They’re gonna kill, kill your kids

A news item out of Portsmouth New Hampshire runs, Story of patient without available bed all too common. I’d say the story of patient with available bed all too common as well, but get a load of the example used!

“My son is 22 years old and he has had 11 jobs since the age of 18 because of substance abuse and mental illness. He has been going to the doctor since the age of 4. We literally had to fight the system for eight months to help him get assistance,” one member of the F Group said during a break-out session facilitated by a person with Portsmouth Listens. “In April he went to the state hospital. It was very difficult for me. I can’t imagine a person with mental illness getting through the system.

 Emboldened emphasis added.

 How many fingers?! Four! Isn’t that kind of young to receive a “mental illness” label and all the abuse that goes along with it? Not to mention…drugs? Just two years after the terrible twos, while passing through his fearsome fours, whap, right on  the butt cheek, “illness”.

This brings us to our next point, passing through. A person with a “mental illness” label who doesn’t “get through” the system, isn’t passing through the system. He’s stuck in the system. Perhaps permanently. Staying in the system is not recovery from an alleged “mental illness”, nor is it recovery from intervention and its consequences.

 They said their son was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder at 4, but it took until he was 21 to get help.

Their son was disobedient and defiant. Their son was a rebel. Their son was a child. Duh. Therefore, psychiatric label and drugs, and the consequences of labeling and drugging. At 22 years of age, this arguably adult kid, who initially was merely rebellious, as many kids are, especially when they reach their pubescent teens, would be described as a “chronic” head case.

 The article goes onto “describe ODD” seeing it “as a pattern of anger-guided disobedience, hostility, and defiant behavior towards authority figures which goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behavior” as delineated in the shrink’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

 My point, if you want a really, really, really bad child rearing manual, turn to the DSM. All the kids found in this manual are crazy by definition.

 “Thirty-five years ago you couldn’t say the word ‘cancer.’ It was a dirty word. It meant you were going to die. Now you can’t go a day without seeing a fundraiser or a run for cancer,” [Jim] Noucas [co-chair of Portsmouth Listens] told all of the participants at the beginning of the session. “It is time to take mental health out of the shadows and that is why we are here today.”

 Long hush.

 Given the men and women in their spanking white lab coats, I wouldn’t step from the shadows if I were you. Not just yet.

 Perhaps we are turning the world into a carcinogen. Additionally, give me a rhyme for carcinogen. Oh, yeah. Loony bin works. I think the pollutants, both chemical and cognitive, can seem pretty oppressive at times.

Maryland Hopes To Get The Potentially Potentially Violent Into Treatment

The U.S. government has been very successful in its effort to lay the blame for mass violence on pathology rather than individuals. The disturbed individual is no longer an individual. He or she now has a psychiatric label, whether bestowed by a doctor or a newspaper reporter, and thus belongs to a grouping of disturbed people. People with psychiatric labels aren’t their own moral agents goes the ruse.  They are adult children instead requiring full or part time professional supervision.

If violence is a matter of pathology rather than choice, fine and dandy, and this pathology is a matter of biology, alright. The thing to do is to catch violent offenders before they violently offend. When his “disease” made him (we’re talking mostly young males here) do it, after all, we’re looking at “diseases” and not individuals. Individuality is not an option. People either conform to custom and law (regardless of whether that custom and law means wearing a suit and tie or a tee-shirt, jeans and ponytail) or they are “diseased”.

The idea of pre-psychosis, although deferred from categorization as a bona fide “mental disorder” in the DSM-5, is back. The Baltimore Sun reports, New Maryland mental health initiative focuses on identifying and treating psychosis. This headline doesn’t tell you everything. Maryland is beefing up it’s mental health police state system in an effort to catch more pre-psychotic pre-killers.

Founded using a $1.2 million state appropriation approved this year, the Center for Excellence on Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness has a goal of identifying psychosis in a fresh way: by taking notice in the earliest stages and providing support before symptoms spiral out of control.

