The Sandcastle Continues to Crumble

Psychiatry is a hoax.  Its fundamental concepts are spurious to the point of inanity.  Much of its research is blatantly fraudulent.  And its treatments are destructive, disempowering, and stigmatizing.  Psychiatry has no coherent or logical response to the criticisms that it attracts, other than the repetition, mantra-style, of unsubstantiated assertions of safety and efficacy, coupled with unwarranted attacks on its critics.

Psychiatry would long since have gone the way of phrenology and mesmerism but for the financial support it receives from the pharmaceutical industry.  This support comes in two forms.  Firstly, pharma provides generous largesse to psychiatric researchers and “key opinion leaders”, to provide a continuous stream of psychiatry-favorable copy.  Secondly, and more importantly, pharma uses the clout of its enormous advertizing budget to effectively dissuade the mainstream media from exposing the truth about psychiatry.

But the truth has a way of trickling out.  Here are five recent stories that buck the psychiatry-friendly stance that has characterized the mainstream media for at least the past 50 years.

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

 1.  The long, sad story of antidepressants and suicide. Joe and Teresa Graedon.  The Roanoke Times, April 11, 2016.  This is an extract from a longer article on the Graedons’ own website.

Here’s a quote from the Roanoke Times article:

“The drug company’s [Eli Lilly’s] insistence in 1990 that there was ‘no causal relationship’ between Prozac and suicide attempts is consistent with other pharmaceutical manufacturers’ responses to bad news. For the 40 years that we have been studying drug-safety issues, we have often seen initial resistance or denial of a problem that later proved serious.

In the case of antidepressants, no one could imagine that drugs prescribed to prevent suicide could actually contribute to that very outcome. Family members and patients themselves often are able to detect adverse drug reactions long before companies or regulators acknowledge them. Nonetheless, it is crucial for patients and their families to be alerted to this potentially deadly side effect.”

2.  California courts step up oversight of psychotropic medication use in foster care. Karen de Sá, San Jose Mercury News, April 15, 2016.


“California’s judicial leaders on Friday took a major step toward reversing the foster care system’s rampant use of psychiatric drugs, approving a slate of new safeguards to make juvenile courts here the country’s most careful and inquisitive monitors of psychiatric care for abused and neglected children.

Beginning as soon as July, doctors will have to make a more convincing case to receive court approval to prescribe the powerful drugs too often used to control difficult behaviors in traumatized children. And for the first time, foster children will be offered greater opportunity to speak for themselves about how the medications make them feel.”

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

“Psychiatrists have been among the most vocal opponents, arguing that adding more paperwork to the already challenging work of serving children in the public health system will drive professionals from such service. Doctors complained to Judicial Council staff that the length of the new forms would actually reduce foster children’s access to care, because faced with the increased administrative burden, some psychiatrists and pediatricians would stop addressing the mental health needs of foster youth.'”

Note the report that psychiatrists have been “among the most vocal opponents” of the new regulations.  Also note the supreme irony in their warning that the regulations will reduce foster children’s access to psychiatric care.  That is the point of the legislation!

3.  Too many Pa. foster children are on psychiatric meds. Stacey Burling, Philadelphia Daily News, February 25, 2016.


“Following a report last summer that large numbers of Pennsylvania children on Medicaid, especially those in foster care, are taking psychiatric medications, state officials Tuesday announced steps to address the problem.”

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

“Ted Dallas, the DHS secretary, said many children in foster care have already been abused or neglected, then are taken from the only family they have known. Inappropriately prescribing them medications compounds their problems. ‘That isn’t the right thing,’ he said.”

4.  Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, biggest ever review finds. Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph, UK.


“For years families have claimed that antidepressant medication drove their loved ones to commit suicide, but have been continually dismissed by medical companies and doctors who claimed a link was unproven.

The review – the biggest of its kind into the effects of the drugs – was carried out by the Nordic Cochrane Centre and analysed by University College London (UCL) who today endorse the findings in an editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

After comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports the scientists found pharmaceutical companies had regularly misclassified deaths and suicidal events in people taking anti-depressants to ‘favour their products’.

Experts said the review’s findings were ‘startling’ and said it was ‘deeply worrying’ that clinical trials appear to have been misreported.”

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

“One father whose son committed suicide after taking Citalopram has been monitoring suicides related to antidepressant medication for the last three years and has set up the anonymous campaigning website AntiDepAware.

