Let’s not discipline our children, let’s label them “mentally ill” instead

Dr. Thomas Insel, the present malevolent imp in charge of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is at it again. This time the story is in Science Daily. There is an article in that online news source bearing the heading, Unruly Kids May Have a Mental Disorder.

I would qualify this heading with the addition of the word not.

When children behave badly, it’s easy to blame their parents. Sometimes, however, such behavior may be due to a mental disorder. Mental illnesses are the No. 1 cause of medical disability in youths ages 15 and older in the United States and Canada, according to the World Health Organization.

Apparently it’s a lot easier to blame children for childish behavior than it is to blame parents for possessing few or inadequate parenting skills.

After this introduction it’s mostly a matter of Dr. Insel mouthing off about how we have to catch these “mental disorders” early.

The same NIMH that Dr. Insel is the director of finds that ½ of the people labeled with lifetime “mental illness” were labeled by the time they were 14 years old.

One reason we haven’t made greater progress helping people recover from mental disorders is that we get on the scene too late,” said Thomas R. Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the featured speaker at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Presidential Plenary during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

I don’t think he is trying to tell us here that after the age of 14 it is too late for a person to recover his or her wits. So what is he trying to say?

In addition to serving as director of the NIMH, Dr. Insel is acting director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a new arm of the National Institutes of Health that aims to accelerate the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Now we know.

Sometimes, in my view, misbehavior is just misbehavior. At other times, my view again, adult misbehavior can be seen in the pathologising of children. This is medicalization that, as you can see, may lead to a medicalized adulthood for the child so labeled.

Given an epidemic increase in “mental illness” labeling, you wouldn’t expect a dramatic decline in “mental illness” label rates anytime soon. You have even less reason to expect a decline with the likes of Dr. Insel pursuing easier ways to label childhood a certifiable “mental illness”.

Why the label? Drug companies need to make their profit quotas, and thanks to folks like Dr. Insel, they now have the psychiatrist puppets to help them do so.

Occupy the APA Counter-Celebration and Protest In Philadelphia on May 5

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is holding its annual convention in Philadelphia this year. The 5th revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatry’s label bible, edited by members of the APA, is scheduled for release in 2013. The number of labels contained in the present label bible, the DSM-IV, is up to 374. Expect more, this number climbs with each new revision.

“Mental illness” labeling is at epidemic proportions. Pick up any newspaper in the country, and you are likely to find a story about the increasing numbers of people being labeled “mentally ill”. The APA with its DSM is the major force behind this upswing in the selling of “mental disorder” labels and the treatments that goes along with those labels. These epidemics are largely human made, and the people doing the making are members of this same APA.

Studies have shown people in the mental health system to be dying at an age on average 25 years younger than the rest of the population. This mortality gap is climbing. People in the mental health system are dying because of the drugs that they are being given purported to treat the labels they have recieved. These drugs cause a metabolic syndrome associated with a number of life-limiting and shortening physical ill health conditions. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are among those life threatening conditions. This death and disease rate represents an international tragedy that is largely being suppressed and ignored in the mainstream media.

“Off label” drugging, or prescribing drugs for purposes for which they have not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is rampant in the mental health field. Unruly children and demented nursing home patients are being managed and restrained by these powerful and potentially harmful drugs. These drugs have been known to cause the premature of death of senior citizens suffering from dementia. There is little question that many of the young people given these drugs ‘off label’, who otherwise would have had a brilliant future ahead of them, wind up lifelong mental patients, or mental health consumers, harmed by these drugs.

The APA has many strong financial connections with the pharmaceutical industry. 69 % of the committee members revising the DSM-5 have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. This is to be contrasted with the committee revising the DSM-IV when 57 % of the committee members had such financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Despite regulations put into place over conflict of interest issues, the committee’s relationship to the pharmaceutical industry is growing stronger rather than weakening.

For these and other reasons a number of ex-patients, psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, dissident professionals, friends and allies will be gathering in Philadelphia for an Occupy the APA counter-celebration and protest. These people, of whom I include myself, will be there to support healthy, safe, and drug-free alternatives to conventionally harmful psychiatric treatment. They will be there to support other ways of dealing with troubled people besides harming them with drugs and giving them psychiatric labels.

