Allen Frances on Anti-Psychiatry

On February 22, Allen Frances, MD, published an article titled:  Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry on the HuffPost Blog.  The general theme of the article is that psychiatry may have some problems, but it is basically sound, wholesome, and necessary.

Here are some quotes, interspersed with my comments:

“Psychiatry used to be a biopsychosocial profession that allowed time to get to know the person, not just treat the symptom. But drastic cuts in the funding of mental health services have dramatically reduced the quality of the service they can provide. Psychiatrists are now forced to follow very large panels of patients. Most of the limited time they are allowed with each is spent discussing symptoms, adjusting the meds, and determining side effects. Little time is left to forge a healing relationship, provide support, and teach skills through psychotherapy. And patients usually get to a psychiatrist- if at all- as a last resort, only after other things have failed- and with the expectation by the patient and referral source that the main purpose of the visit is just to prescribe medication.”

The impression being conveyed here is that psychiatry’s abandonment of a biopsychosocial approach and embracing of the brief med-check was the result of “drastic cuts in the funding of the mental health services”.  This is very misleading, in that psychiatry’s interest in, and enthusiasm for, psychosocial concepts was largely confined to the psychoanalysts, the great majority of whom worked in private practice, and were paid directly by their clients. There was some acceptance of psychoanalytic concepts in the asylums, but for the most part psychiatrists working in those facilities had always shown a marked propensity for biological “cures”, and enormous creativity in the development of these “treatments”, which included:  fever therapy; insulin coma; rotational therapy; hydrotherapy; mesmerism; malaria therapy; chemically induced seizures; lobotomy; high voltage electric shocks to the brain; etc.

It is also worth noting that when Thorazine was introduced to American psychiatry in the early 1950’s, the psychoanalysts objected strenuously, but their objections were swept aside by the enthusiasm of their colleagues.  By about 1965, the bio-bio-bio approach dominated psychiatry, but it was not forced on psychiatry.  Rather, it was embraced avidly, and for two self-centered reasons:  firstly, it provided misplaced credibility and prestige for psychiatrists, who could now claim to be real doctors, treating real illnesses with real medications; and secondly, because it enabled psychiatrists to make a great deal more money than was possible providing psychotherapy.

The contention that psychiatrists “are now forced to follow very large panels of patients” is not only false, it is absurd.  The notion that tens of thousands of psychiatrists in the US would really like to be practicing psychotherapy, where they could forge “healing relationships”, “provide support” and “teach skills”, but are frustrated in these desires and “forced” to trudge endlessly the tiresome treadmill of the 15-minute med check is pure fiction.  Heartrending, but still fiction.  The fact is that psychiatry set its own course when it jumped enthusiastically on the pharma bandwagon, and apart, from a miniscule minority who remained aloof from the drug-pushing, has made no attempt to alight.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Psychiatrists didn’t invent this system, but they have to live within it (except for those whose patients can pay out of pocket for much more personalized care).”

Actually, psychiatrists did invent this system.  They pursued the pharma money shamelessly, embraced and pushed pharma’s products, conducted the fraudulent research, drafted the treatment guidelines, invented “diagnoses” to justify the administration of the drugs, and pocketed the money.  If, as Dr. Frances contends, this was all “forced” on psychiatrists, then it has to be acknowledged that the victims of this coercion have put an extremely good face on the matter, and have borne the yoke of their servitude with unstinting courage and valor.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Another important factor in treatment failure is that most ‘psychiatry’ is not done by psychiatrists. Primary care doctors prescribe 90% of benzodiazepines; 80% of antidepressants; 60% of stimulants; and 50% of antipsychotics. Some are great at it, but most have too little time and too little training and are too subject to sales pitches from drug salesmen. Psychiatrists are clearly responsible for some of the harm done by excess medication, but the bigger problem by far is rushed primary care doctors, prescribing the wrong meds, to patients who often don’t need them. Misleading drug company marketing increases inappropriate prescription by convincing both doctor and patient that there is a pill for every problem.”

