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).

child looking at smartphone

“Virtual Autism” May Explain Explosive Rise in ASD Diagnoses

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.

Things Your Doctor Should Tell You About Antidepressants

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.

Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

(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...

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

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.

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

Preface: Failing in my efforts to get this article published for the general public, apparently only here can I talk about a “cool subculture...

Antidepressant-Induced Mania

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.
unhappy child root cause

The Unsung Psychiatric Impact of Strep Throat

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).

My Story and My Fight Against Antidepressants

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.

Michelle Carter: Did She Text Her Boyfriend to Death?

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.

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

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.

When Homosexuality Came Out (of the DSM)

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.

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?

The Modern Day Witch-hunt

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.

ADHD: A Destructive Psychiatric Hoax

Nobody is denying that inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can be real problems. The issue at stake, however, is whether it makes any sense to conceptualize this loose cluster of vaguely-defined problems as an illness.

Reflections on Being a Therapist

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.

Holistic Recovery From Schizophrenia: A Mother and Son’s Journey

I am a mother of a son who was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia in December 2003, a son who is doing well today...

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.

How to Avoid Severe SSRI Withdrawal Symptoms?

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.

Makers of Risperdal Sued for Breast Development in Boys

Thousands of boys and young men are lined up in courthouses around the country to sue J&J for gynecomastia caused by taking Risperdal as young children. The condition is irreversible except by surgical removal. Collectively, they have become known as the Risperdal Boys.

Herbs, Supplements, Foods That Can Aid in Withdrawal Symptoms

When one is coming off of psychiatric pharmaceuticals, it's common to experience withdrawal induced anxiety, panic and psychosis. Here are some tips to help calm your body.

I Don’t Believe in Mental Illness, Do You?

In November 2000, I anxiously stood before the gathered four hundred and fifty mental health professionals, administrators, peers and academicians and said, "Hi, I'm Michael Cornwall and I don't believe in mental illness!"

Taking “Anti-Psychotics” When You Are Not Psychotic

The Wunderink study has been discussed here in other blogs. In brief, using a randomized control design, Wunderink found that in adults diagnosed with a psychotic disorder continuous use of neuroleptics was associated with worse functional outcomes. Is this study relevant to those who do not experience psychosis?

Why the Rise of Mental Illness? Pathologizing Normal, Adverse Drug Effects, and a Peculiar...

In just two decades, pointing out the pseudoscience of the DSM has gone from being an “extremist slur of radical anti-psychiatrists” to a mainstream proposition from the former chairs of both the DSM-3 and DSM-4 taskforces and the director of NIMH. In addition to the pathologizing of normal behaviors, another explanation for the epidemic — the adverse effects of psychiatric medications — is also evolving from radical to mainstream, thanks primarily to the efforts of Robert Whitaker and his book Anatomy of an Epidemic. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason.

Part II: Michelle Starts Prozac and Sees the Devil

By 2011, anyone who read the scientific literature would have known that children cannot tolerate SSRIs and should not be given them. Neither Conrad nor Michelle seemed to have been warned about the common adverse effects (such as nightmares and compulsive suicidality) of the SSRI antidepressants they were on.

Playing the Odds: Antidepressant ‘Withdrawal’ and the Problem of Informed Consent

If I thought that it was possible, I would have opened a string of clinics all over the country to help get people off of antidepressants.  Unfortunately, the problems that sometimes occur when people try to stop an SSRI antidepressant are much more severe and long-lasting than the medical profession acknowledges, and there is no antidote to these problems. The truth is, giving people information about taking antidepressants is like giving information to people who are enroute to a casino; they go because they hear that some people win (at least for a time), but the losers are the ones who ultimately pay for it all — and the odds are not in their favor.

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