We have come to believe that technology can eradicate all human suffering and provide unblemished and everlasting happiness. We have paid for this irrational expectation with our autonomy, our dignity and our ability to endure.
When fault is not placed on the right people, innocent people are left vulnerable and alone. They may also begin to question their ability to trust their own feelings and perceptions. When you refuse to blame the people who are legitimately at fault, you gaslight the people their actions are injuring, piling on additional hurt and making it much harder for the wounded to heal.
Regardless of what one's moral stance is on the value of life, or the meaning of death, it is time to recognize that there are people whose views differ from ours, and that we do not have the right to force them to live (and die) the way we want to. We all die; it's the journey that matters, not the destination.
(Speech delivered by Daniel Fisher at the rally in front of the Boston State House, June 2,2012) How can residents of Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC)...
The problem with instituting sweeping, costly and invasive mental health legislation is that there always are unintended consequences. The State of Connecticut, when passing Public Act 13-3, apparently didn’t consider that there are two sides to every story. And when it comes to “mental health” there most definitely is another side beyond the mental health we-need-early-intervention-to-help-those-suffering mantra.
A very gifted and compassionate friend recently said that she feels enslaved to Abilify - that she has tried to taper off it several times but always ends up slipping into an extreme state, no matter how slow she tapers. She said this repeated experience makes her feel like a slave, because she has to go back on the drug to stop the very intense extreme state induced whenever she tries to stop taking it.
I've previously written about the possible role of compassion focused therapy in helping people relate better to problematic voices, in my posts Could compassionate self talk replace hostile voices?, Feed Your Demons!, and A Paradox: Is Our System for Responding to Threats Itself a Threat? I'm happy to see more interest being taken in this kind of approach, and a video has just become available which, in 5 minutes, very coherently explains how a compassion focused approach can completely transform a person's relationship with their voices and so transform the person's life!
I have a complicated response to the article Panel Calls for Depression Screenings During and After Pregnancy, by Pam Belluck, in the January 26th New York Times, which calls for depression screening before and after pregnancy. On the face of it this sounds like a great idea - a public health measure to prevent or deal with problematic postpartum responses – baby blues, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis.
As I considered the voice I heard talking to me in my own head, it occurred to me that what was happening was, more or less, a later development of the brain talking to a more basic and earlier level of consciousness, one which was not verbal itself and was, in fact, the actual seat and locus of my real awareness.
Psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota forced a young man into a profitable study of antipsychotic drugs over the objections of his mother, who desperately warned that his condition was deteriorating and that he was in danger of killing himself. On May 8, 2004, Mary Weiss' only son, Dan Markingson, committed suicide. A petition to the governor of Minnesota now asks for an investigation.
I lived through forced ECT from 2005-2006 at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. My experience with ECT was the impetus for me to become involved in the antipsychiatry and Mad Pride movements, although I am not entirely opposed to voluntary mental health treatment. The following is the comment I submitted to the FDA on its proposal to down-classify the ECT shock device.
Conflict is a pervasive human phenomenon that is at the heart of much distress and misery. Unfortunately, it is also seldom recognised; obscured by categories of disorder spelled out in systems such as the DSM, or brushed aside by other, fancier (but less accurate) ways of describing psychological turmoil and discontent. The source of psychological distress is not an ill, a disordered, or a dysfunctional mind but a conflicted one.
Prescribers are taught to prescribe psychiatric medication, but they are often not well-educated about the effects on patients of discontinuing these medications.
The question that is presently unanswerable is whether this crisis will stimulate progress or regression. I choose to believe that it is an opportunity but that we must fight to make it happen. My dream: To build compassionate communities where people who look, act, or think differently are supported in ways for them to develop their innate potential.
What would it look like if national peer-run mental health organizations and other national leaders came out with statements in support of other movements' struggle for freedom from oppression? What would it look like if we were truly unified in solidarity? We would have community-based centers providing intentional support, open 24 hours a day, instead of crowded jail cells holding people in pain. It wouldn't be easy, but we have to do it.
Psychiatric molecular genetic research has failed to discover genes that underlie the major psychiatric disorders, the existence of which twin and adoption studies are assumed to have established. "Genome-wide complex trait analysis" (GCTA) was developed a few years ago as a means of solving what researchers call the "missing heritability" problem. One researcher believed that the new GCTA method would “drive a stake through the heart of” criticism of behavioral genetic theories and methods, and would finally put criticism of twin studies “to rest.” The opposite scenario appears to be playing out, however, as leading behavioral genetic and psychiatric genetic researchers struggle to prevent some recent negative GCTA findings and the obvious false assumptions underlying twin research from driving a stake through the heart of twin studies themselves.
A screenshot of the Facebook of the Oregon shooter, taken by a colleague of mine before the site was taken down, has the following comment from the shooter: “Chris Harper Mercer, August 16: I have a pill bottle with like five types of pills mixed in. I don’t know which ones are the sleep aids, so I just took four of each.” Once again, we have a shooter who has been through the “mental health” system and has probably been taking drugs.
Paula Caplan, known for her fierce criticism of psychiatry and its diagnostic manual, died Wednesday at age 74.
If psychiatry were a bona fide medical field, a meta-analysis of this quality yielding these results would send Richter 9 shock waves through the profession. But the publication of this study on February 8 generated no discernible concern within the profession.
The human need to not be left alone when we are suffering is very great. During such times our very basic human needs for being valued, seen, heard and cared about arise as we are at our most vulnerable and are dependent on the goodwill of others.
You might ask, “But why are dreams so crucial to psychiatry?” I would tell you that they are the forgotten language of the psyche, composed of metaphor and symbol, simile and synecdoche. All who enter the world of non-consensus reality long for a physician trained to hear the patois of image.
The debate between the majority and dissent shows how distorted and destructive the stereotypes of madness are as they have passed down through the law. But there are also winds of change coming from tensions inherent in the insanity defense itself, and we should take this opportunity to develop some sensible policies.
In the 16 years from 1952 to 1968, the world changed in astonishing ways. In the 16 years since I first gave this talk, it has changed almost as much again. When some future historian looks back at this period, will they say it was a time when the field’s significant figures tweeted while psychiatry burned?
The Wunderink study has been discussed here in other blogs. In brief, using a randomized control design, Wunderink found that in adults diagnosed with a psychotic disorder continuous use of neuroleptics was associated with worse functional outcomes. Is this study relevant to those who do not experience psychosis?
Coercion — the use of physical, legal, chemical, psychological, financial, and other forces to gain compliance — is intrinsic to our society’s employment, schooling, and parenting, but it isn’t to less “civilized” societies. Coercion fuels miserable marriages, unhappy families, and what we today call mental illness. Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, in Schizophrenia and Civilization, states “Schizophrenia appears to be a disease of civilization.” But Torrey is a strong advocate for coercive treatments, including forced medication — even though his own research shows a stronger relationship between severe mental illness and European-American civilization than with hypothesized biochemical agents that have never been found. Still, he has he not considered the toxic effects of coercion.