Yes, the boycott of the DSM-5 continues. I can’t tell you how many fewer DSMs have so far been purchased as a result of the boycott; and conversations I have had with professionals in New York’s public mental health system lead me to believe that the great majority continue to accept the validity of the biomedical model and the centrality of psychoactive medications in the treatment of persons caught up in the public system. Perhaps that’s the most important argument in support of the boycott’s continuation – we have so many more folks to reach. Full Article →
Facing a sexual abuse lawsuit, the archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis made a big deal of putting an independent panel in place to investigate. They put the Reverend Reginald Whitt in charge of appointing the panel and receiving its reports on behalf of the archdiocese. Rev. Whitt told priests and deacons that the task force may review specific files to determine whether the policies of the archdiocese concerning clergy sexual misconduct were properly followed. But, he wrote, “Access to these files will be within my control, and limited only to what is necessary for the task force.” This sounds terribly like the approach Sir Andrew Witty is attempting to put in place for GSK, AbbVie and the rest of the branded pharmaceutical industry vis-a-vis abuses, including child abuse committed in their name. They are asserting their right to spin their version of what it is you put in your body even though this clashes fundamentally with your right to know what you are putting in your body. Full Article →
E. Fuller Torrey has a new book. While I was not thrilled to support the Treatment Advocacy Center, I was curious as to what he had to say. Where Torrey has clarity, I contend there is much that we still do not understand. I worry that a perspective that suggests the answers are clear cuts us off from inquiry into alternate approaches. Full Article →
ECT, or shock treatment as it’s sometimes called, is a controversial topic. Adherents describe it as safe and effective; opponents condemn its use as damaging and ineffective. But it is still widely used in the US and in other countries. After shock treatment, some clients do appear to be less depressed, but this phenomenon has been interpreted differently by ECT’s proponents and opponents. Proponents claim that the ECT treatments have clearly alleviated the depression. Opponents claim that the apparent improvement is an example of post-concussion euphoria, and that the effects are short-lived. My purpose in this article is to examine the evidence that ECT “is highly effective.” Full Article →
If the US wishes to maintain its reputation as a leader in the field of disability rights, it is not enough to assist other countries in building ramps and developing accessible technology. Those are laudable aims but are at best half of what the CRPD requires. There is a new world in disability rights, and the US risks being left behind unless there is a reversal of course that commits to full domestic implementation in compliance with standards that have been set by the international community with US participation. Full Article →
Will Eberle discusses his personal experience in relationship to psychiatric diagnoses, psychiatric drugs, and the journey to rediscover his sense of self. Will is the Executive Director at Another Way, a “community center in Montpelier (VT) providing voluntary alternatives to conventional mental health services.” Another Way offers a variety of supports and provides resources for individuals to lead vibrant lives as valued members of the community. This is latest in a series of testimonials featured on MadInAmerica.com produced by the “Open Paradigm Project” (more…)
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has revised its description of pedophilia in the DSM-5 from a “sexual orientation” to “sexual interest”, and affirmed its strong support of efforts to criminally prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to develop treatment for those diagnosed with pedophilic disorder. Decoded Science reviews the APA’s fraught history of categorizing sexuality.
At least 250 lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson’s improper marketing of Risperdal are pending in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, according to information provided by a law firm involved in the litigation. The firm, which represents individuals who may have developed gynecomastia (male breast growth) as a result of the drug, alleges that the unapproved use of Risperdal to treat ADHD is also on the rise.
