Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Door to a Revolution in Psychiatry Cracks Open

The Ministry of Health in Norway has ordered its four regional health authorities to offer medicine-free treatment in psychiatric hospitals. A six-bed ward in Tromso, which is in the far north of Norway, is now providing such care.

Muzzled by Psychiatry in a Time of Crisis

The American Psychiatric Association and its former president, Jeffrey Lieberman, have used the Goldwater Rule to try to silence Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee and colleagues who warned, in a collection of essays, about why President Trump is "dangerous." Why would a guild choose to do this?

Lancet Psychiatry Needs to Retract the ADHD-Enigma Study

Lancet Psychiatry, a UK-based medical journal, recently published a study that concluded brain scans showed that individuals diagnosed with ADHD had smaller brains. That conclusion is belied by the study data. The journal needs to retract this study. UPDATE: Lancet Psychiatry (online) has published letters critical of the study, and the authors' response, and a correction.

Suicide in the Age of Prozac

During the past twenty years, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and American psychiatry have adopted a "medicalized" approach to preventing suicide, claiming that antidepressants are protective against suicide. Yet, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 2000, a time of rising usage of antidepressants. A review of studies of the effects of mental health treatment and antidepressants on suicide reveals why this medicalized approach has not only failed, but pushed suicide rates higher.

Medication-Free Treatment in Norway: A Private Hospital Takes Center Stage

At the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center in Norway, patients with a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations are tapering from their medications and, in a therapeutic environment that emphasizes a good diet, exercise, and asking patients "what do they want in life," are leaving their old lives as chronic patients behind.

MIA Survey: Ex-patients Tell of Force, Trauma and Sexual Abuse in America’s Mental Hospitals

In a MIA survey of people who had been patients in mental hospitals, nearly 500 respondents told of an experience that was often traumatic, and frequently characterized by a violation of their legal rights, forced treatment with drugs, and physical or sexual abuse. Only 17% said they were “satisfied” with the “quality of the psychiatric treatment” they received.

Adverse Effects: The Perils of Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression

Hundreds of people have been given remote control deep brain stimulation implants for psychiatric disorders such as depression, OCD and Tourette’s. Yet DBS specialists still have no clue about its mechanisms of action and research suggests its hefty health and safety risks far outweigh benefits.

Exploring Psychiatry’s “Black Hole”: The International Institute on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

When Carina Håkansson sent out an invitation for a symposium on "Pharmaceuticals: Risks and Alternatives," some of the world's top scientists, along with experts-by-experience, came from 13 countries to explore better ways to respond to people in crisis.

The Whistleblower and Penn: A Final Accounting of Study 352

After 18 years, the full story of the scientific corruption in a study of paroxetine for bipolar disorder, and the psychiatrist who blew the whistle.

Soteria Israel: A Vision from the Past is a Blueprint for the Future

In Israel, there is a budding Soteria movement that foretells of a possible paradigm shift in care. The thought is that such care may become a first-line treatment for newly psychotic patients.
adverse childhood experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences: When Will the Lessons of the ACE Study Inform Societal Care?

The ACE study tells of how adverse childhood experiences increase the risk of psychological and physical problems in adulthood. When will we start incorporating these findings into public health policy and medical care?
veteran suicides

Screening + Drug Treatment = Increase in Veteran Suicides

For the past 15 years, the VA's suicide prevention efforts have focused on getting veterans screened and treated for psychiatric disorders, with antidepressants a first-line therapy. This effort has caused veteran suicide rates to steadily rise.

Twenty Years After Kendra’s Law: The Case Against AOT

The proponents of compulsory outpatient treatment claim that it leads to better outcomes for the recipients, and protects society from violent acts by the "seriously mentally ill." Those claims are belied by history, science, and a critical review of the relevant research.
digital antipsychotic

The Rise of the Digital Asylum

The digital pill Abilify MyCite, which is now being introduced into the market, foretells of a future where such technology is used to monitor the behavior, location and "medication compliance" of a person 24 hours a day.
deep brain stimulation

Brain Implants: Spinning the Trial Results to Protect the Product

The published report of the Broaden Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation for Depression whitewashed the results: although the efficacy results were negative, the investigators concluded that the therapy still showed "promise", and adverse events suffered by the patients were downplayed or attributed to the disease, and not the treatment. An in-depth investigation of how the trial results were spun, and interviews with patients that tell of harm done.

William Styron: His Struggles with Psychiatry and Its Pills

Author William Styron is often remembered for speaking about depression as an illness. But a review of his life reveals that psychiatric drugs may have triggered and even worsened his depressive episodes.

Prescribing an Epidemic: A Veteran’s Story

Had I known what I know now, I never would have taken any of these drugs, and I absolutely would not have taken a role in which my outreach efforts to get veterans into mental health treatment might place thousands of lives at risk.
AOT

Andrew Rich: “I Didn’t Know Stuff Like This Existed”

In this second part of MIA’s report on compulsory outpatient treatment orders, Michael Simonson tells of how he came to report on this topic, the results from MIA’s survey of people who have experienced such forced treatment, his interviews with several of the survey respondents, and more on Andrew Rich’s life.

America’s Psychiatric Facilities Are ‘Incubators’ for COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the globe, whistleblowers at American psychiatric facilities paint a picture of mismanaged COVID-19 responses and lax safety protocols, putting patients, workers, and the surrounding communities in harm’s way. Some even allege coverups of deaths.

The Proactive Search for Mental Illnesses in Children

Part one of a two-part Mad In America investigation into the expansion of psychological screening and electronic surveillance of children and youth. A new government-funded mental health training program for British Columbia family physicians and school staff promotes screening for mental disorders in all children and youth. Critics say the program omits key scientific evidence, seems more like drug promotion than medical education, and downplays serious potential harms. Nevertheless, programs like it are rolling out across Canada and the US.
Hospital entrance with no visitors sign.

Life Inside America’s Psychiatric Facilities During the Pandemic: Eyewitness Accounts

Insiders paint a picture of chaos and fear in public and private psychiatric hospitals across the country. "Now that she has been discharged, Sevigny is getting the truth out, just as the nurse asked her to do. She also plans to continue to organizing in her state, with and on behalf of those who continue to be subjected to dangerous conditions in the name of care."
veterans do shakespeare

Veterans Find A Path to Healing Through Shakespeare

Veterans struggling with a diagnosis of PTSD, or depression and other difficulties find that learning to perform Shakespearean monologues, and developing their own dramatic monologues, can help them "unwire" from the traumas of war.

“Not Fragile”: Survivor-Led Mutual Aid Projects Flourish in a Time of Crisis

During the current pandemic, the practice of mutual aid—defined broadly as the ways that people join together to meet one another’s needs for survival and relationship—has become mainstream. Yet, often missing from major media coverage of mutual aid is any acknowledgment of its roots in movements led by marginalized people, including Black and Brown people, disabled people, mad people, and psychiatric survivors.
A woman holding a sign that says LA Jails are the Largest Mental Health Institution in the Country."

Bedlam: Public Media, Power, and the Fight for Narrative Justice

A new mental health documentary awakens longstanding tensions around voice, representation, and the power to define problems and solutions.
cartoon drawing of many eyes on red background

Mental Health Apps: AI Surveillance Enters Our World

While the developers are promoting the apps as a public health initiative, they are effectively an AI that would be snooping on you at all times—ostensibly coming to know you better than you know yourself. And ultimately doing so for commercial purposes that will expand the psychiatric enterprise.

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