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"The Antipsychiatry Coalition
October 3, 2002 2:14 PM   Subscribe

"The Antipsychiatry Coalition is a nonprofit volunteer group consisting of people who feel we have been harmed by psychiatry - and of our supporters. We created this website to warn you of the harm routinely inflicted on those who receive psychiatric 'treatment' and to promote the democratic ideal of liberty for all law-abiding people that has been abandoned in the U.S.A., Canada, and other supposedly democratic nations." Hours of reading, but their report to President Bush is a good summary.
posted by Joey Michaels (44 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I couldn't finish reading their report. I got way too angry.

Just when many of us are seeing new and better treatments, hope for better lives, freedom from crippling depressions and life-ruining manic episodes, freedom from suicidal ideations, and more education regarding these types of illnesses-here come these bozos-with an agenda and with halftruths and downright lies-in an attempt to ruin the strides that have been made in the last twenty years in mental health treatment.

Go here for some real info on the topic for bipolar disorder, at least.
posted by konolia at 2:27 PM on October 3, 2002


Someone very close to me was diagnosed with "Manic Depression with Bipolar features", given litium and a handshake and told it was going to be alright.

She was cured only when she decided to stop being so self-absorbed, began to pray and have faith, and stop pitying herslef.

I am convinced that the current psychiatric establishment is nothing but a cadre of coddling apothecaries whos only allegience is to the drug companies that pay them to prescribe their poison.

I would like to see the way psychiatry is administered in this country change immediately.
posted by shamelesselitist at 2:35 PM on October 3, 2002


Psychiatry is useful in treating symptoms and alleviating very real sufferings -- all that konolia mention and many others. Mr Doodie could probably use one.

But there's a lot of need for watchdogging the mental health system, and all of us should have deep misgivings about "curing" every disorder and homogonizing our mental and emotional responses to life.

That said, please do not pay attention to Scientology front groups like the Antiphychiatry Coalition. Their sole purpose is to wrest market share from a competing organization. (note: I don't have evidence that TAC is part of the Scientology org -- does someone else?)
posted by damehex at 2:36 PM on October 3, 2002


Meant to link Mr Doodie.
posted by damehex at 2:37 PM on October 3, 2002


Reading through the depression article it says depression is a real thing, however its caused by factors such as physical and emotional health and is not an inborn "brain disease". I happen to agree with that. Nutrition, exercise, environment, etc.. all play a role. But instead the modern solution is to pump the brain full of chemicals. I dont buy it and never have. At best your stuck on drugs for life, at worst your causing permanent brain damage. Cocaine is manufactured naturally in the brain in small amounts but when you introduce artificially large amounts over time it changes your brain structure for the worst. Just be careful what you take and no matter how much the establishment says its safe, remember the evils done to others in the name of good for the sake of money and prestiege. 20 years is not long enoug for any of these drugs to be considered safe.
posted by stbalbach at 2:38 PM on October 3, 2002


If you had ever met someone in full manic state you would not question his or her need for meds. I am not saying that anyone with an emotional hiccup needs Prozac. But there are plenty of people with real verifiable brain illnesses that would be stuck in the back of the mental ward for life if it weren't for some of the newly available medications. I take anticonvulsants (also prescribed for epileptics) and I just found out that makes me more prone to osteoporosis. Big fat hairy deal. Beats dying of suicide because of distorted delusional thinking and bipolar impulsiveness.

One thing that many folks don't know is that Lithium is not the only drug out there for Bipolars-lots more out there to choose from now. And for people with schizophrenia, there are new antipsychotics that are less likely to have the side effects and long term effects of some of the older drugs. The state-of-the-art in meds have come a very long way in the last twenty years.
posted by konolia at 2:49 PM on October 3, 2002


damehex, if you read the whole page, you'll see "No Scientologists, please: Volunteers will be asked for assurance they are not affiliated with the "Church" of Scientology or its Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which have publicized the harm done by psychiatry but which we want no affiliation with."

