s work, nor for this particular piece of working through issues related to your decision whether to use psychiatric drugs. Nevertheless, I have suggested certain guidelines which have been shown to be useful. However, the actual process of recovery is totally unique, organic, and most definitely nor a linear experience. Here are some guidelines to support you in your decision to withdraw from psychiatric drugs:

1) Take exquisite care of yourself. Be practical; 2) See yourself through eyes of compassion; 3) Get the best information you can; 4) Establish the best support for yourself that you can; 5) Find a safe person to talk to; 6) Counsel on chronic hopelessness; 7) Tell your story in detail. 8. Counsel on fear of getting off drugs– be dramatic about what could happen; 9. Talk about what will be good about life without drugs; 10) Reach for closeness with your counselor; 11) Focus on how safe you are now; 12) Allow yourself to discharge the fear by laughing, shaking, trembling, and sweating; 13) Always remember that it is your decision whether or not to use drugs!

No one else is in your body, no one else has had your experience, no one else knows better that you what is the best decision for you. My purpose is not to say that you should get off drugs. It is to say that most people are on psychiatric drugs under false pretenses, and it is to say that there are inevitable consequences to drug use. First and foremost, my intention is to lend support to the possibility of your making a fully in-formed consent regarding any decision to use psychiatric drugs. This means that you know and understand that it is not a medicine for a biologically based mental illness. It is a decision about using mood-altering drugs, usually to slow down or speed up what is happening in your mind/body. You have every right, knowing the issues involved and the full range of drug effects, to decide that it is in your best interest to take a drug, or to continue taking a drug or drugs to which you are now addicted. Regardless of your decision, the good news about working on these issues is that emotional release often frees up your intelligence to make clearer decisions that are not based in fear or shame.

Speaking out: My final thoughts to share with you on this issue are based on a discovery I have made in my own life, and in my observations of the inspiring individuals I have come to know in the mental health liberation movement. I have had the privilege to watch and work with many people who identify themselves as psychiatric survivors, individuals who feel grievously harmed by psychiatry, who call themselves survivors, and who have become active in challenging the oppression they see in the Mental Health System. Withdrawal from drugs is one very specific and important example of personal recovery. It is also very much a political decision and action, overtly challenging and rejecting an ideology and a system of power. Tremendous courage is required.

Freedom from psychiatric drugs stands alone as an outstanding accomplishment for anyone who has become addicted to these drugs for whatever reason. Life appears to be set up, however, such that we can never rest on our laurels for long. There is always a next step, another level of recovery or personal growth. My own experience is that a huge past of reclaiming my power is about my willingness to speak the truth, to take a stand and speak out against oppression. I do not recommend that anyone go straight from drug withdrawal into political activism; learning and building a foundation of persona healing and compassionate self-care needs to be top priority. Speaking to safe people and discharging should come before going public. Liberation from the effects of psychiatric abuse can be so scary; it is vitally important to have good support and strong allies. Organizations like Support Coalition International and The National Empowerment Center are important to connect with.

Nevertheless, what I have observed is that speaking out publicly and lending a hand and a voice against oppression is a necessary step to a full-bodied recovery. The activist survivors that I know are living examples of this truth. Each of us does this in our own unique way. Just know that speaking out at some point will greatly facilitate your own personal growth. Besides, we really need your help.

 

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Biopsychiatry – Mental Illness as “Brain Disease” – the major problem with modern psychiatry

Have you heard that mental illness, according to some in the profession of psychiatry (mainly in the United States) is “brain disease”? What do you think? Is it a coincidence that many studies aiding in these theories of what is known as biopsychiatry are being made on the basis of the outcomes of studies that are largely funded by pharmaceutical companies in the United States? Do you think that all psychiatrists or even all psychologists agree with this un-proven conclusion? Many do not agree. One very well known opponent of his own profession’s all-too-common practice in recent years is Australian psychiatrist, Dr. Niall (Jock) McLaren. I interviewed Dr. McLaren on Friday July 23, 2010, at 7pm EST on The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show on blogtalkradio.com

Niall (Jock) McLaren, MD, is an Australian psychiatrist, author and theoretician. His work opposes the mainstream view in psychiatry to the extent that he argues modern psychiatry has no scientific basis whatsoever. However, he insists that he is not “anti-psychiatry,” but a committed scientist following his duty of criticizing the prevailing models in his field in order to improve it. He is the author of the two books, Humanizing Madness: Psychiatry and the Cognitive Neurosciences. 2007; and Humanizing Psychiatry: The Biocognitive Model. 2009. He is working on another book due out later this year.

