Thursday, August 22, 2019


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).

[Un]Settling In for the Long Haul: The Interplay of Complacency, Stagnation, and Psychotropic...

By the time most of us have gotten into our 30’s and 40’s, a certain order has started to take place. We look for ways to increase convenience and amusement in the midst of our busy lives. We often purge those practices that don’t seem necessary to get through the day. We tend to avoid areas that unnecessarily challenge us to think differently, remain flexible, and push the envelope. We start settling in for the long haul. When complacency and stagnation set in, our human nature, especially of today, seeks immediate promises of relief. And marketers know this. This is where psychotropic drugs, among other artificial endeavors, enter the equation.

Healing Voices Film

Many of you may be aware that I am co-producing a film with PJ Moynihan entitled "Healing Voices." You may not be aware of all that has led up to this and why I think this type of film is so important for our movement, which is the purpose of this post. When I first encountered the mental health system 13 years ago after attempting to fly my car, I was shocked to see how people were treated. I basically felt I was thrown out of the human race. I had just been through an amazing, spiritual experience, an emergence really, yet nobody wanted to talk about what led up that moment.

Part 2: The Values and Ethics of WRAP

In Part 2: The Values and ethics of WRAP, I describe the Values and eThics that have evolved around the Wellness Recovery Action Plan.

‘CRAZY’: New Documentary about Forced Psychiatric Treatment

Lise Zumwalt’s new documentary “CRAZY” follows Eric, a young adult diagnosed with serious mental illness, and his father, who together want to change Eric’s treatment. However, the county does not want to give them a say.
zombie hands

Psychiatry’s Greatest Harm: Its Lies Have Poisoned Our Entire Culture

Psychiatry’s harms extend far beyond those people it ‘treats’ — they are undermining our society’s entire foundation. In just thirty years in America, the medical model's widespread acceptance has largely undone the huge adaptive potential that millions of years of brain evolution had provided.

How Young is Too Young? Part 1: Prescribing Psychiatric Drugs – Infancy to Toddlerhood

Do you remember feeling pressure as a child to do better at school, fit in socially, or behave more appropriately? Making the right decision was not always as easy as adults and cheerful children's books sometimes painted it. Today's expectations and demands placed on children for Disney-like perfection, however, are exponentially greater and strangely different. At an ever increasingly early age, we are expecting kids to behave years beyond their developmental ability and maturation.

Dialogical Recovery of Life

During a recent dialogue training, Dr. Peter Rober, from Belgium, said, "listening deeply, going beyond categories, creates dialogical space in which life can come......

Herbs, Supplements, Foods That Can Aid in Withdrawal Symptoms

When one is coming off of psychiatric pharmaceuticals, it's common to experience withdrawal induced anxiety, panic and psychosis. Here are some tips to help calm your body.

The Unmedicated Life

It has been 7.5 years since I got off benzos, the drug that damaged me the most, and 6.75 years off all meds; the final medicine I tapered was a tricyclic antidepressant, nortriptyline, in autumn 2006. Since that time, I have not taken another psychoactive medicine, nor have I had any desire to. Neither have I sought out therapy or the like. Personally, I’m sick of labels, sick of the industry, sick of talking about my “problems,” sick of navel-gazing, and would just rather live.

Want to Be Drug Free?  It’s Time to Live More Simply

Creeping from the shadows, emerging from the glen, is a cry for an existence much better than the one we’re living in. It is clear that drugs are becoming our crutch, an excuse to avoid experiencing the trials and tribulations as such. So below is an entreaty to return to simplicity, one in which much of what we need is available so readily.

Psychiatry’s Poor Image: Reflecting on Psychiatrists’ “Apologias”

Those of us who critique psychiatry were recently treated to an interesting phenomenon—the publicly available part of the January 2015 issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, which contains multiple articles devoted to the question of psychiatry’s “poor image” — how to understand it, how to assess it, what to do about it. The release of this issue is hardly the first occasion where articles have appeared in which psychiatrists have speculated on outsiders’ negative image of the profession. Indeed, more and more, we are seeing such articles together with other evidence that the professionals are concerned. This article probes the collection in question for themes, positions, and framing.

Methylphenidate: How to Avoid Importing the American Disaster?

Even though it is extremely unlikely that in France we would reach the kinds of percentages we see in the USA, where in some states nearly 10% of children are treated with methylphenidate or other psychostimulants not used in France, overprescription is highly probable. Why?

