Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Response to letter about dementia deaths and other opinions on death and 'treatment' of mental healthcare

Dear Theresa

I hope I find you well. I hope you had a good festive period and are looking forward to the new year.

Thank you for replying to my last email. I'm afraid I've not yet read your reply. I didn't manage to open the letter and now I'm currently detained in a psychiatric ward. I would like to continue our conversation but your reply is still at home.

First of all I must apologise. I lied in my last email. I already knew about the reduction to one third the number of unnecessary deaths. It was a cheap shot which is beneath me. It was manipulative and it was driven by my desire to succeed on this issue.

I would have liked to have read your reply before responding but present circumstances mean I don't have this liberty. I've spent some time thinking about the issues while I've been a psychiatric prisoner over the last couple of weeks and I'm like to outline them to you. They may seem radical - mad even - but I believe it is important for the future of the NHS and the lives of mental health patients to be willing to think different.

I'll briefly restate the problem. There were 1,800 unnecessary deaths every year which happened not in the treatment of an illness - there is no cure for Alzheimers - but for the suppression of undesirable behaviour and emotion. When the elderly get closer to death they can be difficult to manage so the chemical cosh became used to solve the social problem of managing their behaviour and expression. The aim of 'treatment' was to make the elderly docile but the 'treatment' caused reduced life expectancy and death. It did not heal the brain but it harmed the brain and thereby violated the doctors' oath to first do no harm. The 'treatment' was akin to a straitjacket and gag but came in pill form.

The dementia tragedy is the apex of decades of this form of 'treatment' of emotional and behavioural disorders using biological means. The public and the government believe these are real illnesses and they are treated like real illnesses. I'm afraid to inform you this isn't true. The dementia tragedy is a good example.

The real illnesses which causes the symptoms of dementia is the degeneration of the brain. This degeneration is well established and there is no cure as yet. The degeneration of the brain leads to other organic systems failing as well as the unwanted behaviour called dementia.

Since the mid-20th century there has been a solution to the unwanted behavioural symptoms. The chemical cosh was an alternative to the lobotomy and was invented with the primary purpose to chemically cosh schizophrenics.

The chemical cosh does not heal the brain. There is a significant body of evidence showing that it harms the brain, causes illness, reduces life expectancy and causes death. I hope I don't need to reiterate that the chemical treatment is not what I would consider a medical treatment. It treats a social problem.

These social problems are called behavioural and emotional disorders or falsely called mental illnesses. They are not illnesses nor are they treated as illnesses. Homosexuality was not an illness. Neither was being an unmarried mother. Neither was being a slave who kept on running away (drapteomania was not codified in a reference psychiatric textbook). Schizophrenia and other so-called mental illnesses are not real illnesses either; though brain differences may exist this is not a sign of an illness. (I appreciate this last point is quite difficult to understand given the prevailing wisdom that schizophrenia really is an illness but it isn't.)

They are, however, treated by doctors. In my opinion this is why the public and the government assume they are real illnesses and perhaps some doctors falsely believe they are real illnesses too.

In the treatment of real illnesses doctors risk reduced life expectancy and death however this is not appropriate in the 'treatment' of behavioural and emotional disorders. In my opinion, death and reduced life expectancy in 'treatment' of mental illnesses is murder. 1,800 elderly every year were murdered by doctors to solve a social problem.

This false assumption of real medical treatment is how the medical profession escaped the sort of punishments which any other industry would face were a mass manslaughter discovered on the scale of the dementia tragedy. It is this privilege of do-gooding which meant the government initally agreed to the target of a reduction to 600 unnecessary deaths a year rather than total cessation of the manslaughter of the elderly to suppress unwanted behavioural symptoms.

I have been very angry about this. It is the main stressors I've faced before my current psychiatric imprisonment. My opinion is clear: we can not allow anyone to die in the 'treatment' of socially undesirable behaviour and emotion. The dementia deeply saddening and the continued slaughter has driven me mad.

A teacher of mine told me, "there's no use crying over spilt milk" and I'm trying to take this attitude. My anger would demand doctors who kill patients in this way be treated like any other murderer would be and their profession should no longer be tasked with the suppression of unwanted behaviour and the subjugation of unwanted human types. I have personally experienced so-called treatment and it is bad.

