Freethinkers should fight to abolish what Thomas Szasz called the “Therapeutic State.”
The Therapeutic State is the marriage of government and psychiatry. Government is the warmongering tribal leader. Psychiatry is the charlatan medicine man. The enterprise is a rampaging behemoth that wields a deadly blend of deception and violence. It is an incestuous relationship that damages and harms everyone in its path. It does not heal or alleviate “mental illness,” as it claims. It exercises control over the population, while paying lip service to curing “mental illnesses” and leaving a trail of chemically lobotomized zombies in its wake.
The Therapeutic State has granted psychiatrists ungodly powers. They can lock people up in asylums called “mental health facilities,” without due process and without consent. They have the authority to defraud people into drinking potions that numb and destroy minds.
Thus, psychiatry represents one of the most dangerous attacks on freedom, and it goes almost unobserved by libertarians, anarchists, and other freedom focused individuals. Psychiatry is the new church. It is like the cathedrals of the Dark Ages. It conducts its witch hunts with impunity. It must be stopped, but people have to understand the enemy. Here, I will deconstruct the concept of “mental illness”—the cornerstone of psychiatry—and question the field as a scientific and medical discipline.
Psychiatric Myths Unveiled
Mental illness is a myth; it is fraud. There can be no such thing as “mental illness.” An illness refers to a sickness of the body. In medical terms, someone is “ill” only if a specific biological marker, lesion or germ is discovered on or in the body. A mind cannot be ill. The term “mental” refers to mind, and it is an abstraction. It is an epiphenomenon of brain functioning or an emergent process. It is not an organism or body that can become ill. Can an abstraction, explanation, or process become ill? “Mental illness” or “mental disorder” are forms of semantic trickery.
What does it mean if psychiatry is claiming that the mind is sick? It means that the discipline is providing its opinion on who is sane or insane, based on culture, biases, and beliefs—not on medical science and reality. Psychiatry has claimed to be scientific by delving into genetics, biology, neuroscience and medicine, then retroactively confirming their diagnoses.
But there are problems with this logic. One cannot diagnose someone as mentally ill or infer they are crazy by backwards engineering. They have to find the cause first. A common fallacy within logic is called the burden of proof, which bears on the person making a claim. If psychiatry makes claim about an illness, they should meet the burden of proof for those claims. In this sense, psychiatry’s insistence about the existence of mental sicknesses are hallucinated. Their claims are fallacious.
Chemical Imbalance Nonsense
For instance, psychiatrists often claim that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. This is one of their primary arguments for the existence of mental diseases. And they suggest that certain pills, namely SSRI’s and other compounds, can balance these chemicals. However, psychiatrists contradict themselves. Various medical websites and professional sites often mention that there is “no known cause” or “multiple causes” for mental illness. Let’s look at depression as a case in point.
Mayo clinic says, “It’s not known exactly what causes depression.” The American Psychological Association skirted direct answer. Their website said, “There is no single answer to this question.” Most other institutions have variations of these answers, and they usually claim that depression has many causes, including social, genetic, neurological, environmental, etc.
But if the “chemical imbalance” cause is true, why say there is no known cause or suggest that it is caused by a multitude of things? This makes no sense, as if these institutions are trying to cover something up, or they are just ignorant of their own lack of knowledge.
Furthermore, how do psychiatrists test for these imbalances if they exist? Funny enough, there is no way to measure neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. The psychiatrist has no lab test or tool to detect discrete levels of the chemicals. Neurotransmitters like serotonin do not pass the blood brain barrier, so a urine or blood test is out of the question.
The only way to test for neurotransmitters is to test for their metabolites. The metabolite for serotonin, 5-HIAA has been taken from cerebral spinal fluid in order to test for depression in several studies. However, these studies have been inconclusive at best. Dr. Elliot Valenstein and journalist Robert Whitaker discuss these studies at length in their books, respectively: Blaming the Brain and Anatomy of an Epidemic.
So, if psychiatrists cant accurately test for mental illnesses, how do they discover these diseases?
Psychiatry Cannot Discover Mental Illnesses
Psychiatry does not discover anything. Psychiatry does not locate disease bodies like a physician locates cancer. A group of psychiatrists vote on which disorders exist. They categorize them in the diagnostic bible the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), and these “mental illnesses” or “disorders” are then applied to people for their faulty behavior and thinking.
This means psychiatry is more like witch hunting. People are judged on actions and thought processes. They are diagnosed by a holy book. Psychiatrists merely feign the use of medical science by employing jargon and fancy euphemisms.
The DSM has also had major changes and updates, which undermine its validity. Mental disorders have been removed because they were seen as offensive, society grew to accept them or for other arbitrary reasons. Homosexuality was in the DSM, as was various other “sexual dysfunctions.” In addition, back in the 1800’s, a doctor by the name of Samuel Cartwright, said that runaway slaves had a mental illness called drapetomania. This “illness” was said to arise when a slave fled captivity. Cartwright argued that the cure for it is something along the lines of a sound beating.
Diagnosing strictly on behavior is scientifically and medically questionable, because it is based on subjective valuations instead of objectively identifiable illnesses. How many more diagnoses will be removed when cultural traditions grow accustomed and tolerant of them, or psychiatrists simply want to make room in their holy book? What limit is there to generating mental illnesses out of thin air, based on new cultural trends?
Not only does psychiatry hold the power of creating pseudo illnesses, they also hold the power of claiming to cure those illnesses and help the “mentally ill.” They do this by prescribing chemical lobotomies and drug cocktails that hurt more people than help. These drugs (like for chemical imbalances) have iatrogenic effects, which means that the doctor harms the patient. This is the hidden maleficence within psychiatry. The literature on the harmful affects of these drugs is legion, especially the anti-schizophrenic meds.
Don’t Trust the Witch Doctors; A New Vision for Anarchists
Psychiatry is a fraud that plays on cultural biases and takes advantage of people’s desire for self-pity and self-loathing. It plays on peoples superstitions that insanity can exist in a supernatural form, but can somehow be localized to the body. It plays on people’s entitlement mentalities, because it allows people to seek help and get favors and money based the fact that nothing is wrong with them, aside from feeling down or unloved.
For the sake of honesty and psychological purity, people must step away from institutionalized psychiatry and rely on their genuine relationships with other people, and counselors who just want to help without catering to their entitlement mentalities.
This is not to say that all people are “malingering” or feigning mental illnesses. A lot of people certainly have life issues and problems and get to feeling down; but these folks represent primary victims of psychiatry, and thus helping abolish psychiatry and Therapeutic State should be one of the anarchists missions in attempting to liberate mankind from injustice and tyranny.