Saturday, February 27, 2021

Comments by evanhaar

Showing 100 of 164 comments. Show all.

  • oldhead,

    Let’s say model of human behavior and deviance. You’ve accepted that criminal physical violence, unjustified violence not for self or other-protection, can me sanctioned and controlled legally on a basic level, but not put in a context of mental illness or a medical model. Model of deviance. Violence would be defined legally since you denounce criminal (only physical?) violence, but it could be defined and explained in other terms such as a moral wrong or sin, or a physical/mental medical sickness or even criminal insanity, and this kind of thing. You, yourself, used ‘bad behavior’ as a basic premise, and above you use ‘basic principle’ and ‘basic responsibility’ as if these are common sense or come from a higher authority perhaps. Part of my concern is that restricting it to a legal one, which if you notice has an ostensible moral one as a background, is insufficient and often ends up reducing and limiting the captive just as much as a narrow-minded medical one. Legal and moral concerns can be filled with just as much illusion and projection as a medical, so my impression is that each of these areas, including medical and mental, have something to offer as well as hinder.

  • Thank you, very important.

    Clinical nutrition or orthomolecular medicine should always be part of the puzzle here as a possible partial answer. (High dose vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, lecithin, manganese, etc.) Also, based off my recent experience and research of oral and IV ketamine, there may be a role there as well in combatting and relieving akathesia and suicidal considerations. I mention these here since they weren’t mentioned in the article.

    I voluntarily went to the ER (then overnight psych hospital) due to extreme akathesia-like symptoms from a newly used neuroleptic. But I’ve experienced various gradations of neurological and psychological severity which the nutrients and ketamine have greatly helped.

  • oldhead,

    I see you are comfortable with highlighting physical illness such as brain damage. Why such a reluctance for mental illness? Does this mean, in reference to a comment above, you would reject ‘violent mentally ill offenders’ but accept ‘violent brain damaged offenders’? Would the brain damage influence your reckoning of the violent offense and any legal punishment, or would it once again simply be a matter of personal responsibility? Surely you would agree that brain damage has psychological correlates even though it may not directly imply a straight forward conventional mental illness. Just trying to feel this out.

  • oldhead,

    Are you using a ‘model’? You don’t seem to be explicitly using a moral model and definitely not a medical model. Are you using a legal model, but an unconventional one? Or are you using a moral model, that is, using notions of good and bad, with according redemption and punishment? I see you use violent, criminal, and irresponsibility similarly. I’m not being especially clear myself, but since you reject psychological pathology as deviance in a medical model, I thought I would ask. Can you elaborate?

  • oldhead,

    A fireside chat would be useful, wouldn’t it?

    Yes, I chose ‘see’ to emphasize my point of view, stay away from ‘believe’ or ‘feel’, and to add a level of familiarity, concreteness, and even a common aspect of the mind itself. I didn’t mean to use a material example as simply code for ‘real’, but I assumed there would be no question of the reality of the hand. There doesn’t seem to be a need to describe the hand as metaphysical or metaphorical. When I see color, see a dream image —or someone’s description of their own — or see someone crying, I’ll maybe consider your suggestion that I can’t see the mind. Perhaps I can see my own but not someone else’s? Or only indirectly or by inference? But I won’t linger next time I see and hear a baby cry, whether it be from hunger, sheer loneliness, or fear. Either way, I’d prefer if the mother, or father, ‘treat’ the baby accordingly.

    In many ways for people, mind and body are two sides of a coin and infused throughout rather a ‘real’ dichotomy.

    But again, what I’ll call ‘conventional psychiatry’s worldview’ is not my friend nor colleague, so I sympathize with you.

  • Steve,

    That’s one reason why I qualified my statement as including the ‘hardcore’ definition. I’ve found that metaphysical can be used as non-empirical, non-experiencable, unprovable, or as flights of abstraction. In this case, I meant none of these uses. My impression is that the response was using it in a way that was reducing or limiting my original comment, and also associating my phrase with metaphor. I wasn’t trying to be metaphorical.

  • oldhead,

    Under usual circumstances, I see the mind as being real as my hand. So I have no need to fritter it away, cheapen, or desubstantiate it — consider it an ‘only just’ or ‘as if’ — by calling it metaphysical or metaphorical. I’m talking about real healing, real mind. Maybe metaphysical in the most hardcore sense.

    The etymology of ‘psychiatry’ is simply healing of the soul or psyche, so I also don’t feel a need to deconstruct the word because of how it’s been misused. However, no one feels the weight of conventional psychiatry’s fraud and malpractice more than I do.

  • Carl Jung knew that often it is the parents of the ‘problem child’ who need to be ‘taken by the ear’, and by extension, ‘society’. But often we get the child a ‘team’ and ‘do’ something ‘to’ them. It sucks when parents would only admit guilt (REAL guilt, not the ‘common’ guilt of ‘good parents’) because they ‘failed’ their child because of how they act, in other words, diverting the true object of guilt. We should remember that life itself is guilt, and no one is completely free. And not once did they have to pay for their own couple’s or individual therapy or drug prescription….and guess who never changed? No ‘service-provider’ or ‘clinician’ ever looked close enough and recommended it, for in a sense, the provider would then have to take their own therapy, their own drug, because they so often unconsciously identify with the parents. It only changed when the child (who is a parent’s child no matter what the age) becomes the parents’ ‘therapist’ at the moments when he doesn’t have to leave the room during their arguments, making sure he can’t hear it in the background, all those ‘contagious emotions’. They were always there. But it was the child who got the label, the infinite ‘services’. In this way, one source of the ‘infection’ was never pulled from the roots. It began only to return again.

    And also no one ever mentioned nutrient supplements (even diet?), not even the most ‘enlightened’ ones like this author. Not once.

    Man, I certainly ‘quoted’ this comment up.

  • oldhead,

    I wouldn’t dare speak for the author, but I’d note that she didn’t simply abolish psychiatry as a convention or system, but gained insight using the words ‘symptom’, ‘syndrome’, and ‘condition’, while maintaining an openness to ethical research and healing of her psyche.

    Psychiatry as slavery should be banished, but healing of the soul should not. My immediate impression is that you would agree.

  • Till Bruckner,

    I see that you only point out negatives to using ketamine, as one would given only its misuse and risky complications. But are you aware that there are positive and constructive uses and applications, as well? Here I’m referring to psychiatric or other off-label uses and not anesthesia in war or veterinarian medicine, for example, which have long been accepted and valued. There are many examples of safe chronic use for pain conditions and not just acute use in battle or for dogs.

    I’d point out that disassociation occurs at middle to higher levels of ketamine, not lower. It’s clear that you are unfamiliar with the spectrum of ketamine since you think that disassociation is simply something it’s supposed to do. The dissociation is probably one area that benefits its anesthetic uses, but my guess is there’s potentially some therapeutic use of mild disassociation for psychiatric reasons too, such as is found in carefully run IV clinics.

    Illegal use helps show that people are desperate (sometimes due to the failing of the ‘system’) and that legal and regulated markets of some sort or another, even if only medical, could reduce crime and risk. These are in addition to the pleasurable/party element that gets mixed in. Decriminalizing drugs while providing a strong social safety net and reliable education would, in the long-term, save both individuals and society money, pain, and stigma. Low to mid-dose use through a prescriber has not shown to lead to unusual levels of addiction-seeking behavior, often quite the opposite, and especially compared to benzodiazepines, opiates, and those sorts of things.

  • There are many good/useful things about this article, but here I will not dwell on those.

    The words ‘medication’ and ‘patient’ are conveniences for those providing a paid service. I see that ‘medication’ is at times replaced by the more accurate ‘drug’ or ‘substance’, ‘chemical effects’ being used, too. Rather than use ‘medication’ when the author uses it in his ideal way, we should just bypass it, as it betrays the neutral, harmful, or mediocre elements, even when used as wisely as possible. Even if one word is preferred, it would be useful to always use it consistently rather than bounce back and forth. Also, why not use ‘client’ instead of ‘patient’? It’s partly due to the doctor’s ‘Aesculapian authority’ and its designation of the ‘Parsons sick role’ that doctors so easily dole out despite not being absolute, and despite creating a disempowering framework upfront in many cases. Apparently, in order to pay for a doctor’s service, accepted or not, you have to be put in a patient/sick role. Patients too often are put in the lowest position in the medical hierarchy, almost making it seem like they always start from the beginning and don’t at times know more than the professional they are paying. The author knows very well the negative conventional tendency toward ‘patienthood’, while he still creates and keeps it during the entire relationship with his service. When the usual doctor breaks his or her leg or gets a vaccine, is when the role-blurring and mask-swapping become more apparent.

    I see that once again nutrients are not mentioned once. Nutrients CAN modify a ‘chemical imbalance’. Nutrient deficiencies are obviously ‘incorrect’, but if I don’t produce enough NAD/NADH from tryptophan or the RDA of vitamin B3 from the diet, higher levels of supplemental B3 will assist with this. Additionally, if I smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, supplementing with vitamin C will help compensate for the large quantity of vitamin C that is destroyed by each cigarette. This is not including how to generally ‘optimize health’ with diet and supplements.

    While drugs don’t ‘have agency’, they can moderately or radically alter the person’s agency, just as foods can. My ability to think smoothly or creatively, for example. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ (put in your mouth) is both true and untrue.

    Ketamine is an example of a drug that, for many people, does not build a tolerance when used in low doses for certain forms of depression.

