Thursday, August 22, 2019

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).

green movement mental health

System Change Toward a Green Movement in Mental Health

As a counter narrative, I believe that understanding system change and reform in mental health with a "green" lens makes use of a powerful theme which is increasingly accepted — and it lays out a road map to make innovative programs and initiatives the new norm for system-wide responses to mental health challenges.
supported decision-making equal legal capacity

Equal Legal Capacity or ‘Supported Decision-Making’?

At a recent conference on legal capacity, I was struck by the failure of another invited expert to adhere to the paradigm of supported decision-making as articulated by the CRPD Committee. We still need to work to ensure that this paradigm is well understood and appreciated, despite the progress made in national reforms.
cognitive liberty

On Cognitive Liberty: A Principle to Rally Behind

The concept of cognitive liberty is valuable—one might even say necessary—precisely because it goes to the core of what we are as human beings. Correspondingly, it unmasks psychiatry for the profound human rights violator that it is. It reveals such transgression as the essence of what psychiatry is actually all about.

Being-Towards-Suicide

Is it not the very capacity for suicide that makes us human? This capacity, this freedom, of autonomy’s jurisdiction to extend to the outermost seconds of life, namely death, is an innate part of humanity and thus consciousness. Accepting death as a possibility embraces the finitude of our existence.
italy

Why Mad in Italy?

The Italian mental health system, like the majority of them around the world, struggles with accepting a model based on principles of Recovery, which highlights individual and communal mental health needs, social determinants of emotional distress, integration of physical and psychological care and quality of life.
online education

Inside an Online Charter School: Labeling Kids “Disabled” for Profit

I’d thought this teaching job would be my chance to make positive changes in children’s lives. But most of the recommendations in students' IEPs were related not to reading, writing, and ’rithmetic but to behavior control and obedience to adults. And the school seemed to be working very hard to prove that the kids were disabled and to get them certified as such.
long-acting medications pharmaceutical industry

A Guide to Long-Acting Neuroleptics: Education or Promotion?

The National Council for Behavioral Health has released a new pamphlet titled “Guide to Long-Acting Medications for Providers and Organizations.” By downplaying some aspects of the available science, the pamphlet implicitly acts as a promotional tool for the pharmaceutical industry.
pill shaming

The Pill Shaming Phenomenon: What’s It Really About?

At best, the underpinnings of the ‘pill shaming’ accusation are misguided. At worst, they represent a concerted effort on the part of the current power structure to use us against ourselves (and they don’t need any more help). It’s the same old story packaged up as if it were something new and ultra woke.
voice hearers

The Voices My Daughter Hears

The voices were extraordinary; in a way, they were like ghosts. I could not see them, but only divine them by the turmoil they stirred up in Annie. They were not polite house ghosts who knew when to leave; they were ne’er-do-wells she could not get rid of. They were tormentors and torturers, testing the limits of her sanity, blackmailing her into submission.
LGBT sexuality and sanism

Madness, Sexuality and Legacies of Strategic Sanism

There has been little engagement between the survivor and LGBT movements despite a shared interest in critiquing and resisting the normalization project of the psy disciplines — that is, psychiatry and psychology’s clinical categorization of what is ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ or ‘healthy’ and ‘sick’. Why might this be?
voices for choices

Introducing Voices for Choices

Between my first involuntary psychiatric commitment and my learning that the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement existed, I spent years unnecessarily stumbling along on my own. The Voices for Choices video series was conceived to help connect those in need to the existing movements and resources available to us.
three identical strangers

“Three Identical Strangers” and the Nature-Nurture Debate

Three Identical Strangers is a riveting film describing the story of identical triplets separated at six months of age and reunited in early adulthood. Their story provides no evidence in support of the genetic side of the nature-nurture debate, but it does supply some evidence in favor of the environment.
diagnostic terminology

To Warn or Not to Warn? A Critique of MIA’s Use of Diagnostic Terminology

I have concerns about how Mad In America deals with diagnostic terminology. When psychiatric diagnoses are used without signaling that they are constructs and unscientific, I feel alarmed for those who will be strengthened in their mistaken beliefs about the labels. 

Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry

Early in The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine attacks the hypocrisy of religious professionals. If alive today, Paine may well have been even rougher on psychiatrists. He revered science, and he would have been enraged by professionals who make pseudoscientific proclamations.
ECT permanent brain damage

ECT Litigation Update: Are Patients Being Warned of Brain Damage Risk?

Upon review of hundreds of the "informed" consent forms received from those suffering permanent cognitive impairment after receiving ECT, the overwhelming majority do not provide the patient with any form of disclosure that "brain damage is a risk that can potentially occur from ECT, whether performed properly or not."

Two Years Tapering an Antidepressant – A Life-Changing Experience That I Didn’t Want

My heart goes out to anyone experiencing withdrawal, but especially those who are so ill they can’t work and are struggling to navigate a heartless and cynical ‘benefits’ system. Their only crime is to have experienced difficulty from a prescribed treatment, yet they are treated as medical pariahs.
clown psychiatrist

The Three Types of Psychiatric Drugs – A Doctor’s Guide for Consumers

Psychiatrists say little in their brief sessions. But if you take the few things they do say, read between the lies and boil them down to their essence, you’ll be left with this message: “Whatever is upsetting you is not worth listening to — just shut up and take one of these shut-up pills.” 
ECT electricity eTNS for children

A Smashing Victory — And an Insidious New Threat

Afraid of facing me in court, the state gave up entirely and a young man was freed from involuntary ECT treatment. It was a total victory. Meanwhile, the Psychiatric Industrial Complex is finding more subtle ways to inflict electrical energy upon the brains of children labeled with ADHD.
for your own good

When ‘For Your Own Good’ Actually Means ‘For My Own Good’

“For your own good” is oppressive. Embedded in that four-word phrase is the idea that each of us doesn’t understand who we are or what we need. Someone else is the expert. Someone else has the privilege to hold all the answers, and if those answers don't work for us then somehow it's our fault.
medicaid expenditures

Public Purse a Cash Cow for Pharma: Could Taxpayer Dollars Be Better Spent?

In Oregon, which has only about 1% of the national population, medical expenditures for psychiatric drugs in fiscal year 2017-2018 were $82.2 million for adults, and another $8.7 million for youth. Every advocate in the US should request these figures from their state Medicaid offices.
Thomas Szasz

Tough Love for Thomas Szasz: A Book Review

Dr. Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was one of the greatest thinkers and prose stylists of the last 100 years. Enough time has passed since he died that we can start to take stock of his legacy. This important new collection of essays by former colleagues, psychiatrists, philosophers, and legal experts does just that.
introverted

I’m Introverted, Not Depressed!

Urging introverts to act more extroverted as a pathway to greater life satisfaction is wrongheaded. Elizabeth's case is one where the demoralization and despondency she experiences—forced to sacrifice her needs as an introvert to comply with the social scripts required to live in an extroverted world—masquerades as depression.
psychiatry tentacle monster

Blaming the System May Be the Best Therapy

If this were an old sci-fi movie, psychiatry would be the evil alien race on a collision course with earth that plans to completely take it over as soon as it can. That we are not treating psychiatry as the malevolent invader that it is shows only how deeply we’ve fallen for its facade of helping people.
OCD worry monster

Helping Children to Overcome OCD: 6 Creative Strategies for Parents

Here, Dr. Ben Furman offers a creative approach to helping children who struggle with OCD. Explaining why behaviors like reasoning, reassuring, and superstitious rituals don’t work, he suggests engaging alternatives that teach kids how to manage their “worry monster” and make sense of their distressing experience.
Monarch eTNS device

FDA Approves Using Electricity All Night Long on Children’s Brains

The FDA just approved sales of an electrical device called the Monarch eTNS to be used on the brains of children diagnosed with so-called ADHD. The device “sends therapeutic signals to the parts of the brain thought to be involved in ADHD,” according to the FDA press release. “Therapeutic signals”? Really?

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