"Many of us can never forget the injustice of being locked up against our will when we had committed no crime, often on the basis of nothing but a lie by a family member, and then forced to submit to terrifying and damaging "treatment"...typical of the practice of psychiatry today, which is increasingly biological, and yet not based on science. ... What do I do with this horrible knowledge? Should I try to put it behind me—and how would that be possible? If it were, did I even want to? What responsibility did I have to those who came after me, those being deceived into signing up for brain damage? Was I the kind of person who could walk away from that responsibility, or was I not? If I knew of such injustice and did nothing, how would I live with myself? ... Another accidental [antipsychiatry] activist was born." Linda Andre in her book Doctors of Deception—What They Don't Want You to Know About Shock Treatment (Rutgers University Press 2009, pp. 15 & 165)
Mark Twain once said "Truth is mighty and will prevail. There's nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so." The continued existence of psychiatry is an example of how right Mark Twain was.
The Wikipedia article titled "Anti-psychiatry" (accessed October 11, 2012, since modified) said "Anti-psychiatry is a configuration of groups and theoretical constructs that emerged in the 1960s..." Actually, antipsychiatry efforts date from at least 1774 with the publication of Samuel Bruckshaw's book One more proof of the iniquitous abuse of private madhouses. In 1838, John Thomas Perceval published his autobiographical book about his experience of being placed against his will in an insane asylum 1831 through 1832 in England, which he calls a "system of downright oppression" ("A Lunatic's Protest" in The Age of Madness, edited by Thomas Szasz, Anchor Books 1973, p. 29 at 32). In the 1860s Mrs. Elizabeth Packard was involuntarily committed to an insane asylum by her husband and later was successful in persuading Illinois state legislators to provide all persons with a right to a public hearing to determine the appropriateness of involuntary commitment to such an asylum, and today Illinois is one of the states where there is a right to trial by jury in civil commitment for supposed mental illness. In 1887 Nellie Bly published her exposé (see The Myth of Psychiatric Diagnosis).
The antipsychiatry movement got a boost in 1961 when psychiatry professor Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., published his book The Myth of Mental Illness questioning the central concept in psychiatry. In the half-century since Dr. Szasz has written many other books and many articles debunking the concept of mental illness and condemning the use of this concept to violate human rights. Among his books I have read are The Myth of Mental Illness (1961), Law, Liberty and Psychiatry (1963), The Manufacture of Madness (1970), Ideology and Insanity: Essays on the Psychiatric Dehumanization of Man (1970), The Second Sin (1973), Schizophrenia—The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry (1976, republished in 1988), Psychiatric Slavery (1977), Liberation by Oppression: A Comparative Study of Slavery and Psychiatry (2003), Psychiatry: The Science of Lies (2008), Antipsychiatry—Quackery Squared (2009), and Suicide Prohibition—The Shame of Medicine (2011).
In 1979, another psychiatrist, Peter R. Breggin, M.D., began a long career debunking claims of benefit of any of psychiatry's biological "therapies" in a series of books and articles. I've read ten (10) of Dr. Breggin's books: Electroshock—It's Brain Disabling Effects (1979), Psychiatric Drugs—Hazards to the Brain (1983), Toxic Psychiatry (1991), Talking Back to Prozac (1994), Your Drug May Be Your Problem (1999), Reclaiming Our Children (2000), The Antidepressant Fact Book (2001), The Heart of Being Helpful (2006), Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Second Edition (2008), and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (2012).
In 1969, Ron Leifer, M.D., another psychiatrist, published his book In the Name of Mental Heath: The Social Functions of Psychiatry (Science House) in which he says the concept of mental illness is invalid and that involuntary psychiatric treatment violates the principle of rule of law.
In 1973, Stanford University psychology professor Daniel Rosenhan got widespread attention after publication of his article "On Being Sane in Insane Places" in Science magazine, showing psychiatrists cannot distinguish the sane from the insane and that what happens in psychiatric hospitals is harmful to patients, not therapeutic as psychiatry supporters claim ("On Being Sane in Insane Places", Science Vol. 179, January 19, 1973, p. 250).
Neurologist John Friedberg, M.D., published Shock Treatment Is Not Good For Your Brain—A Neurologist Challenges the Psychiatric Myth in 1976.
Lee Coleman, M.D., a psychiatrist, published The Reign of Error—Psychiatry, Authority, and Law (on the dust cover: "A startling exposé of psychiatry's misrule in the courts, mental hospitals, and prisons"), published in 1984.
Sydney Walker III, M.D., published A Dose of Sanity—Mind, Medicine, and Misdiagnosis in 1996 in which he says psychiatry has substituted the science of diagnosis with the pseudoscience of labeling (describing) and challenges the use of psychiatric, especially neuroleptic, drugs. In 1998 he published The Hyperactivity Hoax debunking the concepts of Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD).
