Psychiatry’s Current Greatest Controversy: Fraud, Bullsh*t or What?

In the current issue of the journal Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Australian dissident psychiatrist Niall McLaren titles his article, “Psychiatry as Bullshit” and makes a case for just that. The great controversies in psychiatry are no longer about its chemical-imbalance theory of mental illness or its DSM diagnostic system, both of which have now been declared invalid even by the pillars of the psychiatry establishment. The great controversy today has now become just how psychiatry can be most fairly characterized given its record of being proven wrong about virtually all of its assertions, most notably about its classifications of behaviors, theories of “mental illness,” and treatment effectiveness/adverse effects.
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“Shouting, Voting and Not Much Science: How Sexuality Becomes ‘Mental Illness’”

Tracy Clark-Flory describes “how subject to changing scientific understandings and, sometimes, even political influence the DSM can be-perhaps especially when it comes to sexuality.”

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“New Federal Rules Target Woeful Public Reporting of Clinical Trial Results”

For STAT, Charles Piller covers new federal rules requiring stricter reporting for researchers conducting human studies. Previous investigations have documented widespread noncompliance with such requirements from both drug companies and universities.

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“Did the FDA set ‘a Dangerous Precedent’ with Latest Drug Approval?”

STAT reports that the latest drug approval by the FDA “may have set a precedent that could rocket through the health care system, opening the door for drug makers to get more medicines to market — even with scant evidence that they work.”

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STOP or GO? Tapering Pregnant Women off of Antidepressants

A team in the Netherlands is currently investigating the effects of tapering off of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy. In this randomized controlled trial, one group of women will be guided in tapering off of SSRIs (STOP condition) while also receiving psychological support in the form of online preventive cognitive therapy (PCT). The other group will serve as the control group (GO condition) and will continue taking the SSRI as usual. The study is designed to compare the rates of relapse or recurrence of depression in both groups.

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Extreme research bias: It is not placebo, it is acute withdrawal.

    Imagine that you are going to take part in a randomized controlled trial for a new antidepressant. (You will remember the points better if you personalize it like this) You are already on an antidepressant, but like the …
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Depression, Antidepressants, and Expectancy

This study reinforces a large body of evidence suggesting that an individual’s expectancies for improvement significantly contribute to their actual improvement. The importance of expectancies is worth paying attention to now as more clients, clinicians, and researchers are endorsing a reductionist view of psychological disorders — i.e., that psychological disorders are fundamentally brain disorders.
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The Algorithm Will See You Now: A Geek Tragedy

We would, in fact, save vast amounts of money by giving the pharmaceutical companies ten times the inflated prices they currently receive for drugs as part of a bargain that ensures only 10% of those currently taking lipid-lowering drugs, antidepressants, biphosphonate and other drugs end up on them. The savings would come from not having to treat treatment-induced disabilities.
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The ADHD Drug Epidemic: Addiction, Abuse, and Death

A new analysis of FDA data, published on September 10th by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today, reveals the dangers of the common prescription of stimulant drugs for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The authors, John Fauber, Matt Wynn, and Kristina Fiore, found 19,000 complications from ADHD medications that were reported to the FDA—and they believe the actual number may be much higher than the reports indicate.

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Enough is Enough Series, #5 – The ADHD Fiction is Exposed. The French Have Got this one Right.

The time has come that the fictitious ADHD qualifies for my ‘Enough is Enough’ series. It’s time to stop addressing pharmaceutical psychiatry on its own terms: its fraudulent and corrupt ‘science,’ its spurious ‘evidence base,’ and its imaginary psychiatric ‘diseases.’ I’m done with this. The evidence is in. Let’s get real. Psychiatry has become a profession of drug pushers. As a psychiatrist I am beyond troubled. Let’s get real.
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Helpful and Hopeful Thoughts

The basic idea behind successful psychotherapy is that our thoughts create our feelings. And, luckily, our thoughts are changeable. I have personally experienced how liberating only one thought can be to a complex problem. That’s why I would precent some of the thoughts that I have found most useful personally, and in therapy with patients, over 25 years.
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Confessions of a Trespasser

In a recently published commentary in Psychiatric Times, Ronald Pies and Joseph Pierre made this assertion: Only clinicians, with an expertise in assessing the research literature, should be weighing in on the topic of the efficacy of psychiatric drugs. They wrote their commentary shortly after I had published on madinamerica “The Case Against Antipsychotics,” and it was clear they had me in their crosshairs.
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How Psychiatry Almost Stopped Burning Man: A Story of Hell and Liberation

As Burning Man nears its 30th anniversary, USA Today has published an article attempting to explain how this still somewhat freakish event came into existence. I enjoyed the article, but as someone involved in the origin story it tells, I believe that an important piece is being left out. This relates to how misguided “mental health treatment” came close to disabling a key organizer of the early Burning Man. This piece is a fascinating tale in itself, but more fascinating when considered as just one example of how a flawed approach to mental health treatment forms a barrier to many forms of cultural evolution and renewal, with oppressive consequences for society as a whole.
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Dear Boston Globe, Part IV: A Taste of Your Own Medicine

The Boston Globe paints a picture (in the vivid way that they so love to do) that pins the system’s decline primarily on budgetary issues, but there is more than one way for a system to be ‘broken.’ In fact, where the Globe goes most wrong in their latest piece, ‘Community Care,’ is in their failure to adequately recognize that the system has always been broken in one way or another in this country.
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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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