Thursday, December 13, 2018

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).

childhood bipolar

Childhood Bipolar Disorder, Deconstructed

Diagnosing children with juvenile or pediatric bipolar disorder is largely an American phenomenon. Do we actually have more “bipolar” children in the United States—or are we simply labeling more of them as such? If it is ever fair to call a child “manic,” isn’t the child’s environment the direction in which we should look?
transcranial magnetic stimulation

What’s “Grand” About Electroshock and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

The December 4 "grand rounds" at the Oregon Health and Science University consisted of a presentation on what they call "Interventional Psychiatry"—an interesting euphemism for Electroshock, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and the comeback street drug, Ketamine.
madness mental health system

The Madness of Our Mental Health System

Why we should be deeply disturbed by the largely fictional ‘mental illness’ narrative and its resultant system, why we should be suspicious of who actually benefits from the whole enterprise, and, most importantly, why we can no longer countenance the unconscionable toll it takes on the health and well-being of ordinary citizens.
suicide and psychotropic meds

When Will We Wake? Reflections on Suicide and Psychotropic Medications

What are we doing to our people? What life have we created for our youth? I want to believe that those struggling individuals for whom life became unbearable under the influence of medication cocktails have not died in vain. I have chosen to see their action as both a sacrifice and statement to all of us.
shame traps

Smoke and Flames: Silence In A World On Fire

A corrupt world is built brick by brick by individual acts of shame and silence. Can we break the silence that protects misconduct even while it means being exposed ourselves? Psychiatry and the mental health system are failing, but they are also just sets of human relationships, relationships we are also part of.
opioid epidemic pain pills

Anatomy of an Opioid Epidemic

Long-term opioid prescribing has not only been shown to not be helpful for chronic pain; it in fact worsens pain by repeatedly causing tolerance and withdrawals (the main symptom of which is pain). This is analogous to how psychiatric drug use, though often helpful initially, ultimately can cause people to become chronically “mentally ill.”
mindfulness

Mindfulness and Complex Trauma: The Rewards and the Risks

What media hype and those selling mindfulness don’t tell you is that mindfulness is a process that can radically transform you, and it’s not always safe, nor is it easy or straightforward. We make it safer by being aware of the risks and learning to listen to our own bodies about when it is or isn’t okay for us. No one else actually knows.
love

Are Emotional Disorders Really Disorders of Love?

Could the whole array of psychiatric diagnostic categories, to the extent that they have any validity at all, be expressions of the failure to love and to accept love? Do successful psychotherapies really work by means of the therapist’s ability to encourage people to experience love through how positively he or she relates to them?
the real attention deficit disorder

The Real Attention Deficit Disorder

The fact that we shame people for acting like they need attention (and for actually needing attention) is self-defeating and maddening, not to mention absurd. Living in a society that punishes people for having fundamental needs like attention is probably one of the reasons people have developed behaviors “just” to “get attention.”
liberty bell

Filling the Crack in the Liberty Bell

Instead of an echo-chamber conference, in which treatment “experts” present to other treatment providers, and those with lived experience gather in their own rooms, the ISPS-US conference allowed for the clash of diverse opinions, which could sometimes amalgamate into something greater than the sum of its parts.
informed consent

What Would Real Informed Consent on Psychiatric Drugs Look Like?

Reforming the process of real informed consent can be brought to the horizon sooner rather than later if we have a solid idea of what the provision of truthful, unbiased research-based information about psychiatric medications should look like. Our upcoming series of webinars for 2019 will focus on just that.
trauma-informed doctor

Trauma Outside the Box: How the ‘Trauma-Informed’ Trend Falls Short

Becoming "trauma-informed" is often just a way to advance one's career and feel good about oneself while pretty much doing nothing different. Here's a glimpse into the ways in which mainstream services and trauma specialists are perpetuating harm while patting themselves on the back for being progressive and aware.
ECT electroshock hazard warning

Litigation Update: ECT Device Manufacturer Issues “Permanent Brain Damage” Warning

