does Torture and Coercion cure inanity?
- Psychiatrists have always used coercion or torture to cure
insanity. Coercion is still widely used in both Canada and the USA. The
use of torture came to an end about 1940.
- We are totally opposed to using any coercion or torture in
the "treatment" of insanity. However, it is clear from the
record of history, that torture did cure mental illness.
- The question is: "How does torture cure
insanity?" The answer is simple: Insanity is a behaviour choice not a
disease. The whole idea of "curing" insanity is ridiculous at
its core. It is like saying that you are going to "cure" someone
of chronic lying or adultery. Insanity is a behaviour just like lying and
adultery. You don't cure people of behaviours with drugs, you persuade
them by appealing
to their conscience.
- For a chemical
psychiatrist, they have no answer, or they lie and say that it does
not cure. They believe insanity is a biological problem like diabetes.
They have an ideological dissonance with admitting torture cures insanity.
They cannot admit that torture could have any more effect on insanity,
than it would on stabilizing blood sugar levels. Imagine the implications
if torture cured diabetes, cancer and mended broken bones faster. Of
course this is not true because these are medical conditions. So chemical
psychiatrists simply cannot even admit the possibility that torture
"cures" insanity because if they did, it would prove that it is
a behaviour choice and not a disease.
- The word psychiatrist literally means, "a doctor of
the soul" and church
ministers were the first psychiatrists who specialized in working with
the insane. Church ministers were the first experts in helping to change
the behaviours of the insane. They correctly understood insanity as a
behaviour that needed correcting like any other sins like habitual
stealing, adultery or selfishness. Church ministers never tortured the insane,
it was the medical mad doctors who did such.
- So very simply stated, coercion and torture
"cure" insanity, because mental illness is a moral choice not a
disease. Torture can change choice, but it cannot cure a disease.
A. Torture as treatment:
- see our major section on historic
treatments of insanity.
- There were two types of historic treatment: Counseling and
Coercion. Coercion as a treatment for insanity made its debut about 1675
AD. Gradually coercion became the dominant treatment of choice in about
- "Many of the asylum doctors
were no more than medically qualified gaolers [jailers], whose only
attempts at "care" were the tactics of restraint and punishment
so angrily summarised by Swift a century earlier. "Though 'tis
hopeless to reclaim them, scorpion rods perhaps
may tame them" [Jonathan Swift.]" (British
Psychiatry at 150, J. Birley, Lancet, 1991 AD)
- The vast majority of medical doctors viewed as a behaviour
choice but some doctors viewed the etiology of insanity as biological
- Both groups of doctors practiced torture to
"cure" the insane- but for two different reasons.
- For the doctors who viewed insanity as a behaviour choice,
torture was used as a punitive method of changing unwanted and sinful
- "Mad doctors and alienists" (forerunners of
chemical psychiatrists) believed insanity was involuntary and caused by 1.
imbalance of the four humors (bad blood) 2. bloated blood vessels 3.
damaged nerves. Torture was used by the "chemical psychiatrists"
because they believed that inflicting pain, starvation, isolation,
inducing nausea and diarrhea with drugs and spinning machines, hypothermic
cold baths, electric shocks, chemical blistering of the skin,
bloodletting, foot chains and jail cells would actually bring about a
change in body chemistry.
- "Spinning in chairs, rotating in swings, prolonged
immersion beneath high pressure cold showers, surprise plunges into icy
water, or lying in warm baths while cold water was applied to the head,
were all methods calculated to debilitate, shock, and soothe sanity back
into the system. The rotary treatment was apparently applied more as a
corrective, than a therapeutic treatment. "After having committed
some irrational and spiteful act, the patient is forthwith placed on the
rotating chair and revolved at adjusted speed until he becomes quiet, apologizes, and promises improvement, or
until he starts to vomit." (Cox's Chair, Nicholas J. Wade,
2005 AD, p. 77)
- In 1758 AD, vomiting was the treatment of choice! In 1758,
a mad doctor at Bedlam named John Monro induced vomiting on a daily basis
to remove "phlegm" and restore "humoral balance", even
though he plainly admitted he had no idea what really caused insanity!
This was the science of the day. But at the same time, another mad doctor
named William Battie used most of these same methods. Battie tells us that
for him to reject vomits as a cure, would be considered heresy. Indeed, of
all the treatments of the 1750's, vomits was viewed as the cure of choice!
