A Behavioral Approach to Mental Disorders


August 20, 2015

BACKGROUND DSM-5 defines delusions as “…fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change in the light of conflicting evidence.”  (p 87).  The manual lists six kinds of delusions:  persecutory; referential; grandiose; erotomanic; nihilistic; and somatic.  The APA provides another definition of delusions on p 819.  It’s substantially the same as the one above, but offers […]

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Psychiatric Diagnoses are Just Labels: Re-wordings of the Presenting Problem

August 17, 2015

Imagine that you’re not feeling well, and you visit Dr. Ducknoise.  The doctor asks you questions, nods knowingly at your answers, asks more questions, perhaps jots down some notes.  Finally, he nods gravely. “What is it, doc?” you ask. “You’ve got UTW disorder,” he replies grimly. “What’s that?” “Under-the-weather disorder.  It’s a serious illness.  It’s […]

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The Great Non-Debate with Samei Huda, MD

August 13, 2015

Yesterday I received the following tweet from Dr. Huda: “funnily enough my time availability hasn’t changed in 24 hours. I have however written one more page. Are u ever in UK?” From which I must conclude, sadly, that the debate, to which I had been so looking forward, seems unlikely to materialize. For the benefit […]

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Update on the Great Non-Debate

August 12, 2015

Yesterday I received the following comment from Dr. Huda, who, believe it or not, still seems to be under the impression that I want to debate him on Twitter! “Hi I don’t read your blog so only found out about this from someone else Debates on social media are usually a non meeting of minds and […]

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Dr. Huda Still Dodging the Issues

August 11, 2015

After Monday’s post, I received the following tweet from Dr. Huda: “Dear @BigPhilHickey I find debates over Twitter r largely pointless I am (slowly) writing a book outlining my views” To which I reply: I never suggested a debate over Twitter. In fact, I stated very clearly that  “… Twitter, while an excellent medium for […]

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An Invitation to Debate

August 10, 2015

A few days ago, I received notification via Tweetdeck that my handle (@BigPhilHickey) had appeared in a Twitter conversation between one of my Twitter followers and Samei Huda, MD.  My follower had mentioned me, and had pointed out that I critique  “… the ideas, value systems, politics, practice etc of psychiatry…”  To which Dr. Huda […]

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Intermittent Explosive Disorder: The ‘Illness’ That Goes On Growing

August 4, 2015

According to the APA, intermittent explosive disorder is characterized by angry aggressive outbursts that occur in response to relatively minor provocation. This particular label has an interesting history in successive editions of the DSM. DSM I  (1952)  Intermittent explosive disorder does not appear as such in the first edition of DSM, but the general concept […]

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ADHD:  A Destructive and Disempowering Label; Not an Illness

July 24, 2015

In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing number of articles and papers from psychiatrists in which they seem to be accepting at least some of the antipsychiatry criticisms, and appear interested in reforms.  It is tempting to see this development as an indication of progress, but as in many aspects of life, things aren’t always […]

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Benzodiazepines: Miracle Drugs?

July 16, 2015

The first benzodiazepine – chlordiazepoxide – became available, from Hoffman-La Roche, in 1960, under the brand name Librium.  It was soon followed by: diazepam (Valium) 1963; nitrazepam (Mogadon) and oxazepam (Serax) in 1965; temazepam (Restoril) 1969; clorazepate (Tranxene) 1972; flurazepam (Dalmane) 1973; clonazepam (Klonopin) 1975; lorazepam (Ativan) in 1977; and alprazolam (Xanax) in 1981; etc. Benzodiazepines […]

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Allen Frances Saving Psychiatry From Itself?

July 3, 2015

On October 12, 2014, the eminent psychiatrist Allen Frances, MD, participated in a panel discussion at the Mad In America film festival in Gothenburg, Sweden.  After the festival, he wrote an article – Finding a Middle Ground Between Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry – for the Huffington Post Blog, summarizing the positions he had discussed at the […]

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Psychiatric Drugs and Mass Murder

June 29, 2015

On June 12, an interesting and important article was posted on pharmabuse.com.  The article is titled Army Report: Fort Hood Mass Shooter Ivan Lopez On Psychotropic Cocktail Of Celexa, Wellbutrin, Ambien, Lunesta.  Ivan Lopez-Lopez is the second Fort Hood shooter, who killed three people and then himself on April 2, 2014. Here are some quotes: […]

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Allen Frances ‘Replies’

June 24, 2015

BACKGROUND On June 19, 2015, I published a post titled Allen Frances’ Ties to Johnson & Johnson.  In that post, I set out some very serious allegations against Dr. Frances.  I drew these allegations from a document titled Special Witness Report dated October 15, 2010.  The report was written by David Rothman, PhD, Professor of […]

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Allen Frances’ Ties to Johnson & Johnson

June 19, 2015

INTRODUCTION I recently came across an article titled Diagnosisgate: Conflict of Interest at the Top of the Psychiatric Apparatus, by Paula Caplan, PhD.  The article was published in Aporia, the University of Ottawa nursing journal, in January 2015.  Aporia is “a peer-reviewed, bilingual, and open access journal dedicated to scholarly debates in nursing and the […]