But yes, that was my first thought too.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:49 PM on October 3, 2002


Oh, and shameless, there is no such thing as Manic Depression with Bipolar Features. Manic Depression and Bipolar disorder are the same thing.

There's more than one type of Bipolar, but the link I gave in the first post I made to this thread will tell you all you want to know and then some.
posted by konolia at 2:51 PM on October 3, 2002


Hours of reading, but their report to President Bush is a good summary.

A good summary of what? Of repeated denial of modern medical science, without any meaningful supporting evidence?

shamelesselitist, exactly what do you want changed? The inability for psychiatrists to prescribe anything? Mandatory prayer, but no therapy? A revision of the DSM-II to account for your self-absorbed friend, so that only the "real" diagnoses get made?

Yes, there is a tremendous amount regarding mental illness that medical science can't explain; yes, there is, too, a history of medicine littered with horrifying and inhumane treatments for countless illnesses and non-illnesses alike. (Check out the work of the late, great Roy Porter for brilliant, in-depth social histories of medicine.) It is imperfect and incomplete. But I remain convinced that there is, however a tremendous amount that it can explain, does explain, and treats accordingly. I've had severe depression for more than 20 years, and I have gone through years with and without meds, and years with and without therapy. Guess which combo gives me the tools so that I can build a life of value (working, producing art, engaged in my family life, etc.)? Yep, those terrible chemicals called medication, plus therapy. If I give up the meds I get the desire to die. So tell me again exactly why it's poison?
posted by scody at 3:03 PM on October 3, 2002


Whenever I hear stuff like this, I always picture some 15th-century pundit saying, "Everyone in this society always wants some magic poultice to cure disease, I guess because they don't want to worry about the hard work of keeping the four humours in proper balance and remaining vigilant against demon possession."
posted by transona5 at 3:19 PM on October 3, 2002


I'm going to re-heat the same statement I did about chiropractic in another thread, unless you have had personal experience seeing a therapist, psychiatrist, counselor or other mental health professional and/or tried successfully OR unsuccessfully to get help or relief through medication, you should put a sock in it on these treatments.

The guy who wrote the majority of the articles on the site is a lawyer I see, giving me a clearer picture of what his true motivations are...
posted by Woolcott'sKindredGal at 3:24 PM on October 3, 2002


scody, we already have a DSM - IV. It's mainly used as a billing tool that classifies mental disorders so that analysts can submit correct insurance claims. By reading the DSM, I found that I have at least 400 billable problems. BTW, I'm not a scientologist and I believe that a mixture of the talking cure and medication helps a lot of people.
posted by stvc15 at 3:26 PM on October 3, 2002


Actually, the DSM-IV is about to be revised yet again.

Some things are hard to diagnose. And nobody can really get a true diagnosis based solely on the DSM.
posted by konolia at 3:33 PM on October 3, 2002


Anyone who says that depression doesn't originate in the brain and can be "cured" by diet, exercise, or whatever, doesn't know what they're talking about. There's a big difference between depressions that come out of particular life situations and stressors, and depression which is chronic through several generations. In my family, there's been severe depression for three generations, maybe longer. I've seen the horrible consequences when my son goes off his medication or when it stops being effective.
posted by gordian knot at 4:14 PM on October 3, 2002


There are other therapies out there for depression other than Prozac etc. For example Cognitive Therapy. It is harder work than taking a pill every day, but can be very successful in the long term. I agree that drugs are over-prescribed, but that is not limited to psychiatric drugs, many other drugs are even more abused. Look at all the drug resistant strains of pathogens that we have popping up. I know people who are on Prozac which they were prescribed by their family physician without ever seeing a Psychiatrist. I wouldn't want my primary care physician doing open heart surgery on me....

Cocaine is manufactured naturally in the brain in small amounts ...

