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).

Madness Radio: Daniel Hazen On Abolishing Prisons

First Aired 5-1-2012 What is it like for a prisoner diagnosed with mental illness? Should we have more mental health treatment in prison -- or...

How Many Deaths Will It Take Till We Know?

Each time I see the initials for Mad In America, MIA, I think of the Vietnam war and lost young men. I remember engraved...

Boycott DSM5? Why Not?

Captain Boycott was the British land agent for Lord Erne of County Mayo who, in 1880, was ostracized from the local community as part...

Risk Management vs. Dignity of Risk

What does “risk” really mean? Is it something to be afraid of and avoided at all costs, or something to be embraced?

Shanghai’d in Recovery

I am honored to share the story of one family that has learned about the power of language, hope and letting go with love so that every family member can grab on to a life worth living.

CIAD & Community-Based Housing for Adult Home Residents in New York City: The Struggle...

Sixteen million dollars are sitting in Albany, waiting to be converted into fifteen hundred apartments for adult home residents presumed to have serious mental...


I am a psychiatrist who believes that involuntary treatment is rarely effective in the long run but I am also a psychiatrist who sometimes forces people into hospitals against their will.

Fast-Moving Bill in Congress Would Weaken FDA Oversight of New Drugs and Devices

Congress is moving quickly to pass a bill that would authorize higher industry fees for the FDA in exchange for speeding up the approval...

E. Fuller Torrey’s Review of Anatomy of an Epidemic: What Does It Reveal About...

E. Fuller Torrey, through his Treatment Advocacy Center, is the country’s most prominent advocate for outpatient commitment laws, which typically force people with a...

Whose Recovery Is This?! Helping Families Heal

Last night I had the privilege of attending my first Family Den with other Mother Bears like myself—parents, spouses, siblings and adult children. All of us have family members who have experienced mental health challenges. All of us had a story to tell.

The Big Chill: Psychiatric Medications Now Are on Trial For Murder

The Canadian judge in the first North American criminal trial to find Prozac the sole cause of a murder ruled - "There is clear medical...

Is there Any Value In Psychiatric Diagnosis?

The medical model of diagnosis has become a dominant idea in the field of mental health, but it hasn't always been this way. As...

Is Psychiatry “Salvageable”?

A reader in the commentary here asked me if I think “psychiatry is salvageable.” This is a timely question that requires careful consideration. First, I’ll...

Mad Pride and Spiritual Community: Thoughts on The Spiritual Gift of Madness

Let our Mad Pride movement be grounded in humility and kindness for each other in our diversity of life experiences, a recognition that social movements need good communicators and organizers more than charismatic leaders and messianic visions, and that the beautiful language we use to describe ourselves is only as powerful as the grounded actions we take to back up our words.

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...

My “Head in a Bucket” Metaphor

“How could I not have known?” This question has been asked of me, as a psychiatrist, with regard to prescribing psychiatric drugs. All those...

IOM report concludes that the FDA is not doing its job

Two weeks ago, I headlined my blog with this question: Is the FDA violating its own mandate to approve safe drugs? Four days later,...

Recovery through Learning Creatura, a Language of Life

There is a language underneath our familiar verbal language. Ordinarily it is called nonverbal communication. It is also called body language. I came to...

Crazy Mother Proposes New Diagnostic Category

My son is dead. He hanged himself at 17 but meh… whatever… that’s yesterday’s news and I’m totally over it now. I don’t long for...

On Recovering from Psychiatric Labels and Psychotropic Medications: An ‘Occupy APA’ Manifesto

To Readers: I've decided to sway, briefly, from my traditional story-telling style on this blog in order to post my short speech from this...

The Pond, Learning and Humility

What an amazing ride I’ve had in the past few days on the tsunami of commentary from my previous post. While it’s been fun (dare...

At the Door of the Sausage Factory

Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic, has provoked all manner of responses.  Some outraged, dismissive, but many supportive and relieved to hear the...

Anti-Authoritarians and Schizophrenia: Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better?

Preface: Failing in my efforts to get this article published for the general public, apparently only here can I talk about a “cool subculture...

Are Some Psychiatrists Addicted to Deference?

One of the subtle but underlying factors that keep the great divide active between psychiatry's medical model of human emotional suffering, and the alternative...

Call Me “The Doctor”

I seem to have generated unexpected ire with my biographical information. This deserves more than just a few lines in the reply section. When...