Boston University psychology professor Margaret A. Hagen, Ph.D., published Whores of the Court—The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice in 1997.
Psychology and neuroscience professor Elliot Valenstein, Ph.D., published Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health in 1998 showing the lack of evidence for chemical imbalances in the brain as a cause of mental illness and questioning the usefulness of psychiatric drugs.
Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, published Prozac Backlash in 2000 showing the harm done by so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac.
Journalist Robert Whitaker published Mad in America—Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill in 2002 showing people considered to have mental illness were more likely to live successful lives before the advent of psychiatric drugs. In 2010 he published Anatomy of an Epidemic—Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America further documenting the fact that psychiatric drugs not only are not helpful but have caused an epidemic of disability.
Psychiatrist William Glasser, M.D., published his book Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health in 2003.
Neurologist Fred A. Baughman, M.D., published The ADHD Fraud: How Psychiatry Makes "Patients" of Normal Children in 2006, questioning ADHD as a true disease or disorder.
Richard P. Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Bangor in Wales (UK), published Doctoring the Mind—Is Our Current Treatment for Mental Illness Really Any Good? in 2009 wherein he makes arguments supporting what he calls "rational antipsychiatry".
British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff, MBBS, MSc, MRCPsych, MD, Senior Lecturer, Department of Mental Health Services, University College London, published The Myth of the Chemical Cure, A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment, Revised Edition in 2009. Also in 2009 she published A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs. In 2013 she published The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs.
In 2013 three professors of social work or social welfare (Stuart A. Kirk, et al.) published Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs. British psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff summarizes the book in a few words on the dust cover: "Mad Science...describes how the unfounded but repeatedly stated notion of madness as a brain disease helps to disguise the dark heart of coercive practices that remain at the centre of psychiatric care."
Many former psychiatric "patients" and their families and others have published books showing how psychiatry violates basic human (including constitutional) rights or how psychiatric treatment is ineffective and hurts rather than helps people. Among them are Francis Farmer, Will There Really Be A Morning? (1972), James A. Wechsler, In a Darkness (1972), Janet & Paul Gotkin, Too Much Anger, Too Many Tears—A Personal Triumph Over Psychiatry (1975), Kenneth Donaldson, Insanity Inside Out (1976), Judi Chamberlin, Own Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978), William Arnold, Frances Farmer—Shadowland, (Berkley Books 1978), Doug Cameron, How to Survive Being Committed to a Mental Hospital (1980), and Howard Dully and Charles Fleming, My Lobotomy (2007).
I've gone to meetings of anti-psychiatry, human rights groups as long ago as 1972. At many of them I heard the myths underlying modern psychiatry debunked by speakers better than myself.
Yet, when I talk with people who are directly responsible for or involved with psychiatric oppression, I find they know nothing of any of the above cited writings nor organizations opposing psychiatric quackery, oppression, and despotism.
For example, on October 14, 2010 at San Antonio State Hospital I observed involuntary commitment hearings of supposedly mental ill persons who were not charged with crime and asked one of the Mental Health Public Defenders if she had read anything by Dr. Thomas Szasz or Dr. Peter Breggin. She said she had not in a way that gave me the impression she had never heard of either.
On September 2, 2011 in a face-to-face conversation an attorney in Portland, Oregon employed as a public defender whose practice was largely representing civilly committed persons said to be mentally ill and not charged with crime told me she had never heard of Drs. Szasz or Breggin.
On March 8, 2013, a mental health public defender in Austin, Texas told me he'd heard of Dr. Szasz and might have read an article about him decades ago but had never heard of Dr. Peter Breggin.
A mental health public defender who has never heard of Dr. Thomas Szasz or Dr. Peter Breggin is like an American history professor who has never heard of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.
In 2011 I told a New Hampshire psychiatrist who was a member of the American Psychoanalytic (not Psychiatric) Association I was looking for a psychiatrist whose thinking is similar to Thomas Szasz, Peter Breggin, or Ronald Leifer. I was looking for a psychiatrist willing to certify to people's competence when executing psychiatric advance directives. He told me the only of those three names he'd heard of before was Thomas Szasz.
In November or December 2013 I asked a board-certified psychiatrist at Manhattan Psychiatric Center if she had read any critiques of psychiatric drugs by psychiatrists Peter Breggin or Joanna Moncrieff. She said she had not. She also could not name any critiques of psychiatric drugs she had read although she said she did know psychiatric drugs have "side effects."
On December 5, 2013 I asked another psychiatrist who I'd seen and heard testifying at an involuntary civil commitment hearing in the courtroom at Manhattan Psychiatric Center who later told me she'd completed residency training in psychiatry five (5) years before if she'd ever heard of Thomas Szasz or Peter Breggin. She said she had not heard of either.
