1 September 2003
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
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
For daily updates and more information about the Fast for Freedom in Mental Health, please visit: