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Psychiatric industry cannot cure its patients

I read the Aug. 8 Record Searchlight article about Gary Lee Sargent shooting guns in his trailer home. I feel that Assistant District Attorney Dan Flynn's representation of Gary as yet another dangerous mental patient with a long history in the alleged mental health system who was released prematurely by some kindhearted but misguided doctor is disingenuous.

Gary is a substance abuser, and it was this that created his becoming a victim of the mental health system. He is a psychiatric survivor whom the system has failed. In order to explain this failure and Gary's issue, one need learn a few obscure facts about the "big money" industries of psychiatry and psychology.

Flynn reportedly stated that doctors have the final say in deeming a person safe to be released back into society, and too often their mental illnesses resurface. This is not exactly true. Though doctors have input, it is the final responsibility of the courts to make such decisions. They chose to release Gary.

It appears that Flynn has decided that Gary had been improperly released, and the psychs are to blame. That last is so, but not necessarily from a legal standpoint.

The article mentions a 1999 incident during which Gary was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution for stabbing his son and attacking a sheriff's deputy. Gary actually argued that his son's stabbing was an accident. He was not convicted of a crime.

Gary pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity having been led to believe that he would be sent to a mental "hospital" and obtain help for his substance abuse problem. The only "help" Gary ended up getting were the disastrous side effects - like tardive dyskinesia, a severely troubling and often permanent movement disorder - of anti-psychotic drugs.

Neither was Gary advised by the judge, D.A. or his attorney before pleading that in 1994, Norman Sartorius (president of the World Psychiatric Association from 1996-1999,) declared at a meeting of the Association of European Psychiatrists: "The time when psychiatrists considered that they could cure the mentally ill is gone. In the future the mentally ill have to learn to live with their illness."

One can see the difficulty presented in obtaining release considering the court must find that the person's "sanity has been restored" before he or she is released. (Penal Code section, 1026(b).)

Nor was he told that such institutions in California receive around $150,000 per year per person confined. This provides major incentive for warehousing such people. Penal Code section 1025.5 allows psychs to perpetually confine individuals on their subjective "opinions" alone. This adds to the obstacles faced by anyone entering an insanity plea in obtaining release. As a result, hundreds of such individuals have been confined at Napa State Hospital for decades.

Dr. Thomas Szasz, professor of psychiatry emeritus and co-founder of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, observes, "There is no blood or other biological test to ascertain the presence or absence of a mental illness, as there is for most bodily diseases. If such a test were developed ... would cease to be a mental illness and would be classified, instead, as a symptom of a bodily disease."

Bruce Levine, Ph.D. psychologist and author of "Commonsense Rebellion Common: Debunking Psychiatry, Confronting Society," concurs: "Remember that no biochemical, neurological, or genetic markers have been found for attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, depression, schizophrenia, ... or any other so-called mental illness, disease, or disorder."

Gary's case is only the tip of the iceberg. People experience problems and upsets in life that may result in mental troubles, often serious. Representing these troubles as caused by incurable "brain diseases" only manageable through chemicals, often with even more dangerous side effects including suicide and violence, is dishonest, harmful and often deadly. These drugs are pharmaceutically cosmetic rather than curative, hiding the problem and thus preventing recovery of the patient or hope for the future.

William Sargent lives in Millville.


Posted by darnedtoheck on September 5, 2007 at 8:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Sargent: Been a Scientologist long?

Posted by gamerjohn on September 5, 2007 at 9:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Posted by darnedtoheck on September 5, 2007 at 8:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Sargent: Been a Scientologist long?"

This made me laugh. Aside from having the same last name, I wish William Sargent would have explained his relationship to Gary.

There is no County Mental Health Agency anymore. One of the shrinks for the county left for less stressful circumstances. The other shrink makes $200,000 a year. Instead of giving therapy, patients are filled with drugs to keep them out of relatives' hair.

Posted by SurferSue on September 5, 2007 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Unless you have personally dealt with a family member with mental illness, most people don't seem to understand that traditional therapy is not very useful for serious mental disorders, and drugs are needed to control the symptoms. There is no real CURE for the serious disorders, much like many other chronic diseases. Most medications (including non-psychotic drugs) do have some undesirable side effects, but the patient is monitored and sometimes an adjustment or changing meds is needed.

