Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Transition to Psychosis

“When people with early-stage symptoms took omega-3 supplements for three months, they had much lower rates of progression than those who did not,” according to research out of Australia covered in this month’s issue of the New ScientistMore →

Categorized In:

CBT: Part of the Solution, Part of the Problem, an Illusion, or All of the Above?

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT has been pretty heavily criticized by a number of Mad in America (MIA) bloggers and commenters in the past few years. In a way that isn’t surprising, because most MIA bloggers are looking for radical change, and CBT often appears to be part of the establishment, especially within the therapy world. But while I’m all for criticizing what’s wrong with CBT, especially with bad CBT, I think there’s also a danger in getting so caught up in pointing out real or imagined flaws that we fail to notice where CBT can be part of the solution, helping us move toward more humanistic and effective methods of helping.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Eight Unanswered Questions about Psychiatric Research in Minnesota

The wait has been exhausting, but it is possible that a flicker of light may finally shine on the dark recent history of psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota. Given these upcoming investigations of psychiatric research at the University of Minnesota, the time is right to look back at some of the disturbing, unanswered questions that have emerged over the past several years.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Listening for the Person within “Madness”

As we struggle to invent a humane approach to the extreme states that get called “psychosis” or “madness” or “schizophrenia,” it may be helpful to investigate some of the better approaches developed in the past. While these approaches are not without their flaws, they are often surprisingly insightful. (It can also of course be depressing to notice how truths once more widely known were so easily “forgotten” as compassionate approaches got ditched in favor of the latest coercive innovations.)
Full Article

Categorized In:

Is This Depression? Or Melancholy? Or…

We live in a culture bombarded by media and sped up by rapid-fire social interactions. It’s definitely useful to grab hold of a simple, short, sound-bite term, to quickly describe what we are feeling or suffering. “Depression” is such a word – it evokes and encapsulates, conjures the images of that ugly pit of despair that can drive so many to madness and suicide. Yet at the same time the words we use, strangely, become like those pens deposited in medical offices and waiting rooms around the world: ready at hand, easily found, familiar — and tied to associations, marketing and meanings we were only dimly aware were shaping how we think.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia? What About Black People?

In many respects it is difficult to fault the report Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia, recently published by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP)[i]; indeed, as recent posts on Mad in America have observed, there is much to admire in it. Whilst not overtly attacking biomedical interpretations of psychosis, it rightly draws attention to the limitations and problems of this model, and points instead to the importance of contexts of adversity, oppression and abuse in understanding psychosis. But the report makes only scant, fleeting references to the role of cultural differences and the complex relationships that are apparent between such differences and individual experiences of psychosis.
Full Article

Categorized In:

When Homosexuality Came Out
(of the DSM)

With a diagnosis of schizophrenia, if internalized, comes the erosion of personhood, lowered self-esteem, shattered dreams, and a sense of disenchantment. The psychiatrist Richard Warner has even suggested that those who reject the diagnosis of severe mental illness may have better outcomes as they retain the right to construct their own narrative of personhood and define what really matters for them. Despite public education campaigns (or perhaps because of them), the stigma of mental illness is as enduring as it was 50 years ago.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Why “Stabilizing” People is Entirely the Wrong Idea

If human beings were meant to be entirely stable entities, then “stabilizing” them would be an entirely good thing; a target for mental health treatment that all could agree on. But it’s way more complex than that: healthy humans are constantly moving and changing. They have a complex mix of stability and instability that is hard to pin down. All this relates to one of my favorite subjects, the intersection of creativity and madness.
Full Article

Categorized In:

From Protesting to Taking Over: Using Education to Change Mental Health Care

As we develop critical awareness about the mental health “treatments” that don’t work and that often make things much worse, the question inevitably comes up, what can those who want to be helpful be doing instead? I believe that one key to successful change is going to be making effective training in alternatives widely available, so that those working in the field who hear our protests and criticisms with an open mind will be able to get support in then transitioning to doing things differently.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Are You Ready for Multiple Lawsuits By Victims of Psychiatric Misconduct?

Professor Leigh Turner of the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics blasts the Board of Regents for ignoring psychiatric research abuse.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Biomarkers for Mental Illness, Transgenic Mice, and the
Otherness of Psychosis

I’m not a scientist so what do I know?  Yet I’m not convinced of the biomedical model of mental illness and therefore the search for biomarkers.  I didn’t believe it when labelled with a lifelong mental disorder and thought that psychiatry had got it wrong.  And proved it by getting off the psych drugs and back on with my life.  Even though they write it in our psychiatric notes I don’t believe a word of it.  I resisted their predictions, in defiance when I could, and got better.
Full Article

Categorized In:

CAFÉ Study: Real Science or Marketing Exercise?

