child looking at smartphone

“Virtual Autism” May Explain Explosive Rise in ASD Diagnoses

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New clinical case studies have found that many young children who spend too much screen time—on TV’s, video games, tablets and computers—have symptoms labeled as “autism.” When parents take away the screens for a few months the child’s symptoms disappear.
autism definition

I Don’t Believe in Autism

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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.
suicide attempter attempt survivor

Hegemonic Sanity and Suicide

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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.

After Seroquel

The topic of this article is Seroquel withdrawal: the process of withdrawal and the consequences of having taken this particular chemical for over ten...
bipolar

Reappropriating Bipolar Beyond Pathology

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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.

Soldiers as Guinea Pigs: the Case of Mefloquine and Tafenoquine

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Hundreds of Australian veterans have been diagnosed with serious neurological and psychiatric disorders, often mistaken for post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of mefloquine, a neurotoxicant able to cause a “lasting or permanent” brain injury, and the experimental drug tafenoquine[.] Many maintain they were compelled to participate in trials of the drugs.

Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness

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In Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness, Bruce Cohen explains the expanding power and influence of psychiatry in terms of its usefulness to the capitalist system — the more useful it is, the more power it is given, and the greater its power, the more useful it becomes.

Brain Disease or Existential Crisis?

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As the schizophrenia/psychosis recovery research continues to emerge, we discover increasing evidence that psychosis is not caused by a disease of the brain, but...

“Prisons Without Bars” – Forced Institutionalization of People with Disabilities

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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.

The Downfall of Peer Support: Are You Kidding Me?

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In April of this year, Sera Davidow authored a blog titled “The Downfall of Peer Support: MHA & National Certification.” I do not agree with much of what she says in her blog, and as the vice president of Peer Advocacy, Supports and Services at Mental Health America I'd like to respond.

Electroshocking Children: Why It Should Be Stopped

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In a recent commentary, University of Toronto historian Edward Shorter laments the efforts of people like myself in states like Texas who have successfully put limits on shocking children in order to induce grand mal convulsions. His argument is that we who have fought against this are denying children a benevolent medical treatment. In order to understand why Shorter’s plea to use electroshock on children is so egregious, we need to know what it does to children’s brains, which means a look at the science.

Voices in our Heads: The Prefrontal Cortex as Parasite

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As I considered the voice I heard talking to me in my own head, it occurred to me that what was happening was, more or less, a later development of the brain talking to a more basic and earlier level of consciousness, one which was not verbal itself and was, in fact, the actual seat and locus of my real awareness.

The Unforeseen Relationship: Psychiatric Medication and Spirituality

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In 2015 I completed a qualitative research study exploring the interrelationship between psychiatric medication and spirituality. The key finding was that people were engaging spiritually with their prescriptions in ways that significantly impacted the course and outcome of recovery.

Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Health Care

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In 2012, I found out that the ten biggest drug companies in the world commit repeated and serious crimes to such a degree that they fulfill the criteria for organised crime under US law. I also found out how huge the consequences of the crimes are. They involve colossal thefts of public monies and they contribute substantially to the fact that our drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
mental illness

Creating “Mental Illness” – An Interview with Christopher Lane

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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.

Tapering Strips for Benzodiazepines

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One size fits all does not work. It is not possible to use the same tapering schedule for all patients who wish to stop with a certain drug. Therefore we had to come up with a flexible solution that was both practical and allowed doctors and patients to make the choice they deemed appropriate.

My Story of Benzo Withdrawal and Activism

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My story starts in 1976. I had a nervous breakdown whilst studying for my Accountancy Technician examination. I was then prescribed a series of benzodiazepine/anti depressant drugs for 5 years. I have been campaigning for the last 28 years at local, national and international level on this public health scandal and government cover-up. The following questions need to be asked to those responsible: Why have the doctors and psychiatrists ignored the 1988 Committee on Safety of Medicines Guidelines on the prescribing of benzodiazepines? Why are the same physicians making the same mistakes with the newer drugs?

Don’t Harm Them Twice: When the Language Surrounding Benzodiazepines Adds Insult to Injury (Part...

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Language is important. And when language dictates specific treatment protocols, it should be used with extreme scrutiny. Using the wrong words can put vulnerable people at risk—not only to their sense of self-worth, their sense of self-knowledge, and they way they are treated, but also to their health.

Rejecting the “Medications for Schizophrenia” Narrative: A Survivor’s Response to Pies and Whitaker

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As a psychiatric survivor who has personally experienced severe psychosis, my criticisms focus on the relative lack of attention to what psychiatric drugs actually are, and on the uncertain, contested nature of the supposed target of these drugs: “schizophrenia.” I will elaborate on each of these points with references, as well as highlighting alternative approaches to helping psychotic people.
drug companies money

Taking Big Pharma to Court: Why Lawsuits Have Little Effect on Drug Companies

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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.
psychotherapy underfunded by insurers

The Woeful Underfunding of Psychotherapy by Health Insurers

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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.

Launch of the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry

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When I started working in the NHS in Britain I pretty much accepted the mainstream view – that psychiatric drugs work, that the categories of mental disorder have been established via solid scientific research, and that we are now on the cusp of understanding the biology of mental illness. I was wrong.

Makers of Risperdal Sued for Breast Development in Boys

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Thousands of boys and young men are lined up in courthouses around the country to sue J&J for gynecomastia caused by taking Risperdal as young children. The condition is irreversible except by surgical removal. Collectively, they have become known as the Risperdal Boys.
cemetary angel

People Are Dying Prematurely Due to Polypharmacy

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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.

Adam Maier-Clayton: Assisted Suicide and Mental Illness

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If we describe “death with dignity” as a benefit, a good thing, a release and relief and a mercy for people with chronic unbearable and unmanageable pain, why do we also describe exclusions from assisted suicide for people with mental illness as a protection rather than discrimination?