Article by Jan Eastgate, Executive Director CCHR International
Introduction: "They Lied,"
by Jan Eastgate, President CCHR International
I’ve worked in the field of mental health for nearly 30 years. I’ve heard countless promises about psychiatry’s latest “miracle” treatments, each one of which turns out as dangerous and unworkable as the previous, discredited ones. In their anxiety to keep their failures explained, psychiatrists issue statements and statistics about “rising mental illness.” Today, according to those same psychiatrists, we are facing a truly alarming epidemic of “mental illness,” one that is going to effect half the population and require billions of dollars more than they’ve already been given.
“DISPELLING THE LIES: REPORTING THE FACTS” is a new section on the CCHR website. It was prompted by American Psychiatric Association president Steven Sharfstein’s comments on NBC’s Today on June 27, 2005. Appearing on Today that morning, Dr. Sharfstein was asked about the fact that there is no proven “chemical imbalance” in the brain that can be balanced out by psychiatric drugs. He responded, “Well, that’s total nonsense. It belies the last 20 years of incredible breakthroughs in neuroscience and our understanding of how the brain works, and the fact that the medications that we use are very helpful.” In fact, he didn’t answer the question.
Several days later, he was forced to admit in national print media, “We do not have a clean-cut lab test” to determine a chemical imbalance.
Dr. Mark Graff, Chair of the Committee of Public Affairs for the APA, when questioned on CBS Studio 2 on July 10 about the Dr. Sharfstein’s sudden change in view, substantiated this. Dr. Graff stated: “Chemical imbalance…it’s a shorthand term really, it’s probably drug industry derived….We don’t have tests because to do it, you’d probably have to take a chunk of brain out of someone—not a good idea” but “I agree. There aren’t any blood tests” to determine a chemical imbalance.
Psychiatric statistics reflect semantics, not scientific method. Take, for example, the chilling impact of the 9/11 attacks. A mere two weeks had passed when Congress was told that 71% of Americans were “depressed” by the attacks and that more mental health insurance had to be made immediately available—on top of the $27.6 million the federal government had already allocated for psychiatric services. An alarming statistic, until one realizes that the survey behind this was conducted by telephone, on only 1,200 and just two to six days after the attack, when Americans were still in a state of shock, glued to their television sets and suffering perfectly normal reactions to the horrific tragedy.
To take another example, Tana Dineen, Ph.D. reviewed the percentages of people suffering from 17 specified “mental disorders.” She simply added up the total number of people who reportedly suffered from one or more of these and discovered that the number of Americans who are mentally ill reached 560,950,000—more than double the population of the country. And that’s just 17 “disorders” out of more than 370 listed in psychiatry’s billing bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM).
Psychiatry’s history is littered by such falsehoods. Advertisements placed in U.S. newspapers in 1995 were part of a “Depression: A Flaw in Chemistry and Depression” campaign run by the pharmaceutical company-funded National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. Dr. Elliot Valenstein, author of Blaming the Brain, said, “After describing depression as a physical disease requiring medication, just as diabetes requires insulin treatment, the ad makes the claim that research has shown that depression results from an insufficient level of serotonin [a chemical] in the frontal lobes of the brain. A ‘brain scan’ depicting enlarged ventricles [connecting cavities in the brain] is included in the ad, with the statement that this condition has been ‘found in many severe cases of depression.’” Dr. Valenstein said this has never been proven. “Moreover, this finding has no logical connection to any biochemical deficiency, let alone to a specific deficiency of serotonin in the frontal lobes. The fact that the information in the ad is completely in error seems not to have troubled anyone.”
“The ads,” he writes, “are sometimes carefully crafted to seem balanced, but they clearly leave readers with the message that it has been firmly established that biochemical imbalances cause depression and that drugs are now available to correct that condition.”
The misinformation means that millions may be taking dangerous drugs or undergoing other hazardous psychiatric “treatments” believing that they have a “mental disorder” that is physically based, when there is absolutely no scientific or medical proof.
You know something is wrong. You can’t help but read or hear about it in the news. As Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus stated, “From entertainment to news, television is enthralled, awe-struck and dazzled by the mysteries of virtually anything that smacks of psychiatry or psychology.” The statistics and statements poured out on major talk-shows, morning news and magazine talk-shows by these “experts,” he says, “present as scientific ‘fact’ what might well be only a scientific fiction.”
Report any lie or misinformation psychiatrists forward in the media (or elsewhere) and CCHR shall investigate the truth and report both the false report and the facts that counter the lie on our website.
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