  • Low dose generic affordable oral ketamine helped save my life. I don’t mind if people are turned off by bio/chemical strategies for health, and I don’t mind if ketamine is seen as a street drug. I’ve been around the block a few times, and I recommend ketamine for some people (along with nutrient supplements). This method transcends the expensive, time-consuming, and clinical over-control of the nasal spray and IV. Generic ketamine not only can’t be re-patented and studied in the same ways that patents promise, but its long history in anesthesia and pain control tell us much. Many studies of additional ‘off-label’ uses for depression, etc. have been done over the last 2 decades, between prescribers and ‘patients’.

    Don’t be fooled, we need not pursue this research solely through the lens of esketamine, it’s marketing, and corporate shape-shifting and rose-tinted glasses with $-signs in them. There’s already been much research, experimentation, and anecdotal and clinical experience, if only the authors dig deeper, well outside the esketamine black hole.

    Remember: so far, ketamine (with my other modes) has saved my life, and I am not a white crow in a flock or ‘murder’ of black crows. I am simply a crow that did not pluck his feathers out and break his beak since generic affordable oral ketamine was prescribed by an innovative and exploratory prescriber.

    I recommend the book Ketamine for Depression, which, though imperfect, is highly revealing and trail-blazing:

  • Open Dialogue still needs work, too. And while the effort is made to put quotes around ‘mental illness’ and ‘disorder’, let’s not throw around ‘patient’ so easily, as well.

    While I, of course, like Open Dialogue compared to the conventional monstrosity, and link it on my website, I wonder if while the ‘team’ constellated around the ‘patient’ and apparently with an intent to rid them of ‘psychosis’ no matter what, what happens when we find that the individuals of the family or, yes, staff, need to make a change, learn something fundamentally new, or ‘fix’ themselves? It seems to me the onus is solely on the ‘psychotic’ to change, via a humane lens of non-compulsory story and freedom.

    Are we to only see ‘psychosis’ as something to be removed in order to judge treatment as successful? Has Open Dialogue gone far enough in forming a nuanced understanding of psychosis? If I have 4 long lucid dreams per night that make me spooked during the day and unfit to work, is that considered psychotic, or only if the ‘dreams’ break through while I’m awake? It’s not so much neo-Freudian psychoanalytical ideas that bring us a nuanced notion of psychosis, but rather Jungian depth psychological approaches and Jungian therapies, which bring in the psychoanalytical but go beyond them. Psychoanalysis and Jungian psychology DO have special access to the inner workings of the mind; that is, they point to the potential: the keyholes of dreams and active imagination, a.k.a. the unconscious. Look, experience, write down, paint, interpret, pay attention, have it ‘click’. We need not call our preference ‘philosophy’, but we can use ‘psychology’. Also, saying cognitive behavioral therapy is no ‘better or worse’ than other therapies seems to imply that any therapy is no better or worse than any others. No?

    And what about alternative/complementary therapeutics like nutrients? Is there any direction and guidance on these, or are only minor and short-term pharmaceuticals/neuroleptics used as a last-resort biochemical method? Clinical nutrition and micro/macro-dosing psychedelics ARE technical breakthroughs that have improved outcomes, unless I misunderstand the use of ‘technical’ breakthroughs or innovations.

    A Buddhist dis-attachment of a false sense of self is not the same as ‘dissolving the individualist ego’, at least not really. Unless you keep in mind the importance of the ego in the individual-community relationship instead of criticizing and negating the ‘individualist ego’.

  • Jennav,

    I talk about my positive and negative experiences with B3 under ‘B3’ under ‘Vitamins’:

    I realized I need to update it with my inositol hexaniacinate experiences, which is what I take now, seemingly without problem. I will continue with occasional blood tests.

    Right now, I take 1.5 grams of the no-flush inositol hexaniacinate, 4 times a day, spaced out about 4 hours each. After 3 meals and before sleep. This form is very ‘smooth’, kind of calms me, yet I keep good focus. (I use other prescriptions and nutrients, too.) I’ve been on one form of B3 most of the time for 9 years now. It has been very interesting.

  • Dunwithpsychslavery:

    I recently learned the concept of the ‘nocebo effect’ from Ivan Illich’s 1970’s book, Limits to Medicine, Medical Nemesis: Expropriation of Health. If only I had all the terms and resources in the early thick of it all, when I was mostly flying on instinct, intuition, feeling, and sensation.

    I dedicate part of my website to orthomolecular medicine:

  • Caroline and Joanna,

    My two cents: My U.S. social security disability income does not consider what drugs I am on. They may have when I first applied, but not simply in order to receive benefits. However, I don’t know how a ‘review’ would affect this; it probably depends largely on the doctor(s) opinion rather than any particular drug. I personally have not had a review in probably 6 years for some reason. Often it’s every 3 years, which is what happened on my 3rd year, I believe. Good luck everybody.

  • Hi Joel,

    Thx for sharing. This is an old post, but I relate to your story. I wanted to offer a certain part of my website on my experiences with all this. Most of this section deals with clinical nutrition, but there’s plenty of others intermixed. It may not be your cup of tea, but as you expressed ongoing concern, I wanted to offer it. I hope you have found more peace over the last 4 years:

  • Nijinsky,

    I must admit, hard to follow, but rather poetical with a flow and drive of spirited ongoings, in which I catch things. Are you breaking chains very carefully? Either way, in one of my songs, Psychic Straitjackets, I rap ‘Worldwide word expansive. Systematic random hogtied spontaneous passion….May be montage, death and laughter, hodgepodge coinage too rare too cash in. Runaway train of meaning’s all that I’m asking.’

  • SPHancock,

    Well done, all around. Very interesting. I followed on Twitter, and good-looking website.

    I noticed one of your ‘signatories’ says ‘life transforming in a very good way’.

    I do wonder how a ‘placebo-controlled’ ECT study would work. I have a feeling I’d be wary of being a test-subject, either way. And how ‘confounding variables’ would be confidently handled, without preventing all those ‘complex’ people from entering in the first place, as so often happens.

    Abram Hoffer, orthomolecular psychiatrist, used ECT early in his career. He used high-dose nutrients along with it and didn’t recommend it without that approach. From what I can tell, he abandoned the technique.

    An overall lovely book, Ketamine and Depression, is written by Dr. Hyde. I have gained immensely from ketamine and this work. However, he says that ECT has been the ‘quickest and most effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression in (X) years’. And that ketamine is the most exciting breakthrough in depression in multiple decades. Then briefly mentions ECT’s quick relapse rates and (usually) short-term memory loss. (Apparently unconscious of most of your citations, activist groups, and testimonies; as well as clinical nutrition and, hell, any ‘effective’ psychosocial methods, although he deals with them some as part of a ‘comprehensive plan’). He notes ECT series given (by his prescription or others) that go up to over 100 sessions, as I believe I saw happened to you. It is interesting how they are often pushed onwards, ever hoping for the switch to be turned, so to speak. I find this similar to ‘antipsychotic’ use and other conventional pharmaceuticals. Press the same buttons over and over, maybe a slight tweak here and there, or a different ‘class’, and surely the answer is just around the corner.

    Anyways, I hope I see the further fruits of your extensive and devoted labors.

  • Marie,

    I am curious what your elderly relative thought about his situation? Is the situation such that he is more stable, to himself and others? Or is it that everyone else must speak for him due to his predicament? It is interesting that a person with dementia had to additionally be transferred to a ‘memory care clinic’.

    It is interesting, and frankly tragic, how we all have to needle our way through the great ‘risk/benefit ratio’. I support freedom of speech for the ‘benefit’ just as I do the ‘risk’, just as I do for the amalgamations and the none of the aboves. It’s all very tricky.

  • Magdalene,

    I suppose I won’t really try right now. But it made me think that maybe it’s ‘Sunday’, and that Friday(night) and Saturday(dawn) come before Sun-day. But while nature has days and seasons, the 4 winds, it has no weeks. I don’t often drink my kool-aid though, but I do dip into my organic juice pouches. I also find (non-sarcastic) humor and an ability to smile and laugh are ‘symptoms’ of an (ideal?) mental health, even if it is roped to pain, grief, and incapacity. Perhaps like a blues musician. If we can laugh, we should at every opportunity. Same with getting goosebumps from experience of art, beauty, and meaning. Laughter and goosebumps are signposts to mental health. Know what I mean? But the ability to cry can also be a sign of health in its own way.

    Lol, I have a feeling this doesn’t fit a ‘universally agreed definition’. Take care.

  • Jeffrey & Caroline,

    I relate to most of this in some way. (I am on social security disability income for ‘schizophrenia’, and get family assistance. Able to live alone after unbearable living with parents or others (and ‘self-medicating’, some legit, some not), dating apps, etc. My ear (eye) has listened (read). I breathe it in and exhale confirmation and some kind of energy directed toward new ways, synergism, and something I cannot describe. I was suicidal for a long time. Aside from my skin cancer and stomach inflammation, the Virus Epoch has been a transformative positive year for me, as odd as that may seem. Is it useful for others, I do not know except in my immediate circle.

