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James Panero
A New Moral Treatment « Back to Story

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No doubt there is a much greater problem today with mental health. It is disturbing to me that no one talks about the contributions of the sixties drug culture. Find me one young person who can say they never experimented with mind altering drugs. How much do you think this contributes to the problem?
I mean psychotropic medicines, and Amen Psyche Survivor.

90% of school shootings or more are attributed to SSRI's.

According to the World Health Organization, schizophrenics in third world countries like Nigeria and India live 10-20 years longer than those in first world countries like the USA.

what do these statistics have in common?

psychotropic meds.

They don't work in most cases and are extremely harmful to the body.

I have seizures today, which is not being treated because of a very rude neurologist, because I went into Effexor withdrawal and I could not get treatment from a PCP or an ER. All I got was laughs
It was the creation of drugs, not institutionalization that brought about such a rise in violent mental illness.

These incidents suggest a correlation between deinstitutionalization and violent crime, a relationship that Torrey and others confirm. According to a report issued by the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a think tank founded by Torrey, several studies have shown that “having fewer public psychiatric beds was statistically associated with increased rates of homicide.” Christopher Ferguson, an associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M, has written in Time that the rise of mass homicide “began in the late 1960s and coincided with the deinstitutionalization movement, when mental asylums were closed down and services diminished.”

Correlation does equal causation. Fewer beds do not mean more violent crime. That is a fallacy of logic. You do not have to treat a schizophrenic with thorazine to calm them down.
I don’t think many would take out time to consider about the environment and treatment provided to the mentally challenged people. To speak honestly it struck me as a surprise too, but after having gone through this article it gives me the glimpses of the added agony patients most probably have been bearing. Let’s sincerely hope and pray that they may properly be provided for.

I'm afraid that the best solution is care by the family and other close loved ones. It is a burden to be sure - but the idea of sending the mentally ill to the care of the government has been proven, over and over again, to be a huge mistake. We must acknowledge that mental illness exists, and that they are our brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and members of our families that deserve love and care.
There are some people, non-criminals, who actually require "social control", for there own sake and the good of everyone else.
The question is where this should take place.
Nice article. Hit most of the right notes. If there was one missing, it is the role of SAMHSA. While responsible for mental health policy in US, they only have two psychiatrists among their 600 person staff. They fund groups that oppose treatment and encourage states to adopt non science based approaches. It is hard to imagine conditions improving until this agency is eliminated or massively reoriented.
DJ Jaffe
Exec. Dir.
Mental Illness Policy Org.
While I agree with the view that laws deeming mental illness patients not be allowed to own gun could be used as a vehicle to take guns away from those that are clinically depressed, hopefully we can all agree that people hearing voices or hallucinating should not own weapons. So, again the answer is in the middle. The problem with blaming big pharma drugs is knowing whether or not the patient quit taking their medication.

In my case, my family member was repeatedly kicked out of care once they seemed stable. Just because you may be hearing voices doesn't mean you are stupid. Many realize that they must pretent the voice of God telling them what to do doesn't exist if they have a hope of being released and they simply pretend they are ok for a few hours and are released.

For my family member, change never really occurred until the insurance company got tired of paying for brief hospitalizations with no improvement that they finally authorized a longer hospitalization that allowed the psychiatrists to try different medications and found one that worked.
It worked until the liberals took over in the 1960s.
Add this to list of violent mentally ill:
If I recall correctly, the paranoid schizophrenic man's mother had tried to have him committed somewhere because she knew he had quit taking his meds and was dangerous.
This is nothing but a biased, anti human rights hit piece on the rights of people labeled 'mentally ill'. Calling for us to be rounded up like dogs. We will continue to fight for our human rights in the face of hateful demagogues who seek to use psychiatry as a social control tool, and to punish the innocent for the crimes of a few. No other minority in society is subjected openly to calls for wide scale internment, just because some in the minority commit crimes. Shame on you. It is not 'moral' to institute a system of pre-crime imprisonment.
Family Survivor June 02, 2013 at 2:00 PM
One day my son was fine and the next day he wasn't. He has not been himself for 21 years. He is coping with the right meds but not having the life he wanted to live.
We have tried everything, no meds, therapy, peer counseling, group therapy, residential programs, CBT, DBT and he is still suffering from horrible delusions. The meds he takes are the only thing that keeps him in the community but he knows that people think he is crazy and also knows he is not contributing to society. I worked in a large county mental health dept in California for 13 years and I saw how severly mentally ill people suffered. Their families suffered along with them. The so called mental health professionals were unkind and disrectful. The mentally ill are the most discrimated group in the USA no matter what their color or ethnic backgroup. Something needs to be done differently and the recovery movement has been a failure with the seriously mentally ill as I witnessed at so many memorial services. I would recommend reading Elyn Saks book, "The Center Cannot Hold" and with the early help she got in the UK even with schizophrenia she has made a life for herself and admits to taking clozapine.
Ilene Flannery Wells,

