Overcoming Namby Pamby Disorder And, With It, The Psychiatric Nanny State

Iranian born Dr. Nassir Ghaemi in a MedScape piece, Fallacies of Psychiatry, actually only succeeds in revealing his own bias.

His first conjectured fallacy, the psychological fallacy, he would answer with a fallacy of his own. Namely, the flat earth fallacy. If enough people think a person “needs” psychiatric “help”, in other words, it must be so, and this makes the difference between a biological basis and a psychological, social, or psycho-social origin for “mental disorder”. If the person makes his way into the doctors office, at his friends and associates bequest, his or her “illness” must be biological.

These psychological judgments are essentially made on the basis of common sense. But if common sense were enough to explain things, then our patients would have convinced themselves, or been convinced by their friends and family. If a patient crosses the threshold of a clinician’s door, then common sense has failed — no need to keep using it. What is needed is scientific sense, which is quite different than common sense.

Suddenly because a doctor has entered the picture, we’ve got science. Really? Conventional wisdom may not apply here, but reason doesn’t cease to apply. I wouldn’t be beyond suggesting that our mad doctor’s uncommon sense was a little tainted with an unreason of his own.  If a pseudo-scientific credentialed elite says it is true, it must be true. Right? I’d say, reasonably, that it isn’t true until it is proven true. Here we have one theory in competition with others. The winner is only a poser. The scientific method is about disproving, not proving.

Dr. Nassir would then debunk such a biological reductivist view for certain “mental illnesses” that, in his view, have a psycho-social basis. This creates an even more serious dilemma for our doctor because now we have two entirely distinct species of “mental illnesses”, those with a primarily biological basis, and those with a primarily psycho-social and environmental basis. I would suggest that if “mental illness” is not actually “brain disease”, but erroneous ways of thinking, you don’t need two species of “illness” at all to explain it. Simply put, removing consciousness from the equation does not, at the same time, remove consciousness from the organism.

The doctor’s view is a pretty conventional one, but it asks many serious questions about the profession of psychiatry today. He establishes the psychiatric divide. His examples of biologically based disorders is pretty orthodox, as are his examples of more psycho-socially based disorders. On one side we’ve got schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, the holy trinity of the “mental illness” belief system, and on the other side, we’ve got PTSD, adult ADHD, and borderline personality disorder. I’ve seen this divide presented before. Recently I encountered a person attributing minor disorders to stress factors and major disorders to heredity and biology. In psychoanalytic theory, what has become the divide between major and minor “mental illness”, constituted the division between psychosis and neurosis. If these “disorders” existed on a continuum–big if, but they could–you’ve still got the psyche in psychosomatic. I don’t think it has, by any stretch of the imagination, been proven that they don’t exist on a continuum.

Big problem, little problem. Major “disease”, minor. The big secret is that diagnosis doesn’t represent the eternal biological curse that some professionals would have it represent for people given serious diagnostic tags. Some people manage to get out of the system, and to cope, and even to flourish, despite the cynicism of professionals. The devastating statistics actually represent a systemic challenge. When you’ve got a system based on unequal power relationships, that’s what happens. The success and independence of professionals is based on the failure and dependence of patients. Step back a little bit, and consider, the success of the professional actually depends on failing his patients. You’ve got more job security when your job is keeping a junkie supplied with dope (and this dope could be methadone, heroin, haldol or clozapine) than you would have if your job was getting him or her off drugs entirely.

Initially asylums were set up to segregate and imprison lunatics, i.e. people believed afflicted with any earlier version of the holy trinity in the psychiatric belief system. The advent of psychoanalysis expanded that field a great deal to include people suffering from more minor afflictions and offenses. General anxiety disorder, for instance, is in many ways the mental health equivalent of a skinned knee. Recently, psychiatry has been accused, due to the absolutely absurd number of “diseases” proliferating in the DSM, of pathologizing “normal”. Since the genesis of psychoanalysis, utilizing professional services has been put forward as a way of life. I’d suggest that there are other roads to take besides that of treatment, and maybe we’d better look to them. Take the case of what used to be called hysteria, or the case of what used to be called hypochondria, when a crutch is imaginary, perhaps a person would do better to get along without it.

