Monday, May 27, 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).

Service Dogs, Allergies and Trauma: Making Spaces Inclusive

Obstacles to accessibility are increasing in mental health settings, as well as settings designed to be alternatives to psychiatry, which ideally should be accessible to people with disabilities — including disabling allergies.

CYP Testing to Help Prevent Dangerous Adverse Drug Reactions

Drug-drug interactions can be extremely dangerous, even if the CYPs are genetically normal. The picture becomes even more grim if we take into account drug-gene interactions. Genetic testing for variants in the CYP enzyme system will definitely save lives.

Soteria Shelter Program in Hungary: Crisis as Danger and Opportunity

We believe that if we do no harm, crisis is not only danger but opportunity. We do not “treat” anybody or force anyone to do anything. We are together in order to help the people in crisis by means of our presence. Our ethical motto is: “It can happen to you, too.”

Peer-run Organizations Help People with Criminal Justice Involvement Return to the Community

Because of the enormous obstacles confronting individuals with behavioral health conditions who have been incarcerated, many peer-run organizations have risen to the challenge and have created programs to help these people rejoin the community.

Allen Frances and the “Overdiagnosing” of Children

What Dr. Frances calls "massive mislabeling" is not the assignment of psychiatry's spurious labels as such, but rather what he calls the overuse of these labels. This notion of conservative, careful and accurate diagnosis is a common theme in Dr. Frances's writing, but in fact, it's an empty exhortation, because the criteria are inherently vague and ill-defined.

The DSM and the Medical Model: New Video

Since mainstream “mental health” care directly affects the public, the public deserves an overview of the issues raised by the critics of these practices. For this reason, I have created a short video lecture titled The DSM and the Medical Model, summarizing criticism of the medical model of mental distress and offering a sharp rebuke of psychiatry and its narrative.

Ruby Wax: From Shark Bait to the Doyenne of Disease

I ended 2016 as I started it: listening to a celebrity reducing the complex interplay between society and the psyche to a matter of simple biology. This deprives people of the opportunity to really understand their suffering and find meaning in it — and it undermines the case for prevention.

Healing Madness

After 35 years in medicine, and three years with the same large health care organization where I am now the Medical Director of Integrative Services, I have decided I must quit. I am not willing to be a part of any machine where I doubt in the benefit of what I am being asked to do, and fear it might even be making people sick.

MIA in the Year 2017

We have always conceived of Mad in America as a forum for a community to come together and “rethink” psychiatry and its current paradigm of care. This past year was our first operating as a 501c3, and the support we received from our readers and from charitable foundations has reinforced and strengthened this sense of our mission. As such, we thought it would be useful to briefly review how we expanded our operations in the past year, and detail our ambitions for 2017.

The NIMH in 2017: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

The official announcement of the NIMH's new director proudly proclaimed he had been studying things such as “the role of the hippocampus, a brain structure known to be important for memory and emotional processes associated with anxiety and depression.” Is there any evidence that anything will come of these theories — and the expenses demanded of such endeavors?

How Psychiatric Drugs Really Work

A case study of a former soldier illustrated that mefloquine can cause persisting brain injury with unrelenting, permanent emotional and cognitive problems. As my fellow psychiatrists commonly do, they diagnosed the former soldier with psychiatric disorders and treated him with multiple drugs, worsening his brain injury and overall mental condition.

The Biological Evidence for “Mental Illness”

Partners' comment in response to my Carrie Fisher article essentially consists of unsubstantiated assertions, non sequiturs, and appeals to psychiatric authority. Because it comes from, and presumably represents the views of, an extremely large psychiatric practice, it warrants a close look.

What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Community Mental Health

While I struggle with whether I can work in an ethical way when there are forces and perspectives prominent in our culture that are antithetical to mine, I have kept my day job as a psychiatrist in a community mental health center in Vermont. This is a reflection on that work and the value I observe in the efforts of my colleagues day in and day out.

Pioneering New Zealand Antipsychotic Medication Study Focuses on Patient Experiences

Miriam Larsen-Barr's study is the largest to date on the subjective experiences of antipsychotic withdrawal, and the first to explore how people who have successfully stopped antipsychotics are able to maintain their well-being.

Time to ‘Drop the Disorder’

It was February 2016, the UK-EU referendum debate was beginning to warm up and my tolerance for absorbing toxic tweets and frustrating Facebook posts was dwindling fast. What then pushed me over the edge was yet another celebrity-inspired media frenzy about a psychiatric “illness.”

Carrie Fisher, Bipolar Disorder, and the Spread of False Information

As a child of the 80s, I had a childhood dream of growing up to be Princess Leia, and — of course — marrying Han Solo. What I did not dream of was fighting an empire that seems only to grow over time, and with no Harrison Ford by my side to make it all better. The death of Carrie Fisher is heartbreaking; the news coverage of her life and suffering is a tragedy.

Why I’m Not Celebrating Being PMDD-Free

I’m not celebrating because so many of my sisters are still stricken by this disease. They're remanded to the care of mental health professionals who ply them with therapy and scripts for SSRIs, SNRIs, and benzodiazepines, none of which offer long term relief from the horrors of PMDD.

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?

Soldiers as Guinea Pigs: the Case of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine

Hundreds of Australian veterans have been diagnosed with serious neurological and psychiatric disorders, often mistaken for post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of mefloquine, a neurotoxicant able to cause a “lasting or permanent” brain injury, and the experimental drug tafenoquine[.] Many maintain they were compelled to participate in trials of the drugs.

Starting the New Year with a Bang: A Medley of Antipsychiatry Resolutions

Every year at this time, from Canada to Ireland, from Turkey to South Africa, both determined and not-so-determined folk make a very unusual list, known traditionally as New Year's resolutions. What follows are antipsychiatry resolutions—ones that people may borrow from at will.

The Real “Mental Illness” Epidemic: Withdrawal from Antidepressants

If the incidence of mental illness has remained the same, but an ever-increasing percentage of the population takes psychiatric medications, then these drugs are being over-prescribed. Now there is an epidemic of people trying to stop SSRI antidepressants, and the effects can be crippling.

The Right to Refuse Psychiatric Treatment

It doesn’t have to be like this. Give us back our autonomy. Grant us the legal right to refuse psychiatric coercion based on our own preferences and experiences. It’s urgent. We don’t have another survivor to lose.

Opening the Door to a New Year: Some Christmas Thoughts and Wishes

So many people are feeling so hopeless these days. Sometimes I think twice before I turn on the radio. I don’t want to be reminded of all those being abandoned to their fate, in Aleppo and Mosul as well as other places ravaged by drought, famine and war. But the darkest stories are bearable if there is some ray of light at the end.

Shock, Lies… and a Duvet

“I am going to make an official complaint,” says the mother. “You are welcome to do that,” says the psychiatrist, and you can almost hear the laughter—for they know, as others do, that the psychiatric laws trump both the country's own laws and that of human rights.

Seven Reasons Why the US’s New Mental Health Law Is Dangerous

This week, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, touting the bipartisan mental health measure as "bringing to reality the possibility of new breakthroughs to some of the greatest health-care challenges of our time." However, the reality behind this legislation is not quite what it appears to be.

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