Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Essays by a diverse group of writers, in the United States and abroad, engaged in rethinking psychiatry. (The directory of personal stories can be found here, and initiatives here).


The Scientism of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Calling ADHD a diagnosis, i.e., something with the capacity to explain the behaviours that it describes, is like saying the headache is causing the pain in my head or the inattention is caused by inattention. Scientism has turned ADHD from a vague, difficult to pin down concept into a fact of culture masquerading as a fact of nature.
DIY lobotomy

Psychiatry’s War on Free Will

Psychiatry’s main role was always to forcibly negate the free will of society’s outliers. Its methods included forced removal, confinement, and electrical, surgical, and chemical lobotomy. But then it sought to lure non-outliers into willingly allowing psychiatry to negate their free will, too. So it devised ways to trick people into "lobotomizing" themselves.

I Used to Be Psychotic and Then I Heard a Voice Again

When I heard a voice speak to me last week, I was experiencing a response to significant events — the voice was a way for my mind to intentionally contain a confusing personal event or experience. As a professional, I am grateful for the powerful reminder that hearing voices is something to embrace and support, which includes putting aside my own prejudices.

Why Should Suicide (Or Voluntary Death) Be a Civil Right?

Regardless of what one's moral stance is on the value of life, or the meaning of death, it is time to recognize that there are people whose views differ from ours, and that we do not have the right to force them to live (and die) the way we want to. We all die; it's the journey that matters, not the destination.

Confirmed: Las Vegas Shooter on Benzos

A Las Vegas newspaper has released the autopsy blood toxicology report for Stephen Paddock. Three metabolites (breakdown products) of Valium were found in his blood: nordiazepam, oxazepam, and temazepam. Paddock’s autopsy report confirms he was a regular user of Valium, at least in the days leading up to the shootings.
peer support

Who Gets to Define “Peer Support?”

The definition of “peer support” should be straightforward. But over the years, “peer support” seems to have morphed into “peer specialist” — or, to put it more bluntly, psychiatric survivors’ experiential knowledge has been co-opted by the system. How does peer-developed peer support differ from the peer staff model? And what can we do about this?
sad boy

Reflections on the Torture Parents and the Pedophile Olympic Doctor

Parents should be very cautious about entrusting their children to any institution — private boarding schools, ballet schools, training facilities away from home. We are all best off raising our adolescents subject to our oversight, rather than entrusting them to others. Those who should protect us from trauma are harming our children.
health care

What Would a Truly Integrated System of Care Look Like?

Imagine that you were the director of a health insurance company and you had just agreed to provide health coverage to several hundred thousand people and you will have to fund health care including mental health and alcohol/drug care too. The purpose of this blog is to show the kind of system you would have to design.

Shock Class Action – Case Update

In September of 2017, DK Law Group, LLP filed a Class Action Complaint against the manufacturers of ECT shock devices, alleging that they caused injury to patients by withholding from the FDA data relating to serious iatrogenic brain injuries resulting from ECT. The following developments have taken place since then.

Beyond the Medicalization of Insomnia

There is hope that the truth about sleeping pills will become more commonplace. As it does, however, we are faced with an even greater challenge: to move beyond the medicalization of insomnia in order to help people sleep better naturally. The alternative paradigm I suggest is that nutrition is a primary cure for insomnia.
binge eating

Is Binge Eating Disorder Just Another Made-Up Disease?

If a person binges habitually, upon sensing certain stimuli the pancreas prepares the body with insulin, and simultaneously, the stomach prepares by getting more acidic. This means that for many of us, the drive to binge is a physical need. Therapy blames the patient for “bad coping” when all she is doing is responding to her body's signals.

Anger – What Is It REALLY a Symptom Of?

I want to learn how to control my anger. But to get rid of it would be to get rid of a part of myself. It would also feel like swallowing down injustice. Such a drug probably doesn't exist, but what if there were an antidepressant that could make me stop disliking mental health professionals? The idea feels scary to me, like some kind of mind control pill.
antidepressants increase suicide risk

Antidepressants Save People From Suicide, Right?

