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Coercion in Psychiatry

A

Apotheosis

Guest
http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/coercion-in-psychiatry/#more-4521

Are mad people irrational?

We live in a world where abuse of others is part of the status quo. It is very acceptable to abuse others if you are rich ‘educated’ and powerful. You are given permission to lie, cheat, steal, hurt and even kill in the name of ‘help’. Governments and laws will support you and you will convince yourself you are good and never be aware of the harmful destructive path you leave behind. On the other hand, those who are labeled ‘mad’ often react to this unjust world. They find it emotionally disturbing and they try to escape. They build a new world for themselves split from reality. They feel they are victims and are often in the direct line of societal abuse. Is this a mad irrational thing to do? It seems very rational to protect oneself.

Coercion or force has no place in healing or well-being in body, mind and spirit. Human beings are different from all other forms of life in that they have the freedom to choose. If this is not respected, then the so called ‘helpers’ are acting from a top/down position and perceive their fellow humans as animals who cannot think or evaluate themselves.

When a group of people are labelled ‘mentally ill’ by others who ‘know best’, then the result is that these branded people can be forced against their will to receive ‘treatments,’ often harmful, which other people, service providers and very often family, think they need.

‘Mental illness’, which has no scientific basis, is very cleverly used to deprive vulnerable people of their rights as citizens. There is no medical test to prove ‘mental illness’ exists, yet psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers , the media etc. continue to act as if it were comparable to other illnesses e.g. diabetes. Nobody ever looses their civil and human rights when they are diagnosed with other illnesses yet when a person is diagnosed with a ‘mental illness’ she/he can be forced into a ‘hospital’ and ‘treated’ with toxic psychiatric drugs against their will even though it is now common knowledge that most of these drugs have serious, even life threatening, adverse effects.

People who have very difficult psycho/social problems are diagnosed with medical ‘disorders’ such as ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘bi-polar disorder’ etc. which do not exist. The standard treatment is usually some form of a neuroleptic, often more than just one. Most of the cheap forms e.g. largactil, haldol, etc. are not used today in favour of the much more expensive atypicals such as Zyprexa and Risperdal. These neuroleptics are very successful in causing a chemical lobotomy which can deprive those who are unfortunate enough to use them of their humanity. The happiest moments of our lives are when we experience our humanity to the full. Physical lobotomies were used on people who were referred to as ’mentally ill ‘ in the past but thankfully most psychiatrists today can see that surgical lobotomies should be outlawed. How long will it take them to see the damage neuroleptics do to creative, worthwhile people?

What is a human being? To be human is to be different from being animal but she/he is more than an animal. An animal cannot choose. An animal follows its instincts. A human being is capable of self determination. She/ he can create something new. Music is a good example. It is made up of a limited number of sounds yet a human being can create a symphony or a concerto out of these limited sounds. We can create the infinite out of the finite. We can be in touch with what is described as godliness. We associate being human with our highest values: freedom, love, insight, creativity and understanding. The monkey can maintain a simple image of a situation. However human beings have a higher power and can manipulate images and take different points of view. We can take a leap outside ourselves and see ourselves from the outside. We can see ourselves and the world with the eyes of others. We are able to distinguish between our inner and outer would. We can create our inner world where we can perform experiments of thought. We can move from this inner world and make a leap to a point outside ourselves. Love makes this leap possible. It is by this leap that we grow in freedom, love, insight, creativity and understanding. We gain power over ourselves and our inner world. When we experience these values, we are truly alive and free. It is difficult to find these important human values in coercive psychiatry. A human being who thinks that she/he knows what is best for someone else and forces another to do it is not acting like a human being. These five powerful values are absent and so no true healing can take place.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive” — C .S. Lewis.

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invise

invise

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http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/coercion-in-psychiatry/#more-4521
People who have very difficult psycho/social problems are diagnosed with medical ‘disorders’ such as ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘bi-polar disorder’ etc. which do not exist.
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What are "psycho/social problems”? On what grounds can any 'educated professional' declare that someone is suffering from these problems, and how do these views change over time?
Surely psycho/social problems, as defined by current medical practices, could also be defined as any deviation from the psychological and social norms. Take for example certain points in history, when it was the norm to resolve bitter disputes by a bloody fight to the death, without fear of retribution from the law. At this particular point in time one would not be declared to have "psycho/social problems", but would have been granted empathy from comrades, and further hatred from rivals - neither of which would be described as characteristic problems. If however, at said point in time, that person was to commit a bloody and unwarranted string of murders, then this would have been defined as a character trait, and therefore a "psycho/social problem", although I doubt those words would have been used.
Coming back to the modern day and reality, and it is of course 'insane' to believe that any of the acts just described could be identified as normal. Indeed, both are horrid and entirely despised in modern society.

The example I have given is a bit over the top, but it does clearly demonstrate that perceptions of problems are changed over time. These perceptions can only logically be described as the collective view of society. Again, from history, it can be proven that a collective view is not always the correct view. This statement, coincidentally, is also based upon a present collective view of the past, and is also prone to change. Many believers in social ideologies, such as Marxism, the Nazi ideologies, the Romans, could not be persuaded that their ideologies are wrong. Now however, it is hard to persuade people that Hitler was right.

This brings me to the point I am trying to make. People who are diagnosed with "psycho/social problems" could potentially be victims of an oppression enforced by a social majority. This majority could be completely incorrect, but since it is by nature a subjective majority, must be accepted. People who are today declared insane, or with problems, may be hailed as genius or marvellous in centuries to come, or that have past.

Is it right to judge people sanity based on these collective social views. No. But is there a better way to judge sanity...
 
