Unrecognised Facts About Psychiatry

I really like the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry website, in particular their Unrecognised Facts About Psychiatry. They say:

‘Most people assume that psychiatry is just like any other branch of medicine, with objective tests for diagnoses and drug treatments that cure real diseases.  In reality, however, psychiatric diagnoses and treatments differ enormously from diagnoses and treatments for say cancer or diabetes, since, for mental disorders, there are no known biological ‘diseases’ for psychiatric drugs to ‘treat’.

Here we highlight various Unrecognised Facts about modern psychiatry which every patient, practitioner and policymaker ought to be aware of.’

Read More ➔

‘People with psych labels suffer discrimination: mental health professionals are often guilty of such prejudice’ by Monica Cassani

Epiphany - 2014-03-23_240560_sense-of-place.jpgExcellent posting from one of my favourite blogs.

‘People with psychiatric labels suffer discrimination that is not only demeaning but can also be dangerous.

A 2007 UK study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists revealed that prejudicial treatment of mentally ill patients extends to physical medical care; they receive poorer quality of care and doctors spend less time with them possibly leading to higher rates of death and preventable disease.

Though tragic, the more scandalous aspect of the phenomena is the fact that mental health professionals apply the same prejudices to those whom they attempt to treat. The worst thing someone in mental distress can experience is dehumanizing treatment from other human beings who are supposed to be caring for them.

Read More ➔

‘How the 12 steps can help everyone’ by Gabriel Segal

Unknown-1Found this little interesting piece on Beth Burgess’s Smyls website.

The end of my afflictions and the power of The Twelve Steps
I was born in 1959. From as far back as I can remember until 2011, I suffered from severe forms of anxiety, depression, and addiction. I had many years of therapy of different kinds. I was prescribed pills. None of that helped. And some made matters worse.

Eventually, I thought I would give the 12-step approach a chance. I was initially put off by what appeared to be a strongly religious streak in the program, something that as an analytic philosopher and cognitive scientist, I could not accept.

Read More ➔

‘Building Bridges Between Mental Health and Addictions Communities’ by Oryx Cohen

ocohenThere is a real need to connect addiction and mental health communities, so this blog from Mad in America is very interesting.

‘When Linda Sarage and Jake Powers first approached me about writing a section for the fantastic manual developed by the addictions community – From the Ground Up: How to Build Your own Peer-to-Peer Recovery Center – that would help connect this manual to the mental health community, I envisioned writing a section that would serve as some sort of translation tool that could connect two very different communities toward a common purpose. 

After reading the manual, however, I quickly remembered how much the mental health community has in common with the substance abuse community and how little “translation” is actually needed.

Read More ➔

“Healing Voices” Promo

I don’t know where this film is in terms of production but it looks as if it will be very good.

‘HEALING VOICES is a feature length documentary currently in Production, examining mainstream mental healthcare in the US, and the experience commonly labeled as “psychosis”.’

Sharing Culture

rsz_img_2891Please check out my new website, Sharing Culture, which focuses on Aboriginal healing. Here is what we say on our home page:

What is Sharing Culture?
Sharing Culture is a unique initiative to empower Aboriginal people to heal and develop resilience to historical trauma and its consequences. These consequences include poor physical health, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, violence, abuse  and suicide.  

Sharing Culture is based on the core values of authenticity, connection, courage, creativity, empathy and forgiveness.

Read More ➔

Daniel Mackler: Motivators for Growth

One of the best videos I’ve seen in a while. Starts with a bang! Ask those who are going through crisis what they really need for themselves. Found this video on the Mad in America website. Thanks, Daniel.

‘Therapist and folk artist Daniel Mackler discusses the major barriers to creating a more effective and compassionate psychiatric system, as well as the practice of Open Dialogue in Finland, and recognizing pain as a motivator for growth.

Daniel is a musician and documentary filmmaker responsible for such titles as:  Take These Broken Wings, Open Dialogue, Healing Homes, and Coming Off Psych Drugs. For more information please visit Daniel’s website wildtruth.net.

Read More ➔

‘4 year anniversary of withdrawal from psych drug cocktail: healing continues’ by Monica Cassani

yayCONGRATULATIONS Monica on your 4th Anniversary and your fantastic website.