I guess they think that by busting pre-psychotics they will be preventing psychotic mass murder in the long term. The problem I see with this plan is that you don’t have a psychotic “until symptoms spiral out of control”, and my understanding is that the majority of pre-psychotics don’t go psychotic, and so, by targeting them for treatment, one could be acting in a causative rather than a preventative fashion.

[University of Maryland child and adolescent psychiatrist, Gloria] Reeves and her colleagues say they’re working to ensure patients can live normal lives by short-circuiting the possibility of a deeper psychosis that could intensify if left untreated.

When a patient is already a patient, hey, what have you got? Shallow psychosis or pre-psychosis? In which case prevention is a matter of preventing deep, “deeper” ,or what is known in the trades as ‘full blown’, psychosis? My point is that maybe sometimes it is better to completely prevent the problem by eliminating the doctor patient relationship in its entirety first. Labeling a person “disordered” is the way you make a mental patient. Once a mental patient has been made, and is being subsidized by the state, unmaking a mental patient, unburdening the state of the financial expense, becomes a major problem in itself.

A growing body of research over the past two decades, however, has shown patients are much more responsive to treatment if they’re diagnosed early, and there are early warning signs that suggest when a person is at risk for developing psychosis.

Patients again. If we have more psychosis, but more treatment compliant psychotics, are we 1. upping the number of over all patients labeled psychotic, or 2. lessening the number of disturbed mass gunman in the nation? My feeling is that we are certainly doing # 1 while it is entirely questionable as to whether we’re getting anywhere with # 2.  Next question, do we really want a larger population of psychotics in the nation?

Before you think that the impetus for this measure is entirely medical, let it be known that the funding for this initiative was voted in by the Maryland General Assembly at the prompting of  Governor Martin O’Malley. Mental health treatment then is the state of Maryland‘s answer to massive acts of violence. Of course, this is providing that they’ve got the right suspects, uh, I mean patients, and that pre-psychosis leads to psychosis which, in turn, leads to massive acts of violence. I don’t even think that is a great theory on paper, but Maryland is not the only state that sees the answer to extreme violence in the nation as a matter of increasing the amount of oppression directed against people with psychiatric labels.

Breaking Up The Shrink Crime Syndicate

My virtue was that I never made a good little “mental patient”. Compliance with a treatment plan, such as adhering to an irritating brain-numbing drug taking regimen, in other words, was never my forte’. When “mental patient’ isn’t your goal in life, it’s hard to become a conscientious “consumer of mental health services”.  “Consumer of mental health services” in today’s parlance translates “chronic mental patient”. The person who refuses to “consume mental health services” isn’t a “mental patient”.

Not being a conscientious “consumer of mental health services”, from the beginning I was looking for an escape clause. Prognosis, you will notice, here would be a matter of living down to expectations. “Mental illness”, after all, is all a matter of applying the odd man, odd woman, out school of philosophy in practice. This means that there are no good prognoses in the mental health field, only calculated curses of a sort. “Mental illness”, then, by definition, is a matter of being launched on a failure track.

I don’t like losing any more than the next person, and so I found this loser track to be somewhat distressing, to say the least, and what’s more, I didn’t think it was the right track for me. What could I do? First you’ve got the diagnostic tag, “mental illness”.  Then you’ve got the role, “mental patient” or “consumer of mental health services”. The tag and the role have been supplemented by the recovery approach to treatment. The recovery approach to mental health treatment sees recovery as a journey without a destination.  In other words, the patient is expected to recover in the sense that he or she is not expected to recover.

Okay. If you don’t want to be a “chronic mental patient”, you’ve got to stop “consuming mental health services”. This was a little easier for me than it has been for some other people. This is because the better part of “mental health services” is something called “medication management”. That’s right. “Mental health treatment” in today’s world is all about treatment with psychiatric drugs. Those drugs are the primary ingredient in the services that “consumers of mental health services” consume. Stop taking psychiatric drugs, and you’ve ultimately slipped the butterfly net. There is nothing left to mental health services but endless talk.

