Black Lives Matter: Schizophrenia – from sexist to racist.

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In case you had any doubts, mental health disorders are socially constructed and reflect a job of the mental health profession to enforce the dominant cultural norms. The disorders and their check list criteria are voted on by psychiatrists, who by the way are largely being paid by drug companies. I recently re-listened to a Madness Radio interview available as a podcast as well as here of the psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl, author of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia became a Black Disease.

I wanted to remind myself of some of the things I previously heard about Schizophrenia before the 1960’s being associated with frail or nervous housewives who were distressed about their role or embarrassing their husbands. These days there is a common association of violence with the Schizophrenia diagnosis. How did that happen? Could it be systemic racism?

The interview highlights how in the 1960’s there was an increase in the professional literature of case studies of angry black male protesters suffering from new manifestations of Schizophrenia with symptoms such as hostility, aggression, and violence. Then in 1968, aggression and hostility were added to the schizophrenia diagnosis in the DSM manual of mental disorders.

Dr. Metzl discussed how black protesters were locked away in mental institutions. Black men would experience paranoia about the police and doctors, another symptom of schizophrenia. Black Lives Matter protesters in the past couple of weeks have brought to light the black and brown people’s justified fear of police, not paranoia.

Hearing Voices Movement article published by American Counseling Association

In the Hearing Voices Movement, people are experiencing profound and substantial recovery after experiences that usually get labeled psychosis in clinical settings. Experiences such as having visions, experiencing different realities, and hearing voices. It felt so important to bring awareness of this world-wide established and growing approach to wellness to clinicians, so I wrote an article specifically for the American Counseling Association that was published by them as an online exclusive last month and is available here.

If the meds can kill you maybe they really are poison.

Along my grad school mental health counseling studies the textbooks mention that patients with psychosis will often call the antipsychotic medications poison. The professional response is to give them the shaming label – lack of insight. The documentary Cause of Death: Unknown explores and explains how pharmaceutical companies (Pharma) have put billions of dollars of profit over people and misled the doctors and the public knowingly leading to the death of thousands of our children, our veterans, our elderly, and disabled. The antipsychotic medications can gum up people’s metabolism and can suddenly stop the heart dead.

This is a timely film during the opioid crisis where so many of the pharmaceutical companies knowingly deceived doctors and patients to hook the public on opioids and make more profit knowing more people would die from the drugs. The next opioid crisis is already here with psychiatric medications for which Pharma used the same tactics.

That is not to say the medications do not have value for a small percentage of the people or for the much shorter evidence based duration than they end up being used for. But with Pharma or Pharma paid researchers almost exclusively doing the research, critical research on how to get people off of medications is still lacking.

Recently a New Yorker article highlighted this and how psychiatrists themselves who find themselves unable to get off of medications have had to turn to the ex-patient community to learn how to get off. Pharma misled doctors telling them patients trying to come off medications had a return of symptoms of illness when getting to low doses of the medications, but often it is withdrawal symptoms (they call discontinuation syndrome) from the medications due to tolerance (they call neuroadaptation) that lasts much longer than doctors were told. To come off people often have to detox from the medications painfully slow sometimes taking years and miniscule doses, but people with all diagnoses have come off of medications successfully. Without proper information and preparation, withdrawing too quickly from some medications can have serious consequences up to and including death. The Withdrawal Project is a modern recent online platform for citizen research on psychiatric medication withdrawal mentioned in The New Yorker article to assist with more accurate information on how to prepare to come off.

If you are curious about these issues, Cause of Death: Unknown is a timely film that begins to explore some truth that you will not hear in mainstream media until public awareness reaches a tipping point. Another news site to explore these topics is the online magazine Mad In America that presents research, alternatives, and success stories of people who have found a way out of Pharma created American Hell.