Thursday, June 27, 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).

diagnostic terminology

To Warn or Not to Warn? A Critique of MIA’s Use of Diagnostic Terminology

I have concerns about how Mad In America deals with diagnostic terminology. When psychiatric diagnoses are used without signaling that they are constructs and unscientific, I feel alarmed for those who will be strengthened in their mistaken beliefs about the labels. 
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.
three identical strangers

“Three Identical Strangers” and the Nature-Nurture Debate

Three Identical Strangers is a riveting film describing the story of identical triplets separated at six months of age and reunited in early adulthood. Their story provides no evidence in support of the genetic side of the nature-nurture debate, but it does supply some evidence in favor of the environment.
pill shaming

The Pill Shaming Phenomenon: What’s It Really About?

At best, the underpinnings of the ‘pill shaming’ accusation are misguided. At worst, they represent a concerted effort on the part of the current power structure to use us against ourselves (and they don’t need any more help). It’s the same old story packaged up as if it were something new and ultra woke.
LGBT sexuality and sanism

Madness, Sexuality and Legacies of Strategic Sanism

There has been little engagement between the survivor and LGBT movements despite a shared interest in critiquing and resisting the normalization project of the psy disciplines — that is, psychiatry and psychology’s clinical categorization of what is ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ or ‘healthy’ and ‘sick’. Why might this be?
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.
voices for choices

Introducing Voices for Choices

Between my first involuntary psychiatric commitment and my learning that the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement existed, I spent years unnecessarily stumbling along on my own. The Voices for Choices video series was conceived to help connect those in need to the existing movements and resources available to us.

Does the Psychiatric Diagnosis Process Qualify as a Degradation Ceremony?

Sociologist Harold Garfinkel, in his landmark article "Conditions For a Successful Degradation Ceremony" wrote that "Degradation ceremonies are those concerned with the alteration of total...

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.
clown psychiatrist

The Three Types of Psychiatric Drugs – A Doctor’s Guide for Consumers

Psychiatrists say little in their brief sessions. But if you take the few things they do say, read between the lies and boil them down to their essence, you’ll be left with this message: “Whatever is upsetting you is not worth listening to — just shut up and take one of these shut-up pills.” 
voice hearers

The Voices My Daughter Hears

The voices were extraordinary; in a way, they were like ghosts. I could not see them, but only divine them by the turmoil they stirred up in Annie. They were not polite house ghosts who knew when to leave; they were ne’er-do-wells she could not get rid of. They were tormentors and torturers, testing the limits of her sanity, blackmailing her into submission.
ECT permanent brain damage

ECT Litigation Update: Are Patients Being Warned of Brain Damage Risk?

Upon review of hundreds of the "informed" consent forms received from those suffering permanent cognitive impairment after receiving ECT, the overwhelming majority do not provide the patient with any form of disclosure that "brain damage is a risk that can potentially occur from ECT, whether performed properly or not."

Two Years Tapering an Antidepressant – A Life-Changing Experience That I Didn’t Want

My heart goes out to anyone experiencing withdrawal, but especially those who are so ill they can’t work and are struggling to navigate a heartless and cynical ‘benefits’ system. Their only crime is to have experienced difficulty from a prescribed treatment, yet they are treated as medical pariahs.

Not so Black: Ablixa and Homicidal Side Effects

So now we know Soderbergh’s movie Side Effects is not so Black/Noir after all – more Fifty Shades of Grey. Emily Hawkins (Rooney Mara) is put on Ablixa by her psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) and while on it kills her husband. She apparently murders him while sleep-walking triggered by Ablixa and sleep walking being a perfect defense against murder she is acquitted.

Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry

Early in The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine attacks the hypocrisy of religious professionals. If alive today, Paine may well have been even rougher on psychiatrists. He revered science, and he would have been enraged by professionals who make pseudoscientific proclamations.

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.
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.
ECT electricity eTNS for children

A Smashing Victory — And an Insidious New Threat

Afraid of facing me in court, the state gave up entirely and a young man was freed from involuntary ECT treatment. It was a total victory. Meanwhile, the Psychiatric Industrial Complex is finding more subtle ways to inflict electrical energy upon the brains of children labeled with ADHD.
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.
for your own good

When ‘For Your Own Good’ Actually Means ‘For My Own Good’

“For your own good” is oppressive. Embedded in that four-word phrase is the idea that each of us doesn’t understand who we are or what we need. Someone else is the expert. Someone else has the privilege to hold all the answers, and if those answers don't work for us then somehow it's our fault.
Monarch eTNS device

FDA Approves Using Electricity All Night Long on Children’s Brains

The FDA just approved sales of an electrical device called the Monarch eTNS to be used on the brains of children diagnosed with so-called ADHD. The device “sends therapeutic signals to the parts of the brain thought to be involved in ADHD,” according to the FDA press release. “Therapeutic signals”? Really?

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.

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.

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