A BETTER MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM
“The right to have a thorough, physical and clinical examination by a competent registered general practitioner of one’s choice, to ensure that one’s mental condition is not caused by any undetected and untreated physical illness, injury or defect, and the right to seek a second medical opinion of one’s choice.” – Article 3 of CCHR’s Mental Health Declaration of Human
People do have problems in life, sometimes very serious. Mental difficulties do exist, people’s hopes and dreams can be shattered and their methods of coping with this can
fail. However, with such prevalence of mind-altering psychiatric drugs that damage the body, psychiatrists are not healing, but creating addicts and life-long patients.
Do No Harm
Therefore, the first action to take with the mentally disturbed is to “do no harm.” Secondly, do not tell them they have a psychiatric “disease” that only a drug can correct. They are having enough trouble as it is. More than anything they need rest and security.
CCHR has long been an advocate for competent, non-psychiatric, medical evaluation of people with mental problems.
Undiagnosed and untreated physical conditions can manifest as “psychiatric” symptoms.
During 1982, CCHR campaigned for Senate Bill 929 in California, which established a pilot project to provide medical evaluation of people in public psychiatric hospitals.
CCHR was represented on the advisory committee that was established to oversee the pilot. The findings, officially published in 1989, found that many patients studied had a physical disease that mental health professionals had failed to diagnose.
Charles B. Inlander, President of The People’s Medical Society, wrote in Medicine on Trial, “People with real or alleged psychiatric or behavior disorders are being misdiagnosed—and harmed to an astonishing degree.…Many of them do not have psychiatric problems but exhibit physical symptoms that may mimic mental conditions, and so they are misdiagnosed, put on drugs, put in institutions, and sent into a limbo from which they may never return.”1
While CCHR does not, itself, provide medical advice, the following alternatives are derived from years of working with health professionals who are qualified to address such medical issues.
1) Check for the Underlying Physical Problem
The California Department of Mental Health Medical Evaluation Field Manual states:
“Mental health professionals working within a mental health system have a professional and a legal obligation to recognize the presence of physical disease in their patients…physical diseases may cause a patient’s mental disorder [or] may worsen a mental disorder.…”
The Swedish Social Board cited several cases of disciplinary actions against psychiatrists, including one in which a patient was complaining of headaches, dizziness and staggering when he walked. The patient had complained of these symptoms to psychiatric personnel for five years before a medical check-up revealed that he had a brain tumor.
Dr. Thomas Dorman says, “…please remember that the majority of people suffer from organic disease. Clinicians should first of all remember that emotional stress associated with a chronic illness or a painful condition can alter the patient’s temperament. In my practice I have run across countless people with chronic back pain who were labeled neurotic. A typical statement from these poor patients is ‘I thought I really was going crazy.’” Often, he said, the problem may have been “simply an undiagnosed ligament problem in the back.”4
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