Sunday, September 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).

Helping People Come Off Medication—Bad for Business?

The message in journal editorials, comments and opinion articles, is that 'this new study shows great promise' and that 'we need further research'. My interpretation is: 'give us the money and we will be happy to carry this out'. With the implied promise that, once this new research has been done, we will get a better world. Sadly this is rarely ever the case.
eugenics

Psychiatric Eugenics Then and Now—You Betcha It’s Still Happening

Most are oblivious to the fact that psychiatric eugenics initiatives continued to exist—and beyond that, to flourish—long after the end of what is normally thought of as “the eugenics era” (roughly, late nineteen century to 1945). Sadly, we are not learning from history what we direly need to learn.
paying people to take pills

It’s the Economics, Stupid: The Problems With Paying People to Take Pills

A recent article in Psychiatric Services looks at the use of payments to people for taking their psychiatric medications. I was horrified to read it. We need to reevaluate our prescribing practices, and the true risk-benefit ratio for these drugs, before we throw money at people along with pills.
Mind Fixers by Anne Harrington cropped

An “Even-Handed” History of Psychiatry as Damning as the “Polemics”?

Where Professor Harrington's book seems to differ from books that others might call polemics is that she does not attribute nefarious motives to the psychiatric establishment. I worry that she underplays the ways in which the current model causes harm, but I support her suggestion for a retraction of psychiatry's scope.
Janet Foner

We Lost a Giant Today: A Tribute to Janet Foner

Janet Foner, a longtime mental health liberation activist, passed away on July 24, 2019. Many people do not know that Janet helped form the very early Alternatives Conferences in the U.S. and she co-founded MindFreedom International and continued serving on its board to this day. Here we honor her wisdom, tenacity and courage.
case against AOT involuntary outpatient commitment

Responding to “The Case Against AOT”—Next Steps for Change

Many will direct their efforts toward repealing involuntary outpatient commitment statutes in their states—an extremely challenging and uphill battle—or reforming abuses. Their arguments will be strengthened immensely by the findings in MIA's report. What follows are suggestions about what kinds of interventions to consider.
chemical imbalance theory

The Chemical Imbalance Theory: Dr. Pies Returns, Again

Psychiatrist Ronald Pies published a recent piece in the Psychiatric Times titled "Debunking the Two Chemical Imbalance Myths, Again." The subtitle: "A little learning is a dangerous thing." And indeed it is. But not nearly as dangerous as a psychiatrist with a head full of spurious diagnoses and a ready prescription pad.
Howard Stern psychotherapy talk therapy

An Open Letter to Howard Stern, the “Poster Boy for Psychotherapy”

Dear Howard Stern: What may come as a surprise to you is that the quality of talk therapy that was available to you—time-intensive, in-depth sharing of feelings, exploring childhood traumas, examining and changing difficult personality traits—is steadily becoming unavailable to the average American.
abolish psychiatric slavery involuntary commitment

End Kendra’s Law Now: Racist, Classist Practices in Involuntary Psychiatry Persist

In addition to involuntary outpatient commitment being an assault on and targeting people who are living in or near poverty, the statistics demonstrate racial disparities in the application of involuntary outpatient commitment.
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.
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?
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. 
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."
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.

Follow Us

19,639FansLike
11,994FollowersFollow
3,270SubscribersSubscribe