Critical Psychiatry Network

Critical Psychiatric NetworkThe Critical Psychiatry Network (CPN) is a network primarily for psychiatrists, psychiatric trainees and medical students with an interest in psychiatry.  We work mainly though the website and the mailing list.

On the site you will find papers and documents written by members of the Critical Psychiatry Network in response to consultation documents from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in England (NICE). You will also find responses to documents from other organisations, including the British Government’s consultation process that lead to the 2008 amendment to the 1983 Mental Health Act.

There is also an extensive list of members’ publications. You can download many of these from our site, but some articles are links to other sites. There are also sections for news, a forum for discussion, and news of events that may be of interest.

We encourage sympathetic non psychiatrists to join the Hearing Voices Network at

We also strongly recommend Duncan Double’s Critical Psychiatry Blog  at

Further information about Critical Psychiatry can be found on the Wikipedia site.

44 thoughts on “Critical Psychiatry Network

  1. Please can someone tell me HOW I CAN LOCATE A CRITICAL PSYCHIATRIST in the UK where I could go with my adult autistic son who is being bombarded with unnecessary medication which we need to counter. This is a desperate plea for the help & advice which is proving elusive. Thanks…

    • Dear Julia,
      it is very difficult for psychiatrists to see people from other areas. For starters I always suggest that people ask around (e.g. other service users and carers) to see if there is a psychiatrist in the local service who would give a sensible and sympathetic opinion. Best of luck.

    • Don’t touch harmful ‘medication’ drugs with a bargepole any permanent damage will be systematically denied. He may be temporarily calmer but then stress hormone balance will be even worse. I have been in all the child mental hospitals special needs schools and now volunteer among kids with Autism which is actually very similair I think they use the same ‘medication’ drugs. The doctors used to bribe my mum with ‘if we do this now maybe one day he will be able to have an adult life’ I have no adult life now all taken from me I can’t even tell you what it was like but the damage only got worse after the cold turkey it’s been 5 years gps say I legitimately have 20 ‘separate’ physical problems that I should take more drugs for. Yeah right! I wish god could save me

      • Thanks for response. I continue to fight for my son because I feel he is locked in a web of lies & nobody believes how negatively my son has been affected by years of antipsychotics: instead those ‘in command’ assume this is the way he has always been, which is infuriating, because the lively, quirky, yet essentially balanced person I remember has morphed into a person whose mental equilibrium is frail, & worst of all, he is tortured by the hearing of voices, something comparatively recently acquired & a curse on his life which he never ever had before the unremitting use of antipsychotics, prescribed by a blinkered old-school psychiatrist who refuses to budge.
        Now in his forties, Andrew, Asperger’s-autistic, (& not his real name) has acquired both bladder & bowel problems which gastro-enterologists have inferred are largely medication-led. Intuition told me that these drugs were gradually changing Andrew, so when I read Joanna Moncrieff’s ‘The Bitterest Pills’ & all those intuitions were confirmed before my eyes in black & white, I felt shocked to the core.
        I would do anything to be able to spring Andrew out of this – to me – unethical insistence on toxic drugs which have done nothing but adversely affect him. Why is there not a national outcry? Someone should instigate a campaign which spreads the word loud & clear that many patients utterly fail to benefit from antipsychotics; worse than this, they are actually made far more long-term mentally ill. A system that allows this to happen is a disgrace & needs exposing. If anyone can help me in my fight please get in touch.

    • Julia, have you looked into Fecal Microbial Transplantation? It sounds unpleasant but I understand there is very positive results.

  2. My husband was misdiagnosed and put on Seroquel and Thorazine for 6 years. He is now off them for 2 years and cant sleep and has constant debilitating racing thoughts. We are at the end of our rope. He is taking sleep meds right now but his sleep is off and on. Is there a Dr. who can help my husband? One who understands the lasting after affects of going off these and can help? We are in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
    Thank you.

  3. I too live in the USA. I’d like to join the group “hearing voices” but I don’t hear voices, though I subscribe to anti-psychiatry. I was diagnosed, have been taking meds for some time, and have withdrawn from about 60% of my last neuroleptic. I now fault my life’s persist trials on these drugs, as I’m more clear then I’ve been before, however still suffer from withdrawal and effects that the drugs gave me. They are neurotoxins.
    Dr. Moncreiff, I am at a crossroads. I’ve seen Peter Breggin in Ithaca, NY, though he was unable or unwilling to help me with my withdrawal (5 sessions), he advised to maintain a loving relationship and keep growing. I have great admiration for him and his life’s work, though in our therapy, we weren’t conducive for one another. I still have insomnia and can’t find a good holistic doctor to help me. I expect my symptoms from the drugs over 29 years will persist for years, perhaps until I pass from this world.
    Can you offer me any advise about detox, med withdrawal (other than the pace needs to be excruciatingly slow). Do you think chelation therapy detox is a good idea or not?

