This dominant narrative surrounding the inevitability of female objectification and victimhood is so powerful that it not only defines our concepts of reality but it even sets the parameters for how we think about entirely fictional worlds, even those taking place in the realms of fantasy and science fiction. It’s so normalized that when these elements are critiqued, the knee-jerk response I hear most often is that if these stories did not include the exploitation of women, then the game worlds would feel too “unrealistic” or “not historically accurate”. What does it say about our culture when games routinely bend or break the laws of physics and no one bats an eye? When dragons, ogres and magic are inserted into historically influenced settings without objection. We are perfectly willing to suspend our disbelief when it comes to multiple lives, superpowers, health regeneration and the ability to carry dozens of weapons and items in a massive invisible backpack. But somehow the idea of a world without sexual violence and exploitation is deemed too strange and too bizarre to be believable.Tropes vs Women in Video Games, Women as Background Decoration: Part 2 (via timemachineyeah)
This sounds like a weird question – everyone knows that psychosis is often very disabling, and antipsychotic drugs are widely recognized for their effects in reducing psychosis in at least most people, and most often taking effect in just a few days. And when people become psychotic again, it’s often understood that it’s because they “weren’t taking their meds.”
But what if it’s trickier than that? What if “antipsychotic” drugs make things better in the short term, but make long term problems worse? How would we even know?
In a recent letter to the Psychiatric Times, psychiatrist Sandy Steingard outlined some of the ways we can know that there definitely is a problem with the long term use of antipsychotics. (Note that while she addressed a limited number of studies, that’s just because there actually are very few studies which look at really long term outcomes.)
She started her letter by writing about the Northwick Park study, where people were randomized to receive either antipsychotics or placebo over a 2 year period. While members of the group on placebo was more likely to relapse into psychosis, they were also more likely to be employed.
And in case you are thinking that it might be worthwhile to have drugs interfere with employability if the tradeoff is reduced relapse, consider that the Wunderink study found that while those taking less drugs were more likely to relapse in the first two years, they were actually less likely to relapse in following years, such that there was no advantage to taking more drugs in forestalling relapse overall.
Then Sandy described a study done by Gleeson and colleagues which attempted to see if helping people “adhere” better to taking medications as prescribed would help people have better outcomes. In the first year, better adherence to drugs seemed to be helping reduce relapse, but after 30 months, overall relapse rates were similar in both groups, while those doing better at taking their drugs were less likely to be working, in other words, they were more disabled.
Finally, Sandy described what is possibly the most damming evidence of all. This evidence comes from a 20 year outcome study done by Harrow and colleagues. It’s a naturalistic study, which means it just follows what people did, so some have argued that the much superior outcomes for those that those who came off drugs during the study period were achieved because these were the people who had recovered, rather than being because the drugs themselves impaired recovery.
But one way to sort out which is which is to look at one came first, the recovery or quitting the drugs. To do this, we can compare those who stayed on drugs over the 20 year period, with those who got off drugs within 2 years and then stayed off them. Here’s Sandy’s summary on that:
At 2 years, 74% of individuals in group 1 [those who stayed on drugs over the whole period] had psychotic symptoms, as did 60% of those in group 3 [the group that quit drugs by 2 years and stayed off]. Although these differences are not statistically significant, the lines diverge at year 4.5 and continue to diverge over the next 15 years. At 4.5 years, 86% of group 1 have psychotic symptoms compared with 21% of group 3. By year 20, the difference is 68% compared with 8%.
68% with psychotic symptoms when staying on drugs compared with 8% psychotic symptoms for those who quit drugs (that are called “antipsychotic”) – that’s about exactly the opposite of what the public has been led to expect! But it’s precisely what we might expect if these drugs impair recovery from psychosis rather than promote it.
So where does that leave us?
Some psychiatrists who are aware of these studies, such as Torrey and Pierre, attempt to defend the drugs by maintaining that while some people can do well by getting off the drugs, others “clearly” benefit from continuing to take them long term.
My question is, how exactly can anyone, psychiatrist or not, know that a medication is “clearly” offering a long term benefit to a particular individual, when we can’t compare the person’s actual history with what would have happened to them had they gotten off the medications?
It seems to me that the closest we can do is to compare groups of people who get off or who are assisted in getting off medications, with people who stay on medications, and see who does better. As outlined above, this kind of evidence strongly suggests, even though it doesn’t absolutely prove, that staying on medications is likely unhelpful compared to getting off.
Of course it remains possible that medications are of benefit to some people in the long run, it’s just that this is not at all clear, and the appearance of clarity can be achieved only by ignoring the facts. This kind of ignoring is unfortunately all too common, perhaps because it is very disquieting for mental health professionals to consider the possibility that in most or possibly even in all cases, long term antipsychotic drug use is more damaging than helpful.
People often think it is “proven” that a particular individual needs to stay on antipsychotic drugs when that individual makes a number of attempts to get off and each attempt results in a relapse. But this in fact is not such proof. I know one person who reported about 20 such attempts before she got off successfully, and while that number is a bit high, many others also have stories of a string of failures before success. If we quit being sure this was impossible, we might put more energy into helping people succeed in getting off drugs and having a better chance at recovery.