    My website is my Way. My email is there. I am an orange leaf falling, drying, and seeping into the soil when it rains. I am sap that moves upward, sticky with leaf nutrients. I don’t mean to seem egg-head, but rather trying, trying. Ok then:

  • Rebel,

    I’m a very spiritual person and think on this a lot, especially through Carl Jung’s work on these ideas. I would just like to say that God had placed the snake in the garden (evil existed before creation of humanity), Yahweh radically and unjustly punished Job, God forsook Jesus on his cross (a cross that doesn’t seem to be simply the Roman Empire’s doing), seemed fully comfortable debasing homosexuals to Hell—on earth and in the hereafter, and that it was God who unleashed the Seven Plagues. All this tends to highlight God’s wrathful and vengeful side, a side which perhaps Jesus tried to reform, or provide as an incarnation where God tried to offer ‘His’ right hand. I’m very wary of God’s ‘discipline’, as I’ve been abused in its name by certain ‘Christians’ and see the ‘punishment’ (often unjust) throughout history, society, and biology. The degree to which something is deemed ‘God’s doing’ vs a person/society, is notably difficult.

  • Ron,

    I see what you mean in response to the earlier comment (and saying ‘up to a point’). However, bc you agree that the diagnostic labels are ‘not real’ and ‘somewhat or sometimes very misleading’ is where one could point to fraud, and systemic misappropriation of the ‘real complex problems’. The fact that the potentially unreal diagnostic labels, partly or always, are used for professional and coordinated financial gain and efficiency, and isn’t entirely justified and based on truth and accuracy, this is fraud, right? A soft deception, one rooted in the momentum of the past, gigantic social movements and habit? But a partial/potential untruth for accruing money (even sometimes taking away rights), isn’t this a type of fraud, no matter how well-intentioned? No matter how cordial and invisible? I see a kind of quasi-doublespeak that therapists/doctors are often stuck with.

  • Sam,

    I would just like to add, and I know it may be off-putting, but I know a psychiatrist/author who has decided not to retire (as planned) due to people and him who think they need his ketamine prescribing practices, which most doctors would not use. At my next appointment, I’m going to ask my psychiatrist what I should do if I can’t see him. There are a couple or a few other people who would prescribe ketamine in town. My guess is most doctors will eventually use the FDA nasal spray rather than off-label cheap generic ketamine, but they’ll have to get the pens and writing pads with the Spravato name on them, the free seminars, and the drug reps’ smiles and samples first, perhaps. It would take time for the insurances to decide to cover a nasal spray that costs perhaps $1500 or more per month. My doctor doesn’t allow drug reps. He’s only very briefly hurt me, indirectly, twice. Terrible drug reaction (without an apology or much said at all), and a postponement of further action when extremely suicidal and uncomfortable (which ketamine helped greatly).

  • Sam,

    That is interesting that a 24 year relationship with your doc ended. But I guess that given 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, and people/circumstances change, perhaps it is not surprising.

    I didn’t think we were talking about ‘averse effects’. You and my previous reference was ‘adverse effects’. But I understand your ‘aversion’ comment.

    Given that what psychiatrists did with/for/without me for 16 years, I find that they never changed, always doing the same things. The fact that most of them thought they were good enough is more than disappointing. Were they even good, let alone good enough? One trouble is that although they have an ‘arsenal’ of endless things to try, they often do the same things, and ‘trial and error’ becomes a waste of time, energy, and money…and hope. A person in a perpetual fog is less questioning, less of a ‘bother’, and a way to kick the can down the road without ever changing, learning, or finding a new way.

    I agree that there should be more ‘non-hospitals’. I have found some are better designed than others. But the psychiatric drug use and ‘group therapy’ programs, etc. are still the same, regardless of the better design. Then they stick you with a bill of thousands of dollars. California did pay for my 2 week psyche hospital stay (voluntary turned involuntary) because I applied due to low-income. It’s not clear who profited the most, but it wasn’t me. Soteria House and the Finnish Model are alternatives, but hardly the norm.

    I found that even though I sought ‘help’, one of the primary responses was pushing ‘antipsychotics’, as if that was progress and sufficient. It’s very clear to me that psychiatrists have never taken antipsychotics or most of the drugs they’re so fond of and profit from. In medical school, they should take each class of drug as experiential education. 🙂 So should drug company CEO’s and drug reps. A cook tastes his/her food while cooking, and knows what it’s like to eat it. A week of antipsychotics, Haldol to Zyprexa, would be sufficient perhaps. And go ahead and try the higher doses….hell, take the injections. Most likely they would have to take the week off of their work, normal classes, and homework.

  • Eric C.,

    Wonderful article, I’ve read multiple times. Had my parents read it and referenced/linked in a comment recently. I also bought one of your books, Hearing Voices: A Memoir of Madness, an older one that was written before a great deal of your later journey and insights and probably shorter than what you would write now.

    Do you mind me asking if you still take Saphris or a neuroleptic, that doesn’t affect your creativity and mind as you’ve mentioned on this comment?

    I also went from Zyprexa to Saphris. I continue to describe it as a ‘revelation’ although there were other factors going on too. Early this year, I decreased my Saphris by 75% when using ketamine and was no longer suicidal or brutally depressed (with my other modes of health), and not that the 20mg Saphris really helped. Tried to sedate me into ‘health’. I’ve always only taken Saphris before bed (limiting daytime unwanted effects), unlike it’s recommended twice daily. This is one reason I prefer it to all others, which I have hated and resented due to effects and prescribing rationale. Oddly previously, Zyprexa seemed to be the least worst and quasi-modestly-tolerable. I always gained/lost 30(plus!!)lbs every time starting or stopping, never being overweight in my life. This occurred multiple times over about a 10 year period with various interludes of nothing or others. They used dissolving Zyprexa at times in the psyche hospital (I wonder why?!). But I can’t sleep without Saphris. Nor can I sleep without eating a lot.

    I found out that my insurance retail cost of Saphris is ~$1500 no matter dose or times a day! I’ve recently got a years worth from their patient assistance program (having ordered the highest amount despite my 25% dose, which means I’ll have 4 years worth if I disregard the expiration date). This was after my doctor had been ordering free ‘samples’ every so often. Of course I hope to get off some day, but I have no qualms that they are giving me the equivalent of $18,000 for free given their clever history of profit-making and price-gauging. It’s off patent this year, but no generic is available yet.

    Thank you.

  • So ‘do no harm’ is in the oath, just not ‘first’. The sentence you quoted doesn’t seem to require a ‘first’, it is simply a fundamental. It is odd to me that ‘do no harm or injustice to them’ is added to the previous statement on dietary regimens, rather than standing on its own. Also that it disallows abortion and puts the surgical responsibility away from the physician, if that’s the word they used back then.

    The ‘modern oath’ that is linked on the page does not have anything explicit about doing no harm, although it gives a general sense of love, care, and respect.

    “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required….”

  • I require other’s perspectives, and I need to revise everyday. I resonate with a great deal of what he says, and he certainly fills a void in many ways. I agree we have to stay out of the worst of psychiatry, but that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Especially for children, as the author rightly emphasizes, and as you have pointed out many times. Here are some further thoughts on how I thought I differed or amended the author.

    In terms of ‘professionals’, psychiatry works in conjunction with psychologists, social workers, and counselors, the one’s who are the main people who allow the story and meaning of pain to be given space and unfold. I don’t believe all psychiatry frames pain as meaningless, or something to be simply axed by synthetic chemicals. Especially not the psychiatrists and medical psychologists I read, who I don’t associate with 95% of psychiatry, and who started work before pharmacology overflowed into and dominated practice. Even for my favorite author’s, I find I have to find their blind spots and supplement what one doesn’t have with what the other one does.

    Although pain may not be ‘valueless’ or that it has something to ‘teach us’, I think it should be prevented or ameliorated swiftly or effectively, I just don’t think it should only be done through physio-therapy, whether that’s falsely professed or actually effective. But psychiatry does not usually play the role of the psychologist, social worker, or counselor, even though they should. The author has an unusual combination of psychiatrist/psychotherapist, but I don’t know how he combines them, uses them as separate hats in different appointments, or if insurance pays him. It would be great if we could all just move to a cash-pay system and afford it, but I find that many people would fall through the cracks, despite that sometimes being seen as a good thing. I also don’t get the impression that he uses ANY prescriptions, supplements, or general chemistry in these ways. I was trying to say that the ‘simple easy-to-consume soothents’ have never been limited to psychiatry and its diagnoses or corporate industry. It’s not so much the idea of soothents, but the masquerade, the form, the how, and the why. But I agree that psychiatry, or medicine at large, has played their substantial part. If any substance or soothent was ethically used, not-for-profit, effective, safe, and appreciated, this criticism wouldn’t even have to be made. It’s just that the realities that we are talking about are so often unethical, greedy, non-effective, harmful, and not appreciated that we have to cast it in such a negative light. It is interesting to me HOW MANY people who use psychiatry and take prescriptions DO NOT bother dwelling on the negative sides of theirs or others. I’ve dipped into NAMI quite a bit, both their ‘recovery support group’ and their affiliate meetings. Needless to say, I’ve had to mostly dip out after my research project. It was not the recovery group or doctors who taught me what ‘iatrogenesis’ meant and how common it was.

    The author claimed childhood depression was considered rare, as a ‘condition’, before the past 3-4 decades, that it’s grown through pharmaceutical company marketing, prescribers and exaggerated diagnostics, simplistic chemical imbalance theories, and a gullible public. I understand that further back pharmacology was not used as much, especially given that it largely didn’t exist, except for things like ‘narcotics’ or barbiturates. Some doctors were using nutrients, others were using more psycho-social-environmental methods and who did not find it primary or necessary to inject a child or give them a daily cocktail of drug tablets and capsules. But childhood depression was not rare, and it didn’t NOT require intervention. Unfortunately, it is often difficult if not impossible to change parents, the environment, the culture, the workplace, and the doctors themselves. These are some reasons why the easy use of chemicals are seen as a short-cut or the only remedy that people have control over.