  4. Where can I find information about the ‘booster’ effect supposedly provided by lithium on my antidepressant (Amitriptyline). I have now read that the serotonin imbalance theory is rubbish, so what does lithium is exactly supposing to boost? Thank you.

    • There is no ‘booster’ effect. There are some randomised trials showing that lithium marginally improves depression rating scale scores in people who have not responded to antidepressants alone. There are many possible explanations for this, including publication bias and psychological effects, and differences are small, in any case. Suggestions about what lithium might be doing in this situation are speculative.

      • Thank you Joanna for replying. The ‘booster effect’ is what my psychiatrist told me lithium would do. The other day, he told me that he could start me on an antipsychotic (at low dose) to also ‘boost’ my antidepressant. I told him that I won’t go near an antipsychotic in any shape or form, after my very distressing experience with Quetiapine. Some years back, my French GP had told me not to touch this class of drugs even with a barge pole, so I now understand what he meant.
        I have started reading your book (The myth of the chemical cure) which is enlightening. Yesterday evening I checked the leaflet included in my box of Amitriptyline and it says: ‘These medicines [tricyclic antidepressant drugs] alter the levels of chemicals in the brain to relieve the symptoms of depression.’ (Actavis). So despite the (lack of) evidence, the chemical imbalance is still officially used by pharmaceutical companies…

  5. Hi Joanna Moncrieff . What do you have to say concerning this new release of BBC News tonight . Already explained some years ago & modern times critical psychiatrist members saying that there were mistakes with peoples lives that were obviously messed up to the limit of Death . THOUGH . is this a breakthrough or yet another what is said to be an Accident of History with obvious controlled & wasted lives . CLICK . . PLEASE if could check this Research do give answers . Thank You

  6. Hi Joanna Moncrieff . Sadly for reasons beyond my own control I have been re – detained . That . OBVIOUSLY . could have been avoided with my genuine Father around to stop my subjectively damaging Mother pushing me into psychiatry almost 30 years ago .

    Greater issues explained via . CLICK .
    Twitter Panel

    What research has been made to find . Why . Some of the psychiatric patients commit issues of self harm . Then . Would healing & somewhat genuine self belief and self value psychology help if supported with progress classes .

    Have you any ideas of what would help the psychiatric patients with these health care needs .

    Please do relay any practical and genuine ideas .

    Thank You Mega


  7. Hi Joanna Moncrieff . Hope the Trinity Uni Conference at LEEDS could be available via the Critical Psychiatry Network . LINK .

    A few psychiatric patients . Computer & Mobile . websites were established some with help of psychiatric patients & families of psychiatric patients .

    CLICK .

    CLICK .

    CLICK .

    Please take note of the issues with . Health Problems & Tragic Life Chances . for some of our People .

    WHY ?

  8. Dear Joanna
    I have had earache for over 2 years and seen many specialists to no avail. The ear ache was caused by a loud music bang. Recently my doctor has suggested I have neuralgia and prescribed me with “amitriptyline”. Having seen a video of yours I am very skeptical about taking any drugs. What is your take on this drug? What alternatives do I have to solving neuralgia?

