Psychiatric Myths Dispelled by Doctor – Fighting Antipsychiatry

Or How Antipsychiatry Groups are Wrong

If you’ve been reading my writings here at the Bipolar Burble for a while, you’ve probably gathered that I don’t like antipsychiatry groups. These groups are often under the “mad pride” flag or “psychiatric survivors” or people for “human rights” or people fighting psychiatric abuses. Often the language they use is solely designed to convince you that psychiatry is evil, psychiatry should be stopped, no one should take psychiatric medication and in many cases, psychology is also evil. Many antipsychiatry groups are sneaky. Antipsychiatry groups sounds reasonable on first glance but it’s only once you dig into them that you see how insidious they are.

Psychiatry and Psychology are Not EvilAntipsychiatry groups are ridiculous.

I’ve tried to look into antipsychiatry groups to see if there’s something worth understanding but they have no evidence. Just ardent supporters that make wild claims without proof. And their tactics of cruel, personal, abusive attacks are not worth my time. It assures that their groups have no credibility whatsoever.

I Fight Antipsychiatry Groups

And sometimes I spend entire days fighting antipsychiatry people. Antipsychiatry shows up on the Bipolar Burble, antipsychiatry finds me on Twitter, antipsychiatry follows me to Facebook, antipsychiatry shows up on Breaking Bipolar. And these charming antipsychiatry folks, for whatever reason, read all about me and then use those personal details to ensure their personal attacked will be as nasty as possible.

Yes, antipsychiatry groups are ridiculous.

Who has Time to Scientifically Refute Every Cockamamie Antipsychiatry Argument?

I don’t have time to research every one of their outragous claims and make cogent counter-arguments. Because it’s endless. It can always be done but it’s more work than I have time for.

Myths About Psychiatry by Nada Logan Stotland M. D. – Huffington Post

Luckily for me and for you, Dr. Nada Logan Stotland M. D. has written the most amazing anti-antipsychiatry article I’ve ever read. (She doesn’t say she’s anti-antipsychiatry, but this piece is certainly a shot across the bow of antipsychiatry.)

Psychiatry Myths Dispelled by a Doctor

Aren’t mental health diagnoses randomly added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and applied to individuals?

When deciding what to include in the DSM, “. . . specialists have to look at the evidence and then make judgments about the criteria for medical diagnoses. The difference between a benign tumor and a cancer is a matter of how many sick cells appear under the microscope. “

“Differentiating them [psychiatric disorders] from normal is no different than deciding what level of blood pressure is ‘hypertension,’ how many pounds add up to ‘obesity,’. . . A condition rises to the level of disease when it handicaps a person, is associated with bad outcomes, and/or can be treated — in psychiatry just as in the rest of medicine.”

We don’t understand mental illness the way we understand other illnesses.

“We all know that diabetes is caused by the failure of the pancreas to secrete normal amounts of insulin. But what causes that? We say it’s an autoimmune condition — the body attacks its own insulin-secreting cells. Why does that happen? We don’t know.”

And, of course, we treat diabetes in spite of this lack of knowledge just like we treat mental illness.

Psychiatry illnesses aren’t real, don’t exist, because there are no diagnostic tests for mental illness.

“The substrate, the physical location, of thought, mood, and behavior, is the brain. That’s not a part of the body we like to biopsy without an extremely good reason . . . Using brain scans, however, we now can distinguish between the brain of a person with depression and a person who is not depressed — and make many, many other such observations.”

This is something antipsychiatry groups bring up all the time. But as Dr. Stotland points out, we can distinguish depressed brains from non-depressed brains in a brain scan. In fact, there are many illnesses that show on brain scans (and sometimes blood tests) but it is early days and brain scans aren’t the kind of thing people can afford (or necessarily even get access to).

Don’t psychiatrists have a vested interest in making everyone “sick” so they can make more money?

“There is a shortage of psychiatrists. I don’t know any psychiatrists with time on their hands. Our incomes are at the lower end of the medical totem pole, along with family medicine and pediatrics . . .”

No one is saying they don’t make oodles of money, they do. But the notion they are not trying to help people and they are trying to create more patients is ludicrous. It takes months to see my psychiatrist because he’s so busy. He doesn’t need any more sick people. Not to mention the fact that in Canada, many profit motivation arguments just don’t hold a lot of water.

There is no science behind psychiatry.

“The New England Journal of Medicine some years ago published a paper demonstrating that far fewer than half the treatments used for cardiovascular diseases are supported by good scientific evidence. Psychiatric treatments work about as well as other medical treatments.”

I’m kind of shocked about cardiovascular disease, but if you think about it, they are in the same position. They are trying to save people’s lives, just like psychiatry is, in the best way they know how.

Please read Dr. Stotland’s full article.

The Motives of Doctors, Psychiatrists and Psychologists

And as many problems as I have with psychiatry, psychiatrists, doctors and psychiatric medication, I believe that psychiatrists are trying to help. They’re not always successful, but their motive is not evil and it’s not money – it’s making people better.

 

  1. Natasha… I beleive you said in one your blogs that you had to go through 30 cocktails before you found the correct one…

    What do you say to a peron like me that has been given drugs that have harmed my kidneys, liver, heart and now I am one of those few people who now has diabetes, even though my doctors say it is so rare. Well , guess what. I won the psychiatric jackpot. And to think I have to give this yokel 200 dollars for a 15 minute visit so that he can kill me. And dont tell me they dont get kickbacks from big pharma . I found out that my last one did to the tuine of 140k over 2 years. Not too bad. To me they are nothing but drug dealers with a suit and an office and a degree. And why is it that those great drug commercials list oll the lousy things that can happen to you including death?

    https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/

    This goes back to 2013…

    Look how many are psych doctors… http://www.propublica.org/article/dollars-for-docs-the-top-earners

  2. I was looking for material that could give me any outcomes on therapies by proponents of antispsychiatry. I was happy to see this well written blog post by you. Evidence based practice is what drives clinicians to treat within the medical system, if there is evidence of better successes, I’d like to see it.

  3. The problem I have with psychiatry these days, is the fact that psychiatrists don’t work with the patient, they only prescribe medication without even knowing anything about that person. It took 20 minutes for my psychiatrist (very respected among his peers) to diagnose and medicate me! He then advised me to have therapy with a psychologist (which did nothing for me because her method is to listen and nothing much.) I don’t need to speak endlessly about my problems, I know them too well. I have been the one coping and understanding, dealing and overcome my traumas. Therapy helps if you have the money for it or be lucky enough to find the right therapist to help you! Psychiatric meds made me gain a lot of weight in just a month and a lot more after 3 months. I was in great shape and exercising every day before the meds, after the meds I was a zombie and my memory and concentration was gone. I am not anti anything I just don’t think it’s the way to treat me. Even Psychiatrists MD’s are divided about these subjects. It’s very important to care and connect with their patients and stop waiting for drugs to solve our emotional and psychological problems.

    Trinity

  4. Natasha, is there somewhere on the web where you have specifically addressed the allegations made by Robert Whitaker? I’d love to read it.

  5. A woman friend of mine I’ve known since we were teens was reduced to a basket case by the psychiatric system. Curiously her condition has slowly improved since dramatically lowering her dosage of psychotropics – at one point ten pills a day. I also had a brother who would probably be alive today but for it. I urge you to read Bonnie Burstow’s ‘Psychiatry and the Business of Madness.’

    Excerpts:

    “… psychiatry consolidated its power and harnessed the newly acquired credibility of medicine not by being scientific but by mimicking the outward trappings of science and medicine.” (p 44)

    “…the pharmaceuticals are the kingpin, the mainstay of the regime of ruling. Successfully problematize that and the edifice crumbles. In this chapter, to an appreciable degree, that has happened, for in the final analysis, however much people may cling to them – and I am in no way denying that there are people who regard them as a lifeline – no medical credibility can be attached to a substance that is not medical, that addresses nothing medical, that gives rise to medical disorders, and whose modus operandi is dysfunction and damage.” (p 200)

    “So what in point of fact does the research establish? In short, that ECT is a profoundly injurious treatment that damages the brain, that substantially impairs memory, that gives rise to global cognitive dysfunction – and in the final analysis, it has no lasting efficacy.” (p 214)

    “All psychiatric drugs ‘work’ by obstructing normal brain function, causing dysfunction. All substantially interfere with normal thinking and feeling. All alter the brain’s chemistry and structure, to varying degrees, fundamentally damaging the brain. All alter the size of the brain, making it (or some part of it) either expand in size or shrink. All are addictive. All work in ways that make withdrawal difficult, in some cases, arguably, impossible. All cause dysfunctions (and in some cases disorders) in various parts of the body. All work by ‘deactivating’ to some degree, though some primarily activate. What is experienced as improvement, correspondingly, is invariably one or more of: sedation, stimulation, and the placebo effect. The drugs to varying degree inherently mask the very dysfunctions that they create. They obscure people’s appreciation of their psychic state, and by extension, of the damage. What goes along with this, there is a perilously close relationship between the purported ‘therapeutic effect’ and the ‘toxic effect,’ with the two at times being identical. The toxic effect itself can manifest itself in mania and psychosis.” (p 195-196)

  6. While I appreciate all the good work you do in raising awareness of and destigmatising mental illness, bipolar in particular, your comments on anti-psychiatry are mildly condescending.

    I think we are all aware that some people who associate with the antipsychiatry movement are close-minded and vitriolic, but to lump everyone who expresses suspicion about psychiatry into one big hate-filled mass is just as close-minded.

    Personally I choose not to fly under the antipsychiatry banner; it is too strong a term for me and rings of condemnation. There are, however, some murky areas in psychiatry that even the most ardent supporter of the practice would struggle to deny. Most of these revolve around coercive practice and the inherent power imbalance between the psychiatrist and his / her patient. This can be negotiated, and I think it is in some cases, but there are countless cases where this power imbalance remains and the patient is, effectively, without a voice.

    I often see people who express negative opinions of psychiatry characterised as narcisstic, self-pitying, attention-seeking slanderers, but I think this is employed by their opponents as a convenient label for people who are legitimately grieving, albeit in a slightly publicised (and perhaps romanticised) fashion. I actually see very little difference on either side of the fence; both viewpoints have passionate advocates (both articulate and inarticulate) who have similar rates of recovery, and face similar problems in their lives. Whether you embrace traditional psychiatry / medication / involuntary commitment or not, you’re going to come up against the same issues, just in different ways.

    I think it comes down, as you say, to how people have been treated. In the end that is a very personal thing, and can contribute just as much to your thinking as any ideology can. My own experience of psychiatry has been about 50 / 50, and to this day I remain a compliant patient who takes his meds and has a productive (albeit tense at times) relationship with my psychiatrist. For someone who was electro-shocked, bullied or (as happened here in NZ in the 1970s on an almost endemic level) raped by psychiatrists and psychiatric staff, having that trust in the system might be more difficult.

    I don’t say this to bait you or to condemn the article – the majority of which is actually fairly compelling – I just wanted to point out that “antipsychiatry” exists on a spectrum, and it may not always be in the form of mad pride vigilantes who want all psychiatry relegated to history.

    Peace

    Pete.

  7. I am so glad that somebody took the time to write a post like this. It really bothers me when the anti-psych people use the term ‘human rights,’ because mental illness is a human rights issue and they take away from that. Our prisons and streets are filled with mentally ill people that don’t get the help they need. We live in society that by-and-large doesn’t value our lives and would rather see us in prison or homeless than be well. That’s what the human rights issue is.

    • rench and German prosecutors investigating the crash have confirmed that Lubitz had been treated for suicidal tendencies and believe that he intentionally crashed the plane.
      He has been treated. dont make another dimension because we are already in that dimnesion. psychatry’s days are over.

  8. So much fuckery from anti psychiatry people in the comments … and they are completely irresponsible, not to mention ignorant of the neuroscience of meds and things like hippocampus shrinkage and grey matter loss

    I love your blog a lot.

  9. Psychiatry is nihilistic humanism, pure and simple .There is no counter argument.In Britain, few natives will touch this pseudo scientific quackery.Almost all of the deeply disturbed people who inflict this evil on the British population are imported from the Indian subcontinent.They are desperate for money.

    I have made significant non violent progress against these arch criminals,who are now also being closed down by the UN in Geneva , Switzerland .You will see Sigmund Freud’s statue removed from its plinth in north London in your lifetime.You will see the Tavistock institute of Human Relations in London, England closed down .This will effectively close down psychiatry in the English speaking world, and probably psychology too.

    I will be operating against psychiatry in Brussels, and via the ECHU, Strasbourg.

    I suggest that you focus your attention on nutrition, herbalism meditation and contact with Nature for your perceived problem , because your shrink is not going to be ‘ practicing’ any more.

    I wish you good spiritual health and hope you find inner contentment.

    • Please allow me to make a few corrections to dajjal66 comment

      Claimed: “In Britain few natives will touch this pseudo scientific quakery.” –
      Totally false:.
      300 people out of 1,000 in Britain will experience mental health problems every year. Of those 300, 230 will visit a GP, 102 will be diagnosed as having a mental health problem, 24 will be referred to a specialist psychiatric service and 6 will become inpatients in a psychiatric hospital.
      (Source: 1Goldberg, D., and Huxley, P. (1992) Common Mental Disorders – A Bio-Social Model.)

      Over 1.25 million people used the UK’s NHS mental health services in 2010, representing access rates of around 2,700 per 100,000 of the population.
      (Source: The NHS Information Centre (2011) Mental Health Bulletin, Forth report from mental health minimum datasheet (MHMDS) annual returns 2010 – http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/mhbmhmds0910 )

  10. I am a person who sees a psychiatrist and am extremely frustrated with the fact
    that I feel I am being forced to take medications that are not effective. In fact,
    it’s been more effective to talk to the nurse and have her come to my home
    and motivate me to get out of bed. The medications don’t do anything
    as far as I feel. I am not trying to have Natasha dislike me. I don’t deny
    that mental disorders exist. I’m simply very frustrated with what I perceive
    as the misguidedness of psychiatrists who think the meds are effective
    and have never taken the meds themselves in many cases.
    Why not talk to an individual instead of just handing him/her a prescription if that’s
    what will help the individual.

    • Furthermore, on page 1 of this blog, Natasha admits
      “In fact, there are many illnesses that show on brain scans (and sometimes blood tests) but it is early days and brain scans aren’t the kind of thing people can afford (or necessarily even get access to).”
      What does this mean?

      • she thinks people cant afford mri or fmri. but from what i know even fmri and mri dont show anything abnormal on non-drug taking brain (a brain without psych medicine pills)
        they makes their researches on old-timer brains who have been taking pills for centuries and are probaly on the effect of the pills and having the scan while on drugs
        i’ve been taking psych meds for over 13 and now im not on them anymore after a succesful withdrawl 3 years ago almost .. i did alot of strength training after i stopped taking pills so the strength traniing helped me balanced myself,weight exercises with compound movements squats ,deadlifts,military press,bench press..people who want to withdraw should do this too in my opinion. i also tried my best to avoid watching porn so i can focus on other things.

        • hey makes their researches on old-timer brains who have been taking pills for centuries and are probaly on the effect of the pills and having the scan while on drugs
          i mean while on psych drugs

  11. Natasha, you should really consider that it is an honor that so many antipsychiatry people follow you all over. They follow you because you are making a positive impact, they follow you because you are a threat to them, they follow you because it makes them feel self righteous and feel good to harass someone in the name of their god of antipsychiatry, they follow you because you make sense, you have a balance view. So keep up the good work.

    • what the ?? it’s really not the point ,we are survivors. do you think we have any mean intention ? we are the victim!!!

    • In reponse to Dan.

      Not really at all, Natasha is no threat at all to the anti-psychiatry movement, if she was the she would be making a difference which is definitely not the case anywhere outside of the USA.

      I have always adapted a balanced view in this regards if you read my posts.
      The issues been that you must realize that most people who are coming across this blog have had a “tangle” with the psychiatric movement and therefore seem to take it very personally as it is affecting their rights.

      Tell me Dan, would you put your life in the hands of “traditional healer” like a primitive witchdoctor or medicine man?

      The problem been is that when you go into psychiatry the facts speak for themselves and it is extremely dangerous that people lives, especially the brain is been put into the hand of a profession that cannot prove itself nor has any history of been successful.

      I keep a very open mind when taking in the facts, please indulge us all and prove to us that psychiatry knows what it is doing and that it is based on scientific fact with a history of success like any other medical profession can claim.?

      What you clearly do not understand is that at some point someone who has been “diagnosed” was looking for help, or their family were and ended up suffering at the hands of a profession that cannot prove the validity of its own profession nor its effectiveness, the onus is on the profession as they the ones claiming that they can help.
      The onus is NOT on the “patients”.

      • Hi garetth sorry for all the mispelling in the other posts of mine ,this chaos was caused due to me being under some practice of “solution” i found on the internet for a scar which a guy made on my face in school when i was on heavy psych drugs. it turns out that the practice was not a “solution” at all rather the opposite…
        it only adds good points to the anti psychiatry. somebody made a scar on my face when i was on heavy psych drugs, i could not resist or prevent it when he did it because of the too heavy side effects of the drugs ,so when i withdrawled from the drugs i tried to find every way possible on the internet to remove it …
        im ok now dont worry. i was also okay then . but was following a stupid advice about scars form the internet.

  12. Thank you for this. You made more sense out of the diabetes comparison. May I please use that paragraph on a bulletin board at my school?

    • Hi Shannon,

      I didn’t write the initial information on diabetes – the Huffington Post author did. If you wish to ask permission, you may wish to ask her.

      That being said, if you just want to use that small part, that’s generally fine and not against copyright as using a small part of a copyrighted work falls into something known as “fair use.”

      – Natasha Tracy

  13. Interesting discussion. I have incredibly mixed feelings about all this. I am a senior ( 63) who has spent a lifetime being treated by psychiatry and have a had a few years in the anti-psychiatry movement as well ( in the early 80s).
    I was poorly diagnosed and received objectively poor treatment from psychiatry starting at age 14. I was inappropriately medicated , went through completely useless and absurd analysis which basically resulted in absurd self indulgence, had one doctor in the early 70s hit on me( seriously!) etc. Finally I turned my back on all of them and managed best as I could. I refused to take any medications for a long time – and managed my symptoms with exercise and learning to live without sleep. I was only barely successful.
    After many struggles, I went back on medication ( for the sake of my children, largely) and, lo and behold, I’ve been fairly stable ever since. I was diagnosed with bi-polar for the first time ever, treated appropriately and am, more or less, fine. The difference? Better medications. Better doctors. No more analysts. My recurrent insomnia gets medicated, I never hit those depths of despair anymore due to SSRIs, and my hypomania is pretty much gone . My only regret about the meds I am on now, is that I didn’t go on them earlier.
    I regret the many goals that I did not have enough energy to fulfill- managing my craziness took most of my resources. It’s been a rough ride. I still have much anger towards psychiatry from a very checkered past, but am thankful for the meds and the lessening of stigma that have come my way in latter years. It’s been, truly, a long strange trip. Psychiatry may still suck in many regards but I am here to say that it sucks a lot less than it used to.
    Good luck to you all . You’re in my thoughts daily. All folks who struggle with mental illness are.

  14. Anti- psycharity groups will do NOTHING to help you
    If you are stuck in a mental hospital!!! Just remember that!

    • Kris.

      This is the saddest and a very true fact.
      Luckily for some I do get involved and take the psychiatrists head on, on a personal face to face level.

      The best thing anyone can do is arm themselves with information and check and them double check what is fact and fiction. The most unfortunate part of it all is that most people , at least in my experience, do not take them arguments of a “diagnosed person very seriously.

      I do not believe that psychiatrists are necessarily bad people. If a patient knows the facts they may well be able to communicate to the psychiatrist and look at other avenues of “treatment” that may or may not involve medication.

      The biggest issue that any patient faces at all is their very own family, the fact remains that the family usually can put pressure on the person or even have them committed. Educate those who are directly around you with the facts and you will usually see a vast difference in the patients treatment and the way they are handled.

      With that all been said, there are some anti-psychiatic groups who do it completely wrong, in fact most of them. If you blatantly attack the psychiatrist, it is natural for them to go on the defense.
      Seriously, get the facts, educate those around you with them and have a civilized discussion with the psychiatrist and keep only the facts, most of them are actually quite intellectual and and if approached properly will explore other avenues.

