MAD IN AMERICA

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.

Robert Whitaker MIA’s New Store & More

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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

Robert Whitaker The Fat Lady Has Sung

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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

Robert Whitaker Launching MIA Reports

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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

Robert Whitaker My Reply to Pete Earley: Do I Have Blood On My Hands?

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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, Uncategorized

Robert Whitaker Harrow + Wunderink + Open Dialogue = An Evidence-based Mandate for A New Standard of Care

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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, Schizophrenia and Psychosis, Uncategorized

Robert Whitaker The Vatican, Ritalin, and a Canadian Study of Long-term ADHD Outcomes

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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

Robert Whitaker Do Antipsychotics Worsen Long-term Schizophrenia Outcomes? Martin Harrow Explores the Question.

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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, Schizophrenia and Psychosis

Robert Whitaker Thoughts About David Oaks

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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

Robert Whitaker Dear Dr. Torrey: Please, Stop The Lies!

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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

Robert Whitaker The Triumph of Bad Science

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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

Robert Whitaker The NY Times: When Stimulants Are Bad

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June 11, 2012

On Sunday, the New York Times ran a lengthy article titled “Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill,” and it illustrated, in vivid detail, how our society—and the medical community—may view a “drug of abuse” through one prism (as harmful) and a “prescribed drug” through another (as helpful), even though the drug in both cases is the same.
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Categorized in: Blogs

Robert Whitaker Black Hats, White Hats, and Financial Reckonings

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June 7, 2012

It is clear now that the marketing of ayptical antipsychotics over the past 20 years was, in essence, a criminal enterprise, as the makers of these medications regularly violated the law governing the selling of new drugs. The manufacturers hid …
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Categorized in: Blogs

Robert Whitaker E. Fuller Torrey’s Review of Anatomy of an Epidemic: What Does It Reveal About the Rationale for Forced Treatment?

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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

Robert Whitaker Guidelines for a Thoughtful Discussion

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April 21, 2012

Back in December,  when I decided to turn madinamerica.com into a webzine, I envisioned it as serving several purposes. I wanted to create a regular news report of research findings. I wanted to provide a forum for people to tell …
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Categorized in: Blogs, Community Updates

Robert Whitaker Interpreting Harrow’s 20-Year Results: Are the Drugs to Blame?

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February 23, 2012

Martin Harrow has just published his 20-year outcomes data for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Those who took antipsychotics regularly experienced more psychosis, more anxiety, cognitive impairment, and markedly fewer periods of “sustained recovery.” Harrow asks: “Is very long-term treatment with antipsychotic medications undesirable?”
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Categorized in: Blogs

Robert Whitaker The Real Suicide Data from the TADS Study Comes to Light

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February 20, 2012

Last week, Robert Gibbons reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry that fluoxetine was not found to increase the suicide risk in children compared to placebo. But if we closely examine the suicide data from the TADS trial, which at first glance seems to support Gibbons’ conclusion, we find a trail of hidden data and scientific scandal.
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Categorized in: Blogs

Robert Whitaker The Taint of Eugenics In NIMH-Funded Research Today

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January 25, 2012

Recently, Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, identified the “NIMH’s Top 10 Research Advances of 2011.” He wrote: “This has been a year of exciting discoveries and scientific progress . . . Here are 10 breakthroughs and events of 2011 that are changing the landscape of mental health research.”


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Categorized in: Blogs, Coercion, Pregnancy & Birth Defects

Robert Whitaker Rethinking Brain Research In Psychiatry

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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, Pregnancy & Birth Defects

Robert Whitaker Answering the Critics: William Glazer, in Behavioral Healthcare Magazine

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December 13, 2011

In its 2011 summer issues, Behavioral Healthcare ran a two-part interview with me about my book, Anatomy of an Epidemic. This stirred William Glazer, a well-known psychiatrist who has served as a consultant to Eli Lilly since 1992 (and to other pharmaceutical …
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Categorized in: Answering the Critics, Blogs, rwinfo

Robert Whitaker Cognitive Therapy Found Effective in Unmedicated Psychotic Patients . . . And Other News

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December 10, 2011

For a long time, psychotherapy has been seen as providing little benefit to patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. However, two recent studies, including one in unmedicated patients, have found cognitive therapy to be quite helpful. In the first study, …
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Robert Whitaker Answering the Critics: Let’s Roll the Tape (Again)

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November 30, 2011

This past summer, Behavioral Healthcare ran a two-part interview with me about my book, Anatomy of an Epidemic. This stirred William Glazer, a well-known psychiatrist who has served as a consultant to Eli Lilly since 1992 (and to other pharmaceutical …
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Categorized in: Answering the Critics, Blogs

Robert Whitaker A Rorschach Test for Psych Drugs

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November 2, 2011

On October 23, the New York Times ran a very nice feature story about a Los Angeles woman, Keris Myrick, who, even though she has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, thrives today as CEO of Project Return …
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Categorized in: Adult, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Anxiety, Benzodiazepines, Blogs, Depression, Disorders, Mood Stabilizers, Psychiatric Drugs, Schizophrenia and Psychosis

Robert Whitaker Anatomy of an Epidemic Down Under: Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Disabling Mental Illness in New Zealand and Australia

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September 16, 2011

During the past six months, I have traveled to a number of English speaking countries to speak about my book Anatomy of an Epidemic, and everywhere—Canada, the U.K., Ireland, New Zealand (and Iceland)—I find the same questions being asked. Why, …
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Categorized in: Blogs

Robert Whitaker In Defense of Psychiatric Medications, Part Two

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August 2, 2011

Marcia Angell’s two-part essay in the New York Review of Books, which appeared in the June and July issues, has helped trigger a much-needed societal discussion about the merits of psychiatric medications. Numerous web sites and bloggers have commented on …
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Categorized in: Blogs

Robert Whitaker The New York Times’ Defense of Antidepressants

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July 10, 2011

The New York Times’ Defense of Antidepressants Today, the New York Times published an op-ed essay by Peter Kramer titled “In Defense of Antidepressants” on the front page of its Sunday Review section. In Anatomy of an Epidemic, I wrote …
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Categorized in: Blogs