Thursday, August 22, 2019

Toward a Critical Self-Reflective Psychiatry: An Interview with Pat Bracken

MIA’s Justin Karter interviews critical psychiatrist and philosopher Pat Bracken about the necessity of challenging received wisdom.

Helping People Come Off Medication—Bad for Business?

The message in journal editorials, comments and opinion articles, is that 'this new study shows great promise' and that 'we need further research'. My interpretation is: 'give us the money and we will be happy to carry this out'. With the implied promise that, once this new research has been done, we will get a better world. Sadly this is rarely ever the case.

How Community Environments Impact Mental Health

Drawing on the relationship between nature and wellbeing, researchers propose a model to improve community environments to improve mental health.
eugenics

Psychiatric Eugenics Then and Now—You Betcha It’s Still Happening

Most are oblivious to the fact that psychiatric eugenics initiatives continued to exist—and beyond that, to flourish—long after the end of what is normally thought of as “the eugenics era” (roughly, late nineteen century to 1945). Sadly, we are not learning from history what we direly need to learn.

The Complexity of the Indigenous Historical Trauma Concept

Researchers explore how the processes of colonization may impact the well-being of indigenous populations today.
paying people to take pills

It’s the Economics, Stupid: The Problems With Paying People to Take Pills

A recent article in Psychiatric Services looks at the use of payments to people for taking their psychiatric medications. I was horrified to read it. We need to reevaluate our prescribing practices, and the true risk-benefit ratio for these drugs, before we throw money at people along with pills.

Antidepressants Blunt Ability to Feel Empathy

A new study suggests that taking antidepressants impairs empathy, while the experience of depression itself does not.
yellow wood therapy

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood: A Tale of Psychotherapy

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and not knowing which one to take, I stood straight, watching my life pass me by. But in therapy, I began to feel the knots of my life come alive inside me. The point is not just to talk, it is to feel your story inside, to hear your silences, and to realize who you are… and who you can be.
Mind Fixers by Anne Harrington cropped

An “Even-Handed” History of Psychiatry as Damning as the “Polemics”?

Where Professor Harrington's book seems to differ from books that others might call polemics is that she does not attribute nefarious motives to the psychiatric establishment. I worry that she underplays the ways in which the current model causes harm, but I support her suggestion for a retraction of psychiatry's scope.
Janet Foner

We Lost a Giant Today: A Tribute to Janet Foner

Janet Foner, a longtime mental health liberation activist, passed away on July 24, 2019. Many people do not know that Janet helped form the very early Alternatives Conferences in the U.S. and she co-founded MindFreedom International and continued serving on its board to this day. Here we honor her wisdom, tenacity and courage.

Review Finds FDA Approval of Digital Antipsychotic Misguided

The approval of the digital antipsychotic may open the door for more pharmaceutical company profits without evidence of benefits to patients.
case against AOT involuntary outpatient commitment

Responding to “The Case Against AOT”—Next Steps for Change

Many will direct their efforts toward repealing involuntary outpatient commitment statutes in their states—an extremely challenging and uphill battle—or reforming abuses. Their arguments will be strengthened immensely by the findings in MIA's report. What follows are suggestions about what kinds of interventions to consider.

When Attempts to Localize Global Mental Health Miss the Mark

Researchers find that efforts to integrate the Cambodian idiom baksbat (broken courage) into local mental health care may have served to pathologize adaptive responding.
chemical imbalance theory

The Chemical Imbalance Theory: Dr. Pies Returns, Again

Psychiatrist Ronald Pies published a recent piece in the Psychiatric Times titled "Debunking the Two Chemical Imbalance Myths, Again." The subtitle: "A little learning is a dangerous thing." And indeed it is. But not nearly as dangerous as a psychiatrist with a head full of spurious diagnoses and a ready prescription pad.
branch light in the darkness

The Light in the Dark

Darkness began to consume my life, both literally and metaphorically. My surroundings and even my own thoughts would become distorted into something terrifying. As the nights droned on, shadows in my dorm room would contort themselves into threatening figures. The whispers continued to grow, overcoming the thoughts in my head.
Howard Stern psychotherapy talk therapy

An Open Letter to Howard Stern, the “Poster Boy for Psychotherapy”

Dear Howard Stern: What may come as a surprise to you is that the quality of talk therapy that was available to you—time-intensive, in-depth sharing of feelings, exploring childhood traumas, examining and changing difficult personality traits—is steadily becoming unavailable to the average American.

Teacher Perspectives on Student ADHD Medication Use

Qualitative study examines patterns in teacher attitudes and knowledge related to medication of students for ADHD-type behaviors.

Learning a Different Way: An Interview with Maori Psychiatrist Diana Kopua

MIA’s Ayurdhi Dhar interviews Diana Kopua about the Mahi a Atua approach, the global mental health movement, and the importance of language and narratives in how we understand our world and ease our suffering.
abolish psychiatric slavery involuntary commitment

End Kendra’s Law Now: Racist, Classist Practices in Involuntary Psychiatry Persist

In addition to involuntary outpatient commitment being an assault on and targeting people who are living in or near poverty, the statistics demonstrate racial disparities in the application of involuntary outpatient commitment.

Positive Antidepressant Study “Misleading” and “Erroneous”

An analysis of last year’s positive finding in The Lancet about antidepressant efficacy shows errors, obfuscations, and misrepresentations.

Why I Take Drugs and Don’t Plan to Stop

If the drugs I am prescribed did not benefit me overall, believe me, I would no more take them willingly than I would swallow rat poison. I went through many attempts to wean myself, but invariably the loss of my ability to do art brought me to the place where I went back on them. I remain on them and I want to remain on them.
green movement mental health

System Change Toward a Green Movement in Mental Health

As a counter narrative, I believe that understanding system change and reform in mental health with a "green" lens makes use of a powerful theme which is increasingly accepted — and it lays out a road map to make innovative programs and initiatives the new norm for system-wide responses to mental health challenges.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day 2019

A special set of interviews for W-BAD 2019. We speak with Project Manager for W-BAD Rocks of Kindness, Janelle. We also chat with physician and Director of the Benzodiazepine Information Coalition Christy Huff MD and we hear from Stephen Wright MD, addiction specialist and medical consultant to the Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices.
supported decision-making equal legal capacity

Equal Legal Capacity or ‘Supported Decision-Making’?

At a recent conference on legal capacity, I was struck by the failure of another invited expert to adhere to the paradigm of supported decision-making as articulated by the CRPD Committee. We still need to work to ensure that this paradigm is well understood and appreciated, despite the progress made in national reforms.
A bottle of pills. Some are spilled out.

Antidepressant Use More Than Doubles Risk of Suicide Attempts

Throughout the past two decades, studies have warned of increased suicide rates in those taking antidepressants, especially in children and adolescents. Researchers also documented...

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