Another Recommended Blog: The Trouble with Spikol, an Excellent News Blog on Mental Illness

August 22, 2009 at 5:12 am | Posted in Links | Leave a comment

Liz Spikol uses her her bipolar blog, The Trouble with Spikol, to examine news stories in depth, including her latest post about the psychiatric history of Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter. I’m impressed by the documentation she provides, and by her sensitive responses to stories that seem, on the surface, simply sensational.

The thoughtful reporting and commentary makes the archives well worth reading, as well. I don’t always agree with her: for instance, while I’m not surprised to find out that electroshock therapy is a self-promoting industry similar to Big Pharma, I disagree with this article’s implication that it’s ineffective; for some people it’s a life-saving treatment of last resort. It has serious side effects and may become less effective for some patients over time, but the fact that it’s cynically hyped doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The comparison to Big Pharma is apt, though perhaps not in the way Spikol intended: there’s no question that the drug companies are pushers of the worst stripe, and that many prominent academic psychiatrists have collaborated with them to produce research that is questionable at best. At the same time, the very same medications have saved many bipolar lives.

Minor disagreements aside, I really recommend Spikol’s blog if you’re looking to keep up with mental health news. The blog may be in transition since she recently left the Philadelphia Weekly, which hosted it. I’m hoping that if it does move, the Weekly will provide a forwarding link. If not, her name is unique enough that a Google search should turn up her whereabouts.

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