The blame-it-on-the-poorly-trained-and-naïve GPs has become a common theme among psychiatry’s elite in recent years.  But it is seldom acknowledged that not a single one of these prescriptions could be written if psychiatrists hadn’t invented the “illnesses” for which they are prescribed.

Note also how Dr. Frances deftly moves the blame to “misleading drug company marketing”.  And indeed, a great deal of pharmaceutical marketing in this field has been misleading – actually to the point of blatant falsehood.  But it is also the case that psychiatrists – including eminent and prestigious psychiatrists, the “thought-leaders” of the profession – have been hand-in-glove with pharma in this process.  Remember the conference jamborees where “CEU’s” were awarded to psychiatrists for listening to one of their colleagues present a pharma infomercial?  Remember the not-so-distant days when psychiatric associations (including the APA) ran misleading pharma ads in their own journals?

And note the blaming of GP’s for “prescribing the wrong meds to patients who often don’t need them”.  This is truly exquisite spin.  Psychiatry creates a  “diagnostic system” called the DSM, the essential message of which is that every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving is a medical illness.  The DSM provides simplistic lists of “symptoms” to enable any practitioner who can read to make – and more importantly to justify – any of these hundreds of “diagnoses”.  And in addition, the psychiatric researchers (and I use the term loosely) fill reams of journal pages with “research” proving the effectiveness of the spurious drug companies’ products in the “treatment” of these so-called illnesses.  But now here comes the very eminent Dr. Frances castigating these GP’s for believing, what has been the central pillar of psychiatric “treatment” for at least 50 years:  that there is a pill for every problem, that these pills correct chemical imbalances in the brain, and in many cases, need to be taken for life.

Pharma-psychiatry’s bogus hype has been so successful in fact that a conscientious GP, who failed to prescribe a drug for a significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, could conceivably find himself defending a malpractice suit, if his refusal to prescribe was followed by a serious adverse event.

Portraying psychiatry as the helpless innocent spectator in this scenario is not consistent with the facts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Psychologists criticize psychiatry for its reliance on a medical model, its terminology, its bio-reductionism, and its excessive use of medication. All of these are legitimate concerns, but psychologists often go equally overboard in the exact opposite direction- espousing an extreme psychosocial reductionism that denies any biological causation or any role for medication, even in the treatment of people with severe mental illness. Psychologists tend to treat milder problems, for which a narrow psychosocial approach makes perfect sense and meds are unnecessary. Their error is to generalize from their experience with the almost well to the needs of the really sick. For people with severe mental illness- eg chronic schizophrenia or bipolar disorder- a broad biopsychosocial model is necessary to understand etiology- and medication is usually necessary as part of treatment. Biological reductionism and psychosocial reductionism are at perpetual war with one another and also with simple common sense.”

Some psychologists do indeed criticize psychiatry for its reliance on an inappropriate medical model and its bio-reductionism.  But, at least in my estimation, most psychologists do not.  On the contrary, most psychologists, and I say this with a measure of professional embarrassment, have bought the psychiatric agenda lock, stock, and barrel.  In some states they are legally authorized to prescribe psychotropic drugs, and they continue to lobby for this in other jurisdictions.  The American Psychological Association has even published a list of “practice guidelines” for this activity.

Dr. Frances’s contention that psychologists “go…overboard” with what he calls “psychosocial reductionism” in the same way that psychiatrists do with bio-reductionism has a nice ring of fairness and equability.  But it misses the point.  There is no argument among psychologists, or any other group, that brain injuries and malfunctions can have an adverse effect on a person’s thinking, feeling, and behaving.  Where psychiatry has gone wrong is in making the spurious leap from this obvious reality to the false conclusion that all problems of thinking, feeling, and /or behaving are caused by brain malfunctions.

When those of us on this side of the debate contend, for instance, that depression is caused by depressing events or depressing life circumstances, this is not some kind of distortive reductionism.  It is simply the most parsimonious way of looking at the matter.  To assume, without evidence, a neurological etiology in all such cases isn’t just blind doctrinaire reductionism, it is frankly inane, particularly in that no biological etiology has ever been discovered, despite psychiatry’s fraudulent claims to the contrary, and despite decades of highly-motivated, and lavishly funded, research.

