George Dawson MD, responds…

After my first ‘asshole of the day‘ post, the recipient, Mr George Dawson- an American psychiatrist and blogger, responded through his blog. First of all, before I respond to his response, I would like to correct Dawson:

Dr Dawson, your ‘response’ to my comments on your blog came after I had done the blog post (check the dates and you will see this) not before, secondly, the blog post had more to do with your general disdain and disparaging attitude towards psychiatric system users (in other words your patients- people like me!) than Peter Gotszche’s rebuttal.

Furthermore, the problem is you label everyone who disagrees with you as ‘anti-psychiatry ‘ and you think that by doing so automatically disqualifies their opinion. This is ironic considering you also believe that the same people that you label as anti-psychiatry, think that all psychiatrists are jerks, therefore (according to this silly logic) anything coming from a psychiatrist must, and will be, ridiculed by ‘anti-psychiatrists’. The reductive mind set which you accuse those who disagree with you of possessing, is the exact same reductive mind set which you approach them with. Once you have decided that someone is anti-psychiatry you immediately become defensive, and you see that person or entity as a threat. This creates hostility.

This is also the crux of the problem.

I am not anti-psychiatry, but I do have a number of issues with the ideology of psychiatry, I also think that there are major flaws in the psychiatric system. You think that there is a simple division of beliefs, between the so called ‘anti-‘psychiatrists, and psychiatrists themselves. What you fail to see is that the issues are immensely more complex, this is not black and white, and the debate has many shades of grey on all sides. And I say, ‘all sides’, because I do not believe that there are merely two opposing sides. There are variants and they often overlap. There are many sides. Many many perspectives. Many voices.

If I was anti-psychiatry, I would not be supporting and championing the opinions of Dr Peter Breggin, Dr David Healy, Dr Corry and others. They are psychiatrists and I like them. I trust them, and I value their opinion. But perhaps you would label them ‘anti-psychiatry’? If so, then that is even more ridiculous, because they are practicing psychiatrists so how can they be anti-themselves or somehow anti-their profession. It simply is nonsensical. They are certainly offering different perspectives than most mainstream psychiatrists, but it is not accurate to label them anti-psychiatry. It’s absurd.

This labeling reminds me of the post-911 labeling of liberals, or those who disagreed with Bush’s policies- as somehow inherently ‘anti-American’. These are semantic tricks and sophist charades, which serve only to shut down debate, and in many ways that is the intention.

Dividing everyone into either a pro-psychiatry, or anti-psychiatry camp, is convenient for black and white thinking, but it does not reflect the realities of the debate. It is very simplistic binary-type logic which serves only to create a situation where debate can easily be shut down, on one side, by applying the label of ‘anti-psychiatry’ on to someone that they think represents the other side. This type of engagement does little to advance insightful discourse.

Furthermore, the irony here is, even if someone is actually completely anti-psychiatry, in many cases they would have good reason to be, as the majority of those who identify more with anti-psychiatric discourse are people who have been through the psychiatric system, thus they would have every right to feel and express their thoughts of that system. Psychiatry gets negative criticism for good reason, as it often fails and damages people.

Most people don’t appreciate being duped, disappointed and damaged, particularly when that harm comes from the people who they entrusted with their health. The label of ‘anti-psychiatry’ is justifiably embraced by some who are harmed by psychiatry, because some of these people actually do detest the psychiatric ideology, and some utterly hate it. However, this ’emotive response’ from some does not automatically disqualify their experiences or their opinions. In many cases, it merely reflects that other very human trait: Courage. The strength to stand up and fight back.

By virtue of the fact that it is psychiatric patients, or those treated by psychiatrists, who are the service users, surely their opinion and input into debates and issues which affect them should be highly valued- not debased? By simply applying an anti-psychiatry label on psychiatric patients, or those damaged by psych drugs or ECT, some psychiatrists think they can just ignore their views. It conveniently creates the situation where whole swathes of psychiatric service users’ experiences becomes invalid and unworthy of engagement. This is wrong, and so arrogant of the psychiatric profession, and it is why I posted the post in the first place. Your profession is extremely well paid, the least you could do is put some value on those who you ‘treat’ with it, whether they are critical or not should not even come into it…

I will respond to your comment on Paroxetine in due course…

(and by the way, I have never been paid one cent either by anyone, this blog is completely independent as am I, it is primarily for those who seek information on Seroxat. I put the Bitcoin thing up this year, and have yet to receive any donations, and I don’t expect any either, it was merely hoping for some kind gestures as the blogging is hard work, I have done this to help people for seven years and I am unpaid. Also I think it is a bit ridiculous that you claim that you have no conflict of interest, you are a psychiatrist, it’s your job, you get paid to promote the ideology of psychiatry and you certainly seem to invest a lot of time defending it. It’s your bread and butter though so why wouldn’t you? But claiming no conflict of interest is ridiculous because it is in your interest that people believe psychiatry works otherwise you wouldn’t have your big salary)

ps.. not all psychiatric drug users’ experience is ranting from the ‘uneducated masses’, as one of your supporters recently described us on your blog in the comments section…

Personally, I thought that was an extremely derogatory and condescending statement, the fact that you didn’t take issue with it (and likely didn’t even notice it) was very evident by your blasé response. This speaks volumes and pretty much backs up my intuition about you in my original post…