E Fuller Torrey, a big proponent of Anosognosia, is committing one of the must blunt fallacies in medicine. Anosognosia is technically used to describe unawareness of impairment after brain injury or stroke.

Pro psychiatry zealots want to use it to describe lack of insight into so called "mental illness". Here is the thing though. While there is no doubt about the biological causes of impairment due to brain injury or stroke, now everybody who is somebody in psychiatry agrees that all DSM labels are made up. So how can you lack insight into something that is made up that has not been shown to have a biological basis?
Ilene Flannery Wells June 01, 2013 at 8:32 AM
My brother was committed at the end.of the era of such commitals. He was just 17 in 1977, but very delusional...and no medications did anything to set his brain to right. He was very easily agitated into fights...pulled knives on us...and was in a constant state of delusion that lasted for 32 years.

We saw the conditions of the state hospitals...saw them close...moving Paul to another hospital which has since closed as well.

We witnessed how the Paul's of the world were treated in the "outside" when he was released after 20 yrs...still in an almost constant state of delusion, with serious cognitive impairments...but treated as a fully functioning, fully recovered, adult...and it sent him in a roller coaster ride to hell and back, and got him re-institutionalized....

What is happening is that the most severely ill among us are allowed to "hit bottom", most commonly because they are unaware of their illness...a condition called Anosognosia, and in many cases, their cognitive disabilities are ignored as well. All in the name of patient driven care and civil liberty. This is actually causing loss if life, liberty and the pursuit if did in my brother's case and I know of many others.

You are giving psychiatry a validity and accuracy it doesn't have, as in,

" And there was nothing anyone could do to stop him until he was actually caught, because 'most likely', even based on the judgement of a trained medical professional, is not enough to allow authorities to take steps to protect society from such an individual."

I was destined to become "homeless" according to the shrinks that forced their quackery on me. Years after I went off drugs, my standard of living is higher. My income puts me as upper middle class in the US. What my contact with psychiatry brought me was a destruction of my social life. That's it.

The myth that psychiatrists are able to predict who's likely to become violent/homeless is just that, a myth. More importantly, it is a blunt violation of individual freedom.

Statistically speaking you could cut gun violence, and public poverty, by at least half by preemptively locking in ALL (not just a few but ALL) young Blacks who live in inner cities. Yet we don't do it because it is understood that until they commit a crime, these young men have a constitutional right to liberty.

You want to take away from those labelled by the DSM quacks their freedom in spite of the fact that the prevalence of violence among those labelled is lower than among blacks. That's a very nonsensical proposition.

First they came for the schizophrenic,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t schizophrenic.

Then they came for the OCD,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t OCD.

Then they came for the homosexuals,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t gay.

Then they came for those who were grieving the loved of a lost one for more than two weeks,
and I didn’t speak out because nobody closed to me had died.

