United Mental Health Advocacy:  in favor of Equal Protection and Informed Consent

By Maria Mangicaro


The purpose of this blog is:

  1. Question whether a large population of individuals labeled “mentally ill” and clinically assessed with manic or psychotic symptoms are being misdiagnosed and mistreated.
  2. Question why most mental health advocacy agendas ignore the importance of accurate diagnosis of medical conditions that manifest as symptoms of psychosis and/or mania.

The goal of this site is to provide free information to the public on underlying medical conditions that manifest as psychosis/mania in order to prevent the misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia.

This site is a mental health legal blogger’s response to the PBS program MINDS on the EDGE which assembled a professional panel of experts to discuss problems in the mental health care system.  This site calls into question the ethics involved in establishing the goal of the MINDS on the EDGE project to advance consensus on how to improve the kinds of support and treatment available for people with mental illness.

Like many perspectives on mental health, the MINDS on the EDGE experts offer no consideration to the many underlying medical conditions that manifest as psychiatric disorders.   The experts involved advocate for a forced medication management treatment approach which interferes with a patient’s right to contract services that may save their life.

The MINDS on the EDGE project advances itself by the use of social networking and internet services.  Many individuals suffering from symptoms of severe “mental illness” do not have access to the same services the advocates for the MINDS program are using.  The efforts of the MINDS project must be considered with strict scrutiny.

Mental health advocates must  take responsibility for the fact they may be misrepresenting the best interests of many individuals who may be misdiagnosed in our mental health care system.

ISSUE:  Does a forced psychiatric treatment agenda interfere with a patient’s right to contract services for appropriate, cost-effective care?
Yes, advocacy for forced psychiatric treatment proliferates the belief “mental illness” can only be diagnosed and treated effectively by psychiatrists using a medication management protocol.  Advocates in favor of forced psychiatric treatment fail to recognize psychiatric diagnoses are descriptive labels only for phenomenology, not etiological or mechanistic explanation for syndromes.
Coercive psychiatry forces patients labeled “mentally ill” to contract costly services of selected providers and facilities, as well as forces patients to purchase and consume products that have potentially lethal side effects.
Individuals labeled with “severe mental illness” are a marginalized population who are being strategically deprived equal protection and liberty to contract by their advocates.   Mental health advocacy must support informed consent, treatment options and the right to contract.

The DSM-IV classification of Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders includes, Psychotic Disorder Due to a General Medical Conditions, and Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder. The APA recognizes a wide array of medical conditions and substances that can induce a psychosis, as well as violent criminal behavior.

Distinguishing a medical condition, or a substance-induced psychosis from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia through clinical presentation is often difficult. Whereas, fatal diseases such as Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease can be mistaken for bipolar disorder, the routine use of over-the-counter cold medicine, or excessive caffeine intake, can also induce a psychotic state that is clinically indistinguishable from paranoid-schizophrenia. It is important that clinicians examine ever patient with symptoms of mania, or psychosis with the possibility in mind that the disorder may be caused by an underlying, treatable condition.

Awareness, ability to accurately diagnose and treat the cause of psychotic symptoms that emerge from medical conditions and substances must be established if physicians are to provide better care and establish patient-partnership in cases of psychotic disturbances.

 It is the goal of this author to promote provider-patient partnership among consumers of mental health services by advocating for increased awareness of the research evidencing the association between symptoms of severe mental illness, and etiological factors, as well as inclusion of these factors in PADs and JCPs.

The administrator of this site supports the Participatory Medicine movement and advocacy for best-practice psychiatry through support of the Society for Participatory Medicine (SPM) and the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP).

Participatory Concepts in Mental Health Care Blog 


WARNING:  The risks associated with suddenly stopping medicines cannot be overstated.  Stopping psychiatric medication without medical supervision and review can be very dangerous. This site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.


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