Articles On the Myth of Mental Illness

Patricia Jones, M.A.
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Articles by Patricia Jones, M.A.
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January 27, 2008
by Victoria Hardy
Tom Cruise sure has been in the news a lot of late, between jumping on Oprah's couch, attacking psychiatry and Brooke Shields' use of anti-depressants and now, with the odd leaked Scientology videos, he seems to be generating a lot of attention.  And I've noticed in the reporting of each incident we are being led to believe that Tom Cruise is insane or brainwashed or worse.  So I began wondering, why?  The media certainly wants us to see Tom Cruise, he's everywhere, it's hard to escape, but they also want us to believe that he has fallen on the wrong side of the crazy wall, why?  Could it be what he's saying?  Could it be his attack on psychiatry?
I'm not a fan of Mr. Cruise and I haven't been to the theater in years, but when I heard his views on psychiatry, I sensed he was telling the truth.  But the media has created a thinking in our nation that if you are against psychiatry and the accompanying pharmaceuticals, you must be one of those crazy Scientologists.  I don't care if Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, this is America and we are free to believe in whatever belief system we choose and I choose not to align myself with any organized religion, but I do understand there is merit in the idea that psychiatry is a suspect science.
The manual used to define mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and each new entry into this manual is done by member vote, versus research and discovery of known pathology.  According to psychiatrist Ron Leifer, "So the DSM is basically an arbitrary classification of thoughts, moods and behavior decided upon by a committee of psychiatrists who are picked by the American Psychiatric Association." 

Psychiatrist Colin Andrew Ross states, "It's bogus that you can even accurately identify who has the behavior of schizophrenia.  It's bogus that you can tag it to genes.  It's bogus that you can detect those genes through any kind of test.  So the whole is basically bogus."  And clinical psychologist Ty Colbert paints a disturbing picture with his words, "So we can theoretically find a way to drug every set of symptoms that's different from what we think should be normal.  So we could have hundreds of different situations in the future and which we are attempting to drug.  So you just extrapolate that over a couple generations and it could be the fall of our civilization."   DSM-A Psychiatric Hoax 
Dr. Jeffrey A Schaler, a psychologist and professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University's School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., in a acceptance speech for the Thomas Szasz Award, states,  "What do we know that is true, that the cult of psychiatry keeps telling us is false?  First, the idea that there is a known brain lesion causing mental illness.  The truth is we cannot tell who is mentally ill and who is not by looking at pictures of their brains or analyzing their blood."  Dr. Schaler goes on to refer to the DSM as a great work of fiction, clarifying that each disorder in the DSM is invented, whereas diseases listed in a pathology textbook are discovered. 
Dr. Schaler continues, "Mental illness refers to something a person does, real disease refers to something a person has.  Consider this yet another way - It takes one person to have a disease, it takes two people to have a mental illness.  If you are alone on an island you could develop a real disease like cancer or heart disease, but you cannot develop a mental illness such as hyperactivity or schizophrenia.  This is because mental illness is always diagnosed on some sort of social conflict, when people do something that others find objectionable, they can be diagnosed as mentally ill.  If the person doing the diagnosing is more powerful that the person diagnosed, then there's trouble.  In this sense, the diagnosis of mental illness is always a weapon."  Dr. Schaler on Psychiatry
These are powerful statements by educated people in the field of psychology and psychiatry, yet the media has sold us on the idea that if we are depressed it is a chemical imbalance and the medications are simply balancing our deficit.  But the truth is there is no test to prove that anyone suffers from a chemical imbalance. In a video entitled "Psychiatry - No Science, No Cures" Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York, states, "The actual truth about chemical imbalance is that it's an actual lie.  Nobody has yet measured, demonstrated or created a test to show that somebody has a chemical imbalance in their brain, period."

