Posts Tagged ‘Szasz’

Psychiatry Profiting from Community Tragedy and Racism

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

In 2010 a 16-year-old African-American foster child died after being injected with two psychiatric drugs and restrained in SSM DePaul Health Center, a St. Louis company-owned psychiatric ward, and ruled a homicide. Less than two years earlier, a death at the same hospital in the Bridgeton suburb of St. Louis had led to a state inquiry that uncovered instances of improperly secluding and restraining patients and failing to report deaths to authorities.

Before she died, the foster child was held down and injected with Geodon (ziprasidone, a psychiatric antipsychotic drug) and Ativan (lorazepam, a psychiatric anti-anxiety drug).

It wasn’t until 2017 that a lawsuit was filed against the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services for overdrugging foster children with harmful and addictive psychotropic drugs, for which a settlement was reached in 2019.

Some of the behavioral hospital chains that have come under scrutiny for patient abuse include six facilities operating in Missouri.

And now today the abuse continues, with African-Americans over-represented in restraint-related deaths of children and adults with disabilities, accounting for 22% of the deaths studied while representing only 13% of the total U.S. population. African-Americans are dying from COVID-19 at almost three times the rate of whites.

As a human rights organization, exposing racism and restraint abuse in the mental health system has been a pivotal campaign since the inception in 1969 of Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). This also included exposing psychosurgery experiments on African-American prisoners and a 1994 booklet on psychiatry creating racism. CCHR has successfully worked with the NAACP since 2003, exposing the stigmatizing labeling and drugging of African-American children to obtain three national NAACP resolutions against the forced drugging and also electroshocking of children and teens.

CCHR’s co-founder, Dr. Thomas Szasz, a professor of psychiatry, exposed that while Dr. Benjamin Rush, the “Father of American Psychiatry” asserted he was anti-slavery in the late 1700s and signed the Declaration of Independence, he purchased a child slave that he later freed for compensation. He provided a medical model we still see the impact of today that was used to justify segregation and modern racism. Rush claimed that Blacks suffered from a “medical” disease called “negritude” derived from leprosy. Therefore, he asserted that freed Blacks should be segregated and prevented from inter-racial marriage so as to not spread the disease. Rush believed the “cure” was when their skin turned white.

A seal of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that features Rush, a racist and slave owner, is still used for ceremonial purposes and internal documents. There’s also an annual award the APA gives in his name. How appallingly hypocritical, then, that within days of the recent racial protest marches starting, the APA issued a press statement, saying, it “will not stand for racism against Black Americans,” when history shows otherwise. APA urged anyone suffering from the recent trauma or civil unrest to, “seek psychiatric treatment.”

This comes from a group whose members invented the term “protest psychosis” in the 1960s to describe Blacks participating in the Civil Rights movement. Advertisements placed in psychiatric journals for powerful antipsychotic drugs used angry black men or African tribal symbols to influence the prescriptions of antipsychotics to African-Americans. Today, there is still an over-representation of antipsychotic use among African-Americans and harmful psychotropic drugs are prescribed to African-American children as young as 18 months.

African-American students also receive disproportionate discipline in schools. Representing about 15% of the total enrollment, African-American students accounted for 27% of restraints and 23% of seclusion in schools.

CCHR can access over 50 years of research that documents the horrible betrayal of African-American and other groups by a eugenics-based, racist psychiatric-psychological model that has caused immeasurable harm and suffering.

Click here for more information on how psychiatry creates racism.

Reverend Fred Shaw has worked alongside the NAACP in getting 3 national resolutions passed.

Power to the Patients

Monday, January 27th, 2020
Listening to a radio program about considerations of political power in the Middle East made us wonder more generally about the concept of power. Their main consideration was the accumulation of power in order to control various elements of society. We noticed how this might apply to abuses in the mental health industry.

Power is one of those English words with multiple definitions. Generally it means “the ability to act or produce an effect”. In other contexts, for example in physics, it has the definition “the time rate of doing work.” In the referenced radio program it meant “relating to political, social, or economic control.” There are other specific definitions in mathematics, religion, business, law, etc.

