Bad psych ideas are hard to kill–consider the street crazy

I was in New York as an intern during the times when crazies were allowed to roam, the early 70s. I lived in the part of Manhattan where the rag men would accost you to clean your windows. I was on Central Park West one day when a crazy man, maybe the Larry Hogue mentioned in this essay, was creating a scene in the street. He had actually stopped traffic and no one took him in and put him in a cell until something could be done to tone down his behavior. Big deal at that time–do your own thing, anything goes–who knows who’s crazy after all, said some.

After I went into practice in the 70s, I ran into the deinstitutionalization crusade of the 70s, Nebraska was one place where it was hot, they closed down the home at Beatrice for the retarded. I dealt with the anguish of parents of the retarded and severely mentally ill who were getting old and worried about their adult retarded and disabled children. They didn’t trust the new “community care plans” populated and run by political hacks and crusaders, not people care givers.

Most of the deinstitutionalization crusade was fueled by the antagonism to the “medical model” the left hated so much.

Got started because writers made the institutions sound so cruel. Problem is aesthetics–if you go to a nursing home you see people who are disabled–if you are unfamiliar with that you think–must be because they aren’t treated right and you write a book–they need to live normal lives and live in the community.

As a “medical model” provider I always thought the problem was they were antagonistic to professionals. DIY was their schtick. I knew some people who couldn’t get their lives straight who worked as community mental health, mental retardation workers and it was uneven at best how they handled their work. My experience with institutional workers was they seemed to comfortable and committed in most cases, certainly not monsters.

Here’s the latest from New York–they want to make the community the mental hospital. Ambitious plans and no more “punishing” the crazies or the severely disabled or keeping them from their freedom.

Would they suggest the community for people who are old, demented and disabled? No, but they would let loose in the community people who are young psychotic, disruptive, sometimes dangerous to others and definitely dangerous to themselves.

Judges can adjudicate people to force them to take medications required to keep them straight–if they will.

Community programs are often just baby sitting to assuage the people who hate the medical model and institutions, but that’s a matter of taste isn’t it?

The Activists always complain that institutions are bad, but my experience is that institutions can be the ideal place for the severely mentally disabled, just like residential and then nursing homes are the best answer for people declining from age and dementia.

At one time in my career I was Medical Director of a number of nursing homes. My mother had a great residential nursing home in her last years–wonderful dedicated people.

Commies always think they have a better idea and the Mayor of NY is a commie. Let’s put em in the community with relatively untrained baby sitters. It will make us feel better–Did you ever see One Flew Over. . . that is what we don’t want–crazy is just a point of view, isn’t it? RD Laing and Thomas Szasz taught us crazy doesn’t exist.

Except, I assure you, if you have a schizophrenic or real manic-depressive in the family–you will be a believer in psychiatry. Spend a couple of hours with a psychotic and Laing and Szasz will sound pretty hollow.

These programs better have something more than a kiss and a promise or NYC will be a kind of stinky nasty place for the street people .

Now that DeBlasio has given the criminals a release from broken windows, how far down do you think NY will go?

I visited NY when Dinkins was mayor and I remember the stickers on car windows–no radio. I had been away and didn’t realize that petty crime was that bad. Murder and violent crime went up with the petty.

http://www.city-journal.org/printable.php?id=12163

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13 responses to “Bad psych ideas are hard to kill–consider the street crazy

  1. Great article. That’s you writing, right, John? Not James Panero (author of the city-journal article), right?

  2. that’s me writing, i had personal experiences that pertained.

    panero wrote a good essay though.

  3. One day in Denver, I was waiting for a bus when I noticed this emaciated ragged woman roaming the streets. It had rained shortly before and she was thirsty. I watched in horror as she knelt down and drank out of the gutter. Thanks ACLU.

  4. As I recall, the “homeless” problem started showing up shortly after the institutions closed. The idea was, that ppl with psychiatric or other mental disabilities would live in the community and get the support they needed. The support never materialized, but the institutions closed anyway, and now we have seemingly insurmountable numbers living on the street.

