The Hearing Voices Movement: In Response to a Father – ‘My Daughter, the Schizophrenic’

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There was a heart-breaking and disturbing story in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper entitled, My Daughter, the Schizophrenic’, which featured edited extracts from a book written by the father of a child called Jani. He describes how Jani is admitted into a psychiatric hospital when she is 5, diagnosed with schizophrenia when she is 6 and by the time she is 7, she has been put on a potent cocktail of psychotropic medications.

If Not Meds, Then WHAT?

A great deal of the information published on MadInAmerica is devoted to this very important question, so many constructive ideas are often presented. We think that nutrition and diet should always be part of the conversation.

In Time for RXmas: Motivational Pharmacotherapy

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Drug profitability requires three parties to work together – drug companies to make the drugs, psychiatrists to prescribe them and consumers to take them. Too often, though, patients have failed to play nicely and do their bit. They have banged on about tiresome things like adverse reactions and alternative treatments, they have expressed foolish opposition to the very concept of pharmacotherapy and questioned its efficacy. They have become medication non-compliant and undermined the profits of the pharmaceutical industry and the authority of psychiatry. They have been bad and landed themselves on a lot of people’s naughty lists and made the World Health Organization very sad and worried.

Breaking Scandal

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This series of blogs outlines a scandal that brings out the limitations of RCTs and evidence based medicine. Here are the first four installments, with two more to come shortly.

Can Madness Save the World?

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Over the years of my explorations into psychosis and human evolution a very interesting irony became increasingly apparent. It is well-known that people who fall into those deeply transformative and chaotic states typically referred to as “psychosis” often feel, at different points throughout their journeys, that they have received a special calling to save the world, or at least the human race. Indeed, this experience played a particularly prominent role in my own extreme states, as well as within those of at least two of my own family members. From a pathological perspective, this is often referred to as a kind of “delusion of grandeur,” though in my own research and writing, I have come to feel that the term “heroic (or messianic) striving” is generally more accurate and helpful.

NICE Guidelines for Bipolar Disorder- a Missed Opportunity

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There are some things to applaud about the recently released update of the NICE bipolar guidelines, not least the recognition that the diagnosis has been inappropriately applied to children with behavioural problems. Hopefully this will help curtail the worrying trend of using toxic bipolar drugs in this age group. As usual, however, the Guidelines overlook glaring problems with the evidence base for drug treatment in general, and miss an opportunity to stem the diagnostic creep that has come to the UK and Europe via the United States.

A Critique of Genetic Research on Schizophrenia – Expensive Castles in the Air

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In the light of the much trumpeted claims that recent research has identified genes for schizophrenia, it is important to review the track record of this type of endeavor. Despite thousands of studies costing millions of dollars, and endless predictions that the genetics of schizophrenia would shortly be revealed, the field has so far failed to identify any genes that substantially increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.

Pinball Wizards and the Doomed Project of Psychiatric Diagnosis

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The DSM claims to be a scientific system of classification. The validity of any system of scientific classification is the extent to which it can be shown to reflect the real world. Fifty years of study and investigation, and huge sums of money spent across the Western world on neuroscientific research institutes, on careers and equipment, has failed to establish the validity of a single psychiatric diagnosis.

Finding Human Life on Earth

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Through the ISPS listserve, I read a blog this morning written by Thomas Insel, director of the NIMH. The way he described people I daily meet in work and in my own life created a rising pulse, so I decided to find out some more about his thoughts and practice. I am not saying that what I read on his blog is unknown to me, but still it made me wonder how on earth is it possible to invest so much money - and resources - in research which is so distant from practice, and so far away from humanistic and holistic ideas and theories.

Antidepressants & The Undead

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Several of us involved in RxISK.org monitor other groups setting up to offer information on medicines. Some of these, like eHealthMe, offer useful information. As ever, though, pharmaceutical companies are in there early. The Brintellix website is a masterclass in how to appear patient-centered, and patient-friendly. How to move with the times and make the new way of doing things yours.

SSRI ‘Indication Creep’ Relies on Negligent Doctors

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A report on antidepressant consumption released on 18 February 2014 by the OECD shows huge increases in prescribing of the drugs across most countries. According to the report a key factor driving this increase is the expansion of the off label use of the drugs for a vastly increased number of indications. While this may not seem like news, I think it warrants some analysis because I think what we are seeing is something more complex than simple market expansion.

The Truth About Antidepressant Research: An Invitation to Dialogue

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The Finnish Psychological Association held a meeting in Helsinki on 1 Sept 2014 titled “Mental Health and Medicalization.” I spoke at the meeting and four days later I sent a letter to another speaker, psychiatrist Erkki Isometsä. Professor Isometsä replied: “I will respond to it in detail within a few days..." As "Open Dialogue" is essential in science, I have published my letter to Isometsä here as well as on my own website, although I didn’t succeed in starting a dialogue.

