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).

Photo of older white doctor with beard shaking his finger "no"

Psychiatry’s Denial of the Horrors of Tardive Dyskinesia

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Tardive dyskinesia, a serious and horrible harm of psychiatric drugs, is often overlooked or deliberately ignored by psychiatrists.

Reflections on Being a Therapist

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Three-and-a-half years ago I quit my career as a psychotherapist. I’d done it for ten years in New York City and had given it my all. It was a career that chose me, loudly, when I was 27 years old. I learned a huge amount from it and I believe I was helpful to a lot of people. It also represented a vital stage in my life. But then the time came to leave. That also came as a sort of revelation.

Why Should Suicide (Or Voluntary Death) Be a Civil Right?

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Regardless of what one's moral stance is on the value of life, or the meaning of death, it is time to recognize that there are people whose views differ from ours, and that we do not have the right to force them to live (and die) the way we want to. We all die; it's the journey that matters, not the destination.

What is Critical Psychiatry?

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Over the last twenty years there has emerged a body of work that questions the assumptions that lie beneath psychiatric knowledge and practice. This work, appearing as academic papers, magazine articles, books, and chapters in books, hasn’t been written by academics, sociologists or cultural theorists. It has emerged from the pens and practice of a group of British psychiatrists.
DNA symbol

Kicking Over a Straw Woman

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The Galvin family is the quintessential example of "genetic" schizophrenia. But their history of sexual abuse, violence, and trauma provides a clearer and simpler explanation.
Robin Williams RIP

The Creativity and Suicide of Robin Williams: A Phenomenological Study

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My purpose in writing this case study is not to suggest that creativity is a mere byproduct of trauma, or to deny the role of so-called mental illness in suicide, but to situate these phenomena within the context of human lives. To render them humanly (rather than medically) intelligible. With his mind and body disintegrating, Robin Williams took his life to thwart the eradication of self.
psychiatric drugs and violence

Prescripticide: A Proposal for Action and a Request for Your Help

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The primary factor protecting psychiatry’s unwarranted power and authority is that it is perceived as shielding society from folks who are believed to be dangerous. It would seem, then, that one logical step toward reducing society’s trust in biological psychiatry would be to reveal the evidence of a significant correlation between the use of prescribed psychoactive drugs and the commission of violent acts against oneself or others.

Mad in Finland

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The people who run Mad in Finland have experienced profound awakenings in the course of their lives, moments of awareness when they understood the failures of the psychiatric disease model and saw its harms.

Making Peer Counseling Radically Accessible

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I imagined a world in which anyone can hit a button on their phone and be connected with a compassionate and empathetic listener, 24/7. So in 2019, I founded Peer Collective. Today, there are 30 peer counselors on the platform offering 30-minute counseling sessions for just $14.
Sun glare through a thick forest of tall trees

Beyond Greenspaces and Mental Health: The Power of the Wild

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Tensions of sustainability, climate change, and global mental health: grassknots, greenspace, and climate psychology.
helping children angry child

Helping Children With Angry Outbursts

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Finnish psychiatrist Ben Furman reviews various non-drug therapies for children with aggressive outbursts of anger, including the Kids' Skills approach that he and social psychologist Tapani Ahola developed. These approaches focus on helping children come up with their own ideas for overcoming their problems with the help of family and friends.
Lonely, suffering man in a crowd of people who do not notice him.

Accounting for Mental Disorder: Time for a Paradigm Shift

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Many people continue to be victimized by psychiatry’s adherence to a model that exists to satisfy guild interests, not science.

Setbacks

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Oddly enough, it had occurred to me over this past year as I’ve been writing these essays for Mad in America that maybe I was “too healthy” to speak to the withdrawal experience with authenticity, to have street cred. It’s now a moot point. I write this not to scare people, but to present a reality. This reality has been difficult to accept, but the fact remains that my nervous system is more sensitive than before and might always be so, at least to some degree.

Suicidal Tendencies, Part I: I’m Suicidal Because I’m Mentally Ill Because I’m Suicidal

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I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard “Research has found that about 90% of individuals who die by suicide experience mental illness.” Here’s what I believe it means in far too many instances: It’s an 'out.' It’s an easy answer that absolves us all of blame. If someone has a ‘sickness in the brain,’ then it doesn’t have to be our fault or even necessarily our concern.

Q&A: What Is Informed Consent, and What Should I Know to Help My Child?

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My experience caused me to look into the origin of including the patient in decision-making about treatment and informed consent.

Q&A: How Can We See ADHD From Another Angle, and What Can We Do...

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We all want to help our kids or our students, and sometimes finding the right key to unlock a child’s gifts is a matter of time, patience, trial, and error.
A map of the world with a green dot depicting the location of Mad in Sweden

Mad in Sweden

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Lasse Mattila, founder of Mad in Sweden: "You only ask the question, ‘What’s wrong with you? What symptoms do you have?’ But you don’t ask: ‘What happened to you? What tragedies did you have?’”
A map of the world with MIA Affiliate locations marked with dots. A dot in Norway is bright green.

Mad in Norway

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"People are getting some faith back. People are getting some hope, and they are finding each other, and we are building this community of people who want a change."
candles

And They Said it Wouldn’t Last – Rethinking Psychiatry Celebrates its 7th Year

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Rethinking Psychiatry is proud to continue the work that began in 2010 in Portland, and we look forward to many more years of challenging the dominant paradigm in mental health and providing new perspectives and solutions.
silhouette of soldiers

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

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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.

How “Mental Health Awareness” Exploits Schoolchildren

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Imagine being a parent at a meeting with educators to discuss Johnny's academics or behavior. Suddenly, your child’s teacher is telling you that he needs to see a doctor for an assessment of a suspected “mental disorder,” which usually leads to a prescription for medication. Warned of “the risks against failing to intervene,” you will likely acquiesce.
babydoll quadruplets

Hereditary Madness? The Genain Sisters’ Tragic Story

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The story of the Genain quadruplets has long been cited as evidence proving something about the supposed hereditary nature of schizophrenia. But who wouldn’t fall apart after surviving a childhood like theirs? The doctors attributed their problems to menstrual difficulties or excessive masturbation — anything except abuse.

Mad in México

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Mad in México, which launched in September of last year, exists to make “los abandonados” heard. It aims to amplify those voices, empower them, embolden them.

Emotional Pain and the Possibility of Finding Hope

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The human need to not be left alone when we are suffering is very great. During such times our very basic human needs for being valued, seen, heard and cared about arise as we are at our most vulnerable and are dependent on the goodwill of others.
prescriptions and suicide

Suicides Are Increasing – And So Are Antidepressant Prescriptions

Disturbingly, our study and others reveal that the black box warning is now ignored in many countries, since antidepressant prescriptions for children are on the rise again. Despite increasing certainty that antidepressants are ineffective and likely cause suicidal behavior in young people, psychiatry continues to claim that they reduce suicide risk.