The Pseudoscience of Psychiatry

We are admonished to be sober and of sound minds. God wants our thinking and ability to reason clear. Is that possible with the drugs that are given to us to alter our mind-frames? (Thanks to free digital photos for image)

I hadn’t planned on taking time from school to write a note, but I’ve wanted to post something about this for over a year. The videos speak for themselves, but I wanted to explain the concerns I have had and give an idea of some experiences I’ve had both working as staff and as the person staff expected to take medication based on a survey.

Although psychology is my field, I don’t particularly care for it. I would prefer counseling, which allows the person seeking help to talk things through (bounce ideas off an impartial person) and work out what the right solution is for himself. I have worked and volunteered in a variety of behavioral health settings, and I have seen very little improvement when people are given psychological drugs, especially children. I can’t recall a single instance of anyone getting off the prescriptions in these setting. There are several things that I have learned through my different positions:

  1. You can’t medicate a demon. Spiritual issues require spiritual answers.
  2. Life is full of ups and downs. Psychological drugs are not the answer for life’s situations.
  3. Diet and addressing specific health issues can eliminate most “illnesses” that psychiatrists want to medicate.
  4. Psychotropic drugs often require more drugs to counter the negative side effects of the first drugs resulting in a patient taking a drug cocktail.
  5. Psychiatric hospitals are a business moreso than a healthcare facility. Most of its patients return repeatedly for more treatments. Once inside a psychiatric hospital, it is almost impossible to get out without prescribed drugs and stating what will satisfy the psychiatrist for discharge.

I guess my doubts started my first year of college. The counselor evaluated me and told me I had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I was being evaluated because I had a C- in Introduction to Sociology, and most other students were coasting through with an A or B. I made the mistake of telling the woman that I daydream in class and imagine tic tac toe games on the carpeting. She had asked me if I had done anything reckless, and I admitted to picking up hitchhikers once. The fact that I had reasoned why before I did it and had spent almost 24 hours awake while having 7 ½ packs of hair braided onto my head may weren’t factors for her. She took random instances in my life and decided I should take Ritalin. I told her I didn’t think it was necessary and asked why I should take medication. She decided that Ritalin would help me concentrate in class. I informed her that I was not going to take any drugs. This was the only class in which I was not doing well, and I hated the subject. I wanted to take psychology but was advised it was too hard for me and to take sociology. No amount of medication was going to make me like sociology. At 17, I was able to turn down a professional that was insisting I start medication. What if I hadn’t been old enough to know better or bold enough to stand up for myself?

Ritalin is a stimulant and is placed in the same categories as opium, heroin, morphine, and cocaine.

When my daughter was in first grade, I was told I should have her evaluated for ADD/ADHD. Basically, the evaluation consisted of her teachers and me filling out surveys, visiting our family doctor, who basically asked more survey questions, and being told she had ADHD. I could then take a prescription to “fix” her. I chose not to medicate her and decided to change our diet. I eliminated food dyes, minimized the amount of high fructose corn syrup in meals, threw out anything I could find that contained monosodium glutamate, and added more fish to the menu. Voilá! All her “symptoms” disappeared. No one ever asked if she was receiving medication.

By the way, ADHD doesn’t exist. It’s basically a label given to children that don’t act the way an adult wants them to behave. “In early childhood, it may be difficult to distinguish symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder from age appropriate behaviors in active children such as running around or being noisy.” – DSM-IV

The Truth about ADHD from Their Mouths!

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the very first thing listed for “treatment” is medication. Drugs are strongly suggested for children as young as 3 (because they’re still working on how to sell us on medicating ages 0 – 3). Psychotherapy is listed much further down without much emphasis.

Psychotherapy
Different types of psychotherapy are used for ADHD. Behavioral therapy aims to help a child change his or her behavior. It might involve practical assistance, such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events. Behavioral therapy also teaches a child how to monitor his or her own behavior. Learning to give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way, such as controlling anger or thinking before acting, is another goal of behavioral therapy. Parents and teachers also can give positive or negative feedback for certain behaviors. In addition, clear rules, chore lists, and other structured routines can help a child control his or her behavior.

