Who and What Killed Prince and Michael Jackson? Will the Role of Benzos Ever Be Revealed?

It is the deadly cocktail of benzodiazepines and opiates that is most responsible for the rising rate of opiate overdose deaths… and benzos may actually be THE decisive deadly component in the lethal drug combination. Yes, fentanyl and propofol can be dangerous drugs, but to focus the main attention in this crisis on these rarely used drugs is deliberately misleading…This minimizes the critical role of benzos and rather conveniently lets certain institutions and their leaders off the hook as the main suspects in such a vast number of cases that should be labeled as crimes of negligent homicide.
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Why Mental Health Organizations Should Endorse the Movement for Black Lives

The psychiatric survivor movement, which then became the consumer movement and recovery movement and now the peer movement, was born in a time of civil rights and Black organizing in the US. It was Black people in the civil rights movement who inspired all of us to make social change real, and psychiatric patients and progressive professionals took up that inspiration. In a very real way, Black protest made psychiatric protest possible, which then led to the modern consumer/peer/recovery movement.
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Dear Boston Globe, Part III: We Came. We Protested. You Still Didn’t Listen.

On Monday, August 1, over 140 people arrived on the Globe’s door step asking for change. They came as a part of a Vigil entitled, ‘The People’s Spotlight.’ The event was in direct response to your ‘Spotlight on Mental Health’ series (still, painfully) called ‘The Desperate and the Dead’ (in case you didn’t catch the play on titles yourself). The demands were relatively simple.
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“Beyond Anger”

Writing for Aeon, the famous philosopher of ethics, Martha Nussbaum addresses how philosophy can lead us out of a politics and culture of anger. “The struggle against anger often requires lonely self-examination,” she writes. “Whether the anger in question is personal, or work-related, or political, it requires exacting effort against one’s own habits and prevalent cultural forces.”

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Six Lessons on Open Dialogue From the Collaborative Pathway Experiment

The Collaborative Pathway is a replication and adaptation of Open Dialogue at Advocates, Inc., a human services agency in Framingham, Massachusetts where I serve as Medical Director. Last week, our team published an article in the Best Practices column of the journal Psychiatric Services, describing the program and our results from the first cohort of young people and families experiencing a psychotic crisis. This is the first published adaptation of Open Dialogue in the U.S. and represents the culmination of several years of planning, training, and direct service.
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Drug Choice, Scientology, Ego Needs & Other Divides: Real Politics 101, Part Three

Abolishing First-Order Psychiatry—which includes the American Psychiatric Association and its Big Pharma partners—as a legitimate authority in determining “mental illness” as well as abolishing First-Order Psychiatry’s “treatment” and control dominion are primarily political struggles. In Part One, I discussed the Rehumanizing Resistance’s political naivety; and in Part Two, I offered strategies and tactics. In Part Three, I will focus on how the Resistance can overcome frustration and disunity and gain greater strength.
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The Case Against Antipsychotics

At times, I think that I must seem like a dog with a bone, and that I just can’t let this one particular subject—the long-term effects of psychiatric drugs—go. I wrote about this in Anatomy of an Epidemic, and since then I have given many talks and written many blogs on the topic, and more recently, I engaged in a back-and-forth of sorts with Ronald Pies and Allen Frances about this. But I do think it is important that the relevant science is known, and with that thought in mind, I decided to write a paper that, in as succinct a manner as possible, would make the “case against antipsychotics.”
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RX Dangers

The purpose of RX Dangers is to educate the American public on current pharmaceutical drugs and devices commonly being used within the United States. While prescription painkillers and other drugs are being abused by addicts, other life-saving drugs, and devices …
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“‘Acting Out’ or Suffering from Trauma?”

Eve Troeh and Mallory Falk explore the use of trauma informed curriculum in the New Orleans school system following Hurricane Katrina. “Consider the everyday stresses of children living in poverty: not enough food to eat, a lack of stable, safe housing, the threat of gun violence that plagues poor neighborhoods, picking up on the stress of adults facing job insecurity or without a living wage,” they write. “We are learning more about how these ‘toxic stress’ factors affect children’s brain development and limit their ability to learn, not to mention their basic ability to show up to school every day.”

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Neuroplasticity and How the Brain Heals

For The Lancet, Jules Morgan reviews a new book, “The Brain’s Way of Healing,” by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge. Doidge challenges current understandings of how the brain works and presents neuroplasticity as a means by which cognitive and motor functions can be regained once damaged.  “If neuroplasticity is now accepted in neuroscience,” he writes, “why are these clinical approaches that make use of it not more widely available and mainstream?”

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“Learning to Live with the Voices Inside Your Head”

For ABC’s All in the Mind, Lynne Malcolm and Olivia Willis report on the latest research showing that hearing voices may be far more commonplace than previously thought. “The emphasis is often less on psychopharmacology ... and more on psychological treatment, open dialogue, and working with the voices so that they are perceived as meaningful, and often associated with an identity or a person in the past.”

