Monday, September 21, 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).

Protester holding up sign "Are you next?" in front of the White House

Who Is a Danger to Others: The “Mentally Ill” or the Powerful?

If the cultural and socioeconomic structures of society had, from the beginning, allowed me to function, and even thrive, I undoubtedly never would have felt a need for antidepressants and “therapy.”

Lyme is ‘All in Your Head’ – A Wake-up Call to Mental Health Professionals

Sufferers are desperate for mental health professionals to understand Lyme so that they will know to consider it as a potential differential diagnosis before plying a patient with psychotropic meds that may make matters worse.
autism definition

I Don’t Believe in Autism

The conversation about what truly constitutes “autism” is an ongoing one. Although I resist the label personally, I do not begrudge anyone for identifying as autistic, or seeking out an autism diagnosis. Leaving this discussion within the domain of medicine is limiting. That’s why a new discourse is emerging, not among doctors, but among activists who push for autistic self-advocacy.

Electroshocking Children: Why It Should Be Stopped

In a recent commentary, University of Toronto historian Edward Shorter laments the efforts of people like myself in states like Texas who have successfully put limits on shocking children in order to induce grand mal convulsions. His argument is that we who have fought against this are denying children a benevolent medical treatment. In order to understand why Shorter’s plea to use electroshock on children is so egregious, we need to know what it does to children’s brains, which means a look at the science.
alternatives to suicide

Alternatives to Suicide: Strategies for Staying Alive

For more than 7,300 days of my life, waking up the next morning required me to make a conscious choice to diligently pursue something — anything — other than my impulse to die. Maybe the best teachers of how to avoid suicide will not be the people who are afraid someone else will die, but those of us who can explain how and why we regularly choose to live.
shining light

On Being Mad in Public

Even as you are being shown amazing and mystical things and having all sorts of mysteries clarified in your mind, you are also being placed in a position where no one will pay any attention to what you have to say, or if they do, the results of that attention will be negative (such as being locked up). The mysterious and powerful journey you are on is almost invisible to other people.

Antidepressant-Induced Mania

It is generally recognized in antipsychiatry circles that antidepressant drugs induce manic or hypomanic episodes in some of the individuals who take them. Psychiatry's usual response to this is to assert that the individual must have had an underlying latent bipolar disorder that has "emerged" in response to the improvement in mood. The problem with such a notion is that it is fundamentally unverifiable.

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.

Reflections on a Beautiful Mind

In the past 50 years, the story of John Nash, as told first in the book A Beautiful Mind and then in the film that starred Russell Crowe as the great mathematician, is perhaps the best-known story of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia who “recovered.” Today, with obits appearing in the newspaper following his death on Saturday in a car crash in New Jersey, it is worth remembering how the true story of his recovery was hijacked in the movie and turned into an ad for a second generation of psychiatric medications.

Do We All Need Tinfoil Hats? Considering Schizophrenia

If alien species wanted to intervene in human society without fully revealing themselves, how would they do it? Choose a select number of individuals who are easily discredited by others in the group. In other words: Turn people into schizophrenics.
card reads "did you know?"

12 Essential Facts About Psychiatry

With these twelve facts, you are equipped to defend against the misinformation propagated by academic psychiatry, Big Pharma, and the laypeople they target. You are encouraged to use this knowledge to (firmly but respectfully) challenge statements you hear in passing or from loved-ones such as “He is mentally ill,” “I have a chemical imbalance and these drugs help correct it,” or any other commonly accepted falsehoods that the above facts expose.
chess pieces arranged on stairs

Identity, Oppression, and the Culture of “The Mentally Ill”

A "mental illness culture" means that full time work is seen as impossible and discouraged, and your social world only consists of other mental health "consumers" and mental health workers.
twins

Bad-Science Warning: The “Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart” (MISTRA)

The huge impact of the MISTRA, in addition to the harmful and regressive social and political policy implications that flow from it, necessitates a detailed analysis of the “science” behind the study’s major claims and conclusions. Here I offer a new critique of this famous and influential “separated twin study.”
biogenetic

Behavioural Geneticist Robert Plomin: “There Are No Disorders, There Are Just Quantitative Dimensions”

It is encouraging to hear leading scientists such as Plomin acknowledge that psychiatric diagnoses are fundamentally arbitrary and that the idea of a “cure” does not make sense with regards to psychological issues.
DJ Jaffe, colonizer

An Obituary for My Colonizer: Reflections on the Legacy of DJ Jaffe

When I heard this morning that DJ Jaffe was dead my face went through its own mutation; a moment of surprise and wonderment followed by swift elation, and then, very quickly and now for so many hours afterward, an enraged, frustrated, quick-breathed grimace.

Carrie Fisher: Bipolar Meds and Heart Disease

Carrie Fisher recently died of a heart attack at age 60. How likely was it that her heart attack was caused by her psych meds? Or that her psych meds increased her risk of death once the heart attack happened?
#blacklivesmatter

We Must Not Be Silent On George Floyd & Systemic Racism.

Dear Mad in America community: How much have we grown? Can we join together in working toward our liberation, bound together as activists?

Starvation: What Does it Do to the Brain?

The Minnesota Starvation Experiment was conducted at the University of Minnesota during the Second World War. Prolonged semi-starvation produced significant increases in depression, hysteria and hypochondriasis, and most participants experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression and grew increasingly irritable. It really should not be a surprise to this audience that the brain’s functioning is highly compromised when the body is being starved of food (and nutrients). What we wonder is whether eating a diet of primarily highly processed foods low in nutrients has similar effects.

Reflections on Being a Therapist

Three-and-a-half years ago I quit my career as a psychotherapist. I’d done it for ten years in New York City and had given it my all. It was a career that chose me, loudly, when I was 27 years old. I learned a huge amount from it and I believe I was helpful to a lot of people. It also represented a vital stage in my life. But then the time came to leave. That also came as a sort of revelation.
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.

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.

When Homosexuality Came Out (of the DSM)

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.
two paradigms

A Tale of Two Paradigms

Two recent mental health reports from Oregon are steeped in the medical model, written by "experts" without lived experience and sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
twin studies

What Do Twin Studies Prove About Genetic Influences on Psychiatric Disorders? Absolutely Nothing

Assessing the validity of psychiatric twin research is important because it relates to the question of whether the main causes of psychological distress and dysfunction are located inside of the human body and brain, as mainstream psychiatry claims, or outside of the body and brain, as many critics argue.

Anti-Authoritarians and Schizophrenia: Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better?

Preface: Failing in my efforts to get this article published for the general public, apparently only here can I talk about a “cool subculture...

Follow Us

19,639FansLike
11,994FollowersFollow
4,610SubscribersSubscribe