  • Sam,

    I also always consider your words, and they often feed my hunger.

    I should clarify that my ‘getting a beer’ doctor reference was a family physician and not a psychiatrist.

    I’m not sure it is a positive thing that regular docs have no time in the sense you said. Psychiatrists often have even less time with people it seems to me. My ‘beer’ doctor never rushed me though, it’s just that he mainly did what the psychiatrists do with regard to mental health, and failed me, even though he was much more amenable and accommodating, except for his bad attitude toward nutrient supplements.

    But you didn’t give me an alternative to ‘adverse effects’. I understand you want to just call these psyche drugs ‘poisons’, but I guess I was wanting something else. It took me a long time to replace the common usage of ‘side-effects’ by sheer common momentum, so I changed to adverse effects, while always noting the ambiguity of all this. It was actually an MIA article,, that pushed me further in that direction. I related to his experiences, including his use of both Zyprexa and Saphris.

  • Steve,

    I found this Harvard Medical School article on this oath taking. Apparently some schools mandate the oath, others a different oath, and others none at all. It says the ‘first do no harm’ is not from the technical Hippocratic Oath, but from another of his works, Of the Epidemics. It also goes into how this plays into medical practice. I by no means accept all this article says, but it is interesting to see how this doctor explains and rationalizes it. It is short.

    “But it is a reminder that we need high-quality research to help us better understand the balance of risk and benefit for the tests and treatments we recommend. Ultimately, it is also a reminder that doctors should neither overestimate their capacity to heal, nor underestimate their capacity to cause harm.”

    He could learn a lot from Mad in America’s website, much of which needs no further research, scientifically, journalistically, or from lived experience.

  • Thx. 3 feathers I’ll slightly ruffle as a supplement:

    I’m not convinced that childhood depression would have been considered rare before more than 3 or 4 decades ago. Although it sometimes went under other guises, like neuroses, anxiety, not to mention child labor and child abuse. ‘Environmental’ causes included parental influences, who had their own problems bleed into children, although they were also collective problems. I’m sure a lot of this is implicit in ‘environmental’.

    It’s not just psychiatry or the medicalization of society that thirsts or itches for ‘soothents’. Human beings have always sought them out. I’m very familiar with things such as pharmaceutical company and prescribing practices on opiate use/abuse/overdose, and criminalization of opiate or illegal drug use, but people seek out changing consciousness, whether that be for reducing pain, making a cocktail party more slippery and fun, or religious trance. Right or wrong or mixed, human beings and human nature itself push toward the use of ‘soothents’, even if framed as a good meal (and hopefully not McDonald’s).

    Illich’s book Medical Nemesis is one of my favorite books of all time….all MIA readers should read it. He had much to offer on the art of suffering and the pain-causing nature of healthcare systems. His colleague Nils Christie was a moral imperialist and simply advocated for the reduction of pain. His book Limits to Pain: The Role of Punishment in Penal Policy discusses much about pain and pain-alternatives. I agree with the notion of ‘storied’ pain, giving meaning to it, but I don’t think it should be required or be reduced to just a part of life. Illich btw treated his (non-chemo-treated) face cancer pain with substantial amounts of raw opium in his later life, with yoga and acupuncture. Illegal opium which he found more effective than what could have been prescribed and which gave him a sense of control rather than institutionalized pain-management. (He also got tax write-offs for large amounts of wine as ‘professional expenses’ for his teaching/student relations.) He preferred staying out of the traditional healthcare system, but we should remember that he eventually hurt beyond his usual art of suffering and sought medicaments and techniques in his own way….always alongside his persistent lit candle among friends that represented Christ, his Messiah.

  • Sam, what do you propose as an alternative to ‘adverse effects’? Preferably a word, phrase, or a couple phrases that encompass the undesirable or unwanted, from the minor to the major. ‘Harmful effects’, I rather like. What if the effect is simultaneously helpful and harmful? I know that often it’s the harmful effects that are even seen as desirable, completely tolerated.

    I recently heard a rephrasing of the Hippocrates Oath (although apparently this oath is misattributed): not ‘first do no harm’, but rather ‘do the potential benefits exceed the potential harm?’. Some replace ‘exceed’ with ‘outweigh’.

    I am well aware that for most psychiatry (and other healthcare systems), this second form is what is preferred, and so often rises to ignorant and abusive levels of what constitutes ‘benefit’, ‘exceeds’, & ‘harm’. Very often with me you’ll be speaking to the choir. But not always.

    I don’t remember the exact context, but I had a doctor suggest an interaction of ours would not need to be in his office, but rather getting a beer someplace. I thought that was good, a way to even the playing field. But it never had a chance to take place. I’ve never had one who offered to pay ME for something they learned from me, let alone a series of things. Often they’ve given the appearance that they can’t or shouldn’t learn from me. They would be bad biographers.

  • Steve,

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, the concern about oppressive environments, for example in schools, is definitely an important issue in all this. Institutional, social, physical, psychological, even architectural oppression, stress, compulsion, and fitting in can all influence this subject. The consensus on what constitutes oppression is not only not simple, but in many schools is not even a question that is raised. Everything runs along according to schedule. I find this very relevant in psychiatric hospitals, where the staff and institutional rules are like a machine. When one is in the patient role, it is a position where a resistance to or even simply questioning of an authority is least likely to succeed. They prefer you to submit at every stage, even if that means remaining silent. The same applies when one is a student. Over-accommodation disorder is a way to prevent punishment and going against any grain that is the norm, even if it’s a norm that really should be modified.

  • Paula,

    I have enjoyed your articles. Keep up the good fight in whatever ways you can.

    I will send you my email address. I tried to donate a very modest amount to your Execution by Numbers doc, but it required $5, and I was only willing to do under that. Please keep me updated if you can.

    In line with your doc, I recently read Limits to Pain: The Role of Punishment in Penal Policy by Nils Christie. It is an oldie, but a goodie, if you haven’t read it:

  • * I need to add for my above comment that the ncbi article above does not recommend routine clinical application of ketamine until further research is made (published 2015). But the book linked above (also 2015) disagrees, as well as do I and a great many other professionals and people who know extreme suffering. Hesitation/prevention due to the perceived lack of research is mostly transcended by many mindful doctors such as Dr. Hyde and my psychiatrist in Birmingham, AL. Like I said, we can’t simply postpone (push into the future) the suicide issue. It often doesn’t wait for those who abide by their preferred schedule and routine.

  • * I need to add that the ncbi article above does not recommend routine clinical application of ketamine until further research is made (published 2015). But the book linked above (also 2015) disagrees, as well as do I and a great many other professionals and people who know extreme suffering. Hesitation/prevention due to the perceived lack of research is mostly transcended by many mindful doctors such as Dr. Hyde and my psychiatrist in Birmingham, AL. Like I said, we can’t simply postpone (push into the future) the suicide issue. It often doesn’t wait for those who abide by their preferred schedule and routine.

  • Thank you, Jennifer and Samantha:

    Leaving aside the multiplicity of forms of help, including nutrient supplements, here is one newer area I find fascinating and have personally found as a life-saving grace. It could be a game changer for certain people, at certain times, including in emergency room admissions for suicide, of which there are many, of which there is specific research. It is the use of low-dose to higher-dose ketamine. There are many ways to use it, some cheap, some ridiculously expensive. (Perhaps you can guess my preference.) The author and interviewer should at the very least acquaint themselves with this work, if they haven’t already:

    Ketamine & Depression Book by Dr. Stephen Hyde: depression&qid=1608078108&sprefix=ketamine dep&sr=8-2

    PubMed Research (having problems with direct link: search ‘ketamine suicide’ or ‘ketamine depression’):


    I think the 9 states and D.C. that have medically-assisted suicide for terminal patients with 6 months or less to live is interesting and should be discussed more.

    I think palliative care for many illnesses and the ‘living deaths’ should be better handled. Obviously many things are not working and have always been that way. The ~22 veterans a day have known this. What exactly has changed, I mean really changed? The situation is an apocalyptic emergency that, for so many people, needs radical change, right now. There is often no room for ‘pacing’ ourselves or taking it ‘one step at a time’. Don’t get me wrong, there is as much diversity with suicide as there are plants in the Amazon jungle….or people on the earth.

  • Please see the summary of this book, Death by Calcium by Dr. Thomas Levy. He seems to agree with you that calcium should be obtained through diet, but lower than RDA, especially for the elderly. No milk, cheese, or supplements (and not bc they aren’t absorbed), but bc they are TOO MUCH, especially when combined with vitamin D3. The public often has too much calcium even though it is necessary:

  • Steve, et al:

    I feel that the comment that some of this is strictly ‘philosophy’ may not be entirely complete. It can be ‘psychology/psychological’, which may be considered a social science and can incorporate many disciplines. In this case, ‘medical psychology’ might be appropriate. Some of the effort here is to put the studies in a psychiatric context that generally tries to bridge the physical and the mental/social. Psychology can be a subjective confession and deals with opinions and assumptions. If psychologists are honest, they immediately take the subjective nature of their judgments into consideration and try to balance them with what is considered general ‘knowledge’, as well as a healthy amount of doubt and uncertainty. The diversity of subjective perspectives, and what constitutes a consensus of knowledge, are what are so difficult. Knowledge need not be restricted to the physical/natural sciences. However, I agree that it is a slippery slope. The more social, humanistic, and artistic, the more difficult this becomes, as opposed to math and physics. I see biology and physiology/neurology as intermediaries, and research inevitably brings in the biases of subjectivity and methods.