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Psychiatry On The Defensive, But Ceding No Ground

June 8, 2015

On May 27, The Lancet Psychiatry published an editorial titled This year’s model.  The article is a response to the British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology’s  Guidelines on Language in Relation to Functional Psychiatric Diagnoses,  which was published in March of this year. The paper was produced: “…to support clinical psychologists in the development […]

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Book Review: Parenting Your Child with ADHD: A No-Nonsense Guide for Nurturing Self-Reliance and Cooperation, by Craig Wiener, EdD

June 5, 2015

I have recently read this book, and I think it would be extremely helpful for parents, teachers, and counselors who work with children in this area. Here are some quotes: “…ADHD [is] something that your child does rather than something that she has.” “The first thing to realize is that while you and other adults […]

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The ADHD Label and Mortality

June 3, 2015

On February 26, 2015, The Lancet published online an article by Soren Dalsgaard et al titled Mortality in children, adolescents, and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a nationwide cohort study. The article describes a Danish study that was designed to assess “ADHD-related mortality in a large cohort of Danish individuals.” The researchers describe their […]

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Neuroleptic Drugs And Mortality

June 1, 2015

In November of last year, the Schizophrenia Bulletin published online a research study:  Antipsychotic Treatment and Mortality in Schizophrenia, by Minna Torniainen et al.  The research was conducted in Sweden. The authors offer the following background for the study: “It is generally believed that long-term use of antipsychotics increases mortality and, especially, the risk of […]

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ECT: Safe and Effective for Agitation and Aggression in Cases of Dementia?

May 19, 2015

On March 25 of this year, Psychiatric Times published an article titled Dementia, Agitation, and Aggression: The Role of Electroconvulsive Therapy.  The author is Manjola Ujkaj, MD PhD, and the article’s subtitle is “What role might electroconvulsive therapy play for short-term treatment of agitation and aggression in patients with dementia?” According to their website Psychiatric […]

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Book Review:  Tales From The Madhouse, by Gary Sidley

May 5, 2015

Earlier this year the British publisher PCCS Books published Tales From The Madhouse: An insider critique of psychiatric services, by Gary Sidley.  Gary worked for thirty-three years in the British NHS mental health service.  He has held positions as a psychiatric nurse, a manager, and a clinical psychologist.  He is currently a freelance writer and […]

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Coercive Psychiatry in Switzerland

April 30, 2015

I have recently learned of Psychex, a non-profit Swiss organization that stands up for people who are force-“treated” against their will in psychiatric hospitals.  Psychex was founded in 1987 by Edmund Schönenberger, Barrister at Law.  In 2012, Edmund produced a document titled Fundamental Criticism of Coercive Psychiatry.  It runs to 19 pages, and makes interesting […]

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The Spurious Chemical Imbalance Theory is Still Alive and Well

April 27, 2015

On April 5, 2015, Scott Alexander, MD, a trainee psychiatrist, posted an article titled Chemical Imbalance on his website Slate Star Codex.  (The writer tells us that Scott Alexander is a blog handle and not his real name, but for convenience, I will refer to him as Dr. Alexander.) Dr. Alexander begins by noting that […]

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Allen Frances and the Spurious Medicalization of Everyday Problems

April 21, 2015

On April 5, Allen Frances MD, published an article on the Huffington Post blog.  The title is Can We Replace Misleading Terms Like ‘Mental Illness,’ ‘Patient,’ and ‘Schizophrenia’  It’s an interesting piece, and it raises some fundamental issues. Here are some quotes from the article, interspersed with my comments. “Those of us who worked on […]

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Book Review: Psychiatry and the Business of Madness An Ethical and Epistemological Accounting, by Bonnie Burstow

April 16, 2015

This latest book by Bonnie Burstow, PhD, critiques psychiatry, and effectively annihilates any claims that the profession might have had to legitimacy. Bonnie gives us a scholarly, but very readable, account of: the history of psychiatry, ancient and modern; the significance and shortcomings of the DSM; the legal, ethical, and personal ramifications of involuntary “treatment”; […]

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Depression:  A Different Perspective

April 14, 2015

I have recently come across an interesting paper:  How to Understand and then Escape from Depression.  It’s written by Saul Youssef, a professor of physics at Boston University. The central theme of the paper is that persistent or chronic depression is caused by “…an unconscious withdrawal of participation in a person’s own internal decision making […]

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Antidepressants:  Drugs, Not Medication

April 13, 2015

On April 7, John Read, PhD, a psychologist at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, published a short article on Mad in America.  The title is:  Largest Survey of Antidepressants Finds High Rates of Adverse Emotional and Interpersonal Effects.  The article presents the results of a survey conducted in New Zealand and published online in […]

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Psychiatric Diagnoses:  Labels, Not Explanations

