An article about ADHD treatment for adults attracted some negative comments today. Some Twitter friends described them as trolls, and when I nitpickingly said that they aren’t trolls, they’re antipsychiatry activists, I was asked to explain the difference.

A troll is a person who …

45 Comments to
Troll or Activist?

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  1. As a blogger I really appreciate your distinction between trolls and activists. It helps me see understand more clearly: not all provocation is of the terrorist variety. Most challenges in the comments section, are offered in good spirit, are food for thought, contribute to an exciting conversation and are learning moments for all involved. Life, and the blogs, would be so boring without them. The trolls get dumped under the bridge where they belong.

  2. I think ADHD is genuine. On the other hand, this article in The Guardian, which links to the original study, shows that “The overall effect of new-generation antidepressant medication is below recommended criteria for clinical significance”.

    An older study (2002) was mentioned in USA Today.

  3. Good Post! An issue near and dear to my heart since I began commenting at blogs about 14 months ago. I have mixed feelings about Philip Dawdy’s site, Furious Seasons, as I think the author is right on the mark, but his pseudo alliance by tolerating some of the commenters (as you alluded to in the above example in the post) runs the risk for lowering the impact his posts have by allowing the commenting without the level of moderation needed for topics of this intensity.

    People are entitled to their opinion, and how they express it will either gain some level of acceptance or disdain/rejection. I know as I have been on the receiving end of both reactions here and at other sites. That is why I end alot of my comments with “Just my opinion”.

    I’ll end with this: letting extreme comments go unchallenged is risky for probably several reasons, but the biggest to me is the adage of “hear the lie enough and it becomes the truth”, as if a naive reader comes onto a site and reads mostly negative, outrageous, sensational comments that are not at least questioned by other readers, the repetitiveness of it could give validation. But, is the pervasiveness true!

    There were not weapons of mass destruction in Iraq for what the facts show now. But, let people who have an agenda for themselves shout down lies or misconceptions, what are less educated or aware people left to decide?

    Antipsychiatry has a place, but not the podium to themselves.

    Just an opinion.

    As always, thanks for allowing the comment!

  4. I used to be anti-medication and into natural supplements and herbal remedies only. The only “commercial” medication I’d take would be the occasional aspirin or Aleve. Then I was diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication. It made such a difference in my quality of life that it made me a believer of modern medicine. I was later diagnosed with ADD in my early twenties and eventually found Adderall to work best for me. Adderall isn’t a cure-all, but it has allowed me to function better at work, my graduate studies and in my daily life overall.

    Antipsychiatry activists have a right to their opinion and to treat themselves however they see fit. But don’t knock me for making my own personal choices that I (and my doctor_ feel are healthiest and most beneficial for me.

  5. I think one can admit that the antipsychiatrists do have some valid criticisms to make without buying into their entire ideology. Medications have indeed been overused/abused, particularly with agitated elders and difficult children. It’s a lot easier to just give someone a pill than to redress the conditions that contribute to inappropriate behavior.

    Mental illness is much like any other medical condition. There are degrees of severity. Some can be managed without resort to medication, just as some diabetics can control their condition with diet and exercise. For those who need them, the medications can be life-saving, but they’re not always the only answer.

    I believe that as a society, we’re over-diagnosed and over-medicated. Sometimes people with Social Anxiety Disorder are just shy, and need a little more gentle encouragement. Sometimes the kid with ADHD is just bored and restless, and could benefit from a less restrictive learning environment. Sometimes that elderly widow isn’t depressed, she’s just understandably sad and needs an interesting hobby and more supportive companions. That doesn’t mean those conditions don’t exist, and that they can’t be crippling, just that we’re sometimes a little too eager to slap a label on something and look for a quick fix.

    Sometimes you need Prozac, and sometimes you just need a hug.

    There’s room for moderation on both sides.

  6. Those who are against medical treatment fall into two groups, those who have not been sick, and don’t think others are. This is just a lack of empathy.

    The other group is those who are sick and won’t admit it. My mother was ill and did not think anything was wrong with her, it was us, our father, society et cetera. She never got better and ruined our lives. She also delayed others getting treatment, because it reflected on her.

    This is not a political movement these people are ill.

    When actual studies are done to see if people are being over medicated they find little or no evidence, instead they find many who need help and are not getting it.

    Giving a child who does not have ADD meds causes visible problems. This means it is obvious if you treat kids who have nothing wrong with them.

    It is hard to get people to take antibiotics for the full 7-10 days, does anyone really think there are thousands out there taking meds with side effects for no reason? The biggest problem with all meds is getting people to take them, heart meds, and head meds.

    The number of times I have had to go through justifying the meds I have to take to people who think I can just snap out of it, or would get better if I just stopped taking them, is more than I care to remember. It is boring and insulting.

    If these people are fine and do not need meds, they should just be thankful.

    I think these groups of people like anti medeicine activists, animal rights activists, evangelicals and others who think they should be in control of other people should learn some manners. They do not have to see doctors, take meds, or use any medical or hygiene products, or avail themselves of doctors who are all schooled in evolution. If they want to die, be dirty, or malnourished that is their problem, and their choice. To force it on others shows they have no conscience.

    When they attack medicine and try to stop it, it is an attack on my life. I need these things to live, if they take them away, I die. I do not take that lightly.

    Attempted murder is a crime.

    There is one other reason behind this rudeness. Magical thinking, if we can just lift ourselves out of mental illness, or visualise cancer away life would be much easier. Reality is not like that. We have to get over magical thinking.

    And we have to learn to understand the evidence we have available. Anecdotal and statistical studies are not enough. And people personal views, are just that. They are worth as much as their film recommendations.

