freakoutcrazy

Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Antidepressants, Pregnancy, and Autism: Why Wouldn’t Antidepressant Chemicals Affect a Developing Baby’s Brain?

This week another study was published (Boukhris, 2015) showing that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased rates of autism in the children.  By my count, this is now the tenth study on this topic and it follows on the heels of previous studies by Croen, Eriksson, Rai, Harrington, Gidaya, El Marroun and others – all of which found links between SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy and autism in the offspring.  Most of these studies were recently reviewed by Man, et al, who also concluded that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with autism in the children.

So we now have numerous studies in different human populations all showing a link between SSRI use in pregnancy and autism in the children.  Yet, much of the news and blogosphere focus on casting doubts about these findings.  What is going on here?

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Enough is Enough Series: 2-Year-olds on Anti-psychotics and Biological Markers for Psychosis

What is so disturbing about this destructive belief system leads right to the second article, “Still in a crib, Yet being Given Antipsychotics,” by Alan Schwarz in the New York Times, December 10, 2015. In fairness to the writer, he seems rather appalled himself. 20,000 prescriptions for Risperidone and Seroquel were written in 2014 for children under 2 years old; 83,000 prescriptions for Prozac have been given to children under 2; 10,000 children age 2 or 3 have been given Adderall; the numbers for benzodiazepines are not given, but they are large.

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Yes, the Tide is Turning Against Psychiatry

The suggestion embedded in this article’s title seems counter-intuitive. How could the tide be turning on psychiatry when the institution has never been so strong? And indeed indicators of its growing strength and tenacity are all around us. The exporting of its model to the global south via the World Bank, the emergence of outpatient committal, the explosion of funding for psychiatric research (see Burstow, 2015). Correspondingly, daily are there calls for most aggressive “detection” and “treatment”  (e.g., Jeffrey Lieberman, 2015). And the mainstream press has never been more closed to truly foundational critiques. That acknowledged, let me suggest that such intensification is common when an old system is in the early days of crumbling.

Of course, intensification itself is hardly an indicator that a reversal is at hand. So how would we know? Examples of possible indicators are: Ever growing critiques from inside and outside the profession, growing discomfort with “anomalies” (in essence, the indicators of a paradigm shift spelt out by Kuhn, 1962). Established moral authorities making unprecedented negative pronouncements about the current state of affairs. The surfacing of more and more tales of corruption and fraud. The rising up of those subjected to it. Each of these signs and more we are experiencing now with psychiatry — hardly conclusive individually, but taken together, convincing portents of a societal shift.

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The Divided Laing, Arcola Theatre

New RD Laing drama is a surreal tribute to a great 20th-century thinker and radical

RD (“Ronnie”) Laing was a typically eccentric 1960s guru. A Scottish psychiatrist who was one of the leading lights of the anti-psychiatry movement, his 1960 classic The Divided Self helped a whole generation to a deeper understanding of mental illness and especially the experience of psychosis. This new drama, by theatre writer and critic Patrick Marmion, is an exploration of an imaginary episode in his life, and is staged on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Association, a therapeutic collective which Laing co-founded, and of his experimental asylum at Kingsley Hall in London’s Bromley-by-Bow.

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Crisis is (un)Learning

The mission statement for the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community’s (RLC) peer respite (Afiya) is:

“To provide a safe space in which each person can find the balance and support needed to turn what is so often referred to as ‘crisis’ into a learning and growth opportunity.”

Although I sometimes question our choice to use the word ‘safe’ (given how impossible an absolute version of ‘safe’ is to achieve and how saddled with distasteful meaning such a term can be within the mental health system), I’m not sure that statement could otherwise be any more straight forward and meaningful. Yet, so often, It’s unclear what meaning people are truly making of it.

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