I have never heard this before. I do know a bit about the brain reward chemistry in regards to addiction, but never about Cocaine itself....
posted by Eekacat at 4:14 PM on October 3, 2002


I have to say I tend to agree with the sentiment in the original post. I think the medical profession is far to eager to prescribe drugs for poorly understood conditions. My favorite pet peeve, national television add campaigns for medication for Social Anxiety Disorder. As far as I can tell, Social Anxiety Disorder is code for severe shyness. When we have pharmaceutical companies advertising to get people to ask their therapist to drug them for shyness, I think somethingâ??s fishy.
posted by MetalDog at 4:33 PM on October 3, 2002


Some drugs helped a "friend" of mine. Some made him into a slobbering zombie. Some therapists are asses, and some are very inspiring. Reasearch and self-education are always a good thing, as is tolerance- let the well tolerate the ill, and the ill tolerate their inability to understand. Finding an agreeable form of spirituality and personal meaning can help, even if you are not religious at all. In fact, becoming at peace with a lack of spirituality can be empowering too.

The article on Schizophrenia being a non-existent disease really irked me. The author argues that the term is too broad, but I think doctors agree that the terms is a label applied to one or more related diseases. Too overlook this is like saying that cancer doesn't exist, because you get it in the blood, or the bones, or the lymph system... I don't know... It seems short sighted to discount an illness because there are not currently existing measurable physical manifestations (although there have been some studies showing that there is a relationship to abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex and dopamine levels in the corpus striatum). Aw, crap. Surgeons used to do surgery without disinfectants- before they were even invented. People balked at the germ theory of disease until it could be proven.
posted by internook at 4:38 PM on October 3, 2002


These kinds of discussions are always filled with people who believe that depression is always caused by a persons behavior. This is NOT the case. Sure, sometimes it is and can be cured by behavioral changes. But other times when it is a chemical imbalance in the brain medication is needed. Granted sometimes doctors don't take the time to distinguish between the two, but GOOD doctors do.

Also, some medications do make people into zombies. Problem is there is no easy way to determine what medication will have that affect and what one wont. So, the doctor is forced to have the patient try medication A... try B... wash, rinse, repeat until the patient finds something that works for them. This process can take months (or longer).
posted by f00b4r at 4:44 PM on October 3, 2002


The medical profession is far too eager to prescribe drugs for just about everything. I agree that many drugs prescribed for psychiatric disorders are overused. I would also say the same about antibiotics. I take medication for panic attacks. Panic attacks sound pretty simple, but not if you've had one, they're hell on earth. Social Anxiety Disorder can mean many things and is not just "being shy".

There is so much stigma on getting help with mental difficulties/illnesses (whatever phrase lessens the stigma) that many people keep it hidden and become suicidal. Since I've learned to be open about my panic attacks with friends and family they've gotten much better and my relationships have deepened by me being open, it's all good. That, the medication and 10+ years of cognitive therapy help, no question.

Exercise, a healthy attitude and eating right play no small part in good mental health, but these things can't do it all for everyone. It's also not a matter of being tough enough either. I consider myself a pretty tough/strong person, but I also recognized that trying to do things myself when it became unbearable wasn't smart and that the strong thing to do was to get help. I won't be on medication forever, but for right now it is okay. I was lucky the first medication I tried pulled me out of the pit, for most people it's a lot of trial and error. Unless you've walked this road or stood by a loved one while they did it, you'll never know how damn hard it is. Damn hard.
posted by Woolcott'sKindredGal at 4:55 PM on October 3, 2002


But there's a lot of need for watchdogging the mental health system, and all of us should have deep misgivings about "curing" every disorder and homogenizing our mental and emotional responses to life.

damhex, right on. Whew. I'm as uncomfortable with the idea that modern psychiatry has all the answers as I am with the idea I've heard in church that if we were all just good people with more faith, we'd never need mental health professionals. And the free market can solve all problems. And that Tahitian Noni juice will cure all my health woes.

That said ... over the last couple of years I've been really interested in the work of The Arbinger Foundation. Started by a philosophy professor, really interesting view of human relations. Self-deception is seen as the root of most routine problems human beings get into. There is a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility and integrity (but given against the backdrop of being part of a community of relationships, so this isn't just Ayn Rand), so this isn't for the mentally ill or people whose ability to cope with life has totally broken down, but the philosophy has worked for coping with some difficult situations, and there are a number of situations in which I haven't applied it which I now regret. Interesting stuff.

