Relationships, Connection and Healing from Trauma

UnknownI’m reading an excellent book at the moment, which I can strongly recommend to you. If you’re working in the trauma field, then The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And other Stories From a Child Psychiatrists Notebook by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz is an essential read.

The book really gives you a feel for how our understanding of childhood trauma and its healing has moved along over the years. Bruce Perry is a real leader in this field and I feel blessed to have learnt of both Bruce’s and Bessel van der Kolk’s work in the past year. Thank you Judy and Carlie Atkinson.

Here’s a little section from the book:

‘Trauma and our responses to it cannot be understood outside the context of human relationships… The most traumatic aspects of all disasters involve the shattering of human connections. And this is especially true for children…’

‘Because humans are inescapably social beings, the worst catastrophes that can befall us inevitably involve relational loss.

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‘Towards a Ban on Psychiatrically Diagnosing and Drugging Children’ by Peter Breggin, MD

Here’s the latest blog (and films) on Mad in America from one of my favourite people. I am so pleased that Peter has done these films. I believe strongly that the mass drugging of our children is absolutely disgraceful.

Instead of hope and enthusiasm for their futures, too many children now grow up believing they are inherently defective, and controlled by bad genes and biochemical imbalances.  They are shackled by the idea that they have ADHD and then subdued by the drugs that inevitably go along with the diagnosis.  Unless something intervenes, many of them will go on to pass their days on Earth in a drug-impaired, demoralized state.

I have put up a new series of three videos on YouTube about the psychiatric diagnosing and drugging of children.  The first children’s video is # 7 in my Simple Truths series; it describes the harmful effects and method of action of stimulant drugs.  These drugs include methylphenidate and amphetamine products such as Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, Metadate, Methylin, Quillivant, Daytrana, Vyvanse, Adderall and Dexedrine.

The second video about children is # 8 in the Simple Truths series. It describes the negative effects of diagnosing children with ADHD.

The third children’s video, # 9 of Simple Truths, describes the horrendous outcomes of merely starting a mildly “hyperactive” child on Ritalin, including follow up studies over several decades.  This video calls for concerned citizens to take a stand against giving psychiatric drugs to children.

I believe it is time to set our sights on a day when children will be protected by a ban against giving them any psychoactive substances, including psychiatric drugs, which are more dangerous, damaging and demoralizing than alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes.

The video series has scientific support in my book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal, which cites and summarizes some of the most recent studies on how damaged “ADHD kids” become when reaching adulthood – including increased incarceration in jails and mental hospitals, increased suicide, increased drug addiction, increased dependence on multiple psychiatric drugs, obesity, shrinkage (atrophy) of the brain, shortened lifespan, and a general reduction in quality and length of life.

In addition, my new peer-reviewed article in the journal Children & Society [The link in Peter’s article does not currently work – DC] presents a scientific and ethical overview of the harm done to children by stimulants and by antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify, Seroquel, Risperdal, Invega, Zyprexa, Geodon, Latuda, Saphris, Fanapt, and Symbax.  It cites many scientific studies.  The antipsychotic drugs are often given to children when their behavior and mental state deteriorates as a result of being given stimulants.

The drugging of children in America and increasingly throughout the world is a tragedy.  Millions upon millions of children and youth will never know their full potential because they grew up with an intoxicated brain – their neurotransmitters forever deformed by being bathed in these drugs during their formative years.  Additional millions will become career consumers of psychiatric drugs with a vastly reduced quality of life and shortened lives.

It is time to say, “No more of this!” and to directly confront the need for stopping this inhumane, destructive approach to our children and youth.

‘Healing Trauma: What We Are Doing Wrong… and What We Need To Do To Get It Right’ by Bessel van der Kolk

338059More from Bessel van der Kolk’s wonderful book. If you want to know more about trauma and its healing, this is an essential buy.

‘We are fundamentally social creatures – our brains are wired to foster working and playing together.

Trauma devastates the social-engagement system and interferes with cooperation, nurturing, and the ability to function as a productive member of the clan.

In this book, we have seen how many mental health problems, from drug addiction to self-injurious behavior, start off as attempts to cope with emotions that become unbearable because of a lack of adequate human contact and support.

Yet institutions that deal with traumatized children and adults are all too often bypass the emotional-engagement system that is the foundation of who we are and instead focus narrowly on correcting “faulty thinking” and on suppressing unpleasant emotions and troublesome behaviors.

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Drug Companies: Stop Drugging Our Kids For Acting Like Kids!

It’s a funny old world! We put people in prison for selling amphetamine and cocaine , but allow drug companies to ‘deal’ ritalin to our children… 4.5 million children in the USA. Ritalin, like amphetamine and cocaine, is a Schedule II drug and has similar neurochemical effects in that it enhances dopamine function. This hypocrisy – and the damage it is doing to our children – disgusts me.

Fortunately, we have people like Michael Corrigan and Peter Breggin fighting against this unsavoury practise. Here are two wonderful animations from Michael Corrigan.

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‘Looking forward to the Good Ol’ Days’ by Tim Carey Ph.D.

timA thoughtful article by Tim Carey on Mad in America to start the week.

‘One of the most remarkable aspects of Robert Whitaker’s (2010) outstanding book Anatomy of an Epidemic was his comparative data that contrasted outcomes for mental disorders prior to the introduction of pharmacological treatments with outcomes for mental disorders after pharmacological treatments became the main, and often only, course of action.

I have asked people in workshops to estimate who might be better off – someone diagnosed with what we now call bipolar disorder prior to the introduction of lithium or someone diagnosed after lithium became a standard treatment. Almost without exception workshoppers estimate that the people diagnosed before lithium was available do much worse. Whitaker’s data indicate exactly the opposite. It’s a staggering finding.

