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The United Nations says psychiatry undermines the right of people to be healthy


United Nations Rapporteurs have criticized psychiatry for the excessive medicalization of mental health issues which is said to undermine the right of people to be healthy.

CCHR International has published a report by Kelly Patricia O’Meara which deals with how United Nations Special Rapporteur, Dr. Dainius Puras, has set a milestone by addressing the very serious problem of the excessive “medicalization” of mental health issues. Dr. Puras has highlighted that there is no evidence at all which supports psychotropic drugs as a first line form of treatment for mental health issues. The serious problems which are associated with excessive medicalization of mental health and the gross overuse of biomedical interventions have been highlighted.

Dr. Puras has pointed out that evidence does not support the use of psychotropic drugs as the first line treatment for depression and for other mental health conditions. It has been stressed that there is more harm than good done by the excessive use of drugs and other biomedical interventions for mental health issues. This approach is actually undermining the right of people to be healthy and it should be stopped.

Dr. Puras has very eloquently highlighted that the biomedical tradition of medicalizing various types of psychosocial distress and human suffering has undermined the vital significance of focusing in on the social and underlying factors of health. The psychiatric drugs all have a myriad of horrible side effects which create pain, suffering and disability when all that is often needed to treat such mental states as depression are interventions which are based on human interaction and on considerate talking and listening.

MindFreedom has reported that the Special United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, has recommended that forced psychiatric treatment of any kind should be simply be banned. A complete ban has been suggested as being put in place for nonconsensual psychiatric interventions which include mind-altering drugs such as neuroleptics, restraint, solitary confinement, nonconsensual administration of electroshock, and psychosurgery.

There has also been a suggestion by Méndez that legal provisions which give authorization for confinement and compulsory treatment in mental health settings should be repealed. He has gone on to state that it is not at all justified to detain people on mental health grounds.

It has been highlighted that this report helps to point out there is a total lack of science to support the diagnosis of any psychiatric disorder. Also there are clearly abuses which are associated with mental health drug treatments.This report therefore offers a refreshing step in the direction of working to ensure the human rights of people who are alleged to be suffering from mental illness.


Dr Harold Mandel

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