Friday, February 28, 2020

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).

Taking “Anti-Psychotics” When You Are Not Psychotic

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?
psychological injury model

Why the ‘Psychological Injury Model’ Will Ultimately Triumph

The Psychological Injury model will triumph, not just because literally thousands of studies show how trauma and stressful life events result in mental health problems, but because at our core, we know it is true. People hurt people, and people heal people. This cracks the intellectual foundation of psychopharmacology.

Playing the Odds: Antidepressant ‘Withdrawal’ and the Problem of Informed Consent

If I thought that it was possible, I would have opened a string of clinics all over the country to help get people off of antidepressants.  Unfortunately, the problems that sometimes occur when people try to stop an SSRI antidepressant are much more severe and long-lasting than the medical profession acknowledges, and there is no antidote to these problems. The truth is, giving people information about taking antidepressants is like giving information to people who are enroute to a casino; they go because they hear that some people win (at least for a time), but the losers are the ones who ultimately pay for it all — and the odds are not in their favor.

Not so Black: Ablixa and Homicidal Side Effects

So now we know Soderbergh’s movie Side Effects is not so Black/Noir after all – more Fifty Shades of Grey. Emily Hawkins (Rooney Mara) is put on Ablixa by her psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) and while on it kills her husband. She apparently murders him while sleep-walking triggered by Ablixa and sleep walking being a perfect defense against murder she is acquitted.

Why the Rise of Mental Illness? Pathologizing Normal, Adverse Drug Effects, and a Peculiar...

In just two decades, pointing out the pseudoscience of the DSM has gone from being an “extremist slur of radical anti-psychiatrists” to a mainstream proposition from the former chairs of both the DSM-3 and DSM-4 taskforces and the director of NIMH. In addition to the pathologizing of normal behaviors, another explanation for the epidemic — the adverse effects of psychiatric medications — is also evolving from radical to mainstream, thanks primarily to the efforts of Robert Whitaker and his book Anatomy of an Epidemic. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason.

Part II: Michelle Starts Prozac and Sees the Devil

By 2011, anyone who read the scientific literature would have known that children cannot tolerate SSRIs and should not be given them. Neither Conrad nor Michelle seemed to have been warned about the common adverse effects (such as nightmares and compulsive suicidality) of the SSRI antidepressants they were on.

Makers of Risperdal Sued for Breast Development in Boys

Thousands of boys and young men are lined up in courthouses around the country to sue J&J for gynecomastia caused by taking Risperdal as young children. The condition is irreversible except by surgical removal. Collectively, they have become known as the Risperdal Boys.

What is a Warm Line and What Should I Expect When I Call One?

A warm line is an alternative to a crisis line that is run by “peers,” generally those who have had their own experiences of trauma that they are willing to speak of and acknowledge. Unlike a crisis line, a warm line operator is unlikely to call the police or have someone locked up if they talk about suicidal or self-harming thoughts or behaviors. Most warm line operators have been through extreme challenges themselves and are there primarily to listen.

The Trouble with Twin Studies

As most readers are aware, it is widely believed that both within and without of psychiatry genetic factors play an important role in causing major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, ADHD, autism, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Twin studies provide the main pillar of support for this belief which is often, though mistakenly, presented as a scientific fact.

Enslaved to Abilify

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.

Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness

In Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness, Bruce Cohen explains the expanding power and influence of psychiatry in terms of its usefulness to the capitalist system — the more useful it is, the more power it is given, and the greater its power, the more useful it becomes.

Do Psychiatrists Harm their Patients out of Stupidity?

I think it is fair to say that many psychiatrists display an enormous lack of good sense and judgment. Psychiatrists are in the firm grip of a collective force field of an almost fundamentalist belief system that blinds them to the harm they unwittingly do and the human rights abuses they commit.

Trauma, Psychosis, and Dissociation

Recent years have seen an influx of numerous studies providing an undeniable link between childhood/ chronic trauma and psychotic states. Although many researchers (i.e., Richard Bentall, Anthony Morrison, John Read) have been publishing and speaking at events around the world discussing the implications of this link, they are still largely ignored by mainstream practitioners, researchers, and even those with lived experience. While this may be partially due to an understandable (but not necessarily defensible) tendency to deny the existence of trauma, in general, there are also certainly many political, ideological, and financial reasons for this as well.

The Sociological Study of Mental Illness: A Historical Perspective

Mental illness, as the eminent historian of psychiatry Michael MacDonald once aptly remarked, “is the most solitary of afflictions to the people who experience it; but it is the most social of maladies to those who observe its effects.” If psychiatry has typically, though far from always, focused on the individual who suffers from various forms of mental disorder, for the sociologist it is - naturally - the social aspects and implications of mental disturbance for the individual, for his or her immediate interactional circle, for the surrounding community, and for society as a whole, that have been the primary intellectual puzzles that have drawn attention.