Ex-marine Locked Up Over Facebook Posts Freed

Ex-marine Brandon Raub of Chesterfield Virginia was detained in a psychiatric hospital for evaluation for, of all things, his Facebook posts. The case, handled by lawyers from the Rutherford Institute as it was felt that his free speech rights were being violated, was later dismissed.

Business Insider recently published an UPDATE: Judge Orders Release Of Detained Marine From Psychiatric Hospital

A circuit court judge has dismissed the government’s case against Brandon Raub and ordered that the Marine veteran, detained over anti-government Facebook posts, be released from a state psychiatric hospital because authorities had no grounds to detain him, Catie Beck of CBS 6 News reports.

Raub’s lawyer, John Whitehead, issued a stern warning on the state of affairs with Virginia mental health law.

Whitehead said that every year in Virginia more than 20,000 people are committed under similar circumstances and “that means
a lot of people are disappearing” under the pretext of mental illness.

Following the Virginia Tech shootings a few years ago, Virginia lowered its standard for forced treatment. This situation makes it way too easy for people to get committed to psychiatric institutions in the state of Virginia, sometimes for the most frivolous of reasons.

“I’m friends with the local police; I could call them right now and probably get you committed if you were in Virginia,” Whitehead said. “They can arrive at your door based on somebody’s testimony or your Facebook page and take you away to a mental hospital… There’s a system here that is corrupt. And this guy is caught in it.”

Brandon Raub has been released from that system. Many more people are hopelessly caught in it now. I would suspect that Brandon Raub is not the only person so confined in an effort to suppress freedom of speech.

5/5/12 Philadelphia

Connecticut college student and monitor of the event, Caitlin Belforti, speaking at the Friends Center in Philadelphia.

New York activist Daniel Hazen speaking.

Aki Imai is from Ohio. He launched the Our Life After Labels submission-based blog.

Joe Rogers, a Philly local, is the director of the National Mental Health Self-help Clearinghouse.

Signs of the times.

John Judge read a statement of support from Paula J. Caplan who was unable to attend.

Long time San Francisco activist and retired attorney Ted Chabasinski.

The backdrop for the mornings events.

Godly Mathew once spent one hundred consecutive days protesting against psychiatric abuse outside Philadelphia’s Friends Hospital.

Down with psychiatric labels. Up with human beings.

Ted’s banner.

Inside the Friends Center events get underway.

Outside of the Friends Center where the rally took place.

Inside again.

The march to the Convention Center minutes away.

Director of the Anchorage Alaska based Center for Psychiatric Rights lawyer Jim Gottstein.

The demonstration outside of the Convention Center.

Pedestrians crossing the street.

Protesters outside of the Convention Center.

Demonstrators and pedestrians.

The Icarus Project well represented.

The shrinks label bible, in revision, and its discontents.

What’s that? Psychopharmacomania?

David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International, at the microphone beside Philadelphia native Susan Rogers.

Amid other not so spontaneous eruptions of Mad Pride!

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.

Army Shrink Jumps On Schizophrenia As Possible Killer

Seems the soldier that killed 16 innocent civilians, mostly children, in Afghanistan did have a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis. I don’t know how many brownie points that gets me, but it should garner a few. Here’s another psychiatrist offering his 10 cents worth of wisdom in TheLeafChronicle.com under the heading, Reasons for killings uncertain. This Harry Croft shrink should know. He’s interviewed, he says, at least 7,000 PTSD cases. Next question, who rubber stamped ‘em all?

Dr. Harry Croft of San Antonio, Texas, has worked with PTSD since before it even had a name. As a major in the U.S. Army serving as a psychiatrist during Vietnam, Croft said that he and others had known of the disorder as early as 1973, and that since then, he said he has interviewed no less than 7,000 PTSD sufferers in his practice and as a contracted specialist working for companies in conjunction with the Veterans Administration (VA).