Instead I am trying to think of solutions for the future but it is with a clear rule in mind: we can not kill people for these reasons nor reduce their life expectancy and quality of life.

This would mean no more chemical treatments, electro-shock therapy, psychosurgery for mental disorder or other biological 'treatments.' The chemical cosh, mood stabilisers, antidepressants and other so-called treatments all harm the patient when there are other alternatives.

I appreciate this may not possible yet even though it is absolutely necessary and, in my firm opinion, is necessitated by the laws of criminal justice and homicide. The dementia tragedy can not be allowed to happen again. No murders can.

Instead could I propose a weak solution to resolve the ethical and moral issue: fully informed patient choice using the advance decision/directive system outlined in the Mental Capacity Act for all biological 'treatment' behavioural and emotional disorders. (Please understand that, in my mind, this solution is the equivalent of the legalisation of assisted suicide, albeit a slower death, however I must be honest and admit I am a proponent of assisted suicide. Patients would be making an informed choice to use a 'treatment' which risks illness, reduced life expectancy and death).

In my opinion it takes a lot of knowledge and understanding for a patient to make this decision. The public are as yet unaware of the underlying complexity and it is something they would need to be educated about. This could be achieved through a significant extension of the existing Information Prescription scheme. The aim is to offer every patient the level of expertise required to exercise their free will on the 'treatment' if ever they are labelled as mentally disordered. Too many still believe human difference is an illness and this is not the appropriate mindset to make the decision. A much deeper understanding is required, one which considers the sociological perspective as well as the alternatives.

This solution is about empowering patients and the public while gradually taking power away from the hegemony of psychiatry. There will always be a place for expertise which is what doctors should be providing but the history of psychiatry, in my opinion, shows me the profession are not experts in the true solutions to the problem. Since its inception the objective of psychiatry has been the homogenisation of the human race using the false application of the paradigm of illness to suppress human difference. Too much death and lost life, too much loss to individuals and society, has already happened and it is a silent tragedy.

My other solution is likely to sound crazy but perhaps in this instance it isn't a bad thing: change society.

Many of those dementia deaths could have been avoided if carers and care home workers were tolerant and compassionate about the undesirable or challenging behaviour which humans have exhibited as they grow old. There may be other solutions. I walked past a dementia care facility a few days ago while on section 17 leave and looked through the window. The elderly patients just were left in their bedrooms. One looked listless and if she was just waiting for the end of her life. I would not want this for any of our elders and perhaps solving this problem may also reduce the real life problems for the elderly. Retaining an active mind and body may be a better cure for Alzhiemers than drugging away the unwanted symptoms while waiting for the patient to die.

This objective of changing society applies to all mental and behavioural disorders. Though they are not real illnesses the prognosis is real. To me the prognosis is the worst life outcomes. People end up poor and unemployed. They become isolated and face various forms of exclusion. Too many talented people are relegated to menial roles because of their behavioural and emotional difference and those are the lucky ones. Many end up left to rot on medication and state welfare for life but it doesn't have to be this way. The systems and society which create the disadvantage and worse life outcomes - the prognosis - needs to change and this is an objective of government and health/social care.

The UK leads the world in this respect thanks to the work of charities like Mind and Rethink. They along with a coalition of other organisations instituted Time to Change, the largest mental health antistigma and discrimination program in the world. TTC is working to reduce the disability and distress associated with mental disorders without using harmful treatments which kill the patient. The Improved Access to Psychological Therapies scheme is another world-leading healthcare programme which offers safer alternatives to the historical psychiatric practice of biological 'treatments.'

There may be other solutions. These innovations will come forward with time. What remains vitally important today is agreement on the rule: we can not allow death, reduced life expectancy and illness to continue in the so-called treatment of behavioural and emotional disorders. It is murder.

If there is anything good which can come from the deaths of the elderly then let it be this rule. Please.

I can explain in greater detail if it is required.

You are welcome to reply to me via email. If you prefer to send a letter my electoral role address is:
4 Eccleston Close

Theresa. Thank you as always for taking the time to read my views.

Yours sincerely


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We It comes in part from an appreciation that no one can truly sign their own work. Everything is many influences coming together to the one moment where a work exists. The other is a begrudging acceptance that my work was never my own. There is another consciousness or non-corporeal entity that helps and harms me in everything I do. I am not I because of this force or entity. I am "we"