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).

diagnosis curse

Does a Psychiatric Diagnosis Have the Impact of a Medical Curse?

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Over and over I've seen the aftermath of that ritual of receiving and internalizing a lifelong, pathologizing diagnosis. I don't think we can underestimate the uncanny power of receiving such proclamations about our personhood by people sanctioned by our culture to serve as arbiters of truth.
christ

Thou Shall Not Criticize Our Drugs

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A medical journal is expected to promote an open-minded discussion of treatments, even if findings—or criticisms—threaten conventional beliefs. But the American Journal of Psychiatry will not find space for criticism even if it comes from one of the best-known psychiatrists in the world.
elephant

Psychiatry Ignores an Elephant in the Room

24
Large cohort studies of people with a first-episode psychosis provide a unique opportunity for finding out why so many young people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders die at a young age. However, it seems that those psychiatrists who have access to the mortality data generally do not want the facts to come out.
Michelle Carter (HS yearbook photo via Sun Chronicle)

Part VI: How Adult Society Betrayed Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy

12
The story of Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy is not only a tragedy within itself and for all those involved with them, it is emblematic of the situation faced by millions of young people in the western world and increasingly around the entire planet. Final installment in the series.

Health Disparity Project Cuts Out the Recovery Movement

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Lots of funders are now doing initiatives to address health disparities. But once again we have found that a project designated to help our community has gone astray without even bothering to ask our community what we need. Here's why that matters and what grassroots advocates can do about it.

The Salvation of Psychiatry

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Hope lies in psychotherapy. It is a purely human practice, based on the development of real trust and genuine responsiveness. It is not an analytic process, but a feeling one. We need to return to a psychiatry that respects the complexity of human nature. We need to go beyond ‘do no harm’ and promote genuine healing.

Trauma-Ignored Care? Going to the MAT on Opioids

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Our current, reductionistic approach to mental health issues doesn’t offer any insights or explanations on the etiology of most mental disturbances. Similarly, medication assisted treatment (MAT) focuses on the surface symptoms of opiate abuse without addressing the underlying causes of overwhelming distress and pain.

If Psychiatrists Took Truth Serum, What Would They Say?

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Psychiatrists don’t use the same language that others do — the meaning of what they say isn’t always so clear. I can translate “psychiatrist speak,” since practicing within the field for over 30 years enabled me to gain easier insight into understanding what their words really mean. Here are 13 examples.

Part V: The Michelle Carter Texting Trial Becomes a Witch Hunt

22
In Parts I-IV, I discuss how the DA succeeded in gaining the conviction by means of highly emotional and at times misleading and untruthful manipulations in public and in the courtroom. Here I want to look more closely at the DA’s motivation and other activities. Was it a personal vendetta?

Introducing “Ten Tips for Parents”

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As I settle into my role as the editor for parent resources here at Mad in America, I’m reaching out to folks who have something to contribute to the conversation and asking them if they would be willing to condense what they know into a Ten Tips format for easy digestion and comprehension. The first four are now available.

The Unintended Consequences of Colorado’s “Social Experiment”

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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.

Pharma Responds: Antidepressants Really Work. Really?

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A recent meta-analysis published in Molecular Psychiatry claims to have settled the debate on whether the slight superiority of antidepressants in trials is due to side effects breaking blind. The principle author was quoted as saying: "once and for all, we've answered the SSRI question." Have they?
Michelle Carter

Michelle Carter Part IV: Did She Tell Conrad to “Get back in the truck”?

13
There is no text, transcript or recording that demonstrates that Michelle ever said anything to Conrad about getting back in the truck to die. The DA’s entire case is based upon the “confession” of an irrational girl on antidepressants who has been trying to communicate with her boyfriend in heaven via phone.

The Downfall of Peer Support: Are You Kidding Me?

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In April of this year, Sera Davidow authored a blog titled “The Downfall of Peer Support: MHA & National Certification.” I do not agree with much of what she says in her blog, and as the vice president of Peer Advocacy, Supports and Services at Mental Health America I'd like to respond.

The Invisible Holocaust and the Gene Hypothesis

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The Nazis either killed or sterilized almost all the schizophrenics in Germany, yet this was followed by a doubling of the population of schizophrenics in Germany. If it were really an inherited disease, how was this possible? My own explanation for the appearance of these high incidence rates were the conditions of the time.

The Continuing Evolution of Mad in America Continuing Education

9
The pharmaceutical industry has long funded CEU and CME curriculums, with the predictable result that the knowledge base, where it exists at all, is tainted by commercial interest. We have a critical vacuum to fill, and intend to keep doing so until the field is fully saturated with unbiased professional education.

So, You Still Say Trump is Crazy?

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By calling Trump 'crazy' for making wildly racist, sexist, and other hateful remarks and out-of-control tweets (among other things), you fail to actually promote an end to such violence and bigotry. Instead, you are simply asking that it be redirected to another group.

Michelle Carter Part III: DA Goes After Her Expert Witness to Stop His Blog

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The DA’s office asked the judge to stop me from any further writing about the Michelle Carter trial. This extraordinary motion, called prior restraint or pre-publication censorship, is a major assault on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. And there is a public health and safety reason for writing about this case.

Greed Disguised as Science: How a Multitude of Factors Led to the Opioid Crisis

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Opioids are now the leading cause of mortality from overdose, accounting for 91 deaths every day. The context and key players that created and contributed to the opioid epidemic must be brought into sharp focus if we are to have any hope of stemming the tide of this public health crisis.

Psychiatry’s 12-Step Program for Producing Heroin Addicts

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I believe that today’s heroin addicts are a new breed — the seeds of their creation were sown back in 1990, when doctors’ lies about normal childhood immaturity being a genetic “brain illness” became accepted. Here are some statistics that support my argument that psychiatry is the root cause of our heroin epidemic.

House on Fire: A ‘Mental Health Literacy’ Parable

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This fictitious conversation between a client and therapist highlights a number of problematic views and practices commonly encountered in the mental health system. Although they may not “blame the brain” as often as psychiatrists, many therapists have also adopted the DSM-based biomedical framework in their work.

Some Thoughts About Conferences

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Without judging the motivation of people presenting and speaking at conferences, I’d like to ask the question: can we achieve more with these conferences than generating knowledge and touching people's hearts? Are we preparing the ground for change or are we marking time?

The Winding Road and the Importance of Going Sideways

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The winding path is very often the only path that a human being can follow. It has to become an acceptable path. We have to stop pushing young kids because WE want them to be somewhere without regard to what they are ready for.

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.

Spiritual Side Effects of Psychiatric Medication: From Helpful to Harmful

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The larger narratives put forth by psychiatry and neuroscience often eclipse the equally important stories of lived experience. The easiest way to understand how people are engaging spiritually with their prescriptions is to hear it in their own words.