Here is what Monica had to say on her blog:

‘Below is the post for the anniversary of the completion of the psychiatric drug withdrawal process I went through that I wrote for last year. Much of it remains relevant and true, so I thought I’d share it again.

I actually have had my best year since coming off drugs this last year. I started seeing improvements somewhat faster in the last year and am getting significantly physically stronger and healthier in general. Discovering the histamine intolerance a little over a year ago led to the most significant personal dietary change I’ve made.

Read More ➔

My Favourite Blogs: How do I know a treatment service is recovery-oriented?

This is one of the most important blogs on the Recovery Stories website.

Some treatment services today say they are doing recovery – using recovery-based care – when they are not in fact doing so. So how do you know that you are going to receive genuine recovery-based care when you sign up to a treatment service claiming to be recovery-oriented?

Here is some help from Mark Ragins, a leading figure in the mental health recovery field, about what to look for in a service offering recovering-based care. Mark may be talking about mental health recovery, but what he says is of relevance to addiction recovery.

Read More ➔

‘Want to reduce mental illness? Address trauma. Want to save the world? Address trauma.’ by Laura K Kerr

ScapegoatIt’s time we spent more time reflecting upon the role of trauma in mental health problems and addiction. Here’s a thought-provoking blog from Laura K Kerr.

‘Different explanations have been given for the increased number of people suffering from mental illness. Some have claimed the increase is the result of ever-expanding diagnostic criteria and syndromes that risk medicalizing normal emotional reactions.

Others argue the increase is the result of the pharmaceutical industry financially courting the medical establishment as well as using advertisements to attract potential users of their medications.

While both these arguments seem correct, they nevertheless fail to address that an increasing number of people regularly experience despair and anguish and are struggling to make a meaningful life, if not keep themselves psychologically, socially, and financially afloat.

Read More ➔

‘New wave’ by Phil Hanlon

The second of a series of top-quality videos on the future of public health by Glasgow professor Phil Hanlon. Fascinating and bigger picture stuff from his Afternow website.

‘What’s next for the health of society?  In this introductory video Phil Hanlon highlights a number of daunting challenges for public health in the 21st Century.  He explains how what might be called the dominant mindset of the modern age can be characterised by its ability to understand, predict and control the natural world – an approach which was subsequently extended to the social world. 

In Public Health, this ability led to a number of  ‘waves’ of health improvement in the period since the Industrial Revolution, many of which remain with us and are important for health today, even though they peaked in effectiveness some time ago. 

Read More ➔

Recovery from mental disorders, lecture by Pat Deegan

Patricia Deegan PhD is a psychologist and researcher. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teeenager. For years, Patricia has worked with people with mental disorders in various ways, to help them get better and lead rewarding lives.

This film features clips from a lecture by Patricia Deegan on the subject of her own route to recovery. She describes how her diagnosis took on ‘a master status in terms of her identity’. Her humanity seemed to others ‘to be quite secondary.’

‘He had read a generic text book and simply applied it to the case in font of him. Schizophrenics don’t recover, Pat Deegan won’t recover. It was that simple…’

Read More ➔

‘What is Recovery?’: Julie Repper & Rachel Perkins

2007_0116walpole0097Another favourite past blog:

‘In my blogs, I will be exploring the nature of recovery and will sometimes focus on the ideas of someone else (or a group of people). I’ve previously looked at how David Best has talked about “What is Recovery?” David described key principles underlying addiction recovery.

In this blog, I am going to look at what Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins have to say about “What is Recovery?”, as described in their excellent book Social Inclusion and Recovery: A Model for Mental Health Practice. They include a number of quotes about recovery, some of which I will use here.

Read More ➔

‘Defining Normal: How Psychiatry Has Lost Its Way’ by Dale Archer

88698-84757I feel very strongly that we are pathologising and over-medicating too much in society. [This statement comes from someone who previously spent 25 years working as a neuroscientist focused on psychiatric and neurological disorders] So I was pleased to see the following article in Psychology Today.

‘One day when I was in the fifth grade, we had a substitute teacher, and I could see upon her arrival that she was shy and demure. I immediately set about crafting a series of experiments to test her limits.

My most creative tactic was the repetitive zinging of spitballs and rubber bands at other kids while she wrote on the blackboard. With every shot, my classmates squealed with delight, but she maintained her calm demeanor. So I upped the ante and brought in air support with a deftly crafted paper Messerschmitt.

