Tuesday, September 17, 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).

neurotoxins

What Should We Really Call Psychiatric Drugs?

There is no rational way to argue against putting psychiatric chemicals into the category of neurotoxins. All psychiatric substances alter “the structure or functions of the nervous system,” disrupt “the normal function of nerve cells” and act “specifically on nervous tissue.” It is time to clean up the misleading mess of words in psychiatry.
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.

Stop The War On Chronic Pain Patients

Much has been written lately about an "epidemic" of opioid overdose deaths, in some cases advocating for a blanket reduction in the availability of prescription opioids. Regrettably, many readers will not penetrate beneath the sensational headlines to grapple with the complicated realities of this issue. Few who aren't themselves in pain may realize what harm such articles are doing to tens of millions of people.

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.

Stopping the Madness: Coming Off Psychiatric Medications

Millions of patients find themselves caught in the web of psychiatric sorcery - a spell cast, hexed, potentially for life. They are told that they have chemical imbalances. They are told that the most important thing they can do for themselves is to "take their medication," and that they will have to do so "for life." Most egregiously, patients are sold the belief that medication is treating their disease rather than inducing a drug effect no different than alcohol or cocaine. That antidepressants and antipsychotics, for example, have effects like sedation or blunting of affect, is not a question. That these effects are reversible after long-term exposure is.

Poverty & Mental Illness: You Can’t Have One Without the Other

If you’ve spent any time in the public mental health system, you know that folks diagnosed or labeled as having serious mental illnesses are...
trauma-informed doctor

Trauma Outside the Box: How the ‘Trauma-Informed’ Trend Falls Short

Becoming "trauma-informed" is often just a way to advance one's career and feel good about oneself while pretty much doing nothing different. Here's a glimpse into the ways in which mainstream services and trauma specialists are perpetuating harm while patting themselves on the back for being progressive and aware.

The Gauntlet of Protracted Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

My doctor insisted that my symptoms could not be associated with withdrawal – they had to be symptoms of an underlying condition. I have since learned from legitimate sources that protracted withdrawal syndrome from benzodiazepines can intensify long before it abates, with some symptoms lasting for years.

Psychiatric Diagnosis is a Fraud: The Destructive and Damaging Fiction of Biological ‘Diseases’

Everywhere you turn, you see “OCD, ASD, MDD, ADD, ADHD, BPD, GAD, PD, SAD, PTSD, NPD," etc. The problem is not limited to this acronym soup, but the pseudo diagnoses they represent. Patients today get stained by the specious medical diagnoses of biological psychiatry. And furthermore they are brainwashed to believe that these fictitious brain ‘diseases’ are genetic. Biological psychiatry treats people like they are mechanical objects, renaming them almost as they are re-branding products. The one I like the best is the renaming of ‘manic-depressive’ to ‘bipolar.’ Instead of a name which accurately describes the states of suffering, it was turned into something mechanical — a battery with two poles. We’ve gone from something human to something Frankensteinian.

In Memoriam: Matt Stevenson

MIA blogger Matt Stevenson, who was best known to the MIA community for his frequent—and insightful—comments on MIA posts, died last Thursday. He took his own life, at age 32. His last message was this: Don't let a psychiatric diagnosis rob you of your hope.

Exploring Psychiatry’s “Black Hole”: The International Institute on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

When Carina Håkansson sent out an invitation for a symposium on "Pharmaceuticals: Risks and Alternatives," some of the world's top scientists, along with experts-by-experience, came from 13 countries to explore better ways to respond to people in crisis.

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.
blind to danger

The Three Most Important Facts About Psychiatric Drugs

Psychologist and educator Michael Corrigan was a guest on my radio show and brought up some questions about how to communicate with people about psychiatric drugs. Specifically, he asked, “What are the three most important things for anyone to know about psychiatric drugs?” Here is my answer.
love

Are Emotional Disorders Really Disorders of Love?

Could the whole array of psychiatric diagnostic categories, to the extent that they have any validity at all, be expressions of the failure to love and to accept love? Do successful psychotherapies really work by means of the therapist’s ability to encourage people to experience love through how positively he or she relates to them?