  15. I cannot believe this, you and many of your collegues take out the liberties of many people, which is anticonstitutional in the united states and a crime against humanity and you are using language and fallacies ad hominem to take adherents to your caus. People who understand science, who reaally understand science at least they have been willing to read something about the philosophy of science wants to know one thing and one thing only. WHERE ARE THE TEST FOR THE ILLNESSESS? where is schizophrenia in the brain. Paresis, alzheimer, and epilepsy are diseases for one thing only, you can see the changes in the brain caused by this agents. If you open a brain you can find paresis and alzheimer, you cannot find depression nor schizophrenia (finding schizophrenia in the brain is like finding anti americanism in the brain, it just fucking aberration of language inititated by you and most of your kind) so tell my ooooo so rational doctor, where is? what causes it, where i can find it?

  16. Hi Natasha,
    I like reading these comments, although many responses are overly defensive and testify to a limited data base. I am somewhere quite specifiably in-between, probably due to my being a European born in America. Although I wrote on ECT at another place, I am really committed to very little. My teaining is is maths science and philosophy. I too cannot stand anti-psychiatry and was appalled when I noticed how its influence facilitated the closure of many mental hospitals. In the EU and USA, I might add. Now, in the United Kingdom there is a very lively set of patients’ groups. Many members have mental health problems. They prefer what they call the “social model” of medical culture, politics and practice. It is a sort of midway, or synthesis, of what they find good in anti-psychiatry, politis if healthcare, and medical approaches. I like this. If you wish, I would be glad to post some links and titles,
    somewhere. I like these people a lot.

  17. Anti psychiatric groups are ridiculous? anti psychiatric groups are survivors. most of them are made of psych survivors,people who have been treated and threatened by psychiatrists to be ill forever if they dont take their pill. Dont you have a heart? (i am one of them,im not into an originized group ,but i know what happens into the walls)
    Again,dont thank me. dont ignore the fact. maybe you will respect them more after the information.

    • I find it absolutely amazing that we have not received any answer.
      I have no “condition” , so to say and yet have been actively involved with aiding those do do have a “condition”.
      I have gone many times face to face with psychiatrists and their M.O is always the same, when they cant dominate their opinions to you, they get another one to join in( 2 against 1), then they get another until the Head of psychiatry is in the room, so eventually you have the entire department their trying to “save” the patient?

      I am not against psychiatry all in all, but it simply amazes me that webpages like this are setup and yet no response from those who run the page, by the way, this also applies to all who run anti-psychiatric pages.

      I really believe BOTH parties need to sit down and come up with a way forward instead of posting pages stating anti-psychiatric groups are ridiculous or that psychiatry is a human experiment page.

      Seriously does no one care to logically go forward and make a difference, both sides been referred to here .

      If you reading this from an outsiders point of view, these testimonies that psychiatry ruined peoples lives, they are true, psychiatry is (for lack of a better example) like trying to deal with devil.

      • i was a hell on earth walking with the strong side effects of anti psychoticts … and im not even mentioning the struggle to convince the psychiatrist that it hurts me from my parents and after it didnt succeed the strong psychological pressure “my” psychiatrists and other psychiatrists have been using against me so that i can do anything but not stop these dangerous pills … “if you stop the meds,i dont treat you anymore” and more things like treathening me that i will go directly to a mental hospital (“my” psychiatrist and another one i went to see for something else while asking him. they both threatened me that i will go to the mental hospitals they mentioned)
        what to do is a sad game ,they play with someone’s reality. i thank only myself for finding peter breggin’ss book and withdrwaling. after im all out of these,these people dont believe me i withdrawled ,they hate it and hate me for succeeding ,so they call me in names even when i want to join the army,etc. they cant deal with someone who actually survived. and sorry for my descriptions,my mother language is hebrew.

        • To Dor

          Congratulations, I also came across Dr Breggins work, truly excellent stuff. I have dealt specifically with “schizophrenia” only and I have seen amazing differences in people by just getting their medication to bare minimum, they become a whole new person.
          Congratulations, Psychiatrists use the same tricks over and over again, they convince you of some condition they can neither prove or understand. then they go on to fill you full of fear about your condition, then they set themselves up as the answer. once they have you, you do the same with your family and build a “cage” around your life.

          Congratulations, on your with drawl, i presume it has been a while as it is dangerous to just stop.

          I wish that there was some organization that stood up to psychiatry in the sense that these issues are tackled from a logical point. I would not say that mental illness does not exist, I believe it does however I dont believe it is as common as they claim, neither do I agree that anyone should treat with medication as there are other alternatives. I do believe that the medication causes far more bad effects than any “controlling of a condition” has ever justified.

          It is such a pity that psychiatrists are not held up to the same standards as the medical profession is, they would all be out of a job unless they did something quickly.

      • p.s ,what you mentioned with all the psychiatrists coming is very very common in the field , i call it self-righteousness over one’s life (self-righteousness is more importent ,”hah”)

  18. I think one of the main things people have trouble with in acknowledging antipsychiatry as a valid movement is the whole “mental illness does not exist” statement. Truly, that is treading in tricky waters, as so many people blindly take that sentiment to represent the entire movement as a whole.
    True, psychiatry could have easily ruined my own life, as it has to many, many others. However, my main argument is the so-called importance of psychiatric medication. The psychiatrist I was unfortunate enough to encounter demeaned me and overprescribed me unneeded medications to treat the great catch-all dx of bipolar disorder. I want to err on the sake of brevity here, so long story short : my “depression” was caused by first, having to drop out of college, and secondly, due to the side effects of the ridiculous meds I was on [depakote, seroquel, paxil, abilify, topomax, lorazepam — all at the same time]. I was told I would need to be on these drugs for the rest of my life. my diagnosis was based on my admittance that I believed in ghosts and aliens, “magical thinking.” she also used my rapid weight gain as a sign of mania, as opposed to what it really was – an undiagnosed case of hypothyroidism, brought on, of course, by the drug combo. I had gained over 60lbs in 4 months. it wasn’t until AFTER consulting the medical boards in my state, and threatening action against the p-doc, that she relented and started the process of tapering me off. I ended up withdrawing cold turkey from the lorazepam, and needless to say, benzos are a real bitch to get off.
    Suffice to say, my real issue with psychiatry is the medication, and the reckless and dangerous approach the vast majority of psychiatrists employ. I just thank my lucky stars I had an awesome support system that recognized how much this system was failing me, and were extremely proactive in helping me get off. I have now been on synthroid, for the hypo, for the past 10 years and will probably have to be on for the rest of my life, all because of the overmedicating. It also took me several years to “reclaim my wits” and be able to articulate myself the way I had been prior to the chemical restraints. I have had no manic or depression aside from the usual ups and downs of life. if I had truly been bipolar, than diet, exercise (and thus, weight loss), and being around friendly people were able to cure it entirely. I am grateful more of my life wasn’t wasted blindly following the orders of a completely malicious doctor.

  19. My life was destroyed by Psychiatry.
    I was in foster care, and every time I reported abuse, I was sent to the therapist and diagnosed with a mental illness while the psychiatrists kept changing the diagnosis and kept selling my foster parents medication on the State’s dime.
    The more labels, the more abuse I suffered, and the more my human right’s were ignored because my complains were said to be part of my “illnesses.”
    I was socially segregated, bullied and used as a punching bag for my peers and authority figures.
    Why? What was my crime? What was my symptom? Asking questions, being critical of irresponsible authority figures and peer abuse, and complaints about the abuse.
    The more I complained about the physical abuse and restraints, the more they increased the abuse, labeling and public humiliation.
    I ended up homeless, not because of grades (I was on the honor role) and not because of criminal acts (spotless history), but because I kept getting expelled after being accused of things I didn’t do… this was due to the fact the people that bullied me learned of the labels levied against me and used them to accuse me. The stigma allowed people to false accuse me.
    Social services only wanted to get more labels for me and to sign up for benefits because the people they have on their lists as “ill”, the more funding they received (Residents for Effective Shelter Transition – Chicago, Shut down for unprofessional practices).
    After 14 different diagnosis and being placed on over a dozen psychiatric meds, another agency forced my to either spend the night in 10 below winter, or sign paperwork that declared me ill.
    I have no future because of psychiatry. No possibility for education, social integration or social life.
    I have never done anything criminal, all I did was question the abuses of my peers and authority figures.
    The err in human dependency for psychiatric diagnosis is too high for it to be considered a science.
    People who want easy answers will always cling to any “ism”, “ology” or “iatry” that has a simple solution.
    Life isn’t always that way. Reacting to abuse is rarely a sign of instability or illness.
    At best, psychiatry is breachment by popularity poll of who can be exploited and dismissed without any perfect Socratic inquiry.
    Individuals, such as yourself that proclaim psychiatry to be a miracle and perfect are cult fanatics that ignore psychiatry’s abuses and assumptions. “I will admit psychiatry isn’t perfect”, – then why not show where the error is? It’s anti-socratic, and therefore anti-science.
    I don’t know how else to explain this, other than stating two flawless facts:
    – Statistics can be, and have been manipulated to fit agendas by changing or choosing the wording in studies
    – Assumptions need to be weeded out for something to be called a fact. This is called the socratic method. Psychiatry is aggressively anti-socratic.

  20. Thank you! I was wondering if you had read Dr. Insel’s announcement on how the NIMH is changing its funding criteria for clinical trials? All clinical trials for drugs to treat serious mental illness must have a mechanism to test the neurobiology that is suspect in the illness, rather than just testing if it affects symptoms. I believe this should help improve the effectiveness of the medications and reduce side effects.

    I would love to hear your take on this news.

    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/funding/opportunities-announcements/clinical-trials-foas/changing-nimh-clinical-trials-efficiency-transparency-and-reporting.shtml

  21. As an attorney I have represented mentally ill clients. I am certainly not a critic of the entire field of psychiatry. Many of my clients had schizophrenia, and I know the only effective treatment for them is in psychopharmacology . I am bothered by the dishonesty that has become an element of the profession. Several times while representing a client at an involuntary admission hearing, I have called out the testifying psychiatrist for concealing or omitting some of their reasons for signing the involuntary. In the clinical setting, I have heard psychiatrists state one of the reasons for signing an involuntary was fear of liability or because the patient’s family member asked for an involuntary admission. When we are in front of the hearing officer those reasons are never mentioned. The doctors have said they don’t mention those reasons because the law governing involuntary admissions does not recognize them as valid reasons for an involuntary. My position is if those reasons are among the doctor’s reasons for signing the involuntary then the hearing officer needs to know that to make a fair and intelligent ruling. I have asked several psychiatrists if they lie to their patients, and many have said they don’t lie to their patients but they do withhold the truth. First, this is a subterfuge. Second, what other field of medicine would accept withholding the truth from the patient?

  22. Hi , glad that I found this place.

    After reading this page, I laughed, I will end your argument simply by asking the following of you?

    1. I see you had a section about “no proof” , please can you provide something scientific to the table to prove mental illness? Did not think so. If a mechanic couldn’t fix your car, he would be a rather bad mechanic. You cant treat something you can’t prove.
    2. Please refute the fact, scientifically, that the medicines are more beneficial than harmful? Didn’t think you could!
    3. Please give me just 10 people who have ever been cured by a psychiatrist and who has not , in the end, come off their medication?
    4. Please show me evidence to refute the fact the world is actually more more “mentally ill” since psychiatry has been involved.

    Lastly I see you were quick to say that “who has the time to refute every little thing” Why not just try and refute the big ones? Also, how in your right mind can you think that treating someones mind without scientific proof is acceptable? And you cant argue, psychiatry is meant to a “scientific” science!

    Please do me a favor, next time you need a heart bypass, please call your plumber to do the operation on you, as it is the exact same thing?

  23. Fycical medicin are different..because id you have too much insuline in you body..you must nit take it us.medicin…and when strong syntetics medicin are given by psychiatrys..without measure if the patient have too much or too little dobamine…serotonin..and so on its a totat malbractise..

    Whow to person who have no.too much of dobamine can benifit a dobamine blockers…and its same of serotonin..

    If any psychiatry calculate how much they bring a monay ewey si gle day to medical factorys..they must understand that whole theory its robbish and.. They have been educated tu hammer monay without any thinking how much they produse a human suffer…how much thry humiliate and mock of all physical symptoms..because they think they are wise…and they illustrate themself like people who know innomost beeing invisble human mind…
    Ouh psychiatrics…just you are pure and do nit understand that you try to owertake people by reprasenting of people who see a invisible innermost beeing….like peole who are only who see a innermost and invisible…

    All short of theorys school medicin devolope..for business..

    How to theory has.made..by speaking….by speaking..by speaking…..
    In my opinion psychiatrys theory its rude..brutal..and lack of all human behaving understamding…they handle people lack oh any emotion and they have no any symphaty…and how it can bee….because no any who call others by any menttall ill terms it cant walue never ever that people afterwards..a
    and they know that so labelling its done for the controll a people..and make tem defentless…which produce a emotial problems to victim…

    Psychiatrics task its put a labbell like heavy dress onto to people..and most of case its illustration personality which they dress upon off others according of they illustration..and people must carry it
    .because those liarers. ..clame themself.mistakeless..

    Whole theory its robbish..producing only suffer..suffer…suffer..

    I cant see any differece nowerdays psychiatry compare a hitler s time eugenism…so both are done for human traffiking..and thats why psychiatris have require similiar power to themself for..kidnap whom ewer they want to when ewer they want to from they home..to priduse a more profit to medical factorys and bring them to menttall ill hospital..

    Ou so brutal and primitive are nowerdays school medicin..its does monay…no matter a way..how it does it..

    I think that thise people who beleave to psychiatrys theory are not a people who think with they own brain..they have transmitt they thinking to school medicin GURU s like jung..freud…and they beleave whot ewer these people sayed…it has been print to sciance…..so those who are in a theory are so brainwashed that they cant think.
    They are like ss soulder who does a world important clencing..when they callect JEWS to the psychiatrys hand….for avoide a menttall ill spread..

    I personly had never seen so unhuman people like ewery psychiatry become to be after they pass a human trade education its mean psychiatry.
    And tbey labell they wictims like human traderer…so theres no any different of they behaving compare to other human trators…werry brutal and e
    werry evil people…so only solution its buil up new theory free/ fact pase school medicin/ and theory pase school medicin must not newer establishe by puplic finance..
    And nowerdays all fact whot are in school medicin must transmit a new one…but not a.human trade theorys..like psychiatry…so only dishonest people beleave psychiatry..because its they monay rolling robbish bussness.

    So I hope that we will have in future..a new school medicin where people can co without fear..and tell they fysical symptoms..whithout that anyone try to market a people to human traders…psychiatrics…

    Today we cant co to doctor and tell any fycical symtoms because they try to trade by robbish psychisomathy or other unhuman theorys to be to slave of medical factory..

    And they marketting its ower agressive like sutenors to sex slaves…so psychiatry its a sutenor between patient and medical factory..and behaves labelling..kidnapping…prisoning to getto exatly like sutenors does a.sex slaves.

  24. How much a 1000 ADHD childslave brings monay to medical factoru…its 18. Million fer each of themb m bring. 20000 for month and in year 24000 euro x 1000 people its 18 million.
    Bepolar or other plasebo diacnosis bring about. 1000 amont and 1000 of labelled drugs slave bring about 9 million a year.
    Eldory drugs slave bring about 4 million..because they cant protect themself they are 100 prosent marketed a psychiatrics bills slave….
    So anyone.who say psychiatry are not bussiness are simply nit able to calculate.

    I know that agressivity of psychiatrics are pase only money..
    Because thay have been trnsmitt they thinking og the school medicin factorys…so many of the honest psychiatry does not realise that they have been educated to replase a real sciance because no ather than amphetamine and stimulant usesrs have any need to block dobamine…in laboratory pase…
    So for market of not labra pase medicin…shool medisin have replace labra to psychiatrics..because its super profitable..
    But it cannot produse any penifit to anyone who have no labra pased need to use dobamine blockers..or setotonin..or other
    so its deffinet for that reason shool.medicin/ medical factory tandem use psychiatry.

    Who ever beleave it belaeave to robbish sciance and are brain washed like SS soulder and hitler..and redy to kill for theorys.

    Hitler and SS soulders did niot take consider that school medicin does theorys for.bisness..purpose and he beleaved theory called eugenism..(psychiatrics measured a different race people skull,s and sayed its sciance Jew had to eliminate because us prohibiting a menttal illness spread to the german/ arja” race to save it its nessessory to bring them from they home to getto which was menttal ill hospital and at one.single night they bring a hundred thousend Jew to menttall ill hospital which was a getto. .
    And psychiatrics resive them..because it was plan destroy them together…and us well all doctor in auswich was a Jew..
    And when eugenism was prohibit..psychiatrics pronanciatet that Insuline shock and electricks shock to be legal medicin of psyche after second world war…so they only canget a GAZ chamber to upper one…and continuet a eugenism..
    And ewryone can check is it true..it, s total true..

    And today psychiatrys has similiar smell..they catecirise people us they did in eugenism..and its endless..
    Any of yhe psychiatrics medicin had never/ ever impruve anyone well beeing..
    Not opioide which they start to marked immediatedly whe psyyche word was printed in scool medicin..nir insuline owerdose..nor unnessessory dobamin bloking..

    Its deffinet whole theory had been established for commercial purpose by medical factorys..because word psyche was still liqvid firm..when they start to sell opioid.massiivly to psyyche..

    So whole theory its robbish..whoewer beleaves it..beleave a chismast father….and myts.

    So its deffinately benifits of you own childeren. That all puplic mo monay.must withrew from present chool medicin..because its base if theorys not fact and establishe a theory free scool medicine…and add a facta pase vitamines encymes and other fact wich increase people well beeing..when all essential fact pase vitamines encymes and all whot has been find with 60 year must measure from people and correct and all theory pase off….by this way you children children will not be marketed to medical factorys to be “robbish dulrugs slave” whot psychiatrys medical factory and whole theory has done for..so its human trade..its evil..and most of psychiatris does not realise how medical factorys use them.because they brain are saturated with robbish theorys..like. Nazis brain was its dange….
    And all other theorys us well pase a monay..

  25. Psychiatry its a cimmersial thery..maintein in medical factory..and i am not agains of medicin whica are given after lab test…but whot benifit its t give dobamine blockers ti peiple who have no need of block dobamne?

    Whot benifit its to manipulate a serotonin if there no need by labs manipulate it..
    So medical factory use a psychiatry to expand of market by using a psychiatrys to do diacnose..

    Of cause shool.medicin can when ever to turn to fackt and measure a dobamine level for instean of using psychiatry..but its not bear profit..because non have too much dobamine (only a.stimulant users..amfeamine or so on) and medical factory will know its not bussiness if tehy move a fact pase labs test before discripe a medicin..so they prefere use a commercial theory psychiatry..and all world population.can be shift to be profiatble slave of medical factory. …So thats plan of medical factory..and for that reason they print theorys to be sciance..

    Any theory has never bee a sciance..its aalways money..money..money…money…thats why theorys has made at biginnin..from pancace to psychiatry..its exatly plasebo or money sciance with noa.any fact..because menttall illness its allways on those eyes who wach..like beayty…so many psycjiatrics.beleave a theorys…hitler us well beleaved a theorys made by school medicin…wich has been used to print all short of theorys to be sciance if it brings money to mediacal factory..

    There is no other motive to clame theorys to be sciance..
    Theorys are in a biginning just opinion..like pancace and only in commercial reason they press it to be sciance..
    Freud,jung marked opioide of psychiatrics drugs..and wrout a theory and ewery single word they sayed was print us sciance..because of huge monay in bring medical factorys us today..

  26. Psychiatry does have it’s limitations, and it’s problems…but the fact is, so does every other branch of medicine. If you are against psychiatric medication, then you should also be against all other medication that has potential side effects…which means virtually ALL medications. Some people have had horrible experiences with chemo-therapy, others-not so bad. I am on a medication for Bipolar that causes 50 lbs of weight gain. The side effects from the medication could, over time, kill me. And yet he Bipolar illness that it treats, albeit incompletely, is still worse. People must understand the agonizing choices that the mentally ill have to face. To just tell someone that Psychiatry is worthless and dangerous, and that mental illness isn’t real…If people understood how harmful this is, they would never do it again. It should all be about carefully finding the best possible treatment for each individual. Sometimes the best is not very good, but it is all we have. If I was injured in the civil war and needed my leg amputated, and all the doctor had for anesthesia was whiskey…I would not waste time complaining that it wasn’t perfect…I’d drink it.

