Brief definition

I have been receiving some email feedback for my latest anti-psychiatric post and instead of posting this entry on Friday, as I had planned, I’m doing it today. At the beginning of the century, in another language I wrote the below conclusion of an online book:

The thought of [Alexis de] Tocqueville and [John Stuart] Mill provides the conceptual platform for understanding [Kingsley] Davis’s articles and [Michel] Foucault’s study; and it moves me to try a definition of the mental health movement that, in addition to what has been said in previous chapters [not translated for this site], takes into account their observations.

From the point of view of science, and specifically on the basis of the litmus test that distinguishes between science and pseudoscience, psychiatry, a supposed medical specialty, is not a science. The central concept in psychiatry, the entity called mental illness is not defined in biomedical terms but in political terms; and the so-called biological psychiatry has not presented its theories in a testable or falsifiable way: an unmistakable sign of pseudoscience.

From the point of view of politics and law, psychiatry is an organ of society that, from the family, regulates human behaviour. It is a paralegal institution of penalties in democracies. With drug-based technologies it controls deviant individuals: especially those who are either genuinely disturbed or have been abused by their parents. People stigmatised by psychiatry have not broken the law. Through this medical specialty, the System conceals the fact that some parents destroy the mental health of their children. In the case of the sane population, which is considerable—think of the millions of children and adolescents drugged at the initiative of their parents and the school—, the individual initiative is eliminated.

The ultimate truth about this matter is that the System has created an entire profession with the express purpose to blind the whole society to the truth discovered by dissenting psychiatrists: that some parents drive their children mad.

Published in: on March 25, 2019 at 11:36 am  Comments (5)  

Advice to victims of psych abuse

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of the books that I wrote at the beginning of the century:
 
After the parody of the previous pages I recover my original voice.

If you are a victim of abusive parents, the ideal is that you run away before they harm you.

If you stay in your parents’ home and they want to take you to the therapist, you blunder by believing he’ll be your ally. If you need someone to talk to, do it with a friend of your entire confidence. Don’t go with someone who makes his living from what abusive parents pay him, not even to one session. Remember that society gives the therapist powers to slander you with a psych label.

In case you have already gone with a therapist never, ever take any ‘medicine’ he gives you. These legal drugs are more toxic than the illegal ones that are being sold on the street. Having a real confident outside the mental health profession is the best option.

Alas, sometimes there is no one to trust or who is willing to listen. The family is such a monolithic institution that there are many taboos to question it, and the psychiatric profession has deceived many people.

In some cities there are places for people in distress where you can get some shelter. When I lived in England, part of the college course on mental health consisted of visiting Drop-in centres. I realised that only a few of those who took shelter there were genuinely disturbed; the majority were unemployed people in Manchester. It was refreshing to see that in those centres there were no psychiatrists or other professionals, not even social workers. No one who sided society or the family directed these centres. They even offered me to work if I volunteered. It’s not a bad idea that you go to one of these shelters for people in distress.

If the city where you live lacks a Drop-in shelter, or if there are no jobs to flee from your abusive parents, or if you are suffering from a panic attack, go to the nearest library and see if they have books by Alice Miller (child abuse) or Robert Whitaker (the most readable critic of psychiatry). If not, ask for any of these books:
 

Thomas Szasz, Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s criticism of psychoanalysis and psychiatry (NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990).

The critique of language is the most radical of all critiques. This is the number one book in my list because if we don’t uproot from our vocabulary the Newspeak of psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and clinical psychologists it will be impossible to understand the victims of the family. The millenarian humanities history, biography and especially autobiography after Modrow (see below) are more than enough to understand the human mind. The new and aggressive psychiatric and psychoanalytic ideologies, and especially their language, only mystify our self-understanding.

Karl Kraus, who lived in Freud’s Vienna, was a man of good heart who perceived the dangers that the Newspeak of psychiatry and psychoanalysis represented for the underprivileged of his native city. Kraus tried to debunk it in the strongest terms in his periodical, but his admonitions fell in deaf ears:

Yes, our pitiable state is partly caused by stupidity […]. Profound stupidity carries deep conviction and cannot be bought off for any price. The greatest public menace, therefore, is the incorruptible psychiatric expert […]. The very unselfishness with which such psychiatric outrages are perpetrated suggests that they spring from pathological imbecility rather than from any other source. If only such idiocies were not destined, in each and every case, to destroy a life! (p. 135).

I would recommend reading Anti-Freud together with the appendix of 1984 where Orwell resumes ‘The principles of Newspeak’.
 

John Modrow, How to become a schizophrenic: the case against biological psychiatry (Seattle: Apollyon Press, second edition, 1996).

In spite of the fact that Modrow uses a psychiatric label on the very title, on the first page he writes mockingly:

Actually I have about much belief in the reality of ‘schizophrenia’ as I have in the reality of witchcraft or demonic possession.

This book consists of two parts: an autobiographical recount of the author’s experiences about how he lost his mind when he was young due to parental abuse, and a scientific debunking of psychiatry.

The value of Modrow’s book lies in that compared to, say, a brilliant essay by Ronald Laing about madness, Modrow explains how he lost his mind from his own subjective experience. Given the unique value autobiography has in the true study of the human psyche, Modrow’s study must be considered a paradigm to understand the victims disturbed by an all-out assault at home. Robert Baker, a professor of psychology that I met in 1994, has said that Modrow ‘is, perhaps, the unrecognized and unappreciated world’s foremost authority on this disorder [schizophrenia]’. [1]
 

Jeffrey Masson, Against therapy: emotional tyranny and the myth of psychological healing (London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997).

——————, Final analysis: the making and unmaking of a psychoanalyst (London: HarperCollins, 1991).

Everyone should know, then, that to step into an office of a psychotherapist, regardless of the latter’s persuasion, is to enter a world where great harm is possible (Against Therapy, p. 298).

The most difficult thing for a fish is to do a critique of the water.

Let’s imagine a fish in a factory-polluted waters. The only way this animal may realise that the pollution is poisoning it is to see the factory from a POV outside of the lagoon. But his aquaculture prevents it from doing so.

We are living 120 years after the first case of psychotherapy, Freud with Dora. Nowadays psychotherapy is a multibillion-dollar quack profession accepted and respected by society. Many of Freud’s ideas are now part of our culture’s folklore: repressed memories, sexual sublimation, phallic symbols, castration anxiety and more—the ‘water’ we breathe every day in our lagoon. Following the metaphor, Szasz and Masson are the amphibians that evolved, came out from the lagoon and saw the polluting factory from a privileged viewpoint.

Masson, a great fan of psychoanalysis in the past, defrocked himself from the profession because he didn’t want to play the role of an agent of the family, but of the family’s victims. He convinced me that the diverse schools of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy have not broken away from psychiatry. It’s very telling, Masson says, that no psychotherapist dares to denounce electroshock in the media. Those who still believe that psychotherapy (including psychoanalysis) and psychiatry are essentially different things would benefit from reading these books by Masson.

Many people have not realised yet that Freud was a writer of fiction. It’s incredible that Freud’s literary fiction has bamboozled so many intellectuals and sophisticated people. Someone said hyperbolically that the criminal of criminals is the philosopher. This sentence may be imputed not only on Marx but on Freud as well: the damage their followers did to the 20th century has not been fully appreciated yet.

After reading the Afterword to the second edition of Against Therapy I felt very pleased to see that Masson concludes his book advising his readers that instead of childishly searching for ‘therapy’ in a paternal figure they write their autobiographies.
 

Alvin Pam, ‘Biological psychiatry: science or pseudoscience?’ in Colin Ross and Alvin Pam Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry: blaming the body (NY: Wiley & Sons, 1995), pp. 7-84.

The most difficult thing for a fish is to do a critique of the water. But the most difficult thing of all, even more difficult than to criticise psychotherapy, is to criticize a pseudoscience that is being taught to medical students.

The psychiatrists of the 19th century had the political genius to perceive that science, and not the humanities, was going to be the paradigm of the 20th century. So they invested their ideology with a scientific robe. But as Alvin Pam says:

What I mean is much more fundamental: biological psychiatry cannot fulfill its mission properly because in its current state it has more the accoutrement of a scientific discipline than the substance. To be sure, this statement will raise skeptical eyebrows. It will be the burden of this chapter to spell out the grounds for such a broad iconoclastic assertion.

A common ‘fish’ frequently listens in his aquaculture that the gene of depression has been discovered; that a physician won the Nobel prize for his investigations on dopamine (that the psychiatrists relate with ‘schizophrenia’); that in his school Ritalin is recommended for kids who suffer from ‘attention deficit disorder’; that studies on twins have demonstrated that ‘mental illnesses’ are hereditary, etc. Since our fish is completely immersed in this water it’s impossible that it becomes aware that the water is contaminated. His critical intelligence has no basis to realise that these affirmations don’t come from scientists but from pseudo-scientists that have self-deceived themselves in order to make a profit.

Pam’s chapter originally appeared in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica and represented the ‘emergence from the water’ for a student of psychiatry who read it and became aware that in her university she had been taught a false science (pp. 241f). Pam’s paper uses the same jargon that biological psychiatrists use and it contains almost two hundred references of specialized literature. It’s ideal for medical doctors and scientists who are interested in a scholarly rebuttal of the claims of psychiatry and its ‘medical model’ of mental disorders.
 

Peter Breggin, Toxic psychiatry: why therapy, empathy and love must replace the drugs, electroshock, and biochemical theories of the ‘new psychiatry’ (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1994).

The picture I have drawn looks overwhelming, yet it is not an exaggeration. Psychiatry is a giant industry, protected by a state monopoly and promoted by a psycho-pharmaceutical complex with multi-billion-dollar power (p. 370).

Just as Loren Mosher, Breggin realized that his profession might be based on a theoretical fraud. There is nobody more authoritative to debunk a cult or a pseudoscience than he who devoted decades of his life researching its foundations.

Breggin has fought against the tide in his profession. He sides children re-victimized by his colleagues. He has performed campaigns against the revival of lobotomy, electroshock and the medication of children and the elderly with neuroleptics.

Breggin’s book is a treatise of almost five hundred readable pages for the non-specialist. In the chapters on the alliance of parents with psychiatrists, Breggin denounces psychiatric labels and the drugs that are being prescribed to millions of children and adolescents—yes, millions of them [2]—at the initiative of psychiatrists hired by the parents.

Anyone who has been deceived by the media and believes that depression or even a severe mental disorder is of biological nature, or that it may be treated medically, must read Breggin’s book, especially if he is taking psychiatric drugs.

Breggin’s chapter on electroshock shocks the reader: it shows the truly inquisitorial methods of the psychiatric profession. It’s also shocking the chapter on the alliance of psychiatry with the medical schools in the universities; the insurance and the drug companies; the media, some government institutions and associations of parents: everyone except the ‘patient’ identified by all of them.

Since 1971 Breggin is director of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. Originally the centre was founded to oppose the revival of lobotomy, and today it opposes the inclination in our culture to diagnose and medicate children and adolescents. Since 1999 the centre publishes a journal critical of bio-reductionist theories. [3]
 

Thomas Szasz, The manufacture of madness: a comparative study of the Inquisition and the mental health movement (NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997).

During the past two decades I have devoted much work and many words to exposing the scientific stupidity, the philosophical folly, and the moral monstrosity of this official psychiatric posture. [4]

Aristotle said that to obtain a truly profound knowledge about something it’s necessary to know its history. This scholarly treatise showed me what is psychiatry and why psychiatrists do what they have been doing in the last three centuries. In this work Szasz examines the great similarities between the Inquisition and psychiatry, including present-day psychiatry. Without the Inquisition there can be no ‘witches’. Likewise, without the Psychiatric Institution there can be no ‘schizophrenics’. In other words, psychiatrists manufacture madness.

