Thursday, April 25, 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).

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.
group therapy

The Lonely Wave: On the Failure of Group Therapy

If you put mortally desperate people in a room together, what do you expect? Emotions will spill over and people will jostle for time and topic. In my groups, even the most kindhearted had attempted to either become the center of attention or slink away into silence, often leaving early with a whispered “sorry” and a quick shuffle out of the room.

Do Psychiatrists Harm their Patients out of Stupidity?

I think it is fair to say that many psychiatrists display an enormous lack of good sense and judgment. Psychiatrists are in the firm grip of a collective force field of an almost fundamentalist belief system that blinds them to the harm they unwittingly do and the human rights abuses they commit.

“Dad, You Were Right”: I Got Better When I Stopped Treatment

Through all the years that I was a mental patient, my parents were excellent advocates who constantly questioned what the docs were doing, even though my own faith in psychiatry was unwavering.... Amazingly, what cured me was not some type of “treatment,” but getting away from drugs and therapy.
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.
Marci Webber

Update on Marci Webber: Will the Nightmare Ever End?

According to the law, when an NGRI patient is no longer mentally ill and dangerous, they are supposed to be released. Marci petitioned for discharge and has a hearing scheduled for May 7-9, 2019. It is critical that we convince the judge that Marci should be discharged. She is finding it increasingly difficult to tolerate life under the present circumstances.
erasing person Teresa Sheehan story

Media Errors in Covering “Mental Health” – Advice to Fellow Writers and Editors

In 2015, I published a BuzzFeed feature story about Teresa Sheehan, a woman who was diagnosed with "schizoaffective disorder" and was shot by police. At the time I didn’t realize that it was my job to take the point of view of people who’ve been psychiatrically diagnosed very seriously. I was terrified of appearing to challenge the profession of psychiatry.
harmful effects drugs withdrawal

Lasting Damage from Prescribed Drugs

There is a large-scale failure to appreciate the risks involved in taking drugs that alter brain function on a long-term basis. The fact that it has taken single-minded and dedicated campaigners, many of them users of the drugs concerned, to bring these effects to the attention of the scientific and professional community is shameful.
red tape

Struggling Parents, Burdened Social Services: What We Can Change

Parents encounter many obstacles when trying to secure adequate educational, medical, psychological, and social supports for their children. These “dense bureaucracies” hurt not just families, but everyone.

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.
hearing voices

Helping People to Constructively Engage with Voices

When voices are engaged with creativity and compassion, the result can be a positive change in the relationship with voices, leading to much greater peace of mind. But how can people learn how to facilitate this? A new video series by Charlie Heriot-Maitland, Rufus May and Elisabeth Svanholmer offers some practical ideas.
mental illness trophy mentally ill

“I Love My Diagnosis”: The Benefits of Mental Illness

What inherent benefits may exist for identifying oneself as mentally ill? Many patients actually hope for a diagnosis. Once granted that special status, they then inform everyone around them—friends, family, the HR department—so that everyone can get on board and act accordingly, altering any expectations they might otherwise have for this person.

The Science and Pseudoscience of Women’s Mental Health: Conversation with Kelly Brogan

A conversation with Dr. Kelly Brogan, a leading voice in natural approaches to women’s mental health. With degrees from MIT and Weil Cornell Medical College, triple board certification in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine and integrative holistic medicine, Dr. Brogan is uniquely qualified to challenge the pseudoscience of the chemical imbalance theory and the drug regimens that it spawned.

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...

Back to Basics: What’s Wrong with NAMI

It seems one mostly needs to already know what they’re looking for in order to find the most established criticisms of this particular organization. And even with knowledge and intent, it can require some fairly persistent Googling efforts to unearth all there is to be found.

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.
middle-grounders

Why “Middle-Grounders” May Be as Dangerous as APA Presidents

When above-the-fray/middle-roaders jump on bandwagons and criticize only those aspects of psychiatry that have become fashionable to criticize but don’t challenge the legitimacy of psychiatry as an authority, they hurt more than they help. They provide the false impression that psychiatry is self-correcting and progressing.
ECT electricity

ECT Explained by a CET (Certified Engineering Technologist)

A scientific understanding of electricity’s effects on the human body has only been around since the last half of the 20th century. If this understanding of electric shock and electrical injury was had in the first part of the 20th century, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) would likely never have been accepted by modern western medicine.

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.
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.
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"?
psychological injury model

Why the ‘Psychological Injury Model’ Will Ultimately Triumph

The Psychological Injury model will triumph, not just because literally thousands of studies show how trauma and stressful life events result in mental health problems, but because at our core, we know it is true. People hurt people, and people heal people. This cracks the intellectual foundation of psychopharmacology.

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.
55 steps to informed consent

55 Steps to Informed Consent

55 Steps is a new film based on a true story that centers around two women: Collette, a lawyer with a tendency to work long hours, and Eleanor, who has spent far too much time incarcerated in hospitals. Over the course of five years, Collette fights for Eleanor’s right to choose whether or not she takes psychiatric drugs. This film is imperfect, but its importance can’t be ignored.
postpartum depression

“Breakthrough” Treatment for Postpartum Depression: Game Changer or Misguided Magic Bullet?

Ultimately, the FDA Advisory Committee recommended approval of brexanolone by a 17-1 member vote. I was the only NO vote. I voted NO because as the sole Consumer Representative on the committee I didn’t believe the company had demonstrated that the potential benefits outweighed the potential for harm.

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