Contemporary Psychiatric Diagnosis is a Fraud. The destructive and damaging fiction of biological ‘diseases’.


“Life is pain, Princess.
Anyone who tells you different is selling you something.”

– Dread Pirate Roberts, in “The Princess Bride”

Everywhere you turn, you see “OCD, ASD, MDD, ADD, ADHD, BPD, GAD, PD, SAD, PTSD, NPD,” etc. The problem is not limited to this acronym soup, but the pseudo diagnoses they represent. Patients today get stained by the specious medical diagnoses of biological psychiatry. And furthermore they are brainwashed to believe that these fictitious brain ‘diseases’ are genetic. Biological psychiatry treats people like they are mechanical objects, renaming them almost as they are re-branding products. The one I like the best is the renaming of ‘manic-depressive’ to ‘bipolar.’ Instead of a name which accurately describes the states of suffering, it was turned into something mechanical — a battery with two poles. We’ve gone from something human to something Frankensteinian.

But fear not; we have psychoactive drugs that will correct the imbalance in your genetically damaged brain. We have antidepressants for your depression; Benzodiazepines for your anxiety, amphetamines for your ADHD, anti-psychotics for schizophrenia, antidepressants for your OCD, etc.

Sadly, I have heard many stories from patients that began when they received their “diagnosis.” They are told they have a disease. “It’s not your fault,” they are told; “it’s genetic.” For the lucky few it may take only a few years to discover that their biological diagnosis is bogus, then to find their way to a good therapy, and/or continue on their journey.

We are sold a bill of goods where it is believed that taking drugs could possibly attend to the incredible complexity of human suffering. How did it happen that within a generation such a delusion captured the public imagination and currently holds sway. Young people have said to me,

“You’re a psychiatrist and you do psychotherapy? I never heard of that.”

Initially, I was shocked. Now, I get letters all the time from people who ask me if I know any psychiatrists in their town who don’t give drugs.

There have always been two competing currents in psychiatry — Psychodynamic (fundamentally psychoanalytic) psychotherapy  vs. somatic psychiatry. Now there is only one. For the story of Somatic Psychiatry, see — “Do No Harm: The Destructive History of Pharmaceutical Psychiatry and its Bedfellows — Electroshock, Insulin Shock, and Lobotomies.” This gives the true story of Somatic Psychiatry. Its practice has been to act directly on our brains :  shocking them, reaming them out with ice picks – and now reaming them out chemically. Somatic Psychiatry has always done great harm, but its sordid history has gotten lost in the amnesia of time. But make no mistake; pharmaceutical psychiatry is the current incarnation of somatic psychiatry. And we are doing harm all over again.

Regarding the psychoanalytic, there have been many very good therapists; illuminating writers like Fairbairn, Winnicott, and Harry Stack Sullivan, as well as important understandings about attachment. And there were many excellent teachers. Don’t get me wrong; there were plenty of problems due to faulty psychoanalytic theories which interfered with responsiveness to our patients. Nevertheless, I am suggesting a new paradigm in the psychotherapy tradition.

The Psychotherapy of Character” is a specialized form of human engagement that repairs the damage to one’s personality by acting on the play of consciousness in the very way that it formed in the brain in the first place. It is an art and a science that bridges the old divide between psychotherapy and the brain. To put it simply, human struggle is purely a human problem. It is derived from the consequences of deprivation and abuse in our formative years, followed by additional struggles that result from our adaptations to the ongoing traumas of life. Psychotherapy promotes the recovery of a person’s “Authentic Being” through genuine and trusted engagement with the therapist. Mourning the pain of this inner play heals our symptoms and our suffering.

The specious enterprise of healing ‘brain diseases’ is based on a faulty understanding of neuroscience and the brain. The biological orientation has mistaken parts of the brain for the whole. Separate elements of the brain operate mechanically, and are not the cause of psychiatric symptoms. The parts all work in concert to create the Play of Consciousness. The truth is that memories of trauma, stored via the limbic system, the amygdala, and the hippocampus, is the seat of our suffering and symptoms. The invisible replay of the scenes in the play generate our symptoms. Our genetic temperament gives form to the symptoms, – phobias in one person, or obsessions in another. And when the trauma is mourned – as when, watching a tragic play, we undergo a “catharsis” – we, sit with the pain, and the brain changes all on its own.

