The American Psychiatric Association is finishing up its annual conference in San Francisco today, at the very moment when a major international newspaper is actually calling for them to be exiled from the mental health world. The timing of Mac Maclachlan’s opinion piece in The Irish Times is just spectacular! It reminds me of Thomas Insel’s announcement that psychiatric “treatment” pretty much sucks, and that NIMH would dump the DSM for research purposes, just as APA came out with its newest edition of their ridiculous bible!
I’d love to be a fly on the wall at APA. “Mental health services must be prised from grip of psychiatry” was all over my twitter feed this morning, and I did my best to pass that headline along to a couple guys who I know are probably there in San Francisco.
Within the article, there are such “radical anti-psychiatry” views as:
"The over-prescription of medication reflects not just a system that offers insufficient alternatives to drugging young people, but trenchant resistance from the psychiatry profession…”
"We know that the ‘diagnosis’ of mental health conditions – practised primarily in Ireland by general practitioners, psychiatrists and psychologists – is inaccurate and unreliable; and that it is not a good basis for understanding mental health problems or deciding how to help people.”
"We know that there are no ‘biological markers’ or identified biological causes for mental health problems. There is no blood test, scan, metabolic or electrical brain pattern which maps neatly on to mental health conditions.”
"We also know that most people with mental health conditions can be effectively helped without drugs…”
"Mental health is a multidisciplinary field where the medical model approach is now very much a minority view, and where other professions and many patient/client representative groups – and indeed an increasing number of psychiatrists – advocate for a very different one. Our mental health services have not evolved to reflect what we know about mental health. They have maintained the vice-grip of a medical model and are designed to protect the privilege and interests of one profession at the expense of people’s mental health. There are better ways, and we all know it.”
This attitude, stated so concisely and decisively on the opinion page of a reputable, 200-year-old international publication, is a mortal threat to psychiatry. If mental health becomes a primarily non-medical concern, guys like my friend Joe Pierre, MD, or that silly little racist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, or Illinoisans James Patrick Corcoran, Richard Malis-with-malice, Syed Hussain and Bobby Sharpe, will certainly lose the prestige and money that they’ve become used to.
Speaking of those Illinoisans, there’s another article hot off my feed today that bears directly upon them, as forensic psychiatrists: “Recovery Orientation Faces Challenges in Forensic Psychiatry Settings” is about a Swiss study which shows that psychiatry staff in institutions like EMHC are worried that they’ll lose authority and power if they try to help patients recover, instead of concentrating on control, security, drugging, and (perhaps) punishment, as they always have. Despite the pretenses of “hospitals” and “medicine” a recovery orientation is highly problematic. They really don't want their "patients" to recover: they want them to obey (i.e., as good slaves).
Lastly, I got an email today from some psychedelic apostle or skeptic entitled, "Psychedelics and polyamory: a survey for an article in www.ecstaticintegration.org." The title tells the story, but survey question number 4 is especially cogent: "Have you been encouraged towards a polyamorous lifestyle by a psychedelic healer, guide or leader? If so, could you tell us about it?"
As I've written repeatedly, one downside of psychedelics for mental health professionals includes a much stronger propensity among therapists and clients to slip into sexual relationships. (The other one is increased incidents of random psychotic breaks and dangerous behavior.)
It's almost comical (but for the gruesome harm it would cause) to imagine the catastrophe this would bring to secure forensic psychiatric facilities. In the Illinois Department of Human Services, administrators and bureaucrats already suffer from continuous high anxiety and must wrestle with an embarrassing, Mafia-like code of silence, about "boundary violations" by staff, who tend to think those slaves are there as property, after all, so why not use them for sex?
The advent of any psychedelic therapy as an optional treatment mode at EMHC would surely bring orgies to the clinical units, and deadly jealous revenge as a constant threat to anyone who works or is enslaved there. Bill Epperson in the parking lot on steroids!
So the thought for today is, pity the screwed psychiatrists at their convention in San Francisco! Or... wake them up, and make them get honest jobs!