I have to backtrack a little bit here. Outpatient services are a blast in the most ridiculous way. In fact, everything about outpatient services is ridiculous. Take vocational rehabilitation. You’ve got people pretending to be working for no pay. People expected to never hold down a real job do this thing where they go through the motions day after day. They do everything, in fact, but go to the employment agency and fill out a form. This is the difference between a patient and a non-patient. Non-patients are a little less serious about the matter, and they have  managed to become the masters of filling out employment applications.

Given pervasive discrimination, don’t let me bash networking. The clown takes his or her costume off, and he or she still desires something of the human touch. The network is full of imposters, double agents, and swindlers, but to say so would be to hazard a diagnostic label and, frankly, I’ve had enough of that racket. Which brings me to the point. Psychiatry and prescription dope peddling are organized criminal activities as far as I’m concerned. I’ve heard of one instance where the Rico Statute was used against a pharmaceutical company. I hope to see more such realistic moves and appraisals being made in the future.

R. D. Laing and the Politics of Liberation

I am not a Laingian psychotherapist. The spirit of the Pasha of Kingsley Hall can guide other disciples on a lifetime regimen of therapy to its wispy heart’s content, not me. I don’t see losing one’s way as a lifetime endeavor I would wish to pursue. I’m not an apologist for R.D. Laing excesses. Leave that to those of his associates who have survived him and their associates.

I have no aversion to being called Szaszian. Thomas S. Szasz was, from beginning to end, against psychiatric oppression. Dr. Szasz, in fact, supported the abolition of coercive psychiatric practices. R.D. Laing’s position on the same subject was much more circumspect, except where specifically stated, and then rarely. I think it important for doctors to take sides as advocates on this matter, and Dr. Laing, when he wasn’t practicing non-coercive psychiatry, seems to have, wrongly in my view, taken the other side.

I don’t want to bash Dr. Laing entirely. Credit must be given where credit is due. He did much good. He humanized the face of madness, he discerned that there was often a hidden reason to it, and he put it in a social–mainly familial–context. He also inspired the initial Philadelphia Association experiments that have in turn spawned whole generations of successors, most impressively the Soteria Project, still with us today.

When the BBC would discredit R.D. Laing, that is one thing, when Thomas S. Szasz would do so, that’s another. The BBC just wants to finish the reactionary establishment job of making this Maverick psychiatrist mud that his heart attack on a tennis court along the French Riviera started. Thomas Szasz, on the other hand, wanted to show that this Maverick psychiatrist was actually not so much a Maverick psychiatrist after all, and certainly not the Maverick psychiatrist he was taken for.

Perhaps, as has been indicated, R.D. Laing’s position hardened over the years. Dissident psychologist Seth Farber in his recently published book, The Spiritual Gift of Madness, makes a great deal out of Laing’s The Politics of Experience. Laing himself, near the end of his life, in a series of interviews with Bob Mullan, published as Mad To Be Normal, refers to this same book, The Politics of Experience, as a mistake. R.D. Laing, also in Mad To Be Normal, speaks about how disturbed the people he dealt with were, something he might not have done way back when The Politics of Experience was published quite so explicitly.

The thing I’m trying to stress here is that you don’t equalize the field merely by donning informal attire. At Kingsley Hall, behind the illusion that there was no illusion, all residents weren’t on an equal footing. They played at being on an equal plane, but without the assent of the psychiatrist residents, there was no equality. When R.D. Laing in his memoir, Wisdom, Madness, and Folly, rationalized forced institutional psychiatry as necessary, he turned poser and hypocrite. There is something hypocritical, after all, in reattaching the chains Sunday that you had removed on Monday.

