Comments by Julie Wood

Showing 22 of 22 comments.

  • Roxanne S-J is clearly a determined and competent individual, far more so than many who have never had a mental illness label. Another irony of her story is that Roxanne escaped from one country where psychiatric abuse is rampant to another where it is also rampant. But she, personally, is safer here. The fact that she had to admit to being mentally ill and make her case within the mental illness belief framework of myths which is the foundation for psychiatric abuse is indeed offensive, but Jim is 100% correct that progress demands that pragmatism trump logic in the short run. Only when officialdom recognizes that it is harmful to force unwanted “treatments” with horrific side effects on some people will the door be opened to the eventual realization that it is never OK.

  • Journalism is supposed to be a profession. However, there is no body that I can find to complain to, when a prominent journalist breaks the supposed code of his profession and provides significant misinformation.
    I do not know whether Ms Williamson plans to do anything to protect her brand from unfounded attacks.
    Everyone who reads this site agrees on the basics. We know that Anderson Cooper, with his influence, is doing harm by reinforcing damaging myths. I just want to know how I can help stop him.

  • Ron I have not read the BPS report but thanks to your excellent article, I will. I do think though, that much of the negativity that frames our perception of psychosis and assuredly affects the experience of it, is cultural. The fear, the judgement, the stigma, the abhorrence and disgust that is the routine Western reaction to psychosis is of course noticed and absorbed by those affected.

    I love the comment about seeing “problems” as relational because I do think that it is all about that. MOST of the time psychosis-sensitive people are the “canaries in the mine” in which they find themselves. The toxic environment that caused their problems is not of their making; but they are the intelligent, aware, sensitive beings most impacted by it.

    All theories which construe psychosis as some sort of personal flaw are missing the whole picture and by definition, miss the crucial aspect that we are all products of the systems in which we live.

  • Well bpd, it is nice to see that you are quoting information from the website of one of the authors of the soon-to-be-published new version of Study 329, Dr Micky Nardo. When a study purporting to find an effective treatment for depression (whether or not it is reliably diagnosed, or even real) goes under the validity microscope, we should all care. Questionable research that poses as science is a problem. Inaccurate research findings that led to many young people being prescribed a drug that caused them suffering, damage, and death deserve a sober second look. All those multitudes of professionals prescribing paroxetine can benefit from a “second opinion” about what the research showed. At the very least, this might cause them to question some of their assumptions.

  • Dear SteindĂłr, your story is so alarming but so insightful and well described. What you have been through is horrific. I would love to also post it (all 3 parts) on SSRI stories, if you give permission. I think that your story is so important and the more people who read it, the better. Thank goodness you survived; many do not, my son included. Thank you for providing a first-hand account of what these drugs can do.

  • I was so touched by meeting all the wonderful people at the book launch, all staunch supporters of Bonnie’s mission. And the book IS awesome, really worth a thorough read, all the sacred cows take a logic-based hit. You find yourself nodding and thinking “YES!” all the way through. But how to get through to the millions who have no clue that psychiatry could cost them dearly if they do not pay attention? We need to get to them before they learn the hard way. It is hard to combat the conventional wisdom, so much of which is wrong, that people get from the media and from other people.

  • Excellent article Bonnie. I’m not sure that self-stigma is about pangs of conscience; I think a lot of psychiatrists subconsciously sense that they are not trusted or admired, but they do not care to explore why. And why would they? Their career paths are better served in the current world by ignoring the well-being of patients and serving other interests. But they can’t admit that, even to themselves, so they remain trapped a hairball of logical and moral inconsistencies.
    Look at what happens to “heretics” like David Healy (see his excellent blog series on the persecution of heretics at Being an independent thinker who believes in patient autonomy, careful listening, and avoiding psychoactive drugs where possible, the mainstream is not going to welcome you. I recently listened to a lecture by another heretic, Australian child psychiatrist Jon Jureidini (On the Edge: Over Diagnosis and Over Treatment). He believes that in young, marginalized people, delinquency is positive – a sign of hope – and that those who end treatment in a protest phase do the best. He believes that psychiatry ought to subject itself to criticism, that ordinary language is more valuable than psych speak, and that personal autonomy is desirable. But the sad truth is, psychiatrists have to choose between acting with integrity and being welcomed by the mainstream. This is not a happy choice.
    How did we as a society allow such a dysfunctional system to develop? The situation is so bad that even as we suffer from distorted values, increasing alienation, and lack of connectedness, we demand more of the “services”, like mainstream psychiatry, that make things worse.