We encourage other people in Philadelphia and at home to join us in our protest. There are other protests planned in sympathy and solidarity in Toronto Canada, Denver Colorado, Anchorage Alaska, Boston Massachusetts, and in other areas around the same time. You can find out more about this event by visiting the Occupy the APA page on the MindFreedom International website. Please, consider any direct action that you can take, be it ever so slight, to let the public know that the labeling, drugging, and harming of American citizens is not something that we can, nor should, take lightly.

Related post:

Spring Cleaning With The Trash Can Labeled “Antipsychiatry”

The Bogus Disease Industry Is Booming

Imaginary diseases are easy to over-diagnose. The mental health field is chock full of imaginary diseases. How can it not be? The DSM, the psychiatrist label bible, is loaded with diseases that were voted into existence by committee. Two of these imaginary diseases are attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Bogus diseases also have bogus criteria for diagnosis. Science 2.0 has released a story with the blunt but true headline, You Knew This: ADD And ADHD Over-Diagnosed.

The researchers surveyed altogether 1,000 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany. 473 participated in the study. They received one of four available case vignettes, and were asked to give a diagnoses and a recommendation for therapy. In three out of the four case vignettes, the described symptoms and circumstances did not fulfill ADHD criteria. Only one of the cases fulfilled ADHD criteria based strictly on the valid diagnostic criteria. In addition, the gender of the child was included as a variable resulting in eight different case vignettes. As the result, when comparing two identical cases with a different gender, the difference was clear: Leon has ADHD but Lea does not.

Not only are boys more likely to be perceived as “having it”, but male doctors are more likely to diagnose it than female doctors according to the same study.

It looks like the drug companies have found many ways to profit from this ADHD and ADD misdiagnosis racket though.

As media attention increased, ADHD diagnoses also became inflationary. Between 1989 and 2001, the number of diagnoses in German clinical practice increased by 381 percent. The costs for ADHD medication, such as for the performance-enhancer Methylphenidate, have increased 9 times between 1993 and 2003. The German health insurance company, Techniker, reports an increase of 30 percent in Methylphenidate prescriptions for its clients between the ages of 6 and 18. Similarly, the daily dosage has increased by 10 percent on average.

ADHD labeling has increased in the USA as well. The Daily Northwestern from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has a story on research conducted at that University, NU study finds ADHD diagnoses on the rise.

From 2000 to 2010, the total number of national ADHD cases among children under 18 increased by 66 percent, from 6.2 million to 10.4 million, the study found.

This same article harks back to the German study mentioned above.

Others, however, have hypothesized that doctors are overdiagnosing ADHD in children. In February, researchers from Germany published data in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showing that 16.7 percent of 1,000 psychiatrists diagnosed ADHD in non-ADHD patients.

I would suspect that the actual figure is much higher. If ADHD is as I have concluded an imaginary disease then 100 % of these children don’t have ADHD. In such case, it follows that diagnosing even a single example of the disorder would be a matter of over-diagnosis.

Life–beyond the walls of the mental health center

“Mental illness” has become a lifestyle for some people. The mental health system supports this lifestyle. You’ve got within that system people who identify as having this or that disorder. This or that disorder puts bread and bacon on their table.

When we speak of a broken mental health system, this “mental illness” lifestyle is part of the reason why we would characterize that system as broken. Mental and emotional stability are no longer seen as a matter for will power when they are seen as matters of genetic make up and factors beyond human control.

You can’t cure people who are damned for having bad or defective genes. If you don’t explain that the bad gene theory is only a theory, some people will believe anything they read in the press or see on television. Just because biased researchers are intent on pursuing this bad gene theory doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with reality.

The plain fact of the matter is that people who have been labeled “mentally ill” are not so labeled because they have a discernable birth defect. They receive labels because their behavior is found to be annoying or disturbing to other people. The hunchback, the sixth finger, and the third eye are not on the body here, these psychological deformities are manifested in behavioral traits instead.

There is not a whole lot of mental health in the mental health system. Mental health is not what people in the mental health system are being sold. People in the mental health system are sold psychiatric labels, and the drugs that go along with maintaining those labels.

The conventional mental health system is primarily about two things: dependency and unequal power relationships, both of which are embodied in the term “mental illness”. Mental health, in other words, is to be found outside of the mental health system, and therefore, its brokenness.