Historically there are parallels. Take the much lauded casting off of chains at the beginning of the movement for moral management in mental health treatment. Restraints may have been removed in some cases, but these restraints were being removed from people who were quite literally prisoners. If any problems ensued, they could be quelled simply by throwing the prisoner into solitary confinement. The moral management movement created an asylum building boom, and thus raised the rate of people being held captive by the state for alleged “mental illness” substantially.

Given that R.D. Laing, by his own admission, considered psychiatric hospitals necessary, I wouldn’t rank him up there with the great liberators, and if he was not a liberator, he was a collaborator with the psychiatric plantation system. Perhaps there were two faces to him as far as R.D. Laing was concerned; if so, I guess you can choose the face that most pleases you. I much prefer honesty and integrity myself. It is, quite frankly, less deceitful.

ACTION ALERT to Free Alison Hymes!

http://www.mindfreedom.org/mfi-faq/action-alert-to-free-alison-hymes

Free Alison Hymes From Western State Hospital… We were asked to post the following updated alert for Alison by her friend, Frank. Please address any questions you may have directly to Frank at: nfla@mindfreedom.org.

Alison Hymes

Resident and longtime MindFreedom member Alison Hymes, on Wednesday, 7/3/13, had a re-commitment hearing. This hearing marked the 6 month, 1/2 year point, in her imprisonment at Western State Hospital in Staunton, Virginia.

The result of this hearing is that she was given another 45 days in the hospital after which she will be given another hearing. The result could have been worse as potentially she could have had to wait another 6 months for a hearing.

The bad news, according to Alison, is that the staff at the hospital are not talking about releasing her. She wishes to return to her condominium, her community, and the life she was living before imprisonment at Western State Hospital.

Talking to her over the phone it is not always easy to understand what she is saying. Her words are slurred and garbled. She claims that this is so because the hospital staff won’t return  her dentures to her. Dentures they took from her.

In a previous alert we claimed she was taking lamictal rather than a neuroleptic. Following a previous hearing with her treatment team this is no longer true. Apparently her doctor thought it necessary to put her back on the drug prolixin. She is receiving shots of prolixin, a long acting injectable, every two weeks. She is also still receiving a daily dose of anti-convulsion drug lamictal.

She had gained much weight since being put on seroquel, the atypical neuroleptic she was receiving during her last hospitalization, and she is very sensitive, as you can well imagine anybody would be, about this issue. She doesn’t like the effects of the prolixin, she understands it is a harmful substance, with a potential for doing her a great deal of damage, and she wishes to be taken off it.

Alison was the recipient of a kidney following lithium poisoning after a previous incident of psychiatric malpractice. Her friends and allies worry that keeping her at Western State Hospital
for any length of time will only further endanger her health. She says the medical staff at Western say she needs an operation, on an ulcer, but that the hospital is slow to get around to operating.

Asked what she would tell other members of MindFreedom she said, “I need to get out as soon as possible. I need to get out.”

Direct Actions

Please, contact the following state officials, and urge them to free Alison Hymes from her confinement and maltreatment at Western State Hospital.

James M. Martinez
Director, Office of Mental Health
VirginiaDepartment
of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
(804) 371-0091
Jim.Martinez@dbhds.virginia.gov

Senator Tim Kaine
(202) 224-4024
http://www.kaine.senate.gov/contact

Senator Mark R. Warner
(202) 224-2023
http://www.warner.senate.gov/public//index.cfm?p=ContactPage

Delegate David Toscano
(434) 220-1660
DelDToscano@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Rob Bell
(434) 975-0902
DelRBell@house.virginia.gov

Sample message. (In your own words.)

I am writing (or calling) to complain about the forced drugging and false imprisonment of Charlottesville resident Alison Hymes at Western State Hospital in Staunton, Virginia. She is a danger to no one. She has been detained at the hospital for over 6 months now, and her continued detention serves no purpose. She is also being given periodic injections of prolixin, a powerful  neuroleptic drug, that is affecting her health in negative ways. Please, stop the abuse, release her from her confinement to WesternStateHospital, and allow her to return home to her community, her life, and her friends.

