Do NAMI and MHA Suffer From Anosognosia?

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read two articles in which the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is described as being the “largest organization representing people living with serious mental illness.” Putting aside (for the moment) my issues with the use of blanket ‘mental illness’ terminology; since exactly when did they become a group that represents people who have been so labeled in any genuine sort of way? Until our voices are seen as having equal value and are given equal space, those that do not understand and lack insight into our experiences (whether they possess good intent or not) will continue to be the ones to define our past, present and future in the public eye.
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Meta-Autonomy & Meta-Equality

I think we need to posit a meta-autonomy and meta-equality as being principles of natural law. To say “meta” here means that we do not have to adhere to traditional western constructions of the self and state – both legal fictions – but to go beyond them to what we actually value without thinking that everyone has to be the same as white non-disabled heterosexual males in order for our perspectives, our choices, our contributions and our claims and criticisms to be valid and for us to have standing in the social order.
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Book Review: Depression Delusion by Terry Lynch, MD, MA

In this truly remarkable — and meticulously researched — volume, Dr. Lynch annihilates psychiatry’s cherished chemical imbalance theory of depression. Every facet of this theory, which the author correctly calls a delusion, is critically analyzed and found wanting. Please read Depression Delusion, keep it close to hand for reference, and encourage others to read it also. Ask your library to buy a copy. The spurious chemical imbalance theory is now so widely accepted that it will take enormous efforts to dislodge it. In any debate on this matter, Dr. Lynch’s book will, quite literally, put the facts at your fingertips.
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Cannabis for Treating Psychiatric Problems? A Clear Yes, Maybe.

Marijuana is now legal in two states, and legal for medical use in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Polls show the majority of Americans support cannabis legalization, and more and more of the country is joining the legalization trend. As a counselor working with people diagnosed with psychosis and mental illness I am often asked about my opinion and clinical experience — as well as my personal experience — with medical cannabis.
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Incarcerated, “Delusional,” and Sentenced to Abuse  

One cannot be with other individuals without encountering their belief systems at some point. My work with individuals in locked in patient units, mental health clinics and the Los Angeles Jails has brought me into close contact with people who had diverse belief systems, some of which were cultural and life-long, others were trauma-induced or influenced by drugs and alcohol. These experiences taught me to approach belief systems without prejudice and with open receptivity to their meaning and importance to the person.
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A Network Meeting in North America

On a beautiful Vermont summer week-end, about 40 people – social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, administrators, and people with lived experience among us – gathered together. Our purpose: To come together and model what many of us had experienced in Europe at the International Meetings for the Treatment of Psychosis.
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A Response to the Hyper-focus on Brain-based Research and “Disease”

The past several years have born exciting developments for those critical of the current psychiatric paradigm. We have witnessed outright criticism of the DSM by prominent psychiatrists (i.e., Thomas Insel, Allen Frances) while others have admitted that no “biological markers” exist for any DSM-defined disorder. Amazingly, however, the suggested response to these problems is to continue pursuing the search for the biological underpinnings of so-called “mental illness” through an almost evangelical hyper-focus on brain research.
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Delusions

DSM-5 defines delusions as “…fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change in the light of conflicting evidence.” The manual lists six kinds of delusions: persecutory; referential; grandiose; erotomanic; nihilistic; and somatic. The APA provides another definition of delusions that is substantially the same as the one above, but offers additional varieties; Interestingly, nihilistic delusions are omitted from the second list. It is clear that the APA’s definition of a delusion is not specific enough for consistent application.
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Flibanserin: The Female Viagra is a Failed Me-too Antidepressant

Since a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee, on June 4, recommended approval of flibanserin (AddyiTM) in June, there have been numerous editorials and news stories about the controversies surrounding the first “pink Viagra” to hit the market. We have sought to understand the process and financial incentives that led the advisory committee to recommend its approval, with Sprout Pharmaceuticals prepared to market it as a treatment for a new disorder in DSM 5: Female sexual interest/arousal disorder.
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The Murphys Have Their Way With Words

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut released a new ‘Murphy Bill’ this past week. It’s called the ‘Mental Health Reform Act of 2015,’ though it has yet to be assigned an official number. While many words appear in its more than 100 pages, it’s worth noting that the term ‘evidence’ (most often paired with ‘based’ to form the familiar and supposedly scientific phrase, ‘evidence-based’) appears 27 times. Never to be outdone, the almost 200-page House version (‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis,’ H.R. 2646) from Representative Tim Murphy uses the same word 38 times. This makes sense. Why wouldn’t anyone want anything to do with… well… just about anything…
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The Boy in the Closet — How I Lost my Best Friend to a Label

Lables such as schizophrenia mask all of the strengths, feelings and talents that individuals possess, The labels can make people’s behavior appear aggressive, when in fact they are terrified. On the other hand, people in extreme states respond as all humans do to an approach that is calm, supportive, and allows them the space that they need at critical times. Individuals who have been abused, neglected, or suffered from traumatic experiences communicate these fears to those who have the patience and willingness to listen to them.
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Psychiatry’s “Institutional Corruption”—A Chat with Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove

Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove’s new book Psychiatry Under the Influence investigates how drug company money and psychiatry’s own guild interests have corrupted psychiatry during the past 35 years. I had some questions for them about: (1) guild interest corruption; (2) psychiatry’s evasion of responsibility and “cognitive dissonance theory”; (3) the “social injury” caused by psychiatry, especially to children; (4)whether they are being “too easy” on psychiatry; and (5) if it is possible to reform American psychiatry.
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#1 Wacko Memo: Disability & Mental Health Revolution to Stop Global Warming!