Posted by john on September 5, 2007 at 11:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

darnedto heck.
I know Bill and a scientologist he ain't.

gamerjohn, it seemed clear to me that there is a relationship between Gary and William and there absolutley no attempt to hide it. They are brothers. I thought a family relation was apparent. Otherwise it is about the situation you so astultely described.

And in Gary's case, it isn't a case of mental illness, but a drug dependency which has been mistreated as a mental illness. Substituting one drug for one with such detrimental side effects as Gary has suffered seems self defeating to me, but I could be wrong.
I think you missed that surfersue, though your point is very well taken.

Posted by corinasargent on September 5, 2007 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

bill sargent has done everything in his power to help get gary off the sych drugs after they did horible damage to him, and the only thing them people did was try to keep him on them physc, drugs and they made him worse. the mental hospitals do more damage than good, and the D.A doesnt help. it was bull when i went to gary's court hearing, the D.A was sitting there talking about MY UNCLE.....gary sargent...and MY DAD... william sargent, not knowing they were related to me!!!!! so they are just as bad as the rest of them!!!!!!!

Posted by jeffgriffin on September 5, 2007 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Surfer Sue has not read the book that the co-founder of CCHR wrote entitled, THE MYTH OF MENTAL ILLNESS. Dr Szasz, a psychiatrist, totally debunks the idea that a mental illness exists.

Before anyone attacks that statement, let me also state that anyone is suseptible at most any time to a down point in their life. To label an upset or mentally downside feeling as a mental illness when there is absolutely no proof such exist is sheer folly. There is no brain scan, xray, blood test nor cat scan that can show an illness exists that is a normal emotion.

None of the "disorders" listed in the DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL of mental disorders can be scientifically proven. If they were to discover a physical problem, it no longer could be catagorized as mental and would be treatable.

We have been fed a steady diet of false information by the vested interests of the pharmacological and mental health industries, and don't think for an instant that they are not industries, motivated by avarice that borders on criminality.

I have spent the better part of the past 16 years intensely studying this area and have found not a shred of truth in the mental health industry aside from the fact that man is a sentient being and because he has emotions, is subject to the ups and downs of life.

Bill Sargent has correctly labeled his brother's problem and to treat a drug addict with more drugs is sheer folly also.

Oh well, such is the industry of death we know as psychiatry.

Jeff Griffin

Posted by SurferSue on September 5, 2007 at 7:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not responding to above post, but I do agree that some people are probably given the wrong medication. However, alot of those who have substance abuse problems may also have an underlying mental disorder, and they use drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. So, it's like which came first? Just something to consider, ok?

Posted by SurferSue on September 5, 2007 at 7:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Jeff, I'm just guessing that you may have had a very traumatic experience and were misdiagnosed, so I can understand how you would turn against the entire mental health community. But if someone can manage to live an independent life, make good judgements and be able to work and thrive without relying on financial assistance, then they probably do not have a serious mental disorder.

Posted by mother2b on September 5, 2007 at 8:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I feel if any of the negative people out there would read this article for what is being stated they would be able to see what is being said. This was not meant to hurt anyone just stating the true facts on what happened this day. Street drugs can make anyone go insane if that is what you would like to call it, but whom is it that puts these drugs in our hands and fources us to take them? Are we all insane? Should we be blaming our familes for trying to help us? Should we be putting people on more drugs just so we don't have to deal with them? I really don't think so. By the way who are we to judge anyone this could be anyones family member!

Posted by Savanah100 on September 5, 2007 at 8:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You don't have to be a scientologist to believe that there is a difference between the stresses and depressions caused by life and real mental illness.
There are things many people can 'cure' themselves, in many ways. Often times its a simple imbalance in your body, fairly easily fixed with proper nutrition to meet your body chemistry's specific needs. Also...sometimes all is needed is a serious 'tude adjustment. The realization that life is hard sometimes - its only normal to feel certain emotions in certain periods of our lives. Sometimes people cause the problems with substance abuse - which sounds like this case. You can't abuse your body and not expect it to react and deteriorate.