    • ,Psychiatry does have it’s limitations, and it’s problems…but the fact is, so does every other branch of medicine. If you are against psychiatric medication, then you should also be against all other medication that has potential side effects…which means virtually ALL medications.,

      Wrong . every catagory of drugs work different . we are all against the *psychactive* type of drugs.
      it makes you crazy.
      Acamol is not psychoactive.

      stop the generalizations! set people free.

  27. Psychiatry is bullshit exploitation of the Bourgousie by the Elites. This has been going on since the Stone Age. Someone enslaved Fred flintstone too. It all has to do with money and power. After awhile the two start to blend into one another. No civil, constitutional, or human rights. Period. Psychiatry MUST be stopped. I do not say this out of some idealistic idea or notion, some theory to my liking like some liberals who live this system, but I say it out of far too much experience with it. If as an alternative Psychiatry were abolished and Psychologists ran the system–without the ability to involuntarily commit anyone–I would say that would be a livable system. The system that exists today most certainly is not, it is not civilized in the least but barbaric in the extreme.

  28. Well, someone there just cited the case of Rebeca Riley who died of psychiatric medications. I’m not dead, but I have tardive dyskinesia due to antidepressants and antipsychotics, and that was by far the worst thing that happened to my life.

  29. “…their motive is … not money – it’s making people better.” My psychiatrist treated me for PTSD with antipsychotic medication for years, and when I finally gave up on him, he confessed to me, after taking my money for years, that he had no expertise at all in PTSD. The only reason I stayed with him for so long is because all the rest I’d seen were the same.

    Why would a doctor treat an anxiety disorder like PTSD with medication meant for psychoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder? The side effects were debilitating … and the medication didn’t work.

    There are many instances of psychiatrists being paid to “write” books that have been ghost-written by a pharmaceutical representative to make money for his or her company’s medication. There are venal people in every profession. This man just wanted my money. Period. I finally took my problem into my own hands and asked my physician to put me on Lexapro, which works wonderfully for me. She simply shook her head in dismay and disappointment at my story. But like most psychiatrists, you are not listening to the patients.

  30. In your very first paragraph you use quotation marks around the term Human rights. Makes it very hard to take you seriously. Also, no anti-psychiatric group that i have ever heard of wishes to take away your right to take medication. That is your projection (just like a lot of men believe that feminists want to take away their rights). Some people have had horribly dehumanizing experiences and they simply want informed consent and not be forced to take drugs and other treatments like ECT. It is not about you and your bipolar disorder. Ask yourself why they are angry.

  31. Hello every one, just trying to hear every one, I what to think about all of this before I comment.

  32. Miss Tracy,

    I’d like to begin by applauding you for: 1) Having a blog dedicated to Bipolar Disorder, resources for treatment, information, so on and so forth. 2) Having the courage to take a stand against the many, many ignorant and often idiotic arguments pushed by the anti-psychiatry supporters. 3) You present your own arguments in a rational, articulate way; also, you provide personal opinions (from personal experiences, research etc.) without using them as a way to slant or alter the informational aspects of your articles, with the intent of presenting the issues in a radical or misleading light. 4) Personally, I am extremely admirable and inspired by your openness in regards to your personal life and having a mental illness. 5) Lastly, I’d like to say that it is understandable why many who are diagnosed with Bipolar choose to remain ‘in-the-closet’ about their struggle, for fear of being subject to the numerous stereotypes and stigmatized attitudes others may have; you, on the other hand (and I’m assuming based on your blogs) understand the risk of communicating to others about your illness, but take that risk in order to provide hope, information, and resources to other people facing similar struggles. Overall, I think the intention of your posts is an extraordinarily honest effort to help those break free from the grip of mental illness(es) and to assure the many struggling folks in the world that: although one many feel completely alone in this world (as it so often seems with mental illnesses), there are many fighting against the same problems. All in all, this blog is your way of greeting those millions of folks with mental illnesses with open arms and a helpful, warming embrace.

    To conclude, I’d like to mention that I have struggled with symptoms of Bipolar Disorder since childhood. It wasn’t until 2008 that I was diagnosed and treated; I was involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric treatment facility, where I stayed for about 3 weeks, and was given the news that I have Rapid-Cycling, Type II Bipolar Disorder. Thus began many, many years of trying treatment after treatment, relapsing and recovering several times, and attempting to remain a confident, joyful, self-sufficient individual throughout. It wasn’t until November of this year that I discovered the miraculous procedure known as Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), which has essentially made me, well, me (again). As of now, I am finally comfortable sharing my experiences and knowledge about being Bipolar with other people. In fact, a year ago I probably wouldn’t have written this post. But, because ‘closet Bipolars’ and others who struggle with mental illness need others to whom they can relate, I feel it is my responsibility to let people know about this affliction.

    Well, I think I’ve written enough here. I could go on and on but, I think you get what I’m trying to say: Thank you Miss Tracy!

    – Wyatt

  33. Some children such as Rebecca Riley have died as a direct result of psychiatric labeling and drugging and would still be alive if they were not drugged. What is psychiatrys acceptable number of child deaths each year and how many deaths is too many ?

    • Hi Undertaker,

      With all due respect, medications save, fail-to-save and kill kids, teens, adults and the elderly every year.

      The acceptable number, is, of course, zero, but it is a fantasy to think we could reach that.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • ummmm…. “acceptable loss” refers usually to numbers higher than zero… causalties, considered worth it. I think you just said psychiatry is unacceptable…

        word games aside… I wish we mourned collateral damages more. Even in psychiatry. the “oh, well” attitude will not get us very far.

    • What about the risks of not taking medication and injuries and deaths as a result of being off medication?

    • Malpractice exists in all fields of medicine, not just psychiatry. If we looked at incidents like those and then say that the entire field is at fault, then wed have no doctors at all.

  34. If you bring your 5 year old child to a psychiatrist and he or she diagnoses him with depression and prescribes antidepressants… Would you honestly allow your child to take these pills?

    A child’s brain is still forming, and these drugs have the potential to compeltely alter the brain.

  35. It is very simple. Psychiatrist believe they are God, and are there to correct people’s problem. If you read the Bible, the story of Sodome, God destroyed the city. He didn’t ask for someone to do it. God did not ask a psychiatrist to kill a homosexual. If a human being believe they have a right to kill homosexuals, in the name of psychiatry, these people ARE the mad ones.

    The story of Sodome says this: God will not destroy the city if there are 10 cops, lawyers or judges living there, practicing justice. Homosexuals need to eat food, work, and do business. This society needs laws. Justice is there to help. Police officers are not supposed to kill people. Criminals do. A cop have a gun, but he is not supposed to kill with it. It is that simple.

  36. “It takes months to see my psychiatrist because he’s so busy. He doesn’t need any more sick people.”
    Hence the money motivation. If there was an actual cure for your mental illness, how busy would he be then. He’d have to find a new job. You are just going to find a new side effect that you don’t like and they put you on another med until you find another side effect that you don’t like and on and on. It’s a scam, but instead of get rich quick it’s get fixed quick. The fact is, your normal brain was reacting to abnormal life situations, and you are now taking these “medications” to make it all better, but in reality, the normalcy of your brain is no more. People take illegal street drugs to get the same effect. You can say their drugs or more dangerous, but really to what extent? Have you read the health risks warning label on your meds lately?

    • Joe you are so right about these “MEDS”. It is side effect after side effect and bad ones to say the least and then its seems like overtime taking these things the bad side effecfts don’t wear off and the psyche dr tells you they will but they don’t. and you find yourself breaking down and getting more depressed as the days or months should I say, go on. i know for a fact that these “meds” do not work. I think I have taken nearly 20 pills of these over a stretch of 8 years and they suck! Its true. they are scamming us big time. but I got to disagree with you on those street drugs, they don’t have the same side effects as meds. they give a better effect nd that is why ppl alternate to strret drugs. These “meds” give off too symptomatic side effects that are so bothersome and leaving you feeling disoriented and totally disfunctional more. that you don’t even feel depressed anymore! all you feel is the side effects. thats why my friend turned to street drugs. she’s been in that false world of psychiatry med after med, etc. off an on them from time to time. THEY NEVER HELPED HER. she stuck with her heroine. that gave her relieving side effects. she got addicted ODed then died. there is like no way out. no lawyer to complain to. who?? who can we tell about these fake meds and the ‘LEGAL DRUG PUSHERS MAKING YOU STAY ON THEM?? WHO??

        • I highly doubt they would let anyone into med school solely for social status or to make lots of money.

          You know you could write books or you could do other things to get rich and have social fame.

          I personally think abortion doctors have it worse than psychiatrists because the religious fundamentalists are probably like woah! Abortion clinic! Murder! etc.

          But as for me I think that anti psychiatric groups are a tad more strange than anti abortion groups, not to detract from your article Tracy, but I firmly believe that you would have to either be a jealous therapist or a crazy person to hate on psychiatrists. (btw I read an article on this dude written by a guy who hates therapists, it was quite funny. In it he wrote about how his female therapist was talking to another female therapist and she said how he was a butt head. I found it to be quite amusing just the way he worded it.

          Anyway, I have 2 years before I can apply to med school, I can choose to become a psychologist or a psychiatrist or screw the mental health profession all together. I think psychiatry requires more schooling because of clinical experience with drugs. In most states psychologists can’t prescribe medication because they can confuse depression with a thyroid disorder and do other things which would give too many medications to the patient.

          I find that once I own a psychiatrist office I will work with therapists to deal with the majority of the patients, very few will I actually prescribe medication to.

          I have adhd, but I only have it diagnosed as that because I couldn’t focus in kindergarten and I went without the medication for two weeks, I didn’t go insane, I didn’t chase squirrels all the way to the park, heck I didn’t even go to the park during those two weeks.

          The honest to god truth is, adhd is a stereotype that many people are thrown under by society sort of like how black people were stereotyped as lazy and good at music. It’s not the doctors who want to over prescribe medication, it’s the same society calling doctors useless who want people drugged out of their skulls. Yes, a few of those doctors who prescribe mental health meds may have been raised and brought up in a hate society where everyone who doesn’t think like them is seen as inferior, but I am glad that I am not one of those doctors.

          Before anyone else says they know what adhd is or any other mental disorder, they should actually take observations and ask does this person fit this stereotype 24/7 under every condition. If so then your probably just a bigot, if not then your normal.

          • Hi Matt,

            I can’t comment on how people are let into med school, because I don’t have any experience in that area, but it does strike me as being rather difficult. I only knew one person who ever did it and I only know because he worked for me and I wrote him a letter of recommendation, so it seems they judge you on more than just your “desire to make money.”

            (By the way, writing books is a _terrible_ way to make money. I’m a writer, I know about these things :) Oh, and it’s Natasha, by the way.)

            And you are correct, abortion is the _most_ controversial medical procedure (ECT is number two).

            “…I firmly believe that you would have to either be a jealous therapist or a crazy person to hate on psychiatrists.”

            Interesting notion and I have to say, it doesn’t jive with my experience, and I have _lots_ of experience with people who hate psychiatry. Most of those people are those who have had bad experiences with the system either personally or through someone they love.

            Good luck in becoming a doctor. It’s a challenging thing to do and I marvel at it.

            – Natasha Tracy

  37. I want to reiterate what has been said before in these comments. When someone goes to a medical hospital, they are given the choice to refuse vaccination to real disease which could spread and kill several people around them. When a person is incarcerated in a psych hospital, I believe that person should be given that same choice which would most likely affect ONLY his or herself. As of now, that freedom of choice is taken away from mentally ill patients everyday. That’s all I would like, which is, my own individual freedom to choose what goes into my body. Is that too much to ask?

  38. Dear whoever wrote this blog article,

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Clearly. After more than a decade of physically and mentally damaging side effects from well-marketed “wonder drugs” my life turned around when I got sick and tired of being sick and tired from drugs sold to me to help happiness and wellness. It didn’t work for me. And it hasn’t worked for anyone else I know who’s been through prolonged treatment. It’s very painful to watch my sister’s emotional decline after starting “treatment”. She was unhappy when she started, and now she’s undeniably worse. Your “opposition to psychiatry is bullshit” bullshit may have good standing with, well, psychiatrists and incurious journalists, but it bears no resemblance to what I’ve seen in my life or the lives of others.

    • Hi willie, I agree with you totally. I am becoming antipsychiatry with it also. I have been on a number of these pills and they do more harm than good. I use to go to group therapies and hear the patients complain not about their problems but about their medications! If your sister is declining from wellness. she should stop them abruptly, that I learned from one of my doctors who gave me meds that of course did not work. but eventually threw me off his list of patients because ‘he knew something about those med’ and I’ve been taking them like a good little patient, ” doctors orders”. My complaining drove him away. he had put me in the hospital one time because of a new med Geodon wasn’t working. instead it sped up my blood sugar and pressure. I had to go to the emergency room! We are being treated like guinea pigs mind you? a majority of people are claiming including doctors!, that they don’t work. and then the really frustrating part to me is that they do help for other people though. lets put plain and simple obviously good paying insurances means excellent treatment. you get my drift. it is all about the money.

      • Denise,

        It sounds to me like you and your docs never found the right”cocktail” of meds that would work for you. Sometimes it does take years of trial and error, but when you DO find what works it’s amazing what a difference it makes! Most people aren’t lucky enough to get it right the first time, but that doesn’t mean they should stop trying.

        Your advice to stop meds ”immediately” is TERRIBLE and DANGEROUS! Doing so can cause serious problems, not the least of which are seizures

        • Hi Roxanne,

          Yes, stopping meds _immediately_ is _never_ the right answer. Going off meds is a slow process that should always be overseen by a doctor.

          All kinds of bad things can happen if you don’t go that route.

          – Natasha Tracy

  39. I am a psychiatric drugs survivor . i have suffered psychosis as an adverse effect because of psychiatric drug use. You better try the drugs yourself before you say it helps ,because only when you take it you know how it feels ;) god help you….

  40. I don’t know how many people writing here have ever had “inpatient psychiatric treatment” [moderated] and refused a medication cause of its effects on there cognition or health and been subject to coercion or force but I have. I know right from wrong and what goes on in many of these places is wrong. Even worse is the fact that many if not most were there as a result of the medications effects or withdrawal reactions like in my case.

    There is no more fundamental human right than the right to bodily integrity. A hallmark of most legal systems is that innocent people are protected from anything happening to their own body without their consent. According to an article in the DePaul Journal of Health Care Law: “True consent to what happens to one’s self is the informed exercise of choice, and that entails an opportunity to evaluate knowledgeably the options available and the risks attendant upon each.”

    • There is an epidemic of psychiatric disability. How can this be, if the treatments are so much better that they were in the past? You are better off having a “psychotic” episode in Nigeria than in the U.S. Why? Because third-world countries have better recovery rates for so-called “bipolar” than the United States and other industrialized nations that keep their psychiatric patients “maintained” on the drugs. In the United States, one “psychotic” episode will almost always land you in psychiatric wasteland for the rest of your life. It is psychiatry itself that created the “chronicity” in so-called “mental illness”.

      If I was a “compliant” mental patient I would still be taking half a dozen + pills everyday and never ever recovered. All psychiatric drugs cause withdrawal reactions that look like what ever “illness” they claim to treat , Then those reactions are then taken as proof the person needs them for ever and ever.

      This and the human rights abuses need to be adressed and then mabey anti-psychiatry will go away.

  41. Have you heard of open dialogue in finland natasha? what are your thoughts on its success?

    • Hi Sarah,

      I am somewhat familiar with the Open Dialogue (OD) Project in Finland, yes. There a couple of things about it right off the bat:

      1. There were very few participants so no generalized conclusion can be formed. (Less than 75).
      2. Most of the information you see on this project is from antipsychiatry groups that severely skew what the research actually says,

      Yes, the OD Project is interesting and certainly, if there were a way to triage psychotic episodes _effectively_ without using medications, I’d be all for it. However, we have no idea who the non-medication approach would work for as it’s clear it doesn’t work for many.

      “In the ODAP group, the mean duration of untreated psychosis had declined to 3.3 months ”

      So, 3.3 months, _on_average_ of untreated psychosis is acceptable? Really. That would destroy most lives.

      Additionally:

      “Nonetheless, no significant differences emerged inthe 5-year treatment outcomes.”

      Additionally,

      “Seventeen percent had relapsed during the first 2years and 19% during the next 3 years. Twenty nine percent had used neuroleptic medication in some phase of the treatment.”

      So, it’s not exactly as great as sliced bread.

      That being said, there are some things we can learn from it and one of the things is that for _some_ people non-medicated approaches can works as we _know_ that many people who suffer a psychotic episode will never experience another. (This is why if you’ve only experienced one episode the APA recommends removing medication after a specific period of wellness. That way you can see if you really need the medication.)

      However, like I said, the numbers are small and the crucial thing is that we just don’t know who this approach would work for and most places (pretty much the whole US) has no systems set up to provide this kind of care. Additionally, many _people_ aren’t in lifestyles that would accommodate it.

      So, we can learn from this research, certainly, but it’s far from the holy grail or even better than medication.

      See the study here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/47041127/Open-Dialogue-Finland-Outcomes

      – Natasha Tracy

  42. I have diagnosed you have antiantipsychiatrics disorder, you were born with it and it can’t be cured, please come into my office monday and we’ll prescribe you some brain-disabling medication so you can be treated forever.

    Your arguments doesn’t have much ground, in diabetes for example, maybe you don’t know what causes it(where’s your font for this? I suspect this is documented) but you know exactly what’s missing, and then what to insert to make for the lackness that causes the problems(insulin), and then the body of the person is able to function normally, also, it can be scientifically diagnosed

    in psychiatry, you don’t know what’s wrong with the brain that’s causing the symptoms and you insert chemicals that would never be produced by the body, a lot of which are actually neurotoxins, that will just impair the normal function of the brain, this is hardly treating the cause of the symptom, is it?

    this is like going to a medic saying “I’m feeling a lot of pain, please stop it” then the medic goes and kills you, your family asks WTF and the medic says “he feels the pain no longer, I’ve cured it”

    this is basic logic, girl

    now, if you’re really interested in fighting antipsychiatry, the best way is to produce scientifically research that proves antipsychiatry wrong, the only people that are “antievolution” are nutjobs that don’t know anything about science, nobody says they’re “antigravity” or “anti-ice-and-vapor-is-water” because is scientifically clear, you can’t deny it, if you want to, you can try, but you’re gonna need actual evidence and actual science

    or at least produce a decent article, with citations from science articles, fonts… maybe get it peer-reviewed… that’s how the world of knowledge runs, if anything, you’ll help make your point valid, I’m looking for the answers too.

    • psychiatry is about making money for the docs and drug companys. From personal experience I can say with all honesty that psychiatry where helpful for a few is extremely damaging to the many. I hope that the people who are for psychiatry take their drugs and have their health ruined for believing psychiatrys lies. I know for a fact that psychiatry is bullshit. If you dont, you are welcome to share your thoughts and feelings with them to receive a bullshit label and the treatment that comes with it. But please keep it away from me. Thanks

  43. She says that we can distinguish normal brains from depressed brains. First point here is that most people’s brains are never analysed in any of the imaging modalities or at autopsy, so that it is a patently absurd comment that betokens that the writer might want to stop focusing on other people’s brains and start focusing on her own. Bear in mind, Nada Stotland is notoriously stupid, once trying to justify the existence of ‘mental diseases’, not by appealing to reason, but by appealing to popularity, assuming that just because a lot of people believe in the delusions codified in the psychiatric pseudo-nosology, that means they exist which, in lieu of proper evidentiary support such as histopathological lesion or pathophysiological abnormality, is pathetic.

    Yet let’s just assume that morphological abnormality equates to disease for a second. Correlation isn’t causation. People’s brains can change structure for any number of reasons. If you were to study most people’s brains, you would find damage and singularity everywhere, partly because of the damage alcohol and drugs cause, and partly because most people’s brains are structurally unique because it changes relative to experience. There is no standard of normalcy. She has done nothing to show a causal relation between the person’s misery and the person’s brain. Stotland is clearly unacquainted with the canons of logic.

