Friday, March 5, 2010

NAMI & CHADD vs. George Will

Scott Jakovics, E. Clarke Ross and Mike Fitzpatrick attempt to counter George Will's excellent Feb. 28 column in today's Washington Post. Their arguments are instructive.

Supposedly, Will is on a crusade to "discredit science" (in general). He "denies" more than 50 years of research.

And supposedly it is "crucial" for such "misinformation" as George Will's column to be kept out of the media, so the public can instead be "enlightened" by NAMI and CHADD.

Well, what the hell, this is my own blog. Just as an exercise, I can be equally as strident as, and no less outrageous than Jakovics, Ross and Fitzpatrick. (My wife hates it when I do this, it pisses off the neighbors. But I'm occasionally allowed to get crazy, right? I don't drink too much, or gamble, or participate in extreme sports....)

I say these three individuals are dangerous, fringe-dwelling extremists. They covertly suggest censoring the free press and forcibly converting Americans to their mental illness faith. They should be fully investigated as to background and current illegal activity. They are depraved subversives, and possibly violent criminals. If this sounds incredible, just remember their names and google them every so often, and see whether I end up looking like a soothsaying psychic.

OK, fine. With a tip of my hat to Rodney Yoder, that's out of my system. I apologize to all conservative, respectable folk. I return to more careful, reasoned debate....

Does Mr. Jokovics really wonder if George Will (or for that matter, the rest of the human race) has insufficient experience with troubled teenagers? I've spent eight years working with every kind of seriously mentally ill person and their treatment teams in state nuthouses. These are the guys who went way beyond using marijuana and refusing to go to school or follow curfews. They're so screwed up that society has had to take away their liberty and restrain them behind locked doors for long periods of time.

Psychiatric "treatments" which attempt to neurologically disable even those miscreants I deal with from bad behavior merely make them worse and more dangerous. Something which could be called forensic psychiatry may be a useful or necessary social enterprise; but before they let a violent criminal out of the nuthouse, they should first withdraw him completely from all medications, and then make him demonstrate for at least a year that he can behave himself well enough to survive and get along in society. This is the opposite of current orthodoxy, where they try to brainwash the guy into the mental illness faith so he'll keep himself medicated/disabled even after he's out of the institution. Needless to say, the results suck.

But guess what, you don't even need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Medical science and common sense say too many people take drugs! All the research, and all the debate, is running strongly against Mr. Jacovics' presumption that we should err on the side of treating more people for more human imperfections.

The claim of the directors of NAMI and CHADD that the DSM "...provides clear, research-based criteria that distinguish impairments from character flaws" is simply laughable. Or it would be, were it not so creepily reminiscent of statements made in drug company FDA filings which were later discovered to be in violation of scientific ethics, or flat-out fraudulent, and which became legal evidence supporting billions of dollars in civil and criminal penalties.

I can't keep thinking about NAMI and CHADD in this context. It'll make me crazy again.

George Will's recent column is conservative, well reasoned, mainstream. The responses by Jakovics, Ross and Fitzpatrick are emotionally shrill and deceptive. NAMI and CHADD are losing the battle for public opinion. They will be gone, sooner than anyone thinks.


  1. ...And supposedly it is "crucial" for such "misinformation" as George Will's column to be kept out of the media, so the public can instead be "enlightened" by NAMI and CHADD...

    These people whine so heavily when they can't totally control the message.

    Mr. Ross's attitude reminds me of an incident in my county a few years back where a psychotherapist was charged and convicted of murdering her son.

    Her conviction was overturned on appeal. The state's attorney said that it was due to a technicality and then went on to make some tasteless and borderline tortious remarks about the psychotherapist's attitude and moral qualifications.

    One of her colleagues sent an angry letter to the paper saying they had absolutely no right to publish the remarks of state's attorney and that the public shouldn't be allowed to hear what he had said.

    I just couldn't believe the outrageousness of the colleague's paternalistic attitude. She seemed to think everything should be hush hush and that their members of the mental health community could do no wrong.

    However, if my publicly elected officials are going to behave like idiots, then I certainly hope my local paper will clue me in about it so that they can get voted out of office.

  2. After reading this blog, if given the chance of taking psychotropic meds or being subjected to Scientology, please give me the Thorazine.

    You don't advocate for the mentally ill. What you do is proselytize your science fiction religion on those who are vulnerable and weak.

    The mental health system, including psychotropic meds, have emptied the psychiatric wards of the past where patients were chained to the floors and with dignity, allowed the chronically mentally ill to live in residential settings. Ever wonder why psychiatric hospitals are becoming a thing of the past?

    No wonder you have such problems with your wife and your neighbors. The fact that you "google" constantly the people mentioned in your blog to make sure they are safe to society simply wreaks of paranoia. Thanks for the laugh.

  3. Your "Scientology or Thorazine" choice is ridiculous - never offered to anyone, obviously never will be. I presume you just had to take the occasion to disrespect my religion. No problem for me, but you are pathetic.

    If you had spent anywhere near the time I have in Illinois psychiatric hospitals, you'd know that the psychopharmacological project which once seemed so promising is an abject failure. The modern "mental health system" - whatever you imagine that to be - may perpetrate slightly different indignities, but the patients, staff, courts, and public are no more satisfied with it than their counterparts a century or half-century ago. This is nothing more now, than a cynical and fraudulent attempt to neurologically disable people from bad behavior. Results are terrible.

    My services as an advocate and as an attorney, by the way, are almost all provided pro bono. The people I work with in the institutions, including patients, staff, administrators, state's attorneys and circuit court judges, are usually quite happy to have me around. I've gotten many indications that my help is appreciated, over the past nine years, at Elgin Mental Health Center, Chester Mental Health Center, Alton Mental Health Center, Choate Mental Health Center, and Chicago Reed Mental Health Center. Feel free to call and ask about me.