Ignoring this work reminds me of the Russian who was ignorant of The Gulag Archipelago before the fall of the Berlin wall. Trying to understand the mental health movement without reading Szasz is like trying to understand Stalin’s Russia without reading Solzhenitsyn.

___________

Notes

[1] Mind games (op. cit.), p. 223.

[2] Your drug may be your problem (op. cit.), p. 16.

[3] Information about the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology can be obtained in the website (http://www.icspp.org) or writing to ICSPP, 4628 Chestnut Street, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, USA.

[4] Schizophrenia (op. cit.), p. 44.

______ 卐 ______

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Loren Mosher’s letter

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of the books that I wrote in 2000 (I added the triple parentheses this year):
 

A student-led panel discussion sponsored by NAMI

In NAMI’s website I saw the photo of Justin, a four-year-old boy with a suppliant expression on his face. The website says:

Meet Justin—a child with a mental illness.

Justin was diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) which made it difficult for him to succeed in school. Today medication helps Justin to attend classes with his peers and avoid the uncontrollable behaviors he previously experienced. [1]

At the end of “Perpetrators and psychiatrists: an obscene alliance” I had mentioned an organization of family parents which calls itself National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Since this book deals with parents and psychiatrists, it is pertinent to delve a little deeper into this organisation of parents that, with the help of psychiatrists, has labelled and medicated thousands of children and adolescents during family conflicts. In recent times NAMI has gained such power in American society that I must speak out about what it is doing to little boys like Justin, even though I have to stomach the largest string of psychiatric lies and Newspeak propaganda that I know.

Following next I quote some passages from NAMI’s web site as I found it on the internet in May 2000. Let us read with attention NAMI’s lies. The following quotation is from NAMI’s book reviews, It’s Nobody’s Fault by (((Harold Koplewicz))), a bioreductionist psychiatrist of children and teenagers in a medical center of New York:

It’s Nobody’s Fault could not have been written 25 years ago.

It reflects the monumental change that has taken place in understanding all mental illnesses—that they are brain disorders, disturbances in brain chemistry and nobody’s fault. The work deals with serious brain disorders in children and adolescents […].

Koplewicz is “must reading” for parents who feel guilty and remorse about the brain disorder of a child. [2]

The truth is that NAMI does not approach genuine brain diseases such as epilepsy, the stroke or brain cysticercosis, but of those invented by psychiatrists. NAMI’s list includes: “schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder [the label on little Justin] and severe anxiety disorders”[3]— “disorders” similar to drapetomania, dyasthesia Aethiopica, nymphomania, kleptomania and moral insanity to the psychiatric mind of other times.

In “Things you should know: NAMI facts”, this organization states who are the target of these labels: “Most often, severe mental illnesses are diagnosed in young people between the ages of 16-25”.[4] More extraordinary is to learn of the political goals of NAMI on these youngsters:

GOAL: NAMI will be recognized as the primary source for information and helpful referral on all aspects of mental illness.

GOAL: The general public will understand that mental illnesses are non-fault, biologically based, treatable, and may eventually be curable. [5]

Another goal of NAMI is to increase its membership “to at least one million families by the year 2000”.[6] Most significant of the folie à deux between these families and NAMI can be seen in a 1998-1999 NAMI poll to 900 parents. It showed that more than half of the polled parents said their GPs didn’t recognise the mental diseases that the polled parents believed to see in their offspring. [7]

In other words, according to NAMI the parents, not the medical doctors, are the ones to diagnose biomedical diseases. This is what Jeffrey Masson said above about the “identified” child by his parents: that a psychiatrist implied that parents did not err in home diagnoses and even quoted scholarly psychiatric journals to support his claim. Similarly, NAMI uses the word “identifying” alluding children.[8] NAMI’s blindness is such that even when they have evidence from physicians that home conflicts can disturb emotionally a child, they proclaim the biological cause of the disturbance:

Parents [of said poll] perceived that most professionals and services had not kept current with the latest research or treatment information and used outdated theories and approaches, including blaming families for their child’s disorder.

“I took my son to a psychiatrist who said if we, parents, stopped fighting with each other, my son would be fine. It was our own fault”. [9]

NAMI quotes these words as proof that the physician had not subscribed the latest fashion of biological reductionism, discarding the possibility that this fighting between mom and dad could affect the emotional state of the child. Other parents stated:

“The biggest issue we faced during the time our daughter began to manifest problems (when she was five years old) was to convince the ‘professionals’ that she did indeed have a disease that was biologically based and not caused by alleged child abuse [or] bad parenting”. [10]

Is there another field beside the psychiatric where an organisation dares to air in every direction that the parents know more of biomedical symptoms than medical doctors?

In addition to these pediatricians it is revealing that some people who know these polled parents are under the impression that the parents might have something to do with their children’s mental state. This is inferred from the same information in the NAMI poll. To the statement “I often feel that others blame me for my child’s condition”, 29 percent of the polled marked “Strongly agree”, 21 percent “Agree” and 20 percent “Partially agree”. That is, 70 percent of those who actually know these parents may suspect a parental etiology of the problem. However, nothing more annoys NAMI that “the injustice of outright parent-blaming”. [11]

NAMI claims that “as many as 8 to 10 percent of all Americans suffer from severe mental illness, and as many as 1 in 5 families are affected”.[12] NAMI also claims that mental illnesses “affect about 20 percent of children and adolescents”[13] and that “an estimated 7.5 million children [in America], 12 percent of all children under age 18, have mental disorders”.[14] It is amusing to observe that this last figure contradicts the quoted before. Laurie Flynn, NAMI’s director, claims that “two-plus million Americans suffering from schizophrenia today receive substandard care”.[15]

As some critics have pointed out, psychiatrists, and now this organisation of “concerned” family parents not only invent diseases: they invent epidemics too.

Incredibly, an organisation that sees epidemics has started to influence American politics. NAMI has carried out successful campaigns in several states of the United States, with the support of local judges and social workers, to force children to take drugs against their will and without the need to commit them in the hospital. The New York Times estimates that in the year 2000 more than 4,000 outpatients in New York state will be given psychiatric drugs against their will due to NAMI and the new law.[16]

How is it possible that NAMI has obtained such power and influence? According to the periodical Mother Jones, from 1996 to 1999 eighteen drug firms donated more than ten million dollars to NAMI: Janssen ($2.08 m), Novartis ($1.87 m), Pfizer ($1.3 m), Abbot Labs ($1.24 m), Wyeth-Ayerst ($658,000), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($613,000) and Eli Lilly & Co., which among other drugs manufactures Prozac ($2.87 m).[17] This is evidence of the obscene alliance between abusive parents, psychiatrists and the forces of the free market.

The existence of organisations such as NAMI exhibits psychiatry as what it has always been: a fraudulent profession composed by mercenary pseudo-scientists that always plead for the interests of parents. NAMI’s goals (“The Nation’s Voice on Mental Illness” says its logotype) of controlling, stigmatise and medicate their rebellious children are so open that I must continue to quote them:

NAMI’s Policy Goals: An increase in federal funding for research in House and Senate appropriation bills—emphasizing / targeting children […].

Extensive and meaningful involvement of psychiatrists trained in child and adolescent psychiatry in the diagnosing and treatment—including residential treatment [involuntary hospitalisation] […].

To identify at least three federal government policy barriers which obstruct treatment of childhood serious mental illness. Then to advocate appropriate federal Congressional and Administration policies responding to such barriers.[18]

The lie NAMI repeats the most, that even the editors of the DSM would be embarrassed to iterate so many times, is that these children have “biological brain disorders”, for instance when NAMI advocates medication against their will.[19] This strongly reminds me what Solzhenitsyn observed: that in Stalin’s age there was no official communication in the Russian press that didn’t lie in some way about a propaganda statistic or social affair.[20] But let’s continue to listen to the Americans:

NAMI believes that children and adolescents with brain disorders have the right to thrive in nurturing environments, that all children and adolescents with brain disorders deserve to have early diagnoses with appropriate treatments.[21]

Orwell could not have said it better in the black-white Newspeak of the Ministry of Love. If NAMI manages to accomplish its political goals, the image that comes to my mind is similar to one of 1984: a parent in the future stepping on with both feet the child’s face and looking down in the name of his nurture, diagnosis and treatment.

I would like to annotate this essay on the nature of evil in mankind, in which I’ve already included many quotations, with two more quotations. Orwell wrote:

Twelve voices were shouting and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. [22]

Tom Szasz quoted this passage of Animal Farm in one of his books because he fears that with time the Soviet Communist State and the American Therapeutic State could be undistinguishable. The other quotation is a letter of resignation of the renowned psychiatrist Loren Mosher. Mosher was the chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia in the National Institute of Mental Health (1968-1980). He wrote the following letter to the president of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Rodrigo Muñoz:

December 4, 1998

Dear Rod:

After nearly three decades as a member it is with a mixture of pleasure and disappointment that I submit this letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association. The major reason for this action is my belief that I am actually resigning from the American Psychopharmacological Association. Luckily, the organization’s true identity requires no change in the acronym […].

This is not a group for me. At this point in history, psychiatry has been almost completely bought out by the drug companies. The APA could not continue without the pharmaceutical company support […].

No longer do we seek to understand whole persons in their social contexts, rather we are there to realign our patients’ neurotransmitters. The problem is that it is very difficult to have a relationship with a neurotransmitter whatever its configuration.

So, our organization provides a rationale, by its neurobiological tunnel vision, for keeping our distance from the molecule conglomerates we have come to define as patients […]. It saddens me that after 35 years as a psychiatrist I look forward to being dissociated from such an organization. In no way does it represents my interests. It is not within my capacities to buy into the current biomedical-reductionistic model heralded by the psychiatric leadership as once again marrying us to somatic medicine. This is a matter of fashion, politics and, like the pharmaceutical house connection, money.

In addition, APA has entered into an unholy alliance with NAMI (I don’t remember the members being asked if they supported such an organization) […] the two organizations have adopted similar public belief systems about the nature of madness. While professing itself the champion of their clients the APA is supporting non-clients, the parents, in their wishes to be in control, via legally enforced dependency, of their mad / bad offspring. NAMI, with tacit APA approval, has set out a pro-neuroleptic drug and easy commitment-institutionalization agenda that violates the civil rights of their offspring. For the most part we stand by and allow this fascistic agenda to move forward […].

The shortsightedness of this marriage of convenience between APA, NAMI and the drug companies (who gleefully support both groups because of their shared pro-drug stance) is an abomination. I want no part of a psychiatry of oppression and social control […].

Finally, why must the APA pretend to know more than it does? DSM IV is a fabrication upon which psychiatry seeks acceptance by medicine in general. Insiders know it is more a political than a scientific document […]. The issue is what do the categories tell us? Do they in fact accurately represent the person with a problem? They don’t, and can’t, because there are no external validating criteria for psychiatric diagnoses. There is neither a blood test nor specific anatomic lesions for any major psychiatric disorder [emphasis added]. So where are we? APA as an organization has implicitly (sometimes explicitly as well) bought into a theoretical hoax […].

We seem to have forgotten a basic principle: the need to be patient / consumer satisfaction oriented. I always remember Manfred Bleuler’s wisdom: “Loren, you must never forget that you are your patient’s employee”. In the end they will determine whether or not psychiatry survives in the service marketplace.

Sincerely,

Loren R. Mosher, M.D.

This confession of an apostate of psychiatry shows that there are good people everywhere, even in that profession. Unfortunately, they are not the majority.

__________

[1] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[2] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[3] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[4] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[12] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[13] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[14] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[15] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[16] The New York Times (8 April 1999).

[17] I obtained this information thanks to a web site critical of psychiatry. (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[18] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[19] See for example “NAMI’s Policy on involuntary commitment”. (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[20] The Gulag Archipelago (op. cit.), pp. 325f.

[21] (In 2019 this page is no longer available.)