Psychiatry has always been a poor step-child of medicine. In doctorly circles it was demeaned and disrespected. The somatic psychiatrists wished to achieve status, and if they invented medical diseases they could put on their white coats and qualify as “real scientists.” Real psychiatrists, however, never cared about this. They understood that psychiatry is different where the medical model does not apply.

When I was a psychiatric resident in the early 70’s, it was fully understood that psychiatric diagnoses are not medical and they never have been.

At best, a diagnosis was a short-hand understanding that was intended to be an aid to the therapist in highlighting pertinent issues.

All that mattered was the true story, the actual history.  That is to say; ‘his story,’ or ‘her story.’ Each patient would lead the way to whatever needed attended to. Ultimately the ‘art’ of psychotherapy is about feeling, caring, and meaning-making.

A good psychotherapist does not need to be a doctor, but there are certain experiences in becoming a doctor that helped shape me in a positive way. The experience of dissecting a human body changes a young medical student forever and plunges him into the secret mysteries of life.  To be in a position to make informed life-and-death decisions for patients breeds a sense of responsibility. It changes a young doctor powerfully. To learn about the mysteries of the body and the life-course of diseases, to understand about life-altering conditions such as cancer, immunological diseases, asthma, heart disease, real neurological conditions, etc., provides important experiences in grappling with the full spectrum of human experience. Eventually all people get sick with something. It was important for me, for instance, to have evaluated a “psychotic” man, and recognize that he had late-stage syphilis, not schizophrenia.

The core paradigm of the Psychotherapy of Character is a unified field theory of human consciousness and how the brain actually operates that is consonant with neuroscience, myths, dreams, religion, art, and Darwin. The medicalization of the human condition did not begin with psychiatry; humans have been looking to nature — herbs, tree barks, trepanation (drilling holes in the head) —for cures of psychic distress since civilization began. However the cause of much of the psychic distress we sought to relieve is really to be found when we look inward, to our selves, and to civilization itself. “Psychiatry” refers, after all, literally, to the “medical treatment of the soul.” Which begs the essential question of what a “soul” is; where it resides, and by what means it can be addressed. In my understanding, as the patient mourns the pain of his inner play, he writes a new script infused with his own authenticity and his own capacity to love. This is his soul, or in my terms his ‘Authentic Being’.

When I was a resident, a senior psychiatrist who was influential in the alcohol world announced that alcoholism should be referred to as a ‘real’ disease. He explained, that since people make moral judgments about alcoholism, shifting the metaphor to ‘real’ will help them not blame themselves or be blamed by others. He said that this was just an innocent shading of the truth and will help people. I objected, because it wasn’t a disease. Truth matters. Words matter. About a decade later medical insurance came into play; it wouldn’t cover alcoholism because it was an addiction (which it is), not a disease. In 1987, to deal with the insurance issue, the AMA redefined alcoholism into a disease. Do I smell money here?

But the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have always been a spiritual practice. “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” When alcoholism was referred to as a physical disease, it was understood as a metaphor. Then people actually started to believe the ‘disease’ concept. When brain scans showed differences in the brains of people who were chronic alcoholics, this was taken as proof that it really is a disease. (It didn’t matter that when people stopped drinking, their brains returned to normal.) The brain reflects behaviors, it doesn’t cause behaviors. Once the disease model was accepted as an established fact, researchers found pseudo-evidence that alcoholism is also genetic. Though not true, but has become accepted as fact.

Psychiatric diagnosis has followed the same trajectory as alcoholism. Each diagnosis in turn has been constructed by somatic psychiatrists as a disease, in each case building a similar house of cards. It doesn’t seem to matter that the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry and its influence-peddling in academic psychiatry has been exposed as financially and scientifically corrupted and manipulated. The drug companies have engaged in study suppression, falsification, strategic marketing, and financial incentives.