The Arbinger Foundation presents it from an organizational standpoint right now, I think to market it. It's also been presented from a religious standpoint and a psychological standpoint, seems to play well. I hope it doesn't get trivialized or otherwise follow the path that Covey-like stuff has often done.
posted by namespan at 4:56 PM on October 3, 2002


There's no such thing, first of all, of a true diagnosis in either mental disorders or many medical diseases. That's a myth propegated by professions who are too insecure to admit what they know and don't know. Mental disorders are diagnosed by the simplest of methods -- self-report symptoms. You say you're depressed and I go down the checklist, you meet the diagnosis for major depression.

It's not rocket science, although differential diagnosis can be a bit more tricky, and understanding what the actual diagnosis means in terms of the person's life and their treatment are a whole different ball of wax.

There is NO SUCH THING as a "chemical imbalance" in the brain. This is another half-truth propegated by the pharmcos. The chemical imbalance in the brain explanation is just another theory, which competes with the dozens of other theoretical explanations for mental disorders. A chemical imbalance also presupposes that the brain is ever in a static state of "balance," yet nobody has ever documented such a state (even in the PET studies). Why not? Because such a state is just another theoretical component.

The world of mental disorders, mental health, and mental treatment is more complex than most people imagine. Most of the stigma and misinformation about mental illness comes from intellectual laziness of people who buy into marketing propaganda or a 1960s-era understanding of psychotherapy and the advanced treatments most therapists now have at their disposal.

For most people who grapple with mental disorders, there is no single, simple answer. Usually a combined approach of medications and psychotherapy work best in most people, for most mental disorders. And that's about all that can be said...

As for this particular link and site, it's a biased, one-sided view of the debate. It presents, in an expected, unchallenging manner the usual arguments "against," which nicely leaves out all the evidence that supports the other side. Arguments like this are always for a greater agenda which has little to do with the stated purpose, and in this case, it looks like we're supposed to help support the lawyer who takes cases for people who feel they've been wrong by the system.

Shameless self-promotional link if you want to learn more about mental disorders from a source that tries hard to be balanced. (For instance, I do agree that ECT is an evil that isn't appropriate treatment for 99.99% of folks...)
posted by docjohn at 5:04 PM on October 3, 2002


stvc15: scody, we already have a DSM - IV. It's mainly used as a billing tool that classifies mental disorders so that analysts can submit correct insurance claims.

konolia: And nobody can really get a true diagnosis based solely on the DSM.

Yep, meant to say DSM-IV; was typing too fast for me own good. I mainly meant my comment as a challenge to shamelesselitist's vague statement, "I would like to see the way psychiatry is administered in this country change immediately." Change how?

And I agree with both you and konolia that it's very much an imperfect tool -- diagnostically, as well as the way in which it's used for insurance purposes. I've known therapists who have felt compelled to "fudge" diagnoses solely in order to keep the insurance company paying for necessary treatment -- a practice that is apparently not confined to therapists and psychiatrists, either. Last month I read about a study (sorry, my google-fu is off right now, or I'd track it down; any takers?) that showed a surprising number of primary care physicians in the U.S. have, at one time or another, felt it necessary to overstate a patient's condition (whether a hernia, breast lump, infection, etc.), solely to get necessary medical care approved for by an insurance company.

On preview: what docjohn said.
posted by scody at 5:09 PM on October 3, 2002


As a therapist, I find it interesting thatthose most in need of help should resist by proclaiming that they are against therapy! Such resistence is a sure sign of their embedded and very deep problems.
posted by Postroad at 5:52 PM on October 3, 2002


Upon first glance, I, too, figured this for a Scientology site. I was a little surprised to discover that it was not. Honestly, saying that one is antipsychology is, IMO, akin to saying that one is antiscience or antimedicine. I have a hard time keeping an open mind about this, as I didn't realize one could be antipsychology, psychology being a very useful thing. I did find this link to be very interesting though, as the beliefs in it are entirely alien to my tiny world view.
And when I wrote "good" in the FPP it was in reference to how well the report summarized their views, not to the views themselves, in case that wasn't clear.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:21 PM on October 3, 2002


transona5: You don't mean a 15th-century pundit, you mean a 12th-century pundit:
"You know, medicine is not an exact science, but we are learning all the time. Why, just fifty years ago, they thought a disease like your daughter's was caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors, perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach."
posted by languagehat at 6:40 PM on October 3, 2002


Well Scody i am glad you asked.