The truth about psychiatry cannot prevail if people working in mental health such as psychiatrists, lawyers, judges, and the people who make our laws such as state legislators, governors, and members of Congress are unaware of it.
If truth were more powerful than widespread myths promoted by huge financial interests such as pharmaceutical companies that with costly advertising make huge profits by convincing professionals, lawmakers, and the public that mental illness is biological, to increase psychiatric drug sales, both the concept of mental illness and psychiatry (the pseudo-medical specialty based on the myth of mental illness) would have vanished decades ago. The ignorance of people responsible for the unscientific, harmful, and morally objectionable activities about which the above mentioned authors have written illustrates the powerlessness of truth to prevail over highly promoted, well-established myths, selfish professional interests of psychiatrists and those who work with them, and the problems created by the inadequacy of rule of law I describe in my essay Why the Myth of Mental Illness Lives On. Someone, perhaps expanding on Mark Twain's remark, once said the truth is powerful and will prevail, but only if efforts are made to bring it to light. Obviously, hundreds of books and articles and videos (many of which are available on YouTube.com), and television and radio appearances by psychiatrists such as Thomas Szasz, Peter Breggin, Ron Leifer, Joanna Moncrieff, Grace Jackson, Colin Ross, Lee Coleman, neurologists such as Fred Baughman and John Friedberg, and psychologists such as John Breeding, Theodore Sarbin, and Jeffrey Schaler, are inadequate to overcome the propaganda causing most of us to accept the myth of mental illness as fact. Laws in every state of the U.S.A. and most if not all other countries provide for involuntary "treatment" with "hospitalization", drugs, and electroshock of persons who supposedly have mental illness. The situation is analogous to the late 1600s when everybody believed in witches and there were witch trials.
Since the commendable efforts of the above cited authors and others have proved to be inadequate to overcome well-established, widespread psychiatric myths, more is needed to reveal the truth to the people who make and administer our laws: legislators, governors, lawyers involved in civil commitment, judges, and potential jurors, meaning the whole population. Efforts to repeal involuntary treatment laws are commendable and must continue. Even if the myths on which psychiatry is based are so widespread and effectively promoted that it is impossible persuade legislators, governors, and judges to create a society in which mythological illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar and personality disorder and other supposed mental illnesses are no longer used to justify depriving law-abiding people of liberty, and to rationalize subjecting them to assault called involuntary psychiatric treatment, it is important for us to make the effort. In the words of Elie Wiesel, once a prisoner in Nazi Germany's Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps, and later a university professor, political activist and novelist, "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." We must at least try if we want to live in a truly free society and to pass a tradition of liberty rather than oppression and thought-control to future generations, and to protect people from brain-damaging quackery such as voluntarily or forcibly administered psychiatric drugs, electroshock, and psychosurgery.
Here are a few ideas: Buy a copy, or a few copies, of Dr. Breggin's Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Second (2008) Edition, or Robert Whitaker's Mad in America or Anatomy of an Epidemic and give them to judges who hear civil commitments. I've done that. Giving a copy of Dr. Breggin's book, or this book, The Case Against Psychiatry, to lawmakers, judges, and journalists may help overcome well established psychiatric myths. Giving them to mental health public defenders or lawyers appointed to represent "patients" may motivate them to provide real advocacy for their clients, although as observers have noted (see "Assistance' of Counsel?" in Unjustified Psychiatric Commitment in the U.S.A.), in many cases the judges before whom they appear will not tolerate them doing this. Dr. Breggin's Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, Second Edition is the most comprehensive writing I've seen showing how harmful are psychiatry's supposed medications and electroconvulsive "therapy". It is for sale in hardcover on Dr. Breggin's web site, breggin.com or at amazon.com. Dr. Breggin's book, or excerpts from this book, The Case Against Psychiatry, which I've made available free on the Internet, can be given to judges, lawyers, and members of your state's state senate and house of representatives or assembly. These books can also be given to members of Congress who might be persuaded to end federal government support for psychiatry in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration, and to abolish the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and to repeal the federal mental health parity laws forcing health insurance companies to pay for psychiatric treatment as if it were bona-fide health care.
Writing letters can be part of this effort. When the U.S. Congress formed a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, composed of both U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives, called the Supercommittee, to find ways to reduce the U.S. Government budget deficit, I wrote letters to all members of the Committee suggesting an end to federal government support for psychiatry, which I said would both reduce the budget deficit and improve the nation's health. With each letter I enclosed a compact disc of short YouTube.com videos, including the speech by Dr. Jeffrey A. Schaler in 2006, exposing psychiatry as quackery and as contrary to America's promise of liberty. Later, after doing research showing the Supercommittee could have met its deficit-reduction goal with the single measure of ending U.S. federal government support for psychiatry, I wrote a letter to U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, making this suggestion.
