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).

child looking at smartphone

“Virtual Autism” May Explain Explosive Rise in ASD Diagnoses

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New clinical case studies have found that many young children who spend too much screen time—on TV’s, video games, tablets and computers—have symptoms labeled as “autism.” When parents take away the screens for a few months the child’s symptoms disappear.
brain

Too Good to Be True: How TMS Damaged My Brain

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TMS not only has not improved my mental health, but also has robbed me of some of the most important things in life. There has been little to no research on or awareness around the negative side effects that TMS can inflict. This must change.

Why Anti-Authoritarians Are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

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(Note: Read Bruce Levine's latest post: Anti-Authoritarians and Schizophrenia: Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better? In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with...

Catherine’s Story: A Child Lost to Psychiatry 

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A year ago today, our youngest child died, thanks to the adversarial actions and toxic treatments foisted on her by medical-model psychiatry. By telling her story, we hope to promote systemic change.

Things Your Doctor Should Tell You About Antidepressants

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The conventional wisdom is that antidepressant medications are effective and safe. However, the scientific literature shows that the conventional wisdom is flawed. While all prescription medications have side effects, antidepressant medications appear to do more harm than good as treatments for depression.

Lyme is ‘All in Your Head’ – A Wake-up Call to Mental Health Professionals

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Sufferers are desperate for mental health professionals to understand Lyme so that they will know to consider it as a potential differential diagnosis before plying a patient with psychotropic meds that may make matters worse.
Illustration: Lonely and sad stands a suffering man in a crowd of people walking by

Mental Disorder Has Roots in Trauma and Inequality, Not Biology

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The scientific evidence is of social/psychological, not biological, causation: negative environmental conditions, not disease.

Anti-Authoritarians and Schizophrenia: Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better?

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Preface: Failing in my efforts to get this article published for the general public, apparently only here can I talk about a “cool subculture...
A questionnaire reads "Eating disorder: Are you at risk?" The options are checkboxes for "Yes" and "No."

The New DSM Is Coming and That Isn’t Good News

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Binge Eating Disorder is one of many invalid diagnoses we’ll continue to receive as a result of the APA’s failure to correct the mistakes of past versions of the DSM.

Starvation: What Does it Do to the Brain?

The Minnesota Starvation Experiment was conducted at the University of Minnesota during the Second World War. Prolonged semi-starvation produced significant increases in depression, hysteria and hypochondriasis, and most participants experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression and grew increasingly irritable. It really should not be a surprise to this audience that the brain’s functioning is highly compromised when the body is being starved of food (and nutrients). What we wonder is whether eating a diet of primarily highly processed foods low in nutrients has similar effects.

Antidepressant-Induced Mania

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It is generally recognized in antipsychiatry circles that antidepressant drugs induce manic or hypomanic episodes in some of the individuals who take them. Psychiatry's usual response to this is to assert that the individual must have had an underlying latent bipolar disorder that has "emerged" in response to the improvement in mood. The problem with such a notion is that it is fundamentally unverifiable.

My Story and My Fight Against Antidepressants

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I’d like to share a bit about what happened to me after being placed on these medications, and how I successfully got off. Until recently, I was embarrassed to talk about my personal experiences publicly, as I’m a professional who specializes in anxiety and depression. Today, medication free, I feel better than ever before, and I am now on a mission to help my current clients get off medications, and to inform others through my writing about the dangers and pitfalls of starting antidepressants.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder: The ‘Illness’ That Goes On Growing

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According to the APA, intermittent explosive disorder is characterized by angry aggressive outbursts that occur in response to relatively minor provocation. This particular label has an interesting history in successive editions of the DSM. Psychiatry needs illnesses to legitimize medical intervention. And where no illnesses exist, they have no hesitation in inventing them. And since they invented them in the first place, they have no difficulty in altering them to suit their purposes. Of course, almost all the alterations are in the direction of lowering the thresholds, and thereby increasing the prevalence.