  7. A man is looking at me. He is in my carpet. Am I imagining him? No, he is a hallucination. I have schizoaffective disease. I know he isn’t real. If I don’t take my med for this disease, more H’s will multiply.

    Mental illness is real. Would the antipsychiatry activists reject medication for cancer if they had it? Or, when they are suicidal, just end their life?

    My 2 cents,

    Sara

  8. Are there valid critiques and criticisms to be made of psychiatry, yes there are without question. However, there is nothing about any of them that would flat out invalidate the whole field as the antipsychiatry movement likes to claim. The logic alone invalidates their arguments.

    One of their most common claims is that it’s too easy to find a bad psychiatrist who easily or often misdiagnoses, applies diagnoses when the patient’s symptoms clearly don’t come anywhere near matching the diagnostic criteria as laid out in the DSM or any other reliable source, or who’ll do things like over medicating or blatantly mismanaging medications. However, if this logic worked to invalidate psychiatry, it should also invalidate many other fields of medicine or at least close a lot of the clinics that serve low income people and those with not-so-desirable insurance like Medicare or Medicaid. I’ve seen a LOT of doctors that haven’t a clue and at least half of them were NOT psychiatrists. Actually, some of the worst were either General Practitioners or Neurologists. So does this logic invalidate those fields too?

    By the logic of the antipsychiatry crowd, the mere POTENTIAL for a bad or dangerous side effect makes the medication “so dangerous it should be taken off the market”. Does that mean that because ONE person in 1000 or so can have a similarly bad reaction to a non-psych med that it’s ALSO “dangerous and should be taken off the market?” My personal experience, even as a person with really slow liver metabolism and a complex tangle of conditions has been that when I’ve gotten the worst reactions and it’s actually gotten me into some sort of trouble it’s generally been because either I or the doc – and it was usually the prescribing doc – wasn’t doing the proper monitoring or wasn’t listening to what I had to say about side effects. This is NOT the medication’s fault, so why should the med be taken off the market because doctors don’t want to or won’t do their duties?

    Psychiatry may have some ongoing issues with bad doctors, but the trolls who want to stop all psychiatric treatment only would set back the rights of the mentally ill by a few hundred years or so. And many of them either have plenty of warning signs of some sort of needed treatment (like my family members who eventually ended up forced into treatment) or they’re just plain mean-spirited people who have no true concept of the suffering that would be caused if they “won”. They wouldn’t “free” or “save” anyone. They’d trap many of us in the prisons of our minds and return others of us to the “safety” of institutions or prisons or some such just for our (or society’s) well-being.

  9. The feedback I get from patients who seem to appreciate and respond to the treatment interventions I advise is just that: they respect and understand I am advising them, not TELLING them what to do and think. That is what responsible and appropriate treatment is about, advice, direction, and support. It can be offered different ways, but the endpoint is the patient walks out the door at the end of the visit understanding it is up to him/her to agree and have some level of faith and hope in the recommendation(s).

    I have said this before and caught grief for it, but I believe it until proven otherwise and share it here for the readers to digest and decide if right: A lot of the antipsychiatry commenters give me the vibe they have characterological features, which is a psychiatric way of saying they struggle interpersonally. That is not a damning comment, but an interpretation I truly feel applies more often than not. One reason why I say it: in my experience as a psychiatrist, people who are moreso characterologically impaired, or if truly meets the diagnostic criteria of a specific personality disorder, not only don’t respond to medications, but sometimes get worse from them. Just an observation, but one based on 15+ years of experience.

    So, they may legitimately say the meds made them worse, but are they being advised the prior diagnosis doesn’t truly fit for them?

    Tough call and one not easily or quickly made by a provider. But, if the patient is committed to treatment, a diagnostic reconsideration is not only deserved, but obligated until proven wrong by further information or change in presentation.

    One further opinion and observation: as managed care does not view personality disorders as a diagnosis that is reimburseable for treatment, I believe a lot of psychiatrists have pushed this so far back in consideration that they over diagnose Bipolar Disorder so they can get paid. And, if that observation has any legitimacy, what a great disservice insurers have forced upon a profession!!! And even worse, that psychiatrists have bought into it!!!! As an analogy, imagine if you went to your PCP and he told you that your medical condition that caused you serious physical symptoms was not a diagnosis that he could list to be paid to treat, so he will give you an alternative diagnosis and therefore give you a treatment intervention that is cheaper and easier to apply. The caveat? The treatment may not be applicable to your problem. Outrageous?! Of Course!!! Yet this rarely if ever happens in somatic care, but is more likely commonplace in mental health. Don’t believe me? Ask around!

    Just my opinion.

  10. I wrote what was probably too lengthy a reply earlier that was deleted, so I will assume it was a sign to just say the point and move on:

    Much of the antipsychiatry stuff I have read this past year I attribute to characterological features, which is a psychiatric way of saying people with interpersonal struggles that need professional support to reframe, if seen by such individuals as a problem to at least try to seek psychological services. It is not an indictment of these people, but an observation, and based on years of experience. I also believe that characterologically impaired people more often have problems with medications and therefore may have legitimate gripes they struggle moreso when medicated.

    The last observation/opinion that will probably provoke responses is this: insurers do not pay for personality disorder as a primary diagnosis, and because of this I believe too many psychiatrists minimize or ignore the role of this problem to the presentation at hand, which is a sizeable cause to the overdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. So, if this is true, medicating personality disorder/characterological features out of control will do a disservice for said patients. And that is at least one reason why they then rage here on the internet.

    The question I leave to providers reading here is, why do we tolerate letting non-clinicians tell us how to diagnose and then run the risk of pushing for treatments that are not indicated for the possible true diagnosis we are not getting reimbursed for?

