The article “Special K, a Hallucinogen, Raises Hopes and Concerns as a Treatment for Depression,” by Andrew Pollack in the New York Times, December 9, 2014, tells how far afield my field, psychiatry, has really gone – that it is even a consideration to use an hallucinogen for the treatment of depression.
ProPublica is well known for creating interesting data bases that allow anyone hooked up to a computer to see by name whether a physician is accepting Big Pharma payments — from dinners to speaking engagements to consulting services. What may be lesser known is that occasionally ProPublica will publish other data that when carefully mined can reveal even more about the use of psychiatric drugs especially when there is a public funding source available.
Contrary to popular beliefs about the impacts of disasters on mental health, psychiatric admissions fell immediately and significantly after the 2011 “devastating” series of earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, according to a study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. In addition, the New Zealand-based researchers found that the reduction in use of mental health services has continued since that time. More →
BrainBlogger has an interview with Gary Greenberg, psychotherapist and author of The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry. “The (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) provides the key to the health care treasury, whether you’re a person suffering from emotional distress and trying to get money from your insurance company for treatment, or a researcher trying to get a grant to study a particular mental problem,” says Greenberg. More →
It’s not clear how repeated injuries to the head that lead to neurodegeneration actually affect people’s behaviors, argue University of Buffalo researchers in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry. Though people are often reported to present as “cuckoo, goofy, or slug nutty” following one or more blows to the head, the researchers state in a press release on Health Canal, more studies are needed with larger numbers of people to understand what’s happening and why. More →
Earlier this year, I was invited to speak at TEDMED 2014 and John Kazanjian and I worked hard to come up with a 13-ish minute version of my play Sick. The video of the talk/performance got released today on TEDMED.com and YouTube. It’s been a wild ride sharing the big play with small audiences around the country these last couple of years, and I am excited and humbled by the potential audience this abbreviated version can have online. I hope you have a chance to watch it.
I have spent a lot of time talking to politicians, media members and those working in the mental health system about the failings of the current method of viewing and treating emotional distress. I have come to the conversations armed with stats and outcomes about the bio-medical paradigm. I have found that the people I speak with do not doubt the facts conveyed. They seem to agree that the current state of affairs is not good. The difference is that I think the tragic outcomes demonstrate the failure of the current system. The folks I talk to tend to think things are so bad because “mental illness is just that serious.”
Humans aren’t the only species to seek out and consume substances that they normally wouldn’t eat, just to make themselves feel better, according to a news feature in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Many animal species have created their own pharmacies from ingredients that commonly occur in nature,” writes Joel Shurkin. More →
Psychiatrist Tom Stockman has been posting a series of articles on his blog Mandala, reflecting on the Open Dialogue method for intervening in psychiatric crises. Stockman recently participated in an Open Dialogue training program, and discusses the history and research behind the method as well as current developments around the world to investigate and practice it more. More →
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