Wednesday, January 23, 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).

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.
bipolar drugs good bad ugly

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: An Infographic on Bipolar Drugs

Bipolar drug therapy is a balancing act of benefits vs. harms. Odds of attributable benefit cluster in a 15-25% band, so 75%-85% don’t see substantial benefit. Stated differently, if five people take a bipolar drug, only one is likely to see substantial improvement due to it, but all five will have side effects.
withdrawal shackles

Antidepressant Withdrawal: An Unknown Disorder?

Antidepressant withdrawal is no longer an unknown disorder since knowledge on this topic has grown enough to be translated into practice. As proposed by George Engel in 1977, medical doctors, including psychiatrists, can observe and listen to their patients and develop a program to treat withdrawal and restore health.
open dialogue

Open Dialogue: Does the Current Research Data Support Further Investment?

A leading US journal published an extensive literature review and analysis of currently available research on Open Dialogue. An accompanying commentary concludes, “The present data on Open Dialogue are insufficient to warrant calls for further research on the program other than those projects that are currently under way.”
survivor movement martin luther king

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Psychiatric Violence Survivor Movement

My question to the mental health reform movement, the mad movement, the critical psychiatry movement — whatever we call our movement — is: Will we join the movement to make real change, to get to the heart of human freedom and work to fulfill the promise of democracy against control by monied elites?
fake science

Fake Science and Checking Sources

The field of psychiatry is awash with systematic reviews, meta-analyses and other published articles proclaiming various discoveries. But can this research be trusted? Let's examine one such article, "Suicide prevention strategies revisited: 10-year-old review," in which the author claims that the "anti-suicidal effects of clozapine and lithium have been substantiated."
trauma-informed doctor

Trauma Outside the Box: How the ‘Trauma-Informed’ Trend Falls Short

Becoming "trauma-informed" is often just a way to advance one's career and feel good about oneself while pretty much doing nothing different. Here's a glimpse into the ways in which mainstream services and trauma specialists are perpetuating harm while patting themselves on the back for being progressive and aware.

Societies With Little Coercion Have Little Mental Illness

Coercion — the use of physical, legal, chemical, psychological, financial, and other forces to gain compliance — is intrinsic to our society’s employment, schooling, and parenting, but it isn’t to less “civilized” societies. Coercion fuels miserable marriages, unhappy families, and what we today call mental illness. Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, in Schizophrenia and Civilization, states “Schizophrenia appears to be a disease of civilization.” But Torrey is a strong advocate for coercive treatments, including forced medication — even though his own research shows a stronger relationship between severe mental illness and European-American civilization than with hypothesized biochemical agents that have never been found. Still, he has he not considered the toxic effects of coercion.
2nd Story respite house

The Never Ending Story: How 2nd Story Respite House Was Saved

We had built relationships with provider and peer organizations and NAMI. We had learned how to interface with the system and share the peer perspective. Ultimately, our relationships saved us. We had worked to start our own organization with the same providers who now were in position to step forward in our defense.

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.
new york times

Suicide, Ketamine, the Propaganda Model and the New York Times

A lengthy NYT op-ed had offered what I considered to be a fairly insane solution: “an old anesthetic called ketamine that, at low doses, can halt suicidal thoughts almost immediately.” Despite recognizing how much power the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industrial complex has over the NYT, I submitted my own op-ed in response.
scientific freedom

Why We’re Establishing an Institute for Scientific Freedom

Scientific freedom and integrity are constantly under attack, particularly in healthcare, which is dominated by the drug industry and other economic interests. To help preserve honesty and integrity in science, the new Institute for Scientific Freedom will open on March 9 with an international meeting in Copenhagen.

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...
antidepressant withdrawal research

Tumbling Further Down the Rabbit Hole of Antidepressant Withdrawal Research

One of the criticisms of our systematic review was that it failed to include five randomised control trials. Here we will show how groundless this is, and thus gain insight into how shadowy and ethically suspect antidepressant withdrawal research can get when viewed up close.

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.
love power

How Love Can Reformat Our Lives

I say this about myself and everyone I have known in my life and work: No matter how overwhelmed and desperate we feel, recovery and growth depend on becoming open to loving and being loved, and seeming miracles occur when individuals change their life in recognition of these truths. Love wipes the slate clean.

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.
neurodiversity

Neurodiversity is Dead. Now What?

The neurodiversity movement is a public relations campaign that emphasizes the positive qualities associated with some presentations of autism—creativity, increased tolerance for repetition, enhanced empathy, and exceptional memory—while erasing or minimizing the experiences of autistics who are severely disabled.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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