It is especially important to educate members of your state's legislature. The scope of practice of licensed professionals is determined not by federal law, not by the U.S. Congress nor the Food and Drug Administration, but by state law created by state legislatures. It is state legislators who decide whether physicians may prescribe narcotics, or lethal drugs to assist a person who wishes to commit suicide, whether doctors of osteopathy (physicians with a D.O. rather than M.D. degree) will have the same scope of practice as doctors of medicine (M.D.; in all 50 states of the U.S.A. and many other nations, they do), whether psychologists can prescribe psychoactive drugs, whether optometrists (doctors of optometry-O.D.) can prescribe medicine for eyes, whether pharmacists can give injections (as they do in North Carolina), the scope of practice of podiatrists (doctors of podiatric medicine, D.P.M.), whether doctors of chiropractic (D.C.) or naturopathy (N.D. or N.M.D.) or naprapathy (D.N.) or midwives will be licensed and what their scope of practice will be, whether emergency medical technicians (E.M.T.), nurse practitioners (N.P.) or physician assistants (P.A.) can prescribe or administer medicines or do surgery and if so what classes of medicine they can prescribe or administer and what kinds of surgery they can do. State legislators have it within their power to protect us from health care quackery such as biological psychiatry even if the FDA will not. State law can ban electroconvulsive brain damaging (electroconvulsive "therapy" or ECT) or define ECT or prescription of psychoactive drugs such as neuroleptics, SSRI antidepressants, and benzodiazepines, or psychosurgery, as outside the scope of practice of all physicians, including M.D.'s, within a particular state. State legislators have it within their power to repeal involuntary "medication" and electroshock laws and define any involuntary treatment with drugs, electroshock, or psychosurgery as assault or as another kind of act prohibited by the state's penal code. We, the public, cannot compete with drug companies who induce cooperation of the FDA by hiring FDA officials at enormous salaries, thereby encouraging those who remain at the FDA to do the same. We may not be able to equal the influence of big business such as drug companies that make huge campaign contributions to politicians. We can and should, however, try to influence our elected representatives, especially state representatives and state senators representing the district where we live.
Antipsychiatry activists don't have the advertising budgets of drug companies that make billions of dollars from selling psychiatric drugs (that are typically paid for by insurance companies and government programs) and therefore can and do buy television advertising and full-page advertisements in magazines. However, custom-made bumper stickers, buttons, and T-shirts can be bought inexpensively from local vendors. Copies of pamphlets and articles can be made at Office Max, Staples, and FedExOffice or Kinko's Copy shops and similar businesses and given to persons considering psychiatric care for themselves or persons in their families, and to governors, legislators, and judges.
However, because of widespread public ignorance, and selfish professional and financial interests of psychiatrists and others who promote psychiatric oppression, such as pharmaceutical companies that profit from laws requiring people to consume their products, and family members who want a rationale for suppressing and oppressing others in their families, and the ignorance or irresponsibility of legislators and judges who are personally responsible for authorizing psychiatric assault, and perpetuation of the myths that seem to justify psychiatric oppression by the news media and TV and movie fiction script writers, the only solution in our lifetimes—if there is a solution—is likely to be an individual solution. If and for so long as democracies (not to mention autocratic dictatorships) refuse to guarantee liberty to all law-abiding persons, and fail to protect citizens from health care quackery such as biological psychiatry, the strategies to protect ourselves and those we care about from arbitrary imprisonment called "hospitalization" and torture and brain damage caused by modern psychiatric "treatment", must be primarily about protecting ourselves and those we know and care about personally.
In Vacco v. Quill, 521 U.S. 793 at 807 (1997), the U.S. Supreme Court said "[t]he principle that a competent person has a constitutionally protected liberty interest in refusing unwanted medical treatment may be inferred from our prior decisions ... our assumption of a right to refuse treatment was grounded ... on well-established, traditional rights to bodily integrity and freedom from unwanted touching." Unless the Court wishes to make an exception for psychiatric care (if "care" is the correct term), there is a federal constitutional right to refuse it. Furthermore, if this is a federal constitutional right, it prevails over state and federal laws authorizing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization or treatment.
A California Court of Appeals put it this way in Bartling v. Super Ct., 209 Cal.Rptr. 220 at 224-225 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. 1984):
In California, "a person of adult years and in sound mind has the right, in the exercise of control over his own body, to determine whether or not to submit to lawful medical treatment." ... a competent adult patient has the legal right to refuse medical treatment. ... The right of a competent adult patient to refuse medical treatment has its origins in the constitutional right of privacy. This right is specifically guaranteed by the California Constitution (art. I, §1) and has been found to exist in the "penumbra" of rights guaranteed by the Fifth and Ninth Amendments to the United States Constitution. [citation omitted] "In short, the law recognizes the individual interest in preserving 'the inviolability of the person.'" [citation omitted] The constitutional right of privacy guarantees to the individual the freedom to choose to reject, or refuse to consent to, intrusions of his bodily integrity.
