(Note: Read Bruce Levine's latest post: Anti-Authoritarians and Schizophrenia: Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better? In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with...
The topic of this article is Seroquel withdrawal: the process of withdrawal and the consequences of having taken this particular chemical for over ten...
E. Fuller Torrey, through his Treatment Advocacy Center, is the country’s most prominent advocate for outpatient commitment laws, which typically force people with a...
If I thought that it was possible, I would have opened a string of clinics all over the country to help get people off of antidepressants. Unfortunately, the problems that sometimes occur when people try to stop an SSRI antidepressant are much more severe and long-lasting than the medical profession acknowledges, and there is no antidote to these problems. The truth is, giving people information about taking antidepressants is like giving information to people who are enroute to a casino; they go because they hear that some people win (at least for a time), but the losers are the ones who ultimately pay for it all — and the odds are not in their favor.
Somewhere along the line we have lost the understanding that kids come in all shapes and sizes. Some kids are active, some are quiet; some kids are dreamers, others are daring; some kids are dramatic, others are observers; some impulsive, others reserved; some leaders, others followers; some athletic, others thinkers. Where did we ever get the notion that kids should all be one way?
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.
Difference is Not Disease: Scientific Integrity, Human Diversity, and the Potentially Bleak Future of...
There has been a lot of talk lately about neuroscience and the future of the medical model of "mental illness." It was made clear, in NIMH director Thomas Insel’s statement, that the DSM is a system of identification and classification of what are deemed disorders within our human experience. This isn’t exactly news to the vast majority of people who have spent even a little bit of time thinking about whether or not psychiatric diagnosis makes sense.
I’d like to share a bit about what happened to me after being placed on these medications, and how I successfully got off. Until recently, I was embarrassed to talk about my personal experiences publicly, as I’m a professional who specializes in anxiety and depression. Today, medication free, I feel better than ever before, and I am now on a mission to help my current clients get off medications, and to inform others through my writing about the dangers and pitfalls of starting antidepressants.
As I have various discussions about mental health and disability on the internet, I am disturbed at how many people continue to use the terms “high functioning” and “low functioning” when referring to people with psychiatric or other disabilities. I have heard people refer to their family members as “low functioning.” I have seen these terms used by advocates to bully and discredit other advocates who critique calls for increased levels of involuntary treatment as “high functioning” individuals who don’t know what they’re talking about.
When I was researching Anatomy of an Epidemic and sought to track the number of people receiving a disability payment between 1987 and 2007 due to “mental illness,” I was frustrated by the lack of diagnostic clarity in the data. The Social Security Administration would list, in its annual reports on the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs, the number of people receiving payment for “mental disorders,” which in turn was broken down into just two subcategories: “retardation,” and “other mental disorders.” Unfortunately, the “other mental disorders,” which was the category for those with psychiatric disorders, was not broken down into its diagnostic parts.
Editor's Note: After Allen Frances and Robert Whitaker spoke recently at the Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry conference in Los Angeles, where they had a brief debate, Frances wrote to Whitaker suggesting that they should continue this debate in print. They do so here. Whitaker’s response follows Frances' post.
Through years of turmoil and confusion, Cindi Fisher’s enduring love for her involuntarily committed son gradually changed her from compliant mom to mental health civil rights activist. That’s when authorities banned her from even contacting her son. But could she be a bellwether of a coming nation-wide wave of protestors?
In November 2000, I anxiously stood before the gathered four hundred and fifty mental health professionals, administrators, peers and academicians and said, "Hi, I'm Michael Cornwall and I don't believe in mental illness!"
Preface: Failing in my efforts to get this article published for the general public, apparently only here can I talk about a “cool subculture...
While I have lived just a few miles away from the Capitol for the last fifteen years, I have been unsure about getting involved in legislative advocacy. I’ve been intimidated by the complexity of the legislative process, and more inclined to leave it up to others who I perceive as having more experience than me. And honestly, I haven’t felt very hopeful about effecting change. My cynicism had turned to “learned helplessness.” And then along came a mental health bill so destructive, so regressive, that I had to step out of my uncomfortable comfort zone.
By their own recent admissions, establishment psychiatrists and major psychiatry institutions have been repeatedly wrong about disorder validity, biochemical causes, and drug treatments; and also, in several cases, have been discovered to be on the take from drug companies—yet continue to be taken seriously by the mainstream media. While Big Pharma financial backing is one reason that psychiatry is able to retain its clout, this is not the only reason. More insidiously, psychiatry retains influence because of the needs of the larger power structure that rules us. And perhaps most troubling, psychiatry retains influence because of us—society’s increasing fears and its expanding needs for coercion.
The conventional wisdom is that antidepressant medications are effective and safe. However, the scientific literature shows that the conventional wisdom is flawed. While all prescription medications have side effects, antidepressant medications appear to do more harm than good as treatments for depression.
Both Michel Foucault and Thomas Szasz dated the beginnings of a distinct Western institutional response to madness to the late 1500s-early 1600s. But while for Foucault it started in France with the creation of the public “hôpital général” for the poor insane, for Szasz it began in England with the appearance of for-profit madhouses where upper class families shut away inconvenient relatives. Regardless of their different ideas on the beginnings of anything resembling a mental health system, both authors agree that it was characterized by the coercive incarceration of a specially labeled group.
It’s stunning what a quarter milligram of a benzodiazepine can do to the body. I’ve been detoxing off a high dose of benzodiazepines since September of 2011. The first few months were a failure. But this past May, I found my expert and thought I had the formula. Things were going well for detoxing off a substance many deem more addictive that heroin. That is, I realized, until they weren’t.
Licensed Mental Heath professionals are trained and are required to find out what is wrong with people. Unfortunately, 90 percent of the people who could benefit from professional mental health services, in my opinion, are suffering from feeling something is wrong with them. They already feel bad about themselves, like they are failing in life. Enter the totally well-intentioned mental health professional.
‘Diagnosing’ someone with a devastating label such as ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘personality disorder’ is one of the most damaging things one human being can do to another. Re-defining someone’s reality for them is the most insidious and the most devastating form of power we can use. It may be done with the best of intentions, but it is wrong - scientifically, professionally, and ethically. The DSM debate presents us with a unique opportunity to put some of this right, by working with service users towards a more helpful understanding of how and why they come to experience extreme forms of emotional distress.
(dictionary.com) Cult, n. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or...
The FDA recently approved lisdexamfetamine (LDF) for the treatment of the newly minted DSM-5 diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder. This caused me some consternation and this blog will be as much about my reaction to this news as to the news itself.
Martin Harrow along with his colleagues T.H. Jobe and R. N. Faull has published another paper on the long term outcome of people who experienced a psychotic episode. Funded by a grant from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, this paper adds to our knowledge of an extremely important and valuable study.
Within the mental health profession, clinicians and researchers who value a system of categorical illnesses and individual defects too often proclaim that the major feature delineating "real psychosis" from other "disorders" is the presence of delusions. Two recent articles in the New York Times exemplified for me how skewed this assertion is. It also led to a greater awareness, more specifically, of how problematic it is to view so-called delusions as meaningless indicators of disease . . . for we all experience delusion. How one experiences the self, the world, and relationships (usually based on our relationships with our caregivers) determines the level with which one must cling to seemingly irrational ideas in order to maintain a sense of order and meaning in the world. Let me explain . . .