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).

creepy happy ball in ball pit

There’s Something Spreading Faster Than COVID-19, and It’s Not Fear. It’s Toxic Positivity

This “advice” to “remain positive” is spreading faster than COVID-19 and even faster than fear. The only people that benefit from that are the people already benefiting from predatory systems of capitalism and psychiatry that were in place long before COVID-19.

Lockdown Reading to End DSM Psychiatry?

A review of the "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" books by Lindsay Gibson. Even though adults experience emotional loneliness, such loneliness can also start in childhood when we might have felt (and I would submit, actually were) unseen emotionally by self-preoccupied parents.
couple reconciling

 Just Like Viruses, Emotions are Contagious

Now is not the time for family members to be nursing old hurts or believe the all-too-common delusion we all periodically fall prey to—you can get, without giving, when it comes to goodwill.  Gestures of decency, gratitude and appreciation will need to prevail.
doctor making "stop" hand gesture

Missing a Pivotal Outcome in a Large Cold Turkey Trial of Desvenlafaxine

In June 2014, Arif Khan et al. published a trial of 361 patients randomised to three groups: abrupt versus 1-week taper versus no discontinuation of desvenlafaxine. Curiously, although all patients had depression, the readers were told that data on depressive symptoms “are reported elsewhere.”

Exploring Dialogical Responses in a Time of Crisis: Are We Living in the...

Mad in America is proud to introduce a new venture: a web series of virtual “Town Hall” conversations, “Exploring Dialogical Responses in a Time of Crisis,” on Fridays at noon, eastern standard time. The first live town hall will be held on Friday, April 17.

The Psycho-Politics of the Pandemic: COVID-19 and the Future of Psychiatry

Just like jails, psychiatric hospitals and treatment centers in Washington, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Louisiana have seen major outbreaks of the virus, revealing, in similar fashion, the health dangers inherent to forcing large groups of strangers to live in small, confined, and often filthy spaces.

A Bridge Over Troubled Water: What’s This About Being a Hopeless Reformer?

My role within the Mad in America community has been to provide a perspective largely conditioned by six years as a state mental health commissioner. I believe that, realistically speaking, psychiatry isn't going away. Cultures in everything from state hospitals, to community-based inpatient programs, to crisis services, to outpatient settings don't change quickly.

Exploring How Muslim Therapists Work With Jinn Possession

How do Western-trained Muslim therapists work with clients that believe they are possessed? How do they balance their belief in Jinn with their knowledge of psychological/sociological theory? How do they formulate and work with a client in the British context?
blurred psychotherapy

Blurring the Line Between “Us” and “Them”

Most, if not all, mental health providers, will face dealing with major ethical issues. In their quest to reach as many consumers as possible, to streamline the process, to be as efficient as possible during this pandemic, was the therapeutic process truly helpful? Were key components of what “should” happen between both parties still prioritized?
The School of Athens

What Do Psychiatrists Treat if Not the Soul (i.e., the Psyche)?

The words psychiatrist and psychiatry, along with their counterparts in other languages, have come to mean something that is not reflected in their Greek origins. Would you allow a psychiatrist to treat an illness of the soul (in Greek, ψυχή [psychí]) if he or she couldn’t explain what part of the human person psychiatrists treat?

We Are All in This Together

We need a new narrative of shared distress to replace the failed one of individual disorders. We need human connection and mutual support. We can learn to manage our feelings in a way that helps us through the crisis and gives us the energy to make much-needed social and environmental changes afterwards. The usual dividing lines melt away in the face of global emergency. We really are all in this together.