I often hear some of these metaphors used about humanity today: Our combined ability to think and act are paralyzed, we the public seem suicidal, we are addicted to oil and consumerism, we are blind to alternatives, we are deaf to the cries of the poor and planet, we hallucinate, such as believing that money and technology are more important than our values. Sure sounds like a disability to me. So maybe the social change movement led by people considered disabled have something to offer now?
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What Do We Owe When a Shock Survivor Dies? – On the Death of Sue Clark-Wittenberg

What do we owe to shock survivors when they die? We owe them what we owe everyone who underwent an atrocity that is ongoing, that is being visited on others daily—doing something about that atrocity. Given that shock is anything but a legitimate medical procedure, it is minimally a moment to renew our commitment and our pledge to both bring an end to this treatment and to build a world where brain-damaging people in the name of help would be unthinkable.
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Binge Eating and Genetics

Roberto Ferdman recently wrote an article for the Washington Post titled “Why you shouldn’t blame yourself for binge eating.” Long story short, Mr. Ferdman concluded:

“… the next time you find yourself in a rut, and eating too much, know that the unbecoming scene isn’t merely a question of will power – it’s rather, in all likelihood, a matter of your genetic makeup.”

In other words, it’s not you being “lazy” or “weak-willed” or a “bad decision maker” that is causing you to binge-eat. Your binge eating is a consequence of your genes – “a matter of your genetic makeup.”

This claim is one of a growing, widespread belief that the definitive way of understanding psychological disorders is by identifying biological correlates and pathologies. However, the evidence strongly suggests that this belief is wrong and dangerous.
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Healing is a Shocking Process: Protracted Psych Drug Withdrawal Syndrome (Iatrogenic Brain Injury)

Healing from this particular form of iatrogenic injury is a shocking process. It is shocking by nature of the fact that one of the hallmarks of this brain injury is a deep and profound neurological terror. This terror, held in the autonomic nervous system, manifests in a myriad number of forms from individual to individual. Even within the individual it most often shows up in numerous ways — possibly and often impacting every system of the body.
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The Ubiquity of Unhappiness: An Introduction to Cultural Psychiatry

Cultural psychiatry provides a robust critique of a biologically orientated psychiatry. All cultures divide the world up into normal and abnormal; all have some notion of madness, but the idioms used to describe these states and the causes behind them can only ever be understood in the full context of the culture where they take place. It suggests that the very categories which are assumed to be natural occurring forms, are in fact just social and cultural constructions.
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Thoughts on the Nature of Emotions

I recently finished reading Joseph LeDoux’s wonderful book Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety. LeDoux has been working on fear for many decades now. LeDoux has written numerous books and articles. His style is very …
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“Knowing Together” vs. “Knowing Apart”: The Importance of Extending Our Network

A kind of epidemic is occurring in the field of psychotherapy and psychology, with its increasing use of disparate approaches, methods, manual-based formulas and different theoretical schools, each having their own understanding and different treatments. Psychotherapy has come to mean everything and at the same time nothing.
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Impoverished Youth; Our Neighbors in Distress, and at Risk

There is a great deal of discussion about youth being diagnosed – by general internists as well as psychiatrists – with ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism, irritability and depression and then joining the ranks of the pathologized and overmedicated on a march towards long-term distress. Less attention has been paid to the 27 million children who, covered by federal and state Medicaid programs, are at high risk due to dangerous mismanagement of second-generation anti-psychotic drugs (SGAs). Recent reports have documented the brutal facts.
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Intermittent Explosive Disorder: The ‘Illness’ That Goes On Growing

According to the APA, intermittent explosive disorder is characterized by angry aggressive outbursts that occur in response to relatively minor provocation. This particular label has an interesting history in successive editions of the DSM. Psychiatry needs illnesses to legitimize medical intervention. And where no illnesses exist, they have no hesitation in inventing them. And since they invented them in the first place, they have no difficulty in altering them to suit their purposes. Of course, almost all the alterations are in the direction of lowering the thresholds, and thereby increasing the prevalence.
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Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve and Thus Chill Out: Simple, Natural, Uninvasive Methods

The Low Histamine Chef published a post yesterday: The vagus nerve inflammation connection. I was tickled to get a list of various self-hacks on how to stimulate the vagus nerve. Once the vagus nerve is stimulated we calm down! It’s like magic. The vagus nerve is implicated in all sorts of stress.
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Revised UN Prison Rules

While the outcome is disappointing, the revised UN prison rules reflect the stage we are currently in with regard to the incorporation of the CRPD standards elsewhere in the UN system. Some premises derived from the CRPD are brought forward, but the bottom line remains the same, to the detriment of people labeled with psychiatric diagnoses.
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ADHD: A Destructive and Disempowering Label; Not an Illness

In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing number of articles and papers from psychiatrists in which they seem to be accepting at least some of the antipsychiatry criticisms, and appear interested in reforms. It is tempting to see this development as an indication of progress, but as in many aspects of life, things aren’t always what they seem.
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The Sweet Spot Between Ignorance and Certainty: A Place Where Dialogue and Healing Can Happen

It’s now widely known that a good relationship between helper and person to be helped is one of the very most important factors determining the outcome from many different types of mental health treatment. But when people are in an extreme state such as the kind we call “psychosis,” forming a good relationship is not an easy thing to do. And unfortunately, the typical interaction between professionals and clients seen as psychotic in our current mental health system has characteristics which make a positive human relationship almost impossible.
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