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Psychiatric Stigma - Legitimizing Abuse, Degradation and Death

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Message Jeanyne Wanner
Psychiatrists claim that people who experience certain feelings or behaviors are sick, that they are "mentally ill" with an incurable disease of the brain. These feelings and behaviors are organized into lists, promoted as "symptoms" in order to align with a medical model of disease. A person only has to have more than half of the "symptoms" on a particular list to get a permanent diagnosis of disease. Being "diagnosed", another medical term co-opted by psychiatry, with one of these "mental illnesses" is reported to carry a sort of stigma. No one wants to be told that his brain is abnormal, that it will always be so, and that he should become a life-long mental "patient" to treat his "illness".

The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines the word "stigma" as "a mark or sign of disgrace or discredit." Psychiatry uses this stigma, in order to coerce or shame people into becoming life-long customers. This multi-billion-dollar PR campaign to convince the public that these illnesses are real is part of psychiatry's long-term, several-pronged assault on mankind, calculated to forward their ever-advancing thrust of destructive ideas into our daily lives.

According to the National Institute of Mental Illness' website, "An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older " suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. "this figure translates to 57.7 million people."

We know that currently in this country there are over 8 million children on prescription psychiatric medications and the psychiatric community is working hard to convince us that many more are in need of their services, even babies.

Psychiatry, and their willing cohorts in the pharmaceutical business, created the stigma. Then they run a public campaign of "We must remove the stigma from mental illness" in order to find more who will accept the label and accept the profitable treatment.

The psychiatric community can be seen influencing and working in the government to increase the number of mental patients as early as 1977. President Carter's Mental Health Commission, urged Americans to bring their mental and emotional problems "out of the closet" and end the "stigma." Moving forward, an article in the Seattle Times in July of 2003 cited "Stigma" surrounding mental illness as a major barrier to treatment.

Taken at face value this would certainly seem like a reasonable appeal. What sane, caring individual could possibly want to compound the burdens of the "mentally ill" by stigmatizing them? My guess is very few. But is de-stigmatizing mental illness for humanitarian reasons really psychiatry's intent? Or is it something much more sinister and selfish?

It is a given that Public Relations is a very powerful and persuasive tool. It can be used for good or bad purposes. The strength of PR relies in large part on some part of its message being true. When one holds up a truth that is self-evident one generally gets agreement.

The Psychiatric PR Machine has learned that they can associate some lies, half-truths and misrepresentations with a little bit of the truth and the public will generally accept the deceptions as true. "Mental illness should be de-stigmatized" is true. "People should be able to get help for their difficulties and have workable solutions available to them," is also true. "Psychiatry offers workable solutions for the mentally ill masses," is a lie. It is a lie positioned with truth and it therefore seems, in the eyes of many, to be true.

Perhaps there should be no stigma connected to mental illness. There should however, be stigma connected to the solutions that psychiatry proffers in the name of help which are destructive of individuals and society: mind-altering drugs, stigmatizing labels, shock treatment and abuse of human rights for profit.

Some 200 legal actions have been filed against Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, respectively, to recover for suicides or homicides - some completed, some only attempted""by patients in the first few days or weeks after they were prescribed one of these drugs. - ClassActionAmerican.com

Why is it that one never hears from a psychiatrist about such workable solutions as nutrition, tutoring, legitimate medical examinations, and change of environment? Why do nearly all their solutions come in a bottle with an FDA black box warning label? Moreover, dozens of genuine, verifiable medical illnesses cause some of the exact symptoms listed by psychiatry as "mental". Once a psychiatric label is applied, without requirement of any objective, medical tests, no one performs the medical testing to find these physical illnesses.

The powerful, mind-altering drugs will alter the feelings and behaviors. This is certain. However, even psychiatrists admit that they do not know why the drugs work as they do and no long-term testing is ever done, especially with the drugs used on young Children. "Ritalin (prescribed to millions of kids) and amphetamine (speed) have almost identical adverse effects on the brain, mind and behavior, including the production of drug-induced behavioral disorders, psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction," says Billy J. Sahley, PhD, author of Is Ritalin Necessary?

Could it be that labeling an individual with a "disorder" from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is the only way that psychiatrists can make a living? The belief of the existence of these "disorders" is the basis for receiving money from insurance companies, research grants, charitable foundations, etc.

If a psychiatrist sends a child who is acting up in school to see a nutritionist or for tutoring, how would he make any money? If he labels the same child with "ADHD", he is creating a patient for life.

Backing up that viewpoint are recent articles in USA Today, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and countless other major newspapers which revealed the hidden financial connection between big Pharmaceutical Companies and the authors of the Diagnostic and Statistical manual. The DSM manual is the self-proclaimed bible of psychiatry and it is the very foundation that psychiatrists use to label people with over 370+ various mental "disorders". Not only were the majority of psychiatric panel members that created the DSM receiving funding from drug companies in one way or another but for some specific disorders, the entire panel of "experts" had direct connections to pharmaceutical monies.

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Jeanyne Wanner is a freelance writer and activist living in Florida jeanynewanner@netscape.net
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