When I started working in the NHS in Britain I pretty much accepted the mainstream view – that psychiatric drugs work, that the categories of mental disorder have been established via solid scientific research, and that we are now on the cusp of understanding the biology of mental illness. I was wrong.
I only learnt how totally wrong I was, when I began researching and writing a book on the unhappy truth about psychiatry. This led me to interview many of the founding fathers of the profession. From them I heard many startling confessions about the flimsy and unscientific foundations upon which modern psychiatry rests. The picture that emerged was one of a profession in serious crisis; a profession that is, and as I state in the book’s title, seriously, disconcertingly, in both senses of the term, Cracked.
After its publication I had the opportunity to help set up a new critical psychiatry organization. While this organization celebrates that the critical psychiatry community grows in size and influence, exposing with ever greater confidence the various failings and dangers of psychiatry, its also regrets that this community’s vital message often fails to reach those in positions of political influence; those who can shape policy to address the mounting evidence of psychiatric harm.
The aim of our new organization, then, is to help to fill this gap. The organization – the Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry (CEP) – was informally launched in London this week. CEP will fight to bring to the heart of the political and medical establishment evidence that clearly exposes areas where psychiatry is doing more harm than good.
The official launch of CEP will take place on 30th April 2014 in the Houses of Parliament, London. And to mark the occasion two eminent critics will address the invited audience of journalists, MPs, policy makers, practitioners and survivor advocates. Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, a senior researcher and psychiatrist at University College London, will first talk about the exaggerated benefits of psychotropic medications, discussing the largely ignored evidence of their toxic and long-term debilitating effects.
She will be followed by Professor Peter Gotzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre and co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the gold standard for the review of medical research data. He will talk about failed drug regulation, buried negative clinical trial data, conflicts of interest at medical journals, drug-induced harms, and other issues familiar to Mad in America subscribers.
Both speakers are members of CEP and so reflect the organisation’s core belief: that we are in the midst of a psychiatric drug epidemic with devastating consequences for public health. During the launch we will also show short films of survivor stories, to bring to life how damaging the impact of psychiatric treatment can be.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.