Monday, October 25, 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).

Mental Illness & Violence

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America’s answer to questions, demonstrations, and other countries is - increasingly - to don riot gear and show up with big guns no matter the issue. Today, April 3, 2014 the Murphy Bill will be debated by a House subcommittee. It appears to ask for dollars to help those diagnosed with mental illness, but it is Orwellian doublespeak for taking rights away, forcing treatment, and placing blame on the people who are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. Why not address violence as the cause of violence?

Turning Distress into Joy, Part IV:  Gratitude

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John Foppes had been born with no arms, among a number of other serious congenital abnormalities.  Doctors questioned whether he would survive at all.  In his deeply motivating book, “What’s Your Excuse?  Making the Most Out of What You Have,” John describes his life of growing up with no arms into one of full independence, and his feelings of stigmatization and isolation even in the midst of support from others.  In the depths of his struggle, John also notes evident gratitude in what most perceived as a very unfair situation. 

The Culture of Fear and the Lost Art of Organizing for Social Change

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Fear. Omnipresent. Difficult to ward off or ignore. Just to advise readers, this long, somewhat involved article has been written for purely didactic purposes. Frankly, I’d like more folks to learn how to challenge their fears, how to organize and do systems change work. I trust readers will find it useful and that I managed to at least approximate what I intended.

Comments on Jeffrey Lieberman and Ogi Ogas’ Wall Street Journal Article on the Genetics...

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The March 3rd, 2016 edition of the Wall Street Journal featured an article by past President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Jeffrey Lieberman and his colleague, computational neuroscientist Ogi Ogas. The article was entitled “Genetics and Mental Illness—Let’s Not Get Carried Away.” In their piece, the authors started by expressing the belief that a recent study identified a gene that causes schizophrenia, and then discussed whether it is desirable or possible to remove allegedly pathological genes in the interest of creating a future “mentally perfect society.” The authors of the article, like many previous textbook authors, seem unfamiliar with the questionable “evidence” put forward by psychiatry as proof that its disorders are “highly heritable” In fact, DSM-5 Task Force Chair David Kupfer admitted that “we’re still waiting” for the discovery of “biological and genetic markers” for psychiatric disorders.

Immigration Detention: The Mental Health Impacts

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Solitary confinement is not a substitute for medical isolation and its conditions are not conducive to care or recovery, but rather a tool to manage and silence those struggling with trauma exacerbated by conditions they are trapped in indefinitely.

We Name It as Torture

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To respond to controversy and resistance developing in response to the recommendation of Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez for an absolute ban on nonconsensual psychiatric interventions, I suggested to use June 26, the International Day in Solidarity with Victims of Torture, to raise awareness and support for the recommendations. What started out way more ambitious became a relatively informal call put out over email lists, Facebook and with the help of the Mad In America website, to MIA bloggers.

We Need Drugs

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The truth is we live in a horribly miserable time. There is no getting around it. It cannot be candy coated. Self-help books about...
behavioral genetics

A ‘Blueprint’ for Genetic Determinism

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Robert Plomin's Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are was seen as a "declaration of victory of nature over nurture." Plomin has a 40-year track record of unfulfilled gene discovery claims and predictions, and there is every reason to believe that his new polygenic score claims and predictions are merely a continuation of this trend.
clinical trials

Rewarding the Companies That Cheated the Most in Antidepressant Trials

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When I first saw this Lancet 2018 network meta-analysis of antidepressant trials, my thought was that the authors had rewarded those companies that had cheated the most with their trials. My suspicion was strengthened when I looked at the results in their abstract and the three drugs they claimed were more effective and better tolerated.

Apply Yourself, Your Whole Self, and Nothing But Yourself

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Now, personality tests are being used to determine which side of the wealth gap people will fall on. Who you are is not neutral — the lens your personality-test results will be viewed through is: “are you a good worker?” Any definition of this will likely exclude psychiatric survivors, those labeled by the DSM and those who see, think, hear, speak and feel differently.

Going On or Off Psych Drugs: One Reason or Many?

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Many people report having one reason to go off psychiatric drugs—feeling that they just know they need to, sensing they will die if they don’t come off, etc. It is far less common to hear of someone going on psych drugs because they know they must.
child with protective mask standing in front of blackboard and the word "spin"

CAUTION: Spin Ahead! There is No Evidence That Psychostimulants Reduce the Risk for Infection...

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Debunking a recent study on ADHD and COVID-19: It suffers from a series of manipulations and spins that are inappropriate in scientific research that aspires to objectivity and that aims to reveal truths.

