Monday, March 25, 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).

Vertex Pharmaceutical Executives Cash in on False Hopes

Senior executives at Vertex Pharmaceuticals made millions of dollars each by selling company stock in the days after the Cambridge-based pharmaceutical reported promising clinical...

 Competition, Collaboration & Collusion: The Triple Threat for Our Kids

The disorders that the drug companies are zealously targeting in very young children are; ADHD, Autism-spectrum disorder, Temper Outburst Study, Early Onset Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Depression. These diagnoses elicit fear in the hearts and minds of parents. These diagnoses will ignite that fear and the search for treatment or a “cure” will begin.

Medical Nemesis Revisited: Physician-Caused Anger, Despair & Death

Regaining power over our own health was the goal of Ivan Illich’s 1976 book Medical Nemesis, which detailed an epidemic of physician-caused death and illness. This epidemic continues, and so does an epidemic of physician-caused anger, despair and crazy-appearing behaviors. In 2013, the Journal of Patient Safety reported that the “true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients is estimated at more than 400,000 per year,” making it the third leading cause of death in the United States It is especially drug use errors, communication failures and diagnostic errors that result in another medical nemesis: They can make us appear—and sometimes feel—like we’re “crazy.”

Beyond Survival

Recently I came across a remarkable article, "From surviving to thriving: how does that happen." The authors have demonstrated that when people are weighed down by life's adversities, what they need is authentic, validating support, not facile pathologizing checklists, and not tranquilizing or stimulant drugs.

The Sunrise Center: A Place For Adults To Recover From Psychiatric Drugs

Many people now using psychiatric drugs have been convinced or forced to use them while being treated in the mental health system. A good number of people are eager to stop using these drugs, but are often discouraged by others from doing so. Many psychiatric survivors believe that they can never stop using these drugs because they were told they would need to use them the rest of their lives. We hope the Sunrise Center will become a catalyst for a movement of people creating places for people who want to stop using psychiatric drugs.
take your meds

Why Mainstream Psychiatry is Ableist

Psychiatry offers medication that can only be tolerated by the extremely able bodied. Those who are already physically ill or disabled will be made more and more ill by psychiatry over time, and the field of medicine marginalizes disabled folks by not addressing these issues. Many differently abled people are not aware of how vulnerable their bodies may be to these drugs, and doctors are unlikely to tell them.

Adverse childhood experiences, genes, and mental illness

Since at least the time of Moses, we’ve wanted to believe that the “child is father to the man,” that to understand adults we need first look to their childhoods. Of late, mental health professionals still wedded to the idea have taken heart from the “ACE” research—adverse childhood events. We need to be careful to read this research accurately, and to understand what it does and does not say.

Open Letter Re: This Morning‘s Feature on Depression

Recently, This Morning featured a story on depression, in which Dr. Chris Steele advised participants that their depression was due to a 'chemical imbalance' (despite obvious environmental explanations) and that antidepressants - possibly for life - were the solution. However both the 'chemical imbalance' notion and the medical solutions it implies, for which there has never been any evidence, are outdated and now known to be harmful. Our letter asks Dr. Steele to refrain from using information that cannot be scientifically substantiated, as doing so has serious implications for the health and well-being of the viewing audience - which may be in violation of broadcasting legislation.
Michelle Carter

Michelle Carter Part IV: Did She Tell Conrad to “Get back in the truck”?

There is no text, transcript or recording that demonstrates that Michelle ever said anything to Conrad about getting back in the truck to die. The DA’s entire case is based upon the “confession” of an irrational girl on antidepressants who has been trying to communicate with her boyfriend in heaven via phone.

CYP Testing to Help Prevent Dangerous Adverse Drug Reactions

Drug-drug interactions can be extremely dangerous, even if the CYPs are genetically normal. The picture becomes even more grim if we take into account drug-gene interactions. Genetic testing for variants in the CYP enzyme system will definitely save lives.