    Which is worse: managed care trying to minimize access to legitimate services, or providers not advocating more loudly to practice the way they were trained to have a greater impact for the better? BOTH!

    Just my opinion.

  11. Is it not possible that there is yet a third type of dissenter, one who doesn’t naysay psychiatry in general, but who disagrees with the hype surrounding one or more of the more recent (and controversial) diagnoses to emerge. It’s possible to respect psychiatry but still find fault with the identification of ADHD as an actual disorder.

    As an adult ADHD sufferer, and someone who deals daily with other aspects of being on the Asperger spectrum, I have to say that even I find it off-putting to notice how frequently some diagnoses are made. If attention-deficit disorders are truly as prevalent as the health professionals and pharmacists would have us believe, then I’d have to conclude that our entire species is in serious decline. I’m no antipsychiatry activist, but I do see evidence that attention-deficit meds are being heavily overprescribed to our children.

    Regardless of where we stand on ADHD or other disorders, there are clear precedents for the overprescription of medications in medicine, such as antibiotics. It certainly seems to me that psychiatry can fall prey to the same error.

  12. Troll or Activist or Just Making Money Off Pimping Drugs?

    Which one is Sandra Kiume I might ask?

    Isn’t she the one who ran the blog awards for Psych Central in 2008 where “Furious Season” was named “Best Blog”

    Pot calling the kettle black here I see

    I would have to think this comment is on topic here, after reading through all the Troll or Activist banter; correct or not?

  13. If you would like to see hostility at its worst, check out the April 17 post on David Healy at http://www.Furiousseasons.com and read whom I refer to as “the usual suspects” go rabid on a psychiatrist called dguller. Not that this psych Md does anything else but encourage the vitriolic banter by repeatedly making the foolish effort to counter the “US” call for death of psychiatrists.

    Just to be transparent if someone comes here to then attack me, I make the mistake of trying to engage that bunch last year and realized it became an addiction to go and try to dialogue with them, so between my request and Mr Dawdy’s eventual response to ban me, I do not comment there any more, and reading this latest ‘battered thread’, no regrets!

    The label “Trolls” just diminishes the true attention that should be addressed to attitudes that prevail in commentary like that, as it has no place for reasonable discord and debate. I am glad sites like this have the responsibility to moderate.

    We will see if anyone makes an effort to demean me.

  14. http://psychservices.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/58/9/1193
    The Relationship Between Psychiatry and Religion Among U.S. Physicians

    psychiatrist guller wrote in response to that doctor survey: (at Furious Seasons)

    “One of its interesting findings: Psychiatrists are more likely to be Jewish than non-psychiatric physicians. I suppose that is evidence of the historic tensions between Jews and non-psychiatric medicine. Also, I wonder what it is about Jews and the attraction to become Nazi-like human rights violaters? Hmmm. Now that’s a deep thought.

    Oh, and the survey showed that although psychiatrists tend to be less religious, they are more spiritual, according to that survey. Not exactly a bunch of nihilists, eh?” -dguller,commenter and psychiatrist at Furious Seasons

    found at the FS http://www.furiousseasons.com/archives/2009/04/david_healy_slaughters_the_biomythology_of_bipolar_disorder.html

    that you mentioned in your comment above, ‘therapyfirst’–what do you think about that comment?

  15. To briefly answer Stephany here, who I sense knows better than to bring this crap to another site, I will say that dguller has lost it in debating the ‘tenured’ folks involved in that now thankfully terminated thread by Mr Dawdy. To return this thread to where it belongs, there are trolls, there are activists, there are invested commenters, and there are those who are just tuning in or returning and probably just bewildered to read extremist attitudes who, I believe, live by the adage “hear the lie enough and it becomes the truth.” Not necessarily directed to you, Stephany, but I will be frank in saying I am glad I am banned at Furious Seasons as Philip needs to reconsider moderation.

    Just an opinion. Hope you and your family are well and you are championing for the right causes.

    therapyfirst

  16. I’m glad my sister pointed me to this place. Learning a lot!

  17. If no one is making these people take drugs what is their problem?
    They are against people being forced to do something, yet their response is to force them to do something.

    Like animal rights activists, evangelicals et al, they seem not to be against people being forced to do something but instead want to be the ones in charge forcing them to do what they want.

    Paranoid, narcissistic, fascist, and they want to be in charge. Yet these people seem to have more than enough problems with their own lives. Why screw up everyone else’s?

    “If I can just fix all the problems around me, that I perceive, and fix them my way regardless of others needs and wants, then all the problems in my life that I do not want to deal with will be magically fixed. Right?”

    “My life will be right, and I can find a man if they will just stop putting lipstick on bunnies.”

    “If they will just stop cutting down trees, my moods will stabilise and I will no longer be depressed”

    “If they stop treating other peoples mental problems no one will notice mine”

  18. I love that comment above: “If they stop treating other peoples’ mental problems, no one will notice mine.” How True for some of these commenters!!!

  19. Quotes : “If they stop treating other peoples’ mental problems, no one will notice mine.” How True for some of these commenters!!!”

    Now if Psychiatry would just take this advice; then wouldn’t the world be a much better place.

    Or is it your contention Robert Martin-Hill II that psychiatry and all those false science traders somehow have better answers than everyone else?

    Maybe you just need a quick lesson in the history of psychiatry as a follow up to such bold generalized statements and opinions as you no doubt expressed here.

  20. Interesting that in the “humour” section you hyperlinked to, there is a picture of a group of activists with a banner reading “NO FORCED TREATMENT EVER.” So where is the humorous commentary on this human rights issue? There’s no need to write all of us off as anti-psychiatry Scientologists. Plenty of us are merely promoting the principles of informed consent and civil liberties. Nothing particularly radical about that, I’m afraid.