    These are my immediate thoughts. Thank you.

  • I use clinical arrogance, too.

    Carl Jung puts it slightly differently here, and he wasn’t completely without clinical arrogance, but was very mindful about it.

    ‘There is a modern rational arrogance that tears our consciousness from its transcendental roots and places before it impending goals.’ (Paraphrased)

  • Hi Joanna,

    I see that your second recent response was made before (but posted after) my brief response saying I looked forward to your email. Should I still expect an email? I would really prefer that. I would like to fully respond and engage there, as you have given me a great deal to consider. Rather than make certain points here, I will await your email. Thank you.

  • Steve,

    The difference between a legal mandate and a warning/guideline is well taken. You pointing out that certain benzo’s were in the top tier of common prescriptions is also notable, and despite that number being from 2016. I believe the benzo advisory warning from the FDA is newer, but I’m sure they are still virtually as common. I would be curious to see if the updated advisories have or are making an impact, not so much for the ‘most severe cases of anxiety’ but rather the more run-of-the-mill and common ones. Also, whether the guideline are affecting if prescribers minimize the time-frame rather than never start the regimen at all. The time-frames for acid reflux prescriptions hardly make a difference, even though the clinical trials and the prescription info. emphasized the very short-term use.

    Perhaps not only the reluctance but firm denial of my prescriber was due in part by his being very young…..someone who did not have the background of commonly prescribing it like many of the old-timers. It is also notable that benzo’s are not prescribed as much if people use illegal drugs like cannabis. I don’t know if this same practice applies in states where it is legal for medical or recreational, although I would like to know.

    I was not questioning the efforts at warnings, advisory guidelines, or COMPLETE informed consent for these things. The idea of informed consent, let alone with ‘newer’ warnings, black box or otherwise, is virtually non-existent it seems to me. The point has been made from commenters, quite rightly, that if people were completely informed before hand, it’s not clear that anybody would choose to take these things. But my guess is that absent apparent alternative or supplementary options, many people will feel so desperate, so at-wits-end, or so fragile, unconscious, or timid, that they would still sign the consent form. Not to mention in the face of family or legal pressure, waving their finger at them, or threatening them with punitive or restrictive measures.

  • I won’t go into the complexity of the Amazon jungle. But I would like to say that rather than prescribe me a benzo, I was prescribed hydroxezine pamoate (due to the points of hesitation and FDA warnings). I found it almost worthless, yet he stuck with it and apparently had no other alternative. (I’m saying that only within the psychiatric context). I was given gabapentin, I can’t remember if that was partly for anxiety, I think so. It made me slower and stupider, it seemed to me, and I refused to continue. I’ve also been prescribed very small benzo doses that were questionable in terms of their ‘effect’ (not just perceived benefit).

    When I was involuntarily committed for 2 weeks, I learned that I could request a benzo every 6 hours. I was so anxious and uncomfortable (partly bc of commitment) that I requested it on the dot. I often still paced the halls constantly, but I felt it at least was a placebo, if not a crutch, if not a relief. But when I was released, it was the lithium that made my hands, head, and MIND shake (as tremors). And it was the Zyprexa that made me fat, tired, and slower.

    I’ve experienced benzo withdrawal when I had no prescriber anymore and was running out. It was extended-release Xanax so cutting the pills wasn’t exactly right. Probably or definitely wrong. I also now take Xanax before bed. My sleep was so bad, I had to do something more. I can’t sleep without my nightly low-dose neuroleptic, and I take melatonin.

    I know I still need a lot of work! I can relate to 4 freedom’s comment, just as I support the article’s message and activism on this issue.

  • 4freedom, I reinforced your original comment above and below, and I stick to them. However, I do disagree with you that there are no other techniques or complementary/supporting/alternative help available. I won’t give all the examples here, unless you press me harder. And I say this despite using xanax before sleep and not wanting/able to get off right now. I hope to try in the future according to my individual needs and the slow tapering method that is advocated. See below for my comment on prescribing hydroxezine pamoate instead of a benzo.

  • Not to belabor the point, but he did refer to the FDA policies forced on the medical community, and concurrent reluctance of many doctors to prescribe them. This is mostly a separate issue from the role of advocates/activism, although it seems to align with much of what they want such as the reduction, if not banning, of use. The move IS taking it away from long term users and forcing stopping, despite the will of those who feel it helps them and feel the risks are acceptable. It’s understandable that if he has used them such a long time with no perceived harm, that he would prefer to continue using them, despite other factors and methods that might be helpful.

  • Joanna, great feedback. If you do respond again, I might prefer you use the email on my website. However, whether brief or long, here is fine, it’s just a bit detailed and personal. No response is fine with me, too. I find everything you say to be very interesting and relatable, and I could go on and on. I wish that I could hear more. I will look at your author references. On a side note, do you know the Polish sculptor/artist Szulkalski? I’m sure you do. Has a bit of a controversial past, but overall truly amazing. Here’s a Netflix documentary link:

    It is interesting that you’ve had once a year appointments. That suggests to me that you don’t take ANY prescriptions. I’m finding that unlike when I was constantly SEEKING, SEEKING, I saw psychiatrists far more than I wanted, or technically needed, as they were a dead-end in many ways. Now I’m finding that I will probably postpone my next appointment bc I am coasting and don’t require the standard monthly check-up, which was already longer than my previous prescribers’ appointments. I couldn’t go into the void, and even though I knew the routine of the mainstream, I felt desperate enough to repeat the same thing again and again. I feared I would have to go into the hospital, and not only did I know they wouldn’t help me, they would have hurt me. You seem to do your once-a-year thing for a technicality to receive your pension, rather than any need whatsoever. I find that it often is easy to trigger doctors’ emotions, even though I might be emotional at various levels. And that sometimes, what should become a debate and negotiation, with time and references, easily either becomes an argument or a stunted/ended conversation. Especially with hospital doctor’s, who barely plug you in and very quickly move on. I really like my psychologist, and that is a separate issue.

    I find the confluence of childhood sensitivity/depression/anxiety/trauma/family-conflict, use/overuse of legal and illegal ‘substances’ including psychedelics, spiritual seeking and FINDING, getting A/B honor role at two honors schools, confrontation with mental ‘healthcare’ and its assumptions and attitudes, outcomes of forced or accepted pharmaceuticals and involuntary commitment, the big questions of life, and then the context of being labeled with schizophrenia….to be some of the most complicated and difficult things it is possible to imagine. So on my website, I try to do many things. I try to thread the needle, contain contradictory and complementary viewpoints, compare and contrast, and highlight benefits and risks while showing what I favor. One reason I built my website homepage as it is, is to hold 2 or 4 sides very close together.

    I do find it interesting that you don’t embrace ‘schizophrenia’, but you do seem to embrace ‘psychosis/psychotic’, and that there can be drug-induced outcomes, for one. I didn’t accept ANY definitions of schizophrenia that convention gave to me…and prior I had years of studying schizophrenia mainly in the context of psychedelics, shamanism, madness in artists/writers, etc. Then I happened upon Abram Hoffer’s work and literature. I found it so provocative and mostly unusual, that while simultaneously trying his nutritional techniques, I gradually gained a great deal. Part of his notion was that, as you hinted at but don’t really accept as the norm, ‘schizophrenia’ could be considered a ‘syndrome’ with multiple causes, although he favored his ‘chronic pellagra’ hypothesis as a majority of cases. The final clinical outcome was the hypothesized aminochrome pathway, especially the oxidized by-products of adrenaline (epinephrine). It is him that I took the definition of a ‘disorder of perception and thinking’, but I immediately try to cushion it with possible doubt and recognition of the social construction/labeling theory. It is notable that Hoffer also wanted to discard the label ‘schizophrenia’, but on the other hand wanted to use the term ‘chronic pellagra’ in the majority, along with the other causative factors (substance-induced, metal toxicity, cerebral allergy, etc). Oddly, I can’t think of him mentioning trauma/abuse as triggering the ‘psychotic spectrum’, although we know that this can lead to this type of thing. This notion (of chronic pellagra) would offend the deconstructionists and anti-psychiatry folks as much as conventional theorists. A couple remarks: I am critical of many of his attitudes toward this, some internal contradictions in his own history (such as his work on psychedelics, psychotomimetic vs. psychedelic, yet his consistent use of voices/visions as symptoms to both diagnose and to be removed to ‘recover’), and I try to always make this clear in my website. Hoffer thought all ‘psychoanalysis’ was Freud, and didn’t seem to be familiar with Carl Jung’s work. I also try my best to emphasize that very little of the subject is proved as is wished, that standard treatment can lead to the very symptoms that are associated with it, etc. I define positive/negative and hot/cool symptoms partly to paint the orthodox picture of what is being dealt with, but I try to go beyond it, contextualize it, reject it, and relativise it, all at once. This is what I do in my ‘Red Book’ website section on Carl Jung. Of course, I probably have further work to do and may not have succeeded. I’m running a fine line, and I do say at points that, unlike many of the subjects on my site, I will not link standard websites dealing with schizophrenia and psychosis (or pharmaceuticals) bc of the vast misunderstanding and deception as it is usually seen. The exception is links to PubMed, so that some insight can be gained into what standard and nonstandard research avenues have/are taking place. If some day, I feel the need to remove something or change it, I will. This has already occurred over and over again. The Virus Epoch has allowed me to fine-tune my site, which makes the previous forms seem unfortunate in ways.