    You say this piece of hers is ‘certainly’ a shot across the bow of anti-psychiatrists. No it isn’t. It is an unwitting confession of her logical and intellectual bankruptcy, as well the scientific bankruptcy of the in my opinion faux diseases collected in the Diagnostic and Statistical Mythology. Saying ‘certainly’ doesn’t change that, and such arrogant, assertive adverbs are a common staple of the speech of pro-psychiatrists (if you are going to call us all anti-psychiatrists, then I’ll call you that).

    As for this childish subsumption of a wide, disparate group of perspectives to the noun ‘anti-psychiatrists’, this is just ridiculous, designed to discredit people who sometimes criticise the logic, and sometimes the ethics, of psychiatry, as intolerant and opposed to the very existence of psychiatry, which usually isn’t the case. I dismiss the term, as did Szasz, as little more than childish negativism and cheaply self-aggrandizing.

    I have nothing against people having their own mythologies, I just believe that psychiatrists must be divested of their almost plenipotentiary powers vis-a-vis their unwilling patients, which is medicalisation from above, as opposed to from below, which is where the patient and psychiatrist engage in consensual relations. It redounds only to your own discredit that you use that term erroneously to make a blanket endictment of all critical of psychiatric orthodoxies, and it is the hallmark of a puerile mind, and there are many indicies of your childishness, such as where you say you don’t have time to respond to the outrageous claims of ‘anti-psychiatrists’ with cogent counter-arguments. I would suggest that you don’t because you can’t, yet because you are not operating under the tutelage of humility, you make grandiose claims you can’t back-up.

    Comparing diabetes to ‘mental illness’ is a preponderant misconception. A definitive diagnosis, for diabetes is made through certain tests. The same can’t be said about ‘mental illness’.

    Yes many brain illnesses do show up on the imaging modalities, and these are brain illnesses, not mental illnesses. A person with Alzheimer’s has a brain illness with mental symptoms, not a mental illness. Maybe organised psychiatry should be glad that it has found no histopathological or pathophysiological evidence, because if they did, all that would do is remove treatment and study from the purview of the psychiatrist to a neurologist. You cannot prove the existence of a mental illness by finding an illness in the brain. Illnesses are what happen to physical bodies, not to the metaphysical. A mind can be no more ill than can an economy, a libido or an ego.

    People can experience different states of mind, can suffer, can obsess, etc etc, but that does not mean their mind is ill, that you can put a person’s mind under a microscope and observe it progressively deteriorating or something. If you want to espouse the psychiatric definitional approach to the concept of disease, fine, but no psychiatrist should expect their beliefs to occupy such a privileged place in the hierarchy of beliefs that it confers upon them the right to coerce and incarcerate people in nominal hospitals against their will. That is my problem.

    You say psychiatry is trying to save lives. We can all try to infer motives from psychiatric practice as much as we want, but we have no proof. What I believe is that symbolic rape and torture are often what we are left with when we strip certain psychiatric practices of their rhetorical garb. Systematically forcing a man to take drugs against his will, an entrenched procedure, is an act of symbolic rape, experienced by the majority of patients as a forcible imposition on their very existence, quite similar to being raped, only many psychiatric patients are sytematically raped with drugs that torture them from the inside and plunders them of their liberty on a continual basis. In the case of the neuroleptics, this is tantamount to rape and torture, and cannot be defended anymore than literal rape, other forms of torture and chattel slavery. No man should be allowed to force another to take drugs and expect to be taken seriously as a moral specimen.

    You have to question the supposed uniform noble intentions of psychiatrists when they do this. The idea that psychiatrists simply want to help their patients is not accommodated by the imagery of human beings being held down by the subordinates of the psychiatrists while he/she pumps you full of drugs. It is a crime against humanity, and would be so even if these drugs hadn’t created an iatrogenic-encephalopathic epidemic, even if the side effects weren’t as torturous and insufferable as they can be. In many respects it is worse than rape, and people who do it are, au fond, criminals. No amount of psychiatric newspeak can conceal the true nature of these acts from some of us and anyone who supports it is a moral degenerate.

  44. Then:

    In popular usage, eccentricity (also called quirkiness or kookiness) refers to unusual or odd behavior on the part of an individual. This behavior would typically be perceived as unusual or unnecessary, without being demonstrably maladaptive. Eccentricity is contrasted with “normal” behavior, the nearly universal means by which individuals in society solve given problems and pursue certain priorities in everyday life. People who consistently display benignly eccentric behavior are labeled as “eccentrics”.

    And now:

    A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological pattern, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with disability, and which is not considered part of “normal” development of a person’s culture. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives. People who display this behavior need to be drugged into normalness.

  45. Okay, I promised myself this is the last time I was mental energy on responding to comments from those who obviously are not paying attention when reading my words. Are you just bored or hateful or what? I would never say or insinuate that drugs don’t have some nasty side effects and long term effects which make them almost toxic. Ironically little miss, I am trying to titrate off of Geodon at this moment which is pure hell. It causes tremors that can develop into seizures, nauseousness, insomnia and a variety of crappy thoughts and moods. Get that? Maybe you were responding to someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. Geodon is known to cause grave memory loss, and shorten your life span among other lovely affects. So yes I do my research and decide with careful consideration what is best for me. I would want everyone to do the same. You think I don’t know how bogus and irresponsible some psychs can be? Forget it. You won’t listen or understand anyway. You seem determined to argue. Funny, you really wasted your time, didn’t . I have better things to spend my time on like my seriously mentally ill 16 year old son. Love Natasha because she is wise and open-minded. You could learn from her. Good luck.

  46. Sorry if I sound insulting or rude but “informed consent” is one of those uninformed nonsensical scary people who can’t even put a complete, comprehensible thought together. Guess I need to stay off of these blogs because it is frustrating and if a person is not willing to accept reality that is based on knowledge and experience it is just a waste of my time to comment. Where are all the informed, intelligent people hiding? If you are contributing to a blog can you at least make sense and not just come up with nonsense just to dispute what you don’t want to hear. Facts, people. The obvious frustration I feel is actually inspiriing me to write a book based on my son. I have always though that if you are going to take the responsibility of putting your words out there to affect others, you should be sure that what you are saying is relevant and based on truth. My book will be. “Truth is Beauty and Beauty is Truth.”

    • I do see quite a few informed people. But then again there are folks around who talk about how psychdrugs wrecked their bodies, even their minds and yet yay psychiatry-best thing is since sliced bread! (These argument are pretty much in style of “Mussolini was a fascist of course, but trains run on time”).

      Maybe for some of it is acceptable. I prefer to have no tardive dyskinesia and learn to deal to live with my crazy. And I prefer to learn to live with trains then don’t run on times. Having basic human rights is a good bargain to me.

      Everybody has different priorities and we should respect it. If you don’t mind the change or even reality of wrecking your body, being emotionally flatlined and all these other effects… fine. If it’s worth it for you, well good for YOU. But respect others too for whom this is not a reasonable trade off.

      • Wow. Believe me I have never been emotionally flatlined and don’t have the desire for others to be either. That is your experience you are reacting to and not something I said. Think before you react to someones comments and consider that maybe you are projecting your issues on to them. Human rights? Yeah, I actually am all about everyone having their individual rights. Something else I didn’t even elude to. Maybe some herbal tea or other home remedy might make you a little more rational though if you are against meds. I am a critical thinker and do not make decisions based on what everyone else is doing or not, or necessarily what the doctor recommends. I do what I know is right for me and if that turns out not to be a good decision I change it up. You are certainly free to do the same. Just be rational and not rude is all I ask. Live with your crazy but don’t impose it on others. That is what those evil meds do for me. Make me more tolerable to myself and others.

        • You ask others not to be rude and yet you point out how you take meds and they make you nice and cool, while us who don’t are rude and mean and psychotic and cannot form our opinion. THat is how you come off.

          I don’t know if you honestly think rationality comes in pills (if so, I would buy a few trucks and infest water sources of most world’s parlaiments and places where heads of states reside and we’d have world peace). Or herbal reas (but you are probably trying to be all cute about that).

          I am not gonna judge your critical thinking from your posts here… but if you are, it is not because of the meds you take, it is given or learned ability.

          And seriously, this “you are crazy, you cannot be taken seriously, only if you take your pills, then maybe yes, we will take you seriously – as long as you don!t go against the consensus” (aka survivor movement, anti-psychiatry….). It is stigmating and damaging.

    • Hi Laurie,

      Try to understand that some people have very strong opinions on mental health issues due to their own mental health or their own experiences and nothing you can ever say will change that. You have to let these people be and not let them get under your skin because they will always be there and they will always challenge you. I see it every day. You have to rise above people who would choose to bait you.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Natasha,
        When I saw there were responces to my “passionate” comments, I thought I might be in touble or something. Although I cannot not speak my mind I sometimes cringe after I have done it. Not that this would ever stop me from ranting about what I believe. I so much appreciate and get what you said about accepting that not all will agree, even with facts, and some actually enjoy inciting you when you are an obviously very emotional person. That is what you were saying, right? Seriously, I thank you for being sensitive and reaching out to me. Sometimes I do get a tad bit preachy, but my intentions are to express only what I truly beieve and try to make others know that I am always right. Ha. Working on that presumption. Anyway, thanks for your awareness of things that others might not see,or choose to ignore. Last night I wrote the first two paragraphs a book I am determined to complete (some year) about my my son from birth to now and the mysterious and contradicting mental illness/behaviors that are who he is. Been meaning to do this for a long time. Don’t mean to sound like a suck-up but you have been an inspiration inhelping me to realize our experiences are of value and sometimes can be helpful to others. Really just getting out of the way of myself.
        Laurie

    • Sorry if I sound insulting or rude but “informed consent” is one of those uninformed nonsensical scary people who can’t even put a complete, comprehensible thought together…

      My grammer needs a little work. Let me try to post the thoughts a little better.

      What about the people who get sick from psychiatric treatments and were not informed of the dangers ? I am a zyprexa victim , http://www.zyrpexa-victims.com for more info.

      What about people who decide to live with there “illness” cause its better than the side effects of the treatment for it and are coerced or violently “chemicaly raped” with nueroleptics who then cant even put a complete, comprehensible thought together under the influence of those drugs ?

      I met a gut who was fighting forced nueroleptics, He took little breaks to speak to someone or something the rest of us didnt see or hear wile he spoke to us about how he would rather be dead than live with those drugs in HIS body again making his life on this planet 10-20 years shorter .

      What about me, who goes to the hospital for all the nasty effects of zypexa withdrawal and being told “its in your head” so take some more nueroleptic poison for the rest of your life for symptoms you never had before psychiatric drugs. I know it was wrong but was given the standard line of psychiatric coercion “injectable form” and “state hospital”.

      Psychiatry needs to clean up its act, people are speaking out thanks to the internet.

  47. Its so easy to point out very extreme cases of mental illness. What all those made sick from treatments ? What about the children who grow up to be stimulant addicts after ritalin ?

    What about tardive psychosis, Is that a myth ? Zyprexa did this to me so I dont think so.

    Psychiatry needs to clean up its act , more and more victims are able to speak out thanks to the internet.

  48. I could but am not going to suppport my comments with a lot of words that end up saying things that have already been said over and over on this site. My opinion that schizophrenia is a real and dibilitating condition come from my experience of working closely, daily as a case manager for several years. It is just ignorant to suggest compassion, understandin, and empathy just magically cures their sypmptoms. I wish. Do you know the effects of psychosis on a person? The loss of touch with reality, we aren’t talking daydeaming but visual and auitory delusions . I saw and heard so much evidence of the devasting consequences of what the mind can do. Tragic example is a client who had auditory hallusionations that resulted in the voices telling him to pour gasoline all over his mother and set her on fire. He did have Guilt caused by this urge made him instead pour the gas over himself and he suffered third degree burns all over his body. No counseling could have prevented the power that psychosis had over any rational thoughts. He was not capable of reasoning and judgement. Horrible example but facts are facts. You cannot deny such a reality. too many examples of what this kind of the devistation of this type of, yes, illness that I have know doubt is rooted in the brain. My own son at 15 years old had a psychotic break. Having been in the mental health field I was always diligenty aware of his thoughts, feeling and behaviors. he had avery caring and compassionate mother. Then one day he had delusional or possibly intrusive thoughts and urges to rape and kill me. Luckily our bond was so strong that he came to me hysterical and horrified by what was controlling his thoughts. My instincts were to hold him but he backed away crying out that he loved me so much but couldn’t stop this urgr that possessed him to harm me. I raced him to crisis for evaluation. Anyway we got through it but he is still ill and consumed by suicidal and homicidal thinking. I have seen and felt the intent in his eyes when his now urge to strangle me becomes overwhelming. Not the child I know. His suffering and the effect of it on me you need to know is very real and excrusiatingly to experience . Don’t anyone doubt my judgement or intelligence by condesendingly coming up with some ridiculous innane hocus pocus reason for what I know is real and an illness that you can’t just aromathize away. How insulting to those affected.

  49. I would like to have a few guys grab you and do a “chemical rape” with a neuroleptic needle and then you can call yourself a survivor.

    I would like to give you tardive dykinisia and diabetes “for your own good” I think you lack insight.

    • well, i have had forced antipsychotics and i have tardive dyskinesia, and i am grateful for the treatment it is far better than having the illness. So, sorry if you don’t like it but better than being a raving paranoid psychotic [moderated]

      • Ah, a happy slave who supports the pharmacological raping of others because you liked it. Some people who were chattel slaves supported slavery, does not change the fact that it is an immoral institution that must be abolished. The fact that it destroys so many lives is clearly neither here nor there to you, because you are so devoid of self-respect and dignity, such a moral vacuum, you support this self-evidently immoral practice.

  50. Would it be fair to say psychiatry is an infusion of neurology and psychology?

    When someone says their inner-world and behaviors are strictly caused by a diseased neurological system a common (but usually silent) disapproving reasoning occurs in the receiver of such information. That is:

    “Then why aren’t you seeing a neurologist?”

    No one is exactly sure what psychiatrists actually do. This casts doubt on the validity of mental illness and makes people distrustful of psychiatry. A common question among people interested in psychiatric reform is:

    “Why does psychiatry exist at all?”

    I think it’s a valid and unavoidable question. In all honesty, I don’t believe there is much science to psychiatry. I believe it’s a very slack, confused- an yes- greedy, discipline.

    The best explanation I’ve ever read on just exactly why neurologists don’t take on mental illness is,

    “However, the view that mental illness is purely a physical illness reflects a school of thought known as epiphenomenalism, which argues that the mind has no causal effect at all, and is just the subjective experience of our brain at work. Epiphenomenalism has been roundly rejected by the majority of contemporary neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. The most common view of mind and brain is school of thought known as property dualism. In other words, the mind is changes in the physical structure of the brain, and changes in the physical structure of the brain are the mind. The mind and brain can both be described and being based in the physical world, but explaining the mind, or mental illness, purely in physical terms, may not always be appropriate or useful.” http://mindhacks.com/2005/05/17/is-depression-a-brain-disease/

    Elliot Valenstein, a neurologist and psychologist, makes interesting arguments on this topic as well.

  51. Hi Natasha,
    It seems to me that John Hoggett has been posting very intelligent comments on this article and you seem to have paid close to no attention to them…which is surprising, since he does not insult you but rather tells you about his own experience being very successful in helping people who weren’t helped in the least by psychiatric medication. You say that anti-psychiatry groups are very angry indeed but have no alternative solutions. This is very far from true. Ever heard about the Soteria project? The guy who started it (Loren Mosher) was the main schizophrenia specialist at the NIMH and got great results by simply providing the patients with a safe and nurturing environment run by people with no medical training who respected them and believed in their recovery. Seeing this, however, the NIMH proceeded to fund the project less and less until it had to be discontinued (in the US at least for a few of Soteria houses have blossomed in Europe). The man lost his job shortly after. Many anti-psychiatry groups actually don’t spend much time outlining the alternative solution, because it is so simple. Compassion, understanding, respect. However, it is highly effective. Of course, time is money and you make less profit if you have to spend time talking to the patient and trying to compassionately understand them. On the other hand, if you spend 15 minutes with each patient, you’ll have time for a lot more patients, and a lot more profit. You advise people to go on the NAMI’s website, but do you know that it is largely funded by pharmaceutical companies? If you don’t believe me, you have only look here: http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_NAMI/Governance/Major_Foundation_and_Corporate_Support/WebRegistry3Q2011.pdf
    To those who think that pharmaceutical companies have the patients’ interests in mind, you are clearly delusional: they don’t give the slightest crap…Oh, and that doesn’t mean you’re schizophrenic–it just means you’ve been fooled and don’t understand how capitalism works.
    Yes I am anti-psychiatry, and yes I am angry at psychiatry, but I am not angry at you Natasha. No, I’m only sad that you are endorsing views that lead to more profit for pharmaceutical companies and more damage to people’s brains. I am not trying to make you feel bad, or wrong. I just wish you were on our side, for we could use people like you who are smart and committed to improving the lives of those suffering mentally. What I want is to help others in states of psychological suffering, for I have been there, and I have recovered without ever touching a pill, and want others to know that it is possible to be cured from a so-called incurable illness. I’m not saying that your suffering isn’t real; I’m only saying that there is no need to make it worse, and that there are many ways to make it better that don’t involve expensive and dangerous medications.
    And about the whole diabetes argument: no one said brain diseases did not exist, because they do. Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis are both brain diseases, but they both have a recognized biological basis. In other words, for those diseases, we know what is diseased, what isn’t working and where the disease is…and yet those are diseases of the brain, which is “so complicated”. Well, a lot of things are complicated, and we figured them out. Yet, amazingly, there is still a huge amount of controversy regarding the biological basis or lack thereof, of mental disorders.
    Of course, you might say medication and ECT help. Well, if I were to remove your whole brain, I’m sure it would help get rid of your bipolar disorder. I mean, you’d be dead, but you’d no longer be in pain. Well, medication and ECT work in much the same way. You no longer feel so hopelessly depressed or so delusional, but now your brain is damaged and a small piece of you is being destroyed, slowly, quietly, under the guidance of a so-called qualified psychiatrist.
    One of the people commenting wrote something along the lines of “If I’m not bipolar or have ADD, then it will mean I am stupid”. Indeed, it is easy to accept such a diagnosis for it relieves you of the burden of responsibility. You no longer have to decide whether the life you lead is really for you, or whether you are not just reacting badly to a society that is diseased; if it was diseased, it’d be your responsibility to change it for the better, and that’s too much responsibility. After all, who said that it was natural to be able to sit still for hours? Or to resist huge amounts of stress and pressure easily? I certainly don’t want to take mind-numbing pills so that I can sit in an office for 8 hours a day. I mean, of course I’d be productive then, and I would sure be leading a “normal life”, but in my opinion, that’s not what life should look like.
    I’d rather be crazy and true to myself than sane and beaten into submission by psychiatry’s propaganda.
    Thanks for reading.

