Doctor Munchausen: Dying for a Cure

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Editorial Note:  This is the second in a Doctor Munchausen series of posts - meditations on the fact that medicine is likely the place where the greatest amount of abuse on earth happens - but no-one notices and no-one intervenes. The post below comes from the foreword to Dying for a Cure, Rebekah Beddoe's book on what happened her when she fell into the clutches of a doctor.  The book came out … [Read more...]

Doctor Munchausen I Presume!

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Editorial note:  As Britain descends into an orgy of handwringing about the abuse of vulnerable people, this is the first of several posts to tackle the issue In 2000 when I gave a lecture on Psychopharmacology and the Government of the Self at the invitation of the University of Toronto, I ran into a problem. In the public domain our shared difficulties were because of this lecture. In fact, … [Read more...]

The St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre: Protestant Patients, Catholic Drugs

Margot's lover in La Reine Margot was one of the Huguenots who survived the massacre set in train by her brother Charles IX on St Bartholomew's Day in Paris in 1572. There are many politicians, bureaucrats, doctors and others, the Royalists, in a position to make a difference who know that psychotropic drugs can cause suicide or other serious problems but who instead attempt to close down any … [Read more...]

La Reine Margot: data access, ghostwriting, suicide and mad reviewers

Another study giving a first hint of the findings in our 2012 Mortality in Schizophrenia paper (See The Madness of Psychiatry) was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2006 - Lifetime Rates of Suicide in Schizophrenia. It took several years and some smuggling to get it into print. In the course of exploring the issues, it seemed useful to touch base with Herb Meltzer who had links to … [Read more...]

Benefit risk madness: antipsychotics and suicide

Suicidal Acts in AntiP trials

Following the posting of The Madness of Psychiatry, there has been a flurry of activity in the twittersphere with Louis Appleby, the UK's suicide czar posting: What makes adolescents act on suicidal thoughts? New paper shows psychotic symptoms increase risk 20-fold. archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?a…       You might get the impression from this that all patients have to do is stay on … [Read more...]

The Madness of Psychiatry

One hundred years ago patients with psychosis were 4 times more likely than the rest of their contemporaries to be dead at the end of their first 5 years of treatment. The main cause of death was tuberculosis. The asylum was a place where if you had the wrong genetic makeup you were at great risk of catching tuberculosis, particularly if you were a young woman. the advent of the … [Read more...]

The Madness of Young People

In 1861 Benedikt Morel, a physician in France, described a terrifying new illness. It involved young people in their late teens or early twenties about to enter what should have been the prime of their lives who instead sank into a profound and seemingly incurable state of what he termed precocious dementia. Morel painted a picture of a terrifying and seemingly close to incurable loss of cognitive … [Read more...]

The Madness of Carl Jung: a dangerous method

Carl Jung was one of Freud's earliest supporters and in many respects rivaled him in terms of influence. Some of their interactions provide the basis for the story behind the book and recent movie - A Dangerous Method. Just as Freud did, he famously analyzed himself and while doing so apparently became psychotic. His psychosis was however seen as a way to sanity - a forerunner of 1960s thinking … [Read more...]

The Madness of Childbirth

The North Wales asylum made its way into my life by accident. The history department at Bangor University secured a grant to look at the social impact of the asylum. Looking at the records they collected, it was striking how people declared their madness a century ago – they tore off their clothes and escaped through windows, which they never do now. a quixotic database But when we set about … [Read more...]

The Madness of North Wales

Influenced like many of my generation by the writings of Laing, Szasz, Illich, Jung and Freud, I studied medicine to do psychiatry. At the time research was becoming mandatory for anyone hoping to engage with the field. I chose to work on the serotonin system. But this was working on the mind as much as the brain; this was the serotonin system brought into view by LSD rather than the one that … [Read more...]