Psychiatric drugs are one of the primary methods by which relations of unequal power and dependency are maintained. Just like with illicit drugs, psychiatric drugs affect people’s abilities to function in dramatic fashion. This sedation in turn makes people more docile and pliable for custodial and suppression purposes.

The answer to this problem is not to be found in the mental health system, it is instead to be found in the community. Effective community integration and interaction is the cure to segregation from the community in mental health facilities. It is the cure, in effect, to what is referred to as “major mental illness”.

Peer support specialists present both a potential threat to, and an exasperation of, this present brokenness of the system. Career mental health workers, be they professionals or paraprofessionals, are part of what keeps the broken system broken.

Outside of the system, you’ve got a man or a woman living among men and women. Within the system, you’ve got consumer patients and mental health staff among consumer patients and mental health staff, and the mental health staff are the force that lord it over the patient consumers.

There are much better products on the market for consumers to consume than “mental illness” labels, mental health services, and psychiatric drugs. Receiving psychiatric treatment is a sure sign that one has not fully digested this very basic lesson in logic.

UK Inquiry Investigates Damage Done By Schizophrenia Label

In response to a Schizophrenia Committee set up in the UK last year an inquiry investigation is being launched into the harm caused by psychiatric labeling. The story as it appears in PsychMinded bears the heading, Inquiry to investigate how schizophrenia ‘label’ is dehumanising and stigmatizing.

Some of us have issues with the word “stigmatizing”, but if you were to replace it in your mind with the word prejudice then I’d say the whole thing follows.

The commission, set up by the Rethink Mental Illness charity and chaired by Professor Sir Robin Murray of London’s institute of psychiatry, has been criticised for failing to involve service users adequately.

Apparently this is another instance of the voice that speaks for the voiceless (i.e. ventriloquism advocacy). When this practice is coupled with the practice of dragging in a very few token services users (i.e. dummies), it can become a very effective weapon in the fight for defusing dissent and assuring the disempowerment and further marginalization of service users.

An inquiry panel will, instead, examine the fundamental validity of schizophrenia and psychosis, examining to what extent schizophrenia and psychosis diagnoses are useful or not, and whether people with such diagnoses suffer discrimination.

There are better ways to treat people, are there? My answer to this question would be a unequivocal, “No doubt!”

The inquiry panel will also examine why ethnic minority and black people are up to six times more likely to be given a schizophrenia diagnosis than the general population.

Hmmm. Do I detect a hint of a double standard operating here? Unless black people are disproportionately damned by bad genes, the government must be using these labels to oppress racial and ethnic minorities.

Let’s hope that this inquiry may result in a lot of rewording, and the better treatment that goes along with such rewording.

Women in the military services labeled “crazy” for reporting rape

Women have long been unduly oppressed by psychiatry. This oppression is still taking place. In the military, according to a CNN report, Rape victims say military labels them ‘crazy’, women are being dishonorably discharged from the armed forces for reporting rape and sexual assault.

CNN has interviewed women in all branches of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, who tell stories that follow a similar pattern — a sexual assault, a command dismissive of the allegations and a psychiatric discharge.

Obviously the prospect of being kicked out of the service for reporting a sexual offense, and receiving a psychiatric label to boot, would make many women leery of making any such report.

Despite the Defense Department’s “zero tolerance” policy, there were 3,191 military sexual assaults reported in 2011. Given that most sexual assaults are not reported, the Pentagon estimates the actual number was probably closer to 19,000.

The psychiatric excuse used for discharging most of these women has been that of having a personality disorder label. An FOIA request found that 31,000 service members were released from service on grounds of having a personality disorder label between 2001 and 2010. The personality disorder label is being used disproportionably on women in all branches of the military.

In the military’s eyes, a personality disorder diagnosis is a pre-existing condition and does not constitute a service-related disability. That means sexual assault victims with personality disorder discharges don’t receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help with their trauma. They can still apply for benefits, but it’s considered an uphill battle.

This circumstance, of course, creates undue hardship for the discharged service member forced to go without benefits and expected to pay penalties on a term of duty uncompleted.