At this point, not only does this soldier have a certified mental health condition, but he also has a name. He’s Staff Sargeant Robert Bales.

Dr. Croft, to quell fears that any soldier may be labeled PTSD, explains that only 1 in 5 or 20 % of the troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to become so labeled. He thinks that a small figure. He doesn’t want people to blame the PTSD as matter of course. As he explains, mass murder is rare, and he wouldn’t attribute the killings to PTSD just off the cuff.

Reports in recent days have cited a past diagnosis of PTSD and possible traumatic brain injury as a result of a rollover accident in Iraq, but have also uncovered financial problems and past incidents of erratic behavior that conflicted with a picture of a “super soldier” painted by former commanders and others.

This doctor blames multiple deployments as a possible factor involved in the shootings. He also mentioned incidents where supposedly friendly Afghans shot in the back, or blew up, American soldiers.

Bogeyman of bogeymen, demon of the courthouse, where’s this discussion leading? Why to psychosis as the culprit, of course.

“There was rage and a possible flip into a psychotic state,” said Croft. “I just don’t think this was simply PTSD, and I worry that people are going to generalize from this and say that everyone coming back from over there is a potential murderer. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Uh, we hope so, too.

Realistically we know if an ex-troop is stuck in a bad situation, and he wants out, all he has to do is get some shrink to certify him a PTSD case, and it’s fun in the sun time. Keep those benefits coming, thank you, Uncle Sam. Of course, these disturbed regular troops wouldn’t do anything of the order of the things that Sgt. Bales did. That goes without saying.

Sgt. Bales couldn’t have been in his right mind either for that matter. I imagine he was possessed by the schizophrenia demon, and the schizophrenia demon perpetuated those vile deeds. If a court buys it, no need to exorcise him by electric chair, or do they still use a firing squad in the military these days? We can sweep him into the loon bin and all’s forgotten. All’s forgotten, that is, until the next soldier snaps under the strain, and let’s loose on the innocent.

Nothing is stranger than war

Another soldier has committed an atrocity, only this time the soldier was acting alone, and therefore, he has the DSM is on his side. We have this absurd headline from CNN on the subject, Mental illness more likely behind Afghan shooting than PTSD, psychiatrist says. The first paragraph of the report makes the matter a little clearer.

While officials have provided few details about the U.S. Army soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan men, women and children in a house-to-house shooting rampage in two villages, one psychiatrist speculated the incident may have stemmed from mental illness, but not necessarily post-traumatic stress disorder.

The enemy, man! It’s the enemy we’re supposed to be shooting! That’s hostile forces, and not innocent civilians! As I’ve noted previously we’ve got this problem with a legal definition of insanity that reads ‘a danger to oneself or others’. I’m not sure we’ve got a legal definition for soldier, otherwise, they would all be locked up.

This is serious.

Afghans approached the gate to the outpost, saying there had been a shooting and carrying their wounded, according to a senior Defense Department official. The death toll included nine children, three women and four men.

To his credit, he turned himself into military authorities afterwards.

This man’s army does not recruit psycho or sociopaths.

“A sociopath or a psychopath is somebody who isn’t going to fit into the rules of something like the U.S. military, and that kind of person would have been likely drummed out or released from the military many years ago,” he [psychiatry professor Paul Newhouse] said. “I understand this individual was, had been, in the Army for quite some time, so I think a better likelihood is that this person suffered from some severe illness or mental illness that may have come on more recently and perhaps is linked to this terrible incident.”

This psychiatry professor thinks he was probably just nuts (i.e. delusional, psychotic) instead.

On pretrial confinement, uncharged as of yet, the death penalty hasn’t been ruled out in this soldier’s case.

The suspect had 3 tours of duty in Iraq under his belt before this event occured according to the report. The brigade he had been assigned to was initially stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington. Here’s what this article tells us about Lewis-McChord.

In December 2010, the Stars and Stripes military newspaper said Lewis-McChord had gained a reputation as “the most troubled base in the military.” It also reported that year that multiple investigations were under way into the conduct of troops at the base and the adequacy of the mental health and medical care soldiers were receiving upon their return home.