    One detail I want to mention, is that by taking large and regular doses of vitamin B3, a certain outcome came that I’ve only ever heard mentioned and possibly explained in the Hoffer literature on schizophrenia. It is the collection of freckle-like pigments in certain parts of the skin that eventually can be rubbed off. It is ‘part of the healing process’, is said to happen mostly with schizophrenia (although more rare), but can happen with other people too (but far more rarely). This happened to me. Even if this pigment is not specific to schizophrenia, researchers/scientists still need to notice it and explain it. It seems to be apparent with the B3 therapy. A less clear picture is the occasional mention of a ‘schizophrenic smell’. I believe I had this, and that it went away as I got healthier. Having said all this above, I make no claims at absolute certainty or wish to force onto anyone any of this. Life is a mystery, and will never be fully understood, but these are some areas that are part of my puzzle. It’s possible that my long term heavy cigarette use increased adrenaline and its by-products.

    My website is my work, and it has always required immense editing/revising/rethinking. So my writing is not entirely a representation of the history of my thinking. My thinking has taken on many forms in my life, sometimes its different-ness, sometimes excelling, and then during my suicidal despair, as morbid, compromised, etc. In high school and college, I was a great writer if I cared about the subject (with editing/revising), but my speech in seminars and public speaking was often profoundly difficult. I recognize that much of this is not to be pathologized and labeled, and can be seen as unique to my individuality, and something to be given space and understanding. There have been certain aspects, not just the suicidal period, that were ‘not right’ or ‘not as right as it should be’. Here I don’t wish to overlay my experience as generalizable to others, or people with ‘schizophrenia’, just to emphasize that the thinking/speech function can be cursed or uncomfortable, minor to major.

    I absolutely agree with you, and so would Hoffer and Jung, that both symptoms and outcomes of ‘patients’, can be aggravated or caused, directly and indirectly from treatment and medical environment.

    I generally agree with you about negative symptoms. But I dealt with fatigue, certain difficulty with reading, some difficulty with quality/quantity of relationships, depression, sudden need to leave classrooms, and so on, before ever being on pharmaceuticals. I suppose I should point out that I used cannabis and tobacco. I am aware of and support the nuanced perspective on these things….difficulty with reading due to TOO MUCH READING AND WRITING/information overload, fatigue due to lungs full of tar, paucity of speaking due to being super-reflective and a need to choose words carefully, and because I was still learning and had many Big Questions. But your description of stigma, rejection/misunderstanding, isolation, and being poor couldn’t have been said better. I decided to stop Prozac when, after normally taking it before sleep, I took it after dinner, and I could then not even read. I thought ‘this can’t be good’, so I can relate to your point on this in a thousand ways. My use of micro-dosing ketamine this year profoundly changed my thinking quality and quantity, and I once again began, and still do, read A LOT.

    On your comments on coming off neuroleptics, high-functioning, and occasional hallucinations. Very insightful of you. I wonder, if I had been treated with dignity, given nutrient supplements, perhaps allowed micro/macro dosing of psychedelics, and allowed a psycho-spiritual transformation, would I not have fallen into the levels of despair and sickness I did. The voice-hearing thing is very personal to me, and I’m aware that it runs the spectrum from suicidal command voices to divine revelations, from people who want nothing to do with them, people who learn to live with them, or kind of like my case — who once experiencing the ‘inner voice’ and dreams, though ambiguous, do not need to experience them again, generally speaking. I know how difficult yet meaningful it can be, and I still pay attention to my dreams. That was part of my spiritual experience, the very experience that mainstream psychiatry and normal society try to prevent by any means. The experience that I was never willing to let them take away from me, although they succeeded for a long time. It is my opinion that if you hear a voice, any voice, and especially if you simultaneously use cannabis or psychedelics, that you will be isolated, drugged, labeled, and put through the meat grinder. It might not be as permanent a label such as after your ‘psychotic break’, but may be like mine, ‘psychosis not otherwise specified’, only long after becoming ‘I think you may have schizophrenia, what do you think about that?’, or ‘we’ll use ‘schizophrenia’, that will help with the disability pension application’. !!!!!

    I find your ending comment on what has helped you stay healthy to be not only great advice for everybody, but EXTREMELY resonant with me. Aside from the feminist group. I support feminism FULLY, but I haven’t felt a need to join an activist group for it.

    Thank you for participating. And check out that Polish sculptor/artist if you haven’t already!

  • Joanna, thank you much for sharing. Based off what you said, we have a lot in common, but I won’t assume we are the same by any means.

    I like how you used ‘mainstream psychiatry’. It is interesting that you live in Poland, although I am very uninformed about its history and state of play. I do hope you get your private psychiatrist as soon as you reasonably can. If you are like me, not only seeing the ‘same doctor that diagnosed you’, but even just other doctors who are very similar to the previous ones, is like having to still deal with an abusive parent. The memories and emotional triggers, the attitudes, the putting their drugs in you, the dismissal, the rushed appointments, the lack of help if not consistent harm (even if that comes through the rollercoaster of constant ‘trial and error’). I had one last year who chalked it all up to my the ‘paranoia’ of my paranoid schizophrenia, if she even ever knew what I was referring to in the first place.

    Unfortunately (the epitome), is that all in all, it was, in fact, too much. I was saying I would rather ‘say my goodbyes and tell myself I love you, and quickly pass away’, then deal with conventional/mainstream psychiatry any longer. My new psychiatrist and psychologist, on top of my other modes, came ‘out of the blue’, and I don’t have to think like that any more, for now. I’ve been able to decrease my neuroleptic dose by 75-85%, the only one I’ve been more ‘ok’ with, normally dosed twice a day, but I take it only before bed. I can’t sleep without it, but it reduces daytime adverse effects, once I finally get up. I’m just at my 5 year mark for getting off tobacco. What you say about people who live with/labelled with schizophrenia is tragic. This is why I told a provider/prescriber the other day on facebook: business-as-usual or ‘it is what it is’ is NOT acceptable. People with/labelled schizophrenia have one of the highest suicide rates of any demographic (or die earlier like you said). They were describing it all in the usual ways. I told them what might help more.

    I’ve lived with the diagnosis schizophrenia for 10-15 years depending on how you slice it. I am on social security disability income. I’ve dealt with everything you’ve mentioned here, except for I haven’t been able to escape the neuroleptics as easily. I was off and on them for years (always gaining and losing over 35lbs, tired/slow, etc.). I find most of my psychiatrists/prescribers except for 1 roughly as you describe (1 out of 12), a couple a little more amenable until I inspected closer. Obeying, non-compliant, rebellious, nuisance: these are all like Pee-Wee’s Play House in psychiatry, the ‘secret word of the day’, although the exact opposite of fun and surprise.

    What you describe, and what I have experienced, happen every single day all over the world, as you know. In the main, what exactly has changed over the last decades? Until this year, when I was able to solve my suicidal brutality, I say ‘what the ‘doctors’ did from the beginning (2003) to the end (2019) was exactly the same D&%N thing: firstly neuroleptics, antidepressants, benzos (often if they didn’t think you used illegal drugs). Most of these were placebo if not trivial, mediocre and insufficient, and/or harmful (minor to major). No deep conversation, no imagination. They have such expensive clothes and long vacations for how incompetent they are.
    In the orthomolecular section, I talk a lot about my experiences with ‘schizophrenia’, etc.

  • JB: I apologize. I see that I misread part of your original comment. Not only do you not consider the hurtful and stigmatizing psychiatric patient or person with mental illness proper descriptions, you may consider them worse since you called the others ‘polite’ euphemisms.

    I completely agree with most of your points, many of which are why I brought up the question. I also agree that client can be misused too. I get the impression that you don’t think psychic/mental health problems exist, or even if they did, should have no relationship to professional or ‘medical help’?

    Might I ask: Do you have any non-professional ‘relation’ to the psychiatric system? If so, do you request that these terms not be used in your presence, or do you just remain silent? Short of retiring, what should a psychiatrist or social worker use, given that you easily accept the patient identity/role for physical illness?

    I actually disagree about the ease of patient being used at the dermatologist, family physician, or dentist. I think some of the same problems exist there too, just not AS stigmatized and burdened by the baggage that a more strict mental health approach has. When a person is being treated for cancer for months, ‘patient’ can become chronic and be taken home with a self-identity, with family, etc. Leaving aside the mental side, client or ‘person who has a physical illness’ have benefits over patient. Diabetes II is an example of a physical illness that ordinarily WILL need care/treatment for the rest of their lives, obviously not stigmatized, but people don’t judge your credibility or overall capacity for having it. In this way, they could be a lifetime patient (person with illness or in a sick role), but who when relating directly with the service/professional, is a client. With client, there’s not as much a need for its use, to be seen as, or to identify as a chronic client in that way, even though that’s essentially what it is.

    I’m not trying to suck you into anything, so I understand if I seem to be getting into the weeds. These kind of things do not change or re-stabilize without an active dialogue of relevant parties.

  • Thx Sam. I know your dead serious. I can relate to that, especially my experiences in hospitals. But really most of my ‘outpatient treatment’ has been a watered-down and extended version of being a guinea pig in the ‘ward’.

    If you went to an emergency room bc you sliced off the tip of your finger, would you submit to a label? Or do you just reject them as much as possible? If you had the full power, what might you prefer? If we use self-care, we don’t say we are both doctor and patient, ‘treating’ ourselves, at least not normally.