Battie believes that mental illness is caused by a clogging of brain and
nerve matter and he tells us that the reason
vomits cures, is entirely in the physical convulsions associated with
vomiting. The violent convulsive action of throwing up, with the
increase of blood pressure to the brain and the stress to the eyes and
nervous system, is like using carburetor cleaner
in your engine to clean out the gunk and loosen everything up! This
bizarre quackery began to replace the historic view that insanity was a
behaviour until 1858 AD when the cell was discovered!
- "Punishment, either corporal or mental, was an
important aspect of the treatment of insanity for several thousand years.
It was apparently first used to drive out—or kill—the evil spirit that was
believed to have taken possession of the psychotic person. Its use
persisted even into the nineteenth century, after the treatment of
insanity was supposed to have become humane, but at that time it was
justified on different grounds. Lichtenberg, for example, recommended it
because, he said, "the rod helps God" and because in the beaten
patient "the soul is forced to knit itself once more to that world
from which the cudgels come." (Roots of Modern Psychiatry, Mark D.
Altschule, 1965 AD, p 142)
- Mad doctors in 1758 like William Battie, confidently
claimed they knew the cause of mental illness was brain and nerve damage.
He was totally wrong! Yet this same etiology of mental illness being
"broken brains" is still used today by psychiatrists. Both
historic mad doctors and today's psychiatrists boldly claim to know the
cause of mental illness and the public blindly believes them! The historic
etiology of nerve damage has been replaced with chemical
imbalances but both are mythical, theoretical and unobserved in
- So in 1758 AD, two chemical psychiatrists (Monro and
Battie) treated the insane with torture for two different reasons. Monro
claimed he had no idea what caused mental illness, but believed that
humoral body fluids" would help. On the contrary, Battie claimed
clogged nerves was the definite cause of mental illness and believed the
physical convulsions associated with vomiting, would "shake up the
nerves" and restore sanity! So these two mad doctors practiced
"vomits" to cure mental illness, but one to remove phlegm and
the other to shake up the nerves! Both these quacks are the forerunners of
all modern psychiatrists today!
- The fact is that chemical psychiatry has never understood
what causes mental illness or how to cure it! Church ministers being the first
experts of insanity, have always correctly understood mental illnesses as
behaviours of choice. Today psychiatrists should take a counseling course
from church ministers!
counseling can bring about a
change of will and a corresponding change in the insane behaviour.
Punitive like a public whipping
to change unwanted behaviour
imbalances, bloated blood vessels as and damaged nerves
Altar body chemistry, physically
shaking the brain and body would restore normal function
B. Why Torture cured insanity:
has made no advances since the mad doctors and their asylums of the 1750's.
The science of psychiatry today, is in fact identical to the mad doctors of
Bedlam in 1750 AD. Today's psychiatrists have no more idea about the etiology
or cure of mental illness then their mad doctor colleagues three centuries
before them. Neither have any idea what causes mental illness and neither
have any cures to offer. In Bedlam they used shackles and jail cells to
physically restrain people and to coerce them into changing their unwanted and
annoying behaviours. Today the shackles and bars have been replaced with
drugs and shocks. Instead of people being restrained in a single place, drugs
are the modern chemical restrains that allow the insane to roam around in
public. In 1750, their body was in chains in a little jail cell, in 2011,
their mind is in chains while they roam free.
- It is important to remember that insanity is a behaviour
choice and speaking of a "cure" of insanity is as ridiculous as
speaking of a cure of chronic lying. However it is clear that torture
indeed "cured" the insane of their unwanted behaviours.
- One key observation is that the mad doctors of the 1750's
agreed that isolation, incarceration and vomits indeed cured mental
illness. It is clear they had no idea why this worked, but they observed
that these methods cured mental illness.
- The fundamental approach of historic psychiatry to cure
the insane, was to make their lives so miserable that they change their
behaviours in order to escape the treatment.
- "[John Burdett] Steward called the treatment [vomits
swing] barbarous. He said (1845): "It is a remedy which would be
tolerated in no disease but insanity. Unless
tried, it is quite impossible to conceive the suffering produced by it.