  5. ‘… I assure you, if you have a schizophrenic or real manic-depressive in the family–you will be a believer in psychiatry. Spend a couple of hours with a psychotic and Laing and Szasz will sound pretty hollow. …’-?? The garden variety, mainstream bio psychiatry you’re referring to is the only specialization in medicine that has a large, and ever growing number of groups and individuals, with lived experience, who are outraged by the pseudo scientific fraud, stigmatizing labeling process (no ‘diagnostic’ skill here), coercion, forced “treatment”, violations of human-civil-medical choice, violations of willing/knowing informed consent, and above all- the increasing well documented “treatment” harms and risks that you apparently advocate a belief in Doctor. Some of us are also outraged that anyone calling him/herself a physician would fail to acknowledge the significance of the direct observations/experiences and independent research leading to the above groups and individuals advocating for reform/watchdog activism, whether “liberal”, “conservative”, or from any other category you wish to place people in.

    The psychiatry in the mainstream you refer to is the most degraded thing that has ever developed in the medical profession, and should have been abolished by the end of WW2 considering it’s direct influence in what led to the Holocaust. What do you think of the public apology issued by the President of the German Psychiatric Association in 2010 for psychiatry’s history, Dr John 1282? Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

    Physician/authors presenting as you are here, Dr John 1282, have turned a blind eye to that history, it’s influences on current practices, and above all your Oaths, professional standards and the scientific integrity of your profession. We watchdog/activist types are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself again- the survival of many of us is at stake, those of us who have been lucky enough to survive, and refute your advocacy for a belief in your psychiatry.

    Lieberman and Biederman are more the ones sounding “hollow” Doctor, not Laing and Szasz.

    That’s my spiel for you Doctor, but I’ll throw in a bonus, brief personal history for your, and your believers consideration (my own)________________

    I was originally “diagnosed” about 40+ years ago at age 20 with “schizophrenia”, near the inception of yet another DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), by a deceptive, “snake oil” peddling psychiatrist who (never the less) told my family he thought my “euphoria”, perceptual distortions, insomnia and other mental/emotional experiences requiring his “care” resulted from taking LSD and other hallucinigens (he had been informed), which I had and discontinued about 2 years before (I also probably had many other toxic drugs acting on my body/mind/emotions, or in withdrawal from, due to an operation I had within 2 months of his slanderous “diagnosis”, including codine, Demerol, morphine, and Darvon.) _____________________________________

    Instead of doing what a rational and ethical physician would have done- recommend detox, nutritional changes, exercise programs, rest, and possibly a short term mild sedative to help with insomnia and other symptoms- he blasted me with heavy doses of thorazine, haldol, depakote, ritalin, tofrinol, valium and possibly others for 2 1/2 months in his asylum, and beyond for approx. 2 more years. The first dose was with a veterinarian sized syringe for large animals, at least several days before I even met the “man” (psychiatrist)- I was neither violent, suicidal, or threatening to self and/or others, and walked in and signed in to his “hospital” voluntarily (deception, coercion…). ______________________

    One day he boastfully stated he was giving me (under absolute coercion, including threat of ECT-Electro Convulsive “Therapy”, 1st concocted for humans by a psychiatrist watching it done on pigs before slaughter to make them more “compliant”, and more permanent internment in a State “hospital”) enough thorazine to knock a horse out in the middle of the track! (In front of a group of student nurses about my age, some I recognized from my fairly small town- another indicator of his high level of “medical” ethics).____________________________________________

    This “doctor” also had supportive encouragement from a cousin of mine who hardly knew me, a prominent psychiatrist from UCLA, U of Arizona etc, who reportedly did research for US military and/or Dept of Psychological Warfare interests. My “doctor” cousin became a wealthy man with his psychiatric career and probable taxpayer money, defrauding unwitting, vulnerable people like myself and family out of their lives, health and futures- as he went from a fairly poor mid-western, small town backround to a residence in Belaire, CA, a neighbor of Johnny Carson. _______________________________________________
    The ‘treatment’ disrupted and limited me greatly for most of the next 10 years of my early adult life, before I found a detox program and some other things that helped me recover emotionally, mentally, physically,perceptually, and in rehabbing my energy-physical and mental. I am lucky to have survived, many haven’t.________________________

    This highly credentialed, psychiatrist/institution “Medical Director”, with a long practitioner and academic career who came with the “highest recommendations”, confessed to me on our last meeting (over 2 years after I became his “patient”) that he really never had any idea about what really happened to me that wound me up in his ‘care’, what the ‘illness’ was(and if that is what it was) or how to ‘treat’ it, and told me if anyone ever did it would be myself- I believe he wanted to clear his conscience after practicing the psychiatry for many years, and found me useful as a “confessional”, as well as a has been “cash cow”. I now realize he was also confessing the fraudulent, spurious, and deceptive nature of his psychiatry (never acknowledging the harms).___________________________________

