Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Guiding Voices, Trauma-Induced Voices

I have facilitated support groups and worked one-on-one with those who hear voices for nearly 10 years.. The insights I've come to from my own experience have often facilitated understanding for others. Here is what I have learned from my experience of hearing voices.

Reading the Bible Through Neuroscience

In this interview for The Atlantic, James Kugel speculates on the minds and experiences of ancient prophets through a neuroscientific lens, exploring how biblical people's sense of...

A Daughter’s Call for Safety and Sanity in Mental Health

My mother was once a bright, creative, beautiful young woman, a promising artist and a poet, who was captivated by the hippie movement. She was a creative bohemian artist, defying the conventions of our middle-class Jewish Midwestern family, which had carried a tradition of holding emotions inside and acting stoic. One day, soon after my grandparents’ divorce, she left. She hitched a ride to California, and from that point on, was never the same. The police picked her up on a park bench in Arizona, and she was committed for the first time at age 18. She rotated in and out of mental hospitals, the streets, and jail until her death.

“Why Are So Many Children on Antipsychotic Drugs?”

“Do they make people less aggressive? Yes, sometimes they do. Will they sedate people? Absolutely. Will they make kids easier to manage? They will,” Robert Whitaker tells Liz Spikol for Philadelphia Magazine. “But I know of no study that shows that medicating these kids long-term will help them grow up and thrive. The developing brain is a very delicate thing. The narrative is that these side effects are mild, and that’s just not true, and that the benefits are well-established, and so often they’re not.”

Eating Oily Fish While Pregnant Could Prevent Schizophrenia

From The Conversation: According to a recent study from Japan, pregnant mice that are deprived of an essential fatty acid, called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are...

Changing Minds About Voices: Action Over Words

Sometimes the best way to make real change is just to do the work. Sometimes the talk is the work and it can be hard to separate out the two. However, in a growing number of instances, it’s hard to miss the futility of the talking and how tied up we can get in our own virtual war of words. Stepping away can be liberating. Sometimes, while everyone else is wrapped up in the talking, you can get an awful lot done.

On “Schizophrenia”

The first time I heard someone labeled schizophrenic I was about 10 years old. A man was talking to himself and appeared to be house-less and perhaps on drugs. My mom, a very good teacher and explainer of things to me, said, “That man is schizophrenic. That means he can't tell the difference between what's inside of himself and what's outside.” In retrospect this seems like a relatively sophisticated and sensitive explanation; Falling in love, hearing music that enters our heart, having children/giving birth, connecting powerfully with another person in a meeting of the minds, feeling empathy, deeply caring about something, experiencing oneness with nature, are all examples of times when the line between inner and outer reality is blurred.

First They Ignore You: Impressions From Today’s Hearing on H.R. 3717

As I walked alone up the stairs to the Rayburn House Office Building this morning to attend the hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on H.R. 3717 - the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act - I thought about how I wasn’t truly alone. In spirit with me were all the people who had experienced scary, coercive, and dehumanizing interventions in the name of help. In spirit with me was every mental health provider who went into the field hoping to really make a difference in their communities, but became cynical and discouraged in the face of so many broken systems and broken spirits.

“When the Brain is Under Attack”

The Boston Globe reports on the discovery of a newly recognized neurological disease, anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The disease is believed to be caused when the body’s immune system attacks proteins in the brain associated with the communication of neurons.

“25 Years of Madness and Modernism”: A Review

In this piece for the Centre for Medical Humanities, James Whitehead reflects on the 25th anniversary celebration of the publication of Louis Sass's Madness and Modernism. "A...

Creatively Managing Voice-Hearing Through Spiritual Writing

I am a psychiatric survivor of over thirty-six years. Since my nervous breakdown in 1978, I have undergone multitudinous experiences ranging from the subtly humiliating to the horrifically debilitating at the hands of incompetent psychiatrists and psychopharmacologists who, in the name of medicine, did more harm than good.

He Tenido Un Sueño (I Had a Dream)

In this piece for La Otra Psiquiatría, Fernando Colina describes his vision for a compassionate, non-pathologizing mental health system. Below is the full translation of his...

“Hearing Voices: The People Who Say Talking Back is the Only Answer”

Journalist Emma Reynolds profiles Amanda Waegeli, Ron Coleman, Nathan Grixli and Lyn Mahboub about their experiences coming to the Hearing Voices Network (HVN). HVN was established 10 years ago in Australia and provided a support group that encouraged people to listen to their voices rather than trying to block them out. The group now operates in 25 countries.

When Hearing Voices is a Good Thing

The Atlantic reports on Tanya Luhrmann's recent research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry "That suggests that the way people pay attention to...

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The DSM-5

What does the new DSM-5 have in common with an Alfred Hitchcock mystery?  They both use a plot device, a “MacGuffin,” to drive the story. Hitchcock explained a MacGuffin as on the one hand “ridiculous”, “non-existent”, “empty” and inherently without meaning, and at the same time the central point around which the entire story turns.  Which narratives, and whose, are served by the "diagnosis MacGuffin”? Are there more socially desirable alternatives to replace this particular plot vehicle? 

Virtual Reality Promising for Mental Health Treatment

From Healio: A recent review indicated that virtual reality-based treatment may be effective for a variety of mental health concerns including phobias, social anxiety, PTSD,...

I Wonder if There is Some Axis II Going on Here? Further Thoughts on...

This blog was prompted by an invitation to do a guest post on the site of one of my favorite bloggers, 1 Boring Old Man. This is my response to the notion that there are certain conditions - Schizophrenia among them - that correspond more directly to biomedical conditions

Rachel Waddingham’s Recovery From Psychiatric Labeling and Unnecessary Treatment

Rachel's recovery from psychiatric labelling and unnecessary treatment from CEP.

Watch: “I Hear Voices in My Head, But I’m Fine”

"Eleanor Longden started hearing voices when she was 18. She was drugged and hospitalised, then told she was schizophrenic. A psychiatrist even told her...

Long-Term Social Supports Needed After Onset of Psychosis

New data on the effects of social support after early onset of psychosis suggests that patients with intense social support function better than those without such help, but than once supports are removed the effects diminish.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Psychosis: A Valuable Contribution Despite Major Flaws

The core of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is the idea of simply accepting, rather than trying to get rid of, disturbing or unwanted inner experiences like anxiety or voices, and then refocusing on a commitment to take action toward personally chosen values regardless of whether that seems to make the unwanted experiences increase or decrease. This idea is consistent with the emphasis in the recovery movement of finding a way to live a valued life despite any ongoing problems, but ACT has value because of the unique and effective strategies it offers to help people make this shift.

New Grant Boosts Hearing Voices Approach in USA

From The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care: The Hearing Voices Research and Development Fund has been awarded a $300,000 grant to expand their...

“The Vacuum of the Mind: A Self-Report on the Phenomenology of Autistic, Obsessive-Compulsive, and...

In this month’s Schizophrenia Bulletin, a person diagnosed with autism, OCD, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and major depressive disorder provides a first-hand close reading and description of their own psychiatric experiences.

“Auditory Hallucinations: Debunking the Myth of Language Supremacy”

In Schizophrenia Bulletin, an Australian and a French researcher argue that the Hearing Voices Movement and similar groups are often misleading the public and...

Confusion Over Antipsychotic Dosing Data in RAISE Study

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that schizophrenia patients in an experimental treatment program (RAISE) who experienced better outcomes had been on lower doses of antipsychotics than normal. However, the article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on Tuesday did not divulge any data on the varying antipsychotic drug doses in the different study groups.

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