Here’s a letter-to-the-editor about by MindFreedom board member Mary Maddock, founder of MindFreedom Ireland, published in the Irish Examiner. Mary’s letter was part of a series of a letter and article published by the Irish Examiner highly critical of involuntary psychiatry, and psychiatric drugging.

Treat the cause

Date Published:

Jul 22, 2010 12:00 AM

Author: Mary Maddosck

Source: Irish Examiner

Mary’s original letter:


Mary MaddockI AM delighted that at last one of the many problems we face is highlighted in your report headlined “Experts slam use of drugs to ‘contain’ mentally ill” (July 19).

Many people who are unfortunate to find themselves ‘diagnosed’ with a so-called mental illness often have psycho/social problems.

They can be given a real mental illness by the ‘treatment’ in the form of a chemical lobotomy.

Others like myself, who never had a serious psycho/social problem to begin with, can be kept in a chemical straitjacket, completely out of touch with themselves and the world as a ‘treatment’ for a lifetime.

Let us find the root cause of problems. Let us at least stop the sham of treating symptoms as if they were the cause.

Mary Maddock
Manor Close
Thornbury Heights

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mary’s letter was in response to the below article, published 19 July:


Experts slam use of drugs to ‘contain’ mentally ill
By Jennifer Hough
Monday, July 19, 2010

PEOPLE with mental illnesses who are not improving are being “contained” with medication in mental health facilities which do not provide them with any solution for their condition, mental health lawyers have warned.

Chairman of the Mental Health Lawyers Association, Mark Felton, who represents people involuntarily admitted to psychiatric hospitals, said there is no low-security forensic unit in the country to deal with people in need of specialised care.

Because of this, Mr Felton said, people with a mental illness are languishing in psychiatric units around the country with no therapeutic interventions or options available for moving them on. Many are being involuntarily detained.

Last year, there were 2,024 involuntary admissions to psychiatric units, with just 9% being revoked.

Under the Mental Health Act 2001, involuntary detention must be reviewed by a tribunal with a lawyer representing the patient.

Tribunal solicitor Eamonn Maloney, also a member of the Mental Health Lawyers Association, said people with high needs were simply being contained and pumped with medication.

“I am not a medical expert, but I would see people disimproving over time. When they first arrive, yes they might be angry and agitated, but they are focused and know what is going on.

“Three weeks later medication has made them hazy, confused, slower and they are slurring their words.”

Mr Maloney, who represents patients who have been detained in units in the Cork region, said, in his experience, families were not notified about tribunals as a rule of thumb, and the process is essentially held in camera.

“Often, a reason given for further detention is that if the person is released they may drink or take drugs which would lead to them not taking their medication,” Mr Maloney said.

“But there are no efforts made to help the person avoid such situations or treat any issues around this.”

Dr Siobhán Barry of the Irish Psychiatric Association agreed there are “huge gaps” in what treatments are available: “There is a huge difference between having someone in a psychiatric unit, and having someone in the Central Mental Hospital at Dundrum and there is nothing in between.”

Dr Barry said doctors should have to prove to mental health tribunals that a patient would benefit from further detention.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, July 19, 2010

There was also another comment published on 19 July critical of psychiatric drugging and involuntary admission in Ireland:–doctors-must-show-proof-125447.html

Involuntary admissions – Doctors must show proof
MONDAY, JULY 19, 2010

No self-respecting society should compel vulnerable citizens to vegetate behind locked doors, but this is effectively what is happening to some people suffering mental illness.

They are being sedated with drugs and kept in psychiatric units with no therapeutic treatment and thus little real hope of overcoming their illnesses.

Last year there were 2,024 involuntary admissions to psychiatric units. Tribunals have been established for lawyers to represent the interests of involuntary patients, but the decisions of these tribunals are inevitably based on the advice of doctors.

Some patients with high needs are not getting the necessary treatment to help them overcome their illness. Instead, they are pumped with medication that may not be helping them. Members of the tribunals report that they see patients deteriorating under such treatment, but are not medically competent to make an assessment.

Dr Siobhan Barry of the Irish Psychiatric Association advocates that doctors should have to prove to the tribunals that the patients would benefit from further detention. That should be a definite requirement.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, July 19, 2010


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