  21. “This is not a political movement these people are ill.”

    Thanks for your insight, Robert. What’s my illness (just so I know)? Thanks in advance.

  22. To repeat what I said when I commented on the “Mental Illness doesn’t have a cure” entry, I am speechless. But let me take a shot are addressing some of the issue.

    “There’s a decades-old political movement of people opposed to mental health treatment, and they’re prowling the web to leave comments in forums and blogs, etc., beyond their own web sites and books. Consider it outreach.”

    When Philip posted his entries about the post partum issues, Katherine Stone and people who shared her views wrote several posts on furious seasons. People from both sides do this so please don’t falsely imply that this is limited to the folks you label as “antipsychiatry activists.”

    TF – As one who has praised alot of your posts on Carlat’s blog, I am really perplexed at what you have written here. Why the mean spiritness? And by the way, you criticize people like me for being way too inflammatory and then you tell Stephany that she knows better than to bring this “crap” over here. What is wrong with this picture?

    And before anyone starts to paint one of me, let paint it for you and then you can decide. I have left an antipsychiatry email list because they were too radical and one of their main points was the wanting to ban all psych meds.

    When I pointed out that would put people like me in severe withdrawal (I am tapering off of my meds very slowly), I made no headway.

    My point is that just like you admonish us not to make broad generalizations which is a fair point, I think you need to be following your own advice. We are all different.

    And speaking of broad generalizations, Philip banned the infamous “Lynette”. How come that wasn’t mentioned as you all make it seem like he tolerates those types of extreme views?

    I am not against psych meds as long as people are fully informed of the risks. I don’t think that is happening which is another issue. Anyway, having that belief is totally different from the picture that has been painted of us as wild crazy radical scientology zealots. Francesa made a great point about that.

    Robert, you’re not totally wrong as I was ill which was from the psych meds. Amazingly, my health has greatly improved as I have reduced them except for a hearing loss from one of them.

    And in case anyone thinks I am making one of those wild crazy claims, hearing loss is listed as a side effect of the med. Also, during my taper, when I accidentally took too much, my hearing worsened.

    Finally, I am addressing this particular point to TF since he is a psychiatrist. But this applies to everyone.

    If you listened to people like me instead of painting as wild eye radicals, you might learn things that could help people who choose to take psych meds.

    As TF knows, I have advocated a very slow tapering program which I learned on the Paxil Progress Boards, run by an RN. It is to taper 10% of current dose every 3 to 6 weeks.

    TF, if I understand him correctly, doesn’t think this will work. But has it ever occurred to you that this might be useful for your patients who you think could benefit from meds but can’t find the right dose? In other words, you could use the knowledge we have gained in customizing our withdrawal doses that you can’t get at a local CVS to help your patients stay on the dose that is right for them.

    Anyway, it seems this could be quite helpful as even people who feel psych meds are very beneficial complain about side effects which can be dose related. But instead, you want to flame us.

    Your loss.

    AA

    PS – I have nothing to sell as I just don’t want people to suffer

  23. Brilliant observations, Ms. Kiume. I fear, though, that the sane people have stopped reading PsychCentral, which has become a sort of haven for the anti-anti-anti crowd. (Perhaps registration and valid names should be required?)

    What’s really amusing is that therapyfirst/skillsnotpills does not see himself as one of the psychiatrists that you describe. He does a good job of sounding reasonable and sane, and then he just goes off. Watch him closely and see. Neither, apparently, do Stephany or “AA” find that the descriptions aptly fit their own posting patterns. Denial of mental illness takes many subtle forms.

  24. Brilliant observation also, Mr. Martin-Hill.

  25. Thank you, Sandra, for a really good article.

    Oh, and now I am wondering if people here see me as a troll?

    Well, I am not ‘against’, or ‘for’. I think that Psychiatry has huge problems, and that they do a lot of damage. I feel the same way about Therapists.

    But more than that, I get frustrated, because I have seen not only the best and worst of these worlds, but pretty much all in-between as well. I don’t want to get rid of shrinks and psychiatrists, I just want them to listen better, and think more…to people like here on ‘Psych-central’. (They blame)

    So, ma i a troll. i don’t think so. but I am critical because I have seen what can happen, the best and the worst. The best is like something most patients and therapists alike have never met, but I have. And that makes it even more frustrating, knowing what this field can be.

    Is mental illness just like Diabetes and cancer, as someone says?

    It’s funny that when a person does not know anything about something, they tend to feel like the total experts. (unlike Dr. Pies, a psychiatrist who writes here and who I really like and trust. mainly, because he really listens!)

    This someone said that mental illness is just like diabetes and where you can control your chronic illness through diet and exercise.

    Right? Wrong! The majority of diabetics is not able to do this, and by the time they have their second appointment with the Dietician, they give up hope, isolate, and pretty much ‘die’. And, they think they are the only one. They are not but these folks are not talked about, and most of you don’t even know they exist, and are soon discarded because they ‘won’t’ when in truth they ‘cannot’.

    Cancer? Have you ever been a cancer patient? It’s the direct opposite of being a psychiatric patient. people who work in this field are wonderful and that part alone is incredibly healing.

    When you get /have cancer, you are treated as an equal, and are encouraged in a hundred percent ‘mean it’ way to be responsible to tell and get heard, and those treatment providers are available.

    sometimes, a lot of the patients act crazy or emotionally ill. well, in the ‘cancer profession’ there is no such thing as anything abnormal, and it is totally understood and accepted that you may freak out or be manic, or just happy, or whatever.