Dr. Frances then attempts to score cheap points by undermining the credibility of psychologists.  They “tend to treat milder problems”; they haven’t worked with the “really sick”; their work is with the “almost well”.  The implication being that only psychiatrists can understand the problems of “people with severe mental illness…schizophrenia or bipolar disorder”.  In working with the latter individuals, Dr. Frances tells us that “a broad biopsychosocial model is necessary to understand etiology …”  The implication here is that psychiatrists understand the biological etiology in those individuals that they label schizophrenic and bipolar.  In reality, no such biological etiology has ever been discovered.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“The most important and troubling attacks on psychiatry come from people who feel harmed by it. It has been surprising to me that my many forceful critiques of psychiatry have met so little criticism from psychiatrists, while my much less frequent and muted defenses of psychiatry have drawn such flak from dissatisfied patients. Whenever I twitter or blog anything suggesting that psychiatric treatment is valuable for some people but not others, I receive a flurry of angry responses declaring it is totally harmful for everyone.”

Well, Dr. Frances should not be surprised by this at all.  His criticisms of psychiatry have always been of the excessive-drugging-is-bad, or drugging-people-who-don’t-need- it-is-bad.  Criticisms of this sort are the injunctive equivalent of tautologies.  They are always valid, and for that reason, are empty and void.

For instance, although I know next to nothing about bridge engineering, I can say authoritatively and without the slightest fear of contradiction, that excessive measurement tolerance in the construction of box-girders is a bad thing; or that the use of steel rivets in situations in which they are inappropriate is a bad thing.  The point is that words like excessive and inappropriate already contain within themselves the value judgment, and the statements amount to nothing more than pious platitudes.  In effect, all that Dr. Frances is saying is that bad things are bad, the appropriate modern response to which is:  “Duh!”  His psychiatrist readers feel no threat from this kind of “criticism”, precisely because there is none.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Typically, they [dissatisfied patients] have had a disastrous experience with psychiatric medication that was prescribed in too high a dose and/or for too long and/or in odd combinations and/or for a faulty indication. They are angry for a perfectly understandable reason- meds made them worse & going off meds made them better. Their natural conclusion is that medicine is bad stuff- for everyone.”

These are the kind of injunctive tautologies that I discussed above.  Perfect examples, actually.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“The shameful coercion today is the criminalization of mental illness and being forced to live in dungeons.”

This is nice rhetoric, but it’s false.  In the US, and I believe in all western democracies, people get sent to jail and prison for committing crimes.  Whether or not an accused individual carries a stigmatizing psychiatric label is a secondary matter, and is usually adduced by his defense, and accepted by the bench, as a mitigating factor.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“People with psychiatric problems who used to be coerced in state mental hospitals now suffer the much worse coercion of extended jail time (about 350,000)…”

Dr. Frances apparently considers this number excessive, but if we remember that, according to psychiatry’s own much-touted figures, one-fifth of the population at large have a diagnosable “mental illness” in any given year, it is clear that these individuals are underrepresented in prison and jails.  One-fifth of 2.2 million (the number of people incarcerated in the US) is 440,000.  This is particularly striking in that several psychiatric “diagnoses” are heavily weighted with blatantly criminal activity (e.g., conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, intermittent explosive disorder), which should have the effect of skewing the numbers in the opposite direction.

It is also highly questionable whether the coercion experienced in jails and prisons is “much worse” than that in the state mental hospitals.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“The Psychiatry/Antipsychiatry rift has had a devastating effect on the lives of people with severe psychiatric problems. For them, this is the worst of times and the worst of places – the lack of effective advocacy has many of them shamefully neglected in prison dungeons or living on the street. The wrong battle lines have been drawn. We should all be fighting together so that our most vulnerable citizens will have access to a decent place to live and to humane and comprehensive care.”

Note the beautiful spin:  people with “severe psychiatric problems” are experiencing great difficulties because of:  the lack of effective advocacy, and the Psychiatry-Antipsychiatry rift.  If those of us on this side of the issue would just stop being so obtuse; if we would just be reasonable and accommodating (like, e.g., Dr. Frances); if we would just get on board and stop challenging psychiatry, and pull together; then our “most vulnerable citizens” will have decent homes, and will receive humane and comprehensive care.

