Allen Frances on the Benefits of “Antipsychotics”

March 11, 2016

On February 1, Allen Frances, MD, published an interesting article on the Huffington Post blog.  The article is called Do Antipsychotics Help or Harm Psychotic Symptoms?, and is a response to Robert Whitaker’s post of January 27:  “Me, Allen Frances, and Climbing Out of a Pigeonhole.  This post, in turn, was a response to Dr. […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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A Macabre Celebration:  80 Years of Convulsive ‘Therapy’

October 9, 2014

There’s an interesting article in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of ECT.  It’s written by Max Fink, MD, and is titled Celebrating 80 Years of Inducing Brain Seizures as Psychiatric Treatment.  Dr. Fink is a psychiatrist and neurologist, and professor emeritus of psychiatry and neurology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. […]

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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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 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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A Blood Test for Schizophrenia with 83% Accuracy?

March 4, 2014

INTRODUCTION An NBC online News article dated October 15, 2010, carried the noteworthy title New blood test may help detect schizophrenia.  Thanks to Francesca for the link. The article was written by Natasha Allen, a freelance medical journalist.  The gist of the article is that there is a new blood test called VeriPsych which “researchers […]

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Genetic Protection Against Schizophrenia?

February 12, 2014

On November 12, 2013, Molecular Psychiatry published online Evidence that duplications of 22q11.2 protect against schizophrenia, by Rees et al.  The print version was published last month – January 2014. Here’s the authors’ summary: “A number of large, rare copy number variants (CNVs) are deleterious for neurodevelopmental disorders, but large, rare, protective CNVs have not […]

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Schizophrenia Research

February 5, 2014

Psychiatric News is the APA’s online bulletin.  On Jan 15, it ran an article by Vabren Watts (an APA staff writer).  The article is called APA Gives Schizophrenia Research Capitol Hill Spotlight. It is reported in the article that on December 12, 2013, the APA, together with the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus and the American Brain […]

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Role of Childhood Abuse in Development of “Schizophrenia”

May 26, 2013

BACKGROUND There has been some discussion in recent weeks concerning the role of childhood abuse in the etiology of the condition known as schizophrenia. It is particularly difficult to address this problem because the condition known as schizophrenia is not a unified phenomenon.  Rather, it is an assortment of loosely clustered behaviors which has been […]

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Talk Therapy for Schizophrenia

May 14, 2013

There’s an interesting article on Vermont’s Seven Days.  It’s called Burlington’s HowardCenter Tries a New Approach to Treating Mental Illness: More Talk, Fewer Meds.  You can see it here.  (Thanks to Steven Coles on Twitter for the link.) Apparently Vermont’s Department of Mental Health is promoting a “new” kind of treatment for psychosis:  talk therapy.  […]

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“You must take these pills for life.” Or is it for death?

May 12, 2013

There’s an important article (here) on Monica Cassani’s website BeyondMeds in which she tackles the myth that once a person has been assigned a “diagnosis” of schizophrenia, he/she must take neuroleptics for life. Here’s a quote: “Unfortunately, at this juncture in history many people who get labeled with psychiatric illness these days do not have […]

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Neuroleptics Increase the Risk of Osteoporosis

April 27, 2013

We’ve all known for a long time that neuroleptic drugs damage brain cells.  But now it seems clear that they also increase the risk of osteoporosis and consequently bone fractures. There’s an article about this in the International Journal of Endocrinology, dated March 2013.  It’s titled Osteoporosis Associated with Antipsychotic Treatment in Schizophrenia, and was […]

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Do Major Tranquilizers Make Things Worse?

April 19, 2013

BACKGROUND On March 19 of this year an article by Martin Harrow and Thomas Jobe was published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin:  Does Long-Term Treatment of Schizophrenia with Antipsychotic Medications Facilitate Recovery?  You can see it here.  The term “antipsychotics” embraces drugs such as Haldol, Risperdal, Thorazine, etc…  I prefer the term major tranquilizers, because it […]

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Lab Tests for Psychiatric Disorders – More Promises

March 19, 2013

I’ve recently come across (courtesy of Tallaght Trialogue) an article in Current Psychiatry (Feb 2013) on this topic.  The author is Henry A. Nasrallah, M.D., and you can see it here. Dr. Nasrallah, who is Editor-in-Chief of Current Psychiatry, states that there are 273 bio-markers for schizophrenia.  But wait.  Dr. Nasrallah goes on to say: […]

