Sunday, June 16, 2019

Blogs

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).

Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry

Early in The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine attacks the hypocrisy of religious professionals. If alive today, Paine may well have been even rougher on psychiatrists. He revered science, and he would have been enraged by professionals who make pseudoscientific proclamations.
ECT permanent brain damage

ECT Litigation Update: Are Patients Being Warned of Brain Damage Risk?

Upon review of hundreds of the "informed" consent forms received from those suffering permanent cognitive impairment after receiving ECT, the overwhelming majority do not provide the patient with any form of disclosure that "brain damage is a risk that can potentially occur from ECT, whether performed properly or not."

Two Years Tapering an Antidepressant – A Life-Changing Experience That I Didn’t Want

My heart goes out to anyone experiencing withdrawal, but especially those who are so ill they can’t work and are struggling to navigate a heartless and cynical ‘benefits’ system. Their only crime is to have experienced difficulty from a prescribed treatment, yet they are treated as medical pariahs.
clown psychiatrist

The Three Types of Psychiatric Drugs – A Doctor’s Guide for Consumers

Psychiatrists say little in their brief sessions. But if you take the few things they do say, read between the lies and boil them down to their essence, you’ll be left with this message: “Whatever is upsetting you is not worth listening to — just shut up and take one of these shut-up pills.” 
ECT electricity eTNS for children

A Smashing Victory — And an Insidious New Threat

Afraid of facing me in court, the state gave up entirely and a young man was freed from involuntary ECT treatment. It was a total victory. Meanwhile, the Psychiatric Industrial Complex is finding more subtle ways to inflict electrical energy upon the brains of children labeled with ADHD.
for your own good

When ‘For Your Own Good’ Actually Means ‘For My Own Good’

“For your own good” is oppressive. Embedded in that four-word phrase is the idea that each of us doesn’t understand who we are or what we need. Someone else is the expert. Someone else has the privilege to hold all the answers, and if those answers don't work for us then somehow it's our fault.
medicaid expenditures

Public Purse a Cash Cow for Pharma: Could Taxpayer Dollars Be Better Spent?

In Oregon, which has only about 1% of the national population, medical expenditures for psychiatric drugs in fiscal year 2017-2018 were $82.2 million for adults, and another $8.7 million for youth. Every advocate in the US should request these figures from their state Medicaid offices.
Thomas Szasz

Tough Love for Thomas Szasz: A Book Review

Dr. Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was one of the greatest thinkers and prose stylists of the last 100 years. Enough time has passed since he died that we can start to take stock of his legacy. This important new collection of essays by former colleagues, psychiatrists, philosophers, and legal experts does just that.
introverted

I’m Introverted, Not Depressed!

Urging introverts to act more extroverted as a pathway to greater life satisfaction is wrongheaded. Elizabeth's case is one where the demoralization and despondency she experiences—forced to sacrifice her needs as an introvert to comply with the social scripts required to live in an extroverted world—masquerades as depression.
psychiatry tentacle monster

Blaming the System May Be the Best Therapy

If this were an old sci-fi movie, psychiatry would be the evil alien race on a collision course with earth that plans to completely take it over as soon as it can. That we are not treating psychiatry as the malevolent invader that it is shows only how deeply we’ve fallen for its facade of helping people.
OCD worry monster

Helping Children to Overcome OCD: 6 Creative Strategies for Parents

Here, Dr. Ben Furman offers a creative approach to helping children who struggle with OCD. Explaining why behaviors like reasoning, reassuring, and superstitious rituals don’t work, he suggests engaging alternatives that teach kids how to manage their “worry monster” and make sense of their distressing experience.
Monarch eTNS device

FDA Approves Using Electricity All Night Long on Children’s Brains

The FDA just approved sales of an electrical device called the Monarch eTNS to be used on the brains of children diagnosed with so-called ADHD. The device “sends therapeutic signals to the parts of the brain thought to be involved in ADHD,” according to the FDA press release. “Therapeutic signals”? Really?
on antidepressants everything is fine

Are Antidepressants Enabling the Population to Tolerate the Intolerable?