    And unlike with psychiatry and therapists, they never fail to leave out even a single warning and they prepare you fort the very worst. And then they help you.

    Whereas in Psychiatry, they prepare you for the very best, and lovey-dovey, and shrink god knows it all vs. patient shall not talk since he has no degree and a lacking brain. and if the worst happens, they don’t help you, especially not if you, the patient, asks for it. they only help if it was their idea.

    (not edited)

  26. PS: I am sane. but, for me to get there, I had to first become totally insane.

  27. Nice job, Ms. Kiume!

    Katrin, I enjoy your posts and don’t see you as the least bit troll-like.

    And kudos to you, Mr. Martin-Hill. You nailed it! Especially this: “Paranoid, narcissistic, fascist, and they want to be in charge. Yet these people seem to have more than enough problems with their own lives. Why screw up everyone else’s?”

    I’ve long thought that much of the anti-medication crowd’s furor has come from their own experiences with medication that has been improperly prescribed and titrated.

    In fact, it’s why I started doing advocacy work in the area of ADHD, because I was so incensed at hearing first-person stories of Meds Gone Bad and Ignorant Psychiatrists without Empathy. I could not believe that these guys (mostly men) had licenses! Some of them have serious psychiatric problems of their own.

    Whereas many in the anti-medication crowd fail to see the success stories (or even admit they exist), I worked hard to create more success stories, by educating and supporting people seeking treatment — empowering them to demand better and to be an active participant.

    Not everyone with ADHD needs medication. And anyone who knows me or has read my book knows that I stress the importance of healthy diet, exercise, and other aspects of a well-balanced life. But for those who do choose medication, they deserve to be treated properly, following evidence-based clinical protocols. Unfortunately, only a fraction seem to receive such care.

    I have spent almost 10 years doing this volunteer work and finally writing a book as my Exit Strategy, so I can get back to paying work. It’s been a huge investment of my time, money and energy. But fortunately, it’s had an impact. I receive the most wonderful letters from readers worldwide who credit my book with changing (even saving) their lives. The book recently received four national awards. It will be around a while, I think. And some day I might even recoup my cash, if not my time, investment.

    But what happens on the Internet, on almost any site devoted to psychiatric/psychological topics, when I clarify misinformation on this topic? I get slammed repeatedly and viciously by people with nothing better to do than spew their venom, spreading misinformation not only about me but about my message.

    They insist, as therapyfirst/skillsnotpills has repeatedly, that I must be on Big Pharma’s payroll. The fact is, I could have gotten a grant from Big Pharma to write my book. It sure would have made my life easier. But I did not, because I wanted the information untainted by any outside investment.

    Unfounded as they are, these attacks don’t matter to me personally. I see these people for what they are: disturbed. But other people seeking information on the Internet are often confused and vulnerable to these LOUD messages that out-shout and out-number even-tempered information. When the ranters discredit me, they are hurting other people who would be helped by the information I offer freely. And that is a tragedy. In fact, I see it as some type of evil.

    The ranters don’t read my book. They don’t read my blog. They take one word of one I write and send it through the screwy Cuisinart of their perspective and spit it out. Then they repeat, repeat, repeat it. In the case of an organized anti-psychiatric cult, they exploit the Internet expertly, creating astounding numbers of “shadow” websites and front organizations that re-run pieces by their “investigative reporters.” They are relentless. And, in my opinion, blogs that encourage this mania, such as Furious Seasons, deserve no awards; they deserve a warning label.

    And that’s the other aspect of the virulent anti-medication crowd: They are mentally ill themselves and do not see the nature of their own dysfunction. As Mr. Martin-Hill said of his mentally ill mother, they think it’s the world that has a problem, not them. This is classic manifestation of “low insight.” It’s a brain thing.

    Some are simply ignorant about neurobiology and that the brain is a very vulnerable organ — from conception onward. Others are operating on that vestigial corner of the human brain that finds it stimulating to demonize an outsider; instead of communism or people of other races, it’s Big Pharma. Or aliens. Or the Fear du Jour.

    Unfortunately, Big Pharma has given the ranters plenty of easily exploited ammunition. But instead of taking the high road and working on reforms so more people get good treatment, they want to tear everything down. Don’t ever confuse their efforts with compassion. It’s all about them.

    Gina Pera, author
    Is It You. Me, or Adult A.D.D.?
    http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.org

  28. To those who prey on the instinct of a health care professional to turn the other cheek after being proverbially slapped, that ain’t me!

    Yes, read what I have written at threads and I do not abuse and misuse others in my efforts to dialogue and educate for those interested. But, for those who are out to draw blood and use those failed defenses of projection, denial, and displacement, I am not interested in bargaining or being congenial with rigidity and inflexibility.

    You slap someone, be ready to be slapped back! In an office, I can and will ask one to leave who is inappropriate, offensive, and demeaning. Here, I will throw it right it back in your face, because the rules are different in a medium that basically does not have rules, unless the blog author implements them.

    At least it is in print, so when you get careless and claim fouled when you fouled first, the readers who are attentive will know better.

    Surround yourself with those like you, that is human nature. Look around and view your company!

    And yes, this site has deteriorated to what I left at another site I frequented last year, only to regret I first expected reason and fairness were to be part of the equation there. Well, my mistake in that assumption, and seasoned readers know who and where I am talking about and can read it in print as it played out!

    So, Concerned Reader, your next observation?

  29. Thanks for all the comments.

    The issue is often tiresome to me, but that’s because I care about it. Why?