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Mental Health After Newtown

March 13, 2013

On March 5, 2013, a bipartisan panel of leading mental health experts and parents of children with “mental disorders” held a conversation (that’s newspeak for meeting) in Washington D.C. on the topic: Violence and Severe Mental Illness. The invited panelists were: Thomas Insel, MD, Director of NIMH Harold Koplewicz, MD, President of Child Mind Institute […]

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Schizophrenia – Two Short Stories

March 5, 2013

First story In the early 70’s I worked in Grendon Prison in England.  The facility was run on the lines of a therapeutic community – lots of meetings, groups, etc…  One of the prisoners – let’s call him William – was serving time for burglary.  He was about 24 years old, and during his intake […]

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Involuntary Commitment – A Case Study

February 28, 2013

Years ago I was director of a county mental health center in an Eastern state.  Shortly after taking the position, I became concerned that clients were being involuntarily committed too readily and without exploration of other options.  I issued an instruction that all such activity had to be approved by a middle manager before it […]

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Muddled Thinking and Psychiatric “Diagnoses”

February 23, 2013

Until just a few years ago, the spurious nature of mental illness received little or no attention either in professional circles or in the general media. There were a few of us “cranks” who poked away at the issue, but peer condemnation was usually swift and outspoken.  On one occasion I was called an “anti-science […]

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Psychiatry – the Pseudoscience

February 21, 2013

As most readers of this website are aware, there is a great deal of resistance to the soon-to-be-released DSM-5.  There is even a Boycott DSM-5 Committee established by Jack Carney, and many people are suggesting that practitioners use the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) International Classification of Diseases (ICD) instead. In the general context of this […]

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“Mental Illness” and Genes

February 15, 2013

Jay Joseph, PhD has posted an interesting piece: “Five Decades of Gene Finding Failures in Psychiatry” on Mad in America (Robert Whitaker’s site).  It is well worth a read.  The general content of the article is clear from the title. Here are some quotes: “Two generations of molecular genetic researchers have attempted, yet failed, to discover the genes […]

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Schizophrenia – Not an Illness

January 3, 2013

Late adolescence and early adulthood is arguably the most difficult period of life.  Transitioning from childhood to adulthood entails many challenges.  The young person (male or female) is expected to emancipate successfully from parents; launch a career; and find a partner – all in the space of a few short years. Some individuals cope remarkably […]

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Schizophrenia Label – Damaging and Dangerous

December 10, 2012

There’s an interesting article Inquiry into the Schizophrenia Label (ISL) on Robert Whitaker’s website Mad in America. Apparently Philip Thomas, M.D. and other researchers have been asking mental health clients how they perceived the schizophrenia label.  They received nearly 500 responses, and found that more than 80% of responders described the label as damaging and […]

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Cinema Shooting – Psychiatric Defense

August 15, 2012

It was widely reported last week that James Holmes, the alleged cinema shooter, will be pursuing a “mental illness” defense.  Details are scarce because the judge has issued a gag order, but it is likely, given the available information, that the lawyers will argue that because of his psychiatric history he is incompetent to stand […]

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DSM and Disability

December 12, 2010

Every society in every generation makes errors.  Some of the errors are minor.  Some are major.  One of the great errors of the 20th century was this:  we accepted the spurious notion that a wide range of life’s problems were in fact illnesses.  This spurious notion was initiated with good intentions – to provide shelter […]

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Schizophrenia Is Not An Illness (Part 3)

March 20, 2010

Hallucinations In Schizophrenia Part 1, we noted that the APA lists hallucinations as one of the primary “symptoms” of schizophrenia.  The APA defines an hallucination as follows: “A sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality of a true perception but that occurs without external stimulation of the relevant sensory organ.” (DSM-IV-TR, p 823) […]

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Schizophrenia Is Not an Illness (Part 2)

February 21, 2010

Delusions, contd. In my last post I pointed out that schizophrenia as defined by DSM is a confusing collection of human problems with no evidence of a common etiology or indeed any valid justification for including them under a common heading.  I discussed delusions and made the point that cognitive distortions of this kind are […]

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Schizophrenia Is Not An Illness (Part 1)

January 21, 2010

The APA defines schizophrenia by the presence of two or more of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a one-month period: (1)   delusions (2)   hallucinations (3)   disorganized speech (4)   grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior (5)   negative symptoms i.e. affective flattening, alogia or avolition Signs of the disturbance must have been […]

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