By Richard Lewis — As the benzodiazepine crisis spreads throughout the United States and other parts of the world so does the debate within the benzo victim/survivor community about important definitions of key medical terms and about safe and successful paths to healing and recovery. Does “iatrogenic benzo dependence” and “addiction” represent completely separate medical and social phenomena? If they are to have distinctly different scientific definitions, can they also (at the same time) intersect in multiple ways in people’s actual real life experience? And what is the medical and social significance of exploring these concepts and seeking unity of understanding and purpose? Before delving into the content of this debate let’s briefly review the social context from which this “Benzo Divide” has emerged.
By Brent Potter, PhD — I am grateful to be alive during to see the apex and decline of evidence-based psychotherapy and psychiatry. Honestly, I didn’t think that I’d see anything like it in my lifetime. It was looking pretty daunting for a while, but we’re not only making substantial progress, but winning. — Please don’t mistake me—we have plenty more to do. We’re not in the clear yet, but we’re light years ahead of where we were roughly 20 years ago. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Below is a beautiful short little video that helps illustrate the fact that gender and sex are simply not black and white. Intersex people are born with biological elements from both sexes. These beautiful young people share what they know from having been born that way. Those who would hate such people need to see this video. — I post this because the legacy of homosexuality having been in the DSM and also what is called gender dysphoria (which is still in the DSM). Issues of sexuality that often get highly pathologized. Sexuality and gender both, like so many things, can often be considered in terms of a spectrum and can also be very fluid and changing in pretty much anyone, really. The more we appreciate these natural variations the more we can open our hearts to all the differences among us human beings. … [click on title to read and view more]
By Will Hall — “Depressed.” — It’s a word I put in quotes because, like so many words we use to describe our mental health experiences, it has as much power to confuse as it does to clarify. We live in a culture bombarded by media and sped up by rapid-fire social interactions. It’s definitely useful to grab hold of a simple, short, sound-bite term, to quickly describe what we are feeling or suffering. “Depression” is such a word – it evokes and encapsulates, conjures the images of that ugly pit of despair that can drive so many to madness and suicide. Yet at the same time the words we use, strangely, become like those pens deposited in medical offices and waiting rooms around the world: ready at hand, easily found, familiar — and tied to associations, marketing and meanings we were only dimly aware were shaping how we think. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
And so I embarked on the darkest journey of my life, one for which neither I nor my husband were prepared. I soon found out that there was no one who could help us. The psychiatrists, even the more sympathetic ones, were not making sense to me. I was coming from the business world and I was not used to accepting superficial answers. They could not tell me what was wrong with Helia and why this had happened to her. They could not answer my challenging questions about the scientific research in the field. The best doctors, the honest ones, would tell me: “We really don’t know what this is, but we are sure that something is wrong with her brain.” But why? “Why are you so sure that it is her brain?” I asked. Their response was, “because it can’t be anything else.”
And that is exactly where the problem lay. They could not get out of the box that they were forced into by their guild. Biological psychiatry, in my opinion, suffers from a flawed and reductionist conception of how the human mind works and what might be needed to help it to function optimally when it is not doing so. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
By Lucy Johnstone: A revolution is underway in mental health. If the authors of the diagnostic manuals are admitting that psychiatric diagnoses are not supported by evidence, then no one should be forced to accept them. If many mental health workers are openly questioning diagnosis and saying we need a different and better system, then service users and carers should be allowed to do so too. This book is about choice. It is about giving people the information to make up their own minds, and exploring alternatives for those who wish to do so. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Influential “thought leader” psychiatrists and major psychiatry institutions, by their own recent admissions, have been repeatedly wrong about illness/disorder validity, biochemical causes, and drug treatments; and also, in several cases, have been discovered to be on the take from drug companies—yet continue to be taken seriously by the mainstream media.
While Big Pharma financial backing is one reason that psychiatry is able to retain its clout, this is not the only reason. More insidiously, psychiatry retains influence because of the needs of the larger power structure that rules us. And perhaps most troubling, psychiatry retains influence because of us—and our increasing fears that have resulted in our expanding needs for coercion. … [click on title for the rest of the post]