Threats, Coercion and Chemical Restraints for Distressed Children

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In the face of concerns that large numbers of children were being incorrectly diagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder, the DSM–V introduced Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). In the scramble by drug companies to produce evidence that their drug should be prescribed to this new population of mentally ill children, the manufacturer of Risperidone paid to test their drug on a group of children. The study does not investigate whether treatment with Risperidone has any therapeutic benefit to the children, whether it cures or treats DMDD or ‘rage outbursts.’ It is quite open that Risperidone is being trialled for its efficacy as a chemical restraint.

Why Did 158+ People Attend an Antipsychiatry Book Launch? (A Reflection)

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There is a hunger out there for a foundational critique of psychiatry—something that pulls no punches, minces no words. That is, there is a hunger for a reasoned antipsychiatry position. Something that explains how we ended up here, provides solid evidence that psychiatry should be abandoned, and begins theorizing what we might do instead.

The Hidden Gorilla

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Three weeks ago What would Batman do Now covered the issue of suicide in the military – an issue that had Batman missing in action, and...

Hearing Voices Network Launches Debate on DSM-5 and Psychiatric Diagnoses

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The recent furore surrounding publication of the new DSM has provided a much-needed opportunity to discuss and debate crucial issues about how we make sense of, and respond to, experiences of madness and distress. Many psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals have expressed their dismay about the dominance and inadequacy of a biomedical model of mental illness. Whilst we share these concerns, welcome these debates and support colleagues that are willing to take a stand, The Hearing Voices Network believes that people with lived experience of diagnosis must be at the heart of any discussions about alternatives to the current system.

Mad Flies and Bad Science

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Tension mounts across the ideological divide as D-Day (DSM-5 Day) approaches. The APA has powerful allies on its side. President Obama has just launched Decade of the Brain 2 with the announcement two weeks ago that heralds the arrival of BRAIN ( Brain Research through Advances in Innovative Neurotechnologies). If that’s not enough, those who believe that science will ultimately explain madness can always rely on the media to fawn at their feet.

Forced Psychiatric Treatment (and Protection against it) in Germany in 2013

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For years, people in Germany who act like they are radical antipsychiatry activists have said that in this country psychiatric violent (forced) treatment has been forbidden. Unfortunately, this is not true.

Technology and Suicide

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Large numbers of studies are being conducted with many claiming internet use causes structural changes in the brain similar to those found in the brains of drug addicts. No snorting, smoking or injecting required. You just have to look at this drug for long enough and your brain is damaged. Is it possible your laptop and mobile phone are the crack cocaine of gadgets?

“Psychiatric Prejudice” – A New Way of Silencing Criticism

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‘Psychiatric prejudice’ is a term being bandied about these days, mainly by aggrieved psychiatrists. Ordinary people, other doctors and medical students are all prejudiced, they say, because they do not appreciate that psychiatry is a proper medical activity, and critics of psychiatry are prejudiced because their analyses undermine this medical point of view. However, many people remain inclined to view the difficulties we label as mental disorders as understandable reactions to adverse life events or circumstances and, importantly, evidence suggests they are more, not less, tolerant of such situations. In my view, there is a role for medical expertise in helping people with mental health problems, but that does not mean we have to call those problems illnesses.

The Hearing Voices Movement: Beyond Critiquing the Status Quo

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We have just celebrated the anniversary of the rapidly expanding global Hearing Voices Movement which was founded more than twenty-five years ago following the ground-breaking research of Professor Marius Romme and Dr Sandra Escher. Romme and Escher have advocated for a radical shift in the way we understand the phenomenon of Hearing Voices; in contrast to traditional, biomedical psychiatry which views voices as an aberrant by-product of genetic, brain and cognitive faults, their research has firmly established that voices make sense when taking into account the traumatic circumstances that frequently provoke them.

A Soiled Phoenix Rises

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It has been a good time to bury controversy. With all eyes on Washington and the fallout from the publication of DSM-5, over here in England the Institute of Psychiatry has been discretely sending out invitations to a lecture. This is not a public lecture; it is by invitation only. And who is the esteemed guest? None other than Professor Charles Nemeroff M.D., Ph.D.

Hope for Everyone

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I am a very optimistic psychologist, but with reason. For 25 years I've been working with people who have had psychological problems in every conceivable area. Many psychologists have problems with burnout, especially early in their careers. For me, this has been very different. By using the treatment techniques that I do, I feel anti-burned out. It is so gratifying to see people get out of their serious problems, that I look forward to every day of clinical work.

The Price is Wrong

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Today I paid a visit to the Managing Director of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Lloyd Price. Mylan is the company that manufactured the antidepressant Fluox1 which, according to the NZ government, is the most likely cause of my son's suicide. My dealings with Mylan in the time since Toran died have not been entirely fruitful.

Recovery: Compromise or Liberation?

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The 90s were labeled - rather optimistically - as the ‘decade of recovery.’ More recently, recovery has been placed slap bang central in mental health policy. Is supporting recovery pretty much good common sense? Or is the term being misused to pressure those suffering to behave in certain ways?