Then they came for those who eat too much,
and I didn’t speak out because I eat healthy.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
I posted this personal experience of mine in City Journal some time ago, but I think that it is relevant and bears repeating.
Some years ago I worked at a residential treatment center in Westchester County, NY. The residents were children and adolescents between the ages of eight and eighteen, i.e. legally 'children'. Most had been remanded there by the courts for reasons running from drug abuse, lack of parental supervision all the way to killing pets and even homicide.
One particularly angry and violence-prone young man, about thirteen years of age, and small for his age, but very strong, had to be summarily expelled from the school and sent to a state hospital because he had begun to sexually molest some of the other patients.
At our regular staff meeting right after the young man had been sent to the state hospital, one of the staff asked the chief M.D. psychiatrist what would happen to the young man. The physician was quite familiar with the boy's background, his rage, his illness, and his acting out. Very calmly and very matter of factly, the chief psychiatrist told us that the young man would most likely remain in the state hospital, heavily medicated, until he reached legal majority. Then he would be released into the community with a bottle of pills, a prescription for more, a Medicaid card, and the name and phone number of a Medicaid psychiatrist in his home town. What the young man would then do would be to sell the bottle of pills and the prescription on the street somewhere and then just disappear into the general population. He would most likely work at menial jobs such as dishwasher or day laborer, making enough money to support his basic needs. He would also, most likely, become a silent serial killer, stalking and killing his victims, possibly one or two a year, probably women or smaller males, as he traveled around country, and would continue this life until he was either caught or died. And there was nothing anyone could do to stop him until he was actually caught, because 'most likely', even based on the judgement of a trained medical professional, is not enough to allow authorities to take steps to protect society from such an individual.

Typo below,

I meant, of course,

Further communication with James (only my contributions and edited so there is NO room to to see his comments).
Further communication with James (only my contributions and edited so there is room to to see his comments).


And something else. What people like you, who have fallen for E Fuller Torrey lies, do not understand is that Fuller Torrey has pinata status in the survivor movement.

It's the single person that represents better than anybody else everything that is wrong with psychiatry, including how somebody can go, if you pay him high enough, from writing an anti psychiatry book to being a proponent of forced drugging. It's what GW Bush is to liberals and Obama is to conservatives: the very incarnation of everything we see wrong with psychiatry.

Here is where we stand today,

- On April 29th 2013, the director of the NIMH, Tom Insel, issued a statement condemning the DSM for lack of validity

- The APA reacted in panic, with the chairman of the DSM-5 task force releasing a response affirming

"The promise of the science of mental disorders is great. In the future, we hope to be able to identify disorders using biological and genetic markers that provide precise diagnoses that can be delivered with complete reliability and validity. Yet this promise, which we have anticipated since the 1970s, remains disappointingly distant. We’ve been telling patients for several decades that we are waiting for biomarkers. We’re still waiting."

- While people like you defend forced drugging and preemptive locking, to have a candid conversation of the matter, one needs to tune Al Jazeera, where the chairman of the DSM - IV task force, Allen Frances, discussed the sad state of affairs .

So while the top dogs in psychiatry (Insel, Kupfer, Allen Frances) have a controversy about the very notion of what is "mental illness", you want to give these people unlimited power to decide who should be locked in.

If you want to prevent violence, preemptively locking in young blacks in the inner cities will have a much deeper effect than locking in those that the APA quacks label "mentally ill".

The anecdotal cases that you brought only support the notion that drugging people with drugs that incite to violence has devastating effects.


You have fallen for the fallacy that was beautifully debunked here,

You are basically defending making it easier to lock in people like me who have been labelled as "mentally ill" (note that I reject the notion that my fear to HIV is an "illness", and now, after the Insel controversy there is at least agreement that that label is not rooted in biology).

My parents/ex-wife were told by the psychiatrists that locked me in that I was destined to become homeless. That was the justification that was used against me. A totally unwarranted prediction since several years later, I am free of drugs and my standard of living is actually higher than when this thing occurred.

What my "forced" contact with psychiatry brought me was a humiliation unlike nothing I have ever known, a divorce, estrangement from my parents and almost a kidney/liver transplant. That's hardly humane.

Now you want to make it easier to force that quackery onto me and other that me. As I said, I will join the Democratic Party, and volunteer for their candidates is that's what it takes to stop your proposals.

I don't think there is real disagreement here.