April 2, 2015

On March 16, Ronald Pies, MD, published an article in the Psychiatric Times.  The article is titled The War on Psychiatric Diagnosis, and the sub-title synopsis on the pdf version reads:  “A recent report that argues against descriptive diagnosis in medicine is historically ill-informed and medically naive, in the opinion of this psychiatrist.” Dr. Pies […]

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Book Review:  A Disease Called Childhood, by Marilyn Wedge

April 1, 2015

Avery, a member of Penguin Group USA, has recently published A Disease Called Childhood, by Marilyn Wedge.  Marilyn has a PhD in psychology and works as a family therapist. In 2014, fully 11% of American children had received a “diagnosis” of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  It is widely believed by these children, their parents, […]

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April 1, 2015

I have recently learned of a new website:  www.auntiepsychiatry.com.  The posts consist of cartoons drawn by Auntie Psychiatry, and the site is well worth a visit.  Auntie hopes to publish a new cartoon each week. I have long felt that we need to diversity in the methods we use to spread our message, and cartoons […]

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Book Review: Body Dysmorphic Disorder: The Illusion, by Zoe Wybrant

March 31, 2015

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is one of the so-called mental disorders listed in the DSM-5.  The manual lists the following  diagnostic criteria, (p 242): A.  Preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others. B.  At some point during the course of the disorder, […]

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Why Is There An Anti-psychiatry Movement?

March 23, 2015

On February 18, the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, former President of the APA, published a video and transcript on Medscape.  The article was titled What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry?, and was essentially a fatuous diatribe against Tanya Lurhmann, PhD, a Stanford anthropologist, who had written for the New York Times […]

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The Drugging of Children in Foster Care

March 16, 2015

It’s no secret that here in America, foster children are being prescribed psychiatric drugs, especially neuroleptics, as a means of controlling their behavior.  A great deal has been said and written on the matter.  Politicians have declared the practice deplorable.  Children’s advocacy groups have expressed concern, and, of course, those of us in the antipsychiatry […]

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Polarization or Compromise

March 11, 2015

On February 2, Robert Whitaker published an article on Mad in America.  The title is Disability and Mood Disorders in the Age of Prozac.  The article echoes and updates one of the themes of his 2010 book “Anatomy of an Epidemic”:  that the steady increase in the numbers of people receiving disability benefits for depression […]

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Antidepressant Drugs and Suicide Rates

March 2, 2015

In 2010, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica published a study by Göran Isacsson et al.  The paper was titled Antidepressant medication prevents suicide in depression.  Here’s the conclusion: “The finding that in-patient care for depression did not increase the probability of the detection of antidepressants in suicides is difficult to explain other than by the assumption that […]

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Dr. Lieberman Is Annoyed

February 24, 2015

On February 18, Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, published a video lecture (with transcript) on Medscape. The article is titled What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry?, but in his opening paragraph, Dr. Lieberman points out that the piece could be titled “Psychiatry Suffers Another Indignity.” The background to […]

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Thomas Insel: “Are Children Overmedicated?”

February 10, 2015

Thomas Insel, MD, is the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.  In June of last year, he published, on the Director’s Blog, an article titled Are Children Overmedicated?  The gist of the article is that children are not being overmedicated, but rather that there is an increase in “severe psychiatric problems” in this […]

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Cures For Brain Disorders

February 2, 2015

On January 18, Thomas Insel, MD, published an article on The World Economic Forum Blog.  The article is titled 4 things leaders need to know about mental health.  Dr. Insel is the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.  The World Economic Forum “is an International Institution committed to improving the state of the […]

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The Dopamine Hypothesis of Schizophrenia – Version III

January 28, 2015

On November 27, 2014, the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society published a paper titled Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia.  The paper was edited by Anne Cooke of Canterbury Christ Church University.  The central theme of the paper is that the condition known as psychosis is better understood as a response to adverse […]

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Psychiatry’s Defense:  We’re No Worse Than General Medicine

January 21, 2015

On December 21, 2014, Vivek Datta, MD, published an article on Mad in America.  It’s titled Psychiatry and the Problem of the Medical Model –Part 1. The same article appeared the day before on Dr. Datta’s own website. Dr. Datta begins by stating unambiguously: “Psychiatry is a branch of medicine. As such, psychiatrists apply the […]

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Exploiting the Placebo Effect:  Legitimate Practice or Chicanery?

January 19, 2015

On June 13, 2014, Psychiatric Times published an article by Steve Balt, MD.  The article is titled Assessing and Enhancing the Effectiveness of Antidepressants, and is a good deal more candid as to the efficacy of antidepressants than one normally encounters from psychiatry.  Dr. Balt is a private practice psychiatrist in California.  He is the […]

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Psychiatrists Providing Psychotherapy?

January 14, 2015

On December 29, Nassir Ghaemi, MD, a psychiatrist and a professor at Tufts Medical Center, published on Medscape an article titled Psychiatry Prospects for 2015: Out With the Old, In With the New?  The article opens: “With the new year reviving old desires, one may wonder what, if anything, new will be in store for […]

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