Then of course there are people with real mental illness. All the other options are exhausted (couseling, nutrition, etc) and nothing has had any impact...in which drugs need to be used simply for a person to function on some normal level - but these drugs tend to become a life long commitment - they don't 'cure' anything. They simply repress or change brain chemistry while in the persons body. Drugs wear off, problems come back.

Now there is one thing William points out and that is the pharm drug / psych 'industry' is huge...its growing and its growing in the wrong way. 'Happiness' & 'contentness' are the only acceptable emotions anymore. Drugs are the quick answer for too many doctors and its the quick fix people want. Instant gratification. God forbid maybe we just have to be miserable sometimes when life sucks. The docs are giving us what we want. The little pill that makes us feel better right away. Like weightloss...the cure - get off your ass and eat healthy food. Why do that when you can take a pill or drink a shake?

Posted by SurferSue on September 5, 2007 at 11:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

hey, I'm not in favor of alot of the meds Drs. prescribe for minor problems. It used to be hard to find a Dr. to get any real help if you suffered from depression or worse conditions. But now there just seem to be TOO many drugs for every little complaint, or else a Dr. (or PA now!) will try to "suggest" something and give you samples. The worst is getting a prescription that you may have a really bad reaction to, and you can't get a refund for the pills you didn't use! $:o(

Posted by waldoanddweezy on September 6, 2007 at 5:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just because scientists have been unable to determine the cause or source of mental illness does not mean it doesn't exist.

William Sargent does not say what, if anything, Gary did to help himself. He also does not say whether or not Gary discontinued his substance abuse upon release.

There is very little a doctor can do without the cooperation and participation of the patient.

Posted by SurferSue on September 6, 2007 at 10:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

thanks w&w - glad others have some rational input on this subject. $:o)

Posted by lanagarmar on September 6, 2007 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Many times a substance User will abuse the use of a drug and unfortunately become involved in the criminal justice system. Ultimately a plea of insanity at the time of the crime will be a valid plea since they were tweaked out of their mind and otherwise would not have done that particular act. Once they are sent to a mental hospital they are given antipsychotic drugs. Trying to get off these drugs is nearly impossible. After stopping the drug for several months, the withdrawal symptoms mimic the need for the drug. The psychosis they are exhibiting is a direct symptom of withdrawal yet the doctors acknowledge it as a need to return to the drugs. I am not a medical professional and I surely can see this yet the professionals will insist the patient needs to return to their medications. It is sad that they cannot be assisted through the withdrawal period instead of a life long commitment on psychotic drugs.

Posted by SurferSue on September 6, 2007 at 8:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Lana, I do understand what you are trying to convey, so what is your personal background on this issue? And how do you think the person could safely withdraw from the strong meds? What would be a good alternative treatment?

Posted by lanagarmar on September 7, 2007 at 3:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hi SurferSue, I have a son in a mental institution. I have written letters on his behalf to please stop giving him doses of medication far beyond that which is beneficial to him. They start on a low dose then brag how good he is doing. The next thing I learn they have increased the dosage and continue until he cannot think. I had them stop his medications and that’s exactly what they did. Cold Turkey. They could have gradually reduced the medications so he would not have gone through withdrawal which of course they knew he was going to do. Since those symptoms mimic the need for the drug he was put right back on it. They could have even given him cogentin which is a side effect medication. Drugs caused him to be where he is. Yet he has been treated as mentally ill and I don’t really know now if he will ever be the same. They will not release him until he acknowledges that he has a mental illness. Crazy huh

Posted by SurferSue on September 8, 2007 at 7:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I didn't even know they had places called "mental institutions" anymore. They do have psych wards at hospitals but that is only short term. Feel free to email me at sioux_mail at Yahoo.com and let me know about your circumstances, ok? My only son has had two breakdowns since he was 20, and never had a substance abuse problem but actually does have a mental illness. Not all the drugs are bad, ok? He is doing so much better now on a new treatment with few side effects. I have felt the same concerns and don't know who to trust sometimes, but try to keep some hope that there is the right treatment available.

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