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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The Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative

Psychiatry assumes that individuals who meet its vague criteria for anorexia nervosa have a disease, and the “disease-causing problem” resides in the genome. If we wish to understand what motivates individuals who systematically under-nourish themselves, however, we need to do two things: Abandon the empty, disempowering psychiatric labels, and recognize that it is through the uniqueness of each individual that we come to understand his or her perspective, and second, we need to sit down with the individual in a spirit of trust and collaboration, and listen to his or her concerns.
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Why Evidence-based Practices Might not Actually Help People

Mental Health First Aid is designated as an evidence-based practice, but what does that really mean? All it means is that the program has gotten enough grant money to get some research that proves it meets its designated outcome criteria. This does not mean the real-life outcomes for the people involved, or for society, are desirable or helpful.
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Mental Health First Aid: Your Friendly Neighborhood Mental Illness Maker

I did it. I finally did it. I went and took a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) class. I had already conjured it up in my mind to be big, bad and terrible based on what I understood to be its basic premise, the affiliated website, and all I’ve ever heard about it from anyone else. However, the truth is that many of those anyones also hadn’t taken it, and so… what if it was better than we all thought? What if we were full of assumptions and were just plain wrong? What does an actual day in the life of Mental Health First Aid look like?
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The Psychiatry Sandcastle Continues to Crumble

Psychiatry would long since have gone the way of phrenology and mesmerism but for the financial support it receives from the pharmaceutical industry. But the truth has a way of trickling out. Here are five recent stories that buck the psychiatry-friendly stance that has characterized the mainstream media for at least the past 50 years.
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Science-Based Service User Input, PLEASE?

Even projects and people that have the best intentions of listening still block people out. Basically, coalitions are based on mainstream funding sources and mainstream moderators, and that tend to override the ability to hear challenges to the status quo. If the funding source and the project management is mainstream, the project will draft back to the status quo no matter how well people intend to follow good service user input processes.
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Dear Self-proclaimed Progressives, Liberals and Humanitarians: You’ve Really Messed This One Up

When it comes to psychiatric diagnosis, I can be almost certain that anyone outside of my immediate field of work just won’t ‘get it,’ no matter where they stand on anything else. And not only won’t they get it; they will often actively be one of the unwitting oppressive masses, either through their inaction or worse.
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My Journey of Recovery

I was never anti-recovery. I will admit, however, that when the recovery movement first came to my attention in the 1990s, I was not drawn in. In recent years, this is another area in which I have needed to re-examine my assumptions.
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ACES Connection – Or Disease Mongering, Round 2?

This blog post is in response to the most recent blog post in MIA saying, “We need to spread the gospel on ACE scores.” Well, a bunch of ACES connection people are doing that already and it may not be so awesome after all.  Or at least we need to shape our own conversation on this. Here’s my story and here’s the science I see as relevant. Please feel free to join the national ACES forum and tell them what YOU think.
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SSRIs in Pregnancy Linked to Early Depression in Children

A new study finds that prenatal exposure to antidepressant drugs, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, is associated with higher rates of depression in early adolescence. According to the research, published this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy were diagnosed with depression by age 14 at more than quadruple the rate of children whose mothers were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder but did not take the drugs.

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Dismissing the Patriarchal Prescriptions

I realized something after a recent occurrence that made me aware of how close any of us are to psychiatric lockup. What I realized is that I can protect myself now; I have tools that I didn’t have at age 18. And that protecting myself doesn’t mean obeying the patriarchal prescriptions for how to behave.
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“There are no ‘Schizophrenia Genes’: Here’s Why”

Richard Bentall and David Pilgrim offer their critique of genetic theories of schizophrenia for the Conversation. "The high heritability estimates reported in earlier quantitative genetic studies don’t rule out environmental influences, but have discouraged researchers from taking social causes seriously," they write. "But we now know that there are proven strong associations between psychosis and a range of social risk factors, such as exposure to impoverished and urban environments, migration, childhood traumas (sexual or physical abuse and bullying by peers), and recent adverse experiences in adulthood."

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Our Day in Mental Health Court

For weeks I had been trying to get released from the psychiatric ward of a private hospital in NYC, and none of my arguments, compliance, or attempted air of normality had made an impression on the barely-visible ward psychiatrist who had 2pc’d me. I had, I was told, made a very serious suicide attempt and this was a predictor of future attempts. They would let me know when they thought I was sufficiently remorseful and stabilized to be released.
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“Amid Public Feuds, A Venerated Medical Journal Finds Itself Under Attack”

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has come under intense scrutiny for delayed corrections and controversial editorials and articles. “The Journal and its top editor, critics say, have resisted correcting errors and lag behind others in an industry-wide push for more openness in medical research,” ProPublica reports. “And dissent has been dismissed with a paternalistic arrogance.”