    This confession came AFTER the collection of thousands of dollars from insurance and out of my parents pockets, the destruction of my body, vitality and abilities, and the deception of myself-family and others- over 2 years from the date he first ‘diagnosed’ and practiced his trade on me. ____________________
    I’ve had a few ‘spills’ in more recent years too, I think probably “after shocks” or protracted withdrawal from those years (psychiatry calls them “relapses” or emerging new “mental ills”), but have pulled myself through relatively quickly- only because of my rejection of psychiatry, it’s toxic “treatments”, and the help of some dedicated individuals and alternatives countering the harms/iatrogenic effects of psychiatry. ___________________________________________Although my psychiatrist knew of my LSD… and (I assume) other recent medical history, his “diagnosis” concluded I was “mentally ill”, not suffering from the known effects/toxicity/symptoms of the drugs I had taken. Of course the good doctor would have been out of a “healing income” had he not arrived at a “psychiatric diagnosis” (and my life following his “treatment” may have been a lot more healthful, successful and fulfilled)._____________________________________________________

    And Doctor John 1282, I wasn’t even stopping traffic or threatening to wash your windows-
    Jim Keiser, pg admin Mental health/psychiatric watchdog & reform activity(Facebook)

  6. I’m having a hard time understanding how someone who calls themselves a physician would write such a diatribe filled with stereotypes. Commies, Crazy, who would want to encounter this guy in a doctors’ office? Not me. As far as how wonderful it was for his mother to spend her last days in a nursing home, I have a gut feeling she might not report the same rosy feelings her son seems to have about her end of life experience. I report on elder abuse in nursing homes and the top abuser is psychiatry, which this “doctor” seems to trust to clean up the streets of New York. Grace Jackson MD wrote a great book, which I urge this writer to read called, “Drug Induced Dementia; The Perfect Crime”….but somehow I don’t think he will be interested. Haters just wanna hate. What astounds me most is his conclusion based on his experience going into these places as a doctor. Wow! I am So Surprised that he thinks everything is hunky dory. Doc, here’s a piece of advice. Read about the Rosenhan experiment. Or…..admit yourself to a psych hospital and tell them that you hear a voice that says, “Thud”. The outcome of that experiment shows that the Emperor (Psychiatry) has no clothes. What this doctor is suggesting is that civil liberties be determined by doctors and judges. Let’s just throw the principle of rule of law out the window. Who really cares about those pesky civil liberties and constitutional rights? I will tell you who; all the people who have ever fought for this country, whether that be in the military, or as an activist defending the powerless. Civil Rights Matter. Last point, regarding Laing and Szasz. Apparently this doctor is unfamiliar with Szasz, and that makes sense. The “medical model” he keeps mentioning is the hypothesis that so-called mental illnesses are brain diseases. There is zero medical evidence to support that hypothesis despite fifty years of research including The Human Genome Project, so what is the “medical” model he is thinks should trump rule of law?

  7. There are so many things wrong with this article.

    Psychiatry and their DSM; the DSM is a book that has no pathology behind anything in it and medical tests are basically never used for anything in it.

    The issue is not the closing down of institutions, it is that the drug industry only cares about profits and abuses those that fall through the cracks. They claim drugs balance things, but many cases the drugs actually make people worse or simply comatose. Medically those tests that could prove balancing is really taking place are shunned because they prove the opposite. Mental health today is a dead end that only leads to profit for some crooks. So many false claims are made and now it is becoming popular to drug infants with these mind altering drugs.

    The issue isn’t a lack of institutions for people, it is a broken medical system in America that is more focused on greed then really helping people. At least when people are on the street they aren’t warehoused to live out their illness in secret. At least people have to look at what happens to those whom get physically ill with a lack of treatment that leads to their deterioration or fall through the cracks in society.

    Those who advocate for people to be out of sight and out of mind, need their heads examined. Clearly there is something wrong with them, in their lack of awareness or apathy.

  8. “I’m having a hard time understanding how someone who calls themselves a physician would write such a diatribe filled with stereotypes. Commies, Crazy, who would want to encounter this guy in a doctors’ office? Not me.

