Simon Says:  Happiness Won’t Cure Mental Illness

July 28, 2014

Professor Simon Wessely, who was recently installed as President of Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists, has just written his second post in that capacity.  It’s called Happiness: The greatest gift that I possess? The background to Dr. Wessely’s article is the recent launching of the UK’s Centre Forum’s Mental Health Commission’s report:  The pursuit of [...]

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The Use of Neuroleptic Drugs as Chemical Restraints 

July 24, 2014

On July 17, I wrote a post on the use of neuroleptic drugs as chemical restraints in nursing homes.  The article generated some comments, one of which touched on some very fundamental issues which, in my view, warrant further discussion.  The comment was from drsusanmolchan and read as follows: “All drugs can be dangerous toxic [...]

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More Psychiatric ‘Myth’ Debunking

July 22, 2014

On July 15, I wrote a post called Psychiatry Debunks the ‘Myths.’  In that article I focused on the myth-debunking of Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill, but in researching the topic for that post, I came across a psychiatry resident named Shan (no last name) who blogs on a website called Exploratory Encephalotomy. With regards [...]

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The Use of Neuroleptic Drugs As Chemical Restraints in Nursing Homes

July 17, 2014

There’s an interesting article in the July-August 2014 issue of the AARP Bulletin.  It’s called Drug Abuse: Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes, and was written by Jan Goodwin.  AARP is the American Association of Retired Persons.   Jan Goodwin is an investigative journalist whose career, according to Wikipedia, “…has been committed to focusing attention on social justice [...]

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Psychiatry Debunks the ‘Myths’

July 15, 2014

Psychiatry has always had its share of critics, but in the past two decades these criticisms have increased in frequency and intensity.  Psychiatry’s underlying concepts are being denounced as spurious to the point of inanity, and its practices are being accurately and forcefully exposed as destructive, disempowering, and stigmatizing. Psychiatry has no rational or logical [...]

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Suicidal Behavior After FDA Warnings

July 7, 2014

On June 18, the British Medical Journal published an article by Christine Lu et al, titled Changes in antidepressant use by young people and suicidal behavior after FDA warnings and media coverage: quasi-experimental study.  Here’s the conclusion paragraph from the abstract: “Safety warnings about antidepressants and widespread media coverage decreased antidepressant use, and there were [...]

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The Propaganda Is Everywhere

June 30, 2014

I recently came across the May 2014 issue of The Costco Connection, which is published by Costco Wholesale.  This is the first time I’ve seen a copy of this magazine, and I would describe it as a catalog/lifestyle periodical. There are lots of ads for Costco’s own products, and the articles are wide ranging, topical, [...]

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Lingering Doubts About Psychiatry’s Scientific Status

June 26, 2014

Professor Sir Simon Wessely is a British psychiatrist who works at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London.  He is also the new President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and in that capacity, he recently wrote his first blog, titled, appropriately enough, My First Blog (May 24, 2014).  The article is essentially a perusal [...]

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Psychiatric Propaganda

June 25, 2014

Recently I received a very nice email from Laura Chapman.  Here’s the text: “Hi there, My name is Laura and I am emailing because I recently produced a guide on postpartum depression and wanted to share it. Here is the guide I have helped to make – http://www.psychguides.com/guides/living-with-postpartum-depression/http://www.psychguides.com/guides/living-with-postpartum-depression/ Earlier this year a friend of mine suffered [...]

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New APA President: Same Old Cheerleading

June 24, 2014

As my readers know, I am a great fan of former APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, MD.  His regular articles on Psychiatric News were always helpful to the anti-psychiatry cause, and he will be greatly missed. But his successor, Paul Summergrad, MD, has recently posted his first presidential message, APA Poised to Take Advantage of Unique [...]

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Dr. Lieberman’s Final APA Address

June 23, 2014

On May 29, Psychiatric News ran an article titled Lieberman Sees Promising Future for Psychiatrists, Patients.  The author is Mark Moran, a senior reporter for the American Psychiatric Association. The post is an account of Dr. Lieberman’s outgoing presidential address to the APA conference in New York, and contains many quotes from this most eminent [...]

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A Client’s Perspective on “Mental Illness”

June 22, 2014

A very important and compelling article was posted on Mad in America on June 18.  It’s by Andrew L. Yoder, and is called An Open Letter to Persons Self-Identifying as Mentally Ill.  Here are some quotes: “My physician was not so cautious.  He was a very pleasant man that always seemed to take his time [...]

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Justina Pelletier Is Back Home

June 22, 2014

I guess everybody knows by now that Justina Pelletier is back with her parents after 16 months in the custody of Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. According to a Boston Globe report dated June 9, top DCF officials recently submitted papers to the court asking that Justina be returned to the custody of her [...]

