Monday, July 23, 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).

escape from AOT birdcage

Escaping from AOT: Letter to the Judge

To the judge presiding over my upcoming AOT hearing: I would like a better way to take care of my own health care than the choices currently being imposed on me by community mental health centers, which involve forcibly injecting me with a drug that I do not want and making me take a daily pill that I do not want to take. There is no reason that anyone should make my own health care choices for me.

The Story of a Professional Delusion: Do Psychiatrists Believe Their Own Words?

I believe this is what happened: The people responsible for this travesty looked at the truth (that psychiatrists hardly ever tell the truth about their drugs) and realised they didn't like what would flow from that fact getting loose. So they removed it and substituted a falsehood (only ever) whose consequences they could live with.
mental health design principles

12 Mental Health Design Principles to Replace This Thing

One of the issues we face in mental health is that everyone knows the system is broken, but there is no replacement yet. So the question is, what are the mental health design principles to build a replacement? How do you build a functional mental health system that isn't disease-based? How do you make it robust, scalable and spreadable?
Asia

Mad in Asia: Towards Multiple Narratives for Inclusion

An e-zine with the mission to contribute to changing the narrative about madness and mental distress in the Asia region has launched. Mad in Asia hopes to showcase narratives that are contextually relevant to the Asia region, with a focus on the human rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities.

Why Have Unity When We Can Have Polyphony?

Every day, we as a movement accomplish something truly incredible. Every day, we create a space where each person can freely express their own truth. Without an overarching structure or unifying platform, each individual can stand on their own. Each voice within the community is wholly unique and distinct from any other; each person is their own universe.
depression

In Defense of Healthy Depression

With the increasing medicalization of depression, and as more and more physicians see the treatment of depression as falling under their purview, it is imperative to distinguish between actual clinical depression and "healthy depression" — the adaptive and expectable responses to distressing life events that signal a need for rethinking one's life and recalibrating one's self-perceptions and emotions.

“The Lion King” Psychiatrized: What If Psychiatry Had Gotten Its Hands on Simba?

It is time for a new strategy. Rather than try to get adults to question their entrenched beliefs, why not reach out directly to not-yet-fully-indoctrinated kids? This could be done by creating psychiatrized versions of their favorite films that show how ridiculous and harmful the medical model is. Scene 1: Annoyed by Simba's exuberance, Mufasa takes him to Rafiki, the monkey psychiatrist.
videogame

The Creation of an Illness: Video Games and Defining Addiction

Part of what we mean when we say something is socially constructed is that the existence of an entity, in this case a specific medical condition, partly or wholly depends on certain social attitudes, beliefs, or reactions towards that entity. In this particular case, a mental illness exists if and only if it causes certain types of distress that we get to define.

“The Angry Consumer”: Embracing Difficult Conversations

Judgments of the so-called ‘angry consumer’ deeply reinforce divisions within mental health policy and services. The only way we can engage in meaningful co-production is not to gloss over histories of collective exclusion and disempowerment and all the pain and anger that goes with it, but rather to validate and work through difficult emotions.
detention of children

The Drugging of Migrant Children: A Symptom of a Systemic Issue

Isolation, demeaning behaviors on the part of staff, forced injections and tranquilization — former patients of detention and residential facilities have been describing this inhumanity as the norm for decades. It is our acceptance of this as a norm that allows for abusive situations to arise so easily.

Selling Nicotine on a Psych Ward

A psych hospital is like any other institution of total control. You have locked doors around you, there are guard-like mental health workers, and you only have so many ways to get by. Some people choose to sleep all the time. Some people choose to pace. And some people choose, given the right time and the right opportunity, to learn to steal or to get by in other ways.
treating mental disorders with drugs

Drug Treatment in Medicine and Psychiatry: Papering Over Important Differences

The treatment of mental disorders with drugs is not the same sort of activity as the use of drugs in medicine. The ethical implications of the two situations are different. Insisting on equating the two obscures these differences and presents the use of drugs for mental distress as less controversial than it actually is.

How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal

Together, we can hold individuals who are plumbing the depths of their pain and help them to transform it. We can show them that there is another, med-free way to accept themselves and that there is precedent for what it looks like to break free from psychiatry, its labels, and consciousness-warping chemicals.
bipolar

Reappropriating Bipolar Beyond Pathology

It’s still not easy for me to say, “I’m bipolar.” Know that I’m bipolar for good reason, reappropriating a painful word, so those in pain can find me—so you can find me. This is how I reappropriate a term used to strip me of my humanity, a term used to sell me counterfeit versions of reality. I refuse to let go of a label that helps me find my people, no matter how painful it is to retain.
blue dreams

Still Seeking a Chemical Cure After All These Years: Lauren Slater’s Blue Dreams

Blue Dreams offers a history of the development of psychiatric drugs, but is partly a memoir of the demise of the author's health during the decades she spent on psychiatric drugs. At the time of writing her memoir, Slater is not yet at the point of realizing that the mental health system is not a productive place to go for answers to depression.
psychiatric cheerleading

The “Essential Principles” of Psychiatric Practice: More Psychiatric Cheerleading

In the May 2018 issue of Current Psychiatry, renowned psychiatrist and editor in chief Dr. Henry Nasrallah provides a list of 27 "principles of psychiatric practice," most of them self-serving platitudes. There's one principle he has omitted, if we are to consider his own career to be exemplary: Cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.
psychotherapy

Busting 7 Myths About the Practice of Psychotherapy

All in all, it is not enough that public policy pundits push for greater access to mental health services. Alongside improving access, there needs to be renewed focus on the quantity and quality of psychotherapy the average American currently receives. Health insurers need to reexamine their false assumptions about the effectiveness of short-term, quick-fix therapies.
is psychosis natural?

Is Psychosis Natural?

Much of the wild world is now a garden: a rational, controlled space. Yet if we step out of the garden and back into the old growth, I believe the process of psychosis belongs as part of Earth’s “will,” of her wild. The physiological process of psychosis—that of amplified senses—is ecologically purposeful. Not good nor bad, but part of what Nature does trying to grow. Here I share a talk I gave in Boulder, Colorado exploring these themes.
learning to speak psychotic

Learning to Speak Psychotic

One of the biggest barriers that people who are “psychotic” face is one of communication: other people often have trouble understanding what they’re talking about. The way they describe their experience and their ideas are simply foreign to most people. This lack of clear communication is what gets them labelled as “psychotic” in the first place, and thus it leads to a breakdown between the “psychotic” and the rest of society. This is a loss to both groups.
risk versus reward

Randomized Controlled Trials of Psychiatric Drugs Tell of Harm Done

The most important data in an RCT is not whether the drug provides a statistically significant benefit over placebo. The most important data is the “number needed to treat” calculation (NNT). For the person considering taking an antidepressant or an antipsychotic, the NNT data provides the “math” needed to weigh the potential benefit of taking the drug against the potential harm of doing so.
depression happy mask suicide

Suicide in a Culture of Mandated Happiness – Who’s to Blame?

We live in a culture of mandated positivity and compulsory happiness, which somehow remains untouched by the current political, social, ecological and economic realities of the world. If you’re distressed, it must either be your bad attitude (which is a choice) or your broken brain (which is not a choice); god forbid we look anywhere outside the self.
Spotlight on Institutional Psychiatry

Spotlight on Institutional Psychiatry

Spotlight on Institutional Psychiatry is a response by psychiatric survivors and allies to Operating in Darkness, a scathing 2017 report on British Columbia’s Mental Health Act Detention System. We hope that professionals will take note of the devastating effects of forced psychiatric treatment and be moved to speak out, and, above all, that survivors will feel encouraged and inspired by our efforts.
Julia Rucklidge TED talk

TED Betrays Its Own Brand By Flagging Nutrition Talk

Four years after Rucklidge gave her talk on using micronutrients for psychiatric disorders, why did TED suddenly decide to flag it as falling “outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines?” And why did it do so when her talk—a review of published science, by a researcher who has conducted placebo-controlled studies on this topic—obviously met TED guidelines? Our guess is that they caved to outside pressure.
man contemplates suicide

Rising Rates of Suicide: When Do We Acknowledge That Something Isn’t Working?!

Scapegoating a purported unseen "illness" may provide temporary comfort from acknowledging the horrors and injustice of the world, but it is a delusion — and one with fatal consequences for many. When 45,000 people a year would rather die than live in this world any longer, it might behoove us all to consider what is happening in the world to cause this.
withdrawal psychiatric drugs

So What’s This About Another Webinar Series on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal?

With this second course we are focusing on the challenges that drug withdrawal presents to prescribers as more and more people seek to come off medications. As many have noted, prescribers may have extensive experience getting patients on psychiatric medications and then managing their drug use, but little or no experience helping patients taper off the drugs.

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