Major Ethical Transgressions of Psychiatry

by Bruce Boyers

In a recently published article on the web site Mad in America, a retired psychologist Philip Hickey, PhD, primarily criticizes a recent article evaluating presidential candidate Donald Trump from the viewpoint of a psychiatric diagnosis.

The author makes the very good point that it would be quite impossible to accurately diagnose someone’s mental health based solely on media reports of their behavior. He then goes on to take up several critiques of this same evaluation.

But well beyond that, Dr. Hickey states that critiques of this character are minor, given the major transgressions that psychiatry has committed throughout the years. Given that these come from a psychologist, they are quite telling.

  1. They [psychiatry] have created the bogus concept of mental disorder/mental illness, and have relentlessly and shamelessly expanded this concept to embrace virtually every significant problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving, even childhood temper tantrums (disruptive mood dysregulation disorder).
  1. They have used this concept to formally and deceptively medicalize problems that are not even remotely medical in nature, including childhood disobedience (oppositional defiant disorder) and road rage (intermittent explosive disorder).
  1. They routinely present these labels as the causes of the problems in question, when in reality they are mere labels with no explanatory significance.
  1. They routinely deceive their clients and the general public by asserting the false claim that these illnesses have known neural pathologies: the infamous “chemical imbalances” that have been officially disproved.
  1. They have shamelessly peddled neurotoxic drugs as corrective measures for these so-called illnesses, although it is well known that no psychiatric drugs correct any neural pathology.
  1. They routinely coercively administer these neurotoxic drugs as well as high voltage electric shocks to the brain which result in damaged nerves, loss of memory, reduced cognitive skills along with a vast array of seriously harmful side-effects.
  1. They have conspired with the pharmaceutical industry in the creation of a large body of questionable – and in many cases outright fraudulent – research all designed to “prove” the efficacy and safety of psychiatric drugs.
  1. They have shamelessly accepted large sums of pharmaceutical money for very questionable activities, e.g., the ghost writing of books and papers which were actually written by pharmaceutical company staff; the substitution of pharmaceutical infomercials for Continuing Education Units (CEU’s); the acceptance of pharma money by paid “thought leaders” to promote new drugs and “diagnoses”; the targeting of captive and vulnerable audiences in nursing homes, group homes, foster care systems, juvenile detention centers, etc., for prescriptions of psychiatric drugs.
  1. They have routinely disempowered millions of people by telling them falsely that they have incurable illnesses for which they must take psychiatric drugs for life.
  1. By falsely convincing people that their problems are illnesses which are essentially out of their control, they have undermined ordinary human fortitude and resilience, and have fostered a culture of powerlessness and drug-induced dependency.
  1. They accept no limits to their expansionist agenda, insisting that there are still vast numbers of “untreated patients” who need to be brought into their “care”, including children as young as three years of age, and elderly people in their final years.

Given the tireless efforts that Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights has engaged in since 1969 to research voluminous proof of similar statements, we heartily applaud Dr. Hickey’s bringing to light the serious ethical transgressions of psychiatry.

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