Power to the Patients

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

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.