“McLaren has never held an academic post and has had practically no involvement in teaching, either medical students or post-graduate trainees in psychiatry. At the beginning of his training in psychiatry, he was interested in the biology of mental disorders but soon realized that many of the claims being made by biological psychiatrists were simply not supported by the state of neurosciences. At the same time, he developed an interest in psychotherapy and delved into psychoanalysis but soon reached the same conclusion, that analysts were making claims which went beyond the available evidence. In particular, he noted the way they quoted from Freud, analysed the quote and determined it was correct. This led him directly to the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mind, as well as studies in history and epistemology. When he was accepted as a PhD candidate, he had no training or qualifications in philosophy but was required to complete several philosophy units before proceeding. His books are the culmination of a long and, he says, lonely journey. The response of mainstream psychiatry in Australia to his work ranges from indifference to hostility. The author does not claim to be “anti-psychiatry.” As a psychiatrist with 35 years diverse experience in difficult and remote areas (including extensive work with veterans and aboriginals), he insists his interest lies in building the foundations for a better psychiatry: “A critical analysis of the logical status of modern psychiatry shows that psychiatry has no rational basis to its practice, its teaching and its research. At best, it is a protoscience.” In his view modern psychiatry is currently operating within the Kuhnian realm of “normal science.” He regards psychoanalysis and behaviorism as historical aberrations, eighty-year deviations which could have been averted if psychiatrists had looked critically at what was being offered.”

“Similarly, he argues that biological psychiatry is “mere scientism,” the inappropriate application of scientific methods and procedures to questions with no empirical content. The claim that mental disorder can be reduced to a matter of brain disorder is, he insists, a metaphysical claim which cannot be resolved by brain scans or blood tests: “The claim that all mental disorder is due to a chemical imbalance of the brain is an ideological claim, where ideology preconceives reality.” He emphasizes that the major problem with modern psychiatry is that it lacks a unified model of the mind and has become entrapped in a biological reductionist paradigm. The reasons for this biological shift are intuitive as reductionism has been very effective in other fields of science and medicine. However, despite reductionism’s efficacy in explaining the smallest parts of the brain this does not explain the mind, which is where he contends the majority of psychopathology stems from. An example would be that every aspect of a computer can be understood scientifically down to the very last atom, however this does not reveal the program that drives this hardware.” (Source – Wikipedia)

Personality Disorder – (From Wikipedia – by Paige Lovitt )

[In his book Humanizing Psychiatry] “He begins with defining personality as “the distinguishing, habitual forms of interaction between the individual and her environment in the stable, adult modes of behavior…personality just is a set of rules” and argues that previous methods of defining personality are but mere typologies (i.e., personality as described by behaviorism). Typologies do not describe or determine the roots of personality but merely put personality into groupings which can then predict future actions based on previous actions. From a psychiatry perspective this falls short because the therapist’s goal is to modify behavior by reconciling the personality and guiding it.

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However, the output of personality is not static and can vary depending upon the situation and the largely unconscious rules which guide it. An example in the book reveals “consider Mr. James Smith, a man of normal intellect and no compelling idiosyncrasies, who is sitting quietly on a park bench somewhere. He brings to his bench a personal background, a huge, rich history of events dating almost from the day he was born. His head is full of rules derived from his myriad life experiences, some of which he could tell you but most of which he couldn’t. These rules amount to his personality (note I didn’t say rules are identical with personality,; a generative mechanism is not the same as its output, of which more later). When something happens near him, his reaction is determined by a high-speed and unreportable interaction between what he sees and his unique set of rules. some of his rules are more or less fixed and won’t vary much from one year to the next, but some are more fluid, even a little unpredictable. If, today, a man comes past and asks him for money, Mr. Smith may be inclined to smile indulgently and hand over a few coins. However, another day, he may have had an argument with his wife or his boss and not be feeling so chipper; this time, the same wheedling request may elicit only a snarl to get a haircut and a job. His personality hasn’t changed, and the inconsistency doesn’t mean he has a personality disorder, he’s just being normal. Normality is a huge, multidimensional range and behavior is only disordered at the extremes.” Additionally, since personality is guided by rules coded in memory “therefore, anything that interferes with memory can affect the rules we call personality, and anything that affects current computational capacity will affect the application of those rules.”

