Insights and deception in the December 2001 Psychology Today magazine
Antipsychiatry News Clips
2001 Commentary on current news by
Douglas A. Smith, webmaster of this website
Readers of the December 2001 Psychology Today magazine will find several illuminating statements and bits of information along with others that are misleading.
In an editorial by Psychology Today editor in chief Robert Epstein, Ph.D., (page 7) he says "Uncertainty is torture for most people; alas, the pain is so great that many prefer delusion." This insightful observation explains the reason for the myth of mental illness: Most people find the uncertainty about why some people behave or think in displeasing ways so painful they create myths, such as the myth of mental illness, to "explain" it.
On page 9 in a letter to the editors, Stephen Huey, Ph.D., accuses Psychology Today of publishing an article titled "Cutting Edge Information for Doctors and Patients in Treating Depression and Anxiety" in the August 2001 issue that contained "several odd statements" and says "The article must certainly be an advertisement in disguise."
In an article titled "Suicide Watch" about suicide prevention (pages 14-16), an interview with Kita Curry, Ph.D., it is stated that 7% of people under age 25 have attempted suicide at least once, that the suicide rate among 15 to 25 year olds has increased five-fold since 1950, and that there has been a 60% increase in suicide worldwide in the past 45 years. A "controversial" study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is cited saying exposure to news media coverage of suicide actually deters potential suicides, contradicting the widespread "copycat" theory.
An article on page 20 warns us about the "Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act," now pending in the U.S. Congress, the purpose of which is "compelling insurance companies to provide the same coverage for mental illness as they do for physical illness." See Legislative News for more about this.
An article about and interview with actress Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies (starting on page 32), promotes the use of neurotoxic (poisonous) psychiatric drugs to control so-called manic-depressive "illness."
Ironically, one of the most illuminating articles is an interview with psychiatrist Peter Kramer, M.D., author of the best-selling book Listening to Prozac. Dr. Kramer says his book was about "what it was like to live in a culture where it looked as if aspects of personality that had previously been subject to psychotherapy were now occasionally responding to medication" [italics added] Occasionally?! Dr. Kramer says his "worry is the lack of testing of long-term usage" of psychiatric drugs, which is a surprising admission from one credited with popularizing a drug like Prozac. The interviewer asks Dr. Kramer about a jury in Wyoming which "awarded millions of dollars to the family of a man who took an antidepressant" because "They believed it caused him to shoot his wife, daughter, granddaughter and himself." Dr. Kramer admits the older allegedly antidepressant drugs (those other than the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs), "don't work well in children or in adolescents" and that those like Prozac (the SSRIs) "often" have "not very dramatic effects." He admits "It's true that we don't really know the long-term effects on the brain" of these supposedly antidepressant drugs.
Freedom means having a right to be wrong
In a November 18, 2001 article, Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense and former U.S. Representative from Illinois, is quoted as saying: "The United States of America represents something so important to the world - our free way of life. If you care about human beings, you have to care that the U.S. model, which benefits not just the people in our country but across the globe, succeeds. ... Free people are free to be wise and unwise. That's part of what freedom is." Isn't it sad that psychiatrists and others who resort to or permit involuntary civil commitment of us supposedly mentally ill people fail to understand this fundamental principle of what - at least in theory - is valuable about the United States of America.?! The proponents of involuntary psychiatric "treatment" justify their abrogation of our freedom on the ground that because of "mental illness" we are "unable to make a rational decision," i.e., one they consider wise. They fail to see themselves as the despots and dictators they are. These people - including state legislators and judges - fail to see they undermine the justification for American patriotism.
"We Have to Defend Our Way Of Life," by Lyric Wallwork Winik, Parade Magazine (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, November 18, 2001, pages 7 & 9. For a biography of Donald Rumsfeld, click here.
