Friday, March 24, 2023


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).

Mad Poetry Slam!

Poets with lived experience with mental distress are invited to perform their poetry live at MIA's Mad Poetry Slam on Zoom on May 7th, 12PM EST.
Multiple-exposure portrait of a young woman's face with galaxy inside head

Acute Religious Experiences: Madness, Psychosis, and Religious Studies

It is the capacity of mad studies to advance the idea that mad is not necessarily bad. Acute Religious Experiences are always phenomenally mad, but not necessarily pathological.

Tolstoy’s Hermit: Jay Schulkin

Jay Schulkin, a neuroscientist and philosopher of prodigious curiosity and energy, has died at age 70 of hepatic cancer.
Photo of a pill bottle on a prescription pad

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 7: Psychosis (Part One)

Psychosis pills were hailed as a great advance, but this was because they kept the patients docile and quiet, which was very popular with the staff in psychiatric wards.
Covers of both issues of JHP

Compassion and Understanding Versus Drugs and Disease: Where Does Humanistic Psychology Stand Now?

Authors with lived experience of extreme states present a humanistic contrast to psychiatry.
Illustration of a magnifying glass and a pill bottle on a pink background

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 6: Psychiatric Drug Trials Are Not Reliable

In this blog, Gøtzsche discusses the ways in which drug trials are biased, including breaking of the double-blind and industry manipulation.
Business man protecting with umbrella against wind of papers concept

How Peer Reviewers and Editors Protected a Failed Paradigm for Psychiatric Drug Testing

My recent article was so threatening to the whole edifice of psychiatry that the peer reviewers and editors did what they could to kill it.
A bearded white man repeated pattern with hands in an expression of confusion

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 5: Psychiatric Diagnoses Are Not Reliable (Part Two)

The screening test for depression recommended by the WHO is so poor that for every 100 screened, 36 will get a false diagnosis of depression.
Photograph of the red and blue lights on top of a police car at night

New York Can’t—or Won’t—Provide Data on New Forced Treatment Plan

When we requested specific numbers and data, the presenter suggested that there were so many different players, agencies, and moving parts it was hard to “make sense” of all the information. 
A woman's head is silhouetted with the sunset over the water

Beyond Psychiatry: A Trauma-Centric View of Mental Health

Internal family systems therapy is a non-pathologizing method of working toward healing from trauma, a journey of returning to wholeness by reconnecting with ourselves.

Everyone Has a Story

Greetings to all in the Mad in the Family community. I’m the new editor of this bustling corner of Mad in America, and I’m thrilled to start working with you all.
Illustration depicting a doctor and nurse standing aloof or angrily pointing at an older female patient sitting down

About Not Listening to People

Psychiatry exists in a perpetual state of distrust and disbelief of everything their patients say, including when patients report harmful effects of their drugs.

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 5: Psychiatric Diagnoses Are Not Reliable (Part One)

Psychiatric diagnoses have poor validity and do not tell us much about the nature, course, and treatment of the "diseases."
Needle about to pop a green balloon

One Flew Over the Scientific Consensus’ Nest—The Story of Dr. Ophir and ADHD

The backlash against Dr. Yaakov Ophir, licensed clinical psychologist and promising scholar, began when he reported his findings about the scientific validity of ADHD.
Illustration of a brain in a test tube against a black background

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 4: Are Psychiatric Disorders Caused by a Chemical Imbalance? ...

On the evidence base for textbooks' statements of the imbalance of neurotransmitters causing psychiatric disorders.

Black Movement Leaders: Lost & Found

As some of us get caught up in lamenting the whiteness of our movement, we are actively losing the stories of Black leaders.
Photo of a sculpture of a woman on a bench looking wistfully out to sea

We’re Obsessed with Labelling Suffering, But Our Power to Think about it Matters More

I needed Kierkegaard and Freud; my psychiatrist prescribed cereal bars. My despair was an imbalance to be corrected, rather than a relationship with the world.

Remembering Fernando Freitas in Brazil

Psychiatrist Paulo Amarante writes of Fernando Freitas and his fight against psychiatry's pathologization of life.
Photo of a young White boy with glasses looking at a giant sheet of brain imaging results, with a Black man smiling happily behind him

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 3: Are Psychiatric Disorders Detectable in a Brain Scan?

Peter Gøtzsche discusses how textbooks portray brain imaging data for psychiatric diagnoses and the flaws with that body of research.
A background of a road leading through a forest. Text over it reads: "Mad Camp July 20-24 2023"

Summer Mad Camp 2023

Mad Camp, as a work in progress, is a five-day summer camp for mad people, July 20-24, at a forested retreat center in Northern California.
Illustration depicts a giant glowing brain with tiny people standing all around it

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 2: Are Psychiatric Disorders Mainly Genetic or Environmental? (Part Two)

In this chapter, Peter Gøtzsche discusses the problems with observational studies and other flaws in ADHD research.
Rio de Janeiro Aerial Skyline - Brazil

Fernando de Freitas: A “Dear Friend” Who Was a Warrior for Radical Change

Fernando de Freitas, co-founder of Mad in Brasil, passed away January 30. He had devoted his professional life to seeking to transform psychiatric care in Brazil and beyond.
Illustration of wires wrapped around a brain

We Must Not Remove Legal Protections for People at Risk of Forced ECT

Written testimony submitted to the Connecticut State Legislature in opposition to a bill removing legal protections for those at risk of receiving ECT against their will.
Illustration of dna strand unraveling, glowing bright blue against dark blue background

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 2: Are Psychiatric Disorders Mainly Genetic or Environmental? (Part One)

Textbooks portray ADHD and schizophrenia as genetic disorders, despite the much stronger evidence for environmental factors.
Illustration depicting dna strands and molecule chains

“Hidden Valley Road” and Schizophrenia: Do Genes Tell the Story?

The “genetics of mental disorders” story told in Kolker's "Hidden Valley Road" involves omission and misrepresentation of genetic research.