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Q: Soviet Psikhushka psychiatric-prisons, what drugs used to "treat" dissidents ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Soviet Psikhushka psychiatric-prisons, what drugs used to "treat" dissidents
Category: Science > Social Sciences
Asked by: grthumongous-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 12 May 2005 17:41 PDT
Expires: 11 Jun 2005 17:41 PDT
Question ID: 521099
In Soviet Psikhushka psychiatric-prisons what drugs were used to
"treat" dissidents to cure them of their pecular "sluggish
Why send them to a Psikhushka rather than a gulag labor camp?

Clarification of Question by grthumongous-ga on 12 May 2005 17:52 PDT
The drug portion is the main question; the gulag part is optional.
Subject: Re: Soviet Psikhushka psychiatric-prisons, what drugs used to "treat" dissidents
Answered By: czh-ga on 14 May 2005 01:03 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello grthumongous-ga,

I?ve found several articles that will help you understand why the
Soviet Union chose to send dissidents to psychiatric hospitals rather
than labor camps or other punishment. The main reason was that by
treating them as mentally ill they could be discredited. Their
protests against the political system were treated as mental illness
that was used as a justification for involuntary confinement and
medical treatment.

I?ve also found a variety of psychoactive drugs and other treatments
that were commonly used. Some of these include: Sulphazine, or
Sulfazine, Haloperidol (Haldol or Serenace in the West), insulin in
large doses, Triftazin (called Trifluoperazin in the West), injections
of magnesium sulphate,  Thorazine and other phenothiazines, and
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), usually without anesthesia or muscle
relaxants. My research shows that such treatment is still going on in
many countries in the world.

I trust that this information answers you question.

Wishing you well for your research projects.

~ czh ~
Psychiatric Abuse in the Soviet Union

Under the Soviet regime, authorities often sent dissidents and other
socially undesirable people to psychiatric institutions for an
indefinite period of detention and treatment. In a criminal
proceeding, a psychiatric evaluation was often used when the evidence
available would not necessarily lead to a conviction. A finding by a
psychiatrist of mental incompetence prevents a defendant from standing

Bloch and Reddaway studied 200 cases of Soviets ordered to receive
psychiatric care between 1962 and 1977 and developed a classification
of these people. Three hundred cases from the period of 1977-1985
reflected these same targeted categories. All victims share the
characteristic of having deviated from the social conventions
prescribed by the state. Victims usually fell into one of five
categories: 1) advocates of human rights and democratization; 2)
nationalists; 3) would-be emigrants; 4) religious believers; and 5)
citizens inconvenient to authorities (Soviet Psychiatric Abuse: The
Shadow over World Psychiatry 1985, 30).

A common diagnosis of criminally committed soviet citizens was that of
"sluggish" or "creeping" schizophrenia, symptoms of which include
"dissemination of slander," "exaggerated religious belief," and
"excessive valuation of the West" (Helsinki Watch May 1990). Many of
the sources consulted by Bloch and Reddaway cite the use of
Sulphazine, or Sulfazine, a purified sulfur substance which has not
been used in the West since the 1930s because of its lack of
therapeutic effect, by psychiatrists treating criminally committed
patients. Reactions to this drug include "high fever and pain at the
site of injection and throughout the body" (Soviet Psychiatric Abuse:
The Shadow over World Psychiatry 1985, 27).

***** This site offers an extensive bibliography to help you continue
your explorations.

Taking liberties

Leonid?s Story

The doctors at the hospital began to treat him with a drug called
Haloperidol (Haldol or Serenace in the West, usually administered to
people suffering from psychosis) ?

Four months after this the doctors ceased giving Leonid Haloperidol
and instead began administering insulin in large doses. At a meeting
with his wife he was, she said, unrecognisable: ?Great dropsical
swelling had occurred: he moved with difficulty; his eyes had lost
their liveliness.?

Nine months later they began to administer large doses of Triftazin
(another anti-psychotic drug. called Trifluoperazin in die West). Then
after another two months they stopped giving him drugs and his
physical condition improved considerably.

Shrinking the Freedom of Thought: How Involuntary Psychiatric
Treatment Violates Basic Human Rights

Haldol is one of the most frequently prescribed neuroleptics and has
over 24% of market share in the United States.[97] It was also used in
the Soviet Union. The story of Leonid Plyushch, a Russian scientist
and political dissident of the 1970s who eventually fled to the United
States, was widely reported in the US media after he told how he had
been drugged in a Soviet psychoprison on small doses of Haldol: "I was
horrified to see how I deteriorated intellectually, morally and
emotionally from day to day. My interest in political problems quickly
disappeared, then my interest in scientific problems, and then my
interest in my wife and children."[98]

No Asylum: State Psychiatric Repression in the Former USSR. - book reviews

In writing this ambitious quantitative assessment of the psychiatric
repression of Soviet dissidents, Smith & Oleszczuk show how and why
the Soviet state used psychiatry more systematically than other pariah
states in an attempt to control nonconformity.

Trajectories of Despair: Misdiagnosis and Maltreatment of Soviet Orphans

In psychiatric hospitals, the adolescent wing was a deplorable
setting. For example, a 14 y.o. underwent outdated pharmacotherapy
(injections of magnesium sulphate, for example) and had been placed in
the psychiatric unit because he had threatened to run away from his
alcoholic parents. Case notes from the psychiatrist stated "nothing
abnormal was detected" but the teenager carried a diagnosis of
"schizophrenia" on his record. A follow-up visit was made in March
1991 to the some orphanages of Latvia and Moscow. In September, 1991,
a team consisting of a pediatrician, an educational psychologist,
clinical psychologist, a nurse, Soviet expert & TV cameraperson went
back to the orphanages of St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) and
Moscow. Utilizing culture-free, non-linguistic tests with 171 children
in 15 different institutions in St. Pete and Moscow, they found that
of the children tested between one-third and two thirds were of
average or even above-average intellectual ability. The findings have
implications: all these children had been labelled "mentally
handicapped" and diagnosed "oligophrenic".

Cuban Psychiatry --- The Perversion of Medicine

In those horrible wards, it became obvious that the "patients" were
not confined for the treatment of mental illness, but rather to
terrorize them. Some were placed there for days, weeks, or months
among the criminally insane to coerce them to submit and conform to
the dictates of the State Security apparatus. Others were forced to
ingest large amounts of psychotropic drugs (e.g., Thorazine and other
phenothiazines), or undergo even more barbaric "treatment" with
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), usually without anesthesia or muscle
relaxants, under the supervision of a sadistic orderly named Heriberto
Mederos who was likely a State Security agent nicknamed El

Soviet Dissent and the Cold War

***** This is an article that explains the role of Soviet dissidents
and why they were imprisoned or held in psychiatric facilities but not


psychiatric treatment soviet dissidents
grthumongous-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
czh, thanks.

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