ENGLISH MADNESS

After working as a full-time consultant psychiatrist in the NHS for over twenty years, Philip Thomas left clinical practice in 2004 to write. He has published over 100 scholarly papers, and works in alliance with survivors of psychiatry, service users and community groups, nationally and internationally. He is a founder member and former co-chair of the Critical Psychiatry Network. His first book, Dialectics of Schizophrenia was published by Free Association books in 1997, and he has co-authored two other books, Voices of Reason Voices of Insnanity with Ivan Leudar, and most recently Postpsychiatry, with Pat Bracken. Until recently he was professor of philosophy, diversity and mental health in the University of Central Lancashire, and is now an honorary visiting professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities in the University of Bradford. He is currently working on two books, one about critical psychiatry and another about madness, meaning and culture.

 

Philip Thomas, MD Something Rotten in the
State of British Psychiatry?

by

February 11, 2014

Delegates attending the International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists at London’s Barbican Centre in June this year will almost certainly not hear about the results of the seven-year outcome of the Dutch First Episode (FE) study widely discussed on Mad in America in recent months.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents, Industry, Uncategorized

Philip Thomas, MD “Decolonizing Global Mental Health: The Psychiatrization of the Majority World” (Book Review)

by

February 3, 2014

The Movement for Global Mental Health’s objective is to ensure that people living in low- and middle-income countries have access to the best and most effective modern psychiatric drugs and therapies. In pursuing these objectives it assumes that to do so is a neutral project beyond political concerns. China Mills’ book Decolonizing Global Mental Health challenges this view.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents

Philip Thomas, MDPhilip Thomas, MD Power to Communities,
Healing Through Social Justice:
INTAR 2014 in Liverpool, England

by

December 17, 2013

Mental health services today are almost completely dominated by the view that extreme distress such as psychoses are biological disorders that require treatment with drugs or other medical interventions. This is despite the absence of evidence that such conditions have a biological basis. In addition to this, recent work within the evidence-based medicine paradigm casts doubt on the effectiveness of most forms of physical treatment in psychiatry. At the same time the evidence accumulates that many physical treatments, such as the long-term use of neuroleptic drugs, are fraught with risks and danger.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs

Philip Thomas, MD The Shameful Story that Runs and Runs: A Review of The Bitterest Pills

by

October 20, 2013

If the blimp that is psychiatric treatment were a passenger aircraft, the authorities would have grounded it many years ago, but still it continues to inflict harm on countless thousands of people. I read Joanna Moncrieff’s latest book with a growing sense of anger and shame. The roots of drug treatment in psychiatry are thoroughly rotten. They sustain the decaying trunk of psychiatric theory and practice through misrepresentations and untruths; it is snake oil peddled by quackery.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents

Philip Thomas, MD Critical Psychiatry Network Calls on Institute of Psychiatry to Cancel Charles Nemeroff

by

June 4, 2013

The decision by the Institute of Psychiatry, Britain’s leading centre for psychiatric research, to invite disgraced Professor Charles Nemeroff to speak at the inaugural lecture of the Institute’s new Centre for Affective Disorders has caused a great deal of controversy, news that was recently featured on Mad in America. In the latest development members of the Critical Psychiatry Network in UK have written an open letter to Professor Pariantes, the Director of the new Centre for Affective Disorders, requesting that he cancel Nemeroff’s invitation.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents, Industry

Philip Thomas, MD A Soiled Phoenix Rises

by

May 30, 2013

It has been a good time to bury controversy. With all eyes on Washington and the fallout from the publication of DSM-5, over here in England the Institute of Psychiatry has been discretely sending out invitations to a lecture. This is not a public lecture; it is by invitation only. And who is the esteemed guest? None other than Professor Charles Nemeroff M.D., Ph.D.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents, Industry, Psychiatric Drugs, Research | Tagged as: ,

Philip Thomas, MD DSM-5 Statement by the Critical Psychiatry Network

by

May 23, 2013

The Critical Psychiatry Network is concerned with the way the controversy over the publication of DSM-5 is being portrayed in the media and by some academic psychiatrists. The issues raised by the DSM are complex and require careful and studied consideration. There are two aspects in particular that concern us. These relate to the portrayal of the controversy as a guild dispute, and the polarisation of the debate as one of nurture versus nature.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, DSM, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model | Tagged as:

Philip Thomas, MD Why Neuroscience
Cannot Explain Madness

by

May 7, 2013

The decision by the National Institute of Mental Health to part company with the APA’s forthcoming DSM-5 should not be taken as evidence that biological psychiatry is entering a terminal decline. Far from it, as the Director of NIMH Thomas Insel’s blog of 29th April 2013 makes clear, the reason NIMH has opted for its own Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDoC) is because they believe psychiatric patients deserve something better.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Disorders, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents, Research, Rethinking Psychiatry/Medical Model | Tagged as: , ,

Philip Thomas, MD Mad Flies and Bad Science

by

April 17, 2013

Tension mounts across the ideological divide as D-Day (DSM-5 Day) approaches. The APA has powerful allies on its side. President Obama has just launched Decade of the Brain 2 with the announcement two weeks ago that heralds the arrival of BRAIN ( Brain Research through Advances in Innovative Neurotechnologies). If that’s not enough, those who believe that science will ultimately explain madness can always rely on the media to fawn at their feet.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, DSM, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents, Genetics, Research | Tagged as:

