over-medicalization of everyday life

Are ‘Psychiatric Disorders’ Brain Diseases?

January 19, 2016

Steven Reidbord MD is a board-certified psychiatrist who practices in San Francisco.  He writes a blog called Reidbord’s Reflections.  On December 12, 2015, he posted an article titled Are psychiatric disorders brain diseases?  It’s an interesting and thought-provoking piece, with many twists and turns. Here are some quotes, interspersed with my comments and reflections. “Of […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Benzodiazepines: Dangerous Drugs

March 12, 2014

On February 25, Kristina Fiore published an article on MedPage today.  It’s titled Killing Pain: Xanax Tops Charts.  The article is based on a study conducted by Jann M et al, and published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice.  The study is titled Benzodiazepines: a major component in unintentional prescription […]

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Is Psychology Going the Way of Psychiatry?

January 14, 2014

On January 7, Maria Bradshaw, co-founder of CASPER, published an interesting article on Mad in America.  It’s called Prescribing Rights for Psychologists, and it suggests that psychology as a profession may be falling into some of the same errors that enmire psychiatry. Maria makes some very compelling points, and focuses particularly on the fact that […]

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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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The Sandcastle Continues to Crumble: ADHD Does Not Exist

January 7, 2014

BOOK PREVIEW Richard C. Saul, MD ADHD Does Not Exist:  The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Publication date:  February 18, 2014 ************************ Those of us on this side of the psychiatry debate have been saying for decades that the condition known as ADHD is not an illness, but is rather an arbitrarily delineated […]

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Training the Psychiatrists of the Future (According to Dr. Lieberman): More Cheerleading

December 11, 2013

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, President of the APA and Chair of Psychiatry at Columbia University, published a post on November 26 on Psychiatric News.  The article is called Training the Psychiatrists of the Future, and is co-authored by Richard Summers, MD.  Dr. Summers is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Drs. Lieberman and […]

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Neuroleptics for Children: Harvard’s Shame

December 4, 2013

In December 2012, Mark Olfson, MD, et al, published an article in the Archives of General Psychiatry.  The title is National Trends in the Office-Based Treatment of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Antipsychotics.  The authors collected data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys for the period 1993-2009, and looked for trends in antipsychotic prescribing […]

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Causes of High Mortality in People Labeled ‘Mentally Ill’

November 12, 2013

ANOTHER VIDEO FROM DR. LIEBERMAN On October 28, Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, President of the APA, made another video.  This one is titled An Important Look at Mortality in Mental Illness: A Decade of Data on Psychotropic Drugs, and was made for Medscape.  You can see the transcript at the same site.  Medscape is a web […]

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Care For Your Mind (CFYM): A New Advocacy Group

November 9, 2013

On September 27, Psychiatric Services, a journal of the APA, published an article called Blog Brings Doctors, Patients Together to Address MH Issues.  It was written by Vabren Watts, a Psychiatric News Journalist. The article is a booster piece for the recently-formed CFYM (Care For Your Mind): “…an online forum for people with mood disorders—along […]

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The Allen Frances – Lucy Johnstone Debate

November 1, 2013

On October 28, Allen Frances, MD, Chairperson of the DSM-IV task force, published an article on Psychology Today.  It is titled Does It Make Sense To Scrap Psychiatric Diagnosis? and is essentially a response to the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology’s (DCP) call to abandon the medical model in situations where it is […]

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A Psychiatric Case Study. A Sad Story

October 24, 2013

One of the criticisms that I routinely make of psychiatry is that its primary agenda during initial evaluations is the assignment of a “diagnosis,” and that ongoing “treatment” consists of 15-minute “med checks,” during which drug regimens are changed and adjusted.  The essence of my criticism is that this kind of approach inevitably oversimplifies human […]

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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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Overall Efficacy of Mental Health Treatment

September 21, 2013

There’s an interesting article by J. Sareen et al on Cambridge Journals Online, September 2013.  It’s call Common mental disorder diagnosis and need for treatment are not the same: findings from a population-based survey.  Five of the six authors are working at universities in Canada, the sixth at a university in California.  [Thanks to Mad […]

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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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Madness Contested: An Outstanding Book

