According to a survey conducted by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association, there were 319,918 seriously “”mentally ill” people in prison, making up 16% of the total prison population in 2004. Meanwhile, 100,439 people were locked away in public and private psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric units in general hospitals that same year.1 The fact that more than three times as many people with mental troubles are in prison as opposed to treatment is a testament to the state of the US “justice” system and US health care system. As stated, many psychiatric wards and mental hospitals are just as bad as prison, and sometimes worse as they are still fairly medieval in their approaches and “therapies”. For example, prefrontal cortex lobotomies are still performed in mental facilities across the globe. These involve severing connections or removing parts of the brain to produce a behavioral response the doctor desires. There is also widespread corruption in mental institutions mainly due to the monetary incentive created by pharmaceutical companies and for-profit mental health facilities to keep patients committed as long as possible. Patients have to pay thousands of dollars in many cases to stay against their will and be prescribed the latest pharmaceutical “cure-all.” At least prison is free and it doesn’t require medication.
Any person accused of psychosis (even without committing a crime) can be detained by police for questioning and committed to a psychiatric ward on an emergency involuntary commitment application (also called a section 5150 in the “California Welfare and Institutions Code”) with a doctor’s permission. As stated psychosis can be a natural process, induced by sensory deprivation and the menstrual cycle. Technically, every woman could be locked up just for having her period., which is nothing short of insane. Police just need “reasonable suspicion” that the person accused is a threat to himself (or herself) or others, but they define what is reasonable. Their judgment along with the doctors’ cannot be questioned (with any results) until a trial can be convened after the accused have been hospitalized for ten days. Some of those committed never get to trial. They die waiting for a trial in a cell or in a hospital.
Police can detain “suspicious” individuals or anyone accused of being psychotic, a terrorist, or a threat without rights, especially in very populated places, like train stations, stadiums, and airports, and the police alone have the legal power to hold the accused for 48 to 72 hours depending on state law. Those who are formally arrested have Miranda rights, which give them the right to remain silent and not answer questions during a police interrogation, as well as the right to counsel, even if they do not have the money to afford it, in which case individuals are appointed public defenders. These rights are guaranteed by fifth and sixth amendments, which protect Americans from self-incrimination and guarantee the right to counsel. Ignoring a person’s Miranda rights as a police officer is unconstitutional. However, individuals taken in for psychiatric evaluation do not have these rights, even though they are stripped of their freedoms, just as those held in county jail and prison. Individuals brought in by police for a psychological evaluation do not have the right to remain silent or free counsel and if they do remain silent, doctors can use this against them in court by claiming this is a symptom of a mental disorder.
Being ‘psychotic’ does not mean violent, even though the word is used that way colloquially. Psychosis is merely an inability to distinguish internal from external stimuli as stated. It is far from a crime, even though it often results in arrest, detainment, interrogation, and hospitalization,. Psychosis is a temporary condition and those who experience it are rarely a danger to themselves or others. The main excuse used to lock people up in psychiatric wards is that they are a “danger.” But anyone can be said to be a danger or a threat. Anyone who can pick up a gun or a sharp object is a potential threat to others and themselves, and it is impossible to predict with complete accuracy what people might do to themselves or others. There are also millions of people around the world trained to be threats to others either for defense, offense, or for entertainment, (such as boxers, martial artists, etc.) so obviously a person cannot be hospitalized merely for being a threat. People are hospitalized most often because cops want to lock them up but don’t have evidence of any crime committed and psychiatric wards want to make a profit.
When a person admitted to a psychiatric ward involuntarily finally gets to court, if the judge agrees with the doctors (and they usually do) they can potentially hold that person indefinitely. Nothing could be more Orwellian, and it can happen to anyone. Michael A. Jones, a man accused of schizophrenia and shoplifting a jacket was hospitalized for twenty years in America. He took his case to the Supreme Court on November 2nd of 1982 and lost. The court claimed it was constitutional to keep someone hospitalized for a period longer than the maximum prison sentence for their crime, which was a landmark decision. They argued that the time necessary for “recovery” is not necessarily correlated to the maximum prison sentence for the crime in question. But in almost all cases, psychiatric hospitalization has nothing to do with recovery. People are just held for profit. The Supreme Court did not make a clear distinction between punishment and therapy, and they did not recognize the necessity of patient consent to facilitate effective therapy.
