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Major Canadian Health Institute Calls For More Psychotherapy Instead of Drugs

A new report by the Institut National d’Excellence en Santé et en Services Sociaux (INESSS), an independent health research organization created to advise the Quebec provincial government on best-evidence guidelines, has called for psychotherapy to become the "front-line treatment choice in the mental-health system," reported The Globe and Mail. More →

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Psychosurgeons “Burn Away Mental Illness,” According to Wired

In Wired, Nick Stockton writes that "psychosurgeons use lasers to burn away mental illness." Some of the commenters on the article raise a variety of questions and concerns about this assertion. More →

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US House Committee Votes to Defund Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality

The primary agency responsible for investigating and reporting on the quality of health care delivery in the US is a step closer to being completely shut down, reported MedPage Today. The news "will not trend on Twitter, nor is it likely to make the front page of USA Today," lamented Paul Wallace on Health Affairs Blog. "If this bomb goes off undetected, the nation will lose its greatest source for funding research on health-care quality, effectiveness, and patient safety," wrote Jeffrey Lerner on Philly.com. More →

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“Return of Electro-Cures Exposes Psychiatry’s Weakness”

Scientific American's John Horgan offers brief overviews of the evidence -- "or lack thereof" -- for five types of electronic psychiatric therapies that are experiencing a resurgence in public promotion: transcranial magnetic stimulation, cranial electrotherapy stimulation, vagus-nerve stimulation, deep-brain stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy. More →

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Slew of New Studies Spot Links Between Psychiatric Medications and Bone Loss, Fractures

Four different studies conducted in different ways examining different groups have linked use of certain psychiatric drugs, particularly SSRI antidepressants and antipsychotics but also benzodiazepines, to bone fracture risks and negative impacts on human bone development. More →

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Reasons Not to Believe in Lithium

I Don’t Believe in God, But I Believe in Lithium’ is the title of Jamie Lowe’s moving account of her manic depression in the New York Times. The piece reminds us how devastating and frightening this condition can be, so it is understandable that the author put her faith in the miracle cure psychiatrists have been recommending since the 1950s: lithium. The main problem is that there is no study in which people who have been started on lithium have been compared with people who haven’t. Every randomised trial of lithium versus placebo starts with people who are already on drug treatment of one sort or another, often lithium itself. Now there is good evidence, accepted by leading proponents of lithium that withdrawing from lithium can precipitate a relapse of manic depression, especially a manic episode.
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“Compulsory Well-being”

Mind Hacks has an interview with Will Davies, author of The Happiness Industry, that "looks at the history and practice of positive psychology as government, and ‘well-being’ as a way of managing people." More →

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Antidepressant-linked Suicide Data Doctored In Seminal Study

An influential 2007 US National Institute of Mental Health-led study included a statistical manipulation that disguised the fact that youth taking antidepressants were actually over four times as likely to experience suicidal events as those taking placebo, according to a study in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine. This new published analysis has appeared several years after the revelations were first publicly discussed. More →

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Lessons from Soteria-Alaska

Yes, Soteria-Alaska is closing. And its sister organization, CHOICES, Inc., has lost its way. As the person who conceived of both of these and got them going, I have some thoughts that might be worthwhile about what went wrong; what should or might have been done differently; and most importantly, what lessons might have been learned.
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It’s as Bad as You Think: The Gap Between the Rich and the Poor is an Unbridgeable Chasm

Many of us in the U.K. are mad – mad with anger at the injustice and cynicism of a political system that is turning the gap between rich and poor into an unbridgeable chasm. Mad with anger because the most vulnerable in society are now paying the price for a political ideology – neoliberalism – with their lives. We are mad and angry because they are blamed for failings that are not of their making, but which originate in the system under which we live. ‘Psychological’ assessments, online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other forms of ‘therapy’ are being used to force unemployed people with common mental health problems back to work. Mental health professionals responsible for IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) have been relocated to help ‘assess’ and ‘treat’ claimants.
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