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."
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” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The problem with authoritarianism is that it shuts down the possibility of ordinary people (that’s all of us) creating anything new. Can therapists give up our addiction to knowing what’s “the right path,” what’s the “smart” answer, what’s the solution to the problem, in favor of supporting our clients to create new ways of building their lives?
Last year, Ronald Pies, MD and Mark Ruffalo, LCSW published an article titled "The Reality of Mental Illness." In it they claim that "most of what is asserted by antipsychiatry is easily refuted by the scientific evidence." Why then do they not refute it? The reality is that they malign us because they have no rational response to our criticisms.
When voices are engaged with creativity and compassion, the result can be a positive change in the relationship with voices, leading to much greater peace of mind. But how can people learn how to facilitate this? A new video series by Charlie Heriot-Maitland, Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer offers some practical ideas.
Through all the years that I was a mental patient, my parents were excellent advocates who constantly questioned what the docs were doing, even though my own faith in psychiatry was unwavering.... Amazingly, what cured me was not some type of “treatment,” but getting away from drugs and therapy.
In 2015, I published a BuzzFeed feature story about Teresa Sheehan, a woman who was diagnosed with "schizoaffective disorder" and was shot by police. At the time I didn’t realize that it was my job to take the point of view of people who’ve been psychiatrically diagnosed very seriously. I was terrified of appearing to challenge the profession of psychiatry.