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‘Recovery Rocks – Betsey Berry’ by Veronica Valli

photo-300x300Here’s a recent addition to Veronica Valli’s Recovery Rocks blog.

‘This is just one of those ‘blow you away’ recovery stories. I am in complete awe how Betsey Berry managed to put her life back together after a serious meth addiction.

Getting clean is challenging for anyone, getting clean of meth whilst having 4 children, a drug addict husband, going bankrupt and loosing your house is a whole new level of challenging. Not only is Betsey clean, she has just graduated college with a BS in Alcohol and Drug counselling. Betsey writes about her experiences on her blog Mom off Meth.

She is incredible, please read and share her inspiring story.

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‘On Waking Up From the “American Dream”’ by Laura Delano

images-9Another powerful blog from one of my favourite writers. Please SHARE widely, Laura’s words are so important.

“These enviable youngsters appear to be the winners in the race we have made of childhood. But the reality is very different, as I have witnessed in many of my own students and heard from the hundreds of young people whom I have spoken with on campuses or who have written to me over the last few years.

Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.” William Deresiewicz,  Don’t Send Your Kids to the Ivy League, The New Republic, July 21st, 2014

Author’s Note: I encourage you to read Mr. Deresiewicz’ piece before continuing on with mine below.

Throughout my life, I’ve had access to privilege, especially in regards to my education, which included a lifetime of private schooling followed by matriculation at Harvard University.

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‘ADHD: A Return to Psychology’ by Craig B. Wiener, PhD

cwienerI am deeply saddened by, and very annoyed at, the way that society is medicating children for this so-called disorder ADHD. It is a great seller of drugs! Here’s a recent blog from Mad in America on this issue.

Welcome! This blog presents a psychological understanding of the diagnostic category “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD). Over the past decades, professionals have been informing the public about the neurobiological causes of the behaviors, and the necessity to medicate and stringently manage those who have been afflicted. This blog critiques those claims.

While biological determinist claims may continue to prosper there is increasing concern that we are positing the existence of a medical problem when there are no biological markers or dysfunctions that reliably correspond with the behavioral criteria.

Over the coming weeks, I will also present an alternative intervention that develops self-management in individuals who have been diagnosed as ADHD. This intervention is designed to replace traditional treatments which have been yielding very poor longer-term benefits.  

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‘Part 4 of Psychiatric Epidemic: Children & ADHD’ by Robert Whitaker

Here is Part 4 of Robert Whitaker’s May 14 talk in Denmark. Here is Part 1 and Part 2, but I don’t think Part 3 is up yet.

‘Here, Robert Whitaker looks at the research that specifically deals with Children — especially ADHD but also so-called Bipolar Disorder. The evidence is clear: the ethics behind the use of these toxic medications on children is highly questionable.’

‘Debunking ADHD: 10 Reasons… The Logic – Part I’ by Michael W. Corrigan

“This is the first of my video series on Debunking ADHD. This video starts to share the logic behind why I feel millions of kids are being wrongly drugged for a disorder that should have no connection to kids behaving like kids.” Michael Corrigan

Ruby’s Healing Story

“But she said what she had to do first, before she started to heal, was to let the past go. And in order for her to let it go she had to forgive… she had to forgive the people in the mission, the missionaries, the manager of the mission. She had to forgive the station owner and his sons and workers. And she also had to forgive herself.”

Professor Marion Kickett shares the harrowing story of Ruby and describes how her early life experiences impacted on her later life, including the development of a drinking problem. By forgiving people involved in these terrible events, Ruby started a healing (or recovery) process which led to her realising a dream.

Marion is the new Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University in Perth and co-founder (with David Clark and Mike Liu) of Sharing Culture, a new initiative to tackle historical trauma and its consequences in Aboriginal peoples. 

ManyFaces1Voice: Chris Herren

Unknown-2“To me it’s not about how society perceives me, it’s about how I see myself. It’s how I look at myself in the mirror. People still call me junkie. Not as many, but there are still those people out there. But it doesn’t matter, it’s what I call myself. And as long as I am good with myself, I couldn’t care what everyone else says.”

Check out this film on ManyFaces1Voice, the Story of father and ex-basketball star, Chris Herren.

‘Chris Herren is man in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drugs since August of 2008.

Chris was a high school basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, who realized his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999 and then was traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics in 2000.

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CHILDREN FIRST Annual lecture 2013: Cormac Russell

On the 18th birthday of my oldest son Ben, I think the above talk is particularly appropriate. This is the first of six clips. 

“It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. Nearly everyone I know believes that to be true. Yet little is done to build our villages/ communities in this way. So what can we do to raise a village where every child belongs?” Cormac Russell

Cormac is a world renowned expert on the Asset Based Community Development approach, Managing Director of Nurture Development, Director of ABCD Europe and a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University, Chicago. He has extensive experience in this area and has trained communities, agencies, NGOs and governments in ABCD and other strength-based approaches across the world.

‘The problem with instant graftification’ by Matt Kay

rsz_us-instant-gratificationHere’s another excellent blog that Matt Kay submitted to Wired In To Recovery.

‘Our world today is based upon instant gratification. Taking into consideration all of the technology that allows us to get what we want right when we want it, it’s really no wonder that we are trying to apply that standard to our emotional state.

Think of all the ways that people use drugs or alcohol pertaining to instant gratification. If you are having a stressful day – pop a pill and feel de-stressed. If you are feeling a little social anxiety or lack of confidence in a situation – have a few drinks and get some liquid courage.

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