Personality disorder is then defined, “if the rules governing a person’s life are internally inconsistent, or there are so many of them that he can’t reach a decision, or they generate disabling emotions or cause repeated conflict with his neighbors, then we say he has a personality disorder.” However, the major problem with personality disorders is that the “distorted rules give rise to the disordered behavior and generates an output state which serves to reinforce the rules. That is, either directly or indirectly, the individual’s behavior or emotions are such as to convince him that his beliefs or rules are correct (therefore creating a positive feedback loop of psychopathology, ie a vicious cycle). Of course, he doesn’t refer to them as rules; he simply knows what is right.” The author lists several examples but one of widespread significance is “I’m stupid, ugly and worthless. I hate myself.” which leads to “if my girlfriend looks at another man, she’s probably thinking of leaving me.””

The author argues that the path of mental wellness should involve replacing destructive rules with more adaptive standards. He contends that in general religion, the Freudian model, relaxation therapy, and many other therapies fall short because they seek to “suppress the output without changing the pathological factors generating the output.”

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Don’t Drug Them First – Children, ADHD & Drugs – Dr. Rapp

Why is the first choice when children have attention problems, behaviour problems, and/or other symptoms or issues for biopsychiatry to be only too-happy to jump in quickly and not only diagnose children with an increasing and alarming amount of diagnositic labels such as ADD, ADHD, and so on, but also why are they so quick to give them drugs, drugs that are much more dangerous than most people realize? Dr. Doris Rapp, M.D. believes that many of what biopsychiatry views as mental health disorders are difficulties that result from environmental sensitivity or allergies.


Doris J. Rapp, M.D. founder of the Health Research Foundation is committed to educating both the public and health professionals about the distressing physical and behavioral changes that frequently disrupt the lives and well-being of children and adults. “The more we know, the more we can protect ourselves and our loved ones by taking some often easy and inexpensive precautions. We simply have to make better choices.”

Center for Health and Hope Website : http://www.acenterforhealthandhope.com/

Dr. Rapp has dedicated her life to providing research, information and solutions for those affected by the typical and less frequently recognized forms of allergies. New suggestions will help entire families and those who seek to treat them more quickly and effectively. Today, through the Health Research Foundation, she hopes to conduct breakthrough studies into the underlying causes of hyperactivity, allergies, autism, and memory loss . “We also want to make doctor visits and vitamins available to low income and underserved populations who suffer from so many symptoms, but cannot afford what will help them. We also hope to disseminate fast easy helpful ways so many can cope more effectively.

Dr. Rapp is adamant that the best choice of therapy for inappropriate behavior and activity in children is not another “off-label” drug that has not been proven safe for children. There are better practical, simple, fast and inexpensive choices to many of the challenging physical, emotional, behavioral and memory problems that are much to prevalent at the present time. A change in diet, an air purifier and getting rid of chemicals in the home can turn around in a few days or a week or two the lives of many.

It is through the Health Research Foundation that Dr. Doris Rapp hopes to continue inspiring everyone’s awareness about the relation of the environment and our health and well being.

She has a three-fold mission:

  • To inform the public and educate medical doctors about health issues, i.e. environmental health issues.
  • Conduct research to find better, faster, easier, less expensive and safer ways to help children and their families.
  • To help underprivileged children obtain the specific healthcare they need.
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    Please visit: dorisrappmd.com for more information.

     

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    The Rise of the Hegemony known as biologic psychiatry

    As a practicing psychiatrist, I have watched with growing dismay and outrage the rise and triumph of the hegemony known as biologic psychiatry. Within the general field of modern psychiatry, biologism now completely dominates the discourse on the causes and treatment of mental illness, and in my view this has been a catastrophe with far-reaching effects on individual patients and the cultural psyche at large. It has occurred to me with forcible irony that psychiatry has quite literally lost its mind, and along with it the minds of the patients they are presumably supposed to care for. Even a cursory glance at any major psychiatric journal is enough to convince me that the field has gone far down the road into a kind of delusion, whose main tenets consist of a particularly pernicious biologic determinism and a pseudo-scientific understanding of human nature and mental illness.