Update on Alison

Alison Hymes reports that she recently had the 45 day hearing she had been
scheduled following her 6 months hearing. She was at this hearing given another
two months. “Two months”, she says, “is too way too long”. She is appealing the
decision.

Suggested direct action

If you haven’t written the commissioner and representatives from Virginia,
please, do so. Also Alison would ask that you write or call the present Governor
of Virginia, Bob McDowell, to express your dismay at her confinement, and
to demand her release from Western State Hospital.

Governor Robert F. McDonnell
(804)786-2211
http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm

Support For Victims of Psychiatric Torture

June 26 around the world is observed as an International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. One form of torture that is not widely recognized is non-consensual mental health treatment. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International have been slow to recognize the brutal cruelty and abuse of forced psychiatry for what many who have endured forced psychiatry know it to be, torture. The United Nations has been a little more receptive on this issue. On March 3rd of this year the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture issued a statement calling for an immediate ban on all forced psychiatric interventions.

How are forced psychiatric interventions torture? Just do a little bit of critical thinking and independent research on the subject, and you will find out how. People are abducted, imprisoned, thrown into solitary confinement, poisoned, physically restrained, chemically restrained, shocked, induced to have seizures, injured, neglected, etc., etc., all in the name of therapy. Without mental health law serving as a contradiction to criminal law these atrocities would not be taking place. This ill treatment constitutes torture. The aim of this torture is to elicit behavior that the state finds acceptable,  to suppress behavior that the state finds unacceptable, and to get the torture victim to admit to having a “mental illness” regardless of whether the victim has an actual illness or not.

Should the victim of psychiatric forced treatment not confess to having a “mental illness”, he or she is then said to be “sicker” than the victim who does confess to having a “mental illness”, and this denial, and/or alleged “co-morbid condition”, is then seen as grounds for further tortures and a lengthier imprisonment. More recent developments in psychiatric torture include what is termed a ‘treatment mall’. This ‘treatment mall’ is actually a reeducation camp and brainwashing center run by the state “hospital” with the aim of churning out a greater number of victims complicit in their own torture and victimization.

We call on people around the world to come together over this issue of forced psychiatry, and to help us put an end to this crime against humanity, once and for all. We would like to see a mental health system in which all patients were voluntary, and in which no patients were held prisoner against their will and wishes. We would like to see mental health facilities that were not psychiatric prisons, but instead were facilities in which clients were free to come and go as they so please and choose. Non-consensual treatments, both inpatient and outpatient, are assaults on the health and the freedom of the species and, therefore, not to be tolerated.

By standing together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, fellow human beings, victimized by this practice, we can and will bring it to an end. On this day consider what you might be able to do to help your brothers and sisters tortured by forced psychiatry. Although we have been granted the right to receive psychiatric treatment, unlike in any other branch of what purports to be medicine, we have no legal right to refuse such treatment. This right needs to be acknowledged and enacted into law. By joining with us in this struggle, you can help us liberate people from psychiatric slavery–the mistreatments and tortures that have oppressed so many for so long.

There is a better world waiting for us just around the bend. This better world is a world in which people are not oppressed and mistreated by greedy, arrogant and power-crazed traitors to their species. We will not reach this better world unless we make an effort to do so. We have in many nations of the world ended the practice of chattel slavery.  We need to end the practice of psychiatric slavery as well. When we do so, we will be that much closer to the better world for one and all that we have envisioned. Now that we’ve gone there in our heads, we need to take a first few actual steps in that direction. Offering support for victims of  the torture that coercive psychiatric interventions entail, in their effort to end that torture, is one of the ways in which we may thus progress.

