Thursday, May 13, 2021

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).

We Do Not Have Everything We Need

It’s healthier to figure out how to be with each other and care for each other than continue to engage in the destructive lie that we already have everything we need "inside ourselves."

Mental Health Survival Kit, Chapter 2: Is Psychiatry Evidence Based? (Part 9)

On Denmark's declining use of depression pills for children, and why one should never stop fighting to change psychiatry and society's reliance on it.

Mental Health Survival Kit, Chapter 3: Psychotherapy: The Human Approach to Emotional Pain

Through the process of healing—whether assisted by psychotherapy or not—we learn something important that can be useful if we get in trouble again.

Nutrition Is the Foundation of Resilience

Recent studies show that we are not consuming as healthy a diet as our ancestors did. Would that matter to our brain health? Yes!

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...
brain

Too Good to Be True: How TMS Damaged My Brain

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.

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 Can Mental Health Research Become More Relevant to Those it is Meant to...

As a psychiatrist, my bread-and-butter is the kind of private practice in which my patient’s concerns become my own and it is those concerns that drive our work together, my teaching, and my research.

Access Denied: Victims of Prescribed Harm Are Abandoned by Psychiatry

Harmed patients are frequently unable to control the narrative of their own treatment and are subject to gaslighting, dangerous medical advice, and termination.

Philosophy & Madness: A Discussion with Wouter Kusters

Wouter underwent two experiences of what is commonly called "psychosis," which he explores and explains through the lenses of philosophy, spirituality, and mysticism.
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.

New FDA Study Shows Benzodiazepines Can Cause Long-Term Injury

The FDA has finally acknowledged the adverse effects of benzodiazepines, the dangers of withdrawal, and that the current packaging does not sufficiently warn of these harms.
autism definition

I Don’t Believe in Autism

The conversation about what truly constitutes “autism” is an ongoing one. Although I resist the label personally, I do not begrudge anyone for identifying as autistic, or seeking out an autism diagnosis. Leaving this discussion within the domain of medicine is limiting. That’s why a new discourse is emerging, not among doctors, but among activists who push for autistic self-advocacy.

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

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.

Mental Health Survival Kit, Chapter 2: Is Psychiatry Evidence Based? (Part 7)

Many patients end up on terribly harmful drug cocktails they might never escape from. Although it’s hard to believe, it’s getting worse.

Mental Health Survival Kit, Chapter 2: Is Psychiatry Evidence Based? (Part 8)

On psychiatry’s resistance to admitting to withdrawal effects, as well as the way doctors and scientists are treated when they critique the establishment.
light

When Minds Crack, The Light Might Get In: A Spiritual Perspective on Madness

You can’t go back to mundane ways of seeing the world after very dark things happen. Trauma cracks open a hole in our lives and in our minds, throwing us into the zone where we face the big spiritual questions. Bad ideas can get in when things open up like that. But it’s also possible that something new and positive can get in.
the new yorker

The New Yorker Peers into the Psychiatric Abyss… And Loses Its Nerve

The New Yorker's story on Laura Delano and psychiatric drug withdrawal is a glass-half-full story: It addresses a problem in psychiatry and yet hides the deeper story to be told. A story of how her recovery resulted from seeing herself within a counter-narrative that tells of the harm that psychiatry can do.
police killings

End Police “Wellness Checks.” Now.

If you are a mental health worker or advocate, there's a way to help dismantle police brutality and systemic racism in the U.S.
alternatives to suicide

Alternatives to Suicide: Strategies for Staying Alive

For more than 7,300 days of my life, waking up the next morning required me to make a conscious choice to diligently pursue something — anything — other than my impulse to die. Maybe the best teachers of how to avoid suicide will not be the people who are afraid someone else will die, but those of us who can explain how and why we regularly choose to live.
man looking upset with pills in front of him

SSRI Withdrawal’s Elephant in the Room: Tardive Akathisia

Slower tapering of antidepressant dose is generally more comfortable. However, success or failure after stopping completely mostly relates to whether tardive akathisia occurs.

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

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.

The Real Myth of the Schizophrenogenic Mother

Acknowledging the role of trauma inflicted by a given individual’s mother is not the same as laying all blame for “mental illness” at the feet of motherhood. Meanwhile, a mountain of evidence has accumulated linking schizophrenia to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and many other categories of adverse childhood experiences.

Jordan B. Peterson’s Support of Corporal Punishment for Children: A Critique

In his book 12 Rules for Life, supposedly based on "cutting-edge research," Jordan Peterson attempts to justify the hitting of children as a form of discipline. But Peterson does so without citing a single study to support his view. In fact, this entire section of the book is bereft of any reference to any research supporting the effectiveness of corporal punishment.
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.

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