Friday, October 30, 2020


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).

Start with a Solid Foundation

How are we going to do this?  That’s the question we asked ourselves when a few likeminded bureaucrats sat down and said, our current...

“Let’s Roll” With Mad in America Continuing Education

We decided some time ago to hold off on publicizing the Mad in America Continuing Education project until we had a range of presentations. We are just about there. This week we posted the incredible Dr. Eleanor Longden's talk, "The Voices in My Head."  If you have never heard her story, this is one you won't forget.  If you need CMEs or CEUs, or just want to audit this and other amazing presentations for free, please go to the MIACE home page.

Mad in Brasil: Part of a Global Effort to Create a New Paradigm of...

It is with great satisfaction and great hope that we are launching our Mad in Brasil website. Ours will be a collaborative effort. We look forward to being part of a global effort that will succeed in creating a new paradigm of care, one that will promote true robust recovery from psychiatric crises.

Chapter Eleven: Teetering on the Edge

Frantic, fearful, and desperate to get my life together, I returned to Cambridge in the middle of August to move into my off-campus apartment....

Letters From the Front Lines

Dear Bob-- A disturbing case from this week. I was working at an urgent care and saw a fifteen-year old boy for the complaint of severe...

Embracing Movement Diversity

The psychiatric survivor movement (and our overall “movement,” some of whom don't identify as psych survivors) is about as diverse and varied as the world itself. We are becoming perhaps the largest social justice movement ever to exist. Almost all women and queer people have been categorized by DSM diagnoses for being women (PMS, postpartum depression) or queer (homosexual, gender identity disorder), not to mention all the other groups who have been affected. Everyone is a survivor of the effects of the psychopharmaceutical industry on our consciousness.

Do I Have Too Many Questions This Morning?

What if it were the sun that could cure you; would you have the courage to go and find it? Would you wear sunscreen? If...

The Tragedy of Lou Lasagna

In 1956, Lou Lasagna was on his way to being the most famous doctor in the United States; an advocate for controlled clinical trials of both the safety and effectiveness of medication, as well as for a revision to the Hippocratic Oath to include a holistic and compassionate approach to medicine. Then, caught in the nexus of reason, regulation, and the pharmaceutical machine, his star fell.

Teenagers on SSRIs

Last week, the Wall Street Journal has an article titled The Medication Generation by Katherine Sharpe which questioned the fact that a large number of teenagers are...

Experiencing the Possibility of Change in the Digital Age

If you are reading this, you are probably involved in the mental health system. You might consider yourself a patient. You might consider yourself a professional or perhaps a caregiver. Maybe you consider yourself a survivor of the system. If you are reading this, you are probably interested in change. The interest of change, and the exploration of its possibilities, unites the readers of this site.

Chapter Fourteen: Crossing the Threshold

Although the drive to the psychiatric hospital in White Plains, New York, in September 2004 was a mere fifteen minutes from home, the trip...

Bringing Human Rights Home

The United Nations calls on countries to repeal their mental health laws that authorize involuntary commitment, and to ensure that mental health services are...

The House of GSK

In recent months the English pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has assiduously portrayed itself as an advocate of transparency, and in support of access to clinical trial data. Well, in support of "Responsible Access." "Responsible" here essentially means that a researcher commits to the primacy of RCTs and statistical significance over an analysis of adverse events. It would not, for example, be responsible to claim that an SSRI causes suicide, a statin muscle damage or cognitive failure, or hypoglycemics cause hypoglycemia unless a trial has shown this to happen to a Statistically Significant extent – and they never do.

Chapter Sixteen: Inside a House of Cards

Dazed and confused, I was discharged from ‘The Haven’ in September of 2004 and entered an intensive outpatient day program (IOP) on the grounds...

Human Rights and Managed Care: Part 1

Preface: Before I went to the American Psychiatric Association, many on this webzine expressed interest in my presentation to come on “Human Rights and...

Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia – A Valuable, and Free, Online Report

What would happen if a team of highly qualified psychologists joined up with a team of people who knew psychosis from the inside, from their own journey into madness and then recovery – and if they collaborated in writing a guide to understanding the difficult states that get names like “psychosis” and schizophrenia”?

Economic Determinism and Medicaid

Ok, I’ll admit to trying an academic title to talk about bureaucratic history. What a combination! But I think it adds up to something. We...

Pharma-funded Research

Racism refers to prejudice or discrimination against another person, or group, based solely on race or skin color.  But medical journals that insist on independent statistical analyses of pharma-conducted research are basing this policy decision on the fact that, in a compellingly large proportion of cases in the past, the statistical analyses of pharma-funded research was flawed.  And, by an extraordinary coincidence, was always flawed in a direction favorable to the company.

Our Beauty is to Stand Out

I’ve kept a deep, dark secret for almost 25 years. No one, other than a few therapists, has any clue that I attempted suicide when I was 26. Not one friend. Not one family member. Now, by “owning” what I did, I’m exposing more of my soft, vulnerable side, which is scary, but at the same time, it’s my most beloved side of myself.

Dispatches from a Reluctant Guide on the Path to Disability

I graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. The attitude of my professors in the Psych Department was that the science of Psychology was coming to an end. The mysteries of the mind had been unraveled through the new neuroscience, and all that was left was some mopping up. It all seemed very convincing, and I believed it myself for many years.

Advice to the Newbies: Give Your Heart, & Hold Your Theories Lightly

I was recently asked to give the commencement address for Goddard College's masters program in psychology and counseling. This is what I said.

Social Services and Psychiatry

The controversy surrounding Justina Pelletier and her family has expanded its scope in recent months, and has now become a general public scrutiny of Massachusetts’s Department of Children and Families. I think there’s a very real risk of confusing some issues here. Every state in the US has a social services department, one of whose statutory responsibilities is to investigate reports of abuse and/or neglect. The system isn’t perfect. But this I do know: the spotlight has been taken off psychiatry. This is critical, because without the “diagnosis” of somatic symptom disorder and the subsequent allegation of medical child abuse, none of what’s happened to Justina and her parents could even have gotten off the ground.

Update: Judge Overrules $1.5 Million Verdict for State Trooper Driven to a Nervous...

A New Hampshire judge overruled a jury verdict that awarded $1.5 million to State Trooper James Conrad, who claimed he was wrongfully detained by...

“It Totally Rocked My World…” Stories From the Frontlines

Randy Tucker was homeless and sleeping beside the veterans memorial in his Florida town. He had little patience with the local VA and a lot of intent to harm himself. Then he heard the cry of Tom Cruz’s child in the background of their phone call. And that's when the possibility of recovery struck him. If Cruz could come to the brink of suicide himself, and survive and thrive …

Replacing Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists

During World War II 2.5% of the world’s population died. Imagine a German youth of 18, A Russian youth of 18, a British youth of 18, an American Jewish youth of 18, a French youth of 18, a Japanese youth of 18. Think of the parents of each of these young men. Think of their grandparents. Think of their sisters, their younger brothers — think about everyone affected by that calamity. To say that the “mental health” of all of these people was affected by the fact of a world conflagration is to make a bad joke.

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