Announcing The World’s First Anti-Psychiatry Scholarship

According to a recent article in NOW Toronto magazine, the world’s first anti-psychiatry scholarship has been officially established at The University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute of Education. The Bonnie Burstow Scholarship in Anti-psychiatry is aimed at students of education who believe psychiatric drugs and treatments are more harmful than helpful.scholarship

The scholarship is named for Bonnie Burstow, a trauma specialist and critic of psychiatry, who will matchdonations to the scholarship fund with up to $50,000 out of her own pocket. An associate professor in the Ontario Institute of Education’s Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, Burstow is of the belief that there is no proven biological basis for mental illness, and that psychiatric methods and the institutions that support them violate human rights.

Burstow is the author of Psychiatry and the Business of Madness, a fundamental critique of psychiatry that examines the foundations of psychiatry, refutes its basic tenets, and traces the workings of the industry through medical research and in-depth interviews. The book calls for a dismantling of the field the way it is currently practiced.

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Non-Conformists Now Labelled as Having a “Mental Disorder”

by Bruce Boyers

In news that will come as a shock to many of us who grew up in the 1960s and 70s—it turns out that, according to the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, we were all suffering from a mental disorder called “oppositional defiant disorder.” This “disorder” is shocking-news-todaydefined in the DSM as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior.”

The article reporting the news points out that, given the vague nature of this definition, nearly any pattern of behavior seen as strange by anyone else could be categorized as a symptom of ODD. ODD sufferers could easily include geniuses whose behavior or ways of thinking were viewed as eccentric, such as Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell. It could also include giants of our time who challenged social norms and brought about positive change, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

The definition of ODD could even include children who challenge or oppose others of their own age—even though such behavior is extremely common in children and has never even been remotely proven to be a symptom of some kind of disorder.

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Psychiatrist Sued for Crossing Professional Boundaries…to Collect Rare Art

by Bruce Boyers

The Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights has for years been documenting cases of psychiatry crossing professional boundaries to obtain sex. But in a bizarre case now being heard in San Francisco Superior Court, the estate of recently-deceased psychiatrist Jerome D. Oremland is being sued for inducing a patient to hand over valuable works of art. According to the suit, during the time of therapy, Oremland convinced his patient John Pierce to give him at least a dozen rare works of art by masters such as Italian Renaissance artist Raphael and French modernist Henri Matisse.

JusticeThe suit was filed in 2015 shortly before Oremland’s death. In addition to allegations of obtaining works of art through the practitioner-patient relationship, the suit also claims that Oremland used his patient to conduct private investigations—sometimes on other patients—and even as a handyman to clean his swimming pool.

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People Flee British Columbia to Avoid Involuntary Psychiatric Imprisonment

By Bruce Boyer

According to a recent story by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a constant flow of people are fleeing the Canadian province of British Columbia to escape its mental health laws. The laws of the province state that a person can be held against their will for psychiatric care.

One woman, only identified in the article by her first name, Sarah, said that a year ago she sought treatment for what she thought was depression. She was told to sign a form without an explanation of what it was, and was then informed she couldn’t leave the hospital. After being held for a month, she was told she was being switched to an injected anti-psychotic medication, at which point she says she knew she had to leave. She managed to escape during a smoke break, and fled the province. Now living in Ontario and afraid to return home, Sarah has filed a lawsuit charging that the laws allowing psychiatric patients to be held against their will violate Canada’s bill of rights.

Currently a number of other such legal cases in British Columbia are pending, cases that directly forced-psychiatric-treatmentchallenge the constitutionality of these laws. One suit on behalf of two plaintiffs, treated with electroconvulsive therapy (shock treatment) and injection medications while they were involuntarily detained, asserts that what is referred to as “deemed consent”—consent of a patient assumed by the treating psychiatrist without the patient’s actual consent—and forced treatment violate specific sections of the Canadian Charter (Canada’s bill of rights). If, in British Columbia, a person is involuntarily detained for mental health reasons, they are presumed to have consented to the psychiatric treatment recommended by attending doctors. There is no legal requirement for their decision making ability to be assessed, and they cannot appoint a substitute decision maker such as a spouse or family member.

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New Research Finds Antipsychotic Drugs Do More Harm Than Good

by Bruce Boyers

A new, in-depth research paper entitled The Case Against Antipsychotics makes use of an extensive battery of research and statistics to make a case against antipsychotic medication that can leave no doubt as to its harmfulness. More importantly, it also leaves no doubt as to antipsychotics’ lack of effectiveness in the treatment of psychosis.

The research cited in the paper encompasses a 60-year period. The paper was authored by award-winning medical journalist Robert Whitaker and published by non-profit group Mad in America Foundation.

Prior to Antipsychotic Medication Introduction

According to common psychiatric reasoning, people diagnosed with schizophrenia were, prior to the advent of the first antipsychotic drug in 1955, destined to become chronically ill and be confined to mental hospitals.

Actual facts and figures cited in the paper completely contradicts this reasoning. A majority of patients hospitalized for a first episode of schizophrenia from 1945 to 1955 recovered and could be discharged within 12 months. Two-thirds of such patients could be found living normal lives five years after initial hospitalization—at a time when there was no disability system for financial support for people not able to work. Only a third of these former patients would become chronically ill, unable to function outside a mental hospital.

After Antipsychotic Medication Introductionpillmill

The National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study of antipsychotics in 1961, after the drugs had been in use 6 years. In the trial, 270 patients were given common antipsychotic medications for the time, while 74 were given placebos. At the end of six weeks, the drug-treated patients were reported to have had a greater reduction of psychotic symptoms—evidence of the drugs’ short-term effectiveness.

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Recent Study Aims to Reduce Enforced Psychiatric Admission

by Bruce Boyers

It’s incredibly interesting that it’s taken over 100 years for psychiatry to make this discovery, but a recent study has found that compulsory psychiatric admission – defined as institutional admission against the will of the patient – “has a strong effect on psychiatric patients and their relatives, and can be traumatic.” Mark de Jong, MD, Psychiatrist,

This was according to Mark de Jong, MD, Psychiatrist, Yulius Academy, Yulius Mental Health Barendrecht, the Netherlands, who conducted the study. Dr. de Jong’s study analyzed methods for the reduction of compulsory psychiatric admission. He pointed out that “Compulsory admission also conflicts with human rights, principles of autonomy, shared decision making, and recovery focused care.”

He also stated that due to an increase in compulsory admissions in several European countries, interventions that prevent patients from being forcibly admitted are urgently needed.The study found that advanced planning for severe mental health crises resulted in a 23% reduction in risk of compulsory admissions.

Dr. de Jong felt that this figure was “clinically relevant.” He also was of the opinion that the taking into account of patient desires and preferences along with the involvement of family and friends, were both highly important factors in treatment.The focus of the study was the evaluation of study trials involving severe mental illness.

Dr. de Jong commented, however, that he and his team only discovered 13 such trials that actually measured the intent to reduce compulsory admissions. “In light of  human rights and the effect compulsory admissions have on psychiatric patients and their relatives, this number is both small and disappointing.

This demonstrates the urgent need for more research in this field, for the benefit of psychiatric patients with severe mental illnesses and their relatives.”For almost 50 years, Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights has been documenting the inhumane treatment of psychiatric patients, including enforced institutionalization, and enforced treatments involving drugs, electroshock therapy and other dangerous “therapies.”

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