Our use of antidepressants has turned single-episode struggles that recovered 85% of the time within one year, never to recur, into chronic and debilitating disorders that hold patients hostage in their own arrested development. But, If you are in the hole of pain, here’s what I have to say to you. It’s what I say to my patients, and what I tell myself in times of struggle.
Is it really best to force someone into the hospital when they are suicidal? Do suicidal feelings plus "risk factors" really mean professionals can predict whether someone might try to kill themselves? And are suicidal feelings the symptom of a treatable illness that should include medication prescription?
I did the research for this article to try and make sense of this story I carry around with me about being someone who is seen as mad, who struggles with what this society considers a serious “brain disorder.” My hope is that by the time you finish reading my words you will have more tools to analyze this hyper-complicated world around you.
Psychiatric diagnoses can be shaped by prejudice, reflecting biases that ignore trauma, diminish populations, and invalidate humanity and experience.
Twenty-five years ago, I organized a Mother’s Day Protest demonstration at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in NYC. We were 12 mothers and one male. The highlight of that APA meeting was the launching of Clozapine, the first of the so-called atypical neuroleptic drugs, which the APA promoted as a “scientific breakthrough treatment for schizophrenia.” Those atypical neuroleptics proved to be weapons of destruction.
I've been working on starting a business that can use market forces to create benefit for our communities. This is called social entrepreneurship. Different models...
Mad in Italy's main focus is research, publishing articles on failures of the disease model and the effectiveness of alternate, humanistic approaches. The goal is policy change; the means is data.
Practitioners and researchers have increasingly started to feel that the maintenance of the status quo has left the addiction field in a state of conflict and fluctuation.
Emotional Crisis Response: The Peer-Run Respite/Soteria House Approach Compared to the Conventional Approach
The peer respite/Soteria house model responds to emotional crisis with compassion and curiosity, rather than pathologizing.
Gottstein’s book is The Pentagon Papers of the traditional mental health system, because he exposes a mind-blowing number and variety of cold-blooded, calculating actions on the part of Eli Lilly in trying to hide what it knew to be the devastating effects of its hugely profitable Zyprexa.
Mental Health America (MHA) has finally unveiled its new National Peer Specialist Certification over much protest. It is dangerous to what we call ‘peer support’ for MHA to have done this. Even if they did it well. Which, as best as I can tell, they did not.
This is a book about stories, urging families to recognize their own strengths and create new narratives on the path ahead.
On July 17, I wrote a post on the use of neuroleptic drugs as chemical restraints in nursing homes. The article generated some comments, one of which touched on some very fundamental issues which, in my view, warrant further discussion. The comment read as follows: "All drugs can be dangerous toxic chemicals when not used appropriately. While many valid points are made in this article, it’s very one-sided and could be considered biased in that it’s written by a psychologist. I’ve seen many patients and families benefit from their use."
I grew up in an environment that taught me my worth as a person was directly tied to my grades, my athletic performance, my list of extra-curricular activities, and my SAT scores. That if I wasn’t the best, I was the worst. That if I wasn’t perfect, I was a failure. At thirteen and in all my psychiatrized years to follow, I never had the chance to step back and process what this all meant, and whether these were values I wanted to hold onto, and I continued through high school and on to Harvard in this existential limbo, simply because I saw no other way.
Just “recovering” one’s previous way of functioning is not so likely to work, because usually something wasn’t working prior to the psychosis. It was that which set off the psychosis, and if that isn’t changed, any “recovery” may not be worth much, as the problems, and so the need to transform, will likely still be present.
Kevin Gallagher addresses the Reagan era and the "crack" epidemic of the 1980s in this continuing series about the USA and addiction.
‘Empathy’ has been revered as the emotional analog of wisdom. I’m here to say that it is vastly overrated, and there is something else far better. More on that later.
“My life was very, very good.” That’s how Michael sums up how things were for him—prior to his suffering from devastating withdrawal effects after discontinuing GlaxoSmithKline’s blockbuster drug Paxil.
The bot was created by one Danny Freed, inspired by the suicide of his close friend a few years prior. Danny reportedly balks at calling Joy a ‘bot,’ and refers to it instead as a “mental health journaling service.” Joy operates through Facebook’s system and auto-chats you at least once a day to check in.
Language, and how we use it, are important to counselling’s conversational work. As a counsellor, my language for understanding and addressing client concerns often fits poorly with the diagnostic and treatment language used to manage services within that system.
The most important data in an RCT is not whether the drug provides a statistically significant benefit over placebo. The most important data is the “number needed to treat” calculation (NNT). For the person considering taking an antidepressant or an antipsychotic, the NNT data provides the “math” needed to weigh the potential benefit of taking the drug against the potential harm of doing so.
I spent 15 years slowly preparing for a trip into the unfaceable, in large part by observing an American human rights advocate and coalition builder (who has German heritage) do gut-wrenching emotional healing work particularly related to her internalized anti-Semitism and her internalized white racism. She inspired me with her intelligence, tenacity and determination to be free from the damaging effects of these forms of oppressions. Many of her family members supported the Nazies.
While the mental health system identifies psychosis as being about suffering, or “hellish” experiences, if you actually listen to individual stories, it is obvious...
I became an apprentice spiritual healer among the Nacirema-Orue in 1986 and was considered culturally competent to assess and treat community members by 1992. Then, the wealthy class turned toward producing and marketing complex and dangerous elixirs and synthetic herbs which tranquilize, sedate, or hypnotize the afflicted community member rather than working with self-hatred and self-revulsion. This new Nacirema-Orue healing theory presupposes that such individuals actually have damaged brains which these elixirs correct. I’m writing this blog post because I’m afraid of being made invisible.
Anoiksis (the Dutch association of and for people with a psychotic vulnerability) has introduced a new name for the disease schizophrenia: Psychosis Susceptibility Syndrome (PSS). Together with the old name, its attached prejudices, misleading significance and stigma can be thrown overboard.