  • Thx Johanna. You prefer ‘patient’ over ‘client’? Client, to me, tends to relegate it to the formal relationship and doesn’t necessarily extend outside in the larger world so people carry it around with them all the time. It is more neutral or dignified and doesn’t imply ‘sickness’ or as much of a power difference.

    If we use self-care, we don’t say we are both doctor and patient, ‘treating’ ourselves, at least not normally.

  • Perhaps 95% of my use of in-person psychiatry has been a waste and harmful, flipping through to go along to get along.

    Seeking and experiencing the personal and collective unconscious, nutrient therapy, and psychedelic therapy have all been useful to me, but not without thorns in the side. It was psychiatry and psychology that brought these to me, either locally or through the ether of the internet. It’s possible that once entangled in chemical chaos that chemical tools may have to be used to gain a degree of freedom (I am not referring to the tardive diskenisia drugs).

    Saphris is the only major tranquilizer I’ve been somewhat ok with. I can’t sleep without it. It can be taken once a night unlike its usual twice daily prescription (limiting daytime adverse effects). It’s ridiculously expensive, but there are ways around this. I almost got off with an effective but unusual antidepressant and nutrients.

    Now, only if the ‘doctors’ didn’t use that drug class to abort my spiritual seeking and finding. And put themselves inside me, poke and prod me, and make it appear that the goal was achievable if I obeyed them.

  • I’ve only liked 1 out of 12 psychiatrists (and prescribing physician) I’ve had (and I’m keeping my eyes peeled). Pessimistically, I’d tell the others to f$@k off; neutrally, I’d tell them ‘I’m sorry, did you say something?’; optimistically, I’d just ‘turn the page over and gladly leave their chapter’. Other than my two favorite psychiatrists whose books I’ve read, I like the one because he virtually prevented me from self-murdering. He has my favorite book (Jung’s The Red Book) on his shelf, but hasn’t read or know what it’s about (a gift). He harmed me two days with a drug (that tried to counter another drug’s adverse effect), and he didn’t apologize. But he’s far cooler than most.

    As it’s unfair to lump ‘patients’ together, it’s ultimately unfair to lump psychiatrists together, despite the majority or how this majority insinuates itself even in the better ones. We can’t go into a void, but we can whittle while changing direction. I long for the day when I can say I no longer require their office/service, only a conversation and debate in a coffee shop, a discussion group, or an activist rally.

  • Similar post to a commenter above, but directed to the author and group:

    I am curious, what are the best labels, if any, for people in the ‘client’ role? Client, service-user, consumer (the worst), patient, customer, person in the sick role….PERSON? Do they pigeonhole, push a sense of permanence, and create an imbalance in the ‘provider-client’ relationship? I use various terms if ‘person’ can’t be used, but as rarely as possibly, and certainly wouldn’t use with people directly: as in, ‘since you are a service-user of mine or this organization’, ‘you are his consumer’, etc. Don’t most or all of these terms create a similar issue as the use of labels like ‘schizophrenic’ and ‘psychotic’? Professionals feel in control. People self-identify: ‘I am a service-user, I am a consumer, a patient’, INSIDE and OUTSIDE the context. Are ‘service-users’ only released from such a role when they are ‘recovered’ and completely without need of being a client to a professional? Are they assumed to be more or less chronic clients? Lastly, do ‘providers’ or ‘clinicians’ become service-users when they get a vaccine or go the dentist? Are they so freely comfortable in the patient role, and does it drop as soon as they leave the office it was used in?

    Words are needed, but not simply for convenience or efficiency or status reinforcement. I don’t ask these to knit pick. I am genuinely interested in what the best terms are and how they affect all parties. ‘Inmates’ and ‘cells’ create a similar problem in prisons.

  • I respect that.

    But I am curious, do you think the term ‘service-user’ is pigeonholing, pushing a sense of permanence, and creating an imbalance in the ‘provider-client’ relationship? I use the term but as rarely as possibly, and certainly wouldn’t use with people directly: as in, ‘since you are a service-user of mine or this organization’. I have difficulty with other terms: patient, consumer (probably the worst), sometimes even client. Customer is relevant but never used. Don’t most or all of these terms create a similar issue as the use of labels like ‘schizophrenic’ and ‘psychotic’? Professionals feel in control. People self identify: ‘I am a service-user, I am a consumer, a patient’, INSIDE and OUTSIDE the context. Are your ‘service-users’ only released from such a role when they are ‘recovered’ and completely without need of being a client to a professional? Or are they assumed to be more or less chronic clients? Lastly, do YOU become a service-user when you get a vaccine or go to the dentist? Are you so freely comfortable in the patient role, and does it drop as soon as you leave the office it was used in?

    I know your work is probably very stressful and requires a lot. Words are needed, but not simply for convenience or efficiency or status reinforcement. I don’t ask these to knit pick. I am genuinely interested in what the best terms are and how they affect all parties. ‘Inmates’ and ‘cells’ create a similar problem in prisons.

  • bcharris

    Sometimes I forget, or am less clear than I’d like, that Hoffer learned most psychiatry on the job so to speak. He did have a medical degree and a degree in biochemistry first. I have seen that one of Hoffer’s first cancer patients he treated was 1977, around the time when Linus Pauling was starting to research it. Hoffer developed it more over time. I see that he had treated 1000 clients with cancer by 1998, with much study in the late 80’s.

    I didn’t think Hoffer had tried other psychedelics other than ‘adrenochrome’, which he said would never become a ‘darling’ street drug. The movie psychedelic pioneers is remarkable, showing Osmond and Hoffer’s history, but doesn’t mention nutrients except for maybe briefly once.
    Hoffer’s memoirs are like $180 on Amazon. Even Osmond was somewhat tight lipped about his and Hoffer’s nutrient research later in his career. Osmond wrote about hospital design and models later in his career more than nutrients, which were Hoffer’s special focus. I get the impression Osmond didn’t practice full orthomolecular therapy at the hospital in Alabama, very near me. Aldous Huxley and osmond’s letters are fascinating. Osmond elaborates extensively on his mescaline, lsd, and peyote experiences, which were a lot. I believe his diagnostic methods for schizophrenia were, at times, unfair, always considering schizophrenia as psychotic rather than psychedelic, despite his research on how mescaline led to hypotheses of the schizotoxin he sought for. His book Models of Madness is flawed but very useful. The fact that he uses the word ‘madness’ throughout, and as basically a synonym for schizophrenia, is unfortunate. He barely even attempts to define ‘madness’ and says it basically has always been understood as a concept throughout history.

  • Interesting point I don’t always consider.

    I have mixed feelings when Hoffer said that many of these referred people already had a schizophrenia diagnosis, and he usually agreed with the diagnosis.

    I live by most of his principles everyday. However, he did not know about the personal and collective unconscious (mythopoetic imagination). It is ironic that he differentiated between ‘psychotomimetic’ and ‘psychedelic’, used psychedelic therapy before they were made illegal, was colleagues with Humphrey Osmond who created the word and who had a great many psychedelic experiences, but yet they both, it (usually) seems to me, saw hallucinated voices and visions only as ‘symptoms’. I guess often constellated with other symptoms. All very complex, but sometimes I wish Hoffer and Osmond were more nuanced in this area, even if ‘treatment’ is necessary. I will still devote part of my website to Hoffer’s field of orthomolecular psychiatry and medicine.

  • I also find your points to partially apply to old generics too. My affordable generic ketamine cannot be patented unless big pharma makes a subtle tweak or two and patents that, like they did with the nasal spray. In this case, the generic ketamine is fda approved but is used ‘off-label’. I cut down my tranquilizer by 75-85% simply by using ketamine. This tranquilizer is $1500 retail no matter what dose or how many times a day.

  • I personally am aware of these very relevant and unfortunate points. Thanks for pointing them out. None of these areas will change anytime soon. In a sense, it is two separate worlds living simultaneously.

    I still would like the same kind of financial assistance I get from insurance to be used for nutrients supplements. Out of pocket supplement expenses can get quite pricy if you are hardcore. If it was either seen or ‘proved’ (and FDA ‘approved’) that nutrient supplements could prevent the need for more expensive treatments or illnesses, the doctors and insurers may have a change of heart. But this gets to the crux of the matter. Apparently there has been a recent clinical phased trial of diet/supplements/electric current stimulation for multiple sclerosis. I don’t know if such results could be ‘FDA approved’ and ‘prescribed/covered’.

    My insurance gives some money to supplement, to gyms, and I think to dietary aspects in some way. But it’s a roundabout way, and the supplements are a drop in the bucket relatively speaking.

    Most psychiatrists don’t care or warn against them. But there are a few….if only one of my first dozen prescribers had helped me in this regard.

  • Cool. I saw in a book yesterday that B6 has been used like you said, and I’m sure the other ones. Although Dr. Thomas Levy says iron should almost never be supplemented unless a proven low blood count…and same for copper and calcium.

    I do wish insurance covered nutrients. My quality fish oil is $75 for 120 high dose capsules. My insurance gives me $240 a year for ‘over the counter’ products, including a number of nutrients, but they are lower quality and with few brands. Not ideal, but I guess it’s a start. I don’t think any other insurance policies I’ve had attempted to do that.

  • Here is a Kunin article and an orthomolecular journal search engine. Abram Hoffer also wrote and used manganese and vitamin B3. He thought if low dose manganese was added to the drugs, TD wouldn’t occur. Never starting major tranquilizers, going to as low dose as possible, or stopping completely, is of course preferable.