    • Also, you state in another article: “And to be clear, doctors went to school for more than a decade to be in a position to help you.” Hum, really? Being a doctor is a highly respected profession. It looks prestigious, it makes your parents happy, it pays well, it gives you power and authority…what’s not to like? Do lawyers become lawyers so that they can help people? If they wanted to be really helpful, they could wake up every morning at 5 am with the rest of the garbage employees and empty the trash cans. I’m pretty sure that’s one of the most helpful jobs in the world. However psychiatrists themselves don’t find that they are of particular help to patients: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bguQkX1M1Pg
      And even if they were genuinely interested in helping us at the start, it is very possible that they might have been corrupted along the way (http://www.tufts.edu/~skrimsky/PDF/DSM%20COI.PDF) Also, you have written that in your opinion it is ok to restrain mental patients against their will in certain cases. I disagree. Since when is it fair to imprison someone because we suspect that he might be dangerous? Since we decided that some people are “mentally ill” and therefore are not deserving of the same rights as everyone else. However, deciding whether someone has the potential to be dangerous is completely arbitrary, and this is why you can’t go to the police and say “Can you imprison my neighbor? He looks like a child molester and I don’t want him around my children…he hasn’t done anything illegal though…he just looks like he is a danger to others”. The very fact that you can detain someone against their will and forcefully medicate them solely on an arbitrary basis (observing their behavior and deciding that they are sick) is not only an insult to the freedom of those labelled “mentally ill” but to the freedom of everyone else.
      On the one hand I feel like it is completely useless for me to post these comments because you’ve built your internet popularity by supporting mainstream psychiatry and changing your mind would be embarrassing…besides, most people don’t change their minds. On the other hand, however, I feel like I could change your mind because I have changed my mind. I used to think that I had this incurable illness called bipolar disorder that I’d inherited from my mother (who ended up killing herself after what should have been a temporary psychotic break got her diagnosed with bipolar and put on medications). I used to wallow in despair and a pain so great it was worse than anything I’d ever experienced. This was all made worse by my belief that this would last my whole life for “you can’t cure bipolar disorder. All you can do is take medications with tons of side effects and hope that they’ll help you”. But then I discovered The Icarus Project (http://www.theicarusproject.net) and then started reading R.D Laing and listening to Madness radio (http://www.madnessradio.net/). All of this started to make me feel more and more empowered, less and less like a helpless victim. And so I recovered, and for the first time in years I feel free and I know that I am not diseased. If this comment and my previous one can change the mind of even one person, then I’ll have accomplished my purpose.
      Again, thanks for reading, and getting a thoughtful reply from you would make me very happy.

      • Hi Eva,

        Certainly, there are many pluses to being a doctor, but one of them is helping people and while I’m sure that isn’t the motivation for all of them, it is the motivation for many. Just sit down and talk to psychiatrists some time. They genuinely want to help people. Yes, there are exceptions.

        And I certainly am not down on them because they don’t take out the garbage much like I’m not down on me for not doing that either.

        I never said it was OK to restrain a person because you “suspect” they might be dangerous. I said in some cases you may need to restrain people because they _are_ dangerous.

        As for my opinions, they are simply mine. I change them as a wish. I like to think I built a readership based on writing style, quality, and yes, opinion, but not because I particularly “support” any given position. I listen to others all day long. Sometimes it affects a thought pattern, sometimes it doesn’t.

        – Natasha Tracy

    • Hi Eva,

      John Hoggett has some interesting comments and I answered a few of his points, yes, but not all of them. I appreciate that he might like discussion on all points but that would simply result in reams of writing and, generally, when I have that much to say, I write a post.

      Yes, I have heard of the Soteria project. It was used in Europe to some degree of success in first-time psychotic episodes. I have nothing against such an approach. If such facilities were available here, I would suggest they might be right for some people. I don’t consider that antipsychiatry at all and the project does use medication sometimes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soteria ) It is known that 20% of people who experience first-episode psychosis will not experience another in the following year so, certainly, for those people, if we could identify them, medication would likely not be their best option.

      “Many anti-psychiatry groups actually don’t spend much time outlining the alternative solution, because it is so simple. Compassion, understanding, respect.”

      If you say so, but those things haven’t helped my bipolar. In fact, most of us experience those things and don’t get better.

      You advise people to go on the NAMI’s website, but do you know that it is largely funded by pharmaceutical companies?”

      Actually, I don’t advise people to go there. I don’t have any issues with NAMI, personally, but I rarely recommend them as a resource as I feel there are better choices.

      To those who think that pharmaceutical companies have the patients’ interests in mind, you are clearly delusional: they don’t give the slightest crap…”

      Oh, I don’t think that. I think that pharmaceutical companies are like every company in the world – they are interested in profit. That’s why there are laws and rules – if there weren’t, I suspect pharmaceutical companies would do all sorts of nasty things.

      This, however, doesn’t make them unique. It doesn’t matter what product a person manufactures, companies care about money. It’s their raison d’etre.

      I’m glad you found a way to help yourself without medication. It’s good that it worked for you. It doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for a lot of people.

      I appreciate that you don’t think mental illnesses are brain illnesses, but I don’t agree. Research every day shows us the differences between a mentally ill brain and a well brain. We know that depression, for example, causes brain volume loss and we know that antidepressants reverse this. You don’t have to believe that if you don’t want to, but the research is pretty clear to me.

      Well, medication and ECT work in much the same way. You no longer feel so hopelessly depressed or so delusional, but now your brain is damaged and a small piece of you is being destroyed, slowly, quietly, under the guidance of a so-called qualified psychiatrist.”

      Again, I think not, but that’s me. My brain works pretty well for someone with all this “brain damage.”

      “Indeed, it is easy to accept such a diagnosis for it relieves you of the burden of responsibility.”

      I don’t think diagnosis does this at all. You then have to accept the responsibility of working towards wellness. A diagnosis doesn’t take away this responsibility, if anything it sets out new responsibilities before you.

      And you would rather live the life you have then take medication. No problem. That’s your choice. That’s everyone’s choice.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • First of all, thank you so much for your reply. When it comes to Soteria, maybe they aren’t against psychiatry (although when I listen to Loren Mosher’s interviews, I get the impression that he is against it), but psychiatry is against them since the success of such a project suggests that psychiatrists could become next to useless. I wouldn’t be so unforgiving in my criticism of psychiatry if psychiatry wasn’t so unwilling to even pay attention to any data, facts or arguments that might contradict the biological disease model. If psychiatry was genuinely interested in helping people, then I believe that we would see a lot more Soteria houses in the US, and a lot less people on medication. I am not criticising the fact that you decided to take medication, I am criticising the fact that very seldom are people told that there is any other way to get better. You say that it is everyone’s choice to take medication. However, to make a choice you have to be properly informed. You have to know what the choices entail and about alternative choices. Yet to most people, this is what the choice looks like: either I take medication, or my brain will shrink, the disease will get worse and I’ll be wasting time and potential because of it. I think it is high time to open up the dialogue so that people know that there are other ways and can make a truly informed decision. Maybe you know all about the corruption of psychiatry, its dark history, and all the possible alternatives to taking drugs and you took the informed decision of taking medication, but for most people, this isn’t the case. It seems like doctors feel like they can lie with impunity to patients because if they are “crazy” then they can’t make an informed decision anyways. You say being labelled with a mental illness does not take away responsibility, but as we all know it does in court. In front of the law, we are the victims of our own brains.
        Furthermore, if you claim the right to use psychiatric medication in order to help control your illness, then I demand the right to be able to take magic mushrooms legally, for they have certainly helped my depression at some point. There is not much of a difference there. My point is that psychiatric meds are in no way benign drugs, but seeing from how widespread their use has become, they are very likely treated as such. There are studies that show that antipsychotic medication damage the brain (and I know you don’t take those). Well, then they should be treated as brain damaging drugs that you can take if you think they’ll help you, but I don’t believe that a doctor should be encouraging this, just as people aren’t encouraged to drink alcohol to drown their sorrows.
        You say a lot of people do receive compassion, understanding and respect but still don’t get better. Are you sure of that? What are your chances of receiving those three things in a society which believes that seeing things that aren’t there automatically makes you ill, someone whose brain is damaged? How can you feel respected when people don’t believe that you are sane enough to make sound judgments? How can you receive compassion when they call you irresponsible for not taking “your” drugs? Yes, that’s what they call it: “your drugs”. “Robert, why won’t you listen to the doctor and take your drugs? At least do it for me–do it for the children.” Or so it probably goes…Ever seen the movie A Beautiful Mind? Remember the completely fictional scene where John Nash leaves his infant son in the bath unattended, thereby nearly accidentally drowning him, all because he thought his imaginary friend was taking care of him? Well, talk about guilt-tripping all the “insane” into taking “their” drugs. By the way, John Nash once said in an interview that he hadn’t been on psychiatric drugs for 35 years and had only taken them when they were forced on him. However, in the meantime, the movie would have us believe that we was only able to keep pursuing his career as a happy economics genius thanks to psych meds.
        Psychiatry is saying “some people know what reality is (us); others don’t and they need us to know what it is–even if they don’t know that they need us (in which case we’ll help them against their will, either by concealing the truth or restraining them).”
        Thanks for reading.

        • Hi Eva,

          I understand your point regarding being fully-informed regarding options. I think that’s very important. The way this is normally done is by suggesting therapy over or along with medication and then having people come off medication at a later time. You may disagree with this approach but there is research behind it. And I would just like to say that while therapy can help pretty much everyone, _most_ people don’t do it, for a variety of reasons, but they _do_ choose medication.

          “You say being labelled with a mental illness does not take away responsibility, but as we all know it does in court. In front of the law, we are the victims of our own brains.”

          I don’t agree. In some cases a mental illness ameliorates the actions of the person but in many cases it doesn’t. People with a mental illness get convicted of all sorts of things just like everyone else.

          As for demanding illegal drugs, that’s a different issue altogether. My stance on illegal drugs is quite liberal but it’s a bit off topic.

          “My point is that psychiatric meds are in no way benign drugs,”

          I agree, no drug is. Just for the record, I _mostly_ have sworn off antipsychotics, but not entirely.

          “You say a lot of people do receive compassion, understanding and respect but still don’t get better. Are you sure of that?”

          Well, not everyone gets this, but many do. Many people have very good relationships with their doctors and therapists and absolutely that contains compassion, understanding and respect.

          – Natasha Tracy

  52. It is not until you have walked a mile in my shoes that you will understand how poorly they fit, how they irritate, rub, cause blisters and are heavy & uncomfortable. Yet to you they look like any other pair of shoes. AND so it is with the mind – when you’ve walked a mile in mine, then you can criticize me, my illness/diagnosis, medication or anything else which you have not personally experienced.

  53. If psychiatrists and doctors tuly care and are altruistic why do they over prescribe SSRIs. I believe 1 in 10 americans or close to have taken an SSRI. This is in light of the fact that SSRIs are hardly better than placebo, and if so only in the most severe cases. I suppose 10% of america suffer from severe depression, rather than mild or moderate.
    For the short 17-item version of the Hamilton questionnaire, scores can range from 0 to 54. Hamilton scores between 0 and 6 are normal. Scores between 7 and 17 indicate mild depression, scores between 18 and 24 indicate moderate depression, and scores over 24 indicate severe depression. According to the Jan 5 JAMA study, if your Hamilton score is less than 24, then placebo is just as effective as antidepressant drugs. That means they work about the same as a sugar pill.

    Why i ask in light of the facts do psychiatrists and doctors prescribe so readily? Arguing the real effect is placebo plus drug effect is cruel considering side effects, dependence and tolerance issues; there are far safer placebo alternatives. Psychiatrists certainly are not working for their patient in these cases and a cynic would suggest they are therefore working for drug companies and themselves.

    • Hi Ben,

      I think you’ll find that the vast majority of antidepressant prescriptions are written by GPs (family doctors) and not psychiatrists, so I suspect your beef is with them.

      From my perspective, this is a problem and shows that GPs have a hard time prescribing medications for illnesses with which they are not overly educated. Psychiatric illness are specialized for a reason. However, that being said, there aren’t enough psychiatrists to go around for everyone, so GPs must, by default, carry some of that load.

      More proper mental health evaluations would probably benefit everyone, however.

      – Natasha Tracy

  54. This is funny. Comparing to diabetes, which is a disease, and mental “disorders” are so named because they cannot prove a disease exists.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say labotomys were wrong; i imagine so back in the day.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say we were mislead about benzos addictiveness for 20 plus years; i imagine so back in the day.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to criticise cocaine ellixirs, i imagine so back in the day.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say the chemical imbalance model of depression is marketing hype, and no evidence exists to prove it.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say people are misled as to how dependency forming SSRIs are.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say the DSM keeps growing, and psychiatrists merely meet to vote for new disorders, none of which can be objectively tested.
    Is it anti-psychiatry that it took a long time for drug companies to admit to SSRI withdrawals, and then they used the euphemism, “discontinuation syndrome”. If psychiatrists truly care why was this swept under the rug, when evidence appeared in trials. Also the motivation to admit withdrawals in a symposium sponsered by eli lilly, was in fact to market the fact paxil, a fierce competitor, had a worse withdrawal profile.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say that drug companies tend to only release positive trials and bury the negative, in order to mislead people, as to a drugs effectiveness.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say there is not a single definitive test to prove a disease model of mental illness, different brains is not proof of a disease. This includes that serotonin has never been measured at the synapse, debunking any science about chemical imbalances.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say that many psychiatrists sign off journal articles that are in fact not written by them, but by a ghost-writer for the drug companies. Also some psychiatrists get paid plenty of money to promote in speeches, drug companies agendas.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say that withdrawals often last alot longer than the few weeks suggested and are certainly not mild, as in my case.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say that most psychiatrists are opposed to suicide warnings on SSRIs, and alot of lobbying went into opposing black box warnings. I suppose this too was to help people.
    In the article cardiovascular “disease” is mentioned. Notice disease not disorder. Inadequate treatment methods of cardiovascular “disease”, does not suddenly vindicate or turn mental”disorders”, into scientifically provable diseases.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say that 90% of all pscho-tropic drugs, do not have a known mechanism of action, as stated in the physicians desk reference, but is a well kept secret known the less.
    Is it anti-psychiatry to say psychiatrists blame a worsening condition regardless of drug treatment on the disease, and any improvements on the drugs; you can not have it both ways.
    Saying there are tests to vindicate the disease model of depression is a leap of logic. You are assuming depression is a disease and not a symptom. Depression is a symptom of thyroid problems, not a disease. Depression is a symptom of bereavement not a biological disease. Depression is a symptom of insomnia, not a disease. Showing the brain behaves differently for depressed people, still does not prove a disease exists.Depression is a symptom of anxiety problems, not a disease. Diseases exist regardless and are not directly affected by social factors, such as depression. How can depression brought on by life events, even logically be considered a disease. Was the depression a benign disease till life happened?
    Perhaps the most often heard argument is that antidepressant drugs wouldn’t work if the cause of depression was not biological. But antidepressant drugs don’t work. As psychiatrist Peter Breggin, M.D., said in 1994, “there’s no evidence that antidepressants are especially effective” (Talking Back to Prozac, St. Martin’s Press, p. 200). In studies placebos often do as well. Even if so-called antidepressants did help, that wouldn’t prove a biological cause of “depression” any more than would feeling better from taking marijuana or cocaine or drinking liquor.
    “Brain scans cannot distinguish a depressed person from a nondepressed person and they have not located a cause for any psychiatric disorder. Indeed, they are mainly used in biopsychiatry to promote the profession to lay audiences by giving the false impression that radiological technology can distinguish between normal people and those with psychiatric diagnoses. The usual sleight of hand involves comparing photographs of a brain scan of a depressed patient and a nondepressed patient where there happen to be other differences between the two brains. Sometimes the differences simply reflect normal variation and sometimes they reflect drug damage. Brain scans cannot show differences between the brains of depressed and normal patients because no such differences have been demonstrated.” Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
    Labelling critics of psychiatry as anti-psychiatry or scientologists for that matter, is a means of denegrating people who have a different view. This is the last bastion of the desperate who have stooped to personal insults when logic, reason, and science fail them. It is the same as saying those who disagree with some government policy are anti-american; a way to not engage in debate, but denegrate and control. It is also evidence that psychiatrists are feeling the heat and maybe losing the argument.

  55. Hi Rachel,

    I don’t know you, of course, but I wouldn’t say you fit into my categorization of antipsychiatry either. Simply questioning the practices of the profession isn’t antipsychiatry – certainly, I think they are far from perfect and have had many issues with psychiatrists during my treatment.

    “What angers and frustrates me is that I believe psychiatrist have too much power which they frequently abuse.”

    I can understand your frustration but I think the term “frequently” just isn’t accurate.

    “Yes chemical imbalance theory is outdated and untrue! This being so it should not be legal for psychiatrists, doctors, television ads and mental health websites to put this theory forward when telling people why they should take or are already on antipsychotic drugs.”

    Well, when I say the chemical imbalance theory is untrue (which I’ve commented on at length) I don’t mean there isn’t a chemical imbalance at all because likely there are a lot of things out of balance in a mentally ill brain so yes, saying it as a simple explanation for mental illness is wrong but it’s not exactly a lie either. It’s just that it’s a fraction of the truth. And the law certainly isn’t in the business of determining scientific truth to that extent.

    And while I think it would be great if everyone understood the neurobiology of mental illness it isn’t remotely reasonable to think that people possibly could. Most people can’t comprehend what’s going on inside a healthy brain let alone a sick one. And even of those who could, it’s not like they would necessarily want to spend the time it would take to get it.

    Yes, personally I find that dishonesty unethical, but there are certain realities that explain it in some cases.

    “…there are no biological tests to diagnose a mental illness”

    I know what I wrote about the schizophrenia test but the point about that test is that we are well on the way to developing a test for mental illness, in fact, it exists, it just exists with a degree of error that I don’t personally find acceptable and with promises attached that I don’t find reasonable.

    And even if you discount that test, there are many others being developed using other biological markers and brain scans. There are many tests. They are just not ready for prime time yet.

    “It is extremely frustrating to me that psychiatrists have acted for a long time like they already have these answers which has been a lie.”

    I’m not sure I buy that. Psychiatrists represent the best scientific knowledge we have at the time. But that knowledge evolves. I don’t think most of them “lie” I think they try to provide answers based on what we know at the time.

    “And the antipsychiatrists (which I would like to point put were called f##tards by mdalmost in her post and was not moderated by you) are simply trying to point this out.”

    (FYI, it didn’t get moderated because the rest of the comment was entirely reasonable and built up a little leeway. You should see the stuff that _does_ get removed.)

    I don’t think antipsychiattists are “trying to point that out.” I think they are trying to launch a campaign of fear and misinformation that paints psychiatry completely unfairly and gives no options to patients.

    “Vulnerable people, who have accepted psychiatrists word as Gospel have taken medication without question, accepting the lies of chemical imbalance theory and have suffered terribly with debilitating side effects and some have even died. It is my belief that antipsychiatrist people are trying to fight against this happening and I believe they should.”

    There is no doubt there are people in this situation but they are not the rule and they are best fought for by reasonable people and not by fear-mongerers.

    “My point about forced medication probably did sound like fearmongering but the truth is that psychiatrists hold a scarily high amount of power and the psychiatric patients and their families hold very little.”

    If you say so, but when people disagree about treatment it’s the law, judges, who make the call about treatment without consent and seeing as Americans let judges decide who to kill, it’s reasonable to let them decide when treatment without consent is reasonable too (well, sort of, but that’s another article).

    And are children sometimes medicated against a parent’s consent? I don’t know. I suppose there are cases. Again, hardly the rule.

    “…This in my opinion is disgusting and there is not nearly enough action being taken on it apart from by those antipsychiatry groups that you continue to fight!”

    It’s certainly your right to have that opinion.

    “Im hoping that maybe this post will help you to see, that just as psychiatrists are not all evil, antipsychiatriy lobbyists arent either. They are just caring and sometimes incredibly angry people who have noticed suffering vulnerable people and want to help them”

    There are many people that are antipsychiatry for many reasons and most of them are very angry. And some may want to help. But, in my opinion, they harm much more than they help.

    – Natasha Tracy

  56. Arguing that treating diabetes is the same is treating mental illness is not a good argument.

    Doctors may not know why the pancreas of diabetic patients fail to secrete normal amounts of hormone but this is not needed to be able to treat the disease. Knowing that the pancreas does not secrete the right amount of insulin and being able to biologically prove that it is happening as well as being able to provide treatment which rectifies this, is enough. They have medical tests which can prove that the person has diabetes and also have ways of monitoring and testing (biologically testing) the treatment used and how effective this is.

    Psychiatrists have no biological tests to confirm the presence of any mental illnesses. They use the chemical imbalance theory saying that a person is displaying the symptoms they are because they have too much of or too little of, certain chemicals in the brain. They claim that psychiatric drugs are able correct this imbalance. There is no biological test that can prove a chemical balance exists and there are no biological tests to show that antipsychotic medication fixes it.
    Basically psychiatrists cannot tell patients why they have the symptoms they do, why they have the supposed illness they have or what they can do to fix it because they have no biological tests to prove any of it!

    Saying that over half the treatments used for cardiovascular disease have no scientific evidence to support their effectiveness isnt good enough either. The fact is that they have some! Psychiatry does not have ANY. Even if they had scientific evidence for the effectiveness of ONE they would still not be able to put themselves in the same league as those that treat cardiovascular disease.

