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).

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

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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.

Beyond Benzos: Jordan B. Peterson’s Trip to Hell and Back

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I am thankful "Beyond Order" exists; if only because it serves as a cautionary tale for anyone looking to modify their mood using psychiatry’s plethora of pills.

Centering Lived Experience

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Lately, after a number of discussions, we have been changing our practices around the issue of labels. No longer do we give a diagnosis at presentations. We place the young person’s story, as told to us, front and center. People listening rarely ask, “What is their diagnosis?” now that lived experiences are central. We are providing a sense of their struggles. We are trying.

When Homosexuality Came Out (of the DSM)

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With a diagnosis of schizophrenia, if internalized, comes the erosion of personhood, lowered self-esteem, shattered dreams, and a sense of disenchantment. The psychiatrist Richard Warner has even suggested that those who reject the diagnosis of severe mental illness may have better outcomes as they retain the right to construct their own narrative of personhood and define what really matters for them. Despite public education campaigns (or perhaps because of them), the stigma of mental illness is as enduring as it was 50 years ago.

With the Public Defrauded, the Illegitimacy of Forced Psychiatry Crystallizes

If we accept Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove’s assessment that informed consent for a person to participate in psychiatry is not informed consent because of the fraud that Americans are subjected to by organized psychiatry, then the consensus for laws that support forced psychiatry have also not been garnered with informed consent. If the average person is offering support to psychiatry via their legislators, because they are operating under the fraud organized psychiatry has perpetrated on the people, then that support is illegitimate.

Drugs and Dementia

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This week, JAMA Internal Medicine published online an interesting paper, “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study.” They found that exposure to anticholinergic drugs significantly increased the risk of developing dementia. This study has important implications for those who prescribe and take psychiatric drugs.

Patients’ Rights in Massachusetts

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This article is about my testimony at the Massachusetts State House hearings on September 10, 2013 supporting legal reform of rights of patients in mental hospitals in Massachusetts. The state Legislature’s Committee on Mental Health & Substance Abuse heard testimony on a proposed bill, House Bill #1806, guaranteeing patients in mental hospitals the right to get outside for fresh air breaks every day, and in the same bill is a proposal to put “teeth” into a weak existing law by strengthening enforcement powers to protect rights already granted people in hospitals. These rights may be unique to Massachusetts. It was hard to get them.

Towards a Ban on Psychiatrically Diagnosing and Drugging Children

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Instead of hope and enthusiasm for their futures, too many children now grow up believing they are inherently defective, and controlled by bad genes and biochemical imbalances. They are shackled by the idea that they have ADHD and then subdued by the drugs that inevitably go along with the diagnosis. Unless something intervenes, many of them will go on to pass their days on Earth in a drug-impaired, demoralized state.

Trump and the Diagnosis Free-for-All

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It would seem that who is 'mentally ill' is a movable target (much more so than, say, the cancer or diabetes to which it is often compared), sometimes based on convenience and strategy. If you hold enough power, you can decide who's sick, provided they don't have enough leverage to outdo you at your own game.

Mistakes Were Made (by all of us)

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After reading Psychiatry Under the Influence I turned to Mistakes Were Made (but not by me). by the cognitive psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson to get a better understanding of cognitive dissonance and how it has influenced my own thinking and behavior. It offers a cautionary tale for all of us.

Elephants and Flamingos

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I am walking through my local park in Copenhagen, Denmark, early in the morning breathing in the fresh smell of damp soil and late summer blooms. I am thinking about my thesis that I have just handed in and the fact that if it is passed I will be a certified psychologist! But, I will not be just any psychologist. I will be Denmark's first official 'Mad' psychologist, joining the ranks of others such as Rufus May, Eleanor Longden, Arnhild Lauveng, and Pat Deegan.

