Category Archives: Psychology

Today’s Greatest Mental Health Need: Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Programs

The Huffington Post
Today’s Greatest Mental Health Need: Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Programs
Dr. Peter Breggin
Posted: 10/18/2012

The pharmaceutical industry and organized psychiatry act as if the greatest challenge today is to identify new psychiatric disorders, to promote the supposedly high prevalence of existing disorders, and to find new blockbuster drugs, all the while heavily promoting current moneymakers. Even the United Nations is involved in “World Mental Health Day,” announcing that depression is a “global health crisis”:

10 October 2012 — Terming depression, which afflicts 350 million people worldwide, an “under-appreciated global health crisis,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an international effort to increase access to a wide variety of effective and affordable treatments and remove the social stigma attached to the illness.

This current barrage of “educational” propaganda on behalf of pharmaceutic interests is even supported by the State Department, which heavily endorses the industry’s astroturf lobbying group, called the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

In the United States, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) observes a week of awareness in the first full week of October by the direction of a congressional order passed in 1990. NAMI reports that one in four U.S. adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 lives with serious, chronic illness.

A key player is the World Federation for Mental Health, whose multi-color brochure declares Oct. 10, 2012 as “World Mental Health Day,” again targeting depression in its booklet title: “Depression: A Global Crisis.” Perhaps because markets for psychiatric medications in the industrialized world are getting saturated and because drug companies and their products have been coming under heavy criticism, the “World Mental Health Day” is mostly aimed at poorer nations. The World Federation for Mental Health booklet advocates the use of antidepressant drugs. This colorful document was “made possible” by… guess whom? The only three sponsors are companies that make psychiatric drugs: Eli Lilly, Otsuka and Lundbeck.

Is this what we really need? More diagnoses, more patients, more psychiatric drugs spreading like a chemical plague throughout the world? We are now learning that the longer-term use of some of these psychiatric drugs can cause chronic mental disability. Several of my books (for example and for example), recently bolstered by Robert Whitaker’s, leave no doubt that the evidence for longer-term efficacy (months or years) is insufficient, while the evidence for longer-term harm is escalating. Studies are showing that this chronicity actually reflects physical damage to the brain. Studies — included in my books and revealing changes to the brain from antidepressants, from the so-called antipsychotic drugs (the neuroleptics), from stimulants and from benzodiazepines and prescription sleep medications — are piling up, documenting patient risks. In my professional experience, psychiatric drug-induced chronic brain impairment is now a much greater threat to society than the emotional problems that the drugs are supposed to treat.

With so much objective misery oppressing people in poor countries, everything from war to famine, it is bizarre and misleading to talk about 350 million worldwide with depression. Most of all, the poor countries need increased liberty, opportunity, and economic growth. As Ethan Watters documents in his book Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, the last thing these countries need is to import our biological psychiatric diagnoses and drugs into their societies.

When people are not overwhelmed by oppressive life circumstances, which must be rectified, in my opinion the best forms of help for depressed people are supportive and encouraging human relationships. When professional help is needed or desired, depression is best approached through psychotherapy, counseling and other human services. Studies have documented that this works and doesn’t have the adverse effects of drugs. We agree with Dr. Norman B. Anderson, the CEO of the American Psychological Association, who has called for therapy to be made the first choice of treatment for depression.

Tragically, despite the harm being done by psychiatric drugs, trying to withdraw from these chemicals can be very distressing and even life-threatening. Psychiatric drug withdrawal needs to be done responsibly and thoughtfully. But the alternative of continuing to take psychiatric drugs indefinitely increases the risk of damage, and even shortened lifespan in some patient populations. Instead of persisting in pushing psychiatric drugs, health professionals and organizations around the world would do far more good by developing and supporting programs for psychiatric drug withdrawal. My new book Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal provides the guidelines for withdrawing from psychiatric drugs as safely as possible.

But who’s going to sponsor these reform efforts? Not the UN. Not the State Department. Not the drug companies. Not organized medicine and psychiatry. It will take a grassroots demand led by professionals with conscience, concerned patients, and responsible citizens.

Peter R. Breggin, MD is a psychiatrist in Ithaca, New York, and the author of the newly available book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families. His professional webpage is www.breggin.com. He and his wife Ginger are founders of the nonprofit Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education, and Living (www.empathictherapy.org) with an upcoming international conference for professionals and laypersons in April 2013.