[22] Thomas Szasz’s quotation are the last words of Orwell’s Animal Farm. In The Therapeutic State (op. cit.) the citation appears on page 237, in a chapter devoted to comparing Soviet with American psychiatry, with detriment to the latter. The image of the feet on the face as a symbol of soulless oppression appears in what O’Brien said to Winston in the Ministry of Love (Nineteen Eighty-Four, op. cit., p. 211).

______ 卐 ______

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Published in: on February 27, 2019 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  

Neuroleptics – psychiatrist Peter Breggin

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of the books that I wrote at the beginning of the century:


The profession originated during the industrial revolution as a method of bypassing legal restraints on the incarceration of homeless street people. State mental hospitals, within which the profession originated, were lockups for the poor […].

By the 1930s these giant lockups, which shoved the problem of poverty under the institutional rug, had become too large and unmanageable. Lobotomy and various shock “therapies” were developed for subduing the inmates. In the 1950s, drugs were developed that induce chemical lobotomies. [1]

In addition to eliminating bibliographic references, in the following paragraphs the quotation marks on the word “schizophrenia” are mine. And just as I did with Arieti’s quotations, to avoid psychiatric Newspeak I took liberties to replace other mentions of that word with the word “insanity”, placing brackets on it:

The neuroleptic drugs have gradually become promoted as agents with a specific “antipsychotic” effect on “schizophrenic” symptoms. Meanwhile, psychosocial approaches have fallen into disrepute among many psychiatrists. Patients have been instructed to remain on neuroleptics for a lifetime and told that it was safe to do so. The public was told that the “miracle” drugs had emptied the hospitals and returned millions of patients to normal lives.

The reality. In 1973, psychiatrist George Crane gained the attention of the medical community by disclosing that many, and perhaps most, long-term neuroleptic patients were developing a largely irreversible, untreatable neurological disorder, tardive dyskinesia. The disease, even its mild form, is often disfiguring, with involuntary movements of the face, mouth or tongue. Frequently, the patients grimace in a manner that makes them look “crazy”, undermining their credibility with other people. In more severe cases, patients become disabled by twitches, spasms, and other abnormal movements of any muscle groups, including those of the neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, and hands and feet. The muscles of respiration and speech can also be impaired. In the worst cases, patients trash about continually.

The rates of tardive dyskinesia are astronomical. The latest estimate from the American Psychiatric Association indicates a rate for all patients of five percent per year, so that 15 percent of patients develop tardive dyskinesia within only three years […].

There are no accurate surveys of the total number of patients afflicted with tardive dyskinesia. There are probably a million or more tardive dyskinesia patients in the United States today, and tens of millions have been afflicted throughout the world since the inception of neuroleptic treatment. Despite this tragic situation, psychiatrists too often fail to give proper warning to patients and their families. [And when TD appears] often psychiatrists fail to notice that their patients are suffering from tardive dyskinesia, even when the symptoms are flagrant.

In 1983 I published the first in-depth analysis of the vulnerability of children to a particularly virulent form of tardive dyskinesia that attacks the muscles of the trunk, making it difficult for them to stand or walk. This is now an established fact. In the same medical book, I offered the first detailed documentation showing that many or most tardive dyskinesia patients also show signs of dementia—an irreversible loss of higher brain and mental function. Indeed, it was inevitable that these losses would occur. The basal ganglia, which are afflicted in tardive dyskinesia, are richly interconnected with the higher centers of the brain, so that their dysfunction almost inevitably leads to disturbances in cognitive processes. Since my observations, a multitude of studies have confirmed that long-term neuroleptic use is associated with both cognitive deterioration and atrophy of the brain […].

Shocking as it may seem, this brief review can only scratch the surface of neurological disorders associated with these drugs, let alone the vast number of other potentially serious side effects. For example, in a small percentage of patients the neuroleptic reaction goes out of control, producing neuroleptic malignant syndrome. The disorder is indistinguishable from an acute inflammation of the brain comparable to lethargic encephalitis and can be fatal.

Given that these are exceedingly dangerous drugs, what about their advantages? How do they “work”? It is well known that these drugs suppress dopamine neurotransmission in the brain, directly impairing the function of the basal ganglia and the emotion-regulating limbic system and frontal lobes and indirectly impairing the reticular activating system as well. The overall impact is a chemical lobotomy—literally so, since frontal lobe function is suppressed. The patient becomes de-energized or de-enervated. Will or volition is crushed, and passivity and docility are induced. The patient complains less and becomes more manageable. Despite the claims for symptom cure, multiple clinical studies document a non-specific emotional flattening or blunting effect.

This cannot but remind me Giovanna’s already quoted words to me and Luisa about her group-therapy mate: “Claudia is very sluggish”: another of Amara’s victims. [Note of 2019: the anecdote appears in another chapter of my book in Spanish. All of them were white girls by the way, that I met in 1976.]

There is no significant body of research to prove that neuroleptics have any specific effect on psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. To the contrary, these remain rather resistant to the drugs. The neuroleptics mainly suppress aggression, rebelliousness, and spontaneous activity in general. This is why they are effective whenever and wherever social control is at a premium, such as in a mental hospital, nursing homes, prisons, institutions for the persons with developmental disabilities, children’s facilities and public clinics, as well as in Russian and Cuban psychiatric political prisons. Their widespread use for social control in such a wide variety of people and institutions makes the claim that they are specific for “schizophrenia” ridiculous. (They are even used in veterinary medicine to bend or subdue the will of animals. When one of our dogs was given a neuroleptic for car sickness, our daughter observed, “He’s behaving himself for the first time in his life”.)

The fact that neuroleptics are used to tame animals discredits so completely the theory that these drugs have a specific “antipsychotic” effect that these veterinarian data are withheld for the young students of medicine and psychiatry.[2]

That is a very important piece of info. Breggin continues:

But isn’t [insanity] a biochemical and genetic disease? In reality, there’s no convincing evidence that [insanity] is a biochemical disorder. While there are a host of conjectures about biochemical imbalances

These conjectures refer precisely to the “negative chemical imbalances” that, with a potent neuroleptic, Amara wanted to “remove” from Claudia’s body without any physical proof of their existence.

the only ones we know of in the brains of mental patients are those produced by the drugs. Similarly, no substantial evidence exists for a genetic basis of “schizophrenia”. The frequently cited Scandinavian genetic studies actually confirm an environmental factor while disproving a genetic one. Such conclusions may seem incredible to readers who have been bombarded with psychiatric propaganda, and I can only hope they will personally review the literature and read Toxic Psychiatry [see “Suggested readings” at the end of this book] for review and analysis. But even if [insanity] were a brain disease, it would not make sense to add further damage and dysfunction by administering neuroleptics.

If the neuroleptics are so dangerous and have such limited usefulness, and if psychosocial approaches are relatively effective, why is the profession so devoted to the drugs? The answer lies in maintaining psychiatric power, prestige, and income. What mainly distinguishes psychiatrists from other mental health professionals, and of course from non-professionals, is their ability to prescribe drugs. To compete against other mental health professions, psychiatry has wed itself to the medical model, including biological and genetic explanations, and physical treatments. It has no choice: anything else would be professional suicide […].

After falling behind economically in competition with psychosocial approaches, psychiatry formed what the American Psychiatric Association now admits is a “partnership” with the drug companies. Organized psychiatry has become wholly dependent for financial support on this unholy collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. To deny the effectiveness of drugs or to admit their dangerousness would result in huge economic loss on every level from the individual psychiatrist who makes his or her living prescribing medication, to the American Psychiatric Association which thrives on drug companies largesse.

If neuroleptics were used to treat anyone other than mental patients, they would have been banned a long time ago. If their use wasn’t supported by powerful interest groups, such as the pharmaceutical industry and organized psychiatry, they would be rarely used at all. Meanwhile, the neuroleptics have produced the worst epidemic of neurological disease in history. At least, their use should be severely curtailed. [3]

In 1995 I came across Claudia with her parents in the Carrillo Gil Museum in Mexico City. Already in her thirties she told me she was studying the Open High School—at this time of day.

Sometimes I wonder how many more youngsters Amara has destroyed. Cases like Claudia’s, and according to Breggin many more around the world—about 250 to 300 million persons have been given neuroleptics [4]—, show why Jeffrey Masson wants a trial for every psychiatrist who has ruined a life. [5]

___________

[1] Peter Breggin, Beyond conflict (op. cit.), p. 150.

[2] Toxic psychiatry (op. cit.), p. 58.

[3] This article, “Should the use of neuroleptics be severely limited?”, was originally published in Stuart Kirk and Susan Einbinder (eds.) Controversial issues in mental health (Allyn & Bacon, 1993), and can be read uncut in the author’s website (www.breggin.com/neuroleptics).

[4] Toxic psychiatry (op. cit.), p. 90.

[5] Masson said this in the talk show Geraldo of 30 November 1990.

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‘Patients are only riffraff’—Freud


To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of the books that I wrote in the last century:

 

Many psychiatric survivors have written manuscripts about their experiences but are rarely successful in getting their books published.

—Al Siebert [1]

Being silent is itself an indication of how we have been oppressed and ignored. The forces that keep us silent and invisible are most vulnerable to our speaking out.

—Harvey Jackins [2]

It is biography, and especially autobiography, the royal road to the conscious and unconscious, that continent barely explored; not Freud’s system. But to be fair with Freud, and very independently that as a physician of the soul he had been soulless, I must recognise that the man made a couple of good points.

In the Epistle for instance, I used a Freudian concept, the idea of abba (dad-God) in Jesus. Moreover, Freud introduced the fascinating notion of the unconscious and perceived that dreams meant something. (This doesn’t mean that his libidinous interpretation was accurate.) In this very indictment of psychiatry, although not directly, I based my ideas on a Freudian concept. According to John Modrow, the Sullivan-Modrow model of panic leading to a psychotic breakdown was based on Freud’s principle of self-delusion.

I confess I have scarcely read Freud. However, in my opinion (and Modrow’s) his fundamental discovery was that ordinary people continually distort reality in order to boost their self-esteem. This self-delusion is completely involuntary and inevitable. The objective is always to boost the self-esteem or self-image that an individual has of himself. According to Modrow, from this principle Harry Sullivan deduces that the most dangerous thing for mental health is an assault to the self-image. I call this an ‘assault to the Self’, and from Freud’s principle of self-delusion I would deduce that after our ‘I’ is assaulted, all sort of delusions crop up as defense mechanisms, such as religious and ideological delusions (psychoanalysis included!).

I recognise these lights inspired by Freud. But Freud also created a lucrative profession on the basis of human suffering, and that is precisely a fraud based on self-delusion.

Sándor Ferenczi, one of his closest disciples—so close to Freud that in 1909 Ferenczi, Freud and Jung vacationed together to America—, became aware of the fraud. I will only quote three lines of an intimate diary that Ferenczi wrote, a diary he devoted to the serious doubts he had about psychoanalysis. In a private conversation of Ferenczi with Freud, the latter:

said that patients are only riffraff [Die Patienten sind ein Gesindel]. The only thing patients were good for is to help the analyst make a living and to provide material for theory. It is clear we cannot help them. [3]

By some cruelty of fate Ferenczi died at fifty-nine (a little earlier for his diary reflections to crystallize to be published), disillusioned by a dispute with Freud and his colleagues about the veracity of incest in the lives of his female patients (Freud, who sided the Vienna establishment, always denied that actual incest took place).

According to Jeffrey Masson, Jung’s dissidence was not a threat to the fundamentals of psychoanalysis. But Ferenczi’s was.[4] Jung merely exchanged Freud’s pan-sexual meta-narrative by his own mystic-religious one but Jungian analysis, as the Freudian, claim to help people understand themselves and enlighten them with their problems. Ferenczi, on the other hand, knew that these problems could not be solved with so-called psychoanalysis. Freud also knew it (‘It is clear we cannot help them’), and could have confessed it to the world.