If the court believes the doctors and police involved made a mistake, the accused is free to go. But even in this case such an experience can be traumatic, as well as financially costly. A one-month stay in a psychiatric ward can cost tens of thousands of dollars. There are also no reparations offered for those wrongly accused (the same applies to prisoners) unless they successfully sue, which costs more money.
When a person is involuntarily committed solely because of what he or she said or wrote, this is a violation of the first amendment as well, because this amendment gives all Americans the right to free speech. If what we write can be used against us, should our thoughts be considered crimes too? The “mental health” industry is a systematic way of instilling uniformity and obedience in the masses and perpetuating corporate-Church-state ideologies. It is a mechanism of control and it maintains the status quo.
There are a few wonderful, well-meaning, and effective therapists who do not just work for the money, but such therapists usually work outside of these mental institutions where they could expose their abuses, and they are hard to find. They generally gravitate towards more progressive practices or work independently often out of necessity as corrupt institutions don’t want them.
5.13 The Rosenhan Experiment
The Rosenhan Experiment conducted in 1973 demonstrated just how easily innocent and healthy individuals can be locked away in mental hospitals without any legitimate cause. In this experiment psychologist, Dr. David Rosenhan, and eight mentally healthy colleagues attempted to gain admission to psychiatric hospitals by arranging appointments and feigning auditory hallucinations. Six of Rosenhan’s eight colleagues were medical professionals. Three were psychologists; one was a psychology graduate; another was a pediatrician, and the sixth was a psychiatrist. None of the individuals had a history of mental health issues.
During their initial evaluation, they pretended to hear voices saying things like “empty” and “hollow.” The doctors who evaluated them were unable to recognize these symptoms were feigned, and they were all admitted. Rosenhan and his colleagues were transferred to a total of twelve different hospitals. After being admitted, they acted normally as planned and reported they did not have any more hallucinations, but despite this seven were diagnosed with schizophrenia and one with manic depressive psychosis. They were forced to take antipsychotics and held against their will for weeks. Some were held for 52 days. They were only released after the doctors at the hospitals believed their schizophrenia was “in remission.”
Rosenhan himself was forced to stay for two months and he later published his account of the experiment entitled “Being Sane in Insane Places“ in Science magazine. In an interview with the BBC after the experiment, Rosenhan explained that the only way he could get out was to placate the psychiatrists by “admitting” he was insane and willing to change:
“I told friends, I told my family, ‘I can get out when I can get out. That’s all. I’ll be there for a couple of days and I’ll get out.’ Nobody knew I’d be there for two months … The only way out was to point out that they’re [the psychiatrists] correct. They had said I was insane, ‘I am insane; but I am getting better.’ That was an affirmation of their view of me.” – Dr.David Rosenhan.
Rosenhan’s experience is still very common. When patients in mental hospitals want to be released because they feel they do not belong there, (regardless of the circumstances) doctors can say this is symptomatic of an “illness.” The only way to show “improvement” in most cases is to agree with the doctors on every issue, stroke their bloated egos, and simulate their definition of “recovery.”
While the hospital staff could not identify Rosenhan and his colleagues as healthy impostors conducting an experiment, many of the patients did. 35 out of the 118 patients in the first three hospitals believed they were faking symptoms, and some of them even realized they were conducting an experiment. Rosenhan discovered that psychiatric diagnoses are made subjectively and that mental patients are often dehumanized due to the stigma attached to mental disorders and the “mentally ill.” Many experiments have since been conducted with similar results, yet there has been very little reformation of mental hospitals and psychiatric wards in recent history.
We cannot forget mental institutions are big businesses like any other. Private psychiatric hospitals make more money the longer their patients stay and they decide when they leave. No other legal business has the ability to hold people against their will, except for private prisons, which are also a scourge I have discussed. Of course, patrons in restaurants cannot be legally chained to the floor and forced to eat. Yet since punitive psychiatry only affects a minority of the population behind closed doors and many people are skeptical about the veracity of first-hand accounts from severely abused former and current mental inmates, these abuses continue.