Remembering A Medication-Free Madness Sanctuary

In my last blog entry, I described how the I-Ward first episode madness sanctuary came into being and how I ended up working there as a therapist for over three years. As you read now about my time there, I would again like to ask you to keep in mind the question I posed in my first two blog entries- "If Madness isn't what Psychiatry says it is, then what is it?"

New York State’s Assisted Out-Patient Treatment Program: Racial Myths & Other Stereotypes

New York State’s out-patient commitment program, termed Assisted Out-Patient Treatment (AOT), was instituted in 1999 to protect the general public from treatment non-compliant and...

Crash Course in Urban Shamanism

Shamans are the magician spirit healers in tribal, non-technological societies around the world. Anthropologists use the word “shamanism,” from the Tungus people of Siberia, to mean the commonalities between different traditions. Shamans find their calling through a life-threatening initiatory illness or crisis, go into visioning and trance to connect to other realities, shapeshift out of their regular identity to identify with animals, spirits, and even illnesses, and return to the ordinary world to share skills of healing and creativity. Living at the edge of society and defying conventional norms, conduct, and even gender, shamans are respected as a powerful community link to the divine.

Your Input Welcome For 2012 Alternatives Keynote Speech – SURVEY

I was invited to give a Keynote Address at the 2012 Alternatives Conference in Portland Oregon, and I'm collecting your input on what I should...

A Visit into the Lithuanian Mental Health System

In November of 2011 I spent two weeks in Lithuania -- a fascinating time. Some colleagues in Scandinavia connected me with a progressive psychiatrist...
united states court of appeals

ECT Shock Treatment Class Action – Case Update April 2018

In March, 2018, the Court issued an Order denying class certification in the case filed against the manufacturers of ECT shock devices. Attorneys for the ECT victims strongly disagree with the Court's assessment, and have now petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to appeal the ruling denying class certification.

Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on CRPD

If the US wishes to maintain its reputation as a leader in the field of disability rights, it is not enough to assist other countries in building ramps and developing accessible technology. Those are laudable aims but are at best half of what the CRPD requires. There is a new world in disability rights, and the US risks being left behind unless there is a reversal of course that commits to full domestic implementation in compliance with standards that have been set by the international community with US participation.

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

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...

Moving Forward in the Science of Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction

This week Live & Learn launched a research study on the experience of people labeled with mental disorders who have tried to stop taking psychiatric medications. This project -- the Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction (PMDR) Study -- aims to understand the process of coming off psychiatric medications in order to better support those who choose to do so. The study seeks to answer the question: What helps people stop their psychiatric medications? What gets in the way of stopping?

Nutrition Above the Neck: Why is This Topic Met With Hostility?

Why do people readily accept the data showing that nutrients are good for our hearts, and for prevention and (now perhaps) treatment of cancer . . . but they find it so hard to accept the use of nutrients to make us feel better mentally?

Personal Responsibility and Advance Directives

Thursday afternoon, June 21 from 2-3 Pm EST, I am presenting a free webinar, open to all, on the Advance Directive or Crisis Plan....

Inner Fire: Healing and Recovery Without Meds

For five years, I and others worked to create a residential healing community in Brookline, Vermont, where people could recover from debilitating and traumatic life experiences, which often lead to addiction and mental health challenges, without the use of psychotropic medications. We welcomed our first six seekers to a yearlong, therapeutic and farm-based, day program last September, and we now can report on what we have learned during this time.

Human Rights and Managed Care: Part 4

This leads us into discussing psychiatry per se, which managed care prioritized first. Unless you are early career psychiatrists, you are probably familiar with...

Reparations: It is Conceivable

Reparations for forced psychiatry is conceivable and is actually required under international law. Recent developments at the UN make it easier to make this argument, as detailed below.

The Power of Words: What the Wall Street Journal Didn’t Tell You

Two weeks ago there was an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that basically eviscerated the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) while at the same time calling for support of HR 3717 – The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. HR 3717 has elements that we agree with as well as elements we don’t. In addition, there are elements that are just plain confusing to us. In this post I want to address three of the most popular sound bites (two of which found their way into the WSJ editorial) that continue to come up again and again.

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