I wouldn’t rule out PTSD just yet.

Prescription Drugs Killing Veterans of Military Service

A recent article in the New York Times dealt with the subject of polypharmacy among military and ex-military men and women. The headline says it all, For Some Troops, Powerful Drug Cocktails Have Deadly Results. An army report detailed the increase in suicide that accompanied this development.

“Prescription drug use is on the rise,” the report said, noting that medications were involved in one-third of the record 162 suicides by active-duty soldiers in 2009. An additional 101 soldiers died accidentally from the toxic mixing of prescription drugs from 2006 to 2009.

A number of soldiers killed themselves by their own hand, often considered a side effect of certain psychiatric drugs, while other soldiers over dosed on combinations of prescription drugs.

The actual number of accidental deaths from drug combinations I suspect is likely to be much higher than that attributed to drugs. Were the cause listed as “unknown”, for instance, the cause of death would not have been attributed to the drugs that could have caused it.

“I’m not a doctor, but there is something inside that tells me the fewer of these things we prescribe, the better off we’ll be,” Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the vice chief of staff of the Army who has led efforts on suicide, said in an interview.

When people in the mental health/illness system are dying on average 16 years earlier than the general population, 25 years earlier according to a 2006 study, you know you’ve got a problem. It is my hope that the alarm and the concern that has been generated by these “accidental” deaths among military and ex-military men and women might spread to some of those early deaths in the civilian population.

The problem has grown so severe in the army that the army has issued a new policy on the use of multiple medications.

“The sedation is not necessarily two plus two is four,” said Cmdr. Rosemary Malone, a Navy forensic psychiatrist. “It could be synergistic. So two plus two could be five.”

Our military and ex-military are not the only victims of polypharmacy, but in the service at least the matter is receiving some much needed attention. Sadly this attention comes too late to help those of our fighting men and women who have already died as a result of deadly combinations of prescription drugs.

Aussie Vets Defrauding the Government with False Benefits Claims

The news.com.au headline shrieks Australian troops rorting mental illness and stress pension claims, says Naval Surgeon.

First, let’s go to Wikipedia and look at the word rort for the sake of all those people who reside in places outside of the land downunder.

Rort is a term used in Australia and New Zealand. It is commonly related to politics, or, more generally, a financial impropriety, particularly relating to a government programme. The term was first recorded in 1919 and is a derivative of the older “rorty” a 19th century London slang word—meaning “fine; splendid; jolly; or boisterous”. The term is also used as a verb to mean the action of defrauding, (e.g.: he rorted the system.).

I imagine this to be a big problem in the USA, too, but it’s a problem nobody is going to touch there. When you’ve got an extreme unemployment problem, and a tradition of disrespect for recent military ventures, those things happen.

In an unprecedented attack on the military compensation system, navy reservist Surgeon Commander Doug McKenzie said the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) epidemic sweeping the Defence ranks featured a plethora of fake illness claims – costing taxpayers millions of dollars, reported The Daily Telegraph.

The Commander estimates as much as 90 % of such claims false.

Cdr McKenzie said while there were some genuine PTSD cases, it defied belief that 20 per cent of a warship’s crew, for example, could suffer from the disorder when they had not been within 200km of any fighting. The navy has the highest incidence of PTSD.

Unfortunately, good soldiers (sailors, too) must be made as they are not born, and this making doesn’t always insure their “goodness”.

There are 337,000 surviving Australian veterans and 186,000 of them receive benefits. Cdr McKenzie, who served in East Timor and Iraq, said the fact there were more than 3000 claims, with some 600 accepted, from soldiers who served in East Timor alone attested to the extent of the problem.

The article goes on to say that in the past year 78% of 738 Australian veterans applying for PTSD under The Veterans Entitlement Act were accepted.

It is my feeling that this big burden is likely to grow, and that it’s not a problem that is restricted to the continent of Australia. There is a limit to the amount of a burden a national economy can bear. In Australia, at least, an officer has had the guts to indicate that the problem even exists.