Therapists may teach children social skills, such as how to wait their turn, share toys, ask for help, or respond to teasing. Learning to read facial expressions and the tone of voice in others, and how to respond appropriately can also be part of social skills training.” – Seriously? Are we really supposed to pay hundreds of dollars a month for someone else to teach our children how to share and take turns? Excitedly blurting out an answer and not wanting to share deserve a title of mental illness and drugs? (NIMH)

You can also test yourself to see how much ADHD you have! (sarcasm) Seriously, take both tests so you can read the questions. These are the questions that appear on personality quizzes and are worded in such as way that most answers will be, at least, “sometimes” if answered honestly based on your life history.

Today my score is 38:
“You appear to suffer from mild attention and concentration difficulties according to your responses to this self-report questionnaire. You should not take this as a diagnosis of any sort, or a recommendation for treatment. However, you may want to look into seeking further consultation with a trained mental health professional (there’s a good chance you’re not functioning normally, so you should go ask somebody because you have these “symptoms”) if you are experiencing any difficulties in daily functioning due to these difficulties or if you’d like a more in-depth answer.” quiz

The 6-question test gave me this result (they bolded the word “soon”). I got a score that told me “Serious ADHD Likely!”
“Based upon your responses to this adult ADHD screening quiz, you may very well have an adult attention deficit disorder. People who have answered similarly to you typically qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD and have sought professional treatment for this disorder.

You should not take this as a diagnosis of any sort, or a recommendation for treatment. However, it would be advisable and likely beneficial for you to seek further diagnosis from a physician or trained mental health professional soon.”

I have watched each of these videos, and I have to say that I agree with them (some clips are used in more than one video). I have sat in meetings and heard therapists talk about residents/patients not being able to be cured.  I have heard a doctor back an elderly patient into a verbal corner by speaking to her like her concerns about receiving electroshock treatment were ridiculous in order to get her to sign and receive treatment. I have watched staff members tease, embarrass, challenge, and threaten residents/patients because they knew the person could not do anything without getting into trouble, which could be placed on close watch (privileges suspended), restrained and/or placed in straps, or forcibly injected with medication. I have watched a man receive up to three injections within a couple hours because he was considered hostile. He actually fought in his sleep (medicine caused him to fall asleep), but he had an underlying medical condition that was causing him severe pain and explained a lot of his acting out.

It wasn’t until I worked in a psychiatric hospital that I discovered electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), electric shock methods, are still being used on people. It’s supposed to be used on severely depressed patients when nothing else seems to be working. It seems the idea is to shock the person so they forget their bad memories or what is making them so sad. The problem is that there is no way to determine how much damage they’re going to do by sending electricity through someone’s brain, especially since this is an attempt versus something is known to cause marked improvement. I used to wonder why my shift meetings for the weekend would include notes that one of my patients had received ECT four days prior. I asked several people what they thought about ECT, and I didn’t hear one positive response about it. In fact, one woman told me she told her children to let her die before they subjected her to that torture because the electricity kills the person for a second. Shocking people appeared to work, but I would guess that would be because either the people would be so dazed, they didn’t bother anyone, or they were hoping they would be left alone if they conformed to expectations. I did witness a complete change in the woman the doctor informed needed to have treatment. She went from being a tearful, sweet, quiet woman to a person that would be talking one moment and attacking the person beside her the next.

The Trouble with Spikol: the ECT Story

 

See ECT on an actual patient – Of course, this is presented as a good thing, but medical seizures have never been considered a “good” thing.

 

I realized quickly that I don’t like acute care work although I sometimes felt like I could make their stay a little easier by being their assistant instead of someone that didn’t care. For starters, my patients are revolving, which is good because they shouldn’t be staying in the hospital long term, but I never felt like I was doing much more than baby-sitting. Many times patients would open up and talk to me, but rounds dictated I jump up every 8 – 13 minutes (sometimes less so no one had time to calculate when I’d return) to do safety checks, which would involve physically looking at each person at their location (which meant I had to open the bathroom door while patients were using it or showering sometimes). This was very difficult for patients that were elderly and having memory difficulty or patients that were suffering from stroke or had speech problems. I spoke to a war vet that had difficulty with speaking. It took about 3 times as long for him to verbalize what he wanted to say, so my rounds really interfered with my being a “mental health assistant.” He basically described his pain and regret because he could remember the faces of those he had to kill. He wanted to talk about the experience, what that meant for his spirit, and wanted someone to listen. Was that something that really required a drug? Was a drug really going to answer his questions about if God would forgive him? Did anyone bother to get to the root issues he had about not being able to care for himself anymore or the guilt he felt, which most likely would lead to a substance abuse?