So far this month there have been at least 35 inquests with deaths linked to antidepressants. Last year there were more than 450.

‘I can say, hand on heart, that I don’t remember reading a report of an inquest where a suicide verdict was applied to a child who had never been on any psychiatric medication,’ he said.” [Bold face added]

5.  Antidepressant Paxil Is Unsafe for Teenagers, New Analysis Says. Benedict Carey, New York Times, September 16, 2015.


“Fourteen years ago, a leading drug maker published a study [the infamous study 329] showing that the antidepressant Paxil was safe and effective for teenagers. On Wednesday, a major medical journal posted a new analysis of the same data concluding that the opposite is true.”

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

“The dispute itself is a long-running one: Questions surrounding the 2001 study played a central role in the so-called antidepressant wars of the early 2000s, which led to strong warnings on the labels of Paxil and similar drugs citing the potential suicide risk for children, adolescents and young adults. The drugs are considered beneficial and less risky for many adults over 25 with depression.

Over the years, thousands of people taking or withdrawing from Paxil or other psychiatric drugs have committed violent acts, including suicide, experts said, though no firm statistics are available.”

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

“Prescriptions of antidepressants to young people surged in the wake of the study, increasing by 36 percent between 2002 and 2003, according to one analysis. The growth slowed after regulators ordered the black-box warnings on labels.”

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


Psychiatry is fundamentally flawed and rotten, and has been on Big Pharma’s life support system for decades.  The core of this life support is the suppression of information.  Ten years ago these stories would never have seen the light of day.

But the dam has been breached.  So far it’s just a trickle.  But pharma executives and accountants are not stupid.  They know the score.  They know that they are in the drug-pushing business, and they understand the dynamics of advertizing and disinformation.

If the media continue to question and challenge the pharma-psychiatry hoax, then pharma will drop psychiatry like the hot potato that it is.  Indeed, it would not surprise me if pharma were already developing an exit strategy from this entire endeavor.  This strategy will be activated when the cost of doing business (including the cost of negative press) begins to significantly threaten the profit potential.

There are also some psychiatrists who can see the writing on the wall, and are working to get themselves on the right side of history.  But the great majority – including the APA leadership – have their heads firmly buried in the sand.  They console themselves with the notion that the anti-psychiatry movement is just a band of misinformed malcontents, who refuse to acknowledge the great service that psychiatry performs for its long-suffering customers.  The APA even hired Porter Novelli, a prestigious PR company, to redesign their logos, in the deluded notion that this would somehow allay the fundamentally flawed and destructive nature of their activities.

Meanwhile, the trickle is growing.  We will see more articles criticizing psychiatry in the mainstream media, and more efforts on the part of legislators to curb psychiatry’s rampant drugging.  As the tide of criticism rises, we will see psychiatry’s recruitment problems increase.

As the “illness-like-diabetes” hoax, which was promoted avidly by psychiatry, continues to be exposed, we will see an increase in lawsuits from customers who feel betrayed and used.

And when the spotlight turns – as it inevitably must – on the role that psychiatric drugs have played in the mass murders/suicides of recent decades, the fallout for psychiatry will be catastrophic.

On our side of the issue, all we have to do is continue speaking the truth and exposing their lies.  Psychiatry will do the rest of the work for us.

  • S Randolph Kretchmar

    A fine summary and bright future implications, Phil! I would only ad one factor that I think is very important.

    The support of pharma money for broad propaganda and media control may be even less critical than the facility of legal coercion. Under the law of virtually every state, an individual’s liberty may be restricted and his/her body may be violated by psychiatric fiat. Years ago, Tom Szasz assured us that without this single advantage of coercive state police power, psychiatry as we know it will certainly wither away.

    The public does not want to think about ways to deal with violent criminals or the obnoxiously insane. They simply want to have a social machine that will protect them and keep the ugliness at arm’s length. A pretense that it’s all a scientific, medical issue works wonderfully for this purpose.

    However, the fact is that so-called “forensic mental health” is a source of great danger and social degradation, not one of safety or mercy. People who are released from state hospitals as “successfully treated” are ticking time bombs. They know instinctively that they’ve been punished, dehumanized, branded forever as defective, under a false guise of “medicine” and, with the most bitter irony, “help”.

    It is not possible to predictably disable a human being from bad behavior alone. When psychiatry tries to do this, they end up with people back out in the community looking for some way to engineer sufficient real recovery to work, to make just enough money, perhaps to buy a gun….