Employers are winning over 90% of suits under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Are you relying on the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect you from discrimination in education or employment because of your history of mental illness or psychiatric treatment? An article in The National Law Journal suggests the Americans with Disabilities Act offers little if any protection. According to the article, "Employers are winning more than nine out of 10 Title 1 disability cases decided in federal court, a rate that has risen since the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect in 1992." [underline added] The numbers may be deceptive, because they do not include cases that are settled out of court, as the most egregious cases of unlawful discrimination often are. However, of those that were resolved in court in 1999, "employers won 95.7% of the time." According to attorney Aaron Hughes, a partner in the Ireland, Stapleton, Pryor & Pascoe law firm in Denver, Colorado, who represented plaintiffs in a U.S. Supreme Court case under the ADA, "It is clear that the courts, especially the Supreme Court, have taken a very restrictive view of who is protected by the ADA." (Claudia MacLachlan, "Employers winning ADA suits," National Law Journal, July 31, 2001)
American 1996 Olympic gold medal winner becomes missionary for psychiatry
In a full-page article in the May 7, 2001 Newsweek magazine, 400 meter hurdle jumper and 1996 Olympic gold medal winner Derrick Adkins of Atlanta, Georgia tells readers of his "suicidal despair" and his ultimate salvation by psychiatry (Derrick Adkins, "My Turn: What the World Didn't Know About Me," Newsweek, May 7, 2001, page 12). He says "Six months before" his Olympic gold-medal triumph, "I had been diagnosed as a chronic depressive due to a chemical imbalance in my brain." Of course, he doesn't tell us exactly what kind of "chemical imbalance" he had. He can't, because nobody has ever been able prove any sort of "chemical imbalance" ever causes people to feel unhappy or "depressed." In the words of Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in his book Prozac Backlash, published in 2000: "We do not yet have proof either of the cause or the physiology for any psychiatric diagnosis. ... There is no established biochemical imbalance for depression. There is no established gene for depression. Prescription antidepressants should not be promoted as though these hypothetical models were established" (Simon & Schuster, 2000, pages 195 & 336 - underline added). Mr. Adkins' story illustrates the fact that such contrary facts seldom get in the way of psychiatric propaganda and the tendency of psychiatrists to diagnose people with speculative and probably nonexistent chemical imbalances to justify prescribing a psychiatric drug. Despite Mr. Adkin's acceptance of psychiatric gospel, his story is in some ways instructive: He says "My psychiatrist had prescribed the antidepressant Luvox. I took it for a brief time, but it made me tired, so I stopped. The Olympics in Atlanta were coming up, and I wasn't going to let anything hold me back." Speaking of what may have been another time, he says "My doctor put me on an antidepressant, but after taking it for a few weeks I threw it away. I wanted to avoid the lethargy that came with it." Of the time after he won the Olympic gold medal in 1996 he says: "Since I've been medicated, my track career hasn't been the same. The fatigue [caused by his antidepressant "medication"] has proved too severe for me to run with the world's best." In other words, his story is an illustration of the toxic (poisonous) nature of psychiatric drugs and how they impair normal function in the human body. As Dr. Glenmullen says: Psychiatric drugs, including Luvox such as was prescribed for Mr. Adkins, "are toxic to the brain" and because of their "neurotoxicity" may be "damaging or destroying critical parts of the brain" (p. 94). Dr. Glenmullen says: "The unfortunate irony is that drugs heavily promoted as correcting unproven biochemical imbalances may, in fact, be causing imbalances and brain damage" (p. 50). As psychiatrist Peter Breggin, M.D., says in his book Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry: "The currently available biopsychiatric treatments are not specific for any known disorder of the brain. One and all, they disrupt normal brain function without correcting any brain abnormality" (Springer Pub. Co., 1997, page 7). Also instructive are Mr. Adkin's words that suggest a purely non-biological, life-experience cause of his despondency. He indicates that when his life went well, his sorrow disappeared. He says "It was my ultimate dream to win an Olympic gold medal. When miraculously, my dream came true, it was a great feeling. ... Winning the gold medal did make me happy." He says winning the Olympic gold medal gave him a feeling of "elation." He says some time later, after winning the Olympic gold medal, he became very despondent during a European trip during which time he decided "I needed to listen to my psychiatrist." He says, "After returning home from Europe, I got back on my meds, and guess what? I've been doing well ever since." Although it is suggested from his own words, he doesn't seem to realize that feeling rootless, unconnected, and unhappy - even very unhappy - when away from home and familiar surroundings and family and friends during a European trip may have caused his deeply sorrowful feelings and that returning home may have caused his improved mood, not the "meds" (medications) he took after returning home. He says "I've found that praying and reading Scriptures helps me stay balanced emotionally; therefore, I've entered theology school and will dedicate the rest of my life to inspiring others. I'm a man with a mission and a message: don't be too proud to seek help..." (emphasis added).