    By David Kaiser, M.D. from Psychiatric Times

    As a practicing psychiatrist, I have watched with growing dismay and outrage the rise and triumph of the hegemony known as biologic psychiatry. Within the general field of modern psychiatry, biologism now completely dominates the discourse on the causes and treatment of mental illness, and in my view this has been a catastrophe with far-reaching effects on individual patients and the cultural psyche at large. It has occurred to me with forcible irony that psychiatry has quite literally lost its mind, and along with it the minds of the patients they are presumably supposed to care for. Even a cursory glance at any major psychiatric journal is enough to convince me that the field has gone far down the road into a kind of delusion, whose main tenets consist of a particularly pernicious biologic determinism and a pseudo-scientific understanding of human nature and mental illness.

    The purpose of this piece is not to attempt a full critique or history of this occurrence, but to merely present some of the glaring problems of this movement, as I believe significant harm is being done to patients under the guise of modern psychiatric treatment. I am a psychiatrist trained in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and I use both psychotherapy and medications in my approach to patients. I state these facts to make it clear that this is not an antipsychiatry tract, and I am speaking from within the field of psychiatry, although I find it increasingly impossible to identify with this profession, for reasons which will become clear below.

    Biologic psychiatrists as a whole are unapologetic in their view that they have found the road to the truth, namely that mental illnesses for the most part are genetic in origin and should be treated with biologic manipulations, i.e., psychoactive medications, electroconvulsive treatment (which has made an astounding comeback), and in some cases psychosurgery. Although they admit a role for environmental and social factors, these are usually relegated to a secondary status. Their unquestioning confidence in their biologic paradigms of mental illness is truly staggering.

    In my opinion, this modern version of the ideology of biologic/genetic determinism is a powerful force that demands a response. And when I use the word ideology here, I mean it in it’s most pernicious form, i.e., as a discourse and practice of power whose true motivations and sources are hidden to the public and even to the practitioners themselves, and which causes real harm to the patients at the receiving end.

    Biologic psychiatry as it exists today is a dogma that urgently needs to be unmasked. One of the surest signs that dogmatists are at work here is that they rarely question or attempt to problemitize their basic assumptions. In fact, they seem blissfully unaware that there is a problem here. They act in seeming unawareness that they are caught up in larger historical and cultural forces that underwrite their entire “scientific” edifice.

    These forces include the medicalization of all public discourse on how to live our lives, a growing cultural denial of psychic pain as inherent in living as human beings, the well-known American mixture of ahistoricism and belief in limitless scientific progress, and the growing power of the pharmaceutical and managed care industries. These self-proclaimed visionaries, oblivious to all of this, boast of real scientific progress over what they consider to be the dogma of psychoanalysis, which had up until recently reigned as psychiatry’s premier paradigm.

    Now, it is not my intention to defend psychoanalysis, which had its own unfortunate excesses, although I do use psychoanalytic principles in the kind of psychotherapy I do. However, it is quite clear to me that the grandiose claims of biologic psychiatry are wildly overstated, unproved and essentially self-serving. Biologic psychiatry has had its successes, particularly with recent antidepressants like Prozac and newer antipsychotic medications such as Clozaril. Medications can effectively improve depression, relieve severe anxiety, stabilize serious mood swings and lessen psychotic symptoms. These successes are real in that they improve the quality of life of patients who are genuinely suffering. But in reality, i.e., the reality of treating patients, medications have profound limitations. I know that if the only tool I had in treatment was a prescription pad, I would be a poor psychiatrist. The center of treatment will always need to be listening to and speaking with the patients coming to me. This means listening seriously to what they say about their lives and history as a whole, not merely listening for which symptoms might respond to medications. Although it seems astounding that I would have to state this, biologic psychiatrists as a whole really only listen to that portion of the patient’s discourse that corresponds to their biologic paradigms of mental illness. It is the nature of dogma that its practitioners hear only what they want to hear.

    So what are the limitations of biologic psychiatry? First of all, medications lessen symptoms, they do not treat mental illness per se. This distinction is crucial. Symptoms by definition are the surface presentation of a deeper process. This is self-evident. However, there has been a vast and largely unacknowledged effort on the part of modern (i.e., biologic) psychiatry to equate symptoms with mental illness.