Why, oh why, dear readers, are we not convinced by the logical and conciliatory tone of Dr. Frances’s compassionate pleas?  Why do we, in the manner of stubborn children, reject the wisdom and assertions of those who know better than we do?  Why do we remain so willfully blind to the “patient-centered and humanistic” quality of psychiatry, and to its unstinting devotion to the welfare and care of “our most vulnerable citizens”?

And the answer is clear:  because psychiatry is not something good that needs minor corrections.  Rather, it is something fundamentally flawed and rotten, based irretrievably on spurious premises, and, in its practices, destructive, disempowering, and stigmatizing.  No amount of rhetoric or spin can alter these realities, in the creation of which, Dr. Frances himself has been, and continues to be, a major player.

  • Paula J. Caplan

    Another terrifically important, carefully and compellingly argued essay — thank you, Dr. Hickey! You wrote:

    Note also how Dr. Frances deftly moves the blame to “misleading drug company marketing”. And indeed, a great deal of pharmaceutical marketing in this field has been misleading – actually to the point of blatant falsehood. But it is also the case that psychiatrists – including eminent and prestigious psychiatrists, the “thought-leaders” of the profession – have been hand-in-glove with pharma in this process.

    I want to add that directly relevant to this is that Frances himself was the prime mover who worked hand-in-glove with Janssen Pharmaceuticals to create what he and the Janssen people called frankly and correctly the “marketing plan” for Janssen’s dangerous drug, Risperdal, the very year after Frances’ DSM-IV appeared and thus when he was the reigning monarch of psychiatry. This is described in:
    Caplan, Paula J. (2015). Diagnosisgate: Conflict of interest at the top of the psychiatric apparatus. APORIA:The Nursing Journal 7(1), 30-41. http://www.oa.uottawa.ca/journals/aporia/articles/2015_01/commentary.pdf

    and a follow-up piece:
    Caplan, Paula J. (2015). Diagnosisgate: A major media blackout mystery. MadInAmerica. October 30. http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/10/diagnosisgate-a-major-media-blackout-mystery/

  • all too easy

    rest assured, the exact opposite is true, in every case. whatever the anti-psychiatry zealots believe and whatever they base their beliefs upon, they consistently wind up 180 degrees on the other side of the truth. It is an amazing phenomenon. No matter what our side says, these nutcases turn it upside down and miss entirely the correct interpretation and application of reality. That is the reason no one ever gets well on their side. They recommend, for example, that proper parenting of children eliminates ADHD. Wipes it out! Unfortunately, even though they go to great lengths to establish their point of view, not one child has responded favorably to all their suggested solutions! Ever. Got it? They cannot reference even 1 child who, having received a proper diagnosis from an experienced, qualified, medical doctor specializing in the treatment of ADHD, responded favorably to their treatment modalities. Not one!

    They do, however, have a lone, very strange bird, who erupts in voluminous rants that he, a non-MD, routinely diagnoses these little fellas with ADHD, even though he insists the disorder doesn’t even exist. If this isn’t the most hilarious boob on the internet, no one is. I pity them.

  • doppelganger

    Liar. What a horse’s rear end.

  • Mark

    Thank you so much, Dr. Caplan, for exposing this. You’ve done a real service to the public.

    I have to wonder — is Allen Frances taking money from anyone now? Maybe it’s just promotion for “Saving Normal”, but I marvel at how actively he’s promoting misleading half-truths even today. It’s suspicious.

  • Patrice

    In every case? Any scientific evidence? You make wild assumptions without any scientific proof. How very psychiatric of you.

    In your world it seems one who is pro science, pro validity, pro human rights, pro justice and pro truth is referred to as “anti-psychiatry zealot”. Well then so be it. Because that is the definition of anti-psychiatry. Count all ethical scientists as “anti-psychiatry zealots” as well! Let’s print banners and t-shirts, key-rings and coffee mugs! Because that’s one title any ethical scientist would wear with pride!