Kingsley Hall was the first of Laing’s household communities that served as a place where you could live through madness until you could get it together and live independently. It was conceived as an “asylum” from forms of treatment — psychiatric or otherwise — that many were convinced were not helpful, and even contributed to their difficulties. By the time I arrived in London in 1973 to study with Laing there were four or five such places. Getting in wasn’t easy. Full Article →
The November 5 hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations reached new heights of absurdity and opens new ground for concern. It may be worse for us to ratify with the reservations, understandings and declarations (RUDs) being proposed, and with the legislative record that is being created for the specific purpose of rejecting any application of the treaty’s standards to US law than not to ratify at all. All the proponents of CRPD ratification who are allowed a voice in these discussions are in agreement that the US ratification is aimed ONLY at giving the US greater influence over other countries and over the development of customary international law, and NOT at improving the enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities in the US itself. Full Article →
Whenever I write or speak publicly, I feel compelled to frame cutting, burning and hitting myself as something I used to do. I don’t actually outright say I’ve stopped, but I use the past tense and thus I suspect most hear it as implied. Somehow, the pressure to appear outwardly ‘all better’ in that way still seems big. Self-injury (of that type) ranks pretty high up there on an awful lot of people’s scary meters. Just saying you are someone who has ever done that sort of thing seems disconcerting enough for most. Full Article →
This blog was prompted by an invitation to do a guest post on the site of one of my favorite bloggers, 1 Boring Old Man. This is my response to the notion that there are certain conditions – Schizophrenia among them – that correspond more directly to biomedical conditions Full Article →
Anoiksis (the Dutch association of and for people with a psychotic vulnerability) has introduced a new name for the disease schizophrenia: Psychosis Susceptibility Syndrome (PSS). Together with the old name, its attached prejudices, misleading significance and stigma can be thrown overboard.
The buzz in academic publishing right now is the story about how several hundred open access journals accepted a fake research paper. Of much more concern is that there are top-tier medical journals which have published clinical trials, that were read by thousands of people, that influenced clinical decisions, that we now know were bogus, but have never been retracted. Full Article →
In 1994, my nineteen-year old daughter, Cristina, was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). It was a diagnosis that came totally out of the blue and as a complete shock. Soon after she was diagnosed, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep because of the tremendous stress, so I asked the very kind doctor who diagnosed Cristina if he could give me a prescription for something that would help me sleep. He agreed, and so began my “relationship” with Xanax. I had never taken anything like that before and didn’t know anything about it. All I knew was that as my daughter’s primary caregiver, I needed sleep in order to fight to keep her alive. Full Article →
At the end of an hour long discussion with Holyoke High School students in Holyoke, MA, I was grasping quarter page slips of folded paper as it they were sheets of gold. On these slips of paper were questions the students asked me, as well as their answers to my questions, “What can you do to make yourself feel happier as an alternative to psychiatric drugs?” and “How do you get through hard times?” They included love, eating, snuggling, my boyfriend, my girlfriend, green tea, good friends, drawing, playing guitar, a new book, flowers, fluffy things (pandas), writing, music, talking to friends, not isolating myself and sex novels. Full Article →
The New York Times has a new essay on ADHD titled, “The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the ADHD Epidemic” which explores the various reasons for the increased diagnosis of ADHD. The author has made statements about the science of ADHD that could probably generate warning letters from the FDA if they appeared in advertisements. Yet they appear in the New York Times. Full Article →
As you may know, the annual Alternatives Conference is the largest peer-run conference in mental health in the country and will take place December 4-7 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Austin, Texas. You may not know that this year Alternatives is truly a cannot-miss event, for several reasons, the top ten of which are outlined below. But first, perhaps a little background on the conference would be helpful. Full Article →
On September 21, I posted here that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities took a definitive stand against psychiatric commitment in its Concluding Observations on El Salvador and Austria. The Committee held that the “danger to self or others” standard cannot legitimize psychiatric detention, and that all legislation authorizing such detention must be repealed. This is of huge significance, which I did not expand on in my earlier post. Another set of Concluding Observations has now been released, this time on Australia, which gives me another opportunity to discuss what has happened. I hope that both lawyers and non-lawyers will follow the discussion, since it has both legal and political implications. Full Article →
I’d like to share a bit about what happened to me after being placed on these medications, and how I successfully got off. Until recently, I was embarrassed to talk about my personal experiences publicly, as I’m a professional who specializes in anxiety and depression. Today, medication free, I feel better than ever before, and I am now on a mission to help my current clients get off medications, and to inform others through my writing about the dangers and pitfalls of starting antidepressants. Full Article →
Subtitled “Pain is an emotion,” Scientific American‘s portrait of Dennis Rogers, whose uncanny feats of strength seem predicated on his anomalous relationship to pain as much – or more – than they are attributable to any native physical endowment, cites Seneca, in summary; “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”
One of the amazing things about my new life and new career is the people I have met. I have become part of a movement that is filled with heretics. I am constantly inspired by the people that have the courage to write in this and other forums. I am inspired by the people that protest and refuse to accept a broken paradigm. Full Article →