My main point is that psychiatry should be deprived of ALL its coercive powers. Even those currently sanctioned in the US are, from my point of view, abusive, even though they are a marked improvement vs what exits in Europe.

The US already has laws that criminalize making "criminal threats" and the like. To be locked in for that, you need to be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. A label of so called "mental illness" lowers it from "beyond reasonable doubt" to "clear and convincing evidence" (1979).

Conservatives think that by pushing for DSM-5 psychiatry they will be able to effectively fight gun control while the opposite is true. DSM-5 diagnosis, that is estimated to affect 50% of Americans, will be used to take away their guns and more.

Very pathetic.
James replied to me (I am not reproducing that) but here comes my reply to him.



Thank you for your note. I am deeply saddened to see conservatives falling for this scam. You are giving psychiatry a reliability and validity that it doesn't have.

That has been agreed this month by both Tom Insel (director of the NIMH) as well as by David Kupfer (chairman of the DSM-5 task force). The lack of reliability of DSM diagnosis is one of the reasons cited in the O'Connor v. Donaldson decision,

"A finding of "mental illness" alone cannot justify a State's locking a person up against his will and keeping him indefinitely in simple custodial confinement. Assuming that that term can be given a reasonably precise content and that the "mentally ill" can be identified with reasonable accuracy, there is still no constitutional basis for confining such persons involuntarily if they are dangerous to no one and can live safely in freedom."

I can bore you with studies that debunk the notion that psychiatry can "reliably predict violence" or that there is high correlation between so called "schizophrenia and diagnosis", but I won't.

The real scandal here is that Big Pharma makes 80 billion dollars a year out of drugs that have been demonstrably to be no better than placebos and that increase the risk of violence in people,

CBS' 60 minutes special,

"An internal document purportedly from Eli Lilly and Co. made public Monday appears to show that the drug maker had data more than 15 years ago showing that patients on its antidepressant Prozac were far more likely to attempt suicide and show hostility than were patients on other antidepressants and that the company attempted to minimize public awareness of the side effects."

The protections against psychiatry in the US exist for a reason. And these protections as they are is the difference between me living a careless life, all while complying with existing law, and living fearful of being sent back to the psychiatric ward (as many with whom I shared the experience had: their only reason for being there is that they had decided to stop to take their meds).

Why is that conservatives are so open to E Fuller Torrey's scam is beyond me. In his case he has a personal economic agenda (so much so that he reversed himself on the matter). But you guys, why?
I went to medical school in the early 1970's--just at the end of the institutionalization era. The corner stone of the county hospital read: Douglas County Pest House and Insane Asylum 1868. (the date may be wrong)

At that time we were just entering the age of modern antipsychotics and there was much hope for Haldol. I never witnessed a frontal lobotomy although they were still performed, but I was an unwitting participant in several insulin and electroshock therapies. Brutal.

Douglas County had a huge budget to purchase Greyhound Bus tickets for these homeless drifters--"pick a direction, North, East, West or South and we will push you 1000 miles away." It worked.

The shrinks in charge of the mental wards were concerned with deinstitutionalization and I remember a series of well publicized murders in 1974-75 amongst the recently deinstitutionalized. The most famous occurred in a car on the freeway. The newly discharged mentally ill father was driving, his wife in the front seat and his 9 year old daughter asked a question: "Where are we going Mommy?" Her answer was: "We are going crazy" The driver pulled a knife from under his seat and killed his wife while driving...

The shrinks also described the phenomena of institutionalization of the patients and expressed concern over their future, but it was a mixed bag, the conditions portrayed in One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest were real and the potential for sadism amongst the staff was real. It would be extraordinarily easy to use a psychiatric hospital as prison ward for dissenters.