May God help those who are gullible enough to be persuaded by the mistaken message of this misguided missionary.
This article, appearing prominently in Newsweek, which is one of the world's most widely read news magazines, is typical of the misleading pro-psychiatry propaganda to which the hapless and uninformed public is constantly subjected. The result is the deception of the average man, including lawmakers, judges, jurors, physicians, and patients.
For two more examples published on the same date by another major news magazine, see immediately below.
May 7, 2001 U.S. News & World Report deceives readers about "depression" and alcoholism
Similar to the above story in the May 7, 2001 issue of Newsweek magazine, psychiatry also received misleading promotion in the May 7, 2001 issue of U.S. News & World Report.
The cover story in the May 7, 2001 U.S. News & World Report, "Alcohol and the Brain," reports that "Alcoholism is a disease" and refers to "The brains of people genetically predisposed to alcoholism..." These myths are refuted in a book review of Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, which is found on this web site. The U.S. News & World Report article does include one illuminating statement, however, a quotation by Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and addiction researcher at Stanford University: "What shocks most people is that the vast majority of people who recover from alcoholism never sought any treatment at all." This statement, if true, undermines the often-made argument that alcoholism is a disease and that it responds to "medical treatment" (p. 55). (Susan Brink, "Alcohol and the Brain" (on cover)/Your brain on alcohol" (on page 50), U.S. News & World Report, May 7, 2001)
In an article about suicide by teenagers in East Hadden, Connecticut in the same May 7, 2001 issue of U.S. News & World Report there appears this statement: "Both Jeff and Mike struggled with a medical condition thought to affect an estimated 80 percent of teenagers who commit suicide: depression" (p. 44 - underline added). The article refers to "the illness" of depression. (Anna Mulrine, "Where do hopes go? Teen suicide is a national tragedy. Here's one town's story," U.S. News & World Report, May 7, 2001, page 40 at 44). For a refutation of this commonly made but erroneous assertion, see The Myth of Biological Depression, found elsewhere on this web site.
Since psychiatric myths are so often reported in trusted news magazines and other news media as if they were facts, perhaps it shouldn't surprise us that so many people believe them.
Therapists found guilty of reckless child abuse in "rebirthing" death
According to an April 21, 2001 Associated Press report, "Two therapists were convicted yesterday of reckless child abuse in the death of a 10 year old girl who begged for her life while wrapped in a flannel sheet during a rebirthing therapy session." The "therapy" consisted of being wrapped in a flannel sheet and being pushed on all sides by four adults with pillows to simulate being in the womb. The therapy victim's death was caused by asphyxiation. The supposed reasoning behind this bizarre therapy "was she would emerge 'reborn' to bond with her adoptive mother." In fact, of course, as with most psychiatric and psychological therapies that are administered by force, the real purpose of the "therapy" was to punish the victim for behaving in a way that displeased other people and to force her to behave differently in the future. As a result of this therapy death, the therapists may be sentenced to as much as 48 years in prison. The Associated Press report says that on "Tuesday" (apparently April 17, 2001) Colorado governor Bill Owens signed a bill into law "outlawing rebirthing therapy." (Judith Kohler, Associated Press, April 21, 2001)
Perhaps we should all write to Colorado Governor Owens asking him to seek legislation similarly banning other psychiatric and psychological "therapies" that are as stupid and cruel as rebirthing therapy, other therapies that like rebirthing therapy are punishment and torture disguised as benefaction or therapy - and which cause far more deaths than rebirthing therapy does. An example is neuroleptic or "antipsychotic" drugs, administered involuntarily - or voluntarily after the patient has been given false assurances of the drugs' harmlessness and supposed benefits. These drugs cause thousands of deaths each year due to neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Another example is physical restraints, which have killed hundreds if not thousands of psychiatric patients.
