Scientology’s hatred for all things psychiatric is well known.
Scornful dismissal of Dianetics by the Psychiatric community resulted in L. Ron Hubbard deciding that all psychiatry was evil and must be cleared from the planet forthwith.
In other words, Hubbard rightfully got laughed at and told “No” and he threw a temper tantrum for not getting his own way.
COS’ hatred for psychiatry evolved into The Citizens Commission on Human Rights, CCHR for short.
Calling themselves a “a nonprofit charitable mental health watchdog organization established by the Church of Scientology in 1969, is dedicated to eradicating psychiatric abuses and ensuring patient protections.” the reality is much different.
In 1969 Thomas Szasz, a well known critic of psychology in the 1950s and ’60s even though he was a professor of psychiatry, partnered with a fledgling organization who claimed to share his views and together they co-founded The CCHR. Szasz would later feel compelled to explain this partnership with Scientology, saying it was because it was the only organization aligned with his opinions at the time and as an atheist, he was not affiliated with Scientology or any other religion in any way.
Szasz was a product of his times. Psychology and mental illnesses were still largely uncharted territory and the lack of knowledge made the field ripe for abuse and misunderstanding.
Thomas Szasz believed that mental illnesses were behavioral stating “that mental illnesses are not ‘illnesses’ in the sense that physical illnesses are; and that except for a few identifiable brain diseases, there are ‘neither biological or chemical tests nor biopsy or necropsy findings for verifying…'” such diagnoses.
This statement was true in 1969, however research has come a long way since then and while the CCHR prefers to dwell ignorantly in the past, great strides in research as well as in diagnosis and treatments have been made.
Science has discovered genetic and chemical indicators for some mental illnesses. There are no biological diagnostic tests for depression, but the tools used to determine one is suffering from such a condition allow medical professionals to create treatments that can vastly improve a person’s life. Dismissing depression as a condition simply because there are currently no bio-diagnostic labs available is no different than claiming diabetes did not exist before the A1-C test was discovered.
It is interesting that the very organization that administers a bogus personality test designed to discover/diagnose someone’s psychological roadblocks then dismisses psychology as fraud. What bio-diagnostic tools does Scientology use to determine their target’s “ruin”?
Recently The CCHR posted a misleading warning about a “newly” FDA approved drug to relieve symptoms of severe depression when all else has failed called Spravato (Esketamine).
Per the Scientology norm, CCHR’s article ignores the facts surrounding the use of this drug and opts instead for the sensationalist angle, calling it a “date-rape, suicide inducing drug”.
The first issue is that the CCHR article is dated August 11, 2020 yet Esketamine was approved over a year ago in March of 2019. This FDA approval is not new.
CCHR’s opening statement is deliberately misleading, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variant of the anesthetic and party date-rape drug, ketamine, as a quick-acting antidepressant nasal spray for people with suicidal thoughts.”
In fact Spravato was approved for use in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for the treatment of depression in adult patients who have not had success with other anti depressants.
Claiming that Spravato is just a variant of the abused dosages of ketamine makes it sound irresponsible and sinister, which is exactly CCHR’s goal.
First there is a difference in the way ketamine is used responsibly in a medical setting and the illegal misuse of the drug on the street.
Ketamine was approved in 1970 for use as an anesthetic and was also used during the Vietnam War as a field anesthetic and by soldiers for PTSD.
In 2006 researchers began studying its efficacy in earnest as a treatment for otherwise Treatment-Resistant Depression, TRD. According to Psychology Today, “Studies found Ketamine was better at getting across the blood-brain barrier, unlike SSRIs, SSNIs and other widely available antidepressants – and highly successful at reducing symptoms of depression.”
Scientology wants it’s readers to believe that the FDA approved the same high, unregulated doses abused by addicts and rapists. As with everything COS says, reader beware.
The FDA has not approved a date rape drug for the treatment of anyone with suicidal thoughts.
Ketamine and Esketamine, while similar, do have molecular differences. Esketamine is administered via a nasal spray while Ketamine is an IV treatment. Both are used as last resorts, where a patient has tried other treatments for depression with no success. In both cases the dosage is much lower than that used by abusers or as a date rape weapon. In both cases the patient is monitored under a doctor’s care.
COS’ CCHR article says, “The manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals has made claims that Spravato (esketamine) can reduce depressive symptoms in as little as four hours. However, esketamine’s listed side effects include increased suicidal thoughts or actions and worsening depression. The FDA is out of control in approving a potential suicide-inducing drug to prevent suicidal ideation.”
Janssen Pharmaceuticals released a press statement in which they stated “SPRAVATO® is the first and only approved medicine that has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms within 24 hours”.
As for the outrage over the FDA approving “a potential suicide inducing drug to prevent suicidal ideation”, Tylenol has suicidal thoughts as a potential side effect .
In fact the potential for depression and/or suicidal tendencies exists in at least 200 FDA approved American medications. As in any situation the medical professional, along with the patient must responsibly weigh the risks versus the benefits.
