Turning patients into hostages (part 2) — updated

*scroll to bottom for update

I posted some of this post before here. There was more to that post, but I’m reposting the part about Stockholm Syndrome in particular because I found a post from 2007 in which I speak to this exact phenomena as well. In 2007 I’m in the early days (of the really hard part) of my 6 year marathon withdrawal from 6 classes of neurotoxic psychiatric drugs. Still, I had the capacity, even at that point to start seeing things very clearly.

The below is part of what I posted before featuring David Healy’s work. Afterwards I share the same insight I had in 2007. An insight I had forgotten about when I read and shared David Healy’s article much more recently.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, David Healy is a practicing psychiatrist. His latest book  Pharmageddon critiques medicine in general, including psychiatry.

From Healy’s blog post, BarMitzzva Romba: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Quite aside from transforming doctors into the perfect consumer in this sense, in 1962 it was not appreciated how much a mechanism designed to improve safety might in fact do just the opposite by transforming clinical encounters into hostage situations. Making drugs available on prescription only means that patients have nowhere else to go to get a medicine they need or think they need. They effectively become a hostage rather than a patient and risk the development of Stockholm syndrome.

In 1962 Stockholm syndrome had not yet been described. It is now known that people whose lives are at risk and who are isolated (anyone with an illness), when held hostage by kind captors concerned about their welfare (as doctors are increasingly trained to be) are highly likely to identify with their captors and want to keep them happy. In these circumstances, especially when the patient finds their condition worsening, it becomes very difficult to raise the possibility that what the doctor has done in good faith to help might in fact be causing problems.

It seems more and more likely that the safety consequences of turning patients into hostages outweigh the risks inherent in the drugs that doctors prescribe. The evidence that treatment induced adverse events have now become a leading source of death and disability point just this way. Meanwhile there is not a medical course on earth that trains doctors to recognize their capacity to induce Stockholm syndrome. (continue reading)

Well that rings uncomfortably true for me. And the truth is painful sometimes, isn’t it? For me it’s painful to the tune of a long-term iatrogenic chronic illness. My doctor was an extremely nice man. The perfect  captor genuinely concerned about my wellbeing.

This is what I wrote in 2007:

I feel rage now. He, the man who “believed” in me, has hurt me the worst because I trusted him. I never trusted the out and out assholes. And the worst part is that I still have, underneath the sickness I feel right now or actually contained within it, a feeling of warmth for him. Ugh it’s repulsive. What is the name of the syndrome that makes one attached to their abusers? Maybe I’m thinking of attachment to kidnappers. But what I’m feeling now should have a name too.

I don’t have any of those feelings with the same intensity anymore…thank god for our resilient and neuroplastic brains and psyche. We really do heal and transform that pain. But wow, I am certainly still working out the layers and layers of psychic crap that I was burdened with as a result of having numbed and blocked my entire emotional body with drugs. Amazing in my mind…it’s a very real phenomena what David Healy talks about!! And I got it in a deeply personal way very early in my emancipation from the system.

David Healy’s Pharmageddon is an important book you might want to read to understand what is happening in all of medicine and psychiatry too.

Two posts on Beyond Meds about the book are here: Pharmageddon: David Healy’s new book is now available  and  Pharmageddon 2

UPDATE: This appeared in Time Magazine today. David Healy gave a talk at the American Psychiatric Association!: Psychiatrist Contends the Field Is ‘Committing Professional Suicide

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