He didn’t: that could have aborted the birth of a lucrative profession.

Besides the moral limitations of the founder, this side of psychoanalysis must be exposed. Tom Szasz’s view is that both psychiatry and psychoanalysis are a kind of Machiavellian rhetoric; I would say, the rhetoric of blaming the victim. An inquisitorial pseudoscience, psychiatry, blames the body of the victim. Psychoanalysis, a system of inspired invectives (Szasz’s words), blames the mind. These pseudosciences are two sides of the same coin. They sprang from the same sources, but Freud had great intellectual powers and immense literary gifts. However, he had little heart toward human suffering, as we saw in a previous chapter.

Psychotherapists, far from helping those who suffer, make a profit on the basis of that suffering. There are more than two hundred schools of psychotherapy in the United States and fifteen million Americans that consult psychotherapists. The fee for a fifty-minute consultation with an “analyst” is something above the hundred dollars. Psychotherapy is a multibillion-dollar business, and its popularity continues in Spain, Italy and Latin America.

Freud was the father of the mystification to see the problems of those who asked for help as ‘neurosis’. Actually they are familiar, economic, social and political problems. Psychotherapists have invented a whole Newspeak. They redefine these problems as ‘mental problems’ of ‘patients’, otherwise they could not justify their profession and income. The ultimate truth is that anyone who claims to sell psychic solutions to environmental problems has entered, consciously or not, the reign of fraud. Unless someone sponsors economically a person suffering from tribulations, very few will be capable of helping him. But no therapist sponsors his clients: in that profession money flows one-way only.

It is worth saying that, since a quack is the one who earns money pretending to be a physician, the writer Vladimir Nabokov used to call Freud ‘the Vienna quack’. I would add that Freud’s legacy has some analogy to Marx’s. Both proposed totalizing meta-narratives that bamboozled a good part of the Western intelligentsia: one about political economy, the other about the politics of the psyche. Now, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Marxism agonizes but psychoanalysis lives. It is my hope that the 21st century witnesses more critics of analysis. Although I recognise the few lights Freud showed us—Marx showed us a few lights too—, the quackery of his legacy must be exposed. Freud’s epigones are a parasitic class of which civil society must free itself from.
 
Scholarly quackery

That not only psychoanalysts but biological psychiatrists behave as quacks can be seen in the case of one of the most influential psychiatric geneticists in our times. David Rosenthal edited The Genain quadruplets, a book about four women, identical twins, and family dynamics.

The father of the Genain family was an alcoholic that beat his wife and daughters, whom he restricted contact with the outside world. According to his wife, he was ‘always so angry and hateful’ and once he threatened to murder her when she wanted to leave home. The father played sexually with one of his daughters, but when he realised that the teenagers masturbated he send them to an unscrupulous surgeon who mutilated their genitals. The mother abused the girls too. On one occasion she banged two of the girls’ heads together to stop them crying. When the husband wanted to prevent the masturbation, she participated in the use of acid in her genitals. This occurred before she approved the initiative to mutilate them.

The four daughters got mad.

The Genain quadruplets is a treatise for biological psychiatrists, saturated with scholarly references of genetic studies. One could expect that, confronted with such a story, the contributing authors exposed the case as proof that some parents drive their offspring mad.

They did the opposite. Rosenthal believes his data is proof of a genetic aetiology of the madness of the daughters. The book is a study about hereditary and environmental factors in the family, but Rosenthal, an apologist of the medical model of mental disorders, stresses the hereditary factor. Genes turned out to be responsible for the ‘schizophrenia’ of these poor women. The very name ‘Genain’ is a pseudonym invented by Rosenthal, deriving it from the Greek words ‘dire birth’ or ‘dreadful gene’.

The psychiatrist Peter Breggin, author of a dozen books critical of his profession, read The Genain quadruplets and discovered that throughout the book, hidden in the irrelevant scholastic material, information existed about the happenings in the family:

The book presents one of the most tragic chronicles of child abuse recorded anywhere. Yet at no time is the abuse discussed as such. In no place in the book is it summarized. The data is strewn throughout the six hundred pages in the reports of the various professionals. Much of it is contained in the footnotes. The synopsis I have provided was put together from these observations. [5]

Breggin concludes that the omission to talk plainly about what really happened in that family constitutes intellectual complicity with the parents.

If one of the most renowned psychiatric geneticists ignores this level of abuse and inverts the information, blaming the genes of the victims, it is not surprising that ordinary psychiatrists ignore the anguished testimony of their patients in relatively lesser cases of abuse.

In the 1980s an American series of scientific programs was televised under the title The Brain. One of the programs approached the subject of madness. It did not pass the microphone to any professional of the trauma model of mental disorders. But the program passed the mic to two biological psychiatrists who have devoted their professional lives to “demonstrate” the biomedical foundation of madness. Let’s listen to Daniel Weinberger:

At the turn of the [20th] century, every neuroscientist that was interested in schizophrenia was convinced [emphasis in Weinberger’s voice] that this is a brain disorder. There was no skepticism about that. It was only as that sort of stagnate [that] people really couldn’t make much of the findings they had through the 19th century that people begin to raise this notion of psychogenesis that somehow either bad mothering causes schizophrenia, or that bad neighborhoods [a strawman: the trauma model doesn’t claim that] causes schizophrenia, or drugs [same strawman] or some peculiar school experience [same strawman] or some major psychic trauma of some kind—for which there’s absolutely no scientific evidence, whatsoever! [great emphasis in Weinberger’s voice with a parallel movement of his hand on the table].[6]

In the same program Fuller Torrey, after talking at length about the Vienna quack Freud and his disciples, stated:

What the psychoanalysts said about schizophrenia is that it is caused by early childhood experiences. [False: analysts make no such a claim.] There is no evidence whatsoever for this! And in fact all of the research evidence today is diametrically opposed; it is exactly on the opposite side.[7] [Note of 2019: In fact, it’s the bio shrinks who lack scientific evidence. See: here.]

At the moment of the filming the program, Weinberger was a young professional who spoke with charisma. How could his emotional voice have impacted the millions of TV viewers (The Brain was televised in several countries)?

In the same program the case was presented of a very disturbed adolescent who spoke before the cameras and stated that his problem was originated in the rape during his Kindergarten years. But just as Rosenthal did in his treatise of the Genain girls, Weinberger and Torrey did not pay attention to his anguished testimony.

Like many other renowned psychiatrists, Weinberger and Torrey publish scholarly quack papers in the American Journal of Psychiatry. What is scholarly quackery? Let’s taste a flavour of it: ‘Evidence of dysfunction of a prefrontal-limbic network in schizophrenia. A magnetic resonance imaging and regional cerebral blood flows study of discordant monozygotic twins’.[8]

The journal that Breggin publishes has rebutted this and other quack, though scholarly, papers by Weinberger and Torrey. But as Colin Ross revealed to me when I visited him in Dallas, the psychiatric community kept silence about his book Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry, which also includes rebuttals. [9]

__________

[1] Flier published by the Kenneth Donaldson Archives for the Autobiographies of Psychiatric Survivors, Al Siebert, executive director.

[2] Harvey Jackins, What is wrong with the ‘mental health’ system and what can be done about it: a draft policy prepared for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities (Rational Island Publishers, 1991), p. 21.

[3] Against therapy (op. cit.), p. 129.

[4] The revelations of Ferenczi’s diary and Masson’s observations appear in a whole chapter of Against therapy.

[5] Toxic psychiatry (op. cit.), p. 106.

[6] The brain, episode 7, ‘Madness’ (1984).

[7] Ibid.

[8] D.R. Weinberger, K.F. Berman, R. Suddath and E.F. Torrey in American Journal of Psychiatry, 1992, 149, pp. 890-97.

[9] Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry (op. cit.), pp. 56, 60 & 174f.

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The hammer of the witches

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of the books that I wrote in the last century:

 

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It is not that witches and mental patients are alike; on the contrary, it is because inquisitors and psychiatrists are alike that they treat their victims similarly.

Tom Szasz [1]

I have asked why human beings are capable of committing atrocities and observed that, if in my epistle I approached the subject of what could have happened in the minds of my parents, I had yet to analyse psychiatrists and psychoanalysts (keeping in mind that many analysts are also psychiatrists).

Insofar, I think, the riddle has been solved: it is the self-righteousness of some ideologues, and the folly of their followers, what is behind the crimes of the most murderous century in history. Not only believing in a (((Trotsky))) convinced that terror is good for Russia is folly: it is folly too to believe in religious-political leaders such as Eugen Bleuler and the other founders of a criminal organisation known as ‘psychiatry’. Both the atrocities committed during the Red Terror and those committed in the West have been perpetrated by ideologues convinced of their own rectitude and backed by society. Just remember how The Machine hammered that helpless patient labelled ‘catatonic’—that is: a witch—and how the Bucks County District Attorney in Pennsylvania approved the torture.

I would like to quote a passage written down by a client after visiting the offices of a renowned psychiatrist who is also a university professor:

He said he ‘did not have the powers to take the schizophrenogenic parent by the ear and scold him’. Thus he treats ‘the most affected family link’ even though it was a societal problem: last family link – parents – grandparents – all society. That Laing used to say ‘We aren’t well because of others’ and that, ‘If it weren’t for others, we wouldn’t be unwell’. But an Italian psychiatrist had told him, ‘Only the last link is to be treated’. For this reason, and since it is not possible the little ear thing, ‘Treatment is performed on the most affected link alone’ [emphasis in the original]. This is why he prescribes antipsychotics to them.

The stupidity, monstrosity and immorality of this position is barely conceivable. If her father rapes Dora, then the orthodox psychiatrist won’t take that powerful family figure by the ear. Instead, he ‘treats’ the last link, the victim! And he has no doubt to administer dangerous drugs not to the rapist, but to the victim! After all, the one who pays is the rapist, right?

Let us compare the shrink’s philosophy with any crime. What would happen in a world where rapists, assassins and assailants remain unpunished whereas their victims went directly to jail? What would be of the world? This is the Wonderland Logic where a caste of pseudo-scientists lives in our societies to hammer not the criminal, but his witch.

This is the nature of evil. What psychiatrists do in cases of abusive families is to officially approve the behaviour of the perpetrators. For the physician of Julie La Roche, for Freud with Dora, for the president of the hospital where Jeffrey Masson studied—that great rhetorician who spoke in a booming voice about a helpless eight-year-old boy—, parents are untouchable. All action is taken against the child, against Dora, against the ‘last link’ according to the university professor.

We have seen that a father can be more devastating than a Mengele (in Colin Ross’ clinic I saw adult women of high social standing so devastated that they talked about ‘mom’ as David Helfgott talked about his ‘dad’). We have seen that according to John Modrow his pre-psychotic panic was the most appalling and devastating experience that any person can undergo; and that the re-victimisation of a victim leads to the sensation of the betrayal of the universe, and often to madness.

Sometimes the psychiatrist sees a glimpse of the truth and even quotes one of his anti-psychiatric foes (‘We aren’t well because of others; if it weren’t for others, we wouldn’t be unwell’). But they have those others as untouchable! And how will they touch them if they are precisely the source of income of the psychiatrist?

Thus, in this Wonderland where everything is inverted, the parents—the real clients of the psychiatrist—are always right. They are the sole criterion to ‘identify’ the child. Physicians cannot take by the ear the powerful industrialist who seduced Dora. Let us treat, instead, the last link. Let us incarcerate her in false hospitals or tame them her down with handicapping drugs. That is not only what the above-quoted professor taught but also what the departments of psychiatry teach (‘When a child manifests gross pathology…’). If such re-victimisations produce panic, even stronger drugs are administered!