One antipsychiatry strategy is making a Psychiatric Advance Directive stating that if you in the future are determined to be "mentally ill" you wish to receive no treatment for your so-called mental illness, including hospitalization, "medications", ECT, or psychosurgery, including in "emergency" situations. Involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and treatment is predicated on the assumption that mental illness is a valid concept, that psychiatry has bona-fide therapy for mental illness, that victims of mental illness will benefit from psychiatric treatment, and that they would choose to have psychiatric treatment if they could make a rational decision. As I have shown in these essays, all these assumptions are wrong. By making a psychiatric advance directive refusing psychiatric treatment with a certification by a psychiatrist or psychologist, or both, of your mental competence at that time, this rationale for involuntary psychiatric treatment can be undermined. To prevent your psychiatric advance directive from being disregarded on the ground that you were not mentally competent when you made it, you need to have a psychiatrist or psychologist, or both, certify to your competence at the time of the making of your psychiatric advance directive. If you do not have a certification by a mental health professional of your competence when you made your psychiatric advance directive, it is likely to be disregarded. For example, in 2012 a woman in Minnesota provided me with a copy of her psychiatric advance directive, which had no such certification, just the signatures of witnesses who were not mental health professionals, and a copy of a Minnesota court order dismissing her psychiatric advance directive as a product of her mental illness and authorizing giving her electroconvulsive brain damaging (electroconvulsive "therapy") against her will.
I disagree with other lawyers I have discussed this with who are of the opinion psychiatric advance directives are not protection from involuntary "hospitalization", only from the kind of treatment a person can receive while involuntarily "hospitalized". These lawyers believe a psychiatric advance directive cannot stop a state from involuntarily "hospitalizing" a person because of the state's police powers or the states's right to protect the individuals and the public from (future) harm. I show why these justifications are invalid in The Myth of Psychiatric Diagnosis, Is Involuntary Commitment for "Mental Illness" or "Dangerousness" a Violation of Substantive Due Process?, and Suicide: A Civil Right. I believe the supposedly unalienable right to liberty theoretically enjoyed by all law-abiding Americans may not be abrogated because of predictions of future behavior until such time as it is possible to reliably predict the future. As I have shown, psychiatrists' and psychologists' predictions of future violence are wrong approximately 90% of the time. The justices constituting the majority in Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880 (1983) may have, and I believe were, influenced by the fact that the State of Texas could have imposed a death penalty on a murderer without the prediction of future conduct required by Texas at that time. I think it unlikely a U.S. Supreme Court majority or a majority at most state or federal appellate courts would allow imprisonment, including when it is called involuntary "hospitalization", of persons who were always law-abiding because of a psychiatric "diagnosis" or predictions about his or her future behavior if he or she has a psychiatric advance directive declining such supposed care with his or her mental competence when making it certified to by a board-certified psychiatrist or other credible mental health professional. A psychiatric "diagnosis" is dehumanizing in terms of how other people see a person so "diagnosed" and makes it difficult for judges to think of such persons as citizens with constitutional rights. Nevertheless, I believe a psychiatric advance directive declining treatment including hospitalization for so-called mental illness with a certification to the maker's mental competence by a psychiatrist or psychologist, and a past that involves no lawbreaking, and evidence such as I've summarized in this book about the unreliability of predictions of future behavior, are likely to be a successful defense to unwanted psychiatric "treatment" including involuntary "hospitalization", but it may require the intervention of an appellate court, which can take months.
In Hargrave v. Vermont, 340 F3d 27 (2nd Cir 2003), a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that refusal to follow a person's psychiatric advance directive while recognizing and abiding by non-psychiatric health care advance directives is discrimination prohibited by the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.
Any discussion of the future of anti-psychiatry activism is incomplete without mention of the Church of Scientology (scientology.org) and an organization founded by the Church of Scientology named the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR, cchr.org). Scientology and CCHR are the best known antipsychiatry groups in the world, so much so people often wrongfully assume anyone who criticizes psychiatry must be a Scientologist.
How closely associated CCHR is with the Church of Scientology is difficult to discern. On October 4, 2009 when I met and talked with Dr. Thomas Szasz for over an hour and a half, knowing Dr. Szasz was one of the founders of CCHR, I asked him about the founding of CCHR and its connection with Scientology. Dr. Szasz told me the relationship between the Church of Scientology and CCHR was a "marriage of convenience" because the Church of Scientology was (and perhaps still is) the only group willing to fund CCHR.
