Whistleblowers and psychiatrists

CLASSICS IN SOCIAL MEDICINE
What Happens to Whistleblowers, and Why?
Jean Lennane. Social Medicine. Volume 6, Number 4, May 2012.

Via: www.bmartin.cc


Whistleblowers and psychiatrists 

“Whistleblowers are often referred to a psychiatrist by the employer. The aim then is to make a finding sufficient to discredit the whistleblower, as having a personality disorder, a pre-existing psychiatric illness, or a neurotic reaction. All too often, the psychiatrist selected by the employer will cooperate in this, relying perhaps on uncorroborated information/allegations supplied by the employer without the whistleblower’s knowledge or consent. If, as not uncommonly happens, the psychiatrist reports that there is no pre-existing problem, and the person’s complaints of malpractice within the organisation should be taken at face value and properly investigated, the employer will usually insist on referral to another psychiatrist; and if that one’s report is no more helpful, to another … until the desired report is achieved. One whistleblower was sent to a total of eight psychiatrists! In the WBA survey, 40% of the men and 30% of the women had been forced by their employer to see a psychiatrist. They saw between one and six each (average three). 30% of them found the experience helpful or neutral; 70% found it unhelpful or distressing. In three more

In the WBA survey, 40% of the men and 30% of the women had been forced by their employer to see a psychiatrist. They saw between one and six each (average three). 30% of them found the experience helpful or neutral; 70% found it unhelpful or distressing. In three more cases the employer tried to refer the whistleblowers to psychiatrists, but was successfully resisted. Whistleblowers also often voluntarily present to psychiatrists, and/or their local doctor, with symptoms arising from the severe stress they are under. They commonly become extremely anxious, may have panic attacks, have trouble sleeping, lose confidence and self-esteem, become depressed and even suicidal, may attempt suicide, and often become obsessed with the issue. They may also present with alcohol and other drug

Whistleblowers also often voluntarily present to psychiatrists, and/or their local doctor, with symptoms arising from the severe stress they are under. They commonly become extremely anxious, may have panic attacks, have trouble sleeping, lose confidence and self-esteem, become depressed and even suicidal, may attempt suicide, and often become obsessed with the issue. They may also present with alcohol and other drug problems, if they start using them to try to cope with the stress; or with problems in the marriage, caused by the stress. In the WBA survey, 83% of subjects experienced symptoms: those listed above plus feelings of guilt and unworthiness, nervous diarrhoea, breathing trouble, loss of appetite, loss of weight, high blood pressure, palpitations, hair loss, teeth grinding, nightmares, headaches, tiredness, weeping, tremor, urinary frequency, loss of interest in sex. They had an average of 5.3 symptoms each at the time they blew the whistle, and still had an average of 3.6 at the time of the survey, between one and twenty years later. 43% were on medication they had not been on before they blew the whistle – for depression, high blood pressure and stomach ulcers. Only 49% were originally drinkers; of those, plus two previous nondrinkers who started drinking to cope with the stress, 32% had developed a problem. (One had stopped drinking altogether because of this.) Six (17%) were smokers when they blew the whistle. All smokers had increased their consumption afterwards because of the stress; one had quit because of this.

Eighteen (51%) still thought about the whistleblowing and its aftermath every day, for one or more hours. This was spread equally among the different time categories, that is, it still applied even after twenty years.

Two subjects had attempted suicide, one of them twice; and seventeen (49%) had considered suicide, ten of them seriously.”

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  20 comments for “Whistleblowers and psychiatrists

  1. February 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Disrupted Physician and commented:
    Trust

    Trust is confidence in the honesty or integrity of someone or something. It involves a complex mixture of cognitive and emotional beliefs and expectations that create an attitude of optimism about the motives and competence of the person being trusted. Trust requires the calculation that someone has the knowledge and expertise to do what they are being trusted to do, but it also necessitates believing that whatever they are being trusted to do is done in good faith with honesty, sincerity, and integrity. Trust presupposes adherence to moral principles, codes of conduct, and ethical standards and requires an implicit conviction that the other person aspires to help and not to harm.

    Political abuse of psychiatry is the “misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, detention and treatment for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain groups and individuals in a society.”

    It is more often seen under totalitarian rule (the Soviet Union, China) where dissent was disapproved, often punished, and those perceived as threats to the existing political system could be effectively “neutralized with trumped up psychiatric illness.5 By this stigmatization reputations were ruined, power was diminished, and voices were hushed.
    It involves the deliberate action of diagnosing someone with a mental condition that they do not have for political purposes as a means of repression or control.

    It is important to recognize that the unique role of discrediting opinion and dehumanizing those with one whom disagrees is not limited to totalitarian regimes. The coercive use of psychiatry represents a violation of basic human rights in all cultures.