How Do You Live at the Intersection of Love and Outrage?

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The primary lesson of the mental health civil rights community is that we have to learn to lean on each other to get though adversity, which means opening up and admitting when things aren't moving in a direction we want or expected or try to typically project publicly. We have to ask for help. Here's what I'm chewing on or what's chewing on me.
rilke

Channeling Dead German Poets: Taking Other People’s Alternate Realities Seriously

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I believe that the greatest problem that we have with “psychosis,” voicehearing, and “schizophrenia” in the modern world is a simple lack of comprehension on the part of other people that what we experience is actually real, even if it might seem intractably bizarre from the outside.
Mad in Norway

The Field of Mental Health Has Gone Astray, But We Can Fix It

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People should have real choice. The research and knowledge about how to work differently are already there. Now we need politicians and policymakers to force the change and make it happen in the established services. Mad in Norway will be a leading voice in ensuring this change.

Musings on the Yale Conference

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On April 24, I had the pleasure of attending the conference “New Directions & New Hopes Call for New Practices in Clinical Psychiatry.” Jointly sponsored by the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, this was a rich experience.
Julia Rucklidge TED talk

TED Betrays Its Own Brand By Flagging Nutrition Talk

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Four years after Rucklidge gave her talk on using micronutrients for psychiatric disorders, why did TED suddenly decide to flag it as falling “outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines?” And why did it do so when her talk—a review of published science, by a researcher who has conducted placebo-controlled studies on this topic—obviously met TED guidelines? Our guess is that they caved to outside pressure.

Effective Tactics for the “Rehumanizing Resistance”: Real Politics 101, Part Two

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In Part Two, I discuss strategy and tactics for the Rehumanizing Resistance, including: (1) Traditional, Personal, and Underground Politics; (2) Direct Action and Confrontation: When It Can and Cannot Succeed (3) Organizing: Taking Advantage of the Current Cultural Climate; (4) Alliances and Coalitions; and (5) Film and Media. In Part One, I discussed how the Resistance has been winning scientific battles but losing the war against the expansion of influence of First-Order Psychiatry (which includes American Psychiatric Association and Big Pharma), and how this is due in large part to the First-Order’s effective political tactics and the Resistance’s political naivety.

With the Public Defrauded, the Illegitimacy of Forced Psychiatry Crystallizes

If we accept Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove’s assessment that informed consent for a person to participate in psychiatry is not informed consent because of the fraud that Americans are subjected to by organized psychiatry, then the consensus for laws that support forced psychiatry have also not been garnered with informed consent. If the average person is offering support to psychiatry via their legislators, because they are operating under the fraud organized psychiatry has perpetrated on the people, then that support is illegitimate.

“Why Wunderink Matters”

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Sandra Steingard writes in Community Psychiatrist about Lex Wunderink's study, published in the August JAMA Psychiatry, which found that people who discontinued medication have...
process work tabasco

Process Oriented Approaches to Altered and Extreme States of Consciousness

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When John Herold went to see a Process Work counselor, they talked about how his experience of extreme states had been disruptive in his life, but how these states also had value. The counselor compared John's experience with drinking an entire bottle of Tabasco sauce all at once. Why not instead, the counselor suggested, "try being just a little psychotic all the time?"
case against AOT involuntary outpatient commitment

Responding to “The Case Against AOT”—Next Steps for Change

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Many will direct their efforts toward repealing involuntary outpatient commitment statutes in their states—an extremely challenging and uphill battle—or reforming abuses. Their arguments will be strengthened immensely by the findings in MIA's report. What follows are suggestions about what kinds of interventions to consider.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Breaking the Silence

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It’s time to speak about what is happening with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the United States. I have been...

Suicide: A Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem

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Many people who have never been severely depressed might ask, “Why would anybody want to kill themselves?” After all, taking one’s life goes directly against the survival instinct that nature has programmed us with. For example, if you were walking across the street and saw a car coming towards you − your first instinct would be to jump out of its path. Yet, when the brain becomes overwhelmed with chronic, intense pain that seems to have no end, then suicide becomes not only a rational choice, but a compelling option. After all, if you are faced with the prospect of being in eternal hell, then taking your own life seems like an act of self-love, not an act of self-detruction.

Book Review: “Prescription for Sorrow” by Patrick D. Hahn

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There are quite a few books published about the lack of benefit and harm caused by so-called "antidepressants." Prescription for Sorrow, by Patrick Hahn, is simply the best one I have read.

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