Silencing psychiatric survivors: let us count the ways

Someone in a linked in group responded to this post on the nature of protracted withdrawal syndrome with what I call an “aggressive positivity” comment. They suggested those harmed by drugs are doing no one a favor by telling the truth. They are in fact being “negative” and should instead concentrate on healing.

I responded with these comments which have been slightly edited:

If people don’t understand the grave risks involved they don’t come off psych drugs carefully. we can pretend people don’t get sick, but the fact is the disability can be so serious to not talk about it is plain irresponsible. My work covers neuroplasticity and our body’s wondrous capacity to heal as well, but first we need to try to avoid making people so gravely ill!!

A couple of weeks of illness is nothing…I know folks who end up bedridden for months and in some cases years. This is not something to give short shrift.

Once it’s understood what the risks are safer protocols will be shared…right now most doctors are criminally harming folks and they don’t even know it.

And perhaps you might want to think what it’s like to be told that people who’ve been gravely harmed shouldn’t talk about it…that is exactly the sort of thing that keeps these egregious injuries in the dark and doctors continuing to harm…not to mention retraumatizing the injured party.

A psychiatrist chose to leave comment at this point. He too seemed to want to silence me. He instead said that he’d never had any trouble weaning anyone off psych meds and that we must see different people. He later, also, denied that neuroleptics have killed far more people than Vioxx (which has been removed from the market) ever did and when I offered him documentation proving it he had nothing to say. The abject refusal to acknowledge the well-documented harm these drugs cause is simply mind-boggling and frankly, criminal.  I responded to him with these comments:

Most MDs don’t know what they’re seeing when they encounter severe withdrawal issues…most of those harmed in the withdrawal process have to leave the system and get care outside of it because the denial is so widespread and dangerous…most psychiatrists think withdrawal issues are the resurfacing of the “underlying” illness…that means that psychiatrists try to further medicate and thus further harm folks…anyway, these are the people I see…those harmed by psychiatry and those whom psychiatry denies having harmed.

And there are some psychiatrists who realize this is going on…they’re just not in the majority and it’s hard to find those folks when 1000s are coming off meds…so patients just help each other out instead. (some researchers have figured out that there is a treasure trove of data in these peer support groups: Alarming report on persistent side effects of antidepressant drugs published online)

Also, I’ve worked side by side psychiatrists in the system and I’ve worked outside the system as I do now…people are not aware of much other than that which is in front of their faces…unless they’re willing to learn about what happens to all the people who leave their standard of care, never to return. The people I work with are invisible to those in the system.  I might add it can go both ways…from either side people find what is right for them on the other side…we need to remain open and trust individuals to find the care they need and not deny anyone their experience.

So, yeah. The fact is those who are still in the system can conveniently believe that those of us harmed don’t exist because those of us who figure it out LEAVE the system. We STOP getting care in the system. We cease to be part of the picture, the data, the statistics and this fact allows those in the system to conveniently deny we exist. Those remaining in the system, even if also victims, are often (no, not always) not aware of how much they’ve been harmed and so continue to support the status quo.

So from Beyond Med’s psych drug withdrawal page, as a reminder:

In the course of my work with those coming off psych meds I’ve learned that there are few people, even among critics of psychiatry that have a clue at the potential severity of psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes. That also means there are virtually no professionals that can offer meaningful support when people encounter serious issues. We remain dependent on each other.

Other than those who’ve directly experienced protracted withdrawal or those who have lived with those who have experienced it, it simply remains under appreciated and therefore under treated and under recognized even, as I said, among critics of psychiatry. It’s rather horrifying for those of us who find ourselves struck by such illness. While perhaps a minority, we are not an insignificant minority. I alone have had contact with 1000s of us.

The other thing to consider is that we are perhaps not even a minority because the fact is so many issues with withdrawal are not recognized at all and are instead considered and then treated as the “underlying illness,” many folks simply get sicker and sicker on meds and never even know why they’re ill. Those people never come to understand that all the multiple trials of drugs and the numerous times of coming off and on them has actually been the cause of their illness.

I’m putting together a collection of withdrawal links for the navigation menu since the drop-down menu has become rather long. I will post it as a new post and then it will be accessible permanently from the top of the blog. (read more)

Please do not attempt to discontinue psych drugs without first very carefully educating yourself on the risks involved so that you might minimize the chances of developing grave iatrogenic illness if you decide to withdraw. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up


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