Take, for example, the antidepressants: the chemical imbalance theory has been discredited, but this didn’t alter the fact that the theory is still believed. Never mind that antidepressants don’t actually do anything constructive, (which has also been proved), apart from the fact that people believe they do. And in their wake a lot of harm has been done. (see — “No, It’s not the Neurotransmitters, Depression is not a biological disease caused by an imbalance of serotonin” ).

The brain reflects. It doesn’t cause. Time and space don’t permit me to go through the entire DSM-5, but each ‘disease’ is  a work of fiction. Brain scans showing thinned areas of the cortex in “affected” regions of brain which correlated to a “symptom” are taken as proof of genetic disease. This cannot be so, or therapy would not magically reverse the thinning, as we know it to do.

A so-called landmark study, all over the press, is that a gene related to eliminating connections between neurons in adolescence is the “cause” of schizophrenia. Since neurons are eliminated in adolescence, the new theory is that an overactive gene variant is responsible. This theory is believed, then taken as a major breakthrough. But it doesn’t prove anything. Conclusions, in the absence of real mechanisms, or solid and comprehensive explanations that fit every instance, end up creating a false and speculative fantasy that is then taken as “knowledge.” Once these conclusions are established, they become reified and operate as beliefs. This one is already (falsely) established, as if it has been actually been proven that schizophrenia is biological. (See- “‘Evidence-based’ Psychiatry is ‘Evidence’ in Name Only, A call for the science of psychotherapy has taken a wrong turn”.)

Here are two random — yet typical — examples that popped up on Google: “Genetic Discovery Could Lead to Development of New Bipolar Meds.” The research indicates that abnormal variations in PDE10A19 might (my italics) impact signaling of cAMP by engaging with another protein, restricting that protein’s activity and its signaling… … “Once we understand how this protein helps neurons remain healthy, we might (my italics) be able to develop medications to treat neurons when they function abnormally, such as in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.” These leaps are delusional. In addition, one study then uses a previous study as a fact and extends them. There is nothing here but a house of cards.

And how about this one, “Biomarker Could Lead to Earlier Detection in Women of Mental Disorders”: “A newly identified biomarker linked to mental illness in female psychiatric patients could lead the way for a simple blood test for improved interventions and treatment, (My Italics) according to a study in EBioMedicine. … overproduction of XIST has been found in female patients with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. About half of the female patients had abnormally higher levels of XIST and other genes related to the X chromosomes, which could (my italics) indicate that overproduction of XIST and genes from the inactive X chromosome are common denominators in the development of psychiatric disorders in patients … in the general population of female psychiatric patients.” This study has already taken as fact that these three conditions are diseases in the first place. There has never been a study where these assumptions ever turn out to lead anywhere.

We have to stem the tide of somatic psychiatry and bring sanity back to psychiatry.

A recent article by Peter Kinderman, “Mental illness mostly caused by life events not genetics, argue psychologists” challenges the waste of research money in England which has been based on the assumption that the cause of human struggle is biological. We need to do this in America, and worldwide. Our understanding of human suffering needs to return to a legacy of caring and wisdom. Our children’s futures — all our futures — depend on it.


15 replies
  1. marvin berman
    marvin berman says:

    I greatly appreciate your perspective and share many of the same views. I am however wanting to ask about one point you make, ‘The brain reflects behaviors, it doesn’t cause behaviors’. I want to better appreciate how you mean this as I conduct clinical research and work with people with traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative disorders using noninvasive, non-drug methods to directly modify neural connectivity and the health of their brain.The injured brain then produces patterns of response to stimuli that are not aligned with what would be seen as normal or as I describe as optimally adaptive responses to the present moment experience.