The FDA recognizes the risks of Spravato and addresses them, “Because of safety concerns, the drug will only be available through a restricted distribution system and it must be administered in a certified medical office where the health care provider can monitor the patient”. The CCHR carefully ignores this fact in their fear mongering campaign.
More dangerous and risky is releasing skewed misinformation designed to scare already suffering people away from potential help and the chance for the alleviation of symptoms that have thus far resisted treatment.
“Esketamine, like ketamine, can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate, as well as out-of-body experiences for an hour or so after it is administered. Potential serious risks are because of its molecular similarity to ketamine, a ‘club’ and ‘date rape’ drug that can cause disassociation, meaning victims enter a state in which they feel as if their mind and body aren’t connected.” Here Scientology has reduced Ketamine to the sum of its value as an abused street drug. The potential side effects exist and are fully transparent in the warnings that appear on the packaging. These risks are exponentially greater with the higher doses used by abusers.
As a side note, Scientology believes in and embraces out-of-body experiences; they call it “Exteriorization“.
CCHR then goes on to link the pandemic with these drugs, “COVID-19 is being milked to advocate for more psychiatric funding and treatment, which often translates into more psychotropic drug prescriptions. This inevitably results in mind-altering drugs that numb out the very real emotional problems that come with such devastating situations as being faced now…”
Except that these last resort medications are not prescribed for emotional problems. This is exactly the devious twisting of facts and valid information that Scientology resorts to for the sole purpose of inciting wary suspicion and even fear against seeking desperately needed help.
As for CCHR’s lament “To address what the FDA called ‘mental health needs’ during this chaos, in April, the agency announced it would relax certain premarket requirements for computer programs and mobile apps designed to support treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and insomnia. The FDA has also approved the use of prescription apps.”
Computer and mobile apps do not carry with them potential negative side effects, nor do they have the propensity for abuse. The chance for people seeking help to be able to turn to online professionals or self help apps like Calm.com and others have no downsides so what the point being made here is unclear.
Portraying available help in a negative, derogatory light is removing desperately needed tools and resources. This isn’t responsible watchdog activity, it’s an attempt to destroy the whole rather than fix the parts that are broken.
What is clear is that this article is just another Scientology attempt to destroy any positive advancement, however small, that is made in the field of depression and mental illness. Their ridiculous, deleterious crusade against psychiatry is the real culprit in causing harm to millions of people suffering from the life altering symptoms of depression, anxiety, autism and any number of other valid mental conditions.
It is not any humanitarian desire to protect people from psychiatric abuses that Scientology publishes these selectively edited articles.
Scientology despises psychiatry and they purposefully attack any hope of progress made in the field in order to justify their baseless animosity.
CCHR is not an informed, knowledgeable, responsible watchdog group that addresses the subject with fairness and balance. In fact their Board of Directors includes Isadore Chait, an art dealer who appeared in a 2011 “Squirrel Busters” video. Another Board member is Jan Eastgate who was arrested in 2011 and charged with coaching an 11 year old girl to lie about being sexually abused. The charges were later dropped.
Instead they operate from a position of chosen ignorance and intolerance, the outcome of which adds an additional burden of uncertainty and chaos to those already struggling with mental illness.
As with any medical and scientific field progress takes time, research and study. Setbacks occur but even they provide opportunities for advancement. Scientology demands people believe that as an entirety psychiatry is evil and mental illness a fallacy. This attitude does nothing but continue the stigma surrounding mental health issues and threatens to devolve the subject back to the days of Bedlam.
Scientology’s CCHR does not care about anyone outside their own selfish, intolerant world and John Alex Wood said it best when he proclaimed on Twitter, “You claim CCHR has some kind of religious purpose. Wrong. CCHR’s overarching purpose is the total ANNIHILATION of psychiatry worldwide.”
Scientology sees mental illness on par with crime and war, all evils that stop “healthy” people from fully living free. Clearing the Planet means removing all three from existence. CCHR’s ultimate goal is the “total ANNIHILATION” of psychiatry worldwide.
Knowing these unmovable doctrines why would it be remotely reasonable to believe CCHR has benign intentions or just wants to make psychiatry safe and free from abuse?
Warning their readers a year after the fact while knitting together COVID-19 with the FDA approval of a last resort treatment for depression is a twisted tale indeed. Feeding people creative fictional conspiracy theories along with overstating and misrepresenting the potential for side effects, serious though they are, is malicious and dangerous.
One cannot help but wonder “what if?”
What if Hubbard had received the treatment he begged for from the V.A. when he was suffering from depression with suicidal thoughts? Had he been given the inpatient care he so obviously needed would Scientology and it’s evil never have existed?
And what of Thomas Szasz the CCHR’s erstwhile co-founder?
Directly opposite CCHR’s dramatic warnings of addiction, suicide and other terrible outcomes from the prescription of legal, approved medication, opposite all the claims made in support of the Purification Rundown, Narconon and Drug Free World, Thomas Szasz believed in a person’s right to drugs. He believed that drug addiction was not a disease to be cured, but a social habit. He argued for a free market for drugs and was outspoken against the war on addiction.
Thomas Szasz committed suicide on September 8, 2012.