    For example the “illness” major depression is defined by its set of specific symptoms. The underlying “cause” is presumed to be a biologic/genetic disturbance, even though this has never been proven in the case of depression. The errors in logic here are clear. A set of symptoms is given a name such as “major depression,” which defines it as an “illness,” which is then “treated” with a medication, despite the fact that the underlying cause of the symptoms remains completely unknown and essentially untreated. I have seen repeatedly that, for example, in the case of depression, once medications lessen the symptoms, I am still sitting across from a suffering patient who wants to talk about his unhappiness. This process of equating symptoms with illnesses has been repeated with every diagnostic category, culminating in perhaps one of the greatest sophistries psychiatry has pulled off in its illustrious history of sophistries, namely the creation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (currently in its fourth incarnation under the name DSM-IV), the bible of modern psychiatry.

    In it are listed all known “mental disorders,” defined individually by their respective symptom lists. Thus mental illnesses are equated with symptoms. The surface is all there is. The perverse beauty of this scheme is that if you take away a patient’s symptoms, the disorder is gone. For those who do serious work with patients, this manual is useless, because for me it is simply irrelevant what name you give to a particular set of symptoms. It is an absolute myth created by modern psychiatry that these “disorders” actually exist as discrete entities that have a cause and treatment. This is essentially a pseudo-scientific enterprise that grew out of modern psychiatry’s desire to emulate modern medical science, despite the very real possibility that psychic pain, because of its existential nature, may always elude the capture of modern medical discourse and practice.

    Despite its obvious limitations, the DSM-IV has become the basis for psychiatric training and research. Its proponents claim it is a purely phenomenological document stripped of judgments and prejudices about the causes of mental illness. What in fact it has done is the defining and shaping of a vast industry of research designed to validate the existing diagnostic categories and to find ways to lessen symptoms, which basically has meant biologic research. Virtually all of the major psychiatric journals are now about this, and as such I find them useless to help me deal with real patients. Patients are suffering from far more than symptoms. Symptoms are the signs and clues to direct us to the real issues. If you take away the symptoms too quickly with medications or suggestion, you lose the opportunity to help a patient in a more profound way. As an aside, modern psychiatrists, because they have forgotten or dismissed the real power of transference, vastly underestimate the extent to which symptom reduction is caused by mere suggestion. Not that patients should be left to suffer needlessly from what are often crippling symptoms. Relief from symptoms is a part of treatment. Modern psychiatry would have us believe that this is all treatment should be. Meaning, desire, loss and death are no longer the province of the psychiatrist. In this process patients are reduced to something less than fully human, as they become an abstract collection of symptoms without meaning to be “managed” by technicians called psychiatrists.

    This is in the service of medical progress and enlightened scientific thought. The biologic psychiatrist will not make the mistake of imposing their value systems on patients like in the bad old psychoanalytic days. This is, of course, a sham. Modern psychiatry now foists on patients the view that their deepest and most private ills are now medical problems to be managed by physician-psychiatrists who will take away their symptoms and return them to “normal functioning.” This is more than a bit malignant.

    One of the dominant discourses that runs through the DSM-IV and modern psychiatry in general is the equating of mental health with “normal” functioning and adaptation. There is a barely concealed strain of a specific form of Utopianism here which blithely announces that our psychic ills are primarily biologic and can be removed from our lives without difficulty, leaving us better adapted and more productive.

    What is left completely out, of course, are any notions that our psychic ills are a reflection of cultural pathology. In fact, this new biologic psychiatry can only exist to the extent it can deny not only the truths of psychoanalysis, but also the truths of any serious cultural criticism. It is then no surprise that this psychiatry thrives in this country presently, where such denials are rampant and deeply embedded.

    I am constantly amazed by how many patients who come to see me believe or want to believe that their difficulties are biologic and can be relieved by a pill. This is despite the fact that modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness. However, this does not stop psychiatry from making essentially unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin, and that it is only a matter of time until all this is proven. This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naive and perhaps delusional.

    As in any dogma, there is no perspective within biologic psychiatry that can effectively question its own motives, basic beliefs and potential blind spots. And thus, as in any dogma, there is no way for the field to curb its own excesses, or to see how it might be acting out certain specific cultural fantasies and wishes. The rise and fall of biologic determinism in a culture likely has complicated and interesting causes, which are beyond the scope of this paper. A few comments will have to suffice.

    This is a culture increasingly obsessed with medical science and medical health as a sign of virtue. It is not surprising that our psychic ills would be pulled into this dominant medical discourse, essentially medicalizing our specific forms of psychic pain. It seems to me that modern psychiatry, in step with a culture which created it, assumes any suffering to be unequivocally bad, an impediment to the “good life” of progress, productivity and progress. It is now almost heresy in psychiatry to say that perhaps suffering can teach us something, deepen our experience, or point us to different possibilities.

