IN THE NEWS

Robert Whitaker has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science, including the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association for Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article. In 1998, he co-wrote a series on psychiatric research for the Boston Globe that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Anatomy of an Epidemic won the 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for best investigative journalism.

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March 19, 2016

The argument that is usually made against involuntary commitment and forced treatment is that these actions, under the authority of a state, violate a person’s basic civil rights. They deprive a person of liberty and personal autonomy, and do so in the absence of a criminal charge. However, there is another argument, one of adjunctive value, that can be made against involuntary commitment and forced treatment. Medical science argues against forced treatment too.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Initiatives | Tagged as:

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March 17, 2016

Over the past two months, Ronald Pies and Allen Frances, in response to a post I had written, wrote several blogs that were meant to serve as an “evidence-based” defense of the long-term use of antipsychotics. As I read their pieces, I initially focused on that core argument they were presenting, but second time through, the aha moment arrived for me. Their blogs, when carefully parsed, make a compelling case that their profession, in their use of antipsychotics as a treatment for multiple psychotic disorders, has done great harm, and continues to do so today.
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Categorized in: Antipsychotics, Bias, Corruption & Accountability, Blogs, Blogs, Disorders, Drug Page, Featured Blogs, Research, Schizophrenia and Psychosis

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February 4, 2016

Mad in America, which was founded as a webzine in 2011, is now operating as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. This provides us with both a new challenge, and this is the exciting part, a chance to dream big. The challenge is to raise the money to pursue our bigger visions for the future.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs

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January 27, 2016

Four weeks ago, after I wrote a blog about a study that concluded there was no good evidence that antipsychotics improved long-term outcomes for people diagnosed with schizophrenia, I was cc’d on an email that had been sent to a number of “thought leaders” about what I had written. At least as I read the email, it put me into the usual pigeonhole for critics of psychiatric drugs: I apparently was globally “against” medications, and I had displayed a type of simplistic “categorical” thinking. All of this led to my having an email exchange with Allen Frances, and his laying out, in his opinion, the considerable “collateral damage” my writings had done.
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Categorized in: Anatomy of an Epidemic, Blogs, Blogs, Disorders, Drug Page, Featured Blogs, Schizophrenia and Psychosis, Uncategorized

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January 4, 2016

The beginning of a New Year is always an occasion for looking back at past accomplishments (and failures), and to look ahead too, at what the New Year may bring. And as 2016 opens, it’s clear that MIA has reached a crossroads moment. We can look back and see many accomplishments, and we can look ahead and see many exciting opportunities. But we also have to confront a challenge: we need to figure out how to sustain our operations.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Uncategorized

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December 29, 2015

When I wrote Anatomy of an Epidemic, one of my foremost hopes was that it would prompt mainstream researchers to revisit the scientific literature. Was there evidence that any class of psychiatric medications—antipsychotics, antidepressants, stimulants, benzodiazepines, and so forth—provided a long-term benefit? Now epidemiologists at Columbia University and City College of New York have reported that they have done such an investigation about antipsychotics, and their bottom-line finding can be summed up in this way: Psychiatry’s “evidence base” for long-term use of these drugs does not exist.
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Categorized in: Adverse Effects, Anatomy of an Epidemic, Answering the Critics, Antipsychotics, Blogs, Featured Blogs, Mad in America, MIA Blog Archives, Psychiatric Drugs, Robert Whitaker, Schizophrenia and Psychosis | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , ,

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September 21, 2015

This past Saturday, I was on my way back from Europe to Boston, and while on a stop in Iceland, I checked my email and was directed to a new blog by Ronald Pies in Psychiatric Times, in which he once again revisited the question of whether American psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), ever promoted the idea that chemical imbalances caused mental disorders. And just like when I read his 2011 writings on this subject, I found myself wondering what to make of his post. Why was he so intent on maintaining psychiatry’s “innocence?” And why did it matter?
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Categorized in: Blogs, Causation Theories, Featured Blogs, Uncategorized | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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May 25, 2015

In the past 50 years, the story of John Nash, as told first in the book A Beautiful Mind and then in the film that starred Russell Crowe as the great mathematician, is perhaps the best-known story of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia who “recovered.” Today, with obits appearing in the newspaper following his death on Saturday in a car crash in New Jersey, it is worth remembering how the true story of his recovery was hijacked in the movie and turned into an ad for a second generation of psychiatric medications.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs

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May 7, 2015

When you write a book, you usually do so in response to a prompt of some type, and in the process of researching and writing the book, you will come to see your subject in a new way. Psychiatry Under the Influence, a book I co-wrote with Lisa Cosgrove, provided that learning experience, and this is what I now know, with a much greater certainty than before: Our citizenry must develop a clear and cogent response to a medical specialty that, over the past 35 years, has displayed an “institutional corruption” that has done great injury to our society. In fact, I think this is one of the great political challenges of our times.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Uncategorized

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April 26, 2015

On a national Canadian radio show on Sunday (April 26), former APA president Jeffrey Lieberman called me a “menace to society” for my writings on the long-term effects of psychiatric medications (and other writings.) He said there was abundant evidence that psychiatric medications improved long-term outcomes for various psychiatric disorders. And so now we would like to issue a challenge: Dr. Lieberman, please point out these studies for us.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Uncategorized

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March 19, 2015

After finishing Jeffrey Lieberman’s new book, Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry, I was tempted to put it aside and not write anything, even though I had purchased the book with the intention of doing so. The reason was that I found it impossible to take the book seriously, and actually, I don’t think it is meant to be a serious book. But eventually it dawned on me: The revelatory aspect of Shrinks is that it serves as an institutional self-portrait. What you hear in this book is the story that the APA and its leaders have been telling to themselves for some time.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Popular, Uncategorized