August 28, 2013

The book Madness Contested has recently been published by PCCS Books.  It’s a collection of articles, edited by Steven Coles, Sarah Keenan, and Bob Diamond. The book is a remarkable piece of work.  It covers just about every contentious concept in the present “mental illness” debate, and brings to bear an abundance of new insights and […]

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Parental Influences

August 27, 2013

If we’re happy to take some of the credit for our children’s successes, we should also accept a share of the responsibility when they don’t do so well. In the late 70’s, I met an elderly gentleman in a social context.  I’ll call him James.  He was in his early 80’s. We got to talking, […]

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Never Mind The Facts; Just Sell More Pills

August 23, 2013

There’s an interesting article, recently published in Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, on Springer Link.  It’s titled Shooting the Messenger: The Case of ADHD,  and it was written by Gretchen LeFever Watson, PhD, et al. Apparently some of the authors had noted in 1995 a marked increase in the “diagnosis” and “treatment” of the condition known […]

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Do Psycho-Pharma Drugs Have Any Legitimate Function?

August 20, 2013

BACKGROUND In the last ten years or so, the anti-psychiatry movement has been gaining adherents, and has been growing more focused and more outspoken. But we are not a unified group.  I, for instance, take what I think would be considered a fairly extreme position.  I believe that there are no mental illnesses; that the […]

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Neuroleptics and Alzheimer’s Disease

August 12, 2013

I’ve mentioned the CATIE study before.  CATIE (Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness) was a NIMH-funded double blinded, randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness and side effects of newer-generation neuroleptics versus an older neuroleptic. CATIE-AD was a part of CATIE.  The AD stands for Alzheimer’s disease.  CATIE-AD was published in the New England Journal of Medicine […]

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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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Mid-Life Crisis

July 12, 2013

Recently on Twitter, Disparity asked for my opinion on the term mid-life crisis, which “…is often treated as a mental health condition.” The term mid-life crisis has no formal meaning in mental health, though as Disparity says, the concept does emerge from time to time. The original meaning of the word crisis was a turning […]

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Neuroleptic Drugs and Children: Wrong Focus

July 8, 2013

It is a central theme of this website that psychiatry has done, and continues to do, a great deal of damage to people it claims to help. In my opinion, the damage done by neuroleptic drugs is among the most severe.  The increasing use of these products ought to be a huge cause for concern. […]

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Psychiatry Has the Moral High Ground (According to Jeffrey Lieberman)

July 2, 2013

BACKGROUND As I suppose everyone knows by now, psychiatry has been on the receiving end of some very serious criticism in recent years.  The criticism has come from many sources, including: survivors of psychiatric “treatment,” non-psychiatric mental health practitioners, journalists, the general public, and even from some psychiatrists themselves. The content of the criticisms has […]

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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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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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SSRI’s: The Down Side

June 10, 2013

David Healy, MD, is a controversial figure.  On the one hand, he is a fierce and determined opponent of the escalating use of antidepressant drugs.  On the other hand, he is one of the world’s leading proponents of electric shock “treatment.” For the latter reason, I’m somewhat hesitant to quote his work, but he writes […]

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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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Going Against the Stream

June 7, 2013

AN INTERESTING STORY Yesterday I came across the following on Twitter from Mental Health @Sectioned_. “I just met someone who told me their remarkable story about falling down the rabbit hole into psychiatric sectioning and forced medication.  I listened with fascination to their intricate story in all its twists and turns, looping backwards and forwards […]

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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 DxSummit.org.  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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An Attempt to Defend DSM-5

May 28, 2013

BACKGROUND On 19 April, The Conversation ran an article titled Mental disorders: debunking some myths of the DSM-5, by Perminder Sachdev, MD.  Dr. Sachdev is a psychiatrist, and was a member of the DSM-5’s Neurocognitive Disorders Work Group.  He works at the School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia.  (Thanks to Dave Traxson […]

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DSM-5 Still Under Fire

May 18, 2013

Mental Health Europe (MHE) is a non-governmental organization “… committed to the promotion of positive mental health and well-being, the prevention of mental health problems, the improvement of care, advocacy for social inclusion and the protection of the human rights of (ex)users of mental health services and their families and carers.”  It is composed of […]

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