Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Monat: Februar, 2013

Remembering Our History, and Thinking About Our Future

The title of this talk is “Remembering Our History.” One of the most important things that I think is instructive from the history of our movement and from the history of psychiatry and mental health is that being homosexual was in the DSM as a mental disorder. Do people know this? Being gay was considered being sick and diseased, a mental disorder. And it wasn’t until 1986 that it was taken out. People often say that it was taken out in 1973 but, no, it wasn’t until 1986. Because after 1973 they still had something called “ego-dystonic homosexuality.” If you were gay and it was a problem for you then that was a mental disorder. Well, actually, I thought that being gay was ok, that the real problem was homophobia– that’s the problem! [applause] We’re now in a different place with being gay: homosexuality was taken out of theDSM completely and we accept diversity and we speak openly about this.

This is slowly starting to happen with coming off medications. People are less afraid of it and they are more willing to be open to it. it’s not seen as just a symptom of your illness that you don’t like your medications. Yes, medications work for many people. But, also, some of us they don’t work for. We need help and support when we want to discuss coming off medications. It’s no longer as much of a taboo as it was. I’m going to keep working on that, to make it less of a taboo.



Pinball Wizards and the Doomed Project of Psychiatric Diagnosis

The imminent publication of DSM-5 (due to appear in May) is a call to action for those concerned about the role of diagnosis in psychiatry. A number of campaigns are afoot, including the Committee to Boycott the DSM-5 (see established by Jack Carney, although some are concerned that the committee advocates the use of the ICD in parts of the world where remuneration depends on the use of diagnostic codings. There is also an International DSM-5 Response Committee coordinated by a group of clinical psychologists, and which is in the early stages of coordinating a public campaign to coincide with the launch of DSM-5.


Krazy Kiwi Kids

The New Zealand government has just published research showing the numbers of children aged 2-14 years being diagnosed with mental disorders has doubled in the last five years with the key driver being an increase in anxiety disorders.


What is Critical Psychiatry?

Over the last twenty years there has emerged a body of work that questions the assumptions that lie beneath psychiatric knowledge and practice. This work, appearing as academic papers, magazine articles, books, and chapters in books, hasn’t been written by academics, sociologists or cultural theorists. It has emerged from the pens and practice of a group of British psychiatrists.


The Intersection Between “Race” and “Mental Illness”

The words “race” and “mental illness” appear in quotations here because these words signify constructs that inform us that physical features make us different and that some differences are diseases.  I consider these words to be formalized ideas that have been used to impose particular value on various attributes of a diverse species. These ideas, “race” and “mental illness,” have led to the abuse and exploitation of some populations for the economic and cultural benefit of others.

The history of psychiatry and the history of racism are closely intertwined. In fact, one could say that the practice of biomedical psychiatry and racism rely on the same very basic phenomenon of oppression, which occurs when a formal institution assumes the right to externally impose definitions of value to another human being’s  personhood and potential.