After spending the entire litigation vehemently denying that brain injury was even a possible result of ECT, Somatics, LLC has now issued a warning of "permanent brain damage" in its new risk disclosures. We think this makes the case of anyone who underwent ECT within the statute of limitations MUCH stronger.
whistleblower

Heroes of Science: Survival of a Whistleblower

I am just the messenger, the symbol that healthcare is in many ways absurd and harmful because the drug industry is too powerful. The Cochrane Collaboration is in deep crisis because it is too close to industry, practices scientific censorship and has a business model that focuses on “brand” and “our product” rather than getting the science right.
learning from psychiatric survivors

Learning From Each Other As Psychiatric Survivors

I'm drained by talking to people who might be first discovering basic truths about the mental health system that I've been aware of for over 15 years. But my excitement comes alive when I consult with people recently off of psychiatric meds who are interested in doing work similar to me, mentoring others about coming off of psych drugs.
candle incident

Escaping from AOT: The Importance of the Incident with the Candle

At my AOT hearing, in response to a question about whether I had had any problems with substance use, my counselor said that there had been “an incident with a candle.” There has never been an incident with a candle, but now it is enshrined in my permanent record, so vague and so general that it could mean anything.
stigma

Mortification of the Self: The Impact of Stigma on Identity

This is how the vicious cycle continues: the more one internalizes stigma, the more she will distance herself from her social surroundings; the more she distances herself, the more she will experience proliferation of symptoms; and the more symptoms are present, the more others will stigmatize and "force" the person into further isolation.
hearing voices

Hearing Voices: Where We Locate Them Shapes Our Experience

My experience began when I heard two people talking about me when I was home alone. I needed a reasonable explanation, and concluded that it had to be my upstairs neighbors. Then I began to hear the voices outside of my apartment — this new presentation meant that my explanation no longer made sense.
twins

Bad-Science Warning: The “Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart” (MISTRA)

The huge impact of the MISTRA, in addition to the harmful and regressive social and political policy implications that flow from it, necessitates a detailed analysis of the “science” behind the study’s major claims and conclusions. Here I offer a new critique of this famous and influential “separated twin study.”
stop ect

The “Time to Strike” is Now: A Call for Anti-ECT Activism

This is a call for action against the horror euphemistically known as “electroconvulsive therapy.” At a time when society is finally making advances against ECT, a courageous 80-year-old shock survivor, Connie Neil, has decided to go on a hunger strike to try to stop the horror that was visited on her from continuing to be visited on others.
language internalized oppression

The Language of Internalized Oppression

I realize many folks get irritated by the ‘moving target’ of language, but understand that this is a process of unlearning for us all. It’s not so much that the words randomly keep changing as it is that the oppression embedded in our words and ways of being runs deeper than most of us could have ever imagined. Unraveling it all is a long way off.
Allen Frances

Allen Frances and the Increasing Use of Antidepressants

Much of what Allen Frances says is sensible, but it would be more convincing if he would lay the responsibility for the present state of affairs squarely where it belongs: on psychiatry. I suggest, in all sincerity, that Dr. Frances abandon his attempt to absolve psychiatry from blame, and that he join the anti-psychiatry movement.
resisting illegitimate authority

Psychiatric Marginalization of Anti-Authoritarians – Excerpt from New Book

Anti-authoritarians are a threat to authoritarians because they don’t provide unquestioning obedience, but instead first assess the legitimacy of authorities. Consequently, authoritarians have attempted to shun, punish and psychopathologize anti-authoritarians throughout history.

MIA Update: Our Parent Resources Initiative and More

Regular MIA readers may have noticed that we recently added a content box on the front page titled “Parent Resources.” This initiative has been a long time coming, and it is one that we hope will help us reach—and serve—a new group of readers. Many parents writing to us are desperately looking for a way out of the conventional system.
suicide hotline

Suicide Hotlines, Risk Assessment and Rights: Whose Safety Matters?

The hotline “counselor” will tell you that, if you’re unable to keep yourself safe, they will have to send you some “help.” We all know that what they mean is not a friend or a therapist but the police. Because strangers, usually big white men with guns, keep everyone safe and are not triggering, traumatizing or on power trips at all.

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