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Critical thinking is an invitation to question oneself. How do we as a society look at the causes of suffering? At the dominant discourses in mental health? What are the alternatives to the biomedical approach? Critical thinking also means questioning the use of diagnoses and medication when it comes to talking about one's mental health. Is medication still the best solution for me, both in the short and long term? What is the impact of receiving a diagnosis? Do I identify with it?  Are there other ways to understand my story? 


Adopting critical thought involves questioning, because there isn't just one way to approach a complex subject like mental health. Keeping our horizons open allows for more varied, creative and alternative solutions to appear.


This sections offers resources and information to support your critical thinking with regards to mental health and medication.






Comme des fous

Mad in America 


A Disorder for Everyone


Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry


Psy Rights. Law Project for Psychiatric Rights

Neptune Association

Zines on mental health from a critical perspective


Updates to Current Understandings of Psychosis and Schizophrenia  


Meta-Analysis Finds No Support for Dopamine Hypothesis of Schizophrenia


Five withdrawals to end antidepressants



John Read: The Origins and Meanings of Psychosis  


Sami Timimi - empowering narratives, psychiatric diagnoses and medications  

Fireweed collective: Webinars 


Journey to the End of the Brain - TED Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor  


Dr. James Davies: The Origins of the DSM  


Why We Are Wrong About Mental Health | Dr Lucy Johnstone


Beyond Psychiatric Diagnosis | Full Talk | Dr Lucy Johnstone


Gary Greenberg on "Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease." 1 of 2  


Gary Greenberg on "Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease." 2 of 2  


Peter Breggin - Chronic brain damage and withdrawal from psychiatric drugs  


Joanna Moncrieff - What You Need to Know about Psychiatry – Psychology Is podcast  


Psychiatry & Big Pharma: Exposed - Dr. James Davies, PhD  

Medicating normal  


Peter Gotzsche | Critical Conversation about Psychiatry – Psychology Is podcast  


There Are No Rules About Psychiatric Diagnosis—And That Must End!” Paula J. Caplan  


"Psychiatry and the Business of Madness" - Dr. Bonnie Burstow  


Grounded Eutopianism - Piecing / Peace-ing Our Way Together – Dr. Bonnie Burstow  


"The Anti-Authoritarian Movement to Rehumanize Mental Health" by Bruce Levin

Wise Action: Spiritual Emergency and Buddhist Practice with Isa Gucciardi

Busting Myths about Psychosis & Antipsychotics with Dr Joanna Moncrieff


Thoughts on Record: Podcast of the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Mr. Robert Whitaker: Anatomy of an Epidemic

David Cohen: Prescription Drugs, Psychiatric Medicine, Big Pharma & the Medicalization of Everything


Zinotheque and library of Zinzin Zine

All crazy?: the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on psychiatry.   Jean-Claude St-Onge

Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America . Robert Withaker 


The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease . Jonathan M. Metzl


Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill . Robert Withaker 


Mind Fixers: Psychiatry's Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness . Anne Harrington 


Drop The Disorder! Challenging The Culture Of Psychiatric Diagnosis . Jo Watson  

A Straight Talking Introduction To Psychiatric Diagnosis (Second Edition) . Lucy Johnstone

Aller-retour au pays de la folie. Luc Vigneault

The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care. edited by Zena Sherman

Evidence-biased Antidepressant Prescription Overmedicalisation, Flawed Research, and Conflicts of Interest. Michael P. Hengartner

Chemically Imbalanced. Everyday Suffering, Medication, and Our Troubled Quest for Self-Mastery. Joseph E. Davis

The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine. Jon Jureidini, Leemon B. McHenry


Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created our Mental Health Crisis. James Davis

“The psychiatric system itself needs urgent care, because it sometimes wreaks havoc, instead of providing relief, support, listening and understanding. - Marie of the Site Committee

Asking questions about…

…biological causes

Are there biological causes for mental health problems? Although research indicates that mental health can be influenced by biological factors, it remains difficult today to demonstrate with certainty that mental health problems have a biological cause. This is why there are few or no biological tests (such as blood tests or brain scans) that could be used at the time of diagnosis, as is the case for example with diabetes or hypertension.