For more by Dr. Peter Breggin, click here.

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Who I’m Meant To Be ~ My Scores

creativity
creativity (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Who Am I Meant to Be?
By Anne Dranitsaris, PhD

From the October 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Forget your career. Forget your role as a mother or a wife. Forget how much money you make or how successful you are. If you’re struggling with the question “Who am I meant to be?”, this quiz can help you figure out what really defines you. Based on personality science, I have identified seven “striving styles,” modes of thought and behavior that direct us to seek satisfaction in different ways. Although everybody is wired with all seven styles, most people have one that dominates. When you engage this innate style, you’ve got the best shot at fulfilling your potential; when you don’t, you can feel stuck.

After responding to the statements below, you will discover your striving style, learn what to do if it’s backfiring from neglect, and find ideas to guide your life in the direction that it was meant to go.

YOU ARE STRIVING TO BE CREATIVE
You are an artist: You came out of the womb with a paintbrush in your hand. Or maybe it was a flute or a castanet or a fountain pen to go with your poet’s imagination. The point is, you’re an original, and you know it. Even if you don’t have a singular gift, you’re drawn to the arts—anything creative, for that matter—and you have a unique way of looking at the world. Your need for depth and authenticity in relationships can lead to both great joy and profound sorrow, depending on whether others reciprocate. You don’t care so much about adapting to group or societal expectations; your independence and sharp intuition propel you on your own path.

What to watch out for: When fear of conformity overrides your creativity, you can assume the role of “outsider” or “orphan” and end up feeling alienated. You may even go so far as refusing to vote or pay taxes. This lone-wolf stance might be a defense against feeling vulnerable. Try to be aware that blaming others for your banishment, or pushing away those who want to get close, only makes things worse. Also, dramatizing your emotions can interfere with your creativity.

Looking ahead: As long as you genuinely express yourself, you feel like the person you were meant to be. How you do it is irrelevant. A chef or architect can be as much of an artist as a painter or sculptor. Many advertising and public relations executives are also highly imaginative. Beyond work, there are opportunities everywhere you look to coax out your inner artist: Design your own jewelry line, create an innovative blog, dream up a comic strip. Relationships are another avenue for self-expression.

Find careers that match your striving style.

YOUR SCORES
Many people have two or three strong striving styles, and they can all be important in leading you to the person you are meant to be. If you have a few “highest” scores, read each matching description, and see what rings most true.

Striving to help: 14
Striving to be recognized: 13
Striving to be creative: 18
Striving to be spontaneous: 13
Striving to be knowledgeable: 16
Striving to be secure: 14
Striving to be in control: 13

STRIVING TO HELP
You scored: 14
You are a nurturer: You are caring and supportive in your personal relationships as well as in your job. Unselfish and altruistic by nature, you often anticipate the needs of those around you before they are aware of them. If there is one thing that brings you satisfaction, it’s tending to others.

What to watch out for: When you’re doing things for people only to feel valued, you can become resentful. And if you sense that your help is not appreciated, you may end up playing the martyr. So before giving your time to everyone else, make sure to take care of yourself (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). And practice waiting until someone asks for help: While you may be able to perceive what a person needs, that doesn’t mean she wants you to attend to it.

Looking ahead: It’s important for you to be genuinely of service in acknowledged ways. Whether you foster a child, care for an elderly aunt, rescue animals, or support a rock star’s career as her personal assistant, look for opportunities where you can help other people or bigger causes. Volunteer work has your name written on it, as do many careers: nursing, teaching, customer service, healing, social work. Don’t feel pressured to run the company or lead the project; you may be even more effective as someone’s right hand. And you’ll likely find working with other people more meaningful than flying solo.

STRIVING TO BE RECOGNIZED
You scored: 13
You are an achiever: Ambitious, competitive, and hardworking: That’s you. With a clear image of who you are, you work tirelessly to make sure your accomplishments are recognized. Your drive for success extends to your family, and you invest a lot of energy in helping them live up to your expectations. Thanks to your knack for diplomacy and abundant charisma, you often inspire others.