Hard questions, difficult answers.
To Bob From Clovis:
In my region of the country, it came out a few years ago that judges were indiscriminately sending kids to juvy for kickbacks. Thousands of them.
To Psych Survivor:
I agree that drugs can cause these psychotic episodes, but I worry sometimes given some of the people I know in the field and their personalities that they might use the vulnerability the drugs cause in patients to make them suggestible to murder and other crimes. Just to get their jollies or university/govt funding or whatever. The field attracts the sadistic in my experience, even in the US.
Christine Woodall May 30, 2013 at 4:19 AM
I think that one of the shames of our culture is the abandonment of the mentally ill. Why we have left the jails and prisons to care for them is horrifying. We really need to do something and create and environment to truly help them. We also need to realize this is an actual brain disease and the idea that someone with a brain disease can't make good decisions about their own care.
These types of articles are always presupposing that psychiatry is moral or even has any sort of actual basis in reality. It is such a subjective "science" that lowering the rational barriers that have been set for a reason can make it very likely that even the author of this article could be committed involuntarily for having an opinion different from the prevailing leadership, career or marriage plans that your family doesn't like, or even just garden variety beliefs of any kind. In many of the worst totalitarian societies of the last century used psychs as an arm of the state quite effectively. The naive masses were probably pretty sure they deserved it too and that it was for their "protection."

In the view of too many pushing the views put forward in this article, there's nary a word about Dr. Ewen Cameron or others like him. See Dr. Peter Breggin's Toxic Psychiatry, Dr. Colin Ross' CIA Doctors and other good exposes by the doctors themselves for details. Furthermore, any review of the discussion over the DSM manuals ought to make one pause about assuming "mental illness" is easily discovered and cured. No one even knows what the hell it is other than merely than in the eye of the beholder.
Great article, except for one omission: No article on deinstitutionalization is complete without the work of Gerald N.Grob ::
And something else,

"The list includes Seung-Hui Cho, who in 2007 killed 32 and injured 24 at Virginia Tech; Jared Lee Loughner, a diagnosed schizophrenic who in 2011 killed six people and injured 14, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords; and possibly James Holmes, who is currently awaiting trial for opening fire in 2012 on a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring at least 58. It may include, too, Adam Lanza, who last December killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. While Lanza’s condition at the time of the shootings remains a mystery, it has already been determined that he had a history of mental disorder."

Actually, what these crimes, to which I would add the Columbine killing, suggest is a strong correlation between usage of psychiatric drugs and propensity to violence (all these guys were at the time they committed their crimes, or had been previously taking the very same drugs E Fuller Torrey wants to impose onto innocent victims).

This is consistent with,

- A 2009 study carried out by Oxford University scholars that found "There is an association between schizophrenia and violent crime, but it is minimal unless there are also drug or alcohol problems, a large-scale study led by Oxford University has shown. "

- The data on suicide that the CDC made public this year. Between 1999 and 2009, the rate of suicide increase 28 %. During this same time, more Americans were taking psychiatric medications than ever before. It is not even hard to claim that this data shows that psychiatry is responsible for thousands of deaths every year: those who take their own lives under the influence of SSRIs and the like, and those who go into killing sprees pushed by the same drugs.

E Fuller Torrey and his propagandists have it completely backwards. Again, I am having a hard time understanding what business is it of conservatives defending this crook.

I have nothing against people voluntarily engaging in the pseudo science of their choice, be it psychiatry, homeopathy or astrology. However, that is not what this article is about. This is about making the abuse that I endured in Europe possible here in the United States under a false pretense . That must be resisted.

And as I said, I will campaign for any Democrat that defends everything else that I oppose (gay marriage, abortion, you name it) if lowering the standard of civil commitment ever became part of the GOP platform. It's the tranquility that I have as American that is at stake here.

Psychiatry is under check in the US for a reason. Until the O'Connor v Donaldson ruling, the abuse that I endured was also common place in the US. Now it is no more.
This is a very profound article, I was briefly institutionalized in a psych ward because of PTSD and substance abuse. I didn't have an organic brain disorder, but I was broken and lost my way. Interestingly the most deranged part of my journey was on the streets, Being out of control is on reflection frightening.
Dear Psych Survivor,

You had a horrendous experience. I think the difference between you and me is that I voluntarily sought treatment. You were forced to have it and couldn't escape your commitment. I'm so sorry for your nightmare. I cannot imagine personally going through what you did. It's clear why you are very bitter towards and distrusting of psychiatrists. In your case I would be too.