Crazy Is The Coming Psychiatric Police State

If you’ve been watching the news recently you should be able to see it coming. By it, I mean the Psychiatric Police State. The Psychiatric Police State is, partnering with Hollywood, President Obama’s answer to massive acts of violence perpetuated by a few lone gunmen. We’re going to beef up the mental health system in this country, and that’s supposed to prevent individuals from getting frustrated, and taking their frustrations out on crowds of people in a violent manner with gunfire. (Or, not.) If we can catch these gunmen before they start shooting, runs the theory, we can prevent atrocities from occurring. The way to catch lone gunmen before they go to war with the nation is to call them “mentally ill”, and to get them into a mental health treatment program.

Alright. One problem. Most of the people you’re going to be catching, as runs the rule with loony birds, are not going to be lone gunmen. They’re not even going to be threatening violence on people. They’re just going to be people pulled in by the round up of crazies. Crazy, slang for insane, is potentially violent by legal and legislative definition, that is, government proclamation. We got kooks. We got these kooks under lock and key by playing the potential for violence card. It’s all a ruse. By and large, they aren’t violent in the slightest, but they aren’t playing the game. Busted. Now there has got to be a great deal of irony involved in the state using violence to suppress hypothetical threats of violence.  This action isn’t about public safety, really, it’s about looking like you’re doing something about public safety.

There are any number of better things that our government could be doing. It is not really dealing with the causes of violence because it thinks that violence is produced by something called “mental illness”, and that violence is not produced by a man, conscious, with a gun in his hands. Malcontent, given the imperialistic aims of psychiatry, is interpreted as “mental illness”. Any child who rebels, especially if he or she is non-white, is now likely to receive an Oppositional Defiant Disorder label from the school mental health authorities. Just think, if this label had been around in King George’s time, and if he wasn’t such a case himself, maybe he could have had averted independence by having the leaders of the rebellion institutionalized in his own colonial version of Bedlam. ODD is not an adult disorder yet, but then we don’t have a King George any more either.

Failure is becoming increasingly common, especially when the measure for success is having something like 40,000,000,000 smackers. 20 % of the nation owns 90 % of the wealth. Where does that leave everybody else? Potentially, in therapy. The mental health system itself is a diversion from facing the real issues. If you don’t make a hell of a lot of moolah, you must be nuts. Money, money, honey; its the American way! Well, not so much any more when, as I pointed out, 20 % of the nation owns 90 % of the wealth. People are getting poorer and poorer while some big shot is doing his 18 holes, and getting away with murder at the same time. Expanding the mental health system, well, its happening, and with it, our problems are not diminishing, now are they? Yep, it would help if we opted for a solution rather than another problem but, where would we be if we didn’t make mistakes, er, I mean adjustments.

Give up? Okay. Well, I will enlighten you. Succeeding. Succeeding en masse, not just vicariously. Do you honestly think corralling misfits into mental health programs is going to help them succeed.? Look to results, look at outcomes. Nope, I guess not. Our mental health system has an atrocious record. It is a school for failure. In this school for failure, in fact, they have an expression for the training their most dedicated students receive, “learned helplessness”. Learning helplessness, despite the rhetoric, is not helpful. You, too, can learn to be a “burden to society”.  Sooner or later, the tab comes in, and it’s not just a tab rich tea partiers have to foot. The impoverished find themselves all the more impoverished paying for their impoverishment with monies they don’t have. Kind of like the nation, except the rich end of it. The mental health system, big government, is expanding, and the country is getting crazier, quite literally. Sure, it isn’t really a mental health system, it’s a “mental illness” system, and with a “mental illness” system, that’s what you have to expect.

Forced Mental Health Treatment–The Elephant In The Room

Not that long ago I left a comment on a Huffington Post blog. The blog was that of an East Anglia University student, Beth Seward, in the UK. The post was entitled The Elephant in the Room: The Stigma Around Mental Health. My comment, and I stand by it, was as follows:

The elephant in the room is not “stigma”. The elephant in the room is forced mental health treatment. If it were otherwise people wouldn’t be pretending, very intently in fact, to ignore it. Want to do something about prejudice and discrimination? Repeal mental health law. When you’ve gotten rid of forced treatment, you’ve gotten rid of much of the rationale for prejudicial mistreatment. Forced treatment outside of the mental health system is assault.