  • There is no question that psychiatry has gone too far and harmed many people. And it makes no sense to advocate a “moderate” position somewhere between coercion and personal autonomy. Bonnie may be 100% correct that no state sanctioned experts, including psychiatrists, can ever be legitimate but as a practical matter many people in extreme states are not able to look after their basic needs and personal safety, for whatever reason. And many of them have nobody available to help. It may be a utopian dream that some day communities will organize to correct this . It just is not likely.
    It may or may not be possible for psychiatry to reform to offer a valid service to those in need but it is also dangerous to compromise by insisting that psychologists, social workers and others should play a role. The danger is that the army of state-sanctioned “experts”, many with no knowledge of physiology, will jump on the current bandwagon (where mental illness is defined by pharma marketing departments) and we will mistake this for progress.

    Before we do anything, “mental illness” needs to be better understood. 90% of what passes for mental illness may be social in origin but what if social factors cannot explain 100%? And this is what the evidence appears to show. Who should investigate and try to solve that other 10%?

  • This is an excellent article and I plan to save it. I, too, have learned a huge amount from Family Outreach. Everything that Will and many commentators have pointed out about how families try to intervene to force their hurt one to conform is right on. It is true that families have dynamics and roles and that these are not always constructive.
    At the same time it is important not to blame families, for many reasons. The main one is that, when professionals blame families, they reinforce the biggest road block to recognizing the important insights that Krista and the FOR team offer. I am sure that most parents desperately want to find a way to prevent their beloved child from suffering any more. They are frightened because they know that unless their young one can get back to thinking in a way that the world will accept, they are doomed to exclusion, labeling, ridicule and worse. It is all very complicated. Thank goodness for Will,and Karyn and Krista and the Coopers.

  • I am afraid that, like Warmac, I am skeptical. Thomas Insel has been Director of NIMH for 11 years, and the evidence was there for most of that time. I do agree that the reason he has “discovered” the clear findings now is thanks to the unrelenting evidence provided by activists and the reaction to Anatomy of an Epidemic. That book was so well constructed it was impossible to ignore.

    However, what he has conceded is that some people do better over the long run if they do not take neuroleptics as a permanent solution. One worries that his concession will keep us off guard, and it may be years before we notice that nothing has changed in NMHI beliefs about prescribing to first episode people, nothing new has been added in terms of options available, and worst of al nothing has changed in who gets research grants and the type of research done. Research in the area of serious “mental health” issues has been blatantly slanted to the pharma agenda or decades. It is a crime how much has been spent while a huge body of solid, ground-breaking research just did not happen.

    So, yes this is an important breakthrough, forced on an unreceptive audience. But, this is no time to let up the pressure to ensure that the implications of the knowledge are reflected in NIMH future actions and recommendations.

  • Yes that is valuable clarification. I will try and find the Leo and Moncrieff study.

    I guess there was really no way for Andreasen to get out of admitting that drugs do cause brain shrinkage.

    I don’t know, either, but I would really like to know if any of the subjects had exposure to ADHD drugs, because they too cause brain changes although they are not counted as neuroleptics.

    Not that we would want to run controlled studies giving neuroleptics to people who have never had any drugs!!!

  • More alarming than the statement about drugs causing loss of brain tissue is the statement in the article that people with schizophrenia have less brain tissue at “first episode”, attributable to the “disease”.

    Other studies that have claimed this were found to be flawed. As usual, the data is not in the article nor is it available in the publications cited so that people can figure out what she did this time.

    The study does not say how many of the people never got drugs.

    It appears that the number of subjects who were not given any drugs AFTER the first measure was zero. No surprise that the more medication that was given, the greater the brain changes. All the brain shrinkage could have been due to drugs, and probably was, but there is no way to tell from the information provided.

    Regarding the initial differences in brain size: The study probably had no control to screen out the effects of drugs taken BEFORE the first episode/ first measure. If they were real, the differences may have been due to drugs like stimulants, which cause brain shrinkage and increase the risk of psychosis.

    To the extent that the initial differences were not real, they may have related to age or body size, while Andreasen has attributed them to schizophrenia. Sometimes tiny differences are treated as significant when they clearly are not, as indicated by variation among the relevant population. That is the kind of bad science that is often offered in these type of studies.

    I think that studies like this should not be posted or quoted unless we know where to go to get the raw data, which often involves uncontrolled variables, and always tells a more complicated story than the narrative.

  • Your comments was well worth the read. Since we ARE our brains, and since the medical model puts forward the proposition that our brains are inherently diseased/ defective, as opposed to merely responding to external trauma, what could be more stigmatizing, in the common-use sense?
    Stigma is all about expectations, as the experiment you cite aptly demonstrates. If we expect that someone is defective at the core of what makes them who they are, then it doesn’t matter what you call it, you have just categorized them as “other” and “lesser”. Stigma is about that.
    Sera’s article is terrific, and the responses are such a high calibre. Gourmet food for thought.