    In the world of real science in this discussion, there is only one truth. And that is, psychiatry has proven abundantly that it is not a scientific discipline, but a subjective enterprise at best. There is a plethora of quality scientific research that has demonstrated empirically how the science of psychiatry is unscientific and invalid. Categories like ADHD, bi-polar, something about a defiant disorder, are all not genuine whatsoever! The dog on the street knows this by now, thanks to the serious quality work and leadership of professional people like Dr. Paula J. Caplan and Dr. Phil Hickey, among countless other ethical scientists, including…yes…wait for it…..ethical psychiatrists!

    Yes! Many psychiatrists are refusing and rejecting these harmful and fraudulent categories and labels. They instead work drug-free, category free, label free with the person who suffers, with amazing results. Check out Open Dialogues for example. A better than 85% success rate, scientifically validated empirically, and an outstanding way to work without all those confusing labels and drugs. You’ll have to google it.

  • Pmch2

    In every case? Any scientific evidence? You make wild assumptions without any scientific proof. How very psychiatric of you.

    In your world it seems one who is pro science, pro validity, pro human rights, pro justice and pro truth is referred to as “anti-psychiatry zealot”. Well then so be it. Because that is the definition of anti-psychiatry. Count all ethical scientists as “anti-psychiatry zealots” as well! Let’s print banners and t-shirts, key-rings and coffee mugs! Because that’s one title any ethical scientist would wear with pride!

    In the world of real science in this discussion, there is only one truth. And that is, psychiatry has proven abundantly that it is not a scientific discipline, but a subjective enterprise at best. There is a plethora of quality scientific research that has demonstrated empirically how the science of psychiatry is unscientific and invalid. Categories like ADHD, bi-polar, something about a defiant disorder, are all not genuine whatsoever! The dog on the street knows this by now, thanks to the serious quality work and leadership of professional people like Dr. Paula J. Caplan and Dr. Phil Hickey, among countless other ethical scientists, including…yes…wait for it…..ethical psychiatrists!

    Yes! Many psychiatrists are refusing and rejecting these harmful and fraudulent categories and labels. They instead work drug-free, category free, label free with the person who suffers, with amazing results. Check out Open Dialogues for example. A better than 85% success rate, scientifically validated empirically, and an outstanding way to work without all those confusing labels and drugs. You’ll have to google it.

  • all too easy

    85% success rate treating something that doesn’t exist. Wowee! Impressive.

  • doppelganger

    You’re the poster child for a disorder that doesn’t exist. Go snort some more Adderall.

  • Mark

    Ohoho! I just hit the jackpot. I was looking over Dr. Frances’ past publications and I discovered something very interesting.

    Dr. Hickey, you write that psychiatry claims one-fifth of the population has a diagnosable mental illness. It’s not just psychiatry that claims it — Dr. Frances said so himself back in 2000! On page 10 of “Am I Okay?: A Layman’s Guide to the Psychiatrist’s Bible” by Allen Frances and Michael First repeats the claim that one in five has a psychiatric problem. If you care to, I suggest skimming through the book; the title itself should be a giveaway, but the Dr. Frances of sixteen years ago was gung-ho for diagnosing everything as an illness and treating it with medication.

    Here’s a gem from page 49:

    “Depression is really no different from hypertension. Medicines that treat high blood pressure are taken to reestablish the body’s ability to maintain a normal blood pressure. Antidepressants work in the same way restoring brain neurochemistry to its original natural state.”

    or page 421:

    “Some conditions — Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, frequently recurring depressions — always require medicines, usually for years and often for a lifetime.”

    I found those just browsing through the copy on Google Books, but even a cursory look is enough to contradict what he’s saying today.