“Involuntary hospitalization” is an oxymoron. Hospitals are supposed to heal, but when psychiatric hospitals punish patients who are being dragged in kicking and screaming, this is hardly helpful. Not everyone who needs therapy will want it, but therapy always has to be consensual. The likelihood of a positive outcome in patients is far greater if they have the desire to change. No one should ever be forced to take a medication either. The definition of a mental disorder ought to be an affliction that harms others or troubles the person with it. If it doesn’t trouble them or harm others, then it ought not be considered a mental disorder, no matter how strange or what doctors or cops have to say about it.
Patient needs must always come first. Otherwise, what doctors do to them is punishment, not therapy. If patients get abused in hospitals as a punishment, it is highly unlikely they will ever trust doctors enough to make any progress in therapy. Merely grouping all mental patients together is not always constructive because they are often all dealing with different issues. Individuals suffering from similar mental health issues can certainly benefit from talking to one another. However, current hospitals take everyone, including people with all kinds of disorders and histories, and this can just create chaos. Just as inmates in prison can band together to become more violent towards innocent people, patients can reinforce each others negative behaviors.
Those with mental health issues can also benefit from being surrounded by happy people with no significant mental health issues. Home-based therapy can also be very effective. Regardless of where therapy takes place, as long as it is used to pursue meaningful goals agreed upon by the doctors or therapists and their patients, it is much more likely to help patients live happy and productive lives.
5.14 Psychiatric Medications, their Over-prescription, and Holistic Alternatives
Of course, the mental health industry does not just affect patients in psychiatric wards and hospitals. It affects their families and hundreds of millions of people who currently take one or more psychiatric medication or are in therapy. It is nothing short of Orwellian that in most states in the world, people are locked in cages for possessing and consuming certain, natural, illicit drugs like cannabis, psilocybin, and peyote while refusing to consume other prescribed, pharmaceutical drugs can result in the same. Freedom is plainly nonexistent in these states.
In one extreme example in the US on February 17, 2010, a Detroit mother, Maryanne Godboldo, was told her daughter must consume the anti-psychotic, Risperdal (linked to numerous, horrendous side-effects like Parkinson’s, blood disorders, heart problems, increased risk of death, suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and many others). She initially obliged, trusting the “medical” advice she received from her psychiatrist but after seeing the effects of the medication on her daughter first-hand, she consulted another doctor who helped wean her off it.
When social services discovered Maryanne took her daughter off the medication, they enlisted the police to intervene, and on March 24 2011 CPS and a Detroit SWAT team with an MRAP invaded her home, assaulted her, kidnapped her daughter, and locked her away at Hawthorn Center, a state-run juvenile psychiatric facility where she was forced to consume poisonous antipsychotics. They did this despite having a court order with no judge’s signature and no instructions to remove Maryanne’s daughter from her home.2 Days later Maryanne was arrested and charged with eight felonies simply for attempting to protect her daughter from being taken from her. Fortunately, after a protracted legal battle (and losing four times in court), Maryanne and her daughter were reunited but not after significant emotional trauma and financial costs for both. Staggeringly, this scenario can occur to anyone and it does occur much more often than many believe.
In another extreme case with a much sadder ending involving a much younger child, Rebecca Riley of Hull Massachusetts was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD at just 2 and a half years old. She was prescribed 50 milligrams a day of Depakote, 200 milligrams a day of Seroquel, and .35 milligrams a day of Clonidine by psychiatrist Kayoko Kifuji of the Tufts-New England Medical Center. She died at 4 years of age from the drugs and Kayoko did not even lose his license, much less face charges for murder, and immediately after her death, her prescriptions were defended by the Tufts-New England Medical Center. However, Michael and Carolyn Riley, Rebecca’s parents were taken into police custody on February 6, 2007 for Rebecca’s death, charged with first degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison. According to the court, the psychiatric “professional” who went to medical school wasn’t liable for her decision, only Rebecca’s parents were. Dr. Kifuji originally refused to testify, invoking her 5th amendment right to avoid incriminating herself. Unbelievably, the court granted her immunity from prosecution to compel her to testify.3 Another example is Donald Schell of Gillette, Wyoming who after being on Paxil for just two days shot his wife, his daughter, and himself. Schell’s relatives successfully sued the maker of the drug, GlaxoSmithKline, for $6.4 million dollars. But Paxil remains available in the marketplace with a doctor’s prescription.