    In this process I can certainly see and address in treatment, the interplay of character dynamics, i.e., patterns of behavior designed to diminish the experience of overwhelming feelings, as described by Wilhelm Reich starting in the late 1920s with the currrent understanding of brain and behavior now in psychotherapy informed by neuroscience.

    I see therapy as fundamentally returning the patients’ awareness and enhancing their capacity to focus on their direct experience of their internal state and thereby re-establishing internal locus of control. This then is a central feature of what I would understand to be the psychotherapy of character. Brainwave biofeedback training supported by directed energy stimulation and integrative body-centered psychotherapy has become my approach to treatment.

    I look forward to reading and learning more about your approach to character change and thank you for your contribution to the efforts of those who wish to dissolve the somatic psychiatry delusion which is born of our culturally sustained psychopathic character defenses.

  2. Lisa Kuntz
    Lisa Kuntz says:

    Over four decades, from my early 20s onward, I have been on a journey towards emotional, spiritual, and physical health. I experienced years of clinical depression and of anxiety. Psychotherapy helped some, being in supportive communities helped a lot, exercise has been essential, a small dose of the right antidepressant helped me feel well enough to better integrate the resources I had. Over the past decade, meditation and working Internal Family Systems has been healing. However, when I started taking a mood stabilizer just a month ago, my world came into focus for the first time and I felt like a different person; all of the skills and strategies I’ve learned over the years were not enough to overcome what seems to me like “faulty” neurotransmitters.

    The life of my daughter has been transformed by L-methylfolate; this appears to be directly related to gene variants. She has had to make lifestyle changes as well, in order to be healthy, but a nutraceutical gave her the emotional stability to make the changes and to benefit from therapy.

    Neither one of us fits into a tidy DSM category, but we both had symptoms/issues that were alleviated by supplements or pharmaceuticals in ways that were life-altering. Addressing impaired metabolisms or functioning of neurotransmitters may be the foundation for some of us to integrate psychotherapeutic relationships or spiritual teachings.

    BORUT RUDL says:

    We suffer, because we want to be something more, that we really are. Homo sapien, an animal with most developed biological brains in animal tree. Part of our primate family. This are basics of biology and evolution. The fact which noone want’s to hear about. If we are so special and above nature and everything in our reality, then we shouldn’t need medecine, pharmacy, banks, jobs,houses and etc,..
    We have undiniable conecctions to our animal brothers. Here we go: eat-foot, drink-water, sex-reproduction,breathing-air, of course this sound very logical and noone isn’t in bad mood, because of our undiniable connection to nature. I hope soo. Medecine and pharmacy create a new hominid and this is homo sympthomos. The real matter for any illness is not important, just ceasing sympthoms has become order of the day. This of course mean that we are far away for biological treatment for any of our natural nemesis.

    I can’t beleive that until this time brain science didn’t find explaination for schizoprenia or deppression. Of course they did, how foolish I am. It’s imbalance of dopamin and serotonin. Soo all issue of normals vs us crazy is balance vs imbalance of this twoo substances.
    What’s means of course, that they know everything. For most of the normal and crazy population sound so. As follower of biology, I know and without major in biochemistry, that this is case for pseudo science. But it’s money making machine, which of course need people with imbalance of serotonin and dopamine. Now some biology about schizoprenia, it’s very simple. What starts hallucinations. Simple. Some hallugenic substance in our biological brains. Substance like in crazy mushrooms. You see know that biology can explain everything, but medecine don’t follow it for very long time. Problem is that there is nothing above our biological brains, not neurology, much less mentality. Mentality is religion of atheist, of course both religous and atheist wants to be something more and both believe in good vs evil and normal vs crazy. Very few of us follow allmighty god of our reality, which is reason for our existence it’s nature. How good should be sound if someone tell me that I am nature freak, not mental. That will change everything. I first learn this trough my life, not trough books. It’s fine for me that I live in third reality, which is final one. Sorry for my bad english, but regarding my low education it’s not soo bad. I just live and enjoy in my mental handicap at 29. Of course I am retired by now. Will anyone have courage to comment this? Until then farewell.

