Although some of Marianne Williamson's rhetoric on the subject of the overuse of prescription medications may be over the top, the topic deserves much more public attention and debate, since it is a crisis as real as the opioid epidemic.
The conversation about what truly constitutes “autism” is an ongoing one. Although I resist the label personally, I do not begrudge anyone for identifying as autistic, or seeking out an autism diagnosis. Leaving this discussion within the domain of medicine is limiting. That’s why a new discourse is emerging, not among doctors, but among activists who push for autistic self-advocacy.
What are we doing to our people? What life have we created for our youth? I want to believe that those struggling individuals for whom life became unbearable under the influence of medication cocktails have not died in vain. I have chosen to see their action as both a sacrifice and statement to all of us.
My experience began when I heard two people talking about me when I was home alone. I needed a reasonable explanation, and concluded that it had to be my upstairs neighbors. Then I began to hear the voices outside of my apartment — this new presentation meant that my explanation no longer made sense.
I increasingly think we can only reach greater understanding by working through our own experiences first, and then, if we can, alongside survivors. That will help us become more open to survivor knowledge. For example, we may need to work through our own need for control and understanding. It’s helpful to consider our own reactions to distress or madness — in ourselves and others.
The “good” suicide attempt survivor wakes up in a hospital bed bathed in beautiful natural light, surrounded by the people who love them most, and they realize that their thinking was flawed and all those unsolvable problems can actually be solved if they are just compliant with medication and therapy. And then there's the “bad” suicide attempter who is angry that they lived, who challenges the status quo.
Dan Markingson was a 26-year-old mentally ill young man who violently killed himself in 2004 while enrolled in a drug-sponsored study of atypical antipsychotics among persons experiencing psychosis for the first time. Highly vulnerable individuals like Markingson should not be taken advantage of in the name of scientific research, and inability to protect such vulnerable subjects compromises the integrity of research.
It’s still not easy for me to say, “I’m bipolar.” Know that I’m bipolar for good reason, reappropriating a painful word, so those in pain can find me—so you can find me. This is how I reappropriate a term used to strip me of my humanity, a term used to sell me counterfeit versions of reality. I refuse to let go of a label that helps me find my people, no matter how painful it is to retain.
In the models of other social movements, I implore us to advance a multifaceted, structural, cultural, and political analysis of mental illness in America, to illuminate the reality and mechanisms of sanism, and to then envision and implement ways of organizing American life around it that do not limit our potential for flourishing so drastically.
Giving a diagnosis of ADHD can profoundly disempower students and lead to what psychologists call “learned helplessness.” Isn’t it time for those of us in education to reclaim our profession? Who are the teaching and learning experts? Doctors? Drug companies? We are! And if we don’t stand up—for our students—against disempowering diagnoses and harmful drugs, who will?
Psychotherapy reimbursement rates have been in decline for decades, even though insurance premiums have risen sharply. This is mystifying given that the vast majority of people prefer psychotherapy over medications, science shows it rivals the benefits of medications, and it saves insurance carriers money.
The story behind how the ICD and the DSM came to include certain mental disorder descriptions is a fascinating one. Christopher Lane, a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow, wrote about these seminal events in Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness. We discuss what led him to write this book a decade ago, and why the questions he posed are still relevant today.
2018 has already brought particular attention to the pharmaceutical industry’s “profit over patient” mentality, as drug manufacturers and distributors continue to be hit with civil cases throughout the country for their involvement in the opioid epidemic. But the sad fact is that these lawsuits are nothing new.
There is hope that the truth about sleeping pills will become more commonplace. As it does, however, we are faced with an even greater challenge: to move beyond the medicalization of insomnia in order to help people sleep better naturally. The alternative paradigm I suggest is that nutrition is a primary cure for insomnia.
Language, and how we use it, are important to counselling’s conversational work. As a counsellor, my language for understanding and addressing client concerns often fits poorly with the diagnostic and treatment language used to manage services within that system.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act essentially denies residents and visitors alike the right to live once they enter a hospital. The law has been dubbed “Free Kill” because while it can cost money to correct mistakes, keep hospitals safely staffed and update equipment, it is free to kill.
Our son, Mark, is an example of the deadly effects of polypharmacy. He died at the young age of 46 and his death was caused by toxicity/cardiac failure from two of the five medications he was taking, at higher than recommended doses, as prescribed by his psychiatrist.
As a movement strategy, electroshock must be clearly framed and understood as a blatant human rights violation — a profound and devastating crime against people’s health and lives. Here are three possible action proposals in our continuing struggle to abolish electroshock.
Psychiatric diagnoses are ballooning in scope and in numbers, many have dramatic and life-changing consequences, reliability levels are poor, co-morbidity levels are high, and the validity of many are doubtful. Despite all this, they have escaped any kind of regulation. It's time for that to change.
The most spectacular part of Rep. Murphy’s hypocrisy has nothing to do with abortion or reproductive rights. Allegations of his dangerous behavior and his lack of insight into his own actions would be enough to commit him, involuntarily, to psychiatric treatment under the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act that he championed.
Widely heralded as the father of American psychopharmacology, Kline insisted that his discoveries were adjunctive to psychotherapy, not replacements. The psychopharmacology of Kline's era recognized that medications are a blunt instrument.
In the wake of deinstitutionalization, we no longer have the vast asylum system we once did. Instead, something more insidious has taken root — for-profit institutions that call themselves neurorehabilitation centers, group homes, and other official-sounding names.
An open letter launched on World Mental Health Day, supported by people with lived experience, friends, family members, workers and researchers, calls on Rethink Mental Illness, one of the major English mental health charities, to co-create a new conversation about the diagnosis “schizophrenia.”
Why do I inwardly cringe at the approach of things like “Mental Illness Awareness Week” and “World Mental Health Day”? Because I’m mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of societally-approved messages about human suffering, messages ranging from the ill-informed to the downright dangerous.
If we can have a presence and visibility, this could be life-changing for individuals with no current access to the bigger truths about psychiatric theory and practice. So let's infiltrate and disrupt the hashtags #WMHD2017 #worldmentalhealthday and share messages of hope, healing, validation and solidarity!