March 25, 2018
Following are my own 20 questions/comments about the web page of the National Institute of Mental Health discussing “Schizophrenia”.
What I have done is simply download the text of NIMH’s page, and then insert my own comments or questions (in the red typeface) at those points when they occur. My words turned out to be more voluminous than the original article, so the NIMH page is pretty broken up. But anyone who cares to check against the current website will see that I didn’t alter or omit anything the government wrote.
This little project was inspired by a report that clinical staff on H Unit at DSH (Elgin Mental Health Center) recently printed out this NIMH Schizophrenia page and distributed it to all patients. I suspect that they will not allow the kinds of questions and comments that I have written here, because their purpose, like that of the plantation overseer, is to coerce compliance. However, I believe that open discussion or debate is necessary to the concept of informed consent. Informed consent is vital under the law. Psychiatric “patients” are human beings with rights.
I have not documented scientific facts to justify, or provided citations for, my comments. I can probably do that quite thoroughly, if anyone wants me to. I am simply trying to counter the propaganda of the “forensic mental health” plantation in a timely enough manner to get people thinking. Please give me any feedback you can.
S. Randolph Kretchmar
Law Offices of Kretchmar & Cecala, P.C.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder
1. This term, mental disorder, has almost entirely replaced the earlier characterizations, mental illness and mental disease. The point remains that all human problems in thinking, feeling and behaving should be labeled as discrete entities which doctors either can cure or should attempt to cure. It’s the medical model. Western civilization has obtained immense benefit from medical science over the past 150 years. However, human history over several thousand years contains a much larger perspective. Just because physical manipulation of bodily structures and processes has been “hot” for a century and a half, that doesn’t imply any necessary conclusion that it’s a sure route to ultimate happiness and salvation. In fact, the change of terms from mental illness/disease to mental disorder is a bit of a tip-off that the medical model is in difficulty. These problems may not be “curable” by doctors after all. Psychiatrists now actually admit that they do not cure anything. They imply that perhaps soon they will, but that’s gotten very old.
… that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia
2. The phrase, people with schizophrenia, once again, implies that this is some discrete entity which can be identified or isolated for a person to have (i.e., you don’t have something that you are). But there is no such thing, or at least it has not been discovered despite more than a century of scientific search for it. Schizophrenia is an extremely variable pattern of behaviors. I have repeatedly gotten psychiatrists to admit under oath that any two individuals who both supposedly have schizophrenia may have no “symptoms” in common, whatsoever. What is schizophrenia, as a disease then? No one knows.
… may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms
3. Technically, the word symptoms just means subjective reports or complaints. In medicine, signs is the term to describe objectively observed phenomena that can be tested for like physical lesions, sugar levels in the blood or urine, EKG results, x-rays, etc. Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors and should distinguish between symptoms and signs in their “diagnosis”. They know the difference, and they know it is important, but they obscure it purposefully.
… can be very disabling.
Signs and Symptoms
(Please see #3 above.)
… of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30. In rare cases, children have
(Please see #2 above.)
… schizophrenia too.
(See #3 above.)
… of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.
… “Positive” symptoms
… are psychotic behaviors
4. Behaviors are in fact the entire issue. If a person behaves badly enough, or violently or strangely enough to frighten others around him, then sooner or later people will do something to him to make him stop. And the only way anyone knows if a person is hallucinating or delusional is by consulting their behavior (including speech, writing or other communication, which is behavior). We do not know what anyone is thinking or feeling unless they tell us, or show us by their behavior. And that will always be, substantially, an interpretation by someone.
… not generally seen in healthy
5. Don’t forget we’re talking about behaviors. If we say they are “healthy” or “unhealthy” either way, it’s only in a metaphorical sense. There’s no known disease!
… people. People with positive symptoms
… may “lose touch” with some aspects of reality. Symptoms
• Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
6. Hallucinations, delusions and unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking can not be seen directly. Hence, they are often completely a matter of opinion, and always a subjective evaluation to some degree. We don’t actually know what a person believes, but only what he says. Maybe a delusion or hallucination is simply a lie. Can a psychiatrist really tell the difference?
• Movement disorders (agitated body movements)
7. To some extent this, unlike hallucinations, delusions and thought disorders, can be objectively observed and reported. However, it’s worth considering that movement disorders are well known side effects of psychiatric “treatments”, in which case they can hardly be confidently blamed on an underlying “illness”.
Negative symptoms: “Negative” symptoms
… are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors.
8. Normal emotions and behaviors would certainly include sadness and grieving after the death of a loved one. However, a psychiatrist is free to “diagnose” a grieving person as “having (the disorder/illness) depression” whether their emotions and behaviors are generally considered part of normal grieving or not. The elimination of the bereavement exclusion became a very contentious public and professional issue, when DSM-5 was published in 2013.