    There is movement and dawning awareness in the courts, however, that parallels the growing trickle of criticism you describe in the media.

    One day, maybe sooner than we can imagine, the psychiatric empire will crumble. Human history will proceed on a much better path.

    Keep up your wonderful work!

  • all too easy

    Like speaking the truth about Dr. Richard Saul. LOL. You take yourselves very seriously but fall flat on your faces when you are shown to be lying hypocrites. The sanctimonious road you’re on has led you nowhere and you know it. Psyche meds are selling in huge quantities worth multiple billions and you haven’t made a dent in their popularity. You assume (because you want to) that money and meds and doctors brew a corrupt form of medicine because you are jealous and left out in the cold. Millions of people don’t take prescriptions because doctors force them to. They work. That’s your Achilles heel. They simply work for most people most of the time.

    But, you keep running doc.

  • Mark

    Thank you, Dr. Hickey.

    The conversation on psychiatric drugs does seem to be changing at the margins now that the truth of their harms is leaking out. I think we’ll see more and more pushback in the future. I’m less optimistic that psychiatry’s insistence that problems with thinking, feeling, and behavior are illnesses will crumble any time soon, however. As long as reductionism and biological determinism reign in our society’s thinking, too many will believe the bio-medical perspective is the only scientific one.

  • Rob Bishop

    Neuroplasticity research continues to garner momentum and visibility as it strongly opposes the bio-medical perspective of violence, depression, anxiety, etc. It’s a very exciting field of study.

  • Growing

    I think one of the major barriers to the changes we would like to see is our widespread societal maladjustment that encourages us to seek a quick fix to everything- instant gratification- and condones escape from any sort of pain or discomfort, even when it would strengthen us (or our children) to sit with it. We seem to have lost sight of the truths that anything worthwhile takes time, that pain and difficulty are a fact of life at times and that it is only in facing these difficulties that we rise above them.
    These social attitudes are increasingly evident and provide a strong demand for the supply that is provided by psychiatric pharmaceuticals.

  • all too easy

    Dysfunctional modulation of default mode network activity in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

    Metin, Baris; Krebs, Ruth M.; Wiersema, Jan R.; Verguts, Tom; Gasthuys, Roos; van der Meere, Jacob J.; Achten, Eric; Roeyers, Herbert; Sonuga-Barke, Edmund

    Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol 124(1), Feb 2015, 208-214

    The state regulation deficit model posits that individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulty applying mental effort effectively under suboptimal conditions such as very fast and very slow event rates (ERs). ADHD is also associated with diminished suppression of default mode network (DMN) activity and related performance deficits on tasks requiring effortful engagement. The current study builds on these 2 literatures to test the hypothesis that failure to modulate DMN activity in ADHD might be especially pronounced at ER extremes. Nineteen adults with ADHD and 20 individuals without any neuropsychiatric condition successfully completed a simple target detection task under 3 ER conditions (2-, 4-, and 8-s interstimulus intervals) inside the scanner. Task-related DMN deactivations were compared between 2 groups. There was a differential effect of ER on DMN activity for individuals with ADHD compared to controls. Individuals with ADHD displayed excessive DMN activity at the fast and slow, but not at the moderate ER. The results indicate that DMN attenuation in ADHD is disrupted in suboptimal energetic states where additional effort is required to optimize task engagement. DMN dysregulation may be an important element of the neurobiological underpinnings of state regulation deficits in ADHD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)

    Fire Extinguishers Are Lethal

    Of the 490 homes that were destroyed by fire, every one of them had at least one operable fire extinguisher inside the burned down structure. This proves that the fire extinguishers were the cause of these horrible catastrophes. Not one house erupted into flames that did not have a fire extinguisher. Thus, never buy a fire extinguisher. We are not saying that fire doesn’t exist. We are just saying that if you want to keep your house safe, Never, Ever own a fire extinguisher. Brought to you by The Only Truly Intelligent, Scientifically Guided Boobs.

  • all too easy

    Absolutely correct. The next time you run a 100 meter dash, tie your right leg up and behind your back. Patiently face the pain of coming in last and try to learn the lesson from this task. Keep that leg tied up. Now, run a marathon. Learn patiently to live live with the outcome of that race. Now, walk to work and show off your ribbons.