  • Rob Bishop

    I’ve not heard of the Open Dialogues methodology and read a bit about it. Interesting. I see some similarities with cognitive therapies aimed at reducing disturbing emotions (anger, depression, anxiety) by uncovering the nature of our ongoing cognitive stories, our skewed distorted self-image, and dealing directly with the common sense of isolation that significantly affect our relationships and fuel psychosis and neurosis. And that developing a “tolerance to uncertainty” is part of the method is great. That’s an ancient idea – that humans suffer a lot because of a desire for control and the accompanying lack of ability to deal with uncertainty. Probably the most important skill in life is the ability to not panic, have a meltdown, become deeply bothered or depressed, or take a drink or a joint or a pill when unexpected events happen in life . . . which is every day.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Mark,

    Thanks for this information. I’ve ordered a copy. It should make interesting reading.

  • Mark

    Indeed. From “Am I Okay?” to “Saving Normal”. It’s almost too perfect.

    And thanks for everything you’re doing, Dr. Hickey. As a kid I was sucked into the care of a pill-happy psychiatrist and falsely diagnosed under Frances’ DSM-IV. Your rebuttals mean a lot.

  • Anonymous

    This sounds like we’ve hit the mother-lode here, I will put aside my usual Hickey writes articles about what psychiatry though leaders / cult leaders have said and await this one with extreme interest! These quotes from this book could very well be the most devastating ammunition Frances has ever given us, 16 years ago is only a few years after his reign as charismatic leader of the APA and if he’s saying this sort of crap it totally obliterates his faux-‘nuance’ contemporary Huffington Post incarnation. Expedite a breakthrough post on what you find in this book please, we await it with interest. Thank you Mark, sounds like a great find. The book even calls the Dehumanizing Smear Manual the ‘psychiatrist’s bible’ in the title! Also Phil it’s time to stop making US-centric extrapolations about psychiatry’s population claims, make it global! if they say ‘one in five’, they are really claiming that 1.4 Billion human beings on earth ‘are mentally ill’. I want you to make a Frances fisking, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Fisk#Fisking
    for the ages, I think after so much practice the masterpiece that you can hang your hat on might be around the corner in the coming weeks.

  • Anonymous

    Very promising find.

  • bulbous1

    “Why do we remain so willfully blind to the “patient-centered and humanistic” quality of psychiatry, and to its unstinting devotion to the welfare and care of “our most vulnerable citizens”?”

    “Highmindedness is the mark of every professional ideology. Hunters, for instance, would never dream of calling themselves butchers of the woods, they prefer to call themselves the real friends of animals and Nature… So not much importance need be attached to the way an activity is mirrored in the consciousness of those who practice it.”

    Robert Musil, The Man without qualities

    Some of us are so little inclined to trust others because of the simple fact that men cannot trust themselves, a fact borne in upon me by experience and acquaintance with the historical record.

    In Frances’ eyes, the primum mobile of institutional psychiatry is compassion for the most vulnerable, and is functionally equivalent to any other supposedly philanthropic institution, yet how the profession is mirrored in the consciousness of he is of no account. People need their little fairy tales to lull them to sleep at nights.

    “Men are never so vile as when they deny their vileness.”

    Henry Mencken

    Without an honest reckoning with itself, without relinquishing its fairy tales, psychiatry will continue to destroy its patients; evil flourishes in the shadow of righteousness, and as with psychiatry, so with the species; all this pious, pelagian piffle and flatulence about “humanity” – and the cult devoted thereto – is just a conspiracy to conceal vileness, as it were, which does a disservice to the innumerable victims of man’s depravity, his so-called “inhumanity”.

    To be good, men must think they are bad. We must puncture the prelapsarian pretensions of this fallen chimpanzee we call “man”, this paragon of predators scandalizing the universe with its presence, this simian mob giving itself such absurd airs just because it ascended to the top of the food chain (that hierarchy of murderers), this lunatic horde of fallen flesh sowing its sinful seed and hatching martyrs and monstrosities with reckless abandon, proliferating out of all proportion to the requirements of justice and good taste. Screw “humanity” and the whore that hatched it.

    Moving on…

    “The shameful coercion of today is the criminalization of mental illness and being forced to live in dungeons.”

    And by implication, the coercion of those in “psychiatric hospitals” is not shameful.

