Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mental health: Use of psychiatry as torture

The Falun Gong, a Chinese sect, write to tell me of the use of torture of their members under the guise of psychiatry. I don't doubt it in principle; it was done to Christians in the former Soviet Union.

The difficulty is that if a person is given unneeded psychoactive drugs, the effect can look like mental illness, which helps convince the public that the person really is sick.

The obvious test is to see what happens when the drugs are not given. In real mental illness, the patient will probably get worse, but in a persecution case, they will probably slowly get better.

Opinions differ as to whether Falun Gong is a cult. The sect has some cult characteristics but not others. At any rate, it is good to see psychiatrists beginning to confront these abuses.