In a very practical personal sense power means “being able to do what one is doing when one is doing it.” In another practical sense it means “the ability to hold a position in space.” Power represents total abundance where nothing can strike you down. A Zone of Power could be considered the area over which one has responsibility and control.

We ask how all this might relate to patient abuse in the mental health industry.

Coercive Psychiatry

When we speak of “coercive psychiatry” we mean that psychiatry is used as a means of social control against which one has no recourse and cannot fight back. Prime examples are involuntary commitment and enforced treatment.

As the late Professor Thomas Szasz said, “coercive psychiatrists function as judges and jailers not physicians and healers” with the power of life and death over the most vulnerable people.

“Disguising social control as medical treatment is a deceit which conceals an abuse.” This is a de facto abuse of power, as it seeks to limit and control the individual instead of helping the individual to get better and improve their conditions in life.

Coercive psychiatry is not intended to cure anything. On the contrary, psychiatry is the science of control and entrapment, and having power over distressed and vulnerable individuals. Wherever men have advocated and advanced totalitarianism, they have used psychiatric principles to control society, to put limits on individual freedom, to suppress and punish dissent, and to trap people into worsening conditions. It is actually a mis-use of power, since its intentions are to make less of a person’s self-determinism and give more power to others and the state.

All too often people may mistakenly disparage their own strength or power; do not allow psychiatry to crush you even further.

Click here to read more about psychopolitics — the art of asserting power over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals and the conquest of enemy nations through “mental healing”.

The Man Versus the Therapeutic State

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Read a fine remembrance of Dr. Thomas Szasz, by Senior Editor Jacob Sullum in Reason magazine: “He relentlessly attacked the ‘therapeutic state,’ the unhealthy alliance of medicine and government that blesses all sorts of unjustified limits on liberty. … I will always be grateful for Szasz’s courage and insight, and so should anyone who shares his passion against coercion.”

Dr. Szasz, co-founder of CCHR, passed away in September at the age of 92.

There are others who recognize the dangers, the fraud and abuse, within the psychiatric industry.

Robert Whitaker, in his book Anatomy of an Epidemic, had some interesting things to say. Psychiatrists have known since the beginning of psychopharmacology that their drugs do not cure any disease. In 1955, psychiatrist E. H. Parsons, speaking about chlorpromazine (Thorazine) said, “We have to remember that we are not treating diseases with this drug. We are using a neuropharmacologic agent to produce a specific effect.” And in 1955, Bernard Brodie, an investigator at the National Institute of Mental Health, “planted the intellectual seed that grew into the theory that depression was due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.” In experiments with rabbits he noticed that an herbal drug used in India to quiet psychotic patients lowered brain levels of serotonin and also made them lethargic and apathetic. We’re not saying that psychiatric drugs turn humans into rabbits, but “lethargic and apathetic” may be inferred.

Psychiatry has had to use coercion to survive as an industry because their treatments simply do not cure anything.

In a July 2000 interview with Dr. Szasz, Mr. Sullum said, “I once asked a psychiatrist I knew if he was familiar with Szasz’s work. ‘Oh, he’s crazy!’ he exclaimed, inadvertently illustrating Szasz’s point that such labels are often used to stigmatize people who offend or disturb us.”

Szasz said during the interview, “There are two things that I would have done very differently, and they really have to do with my passion against coercion, especially unnecessary coercion and especially coercion outside of a due-process legal system. The first thing I would have done is to stop all further involuntary psychiatric interventions. This is unthinkable stuff, because this means stopping the fundamental social function of psychiatry, which is partly to relieve society, families, physicians of unwanted people and partly to “prevent suicide.” “Dangerousness to self”: This to me is the keystone in the Roman arch. Until it is knocked out, it’s impossible to destroy the edifice. People should not be protected from themselves by involuntary psychiatric interventions. Psychiatrists should play no more of a role in this than priests do.” Read the full interview to find out the second thing Szasz would have done.

Have you or someone you know experienced the Therapeutic State? Fight back! Show the CCHR documentary DVDs to everyone you know.