Prescriptions for psychiatric drugs are handed out like candy in America in part because of the influence large, unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies have on doctors. According to John Abramson, MD, MSFP of the Harvard Medical School, “approximately 70% of physicians’ continuing medical education is now paid for by the drug and other medical industries,” 4 effectively making it drug promotion as opposed to education. Psychiatrists who prescribe the most drugs are also given special treatment by drug representatives, including vacations disguised as “medical conferences.” In 2008 pharmaceutical companies spent $800 million just on calls to doctors to encourage them to prescribe their atypical antipsychotics and SNRI antidepressants and almost $350 million on direct to consumer ads for these drugs.5
Self-described “unbiased” studies on drugs written by large pharmaceutical companies also get actual doctors to put their names on them, despite having nothing to do with the studies. For example, Dr. Martin Keller, Chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Brown University received over $50 million for “research”6 from pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Wyeth-Ayerst, and Eli Lilly and grants from the state ($8.4 million from the National Institute on Mental Health alone7) to conduct “research” on drugs and endorse them, despite the fact that the studies revealed harmful effects of the drugs. For example, “Study 329,” a clinical trial led by Keller conducted from 1994 to 1998 to determine the efficacy of paroxetine in treating youth with depression showed 27 experienced adverse reactions, eight experienced suicidal ideation on the drug, two experienced worsening depression, and seven were hospitalized as a result of the drug. Despite this a PR firm was hired by SmithKline Beecham to ghostwrite an article on the study, which claimed the drug was “generally well tolerated and effective for major depression in adolescents.” Keller and 22 other physicians were named as authors of the study in exchange for cash, despite the fact that they did not write it. In 2004 Keller was sued for his role in the scandal and he settled out of court for $2.5 million. The US Department of Justice later fined SmithKline Beecham $3 billion in 2012 for withholding this data and misleading consumers. However, the article on the study was never retracted, Keller still has his medical license, and he continued to receive money from the NIMH.
Dr. Keller isn’t the only doctor to receive government funding for ghostwriting to increase the profits of large pharmaceutical companies. According to documents obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, the “NIH [which receives $30 billion in taxpayer money annually] gave $66.8 million in grants over the last five years to a handful of researchers who used ghostwriters who have written entire sections of scientific publications. These documents were made public during litigation about Paxil (paroxetine), an anti-depressant sold by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).” In fact, PR and marketing firm Scientific Therapeutics Information (STI) ghostwrote an article for Dennis Charney, an employee of the NIMH, which was published in the Biological Psychiatry in 2003. The article entitled “Mood disorders and medical illness: a major public health problem” states at the end “We acknowledge Sally K. Laden [and employee of STI] for editorial support,” despite the fact that she wrote it entirely.
Even psychiatrists who aren’t receiving money from the big pharmaceutical companies make money every time their patients visit so they have a financial incentive to give them prescriptions with only a few refills, continuing the cycle of dependence. Those who resist are often punished. For example, Steven Plog, former coordinator for the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD) recommended sufferers of ADD receive a laboratory test to determine the causes of their symptoms so that the causes could be targeted. But since CHADD endorses a “drug only” approach, he was fired from the organization.
According to Hugh Drummond MD, in 1987 thirty million scripts in the US were being written every year at a cost of $300 million.8 These numbers have skyrocketed since. $147 billion was spent on mental health treatment in 2009, 28% of which ($41.16 billion) was used to buy psychiatric medications.9 According to the American Psychological Association, “In 2010, Americans spent more than $16 billion on antipsychotics, $11 billion on antidepressants, and $7 billion for drugs to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)”10 In 2011 $18 billion was spent on antipsychotics,11 and today about one in six Americans is prescribed a psychiatric drug. 12
Children and even infants are also prescribed poisonous psychiatric medications. According to data from the National Health Interview Survey from 2011 to 2012 collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, 7.5% of all US children aged 6-17 were prescribed psychotropic medication for behavioral or emotional difficulties in the preceding 6 months.13 The rates were higher for male children. 9.7% of males and 5.2% of females were prescribed psychotropics in the preceding 6 months. Those in families with incomes below the poverty level were also disproportionately prescribed more.