A Peek Inside the Modern Asylum

The psychiatric hospital of today is a panopticon, a modern prison for the daring mind and for weird behavior. I was once inside and thus, am inviting you to have a look. I will take your hand, and encourage you to join me, on an exploration of the inside of the psychiatric institution. We'll have a small peek, but in reality, it is much more distressing for the one who is being observed.
man sits on floor against wall of tunnel

Social Determinants of Health and the Continued Individualization of Suffering

We need to stop believing that suffering people are genetically inferior or “diseased.” You, as sufferer, are not alone in having social determinants of health. They are universal. They are systemic. And they are not solvable or “addressable” at the individual level. The only way to alleviate negative social determinants of health is to create a more equitable, inclusive, and just society.
supreme court

Supreme Court Decides Case on Insanity Defense

The debate between the majority and dissent shows how distorted and destructive the stereotypes of madness are as they have passed down through the law. But there are also winds of change coming from tensions inherent in the insanity defense itself, and we should take this opportunity to develop some sensible policies.
Madwomen in the Attic logo

Making a Mad Community, from Attic to Attic: Part Two

Part Two: Jessica Lowell Mason describes founding a mad community, Madwomen in the Attic, the challenges faced during its first year, the importance of community, and projects and hope for the future. "This two-part piece outlines our struggle to build a mad community across locations, across differences, across challenges, across borders and barriers, across countries."
Madwomen in the Attic logo

Making a Mad Community, from Attic to Attic: Part One

Part One: Jessica Lowell Mason describes her personal experiences with involuntary commitment, the psychiatric system, and the courts—leading to her founding of a mad community, Madwomen in the Attic. "This two-part piece outlines our struggle to build a mad community across locations, across differences, across challenges, across borders and barriers, across countries."
papercut figures surrounding quarantined COVID virus

US Considering Policies That Will Lead to Mass Death Of Psychiatric Patients

Being a psychiatric patient likely puts you at much greater risk for illness or dying from COVID-19. While most of the talk about "mental health in the time of the pandemic" focuses on mindfulness, ways to relieve your stress, and the accessibility to psychiatrists during social distancing, this reality of COVID-19 and mental health is being overlooked.
silhouette of soldiers

The Persistent, Misdirected Search for Causes of Trauma-based Suffering

In the United States and other countries that have a military, there is often a great deal of talk about supporting veterans, but way too often, research aimed at learning what will be helpful is misguided and can even be harmful. The same applies to nonveterans who have been through traumatic experiences. Two new studies exemplify such wrongheaded approaches.
human rights

Joint Statement on COVID-19 and Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities

During this global pandemic, organizations have come together to issue a joint statement making recommendations to governments on how to respect and ensure the human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities, who are among the groups more vulnerable to human rights violations as well as infection with and severity of the illness.
man wearing suit with tv for head

The Perils of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

The job of educating the public on common medical conditions and the range, efficacy, benefits, and risks of potential treatment options should be undertaken by an independent and objective government health agency, not a for-profit, multi-billion dollar industry with a conflict of interest.

Mad in Brasil TV

Mad in Brasil launches MIB TV, an innovative communication space open to public participation. Every two weeks mental health professionals, researchers, users of psychiatry, family members and leaders of popular movements will discuss articles of interest on Mad in Brasil.
hearts and minds

Tending Hearts and Minds: Changing the Mental Health Paradigm in Our Schools

Our school professionals are under constant pressure to help funnel children into the mental health system and ultimately—and tragically for many—toward psychotropic drugs. So we designed a professional development symposium to address alternatives.
Teacher lecturing student. Blackboard reads "Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance"

Psychiatry and the Stupidification of America

There are three steps to modern psychiatry’s successful business formula: 1. Get people to think that they’re stupid even though they’re smart. 2. Train them to actually think stupidly. 3. Directly stupidify them with chemicals.
hands in circle reaching for speech bubbles

From FACT to POD: How a FACT Team Integrated Open Dialogue

Work with open dialogue always starts with a "network meeting" in which the person of concern is invited to talk with members of their social network (i.e., family, friends, co-workers) and at least two professionals from the care team. The main guideline was "nothing about you, without you."
lone man standing among giant pills

National Boards of Health Are Unresponsive to Children Driven to Suicide by Depression Pills

Peter C. Gøtzsche reports what happened, or rather did not happen, when he contacted National Boards of Health in eight countries with his serious concern that the use of depression pills in children is increasing and leads to more suicides. The continued official denial that these drugs cause suicide and that something substantial needs to be done is appalling.

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