In Time for RXmas: Motivational Pharmacotherapy

Drug profitability requires three parties to work together – drug companies to make the drugs, psychiatrists to prescribe them and consumers to take them. Too often, though, patients have failed to play nicely and do their bit. They have banged on about tiresome things like adverse reactions and alternative treatments, they have expressed foolish opposition to the very concept of pharmacotherapy and questioned its efficacy. They have become medication non-compliant and undermined the profits of the pharmaceutical industry and the authority of psychiatry. They have been bad and landed themselves on a lot of people’s naughty lists and made the World Health Organization very sad and worried.

Study 329: Transparency in Limbo at the British Medical Journal

While making money from the publication of pharmaceutical company trials, and in the face of a complete failure by industry to adhere to basic scientific norms and make data available, BMJ and other journals — although BMJ in particular — have run a series of articles on supposed Academic Fraud. These articles feature instances of fraud sometimes as bizarre as researcher claiming he cannot show the data as it was eaten by termites. The universal feature is that these are academic studies, and academic fraud is an issue in academia.
Mind Fixers by Anne Harrington cropped

An “Even-Handed” History of Psychiatry as Damning as the “Polemics”?

Where Professor Harrington's book seems to differ from books that others might call polemics is that she does not attribute nefarious motives to the psychiatric establishment. I worry that she underplays the ways in which the current model causes harm, but I support her suggestion for a retraction of psychiatry's scope.

Occam’s Razor and the Elusive Pursuit of Social Justice

I have devoted more than 40 years to the study of extreme mental states – my own and others. I have witnessed the extraordinary ability of people to survive and thrive after living through horrendous experiences. Remarkable feats of resilience attest to our untapped potential. I am acutely aware of an immense responsibility to communicate and use what I have learned so that others may have a somewhat easier task navigating the difficult and diverse states we call madness.

On the Tyranny of Good Will: Why We Call Ourselves Psychiatric Survivors

I believe if the public really knew and understood the reason why we who have survived medically-induced harm, and who do not have the human right to — with real evidence — legally expose this, they would support psychiatric survivors and help us to put an end to what has been called ‘the tyranny of good will.’

5 Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes to UnDiagnose Emotional Distress

A lot of posts on this site are about the problems in mental health care. This post is about some solutions. Many of us can do small, simple things to move advocacy forward. We can all make a difference so people can learn how to handle emotional distress without using disease based approaches with chemically based "solutions." Here are 5 things you can do in the next five minutes to promote UnDiagnosing Emotional Distress.

Introducing Our Blog

Consider these findings: The antidepressant drugs, used to treat depression and many other mental disorders have limited effectiveness, they have significant side effects, and...
withdrawal psychiatric drugs

So What’s This About Another Webinar Series on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal?

With this second course we are focusing on the challenges that drug withdrawal presents to prescribers as more and more people seek to come off medications. As many have noted, prescribers may have extensive experience getting patients on psychiatric medications and then managing their drug use, but little or no experience helping patients taper off the drugs.

The Great Turning

When I first heard of the proposed “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013” (H.R. 3717)”, I felt relieved and thought “maybe somebody has finally got it!” However, as I read and processed the words I realized just how much Tim Murphy didn’t get it. Is this mental health system broke? Yes it is. Can it be fixed? Yes it can. But we must do it collectively and with the experience and voices of those with true lived experiences including their families and allies. I stand with millions of others who have shown through our resiliency that our movement is real, has saved lives and most of all we have people that can give voice to what really needs to be changed within the system. If only people will listen.
tim murphy

The Angry Congressman: Tim Murphy’s Lack of Insight

The most spectacular part of Rep. Murphy’s hypocrisy has nothing to do with abortion or reproductive rights. Allegations of his dangerous behavior and his lack of insight into his own actions would be enough to commit him, involuntarily, to psychiatric treatment under the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act that he championed.

Help Write a Psychiatric Survivor Manifesto

This is a summary compiled by people in the mental health civil rights movement. Some of us call ourselves psychiatric survivors; those who have survived psychiatric treatment, not the “illness.” Many of us have found scientific evidence and our own personal experiences showing that emotional distress is not an illness. We have found recovery using a variety of approaches and methods, but here are several concepts of hope and empowerment repeated in many of our personal stories.

Nutrient Boosting of Medications

Bonnie remembers seeing an issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter dated October 2008 entitled “Herbal and dietary supplements for depression” [ and thinking ‘at last, people are beginning to accept that nutrient treatment of psychiatric symptoms is possible.’ But the excitement turned to disappointment when the article revealed itself to be evaluating nutrients that could be used to “boost” the impact of psychiatric medications.

A Rorschach Test for Psych Drugs

On October 23, the New York Times ran a very nice feature story about a Los Angeles woman, Keris Myrick, who, even though she...

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