Moreover, there are laws that allow the Doras to be treated against their will. They are confined in Ministries of Love where electroshock and lobotomy are practiced. For this surgical ‘treatment’ they gave the Nobel Prize to an inquisitor in 1946, and since that date to 1965 no less than fifty thousand lobotomies were performed in the United States alone, and at the moment of writing these lines continue to be performed.[2]

As we have seen, perfectly healthy brains are the ones that get a lobotomy, electroshock or the neuroleptic. This is how this malleus maleficarum, this hammer of the witches, culminates with the soul murder of a Dora.

That, my dear readers, is evil.

Each mind is a whole world inside. Each person is the centre of his or her own universe. A betrayed and re-victimised universe suffers a demolishing panic like the girl who witnessed her little sister be hammered in the most bestial manner by a death-dealer such as that of Kaunas. Then she saw the psychiatrist play the accordion on the inert body and pool of blood. On this survivor has befallen the whole madhouse of a dysfunctional society.

__________

[1] The manufacture of madness (op.cit.), p. 130.

[2] ‘A few physicians still advocate psychosurgery for severe emotional problems, and in some states of the US special boards have been set up to review all such operations’ (Lobotomy, Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000).

A psychiatrist wrote in a web page that I visited on 7 May 2000: ‘Since some OCD patients [a DSM label: ‘obsessive-compulsive disorder’] are refractory to state-of-the-art treatments and remain almost totally disabled, the research group has focused on the use of neurosurgical treatments for severe and treatment-refractory patients. Human subjects approval has been obtained at MGH, Brown University, and Rhode Island Hospital, and this study is now underway’ (Michael Jenike, Obsessive-compulsive disorders [defunct link when clicked in 2018].

On this revival of lobotomy see also Toxic Psychiatry (op. cit.), pp. 261ff.

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(((Sigmund Freud)))

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of my books that I wrote in the last century:

‘I’ve never done a mean thing’—Freud [1]

 
It must have been noted that insofar I have used interchangeably the terms ‘psychiatrist’ and ‘analyst’. Before reading Jeffrey Masson I thought they were two essentially different things.

How mistaken I was. Now I know that since its beginnings psychoanalysis has been closely related to psychiatry, and that in the United States and Canada almost all analysts are both physicians and psychiatrists. Sigmund Freud himself, who initiated his career as an electrotherapist, flourished thanks to an amalgamation of his system with psychiatric policies. For instance, the first journal of psychoanalysis was published by Eugene Bleuler and Freud in 1909. Again, like Kraepelin and Bleuler, it was difficult for Freud to side his ‘patients’ and easy to side their parents.

The psychiatrist Krafft-Ebing disliked a letter that Nina R., a nineteen-year-old girl, sent him saying she had erotic dreams. He wrote to Freud accusing her of ‘psychic masturbation’. In 1891 Freud wrote: ‘Nina R. has always been overexcited, full of romantic ideas, thinks her parents do not like her. Has the occasional fantasy that her father does not love her’, and in 1893 Freud wrote to Dr. Binswanger about this girl:

The inborn crookedness of her character manifested itself in her forgetting her immediate duties, her adjustment to her milieu, while she strove to gain interests on a more idealistic level and absorb more exalted intellectual stimuli. [2]

Clearly, this was a case of one of those so-called liberated women at the end of the 19th century chased by medical inquisitors that wanted them ‘sick’ to ‘treat’ them. (Note of 2018: Keep in mind that although I want to restore patriarchy, this must be done in the Aryan way by restoring the Jane Austen world in England for example. On the other hand, this business of pseudo-medical labelling as a previous step to assault healthy brains is a non-Aryan way of doing things.)

Freud also used his position to degrade male adolescents. This comes up from his own writings. In Psychopathology of Everyday Life Freud recounts that a mother asked him to examine her son. Freud noticed a spot in his pants and the adolescent said that an egg had fallen upon him. Freud didn’t swallow the story and talked with the mother in private. He diagnosed that the boy was ‘suffering from the troubles arising from masturbation’.[3] The point of the anecdote, which I owe to Tom Szasz, is that the boy did not suffer absolutely of anything: it was the ignorant mother the one who was preoccupied of the emergent sexuality of her son. But since, contra Hollywood, Freud shared the sexual prejudices of his age, he saw as ‘psychopathological’ something so normal as an adolescent ejaculation. Whether masturbation produced the spot or not, just as Catholics take the child to the confessional, the boy’s ejaculation merited a whole medical ceremony that culminated in a formal diagnosis. This was no lapse by Freud. Throughout his life he shared the 19th-century European hysteria about masturbation: he believed it to be noxious and even called it an ‘addiction’. [4]

Freud not only sided the parents in conflicts with youngsters, but the State as well. I had said that Freud started his career as an electrotherapist, but did not explain that this therapy was a medical torture in disguise used by the Austro-Hungarian Empire government. The German psychiatrist Julius Wagner-Jauregg used painful electrical shocks in the First World War against the fearful youngsters that wanted to abandon the military service. After the war some of the soldiers under this ‘treatment’ in the psychiatric ward of the Vienna General Hospital complained. In 1920, a commission was designated to investigate the charges. The commission asked Freud for his opinion. He defended Wagner-Jauregg and not only that: he insisted on calling ‘patients’ these soldiers and to talk of their fear as ‘illness’. The commission decided in favour of Wagner-Jauregg. Freud never repented about the defence he made of this case. [5]

In comparatively healthier times, the fact of being Jewish prevented Freud to do the career of a psychiatrist: a profession closely related to the State, so he elaborated a sophisticated method, ‘psychoanalysis’. I cannot make a detailed examination of analytic theory but can focus on its most important aspects.

Freud abandoned his own ‘seduction theory’, the discovery that some women that consulted him suffered from memories of having been raped by their fathers. In 1896 Freud wrote an article about the subject, ‘The aetiology of hysteria’, but when he realised that his scandalous revelations only estranged him from his colleagues in Vienna, he turned over his ideology and decided it was better to blame the victims. Freud then labelled these women as ‘hysterical’, and defined hysteria as an occult desire to be seduced. Although incest does indeed occur in some families, this revaluation of his original findings was to be the cornerstone on which Freud built his edifice. For psychoanalysis the year 1897 signals both the abandonment of the seduction theory (if you say that your father molested you…) and the ‘discovery’ of the Oedipus complex (… it means you fancied him).

In the year 1900, at the turn of the century, Freud saw for the first time the girl Ida Bauer, called ‘Dora’ in his writings. Mr K., an industrialist and friend of Dora’s father, had tried to seduce Dora several times, the first one when she was fourteen. When Dora spoke out about the situation her father decided to take her to the physician. The girl did not want to go: she only asked to be kept at a distance from Mr K. But finally she yielded. In a session with Freud, Dora recounted her story: since her father did not help her, perhaps the doctor could vindicate her. Freud listened to her during several sessions and, in contrast to his father, he believed her story. But he did something else. Let us listen to Freud:

You will agree that nothing makes you so angry as having it thought that you merely fancied the scene by the lake [the place of the seduction]. I know now—and this is what you do not want to be reminded of—that you did fancy that Mr K.’s proposals were serious, and that he would not leave off until you had married him. [6]

This is one of the sins that analysts commit. In this very moment one of them is ‘interpreting’ the mind of one of his unwary clients in a way as capricious as this seminal case. After Freud’s interpretation, that she was in love of a man so mature that could be her father, Dora said good-bye to the quack doctor never to come back. Freud retaliated contriving the theory that if someone does not agree with the analyst’s interpretation it is simply due to lack of insight: of not wanting to face one’s own psychological reality. Freud baptised this additional interpretation, elevated to doctrine in psychoanalysis, as resistance. To him this word meant that, once the analyst has made a diagnosis the case is closed, the rest is ‘resistance’:

We must not be led astray by initial denials. If we keep firmly to what we have inferred, we shall in the end conquer every resistance by emphasizing the unshakable nature of our convictions. [7]

What Freud really wanted was that his patients fell in a state of folie à deux with him. Freud not only failed to apologise to Dora for the stupidity he had told her, but elevated his stupid interpretation to the level of science with his literary resources: the essay of Freud on Dora is the most extensive clinic story of the Freudian legacy and the most cited about female ‘hysterics’. Because those in the cult of psychoanalysis consider Freud almost infallible, throughout the decades the Freudians have devoted themselves to continue to defile Dora’s image in their writings—without having met her. Famous analysts such as Ernest Jones, Felix Deutch, Jacques Lacan and even feminists like Toril Moi have expressed themselves with contempt for Dora. In other words, the folie à deux between Freud’s ideas and his followers continues. [8]

By the end of the 19th century, in a letter to his intimate friend Wilhelm Fliess, Freud had confessed that because of his essay on seduction ‘the word has been given out to abandon me and I am isolated’.[9] The isolation was caused by his theory of incest. But the Dora case vindicated him. His new theory of hysteria meant a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn over his previous position. Now Freud had no powerful industrialists like Mr K. as a target, but a helpless girl. Freud’s behaviour was already in line with psychiatry: to side parents, the affluent classes and to oppose its victims. From this perspective, it is no exaggeration to say that psychoanalysis was founded on the betrayal of women and children.

The Dora case and the abandonment of his seduction theory are no lapses of the founder of psychoanalysis. They invalidate two pillars of the Freudian edifice: the notion of hysteria and the famed Oedipus complex. After abandoning his ‘seduction theory’, that is, the discovery of some of his female patients had been victims of incest, Freud did not become interested again in the sorrows of the world. In fact, contra popular views his system has nothing to do with psychological trauma. For example, in all of the vast work of Freud and his disciple Carl Jung, there is no single line critical of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. Jung himself learned his craft in the Burghölzli Hospital of Zurich under the supervision of Eugen Bleuler, the same psychiatrist who invented the word schizophrenia. On occasion Freud played the accomplice of Jung’s penitentiary psychiatry. On 16 May 1908 Freud wrote to Jung:

Enclosed the certificate for Otto Gross. Once you have him, don’t let him out before October, when I shall be able to take charge of him.[10]

This is Mafia. Gross himself was a physician who, ironically, had published that year a letter to the editor objecting the involuntary confinement of a girl by her father. Fortunately on 17 June Gross escaped the Burghölzli. Jung retaliated by labelling him ‘schizophrenic’. Freud accepted the slander with enthusiasm. [11]

 
Siding the witch burners

Like his forerunner Charcot, when discussing the subject of women persecuted by the Inquisition Freud wrote about ‘hysterics’. This is one of the facts that shocked me the most while reading a classic by Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness: Freud and his mentor did not talk of the perpetrators of the Inquisition but diagnosed their victims. In his obituary of Charcot, Freud wrote:

By pronouncing possession by a demon to be the cause of hysterical phenomena, the Middle Ages in fact chose this solution; it would only have been a matter of exchanging the religious terminology of that dark and superstitious age for the scientific language of today.[12]

As Szasz has noted this is an extraordinary claim. Freud acknowledges that the psychoanalytic description of hysteria is merely a semantic revision of the demonological one! [13]

In the 4th century the stigmatising labels of the Christian Newspeak were ‘pagan’ and ‘heretic’. A thousand years later there were no pagans, only heretics; but a new group became the target of stigmatisation: some women, also-called ‘witches’. In 1486 the Dominican theologians Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Krämer published the Malleus Maleficarum, literally The Hammer of the Witches: the ideological source of terror for innumerable women that would last centuries. The number of assassinated women by the Inquisition is unknown, but some estimates yield numbers from a hundred thousand to half a million (the last execution for ‘witchcraft’ performed in 1793 in Poland).