I hope you can find peace.

Ask Glen K,

You are not "bipolar" other than in a metaphorical sense.

"Bipolar" is a label invented by the DSM to describe patterns of behavior. To this day, there are NO SCIENTIFIC tests to validate presence or absence of any of the DSM invented disorders, and that would include "bipolar". That's what Tom Insel said 1 month ago.

That is not to say that mental distress doesn't exit, but the old adage "it's all in your mind" remains true today.

Rick Warren learned painfully the price to pay for letting his son being "treated" by psychiatrists. Based on news reports, he was probably drugged with SSRIs or other drugs that are known to increase the risk of suicide in people of the same age as Matthew Warren. While sad, his death could have been avoided if only his dad would have listen to God instead of to E Fuller Torrey type of crooks.

BTW, some people don't know this, but E Fuller Torrey is one of those who reflect the saying "money can buy consciences". He was anti psychiatry before he was for . So you listen to this crook at your own peril.
I wouldn't consider ECT (electro- convulsive therapy or "shock treatments")necessarily "invasive." Without sedation it would be but with it ECT isn't.

I'm bipolar and at one time I was barely functioning and was in and out of the hospital many times. The first series of ECT I had didn't work because I stopped them too soon. The second series I had worked miraculously and I was able to function again and have a life.There is temporary loss of short term memory which is annoying but it resolves itself within about a month to six weeks. As I said to my husband at the time, "I get to re-read the same books and watch the same movies over again and not know what the plot is!"

Purposefully inducing seizures helps the brain produce its own neurotransmitters and this is why ECT can be effective for many people.

Being in the hospital for 30 days the first time I went in gave me a safe, stress free time to heal. It was actually quite a relief to be removed from my "outside" life. Unfortunately, later on my insurance company wouldn't cover longer stays so my visits were for 3 days--not enough time to help.

I think people who've never been mentally ill or who don't have a mentally ill friend or family member have a very poor idea of what it's like to be ill and what helps.
Bob from Clovis,

Psychiatry's ability to do damage is a well established fact. The only thing that prevents psychiatry in America from abusing is the law, nothing else.

Psychiatry is a parallel system of social control. If it were up to me it would lose ALL its coercive powers.

The empirical evidence is the following,

- Both European and American psychiatry follow the same nonsense (DSM or ICD).

- Our SCOTUS restricts psychiatrists ability to do damage, while the European ECHR gives psychiatrists pretty much the freedom of doing whatever they want (ie, the situation that existed in the US pre the SCOTUS cases of the 1970s).

Results: the rate of involuntary hospitalization in the US per 100000 inhabitants is now below 10 while in Europe the average is around 100 (ie 10 times higher) with some countries such as Finland having a rate of 200 (ie, 20 times higher).

I understand that E Fuller Torrey needs to make money for his masters at Big Pharma. What I will never understand is conservatives betraying the belief in individual freedom because this quackery says so. NEVER. It was a conservative, Frank Lanterman, in California that gave us freedom from abuse by establishing "dangerousness" as the only valid standard for incarceration of so called "mental patients" in California. It was Ronald Reagan who signed his bill into law and it was conservative SCOTUS Chief Justice Warren Burger who was instrumental in making that standard the law of the land in 1975 with the O'Connor v Donaldson ruling.

Now conservatives are willing to sell their souls. For what? You think that it will appease the gun control zealots? How naive! DSM-5 will be used to take away your guns now that up to 50% of Americans are deserving of a DSM-5 label.

Don't be fooled by E Fuller Torrey and his crook friends!
Bob from Clovis May 29, 2013 at 7:23 PM
A nice article. I know first hand how disconnected the system is when you have a family member in crisis. With the new HIPPA rules, unless you have a medical care directive you are not allowed to even know if your loved one is admitted to the facility, much less participate in their care.

Patients are usually stabilized and quickly discharged with no comprehensive look at the patients underlying problems or ensuring that the treatment will work long term.