CCHR has created excellent films or videos shining the bright spotlight of truth on psychiatry. I recommend some of them in this book. The criticisms of psychiatry by the Church of Scientology and CCHR that I have seen have been basically accurate.
The association of Scientology with criticism of psychiatry has however been a handicap because Scientology is said by critics to be a for-profit business, not a religion (see "The Prophet and Profits of Scientology", originally published in the October 17, 1986 Forbes magazine) and because Scientology has been the target of other credible and frightening accusations.
In the 1980s or 1990s I saw a late-night television infomercial on a New York television station advertising a "Dianetics" program for $69.95 or $79.99 or whatever the price was. The infomercial said nothing about Scientology nor the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, but I knew Mr. Hubbard had written a book titled Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health and that he founded the Church of Scientology. The infomercial told viewers Dianetics would solve their psychological and emotional problems. The infomercial made me wonder if the people behind Scientology criticize psychiatry because they are in competition with it. During my aforementioned conversation with Dr. Thomas Szasz in 2009, Dr. Szasz told me being in competition with psychiatry is indeed why Scientologists criticize psychiatry. This same observation has been made by John Bush, executive director of the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians, who pointed out that "the Church of Scientology competes with psychiatry through it's Dianetics program, which it calls a 'modern science of mental health'" ("Opposition to shock therapy diverse...", Houston Chronicle, January 26, 1997, chron.com, accessed November 26, 2012). In accounts on YouTube.com by former Scientologists I've heard claims people recruited into Scientology spend tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on Scientology self-improvement courses or training leading to attaining various levels of improvement or recognition within Scientology. In her book Inside Scientology, Janet Reitman says Scientology has a "requirement that believers pay as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the highest levels of salvation." (This quote comes from the front flap of the book's dust cover.) Such allegations make it difficult to avoid the belief that whether it is psychiatry or Scientology, they're after your money (or in psychiatry's case, your insurance company's, Medicare's, or Medicaid's money). There are allegations of criminal activity by the Church of Scientology: For example, a Huffington Post report is titled "Belgium To Prosecute Scientology As Criminal Organization; Church Faces Charges of Extortion, Fraud" (huffingtonpost.com, posted 12/28/2012). Before even talking with a Scientologist, do an Internet search so you'll be familiar with the allegations. I do not know which, if any, of the allegations of criminal or other wrongful activity by the Church of Scientology are true and which, if any, are a misleading counterattack by psychiatry supporters, because I have never been associated with Scientology nor CCHR and have not knowingly talked with nor otherwise communicated with a Scientologist or a CCHR member (other than Dr. Szasz, and more recently psychologist John Breeding of Austin, Texas) for many years, nor have I investigated the news reports about criticisms of Scientology. Whatever the truth or falseness of the allegations against Scientology may be, know that joining the Church of Scientology reduces your credibility in the eyes of many people, not only because of the allegations against it but also because its theology or cosmology seems so much like science fiction like you might expect from a religion founded by a science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, which all agree Scientology is.
I began this essay with a quote from Linda Andre's book Doctors of Deception: "... the injustice of being locked up against our will when we had committed no crime, often on the basis of nothing but a lie by a family member". The person most likely to start the process of forcing you into harmful psychiatric mistreatment, including incarceration in a so-called hospital, is someone in your family. The truth of this can be verified by asking almost anyone who has been subjected to involuntary psychiatric treatment or reading the background facts in court opinions about involuntary psychiatric commitments. As regards psychiatric oppression, your family is likely to be your enemy. If you have a family, and members of your family act in ways contrary to your best interest, such as trying to force you into so-called mental health care, your best option may be to divorce or separate yourself from and have no contact with nor communication with your family. In 2009 when I telephoned retired psychiatry professor Thomas S. Szasz and told him I intended to make a psychiatric advance directive, he asked me about my family. Learning I'm unmarried and without children and have only one elderly parent, my mother, he told me I probably don't need a psychiatric advance directive because, he said, "You don't have any family to screw you up."
However, for most of us not having a family is not an option. Also, for many people, family is one of their most important sources of happiness. Do what you can to make your closest family members, especially the one recognized by law as your "next of kin", aware of the truth about the complete lack of benefit of psychiatric "treatment" and harm from all of psychiatry's biological "therapies". One way to do that is loan them your copy of this book or give them books written by Dr. Szasz, Dr. Breggin, Dr. Moncrieff, Robert Whitaker, and others listed in Recommended Reading in this book.
During the writing of this book I met with a long-time friend employed for many years as a hospital administrator. Speaking of health care in the
U.S.A., she said, "We're killing a lot of people" due to "preventable medical errors." She said it's "amazing" there isn't "outrage" about of the number of deaths caused by what is supposed to be health care.
