In The News

“Sluggish Cognitive Tempo” is the New ADHD

April 11, 2014

“Some powerful figures in mental health,” according to today’s New York Times, “are claiming to have identified a new disorder that could vastly expand the ranks of young children treated for attention problems.” Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) – characterized by lethargy, daydreaming, and slow mental processing – was the subject of 131 pages in the January issue of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. The lead paper claims that the question of the disorder’s existence “seems to be laid to rest as of this issue,” with other papers claiming “exciting findings” of pharmaceutical treatment for the disorder. Eli Lilly promises to study the disorder as part of its mission to “help satisfy unmet medical needs around the world.”
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Amanda Bynes Isn’t Schizophrenic After All; Isn’t on Medication

April 10, 2014

After a well-publicized stint in treatment for a diagnosis of schizophrenia, actress Amanda Bynes and her family have announced that she never had a mental illness and that her behavior was the result of marijuana abuse. ”Amanda currently is on zero medication,” according to the family’s attorney. “She’s devoted to living her life as healthy as possible. She’s never had a history of abusing alcohol or hard drugs, and she’s proud to say she’s been marijuana-free for the past nine months.”
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Schizophrenia Drug Blamed for 17 Deaths in Japan

April 10, 2014

The Japanese unit of Johnson & Johnson affiliate Janssen Pharmaceuticals reports that 17 people have died since the launch of its new antipsychotic, Xeplion, on November 19.  Though it is not known whether the drug caused the deaths, which occurred up to 40 days after injections of the drugs, the drug maker advised doctors to “fully understand that the substance remains in the body for at least four months after being injected’ and to stay alert for any side-effects.
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Arkansas AG Petitions Supreme Court Decision Favoring J&J

April 8, 2014

Saying that the Arkansas supreme court had departed from 170 years of precedent by deciding in favor of Johnson & Johnson on grounds not raised in any of the case filings, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is asking the court to reconsider its decision to toss out a $1.2 billion judgment over the marketing of the antipsychotic Risperdal.
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Antipsychotic Drug Use Among ADHD-Diagnosed Foster Care Youth Is Increasing

April 8, 2014

Research in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology finds that “Over the last two decades, the increased use of atypical antipsychotic medications, often for unlabeled indications including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has been profound.” Children diagnosed with ADHD in foster care, in particular, were three times more likely to to be prescribed antipsychotics in the absence of a comorbid psychiatric diagnoses than other Medicaid-eligible children, with nearly one third of ADHD-diagnosed foster care youth receiving the drugs.
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Sudden Unexplained Death in Schizophrenia

April 6, 2014

Research in Schizophrenia Research finds that 57 out of 7189 schizophrenia patients admitted between 1989 and 2013 died suddenly and unexpectedly during hospitalization; a rate significantly above that of the general population. Cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological abnormalities were implicated in most cases, however 6 cases (11.8% remained unexplained.
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Open Hospital Settings Reduce Coercion and Forced Medication

April 4, 2014

A 2-year, longitudinal study of 2,838 patients finds that a change of treatment policy from “closed” to “open-ward” treatment reduced the use of coercive measures, seclusion, and forced medication, whereas forced medication increased on wards that remained closed. “The decrease in seclusions on newly opened wards remained statistically significant after controlling for diagnoses and severity of illness,” conclude the authors, “Open ward treatment was successfully implemented and was associated with a significant decrease of coercive measures in our study. It might therefore provide a good care model, strengthening the patient’s right to autonomy and leading to a reduction of coercive measures.”
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Around the Web

“We Need a Better Explanation for the Surge in Autism”

April 12, 2014

The Washington Post says “The latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control showing a steep rise in the number of children with autism are so off the charts that it’s hard not to come to one of two conclusions: There’s something wrong in the way that we measure the data or there’s something extraordinary going on.”

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“How to Take Kids Off Medication: Tips for Making Sure Your Child Makes a Good Transition”

April 11, 2014

The Child Mind Institute advises that “When you’re considering medication for a child with emotional or behavioral problems, how you start is very important. But how you stop is just as important. With most psychoactive medications it’s important to taper off gradually rather than stopping quickly.”
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“Neoliberalism and the Machinery of Disposability”

April 11, 2014

Truthout, in an essay with relevance to MIA readers, digs into contemporary processes wherein “the collective sense of ethical imagination and social responsibility toward those who are vulnerable or in need of care is now viewed as a scourge or pathology. What has emerged in this new historical conjuncture is an intensification of the practice of disposability in which more and more individuals and groups are now considered excess, consigned to zones of abandonment, surveillance and incarceration.”
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“The Medicalization of “Ups and Downs”: The Marketing of the New Bipolar Disorder”

April 10, 2014

Joanna Moncrieff writes in Transcultural Psychiatry, “The concept of bipolar disorder has undergone a transformation over the last two decades. Once considered a rare and serious mental disorder, bipolar disorder is being diagnosed with increasing frequency in Europe and North America, and is suggested to replace many other diagnoses. The current article shows how the modern concept of bipolar disorder has been created in the course of efforts to market new antipsychotics and other drugs for bipolar disorder, to enable these drugs to migrate out of the arena of serious mental disorder and into the more profitable realm of everyday emotional problems . . . The expansion of bipolar disorder, like depression before it, medicalises personal and social difficulties, and profoundly affects the way people in Western nations conceive of what it means to be human.”
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Can’t Get It Outta My Head

Eric Coates

April 8, 2014

A voice can be cruel or a voice can be kind, but what it says is only rarely meaningless and irrelevant. A voice may reassure us about our fears. A voice may try to correct our thoughts or actions. A voice may warn us about possible dangers, or remind us of trauma we’ve experienced in the past, possibly as a way to warn us about someone who might be threatening. Hearing voices, then, is not a “hallucination.” It’s an important and relevant experience.
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About Mad In America

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A few minutes with Robert Whitaker in a video about the purpose, history, achievements, community, and future plans of Mad In America.
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Open Paradigm Project

Daniel Mackler:
Motivators for Growth

January 29, 2014

Daniel Mackler OPP

Therapist and folk artist Daniel Mackler discusses the major barriers to creating a more effective and compassionate psychiatric system, as well as the practice of Open Dialogue in Finland, and recognizing pain as a motivator for growth.
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Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare, by Peter Gotzsche  →
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