    Now, if you are depressed or anxious, it has no real meaning, because as a biologic illness similar to say diabetes, it is separate from the world of meaning and merely is. Now any thoughtful person knows that something as fundamental as depression has meanings such as loss, facing mortality, unlived desires, lack of power or control, etc., and that these meanings will continue to exist even if Prozac makes us feel better. There is much more to life than feeling better or living without pain, and only a superficial and pathologic culture would need to deny this. Yet conclusions such as “depression is a chemical imbalance” are created out of nothing more than semantics and the wishful thinking of scientist/psychiatrists and a public who will believe anything now that has the stamp of approval of medical science.

    It seems to me that modern psychiatry is acting out a cultural fantasy having to do with the wish for an omniscient authority who, armed with modern science, will magically take away the suffering and pain inherent in existing as human beings, and that rather than refusing this projection (which psychoanalysts were better able to do), modern psychiatry has embraced the role wholeheartedly, reveling in its new-found power and cultural legitimacy.

    I would be remiss if I left out the obvious economic factors in psychiatry’s movement toward the biologic. Pharmaceutical corporations now contribute heavily to psychiatric research and are increasingly present and a part of psychiatric academic conferences. There has been little resistance in the field to this, with the exception of occasional token protest, despite its obvious corrosive and corrupting effects.

    It is as if psychiatry, long marginalized by science and the rest of medicine because of its “soft” quality, is now rejoicing in its new found legitimacy, and thus does not have the will to resist its own degradation. The fact that drug companies embrace and fund this new psychiatry is cause enough for alarm. Equally telling is a similar embrace by the managed care industry, which obviously likes its quick-fix approach and simplistic approach to complicated clinical problems.

    When I talk to a managed care representative about the care of one of my patients, they invariably want to know what medications I am using and little else, and there is often an implication that I am not medicating aggressively enough. There is now a growing cottage industry within psychiatry in advocating ways to work with managed care, despite the obvious fact that managed care has little interest in quality care and realistic treatment approaches to real patients. This financial pressure by managed care contributes added pressure for psychiatry to go down a biologic road and to avoid more realistic treatment approaches.

    What this means in real terms is that psychotherapy is left out. There has thus been a triple partnership created between this new psychiatry, drug companies and managed care, each part supporting and reinforcing the other in the pursuit of profits and legitimacy. What this means to the patients caught in this squeeze is that they are increasingly overmedicated, denied access to psychotherapy and diagnosed with fictitious disorders, leaving them probably worse off in the long run.

    It is quite depressing to listen to the discourse of modern psychiatry. In fact, it has become embarrassing to me. One gets the strong impression that patients have become abstractions, black boxes of biologic symptoms, disconnected from the narratives of their current and past lives. This pseudo-scientific discourse is shot through with insecurity and pretension, creating the illusion of objectivity, an inevitable march of progress beyond the hopeless subjectivity of psychoanalysis. Psychotherapy is dismissed and relegated to nonmedical therapists.

    I actually have no objections to real science in the field, if, for example, it can help me make better medication decisions or develop newer and better medications. But in general biologic psychiatry has not delivered on its grandiose and utopian claims, as today’s collection of medications are woefully inadequate to address the complicated clinical issues that come before me every day. This is all not terribly surprising given what I have outlined in this piece. There will be no substitute for the difficult work of engaging with patients at the level of their lived experience, of helping patients piece together meaning and understanding in the place of their pain, fragmentation and confusion.

    Patients these days are not suffering from “biologic illnesses.” What I generally see is patients suffering from current or past violence, traumatic loss, loss of power or control over their lives and the effects of cultural fragmentation, isolation and impoverishment that are specific to this culture at this time. How this manifests in any individual is absolutely specific; therefore, one should resist any attempt to generalize or classify, as science forces us to do. Once you go down the route of generalization, you have ceased listening to the patient and the richness of their lived experience.

    Unfortunately what I also see these days are the casualties of this new biologic psychiatry, as patients often come to me with many years of past treatment. Patients having been diagnosed with “chemical imbalances” despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and that there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like. Patients with years of medication trials which have done nothing except reify in them an identity as a chronic patient with a bad brain. This identification as a biologically-impaired patient is one of the most destructive effects of biologic psychiatry.

