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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 23, 2017

This week, we talk to Chaya Grossberg. Chaya shares her own experiences of the psychiatric system and psychiatric drugs and also tells us how she now helps and supports those struggling to withdraw from their psychiatric medications. Chaya promotes a naturopathic approach to supporting people with their health and wellbeing.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Chaya was in therapy from a relatively young age to help her deal with family stresses
  • That Chaya had a good experience of therapy
  • At around 16 years old, the conversation turned to medications like Prozac
  • How, in the early 1990s, the drugs were seen as new and a real advance in the treatment for emotional distress or stress and trauma
  • That Chaya was mistrustful of the medication initially
  • How Chaya felt the toxicity of the medication initially but she also found that it helped with her mood for a short time
  • That Chaya stopped the Prozac without too much difficulty
  • How later in college, Chaya experienced a psychotic break which led to a hospital admission and forced treatment with psychiatric drugs
  • Chaya recalls being on Risperdal, Prozac, Effexor, Buspar and Ativan as a cocktail
  • How Chaya recalls not being scared at the time even though she was forcibly treated with medications
  • How Chaya found that Risperdal, Effexor and Ativan were difficult to withdraw from
  • That Chaya heard other psychiatric survivors talk about their experiences and that helped her understand that the medications were responsible for effects like fatigue and led to her decision to stop the drugs
  • That Chaya had to take her withdrawal very slowly but still found it difficult
  • How Chaya ensured that she had space when making a reduction in her medications
  • How Chaya took a year to go through her withdrawal from several medications
  • That Chaya started attending sessions arranged by the Freedom Centre and that was a real source of help and support
  • That Chaya has used her experiences to help and support others in psychiatric drug withdrawal
  • That psychiatric drugs are not treating biological abnormalities
  • Chaya’s work with people who have been on the medications for a long period of time
  • That we need to create retreat centres to help people get off the drugs
  • The issues around insurance in the USA that may mean that people have to withdraw from medications for financial reasons
  • That we should be making a community response to these issues rather than rely on medications

Podcast show notes:

© James Moore 2017

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