  2. February 9, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Reblogged this on Nevada State Personnel Watch.

  3. Jonathan
    February 9, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Whistleblowers also often voluntarily present to psychiatrists, and/or their local doctor, with symptoms arising from the severe stress they are under. They commonly become extremely anxious, may have panic attacks, have trouble sleeping, lose confidence and self-esteem, become depressed and even suicidal, may attempt suicide, and often become obsessed with the issue. They may also present with alcohol and other drug problems, if they start using them to try to cope with the stress; or with problems in the marriage, caused by the stress. In the WBA survey, 83% of subjects experienced symptoms: those listed above plus feelings of guilt and unworthiness, nervous diarrhoea, breathing trouble, loss of appetite, loss of weight, high blood pressure, palpitations, hair loss, teeth grinding, nightmares, headaches, tiredness, weeping, tremor, urinary frequency, loss of interest in sex. They had an average of 5.3 symptoms each at the time they blew the whistle, and still had an average of 3.6 at the time of the survey, between one and twenty years later. 43% were on medication they had not been on before they blew the whistle – for depression, high blood pressure and stomach ulcers. Only 49% were originally drinkers; of those, plus two previous nondrinkers who started drinking to cope with the stress, 32% had developed a problem. (One had stopped drinking altogether because of this.) Six (17%) were smokers when they blew the whistle. All smokers had increased their consumption afterwards because of the stress; one had quit because of this.

    This paragraph describes many of the things I have experienced since self disclosing in Aug 2012. They were in the process of diagnosing me with Borderline Personality Disorder. More and more, I am convinced that inpatient rehab and AA are being used as a tool of social control.

  4. February 10, 2015 at 2:58 am

    This post had solid points that now, finally, make sense to me. In my head I could never understand certain judgments people would have a tendency to make and voila, a simple answer has now hit home.

  5. February 17, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Health Care Resilience.

  6. February 24, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Reblogged this on Chaos Theory and Human Pharmacology and commented:

    Please help me to backfire: Reblog, RT, email or share this post (or the tweet below) by any possible mean.


    BACKGROUND
    1. Whistleblowers and Psychiatrist (Part I): Read below (reblogged post)
    2.Whistleblowers and Psychiatrist (Part II): http://chaoticpharmacology.com/2015/02/12/part-ii-whistleblowers-and-psychiatrists/

    THE KEYS TO BACKFIRE
    • Reveal: expose the injustice, challenge cover-up
    • Redeem: validate the target, challenge devaluation
    • Reframe: emphasise the injustice, counter reinterpretation
    • Redirect: mobilise support, be wary of official channels
    • Resist: stand up to intimidation and bribery”
    http://www.bmartin.cc/

    TRUST
    …”It is important to recognize that the unique role of discrediting opinion and dehumanizing those with one whom disagrees is not limited to totalitarian regimes. The coercive use of psychiatry represents a violation of basic human rights in all cultures.” — Michael L. Langan
    http://disruptedphysician.com/2015/02/09/whistleblowers-and-psychiatrists/
    —-
    1984
    …”It is the job of the Thought Police to uncover and punish thoughtcrime and thought-criminals. They use psychology and omnipresent surveillance (such as telescreens) to search, find, monitor and arrest members of society who could potentially challenge authority and status quo, even only by thought, hence the name Thought Police.[1]They use terror and torture to achieve their ends.”…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_Police

    Méndez, Juan E. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” (2013). Human Rights Council, United Nations.

    …”Fully respecting each person’s legal capacity is a first step in the prevention of torture and ill-treatment. As already established by the mandate, medical treatments of an intrusive and irreversible nature, when lacking a therapeutic purpose or when aimed at correcting or alleviating a disability, may constitute torture or ill-treatment when enforced or administered without the free and informed consent of the person concerned. Deprivation of liberty on grounds of mental illness is unjustified. Under the European Convention on Human Rights, mental disorder must be of a certain severity in order to justify detention. I believe that the severity of the mental illness cannot justify detention nor can it be justified by a motivation to protect the safety of the person or of others. Furthermore, deprivation of liberty that is based on the grounds of a disability and that inflicts severe pain or suffering falls under the scope of the Convention against Torture. In making such an assessment, factors such as fear and anxiety produced by indefinite detention, the infliction of forced medication or electroshock, the use of restraints and seclusion, the segregation from family and community, should be taken into account. “…
    —-
    In memoriam – Dr Jean Lennane.

  7. February 24, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    When I had a private practice in Seattle, I had a number of whistleblowers – and union activists referred to me, with the hope I would diagnose them with a psychiatric disorder. My first step in most instances was to request a copy of their personnel file. It was always a case where people had long excellent work histories – until they challenged management in some way. When they would suddenly get poor performance reviews. In several cases, I discovered frank forgeries in the personnel file. I write about this in my 2010 memoir The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee (http://stuartjeannebramhall.com).

    • March 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      I applaud you for your courage. Too bad we don’t have a place at the table at the APA and AMA conferences. Wonder how receptive they’d be?

      • March 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm

        I’ve never been to an AMA or APA conference – it’s my sense that both groups are losing influence among practicing psychiatrists. My recollection is that both organizations are desperate for clinicians to submit papers and workshop proposals for their conferences. Seems they never have enough.

  8. March 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Another excellent article surveying the disastrous psychiatric impact on whistleblowers is in NEJM
    n engl j med 362;19
    nejm.org may 13, 2010

    Whistle-Blowers’ Experiences in Fraud Litigation against Pharmaceutical Companies
    Aaron S. Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., David M. Studdert, LL.B., Sc.D., M.P.H., and Michelle M. Mello, J.D., Ph.D., M.Phil.

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