    Modern psychiatrists seem unaware of what psychoanalysts know well, namely how powerful are the words that a patient hears from an authority figure like a psychiatrist. The opportunity here for suggestion, coercion and manipulation are quite real. Patients are often looking to psychiatrists for answers and definitions as they struggle with questions such as who am I or what is happening to me. Of course we all struggle with these questions, and the human condition is such that there are no definitive answers, and anyone who comes along claiming they have answers is essentially a fraud.

    Biologic psychiatry promises easy answers to a public hungry for them. To give a patient nothing but a diagnosis and a pill demonstrates arrogance, laziness and bad faith on the part of the psychiatrist. Any psychiatrist needs to be continually aware of the very real possibility that they are or can easily become agents of social control and coercion.

    The way to resist this is to refuse to take on the role assigned through cultural fantasy, namely the role of omniscient dispenser of magical potions. As a whole modern biologic psychiatry has enacted this role with particular vigor and enthusiasm. At the level of individual patients this means a growing number of overdiagnosed, overmedicated and disarticulated people less able to define and control their own identities and lives. At the level of our culture this has meant an impoverishment of the discourse around such questions as what is wrong with us, as “scientific” answers replace more potentially fruitful and truthful psychological and cultural questioning. If psychiatry is to regain any semblance of legitimacy and integrity, it must strip itself of false and hubristic scientific claims and humbly submit itself to the urgent task of listening to individual patients with patience and intelligence. Only then can we have any real sense of what to say back to them.

    The sole philosophic basis for this new psychiatry is the championing of empiricism above all other measures of truth. Something is valid only if it can be demonstrated through experimental method, otherwise it is disregarded or relegated to “subjective” experience, which is presumed to be inferior. Now, of course, this dominance of empiricism is not limited to psychiatry, and one can easily trace the invasion of the experimental method of the “hard” sciences into the “soft” or social sciences.

    On a larger cultural level this can be detected in the public’s infatuation with “studies,” statistics and so on. This hegemony of empiricism over other ways of thinking and knowing represents an unprecedented modern achievement which has thoroughly infiltrated the cultural psyche, to the point now where the average person believes easily the claims of the biologic psychiatrist.

    Now as is clear from my views already expressed, a social science dominated by empiricism is a vulgar science, and there is a vast tradition in philosophy from Plato to Nietzsche which in my view irrefutably demonstrates this. However this is well beyond the scope of this piece. Suffice it to say that modern psychiatrists, like all “scientists” these days, have no time for the basic philosophic questions that have engaged the most brilliant minds of the past. Who needs questions about virtue when there is important data to collect? These biologic psychiatrists never think to ask themselves whether their own precious methods are perhaps standing on very shaky ground, say their own disavowed prejudices about what constitutes the good life.

    Empiricism is one way of knowing, but certainly not the only or best way. Biologic psychiatrists often use the standards of empiricism to answer their critics, in effect saying that their claims are scientifically “proven” and thus unassailable, clearly a tautological argument. I would further add that in my view many of the claims of biologic psychiatry do not even hold up to their own standards of empirical science, for example their claims about the biologic and genetic basis of many mental illnesses.

    In my view, the methods of experimental science are inappropriate and misplaced when it comes to understanding the complexity of the human psyche, as they can only objectify the mind and remove subjectivity from the heart of human experience, thus creating an abstract entity in place of a human mind. It is no wonder that psychiatry declared the 1980s the decade of the brain instead of the decade of the mind. In their pursuit of the human brain they have quite literally lost their minds.

    One way to unmask the dogma that is biologic psychiatry is to ask the question what kind of human being is being posited as desirable, “normal,” or not disordered. Judging by the DSM-IV, it would be a person not depressed or anxious, without perversions or sexual “dysfunction,” in touch with “reality,” not alienated from society, adapted to their work, not prone to excessive feeling states and generally productive in their life pursuits. This is, of course, the bourgeois ideal of modern culture. We will all fit in, produce and consume and be happy about it. Anyone who dissents by choice or nature slips into the realm of the disordered or pathologic, is then located as such by medical science and is then subject to social management and control.