The Truth About Antidepressant Research: An Invitation to Dialogue

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The Finnish Psychological Association held a meeting in Helsinki on 1 Sept 2014 titled “Mental Health and Medicalization.” I spoke at the meeting and four days later I sent a letter to another speaker, psychiatrist Erkki Isometsä. Professor Isometsä replied: “I will respond to it in detail within a few days..." As "Open Dialogue" is essential in science, I have published my letter to Isometsä here as well as on my own website, although I didn’t succeed in starting a dialogue.

Book Review: “Overmedicated and Undertreated”

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A former pharma executive has broken ranks with the industry in a new book by reporting how multiple psychiatrists, schools, and his desperate hopes pressed him to allow higher and higher doses of antipsychotic medications. The result: his 15-year-old son's death from Seroquel.
europe

Will the European Elections Be a Chance for Mental Health?

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European citizens from 27 different countries will soon go to the polls to elect their representatives in the European Parliament for the next five years. As an advocacy organisation, we see those elections as an opportunity to call on current and future European leaders and policymakers to bring mental health to the heart of European policies.
revolution

How Would We Know If We Overthrew the Mental Health System?

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What would it take to go about abolishing psychiatry? If we truly eliminated all the horrid practices that are currently committed by the mental health system, what would the world look like? What follows are 15 ways our society would need to change before we could be confident that we are free from the tyranny of the mental health system.
3D illustration of an upside-down maze with business-people falling out of it into a white void

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 16: Is There Any Future for Psychiatry? (Part Four)

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On the failures of the publicly funded long-term studies and psychiatry’s fraudulent reporting of these results.

The Power of Storytelling

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Over the years, I have heard many powerful recovery stories. I’ve also had many opportunities to share our family’s struggle with mental health challenges and our recovery journey.

How “Mental Health Awareness” Exploits Schoolchildren

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Imagine being a parent at a meeting with educators to discuss Johnny's academics or behavior. Suddenly, your child’s teacher is telling you that he needs to see a doctor for an assessment of a suspected “mental disorder,” which usually leads to a prescription for medication. Warned of “the risks against failing to intervene,” you will likely acquiesce.

MIA Update: Our Parent Resources Initiative and More

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Regular MIA readers may have noticed that we recently added a content box on the front page titled “Parent Resources.” This initiative has been a long time coming, and it is one that we hope will help us reach—and serve—a new group of readers. Many parents writing to us are desperately looking for a way out of the conventional system.
Ekaterina Netchitailova

Stepping Into One’s Inner Radiant Space

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It is hard to step out of the space of diagnoses because of the power it holds. The “doctor” who inflicted on you the awful label of “schizophrenia” or “bipolar” damages you because of the power he holds.

Announcing the Mad in America Continuing Education Project

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The Mad in America Continuing Education Project is preparing for takeoff after months of planning. The project will provide on-line classes on the full range of psychiatric medications, and the ways in which they affect the neurology, physiology and outcomes for people taking them. The overarching goal is to change the standard of practice so that it becomes consistent with well-designed research.
escaping cage of mental illness

Towards the Re-politicization of “Mental Illness”

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In the models of other social movements, I implore us to advance a multifaceted, structural, cultural, and political analysis of mental illness in America, to illuminate the reality and mechanisms of sanism, and to then envision and implement ways of organizing American life around it that do not limit our potential for flourishing so drastically.

May 16, 2015: International Day of Protest Against Shock Treatment

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On Saturday May 16, 2015, there will be demonstrations protesting shock treatment in many cities around the world. This will be a historic event for our movement for human rights in psychiatry. I don’t know of any other time our movement has carried out such a coordinated action on this scale.
evidence base for neuroleptics

How Well Do Neuroleptics Work?

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A recent paper published in Schizophrenia Bulletin reported on a meta-analysis of antipsychotic drugs which found that a significant number of people do not experience a remission of psychotic symptoms. The evidence base suggests that it is time for us to reappraise the effectiveness of these drugs and shift our practice patterns accordingly.

Why I Won’t Buy the DSM-5

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As the medical director of a community mental health center, my colleagues look to me for guidance on how to approach the new edition of the DSM. How many should we buy? How much time should be devoted to staff training? This is my answer.