Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Here is a quote straight from the horse's mouth of psychiatrist Daniel Carlat:

"We often talk about neuro-transmitters like serotonin and noroepharin. But that really ends up being neurobabble. It sounds impressive to patients and it makes them think we know what we're doing when we're prescribing the medications. But we don't really know how these meds work." Side effects, said Carlat, can be serious or in some cases, unknown. "We don't know enough about the side effects to know how many people we're putting at risk."

It irks me that patients and relatives have been saying this for years, then suddenly young Daniel Carlat "sees the light" and is gathering great respect and a book contract with this wisdom. My eyes used to quickly glaze over with all the psychobabble trash talk that meant absolutely nothing to me and only raised my suspicions. Seemed like a lot of smoke and mirrors. Neurotransmitters? Who cares? Serotonin, neurotonin, dopamine, up, down, down, up, blah blah blah blah blah.

No doubt Daniel Carlat still sees schizophrenia as a "special case", so I will not go out of my way to praise his latest efforts, but at least these things are starting to be said by people who supposedly count - the medical profession. Actually, as Gianna Kali points out, Carlat is still drinking the kool-aid. He's still digging into his grab bag of labels and symptom hunting. The only difference now is that he has expanded his world vision to include the possibility that meds don't solve everything.


  1. Exactly, the guy is STILL a psychiatrist, in practice, no matter what his book says, or he "dares to say" to his "collegues".

    He totally bugs me with that epiphany of "ask what's wrong" when the drugs appear to not work! I wonder why they don't work doctor?

  2. Psychiatry is so intertwined with $$$ that they all chant that mantra. In a way, we are lucky living in Europe because, while the doctors still push the drugs and don't care for input from the people with the most to lose, there is a limit, in my experience, to how far they go with the drugs. Nothing "worked" for my son, but there was never an issue of adding a third drug. Switch drugs, yes, but pile on more at higher and higher doses, no.

  3. Rossa: they like to do that, piling on more drugs at higher doses, here in DK. Especially in forensic psychiatry. If, in addition, you happen to be of non-European origin, for instance Somali, they even try out new, not yet approved drugs on you. Without your consent.

    There's been some focus on the increasing number of young people who unexpectedly and without apparent reason die in psychiatric "care" in this country. Usually the cause of death in these cases is stated as "psychosis". Even some hot shots among the "experts" admit, that nobody yet has died from "psychosis", have voiced suspicion that it might be the drugs, and have asked for an investigation. Nevertheless, the authorities recently decided that "psychosis" is a valid cause of death. A carte blanche for every shrink to drug people to death.

    (But I have a hunch that Denmark isn't quite representative for Europe in general. Fascism is having a heyday around here, in every regard.)

  4. Good comments, Marian. I am amazed that they can get away with experimental drugging without consent in Denmark, but I no doubt an naive. At least the program my son was involved with claimed that the drug doses were way to high in North America and while, yes, they did raise my son's drugs to a point, it was never to the point I have read about elsewhere. I am right now reading Elyn Sak's book, The Center Cannot Hold, and she mentions that she was put on 600 mg clozapine at one point. My son was never anywhere near that, and he was a tough case. Mind you, I suspect if you have violent tendencies, you get hit with higher doses in order to sedate you.

  5. Violent tendencies, like when you don't give up that easily, but keep defending yourself - or: continue to fight your battle for freedom, your rebellion... But also you risk to get hit with higher doses if your cultural background is different enough to make it difficult for your environment to understand you immediately. For instance, it is a lot more common to use metaphors in languages like the Somalian one, than it is in Danish. And if you say, you feel like the professionals are trying to tear your heart out, instead of that the drugs make you feel zombified, out of touch with your emotions, and unable to think clearly, someone with a Danish background, taking everything literally, of course only sees "paranoid delusions", "psychosis" - needing more "treatment"...

  6. Hmm. Do the Danes take everything literally? I sometimes associate literalism with Scandinavians and Midwesterners. (The American Midwest was settled largely by Scandinavians.) I often think that Americans take things more literally than Canadians and Canadians probably take things more literally than the British. Taking things literally means beware if you are psychotic in certain jurisdictions, as you point out.


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