Psychiatric Drug Facts via :

“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Nothing About Us Without Us History

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Thank You Gina DeLuca for sharing the Highlander Statement!            

Highlander Statement and Call To Action

"In the tradition of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and thousands of men and women concerned about social justice and progressive change, thirty people with long histories of fighting for human rights in mental health gathered for three days at the Highlander Center in Tennessee. We argued, came to consensus, and then quietly shared our pain, our concerns, our fears, and our hopes for the future."

We came to understand that our personal stories have power and that they must be heard. We must tell them to other people who have been damaged by psychiatric treatment, to the public, to lawmakers and to political candidates as well. We are compelled to share our collective struggle and claim our place as a civil rights movement along side of those who have been similarly discounted, disenfranchised, and marginalized: people of color; gay, lesbian, bisexual; and transgendered people; people with physical disabilities; women; people belonging to religious,ethnic, and linguistic minorities; Jews and others now at risk for ethnic cleansing; and people forced to live in poverty amidst the great wealth and abundance of corporate USA.
In the Highlander tradition, we came away from those three days on the mountain determined that we will not allow anyone to do for us, to discount us, or to pat us on the head instead of looking us in the eye. We came away invigorated and ready to act individually and collectively to insure that self-determination, respect, ethical behavior, and humane voluntary services and supports become the foundation of a reinvented mental health system. This system must first and foremost do no harm.

We came away ready to make this a reality.

The Highlander Call for Action:

We call upon all people committed to human rights to organize and fight against the passage and implementation of legislation making it easier to lock up and forcibly drug people labeled with psychiatric disorders, legislation that is creating the back-wards of the twenty-first century not just in hospitals, but also in our own homes.

We call upon all people committed to human rights to work together to build a mental health system that is based upon the principles of self-determination, on a belief in our ability to recover, and on our right to define what recovery is and how best to achieve it.

We call upon people who have used mental health services to heal each other by telling our stories. We call for the creation of literature and other arts that use our truths to educate, to inform, and to validate our culture and our experience.

We call upon elected officials, political candidates, and those with power over our lives to recognize and honor the legitimacy of our concerns through their policy statements, legislative proposals, and their actions; and we hereby give notice that we will do whatever it takes to insure that we are heard, that our rights are protected, and that we can live freely and peacefully in our communities."

Ten years ago in the summer of 2000, MindFreedom published this issue of Dendron, with the headline, "The psychiatric survivors movement turns 30!" On page 5 is The Highlander Statement and Call to Action.On the cover: Sally Zinman, George Ebert, Ted Chabasinski, Judi Chamberlin, and Jay Mahler

From the Mind Freedom International Website

Principles adopted by 1982 gathering of psychiatric survivors.

Each year for many years in the 1970's and 1980's, there was an annual gathering of psychiatric survivors, usually on a different college campus in the US or Canada. It became known as the "International Conference on Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Association." At the 1982 gathering in Toronto, participants agreed to these principles.

Statement of Principles from the 10th Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression

Logo for Madness Network NewsThe Tenth Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, held in Toronto, Canada on 14 to 18 May 1982 adopted the following principles:

1. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention including civil commitment and the administration of psychiatric procedures ("treatments") by force or coercion or without informed consent.

2. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention because it is an unethical and unconstitutional denial of freedom, due process and the right to he left alone.

3. We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention because it is a violation of the individual's right to control his or her own soul, mind and body.

4. We oppose forced psychiatric procedures such as drugging electroshock, psychosurgery, restraints, solitary confinement, and "aversive behaviour modification."

5 We oppose forced psychiatric procedures because they humiliate, debilitate, injure, incapacitate and kill people.

6. We oppose forced psychiatric procedures because they are at best quackery and at worst tortures, which can and do cause severe and permanent harm to the total being of people subjected to them.

7. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is inherently tyrannical.

8. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is an extra legal parallel police force which suppresses cultural and political dissent.

9. We oppose the psychiatric system because it punishes individuals who have had or claim to have had spiritual experiences and invalidates those experiences by defining them as "symptoms" of "mental illness."

10. We oppose the psychiatric system because it uses the trappings of medicine and science to mask the social-control function it serves.

11. We oppose the psychiatric system because it invalidates the real needs of poor people by offering social welfare under the guise of psychiatric "care and treatment."

12. We oppose the psychiatric system because it feeds on the poor and powerless, the elderly, women, children, sexual minorities, people of colour and ethnic groups.

13. We oppose the psychiatric system because it creates a stigmatized class of society which is easily oppressed and controlled.

14. We oppose the psychiatric system because its growing influence in education, the prisons, the military, government, industry and medicine threatens to turn society into a psychiatric state made up of two classes: those who impose "treatment" and those who have or are likely to have it imposed on them.

15. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is frighteningly similar to the Inquisition, chattel slavery and the Nazi concentration camps.

16. We oppose the medical model of "mental illness" because it justifies involuntary psychiatric intervention including forced drugging.

17. We oppose the medical model of "mental illness" be cause it dupes the public into seeking or accepting "voluntary" treatment by fostering the notion that fundamental human problems, whether personal or social, can be solved by psychiatric/medical means.

