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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No, It’s Not Because He Was ‘Mentally Ill’: Why Tragedy Struck in Orlando

49 people died in a club in Orlando, Florida at the hands of a man who is now dead, too. In only a few hours time, he destined himself to be forever made infamous as one of an increasingly long line of ‘shooters’ that have sent our nation on a desperate search for who or what to blame. I never met this particular ‘shooter,’ but in my teens I did meet one. Here’s how that went.
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Illness Inflation: Expanded Medical Definitions Create More Patients

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has issued a watchdog report titled “Illness Inflation” that examines how new medical conditions are often the product of industry groups aiming to create a market for expensive new drugs. "There are powerful interests that want the numbers to be inflated," said Allan Horwitz, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University and author of "Creating Mental Illness." "All of these estimates push the numbers upward."

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Effective Tactics for the “Rehumanizing Resistance”: Real Politics 101, Part Two

In Part Two, I discuss strategy and tactics for the Rehumanizing Resistance, including: (1) Traditional, Personal, and Underground Politics; (2) Direct Action and Confrontation: When It Can and Cannot Succeed (3) Organizing: Taking Advantage of the Current Cultural Climate; (4) Alliances and Coalitions; and (5) Film and Media. In Part One, I discussed how the Resistance has been winning scientific battles but losing the war against the expansion of influence of First-Order Psychiatry (which includes American Psychiatric Association and Big Pharma), and how this is due in large part to the First-Order’s effective political tactics and the Resistance’s political naivety.
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Please Join Groundbreaking Research on Psychiatric Medications

Psychiatric medications such as antipsychotics and antidepressants account for a huge number of published research studies. This existing research, however, is almost exclusively constrained within a medical model approach, purporting to evaluate medications as treatment for biological brain disorders, and designing studies accordingly. The disease, and how medications presumably affect it, is at the center — with pharmaceutical company financial interests not far behind. That paradigm is starting to change.
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Who Will Guard the Guardians of Psychiatry?

The assertion that the so-called antidepressants are being over-prescribed implies that there is a correct and appropriate level of prescribing and that depression is a chronic illness (just like diabetes). It has been an integral part of psychiatry’s message that although depression might have been triggered by an external event, it is essentially an illness residing within the person’s neurochemistry. The issue is not whether people should or shouldn’t take pills. The issue is psychiatry pushing these dangerous serotonin-disruptive chemicals on people, under the pretense that they have an illness.
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Twin Method Assumptions are Indefensible, but are Useful to the Rich and Powerful

The wealthy, and the institutions they finance and promote, look favorably upon research whose authors claim that economic disparities are rooted in biology, and are not harmful to humanity as a whole. But there are countless obvious real-world examples showing that political policies, social struggles, and public health programs, including those involving the adjustment of income differences, lead to improved health and well-being.
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Are They “Symptoms” or “Strategies?”

In the mainstream, psychological difficulties are seen as “symptoms” of an “illness” or “mental disorder” and based on this the focus is put on suppressing them, either by using drugs, or shock, or by psychological interventions that also aim to “eliminate the problem.” Unfortunately, this mainstream approach often works poorly, and too often its main effect is to aggravate the problem, or to cause “collateral damage” as critically important parts of the person are suppressed along with the supposed “symptoms.” But if we want to replace the mainstream approach, we need a coherent alternative view.
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A Worldwide Epidemic – The Misuse of Anti-Depressant Medications

Not all people who have letters after their names are actually “gods” or even people who have any special powers to know things about us more than we can learn about ourselves, about our own bodies, and our own minds. Blindly following what someone says we need to be doing for our own health (mental or physical) and well-being just because they have a white jacket on (so to speak) is usually not in our best interests.
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Consciousness Revealed – Revolutionary Implications for Psychiatry

The billions of dollars of research into fictitious brain diseases, which traces apparently faulty genes or neurotransmitters, is a fruitless enterprise looking in all the wrong places. A lot of brain research at best hits on a fad and metastasizes. At its worst it follows the big money from the pharmaceutical companies or tries to suit the self-serving political agenda of the APA in its current agenda: the search for biological markers.
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Report from the Parliament: Can Psychiatry At Least Be Curious?

