Peter Lehmann (author): Psychiatric Survivor Activist (1950-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Peter Lehmann (author)
Psychiatric Survivor Activist

Peter Lehmann (author)

Peter Lehmann (author)
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Psychiatric Survivor Activist
Is Publisher Writer
From Germany
Field Business Journalism Literature
Gender male
Birth 3 September 1950, Calw, Calw, Karlsruhe Government Region, Baden-Württemberg
Age 72 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Peter Lehmann (born 3 September 1950 in Calw, Black Forest, West Germany) is an author, social scientist, publisher, provider of a mail-order book-service and an independent freelance activist in humanistic anti-psychiatry, living in Berlin, Germany.


Peter Lehmann has an education in social pedagogy. Since the 1970s, he has represented positions of humanistic antipsychiatry within the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement and circles of humanistic professionals.

In 1986, he founded Peter Lehmann Publishing and Mail-order Bookstore in Berlin and published his first book, Der chemische Knebel (The Chemical Gag) (Berlin: Antipsychiatrieverlag 1986) in German through his own Antipsychiatric Publishing House. In 2003, he founded a branch in United Kingdom and in 2004 in the United States of America.

In 1980, Peter Lehmann was co-founder of a support group of (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry and advised about psychiatric drugs and withdrawal until 1989. In 1987, he was co-founder of PSYCHEX (Switzerland), an alliance of lawyers, doctors and survivors of psychiatry to support people who are incarcerated in psychiatric institutions); since then, board member. In 1989, he was co-founder of the Organization for the Protection from Psychiatric Violence (running the Runaway House Berlin, which opened its house for people seeking shelter from psychiatric violence in 1996).

Since 1990, Peter Lehmann has been co-editor of the Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy (United Kingdom). In 1991, he was co-founder of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP) and was the organization’s chair from 1997–99 and was a board member until 2010. Since 2002, he has been a member of MindFreedom International and its designated representative to the United Nations. In 2007, he was a member of the Organizational Committee of the Conference "Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry", run by the World Psychiatric Association in Dresden.

Honors and awards

In 2010, Peter Lehmann was awarded an honorary doctorate in acknowledgment of "exceptional scientific and humanitarian contribution to the rights of the people with psychiatric experience" by the School of Psychology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, Philosophical Faculty. Kostas Bairaktaris, Prof. of Clinical Psychology, gave the speech in Peter Lehmann's honor. Lehmann is the first survivor of psychiatry in the world to be honored with an honorary degree for pioneering achievements within the realm of humanistic antipsychiatry. In 2011, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in acknowledgement of service to the community by the President of Germany.

Criticism of psychiatry

A large portion of Lehmann's work concentrates on the iatrogenic (negative) effects of neuroleptics, the so-called antipsychotics, argues that—similar like at alcohol—in the medium and long term, the harmful effects (receptor-changes, deficit-syndrome, suicidality, tardive psychosis, tardive dyskinesia, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, apoptosis, etc.) typically outweigh short-time benefit, if a patient sees any benefit at all. Lehmann also argues that psychiatry as a medical discipline cannot do justice to the expectation of solving mental problems that are largely of a social nature; that its propensity to use involuntary treatment constitutes a threat; and that its diagnostic methods obstruct understanding of the real problems of individuals in society.

For these reasons, Lehmann pleads for developing adequate and effective assistance for people in emotional difficulty and safeguarding their social inclusion by an unconditioned basic income. He advocates as well for their civil and political rights in treatment on a par with "normal" patients, joining forces in cooperation with other human rights and support groups, and support in withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. He promotes the use of alternative and less toxic psychoactive drugs, a ban on electroshock (so-called electroconvulsive therapy), and new ways of living with madness and being different, with as much independence from institutions as possible, as well as tolerance, respect and appreciation of diversity at all levels of life.


Coming off Psychiatric Drugs: Successful Withdrawal from Neuroleptics, Antidepressants, Lithium, Carbamazepine and Tranquilizers (2004) was originally published in German in 1998 and was the first book on this issue world-wide. Beside family members and professionals, Lehmann primarily addresses people who choose to withdraw from these drugs. He shows detailed accounts of how others came off these substances without once again ending up in the doctor's office. Beside people from different countries all over the world, in his practice book professionals, working in psychotherapy, medicine, psychiatry, social work, naturopathy and alternative places, report on how they helped in the withdrawal process.

In his second book, Alternatives beyond psychiatry, co-edited in 2007 with psychiatrist Peter Stastny, Lehmann highlights alternatives beyond psychiatry, current possibilities of self-help for individuals experiencing madness, and strategies toward implementing humane treatment.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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