Call For Abstracts: Philosophical Perspectives on Critical Psychiatry

The Association for Advancement in Philosophy and Psychiatry is issuing a call for abstracts, with a particular interest in submissions from service users. The 29th annual meeting, to be held next May 20th to 21st , 2017 in San Diego, California, will feature keynote presentations from MIA contributors Joanna Moncrieff and Nev Jones, among others.

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Many Foster Kids Are Still Being Prescribed Antipsychotic Drugs

Many experts expressed concern when the rate of antipsychotic prescriptions to children in foster care showed a rapid increase, peaking in 2008, and new recommendations and policies have tried to curb the use of these drugs. While the rate has plateaued, a new study points out that the “new normal” prescription levels are still dangerously high. The data reveals that almost one in ten children in foster care are currently being prescribed antipsychotic drugs with dangerous side-effects, many for diagnoses like ‘ADHD’ and disruptive behavior.

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Well-Being Therapy: A Guide to Long-term Recovery

If a patient has high cholesterol or sugar, the doctor may prescribe a drug to lower what is too high, but he/she generally adds some suggestions: for instance to avoid certain types of food, to do more physical activity, to refrain from smoking. But if someone has a low mood and sees medical help, the doctor–particularly if he or she is a psychiatrist–will likely just prescribe a drug and not encourage any “self-therapy.” The problem with his approach to care is that psychiatric drugs, even when they are properly prescribed, may help very little in the long run and create a number of additional problems
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“A Poor Brain is as Worthy as a Rich Brain: Psychotherapy’s Privilege Problem”

“Researchers argue poor communities and communities of colour face an inordinate amount of suffering and trauma, by virtue of their positioning at the very bottom of the US’s deeply unequal socioeconomic and racial ladder.”

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Major Review Finds Antidepressants Ineffective, Potentially Harmful for Children and Teens

In a large review study published this week in The Lancet, researchers assessed the effectiveness and potential harms of fourteen different antidepressants for their use in children and adolescents. The negative results, familiar to MIA readers, are now making major headlines.

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Study Finds Racial and Class Discrimination in Psychotherapy

Are psychotherapists less likely to accept patients that are working class or black? According to a new study from the American Sociological Association, the answer is yes. The study, published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that therapists in New York City were less likely to offer appointments to patients who were perceived to be black or lower working-class.

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Eat Breathe Thrive: Chelsea Roff on Eating Disorders, Trauma, and Healing with Yoga and Community Supports

Chelsea Roff is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive (EBT), a non-profit with an inspired mission to bring yoga, mindfulness, and community support to people struggling with negative body image and disordered eating. I reached out to Chelsea to learn more about her life and organization, which she writes, “…is like AA for people with food and body image issues, plus yoga and meditation.” Chelsea shared her journey from life as a patient to yogi, author, and innovative community organizer. With her permission, you can find this interview below.
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Despite Official Recommendations, Young Children Are Still Receiving Drugs Instead of Therapy for ‘ADHD’

In 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued guidelines recommending therapy over stimulant drugs as the primary treatment for children diagnosed with ‘ADHD.’ New research from the CDC reveals, however, that children between ages 2 and five are still prescribed medications before receiving the recommended therapy or psychological services. Overall, the researchers found that 75% were being prescribed “ADHD’ drugs while no more than 55% received psychological treatments. Incredibly, among those on private insurances, the percentage of children receiving psychological services for ‘ADHD’ showed no increase following the 2011 recommendations.

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In Praise of Patience as a Prescription for Trauma

For Aeon, Samira Thomas writes that while resilience is attracting a lot of attention from psychology, patience in an underexplored and undervalued virtue in the face of suffering. “Unlike resilience, which implies returning to an original shape, patience suggests change and allows the possibility of transformation as a means of overcoming difficulties,” she writes. “It is a simultaneous act of defiance and tenderness, a complex existence that gently breaks barriers.”

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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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“New Course on ‘Making Sense’ of Trauma, Creating a Coherent Narrative”

PsychAlive is releasing a new blog and e-course on “Making Sense of Your Life,” with psychologists Lisa Firestone and Dan Siegel. They draw upon the latest neurobiological research, attachment theory and clinical experience to guide participants through the process of creating a coherent narrative around past traumas.

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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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“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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Do We Really Need Mental Health Professionals?

Professionals across the Western world, from a range of disciplines, earn their livings by offering services to reduce the misery and suffering of the people who seek their help. Do these paid helpers represent a fundamental force for healing, facilitating the recovery journeys of people with mental health problems, or are they a substantial part of the problem by maintaining our modestly effective and often damaging system?
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“What Are Delusions – And How Best Can We Treat Them?”

For The Conversation, psychologist John Done, from the University of Hertfordshire, explains his approach to discussing delusions with his patients. Done recommends more qualitative research on semi-structured interviews that get the patient to assess the rationality of their beliefs.

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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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“CDC Warns that Americans May be Overmedicating Youngest Children with ADHD”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data indicating that as many as 75% of young children who are diagnosed with ‘ADHD’ are being prescribed drugs against medical recommendations. "Until we know more the recommendation is to first refer parents of children under 6 years of age who have ADHD for training and behavior therapy," Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director, told the Washington Post.

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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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“Bullied Children Need Support Not Antidepressants”

Nick Harrop, a campaign manager at YoungMinds, supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing, said antidepressants for children should never be the only course of action. “GPs all too often prescribe antidepressants to young people because they don’t know what else to do,” he told The Huffington Post.

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Group Mindfulness Shows Promise Reducing Depression Associated with Hearing Voices

A new study out of Kings College London found that twelve sessions of a group mindfulness-based therapy relieved distress associated with hearing voices while reducing depression over the long-term. The person-based cognitive therapy (PBCT) intervention had significant effects on depression, voice distress, voice controllability and overall recovery.

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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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“New Counseling Toolkit Helps Boys and Girls Club Address Kids’ Real-Life Issues”

The staff at Minneapolis’ Southside Village Boys and Girls Club are implementing  a specially targeted free interactive counseling toolkit designed by a team of volunteers at the American Counseling Association (ACA). “We have kids from everywhere,” said Stephanie Siegel, Southside Village program director. “A partnership like this is good for a lot of staff that doesn’t have that training in mental health. It helps them understand where kids are coming from and why they may be acting the way they are.”

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Open Dialogue Announces New Training Programs

As interest in Open Dialogue approaches to mental health spreads all over the world, there is increased demand for formal training in Open Dialogue to develop capacities to be with people in states of extreme distress. Now, Open Dialogue UK is announcing new programs to prepare therapists to become Open Dialogue practitioners and Open Dialogue trainers.

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Suicide Rates Rise While Antidepressant Use Climbs

Multiple media sources are reporting on new data from the CDC revealing a substantial increase in the suicide rate in the United States between 1999 and 2014, with a steep increase in rates among girls and women. Few report, however, that the percentage of Americans on antidepressants has nearly doubled over this period.

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Highly Cited JAMA Psych Paper Retracted for “Pervasive Errors”

A study, comparing the effects of antidepressants combined with psychotherapy for severe depression to antidepressants alone, has been retracted and replaced by JAMA Psychiatry. The errors, once corrected, “have not changed the final conclusion of this study—that cognitive therapy combined with antidepressant medication treatment enhanced rates of recovery relative to treatment with medication alone,” according to the authors. A related, follow-up study, covered by MIA, including first author, Steven Hollon, also found that “patients with more severe depression were no more likely to require medications to improve than patients with less severe depression.”

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