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).

gene church genetics

Got a Gene for That? The Latest from the Chronicles of Gene Worshiping

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Among the latest examples of profiteering from the gene fad, there is now an app to determine your personal level of gayness, and researchers claim to have finally found real biomarkers to diagnose schizophrenia through a simple hair sample! Make no mistake: this is about the religion of scientism, not about science.

Greed Disguised as Science: How a Multitude of Factors Led to the Opioid Crisis

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Opioids are now the leading cause of mortality from overdose, accounting for 91 deaths every day. The context and key players that created and contributed to the opioid epidemic must be brought into sharp focus if we are to have any hope of stemming the tide of this public health crisis.

Royal College of Psychiatrists Still not Interested in Discussing Important Evidence on Long-term Antipsychotic...

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The annual meeting of the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists is in full swing at the moment in London. The conference will again not be debating important new findings about antipsychotic drug treatment. Two years ago the conference organising committee rejected a suggestion to discuss this issue. This year I proposed a similar symposium. The proposal was rejected again. I am extremely concerned that the Royal College conference organising committee do not appear to be aware of the importance of this issue.

Not Going Quietly

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A few years ago, I was asked to see a man called Chris Rushworth. He was referred to me for anger issues. Chris had a restlessness about him, frequently shifting his legs from side to side. He had been on antipsychotic medication for 25 years.

Calling for Rep. McCann’s resignation while there is still time to run a different...

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I am writing to suggest you run a different democrat in House District 8, Rep. McCann's district, because she has made herself unelectable and I would prefer that the seat remain in democratic hands. The reason for this is simple: Her sponsorship of HB1253 which represents an attempt to take the right to jury trial away from one million Coloradans. Please, Rep. McCann, do the party a favor and retire from public life to contemplate what in the world made you think going after the jury trial was a good idea in the first place.

Interview: Researcher Runs Trial on Antidepressant Withdrawal

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Tony Kendrick, a professor of Primary Care at the University of Southampton, has found through his research and practice that too many people are being prescribed antidepressants long-term without the information and support necessary to get off of them.

Man Jumps, News at…?

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It is time for a new understanding of suicidal feelings and actions. Perhaps a more open dialogue, without fear of sirens and police and involuntary hospitalizations, would have made a difference for one young man here in Asheville last month. Perhaps more public local conversation would have saved some of the 45 lives we lost here in Buncombe County in 2010. Perhaps a more public and safe national conversation would have saved some of the 22 veterans who died from suicide every day in 2010.

Pick Up a Pen, I Dare You

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When I pick up a pen, I put down my fear. Sorry, they don't both fit into my hand at once. Meditation teachers often say the hardest part is getting to the cushion. The hardest part of writing is probably picking up the pen. So, pick up a pen, I dare you. Write even if you think no one will read it, even if you don't want anyone to read it.

Psychiatry: Worth Keeping If “Slowed Down”?

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The faults of modern psychiatry are numerous and profound, and many readers here know firsthand about its destructive force. But are these faults so vast that there is nothing worth saving?

January 17, 2011

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Bob-- About a month ago, I started caring for a fifty-five year old Filipino woman. She speaks English well, though with a heavy accent. She...

The George Costanza Excuse for Medical Ghostwriting

Several months ago, two professors at the University of Pennsylvania were accused of ghostwriting. The university has now announced the results of their investigation, which is partially based on work by the great moral philosopher, George Constanza...
bible

Spiritual Texts in the Psych Ward

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With current self-publishing capabilities, there’s little that can stop anyone with the slightest messianic complex from actualizing their potential as a prophet—except perhaps the tactics psychiatry employs: forced drugging, locking people up and limiting their abilities to communicate with the rest of the world.
STAR-D

Results of World’s Largest Antidepressant Study Look Dismal

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The STAR-D study is by far the largest and most expensive study of antidepressants ever conducted, and it suggests that in real life situations, people taking antidepressants do not do very well. This may be the reason why the results of the main outcome of the STAR-D study have remained buried for so long.
A woman looks to the side in distress, while holding a wedding band and a pen to sign divorce documents

The Social-Emotional Distress Field, or How I Divorced “Mental Health”

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At this crisis point, I realised that resigning from my job was not enough. I needed to divorce from the Mental Health field as a whole. 
Black and white photograph depicting a seated woman looking up thoughtfully from a pile of papers on a desk

ADHD as Cargo Cult Science

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Barkley’s theory on ADHD was akin to what Richard Feynman called “Cargo Cult Science,” only more misleading and dangerous. In contrast, there is no evidence of brain abnormality in ADHD. The airplanes have not landed, nor are they likely to.

What Do the DSM, Elvis Presley, and Dionysus Have in Common?

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To a classicist, the psychotic illnesses detailed in the pages of the DSM look like nothing but the main characters of the classical tragedies of ancient Greece, only born anew under medicalized names. And since the ancient tragedians do their utmost to make us sympathize with these characters, reading a tragedy or two—such as Euripides’ Bacchae—might go a long way toward helping us understand—truly understand, on existential grounds—when and why an individual elects to engage in odd behaviors.

A Square Peg in a Round Hole: The Construction of Depression as a Disease

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This blog is a review of Gary Greenberg's book, Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease. I wrote it originally in 2010, but it was never published. By publishing the review now, I hope it will provide a useful reflection for those who have already read Manufacturing Depression, and an incitement to read the book for those who have not.

What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Community Mental Health

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While I struggle with whether I can work in an ethical way when there are forces and perspectives prominent in our culture that are antithetical to mine, I have kept my day job as a psychiatrist in a community mental health center in Vermont. This is a reflection on that work and the value I observe in the efforts of my colleagues day in and day out.

Psychiatry’s Oppression of Young Anarchists — and the Underground Resistance

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My experience as a clinical psychologist for almost three decades is that many young people labeled with psychiatric diagnoses are essentially anarchists in spirit who are pained, anxious, depressed, and angered by coercion, unnecessary rules, and illegitimate authority. In American history, there have been several shameful periods where groups—including Native Americans, homosexuals, and assertive women—have been pathologized, dehumanized, and meted out oppressive treatments by mental health professionals in an attempt to alter their basic being. Today’s psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors would do well to recognize that historians do not look kindly on those professionals who participated in institutional dehumanization and oppression.

Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Health Care

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In 2012, I found out that the ten biggest drug companies in the world commit repeated and serious crimes to such a degree that they fulfill the criteria for organised crime under US law. I also found out how huge the consequences of the crimes are. They involve colossal thefts of public monies and they contribute substantially to the fact that our drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
for your own good

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

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“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.
ADHD

The Scientism of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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Calling ADHD a diagnosis, i.e., something with the capacity to explain the behaviours that it describes, is like saying the headache is causing the pain in my head or the inattention is caused by inattention. Scientism has turned ADHD from a vague, difficult to pin down concept into a fact of culture masquerading as a fact of nature.

How to Support Healing from Psychosis Versus Imposing Social Control

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This article is written for the loving supporter or social worker. My hope is that it will help you gain strategies for how to handle the relationship with someone experiencing psychosis.

The DSM and the Medical Model: New Video

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Since mainstream “mental health” care directly affects the public, the public deserves an overview of the issues raised by the critics of these practices. For this reason, I have created a short video lecture titled The DSM and the Medical Model, summarizing criticism of the medical model of mental distress and offering a sharp rebuke of psychiatry and its narrative.

Five Nights in Finland

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I have just attended the 17th International Conference on the Treatment of Psychosis in Tornio, Finland. I am full of thoughts and I keep trying to figure out how I will explain this meeting to others.