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Psychiatry’s Response:  Attack and PR

June 19, 2014

In the last decade or so psychiatry has received a great deal of criticism.  The fundamental point of contention is psychiatry’s insistence that an ever increasing range of problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are in fact illnesses that need to be aggressively treated with drugs, intracranial electric shocks, and other somatic interventions.  It is [...]

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Blame the Clients?

June 17, 2014

On June 6, I wrote a post titled Psychiatry DID Promote the Chemical Imbalance Theory.  The article was published on Mad in America, and generated a number of comments on that site, five of which were from TherapyFirst, who in his first comment identified himself as Joel Hassman, MD, a practicing psychiatrist.  Dr. Hassman did [...]

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Diminished Responsibility on the Grounds of Mental Illness

June 13, 2014

On February 14, 2013, Oscar Pistorius, a South African Olympic runner, shot and killed his girlfriend in his home in Pretoria, South Africa.  Mr. Pistorius’ defense is that the shooting was accidental – that he shot his girlfriend through the bathroom door in a state of panic because he believed she was an intruder.  Prosecutors [...]

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Psychiatry DID Promote the Chemical Imbalance Theory

June 6, 2014

On April 15, Ronald Pies, MD, an eminent and widely published psychiatrist, wrote an article for Medscape.com.  The piece is titled Nuances, Narratives, and the ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Debate in Psychiatry. The main thrust of the article is that: “…the ‘chemical imbalance theory’ was never a real theory, nor was it widely propounded by responsible practitioners [...]

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Do We Underestimate the Benefits of Antidepressants?

May 30, 2014

On April 19, 2014, The Lancet published an article titled Do we underestimate the benefits of antidepressants?  by German psychiatrists Mazda Adli and Ulrich Hegerl. The Lancet, founded in 1823, is a weekly, general medical journal which since 1991 has been owned by Elsevier, a private, Amsterdam-based, publishing house with offices in the UK, USA, and [...]

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Drugging Toddlers for Inattention, Impulsivity, and Hyperactivity

May 22, 2014

On May 16, the New York Times ran an article titled Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries, by Alan Schwarz.  Here is the opening sentence: “More than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder outside established pediatric guidelines, according to data presented [...]

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Childhood Social Functioning Predicts Adult Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder. Or Does It?

May 15, 2014

In November 2013, the journal Schizophrenia Research published a paper by Tsuji, T. et al. titled Premorbid teacher-rated social functioning predicts adult schizophrenia-spectrum disorder: A high-risk prospective investigation.  Here’s the abstract: “Social functioning deficits are a core component of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and may emerge years prior to the onset of diagnosable illness. The current [...]

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Social Services and Psychiatry

May 9, 2014

The controversy surrounding Justina Pelletier and her family has expanded its scope in recent months, and has now become a general public scrutiny of Massachusetts’s Department of Children and Families. On April 29, State Governor Deval Patrick gave a press conference in which he announced the resignation of DCF Commissioner Olga Roche. I think there’s [...]

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The FDA:  The Fox Guards the Hen House

May 7, 2014

In their Fall 2013 issue, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics published a symposium of papers by members of the Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.  The symposium was called Institutional Corruption and Pharmaceutical Policy. The symposium focuses on pharmaceutical products generally, but all the material is relevant and important in the context [...]

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Dr. Lieberman’s Swansong

May 6, 2014

As my readers know, I am a great fan of Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, President of the APA.  In his capacity as president, Dr. Lieberman writes a regular bulletin in Psychiatric News.  These literary and intellectual gems have been a wonderful source of inspiration to me in my efforts to draw attention to psychiatry’s flaws, and [...]

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Driving Under the Influence of Stimulants

May 3, 2014

On April 22, I published a post on this general topic.  In that article I pointed out that the notion of stimulant prescription drugs improving the driving of people who “have ADHD” was gaining traction. Since than I have come across two articles on this subject from Australia.  (Thanks to Nanu Grewal for the links.)  [...]

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 Another Critique of the Schizophrenia Diagnosis

May 2, 2014

In January 2014, the journal Research on Social Work Practice ran a special issue called A Critical Appraisal of the DSM-5: Social Work Perspectives.  There are fifteen articles on this general theme, and together they present a wide range of arguments against the DSM system. Social workers represent the numerically biggest group of mental health [...]

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Depression vs. Normal Unhappiness

May 1, 2014

Alex Langford is a British trainee psychiatrist.  He blogs at The Psychiatric SHO, and on April 21, he posted an article titled Antidepressants are not ‘happy pills.’  Thanks to Jean Davison for the link. The article is an impassioned attack on psychiatry’s critics.  Here are some quotes, with my responses: “I am sick and tired [...]

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Sluggish Cognitive Tempo – A New Diagnosis?

April 29, 2014

On April 11, 2014, journalist Alan Schwarz (brief bio here) published an article in the New York Times on this topic, titled Idea of New attention Disorder Spurs Research, and Debate.  Alan has written extensively on the rising rates of the condition known as ADHD, and on the abuse of the drugs that are used [...]

