Rising Prescriptions, Rising Disability: Video from the UK Parliament

Mental health campaigner Chrys Muirhead’s blog features video from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence event on 11 May 2016 at Westminster. “Robert Whitaker, the Pulitzer-shortlisted science journalist and author, presented global prescribing and disability data, as well as research which shows how long-term use of psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, can lead to worse outcomes for patients.”

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“A Community Faces the Mental Health Impact of Climate Change”

“In Nunatsiavut, climate change is already a terrible reality, and it’s taking a heavy toll on mental health,” Ellie Robins reports for the influence. “In Nunatsiavut, land is once again being taken from communities that have lived on it for thousands of years. This time, it’s not being snatched by colonialists. Instead, it’s changing, disappearing, possibly becoming uninhabitable as a result of the behaviors of other, richer people, elsewhere.”

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Mindfulness Therapy May Be More Effective Without Antidepressants

While an estimated 74-percent of patients diagnosed with major depression receive a prescription for an antidepressant, new research reveals that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be most helpful when drugs are not used. The study, published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, found that the participants in a randomized control trial for MBCT who showed the greatest improvement were those who had not taken antidepressants.

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Prescribing Antidepressants for Girls: Intergenerational Adverse Consequences

Children exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy, a recent study shows, were diagnosed with depression by age 14 at more than four times the rate of children whose mothers were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder but did not take the medication. Such reports are usually met, appropriately, with an outpouring of reassurances from clinicians who take care of pregnant women, who need to protect their emotional wellbeing in whatever way they can. From my perspective as a pediatrician specializing in early childhood mental health our attention must be on prevention.
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Study Finds Racial Differences in Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment

According to a recent study published in the journal Psychiatric Services, black patients are almost twice as likely as their white counterparts to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, while white patients are significantly more likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety or depression. The researchers also found that the likelihood of receiving psychotherapy for any diagnosis (34%), regardless of race or ethnicity, was much lower than the probability of receiving a psychotropic medication (73%).

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Who Will Guard the Guardians of Psychiatry?

The assertion that the so-called antidepressants are being over-prescribed implies that there is a correct and appropriate level of prescribing and that depression is a chronic illness (just like diabetes). It has been an integral part of psychiatry’s message that although depression might have been triggered by an external event, it is essentially an illness residing within the person’s neurochemistry. The issue is not whether people should or shouldn’t take pills. The issue is psychiatry pushing these dangerous serotonin-disruptive chemicals on people, under the pretense that they have an illness.
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“Is Depression an Illness? Or Part of the Human Condition?”

Psychotherapist Chantal Marie Gagnon voices her frustration with social media posts and stigma reduction ads that perpetuate the belief that all mental health issues are biological in origin. “I saw a pin on Pinterest recently that read, ‘Depression is an Illness, not a Choice,’ and it made me angry,” she begins.

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Antidepressants Not a ‘One Size Fits All’ Solution, Researchers Find

The largest ever study of the thoughts and reactions of antidepressant users reveals that many people have vastly different understandings and experiences of the drugs. It is also evident from the study that many antidepressant users’ experiences are influenced by “chemical imbalance” and “serotonin deficiency” theories, despite these theories being roundly disproven in the scientific literature. The researchers, including MIA contributor John Read, are now seeking participants for a new survey on both antipsychotics and antidepressants, which can be accessed at www.psychmedicationsurvey.com

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A Worldwide Epidemic – The Misuse of Anti-Depressant Medications

Not all people who have letters after their names are actually “gods” or even people who have any special powers to know things about us more than we can learn about ourselves, about our own bodies, and our own minds. Blindly following what someone says we need to be doing for our own health (mental or physical) and well-being just because they have a white jacket on (so to speak) is usually not in our best interests.
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“Heal the Artists, Save the World”

Kelly Brogan, MD, writes: "Maybe your depression, chronic fatigue, ADHD, and chemical sensitivity are just ways that your body, mind, and soul, are saying no. No, the demands of this world, the day to day experience of this food, these chemicals, this disconnection is not working. The thing is that the no is almost a reminder that there is another way. It’s an invitation back to yourself, and your caged artist."

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In Honor of Fear and Pain

Our use of antidepressants has turned single-episode struggles that recovered 85% of the time within one year, never to recur, into chronic and debilitating disorders that hold patients hostage in their own arrested development. But, If you are in the hole of pain, here’s what I have to say to you. It’s what I say to my patients, and what I tell myself in times of struggle.
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“The Unfulfilled Promise of the Antidepressant Medications”

A new article in The Medical Journal of Australia laments that, while antidepressant use continues to climb, the research evidence shows that their effectiveness is lower than many thought. Meanwhile, fewer patients are getting access to psychotherapy.

