Beware the Empteror’s New Clothes Magic Bullet: A Service-User Manifesto by Henry Bladon
This manifesto starts from the premise that psychiatry should be more honest about drug ‘treatment’. Service users shouldn’t be the victim of an over-zealous and indoctrinated medic who likes to dispense drugs on the basis of a chance discovery. When psychiatrists decide to be honest about what they know and don’t know, and upfront about what the chemicals do to body and brain, then we might respect them a little.
These six rules and accompanying rationale go like this:
- No indiscriminate use of psychotropic medication
Clinics and medics will no longer be able to prescribe dangerous chemicals based on speculation, experimentation, and blind faith. It is well-documented that psychotropic drugs are misused, abused, and overused. The statistics bear this out. 1.6M people are prescribed antidepressants in the UK every year and trends are increasing. In any case these drugs do not do what they claim. They are not condition specific. The so-called anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are nothing of the sort. For many people, they are little more than a mind-numbing, thought-sapping, energy-depleting, brain-messing encumbrance.
- The truth must be told
Psychiatrists can talk about serotonin or dopamine all day long, but really it turns out to be a lottery and little short of guesswork. Here’s a crazy fact: long-term use of these drugs can produce the symptoms for which they are prescribed (See James Davies, Cracked: Why psychiatry is doing more harm than good).
- Embrace resistance
Be prepared to resist the hegemony (who doesn’t love a revolution?) The misuse of power can lead to coercion. Labelling people and forcing them to take psychiatric medication is coercion. This manifesto gives power the opportunity to shift to a clear-thinking and more rational plane of equality.
- Don’t blame the victim
When these miracle substances fail to have any desired effect, the recipient is labelled as ‘treatment resistant.’ That is a paternalistic sidestep. It’s also victim-blaming and makes people feel worse.
- Make psychiatrists work differently
Drug ‘treatment’ is all many psychiatrists have to offer and it’s usually the first and last port of call for those delivering services. As such, this manifesto will render most of them therapeutically impotent. The challenge for psychiatrists will be to work in a different way.
- People not symptoms
This manifesto allows a space for people to talk. Yes, I know that psychotherapy can be equally ineffectual, but at least it doesn’t mess up your metabolism. Who wants to live in a Prozac Nation?
Long live the revolution.
a cement mixer,
a Saharan sandstorm,
thoughts interrupted creativity curtailed.
With every white pill:
not growing thin.
This is a sample article from Asylum 27.2. To read more, subscribe to Asylum Magazine.