    Natasha, I understand your point that if people want proof of their illness but cant get it and then decide they dont want the diagnosis or treatment based on that, then thats their call.

    This would be great if it was true…but the scary fact is that for a lot of people, it is not becoming their call. Psychiatrists can take away the rights of a person and force them to accept diagnosis and treatment whether they agree with it or not.

    • Hi Rachel,

      It is not true to say there are no tests. There are actually lots of tests that indicate mental illness in a brain or in the genes, these tests just aren’t typically used as they are too expensive and they haven’t been refined enough.

      I’ve written on the neurobiological evidence of depression: http://natashatracy.com/mental-illness/depression/neurobiology-depression-%e2%80%93-depression-brain/

      And about the genetic test for schizophrenia: http://natashatracy.com/mental-illness-issues/research/blood-test-schizophrenia-veripsych-schizophrenia/

      And as far as understanding treatment goes, I have written about how depressed people who take antidepressants do better long-term: http://natashatracy.com/mental-illness/depression/depressed-people-antidepressants-long-term/

      Additionally, we do know many of the ways these medications work, just not all the ways.

      The chemical imbalance theory is outdated and hasn’t been reputable since probably the 80s. I’ve written about that here: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/11/depression-isne28099t-a-chemical-imbalance/

      “Basically psychiatrists cannot tell patients why they have the symptoms they do, why they have the supposed illness they have or what they can do to fix it because they have no biological tests to prove any of it!”

      Which as I’ve just said, is not true.

      “Natasha, I understand your point that if people want proof of their illness but cant get it and then decide they dont want the diagnosis or treatment based on that, then thats their call.

      This would be great if it was true…but the scary fact is that for a lot of people, it is not becoming their call. Psychiatrists can take away the rights of a person and force them to accept diagnosis and treatment whether they agree with it or not.”

      That’s mostly just fearmongering. The only time a person can be treated without their consent is when they become a danger to themselves or others. And that decision is made by the courts much of the time. If you’re just depressed and never leave the house, people will just leave you there.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Hi Natasha thankyou for your reply.
        I want you to know that i dont consider myself antipsychiatry. I consider myself to be anti-arrogant psychiatrists who abuse their power and dont practice adequate duty of care (which I totally agree occurs in all fields of occupation not just psychiatry). I dont believe psychiatrists are evil. I believe they have stepped in to offer help in an area where the support before hand was terribly inadequate. While I dont believe this is true for all, I do believe that there are psychiatrists that genuinely care for people and want to help them. They have offered a solution that appears to work for some people which I know has saved some peoples lives. It is true that as awful as some of the side effects of anti-psychotics and anti-depressants can be and as horrible and scary as it is for involuntarily medicated and confined patients the alternatives such as suicide and psychotic outbursts of agression and self harm can be much worse.

        What angers and frustrates me is that I believe psychiatrist have too much power which they frequently abuse. Yes chemical imbalance theory is outdated and untrue! This being so it should not be legal for psychiatrists, doctors, television ads and mental health websites to put this theory forward when telling people why they should take or are already on antipsychotic drugs.
        Also my point in my previous post (which i probably did not make clear)is that there are no biological tests to diagnose a mental illness which the link you gave for me to look at on blood tests for schizophrenia clearly states:

        “So, Is This a Blood Test to Diagnose Schizophrenia?
        No. It isn’t. This isn’t a blood test to diagnose schizophrenia. They mention this on their home page. This test is to, “aid a psychiatrist in the diagnosis of recent-onset schizophrenia.”
        In other words, it’s a freaking guess with a number attached.
        This test can’t tell you whether you have schizophrenia, it can provide a somewhat-accurate statistical likelihood. So how useful is that? You have an x% chance of schizophrenia plus-or-minus some variable. Based on one study by one company Does that sound useful? Actionable?
        It doesn’t to me.”

        Diabetes can be biologically diagnosed. That is the difference I was trying to point out.

        Your other links are still very useful though and it is reasuring to know that the research is being done to at least try and get some proof. It is extremely frustrating to me that psychiatrists have acted for a long time like they already have these answers which has been a lie. And the antipsychiatrists (which I would like to point put were called f##tards by mdalmost in her post and was not moderated by you) are simply trying to point this out. Vulnerable people, who have accepted psychiatrists word as Gospel have taken medication without question, accepting the lies of chemical imbalance theory and have suffered terribly with debilitating side effects and some have even died. It is my belief that antipsychiatrist people are trying to fight against this happening and I believe they should.

        My point about forced medication probably did sound like fearmongering but the truth is that psychiatrists hold a scarily high amount of power and the psychiatric patients and their families hold very little. Children I know have been taken away from their parents and held in hospital and medicated with strong medications against their parents and their own wishes, based on the diagnosis of a psychiatric illness that in all honest truth cannot actually be biologically diagnosed yet! This should not be allowed to happen.

        There are also psychiatrists who sit and view patients who come to them and within half an hour or sometimes less, of seeing them, have prescribed them with pills and diagnosed them.
        When these do not work they increase the dosage, when this does not work they try another one, then increase the dosage again, this causes side effects so they give them other pills to treat the side effects that the other medication is causing which in turn causes other side effects. I’ve known some people to be on 5 or more different medications that have not helped their psychosis and have been slowly poisoning their bodies. This in my opinion is disgusting and there is not nearly enough action being taken on it apart from by those antipsychiatry groups that you continue to fight!
        Yes it is true that patients can decide for themselves whether they want to agree to the diagnosis and medication, but vulnerable patients when they go to a doctor are not always in the right place to do this. They feel swayed by authority figures, they feel intimidated, they are pressured by family to trust the doctor and they assume the doctor knows what they are doing. Sometimes (although not always) at their own peril.

        I must stress again I am not trying to be antipsychiatry, just anti-psychiatry done badly.
        Im hoping that maybe this post will help you to see, that just as psychiatrists are not all evil, antipsychiatriy lobbyists arent either. They are just caring and sometimes incredibly angry people who have noticed suffering vulnerable people and want to help them

        • Nice post. Just to say I have helped people with so called schizophrenia just by being with them and talking to them, they chose to come off their meds (quicker than I would have liked, but generally I approved) and one of them, after knowing him for almost two years, after 7 years of not improving and having all the usual help from services, is now well on the way to recovery (part time job, new friends, home study on a degree course, cooking me Christmas this year).

          I did what the anti-psychiatry and therapy for psychosis books and websites recommended, I listened, tried to understand and belied he could get better. No more fat, tranquillised friend cycling between distressed and lethargic to being suicidal, angry and in a crisis. Welcome to a talented, friendly, intelligent man who is getting his life back = no thanks to psychiatry except for his rather lovely social worker who came round for a chat every two weeks for about nine months, after which she discharged him him because he was doing so well.

          My personal experience is that my anti-conventional psychiatry stance is backed up by my experience of seeing people recover from very extreme distress with the type of intense social support that all the published data indicates is what is of most help. The anti-psychiatry campaigners often do not have the answers because they have concentrated on countering the dangers of psychiatry. But the answers are there, one good place to start is the International Society for the Psychological Treatment of Psychosis and Schizophrenia http://www.isps.org/ but all therapy is about offering understanding, solidarity and encouragement. Most therapists baulk at offering understanding to people diagnosed with psychosis as they often have such weird experiences. A background in performance art and poetry helps, well it worked for me. With bipolar a knowledge of how linking strange expressions of distress such as mania to possible causes and seeing if your friend or client finds this information useful can be helpful, but in my experience once some understanding of what is causing the distress, in terms of distressing life experience, is reached then some improvement follows and a therapeutic relationship can be established. This is not the way most services work, they like the medical model far too much to try the psycho social one.

  57. Hi Natasha,
    Thank you so much for your website. You have helped me confirm my desire to go into Psychiatry. I’m at a medical student at present and entering my final year. (in ON, Canada) I did exceptionally well in my rotations (not boasting, just stating the facts) so am able to choose between various specialties such as Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Family Medicine. I came into medical school wanting to do Psychiatry because I particularly enjoyed working closely with patients and people, and personally feel that Mental Illness can be far more devastating than other types of illness. During my undergrad years, I got the opportunity to do research and witness clinical psychology. I could see how Mental Illness could tear families up, how patients also have to deal with stigma and how Mental Ilnesses can often become the biggest priority. Sure some patients may also have heart disease and diabetes, but the schizophrenia when uncontrolled leads to them not taking their pills and a downward spiral culminating in disaster. Then when I see how most patients with mental illness get ripped on by family members and society in general I feel like helping them all the more (Of course some family members are supportive thankfully)

    Anyway, in medical school and in society I keep picking up a negative perception towards mental illness. My family members keep trying to persuade me to pick internal medicine and do cardiology or GI given my good reference letters from internal medicine preceptors. They feel that the good pay is worth it and at least I get respect from society. Even within medicine, other students tell me not to pick Psychiatry as I won’t be paid nearly as much as the more lucrative specialties such as Gastroenterology. And I won’t have to put up with society’s bullshit and demonization.

    Yet somehow, I still wanted to do Psychiatry. I wanted to help the vulnerable patients who have mental illnesses and make a difference in their lives. I wanted to care for them and do my part to make their lives meaningful and productive. Yet, repeatedly I get battered by people. Emergency doctors, people in the street, family members….all these people give me negative reactions when I say I wanna be a Psychiatrist. (Its like telling somebody you’re gay…there’s so much goddamn stigma)

    I came really close to not picking Psychiatry. I’m smart, I have lots of options. Why pick a specialty where society doesn’t give a shit? Why pick a specialty where I don’t get paid as much as the big buck specialties? Why pick a specialty where people like Tom Cruise and his scientology cronies try to make me look like an evil person?

    Anyhow, I turned to the internet to try and find if anybody even appreciated Psychiatry, and I stumbled upon hundreds and hundreds of hate sites. Some christian zealots, scientologists, disgruntled patients, random armchair scientists (e.g. joe blow who took a psychology course and now is an expert on the latest scientific research)….and so on. And I got more and more angry with them all as a whole. I was ready to write off Psychiatry as a career.

    And then I found your site. And you remind me why I want to be a shrink. Because its a meaningful career. And the drugs work!!!! We don’t necessarily know why, but we do know they work! And as anybody in medical school knows, all drugs are flaky. Spironolactone, lipitor, metformin, infliximab, almost all steroids….we don’t know jack shit about how they work. Yet they do. Even if we stent patients or replace valves, patients still die in around 6 years. We aren’t god. We can do a Whipples procedure but patients will still most prolly die if they have Pancreatic cancer. Similarly in Psychiatry, we can help with symptom management and ease lives, but we may not be able to effectively wipe out the disease. But we can drastically improve lives.

    Anyway, I’m going to do Psychiatry. I know I’m smart and I hope I can bring changes to my patients lives. I know the job is meaningful. I’m going to try to do my bests to counter the antipsychiatry efforts. (I’m really mad at them for confusing people about Psychiatry. Anybody who thinks they have depression who types up psychiatry usually finds some junk articles which purport psychiatry to be some kind of organized scam. I wonder how many suicides are a direct result of misinformation and patients being confused about seeking help) The internet is honestly a terrible place to find information about medical treatment, particularly with Psychiatry. You have idiots spending hours putting up antipsychiatry webpages that always end up popping up on Google and resulting in misinformation.

    Anyway, I’m ranting. I’m gonna be a Psychiatrist. I’m gonna do my best to help patients with mental illnesses. Antipsychiatrists can hate. But the career is meaningful. I am picking this career because as a doctor, I can help people with mental illness. I don’t know what antipsychiatrists offer patients other than hate and despair. I shall offer them help to the best of todays scientific knowledge.

    And another thing: All these behavioural psychologists and psychodynamic theorists who demonize drug treatment may have a vested interest in promoting psychotherapy therapy over drug therapy. They can’t prescribe… just consider that folks before citing psychology research studies that say that drugs don’t work. There’s a place for drug treatment and there’s a place for psychotherapy. Usually there’s a place for both. When a patient shows up floridly psychotic in the emergency department, you can’t talk to them. You have to medicate and once the patient is stabilized you can start working on psychotherapy.

    Anyway, I hope for a better future for mental illness. One where antipsychiatry fucktards (who most probably don’t believe in evolution either…) don’t confuse and demonize mentally illness patients and those who dedicate their lives to studying them. Regardless, I shall fight the good fight. They can call me evil all they want, but I will do my bit to help mentally ill patients. And I’m not doing it for the money. I could have just done gastroenterology or something and made far more money.

  58. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 22 years ago, and I have been mostly compliant with my treatment over the years. When I first encountered the antipsychiatry movement, I read some of their books and looked at different groups. I even joined a couple of groups so I could receive their newsletters. Like most people who take psychiatric medications, I have some unpleasant side effects. When I was looking into these groups, I was hoping I would find some kind of alternative treatments. I didn’t find them. It seems to me that they are very critical of psychiatry, but offer no real solution to problems caused by mental illness. They think that people should be strong and accept who they are. I believe this is dangerous and reckless advice. We have all seen the problems caused by untreated mental illness: drug and alcohol addiction, crime, homelessness, to name a few. I’m glad we have real treatments. The reason I really appreciated this blog post is that, at times, when I am feeling down and hopeless, the rhetoric I absorbed from the antipsychiatry movement makes me question all of the treatments I have complied with over the years and makes me wonder if I took the right path. This blog post convinces me that I have taken the best path available.

    • Hi Andrea,

      “When I was looking into these groups, I was hoping I would find some kind of alternative treatments. I didn’t find them.”

      I think a lot of people are looking for this for the same reasons as you. We all want something that will make us better without the unpleasant side effects. It’s only natural.

      “It seems to me that they are very critical of psychiatry, but offer no real solution to problems caused by mental illness.”

      Well, their answer seems to be anger. Lots and lots of anger. People get caught up in it. And righteousness with the “big bad” to fight. That give people a reason to act. That’s a “life treatment” of sort. Not one I would pick, but that’s me.

      “They think that people should be strong and accept who they are.”

      Good advice. Very tough advice.

      “I believe this is dangerous and reckless advice.”

      Yes, I believe this also. It’s one of the reasons I speak out against them. In my “real life” I’d be pretty happy to just ignore the nuttiness, but here, online, where one of my goals is to help people, I think it’s important to try to speak rationally against the irrational hatred of some others.

      “The reason I really appreciated this blog post is that, at times, when I am feeling down and hopeless, the rhetoric I absorbed from the antipsychiatry movement makes me question all of the treatments I have complied with over the years and makes me wonder if I took the right path. This blog post convinces me that I have taken the best path available.”

      I know those feelings. When everything is dark and desperate their rhetoric seems seductive. I, too, have spent time questioning whether I have chosen the right path. I believe that I have. I’m glad my discussion could help you reach your own conclusion about your path also.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Just as you think anti-psychiatry people are dangerous I think you are dangerous Natasha. Your blog give a rosy view of medication and bio-psychiatry yet the comments from your contributors belie that story. They give the usual one of trying lots of different meds, finding them a bit helpful sometimes, not at others, having withdrawal reactions that mimic the original problem and finding life difficult for years.

        What you see as science I see as junk science. Others on this blog have done far better than I could in challenging your views. However my personal experience tells me you are wrong. I see people recovering when they get the intense social support they deserve. It is hard to get in a drug based medical psychiatric system but when people find it they become more confident and get better.

        You constantly say that genetics and brain science is about to discover something that will prove something biological about mental distress (I see calling it an illness as a power play by Dr’s who want a good income). These are claims that have been around for about 50 years, they have never come to anything. Maybe it is time to give up and put the money to better use? Researching the links between child abuse and extreme distress perhaps, or the other social causes? Or giving as much PR to these well proved causes as the unproven genetic and sick brain theories? Or giving more PR money to the social research to balance out the disproportionate amount given to the biological explanations over the last few decades?

        Try looking at the work of Joanna Moncrieff for details.
        http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0803/08030301

        I’m sorry some of the people posting here did not find any help from anti-psychiatry groups.

        Here in the UK you can get excellent, non-medical help from the Hearing Voices Network. They are not anti-psychiatry but the self help alternatives they provide for people who are experiencing psychosis is often more effective than anything mainstream psychiatry offers. They are not anti-medication but the people who I have seen completely recover who are involved with this network found mainstream psychiatry and the drugs they forced on them extremely damaging where as the hearing voices groups they found the the psychologists who worked with psychosis were very helpful.

        http://www.hearing-voices.org/

        Some of these people who have been helped by the Hearing Voices Network are very angry with conventional psychiatry for making them worse. Only by escaping the forced drugging were they able to recover.

        One person involved in the hearing voices network said she tried to tell her psychiatrist that she had been sexually assaulted as a child and this was driving her psychosis (she was hearing very critical voices at the time). The psychiatrist said this was an illusion and was part of her disease. The research shows that child sexual assault, while not the cause of all psychosis, is heavily associated with hearing voices yet very few psychiatrists on either side of the Atlantic acknowledge this. So I wonder what their years of training was all about?

        Psychiatrists in the UK have 15 minute appointments with their patients every 3 months. You can’t deal with the kind of trauma that drives psychosis with that amount of contact. The social workers and community psychiatric nurses who visit people in their homes once a fortnight are not expected to deal with this either, they mainly have a friendly chat and if people are very distressed recommend more medication.

        The whole model of psychiatric care if flawed. No wonder people do not get better and feel they need medication for decades, no one really seems to interested in their lives.

        You may not have seen people get better when they got the social support they needed, but I have. This is entirely consistent with research findings such as Bertram karon’s research on psychotherapy of schizophrenia, where he found that drug free psychotherapy was better than therapy and drugs or the standard psychiatric care of drugs and a chat once a fortnight.

        For an account of a successful recovery from bipolar you could try Kate Millets, The Loony Bin Trip. Here is a link to the conclusion that she added to the second edition and details how she came off lithium and ……. thrived (shock horror) totally counter to some of the advice you give in other sections of your blog.

        http://www.stopshrinks.org/reading_room/antipsych/loony-bin_trip.html

  59. Thanks so much for the article! I am hispanic, and I don’t know why, but it seems to be that hispanic wives’ tales pick on doctors A LOT! I know PROFESSIONAL women, who have Ph.D’s, and have beliefs about doctors in general that make no sense, and they have seemingly good arguments against them too. My mother is one of those people. She isn’t some country bumpkin, she actually went to college in her country (which is actually much tougher than it is here). She is against me going to the doctor for anything. I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear of doctors because of her. When I was younger, I suffered from really bad menstrual pains. They were so bad that I would go to school in the morning, and someone would have to come pick me up in the afternoon. The office ladies all knew me. I came in every month with the same problem: vomiting, fatigue, feeling bad overall, etc. I told my mother to take me to the doctor, and she wouldn’t because she said that they would prescribe birth control pills and those pills are bad for me, etc. etc. She believed that I wouldn’t be able to conceive ever again if I took them. My PCP would only prescribe Motrin, which did ZERO for me. Well, one day, I got fed up with the crap. I decided that I wasn’t going to be in pain anymore and talked to an OB-GYN about it. She gave me birth control pills, and I’ve been doing great in that aspect ever since!

    Now, I have another problem to worry about: my head. For many years now, I’ve been suffering so much. I’ve never been able to put a name to it or describe it. One moment I feel amazing, and the next I feel like crap and I wonder why I even exist. My grades in school have been in a downward spiral since the beginning of high school (maybe even sooner than that). I realize that I lose focus a lot, and I have the need to tap my foot or wiggle my legs a lot. I stand up a lot too. I can’t be sitting for so long. I get confrontational, especially with my family. I have always felt different from other people, especially other girls. I have seen what happy really is, and I’m not really ever like that. My family says I’m apathetic and don’t show emotion ever, especially my mom’s side of the family. Socially, I feel I am a nice person, but I can’t bring myself to talk to other people or look them in the eye at first. I don’t even say hi. My memory is suffering…I’m suffering! I’m so close to getting my degree, yet so far away. I have failed school twice now. I don’t know what to do, and I normally keep my feelings to myself, because when I do try to express what is going on with me, no one believes I have anything wrong. They just say that I’m lazy. I’ve been to two psychologists already in the last 3 years, and the first one gave me no direction, so I was left to aimlessly try and explain my situation, and imagine! I didn’t even know what the problem was! Then the second one, I tried to write down how I felt on paper a few days before the appointment, and she diagnosed me with dysthymia and social anxiety, but I believe the diagnostic was incorrectly done, because she never really let me fully explain all of my symptoms. I only got to read maybe 2-3 symptoms, and she thought she had me all figured out. Also, I didn’t disclose some information that perhaps would be relevant, but because I was afraid of being discovered. I think this is the kind of feeling people would describe as “feeling like an imposter”. Regardless, she released me from therapy when I felt “better”. I thought she had also “cured” me, but a few months after, I felt bad again. So I think I was just riding on a high, not really cured. Back then, before she released me, I asked her to continue giving me therapy, because my intuition told me that I wasn’t exactly better, just riding the high. But I didn’t listen to myself, because I never do. I always second-guess myself, even when I am proven to be right.

