Antipsychiatry – I knew the sentiment but I didn’t know the word.
Dr Bonnie Burstow has helped hundreds of “highly suicidal patients,” as a psychotherapist. She’s come to believe that conventional psychiatric treatment isn’t in their best interests.
For half a century, scholars have been looking closely at Psychiatry as a coercive instrument of oppression. Dr Burstow is a prominent figure in the field of antipsychiatry, which she describes as “a movement of both psychiatric survivors and professionals saying that we need to abolish psychiatry”. She’s the author of “Psychiatry and the Business of Madness” and “The Myth of Mental Illness”.
“Longitudinal studies have shown that people who go off their drugs after a few years do better in the long run than people who stay on them. But guess who does the best of all? The people who were never on them in the first place. So, then the answer is, no one should be on them in the first place. These are not medical substances. They do not address a single chemical imbalance. They, in fact, cause imbalances and not surprisingly they cause all sorts of problems for people who can then never get off them because they now have a disordered brain that is caused by the medical profession. You know I spend a lot of time building up that and showing how it happened. But once you take in that position, it is a very convincing argument for abolition.
Since the 19th century, psychiatry has been defrauding vulnerable people. There was dunking people in cold water. There was rotating people in chairs. There was also opium. There was bleeding. Remember we had bleeding for a long time. There was also genital mutilation, just don’t forget they thought madness was being caused by masturbation.”
The University of Toronto has recently started a scholarship in Antipsychiatry. It is a historical breakthrough and hopefully a precursor to a better society. It signals to the world that this field of inquiry has come of age.