Source: Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,

… “chemical imbalance”

Do drugs cure a chemical imbalance that is believed to be causing mental health issues? This hypothesis is often evoked to support the use of psychiatric drugs, but it gives rise to numerous debates. While research shows that drugs can affect brain chemistry, none has proven with certainty that mental health problems are caused specifically by such an imbalance, nor has there been definitive evidence that the use of drugs would correct it.  


To know more :  


Psychotropic drugs and expanded uses: an ethical perspective. Ethics, Science and Technology Commission.


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,


Is the chemical imbalance an 'urban legend'? An exploration of the status of the serotonin theory of depression in the academic literature ) 

…diagnostic manuals

Are diagnostic manuals, and more generally, the diagnostic approach used in psychiatry, good tools? Although used by many mental health professionals, psychiatric diagnostic manuals such as the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and ICD (International Classification of Diseases) have become subject to many criticisms in recent years. They are criticized, among other things, for their lack of objectivity or 'scientific-ness' and for participating in a growing medicalization of existence, which very often leaves aside the history of the individual or the role of social determinants.


To know more:

A textbook that drives you crazy?


DSM(5): use and status of diagnosis and classifications of mental health problems


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,

…the mode of action of psychiatric drugs

Do we know exactly how psychiatric drugs work? While some research can establish the precise impact that drugs have on brain chemistry, it remains difficult to demonstrate with certainty that this impact has a direct effect on the problem for which the drugs were prescribed. According to some researchers, these primarily cause an altered mental state in general, just like other substances that affect brain chemistry (such as illicit drugs or alcohol)


For more information:  


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,


…the effectiveness of antidepressants

What do we know about the effectiveness of antidepressants? This question has generated many debates since their commercialization. While recent studies have shown that they can be effective for certain people and in certain situations, other research tends to indicate that they offer little advantage over a placebo or other non-pharmacological alternatives, such as psychotherapy.  A similar observation can be made for all psychiatric drugs. In any case, the effectiveness of antidepressants, like all medication, should be put into perspective with the impact they have on people's quality of life.  


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,

…of the long-term effectiveness of psychiatric drugs

What do we know about the long-term effectiveness of psychiatric drugs? Little research has been done on the long-term results of psychiatric medications. Some research, for example for antidepressants, seems to indicate that there would be little long-term benefit, while others have been able to demonstrate that they will have benefits on quality of life. Similar results were observed with regard to antipsychotics. On one side or the other, the results of research are to be qualified…and here again, the effectiveness of psychiatric drugs over the long term must be put into perspective with the impact they have on people's quality of life.  


To know more :  


A study on the effectiveness of antidepressants: C. Srivastava's explanations


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,

…negative effects of psychiatric drugs

Do we know the negative effects of the long-term use of psychiatric drugs? Although psychiatric drugs can have benefits for some people, they also have side effects that can be debilitating. 

Research shows they can have lasting negative effects on the body, brain, and central nervous system, especially when taken long term. It is for this reason that side effects should be monitored throughout treatment. In any case, the person to whom psychiatric drugs are prescribed should always be listened to when reporting side effects.  


To know more :  


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,

…negative effects often misdiagnosed

Are the negative effects of psychiatric drugs well known? The adverse effects of psychiatric drugs are generally known by mental health professionals. However, many people report that the side effects can be trivialized by their doctors. In some cases, the side effects may even be misdiagnosed as new “psychiatric” symptoms, for which additional medication may be prescribed. This is why it is important to know them well and to be able to have an open discussion on this subject with your doctor.  


To know more :  


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,


…about the medicalization of young people

The use of psychiatric drugs in children and adolescents has grown rapidly in Western countries. The potential long-term effects these drugs may have on developing brains are not well known. Additionally, some research has shown that increased drug use in this age group has little long-term benefit.  


To know more :  


Medicalization - Youth movement and mental health


Council For Evidence-Based Psychiatry,

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