Incredible as it may seem, these victims of crazed Christians are not considered such in the writings of psychiatrists. Following Charcot and Freud they talk of neuro-pathologies referring not to the inquisitors, but to their victims. For instance, for psychiatry historians Franz Alexander and Sheldon Selesnick the fact that these women were tortured and burned by the Inquisition is enough to convert them, not the murderers into objects of medical interest. And what do the psychiatrists say of the inquisitors? Gregory Zilboorg, another psychiatry historian called Sprenger and Krämer ‘two honest Dominicans’.[14] Similar words of admiration can be read in the writings of Jules Masserman, another psychiatrist. Of course, these psychiatrists, as haughty as medieval theologians, diagnose ‘psychopathologies’ centuries later, without having examined any of these women.

I call this ‘Wonderland Logic’ making reference to Lewis Carroll’s tale: the surrealism of accusing the victim and not the perpetrators. In the psychiatric Wonderland, almost every psychiatrist believes in these official histories of psychiatry. Fortunately, for historians who are not psychiatrists like Hugh Trevor-Roper the witch-hunt was by all means a paranoiac enterprise of the Church; after the Enlightenment there is no excuse to see in other way this chapter of history.

Freud’s semantic ‘hysterical’ revision over the demonological speaks of his virtual lack of morals and compassion. It is no surprise that a fellow who labels as ‘hysterical’ a victim of religious fanatics had treated patients the way he did.

__________

[1] Ernest Jones quoting Sigmund Freud in Thomas Szasz, The myth of mental illness (Harper & Row, 1974), p. 153.

[2] Quoted in Against therapy (op. cit.), p. 82.

[3] The manufacture of madness, p. 195.

[4] Ibid., pp. 194-196.

[5] The myth of psychotherapy (op. cit.) has a chapter about electrotherapy and Freud.

[6] Against therapy, p. 95.

[7] Quoted in Paul Gray, ‘The assault on Freud’ (Time, 29 November 1993), p. 33.

[8] Against therapy, pp. 108-113. In his book, Masson devotes a whole chapter to the story of Dora.

[9] Ibid., p. 104.

[10] Anti-Freud, pp. 135f (footnote).

[11] Ibid., p. 136.

[xii] The manufacture of madness, p. 73.

[13] Ibid.

[14] The position of Charcot, Freud, Zilboorg and the other psychiatrists on the Inquisition appears in The manufacture of madness, pp. 73-81 esp., and in Szasz’s The myth of mental illness (Harper and Row, 1974), chapter 8.

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A ‘disease’ whose lesion no one can see

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. I wrote most of the below text in the last century:
 

In his Occidental Dissent article about yesterday’s California bar shooting, the author wrote:

Take a young man, send him to fight in some God-forsaken Third-World pit inhabited by primitive Brown people, let him watch his buddies get their arms and legs blown off, dump him back in a homeland devoid of true healing religion, a unified culture, and basic healthcare, and you’ve essentially created a ticking time bomb.

Add in experimental drugs that certain (((doctors))) like to prescribe without knowing or caring about side effects, and the situation only grows worse.

So true.

With the Helfgott case I have outlined the model of trauma. Now, I will say something about the so-called medical model of mental disorders.

It is elemental that there can be no medical treatment without a biomedical disease. However, in contrast with true brain diseases such as tumors, multiple sclerosis, meningitis, epilepsy or neurosyphilis, after more than a century of bio-reductionist psychiatry no one has been able to demonstrate that the ‘diseases’ the psychiatrists diagnose are related to brain lesions. Thus by an act of faith and a diametrically opposed logic to jurisprudence, the psychiatrists supposed that the people under their charge were ill (‘guilty’) until proven healthy. Just as the pseudoscience of parapsychology that started about the same time as modern psychiatry, and which after more than a hundred years has not been able to demonstrate the paranormal, the psychiatrists believed it was simply a matter of time for the cellular pathology of the mysterious disease ‘schizophrenia’ to be discovered. (Likewise, the parapsychologists have been running after the mirage that sooner or later they will demonstrate the reality of ESP and psychokinesis.) [1] Thomas Szasz’s words are decisive on this point:

The gist of my argument is that men like Kraepelin, Bleuler and Freud [who defined modern psychiatry and psychotherapy] were not what they claimed or seem to be—namely, physicians or medical investigators; they were, in fact, religious-political leaders and conquerors. Instead of discovering new diseases, they extended, through psychiatry, the imagery, vocabulary, jurisdiction, and hence the territory of medicine to what they were not, and are not, diseases in the original Virchowian sense.

Actually, given the Virchowian criteria of disease [cell pathology], I do not believe that Kraepelin, Bleuler, or the other psychiatrists of that period could have assumed such a role, and gotten away with it. The reason is simple. They would have had to conclude that most of the ‘patients’ in their hospitals were not sick; at least, they could not have found anything demonstrably wrong with the anatomical structure or physiological functioning of their bodies. [2]

On these premises Szasz’s verdict is that:

No one is so blind as the person who does not want to see. Many people did not want to see in the past, and do not want to see now, the naked facts of psychiatry—namely, that psychiatrists diagnose diseases without lesions, and treat patients without rights.

This, then, was the fateful point of departure in the origin of modern psychiatry: the invention of the alleged disease ‘schizophrenia’—a disease whose lesion no one could see, and which ‘afflicted’ persons in such a way that often they wanted nothing more than not to be patients. [3]

Despite the misinforming publicity in the media promoted by the pharmaceutical companies, no one has seen anomalies in the brains of those labeled with that word, so much so that the psychiatric concept ‘schizophrenia’ has a bad reputation among some neurologists (the renowned journals of neurology do not publish bio-reductionist papers about ‘schizophrenia’). [4] Furthermore, it is fascinating to notice that, for many years, in the DSM the very American Psychiatric Association excluded the organic conditions as responsible for what they call schizophrenia. For instance, in the published revision of 1987, DSM-IIIR, the manual says that such diagnosis ‘is made only when it cannot be established that an organic factor initiated and maintained the disturbance’. [5] If they recognise that organic causes have not been found, how do these shrinks dare to tell their clients that the condition is due to chemical imbalances in the brain? What kind of schizophrenia do these professionals suffer from?

Perhaps the explanation of their divided mind can be found in the following fact. It was not until the DSM-IV edition of 1994 that the honest passage (‘it cannot be established that an organic factor…’) was censured from the former version. Psychiatrist Fuller Torrey recognises that the censorship could have been due to ‘the prevailing psychoanalytic and family interaction theories of schizophrenia’. [6] Another explanation is that if psychiatrists did not take bio-reductionism dogmatically and made common cause with the victims they listen in their offices, their drug prescribing enterprise in just a ten-minute consultation could go out of business—and that is something they cannot afford. As Laing said, economics controls politics.

It controls science too, or rather the political pseudoscience in the universities. If the medical model persists it is because it provides an unending field of pseudoscientific research for psychiatric drugs that generate billions of dollars. It is that simple. This ‘research’ has persisted since psychiatrists decided that the people under their charge were ill, and it will proceed because the biological causes of madness do not exist. It is exactly what is happening in parapsychology: both parapsychology and biological psychiatry unceasingly run after a mirage. (It is worth saying that Eugen Bleuler, who coined the word ‘schizophrenia’, was a staunch advocate of spiritualist phenomena in his time.) [7]

It seems incredible that the so-called professionals in mental disorders are capable of self-deception of this magnitude, but just to show that besides Szasz there is a new generation of psychiatrists that have realised how medical students are being deceived, I will quote Colin Ross again:

When I entered my psychiatry residency, I believed that research had demonstrated the genetic foundation of schizophrenia and had shown that schizophrenia is primarily a biomedical brain disease. This view was almost universally accepted at my medical school, and I never heard serious criticism of it while in training. It was by a gradual process that I began to become more and more aware of the cognitive errors pervading clinical psychiatry […]. I also saw how badly biological psychiatrists want to be regarded as doctors, and accepted by the rest of the medical profession. In their desire to be accepted as real clinical scientists, these psychiatrists were building far too dogmatic an edifice on a very meager scientific foundation […].

One of the most disturbing effects of the errors of logic in biological psychiatry I witnessed in ten years as a resident and academic psychiatrist, from 1981 to 1991, was their influence in medical students. Already intensively socialized into biomedical reductionism by the time they arrived on the psychiatry wards, many medical students accepted the folklore and logical errors of biological psychiatry as a scientific fact. I would hear them parroting the teaching that psychiatry has become more scientific recently, has many effective drugs, has demonstrated the genetic foundation of schizophrenia, and is moving ever forward into more specific psycho-pharmacology. The problem was not that all these propositions were completely false; rather, it was the uncritical acceptance of the dogma that alarmed me. [8]

This passage is from Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry. In another chapter of this book Ross criticises one by one several bio-reductionist articles of the AJP (American Journal of Psychiatry), the official organ of information of American psychiatry. It is unnecessary to quote the rebuttals to the theories of the medical model of ‘schizophrenia’: studies on monozygotic twins, the dopamine hypothesis, the subjects’ response to psycho-pharmacology, etc. Those interested in the rebuttals can review the writings of Ross and especially Peter Breggin’s journal. [9] Suffice it to quote Ross’ final words about the AJP:

This completes a detailed analysis of pseudoscience in the American Journal of Psychiatry from 1990 to 1993. The January 1994 issue of the Journal indicates that logical errors and bio-reductionist ideology will continue to dominate psychiatry for some time. A similar analysis could not be made of a leading journal in a truly scientific field. [10]

In the market world, the advertising that drug companies sell to the media is taken as real science. This advertising, which ignores the biographies of persons like those of the California shooter, is precisely the same of the medical students who parrot that psychiatry has demonstrated the biologic foundation of schizophrenia, depression and other mental disorders. The impression on the public of these supposed medical advances has been created by the incessant repetition of these psychiatric slogans in the media.

________

[1] A splendid book of how for more than a century parapsychologists have been chasing a mirage is Leaps of faith: science, miracles, and the search for supernatural consolation by Nicholas Humphrey (Basic Books, 1996).

[2] Thomas Szasz, Schizophrenia: the sacred symbol of psychiatry (Oxford University Press, 1979), pp. 35 & 21.

[3] Ibid., pp. 42f.

[4] Neurology (the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology), Journal of Neurology (European Neurological Society), Journal of Neurological Sciences (International Federation of Neurology), Journal of Neuroradiology and Archives of Neurology.

[5] Quoted in Lawrence Stevens, Schizophrenia: a nonexistent disease (www.antipsychiatry.org). The page of the DSM-IIIR is 187.

[6] E. Fuller Torrey, Surviving schizophrenia: a family manual (Harper & Row, 1988), p. 149.

[7] George Windholz, ‘Bleuler’s view on the inheritance of acquired characteristics and on psi phenomena’ in Skeptical Inquirer (Spring, 1994), pp. 273-279.

[8] Colin Ross, ‘Errors of logic in biological psychiatry’ in Colin Ross and Alvin Pam (eds.), Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry: blaming the body (Wiley & Sons, 1995), pp. 85-87.

[9] Pam and Ross convincingly refute the biological theories of schizophrenia in chapters 1 and 2 of the book cited in the previous note; Peter Breggin in chapter 5 of Toxic psychiatry (op. cit.) and more academically in his scholarly journal. In addition to the mental institution with his name, Ross has been a contractor of psychopharmaceutical companies; he has been called to participate in neuroleptic trials, and continues to publish in the AJP: his credentials as a psychiatrist are impeccable. The books of veteran critic, Tom Szasz, who already has forty years fighting against psychiatric barbarities, are also useful to approach the subject of this inquisitorial pseudoscience.

[10] Colin Ross, ‘Pseudoscience in the American Journal of Psychiatry’ in Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry, p. 191.

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Abusive parents and psychiatrists: a criminal association

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of my books:
 
 

Modern psychiatry pushes us in one direction—toward blaming the victim and exonerating the adult authorities. It’s the easy way out for all of the adults, including the child abuser; but it’s a disaster for the child.

