freakoutcrazy

Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Why Is There An Anti-psychiatry Movement?

On February 18, the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, former President of the APA, published a video and transcript on Medscape.  The article was titled What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry?, and was essentially a fatuous diatribe against Tanya Lurhmann, PhD, a Stanford anthropologist, who had written for the New York Times an op-ed article that was mildly critical of psychiatry.  The essence of Dr. Lieberman’s rebuttal was that an anthropologist had no business expressing any criticism of psychiatry, and he extended his denunciation to the editors of the NY Times.

“Why would such a report be printed in a widely respected publication such as the New York Times? What other medical specialty would be asked to endure an anthropologist opining on the scientific validity of its diagnoses? None, except psychiatry. Psychiatry has the dubious distinction of being the only medical specialty with an anti-movement. There is an anti-psychiatry movement. You have never heard of an anti-cardiology movement, an anti-dermatology movement, or an anti-orthopedics movement.”

I have already written a critique of Dr. Lieberman’s paper, but my purpose today is to address the question:  why does psychiatry have an anti-movement?  In my view, there are ten reasons.

  1. Psychiatry’s definition of a mental disorder/mental illness embraces virtually every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, and psychiatry has been using this definition to formally medicalize problems that are not medical in nature for the past several decades.
  2. Psychiatry routinely presents these labels as the causes of the specific problems, when in fact they are merely labels with no explanatory significance.
  3. Psychiatry has routinely deceived, and continues to deceive, their clients, the public, the media, and government agencies, that these vaguely defined problems are in fact illnesses with known neural pathology.
  4. Psychiatry has blatantly promoted drugs as corrective measures for these illnesses, when in fact it is well-known in pharmacological circles that no psychiatric drug corrects any neural pathology. In fact, the opposite is the case.  All psychiatric drugs exert their effect by distorting or suppressing normal functioning.
  5. Psychiatry has conspired with the pharmaceutical industry in the creation of a vast body of fraudulent research, all designed to “prove” the efficacy and safety of pharma products.
  6. A great many psychiatrists have shamelessly accepted pharma money for very questionable activities. These activities include the widespread presentation of infomercials in the guise of CEUs; the ghost-writing of books and papers which were actually written by pharma employees; paid psychiatric “thought leaders” who promote new drugs and diagnoses for pharma; acceptance of fraudulent advertising in peer-reviewed journals; acceptance of pharmaceutical money by the APA; targeting of captive and vulnerable audiences in nursing homes, group homes, and foster-care systems for prescription of psychiatric drugs; etc., etc… In addition, 70% of the DSM-5 task force members had received funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
  7. Psychiatry’s spurious diagnoses are inherently disempowering. To tell a person, who in fact has no biological pathology, that he has an incurable illness for which he must take psychiatric drugs for life is an intrinsically disempowering act which falsely robs people of hope, and encourages them to settle for a life of drug-induced dependency and mediocrity.
  8. Psychiatry’s “treatments,” whatever transient feelings of well-being they may induce, are always destructive and damaging in the long-term.
  9. Psychiatry’s spurious and self-serving medicalization of every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, effectively undermines human resilience, and fosters a culture of powerlessness, uncertainty, and dependency.  Relabeling as illnesses problems which previous generations accepted as matters to be addressed and worked on, and harnessing billions of pharma dollars to promote this false message, is morally repugnant.
  10. Psychiatry neither recognizes nor accepts any limits on its expansionist agenda. In recent years, they have even stooped to giving neuroleptic drugs to young children, a “treatment,”  the long term effects of which can only be guessed at.

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Driving Us Crazy: A Festival About Madness in Society, and in All of Us

I am proud and happy to announce that our webpage DrivingUsCrazy has been launched. It will help us to get the word out about the international film festival taking place in Gothenburg, 16-18 October, 2015, and also to highlight the issue of madness every day until then — and hopefully for many days afterwards.

Hanna, a dear colleague of mine, has done a great job and she tells me every second hour how fast the message is spreading. And how many people who are dedicated to the mission to find alternatives to the – as yet — dominant medical model within psychiatry. A model which has spread also to schools, to social services, and which must be discussed and questioned before it is too late.

We have a vision of making a shift in our country; a hope that the film festival will be a turning point. Movies, researchers, people with own lived experience and artists from many contexts and countries will tell another story than the one told by traditional psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. We are determined to make space for other “truths.” We want to make room for people to tell their personal history: To extend the phenomenon called evidence-based knowledge.

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Peer Supports Under Siege: A Call for Help and Solidarity (And how this affects you, too)

One of the great challenges of working as a legislator is finding time… time to get to know what things look like from the inside… time to get to know what’s really helping people verses what just sounds good… time to recognize that what sounds good has often been made glossy and shiny more by money and marketing and less by substance and what’s real.   Time can be a curse when you’re always running short of it.  It can be hard to place blame or point fingers given the heavy demands on the average politician, yet the consequences of that lack of time have the potential to be fairly dire.

Not surprisingly, the Massachusetts Mental Health System is currently experiencing a budget crisis.  Why?  I’m not entirely clear, but it has something to do with “Chapter 257.”  What the heck is Chapter 257?  I’m still trying to figure that out, too, but here’s a one-sentence explanation offered by the ‘Campaign to Strengthen Human Services.’

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Speaking As A Survivor Researcher

Academia has long been the official search engine for knowledge. Here supposedly are the ivory towers where seekers after truth, men and women intellectuals, teach new generations and carry out learned research, to add to the sum of human wisdom.

This is a powerful and seductive image, that even those of us who work in academia can’t entirely escape. But we also know that the academy is as tied to rank as the army, with as clear a hierarchy – from temporary research assistants to senior professors. It is as discriminatory as mainstream politics, with a dearth of black women tenured professors and a growing bottom layer of low paid ancillary staff increasingly marginalised by modern outsourcing economics.

 

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Stopping SSRI Antidepressants Can Cause Long, Intense Withdrawal Problems

In the first systematic review of withdrawal problems that patients experience when trying to get off SSRI antidepressant medications, a team of American and Italian researchers found that withdrawing from SSRIs was in many ways comparable to trying to quit addictive benzodiazepine sedatives and barbiturates. Publishing in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, they also found that withdrawal symptoms can last months or even years, and entirely new, persistent psychiatric disorders can emerge from discontinuing SSRIs.

 

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