• “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
• Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
• Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
• Reduced speaking
(Please see #7 above.)
…: For some patients, the cognitive symptoms
… of schizophrenia are subtle, but for others, they are more severe and patients may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking. Symptoms
• Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
• Trouble focusing or paying attention
• Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)
(See #7 above.)
There are several factors that contribute to the risk of developing schizophrenia.
Genes and environment: Scientists have long known that schizophrenia sometimes runs in families.
9. This runs in families colloquialism would be laughable for a scientific government research institute, which NIMH pretends to be, but for the unfortunate history it connects to: eugenics, social Darwinism and racism. Psychiatrists have postulated genetic causes of mental illness for at least 100 years. All of their speculative “research” efforts have yielded precisely nothing in the way of clinical benefit. It may be noted that two areas of human thinking, emotion and behavior “run in families” more reliably than any others: political affiliation and religious faith. But no one searches for the genetic “causes” of being a Republican or an Episcopalian. In fact, no one searches for genetic causes of any personality type or behavior considered acceptable. It’s only the negative things about some people which are ruefully blamed on genetics, perhaps as an excuse to change those people by force, for their fellows who need “reasons” to do what they instinctively know is wrong.
… However, there are many people who have schizophrenia
(See #2 above.)
… who don’t have a family member with the disorder
… and conversely, many people with one or more family members with the disorder
… who do not develop it themselves.
Scientists believe that many different genes may increase the risk of schizophrenia, but that no single gene causes the disorder by itself. It is not yet possible to use genetic information to predict who will develop schizophrenia.
Scientists also think that interactions between genes and aspects of the individual’s environment are necessary for schizophrenia to develop. Environmental factors may involve:
• Exposure to viruses
• Malnutrition before birth
• Problems during birth
• Psychosocial factors
Different brain chemistry and structure: Scientists think that an imbalance in the complex, interrelated chemical reactions of the brain
10. Wonderful! The infamous chemical imbalance in the brain…! The leading biological psychiatrist, Dr. Ronald Pies, M.D., who authored various definitive textbooks and popular volumes on psychiatry and mental health, and who is one of the strongest and most constant voices in defense of a pure medical model of mental/emotional/behavioral problems, actually wrote in Psychiatric Times (of which he was Editor at the time) that the whole notion of a chemical imbalance in the brain had been nothing more than an urban legend, which no reputable psychiatrist ever really believed.
Some experts also think problems during brain development before birth may lead to faulty connections.
11. This faulty connections concept is no more scientific or useful than the earlier chemical imbalance pseudoscience. Nobody knows what it means, nobody can test for it, nobody can see, let alone fix, “faulty connections”.
… The brain also undergoes major changes during puberty, and these changes could trigger psychotic symptoms
… in people who are vulnerable due to genetics or brain differences.
Treatments and Therapies
Because the causes of schizophrenia are still unknown, treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms
… of the disease. Treatments include:
12. So-called “antipsychotics” are also called by the older, more accurate terms, neuroleptics or major tranquilizers. They tend to knock down manifestations of psychosis in the short term, but they knock down the patients, too, and cause long-term disability and stunted recovery with long-term use. Although the term antipsychotic was coined to highlight the drugs’ desired effects, the first such drug (chlorpromazine) was actually promoted as a chemical lobotomy. Clearly the effects that are desired vary, depending on the point of view.
13. Just consider the difference between the sound of the term, antipsychotic medications on one hand, and neuroleptic drugs on the other. The two terms have equal lexical relevance and accuracy, but which one gets used tells you a lot about who is communicating and whether they want to convince you the drugs are beneficial cures, or warn you that they’ll likely be experienced as force, not reason.
… are usually taken daily in pill or liquid form. Some antipsychotics are injections that are given once or twice a month.
14. The reason they are sometimes injected once or twice a month is because the psychiatrist knows that way you can’t refuse or avoid taking them, which almost anyone would do, if they had any choice about what to put in their own body. Monthly injectable antipsychotics are cruel, covert oppression of patients, merely to conserve psychiatric staff effort and attention. It’s brutal control, not help.
… Some people have side effects when they start taking medications, but most side effects go away after a few days.
15. A few days?! This statement is deceptive and borderline malpractice. There are hundreds of stories on the internet from people who have spent years trying to find meds that are even slightly tolerable, and more years trying to withdraw from them when they are not tolerable. Check out Laura Delano’s site: theinnercompass.org.
… Doctors and patients can work together
16. Doctors and “patients” do not work together in mental health, psychiatrists order and coerce patients to comply. When NIMH says they can work together, what is meant is that if “patients” comply strictly with everything the psychiatrist suggests or thinks, then the psychiatrist will be happier. Just that.
… to find the best medication or medication combination, and the right dose. Check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website: (http://www.fda.gov/), for the latest information on warnings, patient medication guides, or newly approved medications.
