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.
As a psychiatric survivor who has personally experienced severe psychosis, my criticisms focus on the relative lack of attention to what psychiatric drugs actually are, and on the uncertain, contested nature of the supposed target of these drugs: “schizophrenia.” I will elaborate on each of these points with references, as well as highlighting alternative approaches to helping psychotic people.
I believe the emotions of guilt and shame are culturally induced negative emotional experiences that almost all of us are tragically made to feel from infancy or childhood on. But guilt and shame are not now, nor ever were, hard-wired human emotional necessities.
Jürgen Margraf and Silvia Schneider, both well-known psychologists at the University of Bochum in Germany, claim that psychotropic drugs are no solution to mental health issues in an editorial for the latest issue of the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. They argue that the effects of psychiatric drugs for depression, anxiety, and ‘ADHD’ are short-lived and may have negative long-term consequences.
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.
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.”
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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