I would imagine that a large number of them get labeled borderline as borderline personality disorder is a diagnosis often used by psychiatrists on people who are seen as disagreeable or difficult.

Adjustment disorder is was another disorder label used to get rid of soldiers who report rapes and sexual assault. Adjustment disorder is described as an excessive response to stressful circumstances.

Representative Jackie Spierer of California has introduced legislature that would take sexual assault cases out of the chain of command, under the auspices of higher ups, and that would assign them to a separate autonomous office at the Pentagon. This would represent a definite improvement as the commanders in charge are often the reason these reports are not being taken seriously.

A former Coast Guard member, Panayiota Bertzikis, runs a website for survivors of such attacks, mydutytospeak.com, and she also runs The Military Rape Crisis Center . She and other ex-soldiers are suing the Defense Department for damages owing to a culture that permits such assaults to occur.

What’s wrong with “Stigma Busting” Campaigns?

They sell psychiatric drugs.
They sow confusion.
They aren’t really about having an honest discussion.
They tend to take a non-recovery oriented, or medical model, approach.
They excuse bad behavior.
They are doctrinaire – based on opinion and pseudo-science rather than on fact and hard science.
They distract from REAL oppression concerns.
They call for cosmetic rather than substantial change.
They are mostly about begging for increased funding.

I’ve heard people talk about “stigma” as a term that has been co-opted from the mental health consumer and psychiatric survivor movement by the mental health establishment and the drug industry, and that’s exactly what it is. “Stigma” is now said to be behind some people’s reluctance to enter the mental health system while the numbers of people within that system are growing by leaps and bounds. Do we really need more people claiming they have a ‘mental illness” than the many that we’ve already got? “Mental illness” labeling, according to reports, has reached epidemic proportions.

If there’s any stigma involved it’s much less a matter of how people are viewed in the media than of how they are actually treated in the world. A psychiatric history can make gaining anything more than substandard employment hard to impossible. Those records are also frequently used against people in courts of law, and they are currently used to violate the 2nd amendment right to bear arms of people who have been institutionalized at any time in the recent past.

The end of prejudice and discrimination begins with an end to forced treatment. No other branch of medical science imprisons people, and then calls this imprisonment of people an acceptable medical practice. The records associated with this maltreatment are only necessary so long as psychiatric treatment is akin to criminal prosecution, and the authorities feel they need to keep some kind of permanent record. This permanent record would be a record of what amounts to mistreatment if this group of people were covered by the US constitution.

The problem is not media misrepresentation, the problem is actual mistreatment. Any member of the staff at a mental health facility can abuse a patient, and know they will get off with little more than a knuckle rapping. This mistreatment would not be taking place if people within the mental health system were treated like anything more than second class citizens. You can get away with harming and murdering a fraction of a human being, slavery taught us that, you just can’t, as a rule, get away with murdering a human being whom the US constitution protects.

Let’s restore to people in the mental health system those rights we’ve accorded to everybody else. When this is done, you won’t have people complaining about any “stigma” because slandering, abusing, and violating any of the people who have been through that system will be a prosecutable offense the way it is with the rest of the population. When they are not governed by the same laws as the general run of humanity, and when they are governed by stricter laws instead, you know there has been foul play. There has been foul play, and it is that foul play that continues.

Legal Protections For Mental Health Clients Losing Ground In California

I’ve seen what is going on in California happen in Virginia and, honestly, I’d say there is much good cause for grave concern. This kind of attention can only mean a much worsened situation legally is on the way for people impacted by the psychiatric system in that state. A task force has been set up over a law that protects the rights of people threatened by the mental health system that some people would like to see overturned. A story on the matter has appeared in the LA Times, Task force seeks to change California’s mental health commitment law.

The irony is that they are using the example of Thomas Kelly, a young man brutally beaten to death by the police, as a excuse to give the authorities more power to lock people up for psychiatric labels. I’ve noticed elsewhere where his case was being used to expand the reach of Laura’s Law, California’s involuntary outpatient commitment law. This is a sad situation indeed. Imagine using the example of a man beaten to death by the police as an excuse to strengthen that police power, and to take the rights of people facing commitment procedures away from them. Doing so is certainly not going to prevent police officers from beating more unarmed civilians to death.