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‘ADHD’ and Dangerous Driving

April 22, 2014

In 2006, Laurence Jerome, a Canadian psychiatrist, and two colleagues wrote a paper titled What We Know About ADHD and Driving Risk: A Literature Review, Meta-Analysis and Critique.  It was published in the Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in August, 2006. The primary result of the meta-analysis was: “Current data [...]

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Justina Pelletier: The Debate Continues

April 15, 2014

On April 1, 2014, Slate published an online article titled Mitochondrial Disease or Medical Child Abuse?  The author is Brian Palmer.  Slate is a daily, general interest web magazine, founded in 1996, that provides “analysis and commentary about politics, news, business, technology and culture,” and is a subsidiary of the Washington Post.  Brian Palmer is [...]

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Investigation of Dan Markingson’s Death

April 11, 2014

I have written on Dan Markingson’s death in an earlier post, and I encourage readers who are not familiar with the case to have a look. It is generally accepted by those of us on this side of the debate that psychiatry does more harm than good, and is organizationally and individually responsible for a [...]

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Psychiatry Fights Back – With More PR

April 10, 2014

About six months ago, I wrote a post called Health Care Reform and Psychiatry.  In that article, I gave a brief account of the APA’s Council on Communications, and I expressed the belief that the council seemed more concerned with PR (in the most tawdry sense of the term) than with any serious examination or [...]

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Antidepressants Make Things Worse in the Long Term

April 8, 2014

In June 2011, Rif El-Mallakh, MD, et al. published an article, Tardive dysphoria: The role of long term antidepressant use in inducing chronic depression, in Medical Hypotheses.  The article is a thorough and wide-ranging study review. Here are some quotes from the abstract: “Treatment-resistant and chronic depression appear to be increasing.” “Depressed patients who ultimately become [...]

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Justina Pelletier: The Case Continues

April 4, 2014

On March 25, Joseph Johnston, Juvenile Court Justice in Boston, Massachusetts, issued a disposition order in the case: Care and protection of Justina Pelletier.  The background to the case is well-known.  Justina is 15 years old. Judge Johnston did not return Justina to the care of her parents, but instead granted permanent custody to the [...]

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The Perfect Psychiatrist

April 1, 2014

On March 19, a new article was posted on Aeon Magazine.  It’s titled A Mad World,  and was written by Joseph Pierre, MD, who works in Log Angeles as a psychiatric practitioner and professor.  Dr. Pierre has authored more than fifty papers, and has received several awards.  He has lectured nationally and internationally, and would, [...]

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Psychiatry Misusing the Political Process

March 30, 2014

On March 27, the US House of Representatives approved by a voice vote with no debate a Medicare bill, HR 4302, Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.  The purpose of the bill is to avoid cutting Medicare payments to physicians, and there was, and is, general agreement on both side of the aisle that [...]

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Benzodiazepines: Disempowering and Dangerous

March 27, 2014

I recently read an article by Fredric Neuman, MD, Director of the Anxiety and Phobia Center at White Plains Hospital, NY.  The article is titled The Use of the Minor Tranquilizers: Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium, and was published in June 2012 by Psychology Today.  Thanks to Medicalskeptic for the link. Dr. Neuman opens by [...]

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Robert Whitaker: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

March 24, 2014

On March 5, Bruce Levine, PhD, published an interesting article on Mad in America  titled Psychiatry Now Admits It’s Been Wrong in Big Ways – But Can It Change? Bruce had interviewed Robert Whitaker, and most of the article is the transcript of this interview. Bruce begins by noting that Robert, in his book Mad [...]

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Involuntary Mental Health Commitments

March 20, 2014

The recent publicity surrounding the Justina Pelletier case has focused attention, not only on the spurious and arbitrary nature of psychiatric diagnoses, but also on the legitimacy and appropriateness of mental health commitments.  It is being widely asserted that these archaic statutes are fundamentally incompatible with current civil rights standards, and the question “should mental [...]

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DSM-5 And Somatic Symptom Disorder

March 17, 2014

Under DSM-IV, a “diagnosis” of somatization disorder entailed a history of physical symptoms for which, despite thorough medical evaluation, no satisfactory physical etiology could be established.  In DSM-5, this “diagnosis” was replaced by somatic symptom disorder.  This is essentially similar to DSM-IV’s somatization disorder – with one critical difference.  The newer “diagnosis” can be assigned [...]

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Thomas Szasz Refuted: I Don’t Think So!

March 14, 2014

On February 28, Awais Aftab, MD, a psychiatrist working in Qatar, published an interesting article on Psychiatric Times.  The article, which is titled Mental Illness vs Brain Disorders: From Szasz to DSM-5, is an attempt to validate the concept of “mental illness” and, in particular, claims to refute the position of the late Thomas Szasz, [...]

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