I did not see your article as advocacy for indiscriminate warehousing of psychiatric patients. I think the answer is sometimes in the middle. I know that there is not even a juvenile facility within a three hour two hour drive of where I live. The answer lies in the middle, with safeguards in place to prevent the abuses of the old system where a family member could lock up another family member just because they object to their lifestyle. On the other side is what we have now. Where is innovation in America?
Sent to James to his email.


Dear James,

First I apologize for the anonymity but one of the unfortunate results of having been abused by psychiatry is that I am forced to make my case anonymously. If you are interested, you'll find my background here,

I lean conservative but I have been deeply troubled by reading columns like yours asking for making so called "forced treatment" easier in America. The reason I am deeply troubled is that the standard for forced treatment that exists in the US (which, contrary to what you claim has its origin in this SCOTUS case , not other political considerations ) is what allows me to have such a comfortable life here.

The standard "need for treatment", which is codeword for "whenever a psychiatrist deems it necessary" was used to abuse my civil rights in Europe. I was detained, restrained for almost one day and forcibly drugged without due process without having committed any crimes. I was no danger to anyone (not even myself) but some psychiatrist thought that I needed "treatment" whether I liked or not. I was committed for several months (both inpatient and outpatient) and only released after I agreed to their nonsense.

I have become increasingly disturbed by hearing calls in conservative news to making the type of abuse that I endured in Europe easier in America. First, it is highly doubtful that E Fuller Torrey will be successful with his program of forcibly drugging anybody he wants because, as I said, the SCOTUS has made it very clear, with large majorities, that psychiatry doesn't have the free reign here that it enjoys in Europe where its European Court of Human Rights has sanctioned the type of barbaric practices you are defending, such as, ,

“The case Herczegfalvy v. Austria (10533/83) is characteris-
tic of the Court’s difficulty in analysing the validity of medical
treatment. The applicant, who had been on a hunger strike,
was force-fed and given strong doses of neuroleptics. He
was also placed in seclusion, restrained with handcuffs, and
secured to a bed for several weeks on end. The Court criticized
the lengthy duration of the seclusion and the immobilization,
but accepted the argument of the Austrian government that
this type of treatment was justified for therapeutic reasons,
and thus could not be considered as inhuman and degrading.
As for the appropriateness of the medical treatment pro-
vided, various cases such Grare v. France (18835/91) or War-
ren v. United Kingdom (36982/97) show that the ECHR
always trusts the psychiatric medical evaluation, as far as it
satisfies the criteria of usual practice [5].”

There is a reason why our SCOTUS is so protective of civil rights.

As I commented in your entry, the other reason this is so deeply troubling is because it comes at a time of great controversy with respect to the validity of psychiatric diagnosis, prompted by this statement by Tom Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health,

"While DSM has been described as a “Bible” for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each. The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been “reliability” – each edition has ensured that clinicians use the same terms in the same ways. The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure."

So if you want to give a crook like E Fuller Torrey his right to forcibly drug you when he deems it necessary, fine. I respectfully disagree with that and will vote Democratic if that is what it takes to oppose this massive program of social control.

Very interesting read and take on the issue.

And yes, we need to figure out an effective way to assist those in need of mental health care.

Thanks for providing this information.
BTW, although the liar in chief E Fuller Torrey keeps repeating the lie, the truth is that the increase in incarceration rate was demonstrably not caused mainly by de-institutionalization,

This is how conservatives get the nick name that they are front groups of Big Pharma and enemies of individual freedom. SHAME ON YOU!
This is how conservatives will lose this vote.

Apparently, missing here is the recent discussion about the "validity" of so called "mental illness",

If conservatives are willing to give "self appointed" mind guardians the power to decide who have civil rights and who hasn't, I will vote Democratic, betraying everything else I believe in.

Enough said!

The legal and psychological professions are willfully negligent in the identification and treatment of mental illness, especially psychopathy.

