Saturday, June 25, 2022

Boy, Interrupted: A Story of Akathisia

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I watched my son’s life change almost overnight. He developed akathisia from antidepressants, taken as prescribed for just a few weeks for garden-variety anxiety.
A child looks shocked to receive an overflowing handful of pills

ADHD: The Money Trail

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Doctors, drug companies, and the news media have profited from skyrocketing rates of diagnosis and drugging for ADHD, and the law has created a perverse set of incentives for parents and children which favor the ADHD label.
Silhouette of man and woman's handsin form of heart

Engaging “Madness”: A Guide for Significant Others and Families

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Using personal stories from my own family, my new booklet Engaging 'Madness' paints a clear picture of what an alternative healing journey outside the biomedical paradigm can look like.
Wooden pawn-like figures surrounding a gavel

Guardianship Destroyed My Family

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People who can’t take care of themselves need support and protection, but guardianship provides neither. I know: I've lived it.

From Labeled to Healer: A Road Less Traveled

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We have let down our children (and ourselves) by losing touch with parental intuition and handing their care over to professionals at the first sign of a problem.
ADHD

Parenting Changed My Perspective on “ADHD”

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My experience of raising a son who was bright and creative but didn’t fit the mold helped me to approach my restless, impulsive students more compassionately and creatively.

Connecting the Dots: My Toxic Workplace Made Me “Mentally Ill”

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In 1996, I suffered my first manic episode. My mother was convinced it had been caused by chemical exposure. But I wouldn’t hear it, and neither would my psychiatrists.

From Horse Ranch to Home Ground: Healing Families via Telehealth

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Since COVID, NISAPI has transitioned our collaborative therapy setting from barns and fields to kitchens and living rooms. Our clients report similar positive outcomes with telehealth as in person.
abused child

The Abused Children to Bipolar Pipeline

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The mental health system traumatized me further. They were allies with my abusers to cover up and continue my abuse.

Saving Lives or Cementing Stigma? A Review of “Just Like You…”

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In my experience, episodes of anxiety and depression dwindle in the face of hope and empowerment, while broken-brain narratives lead to deeper despair.
prescriptions and suicide

Suicides Are Increasing – And So Are Antidepressant Prescriptions

Disturbingly, our study and others reveal that the black box warning is now ignored in many countries, since antidepressant prescriptions for children are on the rise again. Despite increasing certainty that antidepressants are ineffective and likely cause suicidal behavior in young people, psychiatry continues to claim that they reduce suicide risk.

How “Mental Health Awareness” Exploits Schoolchildren

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Imagine being a parent at a meeting with educators to discuss Johnny's academics or behavior. Suddenly, your child’s teacher is telling you that he needs to see a doctor for an assessment of a suspected “mental disorder,” which usually leads to a prescription for medication. Warned of “the risks against failing to intervene,” you will likely acquiesce.
power threat meaning

Fatherland Dreamland Motherland Hinterland

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I grew up in Rhodesia, a British colony in southern Africa. Until the age of 16, I lived on the grounds of Ingutsheni Mental Hospital where my father worked. As a psychiatrist, he had enormous power.

Jordan B. Peterson’s Support of Corporal Punishment for Children: A Critique

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In his book 12 Rules for Life, supposedly based on "cutting-edge research," Jordan Peterson attempts to justify the hitting of children as a form of discipline. But Peterson does so without citing a single study to support his view. In fact, this entire section of the book is bereft of any reference to any research supporting the effectiveness of corporal punishment.
childhood bipolar

Childhood Bipolar Disorder, Deconstructed

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Diagnosing children with juvenile or pediatric bipolar disorder is largely an American phenomenon. Do we actually have more “bipolar” children in the United States—or are we simply labeling more of them as such? If it is ever fair to call a child “manic,” isn’t the child’s environment the direction in which we should look?
babydoll quadruplets

Hereditary Madness? The Genain Sisters’ Tragic Story

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The story of the Genain quadruplets has long been cited as evidence proving something about the supposed hereditary nature of schizophrenia. But who wouldn’t fall apart after surviving a childhood like theirs? The doctors attributed their problems to menstrual difficulties or excessive masturbation — anything except abuse.

The Real Myth of the Schizophrenogenic Mother

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Acknowledging the role of trauma inflicted by a given individual’s mother is not the same as laying all blame for “mental illness” at the feet of motherhood. Meanwhile, a mountain of evidence has accumulated linking schizophrenia to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and many other categories of adverse childhood experiences.
Photo of a flower

Suicidal Thoughts, Psychiatric Diagnosis, and What Really Helps: Part One

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This piece is the first of a two-part essay about suicide, diagnosis, what doesn't help, and what does help. This part is about suicide, diagnosis, and some of what fails to help.

Childhood Trauma Is Not a Mental Illness

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My childhood was stolen by systems focused on labeling and medicating me instead of healing the effects of abuse and neglect.

Suicidality: When Your Feelings Are Too Dangerous

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After finding a cop at my door, I learned it wasn’t safe to talk about my feelings of wanting to die. As a result, I spent the better part of the next decade not telling anyone when I was suicidal.

Child Abuse and Psychosis: My Healing Journey

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Hospitalized for "grandiose delusions," I began to wonder: Was my dis-orientation really just a sickness? Or in "treating" it, was I missing a powerful re-orientation toward healing old wounds?

Save the Date! Kids in Crisis: The Overprescribing of Psychiatric Medication

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Mad in America presents a live Town Hall featuring a special, private screening of "Luna" followed by a panel discussion.
mental hospital

Memories of a Childhood in a Mental Hospital

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My stay at the hospital had no impact on the problem that led to my admission. But it did exacerbate other problems and change me in fundamental ways. I am a deformed product of that ‘cutting-edge facility’ and the ‘treatments’ I received there — social isolation, pills and shots, ice bath and ECT.
A photo of a teddy bear being stepped on by a work boot

Getting A Diagnosis Meant That My Sister Never Had the Chance to Resolve Her...

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My sister was told if she took medications everything would be fine. But everything was not fine, and the medications sent her down a path of no return.
Photo of a boy sitting against a brick wall with his hands covering his face

Why Is Child Sexual Abuse So Common in Institutions?

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Where ableism and adultism allows disabled children to be seen as unreliable narrators of their own experience, sexual violence in institutions will continue to be pervasive.

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