    I have a friend who is severely ill, and she attempted suicide. Just out of the hospital, she read an article in the alt press that was antipsych thinly disguised as “natural health” advice critical of Big Pharma. It published false claims that antidepressants had no value, would hurt people who take them, it was all marketing and disease mongering, and everyone should quit meds immediately and “detox.” Not knowing anything more about the issue, not knowing where to research it herself, she told me she was going to quit taking her pills. I said if she wanted to make changes to at least talk to her doctor first, and she did and she’s doing okay now (on meds). Life and treatment are not perfect but it could be a lot worse.

    Knowing my extremely vulnerable friend nearly made a risky medical decision based on an antipsych political propaganda piece pretending to be investigative leftist journalism, really angered me. It still does. She could have died or at minimum ended up back in hospital.

    I’ve seen many other articles, posts, comments that advocated the same. They are a menace.

    I’d like to be more mellow about the issue, live and let live. I don’t need the aggravation or insults. But if people aren’t going to extend the same respect and bombastically spread disinformation that can seriously hurt innocent people, then no. I fight inflammatory words with informed words.

    I’m a mental health consumer advocate and know the system(s) are not ideal, improvements are needed, there have been abuses that need redress, pharma marketing is out of control, etc. But the baby in that bathwater needs to be protected, too.

  30. Well said, Sandra.

    As a fellow advocate, I refuse to cede the Internet (potentially a source of vital connection and mental health information for people who lack other resources) to those would “self-medicate” with fearmongering, oppositionality, and venom.

    Not everyone can see these misguided troublemakers for what they are, so the most vulnerable suffer dangerous “side effects” from this disinformation.

  31. The medication issue requires balance: Not everyone benefits from meds and vice versa. For every strident ant-med person that Pera mentions, there is another equally strident pro-medication person.

    One day personalized medicine will eliminate the dosage guessing game when it comes to meds. Why is it sacreligous to hpe that day comes sooner rather than later?

    To say med opponents are mentally ill themselves does not further the debate.

  32. By the way, advocacy does not mean someone is telling the truth.

  33. I’m a survivor of a quarter-century of psychiatric “care.”

    I did not come to understand our coercive, authoritarian psychiatric system overnight.

    Nor was it because I read stuff by those awful, sick people described with such contempt above.

    I came to understand through 25 years of experience and observation.

    I wonder how many of the posters above have experienced psychiatric “treatment” at all, still less for decades.

    I do not wonder about the tactic in use. It’s called the ad hominem attack, and it’s been around forever.

    When you can’t win an argument on the merits, attack the person. And we, the “mentally ill,” are perfect targets. It’s a given that nothing we say can be believed.

    I’d thank you for listening if I thought you really were.

  34. Judy at 11:32 am on April 15th, 2009

    “Mental illness is much like any other medical condition. There are degrees of severity. Some can be managed without resort to medication, just as some diabetics can control their condition with diet and exercise.”

    I agree with you that other remedies may be useful, but it seems (for me and others I know who tried this approach) they are only effective when psychotropics are used. I’ve tried them without meds, and always need to go back on meds. This is also true for those I know with conditions who have tried the alternative approach. I have wasted so much money on supplements, only to throw them in the garbage. I do wish psychiatrists were trained with alternative supplements. I think St. John’s Wort, vitamin E/B, etc. should be recommended, but I know of no psychiatrist who is even familiar with supplements and vitamins.

    I would guess there are people out there who may have success without using meds, but I don’t know anyone with chronic mental heatlh issues who has been able to do this. If you are out there – please chime in and tell us what works!

    But I am just wondering if you had or do have had any of the conditions you mention below to “know” what those who experience them “need”?

    I have a child with ADHD, and my child is not merely just bored and restless, but has limitations to cognitive ability that occur throughout the day and manifest through behaviors. It affects one’s entire being, regardless of boredom. The phenomena that causes ADHD (whatever it may be) doesn’t shut itself off/turn itself back on. Are others with ADD/ADHD able to turn their illness on and off? Even if some have it less severe, it is always there.

    “Mental illness is much like any other medical condition. There are degrees of severity.”

    Considering the brain is an organ, I’m not sure how defects of the brain can be managed through diet and exercise, but I believe you are correct in that it surely does help. Maybe this is more likely to be more effective for acute episodes? Those with chronic neurological disorders cannot change the outcome of the functioning of their nerves through diet and exercise, can they?

    I wish hugs could help heal chronic mental illness, but unfortunately, while they certainly do help, they don’t ‘undo’ symptoms of those with these illnesses.

    Not being sarcastic here!-but maybe your assertions apply more to those with acute conditions?

    Thanks.

    “I believe that as a society, we’re over-diagnosed and over-medicated. Sometimes people with Social Anxiety Disorder are just shy, and need a little more gentle encouragement. Sometimes the kid with ADHD is just bored and restless, and could benefit from a less restrictive learning environment. Sometimes that elderly widow isn’t depressed, she’s just understandably sad and needs an interesting hobby and more supportive companions. That doesn’t mean those conditions don’t exist, and that they can’t be crippling, just that we’re sometimes a little too eager to slap a label on something and look for a quick fix.

    Sometimes you need Prozac, and sometimes you just need a hug.”

  35. So, Nordy, i would be interested in what you have learned over all these years being a psychiatric patient, and your opinion and wisdom.

    I certainly speak from experience when I comment, as I have done here, but I am really interested in what you have to say, and I have no agenda except a personal opinion. i guess i do not benefit much at all from intellectual discussions about a subject but am always a lot more interested in people’s real experiences.

  36. sorry, I meant personal interest

  37. Katrin,

    Describing every experience is impossible, at least as long as I don’t intend to write a book.

    Here’s an example.

    My mother was bipolar, and I took care of her the last 13 years of her life.

    (If you add those 13 years to my 25, you have close to four decades.)