    In his most recent article, Frances sees himself as balancing, in the scales of justice, the often competing values of individual freedom on the one hand, and personal and public safety on the other. If that was what he was really doing, he would have drawn the opposite conclusion, to wit, that coercive psychiatrists be prohibited from incursions into what should be recognized as the sanctum sanctorum of the human body owing to the far greater threat their freedom to perpetrate violence poses to personal and public safety. Quis custodiet ipsos custodet?

    Now, to be sure, in the maintenance of social order, functionaries of the state apparatus are of necessity granted dispensation from certain of the laws by which the rest of the community must abide, but there is nothing necessary about the violence perpetrated against the “mentally ill”.

    Frances takes for granted that the violent, degrading prohibition of suicide – the very plague to which those scoundrels in suicide prevention proffer a cure – is necessary and good, as if it were mad to desire to escape this world.

    The lunatics are running the asylum.

    Life may seem beautiful to the somnambulant masses, traipsing life’s highways and byways under the mass hypnotism of custom and religions secular and spiritual, as well as to those whose existential path wends a comparatively merrier way, and does not lead them through the favorite haunts of misery; but to the consciousness fully awakened to the world, with its charms like those of an aged whore; to the consciousness fully awakened to this infernal arrangement whereby creatures, perforce, must prey parasitically upon each other in the procuration of the means upon which flesh and ego alike subsist; to such a consciousness, this life, to paraphrase Thomas Hardy, is like a melody heard in a dream, seeming wonderfully excellent to the half-aroused intelligence, but absurd upon awakening.

    “Suicide is the only sane thing the young or old do in this life.. I would not be a party to that last and meanest unkindness, treachery to a would-be suicide. My sympathies have been with the suicides for many, many years. I am always glad when the suicide succeeds in his undertaking. I always feel a genuine pain in my heart, a genuine grief, a genuine pity, when some scoundrel stays the suicide’s hand and compels him to continue his life.”

    Mark Twain

    Frances, to shore up the tottering edifice of modern psychiatry against the continued assault on the profession on many fronts, often likes to invoke statistics that seem to support his views, but you won’t see him referring to data showing a correlation between orthodox psychiatric practices and procedures and suicide, for example.

    Joseph Conrad once said that “every age is fed on illusions, lest men should renounce life early and the human race come to an end.”

    Out of the detritus left in the wake of “the Enlightenment” demolition of religious faith, new illusions have emerged, for try as men might to live entirely in accordance with the dictates of science and reason, the need for illusions, repress them though we may, nevertheless surfaces in innumerable disguises, and silently steals in the shadows of the conscious life of men, like a criminal mastermind hoping to evade detection and captivity.

    Reason and science, in divesting life of its religious mystique, show that the world, shorn of its illusions, really doesn’t reward close scrutiny, and that the less you know about it, the better. As Cioran said, the strongest objection to the advance of scientific knowledge is that the world doesn’t deserve to be known.

    The prohibition of suicide under pain of psychiatric sanctions shows just how the human mind, in its blind faith in life, is failing to keep pace with the advance of knowledge.

    There are certain things that don’t bear thinking about, and that are only acknowledged mostly without ever drawing the consequences, so it necessarily follows that men give little thought to the world into which we are thoughtlessly brought by our parents, from which point onwards we are taught to view as a gift.

    The consequences of this thoughtlessness are often terrible, as can be seen with our attitudes towards suicide and the coercion and violence exercised on their basis, attitudes that I might add postulate the existence of a just, meaningful universe, belief wherein, alas, isn’t borne out by analysis.

    Suicide prohibition epitomizes the banality of evil, a concept which may have been wrongly applied to Adolf Eichmann, who by most accounts was a fanatical Nazi, but is nevertheless valid in many of its other applications, for it touches upon the reality of the evil perpetrated and supported by human beings as a result of their failure to think, either because of stupidity, desire or cowardice.

    Many are the people who practice and support the prohibition of suicide, yet few are those who inquire deeply into the subject.

    Just as with the thoughtless procreation of beings, we are sacrificing people at the altar of our own weak-mindedness.

  • all too easy

    That is the funniest and dumbest and most long-winded ridiculous rant of pure horse manure you have ever constructed.