I would like their to be an acknowledgement that personality determines a person's mood. Mood disorders and diseases can be controlled and cured at will with the right attitude adjustments and I want people to recognize this FACT.

If I was a bit unclear it is because I am a little emotional about this issue, because diagnosis itself, or rather "clinicisation" of mood disorders is the WRONG approach. THe spiritual approach is far superior to the disease-affirming methods of clinical pschologists.

You know what they say, " Its all in your head, silly".
posted by shamelesselitist at 7:20 PM on October 3, 2002


In spite of similarities, we are all different. There are no generic solutions to anything until we all become the same. There is great progression in this regard, but as of yet.....we are all still different.
posted by semmi at 7:59 PM on October 3, 2002


Ah, the Arbinger folks say, "Simply put, self-deception is the problem of not knowing I have a problem." That's pretty simple, you either know you have a problem, or you don't know that you have a problem, in which case you have 2 problems: your inherent problem, and self deception for not knowing that you have a problem. You've gotten problems no matter what. Luckily the Arbinger folks can fix you up. Unless, they have problems themselves that they don't know about and deceiving themselves that they can help you....but no, it is you they are deceiving, because they want your money, and as long they can get it they have no problems.
posted by semmi at 8:21 PM on October 3, 2002


shamelesselitist: I don't offend easily, but I'm offended now. For twenty years, my sister tried every approach from medical to spiritual to handle her illness, and your comments imply that she just didn't try hard enough.

Let me be very clear: mental illness is illness, and that's a fact.
posted by swerve at 9:07 PM on October 3, 2002


semmi has given me a headache. And I think that now I may have a problem. But if I think I have a problem, and I'm engaged in self-deception, then I'm fine, right?

And just to add constructively here: I think some mental disorders are medication needing (badly firing neuoreceptors or something..) and others probably don't and some people manage to get them though they shouldn't. And I think that's just terrible.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:08 PM on October 3, 2002


Postroad I hope your kidding because that is frightning.
posted by stbalbach at 9:20 PM on October 3, 2002


"...manage to get them" refers to psychiatric and mood altering medications. I have a condition that causes me to make meaningless sentences.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:23 PM on October 3, 2002


Their are mental illnesses and mood disorders. I think they are two different things, like there is a difference between psychosis and neurosis. Psychosis is often uncontrollable, neuroses can often be reversed with an attitude adjustment. To me, depression is a mood disorder. (Of course I am not a trained psychiatrist, but I did enough reading to know that the approach people take now cant work for very long. You cant stay on lithium, vicoden, and prozac forever.)

To Swerve:

I was in the same situation, except it was my mother. I have little sympathy for you or your sister. I dont know her so I dont think I can come up with a precise opinion on what she should do.

But I will say this, whether you have the humility to accept it or not: There is something about her personality, the assumptions she holds, the way she approaches life, that is keeping her from knowing she is blessed and that there is no reason to be so despondent.
posted by shamelesselitist at 10:32 PM on October 3, 2002


shamelesselitist: my sister died in June after twenty years of illness. The something of which you speak was a savage mental illness caused by faulty neurological wiring. The illness caused her to hear voices which weren't there, suffer post-traumatic shock from violent attacks which didn't happen, and starve herself until her body scavenged her organs in desperation.

There's more; I'll skip it. Her illness wasn't about feeling despondent. Her illness was about never knowing reality from delusion and confronting it every day.

That said, clinical depression is also a painful mental illness which can be eased by medication. It's not just feeling blue. I can't understand your judgmental attitude.