California’s pioneering Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, passed in 1967, gave legal rights to those who previously could have been locked up indefinitely and treated against their will. But the task force — made up of family members, mental health professionals, judges and public defenders — contends that the law has failed those unable or unwilling to seek help.

A report has been issued, but this report has been criticized as notably lacking in the voice of the people actually under threat, the psychiatric treatment consumer and survivor clients of mental health services in the state of California.

The self-appointed group recently released its report after 30 months of study. And some of its recommendations are likely to receive broad consensus. Among them: consistent application of the law statewide, interagency coordination to ensure that patients are promptly placed in appropriate hospitals, availability of crisis stabilization services in every county, and standardized training for police and others who respond to those in need.

The argument we are getting is that these people are being treated in the criminal justice system instead of the mental health system. I certainly don’t think that such a development would be a good excuse to reverse the trend towards deinstitutionalization that we have been seeing across much of the world. I would argue instead for spending more money on community care, and for utilizing some kind of jail diversion plan when it comes to people with psychiatric labels impacted by the criminal justice system.

Apparently there are two schools of thought involved in this debate; unfortunately the impetus behind any action of this sort is likely to favor the second camp mentioned in the following paragraph.

One camp, which includes client organizations and advocates, asserts that only voluntary care can truly be effective. The other, dominated by medical professionals and family members, says illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder often make sufferers incapable of the insight needed to engage in care voluntarily.

While much of the rhetoric coming from the camp comprised mostly of medical professionals and family members claims not to favor involuntary treatment, this kind of action could only involve the promotion of, and support for, stiffer laws and increased intolerance when it comes to the eccentricity, non-conformity, and different behaviors that could get a person imprisoned, restrained, labeled, drugged, electro-shocked and otherwise harmed by the psychiatric system against that person’s will and wishes.

Psychosis risk no good excuse for psychiatric drugging

A study in England shows that psychiatric drugs should probably not be used on people at risk for developing schizophrenia. The story is in TODAYonline, Drugs not best option for people at risk of psychosis, study warns.

The study was conducted by 5 universities.

Published on the British Medical Journal website, the study found the frequency, seriousness, and intensity of psychotic symptoms that may lead to more serious conditions was reduced by counselling and CT [cognitive therapy].

Participants, aged 13 – 35, were given weekly CT sessions for a max of 6 months over a 4 year period.

Before the trial, international evidence estimated that 40 to 50 per cent of people at risk of developing psychosis at a young age would progress to a psychotic illness.

Apparently this figure was a gross over-estimation. The article says in a number places that this figure is closer to one in ten. In fact, it’s less than 1 in 10.

But only 8 per cent of patients in the study were shown to have made the transition.

These results have led researchers to suggest that neuroleptic drugs should not be used as the first line of defense for dealing with at risk youths.

Do neuroleptic drugs cause an even bigger problem once they have been introduced? We’ve got high relapse rates and low recovery rates for people maintained on these drugs. Although it may seem so, this question was not addressed by the study.

Nope, No Bipolar Disorder, Not This Time. Sorry.

A New Zealand woman has been given a formal apology and an insurance payment after being hospitalized and shocked 200 times for an “illness” that she didn’t even have. The story in TVNZ bears the heading, Wrongly diagnosed woman shocked 200 times.

At 17, [Joan] Bellingham was training to be a nurse, and she claimed she was bullied by one of her tutors because she was a lesbian.

The bullying nursing tutor drove her to a hospital and had her committed for “neurotic personality disorder.”

That was 42 years ago.

Between 1970 and 1982, Bellingham was admitted to hospital 24 times and had about 200 ECT treatments.

Three years after being first admitted to the hospital, she’s received her degree in “Major Mental Disorders”.

She was in and out of hospital but was kept highly medicated. In 1973 – three years after she was first committed – she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, a diagnosis maintained until 1982.

She has also received a Hepititis C diagnosis, thought to have been contracted while in the hospital.

She doesn’t reflect extensively, in this article, on the effects this kind of damaging and forced maltreatment might have had on her health and her life subsequently.

I wonder, hmmm. Is it possible that there are thousands and thousands of people being held at the present time in psychiatric hospitals around the world for non-existent “illnesses”? If so, I would imagine there could be a great deal of potential for more and more of this sort of coverage in the future.