Friday links to articles that struck me this week

This collection got too big so I will do another post like this tomorrow with additional good reads.

  • From witch doctors to Open Dialog: lots of stuff is better than relying on drugs — Recovery from “schizophrenia” and other “psychotic disorders” — “The author contends that “Traditional treatment in a premodern society usually consists of a prescribed period of rest; sympathy; heightened social support; alleviation of underlying social stresses; exploration of alternative coping strategies; and various types of traditional healing rituals, sometimes lasting days or weeks, and frequently resulting in the full recovery of the patient.” — While “modern medical experts” make fun of “primitive” perspectives about spirits and the use of “witch doctors” to address them, it seems that any truly “evidence based” approach to understanding psychosis would be more interested in figuring out how and why they were so effective. —  Contrast the “primitive” approach with the relative isolation and drugging imposed on the newly diagnosed psychotic person in in a modern culture. The person is identified as “biochemically imbalanced” rather than overcome by stressful life events, no attempts are made to really understand him or her, the experience is identified as an illness with no spiritual consequences, and no coping tools are suggested beyond taking pills as prescribed.”
  • Loving Life and appreciating Depression | Bipolar Advantage — For some time, I’ve practiced a meditation where I simultaneously feel and visualize my internal physiology. I sit on my meditation cushion and breathe, all the time imagining the air seeping into the tiniest passages and pockets of my lung. I think of the oxygen turning my blood corpuscles bright red. While concentrating on the sensation of my heartbeat, I form a mental picture of my heart pumping this freshened blood to the rest of my body.
  • Child psychiatric diagnosis on trial – New Scientist — When Carolyn Riley was convicted of killing her 4-year-old daughter Rebecca by overdosing her with psychotropic drugs prescribed for the child, some jurors reportedly felt that the psychiatrist who wrote the prescriptions should also have been on trial. That will not happen: the doctor was granted immunity when agreeing to testify in the case. But the validity of the condition for which Rebecca was being treated is being questioned by psychiatrists. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says it needs to be replaced by an entirely new diagnosis, while others argue that this move could create fresh problems. Problem with simply changing the name of behavior is that treatment is unlikely to change greatly.
  • Physicians Are Talking About: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and the Choice to Numb Out — Medscape — “It would be unrealistic,” adds another psychiatrist, “to think that taking a medication which significantly impacts a major neurotransmitter would not have, in some cases if not many, a significant effect on a person’s personality, either short- or long-term.” The psychiatrist comments that case studies documented in Peter Kramer’s book Listening to Prozac indicate that SSRIs strongly impact a patient’s feeling of “caring,” which can affect the patient’s relationships with friends and family.

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