The state of mind we call psychosis is often scary and even destructive, and it makes sense to believe that when nothing else seems to work, it may be helpful to reach for the kinds of drugs we call “antipsychotic, at least for awhile. But if we take the long term studies seriously, I think we will work hard wherever possible to find ways of helping that don’t involve using these drugs, and when they are used, we will then work hard to support people in attempting to come off them safely.
Such efforts may not always succeed, but I believe both disability and long term psychosis could be reduced dramatically if we also very dramatically reduce use of the so-called “antipsychotics.”
In other words, yes it is sometimes risky to avoid using “antipsychotics” or to come off once on them, and sometimes and in certain situations starting to use or staying on them may be better than not, but we have to balance the risks of not using them with the risks of using or continuing to use them, and we are starting to see that those risks can be extremely high. It’s not just the risk of “side” effects, things like weight gain and diabetes and permanent movement disorders and/or akathisia, but it’s also a likely increase in the very things the drugs were meant to reduce, the disability and the psychosis.
Discussion about this issue needs to happen throughout our mental health system, so that people can start to make informed choices. Writing this column is one way I’m trying to get the dialogue going: what steps will you take? I’d love to see your ideas in the comment section …
what the fuck. i don’t function well off seroquel but this is really disturbing to read :((via secretandroid)
Raven-Symoné just posted this image on her Facebook and polish, it’s made me MAD. This is what I write about it on Facebook:
As an African this image is infuriating to me personally.
1) Africa is a continent, not a country
2) Africa has prosperous, beautiful big cities with wealthy, comfortable, happy people as well as people in dire states of need.
THERE ARE EMPOVERISHED PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD AND THEY ALL NEED OUR HELP. This common image of Africa as ‘Land of the Charity Cases’ makes me furious. You think of Africa and it’s all pitiful starving children, tears, hands extended, begging for your spare change and off cuts. I feel like Western Asia often gets tarred with the same brush. Charity is needed in Africa like it us needed in Asia, Europe, The Americas, Australasia, all over the world. I’m not saying STOP giving to charity I’m just saying that there are millions of people rich and poor in Africa and they demand respect not pity. We aren’t begging for your damned ice water, we are looking for ways to build pumps and wells in our villages. We don’t wan the food your child won’t finish at the table, we want the means to grow and buy our own. Africa is striving for Education, improved infrastructure, to create wealth for all of us that desire it, to create a future that isn’t war torn and tumultuous. We are more than just your ‘I’m such a good person’ trump card, we are millions of lives and languages and backgrounds and faces that are all grouped together, called primitive, with our hands twisted to look outstretched and begging.
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.
According to an IRIN report in 2005, 82% of arable land in South Africa is still owned by Europeans and those of European descent through colonization.
Yet a lot of people be giving away dresses and bibles to “Africa” as a sum of thinking that is going to solve the problems persisting in specific countries in Africa.
Can we stop homogenizing the experiences of an entire continent for white saviour complexes please?
You are not helping the situations long term, and you are also continueing the racist perpetuation of Africans as “backwards”, “starving”, and “unable to fend for themselves”. When they are very much able to do so if it wasn’t for colonization and white supremacy, which you continue to perpetuate through unsustainable aid, and painting the picture of the “poor Africans”.
Bottom commentary on point^^^^
Recently an Instagram video circulated of a Ferguson protester discussing the looting and burning of the QuikTrip convenience store. He retorts the all too common accusation thrown at rioters: “People wanna say we destroying our own neighborhoods. We don’t own nothing out here!” This is the crux of the matter, and could be said of most majority black neighborhoods in America, which have much higher concentrations of chain stores and fast food restaurants than non-black neighborhoods. The average per capita income in Ferguson, MO is less than $21,000, and that number almost certainly gets lower if you remove the 35% white population of Ferguson from the equation. How could the average Ferguson resident really say it’s “our QuikTrip”? Indeed, although you might hang out in it, how can a chain convenience store or corporate restaurant earnestly be part of anyone’s neighborhood? The same white liberals who inveigh against corporations for destroying local communities are aghast when rioters take their critique to its actual material conclusion.Willie Osterweil, “In Defense of Looting” (x), The New Inquiry . 8/21/14 (via desdeotromar)
we as a society need to start talking about abusive friendships, bc those exist and seem to be really common
and most people in them dont know how do deal w the abuse bc its normally emotional abuse which.gets delegitimized, and its a platonic relationship and not a romo or sexual one, so it gets delegitimized for that too
Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, have begun wearing body cameras after weeks of unrest over the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a white officer and sharply differing accounts of the incident, officials said on Sunday.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot multiple times by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, sparking nearly three weeks of angry protests in the St. Louis suburb and drawing global attention to race relations in the United States.
Law enforcement and witnesses gave differing accounts of what transpired before Brown was shot, with police saying the teen had struggled with the officer. Witnesses say Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times in the head and chest.
The discrepancy has revived calls for officers across the county to be outfitted with body cameras to help capture an accurate record of police-involved incidents.
This is a start…but not enough. Not yet, not sure if ever.