Antipsychiatry News Clips


Commentary on current news by
Douglas A. Smith, webmaster of this website

Campaign of Misinformation About "Depression" Continues
Articles in the September 1998 issues of both Tufts University Health & Nutrition Newsletter and Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Letter promote these psychiatric myths: (1) Unhappiness or "depression," if intense, is a disease.  (2) Psychotherapists have special skills for helping people.  (3) So-called antidepressant drugs are effective.  The Tufts newsletter says "The good news is that depression is a treatable condition... People, and that includes older people, who feel generally depressed or 'blue' should speak to a physician about getting treatment with a therapist, antidepressant drugs, or both" (p. 7).  Similarly, the Harvard newsletter says, "depression is largely treatable, with either talk therapy, antidepressant medication, or both" (p. 8).  In fact: (1) Unhappiness or "depression" is not a disease however intense it may be.  It has never been shown to have a biological cause.  Therefore, feelings of despondency or "depression" cannot be "treated."  They must instead be eliminated by changing the life experience or life circumstances that caused them.  (2) So-called psychotherapists have no skills not possessed by untrained persons.  (3) So-called antidepressant drugs have no specifically antidepressant effect.  The closest they can come is disabling a person's brain and fogging his mind enough that he can no longer mentally focus on whatever it was that was causing him to feel sad or "depressed."  Most so-called antidepressants have general brain-disabling effects that promote despondency or "depression" both through their neurotoxic effects and their tendency to make whoever takes them less effective in life.
      These misleading articles, emanating from two of the world's most esteemed institutions of higher learning, illustrate that in psychiatry our most esteemed "experts" are not perceptive or brave enough to recognize and state that psychiatry's claims are false.

1998 Study Shows Antidepressant Drugs Work Mainly as Placebos
A study of 2,318 patients by University of Connecticut psychologist Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., and Guy Sapirstein, Ph.D., found that 75% of the effect of so-called antidepressant drugs is a placebo effect and that the other 25% may be caused by the fact that "most participants in studies of antidepressant mediation are able to deduce whether they have been assigned to the drug ... or the placebo" because those receiving the real drug have side effects (dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, etc.) not caused by placebos (sugar pills, etc.).  The study is titled "Listening to Prozac but Hearing Placebo: A Meta-Analysis of Antidepressant Medication." It included people taking Prozac, imipramine, and lithium.  A news release about the study by the University of Connecticut appears at http://www.
The study is published by the American Psychological Association at

"Adult Brain Cells Said to Reproduce"
Are you one of the hundreds of thousands of people whose brains have been damaged by ECT, psychiatric drugs, or psychosurgery?  If so, here is reason for hope: A team of American and Swedish scientists have discovered that the "conventional wisdom" that human brain cells, once killed, never are replaced, is wrong.  They found that adult human brain cells "are continually dividing and producing mature new cells" and that "this regeneration may be used to mend a brain damaged by disease, or treat a disease caused by a damaged brain.  ... An editorial in Nature Medicine said the discovery 'opens the possibility of autologous repair and regeneration' in the brain." The story appears on the front page of the October 30, 1998 issue of The New York Times.
      Similarly, in an article in the January/February 1999 issue of Natural Way magazine, Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., refers to "... recent research showing that the region of the brain associated with memory, the hippocampus, can actually grow new nerve cells, at least in animals, something that was once thought impossible" (p. 37).

Belief in homosexuality as mental disease continues
A letter to the editors published in the July 30, 1998 issue of USA Today, page 11A, by the president of Concerned Women for America argues that "only about 30% of the APA [American Psychiatric Association] took part in the crucial vote that changed its view of homosexuality."  Her letter quotes a psychoanalyst, Dr. Charles Socarides, saying that in declaring that homosexuality would no longer be considered a mental illness, "The APA ignored the science, and for reasons that were nothing but political, 'cured' homosexuality by fiat."  The letter claims that a survey of psychiatrists four years later showed that "69% disagreed with the APA vote and still believed homosexuality to be a disorder."

"Kip Kinkel, Prozac Victim?"
An editorial on page 35 of the June 17, 1998 Boston Herald suggests 15-year-old Kip Kinkel, who fired a gun into a crowd of people assembled in a school cafeteria, might have committed the crime because he was taking Prozac and acted out of "the famed assertiveness Prozac induces."  The editorial says "Children ages 6 to 18 received 735,000 prescriptions for Prozac and other anti-depressants in 1996 - up a staggering 80 percent since 1994.  The need for more hard data about a powerful drug that may be poisoning our children is urgent.  ...  of the many unanswered questions about Prozac: Why doesn't the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] closely monitor a drug whose usage is skyrocketing and whose side-effects remain disturbingly unexplored?"