6.4 million children aged 4-17 received an ADHD diagnosis in 2011, and 69% were prescribed medication.14 According to National Survey of Children’s Health data from 2011 to 2012, 237,000 children aged 2 to 5 years in US were diagnosed with ADHD, of whom 43.7% were prescribed medication, the most common being chemically almost identical to crystal methamphetamine15 In the UK, however, only 3% of children are diagnosed with ADHD and only 1% are prescribed medication. An incredibly disturbing nearly 20,000 prescriptions for antipsychotics were written for infants under 2 years old in 2014.16 It is unconscionable that even one doctor would diagnose an infant as psychotic, much less prescribe him or her anti-psychotics. Dr. Ed Tronick, a professor of developmental and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Boston said “There’s this very narrow range of what people think the prototype child should look like. Deviations from that lead them to seek out interventions like these. I think it’s just nuts.” One million children were prescribed antipsychotics in 2009 according to a 2009 Food and Drug Administration advisory committee study. This is not just a US problem, however. In the year 2000, nine times as many children 0-4 years old were prescribed antipsychotics in Germany as they were in the US. 17
Most of the best-selling medications were made just years ago and they have not been thoroughly tested on adults, much less children. For example, Alprazolam (Xanax), the most commonly used antidepressant in 2005, 2009 and 201118 was made in 1969 by Upjohn, (now Pfizer). It is a powerful benzodiazepine that is sometimes used recreationally and can be habit-forming.
Citalopram (Celexa) was the second most commonly used anti-depressant in 2011 with 37.7 million prescriptions written that year. It was made even more recently in 1989 by Lundbeck.. (Their original drug label indicated that a dosage of 60 mg was necessary for some, but it was later discovered that it can cause abnormal heart rhythms at just over 40 mg per day.) Pfizer released Sertraline (Zoloft) in 1991, which was the third commonly used anti-depressant in America in 2011. The fourth most commonly used was Ativan (Lorazepam), another benzodiazepine, which was introduced in 1977 by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. This drug has been marketed under 70 different brand names due to its widespread popularity and use as a recreational drug. In 1998 after Mylan obtained exclusive licensing agreements on certain components of the drug, they made it 26 to 32 times more expensive.19 They were subsequently sued and the company settled for $147 million. Prozac, the fifth most commonly used anti-depressant in 2011 was made in 1977 by Eli Lilly Company. It took a little over a decade for the FDA to approve the drug. These drug companies that make these drugs generate billions in revenue.
According to a 2011 report by the National Center for Health Statistics, eleven percent of Americans twelve years or older were prescribed one or more antidepressants from 2005 to 200820 and US citizens are prescribed more psychiatric medications overall than residents of any other country. The same report noted that since 1988 there has been an overall 400% increase in antidepressant use. Many of these medications are not prescribed to improve mental health but rather to make users act “normally” and adhere to societal constructs, which pharmaceutical companies, doctors, governments, corporate executives, and other authority figures all help define to achieve their own agendas.
All of the anti-depressants mentioned are potential teratogens, which are drugs that can cause congenital disorders or birth abnormalities. Many lawsuits have been filed by mothers who were prescribed Prozac and other SSRIs while pregnant and who had children with birth defects as a result. Most have been settled out of court or dismissed completely.
Citalopram, Sertraline, and Prozac are all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, (SSRIs). They inhibit the reuptake of serotonin in the brain’s synapses by blocking select serotonin receptors. (However, some are more “selective” than others.) These drugs are prescribed for depression because the serotonin hypothesis of depression speculates that low serotonin causes depression. However, several studies have found that large increases in serotonin do not generally relieve depression and medically induced serotonin depletion does not always cause depression either.21 SSRIs like those mentioned can lead increases in suicidal ideation and suicide, especially among individuals 15 to 25-years-old, but this age group is still often prescribed them. SSRIs can also cause serotonin toxicity (from overdose), death, and sexual dysfunction like reduced libido, anorgasmia, and even genital anesthesia. They can also cause serotonin discontinuation syndrome when they are discontinued abruptly.
