Sunday, November 18, 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).

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 numerous ways in which mainstream services and trauma specialists are perpetuating harm while patting themselves on the back for being progressive and aware.
learning from psychiatric survivors

Learning From Each Other As Psychiatric Survivors

I'm drained by talking to people who might be first discovering basic truths about the mental health system that I've been aware of for over 15 years. But my excitement comes alive when I consult with people recently off of psychiatric meds who are interested in doing work similar to me, mentoring others about coming off of psych drugs.
stigma

Mortification of the Self: The Impact of Stigma on Identity

This is how the vicious cycle continues: the more one internalizes stigma, the more she will distance herself from her social surroundings; the more she distances herself, the more she will experience proliferation of symptoms; and the more symptoms are present, the more others will stigmatize and "force" the person into further isolation.
whistleblower

Heroes of Science: Survival of a Whistleblower

I am just the messenger, the symbol that healthcare is in many ways absurd and harmful because the drug industry is too powerful. The Cochrane Collaboration is in deep crisis because it is too close to industry, practices scientific censorship and has a business model that focuses on “brand” and “our product” rather than getting the science right.
candle incident

Escaping from AOT: The Importance of the Incident with the Candle

At my AOT hearing, in response to a question about whether I had had any problems with substance use, my counselor said that there had been “an incident with a candle.” There has never been an incident with a candle, but now it is enshrined in my permanent record, so vague and so general that it could mean anything.
ECT electroshock hazard warning

Litigation Update: ECT Device Manufacturer Issues “Permanent Brain Damage” Warning

After spending the entire litigation vehemently denying that brain injury was even a possible result of ECT, Somatics, LLC has now issued a warning of "permanent brain damage" in its new risk disclosures of October 19, 2018. We think this makes the case of anyone who underwent ECT within the statute of limitations MUCH stronger.
stop ect

The “Time to Strike” is Now: A Call for Anti-ECT Activism

This is a call for action against the horror euphemistically known as “electroconvulsive therapy.” At a time when society is finally making advances against ECT, a courageous 80-year-old shock survivor, Connie Neil, has decided to go on a hunger strike to try to stop the horror that was visited on her from continuing to be visited on others.
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.
Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration Has Failed Us All

The "independent report" that investigated the complaints against Peter Gøtzsche (which included a complaint from E. Fuller Torrey) reveals that they arose in connection with his criticisms of psychiatric drugs. The Cochrane Collaboration's ouster of Gøtzsche betrays a commitment to open-minded science that is vital to serving the public good.

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.
hearing voices

Hearing Voices: Where We Locate Them Shapes Our Experience

My experience began when I heard two people talking about me when I was home alone. I needed a reasonable explanation, and concluded that it had to be my upstairs neighbors. Then I began to hear the voices outside of my apartment — this new presentation meant that my explanation no longer made sense.

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...
twins

Bad-Science Warning: The “Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart” (MISTRA)

The huge impact of the MISTRA, in addition to the harmful and regressive social and political policy implications that flow from it, necessitates a detailed analysis of the “science” behind the study’s major claims and conclusions. Here I offer a new critique of this famous and influential “separated twin study.”

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.

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 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.

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.

Reflections on Being a Therapist

Three-and-a-half years ago I quit my career as a psychotherapist. I’d done it for ten years in New York City and had given it my all. It was a career that chose me, loudly, when I was 27 years old. I learned a huge amount from it and I believe I was helpful to a lot of people. It also represented a vital stage in my life. But then the time came to leave. That also came as a sort of revelation.
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.

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.

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...
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.

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.

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.

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