The Public and Counter-publics of Psychiatry

Hello doctor. You are who I will be writing these letters to. You are a combination of every doctor I have ever had and you will be the address to these letters. I am seeking to write this blog not to increase the stigma that is tied with getting help with mental disorders but to change the online rhetoric surrounding mental disorders by acknowledging the multiple discourse communities. I am hoping by you reading these articles, you will be able to inspire changes in higher institutions.

See, I saw your video. I will link it here.

You have been a fascinating psychiatrist of mine. Moreover, you are set to change the conversation of mental illness by acknowledging only the psychiatrist’s perspective, not the patient’s perspective. You do not believe that those who have not benefitted from psychiatry should be included as a rational perspective involving mental illness. However, I’ve done some lurking around Twitter in the threads that are against Big Pharma and what I’ve understood from some of the more rational websites like Beyond Meds and Mad in America (not Scientology people) that the main frustration that people have with Psychiatry is not seeking help but not having the information they want about medications.

This is an interesting article. It’s interesting because this same man, directed by Dr. Jefferey Lieberman, interviewed people who had tried anti-psychotics and had success. He did not include the perspectives of those who had not suffered with anti-psychotics and had to get off them but selectively chose people to further his agenda that anti-psychotics work for everyone as demonstrated by a comment from another MD below the article:

Sandra Steingard, MD May 6, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Thank you for this article. Can we find your thesis?
I have read the full paper and one reason why they rejected some papers from their meta-analysis or discounted the findings was due to drop out rates among those who stopped drugs. But the assumption of these researchers is that the drop outs likely had worse outcomes so it skewed results to show negative effects of the drug. This kind of implicit bias is not acknowledged in this paper. The conflation of short-term benefits and high relapse rate when drugs are stopped with good outcome is one of the biggest errors in the field and this paper does that in its original form in a more subtle way but in the press release in an overstated, triumphalist way. I find it ironic that a group who supposedly stands for the values of science would act in such a way. The paper also points how the mere admission of ties to Pharma does little to address the serious problems that COI and bias play in medicine.

In taking my Public Rhetoric class, I am extensively studying articles on Public Rhetoric. One of the articles we had to read was by Habermas – a scholar who has seen Public Rhetoric as making a positive progression from bourgeoise men’s clubs. Another one of our scholars, Nancy Fraser, acknowledges that these Bourgeoise clubs for men did not include the perspectives of women or people of color but claimed to speak for the whole of the group.

“It is not sufficient merely to bracket social inequality. Instead, it is necessary condition for participatory parity that systematic social inequalities be eliminated. We cannot just try to categorize or set aside those areas where people are not equal. We actually have to do away with the inequalities to give people equal opportunity to participate in the public sphere.” (Fraser 65)

I’m finding that the American Psychiatric Association, headed by Dr. Jefferey Lieberman, is adamant about eliminating subaltern discourse communities surrounding mental illness and insinuating that his association of psychiatrists speaks for the overall perspective of mental illness. This project thus is not about telling people to get off their meds but about how people should be directly informed of the consequences of certain medications as well as being encouraged to seek help when they need it. I hope by this project that I can acknowledge the public discourse community insinuated as a singular community by Dr. Lieberman involved in treating mental illness as well as the subaltern communities that are being excluded from this conversation. I will write about my own experiences being diagnosed with Bipolar, getting treated for Bipolar Disorder and coming off my meds as well as writing on Quora about Bipolar Disorder and my own conclusions about the state of mental health and Big Pharma in this country. I hope you will join me along for the ride this month of May in reflection and contemplation for the future.


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