  9. I have been prescribed anti psychotics for 45 years. In 2006 I decided I wanted to be drug free when I realized if i changed my whole lifestyle and my needs were met then I would never have another psychotic episode. Since 2010 I have made my long fight having to deal with psychiatrists and the affects the long term taking of neuroleptics has had on my brain and body and coping with withdrawal symptoms and persuading my MHT and psychiatrist to actually agree to help me. My psychiatrist didn’t want the hassle of assisting me to become drug free and my nurses didn’t know even how to begin to make the reduction safely. I in the end consulted Dr David Healy who in his opinion recommended because I was under the impression I had brain damage advised the use of a further drug clopixol instead of actually taking me off the Haldol I was on completely. My long and painful hazardous journey since 2010 and battling for the right to become drug free and be in control what actually goes into my body has left me at this stage I haven’t had any medication for 54 days. I asked I have the drug reduced 3 years ago by 1mg a month and persuaded by new psychiatrist to agree to this. Then I decided to level out and continue for a few months with having a dosage of 50mg injection a fortnight. I recently asked to have it reduced by taking a 50mg injection once a month. Now it has been 53 days since I had the drug. It has been a trial and error journey and I have been doing this alone. It has been a long and lonely isolating time in my life. Also I have had to live with the fact that my son is caught up in psychiatry and is now prescribed the very drug Haldol I have been attempting all these years to be free from. I have watched him go down hill and deteriorate. I am aware of the history of psychiatry how it got to its present state and how long these doctors have been allowed to prescribe these harmful toxins to vulnerable people who have been damaged, tortured and who have lost their fight for their sanity in the end and died. I call this ‘The Silent Holocaust’. I am aware of the current review of the mental health act in the UK have read it and am aware nothing will change. That even Advance Directives are not incorporated and given prominent importance when a patients care plan is carried out. The rights of the vulnerable are dismissed when doctors are in control of their lives and who have the power to detain them against their will and take away freedom and force medication upon them in corrupt institutions that have existed since the last world war ended and even before. This isn’t something that has just come about and people haven’t been aware of. This system of corruption has been going on for decades 6 since the last world war ended which I might add only took place for 5 years until it was ended. Psychiatrists have been getting away with torturing maiming and killing people for generations. It is all part and parcel of psychiatric history and still exists in present day. The only difference to what is happening at present is that there are a few enlightened doctors who have a moral conscience and are attempting change. I attended the Mental Health Today conference in Cardiff last week. I contacted Sir Simon Wessly and he sent me a copy of the reviewed mental health act. I left the conference knowing nothing had changed. I read the review and realized the rights of people like myself would be dismissed. Despite the efforts of people like Johanna Moncreif and others because parliament and government decide by law about the rights and welfare of people like myself then the corruption will continue. Unless the law is changed to such a degree people like myself are given our human right to decide our fate then the horror and corruption will continue. Nothing will change and ever is likely too. It is the law and those who suffer madness that has to change. In fact the laws when it comes to deciding the fate of people like myself should be completely and totally abolished from society. Law should never come into it. I am now on my journey free from drugs and free from psychiatry for the rest of my life however long that might be.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your experiences, and especially that no one would help you with your choice to reduce and get off antipsychotic medication. It is terrible that psychiatrists will not support people to make decisions about what goes into their own bodies, especially when people, like you, are trying to do that in a responsible way (reducing slowly and gradually). I hope it works out for you. Best wishes, Joanna

      • Thank you so much Joanna and also for what you are doing as one of the pioneers of change that is the beginning of freedom for people who have the misfortune to suffer psychological overwhelm and in the future you will go down in history as a person who fought for the rights of vulnerable people whose voice was never heard.

      • HI Joanna, thank you for your kind words to my comment last year. A few days ago I was listening to you speak as a guest on the Dr Breggin radio program and I heard you talk about research you were doing here in the UK on people attempting to come off medication. I have been taking medication of all categories since I was a young woman and I am now old in fact I have been taking medication for 45 years. I find I am still a treatment resistant patient and have been revolving doors for a lifetime in and out of hospital due to my response to stress and adverse life events. I feel that hospital does in fact do me no service and although I did manage to become drug free for three months the nurse supporting me retired, and my therapist retired and my son broke contact with me for some unexplained reason which left me totally without support and isolated. I now have another supportive nurse and a support worker who visit me twice a week and have the option of consulting a new therapist online. My relationship with my son is back on track and we once again are very close and support one another.

        What I am proposing is to offer myself as a candidate for your research and wondered if you would consider me?

        I would appreciate any response you can give and realize that this could be not possible, although I still live in hope of one day becoming drug free.

    • Anne, I think you’re a very courageous, compassionate, and clearly a well informed, and intelligent lady. I appreciated the history lesson, sincerely. Kudos to you. Perhaps ironic as it all seems, neuroleptics damage in hideous and insidious ways, but they sometimes don’t completely deprive us of our reasoning, and our ability to decipher what has most unfortunately happened to us, despite the corruption and insanity of all of this. Here’s hope, as we pursue a healthier way of life.

  10. Hi, my son, who has an intellectual disability, was on aripiprazole from the age of 11 until 22 to minimize/control aggressive outbursts, not for any psychosis. The medication was stopped abruptly (unplanned), with no resultant aggressive behavior, but he became unusually docile after about four weeks and then began having psychotic delusions after about six weeks off of it. He became completely out of control, and we had to resume aripiprazole at a higher dose and add risperadone to limit the extreme delusions. He has now been on this new medication regimen for six weeks, and continues to have conversations with people who aren’t there and at times not recognize family members or reality. I’m wondering whether you have any insight as to how long we can expect it to take for him to get back to his baseline, and how long we should wait before beginning a very gradual weaning schedule. Thank you for any information.