Read More ➔

‘Setting the Intention to Heal: The Starting Point of Mental Health Recovery’ by Douglas Bloch

dblochSome very helpful reflections from Douglas Bloch, who blogs on Mad in America.

‘“The readiness is all.” William Shakespeare

In my work facilitating depression support groups, I have discovered three essential factors to healing from depression, which I call ”the three pillars of mental health recovery.”  In my earlier blogs for Mad in America I wrote about two of these pillars – connecting with community and using a holistic approach to treat symptoms. Now I would like to present the first and MOST IMPORTANT pillar – Setting the Intention to Heal.

I define setting the intention to heal as “making the decision that you want to get well, even if you don’t know how.”  Setting the intention to heal does not require that a person know the exact path that will heal him from a major depression or other mental health disorder. It just requires that he or she wants be well.

Read More ➔

‘Healing from trauma (or from a psych diagnosis)’ by Monica Cassani

Monica Cassani of Beyond Meds has just uploaded an excellent blog and link to a film relating to trauma in young people. I couldn’t resist putting it up here. Here’s what Monica had to say:

‘There are people out there that get it. This video shows something that is just wonderful. We need to create more safe places for kids and adults both where they might heal from the trauma in our lives.

As I’ve often pointed out the tragic reality all to often is that the current mental health system further traumatizes rather than heals. For those of us who have been harmed by the system it becomes that much harder to find safety as the capacity to trust is further challenged.

Read More ➔

‘We Are Meant to Heal in a Community’ by Douglas Bloch

dbloch“Anything that promotes a sense of isolation often leads to illness and suffering, while that which promotes a sense of  love and intimacy, connection and community, is healing.” Dean Ornish

‘In my last blog, I talked about how I was attempting to cope with a “mini-relapse” without using psychiatric drugs. One Sunday morning in the midst of this episode I awoke in a particularly dismal state. I didn’t have a structure planned for the day. And without something to look forward to, both my anxiety and depression increased.

As I lay in bed, trying to convince myself to get up, the phone rang. It was a cycling friend, Sandy, calling to see if I wanted to go on a bicycle ride.

Read More ➔

Highly Recommended Blog: Beyond Meds

monica-christmas-84-e1367944392197Beyond Meds from Monica Cassani is one of my favourite blogs, packed full of content… and I mean packed full! You’ll be seeing a lot more from Monica on Recovery Stories in the future.

Here is what Monica has to say about her blog:

‘BEYOND MEDS – ALTERNATIVES TO PSYCHIATRY – A RESOURCE

This blog documents and shares many natural methods of self-care for finding and sustaining health in body, mind and spirit.

My own experience as both (now – ex) patient and a mental health professional allows for some interesting and sometimes uncomfortable insights into the mental health system in the United States.

Read More ➔

‘Success, Social Value, and Personal Mission (Part Two)’ by Forbes

Pat-Deegan-300x211The second part of a Pat Deegan interview by the business magazine Forbes.

‘We’re talking with Pat Deegan, creator of CommonGround, a web-based application that empowers patients recovering from mental illness to take a more active role in their recovery.

A former schizophrenia patient in her teens, Pat overcame a diagnosis of complete disability to become an internationally-recognized psychologist, and founder of a Personal Medicine system that empowers people diagnosed with mental conditions, working with their care providers and their communities, to take control of their own treatment and personal recovery.

Read More ➔

‘Success, Social Value, and Personal Mission (Part One)’ from Forbes

Pat-Deegan-300x211When have you seen a recovery article on the Forbes website. Well here goes, the first of two on Pat Deegan. It’s been a great year for Pat and for all those people she has helped by her work.

‘Pat Deegan is the creator of CommonGround, a web-based application that empowers patients recovering from mental illness to take a more active role in their recovery. Pat’s own journey began in her adolescence. At 17 she was diagnosed schizophrenia. Psychiatrists told her that schizophrenia is a disease from which nobody recovers. They advised her to retire from normal life, avoid stress, and take high dose antipsychotic medication regularly.

It turned out that the treatment was as disabling as the disorder. Most disabling of all was the prognosis of doom and hopelessness surrounding the diagnosis and treatment.

Read More ➔