I will always admire the late Dr. Thomas Szasz for his dedication to the abolition of forced mental health treatment. I think all doctors of psychiatry should oppose forced mental health treatment, and I would like to see more psychiatrists express their doubts as to its effectiveness. I feel the same way about patients and former patients. I have heard the view expressed by some folks that the forced treatment he or she endured did him or her some good. This was never my experience.

Out of forced treatment we get two castes of citizens. Citizens with full citizenship rights, citizens who have not known forced treatment, and citizens with a portion of their citizenship rights violated, denied and ignored, citizens who have known forced treatment. Mental health law is that law that allows for the detention, and prejudicial maltreatment, of people who have broken no law. From this detention come permanent records that will follow that person around to the end of his or her days, and beyond.

Mental health law should be repealed. There should not be a law for locking up non-law breakers. I don’t think a person can be adamant enough on this point. Mental health law is a very real threat to the freedoms that Americans hold so dear. Nobody is immune from the diagnostic labeling bestowed by well, nor not so well, intentioned meddlers. To deprive the rights to some that we allow for others should be considered, and this is my point, criminal. By doing so, we’ve just made a rift between those citizens we consider worthy and those citizens we consider less worthy based entirely upon prejudice.

To quote from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Forced mental health treatment jeopardizes people’s right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. When a person is detained in a prison masquerading as a hospital that person’s right to liberty is being violated. When a person is subjected to life threatening treatments in that prison that persons right to life is being violated. When a person’s opportunities are diminished due to such an experience, that person’s right to the pursuit of happiness is being violated.

The elephant in the room has been doing much damage, and yet so many people are pretending that everything is fine. Everything is not fine. We had the same problem when people were mistreated on account of their skin color. Now people are being mistreated on account of the psychiatric labels and the mental health treatment they have received. Forced treatment is mistreatment, now and always. Forced treatment involves depriving a person of his or her liberty. All the harm that comes to people in the mental health system comes from this one little exception to the laws that govern our land.  I think it about time we got rid of this loophole in the rule of law.

More Or Less Biology In Psychiatry–That Is The Question

Much newsprint has been wasted recently on the split between the APA (American Psychiatric Association) and the NIMH over the revision of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)  that is going to be called the DSM-5. In my view, letting the 100,000 manuals bloom is not going to be any better of a solution than letting the 100,000 diagnoses bloom in the long run. If we are going to treat every patient as an individual, for the sake of the individuality of his or her condition (and genetic makeup), that’s going to make for a whole lot of variation in disorder (and/or order) expression.

The New York Times covers the story, regarding the NIMH APA divide, in a story with the heading, Psychiatry’s Guide Is Out Of Touch With Science, Experts Say. Of course, it always depends on which experts you ask. The experts the mass media is still slow to consult, and the New York Times is no exception in this regard, are those experts with lived experience on the receiving end of mental health treatment.

While typically critics of the DSM have tackled the subject from one side of the political psychiatric spectrum, here comes mob boss Thomas Insel, godfather of the NIMH, attacking from the other. In the first instance, you have people who object to the biology in biological psychiatric theory, (Theory, now there’s as important a word as any.) in the second, you have a group that doesn’t think the APA is biologically grounded enough.

The expert, Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said in an interview Monday that his goal was to reshape the direction of psychiatric research to focus on biology, genetics and neuroscience so that scientists can define disorders by their causes, rather than their symptoms.

The DSM focuses on symptoms precisely because we don’t know the causes. Dr. Thomas R. Insel, apparently, thinks otherwise.

Precision seems to be a big part of the problem. In psychiatric diagnosis, theoretical speculations aside, there are no precision tools.