What to watch out for: You are prone to becoming a workaholic, slaving away toward success while neglecting your personal life. Because you’re driven to gain approval, you can find yourself performing for others like an actor; if you become overly concerned with your image, you end up feeling superficial. To keep your ambition under control, get involved in group activities that require cooperation. Also practice listening to those around you and think about sharing the spotlight from time to time.

Looking ahead: Any career that allows you to scale the ranks and gain recognition, status, even material rewards, lights you up. Actress, entrepreneur, salesperson, politician—you get the picture. And consider balancing your professional challenges with personal ones: Run a 10K, train for a triathlon, compete in a tennis tournament, bike from one end of your state to the other; or join a debate team, play in a poker circle, enter your purebred spaniel in a dog show. Whenever you can win at something, you’re happy.

 

STRIVING TO BE CREATIVE
You scored: 18
You are an artist: You came out of the womb with a paintbrush in your hand. Or maybe it was a flute or a castanet or a fountain pen to go with your poet’s imagination. The point is, you’re an original, and you know it. Even if you don’t have a singular gift, you’re drawn to the arts—anything creative, for that matter—and you have a unique way of looking at the world. Your need for depth and authenticity in relationships can lead to both great joy and profound sorrow, depending on whether others reciprocate. You don’t care so much about adapting to group or societal expectations; your independence and sharp intuition propel you on your own path.

What to watch out for: When fear of conformity overrides your creativity, you can assume the role of “outsider” or “orphan” and end up feeling alienated. You may even go so far as refusing to vote or pay taxes. This lone-wolf stance might be a defense against feeling vulnerable. Try to be aware that blaming others for your banishment, or pushing away those who want to get close, only makes things worse. Also, dramatizing your emotions can interfere with your creativity.

Looking ahead: As long as you genuinely express yourself, you feel like the person you were meant to be. How you do it is irrelevant. A chef or architect can be as much of an artist as a painter or sculptor. Many advertising and public relations executives are also highly imaginative. Beyond work, there are opportunities everywhere you look to coax out your inner artist: Design your own jewelry line, create an innovative blog, dream up a comic strip. Relationships are another avenue for self-expression.

 

STRIVING TO BE SPONTANEOUS
You scored: 13
You are an adventurer: Action-oriented, curious, outgoing, and often technically gifted, you live for new experiences. You are drawn to risk-taking and aren’t afraid to fail. Generally restless, you tend to job-hop or choose a field that offers constant novelty. If you had to name your favorite place, it might be the center of attention—you’re a born entertainer, and can easily adapt to any audience. While you collect many acquaintances, you’re less likely to develop deep, committed relationships.

What to watch out for: When you can’t satisfy your thirst for variety and excitement, you may see yourself as trapped, which can lead to impulsive and self-destructive behavior—drinking, drugs, breaking off relationships, ditching financial responsibilities. Try to find value in some traditions; if you learn to appreciate repetitive experiences, you won’t always feel the urge to bust free. And when a new opportunity thrills you, keep in mind that just because it sounds exciting, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Looking ahead: Life will have meaning for you as long as you feel stimulated. That might mean chasing twisters, exploring the polar ice caps, getting a degree in dance therapy, or becoming an astronaut. It might also mean reading new books, attending workshops, or letting yourself get swept up in an intoxicating romance. As a risk-lover with a lot of energy, you’re a natural entrepreneur. You’ll be happiest if you change jobs every so often and travel extensively. Movement is what keeps you going.

STRIVING TO BE KNOWLEDGEABLE
You scored: 16
You are an intellectual: As a leader, you’re often ahead of your time. As an employee, you try to surpass the competence level of peers, even managers. Incisive and curious, you’re driven to deeply understand how things work. But that’s things, not people. Oh, your family and friends are important; it’s just that you don’t need to spend hours engaging with them. Social validation isn’t your goal—you’re secure enough in your cerebral pursuits.

What to watch out for: When you can’t find a way to be the expert, you may withdraw or simply withhold information, which can make you seem smug or arrogant. If you feel yourself retreating into your own world, seek a friend’s help to pull you back. Also balance your cerebral tendencies through physical activities like jogging, hiking, or dance.

Looking ahead: You discover who you are meant to be through accumulating insight and knowledge. So follow your curiosity. Are you drawn to learning Mandarin? Join-ing a philosophy society? Studying and practicing Buddhist meditation? Delving into the complexities of computer programming? Writing a historical book? Pursuits that place you near the leading edge of technology, science, psychology, academia, or business are good bets. But any situation that allows you to work independently with freedom to investigate and innovate will fuel your drive.