    Mom didn’t show bipolar symptoms until her early 60s, a pattern that repeats in several other bipolar relatives.

    She got referred to Dr. P, who had privileges at a Seattle Catholic hospital.

    It was obvious from the start that Dr. P didn’t want to treat Mom. She arrived at his office extremely manic. He prescribed a few days’ worth of a benzo tranquilizer and sent her home.

    I was with her at that first visit. I could scarcely believe it. No mood stabilizers. Nothing beyond Xanax or Valium or whatever it was.

    Jaysus, I remember thinking. I could medicate her better myself.

    I realized Dr. P was giving my mother just enough medication to get her out of his hair until the tranks ran out and she decompensated–something she promptly did.

    (No, we didn’t change docs. Finding one had been hard enough.)

    Dr. P eventually got around to diagnosing Mom as bipolar and even attempting to prescribe appropriate meds.

    That went on for about a year, punctuated with stays at the hospital where Dr. P had privileges.

    Then one night I had to take Mom to the hospital again. But there would be no admitting her this time.

    It seems that Dr. P had discovered that Mom wasn’t bipolar. She didn’t have any mental disorders. She had been malingering the entire time.

    If I actually believed she had a mental disorder, he said, I could take her to the county hospital.

    I argued with the son of a bitch for 45 minutes. He refused to budge. I demanded that he show me evidence of malingering. He told me he didn’t have to.

    I took Mom to Harborview Hospital.

    Harborview is a great hospital, world-class in several areas, but the ER is a scene out of hell.

    We sat for hours among the end-stage alcoholics and street crazies and psychotic people dragged in by our oh-so-gentle cops.

    I got my first look at psychiatric torture: four-point restraints.

    The Harborview patients had one thing in common with my mother: They were all poor. It was obvious.

    So what happened here? On what grounds does a shrink who has diagnosed and treated a patient for a year suddenly “discover” that she’s been malingering the whole time?

    I believe that the hospital made the decision to throw my mother out. I think Dr. P was only following orders.

    One possible reason is that Mom had being getting care that was, well, just too good for a person like her.

    This was a nice hospital. Nice, middle-class people went there. My mother, in contrast, was old, sick, crazy and poor. People like her just didn’t belong. They belonged at Harborview.

    Or maybe it was just money. She was on Medicare and Medicaid, and perhaps it just wasn’t cost-effective to treat her.

    Dr. P is quite the hotshot these days. He even writes a column. I doubt that he remembers a certain crazy old lady.

    I’m sure he’s forgotten how he whored himself out to a hospital’s desire to rid itself of a patient.

    He’s Dr. P, prominent psychiatrist. That means he couldn’t be a self-serving liar. He couldn’t have violated his oath and his duty to his patient to please his masters.

    Take the story of Dr. P. Change the circumstances and the exact nature of the abuse.

    Then experience the incident over and over. Psychiatrist after psychiatrist. Year after year. Decade after decade.

    Every incident is different, and every incident is the same.

    If you’re me, you’ll slowly start reaching some, well, insight. (I don’t like borrowing a favorite shrink term, but it fits.)

    Insight says that when it comes to psychiatry, the basic problem doesn’t reside in the individual. It resides in the process.

    Insight tells you that psychiatry is, at its essence, a coercive form of social control.

    Insight says that a coercive profession draws coercive people–the very people who have no business in what’s supposed to be a helping profession.

    Insight tells you that you cannot coerce people into getting well. That is why psychiatry damages people so profoundly.

    How do I count the ways? Labeling. Dehumanizing. Silencing. Forced drugging with dangerous meds. Torture.

    I have to concede that even this most toxic professions include some humane people. I’ve even met one or two.

    So here I am. It’s obvious that I’m deeply disturbed and am projecting my warped feelings onto psychiatry to avoid dealing with them.

    Obviously nothing I’ve written above can be taken seriously.

    Since I have no credibility, I’ll leave you with the words of a psychiatrist. He was that rarity, a decent psychiatrist, and he treated me for a long time.

    This is what he had to say about his colleagues:

    “They’d die of shame if they were capable of it.”

  38. nordy, that was/is a very good comment, I think, and I agree with you. KAT

  39. DP, isn’t “truth” the very defining characteristic of advocacy?

  40. How can one advocate without presenting the truth? What kind of a jackass advocate would that be? That would be somebody who supports the BC Schizophrenic Society (Where We Teach You Care & Feeding Of Your Mental Patient).

  41. That’s right, A-holes. I’m talking to you, BCSS!!!

    Enjoy your charitable status; you won’t have it much longer.

  42. You know who deliberates misrepresents the truth?

    E. Fuller Torrey of the Treatment Advocacy Center.

    Only an American would blame Andrew Goldstein for his own tragedy.

  43. To Sandra- Has your friend tried combination-therapies? In certain cases, like my sister’s, combining natural therapies with the drugs may be the answer. Several months ago, my sister went into another of her schizoaffective disorder-related relapses. Deciding that this would be a good opportunity to try something different, and wanting to grant her wishes to get off the drugs, I began tapering her off her anti-psych meds, that were giving her negative side-effects, and at the same time, started her on herbal therapies. After the tapering was over, I began with the detox vitamins and Omega-3. She improved every day for about 6 weeks, and then crashed. The anti-psych meds had finally left her system. She was admitted to the hospital, and two weeks later, stabilized on her old anti-psych’s, she left the hospital. Well, now she has a naturopath, and it was found that she is gluten-intolerant and dairy-sensitive. So all these years she has been eating foods she’s allergic to! She’s feeling much better, now, with the new diet, and vitamin/herb therapies. Combined with the pharmaceuticals, (the side-effects from which have subsided). This is the way I should have done it from the beginning. So in this situation, I believe there is a place for prescription drugs. There are even pharmacies, now, that sell combination-therapy products

  44. troll or activist! Excellent post! made me laugh a lot!

