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).

time for rain

A Time For Rain: Teaching Our Children About Sadness

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The only way out of the epidemic of feeling-people-turned-medicated-psychiatric-patients is to rebrand and reframe feeling as a cultural collective. And I believe it starts with our messaging as parents and our orientation toward shadow elements like anger and sadness. We have to model a conscious relationship to our own dark parts, and we have to show our children what it looks like to move through these spaces. Feelings can be messy, wild, and sometimes ugly to our constrained sensibilities.

Healing From Intergenerational Trauma: Facing the Unfaceable

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I spent 15 years slowly preparing for a trip into the unfaceable, in large part by observing an American human rights advocate and coalition builder (who has German heritage) do gut-wrenching emotional healing work particularly related to her internalized anti-Semitism and her internalized white racism. She inspired me with her intelligence, tenacity and determination to be free from the damaging effects of these forms of oppressions. Many of her family members supported the Nazies.

New Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care Project in the Works

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The Collaborative Pathways project at Advocates, Inc. in Framingham, MA has received an FEMHC grant to develop and evaluate their highly innovative new program....

Depression, Antidepressants, and Expectancy

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This study reinforces a large body of evidence suggesting that an individual’s expectancies for improvement significantly contribute to their actual improvement. The importance of expectancies is worth paying attention to now as more clients, clinicians, and researchers are endorsing a reductionist view of psychological disorders -- i.e., that psychological disorders are fundamentally brain disorders.

Mental Health Survival Kit, Chapter 4: Withdrawing from Psychiatric Drugs (Part 4)

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Psychiatrists have made hundreds of millions of people dependent on psychiatric drugs and yet have done virtually nothing to find out how to help the patients come off them again.

The Use of Neuroleptic Drugs As Chemical Restraints in Nursing Homes

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There's an interesting article in the July-August 2014 issue of the AARP Bulletin.  It's called Drug Abuse: Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes, and was written by Jan Goodwin.  AARP is the American Association of Retired Persons.   Jan Goodwin is an investigative journalist whose career, according to Wikipedia, ". . . has been committed to focusing attention on social justice and human rights…" The article is essentially a condemnation of the widespread and long-standing practice of using neuroleptic drugs to suppress "difficult" behavior in nursing home residents.
creating mental health

Creating Our Mental Health

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We wanted to challenge the conventional assumption that mental health is a static condition or attribute by suggesting that it’s more useful to think of it as an activity that people do together, rather than a thing that individuals have or don’t have. This distinction matters because we can change what we do — what we are, not so much.

From One Parent to Another

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In the couple of years since my daughter Rebecka and I published our book, I have received many emails, Facebook messages and phone calls from despairing parents. They want to know, how did you get through it? What do you suggest? What else can we try?

The Real Myth of the Schizophrenogenic Mother

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Acknowledging the role of trauma inflicted by a given individual’s mother is not the same as laying all blame for “mental illness” at the feet of motherhood. Meanwhile, a mountain of evidence has accumulated linking schizophrenia to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and many other categories of adverse childhood experiences.
Stock photo of a doctor holding money and talking on the phone

Critical Psychiatry Textbook, Chapter 7: Psychosis (Part Four)

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How cold-turkey withdrawal is mistaken for "relapse," and how the largest drug companies have paid billions in fraud settlements related to these drugs.
quitting antidepressants

Lingering Side Effects of Quitting Antidepressants

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Nobody told me what it would be like when I first stopped taking antidepressants. The worst is definitely over, but I’m still experiencing some lingering side effects. When the hyper-arousal to sights and sounds kicks in and my head starts buzzing, I’ve learned some ways to cope.
smartphones

More Bad News About Smartphones – When Will We Heed the Warnings?

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We might expect that there would be a reasonable response to an overwhelming body of evidence that our tech usage patterns must be altered or consequences will only become more dismal. Yet as we are learning, trends seem to be running contrary to what the advice begs us to consider.
young girl at a window on rainy day

7 Tasks for a Parent Whose Child Is Diagnosed with a Mental Illness

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When I teach workshops or lead discussions on coming off psychiatric drugs and alternatives, there are invariably parents present who are at loose ends. They want to know how best to help their children, and how it can be possible for their child to live without medication. Here are seven ideas I share with them that may also help you.
An illustration of a doctor falling headfirst into a door in a giant brain, his feet kicking outside

Response to Criticism of Our Serotonin Paper

Criticisms of the paper were contradictory. Some psychiatrists said that no one ever really believed the serotonin theory. Yet the public does believe it, and are very surprised to learn that it is a myth.
the new yorker

The New Yorker Peers into the Psychiatric Abyss… And Loses Its Nerve

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The New Yorker's story on Laura Delano and psychiatric drug withdrawal is a glass-half-full story: It addresses a problem in psychiatry and yet hides the deeper story to be told. A story of how her recovery resulted from seeing herself within a counter-narrative that tells of the harm that psychiatry can do.
alice in wonderland

Doctor O’s Adventures in Wonderland

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I am a female physician who survived my own suicide attempt. I had managed to fly under the radar as a very progressive family MD for twenty years. And when I stumbled and bled, the sharks were there ready to devour the carcass. Do I believe that racism and sexism influenced charges being filed against me? I certainly do.

Stop Saying This, Part Three: “Everything in Moderation” and More

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Let’s start only accepting real relational offerings that do not make us contort, disavow comfort, strong-arm ourselves into appearing strong, or shoulder responsibility that is not ours.

The Right to Profit vs. The Right to Know

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For years, drug companies have sought to boost sales by hyping the benefits of new drugs while downplaying their risks. A couple of years ago the European Medicines Agency (equivalent of the FDA) set up a program to grant public access to all clinical trial results used in the approval of new drugs. The program was hailed by activists and researchers around the world as a big step forward for patient safety. Now AbbVie, along with another U.S. drug firm called Intermune, has filed a lawsuit to stop the release of clinical trials on their drugs, effectively shutting the whole program down.
A photo of a teddy bear being stepped on by a work boot

Getting A Diagnosis Meant That My Sister Never Had the Chance to Resolve Her...

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My sister was told if she took medications everything would be fine. But everything was not fine, and the medications sent her down a path of no return.

In Search of Change: My Journey

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It is more helpful to focus on what clients do well than what they are lacking. These are simple things, but it takes a lot of discipline for professionals to stay focused, stay simple, respect clients as the expert on their life and listen intensely for their strengths and resources.

When a Book is Like a Person: Lessons from Book Repair

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The following sermon, delivered on the first Sunday of 2016 at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, explores the principles and practices of book repair — values and techniques that may resonate deeply with the readers of Mad in America. Can we approach another body, and our own, with the consideration and respect a book conservator uses to approach a distressed book?