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Mad in America: Rethinking Mental Health

The Mad in America podcast, hosted by James Moore, examines mental health with a critical eye by speaking with psychologists, psychiatrists and people with lived experience.

When you hear such conversations, you realise that much of what is believed to be settled in mental health is actually up for debate. Is mental health a matter of faulty biology or is there more to it? Are the treatments used in psychiatry helpful or harmful in the long term? Are psychiatric diagnoses reliable? With the help of our guests, we examine these questions and so much more. 

This podcast is part of Mad in America’s mission to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care and mental health. We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change. 

On the podcast over the coming weeks, we will have interviews with experts and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. Thank you for joining us as we discuss the many issues around rethinking mental health around the world.

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Jun 20, 2017

This week we interview Elaine who has taken antidepressant and stimulant drugs for anxiety issues such as OCD. She describes her experiences with the drugs, how she approached her withdrawal and describes feeling humiliated and judged by her psychiatrists rather than helped.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Elaine came to be taking Prozac for anxiety issues
  • How she became troubled by anxious thoughts and fears while in college
  • That she stopped Prozac cold turkey after one year of use because she felt it stopped working
  • That Elaine then tried a range of different drugs but with no relief until settling on Zoloft which also, in time, stopped working
  • How Elaine was afraid to stop the drugs in case her symptoms came back and felt that she needed the drugs
  • How a family move and motherhood put such strain on Elaine that she felt that her condition was deteriorating
  • That she felt that it was like a ritual humiliation seeing her doctors
  • How a nurse practitioner suggested that Elaine attended an out-patient mental health clinic and Elaine was shocked at how she was treated, particularly by the psychiatrist
  • That the psychiatrist seemed more interested in compliance rather than progress being made
  • How Elaine started to research for herself and found personal accounts that resonated with her own experience of trying to stop the drugs
  • That Elaine was on a stimulant drug for a short time but that too stopped working
  • That Elaine is now struggling to withdraw from 150 milligrams of Effexor by counting her beads to reduce by approximately 10% per month
  • Elaine describes electric shock sensations that feel like a buzzing or tingling
  • How doctors continue to give out advice that can be harmful when it comes to withdrawal from psychiatric drugs, particularly after long term use
  • How Elaine felt invalidated by the medical profession because she had a ‘disorder’
  • How Elaine witnessed a man with tardive dyskinesia and it was an image that she will never forget
  • That Elaine was accused of over inflating the risks of the drugs because of her anxiety diagnosis
  • That people may get short term symptom relief at the cost long term vitality by taking the drugs

Podcast show notes:

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© James Moore 2017