USA Today Editorial Advocates Oppression of "Schizophrenics"
An editorial by Jonathan Kellerman, one-third of a page in size, titled "Schizophrenics Need to be Monitored," appeared in USA Today on July 28, 1998, page 11A.  The editorial alleges that "Schizophrenics do commit assault and murder more frequently than non-schizophrenics - two to three times as often" and that so-called "schizophrenic violence" occurs because "rather than housing [schizophrenics] in humane, secure settings where they can be given three squares a day, clean sheets, counseling and Thorazine, we abandon them to their own, pathetically inadequate devices, all under the name of democracy."  He says "Failure to commit actively psychotic individuals is no more democratic than leaving infants out on the sidewalk."
      "What this means," retorts Douglas Smith, who maintains this web-site for The Antipsychiatry Coalition, "is that anyone who is labeled 'schizophrenic' should be imprisoned in a place misleadingly called a 'hospital' even though he/she has committed no crime. This large and prominently placed USA Today editorial advocates incarceration of law-abiding Americans only because they have been labeled 'schizophrenic'- despite the foolishness of the concept of 'schizophrenia' and the unreliability of psychiatric 'diagnosis.'  Having myself  been 'diagnosed' as schizophrenic," says Mr. Smith, "I'm one of the people Mr. Kellerman would have incarcerated - even though I have never committed an act that would justify arresting or imprisoning me under criminal law.
      "My own example will serve to illustrate the evil of the position advocated by Mr. Kellerman in his large USA Today editorial - USA Today incidentally being much too expensive a place in which to advertise for us to run even a small advertisement publicizing our antipsychiatry web-site with this contrary view:  My "schizophrenia" consisted only of (1) being so unhappy I wondered if I would be better off if I ended my life, and (2) being of the opinion that every person has a right to end his/her life.  Even though I never did decide to end my life, in the opinion of the psychiatrist responsible for my commitment, this thinking was sufficiently unacceptable, or as he put it, "disordered," to justify depriving me of what I'd thought was my God and U.S. Constitution given right to liberty.  When I asked him why I should be held against my will in the psychiatric ward of a hospital, he said, 'Because you persist in the opinion that you have a right to abrogate obligations to family, friends, society, and so forth, by killing yourself.  Now don't argue with me.  I am the doctor, and I say this is disease.'  So, in this particular psychiatrist's view, it was appropriate to call me a schizophrenic and deprive me of my liberty because I held the wrong opinion, thereby committing what essentially was a George Orwell - 1984 type thought-crime.  What was done to me was not very different from the involuntary psychiatric commitment of political dissidents in the former Soviet Union, who incidentally were also called "schizophrenic."  Yet this is the kind of America advocated by Mr. Kellerman, and by implication, the editors of USA Today, who gave Mr. Kellerman's editorial such widespread exposure.
      "Anyone who thinks the administration of a brain-damaging drug like Thorazine as advocated by Mr. Kellerman, (which would probably have to be forced administration), is ever justified should read
Psychiatric Drugs: Cure or Quackery? (appearing on this web-site) as well as Schizophrenia: A Nonexistent Disease (also appearing on this web-site)."

Drugging Children with Ritalin to Curb Hyperactivity
The cover story in the November 30, 1998 issue of Time magazine, titled "The Age of Ritalin" says "Production of Ritalin has increased more than sevenfold in the past eight years, and 90% of it is consumed in the U.S." The article says Ritalin, used for a nebulous "illness" called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) works "but in ways and for reasons that are still not entirely clear.  ... not enough is known about the risks and benefits of long-term Ritalin use... Given the explosion in ADHD diagnoses and Ritalin use over the past decade, the disorder is surprisingly ill defined.  No one is sure that it's a neurochemical imbalance ... There is no blood test, no PET scan, no physical exam that can determine who has it and who does not. ... For a drug that's been used for more than a half-century, we know surprisingly little about how Ritalin acts on the brain... ADHD is still something of a mystery to doctors, who speak of it sometimes as if it were a single condition and sometimes as if it were a broad range of problems.  ...  the latest research raises more questions than it answers. studies have run long enough to see if it has a lasting effect on academic performance or social behavior.  ...A positive response to Ritalin doesn't automatically mean a child suffers from ADHD.  Stimulants can temporarily sharpen almost anyone's focus."
      Many of us who oppose psychiatry realize there isn't any such thing as ADHD just as there is no such thing as schizophrenia.  In each case, the "disorder" exists only in the minds of the people who believe in it.  Some children are so full of energy and are so undisciplined they exceed the limits of their parents' patience and tolerance and are labeled "hyperactive" or as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Some parents respond by drugging their children in hopes a drugged child will come closer to fulfilling their expectations or will be easier to manage.  It has nothing to do with illness.  It's entirely about management and control.


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