    • Steve
      Steve says:

      Hello Borut – wow, I really appreciated and related to your response. However by the end I was feeling a significant twinge of “scientism.” Science no doubt is the most advanced set of concepts and methods to discover and understand the natural world. However, it is only one way of “knowing the world”. Now, I don’t want to get off topic and agree with your basic sentiment and observations above. I just wanted to comment that many “scientists”, in whatever disciplines and working from whatever empirical tradition, lean, IMO, too far toward “science” (e.g., biology and evolution) is the ultimate path to knowledge and “truth” (a good example is Richard Dawkins), and extreme views tend to lead to extremely unbalanced ways of knowing the world and our place in it. Peace!

  4. Henry Kuperberg
    Henry Kuperberg says:

    There is a palpable resentment of mainstream scientific method in this article.

    Dr. Berezin would have us go back to a prior era when we did not yet have the insights that allow us today to base our scientific paradigms on facts, not concepts such as “…play of consciousness” or “…soul, or in my terms his ‘Authentic Being’”. By fact I mean defined and measurable. For example, we know that ingesting alcohol alters us in measurable ways. We do not need to know how alcohol acts in the brain to measure its deleterious effects. Dr. Berezin seems to be confused about the very meaning of his profession. As he stated, psychiatry is literally defined as the medical treatment of the soul. Yet, he insists that “(Real psychiatrists)…understood that psychiatry is different where the medical model does not apply”. Should he not have become something else that a psychiatrist, if he really believed what he wrote? Or, is Dr. Berezin displaying a case of cognitive dissonance?
    Science is a process of attempting to disprove a theory. A theory is a set of suppositions that become accepted as long as they cannot be disproved. By no means is science a panacea for deriving knowledge and as seen currently in the domain of physics, theories evolve with our ability to test them. Psychiatry is not voodoo and as we evolve our ability to understand complex systems, interactions between increasing numbers of factors, we are increasingly better equipped to test the theories that explain behaviour whether it be normal or otherwise. Psychiatrists used to perform electro shock therapy and cause physical damage to people. After more than half a century and much scientific query, we are able to administer minute electric stimulation in order to elicit seizures that have proven to diminish depressive episodes in certain types of patients. Words do matter and that is why the treatment is currently referred to as electro convulsive therapy(ECT). The electric current no longer causes physical damage. Is ECT a way for psychiatry to establish respect in medicine? Is ECT a way for the manufacturers of machines and the medical establishment to make profits from unsuspecting patients? I believe that if the answers to these questions are yes, it is born out of unhealthy paranoid processes. Furthermore, an argument can be made that psychiatrists of Dr. Berezin’s convictions are the ones who would profit from a lack of modern medication and medical procedures by charging patients very high hourly rates for prolonged periods of time in attempts to restructure the patients perceptions of their psychiatric illnesses. Don’t get me wrong. I do agree that psychiatric medication needs to improve, just as all medication does.
    Should a scientific, philosophical, or a metaphysical approach be taken to study, develop and practice psychiatry? Dr. Berezin has done a poor job in trying to expose his convictions with concepts such as the soul and an authentic self. I am all for the scientific method because it has proven to be the best way to achieve knowledge in domains such as psychiatry. Modern psychiatric treatment has made it possible for many sufferers of psychiatric conditions to lead normal lives. Should the medical model apply to psychiatry? Look at the paranoid schizophrenic who is experiencing a psychotic episode for the obvious answer to convince anyone that it is not demonic possession, loss of an “authentic self”, nor a problem with the soul. The obvious answer in 2016 is: You bet.