A

Apotheosis

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This brings me to the point I am trying to make. People who are diagnosed with "psycho/social problems" could potentially be victims of an oppression enforced by a social majority. This majority could be completely incorrect, but since it is by nature a subjective majority, must be accepted. People who are today declared insane, or with problems, may be hailed as genius or marvellous in centuries to come, or that have past.

Is it right to judge people sanity based on these collective social views. No. But is there a better way to judge sanity...
Yes, I agree with what you say.

If 99% of people were schizophrenic, & 1% weren't; would it make the 1% normal?

I do think there are far better ways of approaching mental illness. Not least it should be acknowledged that those diagnosed & labelled as mentally ill; are simply people at one end of a spectrum. All people are part of this spectrum, & have varying degrees of sanity as part of a continuum. Deeming a certain amount of the population as Mad; & everyone else as sane, is neither helpful nor accurate. It can well be argued that society itself has a pathology & it's own collective insanity. Carl Jung himself remarked that the true insanity was not that of the individual; but of society itself.

Psycho/social problems are - Psychological & social difficulties - i.e. the problem lies with difficult life situations, trauma, stress ect. Which is in turn connected to psychological difficulties. Kind of like saying that 'mental illness'; insanity is a natural response to an insane situation.

People who have very difficult psycho/social problems are diagnosed with medical ‘disorders’ such as ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘bi-polar disorder’ etc. which do not exist.
This isn't saying psychological pain & trauma; along with social problems do not exist - rather it is saying that placing labels that are pathologising human experience; & labelling them as biological conditions is nonsense.
 
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invise

invise

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labelling them as biological conditions is nonsense.
I feel a void exists in our understanding of the human body here. Almost every medical breakthrough has derived from some biological manifestation, or discovery, and so there is a natural tendency to continue this line of thought. When Einstein declared that space and time were two completely relative concepts, and can only truly be examined from a position abstracted from the observer, indeed without an observer, then his ideas were claimed insane. Now however this is the basis upon which all physics revolves around.
Why then, is it so hard for the medical profession to consider non biological definitions of mental health problems? Obviously there must be biological consequences, and thus comes the need for SSRI's, which surely do help. This is not resolving the true underlying problem, but is merely an attempt to resolve the apparent affects of the problem.
I have no medical background what so ever and so am not in any position to question the direction medical research is pursued, but I often wonder what if they've gotten it all wrong? It certainly wouldn't be the first time this has occurred in science, and even more certainly wouldn't be the last. I like to think of science and philosophy as intrinsically linked - both are the quest to gain further knowledge, not a solution. So maybe the solution can only be found by pursueing these biological investigations, and therefore it may be nonsense, but may also be required.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
Why then, is it so hard for the medical profession to consider non biological definitions of mental health problems? Obviously there must be biological consequences, and thus comes the need for SSRI's, which surely do help. This is not resolving the true underlying problem, but is merely an attempt to resolve the apparent affects of the problem.
Yes I agree, psychiatry does not appear that interested in genuine therapeutic healing, or cause; simply treating & managing symptoms. I personally would not call psychiatry science - it is pseudo science at best. I do think that they have it all wrong. As far as I can gather the present thinking has it's roots in purely mechanistic & materialistic understandings, the scientific reductionist model; that everything can be categorised as physical. Neuroscience is a different field of expertise; & they do indeed appear far more scientific in their investigations.

To be fair there does appear to be in orthodox psychiatry a trend to acknowledge things more open mindedly; & a slight shift to acknowledging the potential multiple factors influential in MH conditions.

http://www.oneinahundred.co.uk/pages/articles/insanity-or-enlightenment.php
 
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G

GrizzlyBear

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Coercion in Psychiatry....

I don't know Apo....I think there is a place for people to make decisions to protect other people who are believed unable to make healthy decisions for themselves. I think this is a very scary topic because of how serious it is to take 'control' of some aspect of someone elses life. The thing is that many people have thanked someone....often professionals....for taking over when they were unable to be fully responsible for themselves anymore. The trouble with a lot of mental issues is that sometimes all reason flies out of the window. Sometimes it's like toddlers, I reckon.....and we'd feel pretty let down if our mom's stood by and let us put our hand in the fire.

If a person is a danger to themselves or others, but don't think there is anything 'wrong', then I would say it is fair to butt in (if for the sole purpose of protecting that person/others from actual physical harm). That may suck....and I know from personal experience it does....but what is the alternative? I don't believe it has anything to do with whether someone has a label of schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar or not. A caring society seeks to protect itself and each person within that society. If a person chooses not to protect themselves and can demonstrate this is in their best interests then I think we have to accept that that person has the 'right' to 'hurt' themselves. When the area is grey we have to act from compassion and ask ourselves what is really the best thing for this person...and attempt all we can to treat this person as they wish to be treated.

With rights come responsibility.....what if someone is too unwell to bear responsibility? Is it then that 'rights' are removed?

What does society do when faced with someone who thinks that he has been told by God (or whoever) that all people with moustaches are really aliens who must be killed at once.....that all health professionals are conspiring to lock us all away....that the next door neighbour's cat is really John Lennon? What are we all supposed to do in an ultimately caring society when this person thinks this is true and that (s)he is not a danger to anyone? This person does not think (s)he needs help and will not seek it. This person will ruin peoples lives - including their own. A caring society has a terrible burden of responsibility for vulnerable people - for all people.
 
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A

Apotheosis

Guest
A certain amount of people are indeed a danger to themselves & others, & should have very specialist care - care they don't get. The majority are not such a danger - not all should be tarred with the same brush.

I am not saying that people should not be treated - I think that there should be real choice - that labelling people; incarcerating them in places that some consider worse than prisons; passing electric currents through their heads & dosing them up; often against their will; is not in the best interests of anyone. I think it is barbaric & ineffectual.
 
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