STRIVING TO BE SECURE
You scored: 14
You are a stabilizer: You are the rock in a storm, the one others lean on. Loyal and com-mitted in your relationships, you maintain a support system of like-minded people whom you look out for. (So what if you do it behind the scenes and don’t get credit?) You’re careful with money, cherish the familiar, and defend the traditions you care about.

What to watch out for: Rapidly changing environments (like a shaky economy) are very hard for you. As a result of such instability, you can spiral into a state where everything seems catastrophic and you’re sure life will only get worse. You can also become overcontrolling, rejecting any suggestion that doesn’t conform to your idea of the way things should be. To avoid being too rigid, each month try changing one habit. Exper-iment with clothes, drive a different way to work, initiate conversations about subjects you wouldn’t normally discuss. And when the opportunity arises to do something new, avoid the impulse to immediately say no—this may be nerve-racking, but the more you practice, the less anxious you’ll feel.

Looking ahead: You find meaning in pursuing safety and certainty. Focusing on family can give you great satisfaction. Also consider planting a vegetable garden, hosting class reunions, volunteering as a lifeguard, teaching at your church or temple. In the work arena, look for positions where you’re responsible for others, and for making sure everyone is following the rules. You work well in any environment that is stable and consistent. Careers in government, finance, the military, law enforcement, and product manufacturing are strong options for you.

STRIVING TO BE IN CONTROL
You scored: 13
You are a leader: You approach everything as though you were born to be in charge. Confident, assertive, and decisive, you know what you want and you go after it. You also look out for family, friends, and community—you feel you know what’s best for them—and have no fear of confronting anyone who challenges your ideas. Taking the driver’s seat, you also generously donate time and energy to people and neighborhood projects.

What to watch out for: When you feel threatened, or others refuse to go along with your agenda, you can become confrontational and domineering, sometimes to the point of being dictatorial. Practice letting someone else take charge on occasion. Also try meditation; it can help you be-come more aware of your controlling impulses and ease the anxiety that may be provoking them.

Looking ahead: You discover your purpose when you take control of your environment. For you, finding a decision-making role is key. That could mean anything from producing a play to spearheading a global campaign for something you care about. In work, you’re suited for leadership positions in education, government, industry, finance, religious institutions, or politics. But you can find satisfaction anytime you’re given the autonomy to do things your own way.

After taking the quiz to discover who you’re meant to be, find your striving style below and find the right career for you.

1. Striving to help: A need to take care of other people is important to this type, who thrives in professions like:
Career counselor
Psychologist
Massage therapist
Development, or Training Consultant
Paralegal
Wedding Planner
Paramedic

2. Striving to be recognized: An audience and a chance to show off their charm suit this type, which works best in roles such as:
Teacher
Newscaster
Real Estate Agent
Publicist
Talent Agent
Investment Banker
Journalist/Reporter/Reporter
Literary Agent

3. Striving to be creative: Imagination and personal expression are important to this type, so they enjoy jobs as:
Graphic Designers
Art Directors
Yoga Instructors Drug Addiction Counselors
Architects
Actors/Musicians/Dancers/Athletes
College Professors
Yoga or Meditation Teachers

4. Striving to be spontaneous: These action and adventure lovers are drawn to careers that promise excitement, whether as a:
Coach
Police Officer
Events Promoter
Family Lawyer
Nutritionist
Investigator
Broker
Travel Agent or Tour Operator

5. Striving to be knowledgeable: Deep thinking and an inventive spirit help this type excel in fields like:
Biomedical Research
Computer Programming
Law
Education
Engineering
Management
Environmental Planning
Telecomunications

6. Striving to be secure: Stable, accurate, and with an unbending attention to detail, this type does well in jobs that have consistency, such as:
Paralegals
Accountants
Electrical engineers
Dentists
School administrators
Public servants
Computer programmers

7. Striving to be in control: Decisiveness and authority come easily to this type, so they work best in leadership roles:
Restaurant manager
Healthcare administrator
Sales director
Teacher
Political consultant
Marketing manager
Advertising executive
Politician