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Mental Health in Black and White

When I looked through my mountains of medical records, I saw that the providers who listed my race as black applied diagnoses like major depressive disorder and PTSD. The providers who saw me as white preferred diagnoses of panic disorder and borderline personality disorder. Of course, my experiences are just anecdotal. But if racial bias due to subjective experiences of practitioners can play such a large role in mental health diagnostics, how is this even considered a scientific discipline?
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Childhood Trauma Predicts Lack of Response to Antidepressants

Research in Translational Psychiatry finds that childhood maltreatment and trauma predict a greater likelihood of developing chronic depression, and a reduced likelihood of responding to treatment in the form of antidepressant medication. The researchers recommend increased consideration of trauma issues in relation to depression, and therapies that address the trauma issues along with the current experience of depression.

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Report from the Parliament: Can Psychiatry At Least Be Curious?

In the past six years, I have had the opportunity to speak at several conferences or meetings that I felt had particular potential to stir some political activity that would challenge current psychiatric practices, and one of those events was the meeting convened in the U.K.’s Parliament on May 11th, which had this title for the day: Rising Prescriptions, Rising Mental Health Disability: Is There a Link?
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Antidepressants Do Not Prevent Suicides, May Increase Risk

When the CDC released data revealing an increasing suicide rate in the US, some experts, speaking to major media outlets, speculated that the increase could be tied to the FDA’s Black Box warning for teen suicides on antidepressants. It was suggested that the warnings may discourage some from taking antidepressants and that these drugs may prevent suicides. The research, however, does not appear to support these claims. A new review of studies on the role of antidepressants in suicide, published this month in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, concludes that there is no evidence that antidepressants prevent suicide and that the research may even suggest that the drugs  increase the risk.

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“Politicians and Experts Meet at Parliament to Explore Record Antidepressant Prescribing and Disability”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence is meeting today, May 11th, to discuss evidence of the link between the rise in disability and the record level of antidepressant prescribing. Both Robert Whitaker and Joanna Moncrieff will present their research and Peter Kinderman will chair a panel to debate the findings.

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Making the Case Against Antidepressants in Parliament

On Wednesday, May 11, there will be an inquiry by a work group in the U.K.’s Parliament into whether increases in the prescribing of antidepressants are fueling a marked increase in disability due to anxiety and depression in the U.K. I wrote about a similar rise in disability in the United States in Anatomy of an Epidemic, and the All Party Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, which is the Parliamentary group that organized the debate, asked me to present the case against antidepressants.
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Mindfulness Therapy Can Prevent Depression Relapse, Review Finds

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be more effective at reducing the risk of depressive relapse compared to current standard treatments with antidepressant drugs. A new meta-analysis, published this month in JAMA Psychiatry, also found that MBCT was increasingly effective in patients with the most severe depression symptoms.

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Restoring Study 329: Letter to BMJ

When we set out to restore GSK’s misreported Study 329 of paroxetine for adolescent depression under the RIAT initiative, we had no idea of the magnitude of the task we were undertaking. After almost a year, we were relieved to finally complete a draft and submit it to the BMJ, who had earlier indicated an interest in publishing our restoration. But that was the beginning of another year of peer review that we believed went beyond enhancing our paper and became rather an interrogation of our honesty and integrity. Frankly, we were offended that our work was subject to such checks when papers submitted by pharmaceutical companies with fraud convictions are not.
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“World Benzo Awareness Day, First Step To End Global Dependency Woes”

“In a bid to raise awareness towards the global epidemic of abuse on Benzodiazepine or ‘benzos’ abuse, a global campaign dubbed as World Benzo Awareness Day (WBAD) has been gaining ground,” Morning News USA reports. “I have seen so many people suffering, committing suicide because they cannot tolerate the prolonged withdrawal reactions and the damage done to them any longer, and there is very little, if any, help available to them.”

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“Depression Relapse Prevention with Mindfulness Therapy ‘On Par’ with Drugs, Review Shows”

A new review finds that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can help stave off recurring depression as effectively as antidepressants. People suffering from depression who received the mindfulness therapy were 31 percent less likely to suffer a relapse during the next 60 weeks compared with those who did not receive it, Willem Kuyken of the University of Oxford, in England and his co-authors reported in a meta-analysis review in Wednesday's issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

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“Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy”

The Atlantic interviews Raj Raghunathan about his new book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? “If you were to go back to the three things that people need—mastery, belonging, and autonomy—I'd add a fourth, after basic necessities have been met,” Raghunathan says. “It’s the attitude or the worldview that you bring to life.”

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“How Probiotics May Help Ease Depression”

In this video interview, Dr. Kelly Brogan explains how probiotics, or ‘psychobiotics,’ can directly impact brain, behavior, mood, and cognition. “Brogan recommended consuming 15 to 20 billion units of probiotics with both lacto-bacillus and bfido-bacterium strains daily. She said this variety of the nutrient has the strongest link with improved depression and anxiety.”

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Unhelpful Utterances: 6 Comments We Should No Longer Hear From Mental Health Professionals

Professionals are paid to share their wisdom with those who are, typically, less informed. But, when dealing with mental health professionals in the psychiatric arena, it is wise to retain a degree of skepticism about the words spoken by the doctors and nurses commissioned to help reduce human misery and suffering.
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