    My mother implored me to tell her what is going with me. I told her that I felt sad, overwhelmed, and frustrated with my life til now. I couldn’t focus, my memory sucked. I felt like a dumb person, and I couldn’t take it. I told her that I was just going to take a semester off before going back to school. She said I was just lazy and that I needed to study harder, that I needed to read for more hours than I was doing. I tried to explain to her that it’s not as easy as that sounds, that I had tried, but I just cannot focus long enough. I told her (this is true btw) that I had asked my friends how long it takes them to read a 20-30 page chapter on full motivation, and my friends all said it takes them about 1-2 hours, 3 if not motivated. It takes me more than a week to get halfway through the same chapter on “full” motivation. I am smart, I know I am. But I know there is something different about me that I simply can’t try harder to get rid of. I’ve been doing so much research on my symptoms, and I think I’ve got either bipolar or ADHD. If I don’t have this, then what? Am I stupid then? Why can’t I just do the stuff I need to do? Why is it so hard for me to get up from bed in the morning? Why do I always feel like I should be doing something else while doing my tasks? God has blessed me with so many opportunities in the past, and I’ve blown some of them, because I simply couldn’t concentrate and keep myself motivated. That’s why I want to go to a psychiatrist. But my parents have been scaring me for so many years, saying that if I go, then my diagnostic will appear on my record, and then no one will want to hire me in the future. I think this is so twisted and sick on their part. Is this even true? I know about HIPAA, I know no one has access to my records without my consent. But I’m just trying to rebuttle their seemingly logical but untrue belief!

    • Hi Nat,

      My mother actually hated doctors too. Not as much as yours, perhaps, but she didn’t believe in them. Still doesn’t really. I’d say (not to insult your mother) it’s bad, irresponsible parenting. But that’s me.

      I’ll try to give you some information that I hope will help.

      Firstly, you are correct, no one has the right to your healthcare information without your explicit _written_ permission. Employers absolutely cannot get access to that information without your consent. Being told that, as you said, is a fear tactic. Do not let that keep you from getting help.

      Obviously, I can’t diagnose you. But neither can you. You need the help of a qualified professional. And you’re absolutely right, someone has to listen too _all_ of your symptoms and not just a few.

      I’m sorry you’ve had such poor experience with professionals. It happens to many and it’s very hard to deal with. But you have to stand up for yourself, very clearly. If you feel like a doctor isn’t listening to you, you need to tell them so. For example,

      “I appreciate your guidance, but I’m not sure you have all the information. I would appreciate it if you let me go through my list of concerns completely.”

      That way you are not hurting the doctor’s ego (which matters, trust me) but you’re still getting what you need.

      I can’t say whether therapy was helping you or whether you were “riding high” like you said, but it seems like it may have been helping. Perhaps that’s an area you can investigate with a new therapist. Getting the right therapist, who will listen to you is very important.

      In your case I would say you’re in a pretty serious situation because you’re highly distressed and you’ve been failing school. Both of these are signs that you need help now. All I can encourage you to do is look for people who can support you in your quest for help. They _are_ out there.

      I’ve listed ways to get mental health health here: http://natashatracy.com/get-mental-illness-help/

      There are lots of groups and a huge number of helplines that you can call for more help. You’re not alone. NAMI (just Google them) also will advocate and support people going through this process.

      I hope some of that helps you. Remember, it gets better. You are not stupid. You are not lazy. You are working hard but right now there are some forces against you that you can’t see. Many people go through what you are experiencing right now and they come out the other side – you can too.

      I hope some of that helps.

      Best wishes,

      – Natasha Tracy

  60. I am a paranoid schizophrenic, with severe bipolar…I agree that psychiatrist and psychologists are trying to help. Unfortunately for me, meds tend to do more damage than good. I find it difficult to think clearly (which makes it harder to discern reality from delusion) while on anti-psychotics…and mood stabilizers such as tegratoll have damaged my liver to a point that can greatly reduce my life expectancy. Even my psychiatrist wanted me on as few meds as possible. It is difficult to treat something we know so little about, and I think it is a matter of what works best for the individual. It is foolish to say that meds are the best cure…and foolish to say that they are “evil” or produced for profit mongering corporations to line their pockets. I know people who live productive lives due to their medications, and others who can’t touch it. We should learn more about mental disorders and how to treat them…when I was a child they tried to use electroshock therapy lol, talk about barbaric…when our knowledge of these disorders increases, so will our ability to treat it :-)

    • Hi Jeremy,

      I think it takes a big person to say that even though meds haven’t been effective, psychiatrists and psychologists are still just really trying to help. I don’t at all mean this in a condescending way. It seems that when meds don’t work, or when they’ve had a bad experience (like you’ve had, unfortunately) they blame the doctors. Thank-you for expressing a different opinion.

      ” It is difficult to treat something we know so little about…”

      Absolutely. I tell people all the time; it’s not that we’re negligent, it’s that we’re ignorant :) We’re doing the best with can with the knowledge we have today.

      “…when I was a child they tried to use electroshock therapy lol, talk about barbaric…”

      Oh, I’m writing a book on that, it’s not as barbaric as you might think, although I can’t blame you for thinking it. (FYI, electroconvulsive therapy is not indicated in schizophrenia much any more. It’s mostly for intractable depression now.)

      “…when our knowledge of these disorders increases, so will our ability to treat it ”

      Yes. It’s just too bad we have to wait so long.

      – Natasha Tracy

  61. Hi Natasha,

    Lauren (above) actually sent me this post. I loved it. Please keep fighting the good fight.

    I’ve been diagnosed with a number of mental illnesses, including Tourette’s, ADHD, OCD, and (on and off throughout my life) depression. I’ve always been extremely reticent to take psychotropics, but that was never because I sensed some grand conspiracy afoot. Drugs can be dangerous no matter what they’re for, be that diabetes or depression. However, sometimes you just need to take them.

    And sometimes, they change your life. Ritalin changed mine. It didn’t fix all my problems, but it certainly gave me a handle on things that I simply could not control. I think most psychotropics are like that. They may not be solutions, but when taken for the right reasons, they’re definitely aids. Critical aids, at that.

    I fully support the move towards getting patients more involved in their own care. Education is a key factor in that involvement. That’s the major reason why I love this blog. Like I said, keep it up!

    – Bez

    • Hi Bez,

      Thanks for the great comment.

      “Ritalin changed mine. It didn’t fix all my problems, but it certainly gave me a handle on things that I simply could not control. I think most psychotropics are like that. They may not be solutions, but when taken for the right reasons, they’re definitely aids. Critical aids, at that.”

      I think you’re absolutely right. In all honesty, I used to think Ritalin (and many other drugs) were nonsense and treated the “nonexistent” disease of ADHD.

      Well, yes, I was wrong about that. My lack of real knowledge on the subject made me think something that just wasn’t true. Like so many people.

      There is an amazing documentary on ADD/ADHD. It’s funny, educational and myth-busting. It’s very positive and points out the ways to treat ADD as well as the good (and bad) things about the disorder.

      I was highly impressed by it and think it’s well worth a watch (whether you’re ADD or not) ADD and Loving It?! http://totallyadd.com/totallyadd-loving-it-trailer/

      (I have nothing to do with the movie personally, I just think it’s quite brilliant.)

      So yes. More education is better. I couldn’t agree more.

      – Natasha Tracy

  62. Hello Natasha!
    Thank you so much for writing this article… I was diagnosed with bipolar ii two months ago after a few years of struggling with depression and anxiety (I’m 21, so bipolar only recently began to rear it’s head) and quickly realized that any kind of research I try to do is going to be riddled with bile from smallminded antipsychiatry scientologist hatemongers. Reading through the comments section I think you navigated the minefield (particularly the cowards like B for Bipolar and Emma the “researcher”) with grace and professional composure.

    I’m fortunate to live in BC and have sat through enough waitlists that I finally have a medical support network of professionals who have already made my life much better. Every doctor or psychiatrist I have seen in the past has always suggested complementing pharmaceutical treatment with any number of non-medical approaches.. I am militant about going to gym, I’ve been in counselling of some kind since I was 5, if there was a medal for eating healthy I would win the gold, and drugs/booze are rarities… But the chemical imbalance is still there, and I’m lucky enough to have had it diagnosed and treated before the nasty little neurons had a chance to throw me into a full-on tailspin of self-destructin.

    I never understood why some people think mental illness is fake; are patients just faking it for the *awesome* social benefits that go with the stigma!? Do they actually think we go on medication because we’re unaware of the side-effects? Most patients I know are well aware of side effects but recognize that getting a little drowsy, gaining a few pounds or the more remote (extremely rare) severe side-effects are all a much better fate than leaving mental illness to rampage through our lives unchecked. 25 years off my life instead of feeling like I want to die every moment of a prolonged existence? Sign me up, pseudo-scientists! Too bad I wouldn’t be alive at all if it wasn’t for psychiatric intervention, and now have the chance to live a long and full life.

    For me, diagnosis was a huge relief because I was able to put a name on the thing that turns everyday life experiences into unintelligible caricatures of depression or hypomania. The symptoms are more than enough proof for me–I wouldn’t want to get an unnecessary brain scan (risking high doses of radiation) or a biopsy (risking death) just to prove to some uninformed neanderthals that I have an illness.

    While I am happy for the people out there who have managed to survive years or decades of bipolar symptoms and are in full recovery from an illness they no longer think existed, I wouldn’t want to risk waiting out years of emotional devastation and turmoil not knowing if I would come out the other end whole. I’ve suffered enough in my young life, and recognize that it’s only a taste of what bipolar would be like umedicated. Lithium isn’t a recreational drug; nobody would take it as an easy way out… but it has already begun to give me more stability than I have had on years of antidepressants (which never fully levelled me out) or any of my time spent off meds. Lithium is super cheap to produce and is helping to improve my quality of life and salvage my relationships with people I had previously alienated; if big pharma is profiting from that, so be it.

    That’s all I really wanted to say.. Keep fighting the good fight.. And thank you for sticking up for those of us who are still getting our footing.
    -Lauren

    • Hi Lauren,

      Nice to meet another West Coaster.

      Thank-you for leaving this comment. You are exactly the kind of person I hope finds what I have to say. I want people like you to know you have backup. If I can make it one millimeter easier for someone, then I will have done my job.

      You are brave to recognize you have an illness and brave to recognize you need treatment and then brave to come over here and say it. Congratulations on taking the reins over your illness and your treatment. It sounds to me like you’re doing so many things “right” that you have the very best of chances to live that full and happy life you spoke of. You’re sort of a good-patient poster child. (Your doctor must love you.)

      Thank-you for coming by and sharing. You’ve come across bright and shining and eloquent and nothing like what some people would say “medicated” people are like. I think your comment will inspire some others who couldn’t express that point of view quite as well as you have.

      And you’re welcome. We all need someone to stick up for us from time to time.

      – Natasha Tracy

  63. Natasha,

    As always, another thoughtful and provoking post with a strong POV, as well as resources backing you up. Being newly diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder, I’m avoiding anti-psychiatry groups like the plague. The amount of vitriol, as you mentioned, on social networking sites amazes me. It upsets me as well. The day I set up a Twitter account as bipolartude is the day I took it down.

    My diagnosis was too fresh, too raw, to deal with those people. Not to say that there weren’t more of those that gave support, but the vocal minority unleashed such “You are contributing to what’s wrong with society and will bring about the end of the world!” Ridiculous stuff. Not to mention some of their comments were downright hurtful. I wrote about the actual experience on a post (shameful self-promotion):

    “You Twits Can “Suck it!” Thursday, April 7, 2011
    lhttp://www.bipolartude.com/2011/04/you-twits-can-suck-it.html

    and a general post to the anti-psychiatry community:

    “We Need More Calgon!” (or four legs good; two legs bad) *the MI community edit*
    Friday, April 22, 2011
    http://www.bipolartude.com/2011/04/we-need-more-calgon-or-two-legs-good.html

    Natasha, you are not the only one addressing this in the MI blogosphere. You are not alone in your thinking. I know you know that. But it gets tough sometimes.

    keep up the good fight,
    jt

    • Hi BipolarTude,

      I love you. Does that help?

      (I really do. People should follow the above links to read your words. They’re good words. I commented on the Twits piece a while back.)

      Yup, strong POV, that’s me. It’s the thing that people love. Or hate. Depending. And I absolutely try to provide resources because while I think my opinion, fact-based or not, is completely valid, it’s easier to fight the nasties with the back-up of science, no matter how much they don’t like it.

      “I’m avoiding anti-psychiatry groups like the plague. The amount of vitriol, as you mentioned, on social networking sites amazes me. It upsets me as well. The day I set up a Twitter account as bipolartude is the day I took it down.”

      You should avoid them. Sorry, I hate to be so blunt, but you should. You should stick to _your_ experience and _your_ relationship with your healthcare provider(s) and some science. Special interest groups will make your head spin. And they _are_so_upsetting_. Wait until you’re on solid ground before you let your head spin.

      The best thing you could have done was take down your Twitter account. Again, I hate to be so blunt, but there it is. You’re in such a precarious place right now, the last thing you need is hate being hurled at you in all directions. Good on you for realizing that. (It takes guts to walk away and do what’s right for you.)

      One might consider me an “advanced” patient, and this stuff gets to even me. So I feel protective of others.

      It’s true, I’m not alone. Feels lonely on the outer reaches though, I have to say. I get a knot in my stomach when I hate to moderate some of the comments here.

      But it’s gotten much easier for me since I posted the rules for commenting here. Now I just point to the rules and say, if you want to be an ass, find somewhere else to do it. People think the rules make me weak and unwilling to discuss points of view, but that’s just their lame way of saying I have to stand for their hate. I don’t. No one does. (And I have to say, there is something incredibly wonderful about sending hate into the bit-bucket in the sky.)

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry for the long response. I do prattle. You might have noticed. :)

      – Natasha Tracy

      [ * Quick note, you should look into getting a mobile version of your site as your site is really tough to read on a mobile browser (iPhone). There are lots of plugins for that sort of thing. I turned mine on in about 5 minutes after a reader asked for it. ]

  64. Natasha, You wrote: I Fight Antipsychiatry Groups

    Choose your weapon. I have an epee if you want to duel.
    I am not a doctor either.
    But “groups” that fight against the dangerous and unethical practices of psychiatry are not “antipsychiatry”.

    Psychiatry has always been a little bizarre and cruel concerning treatments and such.
    But….the Quakers cured the insane with just love and empathy….Explain how they did that.

    I’ve ridden the Haldol needle, risperdal, seroquel, lithium, klonopin, ativan, xanax, paxil, etc…
    Nothing cured me, but gave me TD, weight gain, and damaged what brain cells i have left after years of abuse with getting high….Huffing freon and butane, drinking booze, eating LSD, smoking PCP and THC, poppin speed. (thanks be to GOD i didn’t do heroin or coke)
    I was sexually molested for a period of two years as a child.
    My parents were alcoholics that were more concerned with themselves than with their children. I was raised on candy and cookies, not fruits and veggies.

    [moderated]

    Do not bash people who are fighting against the unethical practices and unnecessary drugging of people and especially children. They are fighting for your well being too.

    [moderated]

    Those who survive without meds do better than those on meds. Being med free is a lot cheaper and med free people can show emotions… like crying! I tear up for you.

    I go to NAMI support meetings. I have been committed less times than those who take their meds like they should.

    [moderated]

    In peace and love through God above, Winston

  65. Hi… I just read an article on USA today ( http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertainment/post/2011/04/catherine-zeta-jones-checks-into-mental-health-facility/1?csp=hf ) about Catherine zeta-jones. It’s obvious that she is not a scientoligist and is very aware on her bipolar (the article states that she checked herself in a hospital after taking care of her sick husband for a year).. For hollywood stars to do this should truly be applauded. Just felt the need to share this and this seemed like the right place.

    Thanx

  66. Dear Ms. Goldman,

    It strikes me that you’re not well acquainted with NARSAD and the many research grants they’ve bestowed through the years. Nor does it appear from your statements that you are acquainted with the areas of research and work being done by many of these grantees.

    “…there is absolutely no sound scientific evididence proving that so-called “mental illness” is a biological brain disease.” — Emma Goldman

    Based upon their many research projects and my readings I am struck by the very high correlation of bio-neural chemical findings relating to serious issues and symptoms of mood disorders affecting mental health.

    Since I know neither what you research nor what you read and based upon my many years as a lay-depression expert to my spouse I’m more and more inclined to disagree with your thoughts and position on the subject matter.

    By the way, NARSAD has its own independent medical board assigning these grants so I would also be inclined to negate anyone’s thoughts as to pharmaceutical influence on the grants and areas of research.

    Warmly,
    Herb
    vnsdepression@gmail.com
    http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com/

  67. Somehow, the idea of a professional researcher wishing to remain anonymous doesn’t sit right with me. It also removes any attempt at verification. Why would a researcher want to hide? Clearly they’ve already published something along the sames lines as this discussion, so everyone already knows their opinion.

    • Hi Darren,

      I would tend to agree. And one anonymous commenter (with a fake email) “validating” another anonymous user doesn’t really lend credibility either.

      But such is the internet.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Hey,

        I probably should mention that I do have a BA in psychology, and verification is one of the things they taught us.

        • I also have BSc(Hons) Psychology. You talk of a hugley reduced life-expectancy: I also worked in mental health, with children and adults. All of the adults and some of the children self-medicated and smoked, and addiction was rife. This would naturally effect their life expectancy a great deal.

          Studying Psychology taught us how neurones and chemistry effect behavior. Also how experience and society effect behavior. Now whether mental illness (or whatever you wish to call it) is only a biological issue is neither here or there (I tend to believe it’s biological but society/experience stimulates it) what is important is finding ways to give sufferers some peace and a life worth living. Psychoactive drugs work – fact! The why is unknown largely, and I admit I’m not 100% comfortable with that, but I live better on them than off them. FACT!

          My life without meds was one disaster after another: I self-harmed, I hung out with risky people and blatantly self abused. I tried several times to end it all, so desperate was my need for peace. This self loathing came from sexual abuse, an ever-growing insecurity and awful mood swings. I now live a calmed (not zombiefied) creative and fulfilling life. Fact is, I choose this life over its predecessor. There are risks, sure. But the truth of the matter is I’d be dead already, without these pills. I’m careful to take as small a dose as possible, which I alter to suit me, and I only take one medication – seroqual. Nothing else. I just don’t need it. My psychiatrist said to me: I wish other patients were as informed and able to recognize their chemical needs as you are. – Does he sound like a monster? NO!

          Anyone scaring vulnerable people to stop taking lifesaving medication without a viable alternative is inadvertently murdering them. Melodramatic? You may think so, but I’ve seen in my family (which had seven people that I know of, with mental health issues) that the difference in life-style between medicated and not is huge.

          The two that refused it died. One hung himself, the other self-medicated and died from heroin related illnesses. They were interestingly both male btw. They lived chaotic and criminal lives. Looking in their eyes you could see two boys running from themselves. They ran until they died.

          The women however, accepted their diagnosis, moved on with finding effective treatments and live their lives well. You talk of evidence – there’s mine.

          Shah. X

          • Hi Shah,

            Oh yes, it’s only too easy to point to “reduced life expectancy” and blame that on the medications, but as you’ve pointed out, there are many compounding factors, like drug abuse, that can reduce health. And people with severe mental illness are known for extremely unhealthy lifestyle choices in terms of food, exercise, cigarettes and on and on. They’re busy being sick. A “healthy lifestyle” isn’t nearly as big a priority as it is for someone who doesn’t have to think about surviving until tomorrow.