The number of potential adverse effects of many psychiatric medications is larger than the number of their potential benefits, and even advertisements for these drugs today acknowledge that (albeit in fine print or in very rapid warnings) for liability reasons . However, some doctors try to convince their patients these drugs are harmless because this is what they are told by large, unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies. Despite their negative effects, SSRIs and benzodiazepines are seen as the “standard treatment” for depression and anxiety in America and other rich countries. However, there are many natural remedies for depression, one of the most important being nature. City dwellers are so disconnected from nature and what actually keeps us alive that mental issues are made inevitable. Hiking through the forest or woods, nature retreats, and moving to a more rural or natural place can help enormously with mental health, as can work involving nature like organic permaculture, agroforestry, and the conservation of natural habitats and endangered species. There are many other natural remedies as well like Saint John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Rhodiola rosea, chamomile, Ashwagandha, green tea, cannabis (in moderation), many other plants and herbs, exercise (especially aerobic exercise,) yoga, travel, setting goals, support groups, improving lifestyles, and more. Some of these have been used for thousands of years unlike new psychiatric drugs, and these alternatives can be much more effective than psychiatric drugs. But these drug companies advertise their drugs as the sole answers. The most profitable antidepressants and drug companies are currently those that are most marketed and their actual efficacy has little effect on profits, unless they get sued. They rule the marketplace purely because they have the money to dominate the airwaves with their propaganda.
Some self-described “patient advocacy groups,” claiming to be unbiased are also responsible for the ubiquity of these drugs and are thus complicit in the drug industry’s crimes as they are given millions from large pharmaceutical companies to endorse them. One example is Mental Health America, which describes itself as the “nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness,“ yet it has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Walgreens, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson Company, Pfizer, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Eli Lilly, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Merck22. Another example is the National Alliance on Mental Health, the so-called “nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness,” which has received millions from Eli Lilly, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, TEVA, Mylan, Bristol Myers Squibb, Takeda, Johnson & Johnson, Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc, GlaxoSmithKline, and PhRMA, a trade group that represents large US pharmaceutical companies..23
Some individuals taking psychiatric medications have reported improvements in their conditions, but there needs to much more testing done on the long-term effects of drugs like these before they are allowed to be prescribed. Short-term efficacy of antidepressants is often tested, but long-term efficacy needs to be researched in-depth as well. It also important to recognize that one drug is never the sole answer. If medication were free worldwide, we would see far more effective, less habit-forming medications being used and prescribed.
Over-medication is also prevalent in mental hospitals throughout the world. Some psychiatrists do this to keep the neurochemical activity of patients as consistent as possible to avoid erratic behavior, but they often create emotionless, zombie-like conduct in the process. Such negligent overmedication can also cause legitimate mental disorders, brain damage, disease, and death. This can and does happen regularly to perfectly healthy, innocent people who are accused of being mentally “ill.”
As for therapists (distinct from psychiatrists who do not offer counseling but merely prescribe drugs), a select few who work in private practice can be very effective and compassionate, but unfortunately many more are driven by money and not by empathy or patient needs. There is a clear conflict of interest when keeping clients generally means keeping their lives in disarray and reliant on their therapist. Healthy, happy people who don’t need therapy, of course, don’t generate revenue for therapists, so there is no monetary incentive to help patients if that is all a therapist cares about. Friends, family, and trusted colleagues who are willing to lend an ear to hear about your problems and concerns and offer advice or at least support because they care about you are often a better, cost free alternative to therapists. But people should be able to make their own decisions about whether or not they should seek professional therapy or medication. The first rule of medicine is “primum non nocere” or in English “First, do no harm” (an alternative phrasing of the maxim is included in the Hippocratic Oath) and that cannot be the case if medication or “treatment” are forced and against the patient’s will. Bodily autonomy is absolutely vital. Unless an unstable person is directly threatening or causing harm to another, these decisions are our own to make individually.
