Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Phillip Day On Psychiatric Misconduct

The following is an exerpt from The Mind Game by Phillip Day:

Given the all-encompassing expertise on mental health apparently possessed by psychiatry, it would follow that psychiatrists and psychologists should be among the sanest, wisest and most stable of all the population, especially in light of the fact that they are responsible for our 'mental health' and constantly advise the public on what is best for us. It would follow that they would be paragons of mental stability, have great marriages, and set an enduring example to society which would prove that the tenets of psychiatry can stand the tests of pressure and time.

The truth is very different.

In America, arguably the nation with the most 'medically developed' approach to mental health, psychiatrists commit suicide twice as often as doctors in general. This figure is five times the rate of the general population. During their residencies, psychiatrists are committing suicide almost nine times as often as the general population to whom they give mental health advice. Psychiatrist deaths are by far the leading suicides in any medical profession, and this suicide rate is quite stable. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that "…the occurrence of suicides by psychiatrists is constant year-to-year, indicating a relatively stable oversupply of depressed psychiatrists from which the suicides are produced."

Other studies were to confirm this alarming trend: "A joint study carried out by the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association in 1987 confirmed that psychiatrists have the highest suicide rate of any medical profession. Researchers interviewing the surviving families found that by far the most common reason given for the death - in 94% of the cases - was 'to escape from mental pain', which, of course, is the very thing psychiatrists claim they can alleviate. Additionally, 'more than half (56 percent) of those in the suicide group had prescribed a psychoactive drug for themselves.' Forty-two percent had been seeing a mental health professional at the time of their death."

A Swiss study compares the military conscription records of those who later went on to become psychiatrists with those who later became doctors, internists or other medical specialists. Significantly more of the eventual psychiatrists had themselves been declared unfit for military service due to psychiatric disorders.

When the physician membership of Alcoholics Anonymous in the United States was studied, it was found that 17% were psychiatrists, even though psychiatrists in America make up only 8% of the medical profession. A similar study in 1983, this time reviewing female psychiatrists, discovered that 22.1% of the alcoholic female doctors were psychiatrists, even though they make up only 9.5% of women doctors. Whether male or female, psychiatrists appear to be twice as likely to become alcoholics than doctors from other branches of the medical profession.

Today's problem of drugs, of course, extends throughout society. Most however don't even consider the concept of drug-taking by physicians and psychiatrists. Phil Hammond MD states that substance abuse is often a 'safety valve' for the incredible stresses that build up among healthcare workers. Examining the problem in the UK, the famous British broadcaster reports: "Drinking and drug abuse are clearly coping mechanisms picked up in medical school, but it is impossible to predict which of the many heavy student drinkers will go on to develop a problem. The British Medical Association estimated that up to 13,000 practising UK doctors are addicted to drugs or alcohol. If each makes 2,000 clinical decisions a year, at a conservative estimate, that is 26 million decisions affecting patient care [including prescribing potentially lethal drugs] made by doctors who can't function without alcohol or other drugs."

A 1986 report in the New England Journal of Medicine provides a bleak insight into psychiatry getting high on its own supply. Nearly half the psychiatrists surveyed reported that they were currently taking self-prescribed psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs. The report also stated that "psychiatrists had much higher rates for all types of [psychotropic drug] use at any time (83%)… than did other groups of physicians."

One clinical psychoanalyst's view of his profession? "I question your calling it a myth that therapists are crazy because the fact is that most of them are. If you need any proof, let me tell you that every patient who comes into this office who has had a previous experience with another therapist has some kind of horror story to tell, about some major failing on the therapist's part, including, quite often, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, things that cross the boundary of mere bad technique and come pretty damn close to the criminal."

How qualified, in the light of the above studies, are psychiatrists to analyse and 'cure' society's apparent rampant problems of mental illness? Consider that mental health promoter Tipper Gore, the wife of the erstwhile Vice President, is doggedly telling everyone that 28% of the American population is mentally ill because of problems outside of their control. This translates to over 70 million Americans not deemed responsible for their actions, an unsettling belief held by the wife of a one-time presidential hopeful aiming to lead the most powerful nation on Earth. Mrs Gore goes on to state that over a quarter of her country's population cannot help themselves and therefore are in need of the ministrations of the psychiatric profession, almost half of whose physicians are themselves apparently dependent on self-prescribed psychoactive medication.

"What do you do when you don't know what to do?" muses British psychiatrist R D Laing in 1985. "No wonder there are more suicides among psychiatrists than in any other profession."

A survey in Medical Economics illustrates that the problems of psychiatrists don't end with alcoholism, suicide or drug abuse. Psychiatrists also lead other branches of medicine in marriage difficulties - including sexual problems. In a personal interview, Dr Al Parides, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA in Los Angeles, declared that psychiatric values had been "very influenced, especially by the Freudian influence in regard to sex and morality generally…. If you look at the personal lives of all Freud's followers - his initial disciples - these people certainly have an unbelievable amount of particular problems in the sexual area… The amount of deviancy as far as their sexual behaviour and so forth is enormous. If you are saying that psychiatry promotes a certain form of morality that is a deviant morality in regard to many areas including sexual behaviour - yes, I would agree."

Today's psychiatrists, according to studies, have the shortest marriages of seven branches of medicine studied and are most likely to have extra-marital affairs, as are their spouses. But extra-marital affairs with whom… and where…?

"Barbara Noel felt herself floating towards consciousness. It was Friday, 21st September 1984, and she was in her psychiatrist's office in Chicago, waking from a dose of sodium amytal, a barbiturate he had been giving her in order to help her explore her subconscious. This morning though, instead of awakening dreamily by herself, she says she felt a weight on top of her. A man was breathing heavily onto her shoulder. Still sedated, Noel moaned and stirred. The breathing stopped, and the body on top of her carefully lifted away. Pretending to sleep, Noel opened her eyes a crack. She could make out a person standing at a sink with his back to her. He was bald, with a tanned back and stark white buttocks. Noel's heart stopped. The man, she says, was Dr Jules Masserman, her psychiatrist of 18 years."

Subsequent action against Dr Jules Masserman solicited a fervent denial by the latter of the charges. Psychiatry all over the world winced as they followed the descending fortunes of Masserman, the 1979 president of the American Psychiatric Association. The case was finally settled when Masserman agreed to pay malpractice settlements to Noel and three other women. He also signed an agreement never to practise psychiatric therapy again in the United States.

More on psychiatric sexual misconduct in my next segment...

© Copyright 2003 Phillip Day
Extracted from The Mind Game

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The Mind Game by Phillip Day
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