And I can't understand a person who can look coldly at tremendous suffering and say, "I have little sympathy."
posted by swerve at 10:57 PM on October 3, 2002


Joey Michaels: And when I wrote "good" in the FPP it was in reference to how well the report summarized their views, not to the views themselves, in case that wasn't clear.

Gotcha. Thanks.

shamelesselitist: To Swerve: I was in the same situation, except it was my mother. I have little sympathy for you or your sister. I dont know her so I dont think I can come up with a precise opinion on what she should do. But I will say this, whether you have the humility to accept it or not: There is something about her personality, the assumptions she holds, the way she approaches life, that is keeping her from knowing she is blessed and that there is no reason to be so despondent.

How very, very "blessed" you must feel to know so much about how other people should live their lives, and yet to be so free of compassion for them in the same breath.
posted by scody at 11:47 PM on October 3, 2002


Their are mental illnesses and mood disorders. I think they are two different things, like there is a difference between psychosis and neurosis. Psychosis is often uncontrollable, neuroses can often be reversed with an attitude adjustment.

Shamelesselitist: You need to do a bit more learning about this stuff. As wishy-washy and pseudoscientific as psychology can be at its worst, there is nonetheless a large body of good research that contradicts your claims.

To me, depression is a mood disorder.

It's a mood disorder to anyone with some training in this area as well.

(Of course I am not a trained psychiatrist, but I did enough reading to know that the approach people take now cant work for very long. You cant stay on lithium, vicoden, and prozac forever.)

I'm not a trained psychiatrist either (hopefully that's the only kind of psychiatrist there is!), but I do have an M.S. in counseling, and I can tell you that any mental health professional with an ounce of brains would agree that tossing some pills at a depressed person and sending them on their way would be an awful thing to do (sadly, a number do lack that full ounce of brains).

But please keep the baby when discarding the bath water: Drug therapy is enormously helpful to some people, and especially so when combined with some well-researched forms of therapy. I have a good friend who just went on an SSRI drug to combat crippling anxiety attacks and OCD, and thanks to this drug she's actually able to function without being constantly and utterly miserable. It's giving her the space she needs to work on this stuff in therapy, which is also helping a lot. The idea is that when she goes off the drug, she'll have the coping skills she needs in place. This seems like a responsible way to use medication to me.

You're reacting in an understandable way to some truly sickening trends: The drive to use drugs exclusively to treat these problems, the re-labeling of normal variations in personality and behavior as pathological in order to create larger drug markets, the drugging of children in massive numbers motivated by unwillingness to parent and contempt for behavioral features of normal child development...complete bullshit, the lot of it. But I think you're reacting to these concerns by swinging your pendulum too far in the other direction.

On preview, seeing your quote (which I missed earlier) in Scody's post: Wow, man, that's some really antisocial, self-righteous shit you dropped on Swerve. Does that make you feel superior? Or safe? Gah, I can't believe I just took the time to write this post. Thought I was discussing this with a reasonable person. Serves me right for not reading more carefully.
posted by boredomjockey at 12:16 AM on October 4, 2002


Ah. Not that I'm particularly enamored with psychiatry, but alas, the primary link, e.g. the response to Uncle W is a rant with a regrettable lack of data to back it up. My overwhelming impression is that it was written by someone who feels dreadfully misused by the system, which is admittedly flawed.

Still: to arbitrarily take the stance that there is really no such thing as mental illness (or whichever semantic phrase for it you like) is ludicrous to those of us who see folks in acute crisis in emergency departments on a daily basis.

Would I argue that there aren't incompetent practitioners of psychiatry? No. But neither would I try to sell you the thesis that there aren't incompetent emergency physicians, plumbers or accountants.

I have no doubt that it is worthwhile to have a conversation about the rigors of psychiatry & psychology and treatment of "mental illness." To use the referenced link as any kind of authority, however, is pure silliness.