The Astonishing Zyprexa Cover-Up

Back in 2006, when my son Franklin was in his late twenties and living in a group home in the Boston area, he refused to take Clozaril any more because of the required bi-weekly blood draws. His doctor prescribed Zyprexa as a substitute, and Frank suddenly began to gain weight ... a lot of weight. Later, I would learn that UCLA psychiatrist Dr. William Wirshing had said of Zyprexa prior to its 1996 approval by the FDA: “It is just un-stinkin’-believable. It is the best drug for gaining weight I’ve ever seen.” The doctor indicated that taking ten milligrams of the medication was equivalent to ingesting 1,500 extra calories per day. My outrage knew no bounds.

Antipsychotics and Brain Shrinkage: An Update

Evidence that antipsychotics cause brain shrinkage has been accumulating over the last few years, but the psychiatric research establishment is finding its own results difficult to swallow. A new paper by a group of American researchers once again tries to ‘blame the disease,’ a time-honoured tactic for diverting attention from the nasty and dangerous effects of some psychiatric treatments. People need to know about this research because it indicates that antipsychotics are not the innocuous substances that they have frequently been portrayed as. We still have no conclusive evidence that the disorders labeled as schizophrenia or psychosis are associated with any underlying abnormalities of the brain, but we do have strong evidence that the drugs we use to treat these conditions cause brain changes.

Why I Resigned From The Mighty

The apprehensions I'd initially had about joining the team returned to my mind. I'd allowed my original cautious disposition to be overtaken by optimism when I had accepted a position of contributing editor with The Mighty, but my hopes were about to be dashed.

There’s No Duct Tape for Benzo Withdrawal

It’s stunning what a quarter milligram of a benzodiazepine can do to the body. I’ve been detoxing off a high dose of benzodiazepines since September of 2011. The first few months were a failure. But this past May, I found my expert and thought I had the formula. Things were going well for detoxing off a substance many deem more addictive that heroin. That is, I realized, until they weren’t.
man contemplates suicide

Rising Rates of Suicide: When Do We Acknowledge That Something Isn’t Working?!

Scapegoating a purported unseen "illness" may provide temporary comfort from acknowledging the horrors and injustice of the world, but it is a delusion — and one with fatal consequences for many. When 45,000 people a year would rather die than live in this world any longer, it might behoove us all to consider what is happening in the world to cause this.
55 steps to informed consent

55 Steps to Informed Consent

55 Steps is a new film based on a true story that centers around two women: Collette, a lawyer with a tendency to work long hours, and Eleanor, who has spent far too much time incarcerated in hospitals. Over the course of five years, Collette fights for Eleanor’s right to choose whether or not she takes psychiatric drugs. This film is imperfect, but its importance can’t be ignored.
David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace: Suicide and the Death of Agency

Today is the 10th anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s suicide. While it’s not fair to build an entire theory on an incredibly complicated issue like suicide around one person, Wallace’s death should challenge the common narratives around suicide — that “mental illness” causes it and that “we can’t ever know why people do it.” Both of these are self-serving platitudes that are simply not true.

Forced “Treatment” is Torture

I have opposed involuntary treatment for my entire career and first began criticizing it in the medical literature in 1964.  As Thomas Szasz originally taught, involuntary psychiatric treatment is unconstitutional and an assault on basic human rights.   I am also against it on scientific grounds, because after hundreds of years, this violation of human rights has generated no scientific studies to show that it benefits its victims. I am encouraged by the excellent blog by Peter C. Gøtzsche on MadinAmerica.com, which inspired me to put a new section, Psychiatric Coercion and Involuntary Treatment, on my website, and to compose these further observations of my own.
neurodiversity

Neurodiversity is Dead. Now What?

The neurodiversity movement is a public relations campaign that emphasizes the positive qualities associated with some presentations of autism—creativity, increased tolerance for repetition, enhanced empathy, and exceptional memory—while erasing or minimizing the experiences of autistics who are severely disabled.

More on Benzos and Cognitive Damage

There is mounting evidence that benzodiazepines are causing Alzheimer's Disease. I cannot imagine any genuine medical specialty ignoring or downplaying information of this sort. But psychiatry, with the perennial defensiveness of those with something to hide, promotes the idea that they are safe when used for short periods, knowing full well that a huge percentage of users become "hooked" after a week or two, and stay on the drugs indefinitely.

How I Overcame an Episode of SSRI-Induced Suicidal Depression

My journey into the dark night of the soul was launched by an adverse reaction to the drug Effexor. Taking this medication triggered a maddening condition called Akathisia--a syndrome characterized by inner restlessness and agitation. My body was possessed by a chaotic, demonic force which led to my shaking, twitching and pacing back and forth across the room. The force of my symptoms was so great that I considered the possibility that I might be possessed by some malevolent demon. What made the situation even worse was that my experience was discounted by the psychiatric community.

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