—Peter Breggin [1]

The biggest surprise I ran across while reading Thomas Szasz and Jeffrey Masson was the discovery that, since its beginnings, psychiatry has sided parents during conflicts with their children; and it has sided them independently of the moral or sanity of the parents. In the 17th century the admission regulations to two French insane asylums for minors stipulated that:

Children of artisans and other poor inhabitants of Paris up to the age of twenty-five, who used their parents badly or who refused to work through laziness, or, in the case of girls, who were debauched or in evident danger of being debauched, should be shut up, the boys in the Bicêtre, the girls in the Salpêtrière. This action was to be taken on the complaint of the parents. [2]

In the same way, in the 18th century parents could appeal to the king for the purpose of, by means of a lettre de cachet confining a rebel child in the Bastille. [3]

In the 19th century the same situation shows up in America. In 1865 the Boston Times Messenger described the McLean Hospital as a ‘Bastille for the incarceration of some persons obnoxious to their relatives’. [4]

This bizarre history could be comprehended if we see psychiatry from an unfamiliar viewpoint: not as psychiatry presents itself, an objective science, but as an extralegal system of penalties which, since its origins, has allied itself with the status quo. And this doesn’t refer only to the alliance of psychiatrists with parents, but with husbands in other times. In America’s 1850s, for instance, Illinois commitment statute indicated:

Married women… may be entered or detained in the hospital (the state asylum of Jacksonville) at the request of the husband of the woman… without evidence of insanity required in other cases [my italics]. [5]

In the 20th century psychiatry gained even more power and influence in Western civilization. It converted itself into a big psycho-pharmaceutical industry, which acts within the tough arena of the market and the laws of supply and demand.

The key word is demand. When family problems arise the parents, and only the parents, have the economic means to hire professionals. Thus, from its origins it has been very convenient for these professionals to see family problems as medical problems, and they have deceived themselves to see such problems that way. Paediatrician Robert Mendelssohn observed: ‘teens are Big Business for psychiatrists’.[6] Psychiatry is not oriented to defend teenagers during family problems. That would put psychiatrists in conflict with the parents, the source of income of the psychiatrist. Paul Fink, president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), put it bluntly: ‘It is the task of APA to protect the earning power of psychiatrists’.[7]

That psychiatrists have played the role of lawyers for the parents and the status quo can be seen with extraordinary transparency when studying the psychiatric labels in the 18th and 19th centuries. A few examples will illustrate this point.

When slavery was legal in the United States, Dr. Samuel Cartwright discovered that slaves who ran away from their masters suffered from drapetomania, a disease that only afflicted blacks who had ‘an insane desire to run away from their owners’.[8] Other blacks suffered from the medical disease dyasthesia Aethiopica, which pathological symptom was ‘paying no attention to property’. Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry also discovered various nervous diseases. He called one of them anarchia, and defined it as ‘the excess passion for liberty’. At present Rush’s portrait continues to deck out the official seal of the American Psychiatric Association.

In 19th century-Europe the situation was no better. Women who didn’t comply with the role assigned to them were labelled folie lucide in France and moral insanity in England and its equivalent labels in Switzerland and Germany. Many were confined in insane asylums prompted by their husbands, fathers or brothers. Indeed, in the 19th century women were the main targets of organised psychiatry (just as in the 20th and the 21st centuries children and teenagers are once more the main target). Jeffrey Masson disclosed testimonies of some of the victims of these mercenary inquisitors: women that managed to escape the asylums and exposed both their families and the psychiatrists. One of these, Hersilie Rouy, committed as a result of a dispute with her brother, testifies in a book published in 1883 in Paris that:

For fourteen years I have lived under incarceration that cut me off from the real world, took away my civil rights, deprived me of my name, took away everything I owned, destroyed my entire existence without even being able to say why. [9]

Incidentally, I am not using these examples to promote feminism or anti-slavery for American blacks. I believe in patriarchy—but in a patriarchal society not based on the pseudoscientific claim that the liberated women in the 19th century suffered from a biomedical disease and that therefore should be ‘treated’ by MDs. This is analogous to the pseudoscientific claim in our century that boys who don’t pay due attention in the traditional school system have a brain disease that must be treated with Ritalin. The same could be said about runaway black slaves: punish them if you want but do not invent spurious diseases. Otherwise, such pseudoscientific diagnoses and empowering of the medical profession beyond its limits will metastasise into the white community with dire consequences.

Another piece of information that shocked me while reading Masson and Szasz was that since those times there has not only been an association between abusive parents and husbands with psychiatrists, but another alliance between psychiatrists and the state. For instance, after escaping and publishing her book Rouy appealed the French Ministry of Justice. Yet the ministry sided the psychiatrists:

Our doctor who knows more about it than we do has the conviction that she is mad and we bow before his infallible science. [10]

The case of Hersilie Rouy was not the only one that Masson disclosed in his investigations, but the pattern is very similar: young women perfectly sane diagnosed as suffering from ‘moral insanity’ in spite of the fact that the doctors acknowledged that there wasn’t anything wrong with their intellects. This is why the condition was named folie lucide in France (literally, lucid madness).

Another curious psychiatric label for unmarried ladies of the high society that had fiancés of lower status—and here I cannot help reminding the film Titanic—was nymphomania.[11] In some cases these ladies were confined in their bloom of youth to be liberated old to homes for the aged. Following next I quote an excerpt from a letter of Dr. Massini to Dr. Binswanger to confine Julie La Roche to an insane asylum in Switzerland:

In mid-January she ran off from there, supposedly with her brother, but in fact with the adventurer von Smirnoff, and suddenly appeared in Basel, presenting him as her fiancé. Here of course the relationship was nor approved…

All of this leads me to conclude that Miss La Roche, who is otherwise a thoroughly lovable girl, is heading toward ‘moral insanity’, which makes medical supervision advisable… She will surely attempt to escape, perhaps at the least pretend to commit suicide. It will therefore be necessary to put her in charge of incorruptible guards who will watch over her very closely… I do not believe that Mr. La Roche ever mistreated his daughter. [12]

It could be thought that these are relics of a barbarian psychiatric past already surpassed that have nothing to do with our civilised age. This was La Roche’s testimony:

My father abused me in a terrible manner… after he had thrown a sharp object at my head with such force that my face was covered with blood, to which a deep wound testified. There are witnesses to all these events.

One day in Saarburg, where we returned after our marriage [with von Smirnoff], and where I had to remain in bed, we were surprised by the police and then by my father. Though sick, I was dragged off through storm and rain by Mr. La Roche [her father]. My marriage certificate, everything was in vain. With court transportation, I was taken to Kreuzlingen, which is a private insane asylum (as can be ascertained by looking it up in any directory). There, on the first day, I was diagnosed as melancholic and insane.[13]

Like Hersilie Rouy, La Roche managed to escape. Thanks to this she left us her testimony, originally published in the Swiss newspaper Thurgauer Tagblatt. And just as the Rouy case, the united psychiatrists faced the exposé. Julie La Roche never was vindicated before society. On the contrary: the newspaper where her testimony appeared had to publish a shameful recantation stating that La Roche suffered, in effect, from moral insanity.[14]

The labels of the 19th century were not always invented to cause stigma on second-class citizens, sometimes they were invented to avoid stigma in the favoured classes. For instance, when a daughter of a high-born family stole something and was arrested, a psychiatrist was asked to diagnose that the poor girl suffered from kleptomania, an illness which symptom was an uncontrollable compulsion to steal.[15] Thus the law was outwitted and the spoiled daughter could return home. But like the stigmatising labels, it’s notorious to see how authorities used to go into open-handed complicity with psychiatrists to avoid, or to cause, social stigma.

These diagnoses—‘drapetomania’, ‘dyasthesia Aethiopica’ and ‘anarchia’ for blacks (anarchia, the disease invented by the father of American psychiatry was applied for whites as well), and ‘folie lucide’, ‘nymphomania’ and ‘kleptomania’ for women—seem ludicrous nowadays. Values have changed so much that the essentially political character of the labels and the role of psychiatrists as agents of the system and the affluent classes is visible from every point of view.

However, regardless of the obscure technicalities of present-day labels, which makes more difficult for the layman to detect the trick, the situation at present continues to be basically the same. The concealed objective of psychiatry has always been control, especially control of the most vulnerable members in society. That this policy persisted in the 20th century can be heard from the cynical statements of Francis Braceland, who was president of the American Psychiatric Association during the hippie movement in the 1960s:

It is a feature of some illnesses that people do not have insight into the fact that they are sick. In short, sometimes it is necessary to protect them for a while from themselves… If a man brings his daughter to me from California because she is in manifest danger of falling into vice or in some way disgracing herself, he doesn’t expect me to let her loose in my hometown for that same thing to happen. [16]

I could not say it more plainly. Notice how the thoughtpolice have not changed since the 17th century when they sent these ‘daughters in danger of falling into vice’ to the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. Again, I am not against disciplining a spoiled brat. I only take issue with the immense danger of inventing pseudoscientific diseases that the medical profession should treat as if they were ‘illnesses’, often against the will of the ‘patient’.

Something similar could even be said about quite a few cases diagnosed as ‘schizophrenia’. Below, a quotation from the brochure Schizophrenia published in 1998 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the National Schizophrenia Fellowship of England:

How do families react if a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister develops schizophrenia and becomes odd and unpredictable? They may regard the change in behaviour as rebellious, perverse and unacceptable without at first realising that it is due to mental illness. [17]

This brochure, destined to the masses, expresses more clearly the behavioural criterion for schizophrenia than the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM, the ‘Bible’, so to speak, of the psychiatrists.[18] The brochure does not ask how the adolescent sees his parents. It does not ask, for instance, ‘Is your mother so reluctant to her “psychological childbirth” that she treats you like a little boy?’ ‘Is she possessive, tyrannical and harass you often?’ Or ‘Is your father a passive fellow who always obeys your mom?’

Psychiatrists would never do a brochure for youngsters who cannot remunerate them. Those who wrote the brochure, the official psychiatric associations in England, have had ears exclusively for what the parents say, who are euphemistically called ‘the family’. It doesn’t even occur to them that the adult child’s version exists, or that his or her rebelliousness may be justified. The equation: rebellious, perverse, unacceptable is schizophrenic reminds me that during Brezhnev’s ruling the political dissident’s rebelliousness, an unacceptable perversity for Russian authorities, was officially considered a symptom of schizophrenia.[19]

The English brochure is most perverse when advocating the idea that ‘they may regard the change in behaviour as rebellious without at first realising that it is due to mental illness’. In other words, adolescent rebellion is, by definition of the most reputable associations of English psychiatry, an illness, schizophrenia or schizoidism; the feminist liberation of the 19th century was an illness, moral insanity; the anxiety of the black slave to escape was an illness, drapetomania. All these illnesses require medical intervention, which frequently ends up in incarceration without legal trial. The same brochure says:

People with schizophrenia do not always realise they are ill and may refuse treatment when they badly need it. In these circumstances, the Mental Health Act in England and Wales [enacted in 1983] and similar legal arrangements in other countries, permit compulsory admission to hospital. [20]

Take notice that this is a brochure published in 1998, and that they gave it to me in 1999 in a ‘mental health’ course in England’s Open University.

In essence, psychiatry has not changed since the 19th century, only the social values have changed. Psychiatrists have behaved, and continue to behave, as agents of the current status quo: be it slave-owners at the south of the United States, bourgeois parents that abhor the plebeian affairs of their liberated daughters, or harassing mothers that do not tolerate any rebelliousness in their children.

More direct evidence that an alliance exists between parents and psychiatrists, an alliance not declared to the public, has been exposed by a man who defrocked himself from the lucrative profession of psychoanalysis and that I have already quoted: Masson. In Final analysis he says:

‘When a child manifests gross pathology…’ these words startled me into consciousness. They were enunciated, for emphasis, very slowly, and in a booming voice. There could be no doubt about it, the department chairman was a fine orator. He had acted on the stage. His voice, his urban wit, his friendliness, his poise, his great knowledge of literature were all admirable. He laughed a great deal. He liked to make jokes. You had to like him.

