submission info
The Psychiatric System: So What Is Wrong With It?

by Gustavo Gonzalez

years ago I was subjected to drug treatment which I neither wanted nor needed. It was imposed on me without my consent. I was denied the right to consult a lawyer or get another opinion. The doctor would not even allow me to make a phone call. All of this was carried out regardless of the fact that no charges were laid against me. Now I wish the police would have charged me with something. At least I would have had the right to make a phone call.

Last August I came to Toronto hoping to meet other psychiatric "abuse" survivors. I was hoping what I learn from them would be helpful in my quest for justice. I have met other psychiatric survivors but I am not sure exactly what it is they have survived. The use of the term psychiatric survivor has something missing in it. Is it psychiatric abuse, psychiatric misdiagnosis, psychiatric real practice, psychiatric treatment or psychiatric overdose? Has physical violence or sexual interference been part of the abuse?

I think it is great there are support groups, community resources and some government funding available to survivors. Unfortunately the government and its legislative bodies continue to miss the legal issues which allow such abuses to occur in the first place. The reason some doctors abuse their patients is simple; they can get away with it. The government and the courts do not hold them accountable for their actions. Legislation allowing this to happen has to be changed and workable recourses put in place.

For the period of time I was drugged, I was unaware I was dealing with very dishonest and manipulative people playing doctor. Bringing these people to justice is almost impossible.


The real problems with the mental health system are:

It is run by people whose life styles and priorities are quite different from the people they intend to 'help', or rather impose their priorities upon. The patient needs to function in quite a different "social class" and "social environment" than their abusers. The imbalance of power created by social class alone allows the abusers to completely overlook and ignore the patients' needs and concerns.

To achieve control over other people's lives these "professionals" resort to drugging their victims, as it is more difficult to fight back while impaired by any mind-altering substance. It is difficult for the victim to distinguish and have a clear perception of what is going on.

Most psychiatric drugs are good for no one and EVERY PSYCHIATRIC PATIENT walking the streets, urinating or masturbating in public is a sad testimonial of this. Granted, not every drugged patient urinates or masturbates in public as we all manifest our mental impairment under medication differently. But their performance and quality of life deteriorates in direct proportion with how much medication and for how long they take it. THAT IS A FACT. It is always possible to find someone who is happier since their brother, sister or other family member has been on medication and the reason for that is simple: It takes less effort to dope a relative than it is to spend time with them. A very sad reminder of this comes to mind as I have personally witnessed someone drug her child to sleep so she can have some time in the sack with me, instead of waiting for a more appropriate time. This may be one of many ways in which some people have been introduced to drugs and psychiatry early in life. The fact these drugs are legal and prescribed by a doctor has nothing to do with being good for you!

You can manipulate a person's behavior by using mind-altering chemicals. You can make them do things they normally would not do. You can impose your set of priorities and even make the patient agree he or she feels better since they began taking medication. You can make the patient forget what it was like to feel normal, and even convince them they are never going to feel normal again. But you can never make them feel right about it or feel good about themselves. Somewhere in the back of their minds they know something isn't quite right.

Ultimately, the worst thing about psychiatry is that most doctors hold the view that most people, meaning the rest of us, do not know what's good for them'.

The biggest problem with psychiatry is that our culture allows it to happen. Psychiatry thrives on our culture's principle that only the very best of everything sets the standard for everyone else. This point of view is wrong and it has to change. Not everyone can run 100 meters in 10 seconds; in fact, most people can not even come close.

I came to Toronto about half year ago and while walking down Sherbourne St. I saw a poster that reflects this very well. It had the picture of a slightly overweight woman lying on a couch and it read "only a very small percent of the female population actually looks like what cover girls and models look like". How true! This is where psychiatry feeds, from people made to feel there is something wrong with them when in fact the only crime they have committed is to be like most: average.

reprinted by kind permission of the Alias zine. Alias is produced by a low-income community editorial collective in downtown Toronto. it is available freely if you send them a few stamps. enjoy it, support it.

145 Queen Street East
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 1S1

comments about this article? give us feedback