Thursday, October 17, 2019

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).

sisyphus

The Sisyphus Cycle: How Everyday Stress Leads to Suicide

If you wanted to capture my mindset at the peak of suicidal longings — crushing odds, repeated failures, futility of existence, huge obstacles weighing me down — the story of Sisyphus would be it. After one too many trips around this block, enter suicide: the fail-safe tactic for escaping unbearable pain and suffering.
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).

UN Expert Calls for Major Shift in Suicide Prevention Efforts on World Mental Health...

On World Mental Health Day, UN expert Dainius Pūras calls for a shift away from medical solutions toward a rights-based approach to make life “more liveable.” He calls for states to address societal determinants of mental health, promoting autonomy and resilience.

Deep Brain Stimulation and Depression

A new paper is touted as showing that deep brain stimulation "provides a robust antidepressant effect." Among the 28 patients in the study, 56 serious adverse events were reported, including infection, hemorrhage of the cortex and post-operative seizure. Yet the authors conclude that the results "support the long-term safety and sustained efficacy" of DBS.
peer staff escaping coercive

Peer Specialists in the Mental Health Workforce: A Critical Reassessment

It is time to seriously consider re-focusing our energy and resources away from placing peer staff in roles where they support the mental health system’s status quo, and toward the goal of making high-quality peer advocacy available to people faced with coercion by the mental health system.
riding into battle against unjustified commitment

Fighting Unjustified Commitment in Wisconsin: Leslie’s Story

Leslie was not experiencing any depression, psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal ideation. She was not a danger to herself or others. Yet she had been picked up by police, placed in handcuffs, and brought to the hospital, and her social worker intended to have her placed in a group home.
psychological injuries

How Psychological Injuries Cause Physical Illness—And How Therapy Can Heal It

How does experiencing physical abuse as an 8 year old shorten one's lifespan? How do insulting words turn into diabetes? Or sexual abuse trigger a heart attack 50 years in the future? Emotional wounds can damage DNA and produce a huge web of destructive effects, but therapy can turn the process around.
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.
I by Jeffrey Fidel cure bipolar diagnosis

A Doctor Cures His Bipolar Diagnosis Without Psychiatry: Review of ‘I’

I details what happened to Jeffrey Fidel when he quit psychiatric drugs and embraced an alternative, non-medical healing approach — a set of philosophical and spiritual teachings known as the Tao Te Ching and Hua Hu Ching.

10 Reasons Why Psychiatry Lives On—Obvious, Dark, and Darkest

No matter how clearly the scientific case is made that psychiatry is a pseudoscientific institution, it continues to retain power. When we recognize that scientific truths alone are not setting society free, we begin to shift our energy to different strategies.

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.

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...
ritalin use in france

Countervailing Forces Against Ritalin Use in France

A new study in the journal Social Science and Medicine explores why French children take stimulants far less than children in the United States. The study looks at how particular forces in society, in concert with government agencies, became an effective check on stimulant marketing for kids in France.
quitting antidepressants

Lingering Side Effects of Quitting Antidepressants

Nobody told me what it would be like when I first stopped taking antidepressants. The worst is definitely over, but I’m still experiencing some lingering side effects. When the hyper-arousal to sights and sounds kicks in and my head starts buzzing, I’ve learned some ways to cope.
behavioral genetics

A ‘Blueprint’ for Genetic Determinism

Robert Plomin's Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are was seen as a "declaration of victory of nature over nurture." Plomin has a 40-year track record of unfulfilled gene discovery claims and predictions, and there is every reason to believe that his new polygenic score claims and predictions are merely a continuation of this trend.

Michelle Carter Part III: DA Goes After Her Expert Witness to Stop His Blog

The DA’s office asked the judge to stop me from any further writing about the Michelle Carter trial. This extraordinary motion, called prior restraint or pre-publication censorship, is a major assault on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. And there is a public health and safety reason for writing about this case.

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.
fight flight stress

Traumatic Immobility: Depression as a Stress Response

What if we don't have a depression epidemic, but a stress epidemic of traumatic proportions? What if we've been steered away from learning how our minds and bodies actually work, and into believing that our attempts to survive traumatic, threatening real-life circumstances are "symptoms of mental illness"?

Who is Delusional? The Answer Is: We All Are

Within the mental health profession, clinicians and researchers who value a system of categorical illnesses and individual defects too often proclaim that the major feature delineating "real psychosis" from other "disorders" is the presence of delusions. Two recent articles in the New York Times exemplified for me how skewed this assertion is. It also led to a greater awareness, more specifically, of how problematic it is to view so-called delusions as meaningless indicators of disease . . . for we all experience delusion. How one experiences the self, the world, and relationships (usually based on our relationships with our caregivers) determines the level with which one must cling to seemingly irrational ideas in order to maintain a sense of order and meaning in the world. Let me explain . . .
continuing education

Is Remaking Psychiatric Care Possible?

The failures of our current drug-based paradigm of psychiatric care tell of a pressing need for systemic changes in psychiatry. But as we discovered when marketing our new continuing education course on this topic, it's always difficult to promote radical change.

Tearing Apart the DSM-5 in Social Work Class

I'm currently a student at the Silberman School of Social Work. This was the final paper for "Human Behavior 3." HB3 is a required class which is basically a crash course in understanding and using the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In Human Behavior 1 and 2 they cover all kinds of ideas from psychodynamics to systems theory, and have the students practice writing biopsychosocial evaluations. I'm not sure what it looked like in the past but in recent years HB3 has become a DSM memorization class, so much so that we did most of the 5 week class online with modules that looked like the image I'm posting below. I don't know what other people's papers looked like, but here is what I turned in to my professor last week.
abolish shock bouquet

Stop Shocking and Torturing Women – My Sisters

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.

Crazy Utopia & the Dream it Should Be

In the upper north of Berlin one finds the so-called garden city Frohnau. Here the rich and prosperous of Germany’s capital can be found; it is a community that would personify perfection if it were solely up to its residents. Enter 1996: One ugly duckling sees the light of day right in between the villas; the Weglaufhaus is erected to fight against psychiatric conventions in mental health and help those that are labelled ‘mentally ill’.
Marci Webber

Marci Webber Granted a Conditional Discharge

In 2010, Marci Webber killed her four-year-old daughter during a psychotic episode that erupted while she was on a cocktail of psychiatric drugs. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. A judge has now ruled that she should be discharged from a mental hospital.

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