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                                                                                                                                         Jim Gottstein

                                                                                                                                        907 274-7686



Psychiatric Association Produces No Evidence Supporting Its Claims



August 22, 2003


On August 16th, almost a week ago, five psychiatric survivors and a dissident social worker from throughout the United States began a hunger strike to press for human rights and choice in psychiatry.  Their demand: That the mental health industry produce even one study proving the common industry claim that "mental illness is biologically-based."  See,  On August 20, 2003, the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (“PsychRights”) formally announced it had joined the growing list of supporters in solidarity with the hunger strikers in their Fast for Freedom in Mental Health.  See,  The American Psychiatric Association's response was essentially, "go look it up in our textbooks and journals."  On August 21, 2003, an international panel of recognized experts issued their judgment:  

In examining each of these sources, we found numerous statements that invalidate suggestions that behaviors referred to as “mental illnesses” have specific biological bases.

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In the judgment of the panel members, your reply fails to produce or cite any specific evidence of any specific pathophysiology underlying any “mental disorder.”

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Like you, we are familiar with the material found in these journals. It is understandable why you did not provide any citations. There is not a single study that provides valid and reliable evidence for the "biological basis of mental illness."

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The panel members could not help but notice the contrast between the hunger strikers, who ask clear questions about the science of psychiatry and consciously take risks in the name of protecting the well-being of users of psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association, which evades revealing what actual scientific evidence justifies its authority. By not giving specific answers to the questions posed by the hunger strikers, you appear to be affirming the very reason for the hunger strike.

See, particularly, relying on the APA's own sources, for the specific refutations to the American Psychiatric Association's position.

Harvard lawyer Jim Gottstein, Chief Operating Officer of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, said, "in a court of law, these failures of the Psychiatric Association would amount to an admission that what they have been telling their patients and the public about the biologic basis of mental illness is untrue."   Mr. Gottstein continued, “The common statement that people diagnosed with mental illness have a ‘chemical imbalance’ in their brain is pure bunk  -- it is simply a ruse to justify the injection of mind-numbing chemicals that cause more violence than it prevents.”  “Just one of the really outrageous things about this fraud is the courts are duped into complicity.”

Don Roberts, president of PsychRights, added,  “one of the great heroes of the forced drugging movement, psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey has even written it is a good thing psychiatrists lie to the courts all the time to get them to order damaging – even life threatening -- treatments that are not justified under the law.”

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, was specifically formed in November of last year to attack these unwarranted court orders for forced psychiatric drugging.  It has become clear the public mental health system is creating a huge class of chronic mental patients through forcing them to take ineffective, yet extremely harmful drugs.  The courts are being misled by dishonest research and testimony and forcing tens of thousands of people a year to take drugs that are not only physically harmful, but permanently damage the brain and make people more susceptible, not less susceptible to psychiatric symptoms.  The purpose of the Law Project for Psychiatric rights is to promote and implement a legal campaign on behalf of psychiatric rights akin to what Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP mounted in the 40's and 50's on behalf of African American civil rights.  In the web-article “Unwarranted Court Ordered Medication: A Call to Action,” a multi-faceted approach is detailed including providing technical assistance to people around the country for fighting these unwarranted court orders for psychiatric drugging.  This includes an entire section devoted to making the studies debunking the falsities perpetrated by the psychiatric profession available for use by litigants around the country.  An upcoming section will provide model forms and suggested legal strategies.  In addition, a network of people willing to help is being built and PsychRights personnel will provide assistance as it can on specific cases.  Other sections of the website include an article on the legal underpinnings of the current forced psychiatry regime in “Psychiatry: Force of Law,” and a page devoted to Everyday Horrors of the Mental Health System.

“We’ve already sprung one woman from the hospital without a forced medication order being in effect against her after a non-stop, hard-fought four month legal battle,” said Mr. Roberts.  “We have just begun our fight for psychiatric justice.”

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a tax-exempt charity whose mission is to bring fairness and reasonableness into the administration of legal aspects of the mental health system. Non-governmental grants and donations are being sought to be able to hire a paid staff attorney and an EEP.    In support of its mission, PsychRights publishes the relevant research on its website ( as well as other relevant materials.

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