myth of mental illness

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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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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The Dehumanizing Aspect of DSM

August 25, 2014

In January 2014, the journal Research on Social Work Practice published a special issue: A Critical Appraisal of the DSM-5: Social Work Perspectives.  There were many excellent articles in this volume, some of which I have highlighted in earlier posts. One of the very outstanding articles is The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders […]

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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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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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‘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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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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Understanding Human Behavior

January 13, 2014

A couple of months ago I wrote an article concerning ECT which generated some controversy.  One of the issues that came up was the relationship between biological explanations of human activity and more global explanations, which, for want of a better term, I’ll call person-centered explanations. Any human activity can be viewed from different levels […]

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Psychiatry Is Not Based On Valid Science

January 9, 2014

BACKGROUND On December 23, I wrote a post called DSM-5 – Dimensional Diagnoses – More Conflicts of Interest?  In the article I sketched out the role of David Kupfer, MD, in promoting the concept of dimensional assessment in DSM-5, and I speculated that at least part of his motivation in this regard might have stemmed […]

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Mental Illness: A Man-made Monster

December 9, 2013

  I found the above image online yesterday, at the site The Things We Say. Mental illness is also man-made.  It is the invention of psychiatry – their spurious medicalization of all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving.  Its purpose is to legitimize the prescription of dangerous psychotropic drugs to as many people as […]

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Dr. Lieberman and ’60 Minutes’

November 4, 2013

On October 23, Psychiatric News (the APA’s media outlet) ran an article titled ‘60 Minutes’ Interviews APA President on Schizophrenia.  The article was written by Mark Moran, a Psychiatric News reporter. The piece opens with a quote from Jeffrey Lieberman, MD (President of the APA): “’60 Minutes’ showed a genuine interest beyond simply producing what […]

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Another Critique of Psychiatry’s Medical Model

October 16, 2013

I have recently read De-Medicalizing Misery [palgrave macmillan, 2011].  It’s a comprehensive collection of articles, edited by Mark Rapley, Joanna Moncrieff, and Jacqui Dillon.  The table of contents provides a sense of the book’s scope. Table of Contents Carving Nature at its Joints?  DSM and the Medicalization of Everyday Life, Mark Rapley, Joanna Moncrieff, and Jacqui […]

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The Stigma Attached to ‘Mental Illness’

October 15, 2013

On Monday, October 7, 2013, The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper ran the following headline:  1,200 Killed By Mental Patients.  Shock 10-year toll exposes care crisis.  It took up almost all of the front page. The headline precipitated a great deal of protest from politicians, advocacy groups, mental health professionals, and others.  The general points […]

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The Concept of Mental Illness: Spurious or Valid?

October 1, 2013

On January 17, 2013, Peter Kinderman, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, wrote an article titled Grief and Anxiety are not mental illnesses. On February 4, 2013, Steven Novella, MD, wrote a critique of Dr. Kinderman’s article. On February 20, I wrote a critique of Dr. Novella’s article. And finally, on […]

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Jon Rappoport’s Blog

September 30, 2013

If you haven’t seen Jon Rappoport’s blog, please take a look.  Here are two quotes from his September 22 post, Psychiatry targets college students for destruction: “The concept called ‘mental disorder’ is a sales pitch backed up by extraordinary PR, money, academic gibberish, and government-granted official status.” “People need to wake up to the fact […]

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Submitting Claims for Off-label Prescriptions to Medicaid May Constitute Fraud

September 12, 2013

In my view, one of the most destructive developments in psychiatry in recent years is the prescribing of neuroleptic drugs to children.  Much of this prescribing is off-label, meaning that the prescribed use is not approved by the FDA.  Off-label drug prescribing is legal, however.  Once the FDA has approved a drug for one purpose, […]

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The Burden of Mental ‘Illness’

September 10, 2013

Thanks to Graham Davey and Richard Pemberton on Twitter for the link to an interesting article in the August 29, 2013 issue of the Lancet.  It’s titled Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, and was written by Harvey A. Whiteford, et […]

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The Illness Theory Is Everywhere