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The Germanwings Crash:  Flying Under the Influence

On March 24, 2015, a twenty-seven-year-old German pilot named Andreas Lubitz flew an Airbus A 320 into a French mountainside, killing himself and the 149 other people on board. Toxicological examination of his tissue found at the crash site detected the presence of citalopram and mirtazapine (both anti-depressants). There has been relatively little attention focused on what is, at least in my view, the most glaring and pertinent aspect of the matter: That Mr. Lubitz was flying a commercial aircraft under the influence of powerful psychiatric drugs that have long been associated with murder/suicides.
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A New Mental Health System? Interview with Jim van Os

Dr. Jim van Os presents something unlike any other psychiatrist I have come across: a clear vision, and a pathway, for dismantling the existing mental health system and replacing it with something new that actually works. And he is doing it with all the status and prestige not only of a psychiatry insider, but as one of the world’s leading scientists. Along with changes in the definitions of health and psychosis, van Os describes pilot programs now underway in The Netherlands to establish small, human-scale services — inspired by Open Dialogue — that engage the social network of people in distress. And, inspired by the best of the US “peer” movement, by involving people who have themselves recovered from madness in a treatment role.
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The Experiential Democracy Project: A Depth Approach to the Legislative Process

The basic idea of the experiential democracy project is to supplement conventional legislative or other forms of diplomatic and moral deliberation with person-centered (“I-Thou”) principles of encounter. These principles, which derive from existential-humanistic psychology and person-centered therapy, stress the attempt to engage participants to more intimately understand each other, and through this context to more intimately understand each other’s often conflicting positions on issues of moral import.
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My Shock Survivor Story

I don’t usually talk about this much because it’s still somewhat traumatizing. I don’t really do advocacy around shock treatment because it still triggers too much stuff. But this is a modern day advanced story of medical harms and misinformation, and you should comment on the FDA ruling.
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Is Increasing Antidepressant Use Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic?

Since the 1980s, antidepressant use has risen by at least four-hundred percent and obesity rates have climbed to include thirty percent of the population. Now, researchers from Australia have published a review to determine whether this increased exposure to antidepressants is contributing to the rising obesity rates.

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Allen Frances on Anti-Psychiatry

On February 22, Allen Frances, MD, published an article titled Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry on the HuffPost Blog.  The general theme of the article is that psychiatry may have some problems, but it is basically sound, wholesome, and necessary. The impression being conveyed here is that psychiatry’s abandonment of a biopsychosocial approach and embracing of the brief med-check was the result of “drastic cuts in the funding of the mental health services.” This is very misleading. The fact is that psychiatry set its own course when it jumped enthusiastically on the pharma bandwagon, and apart, from a miniscule minority who remained aloof from the drug-pushing, has made no attempt to alight.
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Bridging the Benzo Divide: Iatrogenic Dependence and/or Addiction?

As the benzodiazepine crisis spreads throughout the United States and other parts of the world, so does the debate within the benzo victim/survivor community. We know that it can be terribly invalidating to label and treat a person as a “drug addict” who is only physically dependent on benzos — and taking these drugs exactly as prescribed by a doctor. However, it can be equally invalidating to deny that “iatrogenic benzo dependence” intersects in multiple ways in the lives of people struggling with “addiction.” People will ALSO SUFFER when yanked off of their benzos, or forced into similar rapid tapers when a doctor becomes aware of their addiction history. 
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Public Engagement Fail: Creating Community Solutions

Creating Community Solutions, part of the national mental health dialogue project, was started over four years ago to engage the public around mental health. It was based on a concept called deliberative democracy, where people who disagree with each other engage in dialogue to come to different solutions for a problem. However, for many reasons, this particular project only engaged with one part of the community. The chance to hear from the public was completely missed. Here is how that happened.
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TV Drug Ads, Abilify & Big Pharma Mobsters

Editors of even mainstream publications know that most of their readers hate TV drug ads, and so that’s why I could get the below piece published on AlterNet and then picked up by Salon. What’s most important to me in this piece—but which I did not “lede” with because I doubt that editors would have run it if I had is that: (1) Abilify was originally a drug for schizophrenia but has become a best-selling drug because it is now advertised as booster medication for antidepressants because antidepressants, as the Abilify commercial tells us, do not work for 2/3 of antidepressant users; and (2) Peter Gotzsche, in his book Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime, and Peter Rost, former vice president of marketing at Pfizer, equate Big Pharma with organized crime and the mob.
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