FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions

What does CCHR do?

Thousands of individuals contact CCHR each year to report psychiatric abuse and criminality, such as false imprisonment, hospital fraud, sexual abuse and inhumane treatment and conditions in psychiatric institutions. CCHR documents this and helps the abused individual file criminal or other complaints with the proper authorities. It also conducts investigations in wider psychiatric issues, such as insurance fraud, high death rates reported in institutions, or the fraudulent labeling of children as “mentallydisordered” and drugging millions.

Over a decade, CCHR’s investigations led to the prosecution of over a thousand psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health workers. This has prompted legislators and insurance companies to withdraw funding to criminal psychiatric practices, and to pass laws to protect individuals from them.

Through CCHR’s achievements, thousands of psychiatric victims have been rescued, patients have regained legal and civil rights, mental health acts have outlawed the arbitrary use of electroshock and psychosurgery and banned these savage practices on children, and legislation has been enacted to ensure psychiatric rape of patients is dealt with as a criminal offense. Many hundreds of survivors of psychiatric treatment have been compensated tens of millions of dollars for the damage they have suffered.

Is CCHR part of the Church of Scientology?

CCHR is an independent organization. It comprises members of the Church of Scientology and many other people of various denominations, faiths and cultural beliefs. Scientologists are not unique in their view that psychiatry is harmful. People from all walks of life are concerned about the destructive impact of psychiatry on society. They work with CCHR to do something effective about it. CCHR’s Board of Advisors—called “Commissioners”—include prominent doctors, lawyers, artists, educators, businessmen, civil and human rights representatives and professionals who see it as their duty to “expose and help abolish any and all physically damaging practices in the field of mental health.”

We are proud to have been founded by the Church of Scientology, which has a long and impressive history of human rights achievements. CCHR members work closely with Church members on social reform issues and consult with the Church’s social reform or human rights departments.

Why is Scientology opposed to psychiatry?

When the Church of Scientology established CCHR in 1969, victims of psychiatry had no rights and needed a voice. “Treatment” was brutal, its only purpose to create compliant patients. Patients were subjected to punitive electroshock—without anesthetic as punishment for “bad” behavior. Using lobotomies and other psychosurgical procedures, psychiatrists destroyed patients’ brains with callous disregard. Those under psychiatric “care” were mercilessly experimented upon with therapeutically unproven mind-altering drugs.

The founder of Scientology, Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, was the first to confront these desperate acts by psychiatrists. From the late 1940s, Mr. Hubbard saw psychiatry’s reckless abuse of the individual and its incompetence. Later, he wrote: “The Church of Scientology will not recommend or condone political mental treatment such as electric shocks and condemns utterly the fascist approach to ‘mental health’ by extermination of the insane.”

CCHR was formed to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights and to clean up the field of mental healing.

Does CCHR give medical or legal advice?

CCHR does not provide medical or legal advice. However, it works closely with attorneys and medical doctors and supports medical, but not psychiatric, practices.

Anyone who feels he or she is “mentally ill” should see a competent non-psychiatric medical doctor as numerous medical studies show undiagnosed and untreated physical complaints can manifest as a “psychiatric” problem. In many cases, once the physical condition is treated, the mental “disorder” symptoms disappear.

CCHR also strongly recommends that anyone who knows of someone who has, or has himself or herself been physically or sexually abused by a psychiatrist, file a complaint with the proper law enforcement body and/or licensing board.

Why should electroshock treatment (ECT) be banned?

Very simply, electroshock destroys minds and can kill. Touted by psychiatrists as “scientific” and “therapeutic,” ECT is as sophisticated and beneficial as hitting someone over the head with a sledgehammer. It consists of searing the brain with 180 to 460 volts of electricity. This causes a severe convulsion or a grand mal seizure identical to an epileptic fit.

Women and the elderly, in particular, are psychiatry’s principal targets. The death rate among the elderly from ECT is about one in every 200. A 1993 Texas government report found that one in 197 patients died within two weeks of receiving this “treatment.” Other studies document that electroshock inflicts irreversible brain damage, memory loss and a deterioration of intellectual ability.

Electroshock also has a sordid history as a weapon of torture and mind control.

When you deal with vulnerable people who are in desperate need of help, using ECT is not only betrayal, it is criminal assault. Electroshock should not be available as a choice, just as Thalidomide is not available to pregnant women. Psychiatrists who administer it for a living have a financial incentive to lie about its effects—in the United States alone it is a $3 billion-a-year industry. It takes government action to safeguard its citizens by outlawing ECT.