  45. Hi,

    Lawrence Stevens, J.D. has a warning (see, online article) that any involvement with psychiatric or psychiatric professionals causes a stigma that follows a person through life. If one thinks they may benefit from talking to some professional, after one does, years later, one can be asked when applying for a taxi license, an airplane license or to get into a University… have you ever had psychological treatment. Lieing can result in backlash of course and telling the truth may prevent eligibility. Stigma is a word co-opted by Neuropsychopharmacology. (Their version is: some people are different than others, for life, and these deviant persons can be detected by our professional services, it is Important that the community accommodate these abnormal people and treat them fairly, we all need to care for these diagnosed lifelong abnormal people. That’s why we have an Anti-Stigma Campaign to raise awareness.)

    If it were a psychological problem then it could be resolved and be no more. If it were an illness then the person could gain physical health and the problem would be past tense. That is why illness, emotion, psychological, deviance and abnormality are all a confusing blur. Disorder? Illness?

    It is important for their Business.

    The famous Pediatrician Lendon Smith, M.D. writes correctly that ADD/ADHD is a quasi or pseudo-diagnosis. He writes that giving a person Methylphenidate can be diagnostic – if they are improved then that means their brain is weak in the norepinephrine tissue. So, from this vantage point of Lendon Smith, M.D.’s writings, one can see that Psychiatry’s DSM (word-test, psychological) “diagnoses” and its matching “medical” treatments with Patented centrally acting drugging agents have been created as a orchestration, a propaganda wall, so as to create for themselves a money train lasting decades.

    As Donald Klen, M.D. established – psychologically diagnose using the objective opinion of the Licensed Professional, and treat with current drugs on the market from the big chemical firms.

    Phosphatidylserine and water soluble choline DMAE, or treatment with elimination of sugar and food additives gets called quackery and unproven in another co-optation of language by this group.
    The real disease needs real Medicine! (Not a bunch of moves aimed at improving brain tissue health and addressing any and all causative items – that is Alternative! unproven, not peer reviewed, unorthodox, us Skeptics know that!)

    Then the opposition is co-opted as it is presented as being comprised of only exclusively representatives of psychology and psychotherapy (which exist as another part of The Established System) suggesting… Criticism… and more humane treatment… and non-medical alternatives (theirs).

    With this, they make it appear that the only criticism of the Racket consists of deigning any medical cause exists. This re-enforces that it IS the Medical approach – through, proclaiming, that non-medical, humane, Alternatives and choice are needed. (see Stalin control opposition, John Hammell)

    As Dr. Smith’s writings make plain people have medical issues that need to be addressed Medically. This makes them vulnerable to being labeled and drugged in the current epoch because of the great lengths undertaken by the ruthless industrial profit makers. They want to drug pregnant women (MOTHERS ACT, Amy Philo,) they want to drug children, (TeenScreen, Idaho Observer, AbleChild). The DSM3-4 and Psychopharmacology have been vastly profitable and that is the bottom line.

    Abram Hoffer, M.D., Linus Pauling and their contingent (see Abram Heffer Rose My Wife; and Want to be a Medline information censor) started Psychiatry towards Medical treatment in the 1950′s in the same years that the others started the marketing of neurotropic drugs and saw tremendous profit start. The Psychiatrists who developed the Medical biochemical treatment that would address people’s actual needs were suppressed 1967 to 1973. 1973 was the year of the heinous Task Force 7 Report on Orthomolecular Therapies in Psychiatry – a 58 page hatchet job that retroactively and for-all time declared the Biochemical treatment pioneers work invalid. (Their own best people swept under the rug at the starting gate!)

    So that’s the situation: Detecting a Witch ala the Malleus Maleficarum (see Don Wietz On Psychiatric Fascism) – Diagnosing people as being in a category of abnormality with psychological word-tests using the Licensed Professional’s Big Book of Diagnoses (DSM Drugs Supply Money, Defamatory Sales-Tactical Mug-u-all, Daemonic Sibilant Maledictions 4) and the treating of them medically with one of the 3 subspecialties of study of Psychiatry: Psychopharmacological intervention (endless neuro-drugging), psychosurgery or Electroshock Treatment (putting a large enough electrical shock across their temples to cause a electric shock induced Grandmal seizure. Very Newtonian Scientific of them: they objectively rationally aloofly categorize people (the natural Phenomena)(like Linnaeus) then they take a concrete definable Physical action on the corpus of the patient, and then they examine it afterward to see if its detectable symptoms have decreased measurably. If so success.

    In Autism some of the clinicians and researchers are Amy Holmes, M.D,. William Walsh, Bernard Rimland, William Walsh, Stephen Edelson, Ph.D. The cutting edge, most responsible, they too are ignored.

    Alzheimer’s disease has suffered the same fate in the current market, antioxidants are not used… most chemical biochemical treatment is not incorporated into Medicine… its just the handful of favored Patent drugs… and they will tell us over and over that Important Research is underway on Genetics and other scientific things – and new improved drugs are on the horizon.

    Only drugs are Medicine. Drugs equal Medicines. Medicine is finding and using drugs. In propaganda irrationality of the message, simplicity, uniformity and ceaseless repetition – from various sources are employed. Here too we have the creation of opposition groups and their messages, creation of advocacy groups and their messages, and control and creation of the central main groups. Lot of effort to give drugging agents that don’t improve brain health as the mainstay of Medical treatment to absolutely the greatest number of target niches of people as possible.

    Dan Burdick, Eugene Oregon

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