August 26, 2013

A few days ago, there was an interesting item in the Dear Abby column of our local newspaper.  Dear Abby is a general advice column written by Jeanne Phillips, and is widely read. The letter in question was written by “Sibling Standing By,” who described his/her 63 year old sister as someone who “…takes no […]

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Dr. Lieberman is Back

August 6, 2013

Courtesy of Carl Elliott via Twitter, I’ve recently read Dr. Lieberman’s latest post on Psychiatric News. It’s called – believe it or not – Time to Re-Engage With Pharma? dated August 1, 2013.  And it’s classic Dr. Lieberman sleight of hand. His opening statement, for instance, reads: “Drug companies aren’t held in high esteem by […]

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Medical Model vs. Psychosocial/Behavioral Model

August 1, 2013

BACKGROUND Obviously there are many points of contention between mainstream biological psychiatrists on the one hand, and those of us who condemn this system as spurious and destructive.  Much of what I’ve written on this website over the past four years has been an elucidation of these differences. Today I would like to focus on […]

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Dr. Lieberman Is Back! More Of The Same

July 23, 2013

Last week, thanks to a tweet from Ginger Breggin, I came across an article by Jeffrey Lieberman entitled Psychiatry: Nothing to Be Defensive About.  Dr. Lieberman is president of the APA, and has gone on record more than once as saying that all these dreadful criticisms of psychiatry are very unfair, and that psychiatrists are […]

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Agitation and Neuroleptics

July 20, 2013

Sandra Steingard, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist who from time to time posts articles on Robert Whitaker’s Mad in America website. Dr. Steingard apparently prescribes psychotropic drugs in her practice, but she is by no means a pill-for-every-problem practitioner, and her articles are always interesting and thought-provoking. Dr. Steingard posted A Paradox Revealed – Again […]

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Psychiatry Is Intrinsically Flawed and Rotten

July 15, 2013

On Twitter yesterday, Robert Stamatakis commented: “I have to ask, I don’t understand.  Do you work in the UK?  Your descriptions of psychiatry are nothing I recognize.  These descriptions of psychiatry are nothing like the practice I see on a daily basis.” I am certainly a very outspoken critic of psychiatry, and in that regard […]

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Psychiatry: The Science That Isn’t

July 13, 2013

There’s a very important article on Mad in America.  It’s called Does NIMH Follow the Rules of Science? A Startling Study, by Niall McLaren, MD, dated July 9, 2013. Dr. McLaren is an Australian psychiatrist who has relentlessly combed the literature for proof of the fundamental psychiatric claim – “…that a full understanding of the […]

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PTSD: The Spurious Medicalization of Painful Memories

July 4, 2013

BACKGROUND I’ve recently read Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, by Ethan Watters (Free Press, 2010). It’s a great book, the theme of which is that western countries, especially America, are exporting the medicalization of human problems to less developed regions of the world.  The new “illnesses” are being avidly promoted as […]

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Blaenau Gwent, Wales: One in Six on Antidepressants!

July 1, 2013

There’s a Mail Online article about high numbers of antidepressant prescriptions in Blaenau Gwent.  The article is dated June 29, and was drawn to my attention by Nanu Grewal from Australia. The article is about a town in Wales where reportedly one sixth of the population is taking antidepressants.  That’s about 17%. So presumably all […]

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The Grieving Mother

June 30, 2013

There’s a must-read article on Leonie’s Blog: The grieving mother is at it again! Leonie lost a son to suicide four years ago.  The suicide occurred 17 days after he started citalopram, an SSRI, marketed as Celexa. Leonie heard a ‘science expert’ on the radio this week attributing depression to low serotonin levels in the […]

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The Need for Social Change

June 28, 2013

There’s a recent post, The role of the psychologist in social change, on Peter Kinderman’s blog that is well worth reading. Peter begins with Martin Luther King’s 1967 statement: “…there are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we … must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of […]

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DSM-5: How to Salvage a Shipwreck

June 26, 2013

DSM-5 was published on May 18, 2013, amidst great criticism.  The fundamental criticism was, and is, that the problems listed in the manual are not illnesses in any ordinary sense of the term.  Other critics focused on the pathologizing of normality, the expansion of the diagnostic net by the lowering of thresholds, and the lack […]

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Psychiatry Still Doesn’t Get It

June 21, 2013

BACKGROUND On 3-4 June, the Institute of Psychiatry in London hosted an international conference to mark the publication of DSM-5.  On June 10, Sir Simon Wessely, a department head at the Institute, published a paper called DSM-5 at the IoP.  The paper is a summary of the conference proceedings, and also, in many respects, a […]

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What Is Mental Illness?

