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).

Charles Spencer (left); cover of "A Very Private School" (right)

Charles Spencer’s Story of Boarding School Abuse Is Haunting

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But parents are still sending children away to board, and it’s still dangerous.
Trap with medical bottle full pills. 3D rendering isolated on white background

On the Brink of Murder Because of an Antidepressant

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After being put on antidepressants, Katinka started hallucinating wildly, thinking in very violent images.
neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is Not For Everyone: The Dangers of Neurology

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One thing I noticed, from the moment that I stepped out of my psychiatrist’s office, was how strangely blank and yet clear my mind was. I felt surprisingly calm and relaxed, and I decided to go back for another treatment the next week. What I couldn’t have known then was that after that next “treatment,” life would be completely destroyed for me.
hand behind barbed wire with dark background

The “Madness” of Inpatient Psychiatry

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Inpatient psychiatry is not a place of psychological healing; it is devoid of compassion and full of human rights abuses.
Woman cover face using paper with emotions sketch, like hiding mask. Private life identity concept. Split inner personalities. Multipolar mental health disorder. Mood change, expressions and reactions

Animal Theory of Emotion: Emotion Is Not a Disorder

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Too many people see themselves as having mental disorders when what they have is emotion, and in some cases, a great deal of it.

Putting JAMA Psychiatry and MIA to the Genetic Test

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We can assess whether Mad in America readers or JAMA Psychiatry readers are being provided with the most robust scientific literature.

DOOCE: A Case Study on the Failure of Psychiatry

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Heather Armstrong’s life was taken by psychiatry, and our unwillingness to scrutinize their methods of madness.
suicide attempter attempt survivor

Hegemonic Sanity and Suicide

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The “good” suicide attempt survivor wakes up in a hospital bed bathed in beautiful natural light, surrounded by the people who love them most, and they realize that their thinking was flawed and all those unsolvable problems can actually be solved if they are just compliant with medication and therapy. And then there's the “bad” suicide attempter who is angry that they lived, who challenges the status quo.
Illustration of symbols

The Significance of Semiotics in Social Work

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Mental health treatment requires more than words; it demands a deep understanding of the unspoken, the symbols and signs that permeate our lives.

Catherine’s Story: A Child Lost to Psychiatry 

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A year ago today, our youngest child died, thanks to the adversarial actions and toxic treatments foisted on her by medical-model psychiatry. By telling her story, we hope to promote systemic change.

How to Avoid Severe SSRI Withdrawal Symptoms?

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After long-term use, most people are going to have serious symptoms when stopping SSRIs. Many people are going to have transient, mild to moderate difficulty and some are going to end up falling down the akathisia rabbit hole. That is a long, difficult drop.
The Guardian of Forever from TOS, with an image of R. D. Laing at its center.

Can Madness Save the World? Where R.D. Laing—and Star Trek—Meet

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What if the only choice we can really make, and trust, is the irrational, even mad, choice to love? What would saving the world look like then?
three identical strangers

“Three Identical Strangers” and the Nature-Nurture Debate

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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.

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.
A normal distribution curve appears on a tablet screen

Bad Science Revisited: “The Bell Curve” Turns 30

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Critiquing the wildly popular 1994 eugenicist book, which purported to link IQ and race, by reviewing the supposed genetic evidence.

ADHD: A Destructive Psychiatric Hoax

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Nobody is denying that inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can be real problems. The issue at stake, however, is whether it makes any sense to conceptualize this loose cluster of vaguely-defined problems as an illness.
Double exposure photo of a person experiencing distress

Witless and Dangerous? Challenging the Assumptions of the ‘Schizo’ Paradigm

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Despite growing awareness that ‘schizophrenia’ is not a scientifically valid concept, the old assumptions still drive clinical practice.
Arms raised up and speech bubbles vector illustration

Irish Open Dialogue Shut Down—Despite Expert Report Stating It Should Be Scaled Up

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The value-base and proven positive outcomes of Open Dialogue need to be expanded, not closed.
alternatives to suicide

Alternatives to Suicide: Strategies for Staying Alive

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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.
Close-up photo of hands holding a model brain

From the Dopamine Theory to the Outcomes Paradox

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Why does long-term use of neuroleptics correlate with poorer social and occupational outcomes?
Silhouette illustration of female figure dancing behind bars with giant hands reaching out to enclose her

Szasz and the Liberation of the “Mental Patient”

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By setting standards of equality, competence, and accountability, Szasz worked for the liberation of the "mental patient.”
OCD worry monster

Helping Children to Overcome OCD: 6 Creative Strategies for Parents

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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.

What Is “Care” in a Psychiatric Medical Camp for the Unhoused in India?

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Indian doctoral scholar Neha Jain wonders what kind of ‘care’ and ‘help’ are possible in the absence of real consent.

Medication Overload, Part II: The Explosion of Drugs for Kids

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An analysis of the huge increase in drugs for children, the role of Big Pharma, and a look at the impact on families and communities.
open dialogue

Re-humanising Mental Health Systems: A Discussion with Jaakko Seikkula on the Open Dialogue Approach

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Clinical psychologist, researcher, and professor Jaakko Seikkula, along with Markku Sutela, created the Open Dialogue approach to acute crises in Finland.