But you did not have to like what he said. And I did not. What was it to ‘manifest gross pathology’? In this case, an eight-year-old boy was the ‘identified’ patient. The word ‘identified’ was a popular and venerable psychiatric term. He had been ‘identified’ as the patient by his mother and father, simply because he was not doing well at school, he had few friends, and he was a ‘problem’ at home. How was this, I wondered at the time, ‘gross pathology’? Where was I? I was at grand rounds.[21]

‘Grand rounds’ was the visit of psychiatric wards in the city of Toronto during Masson’s training for an analyst. The hospital staff met and a senior psychiatrist presented a case of one of the hospitalised ‘patients’. As Masson observed, this was humiliating for the patient:

It soon became apparent that every presentation of therapy was only good as the intellect and heart of the presenter. You did not, you could not, learn about the patient, but you learned plenty about the presenter… So here was a department chairman talking about still another ‘patient’, Jill, nineteen, ‘who was admitted to the hospital with a schizophrenic psychotic decompensation’.[22]

The department chairman who presented these cases was a respected psychiatrist who believed in electroshock. Masson continues:

How did we know, for example, that somebody was ‘sick’? It was simple: they were brought to the hospital. The chairman made it clear that a person who had been ‘identified’ as a patient by the family, was, in fact, disturbed in a psychiatric way. People apparently did not err when it came to making these kinds of home diagnoses. Thus, he told us, speaking of the ‘maladjusted’ (a medical term?) child, that we should accept

that the ‘identified’ patient is ‘sicker’ than the others. A study by S. Wolff (in the British Journal of Psychiatry) lends support to the family’s identification of its most disturbed member as the ‘sick one’…

To me, this was suspiciously convenient for the psychiatrist. What gave the psychiatric community this power? [23]

Who gives psychiatry these inquisitorial powers against children and teenagers? Society and its laws, of course; the state, our very culture! (Remember the epigraph of this book, ‘To commit violent and unjust acts, it is not enough for a government to have the will or even the power; the habits, ideas and passions of the time must lend themselves to their committal’, wrote Alexis de Tocqueville.) Masson is the only former analyst of the world that has dared to expose in his writings what happens in the ‘indoctrination process’ of this ‘semi-secret society’ as he calls the formation of psychoanalysts.

Another piece of evidence that there exist a criminal association of parents and psychiatrists is suggested by the fact that American psychiatry, represented by the American Psychiatric Association, has entered a collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI is formed by parents that, like Julie La Roche’s father, want to undertake psychiatric action against their offspring. NAMI’s position has been so extreme that it has even come to harass those psychiatrists who are not practitioners of the bioreductionist faith. [24]

It’s important to know that this alliance between tyrannical parents and psychiatrists is a very old story, and that it continues without serious challenge in our societies.

________

[1] Peter Breggin, Toxic psychiatry: why therapy, empathy and love must replace the drugs, electroshock, and biochemical theories of the ‘new psychiatry’ (St. Martin’s Press, 1994), pp. 269 & 315.

[2] Quoted in Thomas Szasz, The manufacture of madness: a comparative study of the Inquisition and the mental health movement (Syracuse University Press, 1997), p. 14.

[3] Ibid., pp. 48f.

[4] Ibid., 308.

[5] Ibid., p. 307.

[6] Toxic psychiatry (op. cit.), p. 298.

[7] Ibid., p. 360.

[8] This, and the following diagnoses, appear in Mind games (op. cit.), p. 105.

[9] Quoted in Jeffrey Masson, Against therapy: emotional tyranny and the myth of psychological healing (Harper Collins, 1997), p. 57. The alliance between parents and psychiatrists is exposed in chapters 1, 5 and 6 esp.

[10] Ibid., p. 60.

[11] Roger Gomm, ‘Reversing deviance’ in Tom Heller (ed.) Mental health matters (The Open University, 1996), p. 80.

[12] Against therapy, pp. 70f.

[13] Ibid., pp. 72f.

[14] Ibid., p. 76.

[15] Mental health matters, p. 80.

[16] Quoted in The manufacture of madness, pp. 46f.

[17] Schizophrenia (National Schizophrenia Fellowship & Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1998), p. 12.

[18] Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition, DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

[19] Thomas Szasz, The therapeutic state (Prometheus Books, 1984), p. 223.

[20] Schizophrenia, op. cit., p. 9.

[21] Jeffrey Masson, Final analysis: the making and unmaking of a psychoanalyst (Harper Collins, 1991), pp. 48f.

[22] Ibid., pp. 50f.

[23] Ibid., p. 51.

[24] Toxic psychiatry, pp. 425f.

From the Great Confinement of Louis XIV of France to a Chemical Gulag (part 5)

Faced with a multi-billion dollar business that has subtly bought the doctors, universities and the media, it is virtually impossible for the civil society to see what is happening. Just as in Heinroth’s time political actions were covered up in medical garb when the ideals of the Revolution were in the air, after the rebellion of the 1960s psychiatry reacted by covering itself more and more with the clothes of hard science, the paradigm of our days. In 1999 Professor Leonard Duhl of the University of California defined mental illness and poverty in the most perfect sense of the ideologists of the Great Confinement of the 17th century: ‘the inability to command events that affect one’s life’.[31]

The consolidation and enlargement of the psychiatric power continues in the 21st century. The tenfold increase in the use of neuroleptics in minors since the mid-1990s to the first five years of the new century, which is done with the publicity stunt that they are ‘at risk’, shows the cynicism of this marketing design.

Heinroth was a great visionary. He foresaw that drugs could be the prisons of the future. Although the neuroleptics had not been invented, Heinroth already spoke of ‘pharmaceutical means of restriction’ and ‘restrictive surgical means’, anticipating the lobotomy that Moniz would develop a century later.

Since the regulations that would define the policies of the psychiatrists were enacted in the 19th century, the expansion of the chemical Gulag meant that long-term involuntary hospitalization changed to long-term voluntary (or involuntary) drug addiction. Psychiatrists, of course, would say things differently. They say that in the treatment of mental illnesses the most outstanding event of the 20th century was the capability to synthesise these substances in laboratories. But this is one of the allegations of scientific progress that, analysed closely, is discovered fallacious.

In psychopharmacology there are no biographies of John, Peter or Mary when they are prescribed neuroleptics, neither when they are prescribed antidepressants, when stimulants are prescribed, or when tranquilizers are prescribed. There are no people in biological psychiatry, or biologicistic psychiatry as I prefer to call it, only biochemical radicals that have to be normalized by other chemical substances. In an age that seeks easy solutions to the problems of the world, it is not necessary to delve into the past. Just calculate the dose of ‘happy pills’, be it Prozac or any other.

This also happens with the abuse of illegal drugs and the only difference is that the psychotropic drugs are legal. Approximately thirty million people have taken Prozac (fluoxetine), a drug that Newsweek has advertised with cover articles. The situation points more and more to the scenes of Brave New World of Aldous Huxley where, at the request of the State, every citizen consumed the drug called soma.

(First edition in the United Kingdom of Huxley’s famous novel.) In the medical profession the environmental factors that prick our souls have disappeared from the map. If the philosophy of the biologicistic psychiatrists is right, all our passions, traumas and conflicts, loves and fears, are not the result of our desires in conflict with the external world, but of the swings of small polypeptides in our bodies that are transformed into despair.

In the preface to some editions of the DSM it is said that the future will completely erase the ‘unfortunate’ distinction between the popular concept of mental disorder and physical illness. On January 1, 1990, California became the first American state to accept the main dogma in psychiatry: that mental disorders are, in reality, diseases originating in brain dysfunctions. For example, it is claimed that a high dopamine causes madness, and a low serotonin, depression. (This reminds me that for Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry, insanity was caused by low blood circulation in the head.) But in real neurological science the dopamine and serotonin claims have been debunked.[32]

Bioreductionist psychiatry is anything that sees supposed biological abnormalities in the body rather traumatic events in the family or the environment. It is like studying trauma not as a reaction to an outrageous act, say, the incestuous rape of Dora [mentioned in the online book], but rather studying the temporal lobe of the raped girl, where the treatment is headed. The drugs, or the hammer of the electroshock, are the result of the medical axiom: ‘He who only knows how to use the hammer treats all things as if they were nails’.

I am not caricaturising the profession. In November 2002 I had a long discussion with Dr. Miguel Pérez de la Mora, an experimental cell physiology physician of the Department of Biophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and director of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. In the discussion with Pérez de la Mora I was struck by the fact that, when I mentioned the mental state of the inmates in the concentration camps, my contender immediately jumped to the subject of the amygdala and the anxiety that he studied in his laboratory: an anxiety understood in a strictly biological way.

In our surreal discussion, I took a long time to make the obvious point to the doctor: that the cause of the mental stress of the inmates were the brutalities in the camps. But even granted this point Pérez de la Mora added—without laboratory tests—that only those inmates in the fields who presumably had a genetic predisposition could have been the ones who became upset. For this neurologist and his colleagues, the concentration camps were a mere ‘trigger mechanism’ for the disorder of a prisoner whose biology, presumably, was already defective!

I must clarify the concept of ‘trigger mechanism’ of a supposed latent mental disorder.

This is one of the main mantras of the psychiatrist, and exemplifies what I have called bioreductionism. For the bioreductionist, the human rights and psychological trauma are located in the background, and the only thing that matters is the genome project and the search for the ‘gene’ responsible for the disorder (or another strictly biological line).

The specialty of Pérez de la Mora is studying anxiety disorders in the laboratories of the UNAM, and during our discussion he confessed that the firm that manufactures the psychiatric drug Valium had financed his research. I pointed to Pérez de la Mora that a research financed by the same drug companies produces results with a clear biological bias. The eminent scientist told me that researchers rarely sell themselves to companies.

The reality is that the way that the pharmaceutical multinationals buy the scientists is infinitely subtler than direct bribery. Roche, which manufactures Valium, simply finances professionals who postulate biological hypotheses, and no other. Never Roche or the competition would give us a penny to those who investigate psychological trauma. Our line of research is a proposal that requires social engineering and changes in the nuclear family to avoid mistreatment of the children. But in our world nobody wants to finance the researcher who puts the parents in the dock.

For example, no institution funded the research to write this online book. On the other hand, the medical model promotes the drugging of the abused child without changing the parental mistreatment that caused the mental distress in the first place. Only in this way does the field enjoy the approval of society. If the anxiety that Perez de la Mora studies, or panic, depression, addictions, phobias, mania, obsessions and compulsions are the result of an abnormal biology, the human and existential content that has caused these experiences becomes irrelevant.

The thinking of our time is being confined to a one-dimensional world as far as mental health is concerned. Bioreductionism, the ideology of the medical doctors with blinders that do not want to see the social sides, is a doctrine whose conceptual frame is quite simple: determinism and reductionism (‘Your biology is your destiny’). But as psychiatrists present this doctrine to us with all its scientific sophistication, the matter apparently is complicated. The following Szaszian analogy illustrates how simple, at the bottom, biopsychiatry is.

The primitive witch-doctor, who tried to understand Nature in human terms, treated objects as agents: a position known as animism. The modern witch-doctor, who tries to understand the subjectivity of man in terms of Nature, treats agents as objects: a position known as bioreductionism. Primitive man has been demystified in our scientific era. Who will demystify psychiatry doctors?

There is a small group of thinkers who can do it: those who know how to distinguish between good and bogus science.

____________

[31] Leonard Duhl, quoted in Szasz: Pharmacracy, p. 95.

[32] See Valenstein, Blaming the Brain.

______ 卐 ______

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Published in: on August 23, 2018 at 10:06 pm  Comments (6)