Would embracing a slower lifestyle eliminate the need for psychiatric drugs? When I was on 7 or so psychiatric drugs, I had a near death-like experience where I went through a dark tunnel, saw a white light, and received a … Full Article →
In the film Avatar, scientists are keen to exploit the moon planet Pandora which is inhabited by 10-foot-tall blue humanoids called Na’vi. To do so they create Na’vi human hybrids called “Avatars” which are controlled from afar by genetically matched humans. When the scientists decide to destroy the eco-system of the planet to gain access to valuable minerals, war breaks out between the humans and the Na’vi. At this point the main character, Jake, who operates an Avatar, has to choose whose side he is on. Eventually Jake’s life is saved and transformed by the Tree of Souls, which the humans are trying to destroy.
Why are Avatars in the news again? The latest innovation from psychiatric research is using computer-generated avatars to help people who hear aggressive voices. Full Article →
We are immersed these days in the erroneous idea that only randomized placebo-controlled studies (RCTs) constitute scientific data. We will discuss the origins of the over-reliance on RCTs in a future column. For now, we shall simply assume that many of our readers understand that a well-documented case study can provide information relevant to many. And so, we would like to tell you about a Calgary-based child who we refer to as ‘Andrew’. Full Article →
If you haven’t been labeled mentally ill by the American Psychiatric Association, you have to ask yourself what’s wrong. Perhaps you were ahead of the game: you knew not to reveal yourself to them, you knew how to avoid them, you found other social support, and if so, a big congratulations. If not, what’s wrong? Why have you conformed? Full Article →
Psych meds can not only put weight on regardless of how you otherwise care for yourself, they also tend to make people feel gravely lethargic and vaguely sick all the time. I could not exercise as I had before. Could not. It doesn’t matter how much mental health professionals try to tell us that if we just exercised we’d be okay in the face of neurotoxic drugs that cause weight gain, because the fact is the drugs impede that capacity. This is not widely appreciated or understood and people on psych meds are again traumatized and made to feel guilty for something that is truly outside of their control as long as they are taking these medications. Full Article →
Suicidal torment is magnified by the loss of hope. People in life-or-death survival conditions, such as being lost in the wilderness or being held prisoner of war, will dream and plan for the future in order to make their present conditions tolerable. The critically ill heart patient expresses his faith in his upcoming surgery by making a date to play golf six weeks after the operation. But the depressed person sees no viable future. There is nothing to look forward to, no dreams to fulfill, only the never-ending hell of the eternal present. Full Article →
Those of you following our posts on Nutrition and Mental Health know that we ended the last one, on ‘history’, by saying that the two of us are essentially devoting our research lives to re-inventing the wheel. It is old knowledge that good nutrition is essential for mental health, and it is really old knowledge that improving nutrition can improve mental health. We are going to spend the next few blogs outlining the science and rationale that supports the role played by nutrition in wellness as well as the expression of mental illness. This information will provide modern scientific validation for the conclusions drawn by some of our ancestors, described in the previous blogs. Full Article →
Jacks McNamara is a genderqueer artist, writer, organizer, and healer. Jacks co-founded The Icarus Project and is the subject of the poetic documentary Crooked Beauty. They are the author of Inbetweenland, released by Deviant Type Press, have self-published 5 zines, and are co-author … Full Article →
I hope this will be of help to people who hear voices and their friends and supporters. I also hope it will be helpful to the voices which are parts of many people’s lives. Many voices I have come across and the people that hear them are convinced that their voices are spiritual in nature. I take an agnostic position on this, and therefore endeavour to respect different spiritual understandings. My intention is not to explain all voices psychologically but to help people make peace with their voices so they can get on with their lives. Full Article →
I attended Milt Greek’s educational opportunity at Cooper Riis’ The Farm last February 25, 2013 and it was especially fortuitous for me. What I was able to glean from the presentation, in short, was that it shook me up. Full Article →
In his book, Prayer is Good Medicine, physician and researcher Larry Dossey maintains that praying for one’s self or others can make a scientifically measurable difference in recovering from illness or trauma. It is one thing to understand such a healing intellectually; it is another to know it from experience. Such an experience came to me in the fall of 1996. Full Article →
Many of us are taught to fear the expression of strong emotions, and to hide or suppress big feelings. We have also erroneously been taught that only specially trained people or “professionals” are equipped to handle these experiences. But people knowledgeable in conventional treatment often aren’t exposed to community-based, holistic, common sense, person-to-person approaches. Many people have gained wisdom and resiliency by working through emotional distress, and it is helpful to do this with someone who understands the growth potential in these experiences. Full Article →
When patients come to me with complaints of low libido, low or flat mood, weight gain, hair loss, and cloudy thinking, one of my first questions is “Are you on the Pill?”. When they come complaining about premenstrual irritability, insomnia, tearfulness, bloating, and breast tenderness, requesting that I sanction beginning a course of oral contraceptives and perhaps an antidepressant, the one-size-fits-all-cure-all of psychiatrists and gynecologists nationwide, my first comment is “There’s a better way.” Full Article →
We have just celebrated the anniversary of the rapidly expanding global Hearing Voices Movement which was founded more than twenty-five years ago following the ground-breaking research of Professor Marius Romme and Dr Sandra Escher. Romme and Escher have advocated for a radical shift in the way we understand the phenomenon of Hearing Voices; in contrast to traditional, biomedical psychiatry which views voices as an aberrant by-product of genetic, brain and cognitive faults, their research has firmly established that voices make sense when taking into account the traumatic circumstances that frequently provoke them. Full Article →
How does a straightforward, common-sense idea – guaranteeing the elemental pleasures of fresh air and access to nature to those in inpatient and residential psychiatric/mental health facilities – repeatedly fail on a policy level? Full Article →
Time magazine reviews the evidence on exercise for depression, finding that exercise alters brain chemistry such that the brain shows less stress in response to new stimuli. The article compares this to the effect of medication, is as effective and far less costly than medication. “It occurs to us that exercise is the more normal or natural condition and that being sedentary is really the abnormal situation,” says one of the researchers.
As the schizophrenia/psychosis recovery research continues to emerge, we discover increasing evidence that psychosis is not caused by a disease of the brain, but perhaps may best be described as a last ditch strategy of a desperate psyche to transcend … Full Article →
Research from the University of Bologna in Italy find that in a group of 29 subjects with major depression who had not been helped by antidepressants, those who were given an 8-week course on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy improved significantly more on tests of depression and well-being than did people given a course of psychoeducation-as-usual for eight weeks.
A literature review by the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and UCLA school of medicine, published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, finds that yoga is effective for people with neurological and major psychiatric conditions.
Andrew Weil writes about the history of the biomedical model, the rise of neurotransmitter-based theories of psychology, the proliferation of both mental health professionals and depression, and proposes an integrative approach to mental health that expands to include “biopsychosocialspiritual” perspectives.
Researchers at Yale University found that stress in rats blocks the activity of a gene that promotes healthy neural connections in the brain. The findings, published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that activating the gene (neuritin, which functions similarly in humans) led to an effect that protected against both depression and the brain atrophy associated with depression. Said an author, “there’s good evidence there’s a loss of synaptic connections in depressed rodents and depressed patients. If you don’t have the appropriate number of connections in synapses, your brain isn’t going to function properly.”
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) involves tapping on stress-relieving points of the body while reciting affirmations to help manage withdrawal symptoms. This approach has been shown to help with many anxiety issues in addition to medication withdrawal, as it is being used here.
Scientific American reviews the effect of exercise on depression, the effect of encouragement to exercise on exercising, the effect of bias on the consumption of information, and the effect the media can have on what people think they know.