    Do these things 365 days times 56. Then, as you sit with and live in the results, tell the world you are in too much of a hurry to avoid pain. Thank you.

  • Rob Bishop

    Well said! The irrational expectation that life be absent of discomfort and struggles is one way we fuel the fire of misery. Complaints, irritation, and anger reveal how we wallow in a fantasy world of, “Life shouldn’t be this way.”

  • Growing

    … and may I add to your list, Rob, “self pity and resentment” – the cultivation of which, I believe (from personal experience), produces a mindset particularly damaging to our mental health.

  • all too easy

    OBJECTIVE: To test the hypotheses that striatal dopamine activity is depressed in ADHD and that this contributes to symptoms of inattention.

    DESIGN: Clinical (ADHD adult) and comparison (healthy control) subjects were scanned with positron emission tomography and raclopride labeled with carbon 11 (D2/D3 receptor radioligand sensitive to competition with endogenous dopamine) after placebo and after intravenous methylphenidate hydrochloride (stimulant that increases extracellular dopamine by blocking dopamine transporters). The difference in [11C]raclopride’s specific binding between placebo and methylphenidate was used as marker of dopamine release. Symptoms were quantified using the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales.

    SETTING: Outpatient setting.

    PARTICIPANTS: Nineteen adults with ADHD who had never received medication and 24 healthy controls.

    RESULTS: With the placebo, D2/D3 receptor availability in left caudate was lower (P < .05) in subjects with ADHD than in controls. Methylphenidate induced smaller decrements in [11C]raclopride binding in left and right caudate (blunted DA increases) (P < .05) and higher scores on self-reports of "drug liking" in ADHD than in control subjects. The blunted response to methylphenidate in caudate was associated with symptoms of inattention (P < .05) and with higher self-reports of drug liking (P < .01). Exploratory analysis using statistical parametric mapping revealed that methylphenidate also decreased [11C]raclopride binding in hippocampus and amygdala and that these decrements were smaller in subjects with ADHD (P < .001).

  • Phil_Hickey


    Thanks for writing. I very much agree with what you say.

    It is perhaps understandable that commercial entities push these concepts as a means to increase sales. That is their primary objective. But when a so-called medical specialty jumps on this disempowering bandwagon, it is shameful beyond words.

    Best wishes.

  • Rob Bishop

    “Something is wrong with me” is a common feeling we all experience. This fear we are defective creates depression and anxiety. The thought, “I’m not normal” runs through everyone’s head . . . some folks more than others.

  • Growing


  • all too easy

    there is no such thing as pain. no purely objective test exists which proves pain is real.

  • all too easy

    “Ted Dallas, the DHS secretary, said many children in foster care have already been abused or neglected, then are taken from the only family they have known. Inappropriately prescribing them medications compounds their problems. ‘That isn’t the right thing,’ he said.”

    Funny how ignorant and misleading some boobs really are. Yep, these kids are taken from the only homes they’ve known, where dad is gone and mom is a raging alcoholic.

    “Taken”, indeed. That’s what happens when you go to jail. You are taken and set down where you can’t escape. These harmless children mug people, sell dope, use weapons in their gang activities, rob stores and average citizens, don’t attend school, etc.

  • Sarah

    Another great article, the references to support your points are as always excellent.

    There is something I’m curious about – I read somewhere once that there are plans to train psychologists in the area of medication. Do you think this may be an ‘exit strategy’ to continue drugging people unnecessarily, should the practice of psychiatry grind-to-a-halt?

  • Phil_Hickey


    Thanks for writing, and for your support.

    Yes. Psychologists are lobbying hard for prescribing rights in several states, and have already secured this right in some jurisdictions. I wrote a piece on this topic for the Behavior Therapist (here, p 158-162).

    I don’t think it’s an exit strategy for psychiatry. I think it’s just a case of psychologists trying to jump aboard psychiatry’s gravy train!

  • all too easy

    “As long as reductionism and biological determinism reign in our society’s thinking, too many will believe the bio-medical perspective is the only scientific one.” Mark

    Oh, let’s see there Marcus. I think it is your side which believes that mental disorders, above all else, can not be bio/medical in nature. (Phil’s recommended treatment for a child with severe ADHD symptomolgy is what, exactly, besides forbidding medications? You don’t know? That is correct. He has nothing, absolutely nothing that’s been proven to help this child avoid untold suffering, a wasted childhood, self-esteem on the negative scale, self hatred and overwhelming, self-deprecating beliefs about herself.) Guess what there pal? While those who accept the data that proves the bio/medical model is absolutely valid, they do not dismiss other forms of treatment modalities. In fact, frequently they encourage both.