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February 2, 2015

When I was researching Anatomy of an Epidemic and sought to track the number of people receiving a disability payment between 1987 and 2007 due to “mental illness,” I was frustrated by the lack of diagnostic clarity in the data. The Social Security Administration would list, in its annual reports on the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs, the number of people receiving payment for “mental disorders,” which in turn was broken down into just two subcategories: “retardation,” and “other mental disorders.” Unfortunately, the “other mental disorders,” which was the category for those with psychiatric disorders, was not broken down into its diagnostic parts.
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Categorized in: Antidepressants, Bipolar, Blogs, Blogs, Depression, Drug Page, Featured Blogs, Popular, Psychiatric Drugs

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December 4, 2014

Editor’s Note: After Allen Frances and Robert Whitaker spoke recently at the Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry conference in Los Angeles, where they had a brief debate, Frances wrote to Whitaker suggesting that they should continue this debate in print. They do so here. Whitaker’s response follows Frances’ post.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Popular

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June 25, 2014

As MIA readers may have noted, we recently opened a store on this site. You’ll find videos for sale there, as well as MIA merchandise. In the near future, we intend to begin selling ebooks as well.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Uncategorized

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March 30, 2014

In his latest paper, Martin Harrow focuses psychiatry’s attention on a very specific question: Do antipsychotic drugs provide a long-term benefit as a treatment for psychotic symptoms? His findings are consistent with a larger body of evidence that all point to the same conclusion, which is that antipsychotics fail that efficacy test. And thus, I think it is fair to say that on this issue, the Fat Lady Has Sung, Psychiatry needs to rethink its use of these drugs.

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Categorized in: Antipsychotics, Blogs, Featured Blogs, Psychiatric Drugs, Research, Uncategorized

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March 4, 2014

When we launched Madinamerica.com a little more than two years ago, we had in our sights the day when we would begin publishing original journalism pieces. Today, with the publication of Rob Wipond’s article on Cindi Fisher, we have finally reached that goal.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs

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July 23, 2013

Since I spoke at NAMI’s national convention last month, the writer Pete Earley has invited people who listened to my talk to send him their reports of the event. Earley wrote a book titled Crazy, which was both about his son’s struggles with mental illness and the criminalization of the mentally ill, and in his book and other writings, he has told of his frustration with laws that prevented his son from being forcibly medicated. Yesterday, on his website, he published a letter from a mom who attended my talk with her adult son, and she told of how, after returning from the meeting, her son apparently abruptly stopped taking his medication and has now gone missing.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Popular, Uncategorized

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July 17, 2013

In the wake of the new study by Dutch researcher Lex Wunderink, it is time for psychiatry to do the right thing and acknowledge that, if it wants to do best by its patients, it must change its protocols for using antipsychotics. The current standard of care, which—in practice—involves continual use of antipsychotics for all patients diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, clearly reduces the opportunity for long-term functional recovery.
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Categorized in: Antipsychotics, Blogs, Featured Blogs, MIA Articles about Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal, MIA Blog Archives, Schizophrenia and Psychosis, Uncategorized | Tagged as:

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June 18, 2013

The Vatican conference on “The Child as a Person and as a Patient: Therapeutic Approaches Compared,” which took place on June 14 and 15 in Rome, was not really focused—as I had thought it would be—on the merits of medicating children for psychiatric disorders. The two Americans who had tirelessly campaigned for this conference, Marcia Barbacki and Barry Duncan, had hoped that it would serve that purpose, but the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, as it invited speakers, decided on a broader, more diffuse agenda.
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Categorized in: ADHD, Blogs, Featured Blogs

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March 26, 2013

Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe have a new article coming out in Schizophrenia Bulletin that I wish would be read by everyone in our society with an interest in “mental health.” Harrow and Jobe, who conducted the best study of long-term schizophrenia outcomes that has ever been done, do not present new data in this article, but rather discuss the central question raised by their research: Does long-term treatment of schizophrenia with antipsychotic medications facilitate recovery? Or does it hinder it?
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Categorized in: Antipsychotics, Blogs, Featured Blogs, MIA Articles about Psychiatric Drugs and Withdrawal, MIA Blog Archives, Schizophrenia and Psychosis

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December 17, 2012

As many of the readers of this website know, David Oaks, the long-time leader of MindFreedom, was badly injured when he fell from a ladder on December 1. He broke a bone in his neck, his injury so severe he had to be on a ventilator. The latest news is encouraging: he had a tracheotomy and is off the ventilator, able now to speak in a whisper. Personally, I owe David a great deal, as it was an interview I did with him in 1998 that propelled me to write more in-depth about psychiatry.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs

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October 26, 2012

After reading E. Fuller Torrey’s latest article in the Treatment Advocacy Center newsletter, in which he sharply criticizes Dr. Sandy Steingard for writing about anosognosia on madinamerica.com, and then goes on to attack me for my various writings, I have to confess that this time—after getting over the feeling that my head was going to explode—I thought, my patience with such dishonesty is running out.
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Popular

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July 11, 2012

If we want to understand how our society may end up deluded about the merits of psychiatric medications, we can look at the research published by Robert Gibbons, Director of the Center for Health Statistics at the University of Chicago, …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Popular

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May 16, 2012

E. Fuller Torrey, through his Treatment Advocacy Center, is the country’s most prominent advocate for outpatient commitment laws, which typically force people with a diagnosis of a severe mental illness to take antipsychotic medications. He has posted a review of …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Popular

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January 12, 2012

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA is one of the premier centers for brain research in the country, and so when the Institute announced in late December that its scientists had discovered a “brain cell malfunction in schizophrenia,” …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Featured Blogs, Pregnancy & Birth Defects