Wednesday, September 19, 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).

The ACE Survey is Unusable Data

Do the effects of trauma matter more, or a person's ACE score? I think this is unusable data that harms people when you gather it. Here's why.
doctors become drug dealers

How Doctors Became Such Prolific Drug Dealers

The transformation of normal, unavoidable aspects of life into Medically Treatable Diseases made it not only justifiable, but a moral obligation for potentially everyone to come get euphoria-giving pills. Upstanding, responsible people obey doctor’s orders and do whatever’s medically needed to cure serious illnesses. It was a business model that worked well.
TED microphone

Why Scientists Should Reconsider Presenting with TED

How many other scientists like me are going to be flagged, publicly reprimanded by TED, for challenging current ways of thinking? Is it even possible to be innovative and follow conventional thinking at the same time? If there are scientists out there with great new ideas, the TED stage may not be the optimal place to state them.
David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace: Suicide and the Death of Agency

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.
antipsychotics survey

Did You Ever Stop Taking Antipsychotics?

Antipsychotics are big business, professionals are often at a loss as to how to help people going through disturbing experiences, the voices of patients are crowded out of the equation — there are many reasons for the lack of real education and informed consent around antipsychotics. To address this gap in knowledge, we launched a world study on antipsychotic medication withdrawal.

Living in One of R. D. Laing’s Post-Kingsley Hall Households

Kingsley Hall was the first of Laing’s household communities that served as a place where you could live through madness until you could get it together and live independently. It was conceived as an “asylum” from forms of treatment — psychiatric or otherwise — that many were convinced were not helpful, and even contributed to their difficulties. By the time I arrived in London in 1973 to study with Laing there were four or five such places. Getting in wasn’t easy.
mad in the uk

Mad in the UK

Today sees the culmination of many months of effort with the launch of Mad in the UK. Acting in concert with MIA, Mad in the UK will carry UK-specific content and provide a voice for UK professionals, service users/survivors, peer activists, carers, researchers, teachers, journalists and others who are working for change in the field of what is usually referred to as ‘mental health’.
dissident psychiatrist going against doctrine

Memoirs of a Dissident Psychiatrist

For years I had hoped that psychiatry would free itself from the psychoanalytic doctrine, and when my wish finally came true, my profession went from the frying pan to the fire. My main goal, currently, is to convince professionals as well as the public that most child psychiatric problems can be handled effectively without medication.

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...
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.

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.

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.
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.
process work tabasco

Process Oriented Approaches to Altered and Extreme States of Consciousness

When John Herold went to see a Process Work counselor, they talked about how his experience of extreme states had been disruptive in his life, but how these states also had value. The counselor compared John's experience with drinking an entire bottle of Tabasco sauce all at once. Why not instead, the counselor suggested, "try being just a little psychotic all the time?"

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...
brainsplain

Introducing ‘Brainsplain’

I'm excited to be doing a new video project, called Brainsplain, in collaboration with MIA. In these videos, end-users of mental health resources critique the latest psychiatry research. I summarize new mental health investigations, and patients evaluate the significance. They share their hopes for future therapies and for changes to culture, and assess ethical issues raised by the research.

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.

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...

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.
projective identification

Letting Negative Projective Identifications Come, and Letting Them Go

In the instant I perceive that I’ve succeeded in inducing fear and shame in you, I can feel a palpable relief from my own fear and shame. This process is called projective identification. I gradually learned as a therapist to be aware of when a person seemed to be mysteriously able to create distressful emotional states in me — states that they were themselves subjectively feeling, but weren’t fully aware of.

Forced “Treatment” is Torture

I have opposed involuntary treatment for my entire career and first began criticizing it in the medical literature in 1964.  As Thomas Szasz originally taught, involuntary psychiatric treatment is unconstitutional and an assault on basic human rights.   I am also against it on scientific grounds, because after hundreds of years, this violation of human rights has generated no scientific studies to show that it benefits its victims. I am encouraged by the excellent blog by Peter C. Gøtzsche on MadinAmerica.com, which inspired me to put a new section, Psychiatric Coercion and Involuntary Treatment, on my website, and to compose these further observations of my own.

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.
psychiatric drugs and violence

Prescripticide: A Proposal for Action and a Request for Your Help

The primary factor protecting psychiatry’s unwarranted power and authority is that it is perceived as shielding society from folks who are believed to be dangerous. It would seem, then, that one logical step toward reducing society’s trust in biological psychiatry would be to reveal the evidence of a significant correlation between the use of prescribed psychoactive drugs and the commission of violent acts against oneself or others.

My Daughter and Prozac

While our daughter was growing up, my ex-wife treated our daughter’s body like a temple. She was the only kid among her friends not allowed to drink soda or cow’s milk as they might negatively affect her health. But Prozac for mild anxiety? Sure, no problem. I was honestly and genuinely shocked.

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.

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