If depression leads to suicide and antidepressants like SSRIs resolve depression, we could decrease suicide rates by increasing the number of antidepressant prescriptions, right? Yet researchers found the opposite in a new study from Sweden that examined antidepressants in the context of suicide.

So What is Mental Disorder? Part 1: Reasoning and Meaning

If mental disorders are not bodily diseases, what are they and how should we understand them? If madness involves a loss or failure of shared reasoning that places the individual outside of the community of immediate and implicit human understanding, does this mean it is without interest or meaning?
abolish psychiatry

Abolish Psychiatry and the Mental Health System: Really?

I am going to pose the question: What would it take to go about abolishing psychiatry and the mental health system? My goal is to try to shed light on whether psychiatric nihilism can actually lead anywhere. Or is it mostly something that makes people who have been so terribly harmed feel better?
sad child full of woe

Rethinking the Nature of Our Woes

Parents must inform themselves about the flaws in the current paradigm if they are to have any chance of thinking sensibly about what might be distressing their child. Toward that end of providing information about those flaws, I interviewed Richard Hallam, author of the new book Abolishing the Concept of Mental Illness: Rethinking the Nature of our Woes.
painted boxes death of an activist

Painted Boxes: Death of an Activist

I am an activist, and I am tired. I seem to be living what life would look like if ‘painted into a corner,’ met ‘put in a box’ in a car wreck, leaving the two a tangled idiomatic mess. Here are eleven examples of how activists and advocates are asked to cough up boundless energy while simultaneously being demoralized, devalued, diminished, and used.
birds on a wire

If “Mental Illnesses” Aren’t Real Illnesses, What Are They?

Szasz clarified what mental illness isn't, but not what it is, and it is something. I will show that it's just a concept that evolved in order to dehumanize those who cope in ways that don't further society's survival, and thus to justify their exclusion so as to maximize society's efficiency.
adverse childhood experiences

All in the Family: 4 Steps Toward Healing Adverse Childhood Experiences

It turns out that our stress response and inflammatory modeling are set early in our childhood. While our infant microbiome certainly lays a foundation, our beliefs and the thoughts that run like a ticker tape under our life experience cannot be underemphasized. How can we heal our pasts?

From Picket Lines to Worry Lines

In Politics of the Mind: Marxism and Mental Distress, Iain Ferguson aims to use the marxist approach “not only to make sense of mental distress but also help us address and change the material conditions that give rise to it.” He begins by describing the ‘crisis in mental health’ that disproportionately affects the unemployed, poor, and oppressed.

What Should We Really Call Psychiatric Drugs?

There is no rational way to argue against putting psychiatric chemicals into the category of neurotoxins. All psychiatric substances alter “the structure or functions of the nervous system,” disrupt “the normal function of nerve cells” and act “specifically on nervous tissue.” It is time to clean up the misleading mess of words in psychiatry.
fruit and vegetables nutrition

What National Health Surveys Tell Us About Nutrition and Mental Health

We have been interested in the broad public health implications of nutrition, such as the findings from national health population surveys. What conclusion can be drawn from these studies? Improving people’s diets may protect them from experiencing poor mental health. 

Speaking Out Against Electric Shocks

Essentially what Choy et al are seeking in their editorial is the total suppression of information concerning the harmful and often permanent effects of high voltage electric shocks to the brain, thus implying that the very large number of individuals who report more extensive and persistent damage are not worth listening to.

Our Sexualized Culture and the Prejudiced Roots of Psychiatry

The problem with the DSM is that it not only pathologizes asexuality, but also pathologizes the distress asexual people feel due to marginalization and prejudice. In attributing people’s distress to their lack of sexual attraction or interest, rather than their environment, psychiatry fails to recognize oppression.
power threat meaning

Publication of the Power Threat Meaning Framework

The Framework is an ambitious attempt to outline a conceptual alternative to the diagnostic model of mental distress. It builds on the Division of Clinical Psychology’s 2013 Position Statement recommending work in conjunction with service users to develop a multi-factorial and contextual approach.

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