Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blogs

Essays by a diverse group of writers, in the United States and abroad, engaged in rethinking psychiatry.

Ruby Wax: From Shark Bait to the Doyenne of Disease

I ended 2016 as I started it: listening to a celebrity reducing the complex interplay between society and the psyche to a matter of simple biology. This deprives people of the opportunity to really understand their suffering and find meaning in it — and it undermines the case for prevention.

Healing Madness

After 35 years in medicine, and three years with the same large health care organization where I am now the Medical Director of Integrative Services, I have decided I must quit. I am not willing to be a part of any machine where I doubt in the benefit of what I am being asked to do, and fear it might even be making people sick.

MIA in the Year 2017

We have always conceived of Mad in America as a forum for a community to come together and “rethink” psychiatry and its current paradigm of care. This past year was our first operating as a 501c3, and the support we received from our readers and from charitable foundations has reinforced and strengthened this sense of our mission. As such, we thought it would be useful to briefly review how we expanded our operations in the past year, and detail our ambitions for 2017.

The NIMH in 2017: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

The official announcement of the NIMH's new director proudly proclaimed he had been studying things such as “the role of the hippocampus, a brain structure known to be important for memory and emotional processes associated with anxiety and depression.” Is there any evidence that anything will come of these theories — and the expenses demanded of such endeavors?

How Psychiatric Drugs Really Work

A case study of a former soldier illustrated that mefloquine can cause persisting brain injury with unrelenting, permanent emotional and cognitive problems. As my fellow psychiatrists commonly do, they diagnosed the former soldier with psychiatric disorders and treated him with multiple drugs, worsening his brain injury and overall mental condition.

The Biological Evidence for “Mental Illness”

Partners' comment in response to my Carrie Fisher article essentially consists of unsubstantiated assertions, non sequiturs, and appeals to psychiatric authority. Because it comes from, and presumably represents the views of, an extremely large psychiatric practice, it warrants a close look.

What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Community Mental Health

While I struggle with whether I can work in an ethical way when there are forces and perspectives prominent in our culture that are antithetical to mine, I have kept my day job as a psychiatrist in a community mental health center in Vermont. This is a reflection on that work and the value I observe in the efforts of my colleagues day in and day out.

Understanding Extreme States: An Interview with Stephen Harrod Buhner

Finding myself intrigued by this man who'd never trained in psychiatry or psychology but who nevertheless worked effectively with people in severe distress using self-developed theories, I tracked Buhner down. I asked him to speak to me about these issues, and here is what resulted.

Pioneering New Zealand Antipsychotic Medication Study Focuses on Patient Experiences

Miriam Larsen-Barr's study is the largest to date on the subjective experiences of antipsychotic withdrawal, and the first to explore how people who have successfully stopped antipsychotics are able to maintain their well-being.

Time to ‘Drop the Disorder’

It was February 2016, the UK-EU referendum debate was beginning to warm up and my tolerance for absorbing toxic tweets and frustrating Facebook posts was dwindling fast. What then pushed me over the edge was yet another celebrity-inspired media frenzy about a psychiatric “illness.”

Carrie Fisher, Bipolar Disorder, and the Spread of False Information

As a child of the 80s, I had a childhood dream of growing up to be Princess Leia, and — of course — marrying Han Solo. What I did not dream of was fighting an empire that seems only to grow over time, and with no Harrison Ford by my side to make it all better. The death of Carrie Fisher is heartbreaking; the news coverage of her life and suffering is a tragedy.

Carrie Fisher, Dead at Age 60

First they sell you the "illness" that they've invented. Then they sell you the drugs to "treat" the "illness." Then they sell you more drugs to counteract the adverse effects. Then they sell you electric shocks to the brain. Then you die prematurely. Then they wring their hands in mock anguish, and say what a terrible illness this is, and that without their "safe and effective treatments", you would have died a lot sooner.

Why I’m Not Celebrating Being PMDD-Free

I’m not celebrating because so many of my sisters are still stricken by this disease. They're remanded to the care of mental health professionals who ply them with therapy and scripts for SSRIs, SNRIs, and benzodiazepines, none of which offer long term relief from the horrors of PMDD.

Carrie Fisher: Bipolar Meds and Heart Disease

Carrie Fisher recently died of a heart attack at age 60. How likely was it that her heart attack was caused by her psych meds? Or that her psych meds increased her risk of death once the heart attack happened?

Soldiers as Guinea Pigs: the Case of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine

Hundreds of Australian veterans have been diagnosed with serious neurological and psychiatric disorders, often mistaken for post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of mefloquine, a neurotoxicant able to cause a “lasting or permanent” brain injury, and the experimental drug tafenoquine[.] Many maintain they were compelled to participate in trials of the drugs.

Starting the New Year with a Bang: A Medley of Antipsychiatry Resolutions

Every year at this time, from Canada to Ireland, from Turkey to South Africa, both determined and not-so-determined folk make a very unusual list, known traditionally as New Year's resolutions. What follows are antipsychiatry resolutions—ones that people may borrow from at will.

The Real “Mental Illness” Epidemic: Withdrawal from Antidepressants

If the incidence of mental illness has remained the same, but an ever-increasing percentage of the population takes psychiatric medications, then these drugs are being over-prescribed. Now there is an epidemic of people trying to stop SSRI antidepressants, and the effects can be crippling.

The Right to Refuse Psychiatric Treatment

It doesn’t have to be like this. Give us back our autonomy. Grant us the legal right to refuse psychiatric coercion based on our own preferences and experiences. It’s urgent. We don’t have another survivor to lose.

Opening the Door to a New Year: Some Christmas Thoughts and Wishes

So many people are feeling so hopeless these days. Sometimes I think twice before I turn on the radio. I don’t want to be reminded of all those being abandoned to their fate, in Aleppo and Mosul as well as other places ravaged by drought, famine and war. But the darkest stories are bearable if there is some ray of light at the end.

Shock, Lies… and a Duvet

“I am going to make an official complaint,” says the mother. “You are welcome to do that,” says the psychiatrist, and you can almost hear the laughter—for they know, as others do, that the psychiatric laws trump both the country's own laws and that of human rights.

Seven Reasons Why the US’s New Mental Health Law Is Dangerous

This week, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, touting the bipartisan mental health measure as "bringing to reality the possibility of new breakthroughs to some of the greatest health-care challenges of our time." However, the reality behind this legislation is not quite what it appears to be.

Dear Boston Globe, Part V: Thanks for Nothing

A final response to the Boston Globe's Spotlight on Mental Health series, including a review of their last three installments in addition to their most recent, the dubiously titled “Solutions.”

An Outsider’s Observation

People are encouraged to visit their GP for help with all manner of symptoms — many of which may originate in conditions of stress and distress encountered in our lives and may actually be self-limiting given time, appropriate support and perhaps some change in circumstances.

Learnings from Earthworms: The Ecstasy of an Antipsychiatry “Breakthrough”

As an activist, you work for a long, long time seeing no signs of change, and perhaps you are tempted to throw your hands up in despair. However, very, very often something utterly profound is shifting beneath the surface.

A Mother’s Very, Very Worst Nightmare

I was Marci’s former psychotherapist. When I heard what had happened, I immediately informed the detectives that I suspected that the homicide and suicide attempt were related to psychiatric drugs.

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Psychiatry Past & Present

David Healy offers a two part course on the prescribing of antidepressant medications. He first covers the history of psychosis, beginning in the 19th century and continuing into the present day. He then deconstructs the historical Study 329 as an example of the corruption which pervades modern psychiatric research.