E. Fuller Torrey’s Review of Anatomy of an Epidemic: What Does It Reveal About the Rationale for Forced Treatment?
E. Fuller Torrey, through his Treatment Advocacy Center, is the country’s most prominent advocate for outpatient commitment laws, which typically force people with a diagnosis of a severe mental illness to take antipsychotic medications. He has posted a review of Anatomy of an Epidemic on his TAC website, scathing—naturally—in kind, and I think his review provides a rare opportunity: In essence, we can now examine it to see if it provides a convincing defense of outpatient commitment laws and society’s decision to force certain adults to take antipsychotics.
The logic behind outpatient commitment laws is that antipsychotic medication is a necessary good for people with a diagnosis of severe mental illness. The medications are known to be helpful, but—or so the argument goes—people with “severe mental illness” lack insight into their disease and this is why they reject the medication.
However, if the history of science presented in Anatomy of an Epidemic is correct, antipsychotic medications, over the long term, worsen long-term outcomes in the aggregate, and thus a person refusing to take antipsychotic medications may, in fact, have good medical reason for doing so. And if that is so, the logic for forced treatment collapses. (read the rest at Mad in America)
And if you’ve not seen the trailer to That’s Crazy, it’s a must see right now that you might see who can be the subject of forced treatments: That’s crazy: powerful documentary on the coercive nature of psychiatry.
More on the topic:
Also read the stories of people who’ve come to thrive (drug-free) after a diagnosis of psychosis: Psychosis Recovery
If you’ve not yet read Robert Whitaker’s seminal texts they come highly recommended: