Psychiatrists who speak out about psychiatry. Below are links to blogs by psychiatrists who in different ways speak out about the medical specialty they spent many years and much money becoming a trained member of.
For those of us who do not have a medical degree or years spent working with the mentally ill reading what these docs have to say about current practices, ECT, psychotropic medications, control of Big Pharma on their profession, alternative treatments, etc. can be a real eye opener. It has been for me.
After writing this post, “Lithium Strenthens Cells in the Brain” I now affectionately refer to these physicians as “Ninja Docs”. What do you think?
My first foray into this was 25 years or so ago and reading books like People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck, M.D., Toxic Psychiatry by Peter Breggin, M.D. a zillion books on depression and many memoirs by ‘mental illness survivors’.
Note: M. Scott Peck – you may be familiar with his book “The Road Less Traveled” (1978) – passed away September, 2005. RIP.
I added my own memoir to that list, and it was in part a way of giving back to the literary community I gained so much from. At some of my worst times some of those books were my main source of solace and motivation to keep living.
Blogs by Psychiatrists Who Speak Out About Psychiatry
Note: Newest blog added February 26th, 2017: Doc with a Blog. See below.
1. Psychiatric Drug Facts – What Your Doctor May Not Know – Peter Breggin, M.D.
Top spot goes to a top doc who I have followed off and on for many years and even quoted in my book. The first book of his I read was “Toxic Psychiatry” published in 1991.
The book is still relevant today and would be an education for anyone to learn more about these drugs and how many of these treatments came to be used. Spoiler alert: has little to do with biology or science.
He is an outspoken critic of ECT (brain damaging electoconvulsive therapy) and maintains a website with information and research about its harmful effects and lack of scientific validity for treatment: ECT Resources Center.
He is a prolific publisher, too many articles and books to mention here, check out his site above and follow him on Facebook for more info.
2. Holistic Women’s Health Psychiatry – Kelly Brogan, M.D.
Don’t let that title fool you, her medical practice focuses on women’s health but the blog has information on numerous psychiatric conditons and alternative treatments to psychotropic medications that can be used by anyone, male or female.
She highlights a lot of research, speaks out critically about psychotropic medications and pertinent topics such as the Chemical Imbalance Theory, etc.
I first learned about her when writing about the Gut as a Second Brain and how probiotics are being used now by some practicitioners for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Seriously fascinating stuff, but don’t just take my word for it, read her blog!
3. Critical Psychiatry – Critical Comment and Debate About Psychiatry – Duncan Double, M.D.
Cool name, no? And an even cooler ninja-style doc who is trying to move forward – get his profession to move forward – beyond the old Chemical Imbalance thinking of mental illness to new paradigms.
Note: Please tell me you don’t still believe that nonsense. If you do, read this ‘How Was the Chemical Imbalance Theory Developed?‘
Yes! And go Duncan. He is a psychiatrist in the U.K. who works at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Lots of great articles that are more for professional folks (i.e. other psychiatrists and mental health professionals) but very easy to understand in most cases for a layperson as well.
Read and learn.
4. The Last Psychiatrist – Top secret, I guess. Could not find an about page!
I read that title at first and went, “seriously?”. This guy (or gal) has got to have an overblown ego and shouldn’t he (she) know better as a shrink to not sound so narcissistic? Then I checked out the writing.
I guess he’s (my intuition says it’s a male) allowed since he is kindly taking his time to put some excellent commentary out on the Web for those of us to learn from who are not in the top 1% IQ range of the population. And it’s entertaining.
That is what appealed most… not only is it a trained psychiatrist letting loose and getting all randy about a ton of interesting topics (that have rants within rants within a tangent all inside the actual blog post itself) but he’s punchy in his writing style and very amusing.
Update: Two hours after publishing this post and writing the above (3 p.m. September 2, 2015), I was reading through a few old posts and discovered it is a SHE, not a he. Shame on me for assuming anything. The post where she exposes she is a woman, not a guy, is here: Hipsters on Food Stamps – Part 1.
Good blog to push your mental boundaries a bit, and learn a thing or two about how to think.
5. Steve Balt, M.D. – Recovery-oriented psychiatry – Steve Balt, M.D.
This blog was a treat to find as it is a very educated (Stanford, Cornell, Rockerfeller universities) psychiatrist who openly admits he is a former psychiatric patient. Impressive. Honesty and openness always scores big points with me.
But his list of accomplishments is more impressive and he takes a holistic approach to treatment (not dependence on drug therapy or long-term drug treatment, helps patients lessen dependence on psychotropic drugs if wanted) which is always heartening to read.
He also writes the award winning Thought Broadcast – A Psychiatrist’s Thoughts Straight to Your Head blog and is Editor-in-Chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report (TCPR).
6. 1 Boring Old Man – Dr. John M. Nardo aka Mickey Nardo.
Update February, 2017: Dr. Nardo has passed away. His blog is being maintained by his daughter, and she is also planning to turn his years of posts into a book. R.I.P. Dr. Nardo.
Cute title. Another older professional same as The Last Psychiatrist) talking about many subjects and since December, 2005 for this one – huge archive list of topics!
Politics, psychiatry, lots of stuff. Follows news stuff too of interest to the non-indoctrinated (I’ve removed my chip…) such as noting a recent NYT’s article:
The field of psychology sustained a damaging blow Thursday: A new analysis found that only 36 percent of findings from almost 100 studies in the top three psychology journals held up when the original experiments were rigorously redone.
After the report was published by the journal Science, commenters on Facebook wisecracked about how “social” and “science” did not belong in the same sentence.
The kind of stuff that needs to be highlighted, in a move forward towards more honesty in all the soft and hard science professions.
7. The Carlat Psychiatry Blog – Daniel Carlat, M.D.
Dr. Carlat is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts Medical School (Boston, MA) and has spoken out for years about the influence (not a good thing) of Big Pharma on the field of psychiatry.
He still supports the regular use of psychotropic medications, which most on this list do not. I think that is the primary problem of psychiatry today and how can any psychiatrist present himself as being objective when he is still prescribing the medications being called into question?
But at least he does not accept pharmaceutical advertising for his newsletters. And to get a teeny glimpse of how hard this can be for any doctor stepping outside the box the medical community has created for him or her to stay put in or else… read this:
“From the beginning, TCPR (The Carlat Psychiatry Report) adopted a skeptical attitude toward many of the marketing claims accompanying new drug launches by pharmaceutical firms. In the January 2004 issue, this approach nearly resulted in the newsletter’s untimely demise.”
“The article in question, entitled “Cymbalta: Double the reuptake, triple the hype,” was critical of some of the statements of efficacy made by Eli Lilly researchers. Soon after the issue was printed, an Eli Lilly attorney contacted the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), which was at that time the CME accreditor for the publication.
The attorney maintained that the article was unfair and biased, and was therefore out of compliance with ACCME standards for CME programs. MMS ordered the newsletter to cease its CME program pending a formal investigation of the complaint.”
They get bullied and harrassed by well-funded professional thugs; their careers, practices and livelihood threatened.
Why we all need to fight against the influence and abuse of Big Pharma, and support physcians like the ones listed on this page who do take a stand outside the box in efforts to help others who suffer with mental illness.
8. Perspective & Healing Help – Ron Parks, M.D.
A lot of very integrated articles about integrative therapies i.e. various forms of alternative care for various forms of diagnosable mental illnesses (PTSD, depression, etc.). Have you ever heard of RESET therapy for PTSD? I hadn’t either.
Worth a read. Is another physician who is now retired from private practice but still shares his learning and wisdom for psychiatric care and therapy techniques beyond the ‘drugs for life’ approach.
Thank goodness. And thank goodness we have all the Ninja Docs listed here (more to be added) plus many others who work for healing and change both in their patients and in the psychiatric medical model of mental illness.
9. Diagnosis Diet: Nutrition Science Meets Common Sense – Georgia Ede, M.D.
I found Dr. Ede online when researching for the article on Ketogenic Diets & Bipolar. She had a two part post explaining why a ketogenic diet may help and how it relates to seizure medications. She writes a lot of articles on this issue, check it out here.
Love her blog. She doesn’t post often but when she does, it is well worth reading. If you want to tone your crtical thinking skills a bit, and are interested in the topic of depression and anxiety, check this out: Do High-Fat Diets Cause Depression?
10. Joanna Moncrieff’s Blog – Joanna Moncrieff, M.D.
I want to read the books this brilliant physician has written starting with “The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment” (2008). It is available on Amazon here.
Her latest book (2013) is: “The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs“. It’s beyond troubling what has gone on, it’s sickening i.e. children – under the age of two even – being put on antipsychotic medication. On what planet should that be thought of as ok? Or proper and ethical medical care with a focus on health?
Her website includes information on her books, a blog and much more. A top pick for anyone interested in learning more about these issues from a credible source.
11. Robert Berezin, M.D. – Psychiatrist & Author of Psychotherapy of Character. – Robert Berezin, M.D.
Another blog that was a treat to discover and of course I now want to read his book. His site has so many great blog posts on such a wide range of topics with an archive dating back to January 2013. I’m late to the game but catching up.
I love the way he covers a topic. He starts with the premise introduced in the title, then delves into the issue from many angles and over the span of many years. Teaching you along the way what the reality is (medical, scientific) from the propaganda we all are subjected to (false advertising, etc.).
It’s a lot like I write, and it is because of docs like this I am able to understand these issues to the extent I do. You can too. It just takes a little time and concentrated attention.
His most recent post is an excellent start: “Contemporary Psychiatric Diagnosis is a Fraud. The Destructive and Damaging Fiction of Biological ‘Diseases‘”. Quoted from the post:
“The brain reflects. It doesn’t cause. Time and space don’t permit me to go through the entire DSM-5, but each ‘disease’ is a work of fiction. Brain scans showing thinned areas of the cortex in “affected” regions of brain which correlated to a “symptom” are taken as proof of genetic disease.”
“This cannot be so, or therapy would not magically reverse the thinning, as we know it to do.”
And there’s so much more on his blog, so many posts with integrated information on psychiatry, history of the profession, difference between ‘somatic psychiatry’ and pyschodynamic psychotherapy, etc.
A ton of information explained very thoroughly and in a way us regular folks can easily understandable.
12. Judy Tsafrir, M.D. – Adventures in Holistic Adult and Child Psychiatry.
I was so glad to find a holistic-oriented psychiatrist that treats children. God, we need to clone her and clone her quickly!
In my humble opinion, diagnosing a child with bipolar disorder so as to drug with severely toxic chemicals (children have died from psych meds) is criminal.
They are stigmitized, physically and mentally harmed (psych meds) and whatever is causing their mood states not identified and treated. Sad and tragic. Especially if there is actual abuse being inflicted, not just a problem of an undiagnosed medical or psychological issue.
But this little blurb is supposed to be about this cool Ninja Doc, so I will get to it!
When you click on the site there is a lovely close-up pic of her outside in what looks like a garden of wild flowers. I got drawn in by the photo (so wholesome and healthy-looking) then more drawn in by all the information she has on the site.
She defines Holistic Psychiatry as follows:
“The foundation of cultivating psychiatric holistic health is attending to the reality that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Western medicine treats the body as a piece of flesh to manipulate with pharmaceuticals and procedures, without any consideration or inclusion of the Sacred.”
“The prevailing paradigm in the West, which divorces Spirit from Matter, is at the heart of our broken medical system as well as the crisis on the planet.”
Her two recent posts are about a simple breathing meditation to help calm anxieties, de-stress, etc. that also helps balance your brain hemispheres and one about putting trolls on a tree in her yard and making a ‘Wishing Tree’ for her neighborhood.
Complete with instructions on how to go about it.
Then she motivates the reader to do something for their own neighborhood and explains: “One of the ways to remind ourselves that we are both human and spiritual beings is through cultivating beauty, play and ordinary magic; seeing the Sacred in everything.”
Seriously. Clone. Her. Now.
13. David Scheiderer MD, MBA, DFAPA – Doc With A Blog.
I found Dr. Schneiderer (aka Dr. Dave) when searching for holistic psychiatrists in the U.S. His approach to mental-physical illness is so inspiring. He does extensive testing for those who need or want it (you can order tests online at his website) and uses natural supplements along with lifestyle changes such as diet, gut health, etc.
He – and his clinic – is located in Sarasota, Florida. His blog covers topics related to mental illness and their underlying causes, research into alternative treatments and information about novel treatment approaches. The sidebar on the blog has a bunch of categories (easy to access information on a specific topic) starting from December 2010.
A recent post (July, 2017) related to bipolar disorder is: Vitamin D and Fish Oil Improve Cognition and Mood by Supporting Serotonin.
Illustration found on Clipart Panda.com.