Philip Thomas, MD The Petition Against DSM-5

by

March 20, 2013

The International DSM-5 Response Committee, sponsored by Division 32 of the American Psychological Association — the Society for Humanistic Psychology — now has an online petition against the DSM-5.  This is a truly international effort. Please support the petition by signing it at http://dsm5response.com

Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, DSM, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents

Philip Thomas, MD Pinball Wizards and the Doomed Project of Psychiatric Diagnosis

by

February 19, 2013

The DSM claims to be a scientific system of classification. The validity of any system of scientific classification is the extent to which it can be shown to reflect the real world. Fifty years of study and investigation, and huge sums of money spent across the Western world on neuroscientific research institutes, on careers and equipment, has failed to establish the validity of a single psychiatric diagnosis.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents, Mad in Academia | Tagged as:

Philip Thomas, MD Why Do the Stories Psychiatrists Tell Their Patients Matter?

by

January 28, 2013

Why do stories matter? Why is it that what a psychiatrist says to a patient about their experiences can have such a powerful effect – for good or for ill? This is something that has puzzled me for many years. It still does.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as:

Philip Thomas, MD What is Critical Psychiatry?

by

January 21, 2013

Over the last twenty years there has emerged a body of work that questions the assumptions that lie beneath psychiatric knowledge and practice. This work, appearing as academic papers, magazine articles, books, and chapters in books, hasn’t been written by academics, sociologists or cultural theorists. It has emerged from the pens and practice of a group of British psychiatrists.

Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as:

Philip Thomas, MD Doing Their Best

by

January 10, 2013

In the summer we spent hours together on the crags overlooking the valley. You loved to watch the birds spin crazily beneath your feet. Sometimes you would lie on your back in the warm sun, losing yourself in the vast …
Full Article

Categorized in: Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as: ,

Philip Thomas, MD The Little Red Alfa

by

December 23, 2012

Bill ran his own business; he was a busy man who didn’t like taking time off. Time for Bill was money, and that, perhaps, was a part of the problem. He wanted money, lots of it, and he never took …
Full Article

Categorized in: Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as: ,

Philip Thomas, MD Critical Psychiatry as Narrative

by

December 15, 2012

This shorter-than-usual contribution signifies a departure from my earlier blogs. It is the first in an occasional series that uses semi-fictional clinical narratives to examine some of the difficulties that face people who use psychiatric services in England, and the psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who work in them.
Full Article

Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as: ,

Philip Thomas, MD Inquiry into the Schizophrenia Label – Preliminary Results Out Now!

by

December 6, 2012

Apart from the admission of a thirty-year-old woman to a private hospital in London with a bit of morning sickness, the main thing to make the news here recently was the hullabaloo over the publication of the ‘Schizophrenia Commissions” report, …
Full Article

Categorized in: Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as: , , , ,

Philip Thomas, MD Narrative Psychiatry – A Review

by

September 25, 2012

Biological psychiatry is afflicted by an ague. Or maybe it’s the pox. The precise diagnosis in unimportant, and it may not even be a terminal decline, but there is serious discontent with the brain that was once thought to be broken. Narrative psychiatry opens the way for much-needed future work: how psychiatrists might use diagnosis, medication (especially the placebo effect), and psychotherapy (especially the non-specific factors common to all forms of psychotherapy). Most important of all narrative psychiatry has the potential to equip us to work more respectfully with people whose cultural beliefs differ from our own.
Full Article

Categorized in: Featured Blogs, Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as: ,

Philip Thomas, MD Medicine, Social Mobility and Our Moral Imagination: Ideas in Progress…

by

June 1, 2012

It took me a while to fathom out the conversation I had at the age of seventeen with my headmaster. ‘Well, Thomas, what are your plans?’ He always insisted on interviewing sixth formers before they applied to university, this in …
Full Article

Categorized in: Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as: , , ,

Philip Thomas, MD On the Importance of Moral Imagination

by

May 10, 2012

Some years ago I was appointed as a non-executive director to the board of a leading Mental Health Trust. It served a culturally diverse population in a large Northern city with a population of around half a million. I had …
Full Article

Categorized in: Community, Foreign Correspondents, Non-drug Approaches, Trauma/Distress | Tagged as: , , , ,

Philip Thomas, MD Black and Mad

by

April 16, 2012

When David Bennett died, pinned face down beneath the bodies of four nurses in a secure psychiatric unit, he was just thirty eight years old and had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. It took him twenty eight minutes to die, an …
Full Article

Categorized in: DSM, Foreign Correspondents, Schizophrenia and Psychosis | Tagged as:

Philip Thomas, MD A Revolution of Deceit

by

March 5, 2012

A scientific revolution transformed medical care in the second half of the twentieth century. Developments in molecular biology, genetics and other fields resulted in new insights into many diseases, and from this, more effective treatments. More recently this revolution, which …
Full Article

Categorized in: Foreign Correspondents | Tagged as: , , , ,

Philip Thomas, MD English Madness: Vox Populi

by

February 8, 2012

Some years ago the BBC asked me to take part in a phone-in on Radio 4 about hearing voices. The programme was to take place immediately after the broadcast of a play about hearing voices written by Sara Maitland, a …
Full Article

Categorized in: Foreign Correspondents, Uncategorized | Tagged as: , ,