The creators of the D.S.M. in the 1960s and ’70s “were real heroes at the time,” said Dr. Steven E. Hyman, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the Broad Institute and a former director at the National Institute of Mental Health. “They chose a model in which all psychiatric illnesses were represented as categories discontinuous with ‘normal.’ But this is totally wrong in a way they couldn’t have imagined. So in fact what they produced was an absolute scientific nightmare. Many people who get one diagnosis get five diagnoses, but they don’t have five diseases — they have one underlying condition.”

Or, a possibility not considered here, we’ve got five misdiagnoses floating around for which there was no underlying condition in the first place.

Solution. The NIMH is developing it’s own manual, Research Domain Criteria, or RDoC.

About two years ago, to spur a move in that direction, Dr. Insel started a federal project called Research Domain Criteria, or RDoC, which he highlighted in a blog post last week. Dr. Insel said in the blog that the National Institute of Mental Health would be “reorienting its research away from D.S.M. categories” because “patients with mental disorders deserve better.” His commentary has created ripples throughout the mental health community.

Consider, ripples sent throughout the mental health community, ripple throughout the “mental illness” community (i.e. the mental health ghetto). Now whether “patients with mental disorders” are going to get “better” treatment thereby is a big leap. Too big a leap in fact to make. So sorry, my poor victims of standard psychiatric malpractice!

Whatever you call it, my guess is that this switch still represents a way of billing insurance companies, the most important role for patient consumers a psychiatrist assumes. Of course, given that this paradigm change is all about biological explanations, I expect the treatment the insurance companies will be paying for is a chemical fix. Given this situation, the extent to which pharmaceuticals damage patients is still the great unasked question biological psychiatrists do their best to avoid asking.

The Evolution Revolution

Forced treatment is the big secret in the mental health “care” world today. Once upon a time, not that long ago, there was only one form of mental health treatment available, and that was it.

The American Psychiatric Association in fact grew out of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutes for the Insane. Where once you had the heads of what were then called Lunatic Asylums, now you have an association of professional pill pushers.

The big lie is that the pills they are pushing, and whose usage they are promulgating, are good for people, and not people in general, but specific people. People diagnosed with a “mental disorder”. This diagnosis is thought to make the people who have been given one somehow different from the general run of humanity and, therefore, in need of the fix that comes with a drug.

The truth is that mental health treatment is about social control. We have this law that permits confinement of anybody acting oddly on the grounds that they may cause harm to themselves or others. It would be a serious mistake, albeit a common one, to assume that people are held in psychiatric institutions because they are dangerous.

People in mental hospitals are not there because they were given a trial by jury. Usually they are there because they were given a hearing by judge, attorney, and psychiatrist in which judicial opinion subordinates itself to the whims of professional bias and procedural habit. Mental health commitment hearings, in other words, in the present day and age, are little more than kangaroo courts.

Drugs can’t fix people. Drugs can damage people. Drugs can’t straighten out faulty logic. Education can teach logical deduction. Drugs can’t supply insight. Drugs generally mask a problem rather than correct it. Masking a problem is not dealing with it, and coming  up with a solution to it.

Waiving independence in order to be treated by the mental health authorities, usually as a charity case, is not the best course of action to take as a rule. Doing so often involves forfeiting rights we think of as basic to our species. This revelation may take time to register and resonate, but it should come in time.

Yes, Virginia, there is life beyond the confines of the Mental Health clinic. One is not bound to the human services system the way a rat can be restricted to its track through a maze.  The thing is that that system shares many similarities with a rat maze. If it didn’t, researchers wouldn’t be studying rats with the idea of better understanding human behavior. I would strongly suggest that if success in the world is at all important to you, you should abandon the maze.

The irony found in the heading of this post comes with the realization that more complex organisms evolved from less complex organisms. The butterfly in a display frame is not a butterfly in flight. Our capacity expands to the extent that we learn to escape those boxes that other people would try to contain us within. Quite apart from biological limitations, and barring extreme circumstances, we have minds that allow us this advance and that departure.

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