18. We oppose the use of psychiatric terms because they substitute argon for plain English and are fundamentally stigmatizing, demeaning, unscientific, mystifying and superstitious. Examples:

Plain English Psychiatric Jargon

Psychiatric inmate...........................Mental patient

Psychiatric institution ………… Mental hospital/mental health center

Psychiatric system ………… Mental health system

Psychiatric procedure ………… Treatment/therapy

Personal or social difficulties in living ………… Mental illness

Socially undesirable characteristic or trait ………… Symptom

Drugs ………… Medication

Drugging ………… Chemotherapy

Electroshock ………… Electroconvulsive therapy

Anger ………… Hostility

Enthusiasm ………… Mania

Joy ………… Euphoria

Fear ………… Paranoia

Sadness/unhappiness ………… Depression

Vision/spiritual experience ………… Hallucination

Non-conformity ………… Schizophrenia

Unpopular belief ………… Delusion

19. We believe that people should have the right to live in any manner or lifestyle they choose.

20. We believe that suicidal thoughts and/or attempts should not be dealt with as a psychiatric or legal issue.

21. We believe that alleged dangerousness, whether to one self or others, should not be considered grounds for denying personal liberty, and that only proven criminal acts should be the basis for such denial.

22. We believe that persons charged with crimes should be tried for their alleged criminal acts with due process of law, and that psychiatric professionals should not be given expert-witness status in criminal proceedings or courts of law.

23. We believe that there should be no involuntary psychiatric interventions in prisons and that the prison system should be reformed and humanized.

24. We believe that so long as one individual's freedom is unjustly restricted no one is truly free.

25. We believe that the psychiatric system is, in fact, a pacification programme controlled by psychiatrists and supported by other mental health professionals, whose chief function is to persuade, threaten or force people into conforming to established norms and values.

26. We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.

27. We believe that voluntary networks of community alter natives to the psychiatric system should be widely encouraged and supported. Alternatives such as self-help or mutual support groups, advocacy/rights groups, co-op houses, crisis centers and drop-ins should be controlled by the users themselves to serve their needs, while ensuring their freedom, dignity and self-respect.

28. We demand an end to involuntary psychiatric intervention.

29. We demand individual liberty and social justice for everyone.

30. We intend to make these words real and will not rest until we do.
Document Actions
Link to a copy of Phoenix Rising a publication of Psychiatric Survivors in October of 1988

Loren Mosher Resigns from the American Psychiatric Association

National Council on Disability
From Privileges to Rights

Darby Penney interviewing Judi Chamberlain in 2002


"Undue influence of pharmaceutical industry" opposed by USA mental health consumer/psychiatric survivor leaders.

Key national mental health consumer/psychiatric survivor leaders at a national USA federal meeting on mental health consumer and psychiatric survivor inclusion issued astatement of "alarm" about the "undue influence of the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry," and the “urgent necessity for more non-drug alternatives in mental health care.” Speaking for themselves as individuals, and not on behalf of the government, 18 of the 19 participants signed the statement.
"Undue influence of pharmaceutical industry" opposed by USA mental health consumer/psychiatric survivor leaders.
Four of the 18 signees: David Fuller, Jacki McKinney, Mary Ellen Copeland, and Jean Campbell.

Bastille Day 2010 Statement – Rockville, MD

14 July 2010

The Urgent Necessity for More Non-Drug Alternatives in Mental Health Care

We are alarmed about the over-reliance on psychiatric medication in mental health care because of the undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry. We see an urgent need for a far greater range of non-pharmaceutical mental health care.

We are participants in the USA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) meeting, “Past, Present, and Future: SAMHSA Efforts to Promote Consumer/Survivor Inclusion.” We are speaking today only for ourselves as individuals, and not for SAMHSA. We applaud SAMHSA's endorsement of the values of peer support, social justice, self-determination, trauma-informed care, and a dignified life in the community for everyone.

As leaders in the mental health consumer and psychiatric survivor movement, we affirm the principle of choice in mental health care, and continue to work towards the elimination of coercion in all mental health treatment. We support the right of those who willingly choose to take prescribed psychiatric medications.

However, the inappropriate prescriptions of psychiatric medication are harming a wide range of the USA population, including infants, vets, people of color and seniors. Severe side effects are contributing to heartbreaking suffering and approximately 25 years of premature mortality for people in the public mental health system. Advertisements, the media and far too many mental health organizations are disseminating misleading information about psychiatric medication. Some individuals are even involuntarily administered psychiatric drugs over their expressed wishes, including on an outpatient basis.

Our constituency's right to choice, empowerment and self-determination in mental health care is threatened as never before, in the USA and internationally. We call upon SAMHSAto work with their federal partners and consumer/survivors to:
  • Address the conflict of interest in the current relationship between the federal government and the pharmaceutical industry.
  • End direct-to-consumer advertising for psychiatric medications.
  • Complete the President's New Freedom Commission recommendation to investigate the long-term effects of psychiatric medication.
  • Independently research the efficacy, safety and successful ways of reducing psychiatric medications.
  • Research and fund non-drug alternatives such as mental health peer-run respite centers and recovery-oriented education.

We encourage all those concerned to speak out about this crisis.


  • Ellen K. Awai
  • Randall Bosin
  • Jean Campbell, Ph.D.
  • Gladys DeVonne Christian
  • Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.
  • Jonathan David, Ph.D.
  • Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.
  • David Fuller, CPRP
  • Patrick Hendry
  • J. Rock Johnson, J.D.
  • Jacki McKinney, M.S.W.
  • James McNulty
  • David W. Oaks
  • Pat Risser
  • Stephen Robinson
  • Gilberto Romero
  • Lauren Spiro
  • Sharon P. Yokote, HCPS


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