‘How Come the Word “Antipsychiatry” is so Challenging?’ by Carina Håkansson, Ph.D.

chakanssonThis is an important and insightful look at psychiatry today. Essential reading. The original is on the Mad in America website.

‘So here we go again; another meeting with another young person who describes how he is in an acute crisis – you may call it – and is diagnosed and prescribed neuroleptics. He is told by the doctor that he suffers from a life-long illness and he will from now on be dependent on his “medication.”

However, after a short while he starts to suffer from physical and emotional pain connected to the prescribed drugs. It scares him and he tells his doctor that he wants to stop taking it, and so he is told that he must not stop taking his medication and that he has to realize it is best for him. His family is told the same thing, and they are also told that if they cannot support him in this case they will need to find some help to do so.

Fortunately his family does not obey. Further they decide to find out about alternatives and so they get in touch with my workplace and we met some months ago. What happens is that the young person of course is very suspicious and he lets us – my colleague and I – understand that he does not trust us. What else to expect, re: his experience in the psychiatric ward, and how to make our meetings go in a different way?

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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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‘An Open Letter to Persons Self-Identifying as Mentally Ill’ by Andrew L Yoder

ayoderA brilliant and empathic blog off Mad In America. Thank you, Andrew.

‘Hello, My name is Andrew, and like you I have experienced severe cognitive and emotional distress in my life.  This distress was sufficient that I once received a psychiatric diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, though I imagine other diagnosis could have easily been applied as well.

I know what panic attacks feel like.  I know how it feels to experience a “dissociative episode” from the inside out.  I know what it feels like to believe that you are going crazy.  I know what it feels like to convulse in sobs so intensely that you tear muscles.  I know what it feels like to want to die.

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‘What’s Wrong With You? Nothing. What Has Happened to You? Something.’ by Dr Michael Cornwall

mcornwall‘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. They often feel a lot of guilt, shame and self-loathing. They are often already judging themselves.

They may have been overwhelmed  by losses, by life events, or have not had their crucial needs met, or have been unloved, neglected, bullied, abused or mistreated by family and others. Because of what has happened to them, they may struggle to not identify themselves as someone who’s lot in life is to be rejected or harmed by others.

Enter the room with them, the totally well-intentioned mental health professional. Too often that encounter adds to the person in need feeling like they are somehow strange, abnormal, defective or damaged goods. Because right away out comes the DSM and the search begins for a valid category of psychopathology symptom cluster. The questions begin – questions aimed at finding abnormal psychology symptoms so a diagnosis can be made and treatment begun as soon as possible.

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“Benzodiazepine withdrawal as told by a woman in the midst of it…” by Monica Cassani

A very moving video. There must be much more awareness raising about the effects of these drugs, particularly amongst doctors and psychiatrist. Here’s what Monica Cassani had to say and she has included essential links:

‘This is a story I know so well and I generally can’t and don’t read stories anymore having read literally 1000s of them now. This video, however, grabbed me and it also brought me to tears. This is my story too. And the story of 100s of thousands of us and yet it’s a story that is still widely denied within psychiatry and medicine in general.

Benzodiazepines are not the only psychiatric drug that create this sort of withdrawal syndrome. Please educate yourself about psych drug withdrawal syndromes here.

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‘Full Recovery from Schizophrenia’ by Paris Williams

Full-moon-dark-sky-300x200‘This is the first of a series of blog postings related to my own series of research studies (my doctoral research at Saybrook University) of people who have made full and lasting medication-free recoveries after being diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

This is very exciting research because it is one of the few areas within psychological research that remains almost completely wide open. One reason it is so wide open is that most Westerners don’t believe that genuine recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is possible, in spite of significant evidence to the contrary.

Since there are some very hopeful findings that have emerged within this research, I want to begin this series of postings by summing up one particularly hopeful aspect of my own research, which is a group of five factors that emerged which are considered to have been the most important factors in my participants’ recovery process. But before looking closer at these factors, we should back up for a minute…

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‘A healthy mind in a healthy society’ by Dinyar Godrej

rsz_imagesHere’s a wonderful blog on the mental health scene from the New Internationalist magazine.

Sitting in the waiting room of a busy psychologists’ practice in Rotterdam, I’m intrigued by the furtive nature of the experience. People waiting for their 50 minutes of focused talk avoid each other’s eyes, acknowledging each other with embarrassment, if at all. I could be in the waiting room of a sexually transmitted diseases clinic.

I’m a bit puzzled. With the increased familiarity of stress-related problems nowadays, shouldn’t this kind of guilt (no other word quite captures it) be a thing of the past?

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‘Psychiatry bible blamed for manufacturing a host of ghosts in complex inner human world’ by Cherrill Hicks

rsz_1gary_2694012bA brilliant article for you to read at the end of your work week, focusing on the medicalisation of psychological problems and the bad use of diagnosis. I saw this published  in the Sydney Morning Herald, from an original source in the Daily Telegraph in the UK.

Has the drive to identify all illnesses created a ‘fiction’ of psychiatry?
In his riveting tale of how psychiatrists ”medicalise” human suffering, Gary Greenberg recounts that, in 1850, a physician called Samuel Cartwright reported a new disease in the highly respected New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal.

Cartwright named it drapetomania, from the ancient Greek drapetes for a runaway slave; in other words, here was a disease that ”caused Negroes to run away”. It had one primary diagnostic symptom – ”absconding from service” – and a few secondary ones, including ”sulkiness and dissatisfaction just prior to flight”.

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‘What’s Next for the Truth?’ by Suzanne Beachy

Any diagnosis of mental illness results in a complicated and uncertain fate for those it strikes. When you lose a son as a result of such a diagnosis, it ignites a search for answers. Suzanne Beachy has gained a perspective on life as a result of her loss but is still asking, “What is the truth?”

Suzanne gave this talk at the TEDxColumbus event in 2010.

Pat Deegan film clips

Pat is a leading mental health recovery advocate, as well as psychologist and researcher [4 clips]

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