An article in The Economist in 2013 says "Every year nearly 100,000 people die in America alone from preventable infections acquired in hospitals" (Technology Quarterly innerfold, September 7, 2013, p. 8).
In their book 121 Ways to Live 121 Years and More: Prescriptions for Longevity (Basic Health Publications 2006, p. 3) Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., and Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., warn-
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that physicians cause 120,000 or more accidental deaths a year in the United States. Averaging that across the approximate number of physicians in the United States (700,000), the rate of accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. Comparing with a rate of accidental deaths per gun owner of 0.000188, doctors are statistically 9,000 times more dangerous than guns!*
On the front cover of his book Malignant Medical Myths, Joel M. Kauffman, a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from M.I.T. and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, who later "turned his attention to exposing fraud in medicine" says "medical treatment causes 200,000 deaths in the USA each year".
Some estimates go still higher. According to Gary Null, Ph.D., Martin Feldman, M.D., Debora Rasio, M.D., and Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., in their book Death by Medicine Praktikos Books 2011, p. 4-5)-
The most stunning statistic, however, is that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is nearly 800,000 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. By contrast, the number of deaths attributable to heart disease in 2005, the most recent year for which final data is available, is 652,091, while the number of deaths attributable to cancer is 559,312.
If the immediately above estimates are even close to correct, mainstream health care in the U.S.A. kills more people than either heart disease or cancer. In his book Do Doctors And Nurses Kill More People Than Cancer? (European Medical Journal 2011, p. xxii), Dr. Vernon Coleman, a British physician, says "I firmly believe that doctors and nurses now kill more people than cancer." In "An Interview with Dr. Vernon Coleman", Dr. Coleman says "when doctors go on strike, patient morbidity and mortality levels invariably fall. What an indictment" (vernoncoleman.com, ©2006). Yet there has been no public outrage.
The exonerations of many persons sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit (see The Innocence List) should have sparked outrage about America's unreliable system of justice but has not.
News reports about the killing in 2011, with a drone strike, of American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, far from any battlefield, and without charges or trial, by order of President Barack Obama should have aroused public outrage, even if the victims had Arabic names different from those of most Americans and were in another country at the time, but did not. Attorney General Eric Holder has said President Obama may likewise order the assassination of American citizens while they are within the U.S.A. Do an Internet search for "assassination of U.S. citizens by presidential order" and you'll find many news reports about this prior to the 2012 election. These news reports were in my opinion not as widely disseminated as they should have been. Rather than being outraged and spreading word of this far and wide, Americans re-elected the President who ordered the killings.
If none of the above caused widespread protest by the American people, it is unlikely a large number of Americans will be outraged by the arbitrary incarceration, torture, and killing of American "mental patients" who because of widespread belief in mental illness are not considered fully human.
In the words of psychiatrist Allen Frances, "There are no objective laboratory tests in psychiatry, and therefore there is no way for anyone to diagnose your problems [or accuse you of mental illness] without your help. ... The key to psychiatric diagnosis is self report" (Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life (HarperCollins 2013, p. 229-230). Because judges who rule on questions of constitutional law have for the most part been fooled by the "civil" label attached by legislators to involuntary psychiatric treatment laws and don't realize involuntary psychiatric treatment is punishment for violating society's unwritten laws, serving the same function as criminal law, most courts in the U.S.A. have ruled there is no right against self-incrimination in a psychiatric interview unless you are asked if you have violated a criminal statute. However, what can be done to you if you say, "I think I have a right of privacy that gives me a right to keep my thoughts to myself and that my constitutional right to freedom of speech includes the right to refrain from speaking, and I choose to exercise those rights"? You may be accused of "refusing to be examined", but (in the U.S.A.) your constitutional right of privacy and your First Amendment right to refrain from speaking are, or should be, superior to state or federal laws requiring you to be psychiatrically "examined".
You will see much encouragement to "ask for help". You'll be told it's the "healthy" and "smart" thing to do. Sometimes it is camouflaged as "counselling". Don't call attention to yourself by following this misleading advice. If you need someone to talk to, look for someone with experience in his or her own life with the kind of problem that troubles you as I suggest in The Case Against Psychotherapy. Make certain the person you talk with is someone who you can trust to do nothing you consider disloyal to you. Seeing a mental health professional is asking for trouble, because your "therapist" has vicarious liability for your actions should you ever do anything violent or criminal, and courts have ruled this duty of psychotherapists overrides the "therapist's" obligation to keep confidential what you say to him or her. This vicarious liability creates a strong incentive for the "therapist" to have you incarcerated or to report you to the police if he or she even vaguely suspects you might do anything that would make him or her liable for failure to predict and prevent your future behavior. The seminal case in this area of law is Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 551 P2d 334 (Supreme Court of California 1976): "In our view, however, once a therapist does in fact determine or under applicable professional standards reasonably should have determined, that a patient poses a serious danger of violence to others, he bears the duty to exercise reasonable care to protect the foreseeable victim of that danger." In that case the therapist was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist or other type of physician. The Court rejected the argument that psychologists and psychiatrists and other "psychotherapists" are unable to predict clients' or patients' future behavior. The Court also rejected the argument that psychotherapy is impossible when a person cannot rely on what he tells his psychotherapist remaining confidential. Confidential conversation or communication with mental health professionals has been essentially outlawed by American courts. An example of what can happen is a woman who consulted me because her "therapist" thought her children sleeping with her was abusive and reported this supposed child abuse to Child Protective Services.