    • Robert Berezin
      Robert Berezin says:

      I hope my readers will read this comment by this apologist for somatic psychiatry. He is very representative of his ilk. By the way, if he were to read my book, he would see that the ‘play of consciousness’ paradigm, in fact, presents a biological understanding of how the brain actually operates, and how it is consonant with neuroscience. To measure substances that have no proven relevance to anything psychiatric is not only poor science, but it is not science at all. It is a religion defined by false assumptions.
      In schizophrenia, do not confuse ‘demonic possession’ with the frightening fragmentation of the self. I often use med’s to help with this unbearable anxiety of the psychosis, which has no resemblance to regular anxiety. However this is but an aid to the treatment. It is not the treatment. Someone with schizophrenia is a person just like everybody else. To deal with the issues in psychotherapy is what promotes healing and recovery. This is the true mission of medicine and psychiatry. Try to understand that the first principle is to ‘Do no harm”.

    • Vanessa M
      Vanessa M says:

      Maybe some people return to something that approximates a socially normative state, but what about all the new problems and baggage that comes with many of these drugs? What about the Parkinsonisms, tarditive dyskensia, memory problems, slow cognition, obesity and so on directly caused by anti-psychotic medications. This is why a lot of people taking these medications don’t want to stay on them, they don’t feel like themselves anymore. This is a huge problem, and it is quite difficult to reconcile how these drugs could possibly be ‘curative’ or could be reversing a chemical imbalance when they end up creating so much iatrogenic disease. If they truly did what they are said to do, they why are people not completely restored to a fully functioning state of health? It is a lot more likely that these drugs are producing an ‘altered state’, that is more socially desirable than their previous one. We tell ourselves ‘the drugs are helping’ because the drugged person is no longer behaving in socially unacceptable ways, or perceiving things that no one else can. But we would be deluding ourselves in thinking that this is the best we can do for people, it is not and a great deal of harm has been done. Not to mention the fact that pharmaceutical companies have now pretty much insinuated their own bottom line and financial interests into the practice of psychiatry, change will be slow because this is now a multi-billion dollar industry and a lot is at stake for these corporations.

      I think here in the west we are absolutely going about mental health care in the wrong way, and sending a very destructive message to people who are suffering. How is telling people ‘you’re obviously delusional’ and need to be fixed by drugs supposed to really help heal anyone? I’ve studied how mental illness is responded to differently in other cultures, and I can tell you that outcomes have been shown to be better, with less of a chronic long term course in other parts of the world. This is because people are given a different message about the causes of their sickness, people may go to traditional healers or spiritualists (and yes, that very likely includes healers who can treat ‘demonic possession’), and they are less likely to be drugged into an oblivion. One very interesting example is Sri Lanka, where the recovery rates for schizophrenia were markedly better than in western industrial countries and most people do not suffer a chronic long-term course of illness. See the following for one example Here people are told ‘that they are visited by spirits, and they will eventually go away’ – rather than ‘you will have to live with this and take drugs for the rest of your life, because you are delusional.’ How do the messages that people are getting from medical professionals, or for that matter from society at large, really assist them in integrating their experiences in a healthy way? With all of these medical and scientific approaches we are failing to address a much deeper level of human experience, and I think that is what Berezin is getting at. If it all were just simply about the interactions of brain chemicals, then why do people receiving better social supports tend to have better outcomes, and why does having a higher socio-economic status so markedly reduce one’s risk of developing mental illness in the first place?. Biomedical approaches seriously fail to address the complexity of the human condition and human experiences, and they are by nature reductive and detached from real human beings and the myriad sources of human suffering. We may have come a long way from the shock treatment and lobotomy era, but will still have a long way to go and I believe that the scientific answers we have so far are falling short.

  5. Henry Kuperberg
    Henry Kuperberg says:

    First, thank you for allowing an open discussion. An apologist is one who defends something controversial. Current psychiatric practice is hardly controversial. I would suggest that because your position is a minority, it is the apologist view. Psychotherapy is an integral part in many psychiatric treatments. I suggest it to all “healthy” people as well as it is an amazing way to get to know oneself and to resolve life’s issues. However, your argument is to dispense with much of the current knowledge base and the presentation is weak. Also, your response to my comments is very defensively whiich does not build confidence. To me this is an intellectual exercise that I hope exposes your readers to various points of view. I have faith that they are intelligent enough to have a critical approach to what “experts” have to say and although I am not one of the experts, that they are critical of what I have to say too.