    As far as how wonderful it was for his mother to spend her last days in a nursing home, I have a gut feeling she might not report the same rosy feelings her son seems to have about her end of life experience. I report on elder abuse in nursing homes and the top abuser is psychiatry, which this “doctor” seems to trust to clean up the streets of New York.

    Grace Jackson MD wrote a great book, which I urge this writer to read called, “Drug Induced Dementia; The Perfect Crime”….but somehow I don’t think he will be interested. Haters just wanna hate. What astounds me most is his conclusion based on his experience going into these places as a doctor. Wow! I am So Surprised that he thinks everything is hunky dory.

    Doc, here’s a piece of advice. Read about the Rosenhan experiment. Or…..admit yourself to a psych hospital and tell them that you hear a voice that says, “Thud”. The outcome of that experiment shows that the Emperor (Psychiatry) has no clothes.

    What this doctor is suggesting is that civil liberties be determined by doctors and judges. Let’s just throw the principle of rule of law out the window. Who really cares about those pesky civil liberties and constitutional rights? I will tell you who; all the people who have ever fought for this country, whether that be in the military, or as an activist defending the powerless. Civil Rights Matter.

    Last point, regarding Laing and Szasz. Apparently this doctor is unfamiliar with Szasz, and that makes sense. The “medical model” he keeps mentioning is the hypothesis that so-called mental illnesses are brain diseases. There is zero medical evidence to support that hypothesis despite fifty years of research including The Human Genome Project, so what is the “medical” model he is thinks should trump rule of law?”- Nancy Rubenstein Delgiudice

  9. Phil Stalheim-
    ‘There are so many things wrong with this article.

    Psychiatry and their DSM; the DSM is a book that has no pathology behind anything in it and medical tests are basically never used for anything in it.

    The issue is not the closing down of institutions, it is that the drug industry only cares about profits and abuses those that fall through the cracks. They claim drugs balance things, but many cases the drugs actually make people worse or simply comatose. Medically those tests that could prove balancing is really taking place are shunned because they prove the opposite. Mental health today is a dead end that only leads to profit for some crooks. So many false claims are made and now it is becoming popular to drug infants with these mind altering drugs.

    The issue isn’t a lack of institutions for people, it is a broken medical system in America that is more focused on greed then really helping people. At least when people are on the street they aren’t warehoused to live out their illness in secret. At least people have to look at what happens to those whom get physically ill with a lack of treatment that leads to their deterioration or fall through the cracks in society.

    Those who advocate for people to be out of sight and out of mind, need their heads examined. Clearly there is something wrong with them, in their lack of awareness or apathy.’

  10. I get the feeling I am being trolled by people who want the crazies in the streets and think there is nothing crazy about crazy.

    I particularly am impressed with the cogent and evidence based discussions from the medical model haters.

    They are in a dream world and there is no coming back.

    What do they know about anything but their biases and anxieties.

    • Some of us know first hand about YOUR sort of ‘biases and anxieties’, and prejudices you express here and in your article doctor- from lived experiences we survived, but not without harms far outweighing the benefits of your probable bio-babble psychiatric advocacy.

      You’re possibly in your own arrogant ‘dream world’ with your reply here, via an indoctrination, not an education, into your subjective concepts of ‘crazy’, whatever distorted views they’re from. However, some of us realize there are many in your medical ‘profession’ who put profits and special interests ahead of their patients’ best interests, human-civil-patient rights and desires for themselves.

      Your lack of a respectful and personal response to ANY of the points in the comments I posted confirm, at this writing, the statement I made in my 1st comment: “Physician/authors presenting as you are here, Dr John 1282, have turned a blind eye to that history(psychiatry’s), it’s influences on current practices, and above all your Oaths, professional standards and the scientific integrity of your profession.” Nothing new or enlightening in your reply Dr John 1282.

      But I’m pleased that you are “impressed with the cogent and evidence based discussions”, thank you.

      However, you’re writing for an organization called “Junk Science”????

  11. When the ideas, values, and speech of the other side are seen not just as wrong but as willfully aggressive toward innocent victims, it is hard to imagine the kind of mutual respect, negotiation, and compromise that are needed to make politics a positive-sum game. Rather than trying to protect students from words and ideas that they will inevitably encounter, colleges should do all they can to equip students to thrive in a world full of words and ideas that they cannot control.

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