June 9, 2013

BACKGROUND I recently received the following question from Disparity, on Twitter. “I’m interested in all your posts, but they’re always telling us what mental illness ‘isn’t.’  Do you have many on what it ‘is’? I referred him/her to the post There are No Mental Illnesses and received the following reply: “I have read it a […]

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Do We Really Want to Expand Mental Health Services?

June 6, 2013

PRESIDENT’S SPEECH On June 3, President Obama delivered a speech on the expansion of mental health services.  The occasion was the National Conference on Mental Health, which was held at the White House. “The truth is,” the President told us, “in any given year, one in five adults experience a mental illness — one in […]

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The Kinderman-Pies Debate

June 5, 2013

BACKGROUND On May 15, Peter Kinderman, PhD, of the University of Liverpool, posted an article on  It was called So…What Happens Next? The gist of the article was that psychiatric “diagnoses” are conceptually spurious, unhelpful, and even hindersome in practice, and discourage practitioners from pursuing genuine explanations for the problems clients bring to their […]

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Can Abuse in Childhood Make You Crazy?

June 4, 2013

A NEW PARADIGM I’ve recently read an interesting article by Jacqui Dillon, Lucy Johnstone and Eleanor Longden.  It’s titled Trauma, Dissociation, Attachment &Neuroscience: A new paradigm for understanding severe mental distress.  The article was published in the Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy (Vol 12, No 3, September 2012) Here are some quotes: “A […]

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George Albee, PhD (1921-2006)

June 3, 2013

The late George Albee, psychologist, never accepted the medical model of behavioral/emotional problems.  He fought tirelessly for years to insulate psychology from the encroaching medicalization of its subject matter, and he died in 2006 believing that his efforts had failed. He authored more than 200 articles.  As early as the 50’s and 60’s, he argued […]

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Psychiatry Is Not Based On Science

June 1, 2013

On May 27, David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, wrote a piece on psychiatry called Heroes of Uncertainty. It’s an interesting and somewhat contradictory article.  Here are some quotes: “As the handbook’s [DSM-5] many critics have noted, psychiatrists use terms like ‘mental disorder’ and ‘normal behavior,’ but there is no agreement on what these […]

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The Wellbeing Foundation

May 30, 2013

Thanks to Tommy Morrela on Twitter, I’ve become aware of The Wellbeing Foundation.  They are located in Ireland.  Here are some quotes from their About Us page. “To call human suffering a disease, something pathological, is deluded. The biological model of psychological distress has no basis in science; it takes away from the equation between […]

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The Caretaker Personality Disorder: Another Fiction

May 29, 2013

There’s an article in the current (May/June) issue of The National Psychologist called Compulsive pleasing is deceptive and dangerous.  It’s written by Les Barbanell, EdD.  (The National Psychologist is a newspaper-type publication for psychologists.  It’s published in Ohio, in the US.  Some of their material is posted online, but this article is not.) The article […]

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A Victim of Psychiatry Speaks Out

May 28, 2013

I’ve recently come across an October 2012 article by Ted Chabasinski.  It’s on Mad in America and it’s called:  Our Task Is to Take Away the Power of Psychiatry. Ted tells us that he was was subjected to electric shock “treatment” when he was six years old.  You can see a brief bio here. Here […]

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Childhood ‘Mental Disorders’ According to the CDC

May 27, 2013

BACKGROUND On May 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report titled Mental Health Surveillance Among Children – United States, 2005-2011.  The CDC is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC’s report runs to 40 pages, including tables and […]

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