Just how sad is our current state of affairs that it causes so much of the population to feel depressed and/or anxious? Just how much are these drugs changing the state of our society as a whole? Are the drugs desensitizing the population to the point that it will tolerate social conditions it would otherwise find intolerable?
trapped in mental health system

My Son and the “Mental Health” System

As a father whose 27-year-old son is trapped in the mental health system, I am painfully aware that I have been unable to protect him. At age 19, my son naively told his mother and his doctor that he was hearing voices, marking the beginning of a hellish nightmare which he is still unavoidably immersed in. I would like to explain my perspective on why this is the case.
recovery vs mad pride

Recovery Versus Mad Pride: Exploring the Contradictions

What would mental health treatment look like if it balanced an awareness of the need for “recovery” with an awareness that people also sometimes need to go “out of their minds” to resolve problems that they haven’t been able to solve otherwise, or maybe that their entire culture has not been able to face and resolve?
abolish shock bouquet

Stop Shocking and Torturing Women – My Sisters

Think of all those women who have undergone or will undergo electroshock and suffer severe losses in memory, intelligence, special skills, creativity. Women too disabled by shock to pursue promising careers. Women who suddenly die after being shocked. Electroshock is torture, and informed consent in psychiatry is a myth and a lie.
being with extreme states

Reflections on 25,000 Hours of Being With People in Extreme States

Being with someone in an extreme state or other emotional pain, it feels like we’re two young friends who have ridden our bikes to a quiet place by the river and my friend turns to tell me about awful things happening at home — and they cry or yell in anger while I sit there and wonder what to say or do, and realize that just being quiet is okay.
economic inequality 2

Thought About Killing Yourself Lately? It’s Not All In Your Head

As the world economic leader in GDP at $24 trillion per year, the United States has had steadily rising suicide rates for nearly two decades, though when compared to other economic leaders such as France, Germany, Japan, India, the UK and Italy, it remains the outlier; the rest have dropped. Why is the United States unique in its degree of misery?
human nature

On Human Nature and Its Implications for the Mind-Body Problem

Peter Hacker's magnum opus explores what it means to be human via an analysis of the language we use. Through disclosing the conceptual framework within which we think, act and come to know things, our deep and implicit understanding of ourselves and our world is revealed.
decision in Norway

Forced Drugging with Antipsychotics is Against the Law: Decision in Norway

In all countries, we need to work for ensuring that forced medication for psychiatric patients is forbidden by law. Virtually all countries, apart from the US, have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which prohibits forced drugging, but not a single country has done anything.
Lou Reed ECT

Lou Reed: That Which Does Not Kill Us Can Radicalize Us

Lou Reed’s “Kill Your Sons,” about his ECT as a 17-year-old, gives voice to an event that majorly radicalized him to distrust authorities. Lou’s talents enabled his rage over his ECT to be transformed into the kind of art that deeply touched society’s outcasts and victims of illegitimate authority. But such trauma often only destroys.
deep dive system change

A Deeper Dive into System Change in the Mental Health Paradigm

For the past several years, my blogs have centered on how policy can affect practice, especially in public mental health systems. But I haven't taken a deeper dive into strategies, especially focused for advocates who seek significant and even radical changes. I think it's now time.
lithium salts

Lithium: A Survivor’s Guide for Parents

When I was a young adult, I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and placed on lithium. I am 61 years old now, living on the edge of end-stage kidney disease. If I could undo everything, by all means, I would not have taken this drug. It is not safe for anyone at any age.
Deron Drumm

Remembering Deron Drumm: The Vision and the Hope for Healing and Connection

A memorial blog for Deron S. Drumm, Executive Director of Advocacy Unlimited and founder of the Toivo wellness center, who passed away on April 4, 2019 from a sudden illness. Readers who knew Deron and would like to honor his life and work are invited to share their remembrances here.
multi-lens therapy

25 Lenses Through Which to View How Life is Experienced

Each of us is a real human being dealing with real circumstances and experiencing the passage of time. Each knitted together as a multiplicity, smiling one moment and dreaming of revenge the next, oblivious to the world one moment and marching in protest the next, selfless one moment and selfish the next. Labels do not capture this reality.

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