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‘We’re Not Buying It!” — Survey on Emotional Distress and Diagnosis Reveals Mistrust of Psychiatric Labeling

Very few public opinion polls on mental health issues have been conducted, and those that do exist are “forced choice” and presuppose an illness model. We at the East Side Institute wanted people to get the opportunity to reflect on and socialize their thoughts about the medical-mental illness-diagnostic model and its impact on their lives. And that is what they did!
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Dear Boston Globe, Part II: You Forgot the Facts

Dear Boston Globe: So many terrible things have happened in the last 48-hours or so. On Tuesday, July 5, Alton Sterling was brutally executed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On Wednesday, July 6, another black man, Philando Castile also lost his life at the hands of the police in Minnesota as he sat in his car and reached for his wallet. That same day, the Murphy Bill passed the House, and you released your second ‘Spotlight on Mental Health Care’ Globe article, this time called  ‘The Desperate and the Dead: Police Confrontations.
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Balancing Harms vs. Benefits at #NAMIcon16

The Recovery movement is also the peer community, or civil rights activists for people with mental health labels, or psychiatric survivors, or whatever need to start calling ourselves. But we tend to be an aging, white, and middle class community. In the 70’s mental illness was 1%. Now 20% of Americans are on psych drugs. People work, have families, live their lives despite or around these drugs and disease labels more and more often. Almost everyone in the US that has a chronic health condition like migraines, brain injury, lupus, or chronic pain is on psych meds. I’m on psych drugs. (For sleeping issues related to brain injury.) The notion of “mental illness,” has shifted. Has the recovery movement shifted with it?
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A Decade of Searching for the Needle in the Haystack

Ever since I recovered from pharmaceutical abuse that nearly killed me over a decade ago, I haven’t used mental health services. There were many reasons for this and I can’t say I was always decidedly against them for myself, or entirely convinced I couldn’t be helped by a good therapist. And then I got lucky, and found someone I can talk to each week.
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In the Matter of the Hospitalization of Mark V

Today, July 1, 2016, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its Opinion in In the Matter of the Hospitalization of Mark V.    What strikes me the most about the case is that Mark’s expressing the view that a psychiatric drug he was being required to take is poison, that it had side effects related to his sexual performance, and that it was killing him were all cited as proving Mark was delusional. As readers of this site know, these drugs can quite reasonably be characterized as poison, they do cause sexual dysfunction, and they are quite lethal to many many people, shortening lives on average by 25 years for those in the public mental health system, such as Mark.
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Consequences of Taking the Yellow Brick Road: Lithium Carbonate 1984-1996

I was first given Lithium Carbonate in the spring of 1984, and I was taken off Lithium by my attending physician in 1996, but left on other drugs. It took me until 2012 to realize psychiatry is a sham. So often people tell me, “I don’t care what my life is like ten years from now. I only want to feel good now.” I may have said the same thing twenty years ago. Now I have the hindsight to know that my viewpoint back then was juvenile at best. I try to warn other patients these days. It’s hard to joke around about something that kills people.
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“The Overdiagnosis of ADHD”

The general theme, that various “mental illnesses” are being “overdiagnosed” is gaining popularity in recent years among some psychiatrists, presumably in an effort to distance themselves from the trend of psychiatric-drugs-on-demand-for-every-conceivable-human-problem that has become an escalating and undeniable feature of American psychiatric practice. But the implicit assumptions – that there is a correct level of such labeling, and that the label has some valid ontological significance – are emphatically false.
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Dear Boston Globe: You Are the Failure You Describe

When it’s come to those seen as wearing the crown of ‘science,’ journalists have apparently been instructed (or so I’m told) to simply act as ‘translator.’ To question becomes sacrilege, or the act of one who must be ‘crazy’ (or at least hell bent on destroying their journalistic career).
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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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Metaphors in Psychiatry

Metaphors have been used for improving communication since the beginning of recorded history. By using them to understand and communicate about psychiatry we may get some interesting insights. Court metaphor for drug research. Currently almost all research on drugs for …
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Important New Book— “Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness”

The central question that Will Hall asks is: What does it mean to be called crazy in a crazy world? The answers Hall receives in more than 60 interviews and essays from ex-patients, scientists, journalists, artists, and dissident psychiatrists and psychologists restores the full range of color to our humanity. Outside Mental Health reminds us that perhaps the most pathetic aspect “inside mainstream mental health” is how simplistic, boring, and reductionist it is—when our natures are so very complex, fascinating, and non-reductionist.
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Rising Rates of Suicide: Are Pills the Problem?

If you’ve read recent reports that state “US suicide rates surge to a 30 year high,” you might first justify the reality with the fact that things feel very wrong in our world today. On a personal, national, and planetary level, people are suffering to survive and the distress is coming from all sides – medical to economic to existential. But you probably also wonder why more people are choosing this permanent and self-destructive path, and feel compelled to submit to seemingly logical appeals to provide these individuals more help and greater access to treatment. Surprise: that may be the last thing our population of hopeless and helpless needs. Life’s inevitable challenges are not the problem. It’s the drugs we use that are fueling suicide.
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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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