And psychiatrist Dr. Grace Jackson, states, "There is no rational science behind what they think is the cause of these symptoms.  The medications that are being given to people are, without exception, introducing chemicals that are altering the brain in ways which can be very damaging.  And I'll go a step further and say that in the absence of proven chemical imbalance, for which the medications are "rebalancing" or fixing, the medications are in fact, toxic."   Psychiatry-No Science, No Cures
I recognize that this is a controversial subject, with millions of adults and children on these behavior-altering medications, and I wonder how many understand that these drugs are not curing diseases, they are only altering our behavior and perhaps, even, our brains.  Maybe we are a culture that just likes our drugs or maybe we like to have an excuse of why we don't perform as well as we perceive others as doing or maybe it's just easier to numb what is bothering us inside, instead of attempting to fix it.  But the simple truth remains; we are not getting the facts on the medications we are using to fix our behavior. 
Gwen Olsen, a former pharmaceutical drug sales rep. and author of the book, "Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher - God's Call to Loving Arms", spent fifteen years selling specialty pharmaceuticals to psychiatrists, among others.  She left the field after she felt a moral obligation to inform the public of the policies of selling drugs, which she felt was a danger to the "American people, at large".   She states that there was "consistent minimization of side effects" and that it became "less and less popular to give full disclosure about our drugs, as time went on in my profession, and we were more responsible for marketing information being given to the doctors, than actual good medical information." 
After seeing how the lack of full disclosure concerning prescription drugs was harming and in some cases, killing patients, Ms. Olsen decided that there was something wrong in the way drugs were being approved and marketed.  "I heard on more than one occasion people refer to "our friends" in the FDA or "our people" in the FDA."  Ms. Olsen states that while selling psychiatric drugs in mental institutions she began to understand that many of the behavioral manifestations of mentally ill, were actually side effects of the drugs she was selling.  And Ms. Olsen was instructed to discredit people who were not in favor of psychiatric drugs by her district manager, who informed her, "Any time anybody isn't for psychiatric drugs, if you just label them a Scientologist, that will discredit them, because everybody knows they are crazy."  Ex Drug Rep-Manipulating Doctors.
The corporate media has sold us the idea that the only people that are against psychiatric drugs are Scientologists and they are, in fact, crazy.  But what of the experts, the scientists, the psychiatrists and psychologists speaking out against psychiatric drugs, are they also crazy?  The television tells us that a chemical imbalance has been proven, but the scientists insist this is not proven, that it is a theory, at best, or a lie, at worst and no scientific test has ever been developed to make this chemical imbalance a reality.  Yet, we believe our televisions and we take the drugs and we give the drugs to our children, seemingly unconcerned about the potential effects of those drugs on developing brains.
The history of psychiatry is full of wayward experiments on patients.  The Father of American Psychiatry is Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813); he was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Dr. Rush believed that too much blood in the system caused psychiatric and physiological disorders; this idea was strengthened when he decided that bloodletting cured him of yellow fever.  He also created the Tranquilizing Chair, which was said to address the fact that "madness" was an arterial disease, an inflammation of the brain and through being confined in the chair, which looked much like an electric chair, it controlled the flow of blood to the brain.  He also believed that another way to ease madness was to repeatedly dunk patients in ice-cold water. University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Henry Cotton (1876-1933), medical director at New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, Trenton, felt that mental illness was caused by hidden infection in various body parts and the way to cure the mental illness was to remove the offending organs.  He began with teeth and tonsils and if no noticeable change occurred in the patient, he would precede to remove the stomach, spleen, cervix or colon.  Needless to say, like Dr. Rush, Dr. Cotton's patients did not do well.  Princeton Education

Psychologist John B. Watson (1878-1958) believed that psychology should address "the prediction and control of observable behavior."  He was such a believer in experimental psychology that he performed a series of experiments on his 11-month old son, Albert.  Watson is quoted as having said, "Give me the baby, and I'll make it climb and use it's hands in constructing a building of stone or wood. I'll make it a thief, a gunman or a dope fiend.  The possibilities of shaping in any direction are almost endless." 
Interestingly enough, Watson was best known for his parenting advice in which he stressed the idea of never showing affection to children.  ".Remember when you are tempted to pet your child, that mother's love is a dangerous instrument.  An instrument that may inflict a never-healing wound, a wound which may make infancy unhappy, adolescence a nightmare, an instrument which may wreck your son or daughter's vocational future and their chances for marital happiness."  In 1954 Watson's son Albert committed suicide and in 1957 the APA awarded Watson a gold medal for his contributions to psychology. Mental Health Abuse

And a couple of the legitimate psychiatric diagnoses from years gone by include drapetomania, a mental disorder existing in slaves who ran away to freedom.  And hysteria, a very popular diagnosis in the Victorian era as a condition only women suffered, especially those who rebelled against male domination or who tended to "cause trouble." 
Some believe the psychiatric communities are working to end the pursuit of individualism and creativity and site the lives and deaths of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway, Francis Farmer and Judy Garland.  Others believe it is about social control, eugenics and racism.  But unfortunately most believe their television and the marketing of the idea that we are all suffering under one banner of mental illness or another and luckily for us, there is a pill for that.  

I think all religions hold pieces of truth and perhaps the piece the Scientologists hold is the fact that psychiatry is a destructive, non-scientific practice with invented diseases, more of a tool to control the masses, than cure them.  History shows that torturous experiments were done in the name of psychiatry and ridiculous assumptions were called fact and those practices have not changed.  The only difference now is that the experiments are occurring with millions of people used as lab rats and the encouragement to claim our diagnosis and take the pharmaceuticals can be found throughout print and television media.
The fact of the matter is psychiatry has made mistakes before, fatal mistakes.  Sixty years ago there were six or seven mental disorders, now, according to the DSM, there are well over three hundred.  Are we, as a society, growing crazier as each year passes?  Who is in charge of defining what is abnormal or mentally disordered, versus, simply different?  As the long arms of psychiatry invade all facets of our lives, including our schools, social services, military, legislations and churches, perhaps this is a question we all should be asking. 

Victoria Hardy [send her email] is the drummer for the pop duo 3 Feet Up. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, who is also the other half of the duo and they have just released their second CD, entitled "I will fear no evil."  3 Feet Up was featured in the Living Room Live Series on the CBS Early Show in July of 2006.  Find more on her website,  
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