Absolutely nothing is being done by the State legislatures, the APA, forensic evaluators, judges or lawyers about the prevalence of psychopaths in our court system. Psychopaths are said to be up to 25% of the prison population, yet nothing is being done to screen or identify these people as they enter the system.

Mental Illness is becoming less subjective to diagnose with the improvements in fMRI and neuroimaging technology.

Shame on the lawyers, doctors and judges, that are given sovereign immunity, to do nothing.

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
It's noteworthy that both liberals and conservatives initially supported deinstitutionalization.

Liberals supported it because they believed that institutions were cruel places, as well as the fact that institutions were seen as a tool of social control by the establishment. Conservatives supported it because it was one of a few ways to trim budgets and government workforces that liberals would support.

What's needed now is for both liberals and conservatives to find common interests in fixing a broken mental health system and providing proper care, up to and including long-term institutional care, namely reducing violent crime and keeping the mentally ill from fying on the streets. Will it happen? Only time will tell.
"Starve The Beast !!"

That's the game, isn't it? When we had democracy, we voted to tax rich people and we were able to care for the insane and to educate our children without dumping a trillion dollars of debt on them. Then paranoia and xenophobia and RWNJ hoaxes tore us apart.

While the CMHCs try hard to help get medicine into non-incarcerated citizens, there is no hope that today's Republican Party will vote to raise taxes to provide asylums for the more seriously mentally ill. Social Darwinism has translated to "Galt Gulch" narcissism.
There is an elephant in the room that explains in part why institutionalism broke down inthe sixties. It has to do with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
Interesting article, thank you. I read of "the moral treatment" in a book called, "Mad in America", I've fogotten the author. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. However according to the book antiphychotics don't work well for alot of patients.
Marc, congrats on your classic non-response response.

The relevant issue is not whether past institutions were bad in many ways. Everybody, including Mr. Panero, agrees that they were.

The question is rather whether institutionalization today, with the improved medication available, will produce better or worse results than the alternative, which has proven itself largely ineffective.

A secondary issue is which approach is more expensive for society as a whole.
The author insufficiently emphasizes the awful treatment that many people with mental illness received in institutions, and that many people were committed simply because they didn't fit into the "normal" view of behavior in society. In addition, he does not mention that many people with disabilities advocated for their own liberation from warehousing and torture in institutions. He also neglects the influence of civil rights laws like Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal financial assistance. And he doesn't sufficiently mention the lack of community mental health care services available today.
A pity that (a) institutions were considered obsolete; and (b) that no one believes in satan any more. If the world would pray the St. Michael chaplet and invoke his power against the demonic, their end would be ensured and they would be cast into Hell. But we won't, and we continue to suffer the politically correct notion that the mentally ill are not the problem, but guns are. Wholesale national idiocy and theological annihilation.
A pity that (a) institutions were considered obsolete; and (b) that no one believes in satan any more. If the world would pray the St. Michael chaplet and invoke his power against the demonic, their end would be ensured and they would be cast into Hell. But we won't, and we continue to suffer the politically correct notion that the mentally ill are not the problem, but guns are. Wholesale national idiocy and theological annihilation.
It's more than ironic that the writer's friend Mel bounced from flophouse to flophouse in Trenton, when a short bus ride away stands, largely empty, Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, founded in the late 1840s at the urging of the great reformer of the treatment of the mentally ill, Dorothea Dix. She spent the last years of her life in a guest apartment there, dying in 1887 at age 85.
As the former ED of an agency which operated 2 of our county's largest "transitional housing" facilities, I lived and worked among our large resident population of dually-diagnosed male clients which was a perfect example, as all such facilities are, of the abysmal failure of using transitional housing for the dually-diagnosed population as a step ladder from homelessness to societal integration. Our biggest issue was non-compliance. It lead to suicides and all manor of behavior issues. Outpatient treatment for the chronically mentally ill is a fantasy gone absurdly wild in this culture. After years of watching the same clients recycle indefinitely through the various social welfare providers, I eventually closed our doors, utterly convinced how useless we were. America needs to wake up. Keeping the mentally-ill confined to a life of suffering on the streets or along its edge, is cruelty beyond measure.