  • Abram Hoffer used vitamin B3 and mineral manganese to prevent and treat TD. He claimed that if a little manganese were put in with the drugs, TD wouldn’t occur. Of course, never taking major tranquilizers, going to as low a dose as possible, or stopping are better than the roundabout way of preventing or treating. Here’s a Kunin article, and an orthomolecular journal search engine:

  • Interesting points about the Complexes and the history. I didn’t find it too abstract, but an intellectual effort unsure of some of the finer details. I found ‘cookie-cutter, pea-in-the-pod mirror images’ rather poetic.

    It may be that Jung just suggested the word ‘Electra’ rather than the idea itself. That’s probably the case.

    I personally don’t see these things as just the heights or abstractions of metaphysics, philosophy, or archetypes, but psychological, which has its own substance/nature. This does deal with medicine in its broadest definition and certainly therapy. I’m not sure why you put therapy in quotations, other than showing how the psychological concepts don’t have value for health, or that therapy is a ‘so-called’. Some of these things were integral to these historical figures’ effort at healing. I know medicine has usually meant physical illness/treatment. Even Jung sometimes used it in that way despite having a medical degree and describing himself as a doctor. The term ‘medicalization’ certainly refers to medicine in its broadest definition, and I like the term in medical philosophy/sociology.

    But as you say, hopefully your abstracting will not be required or fertilized until next year at the earliest. And by all means, don’t let me try to call it forth.

  • Steve & oldhead: I think you may be right, Steve. I guess I was thinking about adverse experiences and traumas generally. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of an account or ‘case study’ of molestation, but only of various shades of the incestual ideas between mother/son or father/daughter (which aren’t always so stark as physical abuse), but which in his own way, Jung dealt with. I think it was Jung who suggested the ‘Electra Complex’ to match Freud’s Oedipal. He was always very sensitive to childhood experience and the proper education of parents. I don’t know about the history of sexual abuse, but I would like to.

    I’ve read 1.5 books of Freud’s but mostly know him through Jung. Freud’s writing is less appealing to me than Jung, more 19th century literary and sober, very dense but in a relentless way. I feel that Jung took the ‘best’ of Freud to the next level, but was keen on constructive criticism of him. The Netflix series ‘Freud’ is worth the watch, but of course it fluffs it up with drama and fiction.

  • Steve, yes, although Carl Jung took up some of the ideas of early childhood experiences/traumas, repressed memories, and the formation of complexes, and their impact on later life. Partly through Jung, this influence DID carry on for generations. Freud’s ‘unconscious’ in a way became Jung’s ‘personal unconscious’. He also carried on things like dream analysis, transference, and abreaction from Freud’s psychoanalysis. Jung was radically different than Freud as well, for example his ‘collective unconscious’ and importance on the religious instinct, which Freud reduced to other instincts and considered all religion as illusion. Jung, unlike Freud, almost never used hypnosis.

    We also shouldn’t forget that Freud heavily focused on neurology early on in school, practice, and library, had important roles in its development, and also in psychosomatic and what he called nervous disorders. He often used cocaine for physical and mental problems, his own and clients. And tobacco for that matter.

  • JeffreyC, I enjoyed your article.

    In general, I agree with you, but I’d like to point out that Carl Jung was considered a psychotherapist/psychologist AND psychiatrist. And ‘counseling’ takes away a certain sophistication out of those other approaches. Jung was a ‘psychological’ psychiatrist. He worked in a psych hospital as an ‘assistant psychiatric physician’. He had a private therapy practice, but he still maintained a role of diagnostician and had a medical degree in psychiatry, I believe. But those were the days when boundaries and specialties were different. For many decades, psychiatry is as you state. Jung and Humphrey Osmond met and spoke, and Jung suggested a role for physiotherapies as well as one of the first to hypothesize a ‘metabolic toxin X’ in schizophrenia, which Osmond was so concerned with. Osmond dealt with nutrients, as well as psychedelics before made illegal, and he also used pharmaceuticals more conservatively. He also wrote a lot on hospital design and ‘models’ of health care. I take from him certain things and leave others.

  • Steve,

    Well said. I almost totally agree. Becoming an ‘extra-environmental’ is courageous and needed, as long as there is something there and there is no illusion that one has completely transcended the evils (or ills, forgive me), that are part of human nature.

    I hope one day I won’t need therapy (although I think it can be good mental hygiene), or drugs, or nutrients (although I feel they optimize health), and all these tentacles or nodules in my/the system. My favorite people are those who have risen to their individuality in creative ways while giving back to the collectivity. I try that and fulfill it to some degree, but then again, I am on social security disability income, get family support, and I am technically mostly unemployed. I’m glad you’ve found a niche that allows more freedom without compromising security.

  • Steve,

    Just curious, do you think that any staff, worker, parent, teacher, pharmacist, hospital cleric, or even client who submits to or goes along with psychiatry should admit guilt and do penance? (Not to put too much of a religious custom to it). Or should the blame be restricted to the direct apostles of the pseudoscience, the psychiatrists?

    I like certain aspects of ‘psychiatry’, including the old pioneering psychological psychiatrists like Carl Jung, and nutritional psychiatrists like Abram Hoffer. So in the final analysis, I don’t see ‘it’ as a monolithic entity. But I do take from each what I want and remain critical of their shortcomings.

    I’ve had psychiatrists that did some blood work on basic nutrients, thyroid, etc., but they didn’t earn my respect and trust. The only one I’ve liked has not done blood work, and I don’t know if he knows I have an integrative medicine physician who has. But he did ask me about any abuse in childhood, traumatic brain injuries, and has been open to my suggestions and criticism, and has almost never ‘rushed’ me, allowing me to speak my mind. He says he doesn’t like hospitals, is not as rigid about diagnoses, and doesn’t try to shove his ‘stuff’ down my throat. Is he an exception to the rule, or is he an example of being a ‘lesser evil’? I tend to think so, and I’ve had a dozen.

    My psychologist, who I really like, works in the same office. Is he complicit? He is very intelligent and swims through the system adeptly without holding fast to an always clear cut attitude. He knows diagnoses are questionable, but he still interviews veterans to see if they qualify for ‘PTSD’ in order to receive extra benefits. He’s also seen the disturbing use of Ritalin in institutions for ‘disturbed’ childhood. He’s interviewed people going into the police force to see if they disqualify (mentally) for becoming an officer. I think he utilized a type of ‘diagnostic’ modeling process to make that decision. Based off my respect for him, I would trust him to make a proper judgment in that context, although it may have been restricted to the more obvious cases rather than the professional paranoia and sadism that we find hidden in certain officers.

  • Steve,

    I think I generally agree. I would just point out that mind, body, the social, & the environmental are so tightly linked that there are easily feedback loops that are difficult to disentangle and see where one begins and one ends, at least for a practical perspective or where action is required/preferred. And that the individual in the center of a mandala plays a role in deciding which elements are emphasized, not just the arbiter of a psychiatry, as you know. There may be a critical threshold where the need for identity as ‘illness’ may be appropriate, and I believe the judgement of that threshold should be negotiated with the individual, even if they end up rejecting any need for intercession. I’m not sure if you are suggesting psychiatry does not see ‘stress and trauma’ as real symptoms or just capable of causing physiological changes, where the real illness is perceived to be, but psychologists and social workers certainly do. Yet you point out the importance of noting any physiological relations/causes to mental function. Or something like that. Not to get in a knot about all this. Not sure if that contradicts your points, but I would like it to supplement them.

  • Steve,

    (I posted above, but realized I should’ve posted here. My previous comment of this same comment can be deleted).

    I’m sorry, but was it me who prodded you to make these distinctions? Or are you speaking generally for us all to think about? I don’t think I made any comment to really require these explicit differentiations.

  • Steve, I suppose that rings true. I assume it was referencing my comment of ‘I did need help’….maybe not.

    I’ve thrown up in my life more than anyone I’ve ever met or heard of. I hope we can agree that I not only needed help, but that I was ill. Are you just talking ‘mental illness’, I assume?

  • I support this article and can relate to it.

    But what if after all the childhood trauma, bullying, school punishment, and parental interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict, countless night terrors and repetitive nightmares, and hit in the head with a metal baseball bat; what if after the over use of nonrefined legal and black market drugs; what if after the slamming with major tranquilizers and eternal prescriptions and attitudes that abort your spirit and journey and turn you around in circles and make you jump through hoops; after countless misjudgments and mistakes; after progressively being suicidal after years of oppression of the al(most) heinous sort; what if then you feel like your brain-damaged and missing something? And that there is no light in the darkness anymore, even if it’s not the autonomous incarnation of the Holy Ghost that blessed your life in an earlier iteration of the Apocalypse? What then of saying ‘you (I) am not ill’? How can I reject and escape?

    Having said all that, I have had a very productive year despite the Virus Epoch. I look forward to each day and know that I should be proud of what I’ve done in the face of the nightmare, which I had experienced first in childhood—was it just nature or was it the family milieu? But, make no mistake….it was only ‘yesterday’ that death’s skeletal hand was touching me, and only a few ‘hours’ ago that I could feel that it’s hand was now receding from behind me. Physical AND mental illness can not only steal the smile off your face but also the skin off your skull. I know I don’t have to remind many readers of this. For now, mine is not ‘permanent’, but it appeared that way in various forms and at various times. Many did not or have not escaped. May they find relief in the ways they prefer. Preferably standing up and facing forward rather than slipping backward with their face caved in.

    Again, an inspiring article that was well-written and from lived experience. I salute you.