The result of letting it be known you are considering ending your pain by ending your life usually will not be other people helping you achieve the goals dearest to your heart that will, in your opinion, make your life worth living. The result is more likely to be imprisonment (called hospitalization), and "involuntary medication", or in other words drug torture. If you resist swallowing or being injected with psychiatry's torture drugs, you risk being put in 4 or 5 point physical restraints, which may be the worst torture of all and has itself caused many deaths. Electroconvulsive "therapy" is still touted as the best "treatment" for suicidal ideation, and in many if not most states of the U.S.A., the U.K., New Zealand, and probably many other countries, you may be electroshocked against your will by court order after psychiatrists testify it will "save your life", even though all it will really do is damage your brain while making money for psychiatrists and those who work with them. What psychiatry is likely to do to you because of your committing the "heinous crime" of freedom of thought (thinking about suicide) not unlikely will be worse than whatever originally caused you to think about ending your life.
Don't go to a hospital emergency room if you can possibly avoid doing so, especially when you are emotionally traumatized. Many if not most hospital emergency departments include either psychiatrists or masters degree level "mental health counsellors" or "consultants" whose job it is to have people forcibly removed from the emergency room to a psychiatric ward or state mental hospital, ensnaring people in the mental health system.
Don't call 911
Calling the police or an emergency telephone number, such as 911 (or in some countries 112) when you are emotionally traumatized is asking for trouble, for similar reasons as going to a hospital emergency room. Laws in probably every state permit police officers to, without a warrant, incarcerate people in psychiatric facilities. For example, Texas Health & Safety Code §573.001, says police officers may "take a person into custody if the officer: (1) has reason to believe and does believe that: (A) the person is mentally ill; and (B) because of that mental illness there is a substantial risk of serious harm to the person or to others unless the person is immediately restrained; and (2) believes that there is not sufficient time to obtain a warrant before taking the person into custody."
Consider moving to a state where there is no outpatient commitment or where the right to jury trial in civil commitment is recognized.
According an article on the Connecticut General Assembly web site, "Involuntary Outpatient Mental Health Treatment Laws", dated December 21, 2011, "Connecticut is one of six states (also Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Nevada, and Tennessee) that do not have" involuntary outpatient treatment for supposed mental illness. A 2011 article at the Treatment Advocacy Center web site, "Assisted Outpatient Treatment Laws", that I accessed on May 15, 2015, says "The five states that do not have AOT [Assisted/Assaultive Outpatient Treatment] are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Tennessee." However, when I contacted the Massachusetts Mental Health Legal Advisor's Committee (mhlac.org) in August 2013, a lawyer there told me about Massachusetts Rogers Guardianships, which is outpatient commitment by another name (appointing a "guardian" for the purpose of the "guardian" authorizing forced drugging or other treatment objected to by the proposed ward.) On February 7, 2014, a woman working for the Connecticut Legal Rights Project (clrp.org) told me outpatient commitment legislation has been proposed in Connecticut.
A list of states that do and do not permit trial by jury in civil commitment is found at the Antipsychiatry Coalition web site, "Do You Have a Right to Jury Trial in Psychiatric Commitment?"
ALL BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT IN PSYCHIATRY
IS HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH
It is regrettable people living in America, a nation that advertises itself as free, would need to leave America to escape psychiatric oppression such as involuntary "hospitalization", involuntary psychiatric drugging, or involuntary electroshock, but this kind of oppression is a reality for many Americans. When considering leaving the U.S.A. to escape psychiatric oppression and psychiatric assault such as forced drugging, keep in mind that without your health you have nothing and that all biological treatment in psychiatry is harmful to your health. If you are court-ordered to remain in the U.S.A. or in a particular state, you may be forced to decide whether it is more important to obey the law or protect your health. Remember also psychiatric oppression exists in most if not all nations, and to be safe you must avoid the mental health system wherever you go.
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The author is a volunteer (pro bono) attorney for the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (psychrights.org) and may be reached at wayneramsay (at) mail (dot) com