  • Sarah

    Apologies for the late reply,

    Thanks for the reference to the piece your wrote on the topic of psychologists prescribing medications. The example you offered, pg159, about violent behaviour, is fantastic…

    “Consider the case of violent behavior. Let’s say person x punches person y in the face, and the question arises: why did x punch y? An explanation might be offered along the following lines. The muscles in x’s arm contracted and rapidly released, this activity was caused by the coordinated firing of various neurons in the presence of adequate concentrations of electrolytes in the blood stream. This neuronal activity was initiated by chemical activities in the synapses which in turn was influenced by sensory input signals etc.”

    So many people are under the illusion that ‘mental health problems’ are illnesses of the brain, because of the extensive research that is being funded. Yet this above paragraphs sums-up nicely why as ‘interesting’ as the biology of our thoughts, emotions, and physical actions may be, it doesn’t help us to understand people’s problems, or solve them.

    My wondering if allowing psychologists to prescribe medication, may be an ‘exit strategy’ for big pharma, should the practice of psychiatry cease… I hadn’t really thought that through (I’m going weedle out of that brain-wave, by blaming it on my headache – smiling). If the medical model of people’s distress ceased to exist, how could the minority of psychologists who have jumped on ‘psychiatry’s gravy train, justify prescribing medications?

    It’s a shame that some psychologists are willing to jump-ship, to line their pockets. I’ve always believed that psychologists, as-a-whole, care about people.

  • Sarah

    (And I still do, believe that – as-a-whole – psychologists have people’s best interests at heart).

  • all too easy

    It’s just all them psychiatrists who are evil. Everyone last one of them. You know for sure, don’t ya, Sarah?

  • all too easy

    We never landed on the moon. It was Big Pharma paying off and for the non-astronauts, the networks, the set designers and builders, the non-scientists, the fake models they didn’t test in Huntsville, the President, the shipping companies that transported the Saturn Five components to Florida, the ladies who hand stitched their fake million dollar space suits, the janitors who cleaned up the messes they made, particularly the remains of White, Grissom and Chaffee. Big Pharma and pcytrists are evil personified.

  • Logicalle

    After a lot of reading, researching and discussion with others I have come to believe that the vast majority of people who experience emotional distress are people who feel they have no control over their lives. Obviously none of us has full control but distressed people feel they have none. This could be due to being raised in an authoritarian or intimidating way or could be from broad societal factors such as racism.
    When these people come to a psychiatrist, not only is this not recognised but compounded many times by being told they have a permanently broken brain. How’s that for feeling like you have no control over your situation? They then become dependent on the psychiatrist and the problem is made worse as feelings of helplessness grow.
    Many psychotherapies are like this too. Most schools of therapy subscribe to some sort of philosophy of catharsis, or hidden conflict or trapped energy or some deep subconscious. And surprise, surprise, only the therapist has the special magical skills to release these things from the client. Dependence compounded again: your ‘psyche’ is ‘broken’ and the therapist will fix it. You couldn’t possibly understand what’s going on inside yourself. I have seen therapists’ sites which literally say ‘If you are experiencing X you WILL NOT be able to overcome it on your own. You will need the help of a professional to resolve this.’ I have lost faith in the majority of psychotherapy to be of any use. It’s as bad as psychiatry in this respect.
    Any therapy which does not teach people that they have enough of their own resilience and competence to deal with their distress and other life problems is not worth its salt. Obviously some problems, like racism, will still be difficult to deal with but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make people feel their self-worth and self-confidence.

  • all too easy

    “Consider the case of violent behavior. Let’s say person x punches person y in the face, and the question arises: why did x punch y? An explanation might be offered along the following lines. The muscles in x’s arm contracted and rapidly released, this activity was caused by the coordinated firing of various neurons in the presence of adequate concentrations of electrolytes in the blood stream. This neuronal activity was initiated by chemical activities in the synapses which in turn was influenced by sensory input signals etc.” sarah and phil
    no. got the whole darn thing all wrong again. that is not an explanation. the explanation is formulated by contrasting the puncher’s brain activity with others’ brain activity who do not respond to the same stimuli in the same violent fashion. DUH