Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Monat: Mai, 2013

Appreciating the politics of psychiatry

The relationship of psychiatry to the prevailing political context has always been troubling. In authoritarian environments, such as the USSR, psychiatry has been used as a relatively blunt tool of political repression. This can be paralleled with contemporary concerns about corporate influence. The worry is that a capitalist or overly marketised environment prepares the ground for the diagnostic criteria of psychiatric illnesses to be influenced by the available treatments ie by the available psycho-pharmacological drugs.


DSM-5 helps perpetuate the myth of women’s madness

The newly released edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) may be heralded as the “bible of psychiatry”, but it is not an objective scientific document outlining the truth about madness as its proponents claim. Rather, it’s a manual that has been used to propagate the misdiagnosis and maltreatment of vulnerable women.

Women are significantly more likely than men to be diagnosed with a range of psychiatric illnesses. This includes depression, anxiety, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, somatoform disorder, sleep disorders and dissociative identity or depersonalisation disorder.

Those who experience mood change once a month can be diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).


Call us Crazy: Mad movements organize against ableism, mentalism and more

People are Mad. And they’re doing something about it.

Mental health awareness is gradually gaining ground, and so are radical alternatives to mainstream approaches. Community-based initiatives by and for the so-called crazies amongst us tend to be kept under the radar in Canada, challenging discrimination, providing peer support and advocating for a diversity of perspectives on mental health, its treatment and justice.

Grassroots movements around mental health have a rich and often unacknowledged history, with many activities falling under the relatively recent name of Mad Pride. The movement is also sometimes called the C/S/X movement, which stands for Consumers (of mental health services), Survivors (of the psychiatric system), and eX-patients (who have moved on to live outside the mental health services systems).


Colonization or Postpsychiatry?

The Video “Voices Matter” is an important video in many ways. It is the first video in what is going to be an ongoing open paradigm production, which I think is an exciting new development for MiA. As a voice hearer, I am excited that the first video is about the Hearing Voices (HV) movement and I feel it has captured the spirit of our movement extremely well. I was there in Cardiff and have many great memories from those couple of days when voice hearers from all over the world gathered together under one flag metaphorically speaking.

However this video also captures something else. It has captured the first signs, the first moments of professional interest, for as I wrote in a previous comment regarding Robin Murray a psychiatrist who also presented at Intervoice, we have become a powerful organization. (See Robin Murray’s presentation and the ensuing debate by MiA readers)


Race perception isn’t automatic

Last week’s column for BBC Future describes a neat social psychology experiment from an unlikely source. Three evolutionary psychologists reasoned that that claims that we automatically categorise people by the ethnicity must be wrong. Here’s how they set out to prove it. The original column is here.

For years, psychologists thought we instantly label each other by ethnicity. But one intriguing study proposes this is far from inevitable, with obvious implications for tackling racism.

When we meet someone we tend to label them in certain ways. “Tall guy” you might think, or “Ugly kid”. Lots of work in social psychology suggests that there are some categorisations that spring faster to mind. So fast, in fact, that they can be automatic. Sex is an example: we tend to notice if someone is a man or a woman, and remember that fact, without any deliberate effort. Age is another example. You can see this in the way people talk about others. If you said you went to a party and met someone, most people wouldn’t let you continue with your story until you said if it was a man or a woman, and there’s a good chance they’d also want to know how old they were too.