    A fact borne in upon me by acquaintance and experience with the historical record. Paladapus

    You have got to be kidding! Got to. That is beyond presumptuous. Way beyond! Paladapus can’t just say, everybody’s a big meanie. Oh no! Not Paladapus! He must go on and on for years trying to depict the precise nature of all the harm he has had to endure. Woe is you, Pladdie!

  • doppelganger

    Heave ho! Fling that poo, you psychia-trained monkey. Woe IS you.

  • all too easy

    What a moron. Any proof? You have ZILCH for your endless claims. Take a hike. You remind me of little robbie, the chatterbox Boob who knows absolutely nothing and is overflowing with the compulsion to prove it every second. Robbie, my love, is there any thing you don’t know!

  • doppelganger

    Take a hike. You remind me of a dumb ape flinging its own poo into the wind.

  • Deirdre Oliver

    Regardless of whatever is said, your aggressive, bad mannered diatribe does you and your cause no credit whatsoever. If you have legitimate opinions, kindly present them with respect and maturity or keep them to yourself.

  • Deirdre Oliver

    Your responses to the ill mannered opinions of `all too easy’ are equally offensive and do not help your cause either. Behave as adults or keep quiet.

  • doppelganger

    LOL! No doubt you’ve succeeded in convincing him of the error of his ways, where others have failed for more than a year. You go girl.

  • doppelganger

    Oh boy. Finally, a moderator!

  • all too easy

    Folks with mental illness, which doesn’t exist, are not thrown in jail because they are nuts. They wind up incarcerated because they break the law. Haters of health have to learn not to succumb to paranoid ideation. They must conquer their conspiratorial imaginings. One reason their efforts to be taken seriously fall on deaf ears is their arguments are bazaar, out of touch with reality. Their bitterness is misplaced. Without medical help, how can they think rationally? Obvious to everyone but them, they are terribly confused and wildly inaccurate in their reasoning.

  • all too easy

    bizarre, that is.

  • all too easy

    Indeed, it is bizarre that this band of vociferous, proud, militant “victims” blames others, always, for their fate. Nothing they did, have done or are as human beings played any part in their vast, unprecedented misery. It is always the fault of others, others always overflowing with malicious intent toward them. Not one mental health worker who recommended or supported biological solutions to their overwhelming problems were good hearted. NOT ONE. You see the problem, obviously. They do not.

    They are devoted to their contempt for everyone who dares to disagree with them. And because of this, they will never succeed. They simply aren’t credible. Rather, they hold immature, black/white feelings and opinions about you and everyone. If you agree with them and you detest pharma and psychiatrists as much as you should, as they do, you will be accepted with open arms. If you so much as raise questions about their all or nothing thinking, you become their enemy. They have no tolerance for anyone less rabid than they. You must hate, you must despise with all your might and yearn to destroy at all costs, what they do. Guess what? They have billions and billions and billions of enemies (which merely reinforces their assurance they are right). A tiny handful constitute this radical, doomed, ill-conceived and crazed brotherhood, which is going no where fast.

  • doppelganger

    Excellent description of yourself – bizarre arguments, out of touch with reality, misplaced bitterness, terribly confused, and wildly inaccurate in reasoning. Yep, that shoe fits you, alright. Oh and “medical” help has done nothing but turn you into an amphetamine addict.

  • doppelganger

    Broken record. Boring.

  • doppelganger

    Try a new line there, honey.

  • Deirdre Oliver

    I have every doubt – it’s clearly too late to teach either of you to be respectful, something you should have learned at your mother’s knee.

  • doppelganger

    I’ve certainly not intended to disrespect you. If I’ve been disrespectful to you, please point it out. Thanks.

  • bulbous1

    Generally speaking, you can almost fathom the depths of depravity to which a man descends by the measure of his ascension through the ranks of society.

    Frances peremptorily, as if if he were the Pope laying down edicts ex cathedra, has said that danger to self constitutes an unacceptable risk, and thinks that violently preventing suicide – which thereby makes him complicit in all the misery and agony the victim of that “last and meanest unkindness” (Twain) suffers thereafter – is a good. If only he realized what a walking, talking advertisement people like he are for suicide itself.