These treatments are helpful after patients and their doctor find a medication that works.
17. So there it is: Drugs first, talking comes only after you comply with drugging!
… Learning and using coping skills to address the everyday challenges of schizophrenia helps people to pursue their life goals, such as attending school or work. Individuals who participate in regular psychosocial treatment are less likely to have relapses or be hospitalized. For more information on psychosocial treatments, see the Psychotherapies webpage on the NIMH website.
Coordinated specialty care (CSC)
This treatment model integrates medication, psychosocial therapies, case management, family involvement, and supported education and employment services, all aimed at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. The NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) research project seeks to fundamentally change the trajectory and prognosis of schizophrenia through coordinated specialty care treatment in the earliest stages of the disorder. RAISE is designed to reduce the likelihood of long-term disability
18. Long-term disability is caused by the psychiatric drugs, not (for any practical purpose) by a theoretical “disease” process for which nobody has yet discovered any real mechanism.
… that people with schizophrenia often experience and help them lead productive, independent lives.
How can I help someone I know with schizophrenia?
Caring for and supporting a loved one with schizophrenia can be hard. It can be difficult to know how to respond to someone who makes strange or clearly false statements. It is important to understand that schizophrenia is a biological illness.
19. It cannot be important to understand any such thing, because it’s not reality, it’s an article of faith. What NIMH means here is, if you believe in schizophrenia as a brain disease which will eventually be discovered by real doctors and scientists (although it hasn’t been discovered, after a hundred years of research supported by virtually unlimited government funds), then and only then will you be a better and kinder person to someone you know who “has” it, because you won’t blame them for their behavior. But maybe this peculiar faith isn’t so necessary for tolerance and charity, and it certainly should not be a state religion, that’s unconstitutional. The other thing that’s so very important about people being faithful to the psychiatric religion is that the high priests (psychiatrists) cannot make a living or increase their power unless more and more people become faithful. The evangelism has gotten much more difficult of late, with so much information out of control via the internet.
…Here are some things you can do to help your loved one:
• Get them treatment and encourage them to stay in treatment
• Remember that their beliefs or hallucinations seem very real to them
• Tell them that you acknowledge that everyone has the right to see things their own way
• Be respectful, supportive, and kind without tolerating dangerous or inappropriate behavior
• Check to see if there are any support groups in your area
Join a Study
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions
20. Diseases and conditions… are these the same, or different? If they’re different, then which is schizophrenia, a disease or a condition? Why does NIMH need to confuse the public like this?
…, including schizophrenia. During clinical trials, treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments.
The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individual participants may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Please note: Decisions about whether to participate in a clinical trial, and which ones are best suited for a given individual, are best made in collaboration with your licensed health professional.
How do I find Clinical Trials at NIMH/NIH?
Scientists at the NIH campus conduct research on numerous areas of study, including cognition, genetics, epidemiology, and psychiatry. The studies take place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and require regular visits. After the initial phone interview, you will come to an appointment at the clinic and meet with one of our clinicians.
Find NIH-funded studies currently recruiting participants with schizophrenia by using ClinicalTrials.gov (search schizophrenia) or visit Join a Study: Adults - Schizophrenia.
How Do I Find a Clinical Trial Near Me?
To search for a clinical trial near you, you can visit ClinicalTrials.gov. This is a searchable registry and results database of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. ClinicalTrials.gov gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers to call for more details. This information should be used in conjunction with advice from health professionals.
Free Booklets and Brochures
• Schizophrenia: A detailed booklet that provides an overview on schizophrenia. It describes symptoms, risk factors, and treatments. It also contains information on getting help and coping. Also available en Español.
• What is Schizophrenia? A brief brochure on schizophrenia that offers basic information on signs and symptoms, treatment, and finding help.
Research and Statistics
• Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE): The NIMH-launched RAISE is a large-scale research initiative that began with two studies examining different aspects of coordinated specialty care (CSC) treatments for people who were experiencing first episode psychosis.
• NIMH Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders Research Program: This program administers funding to scientists doing research into the origins, onset, course, and outcome of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and such related conditions as schizotypal and schizoid personality disorders.
• Schizophrenia Statistics: This webpage provides information on the best statistics currently available on the prevalence and treatment of schizophrenia in the U.S.
• Schizophrenia Clinical Trials at NIMH: Adults: This webpage lists NIMH clinical trials that are currently recruiting adults with schizophrenia.
• Schizophrenia Clinical Trials at NIMH: Children: This webpage lists NIMH clinical trials that are currently recruiting children with schizophrenia.
Last Revised: February 2016
Unless otherwise specified, NIMH information and publications are in the public domain and available for use free of charge. Citation of the NIMH is appreciated. Please see our Citing NIMH Information and Publications page for more information.
Psychiatria delenda est!