I received the following question from a reader regarding the controversial CAFÉ – Comparisons of Atypicals in First Episode of Psychosis – study. (This was the study in which Dan Markingson committed suicide.) “It appears that there was no head-to-head with a control group taking a placebo pill. Nor was there a control group featuring ‘old’ types of ‘antipsychotic’. If that was the case then it is very poor study . . . what on earth can you hope to show from the data?” I started to write a response, but the subject is complex, and my response became the following article.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Investigate the Markingson Suicide? Not So Fast, Says University President

Responding to a letter signed by 175 scholars asking for an inquiry into the death of Dan Markingson at the University of Minnesota, the Faculty Senate voted to investigate clinical research at the university. But the university president says the Markingson case will not be part of the investigation. What is he trying to hide?
Full Article

Categorized In:

KMSP-TV Investigative Report on Psychiatric Research Abuse at the University of Minnesota

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

Categorized In:

Divide and Conquer: the Abuse of Psychiatric Power and Resisting the Pressure

I have a bone to pick about the dichotomy of surviving schizoaffective disorder, lifelong mental illness and psychiatric treatment, contrasted with the labels in my youngest son’s psychiatric notes, saying “family history of”, “mother’s mother had schizophrenia”, “oldest brother has paranoid schizophrenia”.   And about the efforts of psychiatry to separate my family, one from another, as they have forced treatment on us.  Because all of us have been through the psychiatric system in some ways there has been strength in numbers.  In other ways it has meant the labels have stuck to us, thick and fast, even when recovered.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Psychosis: A Valuable Contribution Despite Major Flaws

The core of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is the idea of simply accepting, rather than trying to get rid of, disturbing or unwanted inner experiences like anxiety or voices, and then refocusing on a commitment to take action toward personally chosen values regardless of whether that seems to make the unwanted experiences increase or decrease. This idea is consistent with the emphasis in the recovery movement of finding a way to live a valued life despite any ongoing problems, but ACT has value because of the unique and effective strategies it offers to help people make this shift.

Full Article

Categorized In:

Creating Dialog on Approaches for “Psychosis” in New Jersey

What would happen if professionals opened their minds about the nature of madness?  What new possibilities might be created if they questioned labels such as “schizophrenia” and if they instead showed curiosity about the person underneath the label, and interest …
Full Article

Categorized In:

Symptom or Experience:
Does Language Matter?

Of all the beliefs that I have had about my experiences, the belief that I was ‘schizophrenic’ was the most damaging. In adopting the story that others told about me, and abandoning my own sense-making process, I held on to a belief that both hid my traumatic life experiences and rendered them irrelevant. Does it matter if we sometimes slip into the language of illness when we all agree that these experiences are meaningful, personal and have value? Yes. It does.
Full Article

Categorized In:

Tapering Off Medications When “Symptoms Have Remitted”:
Does That Make Sense?

While a 2-year outcome study by Wunderink, et al. has been cited as evidence that guided discontinuation of antipsychotics for people whose psychosis has remitted results in twice as much “relapse,” a not-yet-published followup of that study, extending it to 7 years using a naturalistic followup, finds that the guided discontinuation group had twice the recovery rates, and no greater overall relapse rate (with a trend toward the medication group having more relapse.)
Full Article

Categorized In:

How Much can a Psychiatrist Charge to Visit With a Dead Research Subject?

At the University of Minnesota, the answer is apparently $1,446. If harmless clerical errors were to blame for oddities like this, that fact should be easy to clarify simply by looking at the relevant documents.  But if there are systematic issues with the administration of clinical trials that makes it possible to bill for a visit with a dead subject, those issues would be important for other universities and private trial sites as well. 
Full Article

Categorized In:

Situational Schizophrenia

The label of schizophrenia has a chilling ring. It carries with it the suggestion of a wrecked and wretched life. It is also a diagnosis that is notoriously difficult to shed. For this reason, the diagnosis of schizophrenia should not be applied lightly and not without a thorough understanding of the patient’s family and wider circumstances.
Full Article

Categorized In:

The Segregation of Psychotics and Schizophrenics in Relation to Recovery

Speaking as someone whose whole family has been affected by psychoses and the subsequent psychiatric treatment I am fed up with the separation and segregation that continually is and has been our lot … The stigma and discrimination foisted upon us by a psychiatric opinion, non-medical, subjective, yet taken as gospel and written in the notes.
Full Article

Categorized In:

How Do You Spot the Mad Person in the Crowd? Where’s Wally?

There’s a children’s book that’s popular in Scotland and it’s called ‘Where’s Wally?’, or Waldo in the USA and Canada. I read it with my grandchildren. The purpose is to find Wally in a large crowd and he’s the one who looks slightly different, dressed in red and white stripes with bobble hat and glasses.
Full Article

Categorized In:

And That’s the News from the Department of Psychiatry

In the business of clinical trials, the most valuable commodities are the research subjects. Filling clinical trials is hard, and filling them quickly is even harder. That’s why in 2000 a clinical investigator told the HHS Office of the Inspector General that research sponsors were looking for three things from research sites: “No. 1—rapid enrollment. No. 2 — rapid enrollment. No. 3 — rapid enrollment.”
Full Article

Categorized In:

How to Get Away with Academic Misconduct at the University of Minnesota

In early 2009, antipsychotic fraud was making headlines.  Eli Lilly had announced in January that it would plead guilty to charges that it had illegally marketed Zyprexa. The company agreed to pay a record-breaking $1.42 billion in penalties. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca …
Full Article

Categorized In: