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Psychiatric “Treatment” is Horrible

I wish you knew that psychiatric treatment is fucking torture.  In fact, the World Health Organization and United Nations have condemned it so.

I wish you could knew the horror stories I’ve seen and heard from in psychiatric hospitals.  People are imprisoned in there, in the name of giving them treatment and helping them.

I wish you knew what “treatment” and “care” actually look like in psychiatry.  It involves force, lies, and coercion.  Without committing a crime, you can be locked in a room, held town by a group of security guards or nurses, tied down in 4-point restraint, injected with drugs you didn’t know existed and you didn’t ask for, you might receive forced electroshock therapy, without ever committing a crime, without ever being violent.  Their only crime – caring and loving too much in a world that’s not ready for it.

Types of Involuntary Treatment

I wish you knew treatment in our country, is involuntary.  There even exists Involuntary-Voluntary treatment where you’re told “Sign this document to be voluntary… otherwise we’ll involuntarily commit you.”  People are put in Seclusion, Restraint, Electroshock, Drugging…

I wish you knew there’s even Assisted Outpatient Treatment, where they can legally force drugs on you outside of a hospital.

I wish you knew the way they manipulate people to take these drugs through lies and shame.  Telling them they have a biochemical imbalance that will persist forever and the only known treatment is this medication.  And you should take it, look what you’re putting your family through, what kind of selfish monster are you to not take your medication?

I wish you knew how many kids are put through the same situation to take medication for their supposed disorders… told there’s something wrong with them, when the reality is that the school environment filled with control, coercion, manipulation, and competition is truly sick.

Proper References for a Balanced Story

I wish you knew the work of psychiatrists courageous enough to speak out against their own field like Dr. Loren Mosher, Dr. Thomas Szasz, or Dr. Peter Breggin, who said: “Going to a psychiatrist has become one of the most dangerous things a person can do…. The miracle drugs (neuroleptics) cause the worst plague of brain damage in medical history.

I wish you knew the work of attorneys like Wayne RamsayTed Chabasinksi, or Jim Gottstein who have fought legal battles against forced treatment, against pharmaceutical companies, for forcing people on drugs, cross-marketing drugs for children that were never tested on them, and covering up the side effects of these horrible drugs.

I wish you knew the work of journalist Robert Whitaker, who wrote Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America and uncovered the unsettling relationship between the psychiatric medications that people are pushed onto and the increases in mental illness and people being on disability.  That since the advent of these supposed “cures” for mental illness, the numbers of people on disability are rising, not going down.

I wish you knew the work of Dr. Martin Harrow, whose long-term studies on anti-psychotic medications show that people recover much better OFF medications than being on them.

I wish you knew the side effects of all these medications: Nausea and vomiting, Weight gain, Diarrhea, Sleepiness, Sexual problems, Thoughts about suicide or dying, Attempts to commit suicide, New or worsening depression, New or worsening anxiety, Feeling very agitated or restless, Panic attacks, Trouble sleeping (insomnia), New or worsening irritability, Acting aggressively, being angry, or violent, Acting on dangerous impulses, psychosis, delusions, Nausea, Blurred vision, Headache, Confusion, Tiredness, Nightmares, Dizziness, Unsteadiness, psychosis, hallucinations, Problems with coordination, Difficulty thinking or remembering, male breast growth… there’s more I just have more to say…

The Chemical Imbalance Myth: and its Origin and its Perseverance

I wish you knew the origin of this whole “chemical imbalance” myth.  That we first used to think weird people were witches – or the devil was inside them.  Then, developed pharmaceutical drugs to treat these people.  Then, ASSUMED, that these drugs were ‘correcting’ an imbalance.  The drug design process was backwards – normally, you understand a disorder and you design a drug to counteract it.  That was never done.

I wish you knew these drugs were designed to treat a known condition, they’re just covering up symptoms: our first anti-psychotics were tranquilizers, our anti-anxiety meds were muscle relaxants, our anti-depressant was an anti-tuberculosis medicine, our ADHD medications are amphetamines.

I wish you knew about the Hunger Strike MindFreedom held in 2003 to hold the APA, Surgeon General, and National Alliance for Mental Illness accountable, demanding they provide “even one study proving the common industry claim that ‘mental illness is biologically-based.’”  The APA replied “The answers to your questions are widely available in the scientific literature, and have been for years” sending introductory psychiatry textbooks, claiming the answers were in there.  A team of 14 mental health PhDs and MDS reviewed the APA’s texts, finding no evidence.  When pressed, the APA admitted “the absence of any biological markers for mental disorders.”

Alternatives and Healing

I wish you knew the alternative treatments for extreme states… and the success of Soteria Houses,  Hearing Voices Groupspeer respites, and Open Dialogue therapy.

I wish you knew about the I Got Better campaign, where people around the world posted stories and videos of their own recovery from supposed ‘psychiatric ‘disorder’ they were told they’d need medications forever to deal with.

I wish you knew that what people found healing was not a single silver bullet solution, but a combination that worked for their unique circumstances, when asked what was most important to maintaining well-being, they said things like ‘self-determination and empowerment,’ ‘emotional and psychological balance,’ housing, hope, relationships with friends, family and colleagues, healing from past trauma, physical health and well-being, peer support, spiritual practice, abstinence from drugs and alcohol, employment, social activism… NOT mental health services.

I wish you knew that when asked what specific practices and services worked well for them, the number one thing they said was counseling, group therapy, and talking therapy.  Followed by emotional healing, self-help, classes, learning, reading social activity with friends and family, exercise and yoga, involvement in advocacy, activism and social change, expressing arts like drawing, music and writing, spiritual practice, peer support, gardening, nature, the outdoors, meditation, nutrition and vitamins, bodywork and massage.

I wish you knew not just about alternative treatments, but alternative interpretations of extreme states to begin with.

I wish you knew the work of Sean Blackwell, who studied similarities between spiritual emergence and supposed bipolar psychosis, who said, “Entire lives once full of potential, are robbed of vitality forever.”

I wish you knew that most people experiencing severe emotional distress have been through some serious trauma and that things like psychosis are a process of healing from that trauma…

And I wish you knew that, for me, the most traumatic experience of my life was being involuntarily treated by psychiatrists.

I wish, after knowing all this, that you also concluded that these experiences people are having, are natural, they are the body’s normal reaction to undergoing stress and trauma, and these experiences are them going through a healing process, which may appear scary and painful, but which must be trusted and supported so they can come out stronger on the other side.