One of the biggest problems in the mental health industry and the health care system more broadly is that psychiatrists and psychologists tend to treat symptoms as opposed to the etiologies of these symptoms. Many mental disorders are perfectly normal reactions to our civilizations that are profoundly sick. Depression and anxiety are normal responses to a world filled with danger, oppression, misery, poverty, corruption, greed, environmental destruction, rape, war, and ill health. Most therapists don’t take this into account. Instead of encouraging their patients to address these ills of society, they seek to address their patients response to them as if this is the fundamental issue because they make more money this way. But we shouldn’t be changing ourselves to tolerate nasty realities. We ought to be working to change these realities and helping ourselves with natural remedies as mentioned. As philosopher and writer, Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
(The featured image for this article shows a patient at Indonesia’s Yayasan Galuh rehabilitation centre for the “mentally ill” where abuses, such as electrocution and prolonged shackling are rife.)
1 E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. et al: More Mentally Ill Persons Are in Jails and Prisons Than Hospitals: A Survey of the States, Treatment Advocacy Center, May 2010. http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/final_jails_v_hospitals_study.pdf
2 Matt Agorist: Mom Faces Down SWAT Team & MRAP for Refusing to Give Daughter Deadly Antipsychotic Drug. The Free Thought Project. May 16, 2016 http://thefreethoughtproject.com/mom-faces-swat-team-mrap-refusing-give-daughter-deadly-antipsychotic-drug/
3Patricia Wen: Jurors outraged by psychiatrist’s conduct. The Boston Globe. February 11, 2010. http://archive.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/02/11/jurors_outraged_by_psychiatrists_conduct/
4 John Abramson, MD, MSFP: The Effect of Conflict of Interest on Biomedical Research and Clinical Practice Guidelines: Can We Trust the Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine? Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, September 1, 2005 vol. 18 no. 5. http://www.jabfm.org/content/18/5/414.long#xref-ref-33-1
5 Sheila Campbell: Promotional Spending for Prescription Drugs. Page 6, figure 3. Congressional Budget Office. DECEMBER 2, 2009. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10522/12-02-drugpromo_brief.pdf
6 Peter C. Gøtzsche: Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial. 2015. People’s Press.
7NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR RIGHTS PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY. January 12, 1999. http://old.narpa.org/drug_companies_enrich_researcher.htm
9 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Projections of National Expenditures for Treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders, 2010-2020. (Page 24) 2014. https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4883/SMA14-4883.pdf
10 Brendan L. Smith: Inappropriate prescribing. APA. June 2012, Vol 43, No. 6 Print version: page 36. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/prescribing.aspx
12 Sara G. Miller: 1 in 6 Americans Takes a Psychiatric Drug. Live Science. December 12, 2016. https://www.livescience.com/57170-americans-psychiatrics-drug-use.html
13 LaJeana D. Howie, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., et al: Use of Medication Prescribed for Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties Among Children Aged 6–17 Years in the United States, 2011–2012. CDC. NCHS Data Brief No. 148, April 2014. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db148.htm
14 Susanna N.Visser MS, et al: Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosed and Medicated Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: United States, 2003–2011, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Volume 53, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 34-46.e21.www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856713005947
15 Danielson, Melissa L. MSPH: A National Profile of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment Among US Children Aged 2 to 5 Years. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: September 2017 – Volume 38 – Issue 7 – p 455–464 journals.lww.com/jrnldbp/Citation/2017/09000/A_National_Profile_of_Attention_Deficit.1.aspx
16 ALAN SCHWARZ: Psychotropic drugs for very young on rise. New York Times, December 11, 2015. https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2015/12/10/psychiatric-drugs-are-being-prescribed-infants/JwDmek8oyasg1kqBVbEPiL/story.html
17 Julie M Zito et. al: A three-country comparison of psychotropic medication prevalence in youth. Child Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health journal. September 25, 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2569908/#B24
18Grohl, John M., Psy. D: Top 25 Psychiatric Medication Prescriptions in 2011. 2012.Online. http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/top-25-psychiatric-medication-prescriptions-for-2011/>
19 Labaton, Stephen: “Generic-Drug Maker Agrees to Settlement in Price Fixing Case.” New York Times, July 13 2000. Print.
20 Laura A. Pratt, Ph.D., et al: Antidepressant Use in Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2005-2008. NCHS Data Brief No. 76, October 2011. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db76.htm
21 Jeffrey R Lacasse, Jonathan Leo: Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature. Public Library of Science Journal. November 8, 2005 http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020392>