Re: American Psychiatric Association

phil osborn (
Sun, 17 Oct 1999 17:21:43 PDT

>From: Anders Sandberg <>
>Subject: Re: American Psychiatric Association
>Date: 18 Oct 1999 00:44:13 +0200
>"Clint O'Dell" <> writes:
> > Phil Osborn wrote:
> > >Then, in the 50's and 60's, the American Psychiatric Association, in
> > >wisdom, benevolence, and amazing sanity, was responsible for carving up
> > >tens of thousands of peoples brains in frontal lobotomies, etc., or
> > >subjecting them to brain damaging drug or electroshock.
> >
> > They still subject people, normal and not, to brain damaging drugs. I
> > for humanity they don't still perform electroshock or lobotomies.
>ECT, Electroconvulsive therapy is still used to treat some forms of
>depression, with fairly good results. Psychosurgery is also done
>today, although much, much less than in the past. Check medline for
>studies on efficacies and methods.
> > >Bottom line: If I were to try to increase my credibility, I don't
>think I
> > >would quote the American Psychaitric Association.
> >
> > They certainly don't have my respect.
>There is a big deal of difference between respect and
>credibility. Saying that the APA has no credibility is roughly like
>saying that the IAU, the International Astronomical Union, has no
>credibility. Sure, they have been wrong about things in the past and
>even done stupid things, but that doesn't mean everything they do and
>say can be discounted - there is plenty of good, well researched and
>argued science going on too. What is needed is critical thinking to
>separate the chaff from the wheat.

The last thing I particularly recall about these jerks was when Thomas Ssazz (sp?) ("The Manufacture of Madness," various other works) did his famous study in which he sent grad student volunteers in to pose as patients in various psychiatric hospitals. They were not to pretend to any symptoms, just act normal, etc. The "doctors" never caught on - but the real patients recognized that they didn't belong immediately. The "doctors" would interview one of the grad students, who would talk perfectly normally to the "doctor," while the "doctor" is taking notes and saying, "uh huh, that's very interesting. Please tell me more. How does that make you feel , etc." - out-Eliza-ing Eliza! When the grad students would try to ask the "doctor" a question, however, they could never get a reply, just more of the same, "why do you ask that?" Who was crazy here? I used to see this lady in Long Beach, who hung out on the street and lived in some cheap one room flophouse, after CA released a horde of mental patients back into the community in the '70's. She was obviously out of it, talking to people who weren't there - at least I didn't see them, reacting totally inappropriately to any contact from real humans, etc. So one day, after a year or two of seeing here every time I went to the post office, having a big bottle of 1000mg Nicotinic Acid with me from my job at the health food warehouse, I offered her a handful of the caplets, warning her of the flushing, etc. The next time I saw her, she was positively beaming, and we had a perfectly normal conversation for the first time, and I couldn't detect any sign of a problem.
A few days later, I saw her again. She was totally gone, but I managed to find out that one of the bums who shared the flophouse had stolen her niacin, assuming it was drugs, no doubt. Then the state psychiatrist who handled her case warned never again to use any unauthorized medicine, so I could never convince her to try again.

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