The other problem was most patients that spoke to me wanted to speak on my shift (overnight) while others on the floor were asleep. I had to encourage them to go back to sleep because it would be a problem for the day shift if everyone wasn’t up and participating (refusing treatment which could be a group word search puzzle). My primary unit was the geriatric unit and was divided into a high-functioning and low-functioning wing. Sometimes, there was not enough space for someone that was supposed to be assigned to the other wing. A patient might feel insulted on top of angry if they were forced to sit in a room where patients would have random outbursts, mumble repeatedly & incoherently, or would wander into their rooms at night. Several patients would refuse to go to sleep because they were guarding their few possessions.

I understand I worked the night shift, but I rarely saw a doctor even when I was on the day shift. They whisked through so quickly, I didn’t realize they had spoken to several patients while I was conducting rounds and changing sheets.

There are a lot of stories and experiences I want to share but don’t have time right now. What I do understand is that if a child is forcibly removed from his home and forced into a sterile concrete cell (pretty much what the residential facility and psychiatric hospital look like), his not wanting to cooperate and do everything staff says is understandable.

People are:

–           admitted against their wills

–           their personal possessions are taken, searched, and stored away from them

–           can only wear what strangers tell them they have permission to wear

–           may not be able to use their own toiletries

–           must share a room with a stranger they may dislike intensely

–          must use furniture that is bolted to the floor

–          must line up and participate in activities at particular times and are seen as refusing treatment/“non-compliant” if they decline

–          are subjected to having people conduct body searches on entrance, peek in on them in the restroom (the doors may be removed), look at them at least once every 10-15 minutes (may be awakened by a flashlight on their faces multiple times a night)

It’s a rare instance to find a resident or patient that is NOT receiving meds. Many youth will face this type of life an average of 18 months. One of my residents had been in the system for 10+ years with over $1,000,000 in “treatment” spent on him. As his insurance was running out, it became a race to find another placement for him. There was no apparent race to “cure” him, but he might stay in trouble by standing outside his door in the hall instead of being in his room at the required time. He got bored easily. I remember being gone 15-30 minutes and coming back to find him in 4-points (wrists and ankles strapped to the edges of a bed).  Honestly, most of the time people were placed on close watch, they were extremely frustrated and expressed their anger by yelling, cursing, being “disrespectful to staff”, slamming doors, or trying to get away from staff. My elderly patients were often unable to be understood from memory problems or speech disorders. Usually it was a matter of figuring out what they wanted or what they were actually saying. Of course they had their emotional moments or times of being inappropriate (like patting a nurse’s bottom), but I can see how being told I have to sit in a room with 15 strangers and can only leave when I need to use the bathroom, go to the next room to eat, or am going to bed for the night can irritate someone (about 13-14 hours in the community room and 8 – 10 in the bedroom). Most of us would be ready to pull our hair out if we could only see 2 rooms 22-24 hours a day for days, weeks, or months on end, but residents and patients are expected to be fully to compliant to the demands placed on them.

It really only takes saying one thing in frustration and/or having the person with the proper title make a subjective assessment to involuntarily commit you. Once committed, there is a mandatory 72-hour period to hold you for assessment and to determine if you’re fit to be released. I’ve always wondered (because no one could answer this question) what they expect to happen when youth outgrow the program and have no family that will take them back or care for them. Some will be institutionalized in multiple facilities for 12-17 years and medicated the entire time. When they’re released because of their ages, then what? Who’s going to help them with their insurance so they can continue to afford the meds that cost $1000s/month? What are they expected to do when they become 22?

Marketing of madness: The Truth about Psychotropic Drugs – documentary
DEAD WRONG: How Psychiatric Drugs Can Kill Your Child – documentary
Psychiatry an industry of death – documentary
The DSM: Psychiatry’s Deadliest Scam – documentary
Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging – documentary


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