The Cannabis and Psychosis Awareness Project, a four-year study from Canada that was released on Tuesday, finds that smoking marijuana – particularly heavy use in early adolescence – is associated with a 40% increased risk of psychosis. Youth with a family member identified as having a mental illness are 4x more likely to develop psychosis if they use marijuana, the study says. 50 young Canadians who participated in the study created the video Awareness Strategy for Youth.
For a scathing, 11-minute overview of the death of Dan Markingson at the University of Minnesota, and new allegations of coercion into psychiatric clinical trials, you can’t do much better than this excellent investigative report by Jeff Baillon. Full Article →
“My studies in this area lead me to a very uncomfortable conclusion: Our citizens would be far better off if we removed all the psychotropic drugs from the market, as doctors are unable to handle them. It is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good.”
- Peter Gøtzsche, MD; Co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration
Sources for Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Health Care:
Dr. Terry Lynch says that “Long ago I began to question the whole categorization of normal and abnormal, which is what doctors tend to use as their standard, I suppose… I found that actually if you listen carefully to the context of the person that every story is normal, every story makes sense, and all experiences made sense, and that’s my starting point with people.”
Professor John Nash discusses the discrepancies between the book & film “A Beautiful Mind” and his life. While he endorses the portrayal of mental illness as something that can be recovered from, he “puts the record straight” that he does not use psychiatric medication and does not attribute his recovery to them.
Sinéad O’Connor discusses mental health issues with TIME magazine this week, singling out the media’s tendency to diagnose “without qualification,” and adding that “mental health and mental illness is a human rights issue.”
It was an awesome experience to give a TEDx Talk at my old school, because, frankly, it was an acknowledgement by an elite institution that I’ve done something in my life worth listening to. I hope you appreciate my talk and share it with others. So many people who are affected by the mental health system in North America today have no idea how much the rise of the DSM and biopsychiatry has to do with the Reagan era and neoliberal economic policies that reshaped the whole language and culture of mental health. It’s like a bulldozed neighborhood with shiny new buildings, after a while people forget how they got there and they just seem “normal.” Full Article →
From youtube: “Sascha Altman DuBrulhas been documenting and fomenting underground culture and radical peoples’ movements since he was a teenager. From the anarchist squatter community in New York City to the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas, Mexico, to the Earth First! road blockades of the Pacific Northwest to the rise of the Global Justice Movement, he’s been a pioneer in urban farming and creative mental health advocacy. He is the co-founder of the Bay Area Seed Interchange Library and the Icarus Project, a radical community support network and media project that’s actively redefining the language and culture of mental health and illness with over 15,000 members and dozens of peer-based supports groups all over the world.”
SSRIs: More Harm Than Good
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor ( SSRI )
Researchers found that antidepressants hinder serotonin regulation and can cause digestive problems, atypical sperm development, abnormal bleeding, stroke and premature death. Antidepressant manufacturers warn of side effects on drug labels though patients do not always consider how the side effects will affect their lives, according to the study authors.
Twenty-five years before Prozac, 1 in 10,000 of us per year was admitted for severe depressive disorder — melancholia. Today at any one point in time 1 in 10 of us are supposedly depressed and between 1 in 2 and 1 in 5 of us will be depressed over a lifetime. Around 1 in 10 pregnant women are on an antidepressant.
The number of prescriptions for antidepressants is increasing by 5-10% each year, while the figure for people starting each year remains the same. This means that there is an increase of 5% to 10% in the number of people hooked to antidepressants each year.
Jenna Fogle discusses her experience struggling with depression as a teenager, and the consequent harm done by psychiatric drug treatment. Jenna is a Vermont-based artist who has been drawing and painting for more than 14 years. She sat down with the Open Paradigm Project on a shoot organized at Another Way in Montpelier, Vermont. Another Way is a community space which serves as a “voluntary alternative to conventional mental health services rooted in community, advocacy, and empowerment”. This is latest in a series of testimonials featured on MadInAmerica.com produced by the “Open Paradigm Project” (more…)
Thomas Insel’s TedEducation presentation. “Today, thanks to better early detection, there are 63% fewer deaths from heart disease than there were just a few decades ago. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, wonders: Could we do the same for depression and schizophrenia? The first step in this new avenue of research, he says, is a crucial reframing.”
Insel concludes, in wondering how far we will get in early detection of mental illness given that we don’t even know what tools we will be using to get there, with a quote from Steve Gates: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”
Subscribers to Mad in America might be interested in a Keynote Lecture given by Professor Nikolas Rose in Nottingham on May 15th 2013. In this lecture Professor Rose very thoughtfully challenges a number of the assumptions which underpin conventional and contemporary psychiatric practice. He asks five hard questions:
Is there (really) an epidemic of mental illness?
Does the path to understanding mental disorder lie through the brain?
What is the role of diagnosis and of diagnostic manuals?
Should we seek early identification of those at risk of future mental pathology?
What is the place of patients, users, survivors, & consumers of mental health systems?
David Oaks, whose 1998 challenge to “check out the research for yourself” led Robert Whitaker to write Mad in America and create this website, has returned home after a long convalescence from his fall last December 1. The following video, taken May 18, shows the spirit that has infused his life and work on effulgent display.
Less than six months ago I had the great fortune to start working with a small group of fellow producers who had spent a chunk of time traveling and shooting at various conferences. Interviews with notable figures in the movement. Survivor stories. A mixed bag of “Mad Media”. Immersing myself in the now 200+ hours of raw footage was like swimming in a sea of the subconscious. So I was swallowed whole by the white whale, consumed with the energy to put my still-developing abilities to the best use I could think of.
Robert Whitaker notes on Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story” that a helpful diagnostic text must be both reliable and valid, and the DSM is neither – resulting in a harmful expansion of diagnosis and medication. Allen Frances says that experts “always expand, they never reduce” their authority over a domain. 5% of the population has a psychiatric disorder that can be diagnosed and effectively treated, Frances says, but the DSM is misused such that more than 25% of the population is so diagnosed and a “ridiculous” 20% of the population is taking medication. Discuss →
The American Psychiatric Association released a new edition of the DSM, which doctors use to diagnose and treat mental disorders. Judy Woodruff discusses the changes and implications for both patients and professionals with Dr. Michael First of Columbia University and Dr. Steven Hyman of the Broad Institute.
Susan Salasin created this video about the role of trauma in the lives of those who are labeled seriously mentally ill. She collaborated with Andy Blanch and Joan Gillece of NCTIC (National Center for Trauma Informed Care), and with Leah Harris of the NEC (National Empowerment Center).
In November 2012, Cardiff, Wales, more than two hundred and fifty people who hear voices, see visions and have other unusual and extreme experiences (referred to as “hearing voices” in the rest of this post), family members, friends, activists and allied experts by profession came together from around the world. The purpose of the three-day meeting was to celebrate the twenty fifth anniversary of the formation of hearing voices movement, to consider the lessons learnt so far and to envisage what we should be doing over the next 25 years. The excellent film, “Voices Matter“, that you can now view on this site is a record of the event and I strongly recommend that you take a look. Full Article →