The author speaks confidently from having himself tried it." (Roots
of Modern Psychiatry, Mark D. Altschule, 1965 AD, p 149)
- "British psychiatrist William Sargant (1907-1988)
approvingly observed: "The history of psychiatric treatment shows,
indeed, that from time immemorial attempts have been made to cure mental
disorders by the use of physiological shocks, frights, and various
chemical agents; and such means have always yielded
brilliant results in certain types of patients." He attributed
the practice of tormenting-as-treatment to its alleged effectiveness in
"curing mental disorders." I attribute it to the human
proclivity for sadism. Whatever its ultimate source may be, the torturing
of mental patients and rationalizing it as treatment has characterized the
practice of psychiatry from its earliest days to the present." (Coercion as Cure,
Thomas Szasz, 2007 AD, p 65)
- We believe that isolation, incarceration and vomits really
did cure mental illness, but not for either reason they give. Some other
mechanism must be present. The reason seems obvious. Since mental illness
has no etiology in the physical body, but is entirely a "spiritual
sickness", isolation, incarceration and vomits made the
"patients" life so miserable, he cured himself in order to
escape! This may appear as bizarre as bloodletting to people today, but
this simple answer is correct!
- The practice of psychiatry today with its theoretical
chemical imbalances of the brain and Neuroleptic drugs is as much
quackery as the mad doctors in 1750 AD who prescribed daily vomiting and
bloodletting as the best cure for mental illness. The general public gazed
on in trusting ignorance of their expert's knowledge.
- Today, the same curtain of delusion covers the general
public with the latest set of theories put forth by the chemical
psychiatry industry. In 2100 AD, the present psychiatric theories for the
causes and cures of mental illness will be viewed as much quackery as
vomiting and bloodletting of days past.
- Whether shackled into submission, jailed into submission
or drugged into submission, society always finds a way of controlling
those who chose to be uncontrollable. Mad doctors of the 1750's knew that
if you make the lives of mentally ill difficult, you would cure a lot more
than if you made their stay like a pleasant vacation. They also knew that
much of the mental illnesses they treated were malingering (faked
mental illnesses) and completely under the control of the patient.
- Isolation, incarceration and vomits indeed cured insanity
although such is clearly a violation of civil rights unless criminal laws
- Punishments will clearly modify unwanted behaviour that
society finds offensive, repulsive or annoying. The history of psychiatry
is the clinical study that has proved this point beyond question.
- Any criminal behaviour of those who are insane should be
dealt with by courts, judges and jails.
- Church ministers both then and today reject such
physically punitive psychiatric treatments as torture, immoral and sin. If
a person engages in sinful behaviour, the Christian warns of God's
judgement and asks the insane to change his behaviour. If they chose not
to stop acting like a mad man, but do not commit crimes, then they should
be left alone and free to behave any way they want. God is the final
- Obedience to Jesus Christ is the only "cure" for
the sinful behaviours associated with insanity.
- Society has 4 methods of
teaching you to behave:
1. your mother (suspending your freedom by grounding you to your room and
2. your church minister and the bible (appeal to will and conscience)
3. the jail (suspending your freedom)
4. the psychiatrist (drugs, shocks to the brain and suspending your
freedom in asylums)
- From a parenting point of view, grounding and spankings
clearly "cure" children of disobedient behaviours. From a
criminal law point of view, monetary fines, jail and whippings clearly
"cure" criminals of their illegal behaviours. From a psychiatric
point of view, coercion and torture clearly "cure" the mentally
ill of behaviours that others in society find offensive, annoying or
- The fundamental approach of historic psychiatry to cure
the insane, was to make their lives so miserable that they change their
own behaviours in order to escape the treatment. The insane cured
themselves because the alternative was more jail, nausea, vomits,
blisters, starvation diets and painful blisters.
- Although the efficacy of torture to "cure"
mental illness is beyond dispute, it is immoral and a violation of civil
liberties, unless criminal laws are broken, then it is a matter for the
police, courts and jails. Otherwise the insane should be free to live and
move about us with their delusions and paranoia's. However the Bible says,
"if a man will not work, neither let him eat". The state should
also not be directly supporting anyone who is unwilling to work.
- All this proves that insanity is a behaviour choice, not a
disease and that psychiatry is a duplicate penal system to control those
behaviours that society find offensive, bothersome or annoying.
Steve Rudd: Contact the author for
comments, input or corrections.
Send us your story about your
experience with modern Psychiatry
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