    Now, psychiatry has always provided this social function, as admirably shown by Foucault and others. I would submit, however, that modern psychiatry, under the guise of medical and “scientific” authority and legitimacy, has surpassed all past attempts by psychiatry to identify and control dissent and individual difference. It has done this by infiltrating the cultural psyche, a psyche already vulnerable to any kind of medical discourse, to the point where it is a generally accepted cultural notion now that, say, depression is an illness caused by a chemical imbalance.

    Now when a person becomes depressed, for example, they are less able to read it or interpret it as a sign that there may be a problem in their life that needs to be looked at or addressed. They are less able to question their life choices, or question for example the institutions that surround them. They are less able to fashion their own personal or cultural critique which could potentially lead them to more fruitful directions. Instead they identify themselves as ill and submit to the correction of a psychiatrist, who promises to take away the depression so they can get back to their lives as they are. In short, the very meanings of unhappiness are being redefined as illness. In my view this is a dismaying cultural catastrophe. I do not mean to suggest that psychiatry is solely to blame for this, given how wide a cultural shift this is. However, I do think that psychiatry has not only not resisted its role here, but actually has fulfilled it with considerable hubris.

    Thus in my view the whole phenomenon of biologic psychiatry is itself a symptom or acting out of a larger, underlying cultural process. Unhappiness and suffering are not seen as resulting from real cultural conditions; for example, the collapse of traditional institutions and the ever increasing hegemony of rampant consumerism in American culture.

    Nor is suffering seen in the context of what it means to exist as a human being in any historical period. Historical and existential discourse about unhappiness is increasingly supplanted by medical discourse, and biologic psychiatry has served as one of the major mouthpieces for this kind of pseudo-scientific and frankly pathetic medical discourse about what ails us.

    I am increasingly astonished about how unable the average patient is now to articulate reasons for their unhappiness, and how readily they will accept a “medical” diagnosis and solution if given one by a narrow-minded psychiatrist. This is a cultural pathologic dependence on medical authority. Granted, there are patients who do fight this kind of definition and continue to search for better explanations for themselves which are less infantilizing, but in my experience this is not common. There is a frightening choking off of the possibility for dissent and creative questioning here, a silencing of very basic questions such as “what is this pain?” or “what is my purpose?” Modern psychiatry has unconscionably participated in this pathology for its own gain and power. It is a moral, not scientific issue at stake here, and in my view this is why many astute Americans rightfully distrust this new psychiatry and its Utopian claims about happiness through medical progress.

    So what kind of psychiatry am I advocating here? First of all, I think it is unclear whether the field can extricate itself from its current infatuation with technology and its own power to use it. When one reads psychiatric journals now, one senses a dangerous giddiness about the field’s “discoveries” and “progress,” which in my view are wildly and irresponsibly overstated. All the momentum, which is mainly economically driven, is pushing psychiatry toward further biologism.

    Having said this, what I am advocating is a psychiatry which devotes itself humbly to the task of listening to patients in a way that other medical practitioners cannot. This means paying close attention to a patient’s current and past narrative without attempting to control, manipulate or define it. From this position a psychiatrist can then assist the patient in raising relevant questions about their lives and pain.

    The temptation to provide answers or false solutions should be absolutely avoided here. Medications are used judiciously for lowering painful symptoms, with considerable attention paid to the psychological effects of medication treatment. Diagnosis should play a secondary and small role here, given that little is known about what these diagnoses actually mean. Above all suggestion, coercion, normalization and control need to be assiduously guarded against, as these are natural temptations that arise out of the dynamics of power that exist between psychiatrist and patient.

    A more humane psychiatry, if it is even possible in today’s cultural climate, must recognize the powerful potential of the uses and abuses of power if it is not to become a tool of social control and normalization. As I have outlined in this piece, these abuses of power are by no means always obvious and self-evident, and their recognition requires rigorous thought and self-examination. The psychiatrist plays a particular role in cultural and individual fantasies, and an intelligent psychiatrist must be aware of the complexity of these fantasies if he is to act in a position outside these projections and fantasies. This requires real moral awareness on the part of a psychiatrist who wishes to act intelligently. What I am advocating for in outline form as stated previously are the minimal requirements necessary for the field of psychiatry to reverse its current degradation. What is essential at this time is for psychiatrists and other clinicians to speak out against the ideology known as biologic psychiatry.

    Dr. Kaiser is in private practice in Chicago, and is affiliated with Northwestern University Hospital

     

     

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    Psychiatry – Making a Killing

    Source: Truthfultv on YouTube.com


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