Sunday, February 27, 2011

"... cheaper than chimpanzees." Experimenting on mental patients & prisoners.

"In widely covered congressional hearings in 1973, pharmaceutical industry officials acknowledged they were using prisoners for testing because they were cheaper than chimpanzees." - AP story on Yahoo

"ATLANTA – Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital." - Michael Stobbe

If you think the psychiatric industry's push to have ME/CFS categorized as "medically unexplained" and a "psychosomatic" illness has no meaning for you who have this neuroimmune disease or care about someone who has it, think again. Institutionalized mental patients are, for all intents and purposes, prisoners. They become prisoners of mental institutions without the due process of law that those who are accused of crimes are afforded under the law.

In some US states, psychologists and psychiatrists are advocating a change in laws that now require two doctors to sign legal papers authorizing the commitment "for observation" of those who might be "a danger to themselves or others". They want to be able to commit people on the signature of one doctor.

Imagine that you or your loved one goes to a physician who diagnoses the ME/CFS patient as depressed or as somatizing. Imagine the prescription for exercise, talk therapy, drugs. If the patient, knowing her own body and her own experience, refuses this "treatment", she could be committed to a mental institution to enforce "compliance", "for her own good". The death of Sophia Mirza is one of the results of this policy already in force in UK. The men in white coats came to her door, with her mother present and objecting, forced their way in and took her away against her will. It could happen in the US.

Mental hospitals do not have the capacity or the knowledge needed to treat a neuroimmune disease and the multisystem dysfunctions that result from it. To the person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. ME/CFS patients committed to a mental institution can expect to be pounded into the perceived holes dreamed up for them by psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians who collude with them.

Once committed, patients no longer have the right to "refuse" treatment or even give consent to treatment. They can be, and are, injected with psychotropic drugs against their wishes. And if the psychiatric industry so declares it, the "treatment" for ME/CFS can be GET, CBT and antidepressant and antianxiety drugs. These drugs have generally proven unhelpful for those with ME/CFS. They can have side effects that are permanent. As for exercise as a "treatment", ME/CFS patients are already doing all they can physically, so urging them to increase physical activity is unnecessary and can be damaging.

And what if "resistant" mental illness "requires" ECT - electro-convulsive "therapy"? You thought that went out in the era of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"? No, it comes back around in fashion every so often. It's the treatment of last resort in the minds of some psychiatrists, rather like sending the patients to a psychiatrist was in the first place, for the physician who couldn't correctly diagnose ME/CFS in the first place. For the ME/CFS patient already experiencing seizures, being convulsed by electricity as a "treatment" for a CNS that is already fragile could be the last shock it could not withstand.

Research by scientists and clinicians who actually treat biomedical ME/CFS, not the watered-down version invented by the CDC and the NHS in UK, but the Canadian Consensus definition of CFS, has shown that exercise and talk therapy are no more "treatments" for this neuroimmune disease than they would be for other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, polio, MS, malaria or hepatitis C.

Of course, any sufferer of debilitating disease might benefit from counseling on how to cope, but coping strategies are not treatments for the disease itself.  Any researcher or clinician who acquiesces to this emotional and intellectual manipulation is colluding with the school of propaganda that seeks to inculcate the disinformation that "illness beliefs", present stress from previous childhood abuse, or any other thoughts cause or sustain this disease.

If you don't apply this standard to other neuroimmune diseases, you can't apply it to ME/CFS. Period.

The race is on. Will biomedical researchers be able to prove, create and market a reliable test for the biomarkers already found for ME/CFS before the psychiatric cabal can change the involuntary commitment law and the DSM to suit themselves?

This is why it is such a big deal when the likes of Kim McCleary, Suzanne Vernon and CJ do and say things that chip away at the real biomedical research and those researchers. Delaying and sabotaging biomedical research give the psychiatric lobby, supported by the disability insurance lobby, time to get their plans into place.

For a glimpse into how disability insurers such as Unum operate, read the case of a man disabled with CFS and how many years of harassment, appeals and fighting it took for him to win. Read the judge's list of 13 illegal tactics several insurers and reinsurers regularly use to avoid paying legitimate disability claims. Mr. Merrick was a millionaire and had the means to fight and to survive the fight, unlike the vast majority of those who have already been impoverished by the disease before they try to get disability benefits.

It would shortcut the process a great deal to just have those with ME/CFS labeled as mentally ill, to prescribe GET, CBT and cheap drugs and to then put them away if they don't or can't comply.

Sophia could happen here. And Kim McCleary regrets that CBT and GET are "not available treatments" in the US, no thanks to her and her cronies.


  1. I came to your blog via this blog post: and I was wondering where you came across this information:

    "Approximately half the committee established to update the DSM, the diagnistic bible of psychiatry/psychology, this year, is in favor of calling ME/CFS a "medically unexplained" illness and including it as, or inferring it to be, a psychosomatic illness."

    I was thinking of including it in a blog post on recent developments, I will link your blog as well.

  2. Can't speak to that statement specifically but Suzy Chapman has a lot on this here.

  3. To Nighearain:I was reading comments on Psychology Today online, sorry don't remember what article, and a poster who said he was a member of the group trying to update the new DSM said they were split about evenly on this question. He was of the opinion his fellow psychiatrists were just trying to keep or increase income or market share. Sorry I didn't capture the website address.

  4. Thanks both for your replies. I'll do a little digging and see what I can find.

  5. Thank you oerganix for an another enlightening blog post.

  6. Regardless of what position one takes on this.....can you imagine requiring or even suggesting ECT as a treatment for cancer or AIDS.....

  7. Only if you're a claims "adjuster" for a disability insurer, I guess.

    I can't imagine recommending GET, CBT or antidepressants as a TREATMENT for any biomedical disease...AIDS, ME/CFS, malaria, polio...

  8. interesting post, it is really good to know about this. I did not realize that it happened before.