How to Avoid Severe SSRI Withdrawal Symptoms?

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After long-term use, most people are going to have serious symptoms when stopping SSRIs. Many people are going to have transient, mild to moderate difficulty and some are going to end up falling down the akathisia rabbit hole. That is a long, difficult drop.
unhappy child root cause

The Unsung Psychiatric Impact of Strep Throat

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A sea change is needed in the evaluation of children with perceived psychological disturbances. Parents are told that their child has a fictitious biochemical imbalance in the brain while real medical disorders are overlooked. In our family's case, it was Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS).

Beyond Benzos: Jordan B. Peterson’s Trip to Hell and Back

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I am thankful "Beyond Order" exists; if only because it serves as a cautionary tale for anyone looking to modify their mood using psychiatry’s plethora of pills.

What is a Warm Line and What Should I Expect When I Call One?

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A warm line is an alternative to a crisis line that is run by “peers,” generally those who have had their own experiences of trauma that they are willing to speak of and acknowledge. Unlike a crisis line, a warm line operator is unlikely to call the police or have someone locked up if they talk about suicidal or self-harming thoughts or behaviors. Most warm line operators have been through extreme challenges themselves and are there primarily to listen.

When Homosexuality Came Out (of the DSM)

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With a diagnosis of schizophrenia, if internalized, comes the erosion of personhood, lowered self-esteem, shattered dreams, and a sense of disenchantment. The psychiatrist Richard Warner has even suggested that those who reject the diagnosis of severe mental illness may have better outcomes as they retain the right to construct their own narrative of personhood and define what really matters for them. Despite public education campaigns (or perhaps because of them), the stigma of mental illness is as enduring as it was 50 years ago.

Michelle Carter: Did She Text Her Boyfriend to Death?

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Today a Massachusetts judge sentenced Michelle Carter for the crime of manslaughter in the suicide death of her boyfriend. I was the only psychiatric and medication expert on either side in this trial, and I testified on behalf of Michelle. Other than perhaps her lawyers, I probably know more about the true story than anyone else.

DOOCE: A Case Study on the Failure of Psychiatry

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Heather Armstrong’s life was taken by psychiatry, and our unwillingness to scrutinize their methods of madness.

Reflections on Being a Therapist

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Three-and-a-half years ago I quit my career as a psychotherapist. I’d done it for ten years in New York City and had given it my all. It was a career that chose me, loudly, when I was 27 years old. I learned a huge amount from it and I believe I was helpful to a lot of people. It also represented a vital stage in my life. But then the time came to leave. That also came as a sort of revelation.
David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace: Suicide and the Death of Agency

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Today is the 10th anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s suicide. While it’s not fair to build an entire theory on an incredibly complicated issue like suicide around one person, Wallace’s death should challenge the common narratives around suicide — that “mental illness” causes it and that “we can’t ever know why people do it.” Both of these are self-serving platitudes that are simply not true.

The Modern Day Witch-hunt

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Scapegoating the “mentally ill” every time violence or chaos breaks out allows us to absolve society of any blame. It allows us to ignore the problems that give rise to anger, distress, and violence (i.e., poverty, rejection, discrimination, oppression, injustice, abuse, etc) and instead focus on the one thing that can never be proven or defined and yet so easily can be identified in another. It provides relief without any reflection on how our society and way of life, and the inevitability of death, may be contributing to the terror that overwhelms us.
One green gamepiece facing many black gamepieces

How and Why Neurotypicals Misunderstand and Mistreat Autistic People

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Commonly used autism interventions, such as ABA, have been found to be both ineffective and abusive, inflicting trauma on those subjected to them.
neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is Not For Everyone: The Dangers of Neurology

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One thing I noticed, from the moment that I stepped out of my psychiatrist’s office, was how strangely blank and yet clear my mind was. I felt surprisingly calm and relaxed, and I decided to go back for another treatment the next week. What I couldn’t have known then was that after that next “treatment,” life would be completely destroyed for me.