The book features a radical perspective on psychiatry and the “mental health system” informed by an antipsychiatry perspective and anti-oppression analysis. In the Introduction, antipsychiatry is defined as active and radical resistance to psychiatry - antipsychiatry is not an intellectual or “academic exercise.”
The book deconstructs psychiatry as a social control system.. As social control, psychiatry is specifically deconstructed as inherently coercive and based on force, fear and fraud. Psychiatry’s uses of force --involuntary committal, forced drugging, electroshock, physical restraints—are authorized by the state, legitimized in mental health legislation, widely practiced, and rarely challenged. Fear and intimidation are inherent in psychiatry’s “treatments” and threats of force. Psychiatry’s misappropriation and promotion of the biomedical model including its diagnostic labels constitute medical fraud. ”Schizophrenia”, “bipolar mood disorder” and “ADHD”, for example, are unscientific and subjective - negative moral judgments promoted as real illnesses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychiatry’s bible of
character assassinations. These labels do not refer to any disease process or illness in the body including the brain, they’re not “medical science” as frequently and dishonestly claimed by psychiatrists.
Given this radical antipsychiatry position, psychiatry must be abolished because it is frequently harmful, coercive, fraudulent, intimidating, essentially unethical, and violates several civil rights and human rights including autonomy, freedom of thought and freedom itself. The book is organized into four major parts in which the social control theme is developed. Part I deconstructs psychiatric labeling as stigmatizing, the first stage of social control. Part II is the longest part; it consists of critiques of major procedures such as forced drugging (“medication”), electroshock (“ECT”), physical restraints, “seclusion”, and involuntary committal, and community treatment orders as psychiatric weapons of fear, force and torture. In Part III, psychiatry’s complicity in several patient deaths and inquests as coverups are discussed. Part IV highlights movement resistance against psychiatric assault, including electroshock (‘ECT). and urges the development of more community-based, survivor-run and humane alternatives. The appendices include the movement’s historic Statement of Principles, a Chronology of Resistance Against Electroshock, and Antipsychiatry Bibliography; these documents should be useful to antipsychiatry and social justice activists, students and researchers.
This book should have wide appeal – not only for psychiatric survivors, antipsychiatry and social justice activists, but also for psychology and sociology students, psychologists and sociologists, dissident psychiatrists, “mental health” lawyers, patient advocates, and anybody concerned about the power of psychiatry and its threats to our human rights, health, and lives.