HALF A MILLION DOWNLOADS REACHED - Helping Safeguard children from psychiatric drug harm due to possible severe toxic side effects. We need alternatives like psychological interventions, physical activity, or mindfulness training as a first course of action. Let's 'Enable not Label' kids to give them better futures - - - - - - - - -"There can be no keener examination of a society's soul than the way it chooses to treat its children." - - - - -
- Nelson Mandela
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Monday, 21 May 2012
DSM5 : PROTEST AT APA AGM - MAY 5th 2012 - 'Label jars, not people': Lobbying against the shrinks ' - Courtesy of the NewScientist Website - "The demonstration aimed to highlight the harm the protesters believe psychiatry is perpetrating in the name of healing. One concern is that while psychiatric medications are more widely prescribed than almost any drugs in history, they often don't work well and have debilitating side effects."
"LABEL jars, not people" and "stop
medicalising the normal symptoms of life" read placards, as hundreds of
protesters - including former patients, academics and doctors - gathered
to lobby the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) annual meeting.
The demonstration aimed to highlight the harm the protesters
believe psychiatry is perpetrating in the name of healing. One concern is that
while psychiatric medications are more widely prescribed than almost any drugs
in history, they often don't work well and have debilitating side effects.
Psychiatry also professes
to respect human rights, while regularly treating people against their
will. Finally, psychiatry keeps expanding its list of disorders without
solid scientific justification.
At the heart of the issue is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - psychiatry's diagnostic "bible" (see main story). Allen Frances, who headed the last major rewrite of the manual - DSM-IV
- fears that the revised version will undermine the profession's
credibility. "What concerns me most," he says, "is that its publication
will dramatically expand the realm of psychiatry and narrow the realm of
Among the revisions he believes will
be most damaging are those to generalised anxiety disorder, which
threatens to turn the pains and disappointments of everyday life into
mental illness, while "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" will see
children's temper tantrums become symptoms of a disorder.
One protester, Harvard graduate and
writer Laura Delano, started taking psychiatric medication at age 14,
after a bipolar diagnosis. She felt this worsened her state until, in
2004, she attempted suicide. It was only once she had rejected her
treatment and her identity as a psychiatric patient that things began to
Many of the protesters want reform in
the shape of alternatives to drug treatment. As protest organiser Susan
Rogers explained: "People here are for choice, for the right to decline
as well as choose treatment. We want sufferers to know there are
alternatives to hospitals and medication - they can go into peer support
run by people like themselves."
"The best success rate for a diagnosis
of schizophrenia is in rural Finland, where there is a slogan that
problems aren't in our heads, but between our heads," says fellow
organiser David Oaks. "They emphasise the importance of peer support in
Talking to psychiatrists as they filed
past the protest, there was quite a lot of sympathy. "These voices have
to be heard. We are seeing a manifestation of some legitimate
concerns," said one.
Another was nearly as militant as the
protesters: "Psychiatrists usually take 15 minutes to give a diagnosis,
so we shouldn't be surprised if we are getting it wrong. These 15-minute
sessions are a form of malpractice."
The APA's response was to say: "Many
of the proposed changes help to better characterise people currently
seeking treatment but who are not well defined by DSM-IV. It is
unfortunate there are instances in which people do not feel they have
benefited, but these circumstances cannot discredit the clinical
practice of psychiatry, or those helped by mental healthcare."
It is significant that the protests
exposed once again the lines of division not just between protesters and
the establishment, but within the establishment too. Meanwhile,
patients are still caught in the middle, sometimes to their detriment.
James Davies is a senior lecturer in social anthropology and psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton, London