Vanderbilt University study finds St. John's wort "ineffective" against depression
Previous studies have shown an herb called St. John's wort to be as effective as prescription antidepressants for reducing feelings of severe unhappiness ("depression"). Of course, this isn't saying much, since prescription antidepressants don't stop people from feeling unhappy, either. These approaches - whether prescription drugs or an herb like St. John's wort - can't work very well, since it is perfectly normal for a biologically healthy human being living a very unsatisfying life to feel very unhappy (or "depressed"). A drug or herb taken internally can't do anything to change the kind of life a person is living - except, perhaps, for its toxic and especially neurotoxic effects, which are likely to make a person's life worse and provide additional reasons for sorrow. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that in this 8-week Vanderbilt University study in which about half of a group of 200 very unhappy or "depressed" people were given St. John's wort and the other half a pill with no active ingredients (a placebo), "no significant difference was seen between the two groups." The researchers concluded: "Until well-designed positive studies are published, we conclude that there currently is no credible evidence to support the efficacy of St. John's wort for people with depression." It also shouldn't surprise anyone that this study, published in the April 18, 2001 Journal of the American Medical Association, was financed by the manufacturer of a supposedly antidepressant drug, Zoloft, namely Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Pfizer also sells St. John's wort extract but almost no doubt has a vastly higher profit margin on its patented, prescription "antidepressant" drug Zoloft. The researchers probably knew this as well as who was financing the study, and this raises doubt about the validity of the study. The study is nevertheless great propaganda for psychiatrists and other advocates of psychiatric drugs who wish to persuade people to use expensive psychiatric drugs with awful neurotoxic (poisonous) "side-effects" rather than an inexpensive, non-toxic herb like St. John's wort that lacks the unpleasant and harmful effects of psychiatric drugs. For example, in an April 18, 2001 USA Today article about this Vanderbilt study, Duke University researcher P. Murali Doraiswamy is quoted as saying the Vanderbilt study "means we now have something concrete to tell our patients. Avoiding self-medication could mean that people seek help sooner from a professional." As everybody knows, this is good for professionals. Unfortunately, it isn't good for patients, who are fooled into thinking they will benefit from professional "therapy," often are then persuaded to take harmful psychiatric drugs, and often thereby make themselves targets of involuntary psychiatric commitment and a lifetime of psychiatric stigma when they realize the are not benefitting from "therapy" and try to disentangle themselves from their therapists. (Anita Manning, "Herb found ineffective against depression," USA Today, April 18, 2001, page 6D)
U.S. Supreme Court agrees to rule on civil commitment standards
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide what must be proved about the mental health of a person who is subjected to an indeterminate civil commitment for mental illness at the conclusion of an ordinary criminal sentence. The case is Kansas v. Crane, No. 00-957. (Linda Greenhouse, "Supreme Court Roundup," The New York Times, April 3, 2001, page A17.)
Although the case deals with a person convicted of a crime who has finished his criminal sentence, "a violent sexual predator" in this case, the Court's decision will affect not only persons who are subjected to civil commitment for supposed mental illness after serving their prison terms for crimes but also people who are subjected to civil commitment for so-called mental illness who have never been accused of nor convicted of a crime. A review of U.S. Supreme Court civil commitment cases suggests the U.S. Supreme Court is our worst enemy in terms of a right to a fair trial regarding involuntary mental health treatment. To a person who is well-informed about the true nature of psychiatry, prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions give the impression the Court's justices are about as far out of touch with reality as they can be about the true nature of psychiatry. One example is Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979), in which the Court ruled that minors (essentially teenagers under age 18) may be involuntarily committed to mental hospitals with no right to even a hearing before a judge, let alone a right to jury trial. Another example, this one regarding involuntary administration of psychiatric drugs (misleadingly called "medications"), is the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210 at 232 (1990), in which the Court held that a person's right to refuse involuntary psychiatric drugging is "adequately protected, and perhaps better served, by allowing the decision to medicate to be made by medical professionals rather than a judge." With the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, state constitutions interpreted by state courts probably offer law-abiding Americans more hope of getting and remaining free of psychiatric oppression such as involuntary commitment, and psychiatric assault such as forced psychiatric drugging, than the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the current U.S. Supreme Court.