Optimizing Mental Wellness Through Nutrient Therapy: A Gastroenterologist’s Perspective

It was hard to believe, initially, that nutrient therapy could have that profound an impact. My son’s remarkable recovery with “just nutrients” has made me question the entire medical model behind ADHD and other neurobehavioral disorders.

Three Suicides: Honoring Lives Lost to Benzodiazepines

I am still trying to reconcile what these chemicals are capable of, how the urge can morph into an action, how we maybe just don’t understand suicide all that well. For me, the suffering was so intense it was too painful to stay alive. I understand how my friends felt in their last moments.
psychological injuries

How Psychological Injuries Cause Physical Illness—And How Therapy Can Heal It

How does experiencing physical abuse as an 8 year old shorten one's lifespan? How do insulting words turn into diabetes? Or sexual abuse trigger a heart attack 50 years in the future? Emotional wounds can damage DNA and produce a huge web of destructive effects, but therapy can turn the process around.

The Unintended Consequences of Colorado’s “Social Experiment”

The lack of any regulations on the potency of THC in marijuana has allowed the cannabis industry to increase the potency to astronomical proportions, resulting in a burgeoning public health crisis. Many people seem to lack a true understanding of the potential negative consequences of the higher-potency THC.

The Case Against Antipsychotics

This review of the scientific literature, stretching across six decades, makes the case that antipsychotics, over the long-term, do more harm than good. The drugs lower recovery rates and worsen functional outcomes over longer periods of time.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The Good, The Bad, The Limitations

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been a hot topic of late. In the recent MIA blog posting, “Colonization or Post Psychiatry,” multiple references were made about “system therapists” promoting CBT coming into the Hearing Voices Movement to possibly dilute or co-opt the essential revolutionary character of the movement, thus turning it into something more mainstream and less threatening to the status quo of Biological Psychiatry’s oppressive medical model.

Studies of Reared-Apart (Separated) Twins: Facts and Fallacies

Twin studies supply the most frequently cited evidence in favor of important genetic influences on human behavioral differences. In an extremely small yet influential handful of studies, twin pairs were said to have been reared apart in different families. Twin researchers and others view this occurrence as the ultimate test of the relative influences of nature (genes) and nurture (environment). According to this view all behavioral resemblance between reared-apart MZ twin pairs (known as “MZA” pairs) must be the result of their 100% genetic similarity, because such pairs share no environmental similarity. But, far from being separated at birth and reared apart in randomly selected homes representing the full range of potential behavior-influencing environments, and meeting each other for the first time when studied, most MZA pairs were only partially reared apart, and grew up in similar cultural and socioeconomic environments at the same time.

A Mother’s Very, Very Worst Nightmare

I was Marci’s former psychotherapist. When I heard what had happened, I immediately informed the detectives that I suspected that the homicide and suicide attempt were related to psychiatric drugs.

How Reliable is the DSM-5?

More than a year on from the release of DSM-5, a Medscape survey found that just under half of clinicians had switched to using the new manual. Most non-users cited practical reasons, typically explaining that the health care system where they work has not yet changed over to the DSM-5. Many, however, said that they had concerns about the reliability of the DSM, which at least partially accounted for their non-use. Throughout the controversies that surrounded the development and launch of the DSM-5 reliability has been a contested issue: the APA has insisted that the DSM-5 is very reliable, others have expressed doubts. Here I reconsider the issues: What is reliability? Does it matter? What did the DSM-5 field trials show?
depressed doctor

The Disillusioned Psychiatrist

Many of us have become disillusioned with our profession. We have experienced a loss of meaning, purpose, connection, and hope. As the field has moved away from the wonder and pathos of human existence, and taken on a model that reduces life to tick boxes and pill dispensing, we have lost touch with what makes us human.
new antidepressants

Challenging the New Hype About Antidepressants

The extraordinary media hype over the latest meta-analysis of antidepressants puts the discussion of these drugs back years. Despite the fact that rates of prescribing have doubled over the last decade, the authors of the analysis are calling for yet more prescribing. But this latest meta-analysis simply repeats the errors of previous analyses.

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