  • Ronald Pies believes that “there is nothing inherently dehumanizing or “stigmatizing” about a psychiatric diagnosis”. Really? Tell that to someone who has been shunned by friends and employers because of a schizophrenia diagnoses, years after the person has recovered from a psychotic episode and learned how to recognize the causes of, and prevent, a recurrance. Most psychiatrists just don’t want to “get” that when they pretend that their opinions are science, and that some people have defective brains, that IS stigma. It diverts attention from the real roots of distress – sensitive people trying to maintain their humanity in the face of external difficulties and traumas, and a system that insists their problems are not systemic in origin, but lie within them. It looks to me that there are problems with this “dialogue” right from the outset – the issue is framed with false premises.

  • Great article. Too bad the “one other issue” – that psychiatric meds can trigger violenc – is buried, almost as an afterthought. All the other issues are true and relevant, but these meds can reduce judgement and inhibition, counter those tendencies that we call conscience, and cause people to do things that they normally would not do. David Healy covers this very well in the “Violence Zone” area of his website, We should not conclude that meds were the cause of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, but we should not rule out meds as a factor without looking, either.

  • I think that it is excellent that there has been an organized effort to collect people’s opinions of the damage caused by the schizophrenia label. Change has to start somewhere. Yes there are vested interests, and yes the history of schizophrenia, once you read it, shows its origins in politics, not science(American madness:the rise and fall of dementia praecox is a pretty good book about that), and yes other diagnoses are just as bogus. Phil you are dead wrong that this is a pointless exercise. Knowing that problems are not medical, as Ron Unger does, in no way obligates us to guarantee solutions to the real problems which are about being human. I doubt it is possible to solve all the problems that come with that territory. However, just quitting the destructive nonsense that psychiatry introduces will at least put us in a position of dealing with the real issues or nothing. It will also have the possible side benefit of reducing the amount of poisoning and brain damage caused to people who are suffering from bad family dynamics, huge life stresses, nutritional deficiencies, being extremely sensitive, whatever, etc. No matter how much farther we get than that, it would be a good start.

  • Speaking truth to power is fine if you have leverage. I guess the APA is convinced that it does not need to worry about a few thousand dissenting voices, certainly not the voices of the people they have damaged. They have all the power on their side, so they have no reason to listen and every reason not to. Trying to convince them is like trying to clean up organized crime by lobbying its leaders. What do you expect? All their prestige and their livelihoods are invested in the lies. Do we really think that moral suasion is a match for that?

  • GREAT post! But here is the thing – schizophrenia is a condition without a reliable definition, used to describe (among other things) susceptibility to recurrent psychosis. It is true that you did not ever claim that this thing is caused by neuroleptic medication (if we could stop referring to them as antopsychotics that would be useful). It is just hard to escape the apparent connection in the research that you quote. At the same time, please note that for many of these drugs,THE MONOGRAPHS CLEARLY INCLUDE PSYCHOSIS AS A SIDE EFFECT, BOTH OF TAKING THE DRUG, AND OF WITHDRAWAL.
    For example,the 2011 Monograph for Risperdal Consta (a common one) includes the warning below. The manufacturer admits that their “antipsycotic” causes psychosis, which is pretty close to admitting it causes “schizophrenia”!!

    Adverse Events Associated with Discontinuation of Treatment
    RISPERDAL® CONSTA® is generally well tolerated at doses of 12.5 mg to 50 mg. In the 12- week, placebo-controlled trial in patients with schizophrenia who received 25 mg or 50 mg, the incidence of patients who discontinued treatment due to an adverse event was lower with RISPERDAL® CONSTA® (11%; 22/202 patients) than with placebo (13%; 13/98 patients). The more common adverse events causing discontinuation included: psychiatric (17% vs. 11% placebo): primarily psychosis, hallucination, agitation, suicide attempt, and anxiety; neurological (1.4% vs. 1% placebo): primarily hyperkinesia. No adverse events leading to discontinuation were found to be unexpected nor were considered to be clinically relevant to RISPERDAL®CONSTA®.

  • Paula Caplan’s excellent article answers the question in its title. No, the APA will not listen to the people harmed by psychiatric diagnoses. I think we all agree that those who promote this terrible damage for personal prestige and profit ought to be held accountable. I agree that a lawsuit is the answer. However, individual lawsuits go nowhere. In court, psychiatrists always get the benefit of the doubt. What we need is a class action lawsuit, if we can figure out how to include people from different jurisdictions. There are definitely lawyers who could handle this. I think that there comes a point when you have to stop begging corrupt people to stop being corrupt, when they are clearly benefiting and have no intention of changing. We need to find a strategy that forces them to change.