            Medications may reduce overall life expectancy, particularly some classes of medications, but I suspect it’s not directly. I suspect the medications cause side effects (like weight gain) that then go on to harm life expectancy. But it’s really hard to say.

            “Anyone scaring vulnerable people to stop taking lifesaving medication without a viable alternative is inadvertently murdering them. ”

            Yup, I agree. I don’t like to talk about it much because of the massive attack I would get for saying it, but I suspect some of the groups out there have a whole lot of blood on their hands. But that’s me.

            I know exactly of the kind of people of which you speak – those that accept their illness and find treatment, and those who don’t. I’ve got it in my family too. And like you mentioned, drug abuse is rampant and yes, I suspect they will run until they die.

            It is incredibly sad, but it’s important to remember, so thank-you for sharing that with us.

            – Natasha Tracy

  68. I know “Emma” personally. That’s not her real name, but I assure you that she is most definitely a researcher, and if she used her real name, you’d probably recognize it immediately. Someone of her high profile has good reason to remain anonymous online. Regardless of her pseudonym, she is correct, and everything she states is verifiable. If you’d rather subject yourself to the psychiatric voodoo, that’s your choice, but it’s not based in science. It’s based in monetary influence by the pharmaceutical industry. It’s your brain. The consequences are yours alone.

  69. Emma: If you are a researcher, as you have repeatedly claimed, I have 2 questions:

    1. Where do you do research?
    2. Is Emma Goldman your real name?

  70. “mental illness” is an in adequate metaphor used to describe extreme mental and emotional states, and I think it’s a pretty poor and useless metaphor.
    And Natsaha & Heather, despite the propaganda you see on TV, there is absolutely no sound scientific evididence proving that so-called “mental illness” is a biological brain disease. Nothing. Period. I am a reasrcher and have worked in this field for 25 years. The line that “mental illness is a disease like diabetes” is an bald-faced lie.
    I challeneg you to find any scientific literature that actually proves (rather than just states as unchallenged assumption” that “mental illness” is biological.

  71. I can’t believe you’re saying Mental illness doesn’t exist and Mental illness isn’t biological! Where did you hear that?

    • Hi Heather,

      I’m not sure if that was directed at me or not, but if so, you might have missed the context.

      Emma asked me what inaccuracies the antipsychiatry people tell, and those were two of my examples.

      Of course mental illness is real and biological! That’s one of the points of the article.

      – Natasha Tracy

  72. Oh, and Natasha, I read your blog post but failed to see anywhere that you gave any evidence that the people you call “sneaky” and “ridiculous” have in fact made any factually incorrect claims. And why on earth would you be opposed to human rights?

    • Well,

      1. Mental illness doesn’t exist
      2. Mental illness isn’t biological

      For two of the most obvious ridiculous statements. Read what I previously linked to and get back to me.

      I never said I was against human rights. Perhaps you should do some rereading here too.

      – Natasha Tracy

  73. That’s right. “The info is right there on his own website, Natasha. Read a little further than the end of your nose. Phelps put it there himself to explain away how he uses those Pharma $$$ for his good deeds. Assume away. That seems to be your forte.”

  74. The info is right there on his own website, Natasha. Read a little further than the end of your nose. Phelps put it there himself to explain away how he uses those Pharma $$$ for his good deeds. Assume away. That seems to be your forte.

    • Yup, Phelps’ funding is right there. I’ve read it all. Thanks.

      It also says he hasn’t accepted any since 03/09.

      And it says exactly who the money came from, where it went, why he took it and why he stopped. You have shown no evidence whatsoever that he has been biased.

      I encourage anyone to read it. http://www.psycheducation.org/start/Funding.htm

      You said all sorts of other nasty things about there being “falsehood” and comparing him to condoning pedophilia. Your snipe does nothing to validate your claims.

      – Natasha Tracy

  75. Emma? I was at some training a couple weeks ago and they said to read Anatamy of an Epidemic. I ordered it at the library and Its supposed to come in next week sometime. I had a wait a long time to get it its very popular here. This lady said it was the most important book she ever read and this one lady who was a doctor (a pyschiatrist doctor) was actually CRYING and she said it changed her whole life. But nobody really said what its about? So I’m going to read it next week. I am a fast reader, I used to go to college before I caught the bi-polar and I was really smart, like Tracey.

    • Abbie, I’m sure you’ll find it fascinating, although you might come away from the book believing that the people who gave you this bi-polar diagnosis you say you “caught” were actually lying dupes of the pharmaceutical industry who have been feeding you dangerous drugs that will make you die 25 years early.

      • What do you mean about deing 25 years early? What is that supposed to mean??? Like from suicide, you mean?

        • Abbie,

          I believe what Emma is referring to are the health risks of taking psychiatric medication.

          There is no evidence this medication will take 25 years off your life.

          The risks of medication are real, however. I recommend you discuss any concerns you might have with your doctor.

          – Natasha Tracy

          • um, Natasha? I went to Goggle on the internet and put in mental-illness-25-years and got like millions of hits and I looked at one from Time Magazine- THE REAL Time Magazine, and it says, yes, people with mental illness die 25 younger and WHY? So I guess you learned something from ME today!!! :)

          • Hi Abbie,

            It’s a bit more complicated than that.

            They’re saying people with a serious mental illness die 25 years sooner from the 16 states from which they have data. That’s not the same things as medications causing death or causing that 25-year discrepancy. You’ll note a major health concern is cigarettes, which obviously have nothing to do with medication. The mentally ill also have high rates of drug and alcohol addiction.

            You have to dig a bit deeper to understand the correlation but a lot of it has to do with socioeconomic status and lack of access to quality care.

            Definitely discuss it with your doctor and they can explain more to you about what that means for you.

            – Natasha

  76. “And these charming antipsychiatry folks, for whatever reason, read all about me and then use those personal details to ensure their personal attacked will be as nasty as possible.” — Natasha Tracy

    I’m sorry Natasha but once again I respectfully shall have to disagree with you. Personally, I find nothing “charming” about some of these folks and their need for their nasty, denigrating and personal attacks. Other than that I can well understand your sentiments and empathize with your thoughts having been on the receiving end from these anonymous hurting souls for well over a decade.

    But I’m sure as you’ve already learned when you decided to open yourself up to sharing your life experiences there are those who for whatever reason will have need to contort, distort and disparage your sharing for their own nefarious and derogatory purposes. I ask you to please take no heed as these individuals, who to my thinking, exhibit even far greater challenges in they’re lives.

    I on the other hand from my perspective and years of experiences have seen the pain and suffering of those challenged by these horrific symptoms whether or not one wants to believe that “It’s psychiatry that has no basis in scientific fact”. Nor at this stage of my life am I interested in debating these issues or using a writer’s article in favor of trusted, knowledgeable and licensed medical professionals. As many of us already know there is no simple answer(s) to the pain, suffering and challenges one faces from these symptoms or the avenues to achieve some degree of wellness.

    I am extremely happy for those through whatever means have achieved a reasonable degree of wellness and quality of life. And for those still challenged and struggling I continue to advocate for patient education while encouraging hope and persistence.

    I also continue to appreciate your brutally frank and thoughtful writings. Unlike your anonymous detractors I acknowledge and appreciate you’re being out there exposed but hopefully not affected by those uncaringly sharing their venom and hostilities. If not you or me or recently Steven, it would be someone else on the receiving end.

    As always I wish you all wellness and all the good you would wish for yourselves.

    Warmly,
    Herb
    vnsdepression@gmail.com
    http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com/

    • Herb,

      I removed the slur against you. That type of language is not appropriate and will not be tolerated here.

      Rest assured, I don’t allow personal attacks. Whatever the disagreements may be here, I won’t let anyone be personally abusive towards other commenters.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • Herb and B,

      I’ve removed the last two comments as they don’t pertain to this article.

      I understand passions are running high but if you wish to discuss personal matters, please do so elsewhere.

      – Natasha Tracy

  77. It’s psychiatry that has no basis in scientific fact. And those of us who question the efficacy and vailidy of psychiatry, contrary to your beliefs, have plenty of hard evidence. You should read Bob Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad in America. And while there’s no scientific evidence that so-called “mental illness” is a biological brain disease, there’s plenty of evidence that people with psychiatric diagnoses are trauma survivors. You should get the facts before you. You are doing people a disservice by spreading misinformation.

    • Hi Emma,

      I know Whitaker’s work. He has some good points. And he also has some points based on data he doesn’t understand. I don’t have time to write a detailed critique, but certainly open discussion on many of the issues is warranted.

      As for biology, the brain and mental illness, I suggest you read this: http://psycheducation.org/mechanism/MechanismIntro.htm

      It’ll take several hours, but then, the brain is complicated like that.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • FYI, Dr. Phelps has taken loads of money from Abbott, GSK, Wyeth, Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies over the years. His website is loaded with falsehoods. This is like sending someone to a pedophilia site to find out the “truth” about why it’s a “good” thing to molest children.

        • B,

          Interesting. I wasn’t aware accepting money from a drug company was a crime.

          Where did you get your medical degree from again?

          His site is fully referenced.

          Do you a particular inaccuracy in mind? Care to refute with supporting material?

          He has information on the following non-drug therapies:
          Light therapy
          Dark therapy
          Exercise
          NAC
          Omega3

          And several other approaches that have nothing to do with medications. How biased do you really think he is?

          He also continually works to source the least expensive options for people. And he talks openly about _not_ using antidepressants in treatment of bipolar.

          Say what you like, but until you have some proof, I find your points slanderous.

          – Natasha Tracy

          • I made no claim that Phelps acted criminally. His acceptance of Pharma $$$ is well-documented, and he admits to accepting these $$$ himself. This is known as a conflict of interest. It’s just the usual, unscientific garbage.

          • B,

            As you have not supplied supporting evidence of any kind, I’m going to have to assume you are incorrect.

            You can feel free to slander anyone you wish, but you should really have some example as to why you feel they are worth disparaging. Otherwise you just look like a liar.

            – Natasha Tracy

      • Natasha, the material you directed me to about brain imagery is total hogwash. I’m a reseracher and I know that many people over the years have purported to try to prove that “mental illness” exists through brain imagery, and these attempts are patently false. In fact, there is as much variation among brain images of groups of people diagnosed with, say, schizophrenia, as there are among the general population.
        And I would appreciate your taking the time to clarify what data you think Whitaker has misinterpreted.
        I think the unscientific opinions masquerading as fact that you post are quite dangerous.

  78. Natasha,

    I love the way you take the bull by the horns and even more so you’re ability to handle and toss that bull about. Good for you and good for the people that take the time to read your no-nonsense blogging. I also love your ability to effectively tackle the real controversial subjects regarding mood disorders and mental-states.

    In response to “B is for Bipolar” I’d like to remind the individual that there are a number of neurological illnesses lacking diagnostic means and yet the symptomology of the illnesses are self-evident as is in the case of Parkinson’s disease. To the best of my knowledge there are no scans or blood tests etc. to definitively diagnose the illness and yet a diagnosis is made through observations of symptoms. In fact, as in the case of my spouse her MRI’s and CT Scans over the years have been normal for a person of her age nor has any diagnosis from all those scans been equated with her MDD diagnosis either. To which I might also add that no neurological “damage” shows up from her ECT therapy either.

    With the recent advances in scanning as discussed previously in trying to determine depression; so what! Personally, I’d be more concerned with advances in treatments in trying to overcome the symptoms of what many of us are aware of, experienced and have challenged us in our daily functioning. The fact that one may diagnostically be able to correlate an image with depression isn’t anywhere near overcoming the bigger challenge to obtain effective therapies with minimal side-effects yielding long-term sustained efficacy and remission.

    As for the anti-psychiatry crowd they’re entitled to their opinions, which I do read, but have been of little to no benefit to me in helping to obtain a reasonable degree of wellness and quality of life for my spouse.

    Warmly,
    Herb
    vnsdepression@gmail.com
    http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com/

    • Dear Herb

      you may not be able to detect neurological damage due to your wifes ECT but it almost certainly will be there. This is not a pleasant thing to point out but without it how can you and your wife make informed decisions?

      There is always damage but it does not always show up while in some it shows up with memory loss and loss of cognitive abilities.

      http://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury.html

      It is hard to find good treatment that does not rely on the conventional treatments that mainstream psychiatry offers (drugs and ECT) but where they are offered they have a good record. Once basic lifestyle things are offered, such as exercise and good diet, then the most effective help is always various forms of intense social support: therapy, counselling, family therapy, therapeutic communities, various kinds of self help groups. Finding those for the kind of intense distress that gets labelled mental illnesses like bipolar, severe depression, schizophrenia and personality disorder, is difficult because mainstream psychiatry has dominated the market, but there are many accounts of them being successful and I have seen several people find this sort of help turn their lives around. Indeed they often seem to be the only things with do help people regain the kind of self confidence they had before the crisis which provoked the distress which earned them the mental health diagnosis.

      What ever route your wife takes in trying to resolve her problems I wish her luck in her recovery.

  79. Reading the comments you’ve been getting I can understand why you feel this way. It’s too bad the infighting distracts from the very real need for reform for mental healthcare which no one really seems to have an easy answer for.

    • Hi MMC,

      I actually think healthcare in general could use some help. I’m focused on mental health but there are many issues to address.

      I believe, as do many psychiatrists, that there is room for improvement, you’ll get no argument from me there. But we don’t even understand the problem. I have some suspicions but I don’t have data to back them up.

      Central to this issue is this: how do we target treatment? If I have a treatment, who should I give it to? Generally we know that treatments do work, but we never seem to grasp under what circumstances.

      But apart from that, you have the US health insurance industry which is as messed up as an industry can get. Everyone wants to blame doctors, but if you can’t afford any other treatment but antidepressants, what do you do? People with a mental illness should _all_ receive therapy. But in the US, my guess is much less than half could ever afford that.

      And one thing I think people rarely think about is the fact that GPs hand out most of the meds. Not psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are so busy they only end up seeing trouble cases. Likely the ones that need medication in the first place.

      It’s all very murky.

      I’m part of a group centered around patient participatory medicine, which aims to bring people into treatment, into knowledge, to make better decisions about their own treatment. This is an attack from the patient perspective. With true knowledge, understanding and communication, patients can make choices.

      This, of course, isn’t enough. But at least it’s something that makes sense. Most of the attacks on mental healthcare are simply red herrings.

      And no, there is absolutely no easy answer for the complexity of a system like healthcare.

      – Natasha Tracy

  80. NATAHSHA!!!! O NO O NO O NO!!!!!! I was calling you the WRONG NAME!!!!! I am SO SORRYYYY!!!!v I guess its because of that spy Natasha with the moose, you know, Bullwinkel? I guess I am much much older than you so you probably have no clue what I am talking about! It was a cartoon in the olden days. Natahsha was very beauitiful, and kind of looked like you,. come to think of it.

    • Hi Abbie,

      Not to worry about the name. It happens now and then.

      (Actually, I do know the cartoon. Reruns when I was a kid. Had pjs with Boris and Natasha when I was young too.)

      – Natasha Tracy

      • WHEW!!!! Oh, thank you. I can’t afford to buy real PJs so I use a tshirt, but I have Ren & Stimpy underwear but I don’t know who they are. But Im glad I didn’t make you mad! I like the way you write and now that I have your name right, (HAHAHA) I found where you have made some videos and other writings!

  81. Like one time in our classes? They had us do one of two things. We could put all our clothes for Day Two (tomorrow!!!!) on ONE hanger. Yes, one hanger. That way, you don’y get confused about which shirt today, how many pants, socks? OR the other way, I did not do, was to have seven plastic cases then put your clothes in each one, like Monday, Tuesday. The way I did it, I “load” my clothes when I “load” my pilss, and guess what Tracey I DO bejewel, except I use a Bedazzler, my pill boxes and my clothes boxes and I’m glad you said that because everyone thought I was weird.

  82. If it is “reality”, there should be proof. Otherwise, it’s just conjecture or fantasy. Where’s the empirical validation? That’s what makes it scientific.

  83. Tracey,
    THNX so much for being brave enough to talk about all these treatments you have had and how none of them have ever worked! Your birthday video made me sad. I live in the USA and I am worried about how my doctor never gets to talk to me anymore. My state keeps changing the way it pays for mental health and it used to be I would get to go to the doctor three or four times a week, plus I got to go to classes so I could learn how to dress, cook and balance my checkbook. I could get in the hospital anytime I wanted and I could stay for weeks and one time, I got to stay for two years!!!! Now we are lucky to get in the hiospital at all. I only get to go to my doctor once every THREEWEEKS!!!! And its like the lady up above, I can only see her for like 15 minutes. Then all she does is ask me to stick out my tongue, which I like because I don’t like her and I don’t know why she makes me do that. Then my case manager is to bussy all the time and then my therapist is to bossy. Then they combined the drop-in center, which USED to be great because you could watch TV and smoke in the building with the clubhouse and now they say we have to get a job even if we don’t get paid. I don’t think its fair. Is that how it is in Canada? DO you get paid for not working in Canada?

    • Hi Abbie,

      No, we do have to work in Canada.

      We have disability assistance; I’m not sure what the US equivalent would be. Disability is for those too disabled to work.

      – Natasha Tracy

  84. You should read my blog sometime as I’ve recently taken on The Top Ten Myths of Mental Illness that came out of the decade old NARSAD survey. A post I made a little while back might interest you, too.

    • Frank,

      I read the post. No, I wouldn’t say it was interesting, I’d say it was pretentious and incomprehensible.

      It was fairly hateful so I snipped the link. People are more than welcomed to look you up should they desire such things.

      – Natasha Tracy

  85. I’d like a brain scan too. Why have I never had one? What tests do they have to show me the bipolar, so I know I really have something wrong with my brain? If they say there’s a brain disorder, don’t they owe me the proof?

    • B,

      See above regarding brain scans.

      And I wouldn’t say anyone owes anyone proof. All you ever have is the best judgement of a diagnostician, just like in all other disease.

      There is no 100% accurate test for dementia either (they’re working on it) but when you can’t remember your kid’s names, you might consider the diagnosis anyway.

      If you don’t believe the diagnosis and don’t want treatment then that’s really your business.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • Well, if they told me I had diabetes or cancer, I’d expect biological proof via scans and blood tests before I started chemotherapy or insulin. Why should we accept any less? Seems a bit foolish to assume a brain illness with no biological proof.

        • B,

          That certainly is your prerogative.

          There are simply many illnesses that don’t have lab tests. Life is like that. If you don’t want treatment, don’t get it.

          – Natasha Tracy

          • What I would like, before putting drugs into my body, is to know that I actually have the alleged brain illness. If they said I had cancer, I would want proof before ingesting drugs that will kill off my immune system and cause my hair to fall out. I wouldn’t just say, “oh…okay. I must feel bad because I have cancer. The doctor said so.” Would you?

          • B,

            I would like to have an inexhaustible supply of Ben and Jerry’s in my freezer and not have to work for a living, but that’s just not terribly likely.

            No matter what you might “like” there is still reality to deal with. Would I like a 100% accurate empirical diagnostic test? Yes, I would. But as there isn’t one, I’m working within what is available.

            – Natasha Tracy

  86. How can i get my psychiatrist to give me a brain scan or chemical imbalance test? These are things I have often wanted to reassure my diagnosis and to make sure I am on the correct medication.
    And now my appointments are only 15 mins instead of the 45 mins I used to have in the beginning. And why don’t they take my vital signs like a regular doctor? I am worried about my weight gain and blood pressure, but they never check these things.

    • Hal,

      I know of no sure-fire way to get a brain scan for a mental illness. That type of information is new and in the hands of researchers more than diagnosticians.

      That being said, likely there are two ways:

      1. Be incredibly rich, contact a leading mental health facility with specialized personnel and spend a thwack of cash. (In the US. I don’t know about other countries.)

      2. Get involved in a research study.

      You are absolutely correct that your doctor should be monitoring your vitals. I recommend either pointedly asking them why they are not doing this or getting a new doctor who takes your health concerns more seriously.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • Hal,

      One more thing. There is a test regarding antidepressant effectiveness that is done at specialized locations like the Mayo Clinic, however, in general, they are not going to be able to tell you if you medication is “right” or “wrong.”

      You have to try medication and decide what works best for you. Sorry, there is no shortcut available yet.

      – Natasha Tracy