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Biopsychiatry Illuminated

THE CANDLELIGHT PROJECT
by Bob Collier

1 September 2003
Issue 57

Last week in The Candlelight Project, I added an item literally at the last minute about the challenge to the American Psychiatric Association by hunger strikers engaged in a 'Fast for Freedom in Mental Health' in Pasedena, California. I'm not planning to follow the hunger strike in the pages of Parental Intelligence, but I wanted to give you an opportunity to learn more about it and to follow it yourselves if you want to, so this week I bring you the latest update from Nicholas Regush of Red Flags Daily and a link to the website of MindFreedom - the organisers of the fast - for further information.

August 28, 2003

SECOND OPINION

http://www.redflagsweekly.com/extra/2003_aug28.html

A FAST FOR FREEDOM IN MENTAL HEALTH

A hunger strike challenges international domination by biopsychiatry and the forced drugging of patients

QUESTIONABLE SCIENCE - BY FORCE

Eight In A Series

By RFD Editor, Nicholas Regush

Day Twelve. Yesterday the MindFreedom hunger strikers in Pasadena, California held a face to face meeting with Dr. Marcia Goin, President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). No, they weren't exactly invited over for some coffee and cake, but they say they didn't meet with too much resistance either when they decided to take a short trek from strike headquarters to Goin's Los Angeles office. They did call first.

It wasn't a meeting that will make the record books in terms of a real breakthrough, but for the strikers it was breakthrough enough, for now, as Goin appears to have indicated a reserved willingness to explore the possibility of having a meeting between representatives of MindFreedom and the APA.

The issue, as I have explored in previous columns in this series, is mainly about the dominant psychiatric agenda in play these days: biopsychiatry. The MindFreedom hunger strikers are asking the APA and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the U.S. Surgeon General to provide solid scientific evidence for the "biological basis of mental illness." One reason, aside from the obvious, for their demand is that there is an increasing pattern of forced drugging across the U.S. as the lynchpin of so-called community programs. This is the direct result of a strong belief - and I emphasize the word, belief, in the biological theory of mental illness. And it therefore follows that such a belief system will inevitably lead to a policy of forced drugging, requiring many psychiatric patients to accept drug therapies as a passport to community life.

One reason why this hunger strike is extremely important is that it points to a widespread pattern in our culture to accept less-than-adequate science as the basis for clinical care. I've been reporting on science and medicine for more than 25 years and it has always been very clear in my mind that what often passes for wisdom and pragmatic policy is highly primitive information. Only, health professionals, including psychiatrists, lack the humility to understand that they are dealing with a tiny fraction of what will be known five years or ten years from now. This is especially true of brain science. Psychiatry has leaped into the so-called "era of the brain" with the sophistication of a "gnat." It also jumped right in holding hands with the drug industry, which has the social consciousness of a "zit."

Over the many years that I have been reporting on health, I have interviewed many scientists, for both print and television, and among them have been Nobel Laureates and winners of this and that. I have found that the people who are trustworthy and willing to explore ideas are definitely in the minority. But they stand out as having the deep understanding that we live on a primitive planet with still primitive ideas. The other side - those who pretend they have answers to everything - also stand out as geniuses in their own minds. Upon careful scrutiny - and sometimes in the act of interviewing - I have had an extremely easy time of it, exposing the incredible low level knowledge that some of these pedestal movers and shakers really have. When they snort away with their theories and facts in front of people they feel they can control, they seem to have the upper hand. But when they must detail their views in an orderly fashion, they often break down. This is one reason why as a columnist I have issued numerous challenges - most recently one to the APA - to debate me on substantive issues. While I can never be sure of winning by a knockout, I have enough experience behind me to know just how incredibly vulnerable some of these bigshots really are. And that includes their lack of knowledge of the wide-scale science surrounding their chosen profession.

In the case of the APA, I sincerely doubt whether any of their researchers or other representatives could possibly emerge with happy faces from a well-organized encounter with critics of the biological theory that lines and drives psychiatry. Is this why an APA president would probably not be too willing to get involved in a debate? Probably. Because the APA would look like a horse's ass once the debate got going. Frankly, I'd give a lot to witness such a debate or even participate in one. I would also love to see the APA hold one with representatives from the drug industry assembled in the audience as "spares" just in case the APA gets into trouble. And why not, it would be expected and the tag team would be just the perfect image for a profession that is losing credibility worldwide, day by day.

Copyright (c) Nicholas Regush, Red Flags Daily

http://www.redflagsweekly.com/


For daily updates and more information about the Fast for Freedom in Mental Health, please visit:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/





 
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