    • I think so often we focus too much on getting rid of the problem rather than trying to instil the opposite. So for example, we think of trying to get rid of “depression” rather than instilling “hope” – which by dictionary definition is the opposite. In my experience healing works by replacement not omission. My journey off medication was through finding hope. Obviously this is a more serious issue if delusions are involved. However “Hope” heals all kinds of wounds.

  11. Dear Joanna,

    When families have had poor treatment and devastating consequences after loved ones sectioned, where meds and restraint has made psychosis and bipolar worse. Where do families go for advice when trying to avoid MH services that have let their loved ones down. Double edged sword knowing the side effect of anti psychotic meds meds and potential for relapse, yet know loved one needs help to reduce paranoia, change behaviour, slow down without too many side effects.Is there any where to access medication advice for people and families what medications to take when hypomania has tipped to mania and psychosis.?

  12. Hello, I am French and I have taken a lot of neuroleptics to treat depression. Doctors made different diagnoses each time. Basically, they didn’t know what I was suffering from and they drugged me with drugs. In France, psychiatrists do not know how to treat without giving neuroleptics to everything. Could you give me the name of a psychiatrist in France who shares your ideas, please? I thank you in advance for the help you can give me. Sincerely.

    Translated with

      • Thank you very much for your answer. In fact, I have been psychologically abused by my twin sister since childhood. She’s a perverse narcissist, she tries to dominate and destroy me. I can’t protect myself from her, that’s what makes me depressed. All the therapies I’ve been able to do have been useless. The psychiatrists thought I was delirious about persecution while I was suffering real violence. Could you tell me what to do, please? Thank you in advance for the help you can give me.

  13. My son has been on rispond (1 mg. per day.) for about 8 years. Now I have gradually ended his treatment, but he acts now as if he has brain damage. He seems to be basically in control of himself, buts does all kinds stupid things and seems to want to bother us in every possible way. My wife simply insists he return to the drug rispond, but I feel he is damaged by this and is not cured. What can be done to change the acting of my son, instead of drugs ?

    • Dear Irwin, I can’t advise and he would need a proper assessment. Some behavioural training might help by the sounds of things. If someone has been heavily medicated for a long time, it may take them some time to learn other ways to cope with life.

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  17. I’d like to hear from a critical psychiatrist on the politics of the Caldecott Report, “safeguarding”, how it is that patients/the public have not been consulted regarding it, how the information-sharing promoted by it can be used &abused politically for social control….. The huge risks in this part of the Care Act (I think it’s part of the Care Act) means that all kinds of agencies including those with less than unblemished reputations, differing ideologies & standards of confidentiality, can now share someone’s personal data including health data, even with admin staff, because of so-called “safeguarding” powers. I’m speaking from experience as someone who discovered a “smear campaign” by police who intentionally abused their powers & shared falsified misinformation with other agencies because I made a complaint against them. This somehow, inexplicably, caused a “mental health” file to be created behind my back based on 1) someone else’s MH diagnosis (I know whose, & I think it was accidentally-on-purpose), & 2) because police deemed me a “nuisance caller” which was rubbish as i only called once every 2 months for genuine reasons connected to the same perpetrator, & if this doesnt stink of a political agenda then I don’t know what does.
    The police lied to me & misled me into holding a meeting with other agencies only for me to discover later that they had falsified reports about me as a victim of crime & ended up advising my landlord to support the perpetrators against me! This despite crime & incident numbers. Worse, the multi-agency-risk-assessment-conference (marac) they held doesnt even have a complaints procedure! I’m still waiting for a response, despite contacting my local MP.
    Where does one go with that & where are the critical voices? ?

    • This is disgusting and all i can say is i have had several run ins with police. i am a law abiding citizen but police have made my life hell. I think they gaslighted me along with a neighbour in any case they wouldn’t help me. I know we live in a police state now and free speech is being destroyed slowly and heavily. I am so sorry Dr Moncrieff that this has happened to you. Thank you!

  18. Dear Joanna and co
    I work as a consultant of child and youth psychistry in sweden for the last twenty years
    It is a complex choice when to use medication and when not and the difficulties of reducing and coming off.
    Had many doubts about what is going on in this field since my medical training but have only made my voice heard occasionaly at meetings
    I thank you for what you are doing and if you know of swedish group I would be very happy to come in contact

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