Children murdered by their own parents
According to an article in The Kentucky Post, "Each April organizers pass out blue ribbons and quote often grim statistics, such as those from a recent year when Kentucky saw 29 children die at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them - their parents." (Gayle Holten, "Violence prevention starts with parents at home," The Kentucky Post, April 6, 2001, p. 4K.)
Despite such facts, the myth persists that psychiatric oppression such as involuntary commitment and psychiatric assault such as forced psychiatric drugging that is done with the consent of the victim's family or "loved ones" must have been in the victim's best interests. It is sad that judges, lawmakers, and the public fail to realize that families often act contrary to family members' best interests and human rights.
Law-abiding foreign nationals in U.S.A. imprisoned on basis of "secret evidence"
Did you think that only in "mental health" cases are human rights routinely violated in the U.S.A.? If so, consider this: According to a front-page article in the March 9, 2001 Boston Globe, Arab and Muslim communities in the U.S.A. have been subjected to "devastating" consequences by wrongful imprisonment of Arab and Muslim men under an anti-terrorism law enacted by Congress as a result of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that authorized "what was already a practice of the Immigration and Naturalization Service." The article says "Acting on secret evidence, US officials now seize, detain, and deport foreigners suspected of terrorist activities. ... some aliens were detained for as long as four years awaiting resolution of their secret-evidence cases. ... Arab and Muslim men recounted tales of going to the INS to renew a visa and landing instead in a detention center, separated sometimes for months or even years from their families and jobs because their files contained something secret but suspicious. When the government's cases fell apart, the classified evidence turned out to be an FBI informant's tip that the defendant had associated with or given money to an Islamic militant group." According to Juliette Kayyem, a lawyer trying to change this practice who is quoted in the article and pictured on the front page, "we have gone way too far in holding suspects on classified evidence they cannot even see. It's terribly un-American." (Mary Leonard, "Lawyer presses fight over secret evidence," The Boston Globe, p. A1.)
Of course, if the U.S. Government consistently obeyed the U.S. Constitution, or if the U.S. Constitution was enforced consistently by American courts, an unfair and unconstitutional practice such as arresting and jailing a person on the basis of secret evidence would last about 24 hours before being stopped by a judge in a habeas corpus proceeding challenging the legitimacy of the incarceration, since the U.S. Constitution supposedly guarantees the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against you.
Big Brother really is watching
The Mall of America just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is the nation's largest shopping mall, was closed by police while police searched hallways, bathrooms and broom closets for a man spotted inside a mall entrance by one of the shopping mall's 125 security cameras. ("Search for suspect shuts nation's largest mall," Atlanta Journal Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), March 21, 2001, p. A9.)
The suspect was wanted for various crimes, but he could just as easily have been a law-abiding person accused of mental illness who was fleeing psychiatric oppression.
Atlantic Monthly magazine promotes electroshock
The February 2001 issue of Atlantic Monthly magazine includes a long article prominently featured on the cover asserting that electroconvulsive "therapy" (ECT) is both safe and effective. It can be read on the magazine's web site. If you have read Psychiatry's Electroconive Shock Treatment: A Crime Against Humanity, you won't be fooled by this in many ways misleading article.
USA Today promotes psychiatry in February 12, 2001 cover story alleging involuntary commitment laws make it difficult for supposedly mentally ill people to get needed care and that psychiatric drugs are helpful. To read a response by Douglas A. Smith, webmaster of this web site, click here.
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