Making Schizophrenia worse - iatrogenic inhumanity
What a toxic fiasco – surely at the start of the twenty-first century
we can do
than Picchioni and Murray’s review of schizophrenia1. Doubtless their
faithfully reflects current views of psychosis – but what an awesomely
view that is. When the term ‘medical model’ is deployed to abuse
some effort to restore medicine’s good name should at least be attempted.
those accusing present-day psychiatry of reducing sufferers to ‘mindless
robots’ will find ample supporting evidence here.
But first, why no reference to the abundant data that neuroleptics
psychoses? For 50 years there has been a continuous stream of damning
– from the Nine Hospital Study2 when after 12 months the non-drugged
twice as healthy, through WHO studies in the 1970s3 where if you developed
schizophrenia in countries too poor to afford neuroleptics you went back
within 3 years, to the latest4 where stopping medication improved recovery
eight-fold. You’ll be much better off going against what the doctor says –
best basis for any medical practice. Even flimsier whiffs of iatrogenic
be intolerable in any medical speciality, especially one as important as
Whichever way you define psychosis, and the definitions offered are
unhelpful, it is
self-evidently a disease of the mind. Yet this most important of all human
never mentioned. Half baked philosophy, such as the banal obfuscation
dualism’ in DSM–IV5, doesn’t help – but if doctors use their own minds to
puzzle out diagnoses, surely they should afford the same courtesy to their
Not only are sufferers from schizophrenia presented as mindless –
seen as emotionless. In the opening sentences of their review, everyone is
to feel fear – except the sufferers themselves. And yet this is the key to
as also to its cure – eliminate the fear by extending the ‘healing hand of
and recovery rates rocket, as they did in 17966. Recent fMRI studies7
fear degrades cognition. Reducing fear allows sufferers to blossom. When
psychiatrists reintroduce emotions into their practice, as I was trained
tasks become infinitely more rewarding.
Robots and automatons are incapable of intent, let alone consent. Yet
consent is the
foundation stone of democracy, indeed of civilisation, and thereby also of
mind. By enlisting it, rational thought becomes available in even the
psychosis – a happy outcome that remains unobtainable as long as doctors
allow themselves to talk openly about infantile terrors and traumagenesis.
Picchioni and Murray’s review is based on meta-analyses. A rather
perspective emerges in a public debate9. Here parents and others
describe their suffering, and the damage done by medication. Also on
psychiatric nihilism bordering on the inhumane – enough to make you wince.
Psychiatry should be queen of all medical specialities, but first it must
last thing portraying human beings as ‘mindless unfeeling robots’.
Dr Bob Johnson
Consultant Psychiatrist, P O Box 49, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 9AA
e-mail DrBob@TruthTrustConsent.com www.TruthTrustConsent.com
formerly Head of Therapy, Ashworth Maximum Security Hospital, Liverpool
Consultant Psychiatrist, Special Unit, C-Wing, Parkhurst Prison, Isle of
MRCPsych (Member of Royal College of Psychiatrists),
MRCGP (Member of Royal College of General Practitioners).
Diploma in Psychotherapy Neurology & Psychiatry (Psychiatric Inst New
MA (Psychol), PhD(med computing), MBCS, DPM, MRCS.
Author Emotional Health ISBN 0-9551985-0-X
Author Unsafe at any dose ISBN 0-9551985-1-8
author of" curing mental pain 1" at --
1 Marco M Picchioni and Robin M Murray Clinical Review of
BMJ 2007;335:91-95 (14 July), doi:10.1136/bmj.39227.616447.BE
2 cited in Robert Whitaker 2002, Mad in America, Basic Books, New York,
3 Robert Whitaker 2002, op cit
4 Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe. “Factors involved in outcome and
Schizophrenia patients Not on Antipsychotic Medications: A 15-Year
Study”. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 2007; 195:406-414.
5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th Edition,
Psychiatric Association 1994 (DSM-IV), xxi.
6 Robert Whitaker 2002 “The healing hand of kindness”. op cit, ch 2.
7 Dean Mobbs, et al. When Fear Is Near: Threat Imminence Elicits
Periaqueductal Gray Shifts in Humans Science 24 August 2007:Vol. 317. no.
pp. 1079 – 1083 DOI: 10.1126/science.1144298
8 Bob Johnson, 2005. Emotional Health Trust Consent Publishing, Isle of
9 Public Debate 2006, ‘Psychiatric drugs do more harm than good’,
transcribed at www.TruthTrustConsent.com
Competing interests: No competing interests