Alas, to use many of the arbitrary opinions and casual anecdotes in the commentary on this post as basis for opinion is probably similarly misguided.
posted by xparxy at 12:51 AM on October 4, 2002


Well scody, I gave a disclaimer about telling you how she should live her life, and I will say it again: I dont know your sister. Its too bad she died because of her illness. I wonder, though, did the drugs work for her? I dont think so. How do you think I must feel? My own mother escaped imminent death by depression by changing herself. She popped pills for a decade and she still couldnt stay well enough long enough to keep a job. Then in the space of a year everything turned around for her.

You can call me cold if you like but I been through some shit just like you have and I know it hurts to have watched a loved one self destruct. Nonetheless, you, like most people, refuse to accept horrible things about people they love.

My mother was worse off after being diagnosed than she was befre-hand. The last thing a pitiful person needs is a legitimizing brand on his or her self hatred by a doctor who thinks they are helping but are just worsening a very bad situation.
I have absolutely no delusions about pills or clinical psychology as it exists. End of story.
posted by shamelesselitist at 1:55 AM on October 4, 2002


My father and I have been arguing this for years. Here is the gist of it, which may be helpful:

1) There is absolutely NO scientific evidence to support a single claim of Freud's. Crews

2) My father has been working with children with serious behavioral problems for more than twenty years. He maintains that the right dose of the right medication can stabilize a child enough for behavioral and cognitive techniques to take hold, long enough for a child to develop social skills and learn to how read. Despite my anti-medication stance, I am swayed by the volume of his evidence, nevertheless - medication alone is not an answer, and only useful in order to create an atmosphere for cognitive and/or behavioral adjustment.

3) Toxic Psychiatry. He should know, he is one: Peter Breggin

4) Throughout the history of medicine (let alone the AMA) medical science has hurt at least as many people as it has helped. We should admit we aren't miracle workers yet, and that we don't know the answers. If we don't understand frickin' cancer and viruses, then we sure as hell don't understand brain chemistry and behavior, which exist co-dependently.
posted by ewkpates at 4:16 AM on October 4, 2002


Of course medication isn't the only answer, and not even the best answer.

Every drug has effects and side effects (and, if you like, long term side effects). What you're doing when you take a drug is deciding that the sum positive effects outweigh the sum negative effects. So, it's worth it for someone with severe depression to take a drug that dulls the depression, even if it also dull everything else, because what was wrong before the medication is worse than what is wrong after the medication. But there is never a drug that just "fixes" people.

Anti-depressants won't help much without behavioral changes any more than insulin will "cure" diabetes without dietary changes. It's a tool, but it's only a tool, and not always the best one for the job.

I find the alternative medicine and anti-medicine groups to be every bit as self-serving and deluded when they call all modern medicine fraud and I find the traditional medical establishment when it calls all alternative medicine fraud.

It's not "what my theory says should work" -- it's "what works".
posted by Karmakaze at 6:19 AM on October 4, 2002


Well scody, I gave a disclaimer about telling you how she should live her life, and I will say it again: I dont know your sister. Its too bad she died because of her illness.

My sister is alive and well, thank you (not that you would actually give a damn if she weren't). It's swerve's sister who died, and it's a far sight worse than your callous, dismissive "too bad." Your inability to follow the basic thread of conversation, combined with a shocking coldness masquerading as "tough love", render any further conversation with you pointless.
posted by scody at 10:36 AM on October 4, 2002


You're reacting in an understandable way to some truly sickening trends: The drive to use drugs exclusively to treat these problems, the re-labeling of normal variations in personality and behavior as pathological in order to create larger drug markets, the drugging of children in massive numbers motivated by unwillingness to parent and contempt for behavioral features of normal child development...complete bullshit, the lot of it. But I think you're reacting to these concerns by swinging your pendulum too far in the other direction.

We are reacting too strongly to the litany of outrages you just listed? The drugging of children in massive numbers is not sufficient reason to hate shrinks? Fuck you, asshole; I was one of those children. When was the last time you were in five-point leather restraints because you told your parents they were abusive scum? When was the last time you had some cocksucker wave a needle full of thorazine in your face because you were crying when you were supposed to be asleep?