What are CCHR’s views about psychiatric drugs?

Psychiatric drugs are usually prescribed as a “solution” to a problem. But they only mask the problem and never allow the person to look at its real cause.

CCHR strongly disagrees with the enforced and harmful methods employed by psychiatrists. Psychiatrists fail to mention the horrendous side effects of their drugs. They often cause irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system. These effects usually require a further drug to contain them.

Bizarre side effects haunt those who take them: addiction, exhaustion, diminished sexual drive, trembling, nightmares, increased anxiety, and violent or suicidal behavior.

While these mind-altering drugs may deaden the mental and emotional pain connected with living, in so doing they can kill the drive that promotes the search for real solutions and improvement.

Aren’t drug companies to blame?

Psychiatry’s ability to convince drug companies and governments to pour billions of dollars into its practices is based upon fraudulent “diagnostic” criteria. Psychiatrists package various behavior and emotional characteristics and falsely categorize these as a “disease” or “disorder.” There isn’t a single aspect of behavior that doesn’t fall within the broad “symptoms” which comprise so-called “mental illness.”

Psychiatry has literally covered every base with invented criteria. The migraine sufferer has a “pain disorder,” the child who fidgets or is overzealous at play is “hyperactive,” the person who gives up smoking or drinking coffee has a “nicotine disorder” or suffers “caffeine intoxication.” If you stutter, it’s a mental illness. If you have a low math score, it’s “developmental arithmetic disorder.” If a teenager argues with his parents it’s “oppositional defiance disorder.”

These labels drum up business for psychiatrists. Drugs are produced to meet the psychiatrists’ demand. Without fraudulent diagnoses, we would not be witnessing the prescribed drug problem we experience today.

Why is CCHR opposed to involuntary commitment?

Commitment laws have been exploited for every wrong reason: financial, sexual, political, business profit, inheritance and even governmental secrecy. They are a deprivation of human and constitutional rights. Once committed—and declared incompetent—the person can lose the right to vote, drive a car, join the military, have control over their financial and business affairs and even practice their profession. The victim is also subjected to physically harmful treatments from which they may never recover.

There would be public outcry if someone ran amok in the street, grabbing citizens because he disapproved of their behavior, locking them up and submitting them to mind-altering drugs or electric shock. The perpetrator would be criminally charged and jailed for many years. But because the perpetrator is a psychiatrist, his brutal acts are cloaked in terms such as “treatment,” “mental health care,” or “preventing the person from doing harm,” and are sanctioned by law. Consequently, the systematic social and mental crippling of millions of people each year is ignored.

Imagine the alternative: mental hospitals as places of rest. People would not be assaulted with drugs and shock. They could rest and receive proper medical help. People would be more approachable about being helped. But under the current system, forcing anyone into a mental hospital is imprisonment masquerading as protection. All coercive mental health practices should be illegal. Like slavery before it, involuntary hospitalization should be abolished.

What do you do if a “mentally ill” person is violent?

The person who is violent or threatens violence must never be “treated” by psychiatrists. If a person commits a dangerous offense, criminal statutes exist to address this. Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, says: “All criminal behavior should be controlled by means of criminal law, from the administration of which psychiatrists ought to be excluded.”

Studies demonstrate that psychiatric predictions of dangerousness are no better than flipping a coin. Psychiatrists cannot “cure” what is essentially criminal or anti-social conduct.

The foundation of justice is based on the idea that each man is accountable for his actions. But each year thousands of criminals are excused of the most heinous crimes based on psychiatric testimony in courts. This undermines a key tool that society uses to protect itself from violent crime.

If someone is violent or breaks the law, he or she should be dealt with the way all people are who do such things. We don’t need psychiatrists for that.

What is the alternative?

Trusted with the care of the mentally disturbed, psychiatry has failed utterly. Humane, non-intrusive methods exist to help people who are troubled, overwhelmed by problems or emotionally distraught. For example, extensive medical studies prove that physical illnesses can manifest as “psychiatric” symptoms and should be addressed with medical treatment. Additionally, good nutrition, a healthy environment, and work that boosts morale will do much for these individuals. They respond to rest, safety and a healthy diet. What they don’t need is torture or to have their human rights violated as covered in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and CCHR’s Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights.

Dr. Thomas Szasz states, “Old age homes, workshops, temporary homes for indigent persons whose family ties have been disintegrated, progressive prison communities - these and many other facilities will be needed to assure the tasks now entrusted to mental hospitals.”

 

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© 2006. Citizens Commission on Human Rights South Africa. All rights reserved