Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Kategorie: Robert Whitaker

Disability and Mood Disorders in the Age of Prozac

When I was researching Anatomy of an Epidemic and sought to track the number of people receiving a disability payment between 1987 and 2007 due to “mental illness,” I was frustrated by the lack of diagnostic clarity in the data. The Social Security Administration would list, in its annual reports on the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs, the number of people receiving payment for “mental disorders,” which in turn was broken down into just two subcategories: “retardation,” and “other mental disorders.” Unfortunately, the “other mental disorders,” which was the category for those with psychiatric disorders, was not broken down into its diagnostic parts.

However, starting in 2010, the Social Security Administration began providing—at least to a certain extent—such diagnostic information. Last month, the Social Security Administration published its reports for 2013, and there are two conclusions to be drawn:


A Debate Between Allen Frances and Robert Whitaker

After Allen Frances and Robert Whitaker spoke recently at the Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry conference in Los Angeles, where they had a brief debate, Frances wrote to Whitaker suggesting that they should continue this debate in print. They do so here. Whitaker’s response follows Frances’ post.


Beyond the Therapeutic State

from the 26th to the 28th of June, a gathering of more than 190 persons from 24 countries converged on Drammen Norway to develop visions of possible futures that go Beyond the Therapeutic State

The Psychiatric Epidemic

Harrow + Wunderink + Open Dialogue = An Evidence-based Mandate for A New Standard of Care

In the wake of the new study by Dutch researcher Lex Wunderink, it is time for psychiatry to do the right thing and acknowledge that, if it wants to do best by its patients, it must change its protocols for using antipsychotics. The current standard of care, which—in practice—involves continual use of antipsychotics for all patients diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, clearly reduces the opportunity for long-term functional recovery. (MIA writer Sandy Steingard recently wrote about the Wunderink study, which was published on July 3 in JAMA Psychiatry online.)

The Wunderink study, precisely because it had a randomized design, complements Martin Harrow’s study of long-term outcomes in a very compelling way. In addition, the results reported by Open Dialogue practitioners in northern Finland provide a data-based sense of what would be possible if psychiatry amended its protocols for using antipsychotics based, in large part, on the findings in the Harrow and Wunderink studies.

Here is how the three studies fit so nicely together to form a compelling evidence-based rationale for changing prescribing standards.