    BORUT RUDL says:

    Controversial is that >>science<>imbalance<>hope<>only<< issue for Shizoprenia and Deppression. The judgment without any right, much less any real science behind. Again and again we are still crazy and everything in Mental Health System Itnc. is normal. Normality done by suicides, abuse, forced drugging, involunteary treatment,ECT,etc,.. -everything for patient good by the way and still they do no harm!?
    Farewell all ,I go to biological reality the only one real there. Sorry for my bad english.

    BORUT RUDL says:

    Steve just read my comments on Psychology Today,again under my name like here and you will see,that I see our reality
    much clearer,then most of normal people.I hope that you won’t be feel bad,after reading my >>revelations<< there.

  8. Nicolas Martin
    Nicolas Martin says:

    It’s remarkable to find an article such as this that doesn’t mention that Thomas Szasz published The Myth of Mental Illness in 1961 and spent the rest of his like debunking psychiatric mendacity. When Dr. Berezin was a “psychiatric resident” in the 1970s, did he, like Szasz, refuse to work in institutions that engaged in coercive “treatment”? Does he renounce psychiatric coercion now? It isn’t just that psychiatry is unscientific, as there are many types of quackery. It’s that psychiatry has the power of coercion authorized by the state. As Szasz noted, psychiatry and coercion were paired from the beginning. To ignore that is like discussing whether chattel slavery made good economic sense without reference to whether it was morally repugnant.

    • Vanessa M
      Vanessa M says:

      Not arguing with some of your points about the problems with psychiatry, but just know that Szasz is a controversial figure, and has been widely criticized for not really updating his arguments or views since the 70’s. The implication in his work is that these illnesses are not ‘real’, but constructed by society to explain various expressions of socially deviant behavior and to justify inhumane interventions. He also implies that many people could be malingering, and taking advantage. He was connected with Scientology’s Citizens commission of human rights, which made him even more controversial (even though he is not a Scientologist). The problem with his approach is that it really negates the reality of the suffering that people are experiencing and it is somewhat dismissive (argues mental illness is a ‘myth’, first of all), and he also does not really allow for the fact that just because science could not prove a biological etiology for the various disorders back in the 1970’s does not mean that one does not exist. And today we still don’t have any solid proof yet of whether there is an exact biological mechanism/or predisposition and how this may interface with other social, spiritual, biographical and cultural factors. He is credited with starting the anti-psychiatry movement, but I believe that there are contemporaries that make far more effective arguments than he ever did. To name a few; Robert Whittaker, Joanna Moncrieff, David Healy etc…

      • Nicolas Martin
        Nicolas Martin says:

        Szasz denounced anti-psychiatry, including in a book about it. Of course Szasz was controversial, he rejected psychiatric violence and the false premise that the “mind” is an entity that can become diseased. Szasz rejected the idea that diagnosing real suffering as fake diseases is compassionate rather than dehumanizing. Whittaker and his ilk are reformers, which Szasz analogized to “prettifying the plantation,” rather than supporting abolition of fake and coercive psychiatric quackery.

  9. VL Fanai
    VL Fanai says:

    Thank you for the valuable information. Shared on my FB page. Since 2008, I have been watching my own daughter suffers the withdrawals of many powerful psychotropic drugs. When she was found unconscious at UCSB dome, transported to Hospital and she started taking powerful antidepressants for the first time in her life. Always a straight A student, dance lessons everyday of the week, a cheer leader, and a recipient of the President Award for academic excellence. Her dreams my dreams has been shattered since that first Hospital Psychiatrist gave her that powerful drugs not even knowing she was having a serious eating disorders and separation anxiety and death in our family two weeks prior to her 90lbs body was found. As a mother, watching her like this everyday is killing me and I have no where to turn to. She no longer has hope nor faith in God. I often wonder who will care for her when my time has come. Now four Doctors write recommendation to get her to eating disorder residential treatment center but no center accept her insurance.


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