There are people with mental illnesses. They constitute less than one percent of those I've seen in the clutches of the psychopharmaceutical establishment. I was locked up with kids who were there because their parents didn't like that they were gay. It only takes two shrinks in most states to get someone involuntarily committed, and let me tell you, if you've got the money shrinks come cheap.

The only good shrink is a dead shrink.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:57 AM on October 4, 2002


Nonetheless, you, like most people, refuse to accept horrible things about people they love. The last thing a pitiful person needs is a legitimizing brand on his or her self hatred by a doctor who thinks they are helping but are just worsening a very bad situation. I have absolutely no delusions about pills or clinical psychology as it exists. End of story.

Depressed = Pitiful?? Let's just call you Mr. Compassionate from now on, m'kay?

I've been living with depression most of my life. Not "gee, I feeling kind of blue" but a paralysing, gut churning, smothering wet grey blanket of total despair and fear. Occasionally it blossoms into an obsessive, "can't eat, sleep, can't sit down, must pace" manic state where all I can think about is suicide.

Sure, I carry emotional baggage that drags me down and if I let it go, my depression wouldn't be as severe. I know this. But the only time I can actively work on this is when I'm on medication.

Medication saved my life. I been able to finish college and hold down a decent job thanks to the clarity, calm and rationality that I am able to maintain when on medication.

Please, don't talk to me about "exercise, good diet and positive thinking" as a cure for what ails me. I can eat well, exercise and think postively when I'm on medication. Off medication, I can't eat, I'm afraid to leave the house and I'm tortured by nightmarish thoughts of death.

Fuck you, asshole; I was one of those children. When was the last time you were in five-point leather restraints because you told your parents they were abusive scum? When was the last time you had some cocksucker wave a needle full of thorazine in your face because you were crying when you were supposed to be asleep?


Ishmael, your parents are assholes and should burn in hell. I had a friend who did case assessment for a Mental Health HMO. He told me horrifying stories of kids hospitalized simply for being typical teenagers, drugged, restrained, the whole bit.

I've worked in mental health facilities and met many decent people committed to helping people (I like to think I was one of them). I've also met a lot of incompetent assholes who are in it for the power and control. Like police work, this is pretty much the breakdown in personality types drawn to the field. Sad but true
posted by echolalia67 at 1:25 PM on October 4, 2002


We are reacting too strongly to the litany of outrages you just listed?

IshmaelGraves: Who is "we"? I was talking to shamelesselitist. I think he was throwing the baby out with the bath water. I haven't addressed you in this thread.

The drugging of children in massive numbers is not sufficient reason to hate shrinks? Fuck you, asshole; I was one of those children.

Ok, fuck me, but no, I don't think that's a sufficient reason to hate all shrinks. I think it's sufficient reason to hate the shrinks that do that sort of thing, and the systems that allow them to get away with it, but there are other shrinks that care about helping people out and do their best to provide good care and who aren't in the business of terrorizing hospitalized adolescents.

There are people with mental illnesses. They constitute less than one percent of those I've seen in the clutches of the psychopharmaceutical establishment. I was locked up with kids who were there because their parents didn't like that they were gay. It only takes two shrinks in most states to get someone involuntarily committed, and let me tell you, if you've got the money shrinks come cheap.

I agree, this is disgusting. I've seen it first hand. And it's sad that so few people in the field care to do anything about it, or that many of those who do care are powerless to affect any change due to the economics and other power structures that help keep these practices in place. Adolescents get especially screwed -- I was just ranting about this a couple of days ago.

Now what does this have to do with the people who are treating that friend that I mentioned? Her life is much better now than it was before she sought help. Her counselor was even reluctant to send her for a meds consultation and only agreed after my friend revealed how bad her symptoms were (she was shy about revealing the extent at first). Is it reasonable to lump the people treating her in with the people who abused you?

The only good shrink is a dead shrink.

When you dismiss everyone in the field out-of-hand, your criticism loses power, because people who have had good experiences with shrinks will smell bullshit. You can see this happening right here in this thread. And it's sad to see that happen, because your criticism is an important one.
posted by boredomjockey at 12:28 AM on October 5, 2002


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