In the past six years, I have had the opportunity to speak at several conferences or meetings that I felt had particular potential to stir some political activity that would challenge current psychiatric practices, and one of those events was the meeting convened in the U.K.’s Parliament on May 11th, which had this title for the day: Rising Prescriptions, Rising Mental Health Disability: Is There a Link?
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Real Politics 101, Part One: “First-Order Psychiatry” vs. the “Rehumanizing Resistance”

In the political struggle between First-Order Psychiatry and the Rehumanizing Resistance, the Resistance continues to win scientific victories (including the First-Order’s retreat from its “chemical imbalance theory of mental illness”); however, the Resistance is losing the larger struggle against the First-Order’s expansion of influence. Winning scientific battles but losing the war will continue until the Resistance: (1) fully recognizes the political nature of this struggle; (2) accepts the reality that it has an adversary aimed at its destruction; and (3) creates and implements effective political strategies and tactics.
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Reflections on Myth Machines, “Mental Illness,” and the Perils of Good Intentions

Once again this year, I was fortunate to attend the annual Saks Institute symposium. The topic — fittingly enough in LA — was mental illness in the movies. What struck me was the degree to which public discussions are shaped by two related categories of problems. There were ideas that I believe are misconceptions, and positions that are shaped largely by a lack of important information — especially information which isn’t influenced by a profit-oriented corporate culture.
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Making the Case Against Antidepressants in Parliament

On Wednesday, May 11, there will be an inquiry by a work group in the U.K.’s Parliament into whether increases in the prescribing of antidepressants are fueling a marked increase in disability due to anxiety and depression in the U.K. I wrote about a similar rise in disability in the United States in Anatomy of an Epidemic, and the All Party Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, which is the Parliamentary group that organized the debate, asked me to present the case against antidepressants.
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ADHD:  The Hoax Unravels

At the risk of stating the obvious, ADHD is not an illness. Rather, it is an unreliable and disempowering label for a loose collection of arbitrarily chosen and vaguely defined behaviors. ADHD has been avidly promoted as an illness by pharma-psychiatry for the purpose of selling stimulant drugs. In which endeavor, they have been phenomenally successful, but, as in other areas of psychiatry, the hoax is unraveling.
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On the Corner of Distress & Poverty: What Happens to Our Minds When There is No Going Home

In the last few years, Mental Health First Aid has been backed by the President of the United States, the First Lady, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Council on Behavioral Health (among others). In fiscal year 2015 alone, the federal budget allotted 15 million toward the Council’s MHFA mission of ‘one million trained.’ Yet, this course – promoted with unprecedented fervor and designed to support the average citizen to identify a mental health ‘problem’ in their fellow persons and (strongly) encourage them to get ‘help’ – has little to say about the importance and emotional impact of meeting basic human needs.
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The FDA Is Hiding Reports Linking Psych Drugs to Homicides

In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined being drawn into a story of intrigue involving my own government’s efforts to hide, from the public, reports of psychiatric drugs associated with cases of murder, including homicides committed by youth on the drugs. But that is precisely the intrigue I now find myself enmeshed in.
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Psychiatry: Worth Keeping If “Slowed Down”?

The faults of modern psychiatry are numerous and profound, and many readers here know firsthand about its destructive force. But are these faults so vast that there is nothing worth saving?
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Feral Psychiatry: The Case of Garth Daniels

Garth Daniels, a 39-year-old Melbourne man, has been shackled for 110 days and forced to undergo ECT 94 times at three times a week against his will. Last year, his family asked me to provide a second opinion on Garth’s case. As predicted, my recommendations against continued ECT were quickly dismissed by the hospital. There are critically important issues at stake in this case.
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